Post Super Bowl 2018 NFL Mock Draft

It took me about 24 hours but I managed to get over the Patriots’ Super Bowl loss and overall I find that I’m more happy for the Eagles fans than I am sad about the Patriots. I mean, what other fan base celebrates their team winning a football game by eating horse shit? Go google it for yourself, I’m not linking it here. But as much as I’d love to blog about any sport other than football right now, there really isn’t anything going on that isn’t football-related to blog about. So I’m going to try and quell my sadness by doing a post-Super Bowl Mock Draft because I love doing those for some reason and it’s a good time to do it since the draft order is now set (with the exception of the 9th and 10th picks, which will require a coin toss but I don’t think they’re going to steal eachother’s picks so I don’t think that particular order matters too much). I did a mock draft earlier this year, which I’ll link here, which is now suddenly out of date because two players (Clemson defensive linemen Clellin Ferrell and Christian Wilkins) announced they’re returning to school. Clemson’s going to be loaded next year because they have basically everybody except Deon Cain returning. But without further ado, let’s get to the mock.

1. Cleveland Browns-Sam Darnold-QB-USC


This doesn’t reflect how I’d rank the quarterbacks, I think UCLA’s Josh Rosen is better than Darnold. However the main thing is that Darnold isn’t on record as saying he doesn’t want to be a Brown like Rosen is. Granted, there was that time when he had to deny saying he’d return to school if the Browns had the number 1 pick, but again, we don’t have definitive proof he said it. That being said, I’ve said in the past that Darnold should’ve returned to school. I’m retracting that statement after watching the Ohio State bowl game. Not because Darnold played particularly well, his numbers weren’t that great and USC could only score 7 points. But the talent around him is holding him back. Ohio State was able to abuse him by rushing three. While the Browns are far from the most talented team (them going 0-16 being one indicator), they have a pretty good offensive line which can go a long ways towards helping a quarterback’s development, just look at Dak Prescott. So I don’t think it’d be the worst idea in the world for the Browns to take a chance on Darnold. I mean, they can’t really do much worse, can they?

2. New York Giants-Saquon Barkley-RB-Penn State


The Giants’ biggest need is on the offensive line, however I wouldn’t take any of the offensive linemen in this class at this stage. They could also use corners and linebackers, but again, I’m iffy about taking one this high. That leaves runningback. Orleans Darkwa is currently the best runningback on the roster and that’s just not going to take the pressure off the passing game. Saquon Barkley may be the most complete runningback I’ve ever seen and imagine what guys like ODell Beckham can do when the defense also has to focus on the guy in the backfield and vice versa. I think Barkley could help transform the Giants’ offense into a juggernaut.

3. Indianapolis Colts-Bradley Chubb-EDGE-North Carolina State


Like the Giants, I think Indy’s biggest need is on the offensive line, as they gave up the most sacks this season. However, the same thing applies to them as the Giants, as I think it’d be more useful to hit other needs here than reach for an offensive lineman. So I’m going to go with edge defender Bradley Chubb. Chubb terrorized ACC offensive lines all season to the tune of 10 sacks and 23 tackles for loss, which was his second consecutive season with 10 sacks and 20+ TFLs. I don’t think the Colts have ever had a good defense in the history of their franchise but adding a great edge rusher like Chubb can mask a lot of deficiencies.

4. Cleveland Browns (from Houston Texans)-Minkah Fitzpatrick-S-Alabama


This is the second pick in the top 4 for the Browns after their trade with the Texans in last year’s draft. After getting their potential quarterback of the future, they can look to just take the best player available and for me that’s Minkah Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is a guy you can pretty much line up anywhere on your defense and despite how skinny he looks, he’s no slouch as a tackler to go along with his skills in coverage. I think he could be a valuable asset to a Browns defense that really underachieved last season.

5. Denver Broncos-Josh Rosen-QB-UCLA


This is assuming the Broncos don’t land Kirk Cousins. If they don’t, they’ll be thrilled to see Josh Rosen land in their laps like this. Quarterback has been what’s held the Broncos back from being relevant since Peyton Manning retired. Rosen is my favorite quarterback in the draft because on the field I don’t see anything wrong with his game. Scouts think he’s a dick, that’s really his only flaw but he seems to have the backing of his teammates so I’m totally fine with his attitude. However people also said similar things about Ryan Leaf and we all know how that turned out.

