Posts Tagged ‘New England Patriots

28
Jul
16

2016 NFL Predictions

I wrote this over three or four days as training camps started. During it, a few moves were made after I made projections for a division, such Anquan Boldin going to the Detroit Lions, or a move was made as I wrote it, such as the Los Angeles Rams releasing Nick Foles. Nonetheless, I hope I provide some unique insights, most of which are based on offseason moves in relation to the team’s performance in 2015 and how they will forecast a team’s 2016 season. . . . And I hope I don’t lose too many friends 🙂

 

2016 Regular Season

 

AFC East

Dolphins 2016Looking at Miami I see a weak secondary, a weak run game, one wide receiver, and one QB whose QB rating was 21st in the league in 2015. Good news, they made improvements to the defensive line (maybe) and the offensive line. Plus, a new coach. Meh. I say, “Meh,” to the Dolphins this year. Plus, Miami’s first seven weeks before their bye is challenging: at Seattle, at New England, vs Browns, at Cincinnati, vs Tennessee, vs Steelers, vs Buffalo. I don’t see more than two wins in that span. 4-12.

 

Jets 2016I don’t want to be hater, I want Ryan Fitzpatrick to succeed, . . . but he will return to his normal QB self. He will level out. His 2015 season was an outlier in a very average career. Also, Geno Smith has QB rating of 72.3 over his three years, so if he starts, there will also be a drop in QB play. Luckily, they picked up RB Matt Forte. He can run, catch, and block, and despite what so many are saying, I think he will continue being a very good RB. Plus, they’ll need him to help block, especially to support that weak right side of the offensive line. It’s the defense that will keep games close for the New York Jets. Their first seven games are rough: vs Cincinnati, at Buffalo, at Kansas City, vs Seattle, at Pittsburgh, at Arizona, vs Baltimore. Will they get one win in that span? 5-11.

 

Bills 2016Should I recuse myself when projecting Buffalo’s season? Probably, but I won’t. Instead, I will provide a Buffalo-Homer-Bias warning: I am biased Bills fan. Buffalo’s defense will return to its 2014 top-four defense in yards/game allowed and points/game allowed. Additionally, there should be a big drop in penalties from the 2015 season. QB Tyrod Taylor should keep improving, especially when he starts using Sammy Watkins more, as they did in the end of the 2015 season, getting 685 of his 1047 yards and 6 of his 9 TDs in the last six games. The big weakness I see is the right side of the offensive line. At this point, it looks like Reggie Bush will join Buffalo to replace Karlos Williams in his four-game suspension. He might not do much, but I hope Buffalo puts him in kick-off and punt return duties. I think he can help there. They will get two more wins than in 2015. 10-6.

 

Patriots 2016New England wins the division. They always win it, and the AFC East is weak this year. Do I have to say more? . . . Buffalo beats them once! And New England won’t be as dominate as in the past. They still have the core of their defense, which was 9th in the league in yards/game allowed and 10th in points/game allowed, and they’ll need that defense, especially in the first four games. While their current depth chart lists eight RBs, I don’t expect much from them, especially after week 4. The addition of TE Martellus Bennett might provide something comparable to Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez of the past, and in the least, it will provide coverage problems for opposing defenses. 11-5. 

 

Team W L
Patriots 11 5y
Bills 10 6x
Jets 5 11
Dolphins 4 12

x=wildcard. y=wins division. z=wins conference.

 

AFC North

Browns 2016Cleveland had a disappointed free-agency offseason, but they did well in the draft. Even so, this is a building year. Players to watch are RB Duke Johnson, rookie WR Corey Coleman, and TE Gary Barnidge. I don’t know what to expect from Josh Gordon (who will miss the first four games), as he’s only played six games in two years. I don’t expect much from the defense. Despite all that, the Browns will improve on 2015’s 3-13 season. They will start off slow, but improve as the season goes on. 5-11.

 

Bengals 2016Cincinnati will drop off drastically as their wide receiving corps took a big hit with the loss of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, though the latter will be less hurtful. Brandon LeFell and Tyler Boyd can’t make up for them, but the Bengals have a pretty good offensive line. Still, I see Dalton plunging this season. I think he’s overrated. The addition of Karlos Dansby to the defense should be helpful, especially with Vontaze Burfict out the first three weeks on suspension. 8-8.

 

Ravens 2016Baltimore will definitely improve after an injury-filled 2015 season. Plus, they have some new receivers in Mike Wallace and 2015 first-round draft pick Breshad Perriman. Also, the addition of TE Ben Watson should be an upgrade from Crockett Gilmore. It should be enough to make Baltimore better than Cincinnati. I like their defense, too, it’s above average, but not great. The only weak spot is right CB Jimmy Smith. 9-7.

