NFL Tips: Week 8 – Thursday Night Football

Tampa Bay at Minnesota: Unfortunately, this week doesn’t offer a mouth-watering match-up of any sorts. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be a competitive game. Tampa Bay did just score 28 points on the hapless Saints, though clearly their defense is pretty well non-existent. Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, Adrian Peterson just ripped the Cardinals (who aren’t a bad run defense) a new a-hole, so Tampa could be in some trouble here. Although on their side, they have the 3rd ranked rush defense so it might even be a stalemate. And if that occurs Ponder will have to carry the team, which could be interesting considering his poor game last week. I think Minnesota will win this game, but hopefully it’s not as boring as it could very possibly be.

Prediction: Minnesota 26, Tampa Bay 14

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NFL Tips: Week 7 – Sunday and Monday Games

Tennessee at Buffalo – Prediction: Buffalo 24, Tennessee 20

Cleveland at Indianapolis – Prediction: Indianapolis 31, Cleveland 26

Green Bay at St. Louis – Prediction: Green Bay 28, St. Louis 17

Arizona at Minnesota – Prediction: Minnesota 21, Arizona 14

Washington at New York – Prediction: New York 35, Washington 28

New Orleans at Tampa Bay – Prediction: New Orleans 40, Tampa Bay 30

Dallas at Carolina – Prediction: Dallas 28, Carolina 3

Baltimore at Houston – Prediction: Houston 19, Baltimore 14

Jacksonville at Oakland – Prediction: Oakland 24, Jacksonville 17

New York at New England – Prediction: New England 27, New York 16

And then there were two…

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati – Prediction: Pittsburgh 31, Cincinnati 23

Detroit at Chicago – Prediction: Chicago 23, Detroit 20

Enjoy your weekend and the games, 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 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!

Panthers Game Grades & Notes – Week 8

Carolina Panthers (2-6) vs. Minnesota Vikings (1-7)

Bank of America Stadium, November 30th 2011.

Overall Offense: B

The Panthers had a solid game plan under offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and managed to score 21 points through the air, however several key penalties and a string of 3 & outs in the 2nd, allowed the Vikings back in the game, rather than keeping Adrian Peterson on the sidelines which would have helped out a shotty defense. The Panthers offense did a good job holding the ball for 28 minutes, had a nice 50% 3rd down efficiency rate and were able to make some big plays at key moments. However, they didn’t quite score enough and made too many mistakes for the grade to be any better than a B.  

Quarterbacks: B

Cam Newton had an outstanding game against a tough Vikings defense. He threw for 290 yards and 3 TDs with no interceptions for a QB rating of 117.6, including a nice pass to Brandon LaFell on 4th down, gaining 44 yards on the play as they drove to tie the game in the 4th quarter. He added 53 yards on 6 carries including a 24 yard scamper in the 3rd quarter. However amongst the good, Newton was sacked 3 times and lost the ball twice on fumbles.

Running Backs: C

Jonathan Stewart & DeAngelo Williams continue to be an efficient duo, capable of either having their own big day out or helping Newton move the chains. On this day, they were merely helping move the chains with Stew gaining 49 yards on 13 carries and DeAngelo rushing for 26 on 7 attempts. Combined, they only managed 3.8 ypc and although they look explosive at times, the offense needs more balance & Double Trouble need more carries. If they can do that, Cam will have less on his shoulders & the Panthers can control the clock and game more. Steve Smith also added a nice end around play for 12 yards, in which he owned Cedric Griffin via a nasty stiff arm.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: B

3 passing TDs from Newton: 2 to TE’s and 1 to Steve Smith. What a day to be a Panthers receiver. Shockey finally got his 1st TD as a Panther vs. the Vikes on a 1 yard pass – his only reception for the day.  Not wanting to have Greg Olsen feel left out, Newton hit Olsen on a streak, straight down the middle for a 39 yard TD catch, totaling 73 yards for the day on 4 receptions. Smith continues to be a threat every time he touches the ball, having another big day with big plays, catching 7 balls for 100 yards, including a nice catch and run 22 yard TD. However despite the good, Legedu Naanee and Smith had key holding calls that would’ve changed the game and apart from LaFell’s 44 yard 4th down catch, the supporting cast of receivers didn’t do much.

Offensive Linemen: D

The offensive line had a forgettable day out. While they kept Newton clean for most of the afternoon, they allowed 3 sacks including 2 key fumbles (that they were unable to recover both times) that allowed the Vikings back in the game. Tackle Jordan Gross, in All-Pro form, was beaten twice on one play by DE Jared Allen. First for the sack, then on the recovery of the ball. The Panthers line also failed to open up holes for the Panthers RB duo of Stewart and Williams, only averaging 3.8 ypc on the ground. Penalties also killed the Panthers, an area that the line and the team in general needs to clean up over the next few weeks.

Overall Defense: D

The Panthers scored a D, because they simply allowed the Vikings to run over them in the 2nd half. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott had a good plan and in the 1st half, it was executed well, holding RB Adrian Peterson. But through the defenses and offenses fault, the D stayed on teh field too long as the game wore on and holes opened up for the Vikings offense, allowing Peterson and rookie QB Christian Ponder to control the game. Although the Panthers did a good job pressuring Ponder and forcing several mistakes, in the end they couldn’t stop the Vikes offense enough to keep the lead. Signs of improvement are little consolation for this D.

