In the immortal words of Bon Jovi: “we’re half way there“. The NFL season that is. Week 9 is in the books and the early playoff picture is starting to take shape. Already this year, we’ve seen some wild performances, brutal injuries and some interesting trades. Let’s take a few moments to do some inventory on what was happened so far. This is your 2017 NFL midseason report.
Everyone got hurt
There are always injuries in football, that is nothing new but the number of big profile players that have already gone down seems disproportionately high. So far this year we’ve seen major health issues for stars like: Aaron Rodgers, Odell Beckham Jr, JJ Watt, David Johnson, Julian Edelmen, Andrew Luck, Greg Olsen and Carson Palmer. That’s like one whole fantasy team. And speaking of fantasy, I owned rookie running back Dalvin Cook who was killing it for the Vikings and I until he tore something in his knee and was placed on IR. Bummers all around. By the way, this is by no means the full list of impact players who got hurt but simply the most notable ones.
Jacoby Brissett left New England’s bench to start in Indy. Adrian Peterson moved from New Orleans crowded backfield to the feature spot in Arizona. Jimmy Garapollo dropped the Pat’s backup clipboard to take over in the San Fran rebuilding project. Wait, if both Brissett and Garapollo are gone then who will play if Brady gets hurt?
Then Kelvin Benjamin left Carolina and moved north to Buffalo. And Jay Ajayi departed Miami for Philly. Those guys both know their new stadiums are outdoors right? It’s about to get real cold. But all these moves are real hot.
Lions still give me heart issues
Detroit currently sits at 4-4 and have already had their bye week. They started 3-1 and then went 1-3. So it’s hard to say exactly how good this squad is. It’s easy to find positives and negatives on both sides. You hear that the Lions are 3-1 on the road, 2-0 in the division and they sound like they are playoff bound. Then you look at the awful rushing stats paired with the average-at-best pass rush and you think the season is going to be rough. So which is it?
Who knows. The schedule lines up favorably but the Vikings are the current NFC north leaders (6-2) but Detroit beat them once already. A second win over Minnesota (on Thanksgiving!) would go a long way to setting the Lions up for a rare division crown. I can’t bring myself to predict the last 8 games but the schedule has some wins on it for sure. I pray it’s enough for a playoff ticket.
It feels like we wait for football all year and then it comes and just flies by. It’s slipping away already, I can feel it. As the last weeks play out and the post season picture comes into focus, my hope is we see some new teams playing in the Super Bowl. Lions vs Chiefs anyone?
NFL free agency has only been a few days but already the complete landscape of football has changed. Huge names have moved and found new homes while others have decided to hang up the cleats and retire. Millions are being tossed around and it’s a lot to process. Let ScoreBoredSports ease your weary brain with this helpful review of all the big transactions so far. Strap on your dancing shoes and let’s all do the free agency mambo.
WR Brandon Marshall to Giants
2 year/$12 million dollar deal saves Marshall from moving homes or facilities as he switches to the Giants. The former New York Jet will join Odell Beckham Junior in the receiving corps. Should make for a pretty solid unit.
WR Pierre Garçon to 49ers
This organization is totally rebuilding. They need offensive weapons. Garçon is nice possession receiver but it’s unsure who will be throwing him the ball. Got to start somewhere, though it looks like San Francisco overpaid.
OT Ricky Wagner and OL TJ Lang to Lions
Oh boy, the Lions add some beef upfront to help keep Stafford alive. As a fan, I love any effort to improve the o-line and help our lackluster running game.
TE Dwayne Allen to Pats
This was a trade with the Colts where Allen and a 6th round pick went to New England for only a 4th round pick. Seems like a small price tag for a guy that will blossom under Brady. But that’s what the Pats do.
RB Mike Tolbert to Bills
Mike packs his bags and leaves the Panthers to join Shady McCoy and the other backs in Buffalo. This team loves to the run the ball so look for Tolbert to get the short yardage/goal line duties.
QB Brian Hoyer to 49ers
I expect the new heads of the organization to draft a QB but this will be their starter for the time being. Hoyer has flashed moments where it looks like he has all the tools for the job. This will be a tough test. Hopefully, they can add a few more pieces around him.
S Barry Church to Jags
Jacksonville focused on defense in last year’s draft and maybe those picks will pay off but they couldn’t stop anyone last season. Church is a vet who Jacksonville hopes can bring some leadership to the secondary.
WR DeSean Jackson to Bucs
DJax headed to Tampa where his skills should pair well with star WR Mike Evans. This could be a nasty duo. This team has playoff sleeper written all over it.
K Steve Hauschka to Bills
Hey, kickers matter and Steve is one of the best. The long time Seahawk is bringing his talents to north beach. This is a good pick up for any team.
WR Kenny Britt to Browns
Get that money Kenny, but it sucks to be on Cleveland. This team needs tons of help and they don’t seem close to an answer. Would love to be wrong.
CB AJ Bouye to Jags
Jacksonville continues to invest on the defensive side of the ball with the splashy signing one of the top cornerbacks available, but they paid for it. 5 year/$67 million.
WR Alshon Jeffery to Eagles
Philly adds a big time target for a 1 year/$14 million deal. This is all about fit. That’s why the contract was only for a season. If Jeffery soars, expect a huge offer next year.
CB Logan Ryan to Titans
The other top defensive back on the market lands in Tennessee. This is another team that is quietly building a real competitor.
DE Julius Peppers to Panthers
Homecoming. I love when a player gets a chance to head back to his old team for another tour. Fans bust out their old jerseys and we all have fun.
WR Terrelle Pryor to Washington
1 year/$8 million and suddenly you are QB Kirk Cousin’s new favorite target. He will replace Jackson and keep the passing attack rolling in the Capitol.
TE Martellus Bennett to Packers
Just what Aaron Rodgers needs, a Super Bowl winning-mega talent. Ugh. The only worse headlines are from the real news.
WR Brandin Cooks to Pats
God damn it. How do they keep reloading so fast? It’s almost like every player in the league wants to play there and win one of those fancy trophies. New England sent their 1st and 3rd round draft picks to New Orleans for Cooks and a 4th rounder.
TE Lance Kendricks to Packers
Looks like Green Bay is following the Pats model of the two TE sets as they add another big body pass catcher.
WR Kendall Wright to Bears
Chicago needed to do something after losing top wide out Jeffery. Wright becomes the go-t0 guy in the Windy City. The real question is, with Jay Cutler gone, who is throwing the ball?
QB Nick Foles to Eagles
Another reunion. Foles will presumedly be the number two quarterback behind Wentz, who just finished his rookie year. Foles should be considered a top tier backup. Someone who is ready to start and win in the event of an injury.
RB Eddie Lacy to Seahawks
The big back joins Seattle on a 1 year/$5 million deal with $3 mil fully guaranteed. His weight is an issue. Some reports have him at 267 lbs. That’s heavy for a running back. The hope is he becomes the new Marshawn Lynch but that may be unrealistic.
QB Mike Glennon to Bears
Chicago has finally cut ties with Jay Cutler and they need a new signal caller. Glennon may not set Chicago on fire but he is young, 6’6″ and has experience. Not a sexy signing but the free agency market for QB’s is slim.
Some big names are still available. Guys like Dont’a Hightower, Adrian Peterson and Colin Kaepernick are still looking for a team. The NFL draft is a month away so we can expect to see some more action in the coming days. But most of the high profile talent is already off the board. This is such an exciting time for football. I can’t wait for the season opener.
