Archive for the 'NFL' Category

The Holiday Season at the World Trade Center

I took these pictures at the World Trade Center last night. One WTC is in Holiday Season mode. The base the tower changes color from Red to Green and back again. Pretty cool. #NYC, #WTC

 

 

 

NFL 2017 Predictions for Regular Season and the Playoffs

Here are my picks for each Division:

AFC East: New England. Hard to seriously consider any other teams in the AFC East as long as Bill Belichick is coaching and Tom Brady is playing QB (This is exactly what I wrote last season. No need to change anything.)

AFC North: Pittsburgh-Choice here between Steelers and the Bengals. Have to go with Big Ben and the Steelers.

AFC South: Tennessee-Houston should be improved, especially with the return of All-World DE JJ Watt, but I think the Titans are the better team and have big edge at the QB position.

AFC West: Kansas City-This division will be a total dog fight. You could make a case for every team in the division winning. I think you could make a case for every team in the division winning it. Oakland has the best QB, but I think Chiefs have the best all around team. I will be pleasantly surprised if the Los Angeles Chargers find a way to win the division. I still find it very hard to call them the “Los Angeles Chargers–As a former San Diegan and loyal Chargers fan. I would love to see Philip Rivers win a Super Bowl before his great career comes to an end.

NFC East: New York- The NFC East will be another total dog fight. The Giants and the Cowboys are the best teams in the division, but the Redskins and the Eagles will competitive as well.

NFC North: Green Bay-The Packers are the best team in the division. Aaron Rodgers is still in his prime

NFC South: Atlanta-After very nearly winning the Super Bowl I think Atlanta may lose a few more games than they did last season, simply because the more teams will be gunning for them as the defending NFC Champs.

NFC West: Seattle-The Seahawks should win this division and will be a serious threat to go all the way to the Super Bowl.

AFC Conference Champion: New England–Very tough choice here. I don’t have a high degree of confidence that the Patriots are going to make it as far as the Super Bowl. Wining the AFC East should be fairly easy for NE, but then things will get much more difficult.

NFC Conference Champion: Green Bay–Toss up pick here. I think there probably at least 3 or 4 other NFC teams that are good enough to make it to the Super Bowl, depending on the breaks. In addition to the Packers, I would include the Seahawks, Cowboys, Giants and the Atlanta Hawks.

Super Bowl Champion: New England–Last year I wrote the following: “Any doubts about Belichick and Brady both being GOAT’s  will be put to rest when the Patriots win Super Bowl LI in Houston.”

Well, I think it is fair to say that doubts about Brady and Belichick being GOATs were indeed put to rest. Will the Patriots win number SB number 6 this season?? I don’t think they will. I can’t point to one specific thing that I think will cause the Patriots to fall short,  but think something or multiple things are going to catch up with them this season.

I think it is very likely that I will have to revise my playoff predictions by the time the playoffs start, but as it stands right now I’ll go with the Packers and Patriots meeting in Minneapolis for Super Bowl L II and I predict that Aaron Rodgers will lead the Packers to victory. 

 

 

 

Super Bowl LI: New England vs Atlanta

The Championship Round games certainly weren’t as competitive as most fans, including myself, expected them to be, but the I think the decisive fashion in which both New England and Atlanta leaves no doubt that the best teams from each conference remain and that will set the stage for a potentially great Super Bowl Game.

I think Vegas installing the Patriots -3 as the favorite is about right. I picked the Patriots to win the whole thing in a pre-season blog post and I’m not changing that prediction now. Here is what I wrote last September…

AFC Conference Champion: New England–Steelers, Bengals, as well as Kansas City and possibly Denver could provide tough tests to the Patriots in the play-0ffs. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots fare with Jimmy G at QB. If they go 2-2 with Garoppolo at the helm I think there a good chance that they will be able to amass the best record in the AFC and secure home field advantage in the play-offs and that will be important.

NFC Conference Champion: Green Bay–I think there are at least four teams that have a good shot at winning the NFC. In  addition to Packers I would add Arizona, Seattle and, of course, the defending NFC champions, the Carolina Panthers. I won’t be at all surprised if any of those wins the NFC, I’m going to go with the Packers.

Superbowl Champion: New England–Any doubts about Belichick and Brady both being GOAT’s  will be put to rest when the Patriots win Super Bowl LI in Houston.

