Friday, September 29, 2017

NFL - Week Four Preview

The one-quarter mark of the 2017 NFL season will be in the books after this week's action.
Hard to believe there is football actually being played on the field as news of the league has been dominated by distractions about the national anthem and NFL teams taking a knee during the song.
Point is football is still king of the hill in American sports and no matter what any politician says about the subject, the game is pro football and the games go on.
So there!

On to the action this weekend . . .

New Orleans (1-2) at Miami (1-1) - (Game in London, England) - The Saints come off a big win while the Dolphins lost to perhaps the worst team in the NFL last week.  Toss up here.

Buffalo (2-1) at Atlanta (3-0) - Falcons soar again.

Pittsburgh (2-1) at Baltimore (2-1) - Both of these teams suffered embarrassing losses last week, so something will change this week.

Cincinnati (0-3) at Cleveland (0-3) - The "Battle of Ohio" is the stinker game of the week.

LA Rams (2-1) at Dallas (2-1) - This could be an exciting game. Rams playing well so far this season. Cowboys still feeling their way.

Tennessee (2-1) at Houston (1-2) - Titans should win this one. They look like a confident team so far this season.

Detroit (2-1) at Minnesota (2-1) - Vikings looked very good last week blasting Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, the Lions got robbed of a win on a bad replay review.

Carolina (2-1) at New England (2-1) - Panthers QB Cam Newton just doesn't look right so far while Tom Brady has passed for eight touchdowns in the last two games. Take the Patriots.

Jacksonville (2-1) at NY Jets (1-2) - The Jaguars could actually be 3-1 following this game. They won three games all of last season.

San Francisco (0-3) at Arizona (1-2) - Yawn.

Philadelphia (2-1) at LA Chargers (0-3) - Hard to believe the Chargers will start the season at 0-4. Eagles pulled out a thriller last week.

NY Giants (0-3) at Tampa Bay (1-1) - Giants are a desperate team while the Bucs got a huge dose of humble pie last week.

Oakland (2-1) at Denver (2-1) - Two good teams going at it in the battle of the AFC West division.

Indianapolis (1-2) at Seattle (1-2) - When will the real Seahawks show up? Colts waiting for the return of QB Andrew Luck from injuries.

Washington (2-1) at Kansas City (3-0) - The Redskins and the Chiefs battle it out on Monday Night Football. This is the game of the week for sure.

The Heftyinfo predictions for Week Four   (Home teams are listed in bold;  Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)

Green Bay over Chicago
Miami over New Orleans (Game played in London, England)
ATLANTA over Buffalo
Baltimore over Pittsburgh
Cleveland over Cincinnati
Dallas over LA Rams
Tennessee over Houston 
Minnesota over Detroit
New England over Carolina
Jacksonville over NY Jets 
Arizona over San Francisco
LA Chargers over Philadelphia
Tampa Bay over NY Giants
Oakland over Denver
Seattle over Indianapolis
Kansas City over Washington