The NFL’s free agency period begins Thursday March 9th at 4 p.m. ET. Two days before that, is what is known as the legal tampering period, a time when teams and free agents are free to begin negotiating. It is around this time that players and teams can agree, in principle, to contracts and when the offseason news cycle really begins to go wild. On March 7th we will all begin to hear about the ridiculous money being handed out to NFL free agents and naturally, we will hear about guys who are being overpaid. The great players will break the bank and even the good to mediocre players will fetch a huge ransom. There will be older players who bank off of storied careers and there will be guys who had good seasons last year that will prove to be one-hit wonders. Let’s take a look at some guys who will be giving their new teams buyer’s remorse before long.
For years, Adrian Peterson has been among the best running backs in the league. He has frustrated opposing defenses and he topped 2,000 yards rushing in 2012. Peterson has also had at least 10 touchdowns in 8 of his 10 seasons in the NFL, and those two other seasons were drastically shortened due to an injury and a domestic violence suspension. Due to his impressive production throughout his career, there will almost certainly be a large market for his services but the smartest teams will stay away.
AP will turn 32 this month and for a running back, especially one with as many miles on the tires as him, that is ancient. He has carried the 2,418 times in his career and it seems unlikely that he will be able to return to league-leading form after suffering knee and groin injuries last season. Someone is going to pay him big money (Cleveland Browns?) but they will be kicking themselves in the butt sooner rather than later.
Prior to week 3 of the 2016 NFL season, AJ Bouye was the number-four cornerback on the Houston Texans’ roster. Then the Texans secondary was hit with a rash of injuries that propelled Bouye into the starting lineup. Luckily for the Texans, and Bouye’s bank account, he thrived once he started to see more playing time. The four year veteran went on to start 11 games for the Texans after starting only 8 games in his first 3 years in the league. While he certainly proved that he has the ability to be a starter in the NFL, the lack of sustained high level play over the course of his career should be concerning.
Bouye is widely considered the best cornerback in the free agent market and a year ago, no one had heard of him. Ideally, you would like to give top cornerback money to someone who has proved themselves over the course of more than one single NFL season. He wouldn’t be the first NFL player who played out of their mind in a contract year and then disappeared back into the shadows from whence they came once they signed a mega deal.
Alshon Jeffrey has all the talent in the world and the tools to be a top wide receiver in the NFL. He also has a ton of baggage, including a PED suspension and some injury concerns. Despite that baggage, there is a good chance that Jeffrey could soon be the highest paid receiver in the league, eclipsing Antonio Brown’s four-year, $68 million deal that he signed with the Steelers earlier this week. When you’re handing that kind of contract to a guy like Jeffrey, who has had a rocky career, there’s a good chance that you could come to regret that decision.
Jeffrey has only gained 1,000 or more yards receiving in 2 out of his 4 seasons and has only caught 10 touchdowns once. For a guy who has shown such great flashes of talent, he can be very frustrating. Regardless, some poor sucker of a team is going to make this guy very, very rich. And there’s a good chance that contract will make whatever team very, very sad. If you don’t believe me just ask the Bears why they didn’t apply the franchise tag to their best pass catcher.
This guy is something else. He was a free agent last offseason after a pretty solid first 6 years to his career in Seattle. He was successful in his time with the Seahawks and was primed to sign a big-money contract. Then he proved that he is far from the sharpest tool in the shed by deciding to forgo the normal process of having a professional agent and negotiated his own contract. He saved himself a few dollars of commission and signed himself to one of the dumbest contracts ever. On the surface it was a five-year deal worth $10.6 million a year with the Broncos but upon realizing that the team had the option to void the contract after the first year and release themselves from the remaining $20.5 million in guaranteed money, you have to wonder what is wrong with this guy?
Okung’s performance last year was far from his best showing but luckily for him, the offensive tackle class in free agency and the draft is rather thin. That means that the 29-year-old will likely find pay that he should be happy with. The problem is that he has proven to be a real idiot who is bound to continue to show his lack of awareness. The only saving grace for potential suitors would be if he is stupid enough to try to act as his own agent once again. He can’t be that dense, but if he is, would you really want to risk signing someone like that?
There are always some players who get signed in free agency and fizzle out and are the guys that I think will come to look like bad signings a year or two down the line. They may have done enough up to this point to get themselves giant contracts but this will probably be the last big money deal they see. Head on down to the comments section and tell us which players you think your favorite team should avoid.
It’s only week 3 and already many big names have gone down with serious injuries. This is the biggest x-factor of fantasy football. Players on your team are going to get hurt. It happens. Champions scoop up their replacements and the next big thing off the waiver wire. So far, we’ve seen Keenan Allen, Jimmy Garoppolo, Danny Woodhead, Adrian Peterson, Robert Griffen III, Doug Martin, Ameer Abdullah, Josh McCown all get added to the injury report. Well, SBS is here to help. First, I’m going to assume you play in a good league and most of the notable players are already unavailable. Below are some free agent options (all less than 50% owned in ESPN standard leagues) to fill the holes in your fantasy roster.
Carson Wentz, Philadelphie Eagles – The rookie isn’t totally lighting up the box score but he has been efficient moving the ball and has zero turnovers so far. Owned in 19.5% of ESPN leagues.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets – Posted 14 and 20 points in his first two starts. Only 1 pick, plus Fitzpatrick has some solid options with Matt Forte, Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall (if he isn’t hurt). Owned in 33.2% of ESPN leagues.
Fozzy Whittaker, Carolina Panthers – With Jonathan Stewart banged up, Fozzy got the start and put up 100 yards on 16 carries against the 49ers. Stewart’s hamstring may hold him a few weeks longer making Whittaker a must add. Owned in 1.1% of ESPN leagues
Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings – AP is going to miss some time and that opens the door for Jerick. Matt Asiata will also be in the mix but McKinnon is the back you want to add. Owned in 24.4% of ESPN leagues.
Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins – Another replacement killer. Arian Foster is nursing a groin injury so it’s time to add his backup. Ajayi got some work at the end of last game but the Dolphins were behind and not running the ball much. Look for Jay to post a decent stat line in Cleveland. Owned in 46% of ESPN leagues.
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings – Sam Bradford is in and he is throwing. Rudolph found the end zone for the first time with Sam as QB. Look for this trend to continue as the pass game becomes the focus because of the AP injury. Owned in 32.2% of ESPN leagues.
Jacob Tamme, Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan is red hot and spreading the ball all around. And there is plenty to go around. Tamme has at least 5 catches in both the first two games and has made it to pay dirt once. Falcons will keep passing and Julio Jones keeps sucking up all the coverage. Jacob is a steal right now. Owned in 10.9% of ESPN leagues.
Cole Beasley, Dallas Cowboys – Rookie QB Dak Prescott (owned in 44.3% of ESPN leaagues) has built a rapport with the wideout and looks for him often. He has been second on the team in targets two weeks running. That consistency makes him a legit plug-and-play option for those in need. Owned in 7.4% of ESPN leagues.
Kenny Britt, Los Angeles Rams – Britt has posted 67 yards and 94 yards in two games. He has yet to score a TD but he is LA’s best receiving threat in terms of fantasy. You could do a lot worse. Owned in 8.3% of ESPN leagues.
Danny Amendola, New England Patriots – Coming off a 4 catch, 50 yard and 2 touchdown game, Danny will be a popular add. The Pats throw the ball enough that this makes sense, no matter who the QB is. Only owned in 3.5% of ESPN leagues.
