Thursday, August 31, 2017

Atlanta Falcons - 2017 NFL Season Preview

ATLANTA FALCONS                                         


2016 Record - 11-5-0 

Head Coach - Dan Quinn


Offensive Rank2nd  (416 yards per game, 33.8 points per game)

Defensive Rank 25th  (371 yards allowed per game, 25.4 points allowed per game)


Quarterback Matt Ryan returns after winning the NFL Most Valuable Player award for the 2016 season. Ryan passed for 4,944 yards with 38 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. Matt Schaub will likely be the backup quarterback.
The running tandem of Devonta Freeman (1,079 yards, 11 touchdowns and also 54 receptions for462 yards and two TD) and Tevin Coleman (520 rush yards with eight TD and 31 catches for 421 yards and three TD) is the best in the NFL.
Julio Jones is the premier wide receiver in the league and last season he had 83 receptions for 1,409 yards with six touchdowns in 14 games played. Mohamed Sanu (59, 653, four TD), Taylor Gabriel (35, 579, six TD), Justin Hardy and Andre Roberts are the other receivers. The tight ends are Jacob Tamme (22, 210, three TD in only eight games played) and Austin Hooper, who had 19 receptions for 271 yards and three touchdowns.
The defense has NFL sacks leader Vic Beasley (15 1/2 QB sacks) leading the way while Adrian Clayborn (4 1/2 sacks) and run stuffer Dontari Poe (nose tackle) who was with the Chiefs last season, will also be in the front seven. Linebacker Deion Jones had three interceptions to lead the team.
Rookies Takkarist McKinley (UCLA) and Duke Riley (LSU) will look to make a difference this season. The secondary features Ricardo Allen (two INT), Keanu Neal, Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant.


OUTLOOK FOR 2017 -  The Falcons high flying offense could not be stopped until they crashed and burned in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl loss in OT to the New England Patriots.
How they rebound from the biggest collapse in Super Bowl history remains to be seen, but with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones and the two-headed monster running game, the Falcons will be right there among the top offenses in the NFL once again.
Head Coach Dan Quinn needs to see the defense improve, especially against the pass, where the Falcons ranked 28th in the league.
As long as they stay healthy and the offense keeps humming along, Atlanta has a chance to get back to the Super Bowl again, but the defense has to get better. Another question is whether MVP Matt Ryan can duplicate the eye popping numbers he put last season.
The rest of the NFC South is no slouch as Carolina looks to rebound from a terrible season while the Tampa Bay Bucs appear to be on the rise and New Orleans can never be counted out with their league leading offense.
As long as the Falcons take care of business in the division and avoid any major injuries, they should at least finish 10-6, which could be enough to win the NFC South again. How far they go in the playoffs will hinge on Ryan and company and an improved defense coming through.


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










Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Pittsburgh Steelers - 2017 NFL Season Preview

PITTSBURGH STEELERS                                    


2016 Record -  11-5-0


Head Coach -  Mike Tomlin



Offensive Rank7th  (373 yards per game, 24.9 points per game)

Defensive Rank12th  (343 yards allowed per game, 20.4 points allowed per game)


Coming back for his 14th season is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who passed for 3,819 yards with 29 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last season. His backup is Landry Jones. Running back Le'Veon Bell (1,268 rushing yards and seven TD, along with 75 receptions for 616 yards and two TD) has been out all pre-season, but is expected to sign his franchise tender before the season opener. On hand are Knile Davis and Fitzgerald Toussaint to fill in when needed.
The wide receivers have All-Pro Antonio Brown (106 receptions, 1,284 yards and 12 TD), Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sammie Coates (21, 435, two TD), Eli Rogers (48, 594, three TD) and Martavis Bryant, who missed all of the 2016 season due to a suspension. The tight ends are Jessie James (39, 338, three TD) and Ladarius Green, who missed ten games a year ago while making 18 receptions for 304 yards and one touchdown.
The defense has linebacker Ryan Shazier (3 1/2 QB sacks and three interceptions) along with veteran James Harrison (five sacks), Vince Williams and Cameron Heyward heading up the front seven. Rookie linebacker T.J. Watt (Wisconsin) will look to make an impact. The secondary has Artie Burns (three picks), Ross Cockrell and veteran William Gay looking to shore up the pass defense. In addition, the Steelers just signed Joe Haden (cornerback), who was released by the Browns. Haden had three interceptions last season.


