NFL Predictions

NFL Power Rankings (Quarter Poll)

It’s a quarter way through the NFL season.  Too early to jump to conclusions, but enough games to get a sense of whose going to be good and who isn’t.

Throughout the year I will release my power rankings  after every four games.  Here are my rankings  after a quarter way through the 2017-2018 NFL season.

Put A Fork In Them

32. Cleveland Browns (0-4):  What is there to say?  It’s the same old Browns.

31. Indianapolis Colts (1-3):  There only win has come against the aforementioned Cleveland Browns.  Jacoby Brissett has done a nice job for filling in for Andrew Luck, but he can only do so much.  The Colts just aren’t that good.  They rank near the bottom of the league in both total offense and defense.

30.  Los Angeles Chargers (0-4):  New city, same old Chargers.  This team just keeps finding ways to lose games.

29. Miami Dolphins (1-2):  The Dolphins have been a mess since their win against the aforementioned L.A. Chargers.  In a week three loss to the N.Y. Jets they managed only one garbage time touchdown.  In week four they were shutout by one the worse defensive teams the last couple of years the New Orleans Saints.

28. San Francisco 49ers (0-4):  The 49ers have at least been a competitive 0-4.

27. N.Y. Giants (0-4):  Only one team has made the playoffs since starting 0-4 (1992 San Diego Chargers). If any of the currently 0-4 teams were to bounce back to make the playoffs this season I would pick the Giants.  With that said, I think the Giants have already dug themselves to deep a whole, especially in a competitive NFC East.

Meh

26. Chicago Bears (1-3): The Bears have been competitive at home, beating the Steelers and nearly beating the defending NFC Champion Falcons.  It’s a different story on the road.  Overall, the Bears are who we thought they were.  Mike Glennon is who we thought he was.  Why fuck around anymore John Fox?  Time to start Mitchell Trubisky.

25. Cincinnati Bengals (1-3):  The Bengals offense has looked better since hiring Bill Lazor.  Their defense ranks among the league’s best.  They’re the best 1-3 team out there, if that means anything.

24. Arizona Cardinals (2-2):  The Cardinals are lucky to have two wins.  They barely escaped games against two of the  worse teams in football(Colts, 49ers).  The loss of David Johnson is evident.  Sure, they could still win a shaky NFC West, but it seems more likely they will end up hover around .500 or worse.

23. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2): I can’t get a read on this team.  They look like World beaters one week.  The next week they look like the same old Jags

22. N.Y. Jets (2-2): .  At the quarter mark they’re 2-2 tied with New England Patriots in the AFC East.  Up next a very winnable game against the 0-4 Cleveland Browns.  So much for tanking this season.  It’s so typical of the Jets.  Not only are they bad at being good, they’re bad at being bad.     

21. New Orleans Saints (2-2): After starting off the season 0-2 the Saints have won the last two games in dominant fashion.  The most encouraging sign is how well their defense has played.

Flawed But Don’t Count Them Out

20. Minnesota Vikings (2-2):  If they’re going to have any chance of making the playoffs they need Sam Bradford back (I never thought I would type that sentence).  The injury to Dalvin Cook doesn’t help their chances either.    

19. Baltimore Ravens (2-2):  They started off the season 2-0, and everyone began praising them like it was back to the Ray Lewis days.  Then the Ravens traveled to London to face the Jaguars and got absolutely annihilated.  In week four they were dominated by their division rivals, the Steelers.  Their defense is good, but until they fix their offense it will be another mediocre year.

18. Tennessee Titans (2-2):  I picked them to win the AFC South this year.  I still think they can.  Of course, Mariota will have to stay healthy.  The combination of Matt Cassel & Brandon Weeden won’t keep them competitive.

17. Oakland Raiders (2-2):  I predicted the Raiders would drop off this year.  So far my prediction looks like it’s coming true.  The Raiders just don’t look like the juggernaut they were last season.  Losing Derek Carr to a back injury for 2-6 weeks doesn’t help, especially in a uber competitive AFC West. 

16. Dallas Cowboys (2-2):  The Cowboys have came back down to earth after an incredible run last year.  Their most dominant weapon last year, the offensive line, has regressed.  The defense, other than DeMarcus Lawrence, has looked average.  It’s going to be a lot tougher road this year if the Cowboys want to make it back to the playoffs.

15. Seattle Seahawks (2-2):  I predicted the Seahawks would represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.  So far this looks like an awful prediction.  The two games they have won this season were against two of worst teams in the league (Colts, 49ers).  I still think they will win the NFC West, but they won’t get far until they fix this offensive line.  It’s been their achilles heel for the last couple of season, and this year it looks worse than ever.

