Tag Archives: Lambeau Field

My NFL Picks Week 7: Super Bowl rematch, Packers start life without Aaron Rodgers

In Week 5, a couple NFL superstars suffered season-ending injuries, with Texans DE J.J. Watt and Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. out for the season. In Week 6, it was one of the league’s best quarterbacks that probably suffered that same fate when Packers QB Aaron Rodgers left the game against the Vikings with a collarbone injury that will likely cause him to miss the rest of the season. The Packers are at home this week for their first post-Rodgers game, taking on the Saints in what is expected to be a shootout. The game of the week is the Sunday nighter, featuring a Super Bowl LI rematch when the Falcons visit the Patriots. I went 6-8 last week, giving me an overall record of 50-41 for the season. 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

Byes: Lions, Texans

Thursday Night Football

Chiefs at Raiders (+2.5) – Coming off their first loss of the season, the Chiefs look to get back to their winning ways on a short week when they visit the Raiders, who are a disappointing 2-4 on the season. Raiders QB Derek Carr returned from his injury last week, but that didn’t help the offense like people thought it might. Facing the Chiefs defense won’t help the Raiders put points on the board. Give me the Chiefs.

Sunday 1PM games

Buccaneers at Bills (-2.5) – The Buccaneers may be heading to Buffalo with veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starter with QB Jameis Winston day-to-day with a shoulder injury. The Bills are coming off their bye, giving them plenty of rest for this game at home. I’ll take the Bills.

Panthers at Bears (+3.5) – The Bears needed overtime to beat the Ravens on Sunday, and they now face a more potent offense in the Panthers. QB Mitch Trubisky has helped improve the Bears offense since being named the starter, but I don’t think the Bears have enough weapons to compete with QB Cam Newton and the Panthers. I’ll give the points.

Titans at Browns (+5.5) – The Browns are still winless on the season, and I think that will continue after this game. QB Marcus Mariota came back in Week 6 after missing the previous game and played well despite his hamstring injury limiting his production on the ground. I fully expect the Titans to win the game, it’s just a question of whether they cover the spread. The Browns offense is so bad I think they will. Give me the Titans.

Saints at Packers (+5.5) – This was expected to be a matchup of two of the game’s best veteran quarterbacks with Drew Brees leading the Saints and Aaron Rodgers the Packers. With Rodgers sidelined with his injured collarbone, though, it’ll be QB Brett Hundley leading the Packers against an offense that put up 52 points last week. While they probably won’t score that much again, I don’t think Hundley will be able to keep up with the Saints offensively. Saints win and cover.

Jaguars at Colts (+2.5) – The Colts don’t have many weapons on offense, and Jaguars QB Blake Bortles isn’t very good. The Jags do have the best offensive player in the game with RB Leonard Fournette and a much better defense, so I give them the edge in this one. I’ll give the points.

Cardinals at Rams (-3.5) – RB Adrian Peterson played better in his first game with the Cardinals last week than he did all season with the Saints before being traded to Arizona. It seemed to invigorate a Cardinals offense that had been struggling of late  with QB Carson Palmer and WR Larry Fitzgerald putting up good numbers. I expect this to be a close game that I expect the Rams to win, but I think the Cardinals to keep it close enough that I’ll take the points.

Jets at Dolphins (-2.5) – The Jets only scored 17 against a bad Patriots defense last week while the Dolphins overcame a deficit to beat the defending NFC champion Falcons. Neither Jets QB Josh McCown nor Dolphins QB Jay Cutler — both former Bears — is great at this point in their careers, so I’ll go with the team with the best running back, which would be Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi, who I think will lead his team to the win. Dolphins cover.

Ravens at Vikings (-5.5) – The Ravens’ offensive struggles continued last week, losing to the Bears. The Vikings, on the other hand, has continued to perform decently with QB Case Keenum filling in for injured QB Sam Bradford. I expect the Vikings to win the game, helped in part by RB Jerick McKInnon, but I don’t think they cover so I’ll take the Ravens with the points.

Sunday 4PM games

Cowboys at 49ers (+6.5) There was some uncertainty early in the week over whether Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott would be able to play this week or if he’d begin serving his six-game suspension. He will play, which helps the Cowboys offense coming off the bye. They’ll win the game, and I think they cover the spread.

Bengals at Steelers (-5.5) The Steelers are coming off an impressive win against the Chiefs that came a week after QB Ben Roethlisberger had a five-interception game. RB Le’Veon Bell had his best game of the season for Pittsburgh last week, and I think the offensive momentum continues on Sunday at home against the division-rival Bengals. Give me the Steelers.

