NFL Tips: Week 9 – Sunday And Monday Games

New York Giants at Cincinnati – Prediction: New York 31, Cincinnati 17

Tennessee at Miami – Prediction: Miami 26, Tennessee 13

Detroit at Minnesota – Prediction: Detroit 35, Minnesota 14

Buffalo at New England – Prediction: New England 45, Buffalo 20

Atlanta at New Orleans – Prediction: Atlanta 31, New Orleans 24

San Diego at Tampa Bay– Prediction: Tampa Bay 28, San Diego 24

Denver at Carolina– Prediction: Denver 30, Carolina 26

Oakland at Baltimore – Prediction: Baltimore 27, Oakland 20

New York Jets at Seattle– Prediction: Seattle 22, New York 7

Dallas at Philadelphia – Prediction: Dallas 29, Philadelphia 23

St. Louis at San Francisco – Prediction:  San Francisco 20, St. Louis 10

And then there were two…

Houston at Chicago – Prediction: Houston 14, Chicago 3

Kansas City at Pittsburgh – Prediction: Pittsburgh 38, Kansas City 21

NFL Tips: Week 9 – Sunday And Monday Games.

Denver at Cincinnati – Prediction: Denver 35, Cincinnati 20

Baltimore at Cleveland – Prediction: Baltimore 27, Cleveland 19

Arizona at Green Bay – Prediction: Green Bay 40, Arizona 17

Chicago at Tennessee – Prediction: Chicago 30, Tennessee 10

Miami at Indianapolis – Prediction: Miami 21, Indianapolis 13

Carolina at Washington – Prediction: Washington 35, Carolina 27

Detroit at Jacksonville – Prediction: Detroit 48, Jacksonville 10

Buffalo at Houston – Prediction: Houston 28, Buffalo 0

Tampa Bay at Oakland – Prediction: Tampa Bay 31, Oakland 26

Minnesota at Seattle – Prediction: Seattle 21, Minnesota 7

Pittsburgh at New York (Giants) – Prediction: New York 26, Pittsburgh 20

And then there were two…

Dallas at Atlanta – Prediction: Atlanta 26, Dallas 16

Philadelphia at New Orleans – Prediction: Philadelphia 33, New Orleans 21

NFL Tips: Week 8 – Monday and Sunday Games

Carolina at Chicago – Prediction: Chicago 31, Carolina 7

San Diego at Cleveland – Prediction: San Diego 28, Cleveland 17

Seattle at Detroit – Prediction: Detroit 24, Seattle 13

Jacksonville at Green Bay – Prediction: Green Bay 48, Jacksonville 20

Indianapolis at Tennessee – Prediction: Tennessee 26, Indianapolis 21

New England vs. St. Louis in England – Prediction: New England 17, St. Louis 13

Miami at New York – Prediction: Miami 27, New York 24

Atlanta at Philadelphia – Prediction: Atlanta 31, Philadelphia 26

Washington at Pittsburgh – Prediction: Washing 28, Pittsburgh 27

Oakland at Kansas City – Prediction: Oakland 30, Kansas City 17

New York at Dallas – Prediction: New York 29, Dallas 26

And then there were two…

New Orleans at Denver – Prediction: Denver 45, New Orleans 38

San Francisco at Arizona– Prediction: San Francisco 24, Arizona 0

Have a good weekend, everyone.

NFL Tips: Week 6 – Sunday & Monday Games

Here are the rest of my tips for the weekend.

Oakland at Atlanta – Prediction: Atlanta 40, Oakland 28

Cincinnati at Cleveland – Prediction: Cincinnati 27, Cleveland 19

St. Louis at Miami – Prediction: St. Louis 17, Miami 14

Indianapolis at New York – Prediction: Indianapolis 26, New York 17

Detroit at Philadelphia – Prediction: Philadelphia 30, Detroit 27

Kansas City at Tampa Bay – Prediction: Tampa Bay 21, Kansas City, 10

Dallas at Baltimore – Prediction: Baltimore 27, Dallas 26

Buffalo at Arizona – Prediction: Arizona 27, Buffalo 7

New England at Seattle – Prediction: New England 27, Seattle 17

New York at San Francisco – Prediction: San Francisco 30, New York 17

Minnesota at Washington – Prediction: Minnesota 28, Washington 13

And then there were two…

Green Bay at Houston – Prediction: Houston 17, Green Bay 13

Denver at San Diego – Prediction: San Diego 33, Denver 27

Have a good weekend.

NFL Tips: Week 5 – Coming Into Their Own

I think it’s fair to say that Week 5 is around the time where team’s identities are starting to be a lot more solidified than before. It was great to see the proper refs back, and obviously they made some mistakes, like always, but everything was smoother and cleaner. Except for the massive hike in PI calls. Seriously, they need to fix that stupid rule. Anyhow, onto another fantastic bye-week schedule.

Thursday Night Football

Arizona at St. Louis: This week gets underway with a division battle between the Rams and Cardinals. Two teams who can both hold their own in the NFL these days. With the Cardinals being 4-0, it would seem like a bit of a gimme for them, but don’t underestimate the Rams. Their defense is underrated and division games are always more high-stakes and closer than other games. I do think Arizona will triumph, but it should be a good test and game.

Prediction: Arizona 21, St. Louis 16
Sorry, but gotta do quick-fire for the rest.
Miami at Cincinnati – Prediction: Cincinnati 27, Miami 17

Green Bay at Indianapolis – Prediction: Green Bay 30, Indianapolis 24

Baltimore at Kansas City – Prediction: Baltimore 45, Kansas City 20

Cleveland at New York – Prediction: New York 31, Cleveland 20

Philadelphia at Pittsburgh – Prediction: Pittsburgh 21, Philadelphia 19

Atlanta at Washington– Prediction: Atlanta 28, Washington 24

Seattle at Carolina – Prediction: Seattle 17, Carolina 6

Chicago at Jacksonville – Prediction: Chicago 40, Jacksonville 13

Tennessee at Minnesota – Prediction: Minnesota 30, Tennessee 10

Denver at New England – Prediction: New England 31, Denver 30

Buffalo at San Francisco – Prediction: San Francisco 24, Buffalo 7

And then there were two…

San Diego at New Orleans– Prediction: San Diego 28, New Orleans 27

Houston at New York Jets – Prediction: Houston 27, New York 0

Have a great weekend and good luck!

NFL Tips: Week 4 – Original Officials Return

Seeing as this week’s slate of games is a bit lackluster, the very recent news of the proper officials returning is going to be the leading story on every game. Especially on how many wrong calls they make and how easily they spot the ball where the replacements had monumental troubles in doing so. And I, for one, welcome our old punching bag overlords. So let’s get cracking.

Cleveland at Baltimore: Thursday Night Football couldn’t kick the week off any more boringly, I don’t think. The stinky Browns head to Baltimore to battle the Ravens who played in a great contest on Sunday night against the Patriots. I know I should expect the unexpected, but there’s no way I can see the Browns triumphing over the Ravens in this one. Unless the Browns come up with a gameplan that completely bamboozles the Ravens, I don’t see the Browns doing much at all.

Prediction: Baltimore 35, Cleveland 13

Carolina at Atlanta: Clearly my tip of the Panthers 2 Thursdays ago didn’t go too well, and the Panthers got hammered by the Giants. Welp, I’m not falling for that one again. Atlanta are one of three 3-0 teams going around these days, and they’re looking pretty damn good. Their offense is firing on all cylinders and their defense is keeping their own so far. I don’t think the Panthers will put up a similar performance as their last time, out, but I also don’t think they’ll win in this divisional match-up.

Prediction: Atlanta 33, Carolina 24

New England at Buffalo: This game was the absolute talking point last season, up until the saviour started for the Broncos, then no one could get any story in. But going back to last season, this 1st match-up made everyone think the Bills were the real deal, which they were until they eventually fell apart and reverted to their former selves. Which, unfortunately for the Bills fans is now the current selves even though they’ve won two of their games (Kansas City & Cleveland). New England’s start has been surprising and disappointing to say the least. I remember reading a legitimate article about them going 16-0, which sounds more preposterous now than it did then, before the season had started. Of course, at that point, Arizona was the worst team in the league and Baltimore was a one-dimensional team with an old defense who just lost their best player etc. That’s a lot of blurb for a pretty easy seeming decision here.

Prediction: New England 28, Buffalo 13

Minnesota at Detroit: With both teams having surprising results last week, I’m pretty confident in saying neither team’s fan base is truly confident about a victory in this one. Of course, before last week, Minnesota seemed like an easy beat, just the same as Tennessee. But 85 combined points later and the Lions are 1-2 up against a team who man-handled the 49ers, a team the Lions couldn’t beat just two weeks earlier. Although the Lions have won 3 straight match-ups against the Vikings, they’ve all be down to the wire. Including last year’s 2nd match-up where Ponder was so poorly destroyed, he got benched for a QB who can’t really throw and they still almost won. My inkling says Ponder won’t be sitting at any point in this one, and Lions fans hope Stafford doesn’t either. Neither team can stop the pass, but both have been fairly good against the run, so last week’s score in the Lions game isn’t completely unfathomable. And I’m really split down the middle, so bias is coming in to break it (sorry, just being honest).

Prediction: Lions 30, Vikings 28

San Diego at Kansas City: The Chiefs put in a valiant effort last week against the Saints and pulled off the overtime victory with one of those awesome Field Goal endings. Jamaal Charles went OFF! Putting up College Football like numbers, with 233 rushing yards. Unfortunately for the Chiefs the San Diego defense has been pretty great against the run thus far, with just an average of 59 yards allowed per game. Of course playing the titans helped those numbers quite a lot. But I still don’t see Charles putting up that sort of yardage, nor do I see the Chiefs passing game keeping them in it. San Diego put in a pretty crappy effort last week against the Falcons, scoring just 3 points. However I definitely expect them to rebound this week and put up a pretty good score.

Prediction: San Diego 32, Kansas City 20

Seattle at St. Louis: Thank you, Seattle, for single-handidly bringing back the proper officials. Your bullshit TD decision has saved the NFL community from crying even more than usual after Monday night. To be fair, though, outside of the winning TD, they played very well on defense, limiting the Packers to just 12 points. The Rams predictably stunk against the Bears, although they’re still doing pretty well on defense, and I expect this to be another low scoring in-division match-up.

Prediction: Seattle 17, Seattle 10

San Francisco at New York: Even though the 49ers had a surprising loss last week, I still think they’re a Super Bowl favourite, every team has off-weeks. The Jets stunk, again, barely getting past the Dolphins and only did because of poorly-timed timeout by Joe Philbin which won the Jets the game. If Philbin hadn’t called a timeout, the Jets would have had their kick blocked and subsequently stayed tied at 20-20. But of course the Dolphins somehow found a way to ruin it. Anyhow, the Jets still aren’t a good team and the 49ers are. Even if this is a bit of a defensive battle, it won’t be a very good game for the Jets

Prediction: San Francisco 27, New York 17

Tennessee at Houston: I don’t expect the Titans to put up 44 points this week. Hell, 14 would be a surprise for me, maybe even 4 would be a surprise? You get the point. The Texans defense has been as good as advertised thus far, even though they allowed 25 points to the Broncos last week. The Titans offense also isn’t in the same league as the Broncos, so that’s not a concern. I think the Texans get another easy win here.

Prediction: Houston 30, Tennessee 10

Oakland at Denver: The Raiders pulled the massive upset over the Steelers last week and look to continue that as they head to Colorado, the Sarcastiball capital, as they take on the Broncos. Even though the Broncos put up a good effort last week, they couldn’t beat the Texans. But I don’t see that being much of a problem this week. Denver has a pretty good overall team and the Raiders are just very inconsistent.

Prediction: Denver 35, Oakland 24

Miami at Arizona: Arizona are the real deal and could be a force in the league this year and their defense will be frothing at the mouth with this match-up. They hit Michael Vick 20 times last week, so imagine what they can do to Ryan Tannehill? I know I’d be worried about his health if I was a Dolphins fan.

Prediction: Arizona 24, Miami 7

And it’ll be quick-fire to finish off. Apologies again.