Cairo Santos, Kansas City Chiefs – 10 points in week one, 15 in week two and hasn’t missed a field goal yet. Look at your roster, is your kicker this good? Owned in 28% of ESPN leagues.
Nick Novak, Houston Texans – 11 points in week one, 13 in week two and he’s only missed one field goal. Look at your roster, is your kicker this good? Owned in 9% of ESPN leagues.
Philadelphia Eagles – The Philly D has scored 14 fantasy points in both games. They haven’t allowed more than real 14 points in any game and already have 4 takeaways. Owned in 27% of ESPN leagues.
Pittsburgh Steelers – This unit hasn’t scored a ton of points but they been solid through two contests. Never giving up more than 16 points and averaging two turnovers won per game. Not too bad for a crew owned in merely 21.2% of ESPN leagues.
Need more help than that? Then you’re probably screwed. Check back soon for more waiver wire tips as we approach the dreaded dog days of the bye weeks.
When the Eagles traded up for NDSU Quarterback Carson Wentz in the April draft, Sam Bradford was not thrilled. Bradford, who finished the 2015 season with the Philadelphia Eagles in good fashion, demanded to be traded. Understandably, NFL teams balked at what it would cost to get Bradford, as NJ.com reported, it was going to cost, “more than a second round pick.” Fast forward to Tuesday, August 31st: The Eagles got more than they could ever bargain for by trading Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings for a 2017 1st round pick and a 2018 4th round pick.
Bradford has never lit up the league or taken any teams to the playoffs, but in his defense, the playmakers around him over his years with the Rams and his one year with the Eagles were rather non existent. The best name to come out of that group was Danny Amendola in St.Louis. Bradford now goes to a team with Charles Johnson and Stefon Diggs on the outside, Kyle Rudolph at TE, and Adrian Peterson in the backfield. There’s also Laquon Treadwell waiting in the wings to take over Charles Johnson’s starting spot.
Several talking heads in the NFL considered the Vikings to be contenders for the Super Bowl with Bridgewater under center and now there’s no reason why Minnesota couldn’t have the same hopes and dreams. Mike Zimmer has built the Vikings to be a contender with an old school style of ball. Zimmer is going to grind Adrian Peterson to the bone with Jerrick McKinnon as a change of pace running back. It doesn’t hurt that the defense is filled with young studs (Barr, Smith, Floyd, Kendricks, Hunter) and savvy veterans (Newman, Griffen, Joseph) and were at the top of the league last year in points allowed (17.1 per game).
When news broke about QB Teddy Bridgewater’s injury last Tuesday, I immediately was banging the drum for Colin Kaepernick to get to Minnesota. The idea of Kaepernick, McKinnon, and Peterson coming out of the backfield and making people look foolish with their legs sounded really intriguing over potential vanilla veterans that Vikings’ offensive coordinator Norv Turner has worked with: Matt Cassel, Brandon Weeden, and Brian Hoyer, or current backup Shaun Hill. Most people around the league never thought that Vikings General Manager, Rick Spielman, would make such a bold trade to try and save the season. Bradford does’t need to put up elite stats for the Vikings to contend for a playoff birth. Zimmer is going to preach ball control and mistake-free football. It’s exactly how Zimmer wants Teddy Bridgewater to run the offensive unit. Bradford can do the same, and arguably push the ball down field a bit better.
Here’s an interesting fact from Pro Football Focus: “Last season, Bradford played with the worst receiving corps in the league, a group that dropped 7.6 percent of his passes to lead the league. He missed all of 2014, and while there was some early-season rust, he was one of the top-graded quarterbacks during the second half of the season. On the year, he actually finished 12th in PFF quarterback grades, at 85.3, one spot ahead of 13th-place Bridgewater at 82.6.”
Spielman was indeed bold with this move, but the Vikings are built to go deep into the playoffs now. It’s not so much that they don’t trust Shaun Hill to win a couple of games, but I don’t think the front office viewed him as a 16 game starter and remaining healthy. Bradford has been bitten by the injury bug since joining the NFL, but he won’t have to throw as much with the Vikings. My only concern is that the Vikings run the most plays with 7-step drop backs and frequently use the play-action pass. Getting Bradford up to speed on the playbook will be a priority for the Vikings and we’ll more than likely see Hill split reps with Bradford during practices. Another thing to consider: Bridgewater may not be ready to go next season.
One major plus going for Bradford in Minnesota is that tight ends coach, Pat Shurmur, was Bradford’s offensive coordinator during his rookie campaign in 2010 with St.Louis and his offensive coordinator in Philadelphia last year. Although Shurmur doesn’t call the plays, I am guessing that Shurmur and Norv Turner can help Bradford with the playbook and the terminology at an accelerated rate. For me, this doesn’t stink of another Josh Freeman disaster.
One thing that the Vikings will miss with Teddy Bridgewater being out: mobility in and out of the pocket. Teddy Bridgewater has underrated wheels and elusiveness and the fact is Bradford just doesn’t match up with him there. I had the Vikings at 11-5 with Bridgewater as the QB, but I think they drop off a game to go 10-6, but still make the wildcard spot for the playoffs.
Take a deep breathe Vikings fans….it’s either going to be a really smooth or really rocky flight.
Thank God, football is coming back. And with it, comes the evil step brother known simply as fantasy. Many drafts are still weeks away but some crazy leagues do them at the start of training camp. So it’s not too early to start talking about it, even though my girlfriend would disagree. But for once, this isn’t about her. This is all about the fantasy football draft and how you should decide to pick players. I’m talking Winston Churchill war room level. The draft is one of the biggest determining factors to who wins the championship. Waiver wire is hugely important but if you select a top trio of QB, RB, WR and they all stay healthy and productive then your path to a trophy is much easier. The big question is, who do you take? And when?
If the draft scares you or you think this sounds like too much work then just set your team to auto-draft and sleep easy. We call these people “draft dodgers.” To be fair, I’ve had some pretty decent squads the few times I let the computer pick. My first team back in 2003 was auto drafted and I made the playoffs. Another year, I was hungover and a slept through the draft. Still made the playoffs. Damn, maybe the robots know more than me? Fuck that. I reject that theory. Let’s get to business.
The old fantasy football draft rule was go running back, running back with your first two picks. This is still a viable route because the value of a solid RB is unmatched. Then we saw freak wide receivers and quarterbacks going in the top ten. Players like Aaron Rodgers and Calvin Johnson changed the game. These guys are fantasy studs. No question. But is it smart to use your first pick on a WR or a QB? I say no, because of the the drop off between the production of ball-carriers versus other positions is way out of balance.
That means a top QB may get 30 points in a week while a waiver QB may score 20. But when it comes to RB’s it will be a difference of 30 to 3. If you play in a 10+ team league then there just aren’t quality and consistent players available to add. You can find a serviceable QB while there will be zero starting RB’s. For example, last year, I used a combo of Kirk Cousins and Ryan Fitzpatrick (both claimed off the waiver wire) in the final weeks and playoffs. They equaled or out performed my highly drafted competition. I also won the championship. There will always be these type of finds.
So, your first pick should be a running back. You can never guess who will get hurt but try and draft someone with a decent o-line and hopefully, a short injury history.
With your second pick, go either a top pass-catcher (WR/TE) or another clear starting RB. If the back is in a timeshare situation then I go with the receiver who is most likely to either see higher volume and or lots of red zone targets.
Note: tight end is another role that has little middle class. Getting an every week starter is a blessing. One less slot to stress over. Just leave Gronk in the lineup until the bye.
