Tag Archives: Chiefs

My NFL Picks Week 3: Rams look to stay undefeated in a battle of L.A.

As is usually the case in the NFL, there are some surprising teams after the first two weeks of the season, including the Dolphins leading the AFC East at 2-0 and the Buccaneers, who are undefeated with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick filling in for suspended QB Jameis Winston, sitting atop the NFC South. Among the notable games this week are a NFC South battle between the Saints and Falcons in Atlanta, the Chargers facing the undefeated Rams in a battle of Los Angeles, and the Seahawks looking for their first win of 2018 when they host the Cowboys. The Monday nighter features the 0-1-1 Steelers looking to finally get in the win column as they head to Tampa looking to deal the Bucs their first loss. I went 6-10 last week, giving me an overall record of 15-17 for the season. As always, I’m using the lines from ESPN’s Pigskin Pick ‘Em game. My picks are in bold and my survivor pool pick (straight up, not ATS) is in red

Thursday Night Football

Jets at Browns (-3.5) – The Thursday night game isn’t the most compelling contest of the season, with two mediocre teams facing off in Cleveland. Rookie QB Sam Darnold looks to lead the Jets to their second win of the season against a Browns team that traded WR Josh Gordon to the Patriots earlier in the week. This game could go either way, so I’m going to take the Jets and the points but I think the Browns may pick up their first win since 2016.

Sunday 1PM games

Saints at Falcons (-3.5) – The Saints were barely able to hold off the Browns in Week 2 to get the win, QB Drew Brees had a strong performance. On the other side, the Falcons came back from a disappointing Week 1 defeat to beat the Panthers last week. Falcons QB Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones will need a big game to hold off the Saints’ offense. And they’ll be doing it with RB Tevin Coleman filling in for Devonta Freeman for a second-straight week. I think the Saints have the better offense, so I’m taking the points on the road.

Bills at Vikings (-16.5) – Through their first two games, the Bills have looked like potentially the worst team in the league, and now they’re heading on the road to take on QB Kirk Cousins and the Vikings. The Vikings are almost certainly going to win the game, so this is a question of what the margin of victory will be. Winning by 17 is a lot to ask of any NFL team, so even though the Bills aren’t good I have to go with the road dog for the third straight game.

Bengals at Panthers (-2.5) – The Bengals are 2-0 and QB Andy Dalton has looked good so far this season, but RB Joe Mixon was injured in Week 2 and underwent a surgical procedure this week that will cause him to miss this week’s game, leaving RB Giovani Bernard to get the start in the backfield. That puts the Bengals at a disadvantage against a Panthers offense that is led by QB Cam Newton and RB Christian McCaffrey. I might pick differently if Mixon was healthy, but because he’s not I’ll give the points with the Panthers.

Broncos at Ravens (-4.5) – These are two teams who I think have overperformed so far through the first two weeks of the season. I think the Ravens are the better team, so I think QB Joe Flacco will lead them to a victory but I expect a close game so I’ll go with the Broncos getting 4.5 points.

Packers at Redskins (+2.5) – The Redskins looked good in Week 1, beating a bad Cardinals team, but they took a step backward in Week 2 when RB Adrian Peterson had a disappointing game after a stronger effort in Week 1. The Packers, meanwhile, are coming off of a tie against the Vikings. Though QB Aaron Rodgers still isn’t 100%, the Packers are the better team in this game and are getting RB Aaron Jones back from his two-game suspension, which should only help the offense. I’m going with the road team to win and cover.

Titans at Jaguars (-7.5) – The Titans beat the Texans last week despite starting backup QB Blaine Gabbert. QB Marcus Mariota was close to playing in Week 2, so he should get the nod on Sunday but he will be facing a Jaguars team that just beat the Patriots a week ago. RB Leonard Fournette missed that game for the Jaguars but, like, Mariota, there was some thought that he might be able to play so he may be in the lineup for Jacksonville this week. Regardless, the Jaguars are the better team and I think they’ll cover.

Colts at Eagles (-6.5) – The Eagles are expected to get starting QB Carson Wentz back from his knee injury this week when they host Andrew Luck and the Colts. That should give them a boost, but the news isn’t as good for RB Jay Ajayi, who suffered an injury in Week 2’s win that could cause him to miss this week’s game, which would force RB Corey Clement to carry the bulk of the workload in the running game. Luck has done better than many people expected in the early part of this season, but the Colts have a bad defense that should allow the Eagles to put points on the board on the way to winning the game, and I think they’ll cover the 6.5 points.