Cincinnati at Jacksonville– Prediction: Cincinnati 28, Jacksonville 19

New Orleans at Green Bay Prediction: Green Bay 30, New Orleans 27

Washington at Tampa Bay – Prediction: Washington 34, Tampa Bay 16

And then there were two…

New York at Philadelphia – Prediction: New York 20, Philadelphia 14

Chicago at Dallas – Prediction: Dallas 23, Chicago 21

Enjoy the weekend and games.

NFL Tips: Week 3 – Final Week of 16.

First off, I’d just like to reiterate Sam’s comments about Steve Sabol. It’s an unbelievably great loss to the NFL and the Sports world as a whole, and it’d be nice if other sporting codes could take his vision(s) and apply them to their respective sport. So, RIP Steve Sabol, you’ll be truly missed.

So here we are in week 3, and this marks the final week of a 16 game schedule until week 11, amazingly. Week 4 only has 1 less game, but I’m still technically correct. Anyhow, let’s get on with the tipping.

New York at Carolina: This week’s Thursday Night Football gives us the intriguing match-up of the Giants vs. the Panthers, this storie…OK, so this game is somewhat of a rarity, but it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable or intriguing. And I’m definitely looking forward to watching it. Based on last week’s results, Eli’s arm didn’t fall off and Brees arm didn’t really work too well. The Panthers fought out a gutsy and convincing win over NFC South foes, the Saints. The other end was the Giants beating the Buccaneers, but still having a cry, anyway. Stupid East teams, right? Anyhow, I think Carolina’s Pass D has definitely improved this season, and if they can limit the Giants to a respectable rushing total, they could far alright. The Giants are off to a pretty poor start, despite being 1-1. They lost to the Cowboys, without really threatening and they barely got over the line in the touchdown for touchdown battle with the boys from Tampa. The Giants can still be lethal if they put it all together, but if the Panthers defensive backfield can keep it together, then I think the Panthers will, too. I’m actually going to give Carolina the slight edge, even though I think this will be a very tight contest, and either result wouldn’t surprise me.

Prediction: Carolina 30, New York 27

Unfortunately, I’ve left this a tad late, so will only give predictions.

St. Louis at Chicago –Prediction: Chicago 30, St. Louis 17

Buffalo at Cleveland – Prediction: Buffalo 27, Cleveland 24

Tampa Bay at Dallas – Prediction: Dallas 38, Tampa Bay 24

Detroit at Tennessee –Prediction: Detroit 45, Tennessee 17

Jacksonville at IndianapolisPrediction: Indianapolis 21, Jacksonville 18

New York at Miami – Prediction: New York 27, Miami 21

San Francisco at Minnesota – Prediction: San Francisco 24, Minnesota 10

Kansas City at New Orleans –Prediction: New Orleans 30, Kansas City 27

Cincinnati at Washington –Prediction: Cincinnati 20, Washington 16

Philadelphia at Arizona –Prediction: Arizona 24, Philadelphia 17

Atlanta at San Diego – Prediction: Atlanta 30, San Diego 26

Houston at Denver – Prediction: Houston 17, Denver 6

Pittsburgh at Oakland –Prediction: Pittsburgh 37, Oakland 14

And then there were two…

New England at Baltimore – Prediction: Baltimore 26, New England 21

Green Bay at Seattle –Prediction: Green Bay 24, Seattle 13
Have a great week of Football. :)

NFL Tips: Week 2 – Handshake-Gate

Well, thank goodness proper Gridiron is back! Coupled with College Football, the weekends can’t get much better. And after a very enjoyable and infuriating (*coughrefscough*) spate of games, I’m back to do it all again for week 2. Which I’m going to title Handshake-Gate, even though it sounds as crap as the hype around the post-game festivities. Let’s get going, shall we.

Thursday Night Football

Chicago at Green Bay: Week 2 kicks off with a doozy between the Packers and Bears, the classic NFC North grudge match. In week 1 the Packers took the loss to the 49ers as Rodgers couldn’t overcome the 49ers’ defense, to lead the Pack to victory (boy what a great prediction that was). On the other side, Chicago welcomed Andrew Luck and the new-look Colts with quite the hiding. The Bears ran up 41 points on the Colts, with Brandon Marshall having quite the field day with 9 receptions for 119 yards and a score. The Packers defense looked frightfully poor against quite a tame 49ers’ offense, so this definitely has some worry signs and a score of 40+ for both teams isn’t out of reach, by any means. This really is a tough match-up to call, as Chicago have the more complete team, but the Packers have the supreme offense and the home field. I’ll give it to the Pack in a tight, high-scoring affair

Prediction: Green Bay 40, Chicago 38

Sunday & Monday games

Kansas City at Buffalo: With both teams coming off rather poor performances last week, where they both had a 40 burger put on them, the Chiefs and Bills will be looking to replicate their opponents performances from last week. Buffalo has lost Fred Jackson again for a few weeks, so the entertaining CJ Spiller will carry the bulk of the work in their backfield. Kansas City was upstaged by the very real and deadly Atlanta offense. Of course it helped that the Chiefs were without their best CB, Brandon Flowers, who is likely to return this week and shadow Stevie Johnson. With the results of last week in mind, this will either be the opposite of the Green Bay vs Chicago game, or the same. Both defenses were heavily talked up before the season got underway, and both didn’t show up. So they’ll either show up this week, or we’ll get a high-scoring game. This could be quite an under-the-radar game in the scheme of things, but there isn’t much to choose from the 1pm games. I think Kansas City has the better real offense, so that’s who I’m going with.

Prediction: Kansas City 28, Buffalo 17

Cleveland at Cincinnati: Another match-up of two teams who lost, and played quite poorly. Let’s just hope for both fanbases that their QB’s play a little better. Cleveland were a lot closer last week than Cincinnati, but that was with Joe Haden, who’s been suspended for 4 games for a banned substance. The Bengals showed no signs of their playoff form last week, or perhaps I’m underrating the Ravens, or both…Anyway, Cincinnati got torched on the scoreboard as well, and their offense wasn’t really clicking. But the Cleveland defense shouldn’t be anywhere near the problem that Baltimore’s was. Cincinnati should get a relatively easy win.

Prediction: Cincinnati 26, Cleveland 14

Minnesota at Indianapolis: Here’s an interesting point. If Minnesota win this game, they will be leading the NFC North. Early days of course, and the Jaguars nor Colts are some sort of significant win, but it’s still the truth. Anyhow, the Vikings got over the aforementioned Jags in overtime while the Colts got demolished by Chicago. The Colts poor season is expected, and to a point so it Minnesota’s, but if they can’t get past the Colts, then there’s some problems in Minny.

Prediction: Minnesota 31, Indianapolis 20

Oakland at Miami: If you were unfortunate enough to see the 2nd Monday Night Football game, you’d realise that back-up long snapper could be the most important position in Football. At least back-up QB’s actually know what the hell they’re doing and it’s their natural position. The Raiders, obviously, never planned on training a back-up long snapper. Miami don’t seen to have any natural players, or any with skill on their roster outside of Ryan “3 straight picks” Tannehill, who wasn’t terribly accurate against the Texans. Oakland’s defense CAN be good, as I mentioned last week in my crappy tipping exercise and they should be able to come together for the Dolphins, who could be in a race with Indianapolis for the #1 pick next year. And Jarvis Jones will be going to whoever gets it.

Prediction: Oakland 27, Miami 13

Arizona at New England: Arizona have won their last 7 games dating back to next year, but their fortunes against the Brady’s isn’t so fortunate. New England’s defense was stout last week, keeping the Titans to 20 rushing yards and making big plays with a fumble TD. They haven’t lost to Arizona since 1991, so it doesn’t seem like anything is going to change, even with Kevin Kolb under center. And the Patriots have lost one of their last 25 games at home. Very impressive and gives Arizona next to no shot.

Prediction: New England 45, Arizona 20

Tampa Bay at New York: The Giants Super Bowl defending campaign didn’t get off to the start they wanted, going down to their hated rival Cowboys to open the season. Although any knowledgeable Football fan knows the Giants only show up in the 2nd half of the season. Tampa Bay looked alright against the Panthers, though the Panthers looked quite poor. The Giants will need to win the easy games to keep pace in the East this season, and this is one of them.

Prediction: New York 24, Tampa Bay 7

Baltimore at Philadelphia: Easily the worst performance last week was Michael Vick, throwing 4 interceptions and beating the Browns by 1 point. But that’s the beauty in NFL, if you suck, but win, it doesn’t matter! Although the problem is that Cleveland’s defense is second rate to Baltimore’s and Vick and the Eagles could be in for a long day. Baltimore came out of the gate scorching hot, completely destroying the Bengals in all facets of the game. And although Philly is better than Cincinnati, this game will only show by how much, because Baltimore won’t be taking a backseat, I don’t imagine.

Prediction: Baltimore 30, Philadelphia 21

New Orleans at Carolina: Both coming off surprising losses, the Saints head to North Carolina to take on the Panthers. The Saints got lit up by the Redskins and their rookie QB, Robert Griffin III. Carolina had a great chance to open the season with a division win, but couldn’t capitalise on their game in Tampa Bay and before they know it, they could be 0-2 in their own division. Last season’s encounter at Bank of America Stadium was rather enthralling contest and there was a blatant sign of Bountygate with Roman Harper’s late hit on Steve Smith, after he had scored a TD. The Panthers will definitely be looking for a lot of revenge, but I’m not confident they can stop Brees and his offense.

Prediction: New Orleans 28, Carolina 17

Houston at Jacksonville: Houston looked as good as I expected in week 1, against a poor Dolphins team. And now they take on a Jacksonville team who got over the Vikings in overtime. Even though both of these teams of 1-0, I don’t think Houston will have much competition to make it 2-0.

Prediction: Houston 30, Jacksonville 13

Washington at St. Louis: The ‘Skins shall be flying high after their impressive win over the Saints. RGIII was fantastic in his NFL debut, and their defense got 2 interceptions off Brees. The Rams couldn’t overcome the Lions offense in the dying seconds, but will be pleased with their CB duo, both getting interceptions off Stafford, with Finnegan’s going to the house. I think this could be a bit of a danger game for Washington, and this is my upset of the week.

Prediction: St. Louis 24, Washington 20

Dallas at Seattle: Dallas looked pretty impressive in the opener against the Giants and were able to take the win. Seattle went down to the wire with Arizona, but just couldn’t get the ball into the endzone when it counted. I think this could be a bit of a tough contest for both teams, and could be a tad low-scoring. In the end, I think Dallas will be able to take their record to 2-0.

Prediction: Dallas, 17, Seattle 14

New York at Pittsburgh: The Jets were the surprise of the week, for me. Without their first team offense scoring a single Touchdown in the preseason, they put up 48 points as a team against the hapless Bills. Pittsburgh weren’t able to get over the Peyton Manning-lead Broncos, but didn’t play horribly as a team. It’s only one game, so I’m not completely convinced about their offense, but Pittsburgh is a good test to see if they’re for real or not. Pittsburgh have a very good chance to get off the snide and I expect them to.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 28, New York 17

Tennessee at San Diego: The Titans were shown up by the Patriots and their offense looked anaemic. The Chargers played well, but got pretty lucky that the Raiders’ long snapper got injured and basically turned the match. However the Chargers’ defense was outstanding, against the run. Tennessee is buoyed by the return of Kenny Britt and Locker could play a lot better, despite his injury. This is another tough game to call, I think. But I’ll back the Chargers at home.

Prediction: San Diego 21, Tennessee 16

And then there were two…

Detroit at San Francisco: Even though the media love to focus on a handshake, this game could be the game of the week. The Lions only won by 4 points last week, but kept the Rams to under 200 yards of passing and under 75 yards rushing. The 49ers stopped the Packers at every turn and beat them convincingly. If the Lions can produce the same defensive performance and Matthew Stafford can cut down on the turnovers, they’ve got a very good chance in the game. But of course, the biggest factor is the 49ers defense, which is easily the best in the game and the most consistent. I think people are somewhat underrating the Lions, but the 49ers definitely deserve the favouritism from fans and media. I’ll be taking the 49ers on here, but not by much.

Prediction: San Francisco 24, Detroit 20

Denver at Atlanta: Two very good offenses face off in the Monday Night Football fixture. Peyton Manning returned in style being able to put up good numbers in a win over the Steelers, while the Falcons offense dominated the Chiefs and looked like the hype predicted. The defenses won’t be talked about a lot, but Denver’s played pretty well, getting a pick-6 and racking up quite a few sacks. And the Falcons did a good job, as well. I’m going to give the edge to Atlanta, because of the home field.

