2019 NFL Season: Week 9 picks

NFL Investigation
Source: https://www.norebbo.com/?s=nfl

Current Standings

Adam: 71-49-1

Aman: 79-41-1

Dan: 77-43-1

Joel: 77-43-1

Rahim: 76-44-1

 

49ers @ Cardinals (Thursday night)

The 49ers are one of, if not the best team in the league right now. The Cardinals have been able to stay competitive this season, but they’re simply just no match for the 49ers. This defense will smother Kyler Murray all game long.

Predictions

Adam: 49ers

Aman: 49ers

Dan: 49ers

Joel: 49ers

Rahim: 49ers

 

Texans @ Jaguars

Last time around the Texans came out with a one point victory over the Jaguars. I foresee this game being similar to the last. I don’t see a ton of points, but rather a defensive battle ending with one team barely getting past the other.

Predictions

Adam: Jaguars

Aman: Jaguars

Dan: Jaguars

Joel: Texans

Rahim: Jaguars

 

Bears @ Eagles

This game is going to be interesting. Both teams have been up and down. One week they’re dominating their opponent, but then the next they’re getting walked all over. I can see another close game between these two teams, with it possibly coming down to a field goal. Hopefully for the Bears, that’s not the case!

Predictions

Adam: Eagles

Aman: Bears

Dan: Bears

Joel: Eagles

Rahim: Eagles

 

Vikings @ Chiefs

With the way the Vikings have been playing, I don’t think I can take the Chiefs to win this game. Matt Moore did a nice job hanging in there with Aaron Rodgers, but he couldn’t get it done when it really mattered. I can see the exact same thing happening in this game.

Predictions

Adam: Chiefs

Aman: Chiefs

Dan: Vikings

Joel: Vikings

Rahim: Chiefs

 

Colts @ Steelers

Pittsburgh got the win over Miami last week, but they did not look good for a half. The Colts have been quite the surprise this season, being one of the better teams in the league halfway through. Mason Rudolph didn’t look too good last week, and I can honestly see the Colts’ defense smothering him the entire game.

Predictions

Adam: Colts

Aman: Colts

Dan: Steelers

Joel: Colts

Rahim: Steelers

 

Jets @ Dolphins

This is a game I can actually see the Dolphins winning. The Jets have looked horrible over the last two weeks. The Dolphins have looked horrible all season, so it really could go either way. I’ll take the Dolphins just for the fun of it!

Predictions

Adam: Jets

Aman: Jets

Dan: Jets

Joel: Dolphins

Rahim: Jets

 

Redskins @ Bills

The Redskins have proved they can be competitive for a while, but they can’t put it together for an entire game. The Bills may let the Redskins hang around for a little while, but eventually they’ll walk away with a win when the Redskins can’t hold on anymore.

Predictions

Adam: Bills

Aman: Bills

Dan: Bills

Joel: Bills

Rahim: Bills

 

Titans @ Panthers

The Panthers got wrecked by the 49ers last week, but that’s exactly why they’ll bounce back against the Titans. You can’t really blame Kyle Allen for having his worst game against the 49ers’ defense. The Titans have been better with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback, but I still don’t have much confidence in them after being one of the most inconsistent teams in the league.

Predictions

Adam: Titans

Aman: Titans

Dan: Titans

Joel: Panthers

Rahim: Panthers

 

Lions @ Raiders

In my opinion, the Lions are one of the best teams with an average record. If a few calls had gone their way, they’d have a much better record right now. I think the Lions can compete with any team. The Raiders have been better this season, but they’re still a losing team.

Predictions

Adam: Raiders

Aman: Raiders

Dan: Lions

Joel: Lions

Rahim: Raiders

 

Buccaneers @ Seahawks

There’s usually at least one game every week where I don’t have to give any explanation as to why I’m picking a team. This is that game this week. Seahawks win.

Predictions

Adam: Seahawks

Aman: Seahawks

Dan: Seahawks

Joel: Seahawks

Rahim: Seahawks

 

Packers @ Chargers

The Chargers barely got by against the Bears last week, but that won’t be the case against the Packers. The Packers are one of the best teams in the league, and I see them walking all over the Chargers in their home stadium.

Predictions

Adam: Packers

Aman: Packers

Dan: Packers

Joel: Packers

Rahim: Packers

 

Browns @ Broncos

Joe Flacco is out for this game due to injury. That might actually help the Broncos…. Everything points to a win for the Browns, so let’s see if they can actually follow through with it.

Predictions

Adam: Browns

Aman: Browns

Dan: Browns

Joel: Browns

Rahim: Browns

 

Patriots @ Ravens (Sunday night)

This game will by far be the biggest test for both sides. Lamar Jackson will be tested by a dominating defense, while the Patriots will be tested by a team who’s actually good. It’ll be interesting to see what game plan Bill Belichick comes up with to stop Lamar Jackson and this offense. Whatever it is, I think it works.

Predictions

Adam: Ravens

Aman: Patriots

Dan: Patriots

Joel: Patriots

Rahim: Ravens

 

Cowboys @ Giants (Monday night)

Dallas put a beating on the Eagles before their bye week, which makes me want to pick them, but I wouldn’t be confident in that decision. Dallas has been very inconsistent this season, which is why I said I wouldn’t pick them again for the rest of the season. I’ll stick with that because I can honestly see the Giants winning this game.

Predictions

Adam: Cowboys

Aman: Cowboys

Dan: Cowboys

Joel: Giants

Rahim: Cowboys

2019 NFL season: Week 7 picks

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Source: https://www.norebbo.com/?s=nfl

Current Standings

Adam: 51-40-1

Aman: 55-36-1

Dan: 58-33-1

Joel: 54-37-1

Rahim: 55-36-1

 

Chiefs @ Broncos (Thursday night)

Mahomes’ injury has limited his mobility, which has taken away his strength. It’s obvious he’s not the same player when he can’t move around. Can the Broncos take advantage of Mahomes’ lack of mobility? If they can, they have a real shot at winning this game.

