Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Miami Dolphins - 2017 NFL Season Preview

MIAMI DOLPHINS                                                    

2016 Record - 10-6-0 

Head Coach - Adam Gase

Offensive Rank - 24th  (333 yards per game, 22.7 points per game)

Defensive Rank - 29th  (383 yards allowed per game, 23.8 points allowed per game)

With quarterback Ryan Tannehill out for the season with a knee injury, the Dolphins signed retired QB Jay Cutler (who only played five games with the Bears a year ago due to injuries) to fill the bill for this season. Ten-year veteran Matt Moore is the backup quarterback.
Jay Ajayi (1,272 yards and eight touchdowns) will be the top running back with Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake filling in. The wide receivers are Jarvis Landry (94 receptions for 1,136 yards and four TD), DeVante Parker (56, 744, four TD) and Kenny Stills (42, 726, nine TD). The tight ends will be Julius Thomas (30, 281, four TD with Jacksonville) and Anthony Fasano.
Ndamukong Suh (five QB sacks) and Cameron Wake (11 1/2 QB sacks) lead the defensive front along with Andre Branch (5 1/2 sacks). Kiki Alonso (two interceptions), Lawrence Timmons, Byron Maxwell (two INT), Reshad Jones and rookie linebackers Charles Harris (Missouri) and Raekwon McMillan (Ohio State) should have an impact as well. Defensive back Tony Lippett led Miami with four picks last season.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 -  All bets are off as far as what to expect from quarterback this season after Tannehill went down in training camp with the knee injury. Jay Cutler retired following a disastrous season in which he played just five games with the Chicago Bears last year. 
Head Coach Adam Gase is familiar with Cutler while he was Offensive Coordinator in Chicago two years ago, so he feels Cutler is the answer to the Dolphins quarterback problems.
That will be the key as to whether or not Miami has a successful season.
The running game is solid and the receiving corps has some depth, so Cutler will have weapons with him on offense.
The defense has the potential to be pretty solid, but did struggle against the run in 2016, allowing 141 yards per game. The Dolphins did have 16 interceptions last season while giving up 242 yards passing per game.
The problem is they are chasing the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in the AFC East and while the team feels optimistic heading to the new season, the odds are Miami will only make the playoffs again as a wild card team. 
It all depends on Cutler's play and the defense shoring up the deficiencies if that is to happen. The outlook has the Dolphins finishing 8-8 this year as Tannehill sits it out this season.

Week One - vs. Tampa Bay
Week Two - at LA Chargers
Week Three - at NY Jets
Week Four - vs. New Orleans (London, England)
Week Five - vs. Tennessee
Week Six - at Atlanta
Week Seven - vs. NY Jets
Week Eight - at Baltimore
Week Nine - vs. Oakland
Week Ten - at Carolina
Week Eleven - BYE
Week Twelve - at New England
Week Thirteen - vs. Denver
Week Fourteen - vs. New England
Week Fifteen - at Buffalo
Week Sixteen - at Kansas City
Week Seventeen - vs. Buffalo

Monday, August 21, 2017

Detroit Lions - 2017 NFL Season Preview

DETROIT LIONS                                            

2016 Record -  9-7-0

Head Coach - Jim Caldwell

Offensive Rank21st  (339 yards per game, 21.6 points per game)

Defensive Rank18th  (355 yards allowed per game, 22.4 points allowed per game)

Matthew Stafford (4,327 yards passing with 24 touchdowns and ten interceptions) is the quarterback and will have Jake Rudock as the backup. The running game will look to have Ameer Abdullah back at full strength after he was lost for the season in the second game.
Others in the mix include Theo Riddick (357 yards), Matt Asiata (402 yards, six TD in Minnesota), Dwayne Washington (265 yards) and Zach Zenner (334 yards, four TD).  The wide receivers are led by Golden Tate (91 receptions for 1,077 yards and four TD) and Marvin Jones (55, 930, four TD). Rookie Kenny Golladay (Northern Illinois) will likely get major playing time. Eric Ebron (61, 711, one TD) is the tight end.
Defensively, Ezekiel Ansah (currently on PUP list) and Haloti Ngata will anchor the front line along with team sacks leader Kerry Hyder (eight QB sacks) while top rookie pick Jarrad Davis (Florida) is slated to start at middle linebacker. Darius Slay (two interceptions) will start at cornerback. Teez Tabor, another rookie from Florida, could start at the other corner spot. Safeties Glover Quin and Tavon Wilson each had two interceptions last season.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - The Lions made it back to the playoffs last season and in order to do the same this year they will need QB Matthew Stafford to step it up and make some big plays in the post-season (if they make it back again) to get the monkey off his back as a non-factor in the playoffs.
The running game would get a big boost if Ameer Abdullah returns to the form he showed prior to his season ending injury last year. If that happens, there are plenty of weapons in the passing game to make the offense roar in the 2017 season.
The defense was adequate a year ago, but the pass defense could improve after giving up 248 yards per game. Getting more takeaways would also be a big help. Detroit only had ten interceptions and four fumble recoveries last season.
Head Coach Jim Caldwell doesn't get much credit when teams he leads have success, but a return trip to the post-season could help to change that perception. However, that might not happen unless a lot goes just right in Motown this year. A very tough schedule looms large this season and the Lions may very well take a step back with a 6-10 finish.

Week One - vs. Arizona
Week Two - at NY Giants
Week Three - vs. Atlanta
Week Four - at Minnesota
Week Five - vs. Carolina
Week Six - at New Orleans
Week Seven - BYE
Week Eight - vs. Pittsburgh
Week Nine - at Green Bay
Week Ten - vs. Cleveland
Week Eleven - at Chicago
Week Twelve - vs. Minneosta
Week Thirteen - at Baltimore
Week Fourteen - at Tampa Bay
Week Fifteen - vs. Chicago
Week Sixteen - at Cincinnati
Week Seventeen - vs. Green Bay 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Tennessee Titans - 2017 NFL Season Preview

TENNESSEE TITANS                                             

2016 Record -  9-7-0

Head Coach - Mike Mularkey

Offensive Rank11th  (358 yards per game, 23.8 points per game)

Defensive Rank20th  (358 yards allowed per game, 23.6 points allowed per game)

Marcus Mariota is the quarterback and looks to rebound from a broken leg injury late last season. Mariota threw for 3,426 yards with 26 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. Matt Cassel will be the backup QB again.
Running back DeMarco Murray had a nice bounce back season with 1,287 yards and nine touchdowns while also making 53 receptions for 377 yards and three more scores. Derrick Henry (490 yards, five TD) is a good fit in the backfield as well. The wide receivers are Rishard Matthews (65, 945, nine TD), Eric Decker (who missed most of 2016 season with injuries with the Jets), rookies Corey Davis (Western Michigan) and Taywan Taylor (Western Kentucky) and veteran Harry Douglas. Delanie Walker (65, 800, seven TD) is the tight end.
Brian Orakpo (10 1/2 QB sacks) leads the defense along with Sylvester Williams, DaQuan Jones and Jurrell Casey (five sacks) in the front seven. LeShaun Sims, Logan Ryan, Brice McCain (two interceptions), Da'Norris Searcy and rookie Adoree' Jackson will be looked at to lead the secondary.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - The Titans could be a very potent team on offense if Mariota stays healthy and Murray continues to run the ball like he did last season following a down year in Philadelphia. The wideouts are good, especially if Eric Decker is up to full speed and plays like he did with the Jets two years ago. Along with Matthews and TE Delanie Walker, Tennessee has a good corps of targets for Mariota to throw to.
Head Coach Mike Mularkey needs to have the defense improve as they were good against the run (only 88 yards allowed per game) but the pass defense was weak, giving up 270 yards per game. The team only had 12 interceptions as well and that has to improve.
The AFC South should be wide open once again with any of the four teams having a shot at winning the title this season. The Titans played well down the stretch in 2016, but fell just short of Houston for the division crown.  A 10-6 record could very well happen this year and that could be enough to win the division and get the Titans to the playoffs for the first time in nine years. 