Prediction: Atlanta 34, Denver 27

Good luck with your teams and have a great week!

NFL Tips: Week 2 – Handshake Gate

Well, thank goodness proper Gridiron is back! Coupled with College Football, the weekends can’t get much better. And after a very enjoyable and infuriating (*coughrefscough*) spate of games, I’m back to do it all again for week 2. Which I’m going to title Handshake-Gate, even though it sounds as crap as the hype around the post-game festivities. Let’s get going, shall we.

Thursday Night Football

Chicago at Green Bay: Week 2 kicks off with a doozy between the Packers and Bears, the classic NFC North grudge match. In week 1 the Packers took the loss to the 49ers as Rodgers couldn’t overcome the 49ers’ defense, to lead the Pack to victory (boy what a great prediction that was). On the other side, Chicago welcomed Andrew Luck and the new-look Colts with quite the hiding. The Bears ran up 41 points on the Colts, with Brandon Marshall having quite the field day with 9 receptions for 119 yards and a score. The Packers defense looked frightfully poor against quite a tame 49ers’ offense, so this definitely has some worry signs and a score of 40+ for both teams isn’t out of reach, by any means. This really is a tough match-up to call, as Chicago have the more complete team, but the Packers have the supreme offense and the home field. I’ll give it to the Pack in a tight, high-scoring affair

Prediction: Green Bay 40, Chicago 38

Sunday & Monday games

Kansas City at Buffalo: With both teams coming off rather poor performances last week, where they both had a 40 burger put on them, the Chiefs and Bills will be looking to replicate their opponents performances from last week. Buffalo has lost Fred Jackson again for a few weeks, so the entertaining CJ Spiller will carry the bulk of the work in their backfield. Kansas City was upstaged by the very real and deadly Atlanta offense. Of course it helped that the Chiefs were without their best CB, Brandon Flowers, who is likely to return this week and shadow Stevie Johnson. With the results of last week in mind, this will either be the opposite of the Green Bay vs Chicago game, or the same. Both defenses were heavily talked up before the season got underway, and both didn’t show up. So they’ll either show up this week, or we’ll get a high-scoring game. This could be quite an under-the-radar game in the scheme of things, but there isn’t much to choose from the 1pm games. I think Kansas City has the better real offense, so that’s who I’m going with.

Prediction: Kansas City 28, Buffalo 17

Cleveland at Cincinnati: Another match-up of two teams who lost, and played quite poorly. Let’s just hope for both fanbases that their QB’s play a little better. Cleveland were a lot closer last week than Cincinnati, but that was with Joe Haden, who’s been suspended for 4 games for a banned substance. The Bengals showed no signs of their playoff form last week, or perhaps I’m underrating the Ravens, or both…Anyway, Cincinnati got torched on the scoreboard as well, and their offense wasn’t really clicking. But the Cleveland defense shouldn’t be anywhere near the problem that Baltimore’s was. Cincinnati should get a relatively easy win.

Prediction: Cincinnati 26, Cleveland 14

Minnesota at Indianapolis: Here’s an interesting point. If Minnesota win this game, they will be leading the NFC North. Early days of course, and the Jaguars nor Colts are some sort of significant win, but it’s still the truth. Anyhow, the Vikings got over the aforementioned Jags in overtime while the Colts got demolished by Chicago. The Colts poor season is expected, and to a point so it Minnesota’s, but if they can’t get past the Colts, then there’s some problems in Minny.

Prediction: Minnesota 31, Indianapolis 20

Oakland at Miami: If you were unfortunate enough to see the 2nd Monday Night Football game, you’d realise that back-up long snapper could be the most important position in Football. At least back-up QB’s actually know what the hell they’re doing and it’s their natural position. The Raiders, obviously, never planned on training a back-up long snapper. Miami don’t seen to have any natural players, or any with skill on their roster outside of Ryan “3 straight picks” Tannehill, who wasn’t terribly accurate against the Texans. Oakland’s defense CAN be good, as I mentioned last week in my crappy tipping exercise and they should be able to come together for the Dolphins, who could be in a race with Indianapolis for the #1 pick next year. And Jarvis Jones will be going to whoever gets it.

Prediction: Oakland 27, Miami 13

Arizona at New England: Arizona have won their last 7 games dating back to next year, but their fortunes against the Brady’s isn’t so fortunate. New England’s defense was stout last week, keeping the Titans to 20 rushing yards and making big plays with a fumble TD. They haven’t lost to Arizona since 1991, so it doesn’t seem like anything is going to change, even with Kevin Kolb under center. And the Patriots have lost one of their last 25 games at home. Very impressive and gives Arizona next to no shot.

Prediction: New England 45, Arizona 20

Tampa Bay at New York: The Giants Super Bowl defending campaign didn’t get off to the start they wanted, going down to their hated rival Cowboys to open the season. Although any knowledgeable Football fan knows the Giants only show up in the 2nd half of the season. Tampa Bay looked alright against the Panthers, though the Panthers looked quite poor. The Giants will need to win the easy games to keep pace in the East this season, and this is one of them.

Prediction: New York 24, Tampa Bay 7

Baltimore at Philadelphia: Easily the worst performance last week was Michael Vick, throwing 4 interceptions and beating the Browns by 1 point. But that’s the beauty in NFL, if you suck, but win, it doesn’t matter! Although the problem is that Cleveland’s defense is second rate to Baltimore’s and Vick and the Eagles could be in for a long day. Baltimore came out of the gate scorching hot, completely destroying the Bengals in all facets of the game. And although Philly is better than Cincinnati, this game will only show by how much, because Baltimore won’t be taking a backseat, I don’t imagine.

Prediction: Baltimore 30, Philadelphia 21

New Orleans at Carolina: Both coming off surprising losses, the Saints head to North Carolina to take on the Panthers. The Saints got lit up by the Redskins and their rookie QB, Robert Griffin III. Carolina had a great chance to open the season with a division win, but couldn’t capitalise on their game in Tampa Bay and before they know it, they could be 0-2 in their own division. Last season’s encounter at Bank of America Stadium was rather enthralling contest and there was a blatant sign of Bountygate with Roman Harper’s late hit on Steve Smith, after he had scored a TD. The Panthers will definitely be looking for a lot of revenge, but I’m not confident they can stop Brees and his offense.

Prediction: New Orleans 28, Carolina 17

Houston at Jacksonville: Houston looked as good as I expected in week 1, against a poor Dolphins team. And now they take on a Jacksonville team who got over the Vikings in overtime. Even though both of these teams of 1-0, I don’t think Houston will have much competition to make it 2-0.

Prediction: Houston 30, Jacksonville 13

Washington at St. Louis: The ‘Skins shall be flying high after their impressive win over the Saints. RGIII was fantastic in his NFL debut, and their defense got 2 interceptions off Brees. The Rams couldn’t overcome the Lions offense in the dying seconds, but will be pleased with their CB duo, both getting interceptions off Stafford, with Finnegan’s going to the house. I think this could be a bit of a danger game for Washington, and this is my upset of the week.

Prediction: St. Louis 24, Washington 20

Dallas at Seattle: Dallas looked pretty impressive in the opener against the Giants and were able to take the win. Seattle went down to the wire with Arizona, but just couldn’t get the ball into the endzone when it counted. I think this could be a bit of a tough contest for both teams, and could be a tad low-scoring. In the end, I think Dallas will be able to take their record to 2-0.

Prediction: Dallas, 17, Seattle 14

New York at Pittsburgh: The Jets were the surprise of the week, for me. Without their first team offense scoring a single Touchdown in the preseason, they put up 48 points as a team against the hapless Bills. Pittsburgh weren’t able to get over the Peyton Manning-lead Broncos, but didn’t play horribly as a team. It’s only one game, so I’m not completely convinced about their offense, but Pittsburgh is a good test to see if they’re for real or not. Pittsburgh have a very good chance to get off the snide and I expect them to.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 28, New York 17

Tennessee at San Diego: The Titans were shown up by the Patriots and their offense looked anaemic. The Chargers played well, but got pretty lucky that the Raiders’ long snapper got injured and basically turned the match. However the Chargers’ defense was outstanding, against the run. Tennessee is buoyed by the return of Kenny Britt and Locker could play a lot better, despite his injury. This is another tough game to call, I think. But I’ll back the Chargers at home.

Prediction: San Diego 21, Tennessee 16

And then there were two…

Detroit at San Francisco: Even though the media love to focus on a handshake, this game could be the game of the week. The Lions only won by 4 points last week, but kept the Rams to under 200 yards of passing and under 75 yards rushing. The 49ers stopped the Packers at every turn and beat them convincingly. If the Lions can produce the same defensive performance and Matthew Stafford can cut down on the turnovers, they’ve got a very good chance in the game. But of course, the biggest factor is the 49ers defense, which is easily the best in the game and the most consistent. I think people are somewhat underrating the Lions, but the 49ers definitely deserve the favouritism from fans and media. I’ll be taking the 49ers on here, but not by much.

Prediction: San Francisco 24, Detroit 20

Denver at Atlanta: Two very good offenses face off in the Monday Night Football fixture. Peyton Manning returned in style being able to put up good numbers in a win over the Steelers, while the Falcons offense dominated the Chiefs and looked like the hype predicted. The defenses won’t be talked about a lot, but Denver’s played pretty well, getting a pick-6 and racking up quite a few sacks. And the Falcons did a good job, as well. I’m going to give the edge to Atlanta, because of the home field.

Prediction: Atlanta 34, Denver 27

Good luck with your teams and have a great week!

NFL Tips: Week 1 – Let’s Get It Started!

Oh, hello. I didn’t see you there. Well, guess what time it is? That’s right! 9pm! No, seriously, it’s the start of the fabled NFL season. It just feels like it’ll never get here. And this year, some people might have wished it didn’t after watching the Zebras in the preseason games. But I’m not here to slam the replacement officials, I’m here to slam crappy teams (and horrible overrated ones)! So, let’s go, shall we?’

Wednesday Game

Dallas at New York: The 2012 season kicks off in typical TV fashion with a NFC East showdown between the Giants & Cowboys. The Giants had quite a run to the Super Bowl last year, going through the Packers & 49ers, before beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl. The Cowboys didn’t make the playoffs again, and as usual, will be heavily overrated. But I expect the Giants to put them in their place to start out the NFL season.

Prediction: New York 24, Dallas 20

Sunday & Monday Games

Indianapolis at Chicago: With the Colts ending up as the worst team in Football last season; thanks Peyton, they got the #1 overall pick and without hesitation, they drafted the best scouted QB since the aforementioned Manning. Unfortunately, Indianapolis’ offense won’t be able to help the D when the reformed tandem of Culter and Marshall are on the field, ripping their DB’s to shreds. Chicago are big favourites to be the threat to not only the Lions Wild Card spot, but the Packers NFC North domination. I don’t see how this will happen with such an inept offensive line, but that shouldn’t be too much of an issue in week 1.

Prediction: Chicago 35, Indianapolis 17

Philadelphia at Cleveland: Cleveland’s draft class is an extremely promising one, despite the drafting of one of the oldest players in draft history with Brandon Weeden late in the 1st round. They got the best RB since Adrian Peterson in Trent Richardson and picked up what seems to be a gem in the supplemental draft with Josh Gordon. All that probably won’t get them over the top against Vick & co. The Eagles had a pretty poor season by their standards last season. Vick had injury problems again and the Defense didn’t live up to their ridiculous expectations (no surprise). I think a full offseason will be extremely beneficial for the whole Eagles team over a lot of teams. And I think they start off their season with a good win.

Prediction: Philadelphia 28, Cleveland 20

St. Louis at Detroit: Jeff Fisher took over the hopeless Rams after last year’s disaster. Sam Bradford is finally back fully healthy and Steven Jackson had a full season for the first time in a while. Unfortunately for the Rams, their WR corps didn’t improve a lot in the break and their first round pick Michael Brockers is out with an ankle sprain for 2 or 3 weeks. The Lions finally made the playoffs last season and will look to improve (they’ve improved by 4 games the past 2 seasons) yet again. The Lions’ problem has changed, either. Their defensive backfield is still at 6’s and 7’s. They may be without their defensive leader in Louis Delmas for this game, also. Fortunately for the Lions, the best connection in Football is still around. Stafford to Johnson. And I assume that’ll be heard a lot again this season and possibly a couple of times in this game. The Lions offense is just too powerful and the Rams isn’t good enough to keep up.