Predictions

Adam: Chiefs

Aman: Chiefs

Dan: Chiefs

Joel: Chiefs

Rahim: Chiefs

 

Raiders @ Packers

The Raiders have made a lot of improvement this season, but the Packers look like they can beat just about anyone right now. I can see the Raiders winning this game, but I think they’ll have to play near perfect in order to do so. Aaron Rodgers and their revamped defense will likely be too much.

Predictions

Adam: Packers

Aman: Packers

Dan: Packers

Joel: Packers

Rahim: Packers

 

Rams @ Falcons

The Rams need to rebound after getting smacked around by the 49ers last week. The Falcons just need to get a win after losing four straight games. Despite the Rams struggling, they look like the better team, and they just added CB Jalen Ramsey.

Predictions

Adam: Rams

Aman: Rams

Dan: Rams

Joel: Rams

Rahim: Rams

 

49ers @ Redskins

The 49ers are dominating the NFL right now, and they’ve proved they can beat a good team after beating the Rams. The Redskins have a win, but it was against the Dolphins, who everyone has beaten. They’ll start another losing streak this week.

Predictions

Adam: 49ers

Aman: 49ers

Dan: 49ers

Joel: 49ers

Rahim: 49ers

 

Texans @ Colts

Both of these teams are coming off a win over the Kansas City Chiefs. These two division rivals are looking like some of the better teams in the league right now, but only one can come out on top. Who can continue their hot play?

Predictions

Adam: Texans

Aman: Texans

Dan: Texans

Joel: Texans

Rahim: Texans

 

Vikings @ Lions

The Vikings dominated the Eagles last week and are looking good with their passing attack once again. This game shouldn’t be so easy though, as the Lions are coming off a game where they got screwed by terrible officiating. They’ll be seeking to earn a win and will come out firing. It’s always fun watching an NFC North matchup.

Predictions

Adam: Vikings

Aman: Vikings

Dan: Vikings

Joel: Vikings

Rahim: Vikings

 

Jaguars @ Bengals

The Jaguars proved last week they can at least hang with some of the best teams in the league. They hung in there with the Saints and gave them a tough time. They’ll be too tough for a horrible Bengals team searching for a win.

Predictions

Adam: Jaguars

Aman: Jaguars

Dan: Jaguars

Joel: Jaguars

Rahim: Jaguars

 

Cardinals @ Giants

Two rookie quarterbacks face off against each other in this one! Kyler Murray vs. Daniel Jones will be fun to watch. Both quarterbacks have had their moments, but they’ve also had some rough times. Which quarterback will shine in this game?

Predictions

Adam: Giants

Aman: Cardinals

Dan: Cardinals

Joel: Giants

Rahim: Cardinals

 

Dolphins @ Bills

After coming off another loss to the then also winless Redskins, is anyone picking the Dolphins to win this one?

Predictions

Adam: Bills

Aman: Bills

Dan: Bills

Joel: Bills

Rahim: Bills

 

Chargers @ Titans

Both of these teams are in need of a win. The Chargers just haven’t looked right, and the Titans have looked so poor that they’re switching quarterbacks now. I feel like the Chargers have more offensive weapons than the Titans. However, the Titans have a good defense, and we saw what the Steelers were able to do on defense to the Chargers last week.

Predictions

Adam: Titans

Aman: Titans

Dan: Chargers

Joel: Titans

Rahim: Chargers

 

Ravens @ Seahawks

Russell Wilson seems to be the leader in the MVP race right now. He’s making play after play and keeping his team in the NFC West race. Now he faces a tough matchup against Lamar Jackson and the 4-2 Ravens. This game will be fun to watch, as we get to see two quarterbacks who can make plays with both their arms and feet. We’ll see who comes out on top.

Predictions

Adam: Seahawks

Aman: Seahawks

Dan: Seahawks

Joel: Seahawks

Rahim: Seahawks

 

Saints @ Bears

I believe the Saints are the best team in the NFC right now, even without Brees. They’ve built this team to win without Brees, and it’s obvious that plan has worked. This will be a tough matchup for Teddy Bridgewater, as the Bears have one of the best defensive groups. However, so do the Saints. I feel like both defensive units will have a good game, but which one can do a better job of controlling the opposing offense?

Predictions

Adam: Bears

Aman: Bears

Dan: Bears

Joel: Saints

Rahim: Bears

 

Eagles @ Cowboys (Sunday night)

As long as Jason Garrett is the coach of the Dallas Cowboys, I will not pick them to win another game for the rest of the season. I’ll leave it at that.

Predictions

Adam: Eagles

Aman: Eagles

Dan: Eagles

Joel: Eagles

Rahim: Cowboys

 

Patriots @ Jets (Monday night)

The Patriots crushed the Jets 30-14 last time around, but this time the Jets have Sam Darnold. Will that make a difference? Maybe a little bit, but ultimately, it won’t matter. Patriots remain undefeated.

Predictions

Adam: Patriots

Aman: Patriots

Dan: Patriots

Joel: Patriots

Rahim: Patriots

2019 NFL Season: Week 3 picks

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Source: https://www.norebbo.com/?s=nfl

Current Standings

Adam: 23-8-1

Aman: 20-11-1

Dan: 24-7-1

Joel: 21-10-1

Rahim: 22-9-1

 

Titans @ Jaguars (Thursday night)

Despite being 0-2 and not having Nick Foles, the Jaguars are playing surprisingly well. Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew hasn’t been anything special, but he’s shown he can at least keep the Jaguars in a game. The Titans have a pretty good defensive unit, so it’ll be interesting to see how Minshew reacts to facing one of the better defensive teams in the NFL.

For the Titans, they still need to show us what they’re really made of on offense. Mariota, Derrick Henry and company were on fire in Week 1, but looked very different last week. They weren’t bad a week ago, but they didn’t pack the same punch. Which offense will we see in this game?

Predictions

Adam: Titans

Aman: Jaguars

Dan: Titans

Joel: Titans

Rahim: Titans

 

Dolphins @ Cowboys

Miami has scored a total of 10 points in their first two games. First they got blown out by the Ravens 59-10, and then last week got blown out 43-0 by the Patriots. With Dak Prescott and the Cowboys’ offense on fire right now, another blowout seems likely in this one.