Week One - vs. Oakland
Week Two - at Jacksonville
Week Three - vs. Seattle
Week Four - at Houston
Week Five - at Miami
Week Six - vs. Indianapolis
Week Seven - at Cleveland
Week Eight - BYE
Week Nine - vs. Baltimore
Week Ten - vs. Cincinnati
Week Eleven - at Pittsburgh
Week Twelve - at Indianapolis
Week Thirteen - vs. Houston
Week Fourteen - at Arizona
Week Fifteen - at San Francisco
Week Sixteen - vs. LA Rams
Week Seventeen - vs. Jacksonville

Comedy Legend and MDA Telethon Host Jerry Lewis Dies At Age 91

RIP Jerry Lewis

Here is a short clip from SCARED STIFF - a comedy movie with  Dean Martin  and  Jerry Lewis.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 2017 NFL Season Preview

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS                                 

2016 Record - 9-7-0

Head Coach - Dirk Koetter

Offensive Rank - 18th  (346 yards per game, 22.1 points per game)

Defensive Rank - 23rd  (368 yards allowed per game, 23.1 points allowed per game)

Third year quarterback Jameis Winston is back again after passing for 4,090 yards with 28 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Unproven Ryan Griffin will be the backup after Mike Glennon went to Chicago. The running game has Doug Martin (421 yards in only eight games played) as the main man after he serves a four-game suspension. Other runners include Jacquizz Rodgers (560 yards, two TD) and Charles Sims, who is used primarily in third down situations.
The wide receiving corps is led by All-Pro Mike Evans (96 receptions for 1,321 yards and 12 TD), DeSean Jackson (56, 1,005, four TD with Washington), Adam Humphries (55, 622, two TD) and rookie Chris Goodwin (Penn State). The tight ends are Cameron Brate (57, 660, eight TD) and top rookie draft pick O.J. Howard (Alabama) who is slated to be a starter.
The defense has Gerald McCoy (seven QB sacks), Robert Ayers (6 1/2 sacks), Noah Spence (5 1/2 sacks), William Gholston (three sacks), Kwon Alexander (three sacks and one interception at linebacker) and Lavonte David (five sacks) along with secondary stalwarts Brent Grimes (four interceptions) and Keith Tandy (four picks). Rookie safety Justin Evans (Texas A & M) should have the chance to make an impact.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - The Buccaneers have been improving steadily and just missed the playoffs last season. They have tough competition in the NFC South, where two teams (Carolina and Atlanta) have made the Super Bowl the past two seasons.
Head Coach Dirk Koetter will expect more of the same from Winston and the passing game (245 yards per game) this year, but the running game must improve after averaging just 101 yards per game. If Doug Martin can rebound and regain the Pro Bowl form he has displayed in his first five seasons, the Bucs offense could be very potent in 2017.
The defense had breakdowns last season, especially late in games as the Buccaneers lost four games by one score, including two late season games that cost them a wild card playoff spot.
Another 9-7 finish seems likely, but if the offense can get more balanced and the defense steps up in key situations, this team could do better and make the playoffs.

Week One - at Miami
Week Two - vs. Chicago
Week Three - at Minnesota
Week Four - vs. NY Giants
Week Five - vs. New England
Week Six - at Arizona
Week Seven - at Buffalo
Week Eight - vs. Carolina
Week Nine - at New Orleans
Week Ten - vs. NY Jets
Week Eleven - BYE
Week Twelve - at Atlanta
Week Thirteen - at Green Bay
Week Fourteen - vs. Detroit
Week Fifteen - vs. Atlanta
Week Sixteen - at Carolina
Week Seventeen - vs. New Orleans

Friday, August 18, 2017

Denver Broncos - 2017 NFL Season Preview

DENVER BRONCOS                                            

2016 Record -  9-7-0
Head Coach -  Vance Joseph

Offensive Rank - 27th  (323 yards per game, 20.8 points per game)

Defensive Rank - 4th  (316 yards allowed per game, 18.6 points allowed per game)

Trevor Siemian took the bulk of the snaps at quarterback a year ago and passed for 3,401 yards with 18 touchdowns and ten interceptions. Paxton Lynch had 497 passing yards with two TD and one pick.
The running backs are C.J. Anderson (437 yards and four TD) and many others, including Jamaal Charles, who is looking to resurrect his career after being released by the Kansas City Chiefs following another knee injury. Also in the mix is Devontae Booker (612 yards, four TD), who is on the injury list as training camp wrapped up.
The wide receivers are Demaryius Thomas (90 receptions for 1,083 yards and five TD) and Emmanuel Sanders (79, 1,032, five TD), Jordan Taylor and rookie Carlos Henderson (Louisiana Tech). Virgil Green (22, 237, one TD) is the tight end.
Linebacker Von Miller leads the defense and is coming off another Pro Bowl season in which he led the AFC with 13 1/2 QB sacks. Shane Ray (eight sacks), Brandon Marshall, Derek Wolfe, rookie DeMarcus Walker (Florida State), Aqib Talib (three interceptions), Darian Stewart (three INT) and T.J. Ward are the other big play makers for a stellar defensive unit.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - New Head Coach Vance Joseph will have a choice to make at starting quarterback between Siemian and Lynch as neither one showed much brilliance in the 2016 season that saw the Broncos go from being Super Bowl champions in 2015 to no playoffs at all.
There are questions at running back as well as Anderson was hurt last year and Booker is also on the injured list as the regular season is looming closer and closer. The Broncos have Jamaal Charles in camp and if they can catch lightning in a bottle with him, that would be a huge plus for the upcoming season.
The defense is rock solid and barring injuries to any key personnel, the Broncos should be one of the best defensive teams once again this season. They forced 27 turnovers last year (14 INT and 13 fumble recoveries) and they allowed less than 19 points per game, yet missed the playoffs, again showing the offense must step it up in the new season.
An 8-8 season appears to be in the cards for Denver this year unless the offense catches fire and doesn't put it all on the defense to win games.

Week One - vs. LA Chargers
Week Two - vs. Dallas
Week Three - at Buffalo
Week Four - vs. Oakland
Week Five - BYE
Week Six - vs. NY Giants
Week Seven - at LA Chargers
Week Eight - at Kansas City
Week Nine - at Philadelphia
Week Ten - vs. New England
Week Eleven - vs. Cincinnati
Week Twelve - at Oakland
Week Thirteen - at Miami
Week Fourteen - vs. NY Jets
Week Fifteen - at Indianapolis
Week Sixteen - at Washington
Week Seventeen - vs. Kansas City

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Washington Redskins - 2017 NFL Season Preview

WASHINGTON REDSKINS                                     

2016 Record -  8-7-1

Head Coach - Jay Gruden

Offensive Rank - 3rd  (403 yards per game, 24.8 points per game)

Defensive Rank - 28th  (378 yards allowed per game, 23.9 points allowed per game)

After putting up big numbers last year, quarterback Kirk Cousins was franchised by the Redskins and will be back again this season. Cousins passed for 4,917 yards with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Colt McCoy looks to be the primary backup.
Robert Kelley, Chris Thompson and Matt Jones did the bulk of the running last season and that appears to be the same this year.  Kelley led Washington in rushing last year with 704 yards and scored six touchdowns.
The wide receivers  corp will be completely new this year as Pierre Garcon and Sean Jackson are gone. In their place will be Terrelle Pryor (77 receptions, 1,007 yards and four TD with Cleveland), Jamison Crowder (67, 847, seven TD) and second-year player Josh Doctson, who will likely start. Brian Quick (41, 564, three TD with Rams) provides depth. The tight ends are Jordan Reed (66, 686, six TD) and Vernon Davis, who had 44 receptions for 583 yards and two scores.
The defense lost linebacker Trent Murphy (nine QB sacks a year ago) for the season to a knee injury. However, Ryan Kerrigan (11 sacks) is back at linebacker. Also in the fold will be defensive back D.J. Swearinger (three interceptions with Arizona last year), Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland (four INT) and rookies Johnathan Allen and Ryan Anderson (both from Alabama). Allen is a defensive end and may very well be a starter.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 -  The Redskins just missed the playoffs last season, so Head Coach Jay Gruden will be expecting big things this season from Kirk Cousins and company. However, Cousins lost two big weapons, so it remains to be seen how things will work out as the season goes along. The running game may go with the committee look again as Washington averaged 106 yards per game on the ground.
The defense must play better in crunch time as the Redskins lost four games by one score or less a year ago. Improvement against both the run (120 yards per game allowed) and the pass (258 yards allowed per game) is a must if the Redskins want to get back to the playoffs.
It will come down to how well Cousins plays as he is surrounded by new receivers. His go to guys could be the tight end duo of Reed and Davis. Pryor, a former quarterback, came out of nowhere at wide receiver in Cleveland last season, so that should be a plus.
The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants (even Philadelphia) will likely loom large in the NFC East, so the Redskins will be hard pressed to succeed. A 7-9 finish seems likely as questions will abound following the season as to whether Cousins will stay with the team.