6. New York Jets-Baker Mayfield-QB-Oklahoma


Like the Broncos, this is assuming the Jets don’t land Cousins. But Baker Mayfield could provide some excitement in this Jets offense that we haven’t seen since the early years of Rex Ryan’s tenure. There’s very little talent on the Jets offense right now so Mayfield might be better served to sit behind Josh McCown for a year to develop with what they have rather than get thrown into the fire right away, but based on what I saw at Oklahoma, Mayfield has the ability to elevate the play of his teammates.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Marcus Davenport-EDGE-UTSA


I saw the name of a defensive end from UTSA on some big boards and I thought to myself “what the Hell?” Their mascot is the Roadrunners for god’s sake. Naturally I wanted to see what all the fuss was about so I turned on a couple games for him and holy shit. This kid is a freak. He absolutely abused every offensive lineman he went up against. Now granted, the talent he faced was atrocious, but he beat the shit out of them like you’d expect a top talent to do. He got off to a slow start at the Senior Bowl, but he finished strong which is encouraging for me. The Buccaneers NEED pass rushers in the worst way possible and getting a guy like Davenport would be huge for the growth of this defense.

8. Chicago Bears-Calvin Ridley-WR-Alabama

at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 18, 2017 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

I’m a huge fan of Calvin Ridley except he has one major flaw that I learned about after I scouted him: he’s 24 years old. That actually hurts a lot more than you might think because that puts him about 2-3 years behind the other players in this class. However I think his overall talent is going to win out over how long he’s actually able to play and I think the Bears will reap the benefits because this guy does pretty much everything well. Mitchell Trubisky showed some flashes as a rookie but he didn’t perform as well as he could have because he didn’t have anyone to throw to.

9. San Francisco 49ers-Connor Williams-OT-Texas


A healthy Connor Williams probably lands in the top 5, maybe even to the Giants at #2. However some people have him falling out of the first round altogether in light of his knee injury during this past season. It’s possible he may not even play his rookie year, or at the very least be limited, which is why he may fall. But I think the long-term value will be worth it as the 49ers need some more help to protect Jimmy Garoppolo. Joe Staley isn’t getting any younger and the rest of the offensive line is pretty much garbage.

10. Oakland Raiders-Rashaan Evans-LB-Alabama


Rashaan Evans has dealt with injuries in the past but I think he’s the most complete linebacker in this class. He’s not quite as good as his former teammate Reuben Foster, who was excellent as a rookie with the 49ers, but I think he compares more to CJ Mosley of the Ravens while Foster compared more to Dont’a Hightower of the Patriots. Both guys are the leaders of their defenses and I think Evans has that capability, which is something the Raiders need badly because their linebacking core is easily the weakest in the NFL.

11. Miami Dolphins-Roquan Smith-LB-Georgia


The Miami Dolphins really need a middle linebacker. Lawrence Timmons just hasn’t panned out after being signed away from the Steelers. There are a lot of solid pieces on the Dolphins defense but they need that one centerpiece that holds everything together. Enter Roquan Smith. While Smith is a bit undersized for a middle linebacker and I think he could stand to get stronger, there’s no denying his instincts and high football IQ. Plus when he does square players up, he can really lay the lumber. He’s just pushed off the ball a little too often for my tastes.

12. Cincinnati Bengals-Quenton Nelson-OG-Notre Dame


The Bengals desperately need help all over their offensive line. Usually a left tackle would be ideal but the only tackle worth taking at this stage currently available is Mike McGlinchey and he profiles better as a right tackle. Either hit left tackle in free agency or give Cedric Ogbuehi another year to improve. But I think if you can get a stud elsewhere, then do it. Quenton Nelson is probably a top-5 talent, but the low value of guards causes him to drop here and the Bengals will reap the benefits for the next ten years if they make this pick. Nelson does everything well.