Broncos at Chargers (-1.5) – The Chargers are looking to rebound from a surprising loss to the Giants on Sunday night in which they only scored 10 points. I expect the offense to play better this week, but the Broncos will still rely on the defense to keep them in the game this week. I think the defense will be able to do that against the Chargers, I’ll give the minimum points.

Seahawks at Giants (-5.5) – The Giants are looking to start a winning streak after picking up their first win of the season on Sunday night. It’ll be tough to do against a strong Seahawks defense and with the Giants offense still not at full strength. WR Sterling Shepard may be back this week, but QB Eli Manning still doesn’t have many other weapons in the passing game to throw to. The Seahawks should win the game, and I think it’ll be close as to whether they cover. I think they’ll barely cover, so I’ll take Seattle.

Sunday Night Football

Falcons at Patriots (-3.5) – The Falcons seek revenge against the Patriots, who overcame a 25-point deficit to beat them in Super Bowl LI in February. This year’s Falcons team isn’t the same team that came within minutes of winning the Super Bowl, as the offense has struggled this season. The good news for them is the Patriots defense isn’t as good as what last season. That’ll give QB Matt Ryan a chance to shine, but I don’t think he’ll be able to outplay Patriots QB Tom Brady, which he’ll likely have to do if he wants to lead his team to victory. I’ll give the points.

Monday Night Football

Redskins at Eagles (-4.5) – The Eagles may be the best team in the NFC with Rodgers likely out for the year in Green Bay. QB Carson Wentz has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league this season. It’s never easy to beat a division rival, but it’s a home game for the Eagles, and I think they’ll be able to continue the success they’ve had this season. I think they’ll win to improve to 6-1 on the year, and I’ll give the points again.

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My NFL Picks Week 6: Chiefs look to remain undefeated, Giants seek first win

The Chiefs are the lone remaining undefeated team in the NFL this season, and they put their perfect 5-0 record on the line this week against a perennial playoff contender in the Steelers. On the other end of the spectrum, the Giants, Browns and 49ers are still searching for their first wins. With the AFC East-leading Bills on their bye this week, the game between the Patriots and Jets is for the division lead. I went 7-7 last week, giving me an overall record of 44-33 for the season. 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

Byes: Bills, Bengals, Cowboys, Seahawks

Thursday Night Football

Eagles at Panthers (-2.5) – The Panthers and QB Cam Newton seem to have gotten things together in the last couple of weeks, but the Eagles have been playing well all season, with QB Carson Wentz in the top 10 of many of the statistical categories at the position. The Eagles are struggling in the running game due to injuries, but I think they could win the game so I’ll take the points.

Sunday 1PM games

Dolphins at Falcons (-11.5) – It is obvious that QB Jay Cutler isn’t the answer for the Dolphins and, even though the Falcons offense behind QB Matt Ryan has taken a step back this season, they’re still significantly better than the Dolphins. The Falcons will win the game, it’s just a question of the point differential. I think 11.5 is too much — especially with WRs Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu possibly missing the game because of injuries suffered in Week 5 — so I’ll take the points.

Bears at Ravens (-7.5) – Last week was one of the few times this season the Ravens defense played well. In his first game on Monday night, Bears QB Mitch Trubisky looked serviceable. Since neither team has a great offense, I expect this to be a close game, so I’ll take the points again, though I think the Ravens will win the game.

Browns at Texans (-9.5) – Just as the Texans appear to finally have a real quarterback in rookie Deshaun  Watson, they lost two key pieces of their defense on Sunday night, with DE J.J. Watt and LB Whitney Mercilus both likely out for the season. Their loss probably won’t be felt too much against a bad Browns team that has announced QB Kevin Hogan will make his first start of the season, with Deshone Kizer hitting the bench. Texans win, but I think it’ll be closer than 9.5 points so I’ll take the points here as well.

Lions at Saints (-4.5) – I’m kind of surprised the Saints are giving points. While they do well at the Superdome, I think the Lions are the better team and could win the game outright. I’ll take the points with them.

Packers at Vikings (+3.5) – The Packers are coming off a last-second victory against the Cowboys, in which QB Aaron Rodgers led the game-winning drive in under 90 seconds, and visiting a Vikings team that could be without QB Sam Bradford, who left in the middle of Monday’s game against the Bears. Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon looked good filling in for rookie RB Dalvin Cook, who suffered a season-ending injury in the previous game. In Bradford plays, the Vikings have a chance to win but if it’s QB Case Keenum is under center, I don’t think it’ll be that close. I think the latter scenario is more likely so I’ll give the points with the Packers on the road.