Week One - vs. Philadelphia
Week Two - at LA Rams
Week Three - vs. Oakland
Week Four - at Kansas City
Week Five - BYE
Week Six - vs. San Francisco
Week Seven - at Philadelphia
Week Eight - vs. Dallas
Week Nine - at Seattle
Week Ten - vs. Minnesota
Week Eleven - at New Orleans
Week Twelve - vs, NY Giants
Week Thirteen - at Dallas
Week Fourteen - at LA Chargers
Week Fifteen - vs. Arizona
Week Sixteen - vs. Denver
Week Seventeen - at NY Giants

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Baltimore Ravens - 2017 NFL Season Preview

BALTIMORE RAVENS                                                  

2016 Record - 8-8-0

Head Coach - John Harbaugh

Offensive Rank17th  (348 yards per game, 21.4 points scored per game)

Defensive Rank 7th  (322 yards allowed per game, 20 points allowed per game)

Quarterback Joe Flacco returns as the starter for his tenth season in Baltimore. Flacco passed for 4,317 yards a year ago with 20 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Journeyman Ryan Mallett is the backup.
Terrance West (774 yards and five TD) will the primary running back while Danny Woodhead comes over from the Chargers after missing nearly the entire 2016 season. Woodhead is a versatile back who is excellent at receiving passes out of the backfield.  The wide receivers include Mike Wallace (72 receptions for 1,017 yards and four TD), Breshad Perriman (33, 499, three TD), Jeremy Maclin (44, 536, two TD with Kansas City) and Chris Moore. The tight ends are Benjamin Watson and Nick Boyle.
The defense is led by linebacker Terrell Suggs (eight QB sacks), Brandon Williams, C.J. Mosley (four interceptions), Eric Weddle (four INT), Brandon Carr and Tony Jefferson. Rookies Marlon Humphrey (CB from Alabama) and linebacker Tyus Bowser (Houston) may get some playing time early on.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 -  The Ravens finished second to Pittsburgh in the AFC North division a year ago and if they want to get back to the post-season, the offense has to improve. Flacco is needed to come through once again and the running game needs to help balance out the offense. The Ravens averaged only 91 rushing yards per game last season.
The defense was among the top ten and will look to continue the success, especially against the run as they allowed only 89 rushing yards per game. The secondary gave up some yardage, but also accounted for 18 picks last year as the Ravens were a plus-five in the turnover category.
If they can remain healthy and get some consistency running the football, the Ravens should improve upon last season's finish.  A 9-7 finish might be enough to get a wild card spot and that would be an improvement for the Ravens this season.

Week One - at Cincinnati
Week Two - vs. Cleveland
Week Three - at Jacksonville (London, England)
Week Four - vs. Pittsburgh
Week Five - at Oakland
Week Six - vs. Chicago
Week Seven - at Minnesota
Week Eight - vs. Miami
Week Nine - at Tennessee
Week Ten - BYE
Week Eleven - at Green Bay
Week Twelve - vs. Houston
Week Thirteen - vs. Detroit
Week Fourteen - at Pittsburgh
Week Fifteen - at Cleveland
Week Sixteen - vs. Indianapolis
Week Seventeen - vs. Cincinnati

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Minnesota Vikings - 2017 NFL Season Preview

MINNESOTA VIKINGS                                                  

2016 Record - 8-8-0

Head Coach - Mike Zimmer

Offensive Rank - 28th  (315 yards per game, 20.4 points scored per game)

Defensive Rank - 3rd  (315 yards allowed per game, 19.2 points allowed per game)

Sam Bradford is the starting quarterback after passing for 3,877 yards with 20 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Case Keenum (2,201 pass yards with nine TD and 11 INT) comes over from the Rams to provide depth as Teddy Bridgewater looks to come back from a terrible knee injury.
Running back is getting an overhaul in Minnesota as Adrian Peterson went to the New Orleans Saints, leaving either rookie Dalvin Cook (Florida State) or Latavius Murray (788 yards with 12 TD with Oakland) as the primary runner. Jerrick McKinnon, who had 539 yards (two rush TD) and also 43 receptions with two scores, is another option in the backfield.
Wide receiver has Stefon Diggs (84, 903, three TD) as a key player along with Adam Thielen (69, 967, five TD). The tight end is Kyle Rudolph (83, 840, seven TD). Second year receiver Laquon Treadwell is also in the mix.
Dannielle Hunter (12 1/2 QB sacks), Everson Griffen (eight sacks) and Brian Robison (7 1/2 sacks) head the defensive front while Xavier Rhodes (five interceptions) and Trae Waynes (three INT) lead the secondary for the NFL's number-three defense last season, which also netted 27 takeaways in the 2016 season.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - The Vikings finished at .500 last season and Head Coach Mike Zimmer would like to see the offense pick it up a few notches this year after ranking near the bottom of the NFL. Sam Bradford came over from Philadelphia and had a decent season (statistically) but the offense averaged just 20 points per game, putting too much pressure on a solid defensive unit.
If the team wants to get back to the playoffs, they must score more points and Bradford will lead the way along with two new running backs and a variety of receivers. It seems like there are too many questions facing the team heading into the season, especially on offense.
The key will be how the Vikings do against their division foes this year (2-4 in division games in 2016) as well as the offense having more balance as they averaged just 75 yards rushing per game.
It looks like another 8-8 season in Minnesota this year, unless the offense steps it up.

Week One - vs. New Orleans
Week Two - at Pittsburgh
Week Three - vs. Tampa Bay
Week Four - vs. Detroit
Week Five - at Chicago
Week Six - vs. Green Bay
Week Seven - vs. Baltimore
Week Eight - at Cleveland (London, England)
Week Nine - BYE
Week Ten - at Washington
Week Eleven - vs. LA Rams
Week Twelve - at Detroit
Week Thirteen - at Atlanta
Week Fourteen - at Carolina
Week Fifteen - vs. Cincinnati
Week Sixteen - at Green Bay
Week Seventeen - vs. Chicago

Monday, August 14, 2017

Indianapolis Colts - 2017 NFL Season Preview

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS                                            

2016 Season Record -  8-8-0

Head Coach - Chuck Pagano

Offensive Rank - 10th  (364 yards per game, 25.7 points scored per game)

Defensive Rank - 30th  (383 yards allowed per game, 24.5 points allowed per game)