Prediction: Detroit 30, St. Louis 14

New England at Tennesse: After not winning a playoff game since their last Super Bowl victory, the Patriots made it all the way to the big dance, only to fall short to the Cinderella Giants team. Tough luck, Pats. Tennessee were in a bit of a rebuilding mode last season, trying to find a true identity at QB and they’ve settled on the young gunslinger who’s got some legs on him for good measure. Tennessee could be a sneaky team this season, but I don’t think they’ll have their way against Bieber Brady in week 1.

Prediction: New England 38, Tennessee 28

Atlanta at Kansas City: If you’ve been following the Falcons during the off-season by any chance, it sounds like they’re going to be the best team in Football. Well, maybe not THAT good, but the best team in the NFC South, which isn’t too far off. I still think their D is a bit suspect. Especially after losing their leader in Curtis Lofton. But their WR corps is crazy good, with the already anointed best WR in Julio Jones, along with the always consistent Roddy White. The Chiefs’ biggest scalp last year was beating the Packers at home. But don’t think their D can’t repeat that feat each week. With drafting Dontari Poe, they added another big cog in the middle of their 3-4 system. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, Tamba Hali will be suspended for this game and Brandon Flowers status is up in the air, too. Fortunately, however they get back the most promising RB in Football, Jamaal Charles. In the end, though I don’t the Chiefs can keep the Falcons out of the endzone, nor keep up with them.

Prediction: Atlanta 24, Chiefs 13

Jacksonville at Minnesota: There aren’t A LOT of thrilling games on the week 1 schedule, but this one is likely placed right at the bottom. Two of the worst teams from last season meet in Minnesota for week 1 pride. That’s right, one of these teams will be equal with the super powers of the NFL in wins. Amazingly, two of the best RB’s in football will likely play sparingly with Adrian Peterson coming back from an ACL tear (a lot quicker than most) and Maurice Jones-Drew coming back from his off-season long hold out. These teams picked 5 and 4, respectively in the 2012 draft. And both teams picked a critical position of need. The Vikings got the best LT prospect (Matt Kalil) and the Jaguars got the best WR prospect (Justin Blackmon). When you hear the headline of Ponder vs. Gabbert, your underwear magically tightens up in excitement, right? OK, maybe excrement…Anyway. I’m giving the edge in this one to Minnesota based on their home field advantage and fake crowd noise. But I wouldn’t count out Jacksonville’s D.

Prediction: Minnesota 17, Jacksonville 13

Washington at New Orleans: Washington has finally got their QB saviour in Robert Griffin III, trading up to the #2 spot to draft him. While the Saints have lost their Head Coaching saviour, Sean Payton thanks to bountygate. Along with Mr. Payton, the Saints also lost LB Jonathon Vilma and Will Smith. However they seemed to sign every LB possible, singing both Curtis Lofton and David Hawthorne and eventually trading for Barrett Ruud, though Ruud isn’t starting yet. The Saints defense shouldn’t lose a step, and neither should their offense, with Drew Brees being close enough to a Head Coach, that no Sean Payton shouldn’t trouble the new leader in Passing Yards in a Season. I don’t see the Redskins being terribly competitive for the beginning of the year. I don’t think the Saints should have a lot of trouble in this game.

Prediction: New Orleans 31, Washington 14

Buffalo at New York: The Bills D has been so heavily talked up, it sounds like they’re already in the top 5. Although on the other end the Jets D is probably a lot closer to being a top 5 D. I guess this game will come down to how poorly the Jets offense plays, because if the preseason is any indication (heh) they’re going to struggle badly. Until of course Mr. Saviour comes in, throws for a 30% completion rate and somehow wins them the game. The Bills offense is buoyed by the return or Fred Jackson and having a great tandem in the backfield, along with CJ Spiller. Along with Fitzpatrick being fully healthy to start the year, the Bills may end up putting up more points than most people expect. I’ll temper my expectations for the first game, but the Jets have no offense so far. And there isn’t much else to go on right now.

Prediction: Buffalo 20, New York 7

Miami at Houston: I’ll just start by saying that the Texans are my Super Bowl pick. OK, now that that’s out of the way, I’ll be quick. The Dolphins offense has no viable WR out of Davone Bess, a slot receiver and their best TE  blocks. Their defense isn’t fantastic either. Houston has the best running game in the league and defense. Matt Schaub to Andre Johnson is likely to be popular connection this season. Houston shut out Tannehill and co.

Prediction: Houston 28, Miami 0

San Francisco at Green Bay: Easily considered the best game of the week, San Francisco’s defense goes to visit Green Bay’s offense. What a great match-up. The 49ers got so close to the Super Bowl under first year head coach Jim Harbaugh. And the Packers met the Giants and got embarrassed in the first half. But with clean slates and spectacular teams, this game should be fantastic. It’s a hard game to pick, but 49ers offense just can’t keep up with Rodgers and the Packers, no matter how many times he gets sacked/intercepted etc. he’s just too good.

Prediction: Green Bay 24, San Francisco 17

Arizona at Seattle: I’m partially on the Seahawks bandwagon this year. Specifically the defensive part. Their defense has so much potential, it’s crazy. A top 5 finish is well within their reach. Seattle will definitely be the biggest threat to the 49ers in the NFC West this season. Russel Wilson has looked very good as their QB throughout the preseason, and I think he can take it into the season against an average Arizona defense. The Cardinals did eventually pick a starting QB, going with John Skelton over the expensive and useless Kevin Kolb. Arizona is horrible on offense, outside of Larry Fitzgerald and Beanie Wells. Their offensive line is a disaster and gigantic liability and I expect a bottom 10 record for them this season. I think the Seahawks shut down the Cardinals quickly and take a comfortable win.

Prediction: Seattle 21, Arizona 3

Carolina at Tampa Bay: Tampa Bay had quite the offseason, signing both Vincent Jackson and Carl Nicks to sure up parts of their offense. They also drafted Mark Barron and Doug Martin. Two key pieces to the new team. Unfortunately they lost Davin Joseph to injury which is a major blow to their offensive line. I’m not quite sold on the Buccaneers. Freeman’s poor year last season shows some concerns, but a lot of QB’s have poor sophomore campaigns. Perhaps just not at that level. The Panthers had quite a good season last year. They only went 6-10, but after going 2-14 the previous system, that’s a good effort with a lot of change to their team. The obvious big change which completely revitalised their team was Cam Newton who lit a fire under the team throughout the year. I think the Panthers are a sneaky chance to win the NFC South or Wild Card if their defense can improve a bit. And I definitely have them winning their first game.

Prediction: Carolina 28, Tampa Bay 17

And then there were…Three? Yes, thank goodness for week 1 Monday Night Football double-headers!

Pittsburgh at Denver: The Sunday Night Football season is kicked off by Peyton Manning’s first game as a Bronco. It also happens to be the game where the new overtime rules were deemed useless on one play, cause Tim Tebow actually connected on a pass, which amazing went for a TD. Regardless, this should be a good contest. The Steelers defense isn’t the peak unit it used to be, getting quite old quickly. Their offense isn’t too scary right now without Rashard Mendenhall, but they do have Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown to throw to. But that’s about it. The Broncos team is in OK shape, with a decent WR corps and two capable TE’s for Peyton to seek out. Their defense is what worries me. They played well in parts last year, but there’s a lot of holes in the defensive backfield, outside of Champ Bailey and he’s getting older. I think the Steelers can start off with a win, but it’ll be a close contest.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 20, Denver 16

Cincinnati at Baltimore: The Ravens and Bengals square off in the first game of the Monday night double-header. Baltimore’s offense has changed to a more up-tempo, no-huddle pass based scheme. The defense should be impressive, again, but losing the Defensive Player of 2011 hurts them a lot. And Ed Reed’s age and injury problems could become a problem into the season, as well. But the thing about the Ravens is they always play well as a unit, without a lot of unbelievable star players. The Bengals had a good showing last year with Andy Dalton and A.J. Green putting up good years for their rookie campaigns. And now they try to better that campaign. They may struggle, though, as they don’t have any true #2 or #3 WR, along with an underutilised TE. Their defense played very well last year, but they could struggle to repeat this season. I don’t see the Bengals getting over the Ravens in this one, though.

Prediction: Baltimore 26, Cincinnati 17

San Diego at Oakland: To round out week 1, comes an AFC West grudge match between the Raiders and Chargers. I find this to be a very hard game to call. The Oakland defense can be good, but they’re very inconsistent. Whereas Philip Rivers loves throwing interceptions, it seems. San Diego have a good defense, but I think the 3-headed monster of McFadden, Palmer and Moore can actually pull the upset and get over on the Chargers.

Prediction: Oakland 30, San Diego 21

I hope you enjoyed reading my picks and have a great and enjoyable first week!

NFL Tips: Week 15

With 3 weeks left in the regular season, the playoffs are starting to shape up, but still aren’t solid. Hopefully week 15 can give us a clearer idea of who’s going where. I had another good week last week, getting 12 tips correct again (3rd straight week). The teams I missed on last week were: Philadelphia, Atlanta, Jacksonville and Arizona. Onto the tipping!

Jacksonville at Atlanta: Well, the horrible TNF match-ups continue and will do so with next week as well (Indianapolis at Houston or the other way round). At least we have two winners going into week, right? Right? Yeah, who am I fooling, the Jaguars still stink and Atlanta should give them a good hiding. Sans MJD.

Prediction: Atlanta 31, Jacksonville 17

Dallas at Tampa Bay: We’re very lucky this week to have two games before the Sunday games kick off. Even if both games will likely be one-sided blowouts. Raheem Morris could be fired if this game turns out the way it likely will, as the Bucs have lost 7 straight games and are likely to make it 8 here. Cowboys fans are desperate for a win, as they lost on a blocked FG last week against the Giants. I have absolutely no idea what’s happened to the Bucs, but I hope they enjoy their high draft pick this year. Plus if the Jaguars can put 41 points on them, imagine what the Cowboys are capable of!

Prediction: Dallas 40, Tampa Bay 21

Miami at Buffalo: It’s amazing how little it takes to change opinions on teams. Last week the Dolphins last by 16, which isn’t great. But it is better than 27 points which is what the Bills lost by. Yet somehow the Bills are the big favourites in this game. Just like the Panthers game against the Buccaneers recently, it dumbfounds me how this is the case. All teams have bad days, and that includes D’s which have dominated, look at San Francisco last week getting torn to shreds by Fitzgerald and co. Buffalo have been completely inept of performing on O recently. The Dolphins are better than the Chargers D and can hold them to 10, just like them. Dolphins get another deserved win, with a new coach.

Prediction: Miami 20, Buffalo 13

Seattle at Chicago: Regardless of the opposition last week, I think the Seahawks can run the table to end the season. Their run game is unstoppable right now and their D is absolutely ferocious getting picks and fumbles all over the field, as well as knocking the shit out of opposing receivers. Not really sure what to say about the unbelievable viewing at Mile High last week against the Tebows. The Bears almost literally handed Denver that game. Even though the Seahawks have done have an imaginary aura around them, they can definitely handle and beat the Bears, who are hopeless on offense.

Prediction: Seattle 27, Chicago 17

Indianapolis at Tennessee: Not going to bother with these until the Colts say otherwise. 0-14, baby!

Prediction: Tennessee 28, Indianapolis 14

Green Bay at Kansas City: Back to back blurbs with hardly any words. Packers are undefeated, and Kansas City are pretty hopeless. People are screaming trap game this and trap game that, but they also thought the Giants were gonna win…Um…Yeah.

Prediction: Green Bay 41, Kansas City 17

Cincinnati at St. Louis: Ah, how promising the Rams were, then they lost the majority of their players and couldn’t win at all. And then they lost their franchise QB for a few games and Steven Jackson hasn’t been himself, either. Everything’s gone wrong for the Rams this season. Which is the complete opposite for the Bengals, who are showing a much improved team and record. Well, improved over recent times, anyhow. The Bengals are only 1 game from being .500, but this match-up shouldn’t pose much of a thread and they should be able to create a non-losing season for the first time in a while.

