2019 NFL Season: Week 10 picks

Chargers @ Raiders (Thursday night)

The Chargers came out smacked the Packers around, showing us their true potential as a team. If they can play like that every week, they can beat just about anyone. That kind of play will beat the Raiders, but the Raiders are no easy win. They’ve proved to be a lot more competitive, and the competitiveness always comes out for divisional games.

Prediction: Chargers

 

Giants @ Jets

Both the Giants and Jets are bad teams, but the Jets just lost to the Dolphins. I’ll take the Giants.

Prediction: Giants

 

Falcons @ Saints

I believe the Saints are the best team in the NFC, possibly the league right now. They’re not taking a loss to their division rivals.

Prediction: Saints

 

Chiefs @ Titans

There’s a better chance Mahomes returns this week, but even if doesn’t, the Chiefs have proved they can play with anyone with Matt Moore as quarterback. Their game plan is being executed perfectly with Moore. The Titans still don’t seem to have a true identity, which is why they continue to be inconsistent. I’ll take the good game plan against the inconsistency.

Prediction: Chiefs

 

Ravens @ Bengals

Well, the Bengals are officially the worst team in the league. They’re not beating the Ravens.

Prediction: Ravens

 

Bills @ Browns

Let’s face it, the Browns are just bad. Yes, they’re still bad. They couldn’t even beat the Broncos without their starting quarterback, although that probably made it harder….. Despite the Bills not playing very many good teams so far, they still have a good record. They’ve proved they’re a better team than the Browns.

Prediction: Bills

 

Cardinals @ Buccaneers

Both the Cardinals and Buccaneers went blow for blow with two of the best teams in the league in the 49ers and Seahawks. We saw how competitive these two teams can be. Now it comes down to which team can repeat that competitiveness.

Prediction: Cardinals

 

Lions @ Bears

What happened to Mitch Trubisky and the Bears offensively? They’ve been terrible recently. That has to change if the Bears are going to climb back into the playoff race. The Lions are still a team I think can beat anyone, but also lose to anyone. Which version of them do we get?

Prediction: Lions

 

Dolphins @ Colts

The Miami Dolphins have won a game! I repeat, the Miami Dolphins have won a game! Can they make it two in a row? The Colts might be without Jacoby Brissett in this one because of injury, but he does have a chance to play. Their chances of winning are better with him, but I think they can still win without him.

Prediction: Colts

 

Panthers @ Packers

The Packers getting destroyed by the Chargers last week makes me feel like they’re going to bounce back. The only way they don’t win is if they can’t contain Christian McCaffrey, which is hard to do. If they can just contain him even a little bit, I think they’ve got this.

Prediction: Packers

 

Rams @ Steelers

 The Steelers got lucky getting that win against the Colts last week, but a win is a win. They’ll have to be more than lucky to earn a win against the Rams, though. The Rams may not look like the team we saw last season, but they’re still a winning team who can score at any time. The Steelers might have to play a perfect game.

Prediction: Rams

 

Vikings @ Cowboys (Sunday night)

Dallas has gotten off to several slow starts this season, which has really hurt them in each of their losses. They started off slow again against the Giants last week, but were able to recover because the Giants couldn’t cash in offensively. If the Cowboys start slow and turn the ball over early against the Vikings, the Vikings will cash in, leaving the Cowboys in another hole.

Prediction: Vikings

 

Seahawks @ 49ers (Monday night)

In my opinion, the Seahawks are the toughest test the 49ers have had this season. Russell Wilson is playing lights out and is the front runner for MVP. The 49ers have a legit defense, though. We’ll see if the MVP candidate or MVP defense takes control.

Prediction: 49ers

NFL Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 2

Welcome to this season’s NFL Fantasy Waiver Wire list. Each week, we’re going to give you the top five options to pick up off waivers from each position, helping you add some extra points and wins throughout your fantasy season!

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“Mariota to Murray” by Brook Ward is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Quarterbacks

  1. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers, 33.5 percent availability
  2. Matt Stafford, Detroit Lions, 83.7 percent availability
  3. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans, 93.8 percent availability
  4. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals, 95.8 percent availability
  5. Case Keenum, Washington Redskins, 98.8 percent availability

I don’t know how Rivers is still available in 33.5 percent of ESPN leagues. Despite not having RB Melvin Gordon, Rivers is still one of the top options at quarterback this season. He has a lot of offensive weapons, such as receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams to pass the ball to. The returns of running back Austin Ekeler and tight end Hunter Henry from injuries last year is also another boost for Rivers, so make sure you pick him up if he’s somehow available in your league.

Stafford looked a lot better in his week one performance than he did all of last season. Unfortunately, the running game looked like it did over the past several seasons. It’s good for Stafford and those who plan on adding him. He seems to have a good feeling and quick connection with added weapons T.J. Hockenson and Danny Amendola. If he’s on the same page with them, he could put up big points for your fantasy team.

Mariota has always been an off and on type of quarterback. He and the entire Titans team was on in their week one game. Mariota has a strong connection with both Derrick Henry and Delanie Walker. If the three of these guys are healthy enough to play every game together, they could put up a ton of points. Mariota also has a nice set of receivers to throw the ball to, which could lead to a more consistent year for him.

Dalton and Keenum were both impressive in their first games, despite not having a lot of their talented players on the field with them. Dalton had to play without receiver A.J. Green, but that didn’t stop him from having a big game with receivers John Ross and Tyler Boyd. For Keenum, it was a chance to prove he is certainly the guy to go to at quarterback in Washington. Keenum made an offense with not many weapons look good in the first half of their season opener. Let’s see if he can continue his hot start against the Dallas Cowboys.

 

Running Backs

  1. Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers, 59.6 percent availability
  2. Giovanni Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals, 67.7 percent availability
  3. Carlos Hyde, Houston Texans, 60.6 percent availability
  4. Chris Thompson/Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins, 81.1/73.7 percent availability
  5. Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers, 89.4 percent availability

As we look at the running back situation of many teams, a lot of factors come into play. For Jackson, it’s about him sharing carries with Ekeler in the Chargers’ backfield. We haven’t seen him get much work yet, as it was the Austin Powers show, but we do expect Jackson to get more and more carries as the season goes on.

Bernard will be looking to get a lot more of the workload while Mixon nurses his ankle back to full health. If Mixon is expected to miss any time, Bernard will be the main guy to get in this week’s waivers. Bernard is a great addition to have on your roster, as the Bengals are dealing with a lot of injuries already.

Houston is going with the running back by committee approach, as we saw from their game Monday night. Hyde had a lot of touches and made good progress with them. He was traded to the Texans after running back Lamar Miller went down with a season ending injury. He is expected to have a bigger role as the season goes on.

Thompson and Peterson are both part of the running back by committee in Washington along with Guice. However, Guice may be missing time and Adrian Peterson is returning from injury. Peterson will look to be the rushing back, as Thompson continues to be the pass catching back for the Redskins. Thompson has that role with the team and would be a nice addition to your team if you’re in a PPR league.

Williams is a stretch on this list because he and his counterpart, Aaron Jones, didn’t have any success in week one. Based off the passing success of the Green Bay Packers, Williams might be more valuable this season. Add him now while he’s still available in 89.4 percent of leagues.

 

Wide Receivers

  1. Tyrell Williams, Oakland Raiders, 36.5 percent availability
  2. John Brown, Buffalo Bills, 64.7 percent availability
  3. John Ross III, Cincinnati Bengals, 95.2 percent availability
  4. Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens, 71.8 percent availability
  5. Danny Amendola, Detroit Lions, 96.6 percent availability

I expect everyone on this list to be added this week after their big performances.

