NFL Predictions Week 7

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

Inspired by Fourth Quarter Sports, (it’s a great blog; check it out!) I am starting my own weekly post of NFL predictions/picks/conjectures/not-at-all-wild guesses. Week 7 is the first of these to be subject to disapp—er, discussion.

Chiefs vs. Raiders

Derek Carr looked awful in Oakland’s narrow loss to the Chargers, and I expect that to continue against one of the NFL’s finest secondaries.

Ravens vs. Vikings

As many of you know, I am a die-hard Vikings fan. Minnesota is in control of the NFC North after dominating the Packers, and the Ravens look out of shape. SKOL Vikes!

Saints vs. Packers

Brett Hundley is a decent quarterback, no doubt. Green Bay’s defense is. . . well, still Green Bay’s defense, and Drew Brees should have a field day. The Packers can’t match New Orleans score for score.

Jets vs. Dolphins

Miami figured something out last week in a terrific come-from-behind win against the Atlanta Falcons. A win ties them with the Patriots atop the AFC East, and the Jets like tanking.

Panthers vs. Bears 

No discussion. Chicago can’t cope with Cam Newton and Co.

Cardinals vs. Rams

Jared Goff has looked mediocre against star-studded defenses, but Arizona isn’t banged up. Look for S—.er, Los Angeles to take control of the game.

Buccaneers vs. Bills

Tampa Bay consistently rolls over against strong defenses, and Buffalo is looking to get back on track in the playoff race. The Bills win, but it will be close.

Jaguars vs. Colts

Jacksonville’s defense is very, very good. Now they face Indianapolis.

I’ll take the Jags!

Titans vs. Browns

It won’t be long until Cleveland wins another game. I think. Maybe?

Cowboys vs. 49ers

Dallas will take a boost from Ezekiel Elliott’s off-field problems being somewhat resolved, and Dak Prescott stands to benefit the most. The Niners haven’t played well against multi-dimensional offenses.

Bengals vs. Steelers

Cincinnati lives and dies by A.J. Green’s production. It should be a wild game against the team that beat Kansas City at Arrowhead. Pittsburgh will prevail due to its explosive offense.

Seahawks vs. Giants

Do you expect Seattle to give the Giants their first win? I don’t. Russell Wilson leads a competent offense that will do enough on the backs of the Seahawk defense.

Broncos vs. Chargers

Where is this mentality coming from? The Chargers are 2-4! Yet everyone expects San D—er, Los Angeles to destroy one of the best defenses in the league. Not happening!

Falcons vs. Patriots

This one is tough to call. Atlanta is angry they let a 17 point lead slip to the Dolphins and need a win. But it’s still New England. I expect Matt Ryan to lead Atlanta past the champions in a tight, medium scoring game.

Redskins vs. Eagles 🦅 

Philadelphia is on a roll, and Carson Wentz should rip apart Washington’s below average defense.

That concludes my first NFL predictions article. Leave a like if you enjoyed, and let me know what you think in the comments!

College Football Power Rankings Week 6

A quick note: Because I procrastinated last week, two posts in a row will be CFB power rankings. Fun.

Where did that come from? Week 6 was supposed to be a boring, predictable slate of games. It was anything but. Oklahoma and Michigan went down, Alabama had trouble with Texas A&M, and Miami launched itself into the playoff race. As you might expect, the rankings changed quite a bit.

1. Clemson

The top spot is unchanged this week, as the Tigers took care of Wake Forest despite their star quarterback going down.

2. Alabama

I confess the second paragraph is not entirely true. The Tide only beat Texas A&M by 8 points. . . but they had a two touchdown lead until the final minute. Don’t expect them to drop anytime soon.

3. Georgia

The SEC Championship Game might be contested by the top two teams this year. The Bulldogs’ latest victim is Vanderbilt, a team Alabama whacked 59-0. Georgia delivered an almost as impressive 45-14 win, and the undefeated Bulldogs are in control of the East. And where is the SEC Championship Game? Atlanta.

4. Penn State

Last year’s Big Ten champions control the conference. . . for now. The loaded B1G East also features Michigan, Ohio State, and a sneaky good Michigan State team that pulled of a victory in Ann Arbor last week.

5. TCU

Lurking behind the Lions, the Horned Frogs keep picking up impressive victories. They leap over Washington this week after their superb win against West Virginia.

6. Washington

Cal is a solid team that should make a bowl game. The Huskies just don’t care. Washington is destroying opponent after opponent, but the Apple Cup looms.

7. Auburn

Helped by teams above them losing, the Tigers roared to a 44-23 victory over a shell-shocked Mississippi side. Helped by teams above them losing, Auburn rises once again.

8. Washington State

Similar to Auburn, Wazzou moves up after destroying a subpar Oregon side, only because. . . well, upsets.