So we have an elite running back, a big WR and we are back on the clock. I’d still go after a RB. There are lots of attractive QB’s and number two wideouts but they will mostly be there next round. Get that other bell cow now and then you can move to deep threats while everyone else is scrambling and buying high on guys who only see 10 carries a game.
4th round and beyond
So far we picked RB, WR, RB. Now get that TE. The top three names will be gone but there’s plenty talent left. If for some reason, all good the tight ends are drafted then grab another WR or your favorite of the remaining QB’s. These are the suggestions for next round anyways. After rounds 4 or 5, it’s hard to recommend position picks, mainly because we don’t know what the board will look like. The draft is all about finding value.
The one stat that would best explain this concept is the baseball metric WAR (Wins Above Replacement). WAR relates to a players performance against the average athlete. Keep that idea in mind when you are picking. Where are you finding the best values? And don’t fall into trends. If WR’s are going like hot cakes, don’t sell out your plan just to not be left out. Because after all those teams have receivers, they are going to start taking the other things you need. Stick to your guns.
The double down and handcuffing
No, I’m not talking about a wild weekend in Las Vegas, I mean the double down aka the double dip, which is drafting players on the same team. Like Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. So when Ben tosses a TD to Antonio, you get points from both players for one touchdown. It’s nice when it can happen but I try and not count on it. Don’t move up/change your draft plan just for a double down. The NFL season is crazy. Tons will get hurt, traded, arrested. Who knows. Diversity is key to a deep squad. Don’t bet the farm on Tony Romo playing all year with Dez Bryant.
Handcuffing is when you draft the backup to a popular player. Just in case they get injured. I like this for one skill player per roster. Find that guy you would be screwed without and invest in their nightmare. Look, if your first round pick goes down and someone else scoops the backup then your team lost a huge asset and you handed it to your jerk friend. At least this way, no other franchise gains because of your loss.
Take backs early and often, then top pass catchers and more backs. Wait on the QB and stock up on depth. Standard formats see lineups with two RB and two WR with one TE and a FLEX (can be any RB, WR, TE) so it makes sense to address the biggest need. Yes to hand cuffing but no to the double down. And always beware of the celebrity trap. It tricks us, makes us take Russell Wilson too early or draft a defense in the 6th round. Stay strong and you can get through this.
There are some teams in the NFL who seem like they make the playoffs every single year. These organizations continually field competitive squads that give their fans something to cheer for every Sunday. For the rest of us who aren’t spoiled little shits living in New England, we hope and pray that enough things can go right for us to make the playoffs every once in a while. We are the salt of the earth when it comes to NFL fandom. We know what it’s like to miss the playoffs because it happens more often than not for most franchises. The following playoff teams will be joining us this season in the land of the have-nots as they fall from grace and miss the NFL postseason after making it to the dance last year.
This has got to be the year that Marvin Lewis and the Bengals get exposed. For the first time since 2010 they will not make the playoffs. With the losses of Marvin Jones and Muhammad Sanu, and the injury to Tyler Eifert, I find it hard to believe that they can get back to the postseason. With that much yardage and that many touchdowns out the door, there may be times when the Bengals’ offense looks stagnant. They have some new faces along the offensive line and it might take some time for them all to gel. Because of that, we will see Andy Dalton regress a bit from last season. With the Steelers as the favorites in the division and the Ravens not likely to stay down for long, this could be Cincinnati’s year on the outside looking in.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs rattled off 11 wins in a row last season before losing to the Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs. That is no easy feat in the NFL and one that they are not likely to repeat. I still find it kind of unbelievable that they were able to do it last year actually. Andy Reid has been a consistently solid head coach during his career, but too much of this team’s success is predicated on the health of Jamaal Charles and Justin Houston. Both of whom are another knee injury just waiting to happen. If Alex Smith can make some magic they might be headed back to the playoffs but I see the San Diego Chargers as the favorite to win that division, leaving the Chiefs out in the cold.
Apologies to staff writers Bryce and Noah, but I can’t help but see the Vikings as anything other than wildly overrated by just about everyone. They are a nice team with some solid pieces, but by no means are they world beaters. They have a talented starting running back in Adrian Peterson to be sure, but he is also getting older by the day. I don’t care what he says, once you get over 30 years old as an NFL running back, the decline in production is real. Without a dominate AP, I don’t think that Teddy Bridgewater can keep the offense afloat. You also have to factor in that the Green Bay Packers should be back in their usual form and that I already picked the Lions to make the playoffs too. That just doesn’t leave much room in the postseason for the Vikings.
Sorry to all these teams but you’re in for a disappointing 2016 campaign. You really might as well not even play the season. I’m just kidding. But don’t be surprised to see these guys imploding come December. You heard it here first.
Technically, free agency isn’t over, but the big name signings (Anquan Boldin, where you at?) are over. The draft was a month ago and now I’ve had time to process how the Vikings will do against their 2016 opponents.
Week 1 @ Titans
USA Today recently ranked Mike Mularkey as the worst head coach in the NFL. I have to agree here and the move to hire him as the head coach is baffling. The Vikings will start out slow but explode in the 2nd half. Harrison Smith returns a Marcus Mariota interception for a TD early in the 4th quarter that seals the game. Treadwell scores his first NFL touchdown on a 5 yard back shoulder fade. Vikings win 31-17
Week 2 vs Packers
I don’t like the fact that the Green Bay Packers are the new stadium home opener at all. The Packers will be coming off a blowout win against the Jaguars and be extra confident in thinking they’ll spoil Minnesota’s big night. However, this isn’t the cutesy Leslie Frazier era of Vikings football. Vikings can win a close game here versus Green Bay. This game screams “Adrian Peterson rushes 20-160-2” stat line. Rodgers keeps it close with some ridiculous throws late but the Vikings get a critical sack from Everson Griffen on 4th down to seal it up. Vikings win 21-18
Look for more of this.
Week 3 @ Panthers
Carolina is easily the most well rounded team in the NFC and it’s not even close. Cam Newton had a fantastic MVP campaign in 2015 and he continues to roll coming into week 3 versus the Vikings. The Vikings can hang with Carolina, much like they did vs Denver in week 4 last year, but Carolina’s weapons will be too much for the Vikings. Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess (aka Fun-Fun according to Cam Newton) will make Rhodes and Newman look silly in a tight contest. Cam Newton gives the Vikings fits by rushing for 60 yards and a score. Vikings can expose the middle of the field (if Kuechly is blitzing) with crossing routes and deep posts with WR Stefon Diggs. Vikings lose 27-23
Week 4 vs Giants
Ah, I’m sure the world is waiting for a Giants vs Vikings primetime match up. The last two times these two teams have met in primetime? 2015: The Vikings obliterated the Odell Beckham Jr.-less Giants 49-17 on Sunday Night Football. 2013: THE JOSH FREEMAN MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL GAME. Holy hell, does anyone remember that game? I was on tour in Providence, RI watching this game on a day off and I had such high hopes for Freeman. Turns out he was concussed early in the game and the Vikings kept him out there. I drank a bunch of bad craft beer and had 20 buffalo wings to drown my sorrows out. Also, I’m pretty sure Freeman threw 4-5 footballs out of MetLife Stadium that night. Anyways, the Giants spent a grip of money on high priced defensive free agents (DE Olivier Vernon, DT Damon Harrison, and CB Janoris Jenkins) and actually drafted a productive-in-college WR in Sterling Shepard to go across Odell Beckam Jr.