Williams’ stock rose after all the Antonio Brown drama settled for Oakland. He found himself having a nice game on Monday night, as he had 150 yards and a touchdown in their win over the Denver Broncos. Look to add Williams in all leagues where he’s available before he’s gone. He’ll be the number one target for Derek Carr all season long.

John Brown had a lot of flashes as the top receiving option last season, and expectations were high for him heading into this one. Brown is the deep threat for quarterback Josh Allen, if he has enough time to get the ball down field to him. Brown should consistently give us 15 points in the standard PPR league, whether it just comes from touchdowns or receptions and yards.

Ross was questionable to play week one, so that’s probably why he was available in so many leagues. I know I failed to add him this week, and I’ll be trying to sneak him in this week. We expected to see this from him early in the season, as receiver A.J. Green is out with an injury. Ross has moments where he could be great and moments where we could regret adding him, but right now it seems more like greatness, so pick him up if you can.

There was a show in Miami this weekend, and the Baltimore Ravens brought “Hollywood” along. No one expected QB Lamar Jackson to get five passing touchdowns. We didn’t expect receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown to score two of them. We knew he was a speedy receiver, but didn’t know the arm strength of Jackson. I think Brown will have a successful season if he can find ways to keep getting open for Jackson.

Amendola joined the Lions after a rough year in Miami, and he’s out to prove he’s still got it. He had a nice week one, as he found the end zone with a pass from Stafford. As you might have read above, I’m expecting a better year from Stafford than we saw last season, and Amendola could be a huge part of that success.

 

Tight Ends

  1. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens, 49 percent availability
  2. Jimmy Graham, Green Bay Packers, 52.4 percent availability
  3. T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions, 70 percent availability
  4. Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders, 73.2 percent availability
  5. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys, 85 percent availability

Andrews still being available in 49 percent of leagues is ridiculous! He’s been talked about as one of the tight ends with a high ceiling this year. If the Ravens’ offense does anything like it did in week one, we should expect to see Andrews continue to put up numbers for our teams, so pick him up now before he’s not available anymore.

Graham showed us he’s healthy and ready to get back to the touchdown scoring tight end we’re used to seeing. I don’t think he’s an every week starter, but it’s nice having him on the bench when your starter is on bye or when you need an extra guy.

Hockenson is one of the most talked about rookie tight ends in a long time, and we expect him to continue having success after last week’s performance. With all the pieces on the Lions’ roster, he could be one who stays a consistent weapon for Stafford. I expect him to average 15+ points weekly.

Waller will be playing the Jared Cook role in Oakland this year, and we got to see a small sample of it on Monday night. Waller didn’t score a touchdown, but he did record several catches. He led the Raiders in targets, and we should expect that to happen more often. Don’t miss your chance to add him, because that 73.2 percent availability will likely turn into 73 percent owned.

Witten came out of retirement because he knew he still had something left. The Cowboys also struggled to have success with their tight ends last season. With Witten back, that’s another weapon for the Dallas Cowboys offense, and we saw that early, as he scored a touchdown in week one. Look for Prescott to turn to him a lot in the red zone this year.

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I hope you pick up the right players to help you win in week two if you fell short last week. Good luck, and happy picking!

NFL Playoffs

NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round picks

The Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs gets under way this weekend! Last week’s Wild Card Round of the NFL playoffs was full of excitement, with the Colts, Cowboys, Chargers and Eagles keeping their Super Bowl hopes alive. This week they’ll have their toughest test yet, having to go up against the top two seeds in their conference. Can any of these Wild Card teams upset their Divisional Round opponents and move on to the Conference Championship game? Let’s find out who our team is picking to win every game in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs, as well as break down the key matchups of the games.

 

Divisional Round NFL Playoffs

NFL Playoffs
Andrew Luck, Eric Ebron” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs (Saturday)

Aman: Chiefs

Cullen: Chiefs

Mickayeen: Colts

Rahim: Colts

Joel: Colts

Adam: Colts

Dan: Chiefs

Kevin: Colts

Dennis: Colts

Jon: Chiefs

Ty: Colts  

If any of the games in the NFL playoffs has shootout potential, it’s this game. Why? For starters, we get to see two of the elite QBs in the NFL go at each other. Patrick Mahomes threw for over 5,000 yards and 50 TDs during the regular season. He set multiple NFL records on his way to a 12-4 record, number one overall seed in the AFC and what is likely an MVP season. On the other side, we get to see Andrew Luck, who had arguably the best season of his NFL career after making his return from injury. 

The Colts feature the number 10 defense in points allowed per game. Being led by rookie LB Darius Leonard, the Colts’ defense has been one of the main reasons why this team was able to turn their 1-5 start into a 10-6 record. However, this week the Colts face a new challenge they may not have faced all season long. How are they going to cover WR Tyreek Hill? Last week the defense held WR DeAndre Hopkins to five catches for 37 yards, but Hill has a different game than Hopkins. I’m not sure the Colts have faced a guy with Hill’s speed all season long. Hopkins averaged 13.7 yards per catch this season. Tyreek Hill averaged 17.0 yards per catch. If the Colts leave one guy on Hill, he could easily run past them for a long TD at any moment. If they double cover him, it’ll leave other guys like TE Travis Kelce with more room to work.

How the Chiefs’ defense plays against Andrew Luck will play a large part in the success the Chiefs have in Mahomes’ first playoff game as a starter. The Chiefs ranked 24th in points allowed per game, giving up an average of 26.3 points. Patrick Mahomes and the offense have been heavily relied upon to overcome the poor defensive play this season, but that type of play can get you in trouble in the NFL playoffs. For the Chiefs to win this game, both the offense and defense will have to start hot. It’s likely the offense will play well, but will the defense help them out? 

Another key factor in this game, as it is in any game, is turnovers. While Mahomes threw 50 TDs this season, he also threw 12 INTs. Luck threw 39 TDs, but also threw 15 INTs. Giving the ball back to either of these QBs could quickly change the game. In addition to turnovers, protecting these QBs will come into play. Both the Chiefs and Colts were top five in protecting their QBs this season. Luck was sacked just 18 times, while Mahomes was sacked just 26 times. Which defense will get more pressure on the opposing QB and force them into the turnovers they can’t afford to have?

Surprisingly, the majority of us are going with the Colts over the Chiefs. Maybe that has to do with the fact that young QBs in their first playoff start haven’t done well. If there’s any young QB who can overcome that though, it’s Patrick Mahomes.

NFL Playoffs
Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams (Saturday)

Aman: Rams

Cullen: Rams

Mickayeen: Rams

Rahim: Rams

Joel: Rams

Adam: Rams

Dan: Rams

Kevin: Rams

Dennis: Rams

Jon: Rams

Ty: Rams  

Not really surprised to see all of us picking the Los Angeles Rams to win this game. The Dallas Cowboys are 3-5 on the road this season. Now they play a road game in the NFL playoffs. However, you can put an asterisk next to that road record. While the Cowboys were 3-5 on the season, they went 3-1 on the road after acquiring WR Amari Cooper. Before his addition, they were 0-4. We know they’ve been a different team since Cooper came to town. If you want to add another asterisk to their road record, you could do so because of where this game is being played. Yes, it’s a home game for the Rams, but the Cowboys hold their training camp in Oxnard, CA, which is about an hour away from Los Angeles. That means there will be a lot of Cowboys fans at this game. It’s anticipated there could even be up to 40-50% Cowboys fans. 