 
Packers came close, but obviously collapsed in the end. I must admit that I did not see the rise of the Falcons coming. They really exceeded expectations this season.  I am concerned about the Falcons because of their prolific offense. I think highly the Falcons coaching staff and I like Ryan. He was definitely the league’s MVP this season.
However, I think Belichick and his coaching staff will have the Pat’s well prepared and they will take away a few of Ryan’s weapons on offense. They may not be able to shut down star WR Julio Jones, but they will stop other guys. I also expect the Patriots to limit the Falcons offense simply by keeping it off the field. I know, easier send than done, but I think NE’s offense can do that. I expect they will run the ball a lot and Brady will throw a lot of short passes to pile up 1st downs and time of possession.
If the Falcons offense does drop bombs early and they jump out to a big lead the Pat’s will be in deep trouble, but I think they can avoid that.
So, I’m going to take Patriots -3.
The Over/Under is a SB high 59 and I will take the Under.
Patriots 31 Falcons 27

 

 

2017 NFL Playoff Predictions (Rd One)

All right, here we are, it is playoff time and it is time to find out which team is truly the best in the NFL. I just reviewed my pre-season picks for each division, which I posted on this blog back in September, and I did pretty well. My predictions for all four AFC division winners were correct and I predicted that the Patriots would have the best record and secure home field advantage. Check and check.

In the NFC I did not fare quite as well. I only went 2 and 2. I was right about Green Bay and Seattle winning the NFC North and West, respectively, but I did not see the Cowboys winning the East or Atlanta dethroning the Carolina Panthers in the South. I always thought NFC East would be a real dogfight and that the Redskins would win the division again. I thought the Cowboys would struggle to take the division after they lost starting QB Tony Romo for the first half of the season. I knew Dallas had a lot of weapons on offense and a terrific O-Line, but I did not think rookie RB Zeke Elliot and rookie QB Dak Prescott would be truly great as they were. Both were real stars this season and they will make the Cowboys a Super Bowl contender for years to come.

As for the Giants, they delivered an unexpected Christmas present by making the playoffs. I must admit they exceeded my expectations. I never thought they would do any better than 8 and 8 this season, but the D and Beckham carried them to playoff!?! I have to give GM Jerry Reese some credit this time around. He bet big on the FA’s he signed for the defense and won.

I did predict the Panthers would suffer more losses this season as the rest of the league focused on them, but I was surprised by their really poor start (1-4). They never recovered from that. Atlanta, on the other hand, made a marked improvement in HC Dan Quinn’s second year. Hawks QB Matt Ryan was masterful this season and he would be my choice for league MVP this season.

Now, who will win the NFC?  It appears to me at least 3 or 4 teams could win the conference, but there is no question that Dallas should be considered the favorites with home field advantage at AT&T Stadium.

Back in my pre-season Blog post I ended up picking Green Bay to win the NFC and face the New England in the Super Bowl. I must admit I really questioning myself when the Packers still under .500 at the 10 game mark, but then they got their act together and ripped off 6 straight victories to end the season 10-6 and Packers that we saw at the end of the season was the team that I expected. I’m going to stick with the Packers. I think they are the one team in the NFC that can take out both the Cowboys and the Atlanta Falcons.

However, winning the NFC is one thing, winning the Super Bowl is another. I predicted that Patriots would win Super Bowl this season and I see no reason to change that prediction.

OK, on to the first round games.

Oakland at Houston

Houston -4.0

The Oakland Raiders would have been a real threat to win the AFC, but the loss of QB Derek Carr effectively ended their hopes to reach the Super Bowl. Houston wasn’t very good this year, in large part because new QB Brock Osweiler has been a big bust. So, we have two teams here that will be offensively challenged. I think the Raiders will win, but I don’t see them to winning any more playoff games after this one.

Oakland 21 Houston 17

Detroit at Seattle

Seattle -8.0

Detroit had a pretty decent season, going 9-7, and gave the Packers some serious competition for the NFC North. However, the Lions still seem like a work in progress and  I don’t think the Lions have enough weapons to defeat the Seahawks at home, where they are extremely tough to beat.

Seattle 31, Detroit 21

Miami at Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh -10.0

I think it fair to say Miami exceeded expectations this season, going 10-6 with rookie head coach Adam Gase. Well done, welcome to playoffs. The Fins are now taking a big step up facing a veteran Steelers team in cold, snowy Pittsburgh. The Steelers  were up and down at various points this season, but when they bring their A game they can complete with any team in the league.