Predictions

Adam: Cowboys

Aman: Cowboys

Dan: Cowboys

Joel: Cowboys

Rahim: Cowboys

 

Bengals @ Bills

The Bengals’ defense got shredded by the 49ers last week. Can they rebound against Josh Allen and the Bills? The Bills looked good against the Giants, but we know the Giants aren’t very good defensively. Can Josh Allen continue making strides as an accurate passer? If not, it could be a tougher day for the Bills.

A key for the Bengals is to get their running game going. They had just 25 yards rushing against the 49ers last week, and just 34 against the Seahawks in Week 1. That has to change if the Bengals are going to get things right on offense.

Predictions

Adam: Bills

Aman: Bills

Dan: Bills

Joel: Bills

Rahim: Bills

 

Lions @ Eagles

 

Predictions

Adam: Eagles

Aman: Eagles

Dan: Eagles

Joel: Eagles

Rahim: Eagles

 

Jets @ Patriots

The Patriots have scored a total of 76 points in their first two games, while allowing a total of three against the Steelers and Dolphins. The Jets are without Sam Darnold in this one, but even if they had him, we would all see another blowout coming.

Predictions

Adam: Patriots

Aman: Patriots

Dan: Patriots

Joel: Patriots

Rahim: Patriots

 

Falcons @ Colts

 

Predictions

Adam: Falcons

Aman: Falcons

Dan: Falcons

Joel: Falcons

Rahim: Falcons

 

Raiders @ Vikings

 

Predictions

Adam: Vikings

Aman: Vikings

Dan: Vikings

Joel: Vikings

Rahim: Vikings

 

Ravens @ Chiefs

This game will most likely be the most watched game of the entire weekend. Lamar Jackson vs Patrick Mahomes. These two quarterbacks are surely going to light up the scoreboard in this one. With that in mind, this game will likely come down to which defense performs the best. We know the Chiefs’ defense has had its issues. Can they slow down Lamar Jackson in either the passing or running game? The Baltimore defense is solid, but can they slow down an elite offense led by Mahomes?

Predictions

Adam: Chiefs

Aman: Ravens

Dan: Chiefs

Joel: Chiefs

Rahim: Chiefs

 

Broncos @ Packers

The Packers proved their defense was no one game wonder against the Vikings last week, as they held the Vikings to just 16 points. They did allow Dalvin Cook to have a nice day running the ball, but they made Kirk Cousins look like absolute garbage. After what I’ve seen from Joe Flacco so far, I’m not confident he’ll perform well against this Packers defense. Then again, you just never know.

Predictions

Adam: Packers

Aman: Packers

Dan: Packers

Joel: Packers

Rahim: Packers

 

Panthers @ Cardinals

Carolina looked pretty bad against the Buccaneers last week. They turned a three interception Jameis Winston into a good looking quarterback. Giving up 20 points isn’t terrible for the Panthers defense, but it looked worse because they didn’t get any help from their offense. Cam Newton completed under 50% of his passes. The Panthers ran for a total of 39 yards. That’s not how you win football games.

Kyler Murray and the Cardinals haven’t had the most explosive offense through two games, but they haven’t looked terrible either. Murray has been able to keep his offense in both games. If the Cardinals’ defense can slow down Newton and the Panthers, I won’t say it’ll be easy going for the Cardinals, but things will be much easier.

Predictions

Adam: Cardinals

Aman: Panthers

Dan: Cardinals

Joel: Cardinals

Rahim: Cardinals

 

Giants @ Buccaneers

Saquon Barkley remains the only offensive threat for the New York Giants. There’s only so much he can do, and it’s shown in their first two games. However, the defense may be the real reason this team has started 0-2. They let Bills quarterback Josh Allen look like a much better passer than he actually is. This secondary really needs some work. They keep giving up big plays, and it’s not helping the Giants’ offense at all.

With the Giants struggling defensively, Jameis Winston has a chance to build on a strong showing against the Panthers last week. If he can avoid turnovers, like he did against the Panthers, this Bucs offense should be in good shape.

Predictions

Adam: Buccaneers

Aman: Buccaneers

Dan: Giants

Joel: Buccaneers

Rahim: Buccaneers

 

Saints @ Seahawks

Drew Brees is out for a while, so it’s up to Teddy Bridgewater to take control of the Saints’ offense. This is why they signed him. Bridgewater looked horrible against the Rams, so now it’s time to see how he looks with a lot more time to prepare for his starting role. It won’t be any easy task taking on the Seahawks’ defense. It’s pretty likely the Seahawks are going to watch film on how the Rams dominated the Saints after Brees went down, and then try to duplicate it.

Predictions

Adam: Seahawks

Aman: Seahawks

Dan: Seahawks

Joel: Seahawks

Rahim: Seahawks

 

Texans @ Chargers

I’m honestly not sure what to make of these two teams. The Texans looked pretty good against the Saints in Week 1, but then took a big step back in Week 2 against the Jaguars. It’s weird that they lost the game they looked good in, but then won the game where they didn’t look so good.

The Chargers are pretty much in the same boat, except the outcome of their games were how we would have thought based on their performances. In Week 1, the Chargers didn’t look like they need Melvin Gordon. However, Week 2 was much different. They really struggled to move the ball. Let’s see if we can get a more clear picture for at least one of these teams in Week 3.

Predictions

Adam: Chargers

Aman: Chargers

Dan: Texans

Joel: Chargers

Rahim: Chargers

 

Steelers @ 49ers

Despite losing and dropping to 0-2, the Steelers looked much better last week against the Seahawks. Unfortunately, Ben Roethlisberger was hurt, but backup quarterback mason Rudolph looked pretty good. Will we see Roethlisberger or Mason in this game? It may not matter if the 49ers explode like they did last week. Jimmy Garoppolo looked much better in Week 2 than he did in Week 1, throwing for 297 yards and three touchdowns. The defense didn’t look too bad either. Can the Steelers avoid an 0-3 start, or will the 49ers start 3-0?

Predictions

Adam: 49ers

Aman: 49ers

Dan: 49ers

Joel: 49ers

Rahim: 49ers

 

Rams @ Browns (Sunday night)

After the beatdown the Rams gave the Saints last week, it’s hard for me to see the Browns beating them. Cleveland looked horrible in Week 1 against the Titans, and the only reason they looked good against the Jets in Week 2 is because they were playing the Jets, without Sam Darnold and part of the game without Trevor Siemian. A lot needs to change for the Browns to be who they were hyped up to be, but it’s not likely to change against one of the best teams in the league.

Predictions

Adam: Rams

Aman: Rams

Dan: Rams

Joel: Rams

Rahim: Rams

 

Bears @ Redskins (Monday night)

Despite getting a win last week, the Bears still didn’t look great offensively. On the other side we’ve got the Redskins, who just got shredded defensively by the Dallas Cowboys. Either the Bears’ offense or the Redskins’ defense needs to get on track in this game. Which one will it be?

Predictions

Adam: Bears

Aman: Redskins

Dan: Bears

Joel: Bears

Rahim: Bears

2019 NFL Season: Week 1 picks

The 2019 NFL season kicks off tomorrow night! That means it’s time for us to bring back our friendly competition to see who can predict the most games correctly throughout the season. Last season our winner was Cullen Jekel, but he has since moved on and is no longer with us. Now we start our competition over to see who can claim the new title! Let the picks begin!

nfl-week-1
2009 NFL Black Logo” by Michael Tipton is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Packers @ Bears (Thursday night)

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Bears and Packers face off in their first game of the season. It was just last season we saw the division rivals in a Week 1 matchup. The Bears held a 20-0 lead on the Packers with just over four minutes to go in the third quarter. What came next was Aaron Rodgers at his finest. Rodgers led the Packers back to a 24-23 victory. 

Anything can happen when Aaron Rodgers is on the field. However, the Packers have a very different team than they had a season ago. Between coaching and player changes, this is a very different Packers team. Although the Bears made a few changes as well, they feature the NFL’s best defense from a season ago. Can the Packers come together with all their new pieces, or will the Bears’ defense get the best of them?

Predictions

Adam: Bears

Aman: Bears

Dan: Bears

Joel: Bears

Rahim: Bears

 

Chiefs @ Jaguars

After missing the playoffs last season, the Jacksonville Jaguars aim to make it back this year. A win against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs would certainly place them in the playoff conversation early on. This offense should get back to its 2018 form because of a healthy Leonard Fournette. He’ll carry the load for this offense once again, but there are still question marks surrounding the passing game. Nick Foles is an upgrade at quarterback, but their doesn’t seem to be a number one receiver for this offense. If the offense can’t move the ball, they’ll have to rely on their defense, who didn’t get as much credit as they deserved last season. 

Although the Jaguars have one of the best defensive units in the league, they’ll face a tough test against the electrifying offense of the Chiefs. With Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, they’re already hard enough to stop. Now they’ve added Shady McCoy to the mix, as if they weren’t hard enough to stop already. 

Predictions

Adam: Chiefs

Aman: Chiefs

Dan: Chiefs

Joel: Chiefs

Rahim: Chiefs

 

Falcons @ Vikings

The Vikings didn’t get what they were hoping for from quarterback Kirk Cousins last season. Now it’s time for Cousins to step up and prove he was worth the investment. Their offensive line should be better, and running back Dalvin Cook is back and healthy. This adds dynamics they didn’t have a season ago. 

For the Falcons, they’ll be looking to regain their form defensively after suffering many significant injuries on that side of the ball last season. In 2017, they were a top eight defense, but they fell all the way to 25th last season. With a healthy team, can they regain their form defensively. We’re not worried about the offense. 

Predictions

Adam: Falcons

Aman: Vikings

Dan: Vikings

Joel: Vikings

Rahim: Falcons

 

Titans @ Browns

This is probably one of, if not the most anticipated Browns opener in the history of their franchise. Baker Mayfield looks to have a strong second season. They added Odell Beckham Jr. to their group of receivers. Their backfield is absolutely loaded. This defense is led by one of the best pass rushers in the league in Myles Garrett. Is this finally the year the Browns make it back to the playoffs. That’s been the talk all offseason. Now let’s see if they can back it up against the third best defense in the NFL last season. 

We know what the Titans can do on defense, but questions remain about their offense. Can Derrick Henry pick up where he left off? He started off slow last season, but was one of the best runners in the league the second half of the season. They’ll need him to start off fast for this offense to get going. Then there’s Marcus Mariota. Can he finally take the next step? If he can, can he stay healthy long enough to take that step? We’ll see how they look against a Brown defense that should be much improved from a season ago.

Predictions

Adam: Browns

Aman: Browns

Dan: Browns

Joel: Browns

Rahim: Browns

 

Bills @ Jets

With McCoy no longer part of their offense, the Bills will lean more heavily on second year quarterback Josh Allen. Last season, Allen completed just 52.8% of his passes, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns in 12 games. If the Bills really are going to rely on Allen to carry this offense, they’re going to need much more from him than what they got a season ago.

The Jets also have a second year quarterback in Sam Darnold, who will also be relied upon to carry this team. Darnold was better than Allen last season, but not by much. He completed 57.7% of his passes. He did throw more touchdowns than interceptions, but not by much, throwing 17 touchdowns to his 15 picks. Look for the winner of this game to be the team who has the best second year quarterback. Will Allen or Darnold step up?

Predictions

Adam: Bills

Aman: Bills

Dan: Jets

Joel: Jets

Rahim: Bills

 

Ravens @ Dolphins

After trading away some of their best players recently, the Dolphins look to be in perfect tanking form. Maybe they know something we don’t. They do have Ryan FitzMagic as their quarterback, but if this Ravens defense is anything like it was a season ago, there’s a greater chance we’re going to see FitzTragic instead. 

Lamar Jackson looked much improved in the preseason, but now it’s time to really put him to the test. After the Dolphins were second in the league in interceptions last season (21), we know their defense is no slouch. Will we see Jackson simply using his legs to make plays, or will he show us he’s made strides as a passer? This game will be a good first test for Jackson and his receivers.