Defensive Linemen: B

The defensive line was one of the bright spots for the D, helping keep Ponder in check and helping to hold Peterson to only 86 yards on the ground, with a 15 yard TD run being the longest allowed. The combination of Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy again gave the Vikes offensive line fits, with Johnson racking up another sack & 2 more QB pressures, along with rookie Terrell McClain. Hardy didn’t have a sack, but knocked the ball down once, almost picking off one of those. The front 4 disrupted Ponder enough into mistakes, and played lights out at times, forcing the Vikings to go 3 & out 7/14 times. Honorable mention to DE Antwan Applewhite, played a solid game and has been playing well for a while.

Linebackers: D

The Vikings had the Panthers linebackers running around all day and although they kept the Vikings offense in check in the 1st half, they eventually grew tired and cracks appeared. LB Omar Gaither had a solid game and had to play more once LB Thomas Williams went down with a neck injury early in the game. Gaither finished with 7 solo tackles and a sack, James Anderson added 7 tackles with 4 solo stops, and Dan Connor only made 2 stops. The group was out of position at times, especially when they were sucked up in blocks on Adrian Peterson’s screen pass TD in the 2nd quarter. The LBs also couldn’t stop Peterson at the goal line, allowing him to rumble in for a 9 yard run, and couldn’t stop Percy Harvin from scoring up the middle in the 1st. Toby Gerhart was also popping off nice runs (26 on 5 carries) until he went out with an injury – a relief for the defense at that point. The LBs (and safeties) had trouble containing Ponder’s safety valves of TE’s Visanthe Shiancoe & Kyle Rudolph who picked up some nice gains that helped the Vikings keep the ball moving. Overall, this group is hurting and more injuries are just wearing on this group and the defense.

Secondary: C

The secondary didn’t have a bad day compared to the linebackers, especially Captain Munnerlyn. Munnerlyn was everywhere, on special teams he was covering kicks like a demon and on D, he helped contain the Ponder passing attack. He had a key strip of Percy Harvin inside the 10, wrestling the ball from Harvin’s grip and showing the tenacity you know coach Ron Rivera loves. He also added a sack on a blitz, jumping Ponder from behind. Safety Sherrod Martin had a game to forget, all over the place and not in a good way. He couldn’t wrap Peterson up at the goal line, allowing him to spin out of the tackle and score. Charles Godfrey had 9 stops and several good ones on RB Peterson. Chris Gamble struggled against Percy Harvin at times, especially in the 4th when he missed a tackle on Harvin that kept the Vikes drive alive to get the game-winning FG.  Overall, the unit held the key guys in Ponder 18/28 for 236 and Harvin to 58 yard on 4 catches, however the Vikes were efficient enough to get enough points to win. The Panthers could’ve done with defensive back Darius Butler, who had to miss the game to be with his daughter, who had open heart surgery. (She’s expected to make a full recovery.)

Overall Special Teams: F

When the game starts out with a 78 yard kickoff return by the Vikings and ends with a missed 31-yard FG attempt by Olindo Mare, the unit is headed for a F – no matter what they do in between. Panthers kick returner Kealoha Pilares fumbled twice, recovering both and didn’t do much else in returning the ball. Armanti Edwards fielded the ball well and picked up minimal yards on punt returns. The kick coverage team forced the ball inside the 10 a couple of times, helping out the D with field position and punter Jason Baker had a solid day, not making any glaring mistakes.

Overall Coaching: C

Coach Ron Rivera has this group in the right direction, no doubt. They’ve been competitive in every game, taken it to some of the better teams in the leagues and for a young group with several key injuries, they’re doing better than a lot of people originally thought. This game was winnable, as were a few earlier in the season. But that’s the mark of a young team. Penalties, errors.. things that good teams eliminate so in that same situation, they win rather than come away with an ‘almost win.’ Against the Vikings, the Panthers had a good gameplan on both sides and were able to execute for the most part. After the 2nd half, the Vikings controlled the game on both sides and without that lull in the 3rd, the Panthers probably would’ve won the game. Small things, finishing drives rather than go 3 & out – are marks of a young team. The D was on the field way too long in the 2nd half (another mark of a young team & a patchwork D) and no doubt the Panthers need some help at LB and possibly another DB, whether late this season or next season. The Panthers are yet to play a complete game, with special teams being the main problem this time around. Overall, hard to criticize the coaches except when Rivera decided to end the 1st half and let the clock run out, rather than try a FG (which in the end, would’ve tied the game & changed the outcome.) Execution is the main problem with this group, and the Panthers have the bye week to work that and any other kinks out before Tennessee in week 10.

Game ball:

Cam Newton: Played an almost mistake free game, was poised in the pocket, used his legs and helped move the chains and put points on the board. Leads from the front, helps Smith get his 100 and drove the team down the field in the final seconds, doing all he could to help get a win.

Stats: 22/35 for 290 yards, 3 TDs, O interceptions, 117.6 QB rating & 6 carries for 53 yards and 2 fumbles.

Goat of the Week: Olindo Mare: It should never come down to one play where the blame is laid upon just one guy, but it’s kind of his job. From 31 yards out, usually it’s a money kick. A chip shot. Almost an extra point attempt. One play is all the Panthers needed him to execute, and he choked – handing the Vikings a win rather than a chance to win in overtime, and dropping the Panthers to 2-6, heading into their bye week.

Stats: 0/1on field goals, 3/3 on extra points, 3 touchbacks.

Next up for Carolina: Bye week.

Sound FX: Ron Rivera and the Panthers:

Rivera loves him some Cam Newton. And when I say love, I mean l-o-v-e. Here

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