Quarterback Andrew Luck is coming off shoulder surgery following last season, when he passed for 4,240 yards with 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Backing him up (or possibly starting if Luck isn't quite ready for the season) is Scott Tolzien. The running game has Frank Gore (1,025 yards and four TD) back again along with Robert Turbin (164 yards and seven TD) and rookie Marlon Mack (South Florida).
The wide receivers are led by T.Y. Hilton (91 receptions for 1,448 yards and six TD) and a training camp battle for the other starting spot between Phillip Dorsett (33, 528, two TD), Donte Moncrief (30, 307, seven TD) and former Baltimore Raven Kamar Aiken, who had 29 catches for 328 yards. The tight ends are Jack Doyle (59, 584, five TD) and Erik Swoope.
Many changes abound for the defense as seven players left the Colts from last year's team while eight new faces will be on the defense for the 2017 season, including DT Johnathan Hankins, LB Jon Bostic, DE Margus Hunt, NT Al Woods and rookies Malik Hooker (safety- Ohio State), Tarell Basham (DE- Ohio) and cornerback Quincy Wilson (Florida). Darius Butler is the returning safety who had three interceptions last season.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - Obviously, a lot hinges on the health of QB Andrew Luck, who has done very little football activity following off-season shoulder surgery.  Improving the running game (102 yards per game a year ago) would also be a big boost. If Luck is back to his old form, it may be enough for the team to challenge Tennessee and Houston for the AFC South title.
There are far too many questions on the defensive side of the football as the season nears. The Colts have to fill the gaps with the new players taking over this season. If the defense (ranked 30th in 2016) can fit together quickly, the Colts will be in business.
Head Coach Chuck Pagano survived the firing line last off-season and will be looking to get back to the playoffs for the first time in three years. Another .500 finish (or worse) likely will not cut it this time around. That may very well happen as a 7-9 finish appears to be in order this season.

Week One - at LA Rams
Week Two - vs. Arizona
Week Three - vs. Cleveland
Week Four - at Seattle
Week Five - vs. San Francisco
Week Six - at Tennessee
Week Seven - vs. Jacksonville
Week Eight - at Cincinnati
Week Nine - at Houston
Week Ten - vs. Pittsburgh
Week Eleven - BYE
Week Twelve - vs. Tennessee
Week Thirteen - at Jacksonville
Week Fourteen - at Buffalo
Week Fifteen - vs. Denver
Week Sixteen - at Baltimore
Week Seventeen - vs. Houston

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Arizona Cardinals - 2017 NFL Season Preview

ARIZONA CARDINALS                                                

2016 Record -  7-8-1

Head Coach -  Bruce Arians

Offensive Rank9th  (367 yards per game, 26.1 points scored per game)

Defensive Rank 2nd  (305 yards allowed per game, 22.6 points allowed per game)

Back for another season to start at quarterback will be Carson Palmer following last season's effort when he threw for 4,233 yards with 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Blaine Gabbert (925 passing yards, five TD, six INT) comes over from San Francisco and will battle it out with Drew Stanton for the reserve spot.
David Johnson (1,239 rushing yards and 16 TD, also 80 receptions for 879 yards and four TD) is the primary running back and will be backed up by Kerwynn Williams and rookie T.J. Logan (North Carolina). The wide receivers will be Larry Fitzgerald (107 receptions, 1,023 yards and six TD) and John Brown, who had 39 grabs for 517 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie Chad Williams (Grambling State), J.J. Nelson (34, 568, six TD) and tight end Jermaine Gresham (37, 391, two TD) will also be relied upon this season.
The defense has pass rush stalwarts Markus Golden (12 1/2 QB sacks) and Chandler Jones (11 sacks) leading the way for the NFL's top sack defense, which recorded 44 last season. Veterans Frostee Rucker and Karlos Dansby are in the fold as well.
Patrick Peterson (three interceptions) leads the secondary along with Antoine Bethea, Tyrann Mathieu and rookies Budda Baker (Washington) and Rudy Ford (Auburn) for the Cardinals, who intercepted 14 passes a year ago while giving just 210 passing yards per game.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - Arizona slipped to a losing record in 2016 a year after reaching the NFC Championship Game, so they will be looking to rebound behind Palmer and company on offense while the defense will be looking to maintain their level of solid play. Running back David Johnson's 20 touchdowns led the NFL last season.
The Cardinals ranked second overall on defense last year and also led the league with 44 quarterback sacks. There has been a lot of roster moves in the off-season as several new faces are in camp this year replacing no less than six defensive players from last season. The key for Arizona will be maintaining health as they are one of the older teams in the NFL as far as key personnel is concerned.
Head Coach Bruce Arians is one of the better ones in getting through his message to the team and they play hard for him. Whether or not that translates to enough wins this season remains to be seen, but the Cards will likely be in the mix for the NFC playoff race in 2017. Expect the Cardinals to make a push as they probably go 9-7 this season.

Week One - at Detroit
Week Two - at Indianapolis
Week Three - vs. Dallas
Week Four - vs. San Francisco
Week Five - at Philadelphia
Week Six - vs. Tampa Bay
Week Seven - at LA Rams (London, England)
Week Eight - BYE
Week Nine - at San Francisco
Week Ten - vs. Seattle
Week Eleven - at Houston
Week Twelve - vs. Jacksonville
Week Thirteen - vs. LA Rams
Week Fourteen - vs. Tennessee
Week Fifteen - at Washington
Week Sixteen - vs. NY Giants
Week Seventeen - at Seattle

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Buffalo Bills - 2017 NFL Season Preview

BUFFALO BILLS                                                        

2016 Record - 7-9-0 

Head Coach - Sean McDermott

Offensive Rank16th  (354 yards per game, 24.9 points scored per game)

Defensive Rank 19th  (357 yards allowed per game, 23.3 points allowed per game)

Tyrod Taylor will be the starting quarterback again this season. Taylor passed for 3,023 yards with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions and also rushed for 580 yards with six scores. T.J. Yates and rookie Nathan Peterman (Pittsburgh) will back up.
LeSean McCoy rushed for 1,267 yards with 13 TD and also caught 50 passes out of the backfield and will be the primary running back again. Jonathan Williams and Cedric O' Neal provide depth. The wide receiving unit went through a major change as Sammy Watkins was dealt to the Rams. Anquan Boldin (67 receptions, 584 yards, eight TD with Detroit), Andre Holmes, Philly Brown and rookie Zay Jones (East Carolina) will be the primary targets along with tight end Charles Clay, who had 57 receptions for 552 yards and four touchdowns last year.
The defense features Kyle Williams (five QB sacks), Jerry Hughes (six sacks) and Marcell Dareus (3 1/2 sacks) on the front line along with pass rushing linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, who had 12 1/2 QB sacks a year ago, which was third best in the NFL. Rookie Tre'Davious White (LSU) will look to man a cornerback spot along with Leonard Johnson following the trade of Ronald Darby to Philadelphia.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 -  The Bills appear to be in transformation mode with the recent deals made and new Head Coach Sean McDermott will look to Taylor and McCoy to spark the offense, which was decent a year ago, averaging just under 25 points per game.
The defense can get after the quarterback and did intercept twelve passes a year ago, but the run defense was weak, allowing 133 yards per game. That has to improve to keep opposing offenses honest.  The Bills will not challenge New England for the AFC East title this season, but a .500 finish is not out of the question if the offense clicks once again.
The future will likely be better for Buffalo as they hold a ton of draft picks in the next couple of years. Look for a 6-10 mark this season as they build for future success.