Predictions

Adam: Ravens

Aman: Ravens

Dan: Ravens

Joel: Ravens

Rahim: Ravens 

 

Redskins @ Eagles

Case Keenum won the starting quarterback job over rookie Dwayne Haskins. How long can he keep it? He has a tough first test against the Philadelphia Eagles, who are looking to regain their title as the NFC East division champs. While how long Keenum can keep his starting job is the question for the Redskins, how long Carson Wentz can stay healthy for the Eagles is a question. We know Carson Wentz can play at a high level when he’s on the field, and we expect him to do so to start the season, but can he be there the entire year? We’ll keep an eye on him as the season goes on.

Although most people are picking the Eagles in this game, we can’t count out the Redskins. This team was leading the division before Alex Smith got hurt last season. With a solid quarterback once again, can the defense carry the load for this team? They look to be one of the best defensive units in the NFL this season.

Predictions

Adam: Eagles

Aman: Eagles

Dan: Eagles

Joel: Eagles

Rahim: Eagles

 

Rams @ Panthers

After their offense was held in check by the Patriots in the Super Bowl, the Rams want to come out and prove they can bounce back. With a healthy Todd Gurley back and a recently paid Jared Goff, expect nothing less than what we saw from the Rams during the regular season last year. This was the second best scoring team in the league last season, and we expect them to be right there once again.

The Rams’ 20th ranked defense from a season ago remains the biggest question, but they have a great chance to get off on the right foot against Cam Newton and the Panthers. The Panthers can be good on offense, but it only seems to happen when Cam Newton is healthy. He’s coming back from an ankle injury during preseason. Will he be 100% come game time? We shall see.

Predictions

Adam: Panthers

Aman: Rams

Dan: Rams

Joel: Rams

Rahim: Rams

 

Colts @ Chargers

Both teams are missing key players heading into this game. Andrew Luck recently retired, leaving the Colts a hole at the quarterback spot. However, the Colts are smart to have Jacoby Brissett as their backup. He’s an experienced guy who may be able to keep this offense afloat. 

On the other hand, the Chargers are missing one of the better running backs in the league in Melvin Gordon. No progress has been made on a new deal, and Gordon will miss games until he gets what he wants. 

Predictions

Adam: Chargers

Aman: Chargers

Dan: Chargers

Joel: Chargers

Rahim: Chargers

 

Bengals @ Seahawks

Bengals star wide receiver A.J. Green isn’t playing in the season opener. It’s unfortunate, because injuries seem to be a very common problem for the Bengals recently. Green is their best player, and without him, can Andy Dalton get this offense going? It’ll be tough to do against a Seattle defense who ranked 11th in the league last season. This defense also added two dynamic pass rushers this offseason in Ezekiel Ansah and Jadeveon Clowney. Can the Bengals hold up along the offensive line long enough to give Dalton time to throw? Oh, and then there’s Russell Wilson, who’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He got paid this offseason, and he’ll continue showing us why this year. 

Predictions

Adam: Seahawks

Aman: Seahawks

Dan: Seahawks

Joel: Seahawks

Rahim: Seahawks

 

Giants @ Cowboys

Feed Zeke! The Dallas Cowboys open their season at home against their division rivals. To make it even better, Ezekiel Elliott will be on the field after signing a six-year, $90 million contract to make him the NFL’s highest paid running back. This will also give us our first real look at a Dak Prescott who’s on a mission to prove he’s among the NFL’s best quarterbacks. Don’t forget about this defense. Last season they were the NFL’s sixth best defense, but they want more this year.

For the Giants, the play of Eli Manning will be closely monitored. He’s got rookie quarterback Daniel Jones breathing down his neck for the starting job, so he needs to perform well. Can he do it after the Giants got rid of their best receiver in Odell Beckham Jr.? Manning has Saquon Barkley in the backfield, but his worst performance came against the Cowboys last season. Can Dallas shut him down once again?

Predictions

Adam: Cowboys

Aman: Cowboys

Dan: Cowboys

Joel: Cowboys

Rahim: Cowboys

 

49ers @ Buccaneers

Is this the year the 49ers make their way back to relevance? Jimmy Garoppolo is back and ready to play at a high level. Can this team finally put things together under Kyle Shanahan? We’ll see how it all comes together. 

The 49ers take on a team also wanting to put things together. With Bruce Arians now in Tampa Bay, will this be the year Jameis Winston finally takes the next step and lives up to his draft status? How far this team goes will all be dependent on how Winston progresses under Arians.

Predictions

Adam: 49ers

Aman: Buccaneers

Dan: 49ers

Joel: 49ers

Rahim: Buccaneers

 

Lions @ Cardinals

The debut of the number one overall pick, Kyler Murray, is upon us! We finally get to see how Murray will adjust to the NFL game. He looked good at times during the preseason, but he also had some struggles. Can he put it all together against the Lions, or will it take him more time to get things going?

It’ll also be a challenge for Murray going against veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford. Although the Lions weren’t a great team last season, this will be their second year under Head Coach Matt Patricia. Will another offseason in his system change how this team performs?

Predictions

Adam: Cardinals

Aman: Lions

Dan: Cardinals

Joel: Lions

Rahim: Cardinals

 

Steelers @ Patriots (Sunday night)

The reigning Super Bowl champs take on a Steelers team who has been trying to get past them for several seasons now. However, this Steelers team looks a little different, as now they no longer have Antonio Brown. We finally get to see how things will look with JuJu Smith-Schuster as Big Ben’s number one target, but they’ll need more than him to step up for this passing game to be effective. Who will step up for this offense?

There’s not much to worry about for the Patriots. They no longer have Rob Gronkowski, but we all know the Patriots are the best at using the strengths of the players they do have.