9. Miami 

The Hurricanes have launched themselves into the national spotlight. Malik Rosier’s heroics against Florida State thrust Miami up five spots in my rankings, and they will climb even further if they remain undefeated and earn a trip to the ACC Championship Game. The Hurricanes would have a chance to book a place in the Playoff by knocking off Clemson.

10. Oklahoma

The Sooners lost to Iowa State’s third string QB. The only thing keeping them in the top ten is that win over Ohio State.

11. Ohio State

The team most affected by Oklahoma’s collapse, the Buckeyes took care of Maryland 62-14. . . but the loss to OU doesn’t look as good anymore.

12. USC

Oregon State is not a good team, and the Trojans won’t benefit from destroying them. Here’s some bad logic not to use. USC beat Oregon State by 28, and Minnesota beat the Beavers by 38. So our Gophers are 10 points better than the Trojans!

I wish.

13. Michigan

In-state rivalry losses don’t look as bad on a resume, especially when your team is playing with its backup quarterback. I’ve seen some people drop the Wolverines all the way to 22. Michigan State is a solid team though, and Michigan boasts some nice non-conference wins.

14. Wisconsin

The Badgers are undefeated, but they will keep falling until they actually play a decent team. Nebraska doesn’t count.

15. North Carolina State

An article detailing this year’s thrilling ACC race will be out soon, and the Wolfpack are in the thick of it. NC State dominated Louisville for the entire game en route to a 39-25 victory. Interesting scoreline, but the Wolfpack are very, very good.

16. Virginia Tech

Another surprise ACC contender, the Hokies’ only loss is to Clemson. They fall one spot due to NC State’s massive win and their uninspiring 23-10 victory over Boston College.

17. Oklahoma State

The Cowboys had a bye last week. Don’t expect much change in their ranking unless the teams above are upset.

18. Notre Dame

The Irish benefit from Michigan State’s win at the Big House, a team Notre Dame beat by 20.

19. San Diego State

20. South Florida

21. UCF 

Three impressive Group of Five teams who look like the prime contenders for the slot in the New Year’s Six appear here, and could rise in the rankings. SDSU in particular, as a win at Boise State would be very impressive.

22. Stanford

Filling the shoes of Christian McCaffrey is a challenging task. But Bryce Love is tearing up Pac-12 defenses, and Stanford have won four straight.

23. Louisville

24. Texas Tech

25. Navy

 

Hopefully you all enjoyed the article! Come back tomorrow for analysis of the thrilling ACC race unfolding before our eyes.

 

NFL Preview Part IV: The NFC East

The Giants are 0-3.

Wait, what?

Worst to first? A playoff team to go 0-6 in the division? Last year’s conference leaders to miss the playoffs? All that and more is possible in this wild NFC East.

The Dallas Cowboys went 13-3 last year behind Rookie of the Year nominees Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot. The defense raises questions, though, and Elliott could face a multi-game suspension for the investigation into his “scandal”. In this division, that could be fatal as the Philadelphia Eagles lurk. Carson Wentz leads a dangerous offense featuring second year RB Wendell Smallwood and vertical playmaker Alshon Jeffery. The defense should star again, despite the lopsided trade that sent Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell to the Miami Dolphins last season.

The New York Giants are 0-3 and look a mess, despite a top tier O-line and a star-studded receiving corps. It could be one of those years for Bob McAdoo and Co.

What about the Washington Redskins? One season removed from winning this division, Kirk Cousins is miraculously still here. Jamison Crowder has emerged to lead a terrific receiving corps that added Terell Pryor in free agency. Josh Norman is still jawing away from his spot as the team’s best corner. The Redskins and the Eagles’ games could decide the fate of the East once again,

Miracle in the Meadowlands, anyone?

Vikings vs. Buccaneers live score updates!

Fresh off a destruction at the hands of the Steelers, the Vikings head home to Minnesota to welcome the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 1-0 Bucs had their first game postponed due to Hurricane Irma, and didn’t let it show last week against the Bears. Both sides need a win to stay a step ahead in their respective divisions. SKOL Vikes!

Vikings 7-0 Buccaneers

Dalvin Cook has his first NFL touchdown! The rookie caps off a drive that featured a Case Keenum bomb to Adam Thielen. Let’s go!

Vikings 7-3 Buccaneers

A Nick Folk field goal brings life for Tampa. It took a superb effort from Cameron Brate to deny us the interception on third down, and the Bucs get three.

Vikings 14-3 Bucs

Case Keenum is on fire! Dart after dart to Stefon Diggs lead to a 3 yard touchdown to Jarius Wright. Remember him? This offense is rolling.

Vikings 21-3 Bucs

What a catch. Keenum throws a dart to Diggs, and the receiver makes a terrific grab. The Bucs do get the ball to start the second half, but we’re running away with this!

Vikings 28-3 Bucs

Stefon Diggs destroys Chris Conte to extend the Vikings’ lead. Fun!