Week One - vs. NY Jets
Week Two - at Carolina
Week Three - vs. Denver
Week Four - at Atlanta
Week Five - at Cincinnati
Week Six - BYE
Week Seven - vs. Tampa Bay
Week Eight - vs. Oakland
Week Nine - at NY Jets
Week Ten - vs. New Orleans
Week Eleven - at LA Chargers
Week Twelve - at Kansas City
Week Thirteen - vs. New England
Week Fourteen - vs. Indianapolis
Week Fifteen - vs. Miami
Week Sixteen - at New England
Week Seventeen - at Miami

Friday, August 11, 2017

Philadelphia Eagles - 2017 NFL Season Preview

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES                                         

2016 Record - 7-9-0

Head Coach - Doug Pederson

Offensive Rank - 22nd  (337 yards per game, 22.9 points scored per game)

Defensive Rank - 13th  (343 yards allowed per game, 20.7 points allowed per game)

Carson Wentz is the top quarterback after passing for 3,782 yards along with 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in his rookie year. Nick Foles and Matt McGloin will be the backups.
Running back LeGarrette Blount (1,161 yards and 18 TD) comes over from the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots to lead the attack. Wendell Smallwood (312 yards), Ryan Mathews (661 yards, eight TD) and all-purpose back Darren Sproles (438 rush yards, 52 receptions for 427 yards and four total TD) provide depth for the Eagles.
The wide receivers are Alshon Jeffery (52 receptions, 821 yards, two TD with Chicago), Torrey Smith (20, 267, three TD with 49ers), Nelson Agholor (36, 365, two TD) and tight end Zach Ertz, who had 78 receptions for 816 yards and four touchdowns last year.
The Eagles defense features Fletcher Cox (6 1/2 QB sacks) and Brandon Graham (5 1/2 sacks) up front along with linebacker Jordan Hicks (five interceptions). Rodney McLeod (three INT) and Malcolm Jenkins (three picks), along with newcomer Ronald Darby (acquired via trade from Buffalo for WR Jordan Matthews) will lead the secondary.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - The Eagles will have plenty of versatility and depth in their backfield this season and barring injuries, could be among the league leaders in rushing yardage. The passing game should get a boost from Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith (provided both are healthy) as the wide receivers for Wentz to throw to along with tight end Zach Ertz.
This team should score some points and if the defense can contain opposing offenses, the Eagles just might challenge the Cowboys for the NFC East division title. However, after getting off to a fast 3-0 start last season, the Eagles crashed back to earth and finished the season with a losing record.
This team could avoid that same fate as long as they stay healthy and Wentz displays the talent he played with in the first part of the season as opposed to the level of play in the middle part when the team dropped five games in a row. A 10-6 record is not out of the question for Philadelphia and they could be a playoff team this season.

Week One - at Washington
Week Two - at Kansas City
Week Three - vs. NY Giants
Week Four - at LA Chargers
Week Five - vs. Arizona
Week Six - at Carolina
Week Seven - vs. Washington
Week Eight - vs. San Francisco
Week Nine - vs. Denver
Week Ten - BYE
Week Eleven - at Dallas
Week Twelve - vs. Chicago
Week Thirteen - at Seattle
Week Fourteen - at LA Rams
Week Fifteen - at NY Giants
Week Sixteen - vs. Oakland
Week Seventeen - vs. Dallas

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Cincinnati Bengals - 2017 NFL Season Preview

CINCINNATI BENGALS                                            

2016 Record - 6-9-1

Head Coach - Marvin Lewis

Offensive Rank13th  (357 yards per game, 20.3 points scored per game)

Defensive Rank17th  (351 yards allowed per game, 19.7 points allowed per game)

The quarterback is Andy Dalton, who had 4,206 passing yards with 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions a year ago. A.J. McCarron is the backup QB again.
The team will have Jeremy Hill (839 rushing yards, nine TD) and rookie Joe Mixon (Oklahoma) running the ball as Gio Bernard rehabs from a knee injury that limited him to just 337 yards rushing last season. A.J. Green (66 receptions, 964 yards, four TD) leads the wide receivers along with Brandon LaFell (64, 862, six TD) and rookie John Ross (Washington). Tight End Tyler Eifert played in just eight games last year, making 29 receptions for 394 yards and five touchdowns. He will be looking to get back to his old form that made him an up-and-coming NFL star.
Geno Atkins (nine QB sacks) leads the Bengals defense along with Carlos Dunlap (eight sacks) and linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who had two interceptions last season. Shawn Williams (three INT) and Dre Kirkpatrick (three picks) are the key players in the secondary.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - The Bengals struggled on offense last year, averaging only 20 points per game as they struggled in the red zone. Dalton and company have to get back to where they were a few seasons ago when they were regulars in the post-season.
The defense played decent last year, allowing just under 20 points per game and the Bengals were a plus-3 in the turnover ratio while snaring 17 interceptions. 
Marvin Lewis would like to see the team get back to that status as well as he enters his 15th season as the team's head coach. If the team can get the consistent offensive attack with pass and run balance, they can get back to being a playoff team.
The key for Cincinnati will be how they do against Pittsburgh and Baltimore, the two teams that have dominated the division (along with the Bengals) since the 2009 season. If they play well and hold the edge in the AFC North games, they can win the division. However, that may be a heavy lift in the 2017 season. Look for an 8-8 finish this year in Cincinnati. 

Week One - vs. Baltimore
Week Two - vs. Houston
Week Three - at Green Bay
Week Four - at Cleveland
Week Five - vs. Buffalo
Week Six - BYE
Week Seven - at Pittsburgh
Week Eight - vs. Indianapolis
Week Nine - at Jacksonville
Week Ten - at Tennessee
Week Eleven - at Denver
Week Twelve - vs. Cleveland
Week Thirteen - vs. Pittsburgh
Week Fourteen - vs. Chicago
Week Fifteen - at Minnesota
Week Sixteen - vs. Detroit
Week Seventeen - at Baltimore 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

New Orleans Saints - 2017 NFL Season Preview

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS                                         

2016 Record - 7-9-0

Head Coach - Sean Payton

Offensive Rank - 1st  (426 yards per game, 29.3 points scored per game)

Defensive Rank 27th  (375 yards allowed per game, 28.4 points allowed per game)

Drew Brees just keeps getting it done at quarterback, passing for 5,208 yards along with 37 touchdowns and15 interceptions last year for the top offense in the NFL. Chase Daniel is the backup.
The running backs are Mark Ingram (1,043 yards and six TD) and Adrian Peterson, who is coming off an injury filled season in Minnesota and looking to jump start his career in the Big Easy.
Wide receiver Brandin Cooks left for New England, making Michael Thomas (92 receptions for 1,173 yards and nine TD) and Willie Snead (72, 895, four TD) the top wideouts this season. Coby Fleener (50, 631, three TD) is the tight end.
Cameron Jordan (7 1/2 QB sacks) leads the defense along with Sheldon Rankins in the trenches while Manti Te'o arrives from San Diego to play linebacker. Rankins will be filling the role of Nick Fairley, who is out this season with health issues stemming from a heart condition.
Rookies Marshon Lattimore (cornerback-Ohio State) and Marcus Williams (safety-Utah) may very well start this season in the Saints secondary. Kenny Vaccaro (two INT) will play the other safety spot while Devon Breaux and P.J. Williams look to bounce back from injuries last season.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 -  With Brees leading the offense, the Saints are almost always in the game, depending on how the defense is playing that particular game. Last season, the defense was very poor, allowing 375 yards and over 28 points per game.
The Saints can get back to being a playoff team if the defense can improve this season, but that could be asking a lot from a unit that regularly gets torched in the secondary, thus the move of possibly having two rookies starting.
There is no question the offense will light up the scoreboard as long as Brees remains healthy. If Adrian Peterson can do half of what he has done in his career with the Vikings, then watch out this season.
Catching up to the other three teams in the NFC South won't be easy, but the Saints have gone through it before and even won a Super Bowl (2009 season) following a down year. The likelihood of that happening in 2017 is probably not a realistic goal this season. The Saints probably finish 8-8 and miss the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.