Prediction: Cincinnati 34, St. Louis 13

New Orleans at Minnesota: The only way I see the Vikings winning this game is if the Saints D gives up in the 2nd half like the Lions did last week. Or if the Saints O takes 30 minutes before they get into gear, which is also what happened last week, when they took on the Titans. Minnesota does get pack Adrian Peterson which also gives them a chance, but unless they start Webb and he works his magic again, I’m not confident in their winning abilities.

Prediction: New Orleans 30, Minnesota 16

Washington at New York: I’m not entirely sure what you want to label the Giants win last week. “Lucky” is the first word that comes to my mind, but then again, they kept answering the Cowboys scores. I use “Lucky” because one hand decided that game. And blocks are never a guarantee or planned out to perfection every time. Jason Pierre-Paul had an amazing game, though. The Redskins held it with the Patriots for almost the whole game, but came up short by 7. The Giants play of late in the past two games definitely give them the advantage, but a rivalry is always an unknown.

Prediction: New York 21, Washington 17

Carolina at Houston: TJ Yates is a great story at the moment, not that he’s getting any coverage of course. But nonetheless, he’s kept the Texans on their course and won them the AFC South division title last weekend with the final play of the game against the Bengals. Carolina have been in almost all their games this season, but still seem to lack that final nail to put them away. They gave up a 24 point lead to the Falcons in the 2nd half last week to lose the game. I think this game will buck the trend for the Panthers, who’ll struggle to score enough points to keep up with the Texans. Their D is just too good for Cam Newton to do his thing.

Prediction: Houston 28, Carolina 10

Detroit at Oakland: I’m pretty use to seeing the Lions give up points after leading this season, but last week was pretty heart-stopping. A win last week just meant so much to their playoff cause. Keeping them up with the Falcons and taking the 2nd wildcard spot. I’m not really sure what the Raiders are doing at the moment, but if playing badly is their current gameplan, then I’m all for it! This game worries me, though. I can’t really put my finger on why, but teams that get drubbed the previous week always come out firing and wanting to getting early points. Hopefully the returns of key defensive players will ease those worries once the game kicks off. I’m still taking the Lions here, but I think it’ll be more of the heart-stopping variety.

Prediction: Detroit 34, Oakland 31

New England at Denver: Oh, goody, this game…Look I’m so sick of hearing about these two arsehole QB’s that I really don’t want to do this. I’ll just be quick and get it over with.

Prediction: New England 38, Denver 27

New York at Philadelphia: Both winners last week, this game should pretty enjoyable. Michael Vick has returned for the Eagles, which is always a boost. Sanchez probably had his best game of his regular season career, throwing for 2 TD’s and running for 2 others. This game’s hardish to call. The Eagles beat 1 team and I’m not sure why it makes them almost as good as the Jets. If Revis can shutdown D-Jax, then I think the Jets can definitely win. Especially with the way Shonne Green is running the ball right now. And the Eagles let up a lot of yards on the ground. Jets take it in a close one.

Prediction: New York 32, Philadelphia 31

Cleveland at Arizona: The Cardinals have won 3 straight games and are good odds to make it 4 against a Cleveland team that was only able to put up 3 points on the Pittsburgh Steelers. That might not be too surprising, but the Browns had a lot of chances to cash in on points and were only able to do it once.

Prediction: Arizona 26, Cleveland 14

And then there were two…

Baltimore at San Diego: It was good to finally see the Chargers dominating like their old ways. As well as that, Rivers has been interception-free for 3 straight games, though this game is a tough task. Obvious win was obvious for the Ravens last week, as they took on the winless (and useless) Colts with an easy win as Ray Rice rushed for 204 yards on the day. San Diego lets up yard on the ground too and Baltimore’s D is still as rock solid as ever. I can’t hold out much hope for the Chargers in this one, though.

Prediction: Baltimore 28, San Diego 14

Pittsburgh at San Francisco: Now this is the game of the week! Hard-nosed Football. Everything the NFL stands against. Every team has a bad day, and that’s what the 49ers endured last week against the Cardinals. They have clinched their division, though, so except for the #2 seed and a playoff bye, there’s not a lot they’re playing for. Pittsburgh’s day was a fair bit easier though against the Browns, only allowing 3 points and making a lot of good plays on D. The Steelers will be without their best D player James Harrison after a ridiculous suspension based on accumulative hits. Of course media never helps these bullshit outcomes, often inserting the idea in people’s heads to begin with. Saying all that, though, I think the 49ers can pull a bit of an upset and take the spoils in their hometown on Monday Night Football!

Prediction: San Francisco 24, Pittsburgh 17

Have a good week, everyone. :)

NFL Tips: Week 12

With a 16 game schedule every Sunday (and Monday) for the next 6 weeks, this is where it all gets very enjoyable and even more interesting. I was a poor tipper yet against last week, only getting 9 correct. The ones I missed on were, Cleveland, Miami, Baltimore, Seattle & Philadelphia. Legooo!

Green Bay at Detroit: Well, the Thanksgiving festivities and games are upon us. As always, we kick things off with the annual Lions game. This year against the best team in Football. Green Bay go into Detroit as a still undefeated team, looking to notch win #11 on the season (out of 11 games, for those playing along at home). The Lions will put up a very tough test, being a nationally televised game and all, but I believe the Packers will get that 11th victory, unfortunately. Only just.

Prediction: Green Bay 31, Detroit 28

Miami at Dallas: Just like the Lions, the Cowboys also have their annual Thanksgiving game against a resurgent Dolphins team. The ‘Fins have won 3 in a row, and are looking red-hot, being led by QB Matt Moore (colour me shocked). The Cowboys are also on a bit of a roll, but almost got tripped up last week by the Redskins, only being saved by Gano’s constant inaccuracy. Miami’s a nice story, but I think their streak ends on Thanksgiving.

Prediction: Dallas 29, Miami 21

San Francisco at Baltimore: To round out the Thanksgiving games, we have the Harbowl, as San Francisco (coached by Jim Harbaugh) go to Baltimore to take on the Ravens (coached by John Harbaugh). Despite the coaching match-up, this game should be an old-school defensive game. Two fantastic defenses trying to beat the shit out of the other team. That always makes for good watching, and is also good to know that Goodell will be having a cry, knowing how lacking in offense it will be. This really is a tough game to call, but I’m a believer in the 49ers and ya just never know what the Ravens will produce. I’ll take the consistency.

Prediction: San Francisco 14, Baltimore 10

Minnesota at Atlanta: Minnesota came up short against the Raiders last week, while the Falcons got a 6 point win over the Titans, after holding off a nice comeback. The Vikings are a pretty poor team, even with Adrian Peterson. Since the Vikings are going down so early, AP has been a bit of a non-factor of late, which is never a good sign. Atlanta’s been up and down most of the year, but this seems like a pretty easy match-up for them.

Prediction: Atlanta 28, Minnesota 13

Cleveland at Cincinnati: Cleveland pulled off a 4 point victory over Jacksonville last week, while the Bengals fell just short to the Ravens by 7. Cincinnati have been pretty consistent throughout this season, and Cleveland have been consistently bad. I think it’s a comfortable Bengals win.

Cincinnati 21, Cleveland 6

Tampa Bay at Tennessee: This is a tough match-up to call. Both teams have been so inconsistent this season, ya just don’t know who’s going to show up to play or not. The Titans fell short to the Falcons, after putting up a good comeback effort, while the Buccaneers really took it to the Packers in the 2nd half (This gives me hope for the Lions!) before the Packers eventually pulled away. I’m going with Tampa Bay simply off what I saw last week, but it’s another 51/49 type game.

Tampa Bay 28, Tennessee 27

Carolina at Indianapolis: The Colts have a very mild chance in this game, but they might actually be playing for Luck at this point. The Panthers played very well last week before a 2nd half collapse, but the Lions aren’t the Colts. Carolina shouldn’t have much trouble here.

Prediction: Carolina 35, Indianapolis 21

Arizona at St. Louis: The 2nd match-up in 3 weeks, this will be an underrated game. Last time out, the Cardinals won it off, what I believe was, the best play of the season so far. A 99 yard punt return TD from the Rookie, Patrick Peterson. It was marvellous TV to watch, especially live. Jaw on floor type stuff. St. Louis are up the proverbial creek without the paddle, though, having placed yet another CB on IR (that’s 10 CB’s on IR on the season). Arizona’s not a great team, but they’re still better than St. Louis, who’ve I’ve been over-valuing the whole season.

Prediction: Arizona 17, St. Louis 10

Buffalo at New York: Well, it was good while it lasted, but the Bills have been blasted the past two weeks, killing any hope of taking the AFC East away from the Patriots. They head to Metlife stadium after a 35-8 crushing at the hands of Miami. Yes, Miami. Surely the Bills will have to show their past form at one point again this season? If so, they’ve got an uphill battle, after they just lose their best player in Fred Jackson for the season. I was going to give them the tip before hearing that, but it’s an almost impossible task now. Jets should take this one. Maybe even in a shutout.

Prediction: New York 21, Buffalo 0

Houston at Jacksonville: Jacksonville were pretty valiant in this contest earlier this season, and with the Texans having lost their best QB for the season, it’ll be the much maligned Matt Leinart getting the start, after they missed out on Kyle Orton. Jacksonville really only have 1 plan, and that’s to let MJD run as much as possible, for as much damage as possible. If the Texans can contain him enough to make the Jaguars a primary passing team, then I think they’ll take the victory. But it won’t be as easy as it may seem.

Prediction: Houston 27, Jacksonville 20

Chicago at Oakland: Hmmm…This is an interesting game to weigh up. The Raiders have gotten back what they lost when Jason Campbell went down with a nice resurgent Carson Palmer (I still think they should’ve tried for Matt Flynn, but I digress). But the Bears have lost Jay Cutler indefinitely to a broken thumb, and have to weight their playoff hopes (good news for the Lions) on Caleb Hanie. I’ll be honest, I think Hanie’s a better QB than people give him credit for. Not some kind of freak who’ll rip the Raiders to shreds, but he can make nice throws, with an odd interceptions and maybe a couple TD’s. The reason this is so tough to weigh up, is because neither team has an offense which can rip apart the opponents D. The Bears are a stout run D, while the Raiders are tough to throw on. I think the Bears can win this, but I’ve stupidly doubted Oakland before. This could be another one of those.

Prediction: Chicago 34, Oakland 26

Washington at Seattle: The ‘Skins were unlucky last week, simply because of their woeful kicker. Seattle’s favoured in this game, which honestly baffles me. The Redskins D will be able to stop them, it’s the offense scoring which is the main worry. But still, the Seahawks are a bad team, regardless of their result last week.

Prediction: Washington 21, Seattle 10

New England at Philadelphia: Ah, one of those inter-division games (East vs other East). The Eagles have been the most inconsistent team this whole season, while the Patriots can’t really stop any offenses. I think this game will be pretty overrated like most of them and the Patriots will get a pretty comfortable win.

Prediction: New England 37, Philadelphia 21

Denver at San Diego: I don’t know about you, but this Denver team can definitely beat bad Run D teams. So it’s lucky they’re playing the Chargers, who allow 124.3 yards per game. I’m not entirely sure what to make of San Diego, they just haven’t done anything of note so far. Maybe they can turn on their usual late-season heroics, but those were when Rivers was playing as a top-5 QB, not a bottom-5 QB. So unless the Chargers have found some miracle cure for his interceptitis, I think the Broncos can notch another win.

Prediction: Denver 16, San Diego 9

And then there were two…

Pittsburgh at Kansas City: Will the Kyle Orton era (probably 6 games) start for the Chiefs when they host the Steelers? Only time will tell, but let’s be honest. It probably won’t make any difference to the final result. The Chiefs started floundering again, while the Steelers have been looking good, and are coming off a nice bye before heading into the final stretch. I don’t think the Chiefs have much shot in this game, Orton or otherwise.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 24, Kansas City 10

New York at New Orleans: We wrap up this weekends festivities with a Monday night game in Louisiana. The Giants head to the Superdome to face the high-flying Saints, who are coming off the bye. The Giants do have a shot in this game, but that’s only if they stop Drew Brees. Giants rookie CB Prince Amukamara had a nice showing in his first game, making 5 total tackles and getting an interception for his troubles. The Giants D is pretty banged up, though, so they’ll probably have a bit of trouble with Brees. I reckon the Saints will take it, but it should be an interesting contest.