13. Washington Redskins-Denzel Ward-CB-Ohio State


Denzel Ward is the cream of the crop for this solid cornerback class and I think he could potentially go as high as fifth overall depending on how his workouts go. But the Redskins suddenly have a need at corner either opposite Josh Norman or in the slot after they traded Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs as part of the Alex Smith trade. I think Ward is talented and athletic enough to play both on the outside and in the slot so he can be plugged in wherever Jay Gruden wants him.

14. Green Bay Packers-Derwin James-S-Florida State


Morgan Burnett is set to hit free agency this offseason and I don’t anticipate the Packers resigning him due to his age (29) and the fact that he’s been trending downward these last couple of years. The secondary for Green Bay is overall pretty weak and Derwin James can be a huge upgrade. He’s an enforcer against the run and does really well in coverage. Injuries are a concern, though, but as long as he checks out medically, I don’t see any reason for the Packers to pass on him.

15. Arizona Cardinals-Josh Allen-QB-Wyoming


There’s a lot to be excited about with Josh Allen and there’s equally as much to be concerned about. He’s got all the physical tools you can ask for but his accuracy is inconsistent and he played against lesser competition. However based on the weapons that he’d have at his disposal, namely Larry Fitzgerald and a healthy David Johnson, I think Josh Allen may have a smoother transition than people think. It will just depend on how well he gels with first year head coach Steve Wilks.

16. Baltimore Ravens-Christian Kirk-WR-Texas A&M


The Ravens need receivers. Mike Wallace is really only good for deep balls and Breshad Perriman hasn’t been on the field enough to be productive. Enter Christian Kirk, a guy who can really do it all. The Ravens have shown in the past that they can get creative with some of their offensive schemes with the likes of Danny Woodhead and they can use Kirk in a similar manner. He can also have an impact in the return game as well. I won’t go into too much depth with the receivers in general, as I already scouted the ones I like.

17. Los Angeles Chargers-Mike McGlinchey-OT-Notre Dame


The Chargers shored up the interior of their offensive line in last year’s draft by taking Forrest Lamp (who missed the entire year due to injury but was my #1 offensive lineman last year) and Dan Feeney (who became the starting left guard midway through the season and played well. I also sat next to him in my Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics class, no big deal). Now they need to shore up the tackles and they’re very fortunate that McGlinchey falls into their laps in this scenario. McGlinchey wasn’t great this past season but he’s still arguably the best tackle in an overall weak class. He profiles better on the right side, which works just fine for the Chargers as they were sending out Joseph Barksdale in that spot all year.

18. Seattle Seahawks-Derrius Guice-RB-LSU


In this scenario, the Seahawks are probably pissed that McGlinchey was taken right ahead of them. I don’t project trades in my mocks, otherwise I think Seattle will try and sneak ahead of the Chargers to try and snag the Notre Dame product. However I’m sure they’ll be more than happy with Derrius Guice, as right now their best runningback is Mike Davis, which hardly strikes fear in the hearts of opposing defenses. Seattle hasn’t had much of a run game since Marshawn Lynch left and Guice could be the guy to revive it.

19. Dallas Cowboys-Courtland Sutton-WR-SMU


While Courtland Sutton does scare me in terms of his inconsistencies, he’s too talented to drop much lower than this. The Cowboys need more receivers as Dez Bryant’s injury issues have started to take their toll on his productivity while Terrance Williams is just okay. Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer are nice options in the slot but with Bryant not being healthy, they really miss that major threat that keeps defensive coordinators up at night. Sutton has that potential.

20. Detroit Lions-Tremaine Edmunds-EDGE/LB-Virginia Tech


Edmunds is an interesting player because he played middle linebacker at Virginia Tech last year despite the fact that he’s about 6’5 250 pounds, which is the prototypical size for a 3-4 outside linebacker. He shows great athleticism which makes me think he could excel as an edge rusher in new head coach Matt Patricia’s defense. But I suspect Patricia will use Edmunds the same way he used Jamie Collins a few years ago, as a big and athletic linebacker that can play pretty much anywhere on the field.