Last Week's Record -  9-7 


Lock of the Week Record -  3-0

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

NFL - Week Three Recap

Fantastic finishes was the theme for Week Three around the NFL as the on field action was very
exciting with five games coming down to the closing seconds or being decided in overtime.
The New England Patriots won at home, 36-33 over the Houston Texans as quarterback Tom Brady (378 yards and five touchdown passes) connected with wide receiver Brandin Cooks for a 25-yard scoring pass with 23 seconds left in the game.
The Green Bay Packers beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 27-24 in OT as kicker Mason Crosby nailed the 27-yard field goal to provide the difference. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers connected with Jordy Nelson on a three-yard scoring pass with 17 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Cincinnati (0-3) coughed up a 21-7 halftime lead as QB Andy Dalton tossed two TD passes.
The Atlanta Falcons (3-0) escaped Detroit with a 30-26 victory after an apparent game-winning touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Golden Tate was wiped out when it was ruled his knee was down just short of the goal line as he reached the ball across it for the score. Falcons QB Matt Ryan had two touchdown passes to offset three interceptions, including one which was a pick-six for the Lions defense.
The Philadelphia Eagles won at home, 27-24 over the New York Giants as kicker Jake Elliott boomed a 61-yard field goal as time expired to improve the team to 2-1. The Giants are now 0-3 this season, in spite of the three TD passes by QB Eli Manning, two of them to WR Odell Beckham, Jr.
The Chicago Bears had perhaps the shocker of the day as they beat the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers, 23-17 in OT when running back Jordan Howard (138 yards rushing) scored on a 19-yard TD run for the win. The Bears blew the Steelers defense away by rushing for 220 yards and getting the two rushing scores from Howard.
Tennessee held off the Seattle Seahawks, 33-27 as running back DeMarco Murray ran for a 75-yard score and QB Marcus Mariota had two TD passes. Seattle QB Russell Wilson had four TD passes against the Titans defense in the loss.
Kansas City (3-0) remained unbeaten as they topped the winless Los Angeles Chargers, 24-10 behind a defense that intercepted Chargers QB Philip Rivers three times while RB Kareem Hunt scored on a 69-yard run to seal the game.
The Jacksonville Jaguars slammed the Baltimore Ravens, 44-7 in the first game played in London, England this season as their offense exploded against what was the NFL's best defense in the first two weeks. Jags QB Blake Bortles had four TD passes, three of them to tight end Mercedes Lewis, while the Jacksonville defense limited the Ravens to only 186 yards total offense in the blowout. Baltimore only passed for 52 yards in the game as QB Joe Flacco was picked off twice.
The New York Jets shocked the visiting Miami Dolphins, 20-6 as QB Josh McCown threw for a score while the defense limited the Dolphins to a paltry 225 yards in offense, including just 30 yards rushing.
The Minnesota Vikings throttled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 34-17 as their defense intercepted Bucs QB Jameis Winston three times. Meanwhile, QB Case Keenum had three TD passes with two of them going to WR Stefon Diggs.
The Los Angeles Rams won a high scoring thriller, 41-39 over the host San Francisco 49ers as both teams combined for 839 yards of offense. Rams QB Jared Goff had three TD passes and RB Todd Gurley scored twice while rushing for 113 yards to pace the win. The 49ers dropped to 0-3 for the season.
The Sunday night game saw the host Washington Redskins ambush the Oakland Raiders, 27-10 behind three TD passes from QB Kirk Cousins and a suffocating defense that held the league's top scoring offense to just 128 yards in total offense. The Redskins defense also had two interceptions.
The Dallas Cowboys topped the host Arizona Cardinals, 28-17 on Monday Night Football as QB Dak Prescott had two TD passes and also a 10-yard scoring run to lead the way.

                                  Heftyinfo NFL co-Players of the Week 

           Tom Brady (QB - New England Patriots) and Jake Elliott (Kicker - Philadelphia Eagles)

LA Rams 41, San Francisco 39
Chicago 23, Pittsburgh 17 (OT)
Jacksonville 44, Baltimore 7
Indianapolis 31, Cleveland 28
Buffalo 26, Denver 16
Atlanta 30, Detroit 26
New Orleans 34, Carolina 13
New England 36, Houston 33
Minnesota 34, Tampa Bay 17
NY Jets 20, Miami 6
Philadelphia 27, NY Giants 24
Kansas City 24, LA Chargers 10
Tennessee 33, Seattle 27
Green Bay 27, Cincinnati 24 (OT)
Washington 27, Oakland 10
Dallas 28, Arizona 17

Sunday, September 24, 2017

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten     (Week ending September 24)   

1.  Alabama (4-0)
2.  Clemson (4-0)
3.  Oklahoma (4-0)
4.  Penn State (4-0)
5.  USC (4-0)
6.  Washington (4-0)
7.  Michigan (4-0)
8.  Wisconsin (3-0)
9.  Ohio State (3-1)
10.  Georgia (4-0)