You know what? Forget the records! This is playoff football! This game will come down to which stars step up when the bright lights are on. Let’s start with the two most exciting players in this game, RBs Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott. For the Rams to consistently move the ball against the defense of the Cowboys, they’ll have to find a way to get Todd Gurley going. It’s easy to see Gurley having a great game on the ground, but there are a few things standing in his way.

One of those things is the fact that the Cowboys boast the number five rushing defense in the NFL. They gave up an average of 94.6 rushing yards during the regular season. They’re coming off a game in which they held the number one rushing attack of the Seahawks to 73 yards. The Rams hold the number three rushing attack, but you know the Cowboys aren’t afraid of it. The Rams must find a way to get Gurley going on the ground early if they want to win this game. If they don’t, it’ll put the game in the hands of Jared Goff, who we’ll get more into soon. That’s exactly what the Cowboys want.

For the Cowboys, their road to victory goes through Ezekiel Elliott. He helped the Cowboys control the game against the Seahawks with his 137 rushing yards. He’ll likely have to have a similar amount of rushing yards for the Cowboys to win. This game seems perfect for Zeke to do so, as he’s going against the number 23 ranked rushing defense of the Rams. They gave up an average of 122.3 rush yards per game. Dallas controls games by feeding Zeke, so what do the Rams need to do? Find a way to shut down Zeke and make Dak Prescott beat them.

That brings us to the QBs. Jared Goff and Dak Prescott are both in their third NFL season. Dak Prescott just got his first playoff win last week, while Jared Goff doesn’t have a playoff win yet. In Goff’s lone playoff game to this point in his career, he was pretty bad. He completed just 53.3% of his passes for 259 yards, one TD and a passer rating of 77.9. Now let’s compare that to Dak Prescott’s playoff performances. He’s 1-1, but he barely lost one of those games in a shootout with Aaron Rodgers. In two playoff games, Dak has completed 64.8% of his passes for 528 yards, four TDs, two INTs and a passer rating of 94.1. Dak has shined in his two playoff moments in his early career, while Goff hasn’t. With both RBs expected to perform well, the game could come down to whichever young QB performs better.

Based on the stats above, I wanted to go with the Cowboys to win this game. The Cowboys fan inside me wants to pick them so bad, but I went against that because of the next fact I’m going to share. The Cowboys haven’t been to the Conference Championship game since they won the Super Bowl in 1995. The NFL playoffs haven’t been kind to them since then.

 

NFL Playoffs
Tom Brady” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots (Sunday)

Aman: Chargers

Cullen: Patriots

Mickayeen: Chargers

Rahim: Chargers

Joel: Chargers

Adam: Chargers

Dan: Chargers

Kevin: Chargers

Dennis: Patriots

Jon: Chargers

Ty: Chargers  

This game features a shocking stat I recently came by. Philip Rivers has never beaten Tom Brady. Not once. Rivers has gone against Brady seven times, but doesn’t have a single win against him. So what could be different about the eighth time? 

For starters, this could be the best team Philip Rivers has ever had. They were tied for the best record in the AFC with the Chiefs, which unfortunately meant they had to play an extra playoff game instead being in the spot the Patriots occupy. Rivers has everything he needs to make a Super Bowl run on this team. He’s got a running back who can consistently run the ball well. Not only can his RBs run the ball, but they’re weapons as receivers too. Rivers has the playmakers at WR to make plays down the field and in the red zone. He’s got an offensive line that can protect him. Perhaps most important of all, he’s got a playmaking defense who can create extra opportunities for the offense. That sounds like everything he needs to finally beat Tom Brady.

Tom Brady and his Patriots went 11-5 and still earned the number two seed in the AFC, but they looked like one of the worst Patriots teams we’ve seen in the Brady era. There’s just something about them that wasn’t the same. Regardless of how the Patriots played in the regular season, you know they’re going to take everything and throw it out the window. This is the playoffs. This is a different game. It’s a game the Patriots have dominated over the last forever amount of years. At least that’s what it feels like. 

This game could honestly go any which way you could imagine. Both the offense and defense for both teams are so closely ranked, it’s hard to pick a team based off their numbers. The Patriots scored an average of 27.2 points per game, while the Chargers scored an average of 26.8. That’s a 0.4 difference. Defensively, the Patriots gave up an average of 20.3 points per game, while the Chargers gave up an average of 20.6. That’s a 0.3 difference.

When it came down to it, my personal pick for this game wasn’t based on the numbers. Rather, it was based on my gut feeling. My gut feeling told me the Chargers are going to win, finally giving Rivers a win over the G.O.A.T. I’ve picked the Chargers, but it would not surprise me at all to see the Patriots win this game. How many times have we seen the Patriots make their way through the NFL playoffs? A lot. Nobody would be surprised if they do so again this season.

 

NFL Playoffs
Drew Brees” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints (Sunday)

Aman: Saints

Cullen: Saints

Mickayeen: Saints

Rahim: Eagles

Joel: Saints

Adam: Eagles

Dan: Saints

Kevin: Saints

Dennis: Saints

Jon: Eagles

Ty: Eagles

Boy oh boy were the Eagles lucky to make it this far! A missed (blocked) kick off the upright to seal the victory over the Bears. Talk about coming down to the wire. Congrats to the Eagles for winning that game, but now they have to play the Saints, in the Superdome. This is one of the toughest places to not only play in, but win in. Can the defending Super Bowl champs pull off another upset and keep their chances of winning back-to-back titles alive?

Not if Drew Brees and the Saints have anything to say about it! In case you didn’t know for some odd reason, Drew Brees is one of the best QBs in the league. He led the NFL in completion percentage, setting a new record (74.4%), while also leading the NFL in passer rating this season (115.7). While Drew Brees has been one of, if not the best QB in the NFL this season, he’s going to have his hands full against a sneaky good Eagles secondary.

I say sneaky good because the Eagles ranked 30th in passing yards given up per game (269.2). That ranking looks terrible, but here’s where the sneaky good comes in. The Philadelphia secondary allowed an average passer rating of 93.4 to opposing QBs. That ranks 15th in the NFL, which is average, but a 93.4 passer rating is below the league average. If this secondary can find a way to hold Drew Brees to a passer rating of 93.4 or worse, they’ve got a legit chance to win this game and keep going in the NFL playoffs.

In addition to the Eagles holding Drew Brees to a below average passer rating, the Eagles will need QB Nick Foles to have a great game to continue their run in the NFL playoffs. They were able to squeeze out a win with Foles being average, but I’m not sure they can get away with it in this game. They were able to overcome a young Mitch Trubisky last week, but this is Drew Brees. Give him the ball two extra times like Foles did to Trubisky last week with his two INTs, and Brees will make them pay.

The majority of us have the Saints beating the Eagles to advance in the NFL playoffs, but don’t think the Eagles are going down easily. This Eagles team is hungry to not only defend their championship, but win another one. There’s a good chance this game comes down to the very end.

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Now that you’ve seen who we’re picking to win every Divisional Round game, let us know who you think will move on in the NFL playoffs and why by leaving a comment in the comments section below!

What you may have missed this weekend in sports: 1/4-1/6

As promised, we have brought back the “What you missed this weekend” articles. You can see last week’s here! This week is much of the same in terms of the NFL news, as it’s real playoff heavy. But there is news from other sports you might be interested in. So let’s find out what you may have missed!