21. Buffalo Bills-Da’Ron Payne-DL-Alabama


After trading Marcell Dareus at the trade deadline to the Jaguars and with Kyle Williams being 35 by the start of the 2018 season, the Bills will have a need at DT. Payne played very well on the biggest stages in the CFP and I think he could be a huge asset to this Bills defense as the team looks to improve on their first playoff run in the 21st century. Payne has the ability to take over games if he gets in a groove and that kind of game wrecker can free up their edge rushers like Jerry Hughes and Lorenzo Alexander to wreak even more havoc.

22. Buffalo Bills (from Kansas City Chiefs)-Mason Rudolph-QB-Oklahoma State


Tyrod Taylor is going to be a free agent after the 2018 season and it’s been pretty apparent that the Bills won’t bring him back beyond that so one has to imagine they’ll look for a quarterback that they can develop and mold to be their franchise savior. Mason Rudolph has a lot of arm talent but there’s going to be a steep learning curve as he transitions from the air raid scheme at Oklahoma State into a more traditional NFL offense.

23. Los Angeles Rams-Josh Jackson-CB-Iowa


Josh Jackson led the nation with 8 interceptions last season including 3 against Ohio State. He showcased excellent coverage skills and was a real playmaker for the Hawkeyes. The Rams may lose Trumaine Johnson in free agency and even if they do retain him, they’ll need someone to line up opposite him. Jackson can fill that role and make a potentially deadly defense even tougher.

24. Carolina Panthers-DJ Moore-WR-Maryland


I think this would be a bit of a reach, but I trust Moore a little more than I trust Carolina’s other real option, Oklahoma tackle Orlando Brown. After Devin Funchess there really isn’t much in the Carolina receiving core for Cam Newton to throw to and while that hasn’t stopped him before (he won an MVP and led the Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance with Ted Ginn as his top receiver), it’d make life a whole lot easier with more help.

25. Tennessee Titans-Harold Landry-EDGE-Boston College


Harold Landry has been slipping a bit due to concerns over his ankle and his inconsistency against the run. However the Titans probably won’t care as much about that last bit as others might because they already have plenty of run stuffers but they’re set to be in big trouble in the pass rushing department, as Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo are approaching free agency. Landry is one of the fastest defensive ends I’ve seen and he can blow up plays like no other when he times the snap right.

26. Atlanta Falcons-Vita Vea-DL-Washington


Vita Vea is a crazy athlete for his size (340 pounds) and I suspect he’s going to blow up the NFL Scouting Combine in a couple weeks. We’re not sure what the Falcons are going to do in regards to Dontari Poe and after him there really isn’t any defensive tackle depth so if Vea is still available at this stage, then they ought to swoop right in and snatch him up. My only beef with Vea is that his get-off isn’t great, which could be a huge detriment if not improved upon.

27. New Orleans Saints-Ronnie Harrison-S-Alabama

at Jordan Hare Stadium on November 25, 2017 in Auburn, Alabama.

This is a slight reach at this stage but the Saints need safety help and the next best safety on my board is Harrison. They may also look at a linebacker like Malik Jefferson, but I think a safety that is capable of playing in the box like Harrison could be more valuable, especially given his coverage skills. He’s more of a thumper, but he has better coverage skills than most linebackers and really it was coverage skills that ended the Saints’ season.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers-Malik Jefferson-LB-Texas


We don’t know if Ryan Shazier will be able to play football again after his spinal injury, though good news is he’s regained feeling in his legs. The Steelers will need to find his replacement, though because even if he does return, it may not be for much longer given the severity of his injury. Jefferson isn’t anything special, however he does all the little things right and he makes the smart plays that you look for and won’t be the guy that goes for the big flashy play. He’s the type of guy the Steelers need right now.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars-Will Hernandez-OG-UTEP


The Jaguars’ biggest need is at quarterback but I think they’re going to stick it out with Blake Bortles for one more year. My next highest-rated quarterback is Lamar Jackson and I think that’d be a huge reach for the Jaguars, especially considering Jackson may not fit their offensive system very well. Hernandez is a heck of a guard and can not only help keep Bortles upright and keep pressure off of him, but he could also create more holes for Leonard Fournette to improve on his 4.0 YPC.

30. Minnesota Vikings-Taven Bryan-DL-Florida


Defensive Tackle is a weak spot for the Vikings with Linval Joseph’s age and Sharrif Floyd’s injury history. Taven Bryan is a great physical specimen that’s pretty raw at this stage but with enough seasoning under Mike Zimmer’s tutelage he could become the next Cameron Heyward.