Prediction: New Orleans 33, New York 21

Well, another tips article down. Have a great Thanksgiving and weekend, everyone. Go Lions!

NFL Tips: Week 11

Week 11 is the final week for byes, and after this week it’ll be 16 game goodness for the following 6 weeks. My tipping was horrible last week, only getting 9 right. The teams I missed on were. Oakland (Knew I should’ve tipped ’em!), Seattle, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Denver, Arizona, Tennessee & Seattle. Onto the tips!

New York at Denver: After the excitement (or lack thereof) of Thursday Night Football last week, it’s back again to whet our appetites for the upcoming weekend of games. This is the worst game scheduling I’ve seen since 3 or 4 weeks back, when both Primetime games (for two consecutive weeks) were just awful. This week it pits the Jets and the Broncos. Or as they’re now called, the Rushcos (My jokes are consistently horrible). The Jets got their arse handed to them by the Patriots (thankfully), while the Broncos ran the ball a ridiculous 55 times in their new look spread-option type hybrid thing, which did actually get them the victory over the Chiefs. New York’s run D isn’t what it was a couple of years ago, and the Broncos really do have some quality rushers, including their QB. Seeing as the Jets offense is pretty stagnant and their Run D isn’t far behind, I’m going with a bit of an upset and taking the Broncos. I despise both these teams (Especially their bullshit over-hyped QB’s), so I just hope there’s a lot of pain.

Prediction: Denver 20, New York 14

Jacksonville at Cleveland: I honestly can’t fathom why the Browns are mildly favoured in this game. They’re at home, sure, but who cares? They’re close to the worst team in the league at the moment. Jacksonville pulled out the victory against the Colts last week (Suck for Luck is almost a guarantee now), but they’re still a weak team. This will be one of the worst games of the weekend (at least popularity wise), with a possibly shitty scoreline. I just have no hope for Cleveland at this point in the season, though.

Prediction: Jacksonville 19, Cleveland 6

Carolina at Detroit: I don’t think many would have thought that both these teams would get rolled last week, but that’s exactly what happened. The Panthers fell to the Titans (consistency, dammit!) 30 to 3, while the Lions got roughed up 37 to 13. I’m not sure what to make out of this game. The Lions are definitely better than the score shows, throwing two pick6’s isn’t going to help that cause, but I believe Carolina are better than their score shows, too. If the Lions can stop Steve Smith, then they should do a good job of bottling up Newton and making their offense struggle. Megatron has had success against every #1 CB this year, and I don’t expect Gamble to be the guy to beat the streak.

Prediction: Detroit 27, Carolina 20

Tampa Bay at Green Bay: I’m not sure what to put for these any more. The result is always as close to a forgone conclusion that I can remember. Chalk up another easy Packers win.

Prediction: Green Bay 35, Tampa Bay 17

Buffalo at Miami: I wish the Dolphins didn’t win last week, and I also wish the Bills didn’t lose so badly. If neither of these scenarios happened, I’d have a much better idea of who I should pick in this game. Miami really have played some great football the past two weeks, with Matt Moore putting up nice numbers, to go with their run game. The Bills seem to have stopped circling the wagon, and have put up back to back losses. I’m going to tentatively tip the Bills, but the Dolphins could easily take the victory.

Prediction: Buffalo 30, Miami 27

Oakland at Minnesota: The Raiders beat the absolutely atrocious Chargers last week, on Thursday Night Football. While the Vikings got a pounding at the hands of the Packers. Minnesota can’t seem to get much going for them, although the Raiders have been ridiculously inconsistent. With mild confidence, I’ll take the Raiders.

Prediction: Oakland 29, Minnesota 13

Dallas at Washington: Wow, the Redskins are just HORRIBLE! The Cowboys put a hiding on the Bills, and this week could be an exact recreation. I’m assuming it will.

Prediction: Dallas 41, Washington 18

Cincinnati at Baltimore: Baltimore are SO inconsistent. Beating good teams, and losing to bad ones. I don’t think the Bengals are bad, at all, and they stayed in it with Pittsburgh, but this is a real tough one to call. I’m definitely leaning towards Cincinnati. If B-More win, no surprise, but I’m going with the upset.

Prediction: Cincinnati 21, Baltimore 16

Seattle at St. Louis: Ah, the Seahawks. They show up when the game really counts, but are lost somewhere else when it doesn’t. St. Louis are just…well…lucky? Not against the Cardinals, but against the Browns they were. 13 to 12 doesn’t scream anything but lucky, to me. Still, Seattle doesn’t show up to the lowly game, would be surprised if they did for this one.

Prediction: St. Louis 16, Seattle 9

Arizona at San Francisco: The Cardinals pulled the wool over the eyes of the Eagles and their supporters, while the 49ers continued on their merry way to an 8-1 record on the season. San Fran really has been unstoppable, and John Skelton will have a real tough task against them this week. I’d be shocked if the upset occurred, but it’s pretty common lately.

Prediction: San Francisco 28, Arizona 15

Tennessee at Atlanta: The Titans aren’t getting much credit coming into this game. A 30 to 3 win shouldn’t be a laughing matter, and the Falcons have been really bad at some points of this season. I’d be surprised if the Titans win, but if Mike Smith goes for it again on 4th and 1 on their own 29, maybe they will.

Prediction: Atlanta 31, Tennessee 28

San Diego at Chicago: Where in the world is (Chargers) San Diego? I told you they were shitty. Regardless of the correct answer, they aren’t showing up to play football on Sundays, or Thursdays. Chicago sure are showing up of late, though. They’ve been on a tear and the Chargers are just another obstacle in their way. Perhaps they should move?

Prediction: Chicago 28, San Diego 10

And then there were two…

Philadelphia at New York: Stupid (H)Eagles! Why can’t you do anything right? Like make a “Dream Team” win Football games? Or at least seem like a good team each week? They should’ve stuck to the players they already had, because the new ones clearly aren’t helping. The Giants were hit by the illness know as 49eritis, copping a 7 point loss last week. The Giants seem to be the better team in this one, but they did lose to the Seahawks…

Prediction: New York 23, Philadelphia 12

Kansas City at New England: Welp, good luck Palko, you’re gonna need it! Not because the Patriots D is good, cause they’re not…at all…But because this horrible Kansas City D has to face Tom Brady. A match-up they’ve already lost. Patriots win it easily.

Prediction: New England 53, Kansas City 23

Have a good weekend, folks!

NFL Tips: Week 9

I’m just gonna start this one. Last week I missed on (a lot) Tennessee, Saints, Eagles, Chiefs, Minnesota & Pittsburgh.

New York at Buffalo: The Bills are riding high after their 23 to 0 beating of the Washington Redskins. The Jets are coming off the bye, and this’ll be a very tough first test.

Prediction: Buffalo 17, New York 14

Seattle at Dallas: Both of these teams got pounded on the weekend. Seattle’s loss to Cincinnati didn’t seem too bad, but their offense made the score look worse, by throwing a pick 6 near the end. Dallas got their arse handed to them by the Eagles, after whipping the Rams the previous week. Dallas is clearly the better team in this game, though.

Prediction: Dallas 45, Seattle 14

Atlanta at Indianapolis: I’m not entirely sure why I picked the Colts last week, but God are they bad. I’m starting to think they’re sucking on purpose to win the race for Luck. Atlanta had the bye, but the Colts aren’t much of a threat. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Colts pull out a Ram-type victory this week, but it’d be just as shocking.

Prediction: Atlanta 31, Colts 10

Miami at Kansas City: OK, I’m a believer in Kansas City, which probably means they’ll lose this week. Miami came REAL close to beating the Giants, before Matt Moore through an interception to seal it on their final drive. Kansas City got lucky with a bad snap, but they capitalized and it won them the game. I’ll tentatively go for the Chiefs.

Prediction: Kansas City 28, Miami 17

Tampa Bay at New Orleans: Well, the upset of the year (so far) occurred last weekend with the Saints getting man-handled by the Rams. With that, I’d be quite shocked if the Saints lost another regular season game along the way. Sorry Bucs, bad timing.

Prediction: New Orleans 48, Tampa Bay 27

San Francisco at Washington: The amazing thing with the Redskins, is that almost everyone (except Redskins fans and myself for 1 game) saw this collapse coming. The Redskins are really screwed, as they have no alternative QB, apart from the already bad Rex Grossman. And definitely don’t have enough O-Linemen to fix that issues, either. San Francisco are, right now, the polar opposites of the Redskins. A very good team who look pretty unstoppable. The Redskins will try, but fail this Sunday.

Prediction: San Francisco 30, Washington 7

Cleveland at Houston: As I said last week, Houston’s the best 4-3 team going around and they have a real easy part of their schedule at the moment. They should be able to sure up their division lead in the next 3 weeks. Cleveland are a mess of a team, though.

Prediction: Houston 21, Cleveland 3

Cincinnati at Tennessee: OK, this game I’m not too sure about. I think Cincinnati’s for real. Their D is #1 in the league and the Dalton to Green connection is all powered up. Tennessee have somehow been winning games without a proper running game. This is pretty impressive. The issue the Titans will likely face, is that the Bengals will be able to stop CJNoGain and make them throw the ball, which won’t be in the Titans favour. I’m tipping Cincy, but I’m not that confident.

Cincinnati 21, Tennessee 17

Denver at Oakland: Denver stinks. The Raiders are coming off their bye, but Denver shouldn’t much of a worry.

Prediction: Oakland 31, Denver 10

New York at New England: Neither team had a good week last week. Sure, the Giants won, but it was barely. At least the Patriots faced a good, non has-been, team. Either way, the Giants crappy performance last week definitely doesn’t bode well for this game. The Patriots will look to rebound big time this week. I think they will.

Prediction: New England 21, New York 15

St. Louis at Arizona: Choices, choices! OK, so I’m going to pick Arizona, but I’m fully expecting the Rams to win. I’m just playing the odds, that’s all. I don’t see how the Rams can’t win after last week, plus getting their starting QB back and now facing a much worse QB in Skelton. Hmmm, actually, I’m gonna pick the Rams!

Prediction: St. Louis 27, Arizona 17

Green Bay at San Diego: San Diego weren’t so super last week, fumbling the game away to the Chiefs. The Packers were on the bye, but probably trained better than most teams played! Can’t go against an undefeated team.

Prediction: Green Bay 28, San Diego 19

And then there were two…Another good pair of matchups!

Baltimore at Pittsburgh: Baltimore were lucky to beat the Cardinals last week, while the Steelers just got past the Patriots. We both know the better win between those two, so I’m going to stick with that and go with the Steelers.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 17, Baltimore 6

Chicago at Philadelphia: I’m not sure why, but I get this feeling that the Eagles will flop this week. Although, as usual, my predictions can be pretty damn bad sometimes, so this wouldn’t surprise me if I was wrong…Again. The Bears are coming off the bye, which makes me feel a lot less confident in my prediction of a Bears win. Regardless, I’ll stick to my guns and go with my shitty prediction.

Prediction: Chicago 20, Philadelphia 14

Have a good week folks!

Lions vs. Falcons: Week 7 Review

Well, here we are again after another heart-breaking loss. 2 in a row. Boy it sucks. Not that I’ve ever experienced it, but I’d imagine it’s somewhat similar to cocaine or the like. An unbelievable high, before a horrible low. That’s what it’s been up until this point. 5 very solid wins, two unbelievable come from behind victories and then two losses which are somewhat hard to fathom.

The Lions went down to the Falcons on Sunday 23-16. The final nail in the coffin was a deplorable defensive effort on a checkdown to Jacquizz Rodgers who, to his credit, manoeuvred his body however he could to get the first down. Unfortunately, he got the first down and ended the Lions’ chances of coming back and tying it up or winning with a two point conversion.

