Tag Archives: Titans

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.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Advertisements

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.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

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)

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

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

The Los Angeles Chargers, who finished in second place in the division last season, are the net AFC West team to preview as we near the end of our previews of all 32 NFL teams.

The Chargers will be entering the regular season a bit short-handed after getting hit by some big injuries in training camp. CB Jason Verrett and TE Hunter Henry are expected to miss the season with a torn achilles and a torn ACL, respectively. The Henry injury is particularly damaging, as the third-year player was expected to get the bulk of playing time at the position following the retirement of veteran TE Antonio Gates. After Henry suffered the season-ending injury, there was speculation that Gates may return to the team for 2018, but that has not yet happened.That leaves TE Virgil Green as the No. 1 guy on the depth chart in his first year with the team

The Chargers ranked fourth in the NFL with 6,026 yards, but they were 20th with 355 points. QB Philip Rivers threw for 4,515 yards and 28 touchdowns, with 10 interceptions. WR Keenan Allen had 102 receptions for 1,393 yards and six touchdowns, with WR Tyrell Williams adding 43 catches for 728 yards and four touchdowns. WR Travis Benjamin caught 34 passes for 567 yards and four scores. Green had just 14 receptions for 191 yards and a touchdown with the Broncos last season. RB Melvin Gordon was the team’s leading rusher, with 1,105 yards and eight touchdowns on 284 carries; he also had 58 receptions — the second most on the team — for 476 yards and four touchdowns. Rookie RB Austin Ekeler showed some promising signs in limited playing time, totaling 47 rushes for 260 yards and two touchdowns, with 27 receptions for another 279 yards and three touchdowns. The defense ranked 15th in yards allowed but gave up the third-fewest points in the league.

The Chargers begin their season at home against the Chiefs, then head to Buffalo to take on the Bills in Week 2. They return to Los Angeles in Week 3, but they’re the designated road team when they take on the Rams. The battle of L.A. is followed by home games against the 49ers and Raiders. The Chargers visit the Browns in Week 6, host the Titans in Week 7 and have their bye in Week 8. Coming out of the bye, they have road games against the Seahawks and Raiders in Weeks 9 and 10, respectively. They host the Broncos and Cardinals the following two weeks, then visit the Steelers in Week 13. The Chargers return home in Week 14 to take on the Bengals, then visit the Chiefs in Week 15. Their final home game comes in Week 16 against the Ravens, and they finish off their schedule at the Broncos in Week 17.

The Chargers’ 9-7 record last year was a four-game improvement over 2016 and they still have a good offense, but it’s not as good as it would be if Henry didn’t suffer his season-ending injury. Rivers has a good receiving core to throw to and Gordon is one of the best running backs in the league. I would expect Ekeler to be thrown into the mix more in the running game to save Gordon some reps. The tight end position is worrisome, though, with Green as the starter. He has never had more than 22 receptions in a season in his seven seasons with the Broncos. Overall, I think the Chargers still have a good enough team to finish around .500, possibly repeat their 9-7 record from a year ago. If things turn their way, the Chargers could compete for one of the wild cards in the AFC as they look to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

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

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

5th Annual 32 in 32ish NFL Previews: Washington Redskins

We conclude our NFC East previews, part of our previews of all 32 NFL teams, with the Washington Redskins, who finished in third place in the division last season.

With QB Kirk Cousins moving on to the Vikings in free agency, the Redskins acquired QB Alex Smith in a trade with the Chiefs to turn to the veteran quarterback to take over the starting job. Among the pass-catchers he’ll be throwing to is WR Paul Richardson, who the Redskins signed this offseason. The Redskins were dealt a major injury blow in the preseason when RB Derrius Guice, the team’s second-round draft pick and expected starter, suffered a season-ending torn ACL. In the wake of that injury, the team signed veteran RB Adrian Peterson, who appears to be on track to be the Week 1 starter.