49ers at Chiefs (-6.5) – Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes has thrown 10 touchdown passes in the first two games of the season, helping them get out to a 2-0 start. He has some playmakers helping him on the offense, namely WR Tyreek Hill, TE Travis Kelce and RB Kareem Hunt. The 49ers’ offense isn’t nearly as good as the Chiefs have been through two weeks and it will be tough for them to keep up with the home team on the scoreboard, especially if WR Marquise Goodwin misses his second game in a row with a quad injury. I’ll go with the Chiefs and give the points.

Raiders at Dolphins (-3.5) – The Raiders are still looking for their first win under returning head coach Jon Gruden, and if they want to get it this week they’ll have to do it after a cross-country trip and against an undefeated Dolphins team. The Raiders only lost to Dolphins by a point in Week 2 and facing an overachieving Dolphins team could be what they need to pick up their first win of the season. I think the Raiders will win the game outright, so I’ll take the points on the road.

Giants at Texans (-5.5) – A couple of 0-2 teams are looking to avoid a three-game losing streak to start the season. Both teams’ offenses have been subpar in the first two weeks, with the Texans losing to Gabbert and the Titans. If the Texans have their offense performing well, they probably have the better unit with QB Deshaun Watson compared to Giants QB Eli Manning. As Watson continues to recover from his knee injury that cost him the second half of 2017, I think he’ll continue to improve, and I think he’ll have a good game along with WRs DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. I’m hesitant to give this many points with the Texans, but I’m going to. The Giants will have to rely on rookie RB Saquon Barkley to lead the way offensively if they want to get their first victory of the year.

Sunday 4PM games

Chargers at Rams (-6.5) – The Rams have outscored their opponents 67-13 in their first two games and look like one of the best teams in the league, thanks to an offense led by QB Jared Goff, RB Todd Gurley and a wide-receiving corps headed up by Brandin Cooks. The Chargers have done well this season, too, but I don’t think they’re much of a match for the Rams at this point. I think the spread is a little higher than I’d like, but I’ll give the points.

Bears at Cardinals (+4.5) – The Cardinals look like they’re going to be in competition with the Bills to determine the worst team in the NFL this season. They don’t have much of an offense, so LB Khalil Mack and the Bears defense should make easy work of them. The Rams just shut the Cardinals out last week, and Arizona probably won’t do much better than that this week. Bears easily cover.

Cowboys at Seahawks (-2.5) – Even though the Seahawks are at home, I’m surprised they’re the favorites in this game because they haven’t looked good this season. With WR Doug Baldwin out, QB Russell Wilson doesn’t have anyone good to throw to, and the running game is virtually nonexistent. I think RB Ezekiel Elliott will lead the Cowboys to a road victory to improve to 2-1.

Sunday Night Football

Patriots at Lions (+6.5) – Under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, the Patriots typically follow-up a loss with a good performance in their next game. So I expect the Patriots to have a strong performance after losing to the Jaguars last week. I’ll give the points.

Monday Night Football

Steelers at Buccaneers (+1.5) – This game pits the so-far-poor Steelers defense against the surprising play of Bucs backup QB Jameis Winston. With the Bucs playing as well as they have been and at home,m I think they could win the game outright, so I’ll take the 1.5 points.

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My NFL Picks Week 2: Patriots-Jags AFC Championship rematch on tap

Week 1 is always a tough one to pick games because you don’t know what to expect from teams coming out of the gate when many stars don’t play much during the preseason. Given that, I did respectably last week with a 9-7 record against the spread. This week has a couple of big games on tap, including the Vikings visiting the Packers — and a potentially-not-100% Aaron Rodgers — in a battle of teams that should compete for the NFC North title and an AFC Championship rematch with the Patriots heading to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars, who will be likely without star RB Leonard Fournette. The Sunday night game features an NFC East rivalry as Odell Beckham and the Giants visit Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys. As always, I’m using the lines from ESPN’s Pigskin Pick ‘Em game. My picks are in bold and my survivor pool pick (straight up, not ATS) is in red

Thursday Night Football

Ravens at Bengals (+0.5) – The Ravens looked impressive in Week 1 with a 47-3 victory over the Bills, but QB Andy Dalton and the Bengals will pose a greater challenge, especially with home-field advantage in Cincinnati. Bengals RB Joe Mixon last week looked like he’s poised for a breakout season and if he can have a similar performance this week, it’ll make it that much harder for the Ravens to go 2-0. I’m still not necessarily buying into the Ravens. I’m going to take the Bengals at home on a short week.