Their OL is a bit of a concern and RB Rashad Jennings turned 31 this offseason. Beckham is going to make Zimmer an extremely angry coach this night and Rhodes or Newman might get chewed out by halftime. I really hope Zimmer is mic’d up for this game. I think Adrian Peterson and McKinnon can 1-2 punch this game for the Vikings and they win a close contest with a much improved New York Giants team. Rudolph becomes a nice target for Teddy Bridgewater and gives the Giants fits all night. Eli throws a late game pick to Captain Munnerlyn that sets up the Vikings in the red zone. Adrian rushes for a 20 yard TD to put the nail in the coffin. Vikings win 28-21
Week 5 vs Texans
Houston spent a ridiculous amount of money on a QB (Brock Osweiler) who played 7 games last year and got benched in Week 17 for a revived corpse version of Peyton Manning. I think Bill O’Brien is an interesting coach (probably the best Bill Belachick student) and has gotten the best out of the talent he has but Houston does absolutely nothing for me. Houston wins this game if JJ Watt plays QB, RB, and all of the defensive positions. DeAndre Hopkins is a top 5 WR in the NFL and will more than likely make Rhodes look silly on a couple of plays, but I get the feeling Brock Osweiler throws multiple picks and is strip sacked for a touchdown by Danielle Hunter. Teddy won’t have to do much and can lean on the running game to win this game after the defense sets the offense up with great field position on multiple drives. Vikings win 30-14
Week 6 BYE
Week 7 @ Eagles
It’s anyone’s guess as to who will be the Eagles’ starting QB in week 1, but I think by this time the Vikings are going to see Sam Bradford. The Eagles are rebuilding, however, they force a good amount of turnovers and Sproles is still dangerous in the return game. I get the feeling Anthony Barr is asked to play coverage against Eagles TE, Zach Ertz, a handful of snaps this game. New Eagles coach, Doug Pedersen, loved to utilize the TE position in Kansas City under Andy Reid’s offense. The WRs that Philadelphia has can be contained, and feel like Munnerlyn can handle his own vs slot WR, Jordan Matthews. Bold prediction: Bradford is benched at the half and we see Carson Wentz take over. Vikings win 27-17
Look for some Barr on Ertz action in this one.
Week 8 @ Bears
Halloween Monday Night Football at Soldier Field. The Vikings finally won at Soldier Field in 2015 for the first time since 2007. However, I think this will be a Halloween nightmare for the Vikings. I’m actually impressed with the personnel the Bears have landed on defense this offseason. This has the makings of a rainy, cold, sloppy mess of a game. Cutler seems to shine from time to time against the Vikings and I think Alshon Jeffrey and Kevin White have monster games. Harsh conditions are not helpful for an average armed QB like Teddy Bridgewater and the Bears defense looks like a legit unit. Vic Fangio is one of the better defensive coordinators in the game and he’s starting to get guys (OLB Leonard Floyd, ILB Danny Trevathan, ILB Jerell Freeman, DL Akiem Hicks) he can mold for his system. Fangio was the defensive coordinator for the 49ers from 2011-2014 who had players such as: Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith, Justin Smith, NaVorro Bowman, Ahmad Brooks, Dante Whitner, Eric Reid, etc. Vikings lose 24-14
Week 9 vs Lions
The Vikings should be thankful they played the Lions in the first half of the season last year. Matthew Stafford was absolutely money the end of the season and the Lions finished with a semi-respectable 7-9 record after starting the year 1-7. I cannot figure out the identity of this team now that Calvin Johnson is gone. The Lions made protecting Stafford a priority during the draft by selecting OT Taylor Decker in the first round. If the Lions can get RB Ameer Abdullah going to take pressure off Stafford, this could be a scary team. Golden Tate is a really nice WR and adding ex-Bengals WR, Marvin Jones, wasn’t a horrible move. The Vikings are the better overall team and will prevail by a Cordarrelle Patterson kickoff return for a TD late in the game. Vikings win 27-20
Week 10 @ Washington
I had predicted Jay Gruden getting fired last year, but hey, turns out his team won the division at 9-7 with Kirk “YOU LIKE THAT?” Cousins at QB. WR Josh Doctson was a nice grab for Washington in the first round in the draft. Between Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis (you never know with this guy), Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Josh Doctson, and Matt Jones, the Vikings will have their hands full. They can win it if they force turnovers and get to Cousins. Vikings lose a heart breaker in the final seconds of this game. Vikings lose 21-20
Week 11 vs Cardinals
The Vikings hung with the Cardinals in a 2015 matchup pretty well. Arizona ended up winning the game (23-20) on a brilliant strip sack by Dwight Freeney. Carson Palmer got exposed by Seattle (Week 17), Green Bay (Divisional Round), and Carolina (NFC Championship) last year but I think part of that had to something to do with his finger injury. He had hardly any zip on his throws during those games but Palmer knows this year is his best shot for a Super Bowl and will have another great regular season. Vikings hang with the Cardinals but lose in close fashion again due to David Johnson being a monster. Vikings lose 24-21
David Johnson will be too much for the Vikings to handle in this one.
Week 12 @ Lions
The Vikings haven’t played on Thanksgiving since facing the Cowboys in 2000. Randy Moss was known for lighting up the world during the 1998 and 2000 Thanksgiving games and I think Laquon Treadwell will get his chance in this game. Vikings defense sacks Stafford 5 times and Teddy and Treadwell connect for two touchdowns. Vikings win 31-21
Week 13 vs Cowboys
Thursday Night Football usually is a stinker, but thankfully both the Vikings and Cowboys play on Thanksgiving and will be coming off a normal weeks of rest. Dallas has an elite level offensive line and Ezekiel Elliot will make life for Romo so much easier. Mike Zimmer coached the Cowboys’ defense from 1995-2007 and it’s fair to say he probably knows about some of Tony Romo’s tendencies. This is nail biter game where Tony Romo throws a late pick to Harrison Smith and Blair Walsh successfully converts on a time expiring field goal to clinch the win. Vikings win 27-24
Week 14 @ Jaguars
Remember how the Raiders were going to destroy the Vikings in their 2015 matchup? There’s no way Minnesota’s defense can handle the Raiders ariel attack! The Jaguars hype train comes to a crashing end in a blow out game vs the Vikings. Bortles will throw 2-3 interceptions, giving Teddy Bridgewater excellent field position for 3 touchdown scoring drives. Adrian Peterson daggers the game late with a 60 yard touchdown run to put the Vikings up by three possessions. Vikings win 38-17
Week 15 vs Colts
Andrew Luck has thrown 55 interceptions in 3.5 seasons. He had the worst QB rating in the league last year (when healthy) and struggles versus stingy defenses. Though, I still can’t figure out how he picked apart Seattle in 2013 but looks lost versus defenses like the Jets, Patriots, and Bills. The Colts drafted a good center in Alabama’s Ryan Kelly to protect Luck, but the Colts are going with 33 year old Frank Gore as their starting running back. Adrian Peterson goes wild versus a soft Colts defense and cruise to an easy victory. Vikings win 28-20
We’ll be getting a good look at that classic Andrew Luck interception face.
