Sunday, September 28, 2014

NFL Picks Week 4

This week in the NFL marks the end of the first quarter of the 2014 season.  Some teams have done very well so far, dominating in the first several weeks with unblemished records (Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles) while others have plummeted without a win (Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers).  However, a majority of teams have either a 1-2 or a 2-1 record, making this week a very interesting one in the NFL in terms of establishing a tone for the year.  With that in mind, we shall begin our predictions.

New York Giants @ Washington Redskins:
We were correct on this selection, see here for more details.

Miami Dolphins @ Oakland Raiders (in London):
Here we have a game in which the coaches of both teams are on the so called "hot seat" or are in danger of losing their jobs.  Joe Philbin, head coach of the Miami Dolphins, has had trouble in the media by creating a "quarterback controversy" by not stating that Ryan Tannehill, the Dolphins first round selection in 2012, would be starting.  His decision has caused some issues and may distract the team from beating the winless Derek Carr led Raiders in London.  I'm thinking it is going to be a rather low scoring affair.  Dennis Allen and his Raiders win their first game of the season.
Dolphins 13
Raiders 17

Detroit Lions @ New York Jets:
The Jets are coming off of a losing streak to two NFC North teams (Packers and Bears) that they should have beaten.  Instead, the Jets are 1-2 and desperately need a win to remain in the divisional race.  Here is an interesting statistic: Geno Smith has thrown at least one interception in each game this season.  However, it appears that he has made some strides as a quarterback and I think he'll even lead them to a win this week.  This is going to be a relatively high-scoring game: the Jets advance to 2-2.
Lions 23
Jets 28

Carolina Panthers @ Baltimore Ravens:
Both of these teams are 2-1 right now and look like possible playoff contenders.  The Ravens have been playing far better on the defensive side of the ball while the Panthers are maintaining sustained success from the 2013 season.  However, Steve Smith, former Panthers receiver, was released in the offseason and decided to sign with the Ravens.  Smith clearly wants revenge which might make this game one of the best of the week.  Count on a low scoring game with some great defensive performances.
Panthers 14
Ravens 20

Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts:
Coming off of a very impressive victory over the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, the Colts have another divisional game.  The Titans, who haven't won a game since the first week of the season, may be without starting quarterback Jake Locker. Andrew Luck, franchise quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, may be set for yet another huge game if the Titans cannot pose any threat on offense.  As a result, I'm going with the Colts in a big win.
Titans 10
Colts 37

Buffalo Bills @ Houston Texans:
One of these two teams will be 3-1 as of Monday and will be viewed as a considerable contender to make the AFC playoffs.  Both are led by quarterbacks who either have or are playing for the Bills (Ryan Fitzpatrick and EJ Manuel), adding some intrigue to one of the more boring games this week. Manuel has been making some improvements this season, thanks to rookie Sammy Watkins and will likely lead his team to a victory here.  This game has the potential for many turnovers so I would not start anybody in Fantasy Football unless we're talking about defense.  I'm going with the Bills.
Bills 23
Texans 19

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears:
The last time the Packers were in Chicago, they won a division title.  Now, 1-2 coming off of a loss to the Lions, these Packers are desperate for a win.  However,  the Chicago Bears are coming off of two road prime-time victories, which bodes very well for their playoff hopes. However, the Packers have the best quarterback in the league on their team (Aaron Rodgers) and should win a shootout on the road.  I'm going with the Pack.
Packers 35
Bears 31

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Pittsburgh Steelers:
Coming off of an impressive win over the Panthers on Sunday Night Football, the Steelers are hoping to win against a team that failed to show up in its only primetime appearance so far.  The Bucs are rolling with Mike Glennon, who had a decent rookie year in the NFL.  However, these Bucs have had plenty of time to recover and may actually pose a threat to the Steelers.  As a result, the Steelers should win, but it will likely be closer than most expect it to be.
Buccaneers 17
Steelers 24

Jacksonville Jaguars @ San Diego Chargers:
This is the first week of the Blake Bortles era for Jacksonville and after watching him in the preseason, I think the Jaguars will be better.  However, they are going up against one of the AFC's best teams: the San Diego Chargers.  While I don't think this game will be a blowout, it won't be close either.
Jaguars 14
Chargers 30

Philadelphia Eagles @ San Francisco 49ers:
This has trap game written all over it for the 49ers, who have lost their last two games this season. These Eagles are 3-0 and are doing very well on offense this season.  The 49ers need to go back to the "ground and pound" offense that we are so familiar with to win this one.  Something about this matchup says that Philadelphia will win but I'm going with the 49ers in a mid-scoring affair.
Eagles 23
49ers 31

Atlanta Falcons @ Minnesota Vikings:
The Atlanta Falcons are coming off of a great win over a divisional rival while the Vikings are starting first-round selection Teddy Bridgewater for the first time.  Atlanta's defense is not very good and but the Vikings have had to deal with injuries and suspensions.  I also think that Bridgewater is better than many may anticipate and may shock the Falcons in this one.  However, Matt Ryan may have one of his best seasons so far and I'm counting on him to win this one.
Falcons 24
Vikings 20

New Orleans Saints @ Dallas Cowboys:
Fantasy Alert!  This game has the potential for a real shootout with almost 70 possible total points because both defenses are so bad.  Both of the quarterbacks in this game, Tony Romo and Drew Brees, have the potential to score at least forty points each.  However, the Saints are a better team and barely have a better defense than the Cowboys.  This is going to be a high-scoring game.
Saints 45
Cowboys 38

We'll post our Monday Night Prediction tomorrow.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Week 4 NFL Picks: New York Giants @ Washington Redskins

After coming off of a solid home win against the Houston Texans, the New York Giants travel to Washington to take on the Redskins on a short week for Thursday Night Football!

