Saints Meet Falcons In Pivotal NFC Matchup

Photo source: CBS Sports

Two playoff hopefuls collide as the 9-3 Saints visit the 7-5 Falcons. New Orleans is a threat in the NFC for the first time since Bountygate and the game-that-shall-not-be-named. Behind a running game of Mark Ingram and sensational rookie Alvin Kamara, (pictured above) Drew Brees doesn’t have to carry the Saints anymore. Marshon Lattimore has come in and mobilized a suddenly decent secondary, but they’ll have their hands full.

Julio Jones was contained by Xavier Rhodes in the Falcons’ five point loss to the Minnesota Vikings last week. In fairness, Rhodes has shut down Jones some other games. . . try every time. The Vikings are a Super Bowl contender, (it feels so good to say that!) and Atlanta won’t be penalized for dropping that one. Matt Ryan and the offense need to put up more than nine points against New Orleans, and the defense will need to limit the Saints. Good luck with the latter.

Thursday Night Football will be entertaining, (there’s a first) and showcase two likely  playoff teams. (also a first on TNF) The Saints seem to have enough offensive firepower to get past the Falcons in Atlanta.

 

Yes, the image at the top is of Alvin Kamara at Tennessee, because trolling.

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Playoff Push Picks Week 12

The Playoff Push Prediction League returns after a one week hiatus, with new standings. Find those here:

Owen Riley, After the Whistle—40

Joel Deering, Fourth Quarter Sports—34

Baron Carter, After the Whistle—31

On to the picks!

Vikings over Lions (lock)

Adam Thielen is probably going to be the first Vikings receiver over 1000 yards in a season since Sidney Rice. The Minnesota State alum highlights a star-studded receiving corps for MVP candidate Case Keenum(!) to shred the Lions with.

Chargers over Cowboys (upset)

Two fringe playoff teams meet, and Joey Bosa is primed for a breakout. The Defensive Player of the Year candidate will get after Dak Prescott, and star left tackle Tyron Smith is hobbled up. Give this one to LA.

Redskins over Giants

The McAdoo supporters won traction in New York’s surprising upset win over Kansas City last week. It won’t continue, as Kirk Cousins has been the NFC’s third-best quarterback of late. D.J. Swearinger has emerged as a terrific corner opposite Josh Norman.

Bengals over Browns

Are we debating this?

Panthers over Jets

As much as I would love to see Carolina fall out of first round bye contention, the Panthers are just stacked across the board in comparison to Josh McCown, Bilal Powell, and Robby Anderson.

Titans over Colts

Falcons over Bucs

Patriots over Dolphins

Eagles over Bears

Seahawks over 49ers

Cool! Free points!

Chiefs over Bills

Buffalo’s quarterback situation is. . . unfortunate, to say the least. Tyrod Taylor was benched for rookie Nathan Peterman, who then threw five interceptions in the first half. Anybody have the Chiefs defense in fantasy?

Raiders over Broncos

Neither of these teams is trying to win the wide-open AFC West, but Oakland is slightly less dysfunctional than their elevated counterparts.

Saints over Rams (marquee matchup)

New Orleans’ run offense and passing defense are the keys to defeating a rattled Rams team. Alvin Kamara’s contributions to the air attack will prove key for the Saints.

Jaguars over Cardinals 

Blaine Gabbert will not put up many points on the #1 scoring defense in the league. It won’t happen.

Steelers over Packers

Brett Hundley’s inexperience is evident, as the Packers have lost four of five including last week’s 23-0 shutout against the Ravens. The 8-2 Steelers should be more concerned with a looming matchup in New England.

Ravens over Texans

Baltimore will expand its playoff hopes with an easy win over the Tom Savage-led Texans, a unit appearing lifeless since Deshaun Watson went down.

 

That’s all for this week! Be sure to leave a like and let me know where I picked wrong in the comments below.

Projecting the Race for the NFL Playoffs

The Browns are not in this post.

Week 11 of the NFL has concluded, and it’s time to look ahead to the race for the playoffs. Some teams are enjoying terrific seasons with Super Bowl aspirations, but some have fallen out of the race. For the Browns and Giants, look away. For The Eagles and Vikings, here goes.