Patriots at Jets (+9.5) – Surprisingly, both teams have identical 3-2 records, but the Jets’ wins haven’t come against teams the caliber of the Patriots. QB Tom Brady missed practice on Tuesday but returned on Wednesday, so there isn’t much concern about him playing Sunday, and if he’s on the field I don’t think this will be a close game. I’ll give the points.

49ers at Redskins (-9.5) – These teams are both in the bottom 10 of the league in points scored so you would expect this one to be pretty close, which is why I’m surprised the Redskins are such big favorites. They definitely have the advantage at quarterback, with Kirk Cousins against the 49ers’ Brian Hoyer, but I think the 49ers stay within a double-digit deficit. Redskins win the game, but I’ll take the points.

Sunday 4PM games

Rams at Jaguars (-2.5) – The Jaguars are in the top five of the league in both scoring offense and defense, going against a Rams offense that I feel has overperformed so far this season. Jags win by more than a field goal so I’ll give the points.

Buccaneers at Cardinals (+2.5) – The Cardinals offense is not good, and I don’t trading for RB Adrian Peterson this week will help it because he didn’t do much in the games he played with the Saints. I expect the Buccaneers to easily win and cover the spread.

Steelers at Chiefs (-3.5)Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is coming off the worst game of his career in which he threw five interceptions. Going against a good Chiefs defense won’t go well for him if he doesn’t improve over his performance last season. I think QB Alex Smith leads the Chiefs to another win to remain undefeated, and I’ll give the points.

Chargers at Raiders (-6.5) – The Raiders offense didn’t look good last week when QB Matt McGloin filled in for the injured Derek Carr, but it seems like Carr will be able to go this week at home against a 1-4 Chargers team. While their record isn’t great, the Chargers have lost a couple tight games late and I think they can take advantage of a bad Raiders defense to keep it close. I think the Raiders win the game, but I’ll take the points.

Sunday Night Football

Giants at Broncos (-12.5) – The 0-5 Giants are still looking for their first win of the season, which will be a tough task against a Broncos defense that has allowed the third-fewest points in the NFL this season.And Giants QB Eli Manning will be without WRs Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall — as well as potentially Sterling Shepard — but having said that the Broncos don’t exactly have a prolific offense either. I think nearly two touchdowns is too high of a spread so even though I expect the Broncos to win I’ll take the visitors with the points.

Monday Night Football

Colts at Titans (-3.5) – The Week 6 finale could be a battle of backup AFC South quarterbacks. We already know Jacoby Brissett will get the start for the Colts but Titans QB Marcus Mariota is a question mark. If Matt Cassel gets the start again, I could lean toward the Colts because the Titans offense wasn’t good last week under Cassel. It looks like Mariota could be ready for the game — and it helps that he has an extra day with the Monday nighter — so I’ll assume he’s playing and take the Titans to win, giving the points.

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My NFL Picks Week 5: Patriots-Bucs, Packers-Cowboys among the games of the week

The surprising results in the first quarter of the NFL season continued in Week 4, with the Patriots, Jaguars and Falcons losing in upsets. The Patriots get a chance to bounce back from their loss on Thursday night when they visit the Buccaneers. Other notable games in Week 5 include two of the NFC’s most popular teams meeting when the Cowboys host the Packers and the Texans, coming off a 57-point game against the Titans, look to knock off the Chiefs, the last remaining undefeated team in the league, on Sunday night. This is the first week of (scheduled) byes, with four teams idle. I went 10-6 last week, giving me an overall record of 37-26 for the season. 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

Byes: Falcons, Broncos, Saints, Redskins

Thursday Night Football

Patriots at Buccaneers (+5.5) – The offense hasn’t been the problem for the 2-2 Patriots as QB Tom Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski and performing like they usually do, and WR Chris Hogan has stepped up his game in the absence of WR Julian Edelman, but the defense has been among the worst in the league. That means Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston and WR Mike Evans should be able to score points. The Bucs also get back starting RB Doug Martin for the first time this season as he has served his three-game suspension to begin the season. While I think the Patriots probably win the game, I think the Bucs will cover the spread.