Sunday 1PM games

Panthers at Falcons (-5.5) – The Falcons didn’t look good last week, losing to QB Nick Foles and the Eagles in the season opener. Falcons QB Matt Ryan couldn’t get the ball to star WR Julio Jones in the end zone, which was also an issue for the pair last season. The Panthers beat the Cowboys in Week 1 but struggled offensively, scoring just 16 points behind QB Cam Newton. The Panthers are without TE Greg Olsen, who suffered a foot injury in Week 1 that will keep him out of action for several weeks.  I think this will be a close game, so I’ll take the Panthers and the points but the Falcons could win the game.

Chargers at Bills (+7.5) – That’s a big number for a West Coast team to give on a cross-country trip to the northeast, but the Bills really didn’t look good last week. The Bills have announced that after one start from QB Nathan Peterman they have decided to go with rookie QB Josh Allen for his first NFL start in Week 2 as the Bills have decided to go in another direction under center. The Chargers are coming off a loss to the Chiefs, but the Bills appear to be one of the worst teams in the league and I don’t trust either of their quarterbacks, so I’ll give the 7.5 points.

Browns at Saints (-8.5) – The Browns may not have won last week, but they didn’t lose either, so their tie with the Steelers ended their losing streak but extended their winless streak. They’re still looking for their first win since 2016, but I don’t think they’ll get it this week. The Saints’ defense looked bad against the Buccaneers last week, but they still have a good offense led by QB Drew Brees and RB Alvin Kamara, which should be able to outscore the Browns to pick up New Orleans’ first win of the season. This is another big number that’s giving me pause, but i think the Saints will barely cover it, so I’ll go with the Saints at home.

Vikings at Packers (-0.5) – Rodgers is unlikely to be at full strength for this game after dealing with an injury in Week 1 against the Bears. That will hurt the Packers against a good Vikings defense. If I knew Rodgers was fully healthy, I’d probably go with the Packers, but I don’t think he is so I’m going to go with the road team at Lambeau.

Texans at Titans (+2.5) – The Titans were dealt a couple of injuries in Week 1, with TE Delanie Walker suffering a season-ending ankle injury and QB Marcus Mariota dealing with an elbow injury. Mariota’s status for this week’s game is unknown, which opens up uncertainty about how the Titans will perform if backup QB Blaine Gabbert draws the start. The Texans didn’t look great in their Week 1 loss to the Patriots, but QB Deshaun Watson is coming back from an injury of his own that caused him to miss the second half of the 2017 season. I think the Texans will win the game whether Mariota or Gabbert plays, but the chances of a Texans win goes up if Gabbert starts.

Colts at Redskins (-5.5) – The Redskins looked better than expected last week in beating the Cardinals 24-6. RB Adrian Peterson surprised by gaining nearly 100 yards on the ground, and QB Alex Smith had a good start in his team debut. The Colts had an early lead against the Bengals but ended up losing after being outscored 17-0 in the fourth quarter. It’s that subpar defense that gives the Redskins an advantage and leads me to think the Redskins will win the game and cover the 5.5 points.

Chiefs at Steelers (-5.5) – The Steelers were without RB Le’Veon Bell last week as he continues his holdout, but RB James Conner had a good showing in Bell’s absence. It wasn’t enough to beat the Browns, though, as the teams ended up tying. The Chiefs present a much bigger challenge for Pittsburgh, and I think the Chiefs could win the game outright so I’ll take them with the points.

Dolphins at Jets (-2.5) – The Jets put up 48 points against the Lions in Week 1, so they may be better than people gave them credit for entering the season, but they’re not that good. After throwing a pick-six with his first career pass, Jets QB Sam Darnold ended up throwing a couple touchdown passes to his teammates and RB Isaiah Crowell had a good showing on the ground, running for more than 100 yards and a couple touchdowns. After that showing last week, I think the Jets can beat Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins, covering the spread in the process.