 

Steelers 2016Pittsburgh should win the division with the return of Le’Veon Bell, but he won’t be used as much as in the past, and not at all in the first four games. Because DeAngelo Williams did so well in 2015, Pittsburgh will use Williams to relieve Bell and save Bell for the playoffs, at least that’s what I anticipate. Martavis Bryant and Heath Miller are gone, which are two of the Steelers top three receivers in 2015, but maybe the addition of Ladarius Green can effectively replace Miller, and hopefully will be used more than he was in San Diego. I still like their offense a lot, and they should be able to score more than their defense allows. 12-4.

 

Team W L
Steelers 12 4z
Ravens 9 7
Bengals 8 8
Browns 5 11

x=wildcard. y=wins division. z=wins conference.

 

AFC South

Titans 2016Tennessee did some good offseason work. They got a good RB in DeMarco Murray, so now maybe they will have an RB who gets more than 520 yards and an offense with more than 1485 rushing yards (25th in the league in 2015). They also picked up WR Rishard Matthews to complement Dorial Green-Beckham, Kendall Wright, and Harry Douglas. It’s not much, but it might bump them up from 25th in passing. They also improved their offensive line with draft pick Jack Conklin. The defense is decent, as they were 12th in yards/game allowed, even though they were 27th in points/game allowed. They should be a little better than last year. 5-11.

 

Texans 2016Why does everyone like Houston every year? I don’t get it, and last year, they barely made the playoffs. They have a great defensive front seven, and a great receiver in DeAndre Hopkins, but what else? RB Lamar Miller will be upgrade from Alfred Blue and a fading Arian Foster, and he may even rush for 1000 yards, maybe, but QB Brock Osweiler will certainly struggle. I don’t see it happening for Houston this year. 7-9.

 

Colts 2016Oh, Indianapolis, fifty straight games with a one-hundred-yard rusher, a decrepit defense, and a troubling offensive line. Andrew Luck maybe be great, who can tell with that offensive line, but he can’t do it alone, especially with his lackluster WR corps (save T. Y. Hilton). RB Frank Gore should be decent and hopefully will have less turnovers. I don’t anticipate a .500 season, even in this weak division. Good news for fantasy football players, Luck will get lots of passing yards as they will play from behind often. 7-9.

 

Jaguars 2016Jacksonville is everyone’s darling this year, and they are for me, too. Let’s look at it this way. In 2015, they lost five games by six or fewer points and another by seven points. They also had, maybe, the best offseason of any team, especially in the draft. There’s nowhere to go but up, especially in this mediocre division. They have a great bunch of receivers and tight ends, depth at running back, a fine quarterback, and a much improved defense, with the addition of DT Malik Jackson (to do some sacking and run stopping) and CB Prince Amukamara and S Tashaun Gipson. And don’t forget their defensive draft picks: CB Jalen Ramsey, LB Myles Jack, and DLs Yannick Ngakoue and Sheldon Day. This will be a fun team to watch. 10-6.

 

Team W L
Jaguars 10 6y
Colts 7 9
Texans 7 9
Titans 5 11

x=wildcard. y=wins division. z=wins conference.

 

AFC West

Chargers 2016Many people are saying San Diego will be better than 4-12, but their offensive line, which allowed 40 sacks, didn’t change much, except for an upgrade at center with Matt Slauson, and the defense hasn’t changed much either, though they added Joey Bosa but lost Eric Weddle. Perhaps, we should expect a similar 2016 season. [Fantasy side note: Keenan Allen will get over 100 receptions and he may be one of the top receivers this season, especially considering that the Chargers will pass a lot without a run game and being down often.] 5-11.

 

Broncos 2016Denver won’t repeat as Super Bowl champions, and they won’t repeat as division champions. Heck, they won’t make the playoffs. Not only did they lose Peyton Manning (who only averaged 224.9 yards/game and had a dismal 67.9 QB rating), they lost two key players on their defense, DE Malik Jackson and LB Danny Trevathan. Additionally, they retained C. J. Anderson when they could and should have traded him. Their 17th ranked running game did not improve in the offseason, their passing game did not improve, and their defense became weaker. There will be sad fans in Denver. [Side note for fantasy football players: I heard a commentator say, “Mark Sanchez has never had a 1000-yard receiver or a receiver who caught more than 8 TDs.” That means, Demaryius Thomas’ and Emmanuel Sanders’ fantasy value will decrease.] 8-8.

 

Chiefs 2016Kansas City’s offense in 2015 was 27th in yards/game, with 331.2 yard/game (203.4 passing (30th) and 127.8 rushing (9th)), but, surprisingly, ninth in scoring, at 25.3 points/game. Coupled with a top-five defense and an amazing 10-0 run to end the season, they made it to the playoffs. This will change some, and this type of play won’t be good enough to win the division, unless they start getting more big pass plays, and it certainly won’t be enough to get deep them in the playoffs, even with a solid run game. The run game will probably feature Jamaal Charles less and focus more on run by committee, based on last year’s running success and to extend the career of Charles. Charles will still get the bulk of carries, but a little less than in the past. 9-7.