Better Than Their Record

14. Washington Redskins (2-2):  I’ve been impressed by the Redskins so far this season even though they’ve only won two games.  Their schedule has been tough so far.  Their opponents record is a combined (12-4).  Nothing about the Redskins jumps out at you, but there solid in all areas.  Their defense is better than expected.  They have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, and Kirk Cousins is a top 10 QB.

13.  Houston Texans (2-2):  The only reason I didn’t pick the Texans to win the AFC South this year was because of the QB situation.  Well, it looks like the Texans have finally found their answer at QB.  It’s only been three games but DeShaun Watson looks like an absolute stud.  If the Texans defense can get to where they were last season, and Watson keeps playing like he has than this team will be tough to be beat.

Not Ready To Crown Them Quite Yet

12. L.A. Rams (3-1):  The Rams have been one of the most fun teams to watch this season.  Jared Goff has totally turned it around after looking like he was destined to become the next Ryan Leaf last year.  Todd Gurley is once again a superstar.  If the defense can live up to it’s potential than this team may have a shot at winning the NFC West.  With that said, I’m still a little hesitant to jump on the Rams band wagon.

11.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1):  Its seems like the Bucs have been everyone sexy pick for the last two years.  Their young and talented on both sides of the ball.  Jameis Winston looks like he will one day be an elite QB in the NFL, but I still can’t get behind them until I see how he performs when it matters most.  If they can win against the Patriots this Thursday night than maybe it’s time to start taking the Bucs a little more seriously.

10. Carolina Panthers (3-1):  Even after a win in Foxboro last week I still don’t think the Panthers are an elite team.  Cam Newton hasn’t looked right until he got to play New England’s horrid 32nd ranked defense.  His other performances this year were subpar at best.  The Panthers defense is one of the best in the league, but until the offense shows some consistency I’m not going to put too much stock into this team.

9. Buffalo Bills (3-1): Who would have thought the Buffalo Bills would be atop the AFC East a quarter way into the season?  Not me.  The underrated Tyrod Taylor has been making plays, and the defense looks revived under Sean McDermott.  Could the Bills finally end their playoff drought?

8. Detroit Lions (3-1):  I have a different feeling about the Lions this year.  I think they may actually be good.  I still need to see a few more games before I jump on the bandwagon though.

7. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1):  Out of all the teams in the “Not Ready To Crown Them Quite Yet” category I believe the Eagles are most likely to make the playoffs.  The regression of Cowboys and Giants will help their chances of winning the NFC East.  The only thing that makes me hesitant to call the Eagles a playoff team is Doug Pedersen and Carson Wentz knack for throwing costly interceptions.

Wake Me Up In December

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1): For all the talk this off season about the Steelers offense it’s been the defense that is quietly winning games.  Antonio Brown looks like Antonio Brown, but Big Ben and Le’Veon Bell have yet to hit their stride.  When they finally do, this team has as good a shot as anyone to win the Super Bowl, but then again, we say this every year.  This seems to be the Steelers calling card.  For all the talent they have, they can never seem to put it all together and they regularly play down to their competition.  Will this year be any different?

5. Green Bay Packers (3-1): The Packers are 3-1 somehow even after all the injuries.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Packers struggle in the ensuing weeks, the Green Bay fans panic, and then Rodgers turns it on down the stretch to help the them narrowly win the NFC North.  This seems to Packers calling card.

The Contenders   

4.  New England Patriots (2-2):  I know the Patriots are 2-2 and probably should be 1-3 if not for a superhuman performance by Brady.  I know their tied with N.Y. Jets in the AFC East, and I know that their defense ranks dead last.  But it’s still the Patriots.  Do you really think they won’t be in the mix come December?  As long as Brady & Belicheck are there this team will always be contending for a Super Bowl.

3. Atlanta Falcons (3-1):  The Falcons are 3-1, but it’s not a very impressive 3-1.  They could easily be 1-3 right now if I wasn’t for two drop passes in the end zone and a reversed touchdown call, but then again football is a game of inches, and good teams make their own luck.  I don’t believe the Falcons have come anywhere close to playing their best football yet.  When they do, watch out.

2. Denver Broncos (3-1):  Denver has the best home field advantage in the entire NFL.  They also have the best defense in the entire NFL.  Trevor Siemian isn’t spectacular, but he doesn’t have to be.  Brock Osweiler and Peyton Manning weren’t anywhere close to spectacular in 2015 when they won the Super Bowl.  As long as Siemian remains a good game manager it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Broncos back in the Super Bowl this year.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0):  The only undefeated team left at 4-0, and it’s a legit 4-0 too.  The Chiefs have beat the defending Super Bowl Champion Patriots in Foxboro, and beat two very good NFC teams (Eagles, Redskins) in Arrowhead.  Alex Smith is playing his best football after a lot of talk in the offseason about him being benched for rookie Patrick Mahomes? Kareem Hunt has came out of nowhere to take the league by storm.  Still, no one will take the Chiefs seriously until they win a playoff game.

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2017-2018 NFL Over/Under Predictions, Super Bowl Pick, & Awards

It’s less than a week till football season starts.  Here are my over/under win predictions for all 32 teams along with my Super Bowl pick & Awards:

AFC EAST

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Vegas over/under: 12.5

The loss of Julian Edelman will hurt more than some might expect.  There defensive front seven is average at best.  With that said, they’re still the Patriots.  Brady & Belichick are still there.  The offense is loaded, especially the backfield.  There is no reason to think they won’t be playing deep in January once again.

Prediction: Over 

MIAMI DOLPHINS

Vegas over/under:  7.5

I don’t think there’s any drop off from Tannehill to Cutler.  This offense has a lot of weapons, and it’s going to be good.  The defense is another story.  Last year, the Dolphins were a wildcard team at 10-6.  I feel like that record was a bit of a mirage.  The Dolphins were 8-2 in one score game last year, and the majority of those wins came against a soft schedule.

Prediction: Under

BUFFALO BILLS

Vegas over/under: 6

The Bills will be one of the better defensive teams in the league.  Offensively, they will be one of the worst.  Outside of Taylor and McCoy this offense doesn’t have much talent.  It will be another mediocre year in Buffalo.  Six games feels right for this team.

Prediction: Push

NEW YORK JETS

Vegas over/under: 4.5

There is nothing to be excited about as a Jet’s fan other than the high probability of getting the number 1 pick next year.  It’s hard to see this team even winning a game.

Prediction: Under

AFC NORTH

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Vegas over/under: 10.5

If Roethlisberger and Bell can stay healthy for a complete season, and Martavis Bryant can stay away from the drugs than this offense will be unstoppable.  The defense is average, but that might not matter with all the points their offense will be putting up.  If they can avoid their usual midseason swoon they will win the NFC North with ease, and quite possibly get a first round bye.

Prediction: Over

CINNCINATTI BENGALS

Vegas over/under: 8.5

A lot of people are writing off the Bengals already.  I’m not one of them.  I don’t necessarily think they’ll be a playoff team, but I don’t think they’ll be as bad as they were last season either.  The defense will be better, and Dalton will look more like the Dalton from two years ago than the Dalton we saw last year.

Prediction: Over

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Vegas over/under: 9

I would have more faith in the Ravens if I knew the extent of Flacco’s back injury.  I have a feeling the Ravens are going to resemble the Ravens of the early 2000’s.  There defense is going to be really good. Their offense will struggle.  There going to have a lot defensive struggles where Justin Tucker will be relied on heavily.

Prediction: Push

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Vegas over/under: 4.5

There is reason for optimism in Cleveland.  Myles Garrett already looks like he’ll be an elite pass rusher for years to come.  They may have something at Quarterback with 2nd Round pick DeShone Kizer.  With that said, there still a long way from being a contender.

Prediction: Under

AFC SOUTH

TENNESSEE TITANS

Vegas over/under: 8.5

I’m reluctant to say Tennessee will win the AFC South because they seem to be the trendy pick this year.  The Jaguars were last year’s trendy pick, and we saw how that turned out.  But I think Tennessee is different because they have a legitimate Quarterback in Mariota.  It also helps that play in the AFC South

Prediction: Over

HOUSTON TEXANS

Vegas over/under:  8.5

The Texans may have the best defense in the NFL.  A healthy Watt & Clowney together is a terrifying thought for any offense.  The defense will keep them in a lot of games, but they will be once again  done in by the problem that has plagued them since they entered the league – they don’t have a legitimate quarterback.

Prediction: Under

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Vegas over/under: 9

Ultimately, that fate of Colts rests on Luck’s shoulder.  If he’s able to stay healthy for the entire season they’ll be mediocre.  If he’s missing time due to injuries this team could be in the same boat as the Jets.  Outside of Luck, there just isn’t much to be excited about with this team.

Prediction: Under

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Vegas over/under: 6

The Jags have a young talented defense that should rank among the NFL’s best.  They also have what many think will be a Rookie of Year candidate at running back with Leonard Fournette.  Unfortunately, Blake Bortles is still their quarterback.  Until they make an upgrade at quarterback this team will be bottom dweller in the AFC.

Prediction: Under

AFC WEST

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

Vegas over/under: 7.5

The Chargers have been unusually unlucky the last couple of years.  In 2016, they were 1-8 in games that were decided by a touchdown or less.  They were also devastated by injuries.  You have to think the Chargers luck will turn around this year.  They have lot tons of talent on both sides of the ball, and Rivers is still a beast.  The Chargers are my dark horse pick to win a tough AFC West this year.

Prediction: Over

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Vegas over/under:  9

The Chiefs may be one of the most boring teams in the NFL, but their still solid.  They’ll be a playoff team once again by playing good defense and not shooting themselves in the foot on offense.

Prediction: Over

OAKLAND RAIDERS

Vegas over/under: 10

The Raiders were one of the luckiest teams in the league last year.  Unlike division foe the L.A. Chargers, the Raiders were 8-1 in games decided by a touchdown or less.   I don’t expect the Raiders to be as lucky this season, but expect them to be a playoff team.

Prediction: Push

DENVER BRONCOS

Vegas over/under: 8.5

In any other division the Broncos would probably be a playoff team.  They still have one of the best defenses in the entire league.  Their offense is what will hold them back in uber competitive AFC West.

Prediction: Over

NFC EAST

N.Y. GIANTS

Vegas over/under: 9

The Giants have a Top 5 Defense.  They have a great trio of receivers.  They have a future hall of fame quarterback.  Their only question mark is their offensive line.  If  their line can be at least average than they will win the NFC East and a team no one wants to face in the playoffs.

Prediction:  Over

DALLAS COWBOYS

Vegas over/under: 9.5

The Cowboys offseason has been a circus.  You have to wonder if all the drama will effect the team.  Then again, there always seem to be drama surrounding the Boys.  Not having Zeke for first 6 games will definitely hurt.  Their defense is still questionable.  I expect the Boys to decline in 2017, but still be in the hunt for playoff spot.

Prediction:  Under

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Vegas over/under: 8

I expect Carson Wentz to improve this season.  He finally has some offensive weapons to help him out.  Philly’s front four is one of the best in the NFL and should get plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks.  They will be in playoff mix towards come December.

Prediction:  Push

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Vegas over/under:  7.5

Losing DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon will be tough on Kirk Cousins.  The running game is still suspect.  The defense is just average.  It’s really hard to get excited about this team.  I expect another season of mediocrity.

Prediction: Under

NFC NORTH

GREEN BAY PACKERS

Vegas over/under: 10

As long as Rodgers is healthy the Packers are Super Bowl contenders.  I can easily see this team winning 12 games.

Prediction: Over

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Vegas over/under: 8.5

If the Vikings want to reach the playoffs again their offensive line is going to have to improve.  A lot of people write off Bradford, but I think he did pretty well last season considering he had to learn a new system on the fly and that he was constantly under pressure.  Everyone knows the Vikings defense will be good.  We don’t know if the offensive line will be able to protect Bradford and open up holes for rookie running back Dalvin Cook.  If they can, the Vikings will be a playoff team.  If not, it will be another season of mediocrity.

Prediction:  Over

DETROIT LIONS

Vegas over/under: 8

The Detroit Lions were another team that benefited from a lot of lucky breaks last year.  Eight of their nine wins were forth quarter comebacks.  Most of those comebacks were against non playoffs teams.  I don’t expect the Lions to be as lucky this season.    Stafford is good.  They have a few intriguing offensive weapons.  Their defense is questionable.  Overall, their a middle of the pack team.  Eight wins seems about right.

Prediction: Push

CHICAGO BEARS

Vegas over/under:  5.5

The Bears opening schedule is brutal.  I won’t be surprised to see Trubisky starting by week 5.  It’s going to be another rough year for Bears fans.

Prediction: Under

NFC SOUTH

ATLANTA FALCONS

Vegas over/under:  9.5

Super Bowl hangover?  I don’t think so.  This offensive is too talented.  Their young defense will only get better.  I expect them to be repeat as AFC South Champs, but just barely.

Prediction:  Over

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Vegas over/under:  8.5

I expect Newton to have a bounce back year.  Christian McCaffery will help in the running and passing game and may be candidate for rookie of the year.  The defense is still stout.  They have arguably one of the best front sevens in all of football lead by All Pro linebacker Kuechly.

Prediction:  Over

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Vegas over/under:  8.5

The Buccaneers seem to be this year’s sexy pick to become one of the elite teams in the NFL.  I don’t think they’re elite yet, but I do think they’re a playoff team.  I expect Winston to make another big jump in his 3rd season.  The addition of DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard helps.  Their defense is starting to look like the defenses Tampa Bay had in the late 90’s early 2000’s.

Prediction:  Over

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Vegas over/under:  8

The Saints will finally break their streak of 7-9 records.  However, they still won’t be good enough to make the playoffs.  The defense, for what seems like a decade now, will continue to be their kryptonite.

Prediction: Push

NFC WEST

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Vegas over/under: 10.5

I expect the Seahawks to make another Super Bowl run this year.  Wilson is supposedly in the best shape of his life.  Earl Thomas is back and with addition of Sheldon Richardson the defense looks like it’s dominant self.  Of course, the biggest question is still the offensive line.  If the line can protect Wilson there is no reason they can’t win another Super Bowl.

Prediction: Over

ARIZONA CARDINALS

Vegas over/under: 8

The Cards weren’t as bad as their record last year.  They were 2-5-1 in games decided by a touchdown or less.  Most of those losses resulted because of missed kicks.  I think the Cards have a little more luck this season.  They have a new kicker.  They have tons of talent on both sides of the ball.  The only thing I worry about is 37 year old quarterback Carson Palmer.  Will he drop off a cliff this season?

Prediction:  Over

LOS ANGLES RAMS

Vegas over/under: 5.5

I don’t have much faith in Jared Goff.  I do have faith in their defense though. Aaron Donald (sign this man) and company should keep the Rams in a lot of games.  I expect Gurley to have a bounce back year.  With that said, they still won’t be that good.

Prediction:  Over

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Vegas over/under:  4.5

They’ll be better than they were last season, but not by much.  Niners fan should be optimistic about some of the players on defense.  The offense is another story.

Prediction:  Under

PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS

AFC SEEDINGS

1. New England

2. Pittsburgh

3. L.A. Chargers

4. Tennessee

5. Kansas City

6. Oakland

NFC SEEDINGS

1. Green Bay

2. Atlanta

3. Seattle

4. N.Y. Giants

5. Carolina

6. Tampa Bay

AFC WILDCARD

L.A. CHARGERS Over Oakland:  Rivers narrowly outduels Carr in a shoutout.

Kansas City Over TENNESSEE:  The Chiefs win a boring defensive struggle against the Titans.

NFC WILDCARD

SEATTLE Over Tampa Bay:  A low scoring smashmouth game between a team on the rise and a team that’s been the class of the NFC for the last few seasons.  Experience wins.

N.Y. GIANTS Over Carolina:  The Giants defense frustrates Newton all game, and Manning makes enough plays to set up a rematch with the Packers.

AFC DIVISONAL

NEW ENGLAND Over Kansas City:  The Chiefs don’t have enough offense to match Brady & Co.

PITTSBURGH Over L.A. Chargers:  Another high scoring game for Rivers & the Chargers, but this time it doesn’t end in their favor.

NFC DIVISONAL

GREEN BAY Over N.Y. Giants:  A close game that comes down to a clutch drive orchestrated by Rodgers.

Seattle Over ATLANTA:  The Seahawks defense is able to  slow down the Falcons offense.  Wilson makes enough plays to advance them to Conference Championship.

AFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP 

NEW ENGLAND Over Pittsburgh:  The Patriots continue their dominance of the Steelers in the playoffs. 

NFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP

Seattle Over GREEN BAY:  The Packers season starts off with a win against the Seahawks in Lambeau.  It ends with a loss to the Seahawks in Lambeau.

SUPER BOWL LII

NEW ENLAND Over SEATTLE:  Another wild game results in Patriots repeating as Super Bowl Champions.

AWARDS

OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Leonard Fournett, Jacksonville:  Fournett will get the ball at least 20 times a game because of the incompetence at quarterback postion in Jacksonville.  He’s going to put up big numbers.

DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Rueben Foster, San Francisco:  The Niner’s defense will be on the field a lot this season, which means Foster is sure to rack up huge tackling numbers.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

David Johnson, Arizona:  Johnson will have another big season and end up with the most yards from scrimmage.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Joey Bosa, L.A. Chargers:  Bosa becomes a household name with a breakout season for a surprisingly good Chargers defense.

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR

J.J. Watt, Houston:  After missing most of last season with a back injury Watt will be back to his dominant self.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Anthony Lynn, L.A. Chargers:  As a rookie head coach, Lynn leads the Chargers from worst in the AFC West to first.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh:  Big Ben wins his first MVP after passing for 5,000 yards and leading Steelers to one of the best records in the league.