31. New England Patriots-Isaiah Oliver-CB-Colorado


If you saw what I saw in the Super Bowl, then you’ll agree that A. Malcolm Butler is not returning to the Patriots and B. They need corners to replace him. Luckily for New England, this is a solid class for corners and I think Isaiah Oliver is a guy that can step in and contribute from Day 1. He’s got good size (6’1 190 pounds) and he does really well locking down receivers. I really think he can be a quality starter in this league, which is really all the Patriots will be looking for.

32. Philadelphia Eagles-Carlton Davis-CB-Auburn


The Eagles’ secondary got absolutely destroyed by Patriots receivers and that was without Brandin Cooks for most of the game. Tom Brady threw for 505 yards and quite frankly, if Brandon Graham doesn’t poke that ball out, I don’t think they stop Brady driving down the field and winning the game. Like I mentioned with the Patriots’ pick, the Eagles are fortunate that this year is a good year for corners and they’re going to get one of the more athletic ones in Carlton Davis, who is about the size of Oliver but he’s also been clocked at running as fast as 4.33, which is insane and means he can keep up with anybody while not sacrificing on size. He may rise up this board once I get around to really scouting the corners.

That’s going to do it for my second mock draft, let me know what you think in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10.

Kansas City Chiefs Trade QB Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins


The NFL offseason hasn’t even started yet and it’s already more interesting than MLB’s. There probably wasn’t a trade in the world with more implications to it than this one. The Kansas City Chiefs trade quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third round pick. The Redskins followed that up by signing Smith to a 4-year $94M extension, $71M guaranteed to add on to the one year left on his deal that he already had with KC. Smith is coming off a career year in Kansas City as he finished with 4042 yards passing with 26 TD’s and 5 INT’s and was the highest-rated QB in the NFL with a rating of 104.7 in 15 games played. Smith now becomes the quarterback of a Redskins team that disappointed in 2017, going 7-9 and missing the playoffs.

The Chiefs look to be all in on Pat Mahomes, it seems. Mahomes was the 10th pick in the 2017 Draft out of Texas Tech and a guy the Chiefs forfeited their 2018 first rounder to the Bills in order to acquire. Mahomes got to start in Week 17 and he was pretty solid, going 22-35 with 284 yards with no TD’s and 1 INT, as he led the Chiefs to a 27-24 victory over the Broncos. Mahomes has probably the most talented arm I’ve ever seen but he came out of a college system at Texas Tech that translates about as poorly to the NFL as humanly possible. He didn’t appear in an NFL game until that Week 17 matchup against the Broncos and while he still does have some things to work on, he did a lot of things to be excited about.

But if I’m Kirk Cousins, I am PISSED OFF. Cousins had been the constantly franchise-tagged starting quarterback for the last few years now, even leading the Redskins to a playoff berth in 2015. He kept trying to get a contract extension to be in DC long-term but the Redskins refused to give it to him, instead opting to franchise tag him every year and basically make every year a contract year for him. Then the Redskins go and trade for a guy to replace you that has one year left on his deal and he immediately gets a huge extension despite not having taken a snap for the team yet. Kind of a dick move, Snyder. If there is a silver lining to all of this it’s that now Cousins can get out of this toxic relationship and play for a team that will be more than willing to give him the extension that he’s earned (because let’s face it, Cousins is in the discussion for top 10 quarterbacks in the league right now).


So who are some teams that should make a run at Cousins? Well for starters the Cleveland Browns. Now yes, Cleveland is a place where quarterbacks go to die, but Cousins is a far better quarterback than anybody that has passed through Cleveland since their revival in 1999. If anybody can break the streak of horrendousness, it’d be Cousins. Plus this draft class is not very Browns-friendly so perhaps Cousins would be the safer route to go. He’ll command a lot of money, sure, but the Browns don’t really have any big contracts and are expected to have over $100M in cap space this offseason.