 

Raiders 2016Too often I expect Oakland to be good, and too often they disappoint. I have those high-expectation feelings again . . . but this time it’s different . . . really . . . I think. They have a great offensive line, a rising QB in Derek Carr, a star (or soon to be star) in wide-receiver in Amari Cooper, and a solid running back in Latavius Murray. Even though a similar 2015 offense averaged only 333.5 yards/game (24th in the league), and 22.4 points. games (17th in the league), this offense has more experience and will blossom in 2016. The defense has also improved, especially in the secondary by adding CB Sean Smith and S Reggie Nelson and drafting S Karl Joseph. The one weakness in the Raiders is their linebackers. Overall, this team appears set to win the division . . . I think. 11-5.

 

Team W L
Raiders 11 5y
Chiefs 9 7x
Broncos 8 8
Chargers 5 11

x=wildcard. y=wins division. z=wins conference.

 

NFC East

Eagles 2016Philadelphia will surely be at the bottom. The question is: how badly will they bottom out? If they win, it won’t because of their offense, thought I expect Sam Bradford to be a top-20 quarterback, which isn’t saying much. 4-12.

 

 

Redskins 2016No team has won the NFC East in back-to-back seasons since the Philadelphia Eagles in 2003 and 2004 (they also won in 2001 and 2002), and Washington will keep that streak alive by not repeating as division winner. The best thing Washington did offseason was to improve their secondary with the addition of CB Josh Norman and S David Bruton, but their offensive run game seems weak in Matt Jones. They will start the season looking good, but the middle and end of the season will overwhelm them. 7-9.

 

Giants 2016If games were 58 minutes long, the 2015 New York Giants would have been 10-5-1, but games are 60 minutes long, and New York ended up 6-10. The Giants will be better in 2016, especially with a 2015 offense that was 8th in yards/game and 6th in scoring. Plus, their defense, which was last in yards/game and 30th in points allowed/game, should improve with their offseason additions, such DE Olivier Vernon, and more stability on the defensive by not having 14 different players play on the line. They’ll be better, but only to .500. 8-8.

 

Cowboys 2016I expect Dallas to run quite a bit with three good RBs (Ezekiel Elliot, Darren McFadden, and Alfred Morris) and a solid offensive line, plus they will run so QB Tony Romo will last the season. Dallas added Cedric Thorton to help the run defense, but they lost Greg Hardy. With an average CB in Brandon Carr and return of average CB in Orlando Scandrick, the defense is suspect. 10-6.

 

Team W L
Cowboys 10 6y
Giants 8 8
Redskins 7 9
Eagles 4 12

x=wildcard. y=wins division. z=wins conference.

 

NFC North

Lions 2016Detroit will stagger in 2016 in part because of the loss of Calvin Johnson, but more because Matthew Stafford continues to underwhelm. I heard one commentator say he will be better and more consistent in the absence of Johnson, but I doubt that having watched him play year after year. 6-10. [This prediction was made before the addition of Anquan Boldin.]

 

Bears 2016Chicago had a very good offseason, especially at linebackers by picking up Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman and drafting Leonard Floyd. However, they did lose a good center with Matt Slauson and good RB in Matt Forte. Can Jeremy Langford perform well all season? We’ll see, but there will probably be a decline. And even though they retained WR Alshon Jeffrey, how reliable is QB Jay Cutler? From past experiences, not very reliable. The Bears will improve from 6-10, but not enough to contend for the division. 8-8.

 

Vikings 2016Minnesota should only improve on offense with the addition of Laquon Treadwell. He won’t stretch the defense, but he will be good on third-down conversions and in the red zone. Stefon Diggs will be the one to stretch the field. Also, Bridgewater should keep improving. All of this means that Adrian Peterson should have more room to run as defenses won’t have eight in the box anymore, as they will have to account for Treadwell. Also, I see their defense being a top-ten defense, up from number 13 in 2015. However, their record will remain unchanged. 11-5.

 

Packers 2016Green Bay’s offense will be better than last year, but their defense is iffy. They will win the division because of a soft schedule, but they won’t be as good as their record. Even though Jordy Nelson returns, I expect Aaron Rodgers to spread the ball around, and I expect a streamlined Eddie Lacy to be more effective in the run game. Clay Matthews should return to his former QB-sacking self as he returns to his more natural position at outside LB instead of middle LB. 12-4.

 

Team W L
Packers 12 4y
Vikings 11 5x
Bears 8 8
Lions 6 10

x=wildcard. y=wins division. z=wins conference.

 

 

AFC South

Saints 2016New Orleans is a fading team, which is sad. The bright spots are Drew Brees and Mark Ingram (who averaged 97.8 yards/game in rushing and receiving), but will the offensive line (perhaps the team’s biggest weakness) be able to protect Brees and run block? Maybe drafted wide receiver Michael Thomas will help the offense, but the defense, especially the weak linebackers, will let up points that the offense might not be able to outscore, especially when the defense faces Cam Newton, Jameis Winston, and Matt Ryan twice, plus Derek Carr, Eli Manning, Russel Wilson, and Carson Palmer. It will be a long season for New Orleans. 6-10.

