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.

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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.

Projecting the CBB Conference Champions: The Mid-Major Threats

Welcome back. If you read the first part, you’re in the minority. Unfortunately many people don’t care about the one-bid conferences. This is where the fun begins!

Southern: Wofford

The SoCon is no contest. Fletcher Magee and Nathan Hoover form one of the nation’s top 50 backcourts, with Cam Jackson manning the paint. Expect Wofford to run away with the SoCon.

Horizon: Oakland

Oakland tied for the top record in the Horizon last year, brings back all of their key pieces, and the other co-champion left for the Missouri Valley. Thanks, Valparaiso.

Ivy: Harvard

The Ivy League still maintains some bottom-dwellers, but Princeton and Harvard will contend for the title all year long. Yale is a solid team as well, and might contend for an at-large bid. Harvard’s non-conference schedule will buoy their advanced metrics. The Crimson face Kentucky, Minnesota, and St. Mary’s.

Missouri Valley: Northern Iowa

Bennett Koch leads the main beneficiary to Wichita State jumping to the American Athletic against little opposition. Illinois State lost key pieces fresh off a 17-1 record in conference play, while Valparaiso will struggle with the new conference. Missouri State isn’t ready to contend, although their roster says otherwise. The team remaining is Wichita State’s former nemesis, UNI.

Conference USA: Middle Tennessee

Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion, Louisiana Tech and UAB present C-USA with four solid teams capable of pulling an upset in March. The foremost of these is the Blue Raiders, who have upset Big 10 teams in back-to-back NCAA Tournaments. Middle Tennessee loses two of last year’s top three scorers, but Giddy Potts and Chase Miller lead an explosive team once again.

Colonial Athletic: College of Charleston

The College of Charleston returns every notable player from last year’s 25-win team. Towson, Elon, and Hofstra will be good.

Mountain West: Nevada

San Diego State, Fresno State, and Wyoming will be factors in the at-large race. UNLV will be competitive again with a talented roster. However, Nevada’s the preseason favorite for a reason. They appear a cut above the rest.

Atlantic 10: St. Bonaventure

Dayton and VCU will bow into the middle of the A-10 pack after each lost key players and their head coach. Taking the top spot, St. Bonaventure will finally win the conference in sensation Jaylen Adams’ final year.

West Coast: Saint Mary’s

Others argue for Gonzaga, but I think the Zags lost too much from last year’s Final Four run. Saint Mary’s features the nation’s finest center in Jock Landale, along with strong backcourt depth. Look for the Gaels to take the WCC.

Projecting the CBB Conference Champions: The One-Bid Leagues

Welcome to the wildest sport in the world. College basketball isn’t short of contenders this year, but instead of looking at national title implications, today I project the champion of every single Division 1 conference. Beginning at the bottom with the one-bid leagues, it’s going to be a wild ride.

Mid-Eastern Athletic: North Carolina Central

Nothing much to see here. North Carolina Central should again dominate the worst conference in college basketball.

Southwest Athletic: Texas Southern

Texas Southern has regained control of the SWAC, and will win again despite losing six of last year’s eight top scorers.

Northeast: St. Francis (Pa.)

The Red Flash are the best team in the Northeast by far, but a difficult non-conference schedule could force St. Francis into the First Four.

Southland: Stephen F. Austin

The Lumberjacks have slipped, but should have enough to take care of one of the nation’s easiest conferences.

Big West: UC Davis

Chima Moneke’s UC Davis could slip into the top 200 in advanced metrics, and will win this weak league.

Atlantic Sun: Florida Gulf Coast

With upstart Lipscomb on their heels, FGCU will need stat-stuffing Brandon Goodwin to deliver. Florida Gulf Coast’s depth will help in big games.

Big Sky: Montana State

Tyler Hall headlines seven of Montana State’s top eight scorers returning. The 23.1 PPG scorer will light up the conference alongside Southern Miss transfer Keljin Blevins.

Big South: Winthrop

Liberty, UNC-Asheville, and Winthrop all have sneaky 13 seed potential, but the defending champions seem a cut above the rest.

Ohio Valley: Belmont

Jacksonville State is a solid contender, but Belmont’s depth and explosiveness will propel them to a conference title.

America East: Vermont

The middle and bottom of the conference will be terrible, but Vermont presents a scary challenge for any five seed. Albany lost too much to contend with the Catamounts.

Metro Atlantic Athletic: Iona

Monmouth lost five seniors from last year’s at-large contender, and Iona’s rebuild is almost complete. Look for the Gaels to take the MAAC.

Patriot: Bucknell

The Bison are so good in comparison to their Patriot League peers. Bucknell should walk to a conference title, and a difficult non-conference schedule with only one team outside KenPom’s top 200 gives them an NCAA Tournament preview.

Western Athletic: Grand Canyon

The wack WAC regains relevance with Grand Canyon’s first year in awhile eligible for the NCAA Tournament. Utah Valley is solid too.

Summit: South Dakota State

Mike Daum’s return automatically thrusts the Jackrabbits to the top. Daum will be a matchup nightmare all year long.

Mid-American: Western Michigan

As soon as Thomas Wilder pulled out of the NBA Draft, WMU became the immediate favorites. It won’t be easy, as Ball State is coming off back-to-back 20 win seasons.

Sun Belt: Texas-Arlington

Georgia Southern is the favorite, but give me UT-Arlington, a team that challenged right until the end last year. Expect more of the same.

 

Playoff Push Picks Week 10

It’s going to be a boring article today. The team is working on some college basketball previews, so I’m placing Baron’s picks in here with mine. It’ll be a quick, short article with little explanation. I promise next week will be more interesting.

 

Seahawks vs. Cardinals

Baron: Seahawks

Owen: Seahawks

 

Jets vs. Bucs

Owen: Jets (upset!)

Baron: Bucs

 

Saints vs. Bills

Owen: Saints

Baron: Saints

 

Browns vs. Lions

Owen: Lions

Baron: Lions

 

Bengals vs. Titans

Owen: Bengals

Baron: Bengals

 

Packers vs. Bears

Owen: Bears

Baron: Packers

 

Chargers vs. Jaguars

Both: Jaguars

 

Vikings vs. Redskins

Both: Vikings

 

Steelers vs. Colts

Owen: Steelers

Baron: Steelers (lock)

 

Rams vs. Texans

Owen: Rams (lock)

Baron: Rams

 

Giants vs. 49ers

Both: 49ers

 

Cowboys vs. Falcons (marquee matchup) 

Both: Falcons

 

Patriots vs. Broncos

Owen: Patriots

Baron: Broncos (upset)

 

Dolphins vs. Panthers

Both: Panthers

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.