0 Philadelphia Eagles Nick Foles” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed under Public Domain

NFL Playoffs

By RahimAli Merchant and Aman Huda

Colts beat Texans 21-7

Were you surprised in what the Colts defense did to the Texans? To be honest, I’m not! The Colts had the Texans’ number all season. They should’ve beaten them all three times instead of letting the Texans come back and win in overtime during their first meeting. The Colts took care of Texans, with both the offense and defense looking great! QB Andrew Luck had two touchdowns in the first half. Then they melted the clock, continuing to pressure Texans QB Deshaun Watson and the run game. Their next opponent will be the Kansas City Chiefs, and it’ll interesting to see how well the Colts’ secondary can play against MVP candidate QB Patrick Mahomes.

Cowboys beat Seahawks 24-22

Dallas won their fourth playoff game in the last 24 years. In 1995, the Cowboys won their last Super Bowl. They are looking to add another one this season. It was a nice win for the Cowboys, as they continue to prove they are worthy of being in the playoffs. The defense looks like it could be a championship defense. QB Dak Prescott didn’t look all that bad either, but can he continue to be great for the Cowboys? Their next opponent will be the Los Angeles Rams. The Dallas defense will be out to prove they can once again take down one of the best offensive teams in the league. They’ve already done it once to the Saints this season. Can they do it again?

Baltimore’s offensive errors cost them dearly

Within the first five minutes of play, the Ravens made mistakes which even high school teams wouldn’t. They fumbled three times, two of them from not receiving the snap. Their offensive line was also quite poor, with the QB having being sacked seven times. Melvin Ingram’s fourth-quarter touchdown seemed to be the gravestone for Baltimore, as that gave the Los Angeles Chargers a 20-3 lead. Afterward, despite scoring two touchdowns, Baltimore couldn’t do enough to repair the damage.

The Chargers’ next opponent is the New England Patriots. They have the ability on defense to slow down a Patriots team that’s been slow already. This is the playoff Patriots, and they are a totally different team in the playoffs. Do the Chargers have what it takes to knock them off?

A drama in which the hero dies

When everything seemed perfect for the Bears, everything fell into the Eagles’ claws, as QB Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles win as underdogs again. Both sides on defense showed strength, as at half-time, the score read Chicago 6, Philadelphia 3, all points from field goals. Philadelphia ended up getting the better end of it, as Cody Parkey, the Chicago kicker, hit the post twice when Chicago needed one point to win. The game ended Chicago 15, Philadelphia 16.

The Eagles’ next opponent is the Saints. They will be looking to avoid another embarrassing loss to them. The last time these two teams played, the Eagles looked like a team that just came into the league. Their QB at the time was also Carson Wentz, so hopefully, Nick Foles and the Eagles’ defense can find a way to win.

 

MLB

By RahimAli Merchant

The New York Yankees-Zach Britton agreement

The Yankees reached an agreement with relief pitcher Zach Britton, which was a three-year, $39 million deal, league sources told ESPN. Britton was one of the most dominant closers in baseball with the Baltimore Orioles until he was traded to the Yankees for three prospects. With the Yankees, he went 1-0 with a 2.88 ERA in 25 innings and finished the season with seven saves and 34 strikeouts over 40⅔ innings in 41 appearances. He will continue to be a part of the devastating late-inning complement to closer Aroldis Chapman, setup man Dellin Betances and fireman Chad Green, as they look to pursue their 28th World Series title.

 

NBA

By Aman Huda

Warriors, Kings set three-point record

For the first time in NBA history, both sides scored 20+ three-pointers. There was a total of 41 three-pointers scored Saturday night. Starman Stephen Curry for the Golden State Warriors scored 42 of Golden State’s 127 points, but the margin between both California teams was very fine, as Sacramento ended up losing by just four points. This match did not go without referring controversy, however, which you can check out in Kevin Dannaher’s article. 

 

College Football

By Aman Huda and RahimAli Merchant

Cal CB Bryce Turner dies at 20

After being hospitalized on December 30th for an undisclosed medical emergency, Bryce Turner has passed away. After transferring from Long Beach City College, the 20-year old had just played one game before his passing.

Cal Coach Joe Wilcox said, “We are so deeply saddened by Bryce’s passing. This is an extremely difficult day for everyone. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Bryce’s family, friends, teammates and so many others who have been a part of his life. No words can accurately describe the pain we feel in our hearts right now. We’ll always remember Bryce and how he impacted all of us with Cal football.”

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bryce’s friends and family.

North Dakota State wins FCS Title

We will all find out who the CFB National champ is on Monday between Alabama and Clemson, but this past weekend we got to see North Dakota State win their second straight FCS National Championship title. This is their seventh title in eight years. All congrats are given to them for being able to dominate the FCS world for so many years. They are the only college football program to ever win five consecutive NCAA national championships, and the only football program to win seven FCS titles.

 

College Basketball

By RahimAli Merchant

St. John’s wins against Georgetown for the first time since 03′

St. John’s been looking like a team who could make a big impact in the tournament when it comes time in March. After losing their first game to Seton Hall last week, they rebounded by beating Marquette and Georgetown this week. They will likely get a spot in the top 25 rankings, but even if they don’t, a win over rival Georgetown after 16 years is the best feeling. That should help them carry over their momentum to the next few games, which will definitely put them in the top 25 if they manage to win them.

Losses by top 25 teams

14 Ohio State to 8 Michigan State (86-77)
5 Kansas to Iowa State (77-60)
6 Nevada to New Mexico (85-58)
13 Kentucky to Alabama (77-75)
9 Florida State to 4 Virginia (65-52)
2 Michigan- 21 Indiana (74-63)
24 Nebraska-25 Iowa (93-84)

 

Cricket

Pakistani batsmen not good enough

Despite efforts by Shan Masood 44(71) & 61(110), Captain/Wicket-Keeper Sarfraz Ahmed 56(81), Asad Shafiq 88(118) and Babar Azam 72(87), Pakistan could only put up a lead of 40, giving South Africa an entire two days to simply chase 41. It wasn’t necessarily the most easy thing for South Africa, as Pakistan’s Mohammad Abbas managed to dismiss Theunis de Bruyn and Hashim Amla was retired hurt, but the loss by 9 wickets is still dismal in Pakistan’s point-of-view.

Unfortunately, due to slow over rate, South African Captain Faf du Plessis has been suspended for the third test, a dead rubber, as South Africa has already won the series 2-0.

Too-good India forced to settle for a draw

Man of the match for Australia in the fourth test vs India? Rain. With just a little over 25 overs played in the last two days, India couldn’t see victory despite putting up 622-7d and bowling Australia out for 300. Despite a five-wicket haul from young leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav and 193 by Cheteshwar Pujara and 153* by Risabh Pant, India was unable to bowl out Australia a second time, after Australia were forced to follow on at home, for the first time in 37 years.

 

Who’s feeling the pressure of Wild Card weekend?

Today kicks off the Wild Card weekend. Eight teams looking to keep their hopes alive and better their chances of winning a Super Bowl. This weekend has delivered us some incredible memories over the years. How can we forget the Music City Miracle, where the Titans stunned the Buffalo Bills on a kickoff return to end the game? Or the greatest comeback in NFL history, when the Bills came back to beat the Houston Oilers after being down 35-3 at halftime?

Deshaun Watson” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Some of the greatest moments the NFL has provided us have happened in the first round of the playoffs.

This one feels strangely different though. For the first time in recent memory, the playoffs are completely wide open. No team, maybe besides the Saints, has a distinct advantage over the others. While previous years we have seen teams go on epic runs before the playoffs start to propel themselves deep into the playoffs, this year many teams limped in.

All this uncertainty on who is going to win and who is not has created a certain buzz around this year’s playoffs, and it’s exhilarating!