Vikings 28-10 Bucs

This game isn’t over! Jameis Winston finds Cameron Brate with a perfect touch pass to inject life to Tampa’s offense. Please, please don’t give this lead up. Come on Vikes!

Vikings 31-10 Bucs

Kai Forbath still hasn’t missed a field goal as a Viking.

Vikings 31-17 Bucs

The Bucs just barely get the snap off before the end of the third quarter. The Vikings defense was caught out and DeSean Jackson puts on the afterburners. We have a ball game!

Vikings 34-17 Bucs

That sound you heard is a collective sigh of relief from my end. The lead is back to three scores. Kai Forbath still hasn’t missed a field goal as a Viking.

 

The game is over! Our Vikings improve to 2-1 on the year. Next week we travel to Chicago to play on Monday night. The Bears just beat the Steelers in overtime 🤐.

Vikings vs. Steelers: All the scores, as they happen!

Football’s back!

Week 2 of the 2017 NFL season is going to be a blast. Our Vikings come in having put a beatdown on the hapless New Orleans Saints defense, where just about everybody looked solid. The opponent this week is the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team loaded with hoisehold names. From Le’Veon Bell, to Antonio Brown, to Ben RoethlisIcan’tspell, the offense is loaded. Ryan Shazier leads a solid line backing corps. It is going to be a hard game. SKOL VIKES!

 

Steelers 7, Vikings 0: It’s a secondary collapse, plain and simple. Some genius put 38 year old Terrance Newman on noted speedster Martavis Bryant. Bryant ran a slant and torched everybody. Argh.

Steelers 14, Vikings 0

Our defense can not defend the pass. A suspect (49 yard) pass interference penalty got Pittsburgh to the red zone, where dynamic rookie Juju Smith-Schuster scored on a shovel pass from the 3.

Steelers 14, Vikings 3

The offense has life! Case Keenum and Co. put together a pretty impressive drive that would’ve culminated in a Stefon Diggs touchdown if the O-line had held their ground. Instead, it’s a 42 yard Kia Forbath field goal.

Steelers 17, Vikings 3

Chris Boswell missed a 51 yard field goal. But the Vikings were flagged for having seven players on one side of the ball. This is a rule that came up a couple years ago, and only inattentive players get called for it. Boswell then made the ensuing 46 yarder. We need a touchdown! Now!

Steelers 17, Vikings 9

If we lose by a point, I’m done. Dalvin Cook appeared to have his first NFL touchdown, but the referees screwed up what looked like a simple call. The play should have stood, but C.J. Ham, “the Little Bus” gets his first NFL touchdown instead. Good stuff.

Then Kai Forbath missed the extra point.

He’s missed six extra points as a Viking, but he’s perfect on field goals.

Wait, what?

Steelers 20, Vikings 9

23

26

Chris Boswell doesn’t miss field goals either.

 

Updates from around the league!

  • The Browns’ Joe Thomas is the first player ever to play 10,000 consecutive snaps.
  • Marcus Sherels now has the most punt return yards in Vikings franchise history.

 

NFL Preview Part I: AFC East

This division is not as clear-cut as you think.

Welcome to After the Whistle’s annual preview of the NFL. A quick note: I like to post my previews between week 1-2 of the season, as it rises above all the other, more famous sites that post theirs weeks before. On that note, on to the AFC East!

Let’s start this easy and examine two teams. In the last 11 games of the 2016 season, Team A rushed for 132.9 yards per game, 20 more than Team B. Team A allowed the third fewest sacks in the league, while Team B was 12th. Team A also had the third best turnover differential in football.

Team A is the Miami Dolphins.

Team B is the champion New England Patriots.

Surprised? The Dolphins were sneaky good last year. They made the playoffs in a loaded conference behind running back Jay Ajayi’s three 200+ yard games. The Patriots have only won in Miami once since 2012, and this Dolphins team is loaded. Jarvis Landry headlines a star-studded receiving corps, Ajayi is still around, Cameron Wake leads the D-line, and Reshad Jones stars in one of the best secondaries in football.

It won’t be enough. New England won the Super Bowl last year, and got better. The additions of Stephon Gilmore and Mike Gillislee add nice depth at corner and tailback, respectively. Brandin Cooks gives Tom Brady a tantalizing deep ball target, and they didn’t lose anybody! The Patriots should win the division, and they and Miami should mop the floor with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.

This year is going to be a blast. Part II of ATW’s NFL preview will be out later today!

Hilarious Google glitch will make football fans chuckle

We interrupt your scheduled afternoon to bring you. . . a Google glitch!

Tom Brady has faced off against the New York Jets 30 times, winning 23. Woody Johnson, the owner of the Jets, has plenty of reasons to be terrified of the Patriots without this Google glitch. As you see above this post, when one Googles “owner of the New York Jets,”  it isn’t Johnson, but Brady that shows up!