Week 16 @ Packers
This game is for the division and will be played in horrible winter weather on Christmas Eve. Packers RB, Eddie Lacy, is in a contract year and is currently slimming down with the P90X founder. Rodgers gets quick completions to Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson to wear out the corners and grind Eddie Lacy to wear out the Linebackers and Defensive Line. Adrian Peterson has a nice day to keep this close, but ultimately the Packers take the NFC Division Championship. Vikings lose 24-17
Week 17 vs Bears
Thankfully the Lions lost their week 16 game and the Vikings have clinched a wild card spot. Zimmer is furious and makes his starters play versus the Chicago Bears. The Vikings look sharp and refocused and take it to the Bears in all three phases. Chicago will be a 7-8 team at this point and will be playing for pride. Cordarrelle Patterson returns the opening kickoff for a touchdown and the Vikings never look back. Teddy shows poise and throws for 350 yards and 3 touchdowns (Diggs, Treadwell, and McKinnon each with a score). Zimmer’s defense rattles Cutler into forcing 2 turnovers and one for a score. Vikings win 45-18
Vikings will be the #5 NFC seed in the playoffs at 11-5.
BOLD PREDICTION: Mike Zimmer is the AP Coach of The Year.
A simple question: would you let your kid play football? I mean, say they are 8 years old and they ask you. What would you say? Many pros (LeBron James, Troy Aikman, Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson) have declared that they wouldn’t send their kids down that path but there are supporters on both sides. I believe sports are really helpful in building team skills for young minds and I would for sure encourage any offspring of mine to get out there and compete but football is another beast. The head injury issue is a serious one. And could you knowingly send your kid into that minefield?
I’m not a doctor but I know CTE is a real condition, mainly because of that Concussionmovie. The kind of contact that happens in football is unique. Other sports have collisions but not ones where players can leave their feet and dive head-first into an opponent. This human missile technique is extra dangerous and happens routinely in the NFL. I asked the SBS staff what they thought and here are some answers of our in-house poll:
Mike Bridenstine: I’d let him play on two conditions. 1. He’s an amazing athlete. 2. He wanted to get screamed at by adult men and then go in the locker room and see all of his friends’ penises.
Phred: I’d have to say no. Kids are bigger, faster and stronger than they were in the good old days. The hormones in milk are outrageous. It’s practically steroids. I’m not subjecting my kid to that type of regular brutal impact. Even though I wish I would’ve played at some point as a kid.
I vote no too. I wouldn’t let my kid play. Which is tough to say because I love football and I know that someone’s parents need to let their kids play so we can have an NFL to cheer for. But there are other sports to play that aren’t as dangerous and can provide that same camaraderie while breeding a healthy level of competition. This in of itself is a crisis. Football is an American construct and for us to control it, we need to continue to produce high-level talent. This can’t happen if our top athletes won’t even let their kids follow in their footsteps.
So what’s the solution? Can we make the game safer? Will that ruin it? If not, are the huge paydays even worth it if you can’t even get old to enjoy it? Football is a gladiator sport. The risk is high, the drama is high and the price is high. That’s just too steep of a price to pay for any individual parent. For the record, it’s a total bummer to write that last line. I don’t ever want to limit anyone’s good time or regulate much in the name of safety but it’s just too hard to overlook that full-tackle football is inherently unsafe. Especially if we are talking about my precious unborn.
Please leave your thoughts in the comments below. Are you a the mother/father of a football player? Are you currently on a football team for your school? Are you are parent at the crossroads? Let us know. This whole learning thing only works if we all participate.
Back in mid-August, I wrote a piece giving ten bold predictions I expected we would all see happen during this past NFL season. In this article, (which can be found here) I mentioned all of the obvious predictions like, “Who will win the Super Bowl?”, “Who will win MVP?”, as well as some other more “out there” ideas. So with the Denver Broncos winning Super Bowl 50 about a month ago, (spoiler alert: I didn’t get that one right) and thus concluding the 2015 NFL season, I figured now would be a good time to check back into that crystal ball and see how my picks turned out.
1. Adrian Peterson wins the rushing title
I got off to a good start here as AP led the NFL with 1,485 rushing yards, edging out Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin. While drafting him didn’t help me win my fantasy football team this year, I had a feeling Peterson would come back strong this year after being suspended for much of last season and he helped the Vikings earn their first playoff spot since 2009.
2. The New England Patriots will finish 2nd in the AFC East
Well this took a quick turn. I think what makes this worse is I predicted Miami to win the division. Gross. Let me explain my rationale here though. At the time this article was published, Tom Brady was still set to be suspended for the first 4 games and I figured with Jimmy Garoppolo under center for those games, a 2-2 start was the best case scenario for the Patriots. If that were the case, New England finishes 10-6 instead of 12-4 and who knows what happens seeing as how the Jets also finished 10-6.
3. Ray Rice will be back in the NFL
I took a loss on this prediction as well and I still am a little bit surprised about it, especially once Greg Hardy put an NFL uniform back on. Now I fully understand the severity of what Ray Rice did and I don’t by any means condone it, but after being suspended for all of last season, I figured someone would be willing to take the chance and may have needed a veteran back. The Cowboys made the most sense to me when I made the prediction, fittingly, they wound up being the ones to sign Hardy.
4. Jameis Winston and Amari Cooper win NFC/AFC Offensive Rookie of the Year
So the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Award went to Todd Gurley, and rightfully so as he finished third in the league in rushing yards. However, I feel like I should get half-credit or something because Jameis Winston won the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year at the same NFL Honors Award Show. Amari Cooper had a solid rookie year with Oakland as well.
5. Leonard Williams and Landon Collins win AFC/NFC Denfensive Rookie of the Year
Kansas City corner Marcus Peters won this award by a landslide after leading the NFL with 8 interceptions and helping to make the Chief’s defense one of the best in the league. Leonard Williams was third in the voting, and according to Mel Kiper Jr should have won, so I guess I had someone in my corner.
6. The Carolina Panthers will have the biggest increase in wins from 2014
By finishing 15-1, Carolina easily had the league’s best record as they narrowly missed perfection during the regular season. Following a dreadful, 7-8-1 record last year, (granted they still made the playoffs in an embarrassing NFC South) I figured at least 11 wins was very realistic for the Panthers. Instead, Cam decided to put up video game numbers and they won 15. Either way, a win for me.
7. The Dallas Cowboys will have the biggest drop off in wins from 2014
I knew the loss of DeMarco Murray would hurt this team…well I guess the loss of Tony Romo and Dez Bryant for much of the season didn’t help either, but regardless, I knew this team wasn’t duplicating its 12-4 season from 2014. While I didn’t predict 4-12, the Cowboys still had the biggest drop off in the wins column.
8. Peyton Manning will retire following the 2015 season
Result: To be determined…
Despite Peyton’s best efforts, the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl last month after he had an absolutely miserable regular season. Easily his worst professional season, and one that even caused him to miss a stretch of games late due to injuries. Peyton came back just in time for the playoffs and looked rather pedestrian in the process. However, because of an absolutely dominating defense, Denver made it so Peyton could ride off into the sunset a now two-time Super Bowl champion. The question still remains as to whether he will take that ride or jump back into the saddle with another NFL team.
9. Aaron Rodgers will win MVP, again
After a 6-0 start to the season, the Packers fell flat after their bye week and never really turned it around. Aaron Rodgers never looked like himself. While his stats were nowhere near, say Peyton’s, they weren’t what we have come to expect from him. Again, a 31 touchdown, 8 interception season isn’t anything to sneeze at, but he had his lowest QB Rating since becoming a starter in Green Bay. Cam Newton wound up dabbin’ his way to the NFL MVP Award in what was a fantastic year for him.