I honestly don’t know what’s happened to the Lions the past two weeks. I can kind of swallow the loss to the 49ers, cause their D was just outstanding, but the Lions beat themselves against the Falcons. Their Special Teams was the worst thing I’ve seen them produce since their ’09 season. Constant missed tackles, poor punting, horrible coverage, horrible blocking. Just EVERYTHING was horrendous.

Now, you might be thinking “Special Teams shouldn’t be what wins and losses you games”. And you’re right, it shouldn’t be and it wasn’t. The offense wasn’t a lot better than Special Teams. The run game was productive, but the Falcons allowed the Lions to run in order to stop the pass, which is what they ended up doing on all but one play, more or less. The one enjoyable aspect of the Lions game was Calvin Johnson’s 57 yard TD catch, which was basically all him. Yes, sure Stafford threw him the ball, but Calvin made the moves to take it to the house. Other than that, though, Stafford played his worst game while completely healthy (which didn’t even last the 60 minutes *sigh*). Stafford went 15/32 for 183 yards and 1 TD. It’s the second straight week that Stafford hasn’t thrown an interception, which might be the only positive to take out of this game. And even then, it’s a very minor one. He should start throwing interceptions like a bawse if it’s going to win the Lions the game!

As I mentioned, the running game was somewhat productive. The Lions ran for a combined 104 yards on 20 carries. That’s a good average of 5+, but it led to no TD’s which is the only real important part. The Lions were without Jahvid Best, so they leaned on Maurice Morris and Keiland Williams, both getting 9 carries, while Nate Burleson got 2 end-around carries, resulting in 10 yards. The loss of Best was clear, as Morris just isn’t the same kind of RB and definitely doesn’t help anywhere near as much on checkdowns. I also believe this is why the Lions ran effectively. If Jahvid Best was completely healthy and playing, the Falcons would’ve been a lot more wary of his running ability and his pass catching ability, meaning they would’ve given more respect to the run, instead of just playing the pass. But knowing that Morris, nor Williams, had the same type of explosiveness as Best, they didn’t bother to try and shut them down, cause it would’ve taken away from their pass defending.

The one positive, I guess, was the Lions Defense. They did a pretty good job against the Falcons. They intercepted Matt Ryan twice and sacked him 3 times, however they allowed Michael Turner to rush for 122 yards on 27 carries, but kept him out of the endzone. They did let Ryan sneak into the endzone for a score, though.

I’m not sure if we should just chalk this one up to another bad week, to the Falcons or to an imminent downfall of unforeseen proportions. Whichever one it is, it’s not good and the Lions will have to be on their guard against the Denver Tebows and their QB, Tim Broncos.

Lions vs. Falcons: Week 7 Preview

It’s a brand new week for the Lions and their fans. Time to rid ourselves of a loss and focus on the next opponent in the *covers mouth with beer glass* Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons are coming in at 3-3 after beating the Panthers by 14 at home 31 to 17. Michael Turner abused the Panthers D, running for 139 yards on 27 carries with 2 TD’s. The Run is the Lions biggest problem in games this year, as shown by Frank Gore last week, who racked up 141 yards on 15 carries. They’ve consistently been poor against good running teams, and Atlanta’s no different.

To go along with Turner’s good form is Matt Ryan and a deadly receiving corps of Roddy White, Julio Jones & Tony Gonzalez. Jones didn’t play last week, but he didn’t need to with Turner beasting. Jones is still being bothered by his hamstring problem and could be sitting again this week. This would be a massive plus for the Lions as they could try and limit White as much as possible. Even though the Lions don’t play a press coverage often, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Houston or Wright double White with Spievey for a lot of the game.

The big addition for the Lions this week is the return of Justin Durant, who’s missed the past 2 games with concussion problems. Durant will sure up the Run D and is a very good coverage LB, as well.

Speaking of concussions, it looks like Jahvid Best will be out this week with his 4th concussion in 3 years. I’ll be honest, I hated the Best pick, and after the 3rd week last season, I didn’t feel better about, and then it got gradually worse with his double turf-toe injuries hampering him for A LOT of the season. And now this is Best’s 2nd concussion so far this year, the first coming in a pre-season game against the Browns. The big question here, is how long can Best continue playing in the NFL? It’s only his 2nd season, but it’s been proven that the more frequent the concussions, the more they linger, the worse they get and they’re more easy to get. At some point, this has to go from being a Football related issue to a being alive at 60 related issue. As Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press put it “Every week, the Leshoure injury is making it worse”. The Lions are rather screwed at RB after this season. Especially if Leshoure has major set-backs in his recovery (which is possible for achilles injuries). Best is just too small to survive in this league and at some point, the Lions will have to cut ties. I’d love to eat my words on this issue, but I just don’t think I will. There’s a good chance the Lions will be drafting a RB for the 3rd straight year in the first 2 rounds of the draft.

With the absence of Best, Maurice Morris will be getting the majority of the hand-offs this week. Now, personally, I quite like Morris. He’s a tough gritty back who’ll put in work, even though he only gets about 5 carries a game. He’s also better than Best on the ground, which is a big plus, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him average over 5ypc this Sunday, he can be that good. He might lack in the passing game, though. But if the Lions can form some kind of realistic split between run and pass, it might not matter. Atlanta’s run D has been good, though, so Morris may end up having a tough time on the ground in the end.

Changing topics, Atlanta’s pass defense is a positive for the Lions this week. They’re not playing at the highest level right now and the Lions need a big bounceback after their poor passing performance against the 49ers. Stafford missed on a ridiculous 22 throws, while throwing it, a ridiculous, 50 times. Still doesn’t top Colt McCoy’s 61 attempts(!), but don’t be shocked if he passes it at some point this year, solely based on the complete lack of a run game.

The Lions D-Line were back to their lackluster ways against the 49ers in week 6, registering a measly 2 sacks. But the Falcons O-Line is a bit banged up, so this could be another prime match-up for them. The Falcons might be without their starting LT Sam Baker, if he can’t recover from a back problem in time. Meaning that Will Svitek would get the start. Here’s what Rotoworld.com had to say on the matter:

“Will Svitek would get the start if Baker can’t go. Pass protection has been a major issue in Atlanta through six weeks. Baker’s absence would complicate matters against the Lions’ fierce pass rush.”

The Lions need to start capitalising on poor O-Line opportunities in games. They’ve been under-performing for a lot of this season, with low sack totals and high rushing numbers allowed. The D-Line will be a very integral part to their game this weekend. If they can make the Falcons 1-dimensional, then they should be able to slowly pull away from them.

I believe I’ve covered all the bases fairly well, so I’ll get onto my conclusion. I think this game will be a lot like last weekend’s game. Both teams will exchange leads through most of the game, with the winner scoring in the middle of the 4th quarter. The Falcons were one of my losses when first looking at the schedule, but after the disappointment of last week, and the redemption the Lions will be wanting to get, I think they can pull this one out.

Prediction: Lions 27, Falcons 21

Carolina Panthers (1-4) at Atlanta Falcons (2-3) Preview:

Almost. Almost, but not quite.

One or two plays is all it takes in the NFL. A couple of plays here and there and a young team could be 4-1 rather than 1-4. But that’s the difference between the good teams in this league and the rebuilding ones that are still developing their team.

Not quite good enough, not quite ripe enough is how you can describe the Carolina Panthers season to date. A young team, hanging in games but not quite there yet. Not experienced enough to close out those close games, to finish drives and to put teams away.

And while they’re 1-4, there’s hope. Little consolation to the Panthers players and fans, but after going 2-14 last season with a QB carousel and numerous big questions looming over this team, the way Cam Newton and new head coach Ron Rivera have breathed life back into the team and the city of Charlotte, is something that must not be taken lightly.

When Ron Rivera was first hired and he put together his staff, I was excited. My thoughts were, it would take a couple of off-season’s to get this team turned around, from a John Fox team to a Rivera team. Players have to shake what they know and inhale a whole new system, a new philosophy and way of playing football. The X’s & O’s are basically the same, but it’s the way the team carries itself, the mindset, along with the roster – getting that to Rivera’s liking that would take it’s time.

No need to look any further than my good friend, the Detroit Lions. Look at where they’ve come from. A couple of seasons under Jim Schwartz and some solid offseasons of free agency and drafting and they’re sitting at 5 & freakin’ 0. The Motown is dancin’ in the streets and for good reason. That gives me hope, that a team that was once 0-16 or a team that was 2-14 can turn it around and get back to being a great, consistently good football team that fans will want to come and see, each and every Sunday. It just takes time. The team needs to gel, become experienced so in the redzone, they can put up 6 instead of 3. In the 4th quarter, they can comeback from 14 down to win by a TD. Less penalties, less coaching errors.. better play all around. Sharper, smoother; a well oiled machine.

The Panthers aren’t there yet. They’ve shown signs of a young team that should be capable in the future. For the most part, they’ve done as well as can be expected with a rookie head coach, quarterback and a defense full of band-aid players. They’ve done well to revitalize veteran All-Pro wide receiver Steve Smith, forgotten for a couple of seasons, now once again relevant as one of the best WRs in the game. He was always good, he just needed help getting the ball delivered. The Panthers have done well to produce 2 solid DE’s who through 5 games, have 9 sacks combined. It’s like Peppers and Rucker on the edge again (which I love.. all starts in the trenches.) The middle of the line has been the problem, with 2 rookies starting and other serviceable guys rotating in there. The linebackers and secondary have been hit hard by injury and have held their own against top passing offenses like Green Bay & New Orleans, despite giving up chunks of yards. They’ve done well to stay in games, but once again.. not good enough. And don’t even get me started on special teams play this season. However, like all areas as the season progresses.. improvement is showing.

This week the Panthers take their fantasy football road show into rival Georgia, down the I-85. The Panthers hope to finally put a complete game together of offense, coaching, defense and special teams against a struggling 2-3 Atlanta Falcons team.

This game should be a fantastic game. 2 dangerous teams, the Falcons coming off a home loss against the Packers and the Panthers coming off another close loss against another division rival in the Saints. Realistically, the game could go either way. The arm wrestle could come down to a field goal, rather than a shootout. Both offenses may struggle, or both defenses may fail. Always an entertaining game, let’s break it down a little more closely:

The quarterback situation for both teams is intriguing. Matty “Ice” Ryan’s ice has melted into a pool of murky, smelly (typical for the area) watery goo this season. With the tag of being overrated around the league, Ryan has struggled immensely this season, already throwing 6 interceptions (tied for 4th in the NFL with Carolina’s Newton), throwing 196 times (3rd in the NFL behind Drew Brees & Tom Brady) and only completing only 61.2% of his throws. With a QB rating of 79.9, he’s been sacked 14 times (tied for 6th, along with Eli Manning & Phil Rivers) and only has 13 plays of over 20+ yards – most to receiver Roddy White, who is tied for 2rd in the NFL in receptions with 32. Overall, not exactly a balanced offense, with star RB Michael Turner only getting the call on 84 carries, for an average of 4.3ypc. The Falcons have put 104 (20.8, ranked 19th) points on the board against opponents this season, but have allowed 130 points (26ppg, ranked 24th.)  No doubt, the Falcons could’ve won a few more games had the offense clicked, had there not been some key injuries and had Roddy White’s hands not been made of stone. (See, game vs. Bucs, week 3.)

On the injury front, the Falcons will be missing veteran lineman Todd McClure and rookie WR Julio Jones who is due to miss with a jamstring injury. (Not a typo, will let you think about that one.) They’ll also be missing star defensive end John Abraham, who’s out with a knee injury and no doubt would have been a thorn for the rookie Cam Newton.

But so far, everything Newton has faced, every defense he has seen (some good ones, including Capers’ Packers D, Gregg Williams dirty Saints D & Del Rio’s D in Jacksonville) the rookie has taken in stride and won the battle numerous times, even if the war itself wasn’t won in the end. An impressive start and unheard of, the Panthers QB who is gaining a cult-like following not only in Carolina but all over the US, is playing well above his age and expectations. What’s even more impressive is despite his multiple 300 & 400 yard games, he just wants to play football & win.

This week, he’ll face a Falcon D that ranks 24th in yards allowed per game, a passing D that is allowing 294.2 yards passing per game (ranked 28th) and a rushing D that has given up an average of 89.2 yards per game on the ground (6th in the NFL). The key for the rookie will be to help establish the run, get the D playing the run so later in the game, the pass is opened up with the safeties playing closer to the line of scrimmage, because of the run.