 

Buccaneers 2016Tampa finished 6-10 with a rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, 1400-yard rusher Doug Martin, and improving 1200-yard receiver Mike Evans. Hopefully, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins builds on his end-of-the-season run of 338 yards and 4 TDs in seven games, this offense will have some explosive games. In the offseason, they improved the defensive line with the addition of DE Robert Ayers and second-round draft pick DE Noah Spence. With all that in mind, they have a new head coach in Dirk Koetter, who hasn’t coached in ten years and that was at the college level. Tampa is on the upswing and could provide some upsets against the better teams, including, even, maybe, Carolina. 8-8.

 

Falcons 2016Atlanta started 2015 with a 5-0 run, and then fell apart. The 2016 Falcons should be somewhere between those two extremes of 2015. With that in mind, they will have 38 new faces, including 6 drafted rookies. They seemingly improved everywhere that needed improvement, and the offensive line should be good. All of this will get them into second place in the division, after a slow start to the 2016 season. 9-7.

 

Panthers 2016Carolina will win the division, as they are a solid team. QB Cam Newton might even throw more TDs than last with the return of WR Kelvin Benjamin. Even if he doesn’t, the defense is good enough to stop other teams from scoring more than Carolina’s offense. They will be hurting in the run game and by the loss of CB Josh Norman, but they should still rule this division. 11-5.

 

Team W L
Panthers 11 5y
Falcons 9 7
Buccaneers 8 8
Saints 6 10

x=wildcard. y=wins division. z=wins conference.

 

 

NFC West

49ers 2016What good can be said about San Francisco? They have a good defensive line, good safeties, AND Navarro Bowman. That’s a plus because they will be on the field a lot, with this very underwhelming offense. 2-14.

 

 

Rams 2016I write this division review about 30 minutes after St. Louis Los Angeles released Nick Foles. I assume Jared Goff will be the starting QB. Yikes. Good news, they have RB Todd Gurley and a solid defensive front seven. Bad news, they don’t have stand-out receivers (unless Tavon Austin finally steps up), and they lost half of a solid secondary in S Rodney McLeod and CB Janoris Jenkins. This will be a building year, again, but they will fewer games, but, at least, they won’t finish last. 5-11.

 

Seahawks 2016Seattle’s defense has been solid in the past and will continue to be solid, but maybe not quite as solid, but solid enough. The passing game should be better than last year, even with Doug Baldwin and Jevon Kearse, who are improving. It’s the offensive line and RB that seem of most concern. Seattle didn’t improve their offensive line, and it’s fairly weak. Last year, the offensive live gave up 46 sacks, and I expect QB Russell Wilson to be scrambling often in 2016 and he might be sacked more. RB Thomas Rawls looked good year last year, averaging 5.6 yards/carry, but there will most likely be a decline in that. Seattle will be good, but not good enough to win the division. 11-5.

 

Cardinals 2016The only thing to not like about Arizona is their tight end. As long as QB Carson Palmer stays healthy, this offense should be as impressive as last year (second highest scoring offense), and maybe even lead the league in scoring, especially with rising RB David Johnson. 12-4.

 

Team W L
Cardinals 12 4z
Seahawks 11 5x
Rams 5 11
49ers 2 14

x=wildcard. y=wins division. z=wins conference.

 

2016 Regular Season Standings

x=wildcard. y=wins division. z=wins conference.

AFC

AFC EAST

Team W L
Patriots 11 5y
Bills 10 6x
Jets 5 11
Dolphins 4 12

AFC NORTH

Team W L
Steelers 12 4z
Ravens 9 7
Bengals 8 8
Browns 5 11

AFC SOUTH

Team W L
Jaguars 10 6y
Colts 7 9
Texans 7 9
Titans 5 11

AFC WEST

Team W L
Raiders 11 5y
Chiefs 9 7x
Broncos 8 8
Chargers 5 11

 

NFC

NFC EAST

Team W L
Cowboys 10 6y
Giants 8 8
Redskins 7 9
Eagles 4 12

NFC NORTH

Team W L
Packers 12 4y
Vikings 11 5x
Bears 8 8
Lions 6 10

NFC SOUTH

Team W L
Panthers 11 5y
Falcons 9 7
Buccaneers 8 8
Saints 6 10

NFC WEST

Team W L
Cardinals 12 4z
Seahawks 11 5x
Rams 5 11
49ers 2 14

 

2016 NFL PLAYOFFS

(Conference rank in parentheses. Winners in bold.)