With Cousins leading the offense, the Redskins were middle-of-the-pack last season with 5,199 yards and 342 points scored, placing the team 16th in the NFL in both categories. In 15 starts with the Chiefs, Smith threw for career highs with 4,042 yards and 26 touchdowns, with just five interceptions. WR Jamison Crowder led the team with 66 receptions for 789 yards, with three touchdowns in 15 games, including seven starts. TE Vernon Davis caught 43 balls for 648 yards and three touchdowns, while injury-prone TE Jordan Reed again missed significant time, playing in just six games in which he had 27 catches for 211 yards and two scores. With the Seahawks, Richardson had 44 receptions for 703 yards and six touchdowns. RB Samaje Perine was the team’s leading rusher, carrying the ball 175 times for 603 yards and a touchdown. RB Chris Thompson had 64 rushes for 294 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games; he also recorded 39 catches for 510 yards and four touchdowns. RB Robert Kelley played in seven games, with 62 carries for 194 yards and three touchdowns. In 10 games — seven starts — with the Saints and Cardinals, Peterson ran the ball 156 times for 529 yards and two touchdowns in what was a disappointing season for the 2012 NFL MVP. Defensively, the team was in the bottom half of the league in yards allowed and bottom five in points allowed.

The Redskins begin their season on the road at the Cardinals, then come home to host the Colts in Week 2. They have another home game — this time against the Packers — in Week 3, then have an early bye in Week 4. They get an extra day of rest coming out of the bye because they visit the Saints on Monday Night Football in Week 5, which is followed by a Week 6 home game with the Panthers. Two divisional games follow that, with a home game against the Cowboys in Week 7, then a road game at the Giants in Week 8. The Redskins have two NFC South opponents in Weeks 9 and 10, hosting the Falcons and then visiting the Buccaneers. The Redskins host the Texans in Week 11 before visiting the Cowboys in Week 12 and the Eagles for another Monday nighter in Week 13. A home game with the Giants is on the docket for Week 14, followed by back-to-back road games with the Jaguars and Titans. The Redskins end the regular season at home, when they take on the Eagles.

Smith has a reputation for being a game manager who doesn’t throw many interceptions but also doesn’t make many big plays with his arm. The lack of turnovers from the quarterback should help keep the offense on the field and limit the playing time for the defense, which struggled last year. The injury to Guice causes a bit of a problem at the running back position, especially if the Redskins turn to Peterson as the starter. He didn’t show many promising signs last season, but did put up decent numbers in his first preseason game with the team. The Redskins were 7-9 last season, and that is probably around where they’ll end up this year. They’re probably going to be in the six-to-eight range in terms of wins, which won’t be enough for them to make the playoffs.

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

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

5th Annual 32 in 32ish NFL Previews: Philadelphia Eagles

The next team up in our NFC East previews, part of our previews of all 32 NFL teams, is the Philadelphia Eagles, who won the division last season, going on to win Super Bowl LII.

Despite losing starting QB Carson Wentz late in the regular season last year, the Eagles managed to make it through the playoffs with QB Nick Foles and win the first Super Bowl title in franchise history, beating the Patriots in Super Bowl LII. They’ll look to defend their title with much of their championship team intact, along with the addition of WR Mike Wallace and TE Dallas Goedert, who the Eagles selected with their first-round pick in this year’s draft to essentially replace TE Brent Celek, who the Eagles released this offseason. They have also lost last year’s leading rusher, RB LeGarrette Blount.

The offense ranked seventh in the NFL with 5,852 yards and third with 457 points scored. Wentz started the team’s first 13 games in his second season in the league. He threw for 3,296 yards with 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions before suffering ACL and LCL tears that ended his season early. Foles took over the starting job that point, appearing in seven games total in the regular season — including the three starts — and throwing for 537 yards and five touchdowns, with two interceptions. TE Zach Ertz hauled in 74 receptions in 14 games — 13 starts — to lead the team; those catches went for 824 yards and eight touchdowns. WR Nelson Agholor recording 62 catches for 768 yards and eight touchdowns, while WR Alshon Jeffery caught 57 passes for 789 yards and a team-high nine touchdowns. Wallace had 52 receptions for 748 yards and four scores in 15 games, including 14 starts, with the Ravens. After Blount, RB Corey Clement was the team’s second-leading rusher with 74 carries for 321 yards and four touchdowns. RB Jay Ajayi played in seven games for the Eagles after being traded there by the Dolphins. In those games, he totaled 70 rushes for 408 yards and a touchdown. The defense was fourth in the league in both yards and points allowed.

The Eagles’ title defense begins with the traditional Thursday night opener, with the Falcons coming to Philadelphia. After that, the Eagles visit the Buccaneers in Week 2 and return home to play the Colts in Week 3. A visit to the Titans follows in Week 4, and then the Eagles host the Vikings in a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship. The Eagles play their first divisional game in Week 6 when they go to New Jersey to face the Giants. They play the Panthers in Week 7, then head overseas to take on the Jaguars in London. After a Week 9 bye, the Eagles return stateside to host the Cowboys. In Week 11, they play at the Saints and then host the Giants in Week 12. Two more divisional games follow that, with the Redskins coming to Philadelphia in Week 13 and the Eagles visiting the Cowboys in Week 14. The Eagles head to Los Angeles to play the Rams in Week 15 before flying back across the country to host the Texans in Week 16. Their regular-season finale has them on the road to take on the Redskins in Week 17.