Eli Manning and the Giants offense is coming off of one of their best games in quite a while. Rashad Jennings, one of the Giants' free agency additions, has really helped the offense maintain drives. Additionally, Victor Cruz finally had a great game and even showed off some of his famous salsa in front of the home crowd.  The Giants' defense has been playing fairly nicely, coming off of a game in which they had three interceptions and a couple of sacks.  As a result, this Giants team is looking pretty good, compared to its performance in Week One.

The Redskins, led by backup quarterback Kirk Cousins, are coming off of a narrow loss to the Eagles.  Cousins has been playing very well but has faced some of the worst defenses in the NFL. The Giants faced Cousins in the season finale last year, limiting him to a lost fumble, two interceptions, and a completion rate lower than 50%.  Obviously Cousins will play better than that, but he may not have an easy time against these Giants.  Moreover, the Redskins have lost a few players to injuries on both sides of the ball and have to rebound after the loss to the Eagles.

I am picking the Giants to win this game: their offense is starting to click and show progress while Kirk Cousins has to play one of the better defenses in the NFL.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

NFL Picks Week 3

After yet another exciting week in the NFL, The Rishab Report is revealing its Week 3  picks. Last week, we had our worst week in three years, finishing 6-10.  Fortunately, we picked Atlanta to beat Tampa Bay. As a result, we are 1-0 this week so far.  With that in mind, we shall begin!

San Diego Chargers @ Buffalo Bills:
The Bills are currently 2-0 and have had some great victories so far this season over the Bears and Dolphins. Meanwhile, San Diego has recently defeated the current champions, the Seahawks. However, they have to travel across the country to Buffalo. I'm going with EJ Manuel and the Bills.
Chargers 20
Bills 24

Houston Texans @ New York Giants:
The Giants have been turning the ball over as much as my dog grabs a towel from my kitchen counter (extremely often). Fortunately, the Giants' offense looked much better last week and because of that, I'm going with the Giants to snap the losing streak.
Texans 13
Giants 23

Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles: 
The Redskins are coming off of a great win over the Jaguars with Kirk Cousins at the helm. Moreover, the Eagles have been slow to start in the first two weeks of the season and Nick Foles has already matched his interception total from last year.   I'm going with the Redskins in an upset.
Redskins 28
Eagles 24

Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions:
The Green Bay Packers were in jeapordy of starting the season 0-2 when the Jets were up 21-3 in the second quarter.  Then, Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson lit the Jets and won 31-24.  Additionally, the Lions are coming off of a rough loss to the Panthers and are looking for a win at home.  However, I have the Packers winning a shootout.
Packers 37
Lions 30

Dallas Cowboys @ St. Louis Rams:
Slowly but surely, the Cowboys are starting to rely on the run game, rather then watching Tony Romo throw a game-ending interception.  As a result, I'm liking the Cowboys in this one (they have a quarterback and a great running game).  However, St. Louis' defensive line is one of the best lines and should give the Cowboys some problems.
Cowboys 20
Rams 9

Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars:
The Colts have not been lucky this season so far (they are currently 0-2) and are not relying on their young franchise quarterback, Andrew Luck, as they did before.  However, Jacksonville is coming off a horrible loss to the Redskins and the Colts need a divisional win to get back in the playoff picture. With that in mind, I have to go with Indianapolis, otherwise the Houston Texans may very well win this weak division.
Colts 30
Jaguars 17

Minnesota Vikings @ New Orleans Saints:
Here we have another 0-2 team that needs a win to reestablish its playoff hopes: the New Orleans Saints.  After losing two close road games to the Browns and Falcons, the Saints need a great victory at home to prove that they are still playoff contenders.  Additionally, the Patriots made a fool out of the Vikings last week and I think Minnesota has a hard time rebounding.
Vikings 14
New Orleans 35

Tennessee Titans @ Cincinnati Bengals: 
After a great win over the Falcons, the Bengals are looking to start the season 3-0 with a win over the extremely inconsistent Titans.  Because Andy Dalton looks refreshed and calmer with Hue Jackson as the new offensive coordinator, I'm going with the Bengals in this one.
Titans 10
Bengals 27

Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns:
Here we have this week's AFC North duel between the Ravens and the Browns.  The Ravens are playing their third divisional opponent in three weeks, a real challenge for most teams.  However, the Browns almost beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh in Week One and upset the Saints last week.  I like the Browns at home to win an important low-scoring divisional game.
Ravens 14
Browns 20

Oakland Raiders @ New England Patriots:
This might be the last straw for the Dennis Allen era in Oakland.  Unless Allen can coach his team to beat the juggernaut Patriots, he might be fired on Monday.   I'm going with Brady and the Patriots.
Raiders 14
Patriots 42

San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals:
I watched the first half of the 49ers/Bears game last week and I am worried about Colin Kaepernick. However, the 49ers are more likely to run the ball in this game. I'm going with the 49ers in this one.
49ers 27
Cardinals 22

Denver Broncos @ Seattle Seahawks:
We all remember the Super Bowl (43-8) and the prowess of the Legion of Boom.   Unfortunately for Denver,  the Seahawks' offense looks much better this year. I'm going with the Seahawks.
Broncos 20
Seahawks 37

Kansas City Chiefs @ Miami Dolphins:
The Chiefs are looking like a 6-10 team that does not have enough weapons on offense to reach the playoffs.   Furthermore,  the Dolphins have a great pass rush that will humiliate Alex Smith.  Dolphins are the wise choice in this one.
Chiefs 13
Dolphins 16

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Carolina Panthers:
This week's Sunday Night game is an interesting one.  With Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger,  this game might be the best of the week.  I'm going with the Panthers to win this one.
Steelers 20
Panthers 21

We'll post our Monday Night projections tomorrow.

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.