Wildcard Weekend

Chiefs (6) at Raiders (3)

Bills (5) at Jaguars (4)

 

Vikings (6) at Panthers (3)

Seahawks (5) at Cowboys (4)

 

Divisional Playoffs

Bills (5) at Steelers (1)

Raiders (3) at Patriots (2)

 

Seahawks (5) at Arizona (1)

Panthers (3) at Green Bay (2)

 

Conference Championships

Patriots (2) at Steelers (1)

Panthers (3) at Arizona (1)

 

Super Bowl LI Logo

 

Steelers 2016 vs. Arizona Cardinals

 

Arizona wins Super Bowl LI

//

31
Dec
12

2013 NFL Playoff Predictions

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AFC Wildcard Games

Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans

(6) Cincinnati Bengals vs. (3) Houston Texans

Theses teams met last year in the exact same game, except the Texans were without Matt Schaub. Right now the Bengals are hot, having won six of their last seven, and the Texans are not, having lost three of their last four and Schaub wasn’t looking hot against the Colts in week 17. There’s the difficulty in this pick. The Texans are the better team, especially the defensive front line, but the Bengals are playing more balanced football lately. The Texans are at home, but I’m going with the Bengals. The Texans offense and offensive line just aren’t doing it for me. It should be a semi-low scoring game as the Texans, if they are smart, will try to run the ball, but even Arian Foster doesn’t look as strong as he normally is. At the beginning of the year, I predicated this Wildcard game, except I had the Bengals ranked 5 and the Texans ranked 4. In that same prognostication, I had the Bengals defeating the Texans. Today, I say: Cincinnati Bengals 23, Houston Texans 20.

Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens

(5) Indianapolis Colts vs. (5) Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens have lost four of their last five games, and of their ten wins, six were against teams that have below .500 records, two have .500 records, and two have winning records (New England Patriots early in the year and New York Giants late in the year). The Colts, however, are hot, but they’ve only defeated three teams with a winning record (Minnesota Vikings early, Green Bay Packers after a bye, and the Houston Texans at the end of the year.)  But there’s confidence being built and an emotional rise is occurring. The Colts are coming up and the Ravens are falling. I think the Colts should win, but their run game isn’t strong enough. Raven’s Ray Rice should be the deciding factor, but in the end I love T. Y. Hilton for some big plays: Indianapolis Colts 31, Baltimore Ravens 20.

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NFC Wildcard Games

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers

(6) Minnesota Vikings vs. (3) Green Bay Packers

Playing in the cold at Lambeau Field should be helpful for the Vikings and their run game, but it won’t be enough help. The Vikings won’t win back-to-back games against the Packers, especially against the more experienced playoff team at home. Minnesota Vikings 24, Green Bay Packers 37.

Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins

(5) Seattle Seahawks vs. (4) Washington Redskins

This is the game I want to watch. The Seahawks are the only favored road team this week, and they are favored by 4.5 points. The Seahawks are also the most equipped of all the wildcard teams this week. They are strong everywhere. The receivers aren’t great, but they are good enough. At the beginning of the year, I thought this team could be good if they had Marshawn Lynch, and they did, and if Matt Flynn wasn’t hype. He was hype, but Russell Wilson was not. I love the Seahawks right now as everyone does. I don’t think the Redskins are as good as they appear. They have won every game since their bye, which is seven in a row. Two wins were against winning teams – Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants, two were against .500 teams (Dallas Cowboys, twice), and the rest were against below .500 teams, so that’s kinda respectable, but I’m not buying into it. Seattle Seahawks 37, Washington Redskins 20.

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AFC Divisional Games

Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos

(6) Cincinnati Bengals vs. (1) Denver Broncos

There’s no way the Bengals are going to defeat the Broncos. There’s nothing even really to discuss. Denver’s got it going on everywhere. Cincinnati Bengals 17, Denver Broncos 30.

Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots

(5) Indianapolis Colts vs. (2) New England Patriots

The Bengals would have a much better chance against the Patriots, and could maybe beat them, but the Colts will not defeat the Patriots in New England. It would be fun to see Luck vs. Manning in the AFC Championship game, but Brady vs. Manning will be as good. The Colts just aren’t ready yet. Indianapolis Colts 31, New England Patriots 44.

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NFC Divisional Games

Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons

(5) Seattle Seahawks vs. (1) Atlanta Falcons

It’s playoff time, so it’s time for the Falcons to fold. Their offense can’t keep carrying them despite the week’s rest. Seattle is solid, and their defense can slow down the Falcons’ offense. I’m still high on the Seahawks. In the battle of the birds: Seattle Seahawks 31, Atlanta Falcons 24.

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

(4) Green Bay Packers vs.  (2) San Francisco 49ers

Packers defense vs. 49ers defense – 49ers defense wins. Packers offensive line vs. 49ers offensive line – 49ers offensive line wins. Packers run game vs. 49ers run game – 49ers run game wins. Packers passing game vs. 49ers passing game – Packers win. Do you see where I’m heading with this. 49ers are just a better team where it matters. Passing is very important, but it’s not enough, especially on the road. Green Bay Packers 31, San Francisco 49ers 33.