Eagles at Buccaneers (+3.5) – Like the Jets the Buccaneers overperformed last week, but i’m buying it even less with the Bucs than I did the Jets because of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has been a fairly pedestrian quarterback throughout his NFL career. While Foles, who also isn’t great, is expected to get another start for the Eagles I think the defending Super Bowl champions are the better overall team than the Bucs, so I’ll go with them to cover on the road.

Sunday 4PM games

Lions at 49ers (-5.5) – After giving up more than 40 points to the Jets at home in Week 1, the Lions are hitting the road to take on QB Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers. Last week’s results notwithstanding, the 49ers have a better offense than the Jets and should provide another tough challenge for the Lions defense. Lions QB Matthew Stafford needs to play better than he did last week to keep his team in it. I’ll give the points with the home team.

Cardinals at Rams (-12.5) – I’m all-in on the Rams this season — I even picked them to win Super Bowl LIII — and I fully expect them to win this game against a Cardinals team that struggled last week in their first game with QB Sam Bradford. But I always have a hard time giving a lot of points, like the 12.5-point spread in this game. So I’m going to go with the Cardinals and hope Jared Goff, Todd Gurley and the rest of the Rams offense don’t go off too much in a blowout.

Raiders at Broncos (-5.5) – Neither team looked very impressive last week and I don’t have high hopes for either team this season, so I think it’ll be a pretty close game. I don’t have a strong opinion either way, but I’ll take the points since I think it’ll be close.

Patriots at Jaguars (+2.5) – This AFC Championship rematch likely won’t be as competitive as it otherwise might have been if Fournette can’t play, which I don’t think he will. That means RB T.J. Yeldon will get the bulk of the work on the ground, which should be a big workload considering the team usually likes to limit the amount of passing plays for QB Blake Bortles. On the other side of the field, the Patriots defense looked good in Week 1, and combine that with QB Tom Brady, TE Rob Gronkowski and the rest of the offense, and I don’t think this game is going to be particularly competitive. I’ll give the points on the road.

Sunday Night Football

Giants at Cowboys (-2.5) – Neither offense looked good last week, so this could be a low-scoring game. While I don’t think Eli Manning is a good quarterback anymore, I think the Cowboys have two of the best offensive players in this game with Beckham and rookie RB Saquon Barkley. The Cowboys don’t have any good receivers after losing TE Jason Witten and WR Dez Bryant in the offseason. They’ll have to rely on Elliott if they want to have much success. I think the Giants will win the game outright, so I’ll take the points.

Monday Night Football

Seahawks at Bears (-3.5) – This is a matchup of teams that fell just short of winning last week, with the Bears losing a 20-0 lead in the second half of their game with the Packers. Since I don’t have much faith in either team, I’ll take the home team and hope QB Mitch Trubisky can get something going for the Bears.

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My NFL Picks Week 1: Can we expect any surprising results?

Thursday night saw the first of the 256 games that will be played this season in the NFL, with the Super Bowl LII champion Eagles — without QB Carson Wentz — beating the Falcons in a sloppily played, weather-delayed 18-12 contest. I thought the Falcons would be able to beat the champs without Wentz, so I’m 0-1, both straight-up and against the spread, to begin the season. But I have 15 more chances to get back on track with the rest of this weekend’s slate. Some of the highlights include the Texans — who are getting several key players, including QB Deshaun Watson and DE J.J. Watt, back from injury — visiting Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots, a Sunday nighter featuring Aaron Rodgers and the Packers hosting Khalil Mack and the Bears in one of the NFL’s longest-running rivalries, and Jon Gruden returning to coaching in the second half of the Monday night doubleheader when the Rams meet the Raiders in Oakland. As has been the case in years past, I’m using the lines from ESPN’s Pigskin Pick ‘Em game. My picks are in bold and my survivor pool pick (straight-up, non-ATS) is in red.

Sunday 1PM games
Bills at Ravens (-5.5)

Bengals at Colts (-3.5)

Steelers at Browns (+6.5) – I think the Steelers win the game but the Browns cover

Titans at Dolphins (+1.5)

49ers at Vikings (-5.5)

Texans at Patriots (-6.5) I think the Patriots win the game but the Texans cover

Buccaneers at Saints (-9.5) I think the Saints win the game but the Bucs cover

Jaguars at Giants (+2.5)

Sunday 4PM games
Chiefs at Chargers (-3.5)

Cowboys at Panthers (-2.5)

Seahawks at Broncos (-2.5)

Redskins at Cardinals (-0.5)

Sunday Night Football
Bears at Packers (-8.5) I think the Packers win the game but the Bears cover

Monday Night Football
Jets at Lions (-6.5)

Rams at Raiders (+2.5)

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5th Annual 32 in 32ish NFL Previews: Seattle Seahawks

We finish our previews of all 32 NFL teams with the Seattle Seahawks, who finished in second place in the NFC West last season.