OUTLOOK FOR 2017 -  The Steelers had a decent season once again in 2016, but missing key players (Bryant-suspended all season and Bell - groin injury in playoffs) proved to be too much as they fell to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
Head Coach Mike Tomlin knows the team can get to the Super Bowl, especially with their big play offense featuring Big Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and this year wide receiver  Martavis Bryant is back to take pressure off Brown.
If the defense can improve against the pass (the Steelers were torched for 243 yards per game against the pass last year) and get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks, it would go far to help them in their quest to get back to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2010 season.
Pittsburgh was a plus-five in the turnover category, getting 13 interceptions and ten fumble recoveries. The key will be staying healthy as the season wears on and the defense coming up big when it matters most to take some pressure away from the offense.
The team will be tested late in the season with a very tough schedule against playoff-caliber teams, including a huge showdown with defending Super Bowl champion New England (in Pittsburgh) in mid-December. 
The Steelers should win the AFC North again, going 11-5 and from there it will be up to them to do what they have fallen short of the past six years. That being getting to and (possibly) winning the Super Bowl.
It could happen this year.


TEAM SCHEDULE
Week One - at Cleveland
Week Two - vs. Minnesota
Week Three - at Chicago
Week Four - at Baltimore
Week Five - vs. Jacksonville
Week Six - at Kansas City
Week Seven - vs. Cincinnati
Week Eight - at Detroit
Week Nine - BYE
Week Ten - at Indianapolis
Week Eleven - vs. Tennessee
Week Twelve - vs. Green Bay
Week Thirteen - at Cincinnati
Week Fourteen - vs. Baltimore
Week Fifteen - vs. New England
Week Sixteen - at Houston
Week Seventeen - vs. Cleveland

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Dallas Cowboys - 2017 NFL Season Preview

DALLAS COWBOYS                                               



2016 Record -  13-3-0


Head Coach - Jason Garrett




Offensive Rank5th  (377 yards per game, 26.3 points per game)

Defensive Rank14th  (344 yards allowed per game, 19.1 points allowed per game)


Quarterback Dak Prescott (3,667 yards passing with 23 touchdowns and only four interceptions) returns to start and will likely be backed up by Kellen Moore.
Pending a six-game suspension, running back Ezekiel Elliott is back for his second season after leading the NFL in rushing with 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns. If Elliott has to miss so many games, then Darren McFadden (only three games played in 2016) and Alfred Morris (243 yards and two TD) will have to fill the bill until Zeke returns.
The wide receiving unit has Dez Bryant (50 receptions for 796 yards and eight TD), Cole Beasley (75, 833, five TD), Terrance Williams (44, 594, four TD), Brice Butler (16, 219, three TD) and tight end Jason Witten, who made 69 catches for 673 yards and three touchdowns.
The defense is led by linebacker Sean Lee (team high 145 tackles), Benson Mayowa (six QB sacks), Maliek Collins (five sacks), Anthony Hitchens and Anthony Brown. Rookies Taco Charlton (Michigan), Chidobe Awuzie (Colorado) and Jourdan Lewis (Michigan) were picked in the first two rounds of the draft and should get a chance to contribute.


OUTLOOK FOR 2017 -  The offense is loaded with second year players Prescott and Elliott leading the way along with Bryant, Witten and perhaps the best offensive line in the NFL.
Head Coach Jason Garrett saw the team bounce back from a disastrous 2015 season to having the best record in the NFC (13-3) last season before losing to Green Bay in the divisional round of the playoffs.
The defense needs to step it up this season if the team wants to go further in the playoffs and make it to the Super Bowl for the first time in 22 years. The Cowboys defense went trough some wholesale changes this off-season with many new faces donning the roster this year. How quickly that defense can come together will make the difference for the Cowboys this season.
An 11-5 record and another NFC East title should happen in 2017 barring injuries to key players (Elliott's pending suspension doesn't help either), but if Dallas wants to win it all then the defense must keep pace with their high powered offense.
Stay tuned.