Saturday, September 23, 2017

NFL - Week Three Preview

Two teams will be traveling "across the pond" this Sunday as the NFL once again has games being played in London, England.
The Baltimore Ravens face the Jacksonville Jaguars in the game and the Ravens are big favorites to win this one after getting off to a 2-0 start while allowing just ten points overall and their defense has forced TEN turnovers in the first two games. Jacksonville is 1-1 after a surprisingly easy win over Houston in Week One, followed by a loss to Tennessee.
A match up between a pair of 2-0 teams takes place in Detroit where the Lions host the Atlanta Falcons, who looked rather dominant against Green Bay last Sunday night. The Lions have impressed so far with wins over Arizona and the New York Giants.
Both Matt Ryan (Atlanta) and Matthew Stafford (Detroit) have done well at the quarterback spot heading into this one. Ryan has completed 69 percent of his passes with a pair of touchdowns and no interceptions. Meanwhile, Stafford has six TD passes already along with one interception and a 71 percent completion rate.
NFC East rivals Philadelphia and New York will go at it in the city of brotherly love. The Eagles are 1-1 thus far while the Giants have really struggled so far, scoring only 13 points in two games. Giants quarterback Eli Manning has resembled a tackling dummy as he was sacked five times in the Monday night loss to the Lions.

The rest of the action is in capsule style preview and is followed up with the Heftyinfo predictions for Week Three.

Denver (2-0) at Buffalo (1-1) - Broncos have been playing great football so far, but don't sleep on the Bills at home. Buffalo defense is strong.

New Orleans (0-2) at Carolina (2-0) - Saints defense is terrible so look for a high scoring game that could go down to the wire. Panthers playing a light schedule so far.

Pittsburgh (2-0) at Chicago (0-2) - All signs pointing to a Steelers blowout victory, but this is the NFL in 2017, so all bets are off.

Cleveland (0-2) at Indianapolis (0-2) - The stinker game of the week in the NFL. Someone has to win.

Tampa Bay (1-0) at Minnesota (1-1) - This game should be a tight one. Flip a coin here.

Houston (1-1) at New England (1-1) - Patriots are banged up, but seemed to be back on track last week. Texans offense has struggled so far.

Miami (1-0) at NY Jets (0-2) - The Dolphins lucked out to win last week. The Jets may the be the worst team in the NFL.

Seattle (1-1) at Tennessee (1-1) - Toss up game here. Both teams haven't shown much to impress yet.

Cincinnati (0-2) at Green Bay (1-1) - The Packers were blown out last week, so expect a long day at Lambeau Field for the Bengals, who have scored only nine points in the first two games.

Kansas City (2-0) at LA Chargers (0-2) - The Chargers have had very hard luck in two losses while the Chiefs are on top of the NFL world so far.

Oakland (2-0) at Washington (1-1) - The Sunday night game should be a good one. The Raiders offense leads the league in scoring. Redskins coming off a road win.

Dallas (1-1) at Arizona (1-1) - Two teams still feeling their way along through the first two games. Pick 'em game here on Monday night.

The Heftyinfo predictions for Week Three  . . . . .   (Home teams are listed in bold; Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)

LA Rams over San Francisco 
Baltimore over Jacksonville (Game played in London, England)
Buffalo over Denver
Carolina over New Orleans
Pittsburgh over Chicago
Atlanta over Detroit
Indianapolis over Cleveland
Tampa Bay over Minnesota
New England over Houston
Miami over NY Jets 
Philadelphia over  NY Giants
Seattle over Tennessee 
GREEN BAY over Cincinnati
Kansas City over LA Chargers
Oakland over Washington 
Dallas over Arizona 