Week One - at Minnesota
Week Two - vs. New England
Week Three - at Carolina
Week Four - at Miami (London, England)
Week Five - BYE
Week Six - vs. Detroit
Week Seven - at Green Bay
Week Eight - vs. Chicago
Week Nine - vs. Tampa Bay
Week Ten - at Buffalo
Week Eleven - vs. Washington
Week Twelve - at LA Rams
Week Thirteen - vs. Carolina
Week Fourteen - at Atlanta
Week Fifteen - vs. NY Jets
Week Sixteen - vs. Atlanta
Week Seventeen - at Tampa Bay

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

RIP Glen Campbell

New York Jets - 2017 NFL Season Preview

NEW YORK JETS                                                   

2016 Record - 5-11-0

Head Coach - Todd Bowles

Offensive Rank - 26th  (329 yards per game, 17 points scored per game) 

Defensive Rank - 11th  (342 yards allowed per game, 25.6 points allowed per game)

Josh McCown arrives in The Big Apple this season to play quarterback. The journeyman signal caller passed for 1,100 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions with Cleveland last season. Bryce Petty (809 passing yards, three TD and seven INT) or Christian Hackenberg will be the backup.
The running game features Bilal Powell (722 yards, 5.5 ypc average and three TD) and Matt Forte (813 yards and seven TD). In addition, Powell caught 58 passes for 388 yards and two scores.
The wide receiving corps has Quincy Enunwa (58, 857, four TD), Robby Anderson (42, 587, two TD) and a pair of rookies, ArDarius Stewart (Alabama) and Chad Hansen (California). Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the tight end.
Leonard Williams (seven QB sacks) and Muhammad Wilkerson (4 1/2 sacks) lead the defense up front. The secondary will go through a transition with Morris Claiborne (coming over from Dallas) and Juston Burris on the corners. A pair of rookie safeties in Jamal Adams (LSU) and Marcus Maye (Florida) could start this season. Marcus Williams (two INT) adds depth.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - This looks to be a very interesting season for the Jets as they attempt to rebuild for the future. McCown has had success in his 15-year career, so it's possible the offense could provide more fire power than the anemic 17 points per game they scored last year.
If running backs Forte and Powell can provide the one-two punch they showed a year ago, it will keep opposing defenses honest, but the passing game has to click as well. The Jets are very inexperienced in that area heading into the new season.
The defense, usually solid, slipped a bit last year as opposing teams scored nearly 26 points per game. The vaunted pass defense allowed 244 yards per game and was torched in the red zone pretty regularly. It will be imperative for success that Claiborne and the new blood in the defensive backfield put an end to that.
The heat may well be on Head Coach Todd Bowles in his third season, so he will be driving the rebuilt Jets team from the start. However, playing in the AFC East along with the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins will be too much. The Jets likely finish 3-13 as they take their lumps in the first year of the rebuild.

Week One - at Buffalo
Week Two - at Oakland
Week Three - vs. Miami
Week Four - vs. Jacksonville
Week Five - at Cleveland
Week Six - vs. New England
Week Seven - at Miami
Week Eight - vs. Atlanta
Week Nine - vs. Buffalo
Week Ten - at Tampa Bay
Week Eleven - BYE
Week Twelve - vs. Carolina
Week Thirteen - vs. Kansas City
Week Fourteen - at Denver
Week Fifteen - at New Orleans
Week Sixteen - vs. LA Chargers
Week Seventeen - at New England

Monday, August 7, 2017

Carolina Panthers - 2017 NFL Season Preview

CAROLINA PANTHERS                                                

2016 Record - 6-10-0

Head Coach - Ron Rivera

Offensive Rank - 19th  (344 yards per game, 23 points scored per game)

Defensive Rank - 21st  (360 yards allowed per game, 25 points allowed per game)

Quarterback Cam Newton will look to get back to his 2015 NFL MVP form this season after a downer last year when he threw for 3,509 yards with 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Newton also rushed for 359 yards and five scores.  Derek Anderson and Joe Webb are the reserves.
Veteran running back Jonathan Stewart led the Panthers with 824 yards rushing (nine TD) but was starting to show his age. Rookie RB Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) will get his chances to run the ball along with Fozzy Whittaker and Cameron Artis-Payne.
Kelvin Benjamin (63 receptions, 941 yards, seven TD) came back strong from injuries that kept him out for the entire 2015 season. Tight End Greg Olsen had 80 receptions for 1,073 yards and three touchdowns. Also available will be Devin Funchess (23, 371, 4 TD), free agent Russell Shepard and rookie Curtis Samuel (Ohio State).
Luke Kuechly leads the defense at middle linebacker, along with Mario Addison (nine QB sacks), Kawann Short (six sacks) and 16-year veteran Julius Peppers, who is back for a second tour with the Panthers in the front seven. Safety Kurt Coleman (four interceptions) and LB Thomas Davis (three INT) are also impact players for the defense.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - After being humiliated by the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 two years ago, the Panthers crashed back to earth last season.
Head Coach Ron Rivera will be looking for the team to bounce back big time in the NFC South, where Atlanta, New Orleans and Tampa Bay are looming.
Cam Newton is the spark plug for the team and if he can get back to anywhere near the player he was in 2015, the Panthers can get right back to the playoffs this season. The defense must also get back to the form they showed in 2015 as well.
It will not be an easy task for Carolina to get back to the playoffs, but they are certainly capable of doing so. Playing better defense in the red zone will make a difference. Only six teams allowed more points than the Panthers did last season.
The way things can turn around in one season for teams seems to be the norm these days in the NFL, but the Panthers have questions to answer as they enter the new season. Look for a 9-7 finish this year, which might be good enough to get a wild card playoff spot.

Week One - at San Francisco
Week Two - vs. Buffalo
Week Three - vs. New Orleans
Week Four - at New England
Week Five - at Detroit
Week Six - vs. Philadelphia
Week Seven - at Chicago
Week Eight - at Tampa Bay
Week Nine - vs. Atlanta
Week Ten - vs. Miami
Week Eleven - BYE
Week Twelve - at NY Jets
Week Thirteen - at New Orleans
Week Fourteen - vs. Minnesota
Week Fifteen - vs. Green Bay
Week Sixteen - vs. Tampa Bay
Week Seventeen - at Atlanta

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Los Angeles Chargers - 2017 NFL Season Preview

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS                                   

2016 Record - 5-11-0

Head Coach - Anthony Lynn

Offensive Rank - 14th  (357 yards per game, 25.6 points scored per game)

Defensive Rank - 16th  (347 yards allowed per game, 26.4 points allowed per game)

Philip Rivers is back once again at quarterback (after all the off-season trade rumors) and will lead the offense. Rivers passed for 33 touchdowns last season but also threw 21 interceptions, along with 4,386 yards. Backing him up will be Kellen Clemens or Cardale Jones, who was brought in via trade from Buffalo.
Melvin Gordon leads the running game this season after just missing 1,000 yards rushing a year ago. Gordon also scored 12 touchdowns, including ten on the ground. Replacing versatile running back Danny Woodhead (free agent departure) won't be easy, but Branden Oliver and Kenjon Barner will be ready to go in that role this season.
The wide receivers include Dontrelle Inman (58 receptions, 810 yards, four TD), Travis Benjamin (47, 677, four TD) and rookie Mike Williams (Clemson). Having Keenan Allen for a full season would be a big boost to the passing game. Allen, a favorite target of Rivers, has missed numerous games for the past two seasons.
 Tight end Antonio Gates is entering his 15th NFL season and caught 53 passes for 548 yards and seven scores a year ago. Hunter Henry is the tight end of the future for the Chargers and caught eight touchdown passes last season.
Joey Bosa will be relied upon once again on defense after leading the team with 10 1/2 QB sacks. Along with Bosa will be Melvin Ingram, who had eight sacks. The secondary features two solid players in Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward, who led the NFL with seven interceptions last year.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - The Los Angeles Chargers - doesn't quite sound right, does it?
However, the big question is how the team will do in the first season in their new place after the move from San Diego.
Rivers is the key man once again and MUST cut down on the turnovers (21 picks) that also included 14 team fumbles lost. Along with defensive breakdowns in the fourth quarter, those turnovers led the way to the team blowing six late-game leads. Overall, the 'Bolts were a minus-7 in the turnover ratio.
New Head Coach Anthony Lynn brings with him a no nonsense approach and will expect improvement on both sides of the football.
The defense was pretty good against the run a year ago, but struggled mightily against the pass, allowing 249 yards per game, even though they were tied for a league leading 18 interceptions.
Too many times the defense couldn't get it done in crunch time or a costly turnover happened and the team suffered another double-digit loss season as a result. For that to change, they need to play disciplined football, especially against their division foes in the rugged AFC West.
There is a chance for a turnaround season in 2017, but again it depends on holding onto the football and the defense coming up big in the fourth quarter. A 7-9 finish is the most likely scenario for the Chargers this year as they get accustomed to being in Los Angeles after 50-plus seasons in San Diego. 