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


Monday, August 28, 2017

Kansas City Chiefs - 2017 NFL Season Preview

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS                                          



2016 Record -  12-4-0


Head Coach -  Andy Reid



Offensive Rank20th  (343 yards per game, 24.3 points per game)

Defensive Rank24th  (369 yards allowed per game, 19.4 points allowed per game)


Alex Smith is the starting quarterback while the Chiefs QB of the future is Patrick Mahomes, the first round draft pick from Texas Tech.  Smith passed for 3,502 yards with 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also scored five rushing touchdowns.
The running game took a big hit when Spencer Ware went down with a knee injury recently and is likely out for the entire 2017 season. Taking over will be Charcandrick West (293 yards rushing last year) and rookie Kareem Hunt (Toldeo). Also in the mix is journeyman back C.J. Spiller.
The wide receivers are Tyreek Hill (61 receptions, 593 yards, six TD), Chris Conley (44, 530 yards), Albert Wilson (31, 279, two TD) and De'Anthony Thomas. Tight End Travis Kelce (85, 1,125, four TD) is one of the best in the league.
The defense has Justin Houston (four QB sacks), Dee Ford (ten sacks), Chris Jones, Derrick Johnson (looking to come back from a serious Achilles injury), Tamba Hali (3 1/2 sacks), Marcus Peters (six interceptions) and Eric Berry (four picks) leading the way.


OUTLOOK FOR 2017 -  The Chiefs won the AFC West last season and have promise to do so again as long as Smith and company can generate enough offense. Losing Spencer Ware hurts big time, but there are plenty of other weapons on offense, most notably Tyreek Hill, who had an electric rookie season.
Hill did it all last year for the Chiefs as a runner, receiver and kick returner, but he will not catch anybody by surprise this year, so the others must also step up, especially in the running game.
Head Coach Andy Reid has pretty much seen it all through the years and he knows this team can take the next step and possibly reach a Super Bowl if they can stay healthy and everything comes together.
The defense is solid and as long as no key players lose time to injury this year, should be a top flight unit once again this season. A 10-6 record is most likely to happen as the Chiefs face a very tough schedule, especially in the first ten games. Most likely they get to the playoffs as a wild card this time around, but with some breaks, the Chiefs could be even better than they were last year.


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













Sunday, August 27, 2017

Seattle Seahawks - 2017 NFL Season Preview

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS                                       


2016 Record -  10-5-1


Head Coach - Pete Carroll


Offensive Rank12th  (357 yards per game, 22.1 points per game)

Defensive Rank5th  (319 yards allowed per game, 18.3 points allowed per game)


Russell Wilson returns at quarterback entering his sixth NFL season. In 2016, Wilson passed for 4,219 yards with 21 touchdowns and eleven interceptions. He also rushed for 259 yards with one score. Trevone Boykin and Austin Davis will be in reserve.
The running backs are Eddie Lacy (360 yards rushing in five games with Green Bay last season), Thomas Rawls (349 yards and three TD in nine games) and C.J. Prosise, who only played in six games last year.  Wide receivers include Doug Baldwin (94 receptions, 1,128 yards and seven TD), Tyler Lockett (41, 597, one TD), Jermaine Kearse (41, 510, one TD) and Paul Richardson (21, 288, one TD). Jimmy Graham (65, 923, six TD) is the tight end.
Six mainstays on the defense include Michael Bennett (five QB sacks) and Cliff Avril (team leading 11 1/2 sacks) up front. Bobby Wagner (4 1/2 sacks, one interception) anchors the linebackers and in the secondary is Richard Sherman (four picks), Kam Chancellor (two INT) and Earl Thomas. Pass rush specialist Frank Clark (ten sacks) will be ready to contribute again this season.


OUTLOOK FOR 2017 -  The Seahawks got knocked out in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs last year as they lacked a solid running game with so many players on the injury list. Same story with the defense. Especially missing was free safety Earl Thomas down the stretch after he suffered a broken leg.
Head Coach Pete Carroll likes to mix things up on offense and is hopeful that new running back Eddie Lacy can get back to the form he displayed three years ago with the Packers.
Also in the backfield will be Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise, who each missed many games with various injuries last season. Wilson is a talented QB who can still run when needed and his passing ability is top notch when he has time to throw the football.
As long as the defense, still one of the best in the NFL, can remain healthy then the Seahawks will be right there in January when it matters most. The key is avoiding major injuries this season while maintaining consistency on offense. Seattle should win the NFC West again and a 11-5 record should do it. Another Super Bowl appearance is a realistic goal this season.