Last Week's Record -  12-4


Lock of the Week Record -  2-0

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

NFL - Week Two Recap

Denver is playing Mile High so far in 2017
The Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders all served notice in Week Two to the rest of the NFL they are the teams to beat.
The AFC West is loaded with all three of those teams now at 2-0. Heck, even the LA Chargers (0-2) are decent as they have lost two nail biters in the closing seconds or they could be undefeated.
Denver deserves top billing this week after dismantling the Dallas Cowboys, 42-17 behind stellar defense (limiting Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott to just 8 yards for the game) and four touchdown passes by much maligned QB Trevor Siemian.
The Chiefs held off the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-20 before a raucous crowd at Arrowhead Stadium as rookie RB Kareem Hunt scored two more touchdowns to lead the way. Hunt has five touchdowns already in his first two NFL games.
Meanwhile, the Oakland Raiders buried the New York Jets, 45-20 in their home opener as QB Derek Carr had three  TD passes and RB Marshawn Lynch scored another on the ground. The Raiders lead
the NFL in scoring with 71 points through the first two games.

Elsewhere around the NFL in Week Two . . .

Baltimore throttled the visiting Cleveland Browns, 24-10 as their defense once again came up with five turnovers (that's TEN already in just two games) to pace the win. Ravens QB Joe Flacco had a pair of touchdown passes . . .  Tampa Bay beat the Chicago Bears, 29-7 as their defense took an interception back for a score and limited the Bears to just 20 yards rushing in the rout . . .  Pittsburgh topped Minnesota, 26-9 as Ben Roethlisberger had two TD passes, including a 27-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who missed all of 2016 due to suspension . . .  The Tennessee Titans blasted the upstart Jacksonville Jaguars, 37-16 behind a balanced offense (179 rushing yards and 211 passing) and the defense getting three turnovers . . .  The New England Patriots bounced back from their opening game loss by knocking off the host New Orleans Saints, 36-20 as QB Tom Brady had three TD passes and 447 yards passing to lead the way . . .  Carolina won a 9-3 yawner over visiting Buffalo, but lost their All-Pro tight end Greg Olsen for 6 to 8 weeks with a broken foot . . .  Washington beat the host LA Rams, 27-20 as RB Chris Thompson had two scoring runs, including a 61-yard romp. Rams RB Todd Gurley scored twice in the loss . . .  The Miami Dolphins lucked out in a 19-17 win at Los Angeles, spoiling the Chargers home debut in their new city. Chargers kicker Younghoe Koo missed a 44-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds that would have won the game. Dolphins kicker Cody Parkey made all four of his field goals in the win  . . . The Sunday night game saw the Atlanta Falcons destroy the Green Bay Packers, 34-23 as QB Matt Ryan had a scoring pass to WR Julio Jones while RB Devonta Freeman had two rushing touchdowns. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers had a pair of scoring passes in defeat . . . The Detroit Lions served notice they are for real as they beat the host New York Giants, 24-10 on Monday Night Football. Detroit QB Matthew Stafford threw for two scores and the Lions defense sacked Giants QB Eli Manning five times. Jamal Agnew raced 88 yards on a punt return touchdown to seal the win for the Lions.

                             Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week  -  Trevor Siemian (QB - Denver Broncos)

Houston 13, Cincinnati 9
Tampa Bay 29, Chicago 7
Arizona 16, Indianapolis 13 (OT)
Pittsburgh 26, Minnesota 9
Carolina 9, Buffalo 3
Tennessee 37, Jacksonville 16
New England 36, New Orleans 20
Baltimore 24, Cleveland 10
Kansas City 27, Philadelphia 20
Oakland 45, NY Jets 20
Washington 27, LA Rams 20
Miami 19, LA Chargers 17
Seattle 12, San Francisco 9
Denver 42, Dallas 17
Atlanta 34, Green Bay 23
Detroit 24, NY Giants 10

Sunday, September 17, 2017

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo  College Football Top Ten    (Week ending September 17)         

1.  Alabama (3-0)
2.  Clemson (3-0)
3.  Oklahoma (3-0)
4.  Penn State (3-0)
5.  USC (3-0)
6.  Washington (3-0)
7.  Michigan (3-0)
8.  Wisconsin (3-0)
9.  Oklahoma State (3-0)
10.  Ohio State (2-1)