Pittsburgh 27, Miami 14

NY Giants at Green Bay

Green Bay -4.5

This is the definitely the best of first round games. I’m conflicted here because I am a big NY Giants fan, but predicted that the Packers would go all the way to the Super Bowl. The Giants excellent defense gives them a chance against any team in the league, but they catching a Packers team that is peaking at the right time. Giants WR O’Dell Beckham will be a problem for Green Bay, but I don’t see the G-Men putting up enough points to win this game. I won’t be real disappointed if I’m wrong because that will set-up a very interesting 3rd game vs the Cowboys. The Giants, of course, were the only team to beat the Cowboys during the regular season,

Green Bay 24, New York 17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My 2016 NFL Predictions

 

Here are my picks for each Division:

 

AFC East: New England. Hard to seriously consider any only teams in the AFC East as long as Bill Belichick is coaching and Tom Brady is playing QB. I think the NY Jets will also be good, too. I predict the Jets will secure a wild-card slot for the play-offs.

AFC North: Pittsburgh–Tough choice. In the end I had pick between the Steelers and Bengals. Not much separating these teams, but I have a little more confidence in Big Ben and the Steeler’s offense than I do Andy Dalton and the Bengal’s offensive, especially in view of the fact that Cincy installed a new Offensive Coordinator for this season. The Bengals offense may indeed improve, but that is a question mark. That said, I think both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati will make the play-offs.

AFC South: Houston. The addition of Brock Osweiler gives the Texans that advantage in this this division. The JJ Watt lead defense has always kept them in the hunt for the division, but if Houston can field a decent offense it will make them truly dangerous. Brock may make a formidable all-around team.

AFC West: Kansas City-Can’t pick Denver, the defending SB champ’s, because they have no proven players at the QB position with the retirement of Peyton Manning.

NFC East: Washington-I think this weak division will come down to battle between the Washington Redskins and NY Giants. I can’t see Philadelphia winning the division with a rookie QB and Dallas may be in same boat, with starting QB Tony Romo out for at least 6 games.

NFC North: Green Bay.-Gotta go with Packers. I expect Detroit and Minn. to be competitive, but I see the Packers as the best team in the division. Rodgers still one of the QB’s in the league, if not the best. The return of star WR Jordy Nelson is big for the Packers.

NFC South: Carolina.-No contest here. The NFC Champs should win this division easily.However, I expect the Panthers to suffer a few more losses this season than they did last season because they caught the league by surprise last season and opposing teams were not as well prepared for them as they will this season.

NFC West: Seattle-A toss up here. Very difficult to pick between Seattle and Arizona.

AFC Conference Champion: New England–Steelers, Bengals, as well as Kansas City and possibly Denver could provide tough tests to the Patriots in the play-0ffs. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots fare will Jimmy G at QB. If they go 2-2 with Garoppolo at the helm I think there a good chance that they will be able to amass the best record in the AFC and secure home field advantage in the play-offs and that will be important.

NFC Conference Champion: Green Bay–I think there are at least four teams that have a good shot at winning the NFC. In  addition to Packers I would add Arizona, Seattle and, of course, the defending NFC champions, the Carolina Panthers. I won’t be at all surprised if any of those wins the NFC, I’m going to go with the Packers.

Superbowl Champion: New England–Any doubts about Belichick and Brady both being GOAT’s  will be put to rest when the Patriots win Super Bowl LI in Houston.

My 2015 NFL Predictions

Ok, here we are again, Football is back and not a moment too soon as far as I’m concerned. I went back and took a look at 2014 NFL Predictions post and I was struck by how little I want to change. All my picks for both AFC and NFC division winners remain the same. However, I did end up selecting a different team to win the NFC championship this season.

Here are my picks for each Division:

AFC East: New England. I picked the Patriots to win it all last season and Belichick, Brady, Gronk, and Co. rewarded my faith in them. Gotta go with New England again in the AFC East. Sure, they lost a few good players on D, but I have confidence in NE’s coaching staff to keep the D defense competitive. The offense is still very tough to stop, so the D just has to be good, not great.

AFC North: Cincinnati. No reason to change anything I wrote last year: “This division is really a toss up to me. I could see Cincy, Pittsburgh or Baltimore winning this division. I don’t think Cleveland has any shot of winning the division, although the Browns will be a lot of fun to watch once Johnny Manziel becomes the starting QB. I’m going to have to give the Bengals a slight edge.”