Sunday 1PM games

Bills at Bengals (-2.5) – This is a surprising line as the 3-1 Bills are coming off an upset of the defending NFC champion Falcons and are getting points against a Bengals team whose line win came against the winless Browns on Sunday. QB Andy Dalton looked better for the Bengals last week, but you can’t judge him fairly based on an outing against the Browns defense. I think Bills QB Tyrod Taylor will outplay him and expect the visitors to win outright. So if the Bills are getting points, I’m taking them.

Jets at Browns (-1.5) – Another game in which a bad Ohio team is surprisingly favored. Despite their 2-2 record, I’m still not convinced the Jets are a good team but they’re better than the Browns. I think the Jets have a good chance to win the points so I’ll take the points on the road again.

Panthers at Lions (-2.5) – Panthers QB Cam Newton finally looked like his old self last week in the team’s victory against the Patriots. They’ll look to carry that momentum into Detroit against the Lions. Both teams are 3-1 entering the game and I think the Lions will be the team that improves upon that record. I think Matthew Stafford has more weapons on the offense than Newton does, which I think will be enough for the home team to win and cover.

Titans at Dolphins (+2.5) – The Titans got blown out by the Texans last week, 57-14, but they shouldn’t worry about giving up that many points this week because the Dolphins have scored a total of six points in their last two games. The Titans are the better team, but the concern is the health of QB Marcus Mariota, who is day-to-day and could miss the game. If he does, QB Matt Cassel will get the start, which doesn’t instill much confidence in me that the Titans will win the game. But the Dolphins offense has looked so bad in the last couple weeks that I’ll go with the Titans even if Cassel plays.

49ers at Colts (-1.5) – The 49ers are still looking for their first win of the season behind QB Brian Hoyer while the Colts offense has been respectable in the last couple of weeks with QB Jacoby Brissett filling in for injured QB Andrew Luck. With the 49ers having to travel east to play an early game, I give the advantage to the Colts. I’ll go with the home team and give the 1.5.

Chargers at Giants (-3.5) – Both teams are 0-4 and hoping to get their first win of the season this week. The Giants have lost their last two games on last-second field goals and I think they have a better offense than the Chargers, who are taking a cross-country flight for the game. I’ll pick the Giants to get their first win and barely cover the 3.5 points.

Cardinals at Eagles (-6.5) – The Cardinals offense hasn’t looked great since losing RB David Johnson to injury in the season opener. QB Carson Palmer isn’t having a great season with WR Larry Fitzgerald his only reliable receiver. The Eagles are the better team and I expect them to win the game, but I think it’ll be closer than a touchdown difference so I’ll take the points.

Jaguars at Steelers (-8.5) – After losing big to the Jets last week, the Jaguars now have to deal with QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le’Veon Bell, WR Antonio Brown and the rest of the Steelers. They’re 3-1 but Pittsburgh’s offense hasn’t been as potent this season as we’ve come to expect from the team in recent years so I think 8.5 points is too big of a spread. Steelers win the game but don’t cover. I’ll take the points with the Jags, who have rookie RB Leonard Fournette leading their offense.

Sunday 4PM games

Ravens at Raiders (-3.5) – This would have been an easy pick to make if QB Derek Carr was starting for the injuries, but with him out with an injury and QB EJ Manuel set to make his first start since Week 17 of last season, it’s a tougher call. The Ravens offense hasn’t been good this season but I have a hard time taking trusting Manuel to cover. I’ll say Raiders win the game but I’ll take the Ravens and the points.

Seahawks at Rams (-2.5) – The Rams have had one of the league’s best offenses through Week 4 but they now face a tough task in going against a good Seahawks defense. This could be the week that Rams QB Jared Goff comes back down to Earth a bit so I think the team will have to rely on RB Todd Gurley to score enough points for the win. I think the Seahawks could win outright so I’ll take he points.

Packers at Cowboys (-1.5) – This is a rematch from one of last year’s divisional round games in the NFC playoffs. The Packers won that game by a field goal. This time, though, there is some uncertainty about who may be able to play. Specifically, RB Ty Montgomery and WR Davante Adams are questionable to take the field on Sunday. On the other sideline, the Cowboys offense isn’t as potent as it was last season. With an unexpected shootout in this game, QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott have to step up their game to keep up with the combination of QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Jordy Nelson on the Packers. Even with the potential injuries, I think the Packers are the better points so I’ll take the points again.