Week One - at Denver
Week Two - vs. Miami
Week Three - vs. Kansas City
Week Four - vs. Philadelphia
Week Five - at NY Giants
Week Six - at Oakland
Week Seven - vs. Denver
Week Eight - at New England
Week Nine - BYE
Week Ten - at Jacksonville
Week Eleven - vs. Buffalo
Week Twelve - at Dallas
Week Thirteen - vs. Cleveland
Week Fourteen - vs. Washington
Week Fifteen - at Kansas City
Week Sixteen - at NY Jets
Week Seventeen - vs. Oakland

Los Angeles Rams - 2017 NFL Season Preview

LOS ANGELES RAMS                                              

2016 Record - 4-12-0 

Head Coach - Sean McVay

Offensive Rank - 32nd  (263 yards per game, 14 points per game)

Defensive Rank - 9th  (337 yards allowed per game, 24.6 points allowed per game)

Second year quarterback Jared Goff will have the chance to start from day one this season after sitting the first ten weeks in his rookie year. Goff passed for 1,089 yards with five touchdowns and seven interceptions in seven games. The backups are Sean Mannion and Aaron Murray.
Running back Todd Gurley will be looking to have a bounce back season after a sub par 885 yard effort in 2016 (3.2 yards per carry) and just six touchdowns. Tavon Austin (58 receptions, 509 yards, three TD) is back along with free agent Robert Woods (51 receptions with Buffalo) to lead the wide receivers. Rookie draft picks Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington) and Josh Reynolds (Texas A & M) will have opportunities this season. Temarrick Hemingway, Tyler Higbee and rookie Gerald Everett (South Alabama) will be the tight ends.
The Rams will employ the 3-4 look this season as longtime journeyman coach Wade Phillips takes over as the defensive coordinator. Phillips has history of putting top flight defenses on the field. 
The defense will need Aaron Donald (contract holdout when training camp started) to lead the way again after getting eight QB sacks last year. Also in the mix is linebacker Robert Quinn, Alec Ogletree and cornerback Trumaine Johnson. Rookie John Johnson (Boston College) will challenge for a safety position.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - Sean McVay takes over as the head coach in L.A. and the Rams now have some competition in town as the Chargers have relocated from San Diego this season.
The Rams must get better on offense this season. In 2016, they averaged just 14 points per game and were dead last in offense in the league. Goff will need to improve at quarterback as well as Todd Gurley getting back to his rookie year form when he was among the top running backs in the game.
The defense is solid (number nine in the NFL a year ago) but needs to get better in the red zone as they ranked in the lower half of the league, allowing nearly 25 points per game.
While they did beat NFC West top dogs Seattle and Arizona last season, the Rams lost twice to San Francisco. If they want to be competitive in the division, the Rams have to score more points, but that won't come easy as they transition to Goff and a cast of new faces in the passing game.
Expect another bumpy ride this season for the Rams as they look to move up in the NFC West, but unless some big things happen, they will likely go 6-10 and be out of the playoffs once again.

Week One - vs. Indianapolis
Week Two - vs. Washington
Week Three - at San Francisco
Week Four - at Dallas
Week Five - vs. Seattle
Week Six - at Jacksonville
Week Seven - vs. Arizona (London, England)
Week Eight - BYE
Week Nine - at NY Giants
Week Ten - vs. Houston
Week Eleven - at Minnesota
Week Twelve - vs. New Orleans
Week Thirteen - at Arizona
Week Fourteen - vs. Philadelphia
Week Fifteen - at Seattle
Week Sixteen - at Tennessee
Week Seventeen - vs. San Francisco

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Jacksonville Jaguars - 2017 NFL Season Preview

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS                                      

2016 Record - 3-13-0

Head Coach - Doug Marrone

Offensive Rank - 23rd  (335 yards per game, 19.9 points per game)

Defensive Rank - 6th  (322 yards allowed per game, 25 points allowed per game)

Heading into the 2017 season, the Jaguars are looking to rebound after a disastrous season. Quarterback Blake Bortles is the key player after an up and down season when he threw for 3,905 yards with 23 TD and 16 interceptions. Chad Henne is the backup.
Chris Ivory (439 yards) and T.J. Yeldon (465 yards) shared the running back duties, but they will be challenged by top draft pick Leonard Fournette (LSU) for the starting role. The wide receivers include Allen Hurns (35 catches, 477 yards, three TD), Allen Robinson (73, 883, six TD) and rookie Dede Westbrook (Oklahoma) and they will look to be the main trio for the Jags this year.
The defense ranked sixth a year ago and features a good pass rushing tandem of  Yannick Ngakoue (eight QB sacks), Calais Campbell (eight sacks with Arizona Cardinals in 2016) and Malik Jackson, who registered 6 1/2  sacks.
The linebackers are solid, led by 11-year veteran Paul Posluszny and Telvin Smith. The secondary is led by second year corner man Jalen Ramsey.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - The Jaguars were reeling after a 3-13 finish a year ago when many expected them to take a step up and contend in the AFC South division.
They will be relying on Bortles and company to get the offense rolling. Rookie running back Leonard Fournette is expected to get a significant amount of touches this season and improve an anemic running game.
As long as the defense doesn't stumble backwards and the offense (especially the running game) does better, the Jags could improve significantly from last year. Whether or not that means a chance at the post-season for the first time in ten years is another matter.  A 6-10 season would be an improvement from last season as the team builds for future success.

Week One - at Houston
Week Two - vs. Tennessee
Week Three - vs. Baltimore (London, England)
Week Four - at NY Jets
Week Five - at Pittsburgh
Week Six - vs. LA Rams
Week Seven - at Indianapolis
Week Eight - BYE
Week Nine - vs. Cincinnati
Week Ten - vs. LA Chargers
Week Eleven - at Cleveland
Week Twelve - at Arizona
Week Thirteen - vs. Indianapolis
Week Fourteen - vs. Seattle
Week Fifteen - vs. Houston
Week Sixteen - at San Francisco
Week Seventeen - at Tennessee 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

LaDainian Tomlinson - Hall-of-Fame Football Player

 LaDainian Tomlinson enters the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame after eleven seasons in the NFL, nine of which he spent with the San Diego Chargers.
His career spanned from 2001- 2011 and he is the fifth all-time leading rusher in NFL history as well as third all time in touchdowns scored.
Tomlinson rushed for 13,684 yards in his career and scored 162 touchdowns, including 145 rushing scores. 
Known as LT, he had his biggest season in 2006, scoring an NFL record 31 touchdowns (28 rushing, also an NFL single season record) which set the single season record of 186 points scored by an individual player. Tomlinson outscored the Oakland Raiders team by himself that season.

Congratulations LT, HALL OF FAMER, you earned it.

San Francisco 49ers - 2017 NFL Season Preview

SAN FRANCISCO 49ers                                            

2016 Record - 2-14-0

Head Coach - Kyle Shanahan

Offensive Rank - 31st (308 yards per game, 19.3 points per game)

Defensive Rank - 32nd (406 yards allowed per game, 30 points allowed per game)

It's back to the drawing board as the 49ers have their fourth head coach in as many years as Kyle Shanahan takes over. He will look to veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer, who is looking to resurrect his career, to lead the offense. Matt Barkley is the backup along with rookie C.J. Beathard.  The running game has Carlos Hyde (1,106 yards, 10 TD) and Tim Hightower (548 yards with New Orleans) and the top receivers are Pierre Garcon (79 receptions for 1,041 yards with Washington) and Jeremy Kerley (64, 667). Marquise Goodwin and Aldrick Robinson were signed and will be available this season.
The defense was the worst in pro football a year ago and the 'Niners signed former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith (linebacker) to help shore things up. Rookie draft picks Solomon Thomas (DE from Stanford) and linebacker Reuben Foster (Alabama) could be impact players along with veterans NaVarro Bowman (LB) and pass rushers DeForest Buckner and Ahmad Brooks (six sacks each). Jimmie Ward leads the way in the secondary.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - Since the 2014 season, the 49ers have steadily declined and Shanahan will look to get things rolling in the right direction in the 2017 season.  However, too many questions linger at the QB spot and the free agent signings are nice, but can they pay dividends quickly?
The defense must improve and the infusion of potentially solid rookie playmakers to go with some proven veterans might make a difference. The team had 20 turnovers forced last year (10 fumbles and ten picks) and should that trend upward, it would provide a boost.
The problem for the 'Niners is they play along with Seattle and Arizona in the rugged NFC West division, so they will likely be also-rans once again. The expectations here are for a 5-11 finish this season.