TEAM SCHEDULE
Week One - at Green Bay
Week Two - vs. San Francisco
Week Three - at Tennessee
Week Four - vs. Indianapolis
Week Five - at LA Rams
Week Six - BYE
Week Seven - at NY Giants
Week Eight - vs. Houston
Week Nine - vs. Washington
Week Ten - at Arizona
Week Eleven - vs. Atlanta
Week Twelve - at San Francisco
Week Thirteen - vs. Philadelphia
Week Fourteen - at Jacksonville
Week Fifteen - vs. LA Rams
Week Sixteen - at Dallas
Week Seventeen - vs. Arizona

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Oakland Raiders - 2017 NFL Season Preview

OAKLAND RAIDERS                                                


2016 Record -  12-4-0


Head Coach -  Jack Del Rio


Offensive Rank6th  (373 yards per game, 26 points per game)

Defensive Rank26th  (375 yards allowed per game, 24.1 points allowed per game)


Quarterback Derek Carr passed for 3,937 yards with 28 touchdowns and only six interceptions last season, but missed the playoffs with a broken leg suffered in Week 16 last season. His backup will be Connor Cook and/or E.J. Manuel.
Marshawn Lynch is back in the NFL after a one-year hiatus and he will be the primary running back. Along with Lynch is Jalen Richard (491 yards last season) and DeAndre' Washington.  The wide receiving corps has Michael Crabtree (89 receptions, 1,003 yards and eight TD) and Amari Cooper (83, 1,153 and five TD) along with Seth Roberts (38, 397, five TD) and Cordarrelle Patterson (52, 453, two TD with Minnesota). Patterson is also an excellent kick returner.
The tight ends include Jared Cook, who comes over from Green Bay after making 30 receptions for 377 yards with one touchdown last season. Clive Walford (33, 359, three TD) and Lee Smith will also play tight end.
Kahlil Mack had eleven quarterback sacks last year and along with Bruce Irvin (seven QB sacks) leads the Raiders defense. Reggie Nelson had five interceptions from the free safety spot. Rookie Eddie Vanderdoes (UCLA) has been slotted as a starting defensive tackle in training camp. Another rookie, linebacker Marquel Lee (Wake Forest) may also start.
Two other rookies include cornerback Gareon Conley (Ohio State) and safety Obi Melifonwu (Connecticut), who will push for playing time.


OUTLOOK FOR 2017 -  The Raiders made the playoffs but were one and done against Houston in the Wild Card round after Carr suffered a broken leg in the next to last regular season game.
This season, Oakland has an eye on a trip to the Super Bowl for the first time in 15 years. It could happen as long as the defense makes improvements and Head Coach Jack Del Rio will be pushing for that.
The Raiders used their first three draft picks to get help on defense and along with some solid veterans, they hope to see that come together as the season progresses. This is an opportunistic defense that led the NFL with 30 takeaways (16 interceptions and 14 fumble recoveries) last season.
The offense is set with Carr and his band of wide receivers and a rushing attack that averaged 120 yards per game. Add in "The Beast Mode" Marshawn Lynch, who is a punishing runner and Oakland could very well be at the top of the NFL as far as scoring is concerned.
A 12-4 record and AFC West title looks promising for the Raiders this season (barring any major injuries of course) but they still will have to get past Pittsburgh and New England in the AFC if they want to get to the Super Bowl.
It just might happen this season.


TEAM SCHEDULE
Week One - at Tennessee
Week Two - vs. NY Jets
Week Three - at Washington
Week Four - at Denver
Week Five - vs. Baltimore
Week Six - vs. LA Chargers
Week Seven - vs. Kansas City
Week Eight - at Buffalo
Week Nine - at Miami
Week Ten - BYE
Week Eleven - vs. New England (in Mexico)
Week Twelve - vs. Denver
Week Thirteen - vs. NY Giants
Week Fourteen - at Kansas City
Week Fifteen - vs. Dallas
Week Sixteen - at Philadelphia
Week Seventeen - at LA Chargers