Friday, September 15, 2017

NFL - Week Two Preview

With Week One in the books around the NFL, it's now on to Week Two and the prime time Sunday night game between the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons is the featured game this week.
The Packers defense shined bright last week in a 17-9 win over the Seattle Seahawks while the Falcons won a squeaker in Chicago, 23-17 as their defense rose to the occasion in the closing minute with a goal line stand to preserve the win.
Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan are two of the premier quarterbacks in the league and will look to show NFL fans just why that is so once again in this game. The last time the Packers faced the Falcons (in last season's NFC Championship Game), they were blown out by a 44-21 score.
Both teams have explosive offenses, while the Packers look to rate a slight edge on defense. This game will likely come down to the final possession as these two teams are so evenly matched.
Other big time matchups include New England traveling to face the New Orleans Saints as two of the greatest QB's will battle it out.
Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees . . . it doesn't get any better than that for football fans.
The season is just getting started, so it's really still too early to get a real accurate read on the teams. But as past experience shows, teams that start out 0-2 face very insurmountable odds to make the playoffs.

The following offers a capsule preview of all the action this weekend, along with the Heftyinfo predictions for all the games.

Cleveland (0-1) at Baltimore (1-0) - The Ravens should smash the Browns, but again,  it's only Week Two around the league.

Buffalo (1-0) at Carolina (1-0) - This game features two teams that are looking to get a good start to the season.  Take Carolina.

Arizona (0-1) at Indianapolis (0-1) - Both of these teams laid an egg last week so something has to give.

Tennessee (0-1) at Jacksonville (1-0) - Can the Jaguars get off to a 2-0 start? It's possible.

Philadelphia (1-0) at Kansas City (1-0) - Following this game, the Eagles (just like the Patriots) will likely be asking - Who are these guys? 

New England (0-1) at New Orleans (0-1) - The loser of this game could be in danger of missing the playoffs. Take Brady and the Patriots in a high scoring game.

Minnesota (1-0) at Pittsburgh (1-0) - Steelers out to show that last week's sleepwalk win over lowly Browns was a fluke. Vikings impressive in opening game win over the Saints.

Chicago (0-1) at Tampa Bay (0-0) - The season opener for Tampa Bay. The Bears played pretty well last week, just missing a win against the mighty Atlanta Falcons.

Miami (0-0) at LA Chargers (0-1) - Chargers should have won last week in Denver, they will not lose their home opener.

NY Jets (0-1) at Oakland (1-0) - No "Heidi" game here . . . Raiders roll BIG TIME in this one.

Dallas (1-0) at Denver (1-0) - The Cowboys defense shined last week in easy win while the Broncos were lucky to escape their opener with a win.

Washington (0-1) at LA Rams (1-0) - The Rams will not score 46 points this week. In fact, they may not score that much for the next five games combined. 

San Francisco (0-1) at Seattle (0-1) - The Seahawks should dominate in this one.

Green Bay (1-0) at Atlanta (1-0) - This should be a great game that could very well go down to the last seconds.

Detroit (1-0) at NY Giants (0-1) - The Monday night game with the Lions coming off a huge opening day win. The Giants looked awful last week and must turn it around quickly.

The Heftyinfo picks for Week Two    (Home teams are listed in bold; Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)

Houston over Cincinnati 
Baltimore over Cleveland
Carolina over Buffalo 
Arizona over Indianapolis
Tennessee over Jacksonville
Kansas City over Philadelphia
New England over New Orleans
Pittsburgh over Minnesota
Tampa Bay over Chicago
LA Chargers over Miami
OAKLAND over NY Jets
Dallas over Denver 
Washington over LA Rams 
Seattle over San Francisco
Green Bay over Atlanta 
NY Giants over Detroit

Last Week's Record -  8-7


Lock of the Week Record -  1-0 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