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AFC Conference

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Championship Game

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New England Patriots at Denver Broncos

(2) New England Patriots vs. (1) Denver Broncos

This was my preseason pick for the AFC Championship. This time, however, I’m going with the Broncos. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen them play more this year and have not seen much of the Patriots, but the Broncos are a solid team, and their run game is very good, especially lately. But I could say the same of the Patriots. Statistically, the Patriots are better in passing and rushing, but the Broncos are better on defense. The only thing going against the Broncos is that they have won 11 games in a row and 12 if you count the playoff game above. Meaning, they are due for a loss. Nonetheless, the Broncos at home with a better defense and Peyton Manning will be more than the Patriots can handle. New England Patriots 34, Denver Broncos 41.

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NFC Conference

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Championship Game

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Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers

(5) Seattle Seahawks vs. (2) San Francisco 49ers

These teams are in the NFC Championship Game because they are the two most complete teams in the NFC. Both have good run games and good defenses. The 49ers have a better offense line. The Seahawks have the better quarterback. The receivers are about equal, but maybe the 49ers have a slight advantage. The Seahawks crushed the 49ers in week 16, but that won’t happen again. My first instinct is to expect the score to be closer to the 13-6 score in week 7. And then I think again. The Seahawks can put points on the board (at least lately), while the 49ers have only scored over 30 points six times this year. Whoever gets the early lead will win this game because then they can just work on their major strengths: running and defending. I can see the Seahawks jumping to a quick a lead, but only if it were the first game in the playoffs. By this time, all their luck will have run out. Seattle Seahawks 24, San Francisco 49ers 29.

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Super Bowl XLVII

Super Bowl XLVII – Broncos v 49ers

Wow. What a match-up this will be, and two new teams (that haven’t appeared in awhile), too – Denver Broncos vs. San Francisco 49ers. The first thing that strikes me is the quarterbacks – experienced vs. no experience – Peyton Manning vs. Colin Kaepernick. Is that all that needs to be said? Both teams have very strong defenses, and they are equal. Both have very good running games, with the edge going to the 49ers. The passing games, however, are not equal, and that may be all the difference. However, Manning really isn’t very good in Super Bowls. He’s 1-1, and the one win came against the Bears in the rain when the Bears gave the game to the Colts. That Super Bowl reminds me of Devin Hester and his 92-yard opening kickoff return for a touchdown, which makes me think of special teams. The Broncos have and edge on special teams, except for kickoff returns. With all of that in consideration, I’m going: Denver Broncos 20, San Francisco 49ers 24. The 49ers will remain undefeated in Super Bowls! Yes, the 49ers will step it up, especially on defense. Manning will get sacked and throw picks. The 49ers will also get one kickoff or punt return for a touchdown. #ManningFail//

01
Feb
12

Super Bowl XLVI Prediction

I woke up early this morning for a reason I don’t remember, and then I couldn’t fall asleep. I had many thoughts keeping me up, and two of them were about football. One was that I thought the New York Jets should go after Peyton Manning. I mean, the Jets need a quarterback and Sanchez needs a mentor. Plus, I think the NFL would love it if both Mannings were in New York. Later in the day, on the Colin Cowherd show, someone also suggested the Jets should think about Manning. That same person also thought of the 49ers, as many others have.

The other thought that raced around in my mind as I tried to return to that beautiful world of sleep was the Super Bowl. Who will win? The New England Patriots or the New York Giants?

Super Bowl XLVI Giants vs Patriots

My first thought was the New York Giants. I thought it will be similar to the last Super Bowl where they played each other, but there will be a little more scoring. But then I thought the Patriots would win because when two teams face each other in the regular season and then meet in the Super Bowl, the team that lost the regular season game wins the Super Bowl more often than the team that won the regular season game. Plus, Bill Belichek appears real loose and confident. Surely he’s up to something. Plus, the Patriots defense is better than it appears. They let up yards, but not too many points.

But here is what I think will happen. I think the Patriots will start the game by running screens, draws, and play action passes to slow down the aggressive New Giants defensive line, but the Patriots won’t be very successful. While they are trying to do that on offense, the New York Giants will get two quick passing touchdowns as they expose the weaknesses in the Patriots secondary.

Now, the Patriots will be down 14-3, and then they will revert to their typical playing style and make a slow but aggressive come back. After three quarters, it will be 17-17.

This is when the Patriots offensive line will become tired and the Giants defensive line will become energized and aggressive again. They will start hitting Tom Brady. The Patriots won’t be able to sustain drives. Then the Giants offense will come to life again, and the score two more quick touchdowns. Midway through the fourth it will be 31-17.

The Patriots will fight back, but it won’t be enough. The Giants will win 34-24.

I think the Giants offense is pretty good, and better than any offense the Patriots have faced in the playoffs. I imagine Super Bowl kind of like the Patriots/Ravens game, but a Ravens team that has an offense. I mean, the Ravens could have won that, but the Giants will.//

02
Jan
12

2012 NFL Playoff Predictions

.