AFC South: Indianapolis. Andrew Luck, need I say more? Of course, there is more to the Colts than star QB Andrew Luck, but he is the key to that team emerging as bona fide threat to win the Conference. Houston will be competitive simply because of JJ Watt and their outstanding defense, but the Colts are a better all around team imo.

AFC West: Denver. Peyton Manning ain’t what he once was, but he is still better than most starting QB’s in the league. The Broncos defense may be better than their offense and that combination should be enough to secure this division. KC and San Diego should also be good and I expect them to seriously challenge Denver, but I still have to give the edge to Denver.

NFC East: Philadelphia. Last year I wrote… “I think the Eagles will rule the NFC East for at least the next 2 to 3 years and will probably make it to a Superbowl within that time frame.” I would stand by that. I think Kelly wins a SB within the next 2 to 3 years…or he will end up getting fired/quitting and going back to the college game, probably on the West Coast.

NFC North: Green Bay. “I picked the Packers last year and I’m picking them again this year.” Yeah, again, no reason to change what I wrote last year. The loss of star WR Jordy Nelson certainly hurts, but the Packers are too talented on both sides of the ball for that to prevent them from winning the division. Detroit might challenge again, but the Packers are the best team in the division.

NFC South: New Orleans. Quite a bit of parity in division, but no great teams. I can’t say that I will be shocked if Atlanta and Carolina wins this division either. I bet 9-7 will be good enough to win this division.

NFC West: Seatlle. Last year I wrote….”The new league Champions look every bit as good as last season, if not even a little better. The 49ers should once again provide stiff competition, but there has clearly been a changing of the guard in the NFC West.” The Seahawks remain the best team in AFC West, but the 49ers have clearly gone into decline and may have to spend the next few years rebuilding. Arizona steps forward as the primary threat to Seattle within the division. If Arizona starting QB Carson Palmer stays healthy the Cardinals have a real chance of taking the division crown.

AFC Conference Champion: New England. Again, I don’t see any reason to change what I wrote last year, which was the following….”It will probably again come down to Denver vs New England in AFC Conference championship game. However, one of these seasons we are going to see a changing of the guard in the AFC. Both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are still top tier QB’s, but they are also in the end stage of their respective careers, which will both ultimately end in the NFL Hall of Fame. At some point, another contending team or teams will knock the Broncos or the Patriots or both off”. Yeah, gotts stick with that. At this point I think it will be at least another year before we see a changing of the guard in the AFC.

NFC Conference Champion: Philadelphia. The Eagles over the Seahawks and the Packers? Yes, although I will freely admit that this was an extremely difficult choice for me because I think there are at least 4 or 5 teams that will have a legit shot at winning the NFC. I’m just betting on Chip Kelly here. I admire Kelly for not playing it safe after a pretty successful season and making some big trades, replacing his starting QB and RB, among others. Just getting to to playoffs clearly was not satisfactory for Kelly. It is Super Bowl or bust for Philly.

Superbowl Champion: New England. I know the odds don’t favor the Patriots repeating as Champs, but I can’t make a stronger case for any other team. I think a SB that featured the Patriots vs the Eagles would be fascinating and I would have to give a slight edge to defending Champions.

My Prediction for Super Bowl XLIX: Patriots 27 Seahawks 24

Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ

Line: New England -1 over Seattle

Under/Over 47.5 pts

Well, I must say that I can toot my own horn a little bit even before the Superbowl has been played because I predicted that the Seahawks would meet the Patriots in the Championship game way back on September 4, 2014, in my preseason NFL blog post. Please feel free to check it out. Just go to my archives, select NFL and you will find it. the post ends like this:

Superbowl Champion: New England. I think the Patriots may be the only team in the NFL that can beat both Denver and Seattle. I think a strong case can be made for the Seahawks too. I think the Seahawks are definitely capable of repeating as Champ’s. I also think Denver is very capable of returning to the Superbowl. To be perfectly honest, I’m picking the Patriots based on a scenario in which everything goes right for them by the time the playoffs roll around. I don’t think there are too many coaches in the NFL right now that can figure out a way to beat both Denver and Seattle, but Bill Belichick is one of them. Maybe Jim Harbaugh too.