NFL - Week One Recap

The 2017 NFL season kicked off last week with the Kansas City Chiefs stunning the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, 42-27 on the road to spoil the Patriots championship celebration prior to the game.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith had four touchdown passes and rookie running back Kareem Hunt scored three times while rushing for 148 yards and making five receptions for 98 yards (two for TD) to lead the second half rout. New England held a 17-14 halftime lead.
The Dallas Cowboys defense dominated the New York Giants in a 19-3 win on Sunday night. The Cowboys defense held the Giants to just 35 yards rushing and QB Dak Prescott had 268 passing yards and one TD pass . . . The Atlanta Falcons held off the Chicago Bears, 23-17 with a goal line stand in the final seconds while QB Matt Ryan (321 passing yards) hit Austin Hooper with a 88-yard TD pass to help make the difference . . . The Los Angeles Rams throttled the Indianapolis Colts, 46-9 as their defense returned two interceptions for scores. Rams QB Jared Goff had 306 yards passing in the win . . .  Aaron Rodgers passed for 311 yards and one scoring pass as the Green Bay Packers knocked off the listless Seattle Seahawks, 17-9 . . .  The Detroit Lions roared back to defeat the Arizona Cardinals, 35-23 behind four TD passes by Matthew Stafford while the defense intercepted Cards QB Carson Palmer three times . . .  The Philadelphia Eagles beat Washington, 30-17 as Carson Wentz threw for two scores and passed for 307 yards . . .  The Baltimore Ravens crushed the host Cincinnati Bengals, 20-0 as their defense forced five turnovers (four INT and a fumble from Bengals QB Andy Dalton) while running back Terrance West ran for 80 yards and scored a touchdown . . .  Jacksonville Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette went for 100 yards and scored a TD to help pace the 29-7 win at Houston . . .  The Oakland Raiders rode the arm of QB Derek Carr (262 yards passing and two TD) in a 26-16 road win against the Tennessee Titans . . .  The Pittsburgh Steelers survived an opening game scare at Cleveland, 21-18 as QB Ben Roethlisberger threw two scoring passes to tight end Jesse James . . .  The Minnesota Vikings rolled past the New Orleans Saints, 29-19 on Monday night as QB Sam Bradford had three TD passes (two of them to WR Stefon Diggs) and 346 passing yards while rookie running back Dalvin Cook rushed for 127 yards to spoil former Vikings RB Adrian Peterson return to Minnesota . . .  The Denver Broncos blocked a field goal at the buzzer to preserve a 24-21 win against the visiting Los Angeles Chargers. Denver QB Trevor Siemian had two passes to lead the offense while Chargers QB Philip Rivers had three TD passes in the loss.

                  Heftyinfo NFL Player of the WeekAlex Smith (QB- Kansas City Chiefs)

Kansas City 42, New England 27
Pittsburgh 21, Cleveland 18
Detroit 35, Arizona 23
Atlanta 23, Chicago 17
Green Bay 17, Seattle 9
Philadelphia 30, Washington 17
Carolina 23, San Francisco 3
LA Rams 46, Indianapolis 9
Buffalo 21, NY Jets 12
Baltimore 20, Cincinnati 0
Jacksonville 29, Houston 7
Oakland 26, Tennessee 16
Dallas 19, NY Giants 3
Minnesota 29, New Orleans 19
Denver 24, LA Chargers 21

Sunday, September 10, 2017

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten    (Week ending September 10)                

1.  Alabama (2-0)
2.  Clemson (2-0)
3.  Oklahoma (2-0)
4.  Penn State (2-0)
5.  USC (2-0)
6.  Washington (2-0)
7.  Michigan (2-0)
8.  Wisconsin (2-0)
9.  Oklahoma State (2-0)
10. Ohio State (1-1) 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