Another team that should consider Cousins is the Broncos. There’s a lot of talent on this team but they’re being held back by poor quarterback play. They’ve gotten the most out of Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch hasn’t developed the way they’d hoped. Kirk Cousins could be just what they need to get back into not only playoff contention, but maybe even Super Bowl contention. They’re expected to have about $28M in cap space this offseason so they’ll probably have to shed a contract or two before they’ll have the space to sign Cousins, but it’d definitely be a sacrifice worth making in order to return the team to its former glory. Plus the Broncos pick 5th and the two best quarterbacks in this year’s class, Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold, will both likely be gone by then so free agency may be the safest route.

The Jets are another team that should be in on Cousins. They pick after the Broncos at #6 in the 2018 Draft so they’re just as unlikely to land Rosen and Darnold as Denver is. Plus the Jets will have the cap space, as they’re expected to have about $79M in available funds this offseason. The Jets got the most out of the 38 year-old Josh McCown and it’s high time they got younger at the position because Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg are definitely not the answers for the future.

The Arizona Cardinals could also be a team that could take interest in Cousins. After Carson Palmer’s retirement, there’s a huge hole at the quarterback position that will need to be filled if they want to contend in the very difficult NFC West. They’ve got about as much cap space as the Broncos so they will likely need to cut some dead weight to be able to afford Cousins, but again, like with Denver, it’d be worth it. The need is also greater for Arizona because they’re picking 15th this year and not only will Rosen and Darnold be gone by then, but probably Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield, too.

The Bills ought to be interested in Cousins because they pick 21st and 22nd thanks to a trade with the Chiefs and unless they use that package to trade up into the top 5, there’s no way they’re landing any of the top quarterback prospects. They’ve got about $31M in space so if they signed Cousins, they probably wouldn’t be able to get anybody else without shedding some contracts. The Bills made the playoffs for the first time in the 21st century last season but poor quarterback play from Tyrod Taylor buried them in the Wild Card Game against the Jaguars. Speaking of segues…

The Jaguars are the last team that I think should be in on Cousins. Their lack of faith in Blake Bortles was a big factor in their losing the AFC Championship game to the Patriots despite the fact that Bortles was playing some of his best football in that game. Signing Cousins could be the difference in blowing a 10-point 4th quarter lead in the AFC Championship game to not only going to the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history, but winning it. They’ve only got about $25M in free space so they’re going to have to lose a few deals before they’re able to make a run at Cousins.

So with the trade of Alex Smith, this offseason just got a Hell of a lot more interesting, especially as it pertains to Kirk Cousins. Let me know what you think of this trade in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10.

A Look at the NFL Head Coaching Hires

With Arizona’s hiring of Steve Wilks and Indy’s and Detroit’s inevitable hirings of Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia, it appears that all head coaching vacancies have been filled. Let’s take a look at how each team did with their new head man.

Arizona Cardinals Hire Former Carolina Panthers’ DC Steve Wilks


Wilks is probably the least experienced coach in the group as far as major responsibilities go. 2017 was his first year as a defensive coordinator in the NFL and only the second time he’s ever held such a title, when he was DC at East Tennessee State in 2002. Wilks spent one year as a head coach at the college level at Savannah State in 1999 before moving to Illinois State as defensive backs coach. He’s been an NFL coach since 2005, primarily as a defensive backs coach. He had spent the last 5-6 years in the Panthers organization, where he helped create guys such as Josh Norman into what they are today. His best work has easily come as a member of the Panthers, particularly in the last couple of seasons. Carolina’s secondary had been about as weak a defensive unit as there is in football but always got masked by a great front seven. Last year, Carolina boasted the 7th best defense in the NFL in total yards and helped lead the team to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth. He joins an Arizona team that has talent but has to reload after the retirements of both former head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer. I don’t think it’d be fair to expect a ton out of Wilks and the Cardinals in his first year, as that offense is going to need to undergo a lot of changes, however I do think Arizona will continue to field a strong defense.