AFC

1. New England Patriots (13-3)

The Patriots will play the Steelers on December 17th with home field advantage at stake. New England’s defense will be good enough to allow the high-powered offense to go to work and claim the #1 seed.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars (12-4)

Remember Week 5, when the Jags dismantled the Steelers 30-9? The head-to-head is crucial, as I project both Jacksonville and Pittsburgh to finish 12-4.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)

The runaway AFC North champions may be #1 right now, but Pittsburgh can’t stay with New England, and the Jaguars’ easy schedule makes it difficult for the Steelers to earn a first round bye.

4. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)

Recall when KC was 5-0. Then the Chiefs lost four of five to arrive at 6-4. Their division-heavy last six will produce some slip-ups, but Kansas City will get to 10-6 and another division title.

5. Tennessee Titans (10-6)

Tennessee faces an easy schedule up until a brutal two games to end the season, against the Rams and Jaguars. The Titans’ current momentum will carry them to ten wins in a season devoid of AFC contenders.

6. Baltimore Ravens (9-7)

Sitting at .500, the Ravens will face a division-heavy schedule down the stretch in the AFC North. Games against the Lions and Steelers will be tough, but Baltimore will win everything else.

NFC

1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)

The Eagles sit at 9-1, the sole blemish against the Chiefs, when the Chiefs were on top of the league. The NFC is loaded this year, and now Philadelphia sits at the top.

2. Minnesota Vikings (12-4)

The Vikings and Rams played a crucial game with first round bye implications, and Minnesota dominated. Case Keenum is an MVP candidate, and the Vikings have won six straight. The upcoming stretch against the Lions, Panthers, and Falcons will define Minnesota’s season.

3. New Orleans Saints (12-4) 

The Saints’ rushing attack is suddenly incredible behind Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara. The defense is a top ten unit with rookie Marshon Lattimore. New Orleans faces a critical test against the Rams that will decide the third seed.

4. Los Angeles Rams (10-6)

If the Rams beat the Saints on Sunday, each team’s projection changes to 11-5. Jared Goff is a decent NFL quarterback, and a Todd Gurley leads a good offense. Of course D-tackle Aaron Donald gets a mention as a DPOY candidate.

5. Carolina Panthers (11-5)

Cam Newton’s formidable offense and Luke Kuechly’s impregnable defense combine to form an incredible Panthers team. A division-heavy remaining schedule will be difficult in the NFC South, but Carolina will push New Orleans all year long.

6. Atlanta Falcons (10-6) 

That controversial win over the Lions pays dividends now, doesn’t it. I project both teams to finish 10-6, but Atlanta’s head-to-head win puts the Falcons in the playoffs.

Playoff Push Post-Week 9 Standings

Photo source: http://vikingswire.usatoday.com

 

It’s time to update the standings of the prediction league. Again.

Last week’s standings

Owen Riley, After the Whistle—14

Baron Carter, After the Whistle—11

Joel Deering, Fourth Quarter Sports—11

I will clarify that I scored 13 points last week, but as the weekly winner received a bonus point. Thus I was three points clear after one week.

This week’s point totals

Joel Deering, Fourth Quarter Sports—13

Owen Riley, After the Whistle—10

Baron Carter, After the Whistle—7

Post-Week 9 (second week of PPPL) standings

Joel Deering, Fourth Quarter Sports—24

Owen Riley, After the Whistle—24

Baron Carter, After the Whistle—18

Baron’s Playoff Push Picks Week 9

Apologies for the delay. I blame procrastination.

Bills over Jets

As my fellow bloggers can prove, I unfortunately picked the Bills. I also dropped Robby Anderson in fantasy.

Saints over Bucs

New Orleans sits atop the NFC South, and that won’t change against the Bucs.

Falcons over Panthers

The defending NFC champions need a win, and will get one here in a close contest. Matt Ryan should get back on track against a banged-up Panthers defense.

Rams over Giants

The Giants will struggle to reach 10 points against this vaunted defense, but Los Angeles will have no such problems.