Sunday Night Football

Chiefs at Texans (+1.5)The Chiefs are the lone undefeated team remaining in the league, but this week they’re facing a Texans team that just scored a franchise-record 57 points in Week 4. Texans QB Deshaun Watson looks like he could be legit with the way he’s been playing in the 3.5 games that he’s been under center this season. The Texans will be riding high coming off of that blowout against the Jets and they have a good defense with DE J.J. Watt and LB Jadeveon Clowney. I think the Texans can pull off the upset in front of their home fans. I’ll take the points.

Monday Night Football

Vikings at Bears (+3.5) – The quarterbacks are question marks in the final game of Week 5. The Vikings are still calling QB Sam Bradford day-to-day so we don’t know if it’ll be him or QB Case Keenum getting the start for the visitors. The Bears do know who will be starting for them, but it’ll be QB Mitch Trubisky getting the first game action of his professional career as the Bears have decided to bench QB Mike Glennon after their 1-3 start. Making his first start in primetime against a good Vikings defense probably isn’t a formula for success for the rookie, but the Vikings will be without a rookie of their own, RB Dalvin Cook, who suffered a season-ending injury in last week’s game. I still think the Vikings win the game. I’ll give the points.

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My NFL Picks Week 4: Divisional battles, Panthers-Patriots highlight the action

After a few upsets — and near-upsets of the Packers and Patriots — in Week 3, we have what looks like a good slate of games awaiting us in Week 4, including some divisional games — starting with Thursday night’s BearsPackers game at Lambeau Field. There’s another London game, with the Saints and Dolphins going overseas, and the Patriots hosting the Panthers as QBs Tom Brady and Cam Newton do battle. The week ends on Monday night with the Chiefs — one of only two undefeated teams remaining in the league — hosting the Redskins, who are coming off a surprising blowout victory against the Raiders. I went 9-7 last week, giving me an overall record of 27-20 for the season. 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

Bears at Packers (-7.5) – The Packers offense hasn’t really played up to expectations yet this season, but it’s still quite a bit better than the Bears. Despite upsetting the Steelers last week, the Bears don’t have much of an offense outside of RBs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. On a short week, I trust Packers QB Aaron Rodgers much more than Bears QB Mike Glennon. Packers win the game, and I think they cover.

Sunday 9:30AM game (London)

Saints at Dolphins (+2.5) – The Dolphins looked bad in last week’s loss to the Jets, not putting points on the board until the fourth quarter. The Saints have a bad defense, but Dolphins QB Jay Cutler won’t be able to take advantage of it if he plays like he did last week. On the other side, the Saints and QB Drew Brees are getting back WR Willie Snead, who’s been suspended for the first three games of the season for PEDs. If the Saints are favored by less than a field goal, I’ll give the points.

Sunday 1PM games

Bills at Falcons (-8.5) – The Bills are coming off of a surprising victory against the Broncos that brought their record up to 2-1. The Falcons are 3-0 with QB Matt Ryan leading the way. The Falcons win the game but I think the Bills can keep it relatively close so I’ll take the points with the visitors.

Bengals at Browns (+2.5) – These in-state rivals are a combined 0-6 on the season.The Bengals finally came alive last week after not scoring a touchdown in their first two games, but they couldn’t hang on to beat the Packers and lost in overtime. The Browns are worse than the Bengals, so I’ll go with the visitors.

Rams at Cowboys (-8.5) – This is a surprising line since the Rams offense has looked good in two of their three games so far with QB Jared Goff playing well. Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott has been underperforming compared to the numbers he put up in his rookie season last year. I think the Cowboys win the game, but the Rams cover the spread.

Lions at Vikings (-2.5) – The Vikings did better than expected last week with QB Case Keenum filling in for injured QB Sam Bradford. Rookie RB Dalvin Cook has gotten off to a fast start in his NFL career and WR Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen had big games last week against the Buccaneers. It’s still unknown, though, if Bradford will be able to play this week and if he can’t I have a hard time picking the Vikings to beat the Lions so give me the road team.

Titans at Texans (+1.5)- The Texans came within a minute of beating the Patriots at Gillette Stadium last week as QB Deshaun Watson looked good in his second career start. The defense struggled, though, as DE J.J. Watt doesn’t look like he’s fully recovered from his back surgery. The Titans have won their last two games, scoring 27 and 37 in the contests. I think they win the game and cover the minimal spread.

Panthers at Patriots – The Panthers may be 2-1, but their offense hasn’t looked good yet this season, with Newton in particular struggling. The Patriots offense looks to be in midseason form after the Week 1 loss to the Chiefs. Brady threw five touchdowns in the Patriots’ win over the Texans last week. That will help make up for deficiencies on the defense. I don’t think there’s any doubt the Patriots will win the game, but the 9.5-point spread is a lot. I think they barely cover it.

