Friday, September 15, 2017

Football Week #2 Predictions (and recap of Week #1)

By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

I am a huge sports fan.  Baseball is number one for me (that was the sport I played, along with long-distance running), but football is a close second place.  I get excited when the fall approaches, and every Sunday I can be found at RJ's Sizzlin' Steer in Murrieta, California watching all of the NFL games and chowing down at my favorite place to eat.  I know there's a bunch of you out there boycotting because of players who sit during the National Anthem, and the league has done nothing about it.  I still enjoy the product, so I still watch the games.  We are a free country, after all, and if those guys want to send a political message with their disrespect for the country (and those who fought to preserve that freedom), that is their right.  The NFL as a private entity can make rules commanding them to stand, but then that would not truly be freedom, would it?  Liberty is a choice.  If coercion exists, it's not liberty.  Love has to be voluntary, it cannot be an obligation.  If liberty is to be liberty, the option of rejecting it must be a choice.

Every season and each week I personally always predict games, and write a small commentary for each game, each week for the fun of it.  After the dust settled from Week #1, I was above .500 and since I did so well during Week #1 (check it out at the bottom of this post), my wife told me I ought to start keeping my predictions online. . . so, here they are (no scores, no over-unders - simply, who wins)  In the future this will be appearing on Wednesdays on this site.

Predicted winner bold, Actual winner highlighted.

Week #2 Football Predictions:

üNYJ @ OAK – Winner Oakland Raiders: Jets are not good enough to beat anybody.  I expect New York to end up winless at the end of the year.  Raiders may be able to put together another 12-win season if Carr, Cooper, Crabtree, and Lynch are healthy all season long.  The rest of the offensives names are encouraging, too.  Defense is suspect, but the Oakland offense will easily outscore the Jets' offense)

üCLE @ BAL - Winner Baltimore Ravens: Ravens defense is among the better units in the league.  As long as Flacco remains healthy, Ravens may even have a chance to win the division.  The Browns as a division rival is nobody's worry.  They won one last year, and may not match that win total this year.

üBUF @ CAR - Winner Carolina Panthers: Panthers are hungry to return to 2015 form.  They won't, but they will get close.  Buffalo is no pushover, but. . . wait, they are, but they have little to worry about inside their division so they may do okay overall. . . but they will lose to the Panthers.

üARI @ IND - Winner Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals were stunned by Stafford and the Lions.  Andrew Luck is not happy in Indianapolis with the sorry team he has around him, and his shoulder continues to keep him off the field.  Palmer will hit is targets, and the Cardinals will fly high.

üTEN @ JAX - Winner Tennessee Titans: Mariota is developing faster than Bortles, despite having one less year under his belt.  Titans defense was embarrassed by the Raiders, but Bortles will not do the same.  Close game, but Titans will squeak it out.

üPHI @ KC - Winner Kansas City Chiefs: I like Carson Wentz.  I like Philly.  But, Kansas City has a good offense and a really good defense.  And, they are Patriots' killers.  If KC continues to play ball like they did in Week #1 against New England, the Raiders may not win the division, and the Chiefs may see themselves go deep into the playoffs.

üNE @ NO - Winner New England Patriots: I don't bet against Tom Brady.  It is tough to bet against Drew Brees.  But, New Orleans has no defensive support.  No defense is music to Brady's ears, who will play the game like it is target practice.

üMIN @ PIT - Winner Pittsburgh Steelers: Minnesota has a good defense.  They have a great rush that puts the quarterback at a disadvantage. The Vikings also play good man-to-man. Ben Roethlisberger is not the most mobile quarterback in the league.  I suspect we will see a few sacks.  But, Big Ben has Antonio Brown, who is ranked at the top of everyone's fantasy rankings for Wide Receivers.  Steelers pass rush is good, also.  Steelers win at home, but in a close one.

üCHI @ TB - Winner Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trubinsky is a rookie, and still has a lot to prove.  I haven't bought into the Jameis Winston hype, but he's good enough to be a good quarterback, and better than a growing rookie.  Bears may get to .500, Bucs will likely exceed .500.  The seas will not be so rough for the Buccaneers at home against the Bears.

üMIA @ LAC - Winner Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins are rested after getting a bye thanks to Hurricane Irma.  DeVante Parker is ready to be a break-out star at wide receiver.  Jay Cutler is ready to make his Dolphins debut.  The Chargers' defense may be tough for him, but Cutler has a lot to prove.  Philip Rivers is the better quarterback, and the Chargers have the better defense, but Miami will win because Cutler is too paranoid not to win in his debut, and he has Parker to throw to.  Dolphins win in front of the tiny crowd in Carson, California.

rDAL @ DEN – Winner Dallas Cowboys: Dallas has a running game the Broncos cannot stop, and the Broncos have no quarterback.  Dak Prescott and the ‘boys win big.

rWAS @ LAR - Winner Los Angeles Rams: Are the Rams for real after their slaughter of Indy last week?  We'll find out.  I think LA's Jared Goff will be a top-notch quarterback in the league in the future, and Gurley will be a Hall of Fame running back.  Are they arriving early? If the Rams offense is clicking like it did last week, Washington doesn't have any chance to keep pace.  The Rams defense wasn't too shabby, either.