Predictions

Adam: Patriots

Aman: Patriots

Dan: Patriots

Joel: Patriots

Rahim: Patriots

 

Texans @ Saints (Monday night)

After starting off the season 0-3 last year, the Houston Texans ended up winning their division and finishing 11-5. This year they’ll look to have a much better start, but it’ll be tough against the New Orleans Saints, especially with the Saints at home. However, the Texans feel like they’ve made some moves that can take them to the next level. Their biggest problem last season was their offensive line, as Deshaun Watson was sacked more than any other quarterback in the league. They’ve recently addressed that problem by trading for Laremy Tunsil. They hope he solidifies their offensive line. If they can fix that problem, they’re in good shape.

For the Saints, this season feels like a revenge tour of sorts. Not against the Texans, but against everyone standing in their way of a Super Bowl title. We all know they should have gone to the Super Bowl last season, but a blown no call stood in their way. This year they don’t care who it is, they plan on lighting them up. It will be a tough start against a Texans defense who ranked fourth in the NFL last season.

Predictions

Adam: Saints

Aman: Saints

Dan: Saints

Joel: Saints

Rahim: Saints

 

Broncos @ Raiders (Monday night)

We’ll finally get to see Antonio Brown take the field with the Oakland Raiders. What will he do to create attention for himself this time? We all know Brown has caused many distractions this offseason. How will that impact the Raiders on the field? I can’t help but think it’s going to cause problems. We’ll see how Brown reacts the first time Derek Carr doesn’t throw him the ball.

The Broncos don’t have an Antonio Brown level distraction, but they do have a new quarterback in Joe Flacco. Can Flacco take this offense to a new level this season? The defense of the Broncos was good last year, but their offense couldn’t do enough to help them out. With a defense that should be one of the best once again, can the offense give them enough help?

Predictions

Adam: Broncos

Aman: Raiders

Dan: Raiders

Joel: Broncos

Rahim: Broncos

2019 NFL Predictions: NFC East

Although the Dallas Cowboys won this division last season, the Philadelphia Eagles are eager to make their way back to the top of the NFC East. The Washington Redskins and New York Giants both missed the playoffs last season, but will be looking to get back to the playoffs after making some key moves this offseason. How does each team stack up heading into Week 1?

43209101722_30600a4648_k.jpg
Dallas Cowboys Randy Gregory – Philadelphia Eagles Carson Wentz” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed under Public Domain

1. Philadelphia Eagles

Last season’s record: 9-7

Postseason Result: Lost to Saints in Divisional Round 20-14

Offseason Acquisitions:

Singed:

  • DT Malik Jackson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
  • WR DeSean Jackson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
  • LB L.J. Fort (Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • DE Vinny Curry (Tampa Bay)
  • RB Jordan Howard (Chicago Bears)
  • DT Hassan Ridgeway (Indianapolis Colts)
  • DE Eli Harold (Buffalo Bills)
  • QB Josh McCown (New York Jets)

Drafted:

  • OT Andre Dillard (22nd)
  • RB Miles Sanders (53rd)
  • WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside (57th)
  • DE Shareef Miller (138th)
  • QB Clayton Thorson (167th)

Offseason Departures:

Waived CB Elie Bouka, LB Asantay Brown, G Kaleb Johnson, CB Chandon Sullivan, WR Johnny Holton and S Tre Sullivan, released QB Nick Foles, S Chris Maragos, DE Kasim Edebali, DE Eli Harold, LB Hayes Pullard, CB Orlando Scandrick and TE Will Tye and WR Charles Johnson injured.

The big question:

This is not an attack to take lightly. After last season’s hiccups, the Eagles have been keen to have ample resources in the event of injuries, as the signings of DeSean Jackson and Howard signal. There is the uncertainty to if the injury plague hits again, can the Eagles’ draft picks step up? However, the bigger question would be if quarterback Carson Wentz can stay healthy. Every time he’s been unable to play, Nick Foles graciously stepped up, but Foles is now in Jacksonville. How will their backups play if Wentz goes down again?

Prediction: 10-6

2. Dallas Cowboys

Last season’s record: 10-6

Postseason Result: Lost to Rams in Divisional Round 22-30

Offseason Acquisitions: 

Signed:

  • WR Randall Cobb (Green Bay Packers)
  • RB Alfred Morris (San Francisco 49ers)

Drafted:

  • Trysten Hill (58th)
  • Connor McGovern (90th)
  • Tony Pollard (128th)
  • Michael Jackson (158th)
  • Joe Jackson (165th)

Offseason Departures:

Waived LB Justin Phillips and WR Lance Lenoir. Released WR Allen Hurns and OL Larry Allen Jr.

The big question:

The Cowboys are hoping to have a repeat of last season, so it’s clear as to why they weren’t too active in free agency. They’ve added to an already stout offense with the signings of Cobb and Morris. The focus will be on stars RB Ezekiel Elliott and QB Dak Prescott to deliver and lead by example. It’s also dangerous to assume that the Cowboys will automatically at least get second place in the NFC East. f Washington or New York all-of-a-sudden are able to perform, how will Dallas cope with that? Can Elliott & Prescott stand up and lead the Cowboys to the playoffs?

Prediction: 9-7

 

3. Washington Redskins

Last season’s record: 7-9

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions: 

Acquired:

  • QB Case Keenum (Denver Broncos)

Signed:

  • S Landon Collins (New York Giants)
  • OT Donald Penn (Oakland)
  • DB D.J. White (Indianapolis)

Drafted:

  • QB Dwayne Haskins (15th)
  • EDGE Montez Sweat (26th)
  • WR Terry McLaurin (76th)
  • RB Bryce Love (112th)
  • G Wes Martin (131st)
  • LB Cole Holcomb (173rd)

Offseason Departures:

Released LB Zach Brown, DL Stacy McGee and LB Mason Foster and waived DB Alex Carter, G Kyle Fuller, OT Darius James, WR Tre McBride, RB Russell Hansbrough and LB DeMarquis Gates.

The big question:

The Redskins had a team who led the NFC East last season before Alex Smith went down. They had a great defense, and they made an improvement to that defense by adding S Landon Collins. After Smith was injured, the offense was the problem. That’s why they added Case Keenum and drafted Dwayne Haskins. Although they drafted Haskins in the first round, will he take over as their starter this season? This dilemma can make or break the success of Washington’s offense this season.