After five straight playoff appearances, the Seahawks took a step backward last season, going 9-7, and it might get even worse this season. The defense got worse when the team released CBs Richard Sherman and Jeremy Lane and DE Cliff Avril, and later traded DE Michael Bennett to the Eagles. On offense, TE Jimmy Graham and WR Paul Richardson left in free agency, signing contracts with the Packers and Redskins, respectively. Their biggest addition on offense was selecting RB Rashaad Penny in the first round of the draft. They also signed WRs Jaron Brown and Brandon Marshall and changed backup quarterbacks, trading a draft pick to the Packers for QB Brett Hundley.

The Seahawks were 15th in the NFL with 5,286 yards and 11th with 366 points last season. QB Russell Wilson threw for 3,983 yards and 34 touchdowns — which tied his career high — with 11 interceptions; he also ran for team-highs with 586 yards and three touchdowns. WR Doug Baldwin had 75 receptions for 991 yards and eight touchdowns. WR Tyler Lockett caught 45 catches for 555 yards and two touchdowns. Brown had 31 catches for 477 yards and four touchdowns with the Cardinals, and Marshall had 18 receptions for 154 yards in five games with the Giants. Rookie RB Chris Carson had 49 carries last season for 208 yards. The defense was in the top half of the league in both yards and points allowed.

The Seahawks begin on the road for Weeks 1 and 2, playing the Broncos and Bears, respectively. The Cowboys come to Seattle for Week 3, then the Seahawks hit the road again to take on the Cardinals. They host the Rams in Week 5, then head overseas to take on the Raiders as the visiting team in London in Week 6. After a Week 7 bye, the Seahawks visit the Lions, then host the Chargers in Week 9. The Seahawks visit the Rams in Week 10 and host the Packers in Week 11. After a Week 12 road game against the Panthers, the Seahawks return home for games against the 49ers and the Vikings. The Seahawks then visit the 49ers in Week 15, and they finish the season with consecutive home games against the Chiefs and Cardinals.

The Seahawks are set for significant regression this season, especially on the defensive side of the ball with Sherman, Lane, Avril and Bennett all gone entering this season. Graham is also a significant loss on offense, leaving third-year TE Nick Vannett, who has 15 career receptions in his first two seasons, as the No. 1 tight end on the depth chart; they also used their fourth-round draft pick on TE Will Dissly. Brown could be a decent addition in the receiving corps, but Marshall is entering his 13th season in the league and, at 34 years old, is past his prime and shouldn’t be expected to be a big part of the offense. Baldwin and Lockett will be big parts of the offense. One part of the team that should be improved this season is the running game, which was virtually nonexistent last season. Carson will begin the season as the starter but Penny will get his share of playing time, especially has it gets deeper into the season. Overall, though, the team isn’t going to be good this season and may not win more than six or seven games.

And that concludes this year’s look at all 32 NFL teams. Tomorrow, we’ll have a preview of the Falcons-Eagles season opener, with our Week 1 picks and season and playoff predictions coming up this the weekend.

Source: http;//www.seahawks.com, http://www.pro-football-reference.com

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5th Annual 32 in 32ish NFL Previews: San Francisco 49ers

Next up for the NFC West in our previews of all 32 NFL teams is the San Francisco 49ers, who finished in last place in the division last season.

It was a tale of two seasons for the 49ers in 2017. They were 1-10 in their first 11 games, using starting QBs Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard. But they traded for QB Jimmy Garoppolo and started him for the last five games of the season; they went undefeated in his five starts to finish the season a semi-respectable 6-10. The team’s biggest offseason acquisition was signing RB Jerick McKinnon to a four-year contract, but he suffered a torn ACL in the final weekend before the start of the regular season. He was the anticipated starter at the position, and with him out for the season the 49ers are expected to turn to RB Alfred Morris — another offseason signing — to become the No. 1 running back. McKinnon’s injury also means a bigger workload for second-year RB Matt Breida, who the team signed as an undrafted free agent in 2017. The running-back signings were facilitated by the loss of RB Carlos Hyde, who signed with the Browns.