AFC Wildcard Games

Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans

(6) Cincinnati Bengals at (3) Houston Texans

This game is interesting because of Houston’s quarterback situation. Jake Delhomme performed fairly well last week against Tennessee, and in this league you need to pass to win. Houston’s passing game should be good enough, and the run game will be very good with Arian Foster Foster and Ben Tate. However, Cincinnati and Andy Dalton are playing alright, and they had a lead on Houston a few weeks ago, but I still see Houston winning this whether it’s Delhomme or T. J. Yates at quarterback. Plus, I like Houston’s defense. However, it will be close. Cincinnati Bengals 20, Houston Texans 24.

Pittsburgh Steelers at  Denver Broncos

(5) Pittsburgh Steelers at (4) Denver Broncos

I just watched the whole Denver-Kansas City game. I feel sorry for Denver’s coach, John Fox, and offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy. I mean, they only have half an offense to work with. They looked so handicapped. They were calling run plays when they should have been passing. It’s a mess on that offensive. If they ever fall behind, they won’t be able to catch up. What is amazing is how well they run. Every teams knows they are going to run because they can’t pass or won’t pass, and they still run so well. With an offensive line like that, you think they’d be able to pass, but they can’t. Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers defense will manhandle this Broncos team even if Rashard Mendenhall doesn’t play. The Broncos just don’t stand a chance. Pittsburgh Steelers 34, Denver 10.

.

NFC Wildcard Games

Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints

(6) Detroit Lions at (3) New Orleans Saints

Matthew Stafford is a terrific quarterback, and he’s been carrying this team since Jahvid Best’s injury. However, without a substantial running game, playing the hottest team in the league is doomed to failure, but it will be exciting to watch. New Orleans Saints 40, Detroit Lions 31.

Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants

(5) Atlanta Falcons at (4) New York Giants

Atlanta looked real good in week 17, and so did the Giants. The Falcons have only beaten two teams with winning records – the Lions and the Titans. The win over the Lions was a transition time for the Lions, who no longer had Best. The Giants have only beat one team with a winning record, the Patriots, and a couple of .500 teams. So do both these teams seem better than they really are? Let’s break them down for this game. Passing: Matt Ryan vs. Eli Manning. Manning had more yards, but I like Ryan better, but only a bit. Their running games are almost equal, too. Brandon Jacobs plus Ahmad Bradshaw for one game can equal Michael Turner. Defense advantage goes to Atlanta. I just like Atlanta better despite the Giants home field advantage. Atlanta Falcons 27, New York Giants 20.

.

AFC Divisional Games

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens

(3) Houston Texans at (2) Baltimore Ravens

It’s a good thing this game is in Baltimore, because Joe Flacco isn’t very good on the road. Hopefully, Anquan Boldin returns, but even if he doesn’t, the Ravens defense should be able to contain the Texans offense enough to win in a game that will feature lots of running. The game will look closer than this final score: Houston Texans 13, Baltimore Ravens 27.

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

(5) Pittsburgh Steelers at (1) New England Patriots

The only team in the AFC that I think can beat New England is the Steelers. The Ravens might be able to keep up because of their defense, but their passing game isn’t good enough, especially on the road. The Steelers, however, can keep up with the Patriots’ offense should it turn into a shootout, and the defense might even be able to stop the Patriots offense a few times, whereas the Patriots defense won’t be able to stop the Steelers offense too easily. With all that said, I don’t know if the Steelers offense is good enoough, especially if Mendenhall doesn’t play. Isaac Redman is a fine running back, but can’t he do it on his own. Patriots are at home. Pittsburgh Steelers 27, New England Patriots 31.

.

NFC Divisional Games

Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers

(5) Atlanta Falcons at (1) Green Bay Packers

The Falcons can win this game if they slow it down, but it’s Green Bay and Green Bay is at home. This could be a shootout since the Packers have no real defense or run game. Unless three weeks off does something to Aaron Rodgers, the Packers will win. The Falcons aren’t the team that can beat the Packers, but they will scare them. Atlanta Falcons 20, Green Bay Packers 34.

New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers

(3) New Orleans Saints at (2) San Francisco 49ers

I love this game and both of these teams. These are the only NFC teams that can stop the Packers. The 49ers have an amazing defense, and the offensive line is so good. If they had some good receivers and a better quarterback, man, they’d be unstoppable. Alex Smith is good, but he’s not there yet. He can’t will a win in the final minutes, which is what this game will probably come down to. I want the 49ers to win, but: New Orleans Saints 27, San Francisco 49ers 20.

.

AFC Conference

.

Championship Game

.

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

(2) Baltimore Ravens at (1) New England Patriots

All you have to do is read above to know how I think this game will play out. Flacco on the road is not very good this year, and Tom Brady is always good. Unless, the Patriots make a bunch of early mistakes, the Patriots will be heading to the Super Bowl. Baltimore Ravens 19, New England Patriots 27.