10. The Green Bay Packers will defeat the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl 50
Ugh, this one is right up there with picking New England to lose the AFC East. First, allow me to defend myself a bit with my reasoning here. Jordy Nelson tore his ACL just days after this article was written, which certainly hurt Green Bay going forward. For Indianapolis, Andrew Luck missed most of the season as well, but frankly they were better off without him (record-wise) as Hasselbeck wound up winning 5 games for the Colts, while Luck finished 2-5 on the year.
So there you have it. Not the best showing, but with only 90% of precincts reporting (a little election pun for you), I still have a shot to steal one more if Peyton would just make up his damn mind. So help me out, Peyton. Grab a few of those Budweisers you were talking about after the big game, open another Papa John’s Pizzeria, and just enjoy what retirement has to offer: Growing thick beards, Wrangler commercials, and copper sleeves for aching joints. Hey, it’s working for Brett Favre.
Before this NFL season, I asked some questions and made some proclamations and predictions. The season has been filled with surprises, as well as injuries that have changed the fortunes of some prominent franchises. In this edition of Quick Hits, we’ll look at what I talked about before the season, and let you know if I was right or wrong.
Adrian Peterson could POSSIBLY rush for 2,500 yards. He stated that he felt it was possible and I hopped one leg into the bandwagon. However…
I’m not a “rocket doctor” but 633 yards rushing midway through the season is not indicative of a running back heading for a 2,500 season. True, he has not shown much rust from taking a year off. He is on pace for, at best, a 1,400 yard season. That would be commendable considering his age and the normal attrition for running backs over a long career. His new goal should be to play until 34 and eclipse Emmitt Smith’s career rushing yardage record. My half-ass prediction was wrong but he will still be a top-5 back for a few more years. Or at least until Leonard Fournette comes into the league.
He may not gain 2,500 yards but he’s still got it.
Could this crop of rookie wide receivers be as good as last years? The first round featured 6 wide receivers taken. There were two 1,000 yard receivers from last year’s draft. Could this year’s crop compete with that?
Injuries and inconsistency have hampered this year’s draft class. Oakland Raider, Amari Cooper, has lived up to his potential. He has nearly 600 yards receiving thus far for an overachieving Raiders ball club. But the Indianapolis Colts’ Phillip Dorsett, Baltimore Ravens’ Breshad Perriman, and Chicago Bears’ Kevin White all sustained season ending injuries, the latter two before the season even began. We will be forced to wait until next year to watch most of this year’s receiver class, and they will not outshine last year’s class.
Only Amari Cooper has lived up to the hype this season.
Peyton Manning should hang em up after this year. Manning showed last season that his arm strength had fallen below even his standards. His appearances on Papa John commercials would become more frequent once he decided to retire.
I WAS RIGHT! By far the worst start to a season for Manning. He has only 7 touchdowns to pair with 11 interceptions. It looks as though he can’t throw accurately beyond 15 yards, which has stagnated the offense. Despite his shortcomings, the Denver Broncos are undefeated after beating the Green Bay Packers. In comparison, New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees just threw for 7 touchdowns this past Sunday and the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady has 20 touchdowns with only 1 interception this season. Manning is not even close to his counterparts in terms of production. The Indianapolis Colts’ Matt Hasselbeck played relatively better than Manning in a short stint as a starter despite being a few years older.
The Broncos are undefeated but they mostly have the defense to thank for that.
I wanted to see NFL defenses step up after a lackluster 2014 season. Even though the NFL is now a passing league, we have yet to see teams catch up on the defensive side of the ball. Wide receivers are being drafted taller, at an average height of 6’1″, while defensive backs, at their peak height, are 5’11”. It makes for a game with more offensive possessions than we have been accustomed to.
This past Sunday the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints combined for over 100 points, 13 passing touchdowns, and 36 first downs. The league has to better officiate the games and hold offenses accountable instead of always focusing on the defense. In comparison, Oklahoma State University and Texas Tech University combined for a 123 point game. Few players are drafted from the Big 12 Conference. The NFL should not have games that are similar to high scoring college shootouts and it appears that defenses have not heeded my call to step their game up.
There was zero defense between the Saints and Giants on Sunday.
Some teams came into the season prepared to make a Super Bowl run. There have been additions to some that make them more attractive than others. The usual suspects (Patriots, Packers, and Broncos) are doing very well but…
The San Francisco 49ers are one of the worst teams in football. I felt that even though they had a coaching change that they would be at least competitive. The team has now traded 10 year vet Vernon Davis to the Broncos and are fielding trade offers for the entire roster. The Arizona Cardinals are doing well this season with a healthy Carson Palmer under center, but it remains to be seen if running back Chris Johnson can keep up his amazing production.
With a healthy Carson Palmer, the Cardinals have been better than I thought they would be.
Clearly I missed the mark on a few teams and players. However, this season has been worth the price of admission and more.
I may be the only football illiterate person on the staff. My wisdom for the weekly NFL Staff Picks is based on which place I’d rather live in, and random tidbits I pick up by listening to announcers.
Recently, I heard football spectators commenting on the Seahawks. They argued that they are not offensively ready to go on a winning streak following the royal beating they gave to the 49ers last week. My pick for the Seahawks was justified by Pete Carroll’s trajectory in USC football’s glory years. Trojans stick by each other, which is why I was rooting for him, not the team.
Anyway, I was struck by a comment in an email from Alex; “football is stupid.” While making my choices for the week 8 picks, certain thoughts came to mind: I barely watch NFL games, but my picks are doing alright; average at worst and better than I expected. Considering my success in making picks for the first time ever, I’ll wait to till the end of the season to confirm or deny if football is stupid.
This things has gone totally off the rails. My NFL Picks Against the Spread got absolutely destroyed last week and I put up an embarrassing record of 4-9-1. There’s not a whole lot I have to say for myself and I’m going to need a stellar week if I’m to have any hope of getting even here. I’ve been just better than a coin flip up until now, but there’s not really any excuse for what happened. I had a bad week. Simple as that. But like any degenerate gambler, I know I can get it together this week! I can’t lose, so let’s take the plunge!
Winning picks in italics
Seahawks (-6) at 49ers: 49ers
Seahawks haven’t looked good enough to convince me that they win by more than a field goal. 49ers have looked pretty decent at home though so that’s my pick.
Bills (-5.5) at Jaguars (in London): Bills
This isn’t truly a road game for the Bills since it is being played in London and I don’t think the Jaguars are very good right now. I want to believe they can start to put it together but I think the Bills will just be too much to handle.
Browns at Rams (-5.5): Browns
I think the Rams will probably eek this out at home but the Browns have been pretty competitive of late. Look for this one to go the Rams’ way late but probably by a field goal or less.
Chiefs at Steelers (-2): Steelers
The Chiefs just haven’t been any good this season and their offense is in serious trouble without Jamaal Charles on the field. The Steelers beat a quality opponent last week in the Cardinals, despite having to roll with Landry Jones at QB after Mike Vick (who hasn’t exactly been stellar) got hurt. Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers receivers will be covering the spread, no matter who is at QB.
Texans at Dolphins (-4.5): Texans
Arian Foster looks to be getting back into game shape, and that makes all the difference for this Texans team. Between him and DeAndre Hopkins, who is tearing it up right now, this team could actually make a run to win the very bad AFC South. On the backs of those two, the Texans will beat the Dolphins.
Jets at Patriots (-9): Patriots
Last week my rule of taking the Patriots and Packers, no matter what the spread is, backfired on me. This one could be just as dangerous because the Jets have looked pretty strong, but isn’t this the perfect time for the Jets to trip over themselves? I see them going into Foxborough and getting a thorough beating at the hand of (arguably) the best team in the league.