NFL - Week One Preview and 2017 Season Predictions

Tom Brady and the Patriots are looking for a 6th Super Bowl title this year.
The 2017 NFL season kicks off on Thursday night as the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots host the Kansas City Chiefs for the opener. The rest of the NFL teams play on Sunday and four teams will play on Monday night.
One exception on the opening week schedule is the game scheduled between Tampa Bay and Miami in Miami is being cancelled due to impending Hurricane Irma. The Buccaneers and Dolphins will play the game in Week 11 (November 19) in Miami as both teams have their bye week at that time.
One never knows what to expect in the opening week around the NFL, but one thing for sure is the defending champion Patriots will be ready to play on Thursday night in the opener after proving all their doubters and detractors wrong last season as they won yet another Super Bowl.
As usual, there will be two Monday night football games in the first week as the Minnesota Vikings host the New Orleans Saints while welcoming back the Vikes' all-time rushing leader Adrian Peterson, who is now playing for the Saints.  The night cap game on Monday features AFC West rivals Denver and the Los Angeles Chargers. The Broncos will be hosting the Chargers as the former San Diego based team starts anew this year in La La Land.
It should be interesting to see what develops all season long, but for now Heftyinfo will attempt to pick the winners of the first weekend of action.

The following offers a capsule style preview of the games and is followed by the predictions for the upcoming season and which team will win the Super Bowl.

Thursday Night Game
Kansas City at New England - Pick against the Patriots in their home opener in prime time? Are you crazy?

Sunday Games
NY Jets at Buffalo - Two teams looking at very long seasons in 2017 kick it off against each other. The good news is one of them will win, barring a tie of course.

Atlanta at Chicago - The Falcons get back to it after squandering away the Super Bowl last year. Bears defense is being touted as a tough one.

Baltimore at Cincinnati - This game could go either way.

Pittsburgh at Cleveland - Steelers should roll, but this is the opening game.

Arizona at Detroit - Another interesting match up in Week One. Take the Lions, only because they are at home.

Jacksonville at Houston - Jags on the road against a city still smarting from Hurricane Harvey. Take the host Texans.

Tampa Bay at Miami - Hurricane Irma forces this game to move to Week 11 (November 19)

Oakland at Tennessee - This game just might go down to the wire . . .  Titans in a squeaker.

Philadelphia at Washington - Redskins looking to avoid a slow start, but the Eagles are no slouch.

Indianapolis at LA Rams - The Colts will be without QB Andrew Luck. Rams looking to rebound after a terrible 2016 season.

Seattle at Green Bay - This is the Game of the Week . . . Packers win a tight one in Lambeau Field.

Carolina at San Francisco - Cam Newton and company eager to avenge last season's disaster. 49ers have too many question marks.

NY Giants at Dallas - The Sunday night prime time game and the Cowboys will have running back Ezekiel Elliott for this game as his six-game suspension mandated by the NFL was put on hold in court. As for the game, Giants are a solid team and could win this one on the road.

Monday Night Games
New Orleans at Minnesota - The Saints could win this one. The Vikings are solid defensively, but have questions on offense.

LA Chargers at Denver - Philip Rivers and company in for a stiff test against familiar rival. Broncos offense out to prove doubters wrong.

The Heftyinfo picks for Week One  -  (Home teams listed in BOLD; Lock of the Week pick is listed in BOLD CAPS)

New England over Kansas City
Buffalo over NY Jets
Atlanta over Chicago
Cincinnati over Baltimore
PITTSBURGH over Cleveland
Detroit over Arizona
Houston over Jacksonville
Tennessee over Oakland
Philadelphia over Washington
LA Rams over Indianapolis  
Green Bay over Seattle
Carolina over San Francisco 
NY Giants over Dallas
New Orleans over Minnesota
LA Chargers over Denver

Last year's SEASON RECORD  - 171-83-2

Lock of the Week Record - 17-0 

2017 NFL SEASON PREDICTIONS                                                              

East - 1. Patriots  2. Dolphins (wild card) 3. Bills  4. Jets
North - 1. Steelers  2. Ravens  3. Bengals  4. Browns
South -  1. Titans  2. Texans  3. Colts  4. Jaguars
West -  1. Raiders  2. Chiefs (wild card)  3. Broncos  4. Chargers