Prediction: 6-10

 

4. New York Giants

Last season’s record: 5-11

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions: 

Acquired:

  • S Jabrill Peppers (Cleveland Browns)
  • G Kevin Zeitler (Cleveland Browns)
  • WR Da’Mari Scott (Buffalo Bills)

Singed:

  • WR Golden Tate (Philadelphia Eagles)
  • RB Rod Smith (Dallas Cowboys)
  • OT Mike Remmers (Minnesota Vikings)
  • WR T.J. Jones (Detroit Lions)
  • TE Eric Tomlinson (New York Jets)

Drafted:

  • QB Daniel Jones (6th)
  • CB Deandre Baker (30th)

Offseason Departures:

Traded WR Odell Beckham Jr. and LB Olivier Vernon, waived WR Quadree Henderson, WR Jawill Davis, DE Alex Jenkins, TE Eric Dungey, TE Isaiah Searight, WR Da’Mari Scott and LB B.J. Goodson, DE Nate Harvey and WR Corey Coleman injured and released DB Tony Lippett. Lost S Landon Collins to the Redskins.

The big question:

It honestly isn’t looking good, is it? The Giants did away with Beckham Jr., Vernon and Landon Collins. With that being said, the Giants have made some good signings and they are nurturing a new, young defense. Another place to look at is the QB spot. It seems pretty obvious that QB Eli Manning would start, but what if draft pick Daniel Jones is able to get some game time? Could he prove to be good enough for New York?

Prediction: 4-12

 

Predicted Division Standings

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
  2. Dallas Cowboys (9-7)
  3. Washington Redskins (6-10)
  4. New York Giants (4-12)

Five non first-round picks who will be NFL stars

Every NFL Draft season, there tends to be a thought among fans that only first-round players will be NFL stars. Every single year, that thought gets proven wrong. Some of the most recognizable names to not be drafted in the first-round of previous drafts are QB Russell Wilson, CB Richard Sherman and WR Antonio Brown.

NFL Stars
Stanford vs. UC Davis 2018” by Daniel Hartwig is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The 2019 NFL Draft likely won’t be any different, as several players who weren’t drafted in the first-round will emerge as NFL stars. After looking over the results of the NFL Draft, I compiled a short list of players who weren’t drafted in the first-round who I believe will be NFL stars.

 

WR J.J. Arcega Whiteside, Philadelphia Eagles (Round 2, No. 57 overall)

Standing at 6’3″, 225 lbs, J.J. Arcega Whiteside has the build of an elite red zone threat. His build is similar to that of his new teammate, Alshon Jeffrey. Arcega Whiteside proved his red zone presence by recording 14 TDs in his final season at Stanford. He recorded a total of 28 TDs over his three college seasons.

Arcega Whiteside only had one season of 1,000+ receiving yards at Stanford, but he improved every year he was there. I believe that makes him a perfect fit for the Eagles. It may take a little while for Arcega Whiteside to be among NFL stars, but he’s in the perfect situation to have time to develop.

WR Alshon Jeffrey and TE Zach Ertz will be huge red zone threats to every defense they play. While they’ll be getting all the attention, Arcega Whiteside will be seeing single coverage on less talented DBs. He can play that role until Alshon Jeffrey eventually moves on, whenever that may be. When Jeffrey does leave the Eagles, they will be able to easily replace him with Arcega Whiteside. J.J. Arcega Whiteside may not have the best stats over his first few seasons, but when he gets the chance to play a greater role, I believe he’ll put up huge numbers.

 

S Juan Thornhill, Kansas City Chiefs (Round 2, No. 63 overall)

What’s one of the most important things for a defense to do in today’s NFL? Get takeaways. What does Juan Thornhill do best? Getting takeaways. In three seasons as a starter at Virginia, Thornhill recorded 13 INTs. Six of those INTs came in his final season, proving he’s continuing to become a ball hawk in the secondary.

Thornhill will instantly provide the Chiefs’ secondary with something they desperately lacked last season. The secondary for the Chiefs gave up a lot of yards and points last season, which was their downfall in the biggest moments. Juan Thornhill won’t fix all their problems in the secondary, but he will provide an instant boost.

With Patrick Mahomes on the other side, the Chiefs’ defense has to find ways to get him on the field as much as possible. Thornhill and his ability to take the ball away will do just that for the Chiefs, making him one of the next NFL stars.

 

WR D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks (Round 2, No. 64 overall)

Does anyone else remember D.K. Metcalf, the shredded 6’3″, 228 lbs WR who ran a 4.33 40 yard dash, put up 27 bench reps, had a 40.5 inch vertical and a 134 inch broad jump at the NFL Combine? Yeah, I thought so. Metcalf was widely considered a first-round talent, at least we thought.

The Seahawks got their star WR of the future when he fell to them at No. 64 in the second-round. Metcalf never really had great production at Ole Miss, but he’s also never had a QB like Russell Wilson. Metcalf has the ability to be Wilson’s go to guy. It might take a little bit of time, but he’s got the talent to do it.

Russell Wilson has the ability to place the ball in the perfect spot, while Metcalf has the ability to blow past and jump over defenders. He’s also stronger than probably any WR in the NFL right now. Metcalf needs to work on his fluidness and route running, but that will come in time. The Seahawks have their star WR of the future.

 

RB David Montgomery, Chicago Bears (Round 3, No. 73 overall)

I loved this select by the Bears in the third-round. Montgomery is a big RB who can be effective as both a runner and receiver. In three seasons at Iowa State, Montgomery recorded 2,925 rushing yards. He went over 1,000 rushing yards in each of his last two seasons. In addition to those two seasons of 1,000+ rushing yards, Montgomery record 10+ TDs in both those seasons.

Montgomery recorded 71 receptions for 582 yards during his three seasons, proving he can impact the game in multiple ways. Now he steps in to a Chicago team who needed to get better at running the ball. Montgomery will step in as the starter right away, and will play a big role in leading the Bears’ offense.

How many times in recent history have we seen a rookie RB lead the league in rushing yards? I’m going to go out on a limb and say David Montgomery has a legit chance at being the next rookie RB to do so.