Titans over Ravens (lock)

Marcus Mariota must love playing in the AFC. This week’s victim is the hapless Ravens defense, who seemed surprisingly competent against a quarterback-less Dolphins team. Don’t expect that to continue.

Jaguars over Bengals

Cincinnati will lose to the AFC’s most intriguing team. Jacksonville will reach 150 yards rushing, and A.J. Green will be bottled up by Jalen Ramsey. Blowout alert.

Eagles over Broncos

No debate here.

Texans over Colts

Deja vú.

Seahawks over Redskins

What is it with all these easy games?

49ers over Cardinals (upset)

Surprised? Jimmy Garoppolo will provide a spark to this offense, and the Cardinals look destined for a top-10 pick.

Chiefs over Cowboys (marquee matchup)

Dark Prescott will struggle against Kansas City’s shutdown secondary, and Dallas’s defense won’t be able to contain Kareem Hunt.

Dolphins over Raiders

Miami will not lose 40-0 again. Oakland should consider tanking.

Lions over Packers

Green Bay is 0-2 since Aaron Rodgers went down, and it could be a long year for the Packers. Detroit will further its case for a wild card.

Playoff Push Picks Week 9

Last week went well for me, as I sit atop the prediction league’s standings after one week. I missed one pick, that being Lions vs. Steelers. On to the picks!

Bills over Jets

Tyrod Taylor is in terrific form for Buffalo, and the defense should stifle an inconsistent Jets offense.

On a quick side note, Baron’s picks are coming out either tomorrow or Saturday, and his pick for this game is the Bills.

Saints over Bucs

Tampa Bay lost a tough game against the Panthers last week, and the Bucs’ struggles will continue against a resurgent Saints team.

Panthers over Falcons (upset)

Big upset! Carolina’s entire team clicked in a 17-3 win over the Bucs last week, and Cam Newton will have a big day against the struggling Falcons.

Rams over Giants

Jared Goff has been good against below-average defenses, and New York’s is woeful.

Titans over Ravens

How long until Marcus Mariota produces consistently? The Ravens woeful secondary will answer. Tennessee’s defense should stifle Joe Flacco and Co.

Jaguars over Bengals

Jacksonville is a quarterback away from being a legitimate Super Bowl threat. Jalen Ramsey or A.J. Bouye will have their hands full with A.J. Green this week, and it should be a good one. The Jaguars’ defense should come through for the offense once again.

Eagles over Broncos (lock)

Philadelphia is 7-1 and added Jay Ajayi via trade. Denver is not winning this game.

Texans over Colts

Houston lost a thriller to the Seahawks last week, leaving no questions about their offense. The defense is concerning, but so is that of a team who gave up over 300 passing yards to Blake Bortles. Ouch, Colts.

Seahawks over Redskins

This should be a good one. Both teams boast solid offenses and struggling defenses. Seattle should win, as they seem better on both sides of the ball.

Cardinals over 49ers

The Niners traded for Jimmy Garoppolo, yet another name to break my autocorrect. He likely won’t be ready to go, and Arizona has enough to see this through.

Chiefs over Cowboys (marquee matchup)

This week’s marqiee matchup involves two very good teams. Ezekiel Elliott will lead a surprisingly average Cowboys offense into a loss against a dominant Chiefs team. Does anyone else want to see a Chiefs vs. Eagles game?

Dolphins over Raiders

Last week was an anomaly. Miami has a good team outside of the QB situation. Expect the Dolphin defense to have a big game and stifle the struggling Raiders.

Lions over Packers

Matthew Stafford always seems to play the Packers close. With Aaron Rodgers’ injury, the Lions have enough on both sides of the ball to beat Green Bay.

Playoff Push Prediction League: Tracking the Standings

The first week is over!

The first week of games that matter in the prediction league are in the books! It’s time to check on the prediction league’s standings.

Standings 

16 points is the maximum point total achievable this week, although the week’s winner will receive a bonus point.

Owen Riley, After the Whistle—13+1

Baron Carter, After the Whistle—11

Joel Deering, Fourth Quarter Sports—11