Jaguars at Jets (+3.5) – The Jets picked up their first win of the season last week, beating the Dolphins, while the Jaguars looked very impressive in dominating the Ravens in London, winning 44-7. The Jaguars are now 2-1 and look good on both sides of the ball. I expect the Jets to go back to their losing ways this week. I think the Jaguars win by at least a touchdown so I’ll give the points. Give me the Jags.

Steelers at Ravens (+2.5) – Both teams are 2-1 and coming off of a Week 3 loss. The difference is the Steelers barely lost to the Bears in overtime while the Ravens got blown out by the Jaguars in London. The Ravens have to play much better than they did last week to have any chance of getting the win this week. I think the spread is too low so I’ll take the Steelers on the road.

Sunday 4PM games

Giants at Buccaneers (-3.5)The Giants have yet to win a game while the Bucs lost a game last week that many people thought they would win. The Giants offense did better last week than it did in the first two weeks of the season, but I still don’t think QB Eli Manning is playing well enough to beat the Bucs. I have a hard time picking the Giants to start 0-4 but I’m going to do it.

Eagles at Chargers (-0.5) – The Eagles needed rookie K Jake Elliott to make a 61-yard field goal at the end of last week’s game, but the victory brought their record up to 2-1. The Chargers haven’t had a great offense this season other than RB Melvin Gordon. I think the Eagles are the better team so if they’re getting half a point, I’m taking it.

49ers at Cardinals (-7.5) – I don’t trust either of these offenses to put a lot of points on the board. Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald has been the only reliable target so far for QB Carson Palmer and the running game has been virtually non-existent with RB David Johnson on IR. I think the Cardinals win the game, but I don’t trust them to win by eight points. I’ll go with the road team.

Raiders at Broncos (-2.5) – Both teams’ offenses disappointed in losses in Week 3. If this game comes down to the defenses, the Broncos have the clear advantage. I still don’t trust Broncos QB Trevor Siemian, though, and trust Raiders QB Derek Carr more. I think the Broncos’ defense wins out, though. I’ll give the points.

Sunday Night Football

Colts at Seahawks (-13.5) – The Seahawks offense has underperformed all season so far as QB Russell Wilson has not looked good. The Colts are still starting QB Jacoby Brissett in place of injured QB Andrew Luck, but he did well last week. I don’t see any way the Seahawks win the game by two touchdowns so I’m taking the points.

Monday Night Football

Redskins at Chiefs (-6.5) – The Chiefs are looking to start the season 4-0 with a win at home on Monday Night Football. They’re facing a Redskins team coming off a big win against the Raiders, but it’s also a team with a passing game that has yet to develop a rhythm this season. That’ll have to change if the Redskins hope to beat the Chiefs, who have a good defense. QB Kirk Cousins is going to be the key to whether the Redskins win the game or even stay within the spread. I think they’ll keep it close enough to cover the spread, but I think Kansas City wins again.

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4th Annual 32 in 32ish NFL Previews: Seattle Seahawks

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

QB Russell Wilson had some injury issues that limited his rushing performance last season, but the Seahawks still finished with 10 wins and won the division for the third time in four years. Their big addition this offseason was signing free-agent RB Eddie Lacy, who is expected to be part of a running back by committee with RBs Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise. And at the beginning of the month, they traded WR Jermaine Kearse to the Jets for DT Sheldon Richardson, who should help the defense. The team will be without RB Christine Michael, who was the Seahawks’ leading rusher last season.

Despite his injuries, Wilson played in all 16 games last season, though he didn’t finish all of them. He set a career high with 4,219 yards but threw for a career-low 21 touchdowns, with the 11 interceptions being the most he’s thrown in the first five seasons of his career. WR Doug Baldwin led the team with 94 receptions for 1,128 yards and 7 touchdowns. TE Jimmy Graham had 65 catches for 923 yards and 6 touchdowns. WR Tyler Lockett added 41 receptions for 597 yards and 1 touchdown, and WR Paul Richardson caught 21 balls for 288 yards and 1 touchdown. Rawls had 109 carries for 349 yards and 9 touchdowns in nine games and Prosise ran the ball 30 times for 172 yards and 1 touchdown in six games. With the Packers, Lacy ran the ball 71 times for 360 yards, without a touchdown, in five games of an injury-plagued season. The Seahawks were tied for 18th in points scored last season, and the defense ranked third in the league in points allowed.