East -  1. Giants  2. Cowboys (wild card)  3. Eagles (wild card) 4. Redskins
North -  1. Packers  2. Lions  3. Vikings  4. Bears
South -  1. Falcons  2. Buccaneers  3. Panthers  4. Saints
West -  1. Seahawks  2. Cardinals  3. Rams  4. 49ers

AFC Playoffs
Wild Card Round -  Raiders over Dolphins; Titans over Chiefs
Divisional Round -  Patriots over Titans; Steelers over Raiders
AFC Championship Game -  Steelers over Patriots

NFC Playoffs
Wild Card Round -  Cowboys over Falcons; Seahawks over Eagles
Divisional Round -  Packers over Seahawks; Giants over Cowboys
NFC Championship Game - Packers over Giants

Green Bay Packers over Pittsburgh Steelers

Saturday, September 2, 2017

New England Patriots - 2017 NFL Season Preview

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS                                      

2016 Record -  14-2-0

Head Coach -  Bill Belichick

Offensive Rank4th  (386 yards per game, 27.6 points per game)

Defensive Rank8th  (326 yards allowed per game, 15.6 points allowed per game)

Quarterback Tom Brady, the Super Bowl MVP, is still going strong at age 40 and returns for his 18th season in New England. Brady passed for 3,554 yards with 28 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Jimmy Garoppolo will continue to backup, but did show he is capable when he filled in at QB in the first four games while Brady served a suspension.
The running backs will be have the likes of James White (three TD in the Super Bowl win and also 60 receptions with five for TD in regular season), Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead, Brandon Bolden and Mike Gillislee, who rushed for 577 yards and eight touchdowns with Buffalo last year.
The wide receivers got a big shot in the arm when Brandin Cooks (78 receptions for 1,173 yards and eight TD with the Saints) came over in a trade. However, Julian Edelman, the Pats leading receiver last season, is out for the season with a knee injury. Chris Hogan (38, 680, four TD) will likely step in as the starter along with Cooks while Danny Amendola (23, 243, four TD) and Malcolm Mitchell (32, 401, four TD) will now have bigger roles with Edelman out.
Rob Gronkowski (25, 540, three TD in only eight games played) is the tight end and will have Dwayne Allen (35, 406, six TD with Colts) along with him this season after Martellus Bennett left for Green Bay in the off-season.
The defense was among the best in the NFL a year ago and has linebacker Dont'a Hightower anchoring things along with Malcolm Brown, Trey Flowers (seven QB sacks) and Alan Branch up front. The secondary has Malcom Butler (four interceptions) and Stephon Gilmore (five interceptions with Buffalo last season) at the corners while Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty play safety.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - As long as Tom Brady remains healthy, the Patriots are the team to beat. He and Head Coach Bill Belichick may very well be the best ever QB-Coach tandem the league has ever seen.
The offense should continue to roll with the running back by committee approach that will look to complement the passing game that now includes deep threat Brandin Cooks to go with Chris Hogan. Brady will be without his main go-to guy (Edelman) this season, but has shown in years past he can work with just about anybody in the Patriots system. Gronkowski, if he can stay in one piece for an entire season, is the other main target in the passing game and actually plays more like a wideout than tight end as he averaged 21.6 yards per catch last season.
Defensively, New England led the NFL in scoring defense, giving up just 15.6 points per game.  The run defense was third in the NFL (88 yards allowed per game) while the pass defense gave up 238 yards per game, but was tougher in the red zone and also had 13 picks as the Pats were a plus-12 in the turnover category.
Figure New England to go 13-3 this season as they continue to roll to another AFC East title and perhaps another Super Bowl appearance, which would be their third in four seasons if they pull it off.
The goal for this team is another Super Bowl title and that's a high possibility again this season.

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