.

NFC Conference

.

Championship Game

.

New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers

(3) New Orleans Saints at (1) Green Bay Packers

How is it that three best teams in the league (New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, and New Orleans Saints) have the three worst pass defenses? Anyway, I like the Saints in this. I think they can compete with the Packers. I think the Packers will collapse. I think Darren Sproles and the Saints run game will be the deciding factor. I see lots of screens for the Saints. I see Rodgers becoming human this game. I see Tracy Porter and Roman Harper having a couple of deciding plays for the Saints defense. I see the Saints in the Super Bowl. New Orleans Saints 45, Green Bay Packers 38.

.

Super Bowl XLVI

Patriots vs Saints SuperBowl XLVI

Funny, I picked this at the beginning of the year, and here I am again. I didn’t do it to be consistent either. I think what I said about the Saints-Packers game can be said here. The Patriots and Packers seem like AFC-NFC mirrors to me. I think the Saints can keep up with the Patriots and then win with the run at the end. At the beginning of the year, I picked the Patriots. This time, I say Drew Brees and Sproles carry the Saints to their second Super Bowl win. New England Patriots 29, New Orleans Saints 38.//

04
Jan
11

2011 NFL Playoff Predictions

.

NFC Wildcard Games


New Orleans Saints at  Seattle Seahawks

The Saints will be too much for the Seahawks. It will be somewhat close until mid-way through the third quarter when the Saints pull away for good and win by 14-17 points.

Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles

Green Bay is hot and the Eagles are not. Vick is fading fast. Unless the Eagles give the ball to McCoy more, the Packers will win this game.

.

AFC Wildcard Games

.

New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts

This is the hardest game to pick. I’ve been thinking it about it the most. In the end, The Colts are gaining steam. The run offense is coming together and so is the run defense. In the past three games, the Colts run defense stuffed MJD (46 yards), Run DMC (45 yards), and Chris Johnson (39 yards). The Jets pass offense is falling apart and the pass defense is overrated. I think the Colts can stop the Jets run game, which is the only way the Jets can win – by running. Sanchez is hype and the Colts win by 17.

Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs

I like the Chiefs a lot, but the Ravens are going to be much for this young team. However, the Chiefs will be so good next year.

.

NFC Divisional Games

.

Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons

Green Bay is hot, hot enough to be in the Conference Championship, but they are not hot enough to win against the Falcons without a running game. With that being said, this will be a good game that won’t be decided until late in the fourth quarter, when the Falcons win by 4-7 points. (Oddly, the Falcons are the one team I have not seen play this year. So Falcons picks are based on stats and rumors.)

New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears

I like the Saints a lot. I want to see them in the NFC Championship game, but two road wins in a row will be rough, especially in Chicago, especially with an unreliable running game, and especially with Brees throwing an interception every week. Plus, the Bears are getting it together. Forte is coming together. I see the overrated and underrated Bears sneaking away with a win.

.

AFC Divisional Games

.

Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers

The Colts aren’t good enough to win this one. Pittsburgh has too much. Manning will throw three picks in this game, two in the fourth quarter, as the Steelers win by 10-14 points.

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

The Patriots are amazing. They won’t lose to the Ravens, unless the Ravens pass a lot. The Patriots are so weak on the pass. Flacco’s good, but he’s not good enough to carry them on his arm. Patriots win by 7-10 points.

.

NFC Conference

.

Championship Game

.

Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons

I don’t think Atlanta is good enough to go to the Superbowl, but they are the best in the NFC. They are a fairly well-balanced team. The Falcons can handle the Bears at home and win by 14.

.

AFC Conference

.

Championship Game

.

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

Pittsburgh has the stuff to beat the Patriots, especially the run defense. They might be able to stuff the Patriots run game, which is oddly pretty good.  I can see the Steelers taking this. I can see Roethlisberger shredding the Pats pass defense, and then letting Mendenhall do the clean up. I really want to pick the Steelers here, but the Patriots are playing too well, plus they are at home. The Patriots don’t lose at home.

.

Super Bowl XLV

.

Super Bowl XLV

This leads us to:

New England Patriots VS Atlanta Falcons

This seems a safe final pick, which I did not intend. It’s just how it came to be. All the excitement will be in the Wild Card games, then there won’t be anymore upsets.

These teams seem fairly even in offense and defense. However, what this game will come down to is passing. The Falcons and the Patriots passing defenses are both weak. This should be a high-flying passing extravaganza. Can Ryan keep up with Brady? I think he can for a while, but the Patriots will win by two field goals. Patriots 37, Falcons 31.//




The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

The Cave

Poems for an Empty Church

Poems for an Empty Church

The Oldest Stone in the World

The Oldest Stone in the Wolrd

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Pre-Dew Poems

Pre-Dew Poems

Negative Time

Negative Time

After Malagueña

After Malagueña

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