The 49ers were 12th in the NFL with 5,587 yards and 20th with 331 points in 2017. In his six games — five starts — Garoppolo threw for 1,560 yards and seven touchdowns, with five interceptions. WR Marquise Goodwin had 56 receptions for 962 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie TE George Kittle recorded 43 receptions for 515 yards and two touchdowns in 15 games, including seven starts. WR Pierre Garcon played in eight games, catching 40 passes for 500 yards — but that was all before Garoppolo took over as the quarterback because Garcon missed the second half of the season with a neck injury. Breida had 105 carries in his rookie season, running for 465 yards and two touchdowns. In 14 games — five starts — with the Cowboys, Morris ran the ball 115 times for 547 yards and a touchdown. The defense was in the bottom third of the league in both yards and points allowed.

The 49ers have a tough opponent to begin the season, visiting the Vikings in Week 1. Another NFC North opponent awaits in Week 2, with a home game against the Lions. The 49ers visit the Chiefs and Chargers in Weeks 3 and 4, respectively, then return home to face the Cardinals in Week 5. After that, they visit the Packers in Week 6 and host the Rams in Week 7. The 49ers play at the Cardinals in Week 8 before back-to-back home games with the Raiders and Giants. After a Week 11 bye, the 49ers have road games with the Buccaneers and Seahawks on tap, followed by a Week 14 home game against the Broncos. They host the Seahawks in Week 15 and Bears in Week 16 before ending the season on the road at the Rams in Week 17.

With Garoppolo as the starting quarterback all season, the 49ers will get off to a better record than they did last season, but I don’t think he’s as good as he looked in the few games he played late last season, so I’m not sure if they’re better than a .500 team. That would represent a two-game improvement over last year’s record, but wouldn’t be good enough to keep the 49ers in a hunt for a playoff spot. Especially with McKinnon’s injury, meaning the team is relying on Morris and Brieda on the ground, I think the 49ers are a level below the elite teams in the conference. They’re probably still a year or two away from competing for the playoffs.

Source: http://www.49ers.com, http://www.pro-football-reference.com

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5th Annual 32 in 32ish NFL Previews: Los Angeles Rams

Up next in our previews of all 32 NFL teams is the Los Angeles Rams, who won the NFC West last season.

After going 4-12 in 2016, the Rams went 11-5 in 2017 — their first season under head coach Sean McVay — en route to winning the franchise’s first NFC West title since 2003 and their first playoff appearance since 2004. The near-tripling of the team’s win total was due to breakout seasons for third-year RB Todd Gurley, who was named the AP Offensive Player of the Year, and second-year QB Jared Goff. Even though the Rams had one of the league’s best offenses last season, that didn’t stop them from adding to it this year. They traded a couple of 2018 draft picks, including their first-rounder, to the Patriots in exchange for WR Brandin Cooks, who they later locked up with a five-year contract extension. Acquiring Cooks makes an already-good offense even better and deeper.

The offense was 10th in the NFL with 5,784 yards, but it led the league with 478 points, which was 20 points better than the second-place Patriots. Goff threw for 3,804 yards and 28 touchdowns, with just seven interceptions in 15 games. Gurley had 279 rushes for 1,305 yards and 13 touchdowns, to go along with a team-high 64 receptions for 788 yards and six touchdowns in 15 games. Rookie WR Cooper Kupp also played in 15 games — six starts — and caught 62 balls for 869 yards and five touchdowns. WR Robert Woods added 56 catches for 781 yards and five scores in 12 games. Cooks recorded 65 receptions for the Patriots, going for 1,082 yards and seven scores. The defense was in the middle third of the league in both yards and points allowed.

The Rams’ start their season in the final game of Week 1, visiting the Raiders in the second half of the Monday NIght Football doubleheader. They’re at home for their next three games, starting with the Cardinals coming to Los Angeles in Week 2. That’s followed by visits from the Chargers and Vikings. The Rams then have three straight on the road, starting with a Week 5 contest at the Seahawks. They visit the Broncos in Week 6 and the 49ers in Week 7, then return home to take on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Rams play at the Saints in Week 9, and that is followed by a home game against the Seahawks in Week 10. The Rams are the designated home team in Week 11 when they play the Chiefs in a Monday night contest in Mexico City. That is followed by a Week 12 bye, then consecutive road games against the Lions and Bears. The Rams host the Super Bowl LII champion Eagles in Week 15’s Sunday nighter and visit the Cardinals in Week 16. They end the regular season at home against the 49ers in Week 17.