üSF @ SEA - Winner Seattle Seahawks: I was wrong to bet against Aaron Rodgers last week, and I would be wrong to bet against Russell Wilson this week.  49ers pose no threat.  Seattle wins at home with ease.

üGB @ ATL - Winner Atlanta Falcons: I am going out on a limb, and I am going to bet against Aaron Rodgers twice in a row.  Will Aaron straighten me out with a win?  Likely, not.  Matt Ryan is a quarterback who learns and gets better.  He has tools around him that Rodgers does not have. The Falcons are going to likely win their division and challenge for the big game at the end, again.  But, to do so they need to prove it by beating the likes of Green Bay, and the other teams they may also meet in the playoffs.

üDET @ NYG – Winner Detroit Lions:  Odell Beckham’s high ankle sprain will keep him off the field.  Stafford feels the need to prove his worth after getting the huge contract he got.  While this would likely be a Giants win with Odell on the field, without him the Giants are nothing, Lions get the win.  Sunday Morning the news is Stafford won't be behind center.  Giants suck so back without Beckham, I am still going to stick with the Lions on this one.

üThursday: HOU @ CIN - Winner Houston Texans: Offensive turmoil exists in Cincinnati's back offices.  This kind of turmoil is just enough to knock the Cincinnati offense off-kilter, and enough to allow J.J. Watt to do his damage.  It'll be close, but Texans will pull it off in dramatic fashion, and the Bengals will be 0-2 (I posted this late - will try to get list out by Wednesdays in the future).


+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Week #1: 9-6

üOAK @ TEN - Winner Oakland Raiders: YES (Raiders Carr is too good for Titans' good defense, Mariota is good, but not enough to outscore Raiders explosive offense, despite questions regarding Raiders' defense)

rKC @ NE - Winner New England Patriots: NO (You don't bet against Brady, though Alex Smiths' Chiefs are among better teams in league)

üNYJ @ BUF - Winner Buffalo Bills: YES (I would be surprised if the hapless Jets win even one game this year)

üATL @ CHI - Winner Atlanta Falcons: YES (Matt Ryan has a Super Bowl loss to avenge, and the Bears are in no condition to beat anyone who is playoff bound)

rBAL @ CIN - Winner Cincinnati Bengals: NO (Will be close, but I think Bengals will not allow themselves to have another losing season, at least not with Pacman Jones on defense, and Andy Dalton and A.J. Green on offense.  Dalton may even be on the verge of his own "Matt Ryan" style season. . .maybe)

üPIT @ CLE - Winner Pittsburgh Steelers: YES (Pittsburgh is still good enough to beat the Browns, but not good enough to win the division.  Browns will be competing with Jets and Chargers for the crown of NFL's worst)

rARI @ DET - Winner Arizona Cardinals: NO (Will Carson Palmer continue to show what he is really all about?  Detroits' QB may be the highest paid, but he's not the highest skilled)

rJAX @ HOU - Winner Houston Texans: NO (Hurricane willpower alone will thrust Houston into win column.  Bortles remains a second class rookie quarterback)

üPHI @ WAS - Winner Philadelphia Eagles: YES (I like Wentz.  I think he's ready to have a great run during the first half of the season.  Not sure if he can finish during the second half, though.  Washington is in too much disarray to win this one)

rIND @ LAR - Winner Indianapolis Colts: NO (Luck is not happy in Indianapolis, and I think the Colts will be pretty miserable this year, but the Rams are still too young, and leaderless, to beat the likes of Andrew Luck, or any other team that may end up close to .500 or better)

rSEA @ GB - Winner Seattle Seahawks: NO (While I tend not to bet against Aaron Rodgers, I think this Seattle team may give Russell Wilson the chance to show he is still relevant)

üCAR @ SF - Winner Carolina Panthers: YES (San Francisco is pretty hapless.  Directionless.  Rebuilding.  As for the Panthers, they are past the injuries that decimated the 2015 team that went 15-1.  While I don't expect the 2015 magic to repeat, I am not expecting a losing season, either)

üNYG @ DAL - Winner Dallas Cowboys: YES (New York may lose every game they play without Odell.  It's time to replace Eli Manning, but Beckham is good enough to make him look like he should stay.  With Odell, Giants win this one.  Without Odell, Dak Prescott and gang is too much for them)

üNO @ MIN - Winner Minnesota Vikings: YES (Minnesota's defense will keep them in this game.  The Saints' horrible defense will win it for the Vikings)

üLAC @ DEN - Winner Denver Broncos: YES (Denver is without a quarterback that is worth a dang.  The Chargers have a quarterback without a team that is worth a dang.  Denvers' defense wins this one for the Broncos)


BYE: Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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