No doubt Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski will want a balanced offense as we’ve seen (except for the first few games, in which the Panthers went pass-happy) to keep the Falcons guessing. The Panthers need to control the time of possession and convert on 3rd down – something they’ve been improving upon, but need to get better in. Drew Brees and the Saints last week, showed the Panthers first hand last week how you do it on 3rd down. Keep your D rested, tire the other D out and keep a guy like Matt Ryan and Michael Turner, cold on the bench. Basic football principals that just need to be executed.

Coming into this game, the Panthers offense has done a complete 180 degree turn, ranking 5th in the NFL with an average of 428.2 total offense per game, scoring 23.2 point a game, good for 15th in the NFL. Throwing to Smith, early and often while still establishing the running game is key for Carolina. Good things happen when you give your key players the touches and feeding Williams, Stewart, Smith & TE Greg Olsen early and often, should pay dividends for the Panthers, if their D can keep up with their offense.

Key matchups for Carolina in this game:

QB Cam Newton vs. Falcons defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder

Going into this week 6 matchup, both QB’s have similar stats. Newton has shown great poise in the pocket as well as being able to make plays with his feet when he’s needed to. He’s passed for 1,610 yards so far – best for 4th in the NFL, on 194 attempts (completion percentage of 58.2) with a QB rating of 84.3 (ranking 15th in the league). Although he only has 7 TDs to go with his 6 interceptions, he’s also scored 5 TDs with his feet already. That will be a factor for the Falcons defense, and what kind of looks they’ll show. Do they keep a spy on him ala what the Panthers did in ’05 vs. Michael Vick, do they commit to the pass knowing they’re capable of stopping the run or do they force him to beat their D with his arm? If I were Newton, I’d be liking the challenge of trying to beat this D with his arm. Bring it on, throw it over CB Dunta Robinsons way and move the chains. Can Newton eclipse the 400 yard mark yet again? Although that would be awesome, if he has to throw it 35 times a game, that usually means the running game isn’t working which makes the offense one dimensional in which case, the Falcons suddenly have the advantage of knowing.

RB DeAngelo Williams/Jonathon Stewart vs. LB Curtis Lofton 

Only recently have the Panthers been able to get their running game on the move. Last week, DeAngelo Williams broke the century mark for the first time this season and scored on a 69 yard QB option play. The Panthers finally looked balanced, driving up and down the field in trying to keep up with Brees and the Saints. If the Panthers can have continued success on the ground and get chunks of yards on 1st and 2nd down, it’ll ease the load on rookie QB Newton and keep the Falcons off the field, so long as they can convert on 3rd down. And while most of the attention has been on Williams this week, Stewart is making his presence felt in other parts of the offense, having already had a 100 yard game earlier in the year; however, that 100 yard game was receiving yards. With Stewart the go-to back on passing downs in both pass-catching and blocking, the Panthers have a dual threat, not only on the ground but also in the passing game. Both backs can be elusive in the screen game and out in the flats, making life a little more difficult for the Falcons linebacking duo of Curtis Lofton and Sean Weatherspoon. Both LBs are having solid years and lead a Falcons D stout against the run. This week will be another big test, as the Panthers are just finding their feet in the running game and could potentially explode if not contained early on.

WR Steve Smith vs. CB Dunta Robinson

Other than Calvin Johnson & Wes Welker, no WR is hotter in the NFL right now. Smith has been given a legit QB to get the ball to him, with Smith 2nd in the NFL in receiving yards with 609 yards, with  27 receptions and 3 TDs to date. This week, he faces a prime matchup that favours the ever passionate Smith. CB Dunta Robinson has been thrown to 27 times with 21 completions and his partner in Brent Grimes, thrown to 26 times with 14 completions. No doubt, Smith will get doubled. If the run game can have success and the TE’s can get in the game early, look for that safety to worry less about Smith, leaving Smith one on one with Robinson or Grimes – a dangerous move if you’re Atlanta’s defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder. Either way, Smith will be a factor as a target or a decoy.

DE Charles Johnson vs. OT Sam Baker

Charles Johnson has more than earned his big pay check that he earned this offseason. Going into week 6, he has a sack in every game (12 sacks in his last 12 games) & is a constant threat, pressuring and harassing quarterbacks. Along with the Panthers other starter at DE, Greg Hardy, the Panthers pass rush continues to improve. Look for the Panthers to have some more success against a shaky Falcons offensive line that has given up 14 sacks already this season. The Panthers D must be licking their chops, knowing what kind of success they could potentially have if they execute. Either a sack or some turnovers would suffice, just so long as QB Ryan stays off the field, along with his battered offensive line.  Look for a TE or a double team to possibly come over to Baker’s side to help seal the edge to give Ryan more time in the pocket to find his WRs downfield.

CB Chris Gamble vs. WR Roddy White

Looking at tape this week & watching some of the numerous drops Roddy White has had this season, Panthers CB Chris Gamble must be loving the thought of how good he might have it come Sunday. No doubt, the WR dropping a few here and there will make his life easier but at any time, White is a threat and could find his hands this week. Gamble still has to do his job and to date, has had an exceptional season shadowing some of the league’s best WRs. If he can shutdown White and keep Ryan’s target to TE Tony Gonzalez, that will help the Panthers D not have to worry about one less threat, as they’ll no doubt have their hands full with Gonzalez over the middle and RB Michael Turner churning out some solid yardage also, this season. The Panthers D ranks 15th in passing defense, giving up an average of 231 yards per game. If the Panthers can keep Ryan to 150-200 yards with a TD and a few turnovers, the offense should be able to take over and capitalize.

As the players take to the field for another divisional matchup in a few hours time, no doubt it will be a game added to the history between these 2 clubs. Coming into this week, the Falcons historically hold the edge over the Panthers with a 20-12 lead since Carolina came into the league in ’95. Both teams are looking to rebound, having a less than ideal start to the season, Carolina losing 3 straight now, the Falcons coming off a big loss against the Packers, it will be a fun game for Falcon & Panther fans alike.

The key to this game, what it all comes down to in the end is QB play – stating the obvious. Ryan has looked less than sharp; unable to make the plays he did in seasons past and the rookie sensation Cam Newton – an unknown to the Falcons, stealing the spotlight and looking to get the offense balanced, consistent and on their way to hopefully, their 2nd win of the year and the start of a streak.

Big plays are key for the Panthers. They’ve turned this offense around from a boring season last year to an explosive, high scoring offense this season, lead by Smith & Newton. If they can take advantage of the Falcons less than solid D, they’ll force Ryan to have to make plays with his arm, rather than have their O pound away with Turner which is what they’ll aim to do early. The Falcons O, will want to control the game with Turner and take advantage of the Panthers soft run D. The Panthers run D has been average, getting gashed for big yards in 4 out of the 5 games they’ve played. If Atlanta can keep their offense on the field and Cam Newton off the field, it’ll make things exceptionally hard for the Panthers to try and score with less plays. Playing from behind is the last thing Carolina needs right now.

Both teams would prefer to hold the ball, win the time of possession battle and keep their opposing offenses on the sidelines but one team. We should see a heavy dose of run early from both teams, maybe a few exchanges of punts and a real slog fest. I expect a lower scoring game for both teams, as both sides are evenly matched. It will be an arm wrestle, but in the end I see Carolina prevailing 24-17 with Newton throwing 2 TDs and DeAngelo Williams scoring on the other one. I expect a big day from Panthers WR Steve Smith and Falcons RB Michael Turner, but I expect Ryan to turn the ball over, helping the Panthers get a lead early and sitting on it, forcing the Falcons to win on the back of Ryan.

Week 4: NFL Tips

Week 4 is upon us, which means that this will be the last full week of games until week 10, then one more short slate to finish it off in week 11. So with that. Here are my tips for week 4!

Lions at Cowboys: If not the biggest game in the whole of week 4, then it’s definitely the biggest within the NFC (Never thought “Biggest game” would relate to the Lions!). If you happened to read my preview on the Lions Vs. Cowboys game (here), then you’re already aware of my tip, but I’ll post it again anyway.

Prediction: Lions 27, Cowboys 26

Saints at Jaguars: I don’t see much going the Jaguars way in this game. Other than playing at home, they have no real advantage against the powerhouse of New Orleans.

Prediction: Saints 31, Jaguars 10

49ers at Eagles: With the likely chance that Vick plays (and plays well), then I think the Eagles will get over the line in the end. That, of course, is assuming that Vick won’t get injured (yet again).

Prediction: Eagles 27, 49ers 21

Redskins at Rams: The Redskins were hard luck losers last week against Dallas. But St. Louis were just straight up losers against Baltimore. Redskins get the win and take their record to 3-1.

Prediction: Redskins 24, Rams 10

Titans at Browns: The Titans have played quite well so far this year, with a solid victory over Baltimore in week 2 and a win against the Broncos last week. Cleveland has the same record, but don’t be fooled. Their two victories are against bad teams in the Colts & Dolphins.

Prediction: Titans 24, Browns 17

Bills at Bengals: Buffalo has, without a doubt, been the surprise team of the 2011 season. Their win last week against the Patriots shows just how good they are, and I expect them to continue that form against an underwhelming Cincinnati team.

Prediction: Bills 34, Bengals 13

Vikings at Chiefs: Oh, fun! Two 0-3 teams face off in week 4. The Vikings have been a hard luck loser so far this season, but Kansas City has just straight up SUCKED. If the Vikings can’t win this one, then they don’t deserve to win any others.

Prediction: Vikings 41, Chiefs 21

Panthers at Bears: This is the game I’m looking forward to 3rd most this weekend (Lions/Cowboys 1st, Steelers/Texans 2nd). The Panthers can win this game, but I just don’t think they have the experience to do it. Steve Smith has returned to his masterful best so far with Newton, which I don’t see changing this Sunday. But, unfortunately, Mackk, I also don’t see a Panthers victory in Chi-town.

Prediction: Bears 24, Panthers 21

Steelers at Texans: This should be a fun game. The Steelers defense was very beatable against a porous Colts offense last Sunday, which bodes very well for Schaub and co. to take the Steelers to the cleaners, if all things line up on Sunday. I’m just not convinced they will. Tomlin will have the Steelers mentally and physically prepared for this game, and I don’t see them letting him down. Steelers in a close “one”.

Prediction: Steelers 21, Texans 20

Giants at Cardinals: Arizona was beaten by a bad Seattle team last Sunday, and the Giants are ten times better than Seattle (at least), so an Arizona disaster should be in order this Sunday.
Prediction: Giants 38, Cardinals 13

Falcons at Seahawks: Seattle managed a win against Arizona last week, but this won’t be (as) doable. The Falcons lost by 3 against a young, good Tampa Bay team away last week, so look for a big bounce back against the ‘Hawks.
Prediction: Falcons 34, Seahawks 17

Dolphins at Chargers: Ah, Miami. You looked so promising before the season, but then it started. The Dolphins are one of the few winless teams in the NFL thus far, and it’s unlikely to change against a good San Diego team.

Prediction: Chargers 21, Dolphins 3

Broncos at Packers: The only people giving the Broncos a chance are a few of their insane fans, the players, and guys who want to win A LOT of money. So, with that, they’ll fail miserably.

Prediction: Packers 31, Broncos 3

Patriots at Raiders: This game has all the similarities to the Bills Vs. Patriots game last weekend. The only difference is that both these teams have losses. However, the Raiders running attack is one of the best in the league, and the Patriots defense is one of the worst. On the other side, the Patriots have the best passing offense in the NFL, and the Raiders don’t have the defense to match. Passing wins in the NFL, and will triumph in this game.

Prediction: Patriots 26, Raiders 20

And then there were two…

Jets at Ravens: Of the two primetime games this week, this one is by far the more interesting one. The Ravens obliterated the Rams last week, while the Jets came up short against an underrated Raiders team. I expect those two results to continue this week.
Prediction: Ravens 21, Jets 17

Colts at Buccaneers: Oh, Peyton, you were the only good thing the Colts had going for them, and now they have nothing, as clearly shown by their 0-3 record. Tampa Bay beat a pretty solid Falcons team last week, while the Colts hung in with the Steelers until the end. But they won’t be hanging around in this game.

Prediction: Buccaneers 17, Colts 3