Well, as the excerpt above indicates, I expected the Broncos to face New England in the AFC Championship and I thought the 49ers might pose a serious challenge in the NFC. So, I was off on those two predictions, way off on the Niners, but I’m happy that the teams I predicted to go all the way to SB are here now. Although, I will also admit that picking SEA and NE was not exactly a high risk proposition because I think those two teams were two of about half a dozen teams that figured to be real contenders in the preseason. Now, if I had picked Indy and Dallas to meet in the SB and they actually made it, that would have been really impressive, but I had to be realistic about my selections. There can be only two teams and I got’em it right.

The Patriots made it to AFC Championship game last season despite losing several key players on both offense and defense (Gronkowski, Wilfork, Mayo, chief among them) to injury during the course of season. I figured if the Patriots stayed healthy this season they would definitely be capable of returning to the SB. Unfortunately, the Pats did lose LB Mayo again and they had to deal with a few injuries on the O-line during the course of the season, but this team was relatively healthy this season. Most importantly, All-World TE Rob Gronkowski avoided major injury and had a spectacular season. I think that was a major key to the success that NE enjoyed this season. I think Gronkowski and the other NE TE’s will pose a serious threat to Seattle’s secondary, the vaunted Legion of Boom. In losses that Seattle suffered to San Diego and Dallas during the regular season the TE’s for those teams did some real damage, scoring 5 TD’s in total. Gronkowski is the best at the position right now so he should do well. If Seattle concentrates on stopping Gronk other players should be open and Brady will find them.

Another key to the Patriots return has been the improvement of their defense. The Pats defense is not in the same class as the Seahawks, of course, but it is very solid. I think NE’s D should be up to the task of keeping Seattle from scoring 24 points or more and if they can do that they should stand a very good chance of winning the game because I just don’t think Seattle’s D, as good as it is, even with the Legion of Boom, can shut down the Pats passing attack. Yes, Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch and QB Russell Wilson present serious challenges on the ground, but I think they can be contained. Lynch may run for a hundred yards or so, but don’t think we will see Russell Wilson running wild, at least not beyond the line of scrimmage. I think the Pats will definitely assign a spy to Wilson and keep him under control.

Coming into this season I thought the Seahawks had dynasty potential. They essentially kept their core group of stars together and they are not an old team. I think the Seahawks could be a SB contender for the next 3 to 5 years. If Seattle wins this game we will immediately see all sorts of stories in the sports media about the Seahawks becoming a dynasty team and that will be justified if they repeat here. I admire the job head coach Pete Carroll has done with team and I like many of the players on this Seahawks team, even the braggadocious CB Richard Sherman. I really don’t mind players who talk, if they can back it up and Sherman does most of the time.

With 37 year old QB Tom Brady in final stage of great career the window to win a championship for Pats may only last a couple more years, unless Pats 2nd string rookie QB Jimmy Garoppolo turns out to be a star (he might be, he’s displayed flashes of superior ability in the few short periods he has been on field). However, I think just one more SB win will significantly impact the legacy of both Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. They will both be going into the Hall of Fame regardless of the outcome of this game, but another ring here will bolster the arguments for them to be considered, respectively, the greatest coach of all time and the greatest QB of all time. Another Lombardi Trophy win for New England would give them 4 and that definitely would put them in the upper echelon of teams that have won multiple championships in the NFL, joining teams the Giants and Packers, who each have 4. The Steelers have 6, the Cowboys and Niners have 5 each, so that will give the Patriots something very big to shoot for if they can win it all today.

I think this game will end one of three ways: Big win by the Patriots (victory by 14 pts plus), Narrow win by the Seahawks (3 pt victory) or Narrow win by Patriots. I think a narrow win by the Patriots is the most likely outcome.

Final Score: Patriots 27, Seahawks 24

POST SUPER BOWL COMMENTS:

Final Score: Patriots 28, Seahawks 24

Wow, what a game! I’m happy that the Pats won and that my final score prediction was pretty darn close, although I’m perfectly willing to concede there was some luck involved. Seattle was clearly in a position to win in the final minutes and they blew it, but those are the breaks of the game.

All in all, it was a great game between two pretty evenly matched teams. It was what you hope the SB will be.


George M. Fattell.

The gmf journal is a general subject blog that reflects my thoughts and opinions on a variety of topics that are of interest to me. Current home base is Easton, Pennsylvania, USA. Retweets do not equal an endorsement.

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