Assuming Wilson is healthy, he should be more productive this season as he is likely to return to his typical running game, which helped him get 6 rushing touchdowns in 2014 and more than 500 yards each season from 2013-2015. As for the rest of the running game, it’ll be a three-pronged attack with Lacy, Rawls and Prosise. Rawls is currently listed as the No. 1 back on the depth chart, which is an indication that he should see the bulk of the carries if his performance warrants it. If he can’t put up good numbers, though, the team probably won’t hesitate to increase the workload of the other running backs. And seventh-round draft pick RB Chris Carson is a dark-horse candidate to see an increased workload as the season progresses as the guys ahead of him on the depth chart don’t have a great history of staying healthy. Richardson is expected to see more work in the receiving game as the expected starter across from Baldwin, with Graham also continuing to be a big part of the passing game as long as he can stay on the field, as he was able to do last season after missing give games in 2015. The defense was already good last season and adding Richardson should solidify it further.

The schedule gives the Seahawks a tough road contest to begin the season, taking them to Lambeau Field to take on the Packers in Week 1. Things look to get easier in Week 2 when the Seahawks host the 49ers. A road game at the Titans follows in Week 3, with the Colts — potentially without QB Andrew Luck — coming to Seattle on Sunday night in Week 4. The Seahawks visit the Rams, then have a Week 6 bye, which leads into a road game with the Giants. The Seahawks host the Texans and Redskins in Weeks 8 and 9, respectively, then they visit the Cardinals in Week 10’s Thursday night game. They host the Falcons on Monday Night Football in Week 11, then visit the 49ers in Week 12. After that, the Eagles come to town for another Sunday nighter, and the Seahawks visit the Jaguars in Week 14. A home game with the Rams is on tap in Week 15, followed by a Week 16 contest at the Cowboys, and the Seahawks host the Cardinals to finish out the regular season in Week 17. The Seahawks have a lot of tough games ahead of them, but with their offense and defense I see them potentially winning 10-11 games, possibly even 12.

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

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

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4th Annual 32 in 32ish NFL Previews: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

As we conclude our previews of NFC South teams with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are coming off a second-place finish last year, we reach the halfway point of our previews of all  32 NFL teams

The Buccaneers are on the upswing, coming off a 9-7 season, behind the arm of QB Jameis Winston. They had their first above-.500 season since 2010 despite starting RB Doug Martin missing half of the season between injury and suspension. And they’ll be without him for the first three games of 2017 as he serves another league-issued suspension. The team’s biggest free-agent signing was WR DeSean Jackson. Add him to the team, along with first-round draft pick Alabama TE O.J. Howard and it should give Winston two more strong options in the passing game.

Winston threw for 4,090 yards and 28 touchdowns last season, with 18 interceptions on the negative side of his ledger. The biggest beneficiary of his performance was WR Mike Evans, who made 96 receptions for 1,321 yards and 12 touchdowns. There was a big gap between him and the second-best pass-catcher, TE Cameron Brate, who caught 57 passes from Winston for 660 yards and 8 touchdowns. WR Adam Humphries had 55 catches for 622 yards and 2 touchdowns. With the Redskins last year, Jackson had 56 receptions for 1,005 yards and 4 touchdowns. RB Jacquizz Rodgers was the most productive runner in the ground game, rushing for 560 yards and 2 touchdowns on 129 carries in 10 games. Despite playing in just eight games, Martin had the most rushing attempts with 144, but he totaled just 421 yards with 3 touchdowns. Overall, the offense was tied for the 18th-most points in the league, with the defense ranking near the middle of the league in points allowed.

Entering his third year in the league, you would expect Winston to continue to improve as he gains more experience in the league and enters the prime of his career. Drafting Howard should give him a tight end who can put up better offensive numbers than they got out of the position last year, although Brate’s 8 touchdowns could be hard to top. Evans is one of the top receivers in the league, and adding Jackson gives the Bucs a legit No. 2 in the receiving game to better a passing attack that is already the best part of the offense. The running game continues to be a question mark with Martin already suspended three games — and who knows if he’ll miss time with injuries? He doesn’t have the best track record of staying healthy. He’s only played 16 games twice in his five-year career, running for more than 1,400 yards each time. If he can play in all 13 games after his suspension and put up that type of production, the team should be able to compete. If not, they probably won’t have much success without much of a run game.