Week One - vs. Carolina
Week Two - at Seattle
Week Three - vs. LA Rams
Week Four - at Arizona
Week Five - at Indianapolis
Week Six - at Washington
Week Seven - vs. Dallas
Week Eight - at Philadelphia
Week Nine - vs. Arizona
Week Ten - vs. NY Giants
Week Eleven - BYE
Week Twelve - vs. Seattle
Week Thirteen - at Chicago
Week Fourteen - at Houston
Week Fifteen - vs. Tennsessee
Week Sixteen - vs. Jacksonville
Week Seventeen - at LA Rams

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Cleveland Browns - 2017 NFL Season Preview

CLEVELAND BROWNS                                                                                                                                           

2016 Record - 1-15-0

Head Coach - Hue Jackson

Offensive Rank - 30th (311 yards per game, 16.5 points per game)

Defensive Rank - 31st (392 yards allowed per game, 28.3 points allowed per game) 

The Browns enter the 2017 NFL season with nowhere to go but up after a one-win campaign. The key question for the team will be at the quarterback position where Cody Kessler is listed as the starter, but will have challenges from Brock Osweiler and rookie DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame) in camp.
Running backs Isaiah Crowell (952 yards and seven TD) and Duke Johnson (358 yards and 53 receptions) are decent. The wide receivers were led by Terrelle Pryor last year, but he left for Washington, leaving Kenny Britt (68 receptions for 1,002 yards and five TD with Rams) as the main target.
Top draft pick Myles Garrett (Texas A & M) will anchor the defense at the end spot and Jamar Taylor (three interceptions) is a ball hawk in the secondary. Linebacker Jamie Collins is a premier player and will be counted on. The Browns defense was near the bottom of the league last season, so they are definitely in need of help to improve. They only created 13 turnovers and were near the bottom of the NFL in sacks.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 -   Head Coach Hue Jackson knows the team can do better after narrowly avoiding an 0-16 season and he will look to rookie Garrett to lead the way for the defense to turn things around. Rookie safety Jabrill Peppers (Michigan) is someone to keep an eye on as well.
The Browns have no realistic chance to escape the basement of the AFC North division, but they would like to avoid being the punching bag again after going 0-6 in division play last year.
The key in 2017 will be avoiding turnovers and how well Kessler plays after getting the nod for the upcoming season. The Browns should improve on last year's record, but not too much as a 3-13 record is likely. But that would be an improvement.

Week One - vs. Pittsburgh
Week Two - at Baltimore
Week Three - at Indianapolis
Week Four - vs. Cincinnati
Week Five - vs. NY Jets
Week Six - at Houston
Week Seven - vs. Tennessee
Week Eight - vs. Minnesota (London, England)
Week Nine - BYE
Week Ten - at Detroit
Week Eleven - vs. Jacksonville
Week Twelve - at Cincinnati
Week Thirteen - at LA Chargers
Week Fourteen - vs. Green Bay
Week Fifteen - vs. Baltimore
Week Sixteen - at Chicago
Week Seventeen - at Pittsburgh 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Chicago Bears - 2017 NFL Season Preview

CHICAGO BEARS                                                     

2016 Record - 3-13-0

Head Coach - John Fox 

Offensive rank - 15th (357 yards per game, 17.4 points per game)
Defensive rank - 15th (347 yards allowed per game, 24.9 points allowed per game)

The Bears enter the 2017 season looking to improve after a terrible 2016 season. Gone is quarterback Jay Cutler (retired) and Mike Glennon is the projected starting QB this season. Rookie Mitch Trubisky (second overall pick in NFL draft) and Mark Sanchez will be the backup quarterbacks.
Jordan Howard was a tremendous surprise a year ago, going for 1,313 yards rushing (six rushing scores) and will lead the ground attack once again. The passing game needs a shot in the arm after losing Alshon Jeffrey to free agency.  Kevin White (injured for his first two NFL seasons), Victor Cruz (15 yards per catch with NY Giants a year ago) and Cameron Meredith (66 catches for 888  yards and four TD) will be the primary targets for Glennon. Veteran Kendall Wright is another potential wideout option. The tight ends are Zach Miller and rookie Adam Shaheen.
The defense is led by Willie Young (7 1/2 QB sacks) and Jerrell Freeman, along with Danny Trevathan. The Bears gave up 25 points per game a year ago and were average against the pass while struggling to stop the run, allowing 122 yards per game.
The turnover ratio was the worst in the entire NFL, at a -20 (only eight team interceptions) the Bears have to improve in that area to be competitive in the NFC North.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - Another fourth place finish in the division seems likely for the Bears unless the offense clicks big time under Glennon and RB Jordan Howard.
The defense showed improvement from the past few seasons and barring injury, should continue to get better. The Bears are a work in progress, so look for a 4-12 finish this season.

Week One - vs. Atlanta
Week Two - at Tampa Bay
Week Three - vs. Pittsburgh
Week Four - at Green Bay
Week Five - vs. Minnesota
Week Six - at Baltimore
Week Seven - vs. Carolina
Week Eight - at New Orleans
Week Nine - BYE
Week Ten - vs. Green Bay
Ween Eleven - vs. Detroit
Week Twelve - at Philadelphia
Week Thirteen - vs. San Francisco
Week Fourteen - at Cincinnati
Week Fifteen - at Detroit
Week Sixteen - vs. Cleveland
Week Seventeen - at Minnesota

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Relentless Republicans Just Don't Know When To Say When

Here we go again.
The Republican party is going to make another attempt to repeal the ACA (aka Obamacare) and
screw millions of Americans out of health care coverage just to give the richest of the rich in this country yet another tax break.
Stay tuned.

Friday, July 28, 2017

McCain Gets Revenge On Trump

John McCain
Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) voted NO to the so called "skinny" bill for the repeal of the ACA (also known as "Obamacare") and along with fellow republicans Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and 48 democratic senators, paved the way for the defeat of the bill.
That is great news for the millions of Americans who were looking at losing their health care coverage.
Good on McCain for doing the right thing and sticking it up Trump's ass. Don't forget, Trump lambasted McCain and ripped his military service in Vietnam because he was a prisoner after being shot down twice and captured.
The other day, McCain was ripped here for voting YES to have debate on the health care issue, which could still pave the way for the demise of the ACA, which would throw millions of Americans off their current coverage.
However, McCain (along with many other republicans) must be watched on their future thoughts and votes on health care bills.
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

And The Beat Goes On - McCain Caves To Trump

Republican Senator John McCain (Arizona) voted to have debate on the republican health care plan (aka Obamacare repeal) as he caved to the will of his peers and also his nemesis, Donald Trump (remember Trump lambasted McCain last year, saying he was not a war hero when he was a prisoner in Vietnam) in a fiasco in the U.S. Senate.
His vote helped swing the tide in a 50-50 deadlock (two other "defectors" also caved) and the tie was broken by "Vice President" Mike Pence.
Only one thing left to say as the Senate will now debate the health care coverage future for millions of Americans . . .

BUCKLE UP FOLKS . . .   Here we go again.