The Super Bowl is ripe for the taking. This weekend, one team could build the foundation for a run at that title. Looking at the eight teams playing this weekend, Seahawks vs. Cowboys, Bears vs. Eagles, Texans vs. Colts and Chargers vs. Ravens, all of them have a common thing, a great quarterback who has either proven themselves or is on the cusp of proving himself.

You have two quarterbacks who have already won a title, three young guns who are looking to cement their name atop the elites in the league and two veterans where one is just happy to be back in the moment and the other possibly looking at his final run. Finally, there is the lone rookie, who if you had to name the one you thought was going to be starting in the playoffs, this one would have been at the bottom of many lists.

With that, there has to be a couple feeling the pressure of the moment. Some know just how hard it is to get back to this spot, where others are dreaming of many more years just like this one. So my question then is, who is feeling it the most?

Who is feeling that pressure of win now? The pressure of a whole team and city on their shoulders. That need to exercise some demons or to make your name known around the league.

Who is not feeling the pressure:

First off, it is definitely not Nick Foles from the Eagles or Seattle’s quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson is a proven quarterback in the league already. If it wasn’t for the dismal team around him, he would probably be a perennial MVP candidate. Nick Foles on the other hand, is doing something that is just not seen. Not only did he fill Carson Wentz’ shoes perfectly last year, but he has also done it again this year and brought Philadelphia back to life and into the playoffs. Just three weeks ago, the Eagles were all but out of the playoffs. With a little help from the Vikings and some more magic by Foles, they find them back in it and as dangerous as ever. Win, lose or draw, this weekend both of those guys will still go home with the respect they deserve.

Secondly, Lamar Jackson is having the time of his life right now and is probably immune to any kind of pressure that is involved with the game. He has fun performing at this level. You can tell through his play that no matter what the situation is, he is going to play loose and have a good time doing it. He is a rookie who in my opinion, is the reason why the Ravens have exceeded my expectations by making it this far.

Pressure is rising:

Unlike the above mentioned, Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson and Andrew Luck are probably feeling a little uncomfortable right about now. For Trubisky, he knows he is not the main guy. Unlike Drew Brees or Patrick Mahomes, the Bears’ success is not necessarily based on his performance. It would certainly help the situation, but the Bears will win with defense and managing the ball. Something he does well and that comes naturally to the second year quarterback. It is natural to feel some kind of pressure when it comes to your first playoff appearance, but I do not think it’s overwhelming for the young man just yet. He will be back.

Andrew Luck and Deshaun Watson are both coming off devastating injuries and both are probably just happy to be in this situation. For Luck, this is not his first rodeo when it comes to playing in the playoffs. He has brought a team all the way to the AFC Championship before. Unlike Trubisky, Luck is the offense. The Colts win or lose based off how Andrew Luck plays. For a quarterback who is coming off of shoulder surgery that made him miss an entire season, to finally be back in the playoffs, he has to be feeling some kind of pressure to get past the first round. To show this regular season was not a fluke and that he can still play. Watson is pretty much in the same situation as Luck, only this will be his first time playing in the playoffs. It is a home game, which always helps calm the nerves just a bit, but you know he has to be wanting to win a game in front of the fans in Houston.

Just might crack under the pressure: 

This leaves us with just two quarterbacks left. Dak Prescott and Phillip Rivers.

Prescott plays for the Dallas Cowboys. Being the quarterback for “America’s Team” always delivers some kind of pressure to win. Winning a playoff game is a whole different type of pressure though. It is a well-known fact the Cowboys are absolutely dismal in the playoffs in recent years. After this season full of hype and lofty predictions of them being a Super Bowl contender by some experts, the pressure is on for him to lead them past the first round and probably further. You also have to think Prescott is considered the weak spot on this team right now. A loss this weekend will only make that chatter worse. It could also cost Jason Garrett his job, and do not forget Jerry Jones is his boss. There is no one more unpredictable than Jones. He could just go out and find a quarterback this off-season who will get the job done.

Though Prescott is feeling the pressure in “Big D”, there is no one right now who is dealing with what Phillip Rivers has to be dealing with. Not only is he making a great run in a new city, Los Angeles, but he is also still the figurehead of this offense and team. Putting up great numbers all season, Rivers has pushed back father time, at least for this season. He made a run with one of the most talented Chargers teams he has been a part of. We have seen this story before though. Talent busting out the seams, but never really able to put it together when it comes playoff time. Rivers knows his time is limited in this sport. This may be his last shot to quiet the nay-sayers who say he doesn’t deserve the golden jacket of the Hall of Fame by hoisting the Lombardi trophy and go out on top.

NFL Wild Card game picks

Colts at Texans, Seahawks at Cowboys, Chargers at Ravens and Eagles at Bears. It’s the NFL Wild Card round! With the regular season over, the NFL playoffs are win or go home. Can any of these Wild Card teams make a run to the Super Bowl? It all starts this weekend! Which team will win every NFL Wild Card game? We’ve broken down every NFL Wild Card game, which includes our staffs’ picks. 

NFL Wild Card game
Andrew Luck” by  Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Colts at Texans (Saturday)

Aman: Texans

Cullen: Texans

Mickayeen: Colts

Rahim: Texans

Joel: Colts

Adam: Colts

Dan: Texans

Kevin: Colts

Dennis: Colts

Jon: Texans  

This NFL Wild Card game should be fun to watch! Two AFC South rivals who went 1-1 against each other this season. Both games were won by three points. The Texans beat the Colts on their home field back in Week Four, but the Colts came into Houston and beat the Texans in Week 14. This shows how evenly matched these two teams can be. Both teams have a top 10 defense in points allowed. The Texans rank fourth (19.8), while the Colts rank 10th (21.5). There’s not even a two point difference in average points allowed per game. 

Offensively, the Colts rank fifth in points per game (27.1), while the Texans rank 11th (25.1). That’s exactly a two point average difference. Because both the offense and defense on both sides are so evenly matched, this game comes down to the QBs. I asked myself if I would rather have Andrew Luck or Deshaun Watson heading into this game. I chose Andrew Luck. 

In two games against the Texans this season, Andrew Luck completed 65.2% of his passes for 863 yards, six TDs, one INT and a passer rating of 106.1. In two games against the Colts, Deshaun Watson completed 70.1% of his passes for 642 yards, three TDs, one INT and a passer rating of 101.1. Looking at their numbers against each other, there’s not a whole lot separating them. The reason I went with Andrew Luck is because of his playoff experience. This will be Luck’s fourth time in the playoffs. This will also be Deshaun Watson’s first ever NFL playoff game. 

Aside from experience, there’s another key stat that could impact how these QBs perform. The Texans allowed the most sacks in the NFL this year, giving up 62. The Colts allowed the least amount of sacks, giving up just 18 all season long. If the Texans don’t get pressure or hits on Andrew Luck, but the Colts get hits and pressure on Deshaun Watson, there’s a good chance the Colts walk out of this NFL Wild Card game with a win. 

 

NFL Wild Card game
Dallas Cowboys” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Seahawks at Cowboys (Saturday)

Aman: Seahawks

Cullen: Seahawks

Mickayeen: Seahawks

Rahim: Seahawks

Joel: Seahawks

Adam: Cowboys

Dan: Seahawks

Kevin: Seahawks

Dennis: Seahawks

Jon: Cowboys 

The NFC East winning Dallas Cowboys face off against the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday night, a team very similar to who they are. Both teams like to play hard defense, while running the ball offensively. The outcome of this game could come down to whoever executes in those two areas the best. You could call the Cowboys and Seahawks equals when it comes to the run and playing defense, but the edge goes to the Seahawks at the most important position. 