Friday, August 25, 2017

Green Bay Packers - 2017 NFL Season Preview

GREEN BAY PACKERS                                     



2016 Record -  10-6-0


Head Coach -  Mike McCarthy



Offensive Rank8th  (369 yards per game, 27 points per game)

Defensive Rank22nd  (364 yards allowed per game, 24.3 points allowed per game)


Aaron Rodgers is possibly the NFL's top quarterback and he passed for 4,428 yards with 40 touchdowns and only seven interceptions last season. The running backs include Ty Montgomery (457 yards, three TD) and rookies Jamaal Williams (BYU) and Aaron Jones (UTEP).
The wide receiving corps has Jordy Nelson (97 receptions, 1,257 yards and 14 TD), Davante Adams (75, 997, 12 TD) and Randall Cobb (60, 610, four TD) along with new tight ends Martellus Bennett (55, 701, seven TD with Patriots) and Lance Kendricks (50, 499, two TD with Rams).
The defense is led by linebacker Clay Matthews (five QB sacks) and Nick Perry (11 sacks). Secondary playmakers include safeties Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (five interceptions) and Morgan Burnett. Damarious Randall (three INT) will play cornerback and rookie Kevin King (Washington) could start at the other corner spot.


OUTLOOK FOR 2017 -  With Aaron Rodgers in action, the Packers always have a shot at reaching the Super Bowl and this year should be no different.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy knows the defense can make plays (25 takeaways last year, including 17 interceptions) but they need more consistency as they allowed 24 points per game and were lit up by the Atlanta Falcons, 44-21 in the NFC Championship Game.
The Packers should win the NFC North division again and could make another deep playoff run, but they want to get back to (and win) the Super Bowl for the first time in seven years. There's a good chance that could happen with all the weapons they have on offense and the opportunistic defense they can play from time to time. A 12-4 finish would be no surprise as they look to get back to having another chance of winning another Super Bowl title. 


TEAM SCHEDULE
Week One - vs. Seattle
Week Two - at Atlanta
Week Three - vs. Cincinnati
Week Four - vs. Chicago
Week Five - at Dallas
Week Six - at Minnesota
Week Seven - vs. New Orleans
Week Eight - BYE
Week Nine - vs. Detroit
Week Ten - at Chicago
Week Eleven - vs. Baltimore
Week Twelve - at Pittsburgh
Week Thirteen - vs. Tampa Bay
Week Fourteen - at Cleveland
Week Fifteen - at Carolina
Week Sixteen - vs. Minnesota
Week Seventeen - at Detroit





Thursday, August 24, 2017

Houston Texans - 2017 NFL Season Preview

HOUSTON TEXANS                                              



2016 Record - 9-7-0

Head Coach -  Bill O' Brien





Offensive Rank 29th  (315 yards per game, 17.4 points per game)

Defensive Rank1st  (301 yards allowed per game, 20.5 points allowed per game)


Tom Savage and rookie Deshaun Watson (Clemson) will battle it out for the starting quarterback position this season. The running game is more established with Lamar Miller (1,073 yards, four touchdowns), Alfred Blue (420 yards) and rookie D'Onta Foreman (Texas) in the mix. DeAndre Hopkins (78 receptions, 954 yards, four TD) is the top receiver. Will Fuller  (47, 635, two TD) and Braxton Miller are also available. The tight end duo of C.J. Fiederowicz (54, 559, four TD) and Ryan Griffin (50, 442, two TD) is solid.
The defense was first in the NFL last season, giving up just 301 yards per game, and has J.J. Watt (limited to just three games in 2016) returning from back surgery to go with Jadeveon Clowney (six QB sacks), Matt Cushing and Benardrick McKinney (five sacks) on the front seven.  The secondary is led by Jonathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson on the corners. Safety Corey Moore is solid.


OUTLOOK FOR 2017 -  The biggest question for Houston this season will be at the quarterback position where a journeyman and a top rated rookie will look to get the starting nod from Head Coach Bill O' Brien.
If things work out in that spot for the Texans, the sky could be the limit because they have a decent running game and dependable wide receivers. They need to score more after averaging only 17 points per game last season.
The defense will keep them in games and it would be a boost to see Watt return to top form after an injury riddled season. Getting more turnovers would help as well as the Texans only forced 17 turnovers last year.
The AFC South is a competitive division and if Houston wants to return to the playoffs again, they must beat the challenges of Tennessee and Indianapolis. The 2017 schedule is very tough, so getting off to a decent start is important.
An 8-8 finish could be ahead this year for the Texans as they make the transition on offense with a new quarterback.