Their schedule begins with a Week 1 road game at the Dolphins, where they’ll face out-of-retirement QB Jay Cutler, and that is followed up with a home game against Cutler’s former team, the Bears, in Week 2. The Bucs visit the Vikings in Week 3 and host the Giants the following week. Week 5 gives the Bucs a Thursday night game at home against the Super Bowl LI champion Patriots. They then head to the desert to visit the Cardinals in Week 6, followed by a game at the Bills in Week 7. Two divisional games follow, with the Panthers coming to town in Week 8 then the Bucs heading to the Superdome to face the Saints. They have a Week 11 bye, which is followed by two tough road games. The first is a Week 13 contest at the Falcons, followed by a visit to Lambeau Field in Week 14 to take on the Packers. The final three games of the Bucs’ season are against divisional foes, with a Monday night home game with the Falcons the first of the three in Week 15. That is followed by a road game against the Panthers and a Week 17 battle with the Saints in Tampa. I think the Bucs will win eight or nine games, so no improvement from last year. If Martin can get a 1,000-yard rushing season, maybe they can get another win but that’s about it.

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

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4th Annual 32 in 32ish NFL Previews: New Orleans Saints

We continue in the NFC South as part of our previews of all 32 NFL teams, with the New Orleans Saints, who finished in third place in the division last season.

Saints QB Drew Brees gets a new offensive weapon to work with this season after the signing of longtime Vikings RB Adrian Peterson. He joins RB Mark Ingram as the top two players on the depth chart at the position. They also signed free-agent WR Ted Ginn. While they added Peterson and Ginn, they lost WR Brandin Cooks, sending him to the Patriots in a trade in which the Saints received draft picks, giving them two first-round picks, with which they chose Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore and Wisconsin OT Ryan Ramczyk. The Saints are hoping the personnel changes will help them avoid a fourth-straight 7-9 season and get back above .500 as they seek their first playoff appearance since 2013, their longest postseason drought of the Brees era.

Brees had his best season since 2011 last year, completing 70% of his passes for a NFL-best 5,208 yards and 37 touchdowns, with 15 interceptions. WR Michael Thomas had 72 receptions for 1,137 yards and 9 touchdowns. WR Willie Snead added 72 catches for 895 yards and 4 touchdowns, with TE Coby Fleener grabbing 50 balls for 631 yards and 3 touchdowns. With the Panthers last year, Ginn had 54 receptions for 752 yards and 4 touchdowns. On the ground, Ingram carried the ball 205 times for 1,043 yards and 6 touchdowns, adding 46 receptions and 4 receiving touchdowns through the air. Peterson played in just three games with the Vikings last year, totaling 37 carries for 72 yards for a subpar 1.9 yards/rush average. The Saints offense scored the second-most points in the league last year, but the defense allowed the second-most points.

As noted, Brees is coming off one of his best seasons in a while, but at 38 it would not be surprising to see him start to go down the backside of his career. Losing Cooks, who had the most receiving yards on the team in 2016, is a big deal, and Ginn likely won’t be able to make up a lot of the production he had. Peterson is a wild card in the running game. He’s 32, so he’s getting a bit old for a running back, but he’s only played one full season in the last three due to suspensions and injuries, which could be a positive in helping him seem younger on the field than you would expect from a player of his age. Regardless, he will likely remain the No. 2 back behind Ingram, who is still seemingly in the prime of his career at 27 years old.

In a scheduling move that was likely intentional by the league, the Saints open the season on the road at Peterson’s former team, the Vikings, in the first game of the Week 1 Monday night doubleheader. Next up on their schedule is a Week 2 home game against the Super Bowl LI champion Patriots. The Saints then visit the Panthers and play the Dolphins in London in Weeks 3 and 4, respectively, before getting a Week 5 bye. Three straight games against NFC North foes are next, with the Lions coming to the Superdome in Week 6, the Packers hosting New Orleans at Lambeau Field in Week 7, and the Bears visiting the Saints in Week 8. The Buccaneers are on the slate in Week 9, followed by a game at the Bills in Week 10. The second game against the Panthers comes at home in Week 13. The Saints face the Falcons twice in a three-week span, with the first meeting coming in Atlanta in Week 14 for the Thursday night game and the return game in New Orleans in Week 16. The Saints finish out the regular season on the road in Week 17 against the Bucs. That’s not a good schedule for a team with a bad defense like the Saints have because there are a lot of good offenses there. I’m thinking the Saints are going to be around a .500 team this season.

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

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