QB Russell Wilson has not only played at a high level this season, but he’s a proven postseason winner, having won a Super Bowl and played in another. QB Dak Prescott has yet to win a playoff game, and this is only his second playoff appearance in his three NFL seasons. Dak has played well at times this season. He’s coming off a 387 yard and four TD game against the Giants last week. However, he’s also had some games in which he’s been mediocre at best. Chances are Russell Wilson will be ballin, but which version of Dak Prescott will we see?

Many people are picking the Seahawks to win because they have already beaten the Cowboys this season. That game ended with a score of 24-13, but it was played in Seattle. This game is in Dallas. The Cowboys have enjoyed playing at home this season, earning a 7-1 record compared to their record of 3-5 on the road. Seattle is 4-4 on the road this season, while they were 6-2 at home. This game is being played in a completely different environment than the first time around. Will the atmosphere change the outcome?

Even as a Cowboys fans, I’m picking the Seahawks to win this game. I’ve seen the Cowboys lose way too many times in their first playoff game to have real hope of them winning. I can just see something going wrong in a crucial moment, possibly right from the start. 

 

NFL Wild Card game
Philip Rivers, a player on the National Football League.” by Jeffrey Beall is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Chargers at Ravens (Sunday)

Aman: Chargers

Cullen: Chargers

Mickayeen: Chargers

Rahim: Chargers

Joel: Ravens

Adam: Ravens

Dan: Chargers

Kevin: Chargers

Dennis: Chargers

Jon: Chargers

This NFL Wild Card game features two teams who faced each other just two weeks ago. The Baltimore Ravens came out of that game with a 22-10 victory over the Chargers. The Chargers will be looking for revenge on the Ravens, but it may not be so easy to come by. This could possibly be the worst NFL Wild Card game matchup the Chargers could have received.

In their first meeting, the Baltimore Ravens played lights out on defense. Not only did they hold the Chargers to 10 points, but they made Philip Rivers have his worst performance of the season. His passer rating was 51.7 in that game. The potential MVP candidate looked terrible against the NFL’s number two defense in points allowed (17.9). To make things even tougher on Philip Rivers and the Chargers, this game will be played in Baltimore. If they got beat 22-10 on their home field, how will they perform away from home? Well, the Chargers actually had a better record on the road this season, going 7-1. Their home record was 5-3. 

On the other side of things, the Baltimore Ravens are 6-2 at home. They’re also being led by rookie QB Lamar Jackson, who is now 6-1 as a starting QB in the NFL. The Chargers’ defense will be tasked with slowing Jackson down. In their previous meeting, the Chargers actually held Jackson to his lowest rushing total as a starter (39 yards). They only allowed him to get an average of three yards per carry. Although they kept his rushing total down, they allowed Jackson to throw for the most yards of his short career (204). That was most likely because he was having trouble running the ball. If they can contain Jackson on the ground, they’ll get him passing more. Passing is not one of Jackson’s strengths, so that’s exactly what the Chargers should be looking to do.

A key to victory for both teams has to do with fumbles. On the season, Lamar Jackson fumbled 12 times. Somehow he only lost four of those fumbles, but 12 times is a lot. If the Chargers can force Jackson to fumble and create a turnover, they can give their offense a short field. It’s hard to go 70, 80 or 90 yards against this Ravens defense. If the Chargers get a short field offensively, it will obviously give them more chances to score. If Lamar Jackson doesn’t turn the ball over, he’ll probably put the Chargers’ offense in spots where they have to make long drives. That didn’t work out so well last time around. It probably wouldn’t go too well in this NFL Wild Card game either. 

 

NFL Wild Card game
Trubisky in the tunnel before a 2017 game against the Detroit Lions” by Camrongood is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Eagles at Bears (Sunday)

Aman: Bears

Cullen: Bears

Mickayeen: Eagles

Rahim: Bears

Joel: Bears

Adam: Eagles

Dan: Bears

Kevin: Bears

Dennis: Bears

Jon: Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles seem to be perfectly set up for a win in this NFL Wild Card game. Why? Because they’re the underdog. They were the underdog in every playoff game last season, but won every single game. As long as they’re in the playoffs and have Nick Foles at QB, they’ll probably be underdogs in every game again. Will the result be the same as last season?

One thing that’s different this year from last for the Eagles, is the fact that they’ll have to play every playoff game on the road because they’re the sixth seed. Last season they had their home crowd rally behind them in every game. That will not be case this year.

Not only are the Eagles on the road in this one, but they’re playing in Chicago. This city is home to the NFL’s number one defense in points allowed (17.7). Much like the Eagles’ defense carried them last season, the Bears’ defense is just as capable of leading the Bears on a deep playoff run.

The defense may not be able to do it alone though. The Bears will need help from Mitchell Trubisky and the offense. Despite only being in his second year, Trubisky has something to prove. The verdict is still out on if the Bears trading up for Trubisky and passing on Watson and Mahomes was worth it. Trubisky can’t just let the defense do all the work. He needs to come out and ball. That may be tough in this NFL Wild Card game. The Eagles have been on fire over the last few weeks.

Breaking down the NFL MVP race after Week 16

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been giving you my top three NFL MVP candidates. This week is different. With just one week left to play in the regular season, another QB has inserted himself into the MVP conversation. This week’s rankings have some movement based on how my top MVP candidates played in Week 16. Even though there’s only one week left in the season, I believe there are four candidates who have a legit shot at winning the award. Find my breakdown of where each player is ranked below.

Russell Wilson” by Keith Allison is licensed CC BY-SA 2.0

1. QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Here’s the main reason Patrick Mahomes remains number one, even after the Chiefs have lost two straight games. Even when Patrick Mahomes can’t get the Chiefs a win, he still has a good game. In three out of the four losses the Chiefs have, Mahomes has thrown three or more TDs. In the one game he didn’t throw three or more TDs, he threw two. He just hasn’t had a game you could really consider bad.

Patrick Mahomes has been exciting to watch in every game this season. In their loss to the Seahawks, Mahomes only completed 57.5% of his passes, but he threw three TD passes and had a passer rating of 103.4. Even though Mahomes isn’t always great in every category, his ability to make huge plays and put up big numbers in other categories makes up for it.

2. QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

I knocked Drew Brees down to third in last week’s rankings. The reason why was because he had a string of subpar games. Although Brees didn’t have a spectacular game against the Steelers this past week, Brees moved back up to number two. He has Philip Rivers to thank for that. We’ll get to him in a minute.

Brees only threw one TD pass against the Steelers, but he did throw for 326 yards and completed 69.2% of his passes. That led him to a passer rating of 103.2. After three straight games of having a passer rating below 100, Brees finally made it back up there. Even though his numbers weren’t huge for the fourth straight week, Brees looked like the MVP Brees we saw earlier in the season.

3. QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

By beating the Kansas City Chiefs and securing the Seahawks a playoff spot, Russell Wilson put himself into the MVP mix after Week 16. This was a must win game for the Seahawks after losing to the 49ers the week before. Boy oh boy did they deliver, especially Russell Wilson. His completion percentage of 62.1% was a little down, but he threw for 271 yards and three TDs. Wilson was able to earn himself a passer rating of 127.2.

In addition to passing for 271 yards, Wilson added 57 yards on the ground. Wilson had a great game, but perhaps what’s most important to Wilson moving into third place is the fact that he out dueled the MVP leader in Patrick Mahomes. Russell Wilson was clutch when his team needed him. Wilson can’t be ignored in the MVP conversation.

4. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers

After being ranked second in last week’s NFL MVP rankings, Philip Rivers moved back down the list, this time to fourth. The reason why Rivers moved down two spots is because he had a bad game against the Ravens. I’ll cut him a little slack because the Ravens have one of, if not the best defense in the NFL this season, but that kind of game from Rivers was unacceptable. It was even more unacceptable because the Chargers needed to win for playoff purposes. If they would have won, they would now be the number one seed in the AFC, probably getting a first-round bye.

Instead of stepping up his play in a huge game, Philip Rivers completed 62.2% of his passes for just 181 yards, zero TDs and two INTs. His passer rating was 51.7, which is his worst of the season by far. His worst passer rating before that was 89.0. It’s possible the Chargers could still get a first-round bye and home field advantage in the AFC, but Philip Rivers may have blown their shot by having his worst game of the season.

Week 16 NFL picks

Week 16 NFL picks

Week 16 NFL picks
Nfl National Football League Logo Icon Sport” by Mohamed_hassan

Last Week’s Prediction Records:

Aman: 10-6

Cullen: 8-8

Mickayeen: 11-5

Rahim: 8-8

Joel: 7-9

Adam: 7-9

Kevin: 13-3

Josh: 10-6

Dan: 9-7

Christan: 10-6

Dennis: 12-4

 

Overall Prediction Records:

Aman: 129-78-1

Cullen: 135-72-1

Mickayeen: 128-79-1

Rahim: 116-91-1

Joel: 127-80-1

Adam: 126-79-1

Kevin: 81-50 (Started Week 7)

Josh: 66-37 (Started Week 9)

Dan: 60-43 (Started Week 9)

Christan: 43-33 (Started Week 11)

Dennis: 12-4 (Started Week 15)

Congrats to Kevin Dannaher on being our weekly picks leader in Week 15. Once again, Congrats to Cullen Jekel on being our season leader after Week 15. The rest of have two weeks to catch Cullen, so we better start getting our picks right! There’s a tight race heading into the final two weeks.

Unfortunately we don’t get a Thursday night game this week. The good news is there are two games on Saturday for us to enjoy. If we can wait that long, they should be good! Let’s find out who we’ve all got winning every Week 16 game! 

 

Redskins vs Titans (Saturday)

Predictions

Aman: Titans

Cullen: Titans

Mickayeen: Redskins

Rahim: Titans

Joel: Titans

Adam: Titans

Kevin: Titans

Josh: Titans

Dan: Titans

Christan: Titans

Dennis: Titans

Jon: Titans

“The Derrick Henry show had an encore this past week, as he scored another pair of touchdowns and ran 140 yards. This game should be much of the same, as the Titans look to remain in the playoff hunt while other teams start to fall back down.” – RahimAli Merchant

I agree with Rahim that Derrick Henry should have another nice game running the ball. That seems to be the formula for the Titans to win, which they need in order to remain in playoff contention. Derrick Henry must get going on the ground. 

 

Ravens vs Chargers (Saturday)

Predictions

Aman: Ravens

Cullen: Chargers

Mickayeen: Chargers

Rahim: Chargers

Joel: Chargers

Adam: Ravens

Kevin: Chargers

Josh: Ravens

Dan: Chargers

Christan: Ravens

Dennis: Chargers

Jon: Chargers

“The Chargers continue to win games without star players. Last week against the Chiefs was the best win of the season for them. In that win, the Chargers played without their top three receiving options (Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen), but that was no problem for MVP candidate QB Philip Rivers and WR Mike Williams. This week they play against a tougher defense. However, the Chargers have their pieces coming back and they will not look to slow down.” – RahimAli Merchant

 

Buccaneers vs Cowboys

Predictions

Aman: Cowboys

Cullen: Cowboys

Mickayeen: Cowboys

Rahim: Cowboys

Joel: Cowboys

Adam: Cowboys

Kevin: Cowboys

Josh: Cowboys

Dan: Cowboys

Christan: Cowboys

Dennis: Cowboys

Jon: Cowboys

As a Dallas fan who has seen my fair share of collapses in the final weeks of the season, I can’t help but think this year may hold another one. After the Cowboys scored zero points against the Colts last week, I don’t really have a reason to believe the worst won’t happen. What can happen, will happen. Dallas has had a good season so far, because they’ve been better than many expected. Can they shake off a bad performance and get back to being the team who was on a five game win streak?

One piece of good news is that the Cowboys are playing this game at home. They’re 6-1 at home this season. The Buccaneers are 1-6 on the road. Just because the Buccaneers are 5-9 and 1-6 on the road, that doesn’t mean the Cowboys can take this game lightly. They’re playing the 12th ranked scoring offense in the NFL this week. We just saw the Ravens hold the Bucs to 12 points. The Dallas D will need to do that to help the terrible, horrific and scoreless offense the Cowboys displayed last week. 

 

Vikings vs Lions

Predictions

Aman: Vikings

Cullen: Vikings

Mickayeen: Vikings

Rahim: Vikings

Joel: Vikings

Adam: Lions

Kevin: Vikings

Josh: Vikings

Dan: Vikings

Christan: Vikings

Dennis: Vikings

Jon: Lions

The Vikings are coming off a monster game in which they crushed the Dolphins 41-17. They really needed that confidence boost as they try to secure a playoff spot. Can the Lions play spoiler and help another NFC team take that playoff spot from the Vikings? It’ll be tough to do if the Vikings explode again. This Lions defense will have to find a way to stop the Vikings offensively, because I’m not sure their offense is up to the task of piling the points on the Vikings’ defense. 

 

Falcons vs Panthers

Predictions

Aman: Falcons

Cullen: Falcons

Mickayeen: Falcons

Rahim: Panthers

Joel: Falcons

Adam: Panthers

Kevin: Panthers

Josh: Panthers

Dan: Panthers

Christan: Panthers

Dennis: Panthers

Jon: Falcons

Neither of these teams will be in the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to play for. This is a division game between two NFC South rivals. These two teams want to beat each other. For the Falcons, they’d love to complete the season sweep of the Panthers after beating them earlier this season. The Panthers would love to get revenge on the Falcons for beating them. This may not be the most exciting game to watch this week, but it still holds some interest. 

 

Texans vs Eagles

Predictions

Aman: Eagles

Cullen: Eagles

Mickayeen: Texans

Rahim: Eagles

Joel: Texans

Adam: Eagles

Kevin: Texans

Josh: Texans

Dan: Texans

Christan: Texans

Dennis: Eagles

Jon: Eagles

“It’s going to be a tough game if the Eagles’ defense can out play the Texans’ offense. But at the same time, the Eagles’ offense needs to play like they did last week against the Rams if they want a chance at the playoffs. This game is very important to the Eagles for the playoff picture and I think the Eagles can get this one.” – RahimAli Merchant

This is an interesting game because of how the Eagles played last week against the Rams. Sitting at 7-7, the Eagles are playing for their playoff lives. If they lose this game, they likely won’t be in the playoffs this season. However, if they win and the Cowboys lose, they’ll be tied for the division lead. They’d still need Dallas to lose again to win the NFC East, but if Dallas loses this week, they’re probably not going to win a game in which they have to win to make the playoffs. I stated in a recent post that the Eagles seem to play better without Carson Wentz in the lineup. If they can play with the same intensity they had last year in the playoffs and last week against the Rams, the Texans better watch out. 

This game is important for the Texans also. Right now they sit as the two seed in the AFC playoff picture. That means they’d have a first-round bye if the playoffs started today. Only one game in front of the Patriots, the Texans can’t afford to lose this game. They have to stay sharp, especially against an Eagles team who wants a chance to defend their Super Bowl title. 