Vikings (-2.5) at Lions: Lions
This one is also dangerous but as a rule, I don’t really like to pick the road team in a division game. The Lions are still pretty bad when you consider that it took overtime for them to beat the piss-poor Bears. I’m thinking they get Ngata back this week and take a little revenge for their mistake filled loss to the Vikings in week 2.
Falcons (-4) at Titans: Falcons
The Falcons lost their bid for an undefeated season last week in New Orleans but they are going to get back on track this week in Tennessee. Devonta Freeman is going to run all over the Titans and you can bet that Julio Jones will get in on the action too.
Buccaneers at Redskins (-3.5): Redskins
The Buccaneers running game might give them a chance in this one but I just don’t see Jameis Winston being successful in this road matchup. He has played mistake-prone football all year and I think the pressure of heading up north to play the ‘Skins will be too much. A few too many interceptions means that Washington covers the spread.
Saints at Colts (-5): Colts
Andrew Luck looked better this past week but he was still uncharacteristically inaccurate at times. One has to wonder if that injury is still bothering him but another week might help with that. If the Colts don’t get it together real soon, and cut out the bullshit trick plays, then they will be looking for a new head coach very soon. Pagano should just go out and coach his team to a win against a lesser opponent.
Raiders at Chargers (-4): Chargers
I’m almost tempted to pick the Raiders in this situation, but I’m not going to…. Remember that whole thing about division games on the road? Yeah, that applies here too. Phillip Rivers and Keenan Allen will win this one if they can avoid the ageless wonder, Charles Woodson.
Cowboys at Giants (-3.5): Giants
The Cowboys are playing a division game on the road. And they’re starting Matt Cassel at quarterback! They might as well just fast forward to next week. I don’t care that the Giants just got blown out by the Eagles, they will cover here.
Eagles at Panthers (-2.5): Panthers
The Panthers, and especially Cam Newton, are looking very good right about now. They will get the Eagles at home and are bound to capitalize on some Sam Bradford mistakes and keep the unbeaten streak going for one more week.
Ravens at Cardinals (-7.5): Cardinals
The Ravens are really bad and I’m regretting not including them in the NFL Graveyard article that I released last week. The Cardinals slipped up recently but will get back on track at home. Look for them to put up a ton of points and cover the spread.
Thanks for reading ScoreBoredSports NFL Staff Picks: Week 6. So, one thing they don’t tell you when you begin the process of turning into a fifty-foot tall giant made of diamond, is how strongly such a transformation can affect those around you. For example, did you know that people sometimes resent perfect geniuses like myself who make incredibly insightful NFL picks each week? To quote SBS Co-Founder and bearded maniac, Bruno Tysh: “Why has God cursed me with such strength?”
This week, the SBS staff didn’t have our best showing, but we were still strong in making heady picks. Mike tied for the lead with that Bruno dude, and yours truly. As unquestionable as my brilliant method is, the truth behind the veil is perhaps more deceptive than one might think. Simply stated: my main strategy is to avoid feeling stupid after making a pick. The best example of this I can think of came a few weeks ago, when the Texans played the Bucs. My logic in picking Houston? Boy, would I have felt like an idiot picking a rookie quarterback, who’s historically struggled against pressure, on the road, against the mythological creature known as J.J. Watt. It doesn’t take a genius to make that pick, but it doesn’t hurt that I am one.
I finally got my act together last week and posted a winning record. Sure, it was by the slimmest of margins and possibly aided by the fact that there was one less game, but I’ll take my 8-7 finish. This slate of games is a bit tricky and there are some very tempting spreads, but it seems to make sense to go with the favorite on a lot of these. The teams are starting to really settle in and take final form now that they’ve got a full quarter of the season under their belts and it’s becoming clear who the best teams are. With that said, let’s take a look at the winning NFL Picks Against the Spread for week 5.
Winning picks in italics
Colts (-3) at Texans: Colts
The Colts haven’t been great but neither have the Texans, and Indy has their star quarterback returning to the field (presumably). I’ve said this before but Luck has to start putting it together eventually and this seems like a good divisional road game to get the team back on track. Take the Colts to cover.
Jaguars at Buccaneers (-3): Jaguars
The Jags almost pulled off the upset last week but couldn’t get out of their own way. This week they are lucky enough to play a much less talented team in the Bucs. Jameis Winston should just change his name to “booty” because everything he has been producing the last few weeks has been crap. I can definitely see the Jaguars going down to Tampa and getting the win behind a strong game from their offense.
Bills (-2.5) at Titans: Bills
Rex Ryan is going to give his team hell this week in practice after they absolutely fell apart last week. They are going to come back on fire against the Titans and win by much more than the 2.5 point spread. Look for a big game out of Tyrod Taylor.
Browns at Ravens (-6.5): Browns
This is a division game and the Ravens haven’t exactly looked great so far this season. The Browns will cover this one, but it might be uncomfortably close.
Redskins at Falcons (-7.5): Falcons
The Falcons have looked really good this year and Julio Jones looks like the best wide receiver in all of football. The ‘Skins have looked much better than I originally thought they would but I don’t think they hold up in Atlanta and The Falcons win this by 2 touchdowns.
Bears at Chiefs (-9.5): Bears
I know the Bears have been bad all season but the Chiefs haven’t beat anybody by this many points and they still aren’t exactly airing the ball out. I think the Chiefs win at home but with a spread like this I’m taking anyone they play.
Saints at Eagles (-5): Saints
I’m sorry but Chip Kelly’s newly re-designed Eagles just aren’t very good. Maybe they shouldn’t have ditched all of their best players, but that’s another discussion for another time. Meanwhile the Saints aren’t very good either, but they still have Drew Brees and he will keep this one close enough for the Saints to cover the spread.
Rams at Packers (-9): Packers
Same thing I said last week. If the Pack is at Lambeau then you take them. No matter the spread, you just take them….. God I hate them.
Seahawks at Bengals (-3): Bengals
The Bengals are legitimately in the discussion for one of the best teams in the league and the Seahawks are coming off of an emotional win at home that they barely got and probably didn’t deserve. The ‘Hawks just aren’t the same team they’ve been for the last 4 years or so. Andy Dalton and his crew of offensive weapons will cover this spread and get the win.
Cardinals (-2.5) at Lions: Cardinals
The Cardinals took a bit of a step backward last week with a home loss to the Rams, but the Lions are a team that finds new and exciting ways to lose games each and every week. They will do the same this week and the Cardinals will cover the spread.
Patriots (-9) at Cowboys: Patriots
Another large spread that tempted me to take the underdog. But then I remembered that Brandon Weeden is the Cowboys QB and I came to my senses. It’s the Patriots, and all they do is win.
Broncos (-5) at Raiders: Raiders
The Broncos are thus far undefeated, but this seems like the perfect trap game for them. The Raiders have actually looked decent at times this year and in this divisional game at home. I can see them at least covering the spread, if not winning outright.
49ers at Giants (-7): 49ers
The Giants are going to win this game at home, but I don’t think it will be by 7 points. I can see Eli making a few mistakes and letting the 49ers hang around long enough for them to cover the spread.
Steelers at Chargers (-3):Steelers
It seems like the Chargers have had a million injuries and that is going to catch up to them in this game. I know that Big Ben is out but I think the Steelers just have too many other weapons on offense for them to not at least cover the spread.