 

EDGE Jaylon Ferguson, Baltimore Ravens (Round 3, No. 85 overall)

There was a time when Jaylon Ferguson was mocked in the first-round of the NFL Draft. Unfortunately for him, he fell to the third-round because of poor workouts during the pre-draft process. While that may have been unfortunate for him, it was fortunate for the Baltimore Ravens.

Jaylon Ferguson holds College Football’s all-time record for sacks (45). Yes, he played against lesser competition while at Louisiana Tech, but I don’t care. If you can get sacks, you can get sacks. Jaylon Ferguson can get sacks. He may not become the NFL’s all-time leading sack artist, but he will be a guy who can consistently get after the QB.

I think Ferguson landed in the perfect spot in Baltimore. He feels like a player who belongs on the Baltimore defense. He fell because of poor workouts, and now the all-time leading sack artist in College Football gets his chance to prove everyone wrong.

 

Five NFL teams who could unexpectedly target a first round QB

The Arizona Cardinals, Oakland Raiders, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. What do all these teams have in common? They’ve all been heavily linked to a first round QB in the 2019 NFL Draft. 

The teams mentioned above are the teams we all expect to target a QB in the first round of the upcoming draft, along with a few others such as the Saints, Steelers and Chargers.

While these teams have all been heavily linked to first round QBs, there are several others teams who could surprise us all by selecting a QB in the first round when their time comes. Let’s take a look at five of those teams who could surprise us with their first round selections.

First round QB - Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford” by Mike Morbeck is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

 

1. Detroit Lions

Everyone believes the Lions are set at the QB position, but it actually might be time for them to move on. Since entering the league in 2009, Matthew Stafford has led the Lions to the playoffs three times. In every one of those playoff appearances, the Lions have lost. Stafford is 0-3 in the playoffs.

In addition to only leading the Lions to three playoff appearances, Stafford has led the Lions to a season of 10+ wins just twice (2011 and 2014). Stafford has never led the Lions to a division title. Not one time.

If I were the Lions, I’d seriously consider trading Matthew Stafford and his huge contract away to a team who’s looking for a QB. I’m sure several teams would be takers. It’s obvious the Lions aren’t going anywhere with Stafford under center, and it’s time for them to move on. Holding the No. 8 overall pick, the Lions are in a great position to get one of the draft’s top QBs. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if QB is where they ended up going.

 

2. Jacksonville Jaguars

I know, the Jags just got Nick Foles to be their starting QB, but is he really the answer? Foles was great for the Eagles over the last two seasons, but I’m not sure he’s consistent enough to be a franchise guy.

If you look at his career stats, his QB rating has gone up and down throughout his entire career. He started with an 88.5, but then went to a 79.1. After that, he jumped back up to a 119.2, but then dropped back down to 81.4. He actually dropped again the next season, going down to 69.0.

He went back up to 105.9 in a brief stint with the Chiefs in 2016, but then dropped back down to 79.5 with the Eagles the next season. Last season, Foles was back up to 96.0. However, if his career pattern continues, he won’t have a great season this year. He’s scheduled for a down year.

I’m waiting for Nick Foles to prove me wrong, because I just don’t think he’s a franchise QB. I think he’s an upgrade over Blake Bortles, but I also think the Jaguars should be looking to add a fresh, young talent to be their official franchise guy for years to come. They’re in position to do so in the draft, so keep an eye on them even though nobody thinks they’ll go that way after acquiring Foles.

 

First round QB - Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

3. Philadelphia Eagles

Carson Wentz is the starting QB for this team, no question. Even when Nick Foles was around, the starting job always belonged to Wentz. When he’s healthy, Wentz can play at an MVP level. Had he not been hurt during their Super Bowl year, he likely would have been the league MVP, but him being hurt is the problem.

Wentz has missed time with injuries over the last two seasons. The Eagles are lucky they had Nick Foles as their backup to carry them, but that’s no longer the case. What will they do now if Wentz goes down? Get Nate Sudfield to lead them to the playoffs? I don’t think so.

Without Foles sitting behind Wentz, the Eagles will be in trouble if he goes down. Selecting a QB in the first round may be a steep price for the Eagles to pay for a backup, but if any team knows the value of a backup, it’s the Eagles. Drafting a QB in the first round would give them another capable backup in the event Wentz can’t stay healthy again this season or in the future.

 

4. Minnesota Vikings

Yes, Kirk Cousins is owed a lot of money, but that shouldn’t stop the Vikings from trying to get a QB who can lead them where they want to go. It wasn’t just Cousins’ fault the Vikings missed the playoffs last season, but it was obvious he isn’t the guy they thought they were getting.

Considering the money Cousins is owed, it may be a stretch for the Vikings to target a QB in the first round, but it’s something they should at least think about. It’s not like Cousins is a proven winner in the league. He’s made the playoffs just once as a starting QB, and he lost his only playoff game.

With the No. 18 overall pick, the Vikings likely won’t be getting Kyler Murray or Dwayne Haskins if they went QB. They probably won’t have Drew Lock available either, but if they feel a future franchise QB is available when they’re on the clock, don’t put drafting a QB past them.

 

First round QB - Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers, Da’Ron Payne” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

5. Green Bay Packers

Ever since the Packers let go of Mike McCarthy, all the talk has been about how this team can rebuild around Aaron Rodgers for another Super Bowl run before he retires. While I do think it’s important the Packers do everything they can to get another title with Rodgers, what if they decided to rebuild for a post Aaron Rodgers world?

Aaron Rodgers is 35, so he’s getting up there in age. It’s no secret he’s been hurt multiple times over the last two seasons. He played in every game last season, but that doesn’t mean he was fully healthy. Packers fans all remember how things went when Rodgers went down two seasons ago. By drafting a QB in the first round, the Packers could avoid that if something happened to Rodgers.

Having two first round picks, the Packers could draft a QB to sit behind Rodgers with one of those. With the other, they could still get a top talent to help their team. Nobody’s talking about the Packers drafting a QB early, but I actually think it’s not that unrealistic. Last time they drafted a first rounder with an already established starter, it turned out pretty well for them.

 

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!