The Rams scored more points than any team in the league last season and they added to their offensive attack by trading for Cooks this offseason. After last season, it appears to be obvious that Goff and Gurley are both the real deal. It may be hard for Gurley to duplicate the numbers he put up last season, but he should be able to surpass 1,000 rushing yards while putting up numbers in the passing game as well. The defense, led by DT Aaron Donald, could be better but if the offense can continue putting points on the board like it did in 2017, the defense shouldn’t be too much of a drag on the team. The Rams have some tough teams on the schedule this season, including two games against an improved 49ers team, but with the talent they have they should be able to get to double-digit wins again, which will likely be good enough to reach the playoffs for a second straight season.

Source: http://www.therams.com, http://www.pro-football-reference.com

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5th Annual 32 in 32ish NFL Previews: Arizona Cardinals

The NFC West is the final division in our previews of all 32 NFL teams, and the first team we’re previewing in the division is the Arizona Cardinals, who finished in third place in the division last season.

Coming off of an 8-8 season, the Cardinals lost the centerpiece of their offense this offseason with the retirement of QB Carson Palmer. That led to the Cardinals using their first-round draft pick on QB Josh Rosen — taking him with the 10th overall pick — and signing veteran QBs Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon to compete for the starting job. Bradford is probably the best of that group, but none of the three is likely to have much upside. There was good news for the offense as RB David Johnson, who suffered a season-ending wrist injury in Week 1 last year, is ready to return to the field this season. And WR Larry Fitzgerald, who contemplated retirement, ultimately decided to return for his 15th season with the team. The team added to the receiving corps by signing WR Brice Butler and selecting WR Christian Kirk in the second round of the draft. The Cardinals also have a new head coach, with Steve Wilks replacing Bruce Arians and getting his first shot at being a head coach in the NFL.

The offense ranked 22nd in the league with 5,026 yards and 25th with 295 points last season. Bradford only started two games for the Vikings last season, going 32-for-43 for 382 yards and three touchdowns, and Glennon started four games for the Bears in which he threw for 833 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions. Fitzgerald had another strong season in 2017, recording 109 receptions for 1,156 yards and six touchdowns. WR JJ Nelson had 29 catches for 508 yards and two touchdowns, while rookie TE Ricky Seals-Jones had 12 catches for 201 yards and three scores in limited playing time over 10 games, including one start. Butler had 15 catches for 317 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games, but no starts, with the Cowboys. There wasn’t much of a running game with Johnson out and the running backs who had most of the carries last season — notable Adrian Peterson and Kerwynn Williams — are no longer with the team. The defense ranked sixth in yards allowed but was 19th in points allowed last season.

The Cardinals begin their 2018 campaign with a home game against the Redskins, then play at the Rams in Week 2. That is followed by home games with the Bears and Seahawks in Weeks 3 and 4, respectively. The Cardinals have a two-game road trip after that, with games at the 49ers and Vikings before returning home to play the Broncos and 49ers in Weeks 7 and 8. After a Week 9 bye, the Cardinals have three straight games against AFC West foes. They visit the Chiefs in Week 10, host the Raiders in Week 11 and hit the road again to play the Chargers in Week 12. They stay on the road in Week 13, playing the Packers at Lambeau Field. The Cardinals host the LIons in Week 14 and visit the Falcons in Week 15, then finish the season with a home game against the Rams in Week 16 and pay a visit to Seattle to battle the Seahawks in Week 17.

It’s not looking like a good season for the Cardinals, who figure to have one of the worst offenses in the league this season. Bradford is currently expected to begin the season as the starting quarterback, but with his injury history he probably won’t finish the year in that capacity. Glennon has never been a great quarterback, and Rosen is a rookie who may not be ready to play at a NFL-caliber level in 2018. The lower level of quarterback play that the Cardinals are likely to have compared to what they got out of Palmer will probably lead to worse numbers for Fitzgerald than what he has done throughout much of his career. Johnson will probably have to be the workhorse in the offense, but is unlikely going to be able to carry the team enough for them to have a good year. After a .500 record last season, the Cardinals may be looking at just five or six wins in 2018 in their first season of the post-Palmer era.

Source: http://www.azcardinals.com, http://www.pro-football-reference.com

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