With less than two weeks to go before the Eagles play their first game of the regular season, there is still some question about whether Wentz will be ready to take the field in Week 1. If he’s not, Foles will continue to start until Wentz is able to come back and take over the starting job. But that’s not the only injury concern for the Eagles. Jeffery continues to recover from offseason rotator cuff surgery, which could cause him to miss the beginning of the season. It is possible he could start the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list, which would cause him to miss the first six weeks of the season. With those injury concerns and division rivals like the Giants and Cowboys expected to be better this season, I don’t think the Eagles will go 13-3 again this season. They’re still the best team in the division and should make the playoffs with 10 or 11 wins, but the Eagles will likely take a step backward from what they did during the regular season in 2017.

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

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

5th Annual 32 in 32ish NFL Previews: New York Giants

Continuing with the NFC East in our previews of all 32 NFL teams, it’s time for the New York Giants, who finished in last place in the division last season.

After going 11-5 in 2016, the Giants had a disappointing season in 2017 and won just three games, giving them their worst record since going 3-12-1 in 1983. One good thing about having that poor of a record was getting the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft. The Giants used that pick to get Penn State RB Saquon Barkley, who was considered by many to be the best running back in the draft. The Giants have struggled at that position in recent years, so getting Barkley should help the offense. They also signed veteran RB Jonathan Stewart to serve as the backup to Barkley. Other players they added this offseason include OT Nate Solder, WR Cody Latimer and CB William Gay. They did lose a couple of veterans, though, when they traded DE Jason Pierre-Paul to the Buccaneers and cut WR Brandon Marshall.

The offense ranked 21st in the NFL with 5,028 yards and their 246 points put them ahead of just the winless Browns among the league’s 32 teams. QB Eli Manning had one of the worst seasons of his career, throwing for 3,468 yards and 19 touchdowns, with 13 interceptions, in 15 games. Rookie TE Evan Engram led the team with 64 receptions for 722 yards and six touchdowns in 15 games. WR Sterling Shepard played in 11 games, catching 59 balls for 731 yards and two touchdowns. WR Odell Beckham missed most of the season with an ankle injury; he played in just four games, recording 25 catches for 302 yards and three touchdowns in his limited playing time. Latimer had 19 catches in 11 games with the Broncos, going for 287 yards and a touchdown. RB Wayne Gallman — who is now behind Barkley and Stewart on the depth chart — was the team’s second-leading rusher last year, carrying the ball 111 times for 476 yards in 13 games, but just one start; he also had 34 receptions for 193 yards and a touchdown. With the Panthers, Stewart carried the ball 198 times in 15 games, running for 680 yards and six touchdowns. The defense ranked near the bottom of the league in both yards and points allowed.

The Giants’ schedule begins at home against the Jaguars, then they hit the road to take on the Cowboys in Week 2’s Sunday night game. They play another game in Texas in Week 3, this time it’s at the Texans. The Giants host the Saints in Week 4, then play at the Panthers in Week 5, allowing Stewart to face his old team for the first time. They have their first of two games against the Super Bowl LII champion Eagles at home in Week 6 before visiting the Falcons in Week 7. A Week 8 home game against the Redskins is followed by the Giants’ bye in Week 9. After that, they head west to take on the 49ers in Week 10. They host the Buccaneers — and Pierre-Paul — in Week 11, then visit the Eagles in Week 12. The Giants host the Bears in Week 13, then have a Week 14 road game against the Redskins. The Giants face AFC South opponents after that, a home game with the Titans in Week 15, followed by a road game against the Colts in Week 16. The Giants wrap up their season at home against the Cowboys in Week 17.

The Giants only won three games last year, but they won’t be that bad this year. They’ll get Beckham back after he missed most of last season, and if Barkley can leave up to the hype that will give the team a star at a position where they have struggled to find a productive player in the last several players. There is still a question about how Manning will do this season as the 37-year-old quarterback is on the backside of his career. Manning and the subpar defense are why I think the Giants will have another losing record. They may win six or seven games, but I don’t think they’ll do much better than that in 2018.

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

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine