Saturday, September 13, 2014

NFL Picks Week 2

While the first week of the 2014 season carried many surprises, The Rishab Report was only 50% correct on all of its predictions.  Even worse, we already got this week's game between Baltimore and Pittsburgh wrong as well.  This starts us out at 8-9 to start the season, but we have plenty of chances to adjust and improve our accuracy.  With that in mind, we shall pick!

New England Patriots @ Minnesota Vikings-
I'm going with the Patriots in a seven point win. If the Vikings start out 2-0, I would be very surprised, considering the latest incident with Adrian Peterson.  Tom Brady should really have no problem getting his first win of the 2014 season.
Patriots 27
Vikings 20

New Orleans Saints @ Cleveland Browns-
This is a trap game for New Orleans: they were 3-5 on the road last year and are coming off a close loss to the Falcons.  However, nothing in Cleveland makes me want to pick them without Josh Gordon in the passing game.
New Orleans 35
Cleveland 17

Atlanta Falcons @ Cincinnati Bengals-
While both teams won last week, the Bengals looked far more impressive in Baltimore than I expected them to be.  Moreover, Atlanta's offensive line has taken some serious injury hits as of late and I think they are due for their first loss of the season.
Falcons 27
Bengals 34

Detroit Lions @ Carolina Panthers-
I still can't believe that the Panthers are still looking like a possible NFC South Champion, even without quarterback Cam Newton in the huddle.  As a result, I'm picking the Panthers to open the season 2-0 over the Detroit Lions with help from Cam.  I don't think that the Lions are a bad team, but I think the Panthers will be better than most expect.
Panthers 23
Lions 14

Arizona Cardinals @ New York Giants-
After a brutal Monday Night Football loss to the previously mentioned Lions, I'm picking the Giants to win in an upset.  The Cardinals have lost parts of their defensive foundation due to injuries and suspensions and are coming from the West Coast on a short week.  Additionally, the Giants need to prove that last year's 0-6 start was a fluke, rather than an expectation.
Giants 17
Cardinals 10

Dallas Cowboys @ Tennessee Titans-
After embarrassing themselves against the 49ers last week, the Cowboys are looking to get their first win of the season on the road.  However, the Titans looked great on the road last week and I'm going with them to start their season 2-0 and leave the Cowboys with even more questions.
Cowboys 20
Titans 30

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Washington Redskins-
I'm going with the Jacksonville Jaguars to win their first game of the season after falling short against the Eagles last week.  With RGIII  confused in his new offense, I think the Redskins will struggle to score against a possibly good Jaguars team.
Jaguars 23
Redskins 16

Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills-
The Bills did very well against the Dolphins last year, and after coming off a road win in Chicago, I'm liking EJ Manuel's development.  If he and Sammy Watkins can start to connect, then the Bills might have a playoff ready roster.  This is my upset pick of the week, I'm going with the Bills in a very close one.
Dolphins 17
Bills 20

St. Louis Rams @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers should have no issues in winning this game: the Rams are without a quarterback and a decent squad of wide receivers.  If Tampa does not win this game, then the calls to start Mike Glennon might start earlier then expected.  However, I'm going with Tampa in a decent victory.

Rams 9
Buccaneers 23

Seattle Seahawks @ San Diego Chargers-
Seattle looked truly dominant and worthy of winning a second Super Bowl last week, but they have to win some games on the road to have the opportunity of home-field advantage in the playoffs.  I think that they can beat a tired Chargers team that is coming off a letdown loss to the Cardinals on Monday Night.

Seahawks 31
Chargers 20

New York Jets @ Green Bay Packers-
After looking like a good, but not great quarterback against the Seahawks, Aaron Rodgers returns home to face the New York Jets.  He and his team have had plenty of time to prepare and I don't think that they will have significant problems to worry about against the Jets' questionable group of cornerbacks.
Jets 14
Packers 24

Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos-
Coming off of a home loss to the Titans was bad, but having to face the juggernaut Broncos is no easy task either.  With few weapons on the offense (other than Jamaal Charles), I can't see Kansas City putting up more than 20 points on the Broncos who are likely to score over 35.
Chiefs 20
Broncos 38

Houston Texans @ Oakland Raiders-
Despite a close loss to the Jets last week, the Raiders looked pretty good with rookie Derek Carr at the helm.  With the absence of Jadeveon Clowney, I think the Raiders can win in an upset.
Texans 10
Raiders 21

Chicago Bears @ San Francisco 49ers-
With the possibility of not playing with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, the Bears are looking far more likely to start the season 0-2.  Additionally, the 49ers played very well against the Cowboys last week and were up 28-3 by half way through the second quarter.  I'm going with the 49ers in a good win.
Bears 20
49ers 38

Philadelphia Eagles @ Indianapolis Colts-
I feel like this contest has the potential to be one of the league's best games of the season.  Because both teams have weak defenses, I'm counting on a shootout.  However, Andrew Luck is home and is looking for a win after last week's loss to the Broncos.  I'm taking the Colts in the shootout.
Eagles 41
Colts 47

Saturday, September 6, 2014

NFL Picks Week One: Who Starts the Season with a Win?

It has been quite a while, but football is back!   This season, I am proud to announce that The Rishab Report will be expanding its predictions with spread predictions.  Over the last two years, we only predicted the winners, but we will now try to prognosticate the margin of victory and the winners of each game.  All spreads are from CBS NFL.

Without further ado, we shall begin the picks!

Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks-
For The Rishab Report's prediction of this game, you can click right here.  We predicted the right winner, but not the correct margin of victory so we are 1-0 in picking the games but 0-1 against the spread.

Minnesota Vikings @ St. Louis Rams-
After losing quarterback Sam Bradford to injury, the Rams plan to rely on a stellar front seven and journeyman Shaun Hill to win games this season.  However, while the Rams have more questions at the quarterback position, the Vikings are content with Matt Cassel and anticipate Teddy Bridgewater as the team's future.  Additionally, Minnesota has the best running back in the game: Adrian Peterson, to take the Rams down.  This is going to be a tough season for St. Louis.

Game Prediction:
Minnesota 24
St. Louis 20

Spread Prediction: St. Louis is a 3 point favorite, but Minnesota wins a tough road game to open the season.

New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons-
Of all of the rivalries in the NFL, the one between New Orleans and Atlanta is one of the league's best.  With two of the game's better quarterbacks, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees, both of these teams have the potential to make some noise this season.  However, the Saints have less questions than the Falcons, after coming off of an 11-5 season.  The Falcons failed to soar and ended 4-12.  The Falcons made some upgrades during the offseason, but the Saints have a better overall team.  As a result, I'm giving this one to the Saints in a shootout.

Game Prediction:
New Orleans 37
Atlanta 30

Spread Prediction: New Orleans is currently a 2.5 favorite, but I say that they will win by a larger margin.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens-
After coming off of their first season without a playoff appearance in the John Harbaugh-Joe Flacco era, the Baltimore Ravens have significant pressure to improve off of an 8-8 season.  However, the Bengals are a force to be reckoned with: they won the division last year and have one of the league's best defenses.  However, Bengals quarterback, Andy Dalton, has not performed well in Baltimore, losing every time he has played there.  As a result, I'm going with the Ravens in this mid-scoring affair.

Game Prediction:
Bengals 24
Ravens 27

Spread Prediction: The Ravens are currently a one point favorite, but I think that they can surpass that by winning on a late field goal.

Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs-
The Kansas City Chiefs were last years' "worst to first" team, going from 2-14 in 2012 to 11-5 in 2013.  Unfortunately for them, they gave up a 38-10 lead in the playoffs to the Colts to find themselves home for the rest of the season.  Furthermore, the Chiefs have lost substantial talent on both sides of the ball this offseason, leaving many more questions than answers.  As a result, the Chiefs might lose this game.  However, I think Alex Smith can propel his team to a win over the mediocre Titans.

Game Prediction:
Titans 13
Chiefs 16

Spread Prediction: Kansas City is a 3 point favorite right now, and I'm going to stay with that prediction in this game.

Buffalo Bills @ Chicago Bears: 
In one of the only inter-conference games in Week One, I have to give Chicago the benefit of the doubt.  With disrespect to Buffalo, the Bears are the better team because they have a juggernaut offense that can shred through most NFL defenses.  Even worse for Buffalo, EJ Manuel does not look confident in the pocket and had a very poor preseason.  I have to pick the Bears in this one, and it might not be pretty at all.

Game Prediction:
Bills 12
Bears 30

Spread Prediction: Currently a 7 point favorite, I think the Bears expand the margin of victory.

Washington Redskins @ Houston Texans:
Both of these teams did very poorly last season (Washington went 3-13 and the Texans went 2-14) and both are looking to improve.  What the Washington Redskins have that the Texans don't is a franchise quarterback: yes, I think Robert Griffin III is the present and the future in Washington. Because of this, I have to place my confidence in the Redskins to win this game.

Game Prediction:
Washington 20
Houston 13

Spread Prediction: The Texans are a three point favorite right now, but Washington should win this one.

Oakland Raiders @ New York Jets:
Coming off of an 8-8 season, the Jets need Geno Smith to make some serious strides as a sophomore to potentially make the playoffs.  The Jets tried to fix their offensive issues by adding Eric Decker, Chris Johnson in free agency and other talent in the draft.  Meanwhile, the Raiders are rolling with rookie Derek Carr and a questionable defense.  The Raiders added substantial veteran talent, but I'm not sure that was the correct answer to their problems.  I'm going with the Jets in their home opener.

Game Prediction:
Raiders 20
Jets 35

Spread Prediction: The Jets are 5.5 favorites at home, but I think they can win by a larger margin.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Philadelphia Eagles:
After winning the NFC East's crown last year, many analysts speculate that the Eagles can possibly advance in this year's playoffs.  To do that, they need to start off correctly with a matchup against the Jaguars.  Currently led by Chad Henne, the Jaguars look like a 6-10 or 7-9 team right now. However, Gus Bradley has this franchise in the right direction. As a result, I'm going with the offensive juggernaut Eagles in a closer then expected victory.

Game Prediction:
Jaguars 26
Eagles 35

Spread Prediction:
Since the current spread is Eagles by a 10.5 margin, I think the Jaguars only lose by nine points.

New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins:
With the league's worst offensive line, the Miami Dolphins gave up more than 50 sacks to Ryan Tannehill in 2013.  While they made some improvements in free agency and the draft, the Patriots' defense is no joke anymore.  With more than six first round selections on the starting lineup, the Patriots and Tom Brady win in a mid-scoring affair on the road.

Game Prediction:
Patriots 24
Dolphins 10

Spread Prediction: The Patriots are a 5.5 favorite but I think they expand the margin of victory to 14 points.

Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers:
With the media's insane infatuation for Johnny Cleveland, many have forgotten how bad the Browns might be this season.  With relatively few offensive weapons, neither of their quarterbacks will be able to do much damage.  Additionally, the Steelers look to start this season on the right note after starting the 2013 season with a 0-4 record.  With Big Ben and a youthful defense, I'm picking the Steelers in a very, very low scoring event.

Game Prediction:
Browns 9
Steelers 20

Spread Prediction:
The Steelers are a 6.5 favorite right now, but I think they win by 11 or 10 points.

San Francisco 49ers @ Dallas Cowboys:
While they have had a stormy offseason, filled with suspensions, crime, and injuries, the 49ers are still one of the league's better teams.  With Colin Kaepernick and a plethora of offensive weapons against a Dallas defense that has lost almost every core player, it is hard to pick against the 49ers.  However, Tony Romo and the Cowboys offense should give the weakened 49ers defense plenty of issues.  I'm going with the 49ers in a high-scoring affair.

Game Prediction:
49ers 40
Cowboys 27

The 49ers beat the current spread by nine points.

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
With or without Cam Newton, I have the Panthers losing to the Bucs on the road.  With a weakened receiving corps, a lackluster secondary, and questions on the offensive line, I have the Bucs winning this game.  If Cam Newton can play, then the Panthers have a decent shot at winning this game.

Game Prediction:
Panthers 13
Buccaneers 17

Spread Prediction: The Bucs are 2.5 favorites right now, but I think they win by four.

Indianapolis Colts @ Denver Broncos (Sunday Night Game!):
In arguably the week's best matchup, Andrew Luck faces off against Peyton Manning for the second time in his career.  However, the Broncos have rebuilt their defense in the offseason and still have the league's best offense led by The Sheriff (Peyton Manning).  While this game will be very high scoring, I expect Peyton Manning to excel in this one.

Game Prediction:
Colts 30
Broncos 45

Spread Prediction: The Broncos win in a larger expected victory by 15 points, beating the current spread of 7.5 points in their favor.

We'll post our Monday Night Picks on Monday.  

Thursday, September 4, 2014

NFL Week One Picks: Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks

It has been quite a while, but football is back!  On September 4th, the Green Bay Packers will travel to Seattle to attempt to take down the defending Super Bowl Champions to kick off the NFL's 2014 season.  This season, I am proud to announce that The Rishab Report will be expanding its predictions with spread predictions.  Over the last two years, we only predicted the winners, but we will now try to prognosticate the margin of victory and the winners of each game.

Without further ado, we shall begin the picks with tonight's game!

Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks-
Aaron Rodgers, the NFL's best quarterback, returns to the site of his rather peculiar loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the 2012 season.  However, the Seahawks have substantially improved since that game and won last year's Super Bowl.  While most teams travel to Seattle and fail, Green Bay has something most teams do not have: a juggernaut offense.  With Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, and other elite offensive players, Green Bay has the potential to be the NFL's best team this season.  Of course, that will look far more likely if the Packers can stun the NFL world with a win in arguably the loudest stadium in the NFL.  Unfortunately, I don't see the Packers winning this one, but they will beat the spread and keep it close.

Game Prediction:
Green Bay 23
Seattle 28

Spread Prediction:  Seattle is currently a 5.5 favorite, but I think Green Bay will make it a bit closer.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Team-By-Team Predictions for the 2014 Season: Miami Dolphins

With the 2014 NFL season coming closer, it is time to prognosticate how each team will fare. Previously, we covered the New York Jets, a team in the AFC East.  Now, we will cover a rival of the New York Jets, the Miami Dolphins!

Before we discuss anything else about the Dolphins we should discuss the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito scandal that occurred last year.  Because Incognito made some rather unfortunate mistakes in his handling of the situation, I'm glad that he has not been signed yet.  However, Jonathan Martin should have a prime opportunity in San Francisco to reestablish his career.

While the scandal put a dark cloud over the Dolphins organization, general manager Jeff Ireland and other members of the franchise's staff were fired.  Only a few others and head coach Joe Philbin, remains with the team, and even that could change after this season.  To put it simply: This is a make or break year for Philbin. If he can get his team to the postseason or do substantially better this year than 8-8, then he'll remain with the Dolphins.  If he can't, he'll probably be fired and the Dolphins will have to restart their rebuilding process.  Philbin has led his team to a 7-9 record his first year and 8-8 last year.  The Dolphins were a win away from making the postseason last year, and might be able to make it if they can do these three things.

1. Support Ryan Tannehill in the passing game
I believe if the Dolphins can support quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who will be in his critical third year as a starter in the NFL, they have a very good chance of making the postseason.  However, supporting their quarterback means that they have to find a way to improve the chemistry between last years' free agent pickup Mike Wallace and Tannehill.  Their support of Ryan Tannehill will also need to come from their offensive line.  Last season, the Dolphins' offensive line (with the Martin/Incognito fiasco) gave up 58 sacks.  Tannehill had very little time to throw and develop his presence in the pocket.  If the mostly new offensive line can work together relatively quickly under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, then Tannehill will be able to do many things he wasn't able to do last year.

2. Get more out of Dion Jordan
While Tannehill was Miami's first round draft selection in 2012, Dion Jordan, Miami's 2013 draft selection, needs to make substantial improvements if the Dolphins are to make the postseason.  The Dolphins traded in the 2013 draft all the way to the third pick to select Jordan.  This trade significantly increased expectations for him for the season.  Before the season even started, Jordan underwent surgery to repair his torn labrum.  As a result, Jordan did not enjoy the rookie year that every analyst was expecting from him.  Even as a player that had only two sacks last year, Jordan could be the difference between a good and a great defense.  If Jordan becomes the wrecking machine he was drafted to be, we can expect anywhere from 8-12 sacks as a reasonable expectation for this season.

3. Develop a running game
Last season, many expected the Dolphins to have one of the best rushing attacks because of Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas.  Instead, the two struggled in pass protection, making it harder for the Dolphins to score.  Now, Thomas is not even a lock to make the roster, and the team has added Knowshon Moreno from Denver.  While Moreno is recovering from an injury, the Dolphins also have some minor additions that should boost Miller.  If the Dolphins can find a way to support their offense with a solid rushing attack, Tannehill will be able to make substantial improvements in his play that will get his team to the postseason.

Here are my predictions for the Dolphins this season for each game.  Instead of predicting the scores, I'm going to go through the schedule and state why I think the Dolphins will win or lose.  I will bold the winner of each game.

Week 1: New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins- The Dolphins beat the Patriots at home last year in what some considered a major upset.  However the Patriots have made some drastic improvements to their secondary and are getting some great players back from injury.  I'm going with the Patriots here.

Week 2: Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills- For some reason, many analysts have the Bills making the playoffs this season.  While I think Sammy Watkins and EJ Manuel will become one of the NFL's better QB-WR duos, I have major questions about their defense with Jarius Bryd in New Orleans and Kiko Alonso injured for the year.  Former defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is also now head coach of the Browns.  I think the 'Phins will get their first win on the road in a crucial divisional game.

Week 3: Kansas City Chiefs @ Miami Dolphins- This is a team that the Dolphins can beat because of matchups.  The Chiefs don't have the best receiving corps, and I think that the Dolphins will get after Alex Smith more than once in this game.  Because the Chiefs have lost so much talent to free agency and the salary cap, their secondary is not as stellar as it was before.  I'm going to give this to the Dolphins.

Week 4: Miami Dolphins @ Oakland Raiders- This a tough game for both teams because it is part of the NFL's international series in London.  The Raiders have to travel a much longer distance and will be more fatigued than the Dolphins.  As a result, the Dolphins should win this game, giving them a 3-1 start.

Week 5: Bye Week- the Dolphins start out the season 3-1.

Week 6: Green Bay Packers @ Miami Dolphins- The Dolphins will have 2 weeks of rest to prepare for the rest of their season.  However, Aaron Rodgers is a freak of nature and will likely light up the Dolphins.  However, I think the Dolphins can learn a lot from this tough home loss.

Week 7: Miami Dolphins @ Chicago Bears- As we saw last season, the Bears' defense is a shell of what it used to be.  However its offense is a juggernaut that can deal serious damage to any team with a mediocre defense (note Bears' shellacking of Cowboys on MNF).  This is a tough road loss for the Miami Dolphins, putting them at 3-3.

Week 8: Miami Dolphins @ Jacksonville Jaguars- Personally, I feel as though the Jaguars will be highly competitive within the next two years because of Gus Bradley's coaching.  However, I have the Dolphins winning this one to escape their losing streak.

Week 9: San Diego Chargers @ Miami Dolphins- When these two teams faced last season, the Dolphins beat the Chargers 20-16.  Desperate to escape the confines of mediocrity they have been stuck in for the last several years, the Dolphins beat the Chargers in a very close contest.

Week 10: Miami Dolphins @ Detroit LionsAs I have mentioned many times on this blog, the Lions and Cowboys are the most inconsistent teams in the NFL.  As a result, the Lions have given up some very winnable games (think back to their games against the Giants, Steelers, Buccaneers, and the Vikings).  I think the Dolphins can take advantage of their inconsistencies and win an important road game.

Week 11: Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins- The Dolphins did not do very well against the Bills last year (got shut out once and a close loss at home), but need a rebound against a franchise that has done very well against them.  I think the Dolphins will get it done and advance to 7-3 for the season so far.

Week 12: Miami Dolphins @ Denver Broncos- Going up against one of the league's best teams and AFC Champions, the Dolphins will have a tough time beating Peyton's Broncos.  I'm giving the Broncos an easy victory against the Dolphins.

Week 13: Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets- In their first matchup of the season, the Jets get their revenge on the Dolphins after the Dolphins nearly shut out the Jets in Metlife last year.

Week 14: Baltimore Ravens @ Miami Dolphins- The Ravens narrowly beat the Dolphins last year in Miami.  However, the Dolphins have more at stake this time because they look like legitimate playoff contenders.  I think they win this one.

Week 15: Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots- This is the Dolphins' victory of the season.  A late season win against the Patriots in Gillette Stadium should light the Dolphins' hopes for a playoff berth.  This is going to be a huge upset.

Week 16: Miami Dolphins @ Minnesota Vikings- To be honest, this has a Dolphins loss written all over it because of the cold weather that the 'Phins will have to deal with.  However, the Vikings used to be a dome team, and this will be one of their only seasons outdoors.  I'm giving this to the Dolphins.

Week 17: New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins- The Dolphins have a chance to end with an 11-5 record, but lose a close one at home to a very hungry Jets team.  The Dolphins finish with a 10-6 record, which should qualify them for the playoffs.

Final record: 10-6
Home Record: 4-4
Away Record: 6-2

I think the Dolphins have a playoff ready roster.  All it will take is some great coaching and great talent to come together for the Dolphins to return to the postseason.  If the team can't come together, Joe Philbin may be on another team and the Dolphins may be forced to draft a quarterback next year.  Regardless, this is a crucial year for this organization and whatever path this season takes will ultimately affect the direction of the franchise for the next several years.

We will continue our coverage of AFC East teams with the Buffalo Bills later this week.  If you agree, disagree, or are somewhere in between, I would really appreciate it if you could state your thoughts in the comments section.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Team-By-Team Predictions for the 2014 Season: New York Jets

The NFL season is right around the corner!  After the end of free agency and the draft, all of the NFL teams are beginning to prepare for the 2014-2015 season.  Some teams have drastically improved their rosters, while others have lost key contributors.  Although the season's start is still months away, we can begin to prognosticate each team's success or lack thereof.  We shall begin our team predictions with the New York Jets.

Some might argue that the Jets had a better than expected season in 2013 by ending .500 or 8-8. However, the Jets were a mediocre team throughout the season, never earning a winning streak until the last two games of the season.

Offensively, the Jets were incompetent throughout the season.  Their quarterback, Geno Smith, did not have the weapons needed to thrive in the AFC.  Smith, a rookie last season, carried the team to spectacular victories over the Falcons, Patriots, Saints, and Raiders.  However, he cost his team brutal losses against the Dolphins, Bills, Ravens, Bengals, and Panthers.  Fortunately for him, Jets' general manager John Idzik has given him new offensive weapons in Eric Decker and Chris Johnson.  Idzik also added tight end Jake Amaro, Jalen Saunders, Shaq Evans, and Quincy Enunwa in the 2014 draft.   If the Jets can put together an offense that doesn't consistently turn the ball over, then they have a significantly better chance of making the postseason.

While the team had inconsistency on the offensive side of the ball, it had more success on the defensive side of the ball.  With a stout defensive line, the Jets constantly pressured opposing quarterbacks like Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees.  Sheldon Richardson, who will now be in his second year in the NFL, had a major impact in rebuilding his team's defensive "trench".  However, the Jets had some significant issues in the secondary.  With Antonio Rogers Cromartie in Arizona, the Jets might have some issues with a position they used to have no problems with.   The Jets drafted Dee Milliner last season and added Calvin Pryor, Dexter McDougle, and Brandon Dixon in this year's draft.  The secondary might prove to be the Jets' weakness this season because of the departure of Cromartie.

Let's examine the Jets schedule week by week.
(Bold indicates Prime-Time)
(Italics indicates win)

Week 1: Oakland Raiders @ New York Jets
The Jets will be hosting their season opener at home against a team that did not finish very well last year (4-12).  However, the Raiders have made some serious moves in free-agency and the draft to try to improve the roster.  This should be a good indicator of how good the Jets will be against mediocre teams.
Raiders 20
Jets 31

Week 2: New York Jets @ Green Bay Packers
This is a tough game for the Jets to put it simply.  Going against one of the better teams in the NFL on the road is no easy task.  Facing the arguably best quarterback in the game doesn't make it any easier, but I do think the Jets can put up some points against the Packers' defense.
Jets 17
Packers 35

Week 3: Chicago Bears @ New York Jets
Facing two NFC North opponents in a row will not be easy for the New York Jets.  However, they have the pass rush that Chicago desperately needs.  In what should be one of the better Monday Night Football match-ups, the Jets win a close one at home.

Bears 17
Jets 21

Week 4: Detroit Lions @ New York Jets
The Detroit Lions are one of the league's more puzzling teams.  With so much talent on both sides of the ball, one has to wonder when the Lions will step up and become one of the league's contenders.  Nevertheless, the Jets match up well against turnover prone Matthew Stafford.  The Jets win this one in a larger than expected victory.

Lions 14
Jets 30

Week 5: New York Jets @ San Diego Chargers
After finishing one of the easier four game stretches of the schedule, the Jets face an AFC contender in the San Diego Chargers.  The Chargers made significant improvement on all sides of the ball last season and should win against the Jets.

Jets 17
Chargers 27

Week 6: Denver Broncos @ New York Jets
The Denver Broncos, last years' AFC champions, were dominated in a 43-8 rout in the Super Bowl at Metlife Stadium in February.  They return to Metlife Stadium to face the New York Jets for an early season matchup.  After their success last season against some very good teams, I think the Jets pull off a stunning upset at home.

Broncos 27
Jets 33

Week 7: New York Jets @ New England Patriots 
The Jets return to Foxborough for a prime-time matchup against the Patriots.  Coming off a win at home to a very good Denver Broncos team, the Jets will have a very difficult time winning this game. While the Jets normally face off well against the Pats, they will narrowly lose this one.

Jets 20
Patriots 26

Week 8: Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets
The Jets take advantage of a weak AFC East to win a critical divisional game.  The Jets did well against Buffalo at home last year, and I think they can do it again.

Bills 6
Jets 28

Week 9: New York Jets @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Jets, coming off of a critical divisional win, travel to Kansas City for a midseason matchup.  The Jets match up well against the Chiefs, touting a tough front seven and a great running game.  The Jets win again on the road.
Jets 21
Chiefs 13

Week 10: Pittsburgh Steelers @ New York Jets
The Steelers beat the Jets in Metlife Stadium last year in one of the Jets' only two home losses last season.  The Steelers have rebuilt their defense during the last few seasons and are ready to return to playoff contention.  I simply can't see the Jets winning this one.

Steelers 24
Jets 10

Week 11: Bye Week
The Jets will be 6-4 in their bye week.  The Jets are now valued as a wild-card contender in their division.

Week 12: New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills
After a bye week to rest, the Jets travel to western New York to face the Bills.  This should be a tough game for the Jets, who haven't done very well in Buffalo for the last two seasons.  Nevertheless, the Jets lose a critical road game to a divisional opponent.

Jets 18
Bills 21

Week 13: Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets 
The Jets ended the Dolphins' season last year in Miami, while the Dolphins nearly blew out the Jets in a 23-3 rout in Metlife Stadium last season.  The Jets have the defensive line needed to rush Ryan Tannehill.  In the Jets' final prime-time appearance, they win a critical game at home to restore playoff hopes.

Dolphins 13
Jets 20

Week 14: New York Jets @ Minnesota Vikings
Coming off of a short week won't be easy for the Jets after beating the Dolphins on Monday Night Football.  The Jets will have to deal with stopping Adrian Peterson, Cordarrelle Patterson, and possibly Teddy Bridgewater.  This is a tough loss for the Jets.

Jets 10
Vikings 27

Week 15: New York Jets @ Tennessee Titans
Two road games in a row aren't easy, and the Titans squashed the Jets last year in Tennessee.  However, the Jets should be better this year and probably will beat the Titans.

Jets 17
Titans 13

Week 16: New England Patriots @ New York Jets
As lucky as the Jets were last year when they faced the Patriots at home (remember that call in overtime), they do have home field advantage in a late season matchup.  I think this game will be one of the Jets best games of the season, but they will ultimately lose by a field goal.

Patriots 26
Jets 23

Week 17: New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins
The Jets ended their 2013 season by preventing Miami from going to the postseason.  This year, the Jets, on the brink of a playoff berth, finish the regular season with a division win.

Jets 20
Dolphins 16

The New York Jets end their season with a 9-7 record.  They might make the playoffs in a weak AFC and have the potential to make some noise with a playoff experienced head coach Rex Ryan (he led the Jets to two AFC Championship appearances in his first two years as head coach).  Ultimately I think the work John Idzik and Rex Ryan have done with this team should get them in the playoff mix.  However, we have to remember that the Jets' secondary is very questionable with many new faces and departures of crucial veterans.  If Dee Milliner and Geno Smith, two 2013 Jets draft selections, can step up their performance, then this team can do very well.   I would really appreciate it if you leave a comment, question, or concern.  Or if you feel that the Jets are going to collapse, just let me know in the comments section.

We will continue our offseason coverage and prognostications with the Miami Dolphins in the next few days.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Why the 49ers need to re-sign Anquan Boldin

After reaching the NFC title game for the third year in a row, the 49ers will be sitting home watching the Super Bowl.  While they did not make the "Big One" for a second year in a row, the 49ers had a fairly successful season.  With Colin Kaepernick entering his first complete year as a starter, the 49ers needed to provide him with more offensive firepower for the 2013 season.

Anquan Boldin proved to be the weapon the 49ers were looking for.  In his 19 games with the 49ers this season, Boldin caught for 1406 yards and 8 touchdown passes, giving his team the leadership they needed after losing the Super Bowl in the 2012-2013 season.  Boldin and Vernon Davis helped Kaepernick for the first half of the season while Michael Crabtree recovered from injury.  Without having a "security blanket" like Bolin, the 49ers might not have made the playoffs.

So why does that make re-signing Boldin crucial to the 49ers success next year?  Boldin will be needed because of the lack of depth at the wide receiver position.  Currently, the 49ers receivers include Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Quinton Patton, Jon Baldwin, Kassim Osgood, and Anquan Boldin.  Manningham, who didn't contribute significantly this year, is also a free agent this year and will probably not re-sign with the 49ers.  As a result, if the 49ers pass on re-signing Boldin and Manningham, they will be left with Crabtree (whose contract ends next year), Patton (a sophomore receiver), Jon Baldwin (a recent addition from Kansas City), and Osgood (a special teams ace whose contract is also ending).  Without retaining Boldin, the 49ers passing game will suffer even more after finishing 30th in the league.  The 49ers will also lose leadership, a "go to" receiver, and one of the most physical players in the league.

Although Bolin is aging (he is currently 33), he remains one of the most physical, experienced, and talented wide receivers in the league.  If the 49ers want to return to the Super Bowl they must re-sign Boldin or find another way to add more weapons to their offense.  Otherwise these 49ers could end up like the Philadelphia Eagles of the early 2000s without a single Lombardi trophy in five NFC championship appearances.

Monday, November 18, 2013

NFL Power Rankings and Playoff Predictions: Who are the Contenders? Who are the Pretenders?

Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
       As the NFL regular season is beginning to reach a close, the playoffs are becoming more and more important.  However, compared to last year, this year's playoffs look to be much different, at least in the NFC.   

         Last year's division champions, the Redskins, 49ers, Packers, and the Falcons, have all taken steps backwards in the 2013 season.  For the Redskins, a conflict between the coaching staff and the players has begun to have an effect on the performance of this team.  Look for Mike Shanahan and his staff to be fired at the end of December.   Meanwhile, the 49ers are struggling in the passing game, thus making them one dimensional.  The 49ers, who have lost to good teams, are out of the race for the NFC West crown, but remain in the hunt for the wildcard.  While the 49ers remain in the hunt, the Packers are losing momentum with the loss of Aaron Rodgers.  If the Packers can work together to earn several victories before Rodgers comes back, then they'll stand a good chance at another playoff appearance.  While the 49ers and Packers are still competitive, the Falcons are counting the days until the season ends.  In what was supposed to be their Super Bowl season, the Falcons have crashed to a 2-8 record.  

Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson
      While last year's NFC superpowers fall, new ones are rising.  Seattle, 10-1, has a firm grasp over the NFC West and possibly home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.  In the NFC South, Drew Brees and Sean Payton have returned the Saints to stardom with an 8-2 record.  The Lions, led by Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson Jr., look like a lock for the NFC North crown.  While the other three divisions are somewhat solidified, the NFC East is extremely fluid.  While Philadelphia is in front with Nick Foles running Chip Kelly's offense, the New York Giants have won their last four games, resulting in an interesting race for the NFC East crown.  

Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning
In the AFC, Denver, New England, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis rule supreme.  The Broncos look like a team headed for success with Peyton Manning at the helm of a 8-1 team.  In the AFC East, Tom Brady has turned rookie wideouts into stars, resulting in a 7-2 record.  Replacing the Houston Texans in the AFC South, the Indianapolis Colts have beaten the best of teams including San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver. With Andrew Luck at the lead, this team looks to have great success in the coming years.  Like the Colts, the Bengals are also beating elite teams including the Patriots, the Packers, and the Lions.  While Andy Dalton may not be the "guy", he has led his team to seven wins and a coming division title.
Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady

If the playoffs were held today, this is how I believe they would play out:

1. Seattle Seahawks
2. New Orleans Saints
3. Philadelphia Eagles
4. Detroit Lions
5. Carolina Panthers
6. San Francisco 49ers

1. Denver Broncos
2. New England Patriots
3. Cincinnati Bengals
4. Indianapolis Colts
5. Kansas City Chiefs
6. Pittsburgh Steelers

Wild Card:
49ers @ Eagles
Panthers @ Lions

Wild Card: 
Steelers @ Bengals
Chiefs @ Colts

49ers @ Seahawks
Panthers @ Saints

Chiefs @ Broncos
Colts @ Patriots

Saints @ Seahawks
Patriots @ Broncos

Super Bowl:
New Orleans Saints @ Denver Broncos

Here are my NFL Power Rankings for this week. 
Average grade: 72.75
Bold Indicates 1st Place in Division
Italics Indicate 2nd Place

1. Seattle Seahawks 97            
2. Denver Broncos 96            
3. Kansas City Chiefs 95            
4. New Orleans Saints 95             
5. Carolina Panthers 90             
6. New England Patriots 93
7. Cincinnati Bengals 89            
8. Detroit Lions 87                        
9. Indianapolis Colts 86             
10. San Francisco 49ers 84              
11. Philadelphia Eagles 83 
12. Dallas Cowboys 82             
13. Arizona Cardinals 79             
14. New York Jets 78                        
15. Chicago Bears 78                        
16. Miami Dolphins 77             
17. New York Giants 75            
18. Baltimore Ravens 73^           
19. Pittsburgh Steelers 69^          
20. San Diego Chargers 69             
21. Oakland Raiders 67            
22. St. Louis Rams 67             
23. Tennessee Titans 65            
24. Cleveland Browns 65^           
25. Green Bay Packers 64             
26. Buffalo Bills 64                        
27. Minnesota Vikings 64            
28. Washington Redskins 62 
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 60 
30. Houston Texans 59 
31. Atlanta Falcons 56 
32. Jacksonville Jaguars 55 

^Cleveland, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh are all currently tied for second place in the AFC North.