TEAM SCHEDULE
Week One - vs. Jacksonville
Week Two - at Cincinnati
Week Three - at New England
Week Four - vs. Tennessee
Week Five - vs. Kansas City
Week Six - vs. Cleveland
Week Seven - BYE
Week Eight - at Seattle
Week Nine - vs. Indianapolis
Week Ten - at LA Rams
Week Eleven - vs. Arizona
Week Twelve - at Baltimore
Week Thirteen - at Tennessee
Week Fourteen - vs. San Francisco
Week Fifteen - at Jacksonville
Week Sixteen - vs. Pittsburgh
Week Seventeen - at Indianapolis








Wednesday, August 23, 2017

New York Giants - 2017 NFL Season Preview

NEW YORK GIANTS                                           



2016 Record -  11-5-0


Head Coach - Ben McAdoo




Offensive Rank25th  (331 yards per game, 19.4 points per game)

Defensive Rank10th  (340 yards allowed per game, 17.8 points allowed per game)


Eli Manning (4,027 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, 16 interceptions) is back at quarterback for another season. Backing up will be either Josh Johnson, rookie Davis Webb (California) or Geno Smith.
Paul Perkins (456 yards), Shane Vereen (158 yards) and Orleans Darkwa (111 yards, two TD) could form a backfield by committee this season. Rookie Wayne Gallman (Clemson) could get a shot as well.
The strength of the offense should be the wide receivers as Odell Beckham, Jr. (101 receptions, 1,367 yards and ten TD) and Brandon Marshall (59, 788, three TD with the Jets) look to be a possible formidable tandem. Sterling Shepard (65, 683, eight TD) and Dwayne Harris add depth. Rookie Evan Engram (Mississippi) and Rhett Ellison are the tight ends.
The defense has Jason Pierre-Paul (seven QB sacks) and Olivier Vernon (8 1/2 sacks) up front along with rookie Dalvin Tomlinson (Alabama). Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (six interceptions) and Landon Collins (five picks and four sacks) lead the secondary. Devon Kennard and Janoris Jenkins (three INT) are other key players on defense.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 -  The Giants made it back to the playoffs last season and will look to challenge Dallas in the NFC East division this season. The offense has to pick it up a couple notches after a dismal performance (19 points per game average) last year.
Eli Manning makes the offense go and he will have two dynamic receivers with Beckham and Marshall to throw to. The running game MUST improve after gaining just 88 yards per game. Head Coach Ben McAdoo would like to see the team take the next step and move forward should they get back to the playoffs.
Whether they can take down Dallas for the NFC East crown is possible if things come together and the offense plays as well as the defense did last season. The odds are not in their favor but stranger things have happened in past years with this team. A 10-6 record and playoff spot is realistic for the Giants this year.


TEAM SCHEDULE
Week One - at Dallas
Week Two - vs. Detroit
Week Three - at Philadelphia
Week Four - at Tampa Bay
Week Five - vs. LA Chargers
Week Six - at Denver
Week Seven - vs. Seattle
Week Eight - BYE
Week Nine - vs. LA Rams
Week Ten - at San Francisco
Week Eleven - vs. Kansas City
Week Twelve - at Washington
Week Thirteen - at Oakland
Week Fourteen - vs. Dallas
Week Fifteen - vs. Philadelphia
Week Sixteen - at Arizona
Week Seventeen - vs. Washington 







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.


TEAM SCHEDULE
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.


TEAM SCHEDULE
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. 


TEAM SCHEDULE
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.


TEAM SCHEDULE
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.


TEAM SCHEDULE
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.


TEAM SCHEDULE
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.


TEAM SCHEDULE 
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.


TEAM SCHEDULE
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.


TEAM SCHEDULE
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.


TEAM SCHEDULE
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.


TEAM SCHEDULE
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.

TEAM SCHEDULE
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. 


TEAM SCHEDULE
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.

TEAM SCHEDULE
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