 

Giants vs Colts

Predictions

Aman: Colts

Cullen: Colts

Mickayeen: Colts

Rahim: Giants

Joel: Colts

Adam: Colts

Kevin: Colts

Josh: Colts

Dan: Colts

Christan: Colts

Dennis: Colts

Jon: Colts

After shutting out the Cowboys last week, the Colts get another NFC East team who was shut out a week ago. Can the Colts continue to play lights out and help their playoff chances? This week is a great opportunity for the Colts to put themselves in playoff position. The Ravens are playing the Chargers. If they lose, all the Colts need to do is win and they’ll be in that final spot in the AFC. If the Ravens beat the Chargers, the Colts will have to win this game and next week’s game in hopes the Ravens drop one. First things first. The 5-9 Giants currently stand in their way. 

 

Bengals vs Browns

Predictions

Aman: Browns

Cullen: Browns

Mickayeen: Browns

Rahim: Browns

Joel: Browns

Adam: Browns

Kevin: Browns

Josh: Browns

Dan: Browns

Christan: Bengals

Dennis: Browns

Jon: Browns

“The Browns chances of winning this game just went up a lot with the recent news of the Bengals losing WR Tyler Boyd for the rest of the season. It’s going to be a tough day for the Bengals, especially if the Browns’ tough run defense can slow down Joe Mixon. I think it is very possible and we could very well see the Browns have a winning record by the time this season is over. Let’s see if they can get some help to be in the playoffs. You can find out what the Browns need to have done to get into the playoffs here.” – RahimAli Merchant

 

Bills vs Patriots

Predictions

Aman: Patriots

Cullen: Patriots

Mickayeen: Patriots

Rahim: Patriots

Joel: Patriots

Adam: Patriots

Kevin: Patriots

Josh: Patriots

Dan: Patriots

Christan: Patriots

Dennis: Patriots

Jon: Patriots

Tom Brady and the Patriots are in a must win situation this week. It’s not because they’re in danger of losing their division lead, but rather because they’re in danger of not getting a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs. That’s what most of us want to see, but the Patriots don’t want to lose out on that. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are usually at their best around this time of year. They weren’t last week, but don’t expect that to happen again this week as they make their late season push. 

 

Packers vs Jets

Predictions

Aman: Packers

Cullen: Jets

Mickayeen: Packers

Rahim: Packers

Joel: Packers

Adam: Jets

Kevin: Jets

Josh: Packers

Dan: Packers

Christan: Packers

Dennis: Packers

Jon: Packers

Three of us are taking the Jets over the Packers in this game. They gave the Texans a hard time last week, almost beating them. Can they give the Packers a hard time this week? This Packers team is still trying to find themselves as they finish off the season. This is the same team who lost to the Cardinals a few weeks back, so the Jets winning isn’t out of the question here.

 

Jaguars vs Dolphins

Predictions

Aman: Dolphins

Cullen: Dolphins

Mickayeen: Dolphins

Rahim: Dolphins

Joel: Dolphins

Adam: Dolphins

Kevin: Dolphins

Josh: Dolphins

Dan: Dolphins

Christan: Dolphins

Dennis: Dolphins

Jon: Dolphins

The Dolphins suffered a big loss to the Minnesota Vikings last week, but they’re still 7-7 and fighting for a shot at the playoffs. They need the Ravens, Colts and Titans to lose. That may be a lot to ask, so they’ll just have to control what they can control. The Jaguars may have a good defense, but the biggest difference between them and the Vikings is their offense. This offense hasn’t played well all season long. The Jaguars may be able to slow down the Dolphins’ offense, but can they slow them down enough for their offense to outscore them?

 

Bears vs 49ers

Predictions

Aman: Bears

Cullen: Bears

Mickayeen: Bears

Rahim: Bears

Joel: Bears

Adam: Bears

Kevin: Bears

Josh: Bears

Dan: Bears

Christan: Bears

Dennis: Bears

Jon: Bears

If the Bears want a chance at a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs, they’ll have to win this game. That shouldn’t be a problem for them based on how they’ve been playing lately, but the 49ers have been looking better. They just knocked off the Seattle Seahawks last week to hurt their playoff chances. Can they do the same thing to the Bears this week? We don’t think so, but anything can happen. 

 

Rams vs Cardinals

Predictions

Aman: Rams

Cullen: Rams

Mickayeen: Rams

Rahim: Rams

Joel: Rams

Adam: Rams

Kevin: Rams

Josh: Rams

Dan: Rams

Christan: Rams

Dennis: Rams

Jon: Rams

The Rams are in need of a win after losing two straight games. This game seems like the perfect game for them to do so. A key to victory for the Rams, is Jared Goff playing well. For whatever reason, Goff has been awful over the past two weeks. He’s thrown five INTs and zero TDs. That must change. This team needs to get their confidence back before heading into the playoffs. This is also an important game because they need to stay ahead of the Bears in order to get a first-round bye in the NFC. 

 

Steelers vs Saints

Predictions

Aman: Saints

Cullen: Saints

Mickayeen: Saints

Rahim: Steelers

Joel: Steelers

Adam: Saints

Kevin: Saints

Josh: Steelers

Dan: Saints

Christan: Saints

Dennis: Saints

Jon: Saints

“Neither team had impressive wins last week, but they still got the win. For the Saints, it was holding on to the lead in the NFC. But the Steelers needed to win a game and snap their three-game losing streak, which was what they called “Redemption Sunday.” With the win, the Steelers were able to maintain their lead in the AFC North. Getting this win over the Saints will help them clinch the division after the Ravens lose to the Chargers.” – RahimAli Merchant

 

Chiefs vs Seahawks (Sunday Night)

Predictions

Aman: Chiefs

Cullen: Chiefs

Mickayeen: Seahawks

Rahim: Seahawks

Joel: Chiefs

Adam: Seahawks

Kevin: Chiefs

Josh: Seahawks

Dan: Chiefs

Christan: Seahawks

Dennis: Seahawks

Jon: Seahawks

“Okay, so despite both of these teams losing, they are still likely going to be in the playoffs. It’s a must-win for the Seahawks, as they let their chance of clinching a playoff spot get away from them. This game against the Chiefs will be the most important game of the Seahawks’ season, as they try to beat the AFC West leader. The Seahawks will bring out everything and find a way to win this exciting Sunday night game.” – RahimAli Merchant

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are fighting to stay the best team in the AFC. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks are fighting for a Wild Card spot in the NFC. This should be a fun game to watch. Both teams are coming off a loss last week, and neither of them can afford to lose again this week. I believe this game will come down to whichever QB plays the best. Both Mahomes and Wilson are top five in passer rating this season. 

The defense’s of both teams will also play a factor. Seattle has a better defense than the Chiefs, but they struggled last week against the 49ers. The Chiefs played well for most of the game against the Chargers, but struggled in the most crucial time of the game. Which defense will give their QB more help this week?

 

Broncos vs Raiders (Monday Night)

Predictions

Aman: Broncos

Cullen: Broncos

Mickayeen: Broncos

Rahim: Broncos

Joel: Broncos

Adam: Broncos

Kevin: Broncos

Josh: Broncos

Dan: Broncos

Christan: Broncos

Dennis: Raiders

Jon: Broncos

Just when you think the Raiders aren’t tanking anymore, they start tanking again. After beating the Steelers two weeks ago, the Raiders lost to a Bengals team led by Jeff Driskel. This week they play a Denver Broncos team who has been eliminated from the playoffs. That won’t stop the Broncos from playing their best. With the Broncos at 6-8, they’re likely playing to have a winning season. They can still do that, and it starts with a win over the Raiders. Plus, with the Raiders trying to officially own the worst record in the NFL, they won’t play as hard as the Broncos.