Indianapolis Colts Are Going to Hire New England Patriots’ OC Josh McDaniels


Josh McDaniels is arguably the best offensive coordinator in the NFL, as the Patriots are consistently at the top of the NFL in terms of points and yardage year-in and year-out. He does have head coaching experience with the Denver Broncos, however after starting his career 6-0, he crashed and burned horribly. What I think went wrong was McDaniels tried to be Belichick with his new team before he had earned that right in his players’ eyes. He traded their quarterback and top wide receiver (Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall) before even coaching a game, which probably should’ve been the first sign of things to come. I think McDaniels will have learned a lot from his failures in Denver, however, and I expect his tenure with the Colts to go much better. He has still yet to be announced as their head coach but all signs point to McDaniels becoming the head man after the Super Bowl. The Colts offensively won’t become the Patriots overnight, but I think if they can boast just an average offensive line, then I think they could be deadly if McDaniels is able to transition his system over from New England to Indy.

Detroit Lions Are Going to Hire New England Patriots’ DC Matt Patricia


Same situation with Patricia as McDaniels, as he hasn’t been announced as the head coach yet since he’ll be coaching in the Super Bowl, however it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that he’s getting the Lions job. There’s a lot of talent on the Lions that went unrealized under previous head coach Jim Caldwell however they could never get over the hump. It is unknown how Patricia will do as a head coach because he’s never been a head coach at any level before. He’s been the Patriots’ DC since 2012 and before that served as an offensive assistant, O-line, linebackers, and safeties coach. Patricia’s defenses in New England have been the personification of bend-but-don’t-break, as they’re routinely near the bottom in yards allowed but near the top in points allowed. Patricia is notoriously well-liked by his players and it will be interesting to see how he gels with the Lions. I really don’t know what to expect out of the Lions under Patricia just because there’s nothing to go off of since he’s never been a head coach before. I think the Lions will fall somewhere between the 6-9 wins range next season.

New York Giants Hire Former Minnesota Vikings’ OC Pat Shurmur


Pat Shurmur has been in coaching since 1988 when he was a grad assistant at his alma mater at Michigan State. He’s been in the NFL since 1999 with the Eagles’ staff and has had one stint as a head coach and another as interim head coach. He led the Browns in 2011 and 2012 and posted a 9-23 record. He was also the Eagles’ interim head coach after they fired Chip Kelly in 2015 and won his only game at that position before the Eagles hired current head coach Doug Pederson. Shurmur has spent the last two seasons with the Vikings. In 2016 he was the tight ends coach before becoming interim offensive coordinator, then keeping the job on a full-time basis for 2017. In 2017, the Vikings were able to find a lot of success on offense despite the injuries to key offensive players. Stud rookie Dalvin Cook tore his ACL in Week 4 and Sam Bradford suffered a leg injury that effectively ended his season. But I think the biggest thing that got Shurmur the Giants’ gig is the rise of Case Keenum under his watch. When a journeyman quarterback leads his team to an NFC Championship game while posting the numbers that Keenum did, the OC is going to get some looks. I think this could wind up being a sneaky good hire. There’s lots of talent on the Giants, who simply underperformed in 2017 and if Shurmur can get the most out of a guy like Keenum, doing the same for Giants players will be a breeze. I think there will be a hefty win improvement in 2018. The intriguing thing for me is going to be what he decides to do with the #2 pick in the Draft. Do the Giants take Eli’s heir or do they take a playmaker like Saquon Barkley? We’ll have to wait and see.

Tennessee Titans Hire Former Houston Texans’ DC Mike Vrabel


Like Matt Patricia, Mike Vrabel is also getting his very first head coaching gig at any level. Vrabel was a stud linebacker with the Patriots during their initial dynasty in the early 2000’s, as he was a major part of the team that won 3 super Bowls in a 4-year stretch from 2001-2004. He has since served as linebackers and defensive line coach at his alma mater Ohio State from 2011-2013 before joining Bill O’Brien on the Houston Texans’ staff in 2014 as linebackers’ coach. When Hard Knocks focused on the Texans in 2015, we got a chance to see Vrabel’s coaching style firsthand and man, is he tough. He’ll get in your face and yell and call your mother a bitch but you also get the sense that he really cares about his guys. In 2017, he was promoted to defensive coordinator and the Texans ranked 20th in yards allowed and last in points, however a large part of that was all the injuries to key players the team had to deal with. But Vrabel’s personality is the type of thing I think the Titans need. At times they seemed a little relaxed and I think a good kick in the pants could be what takes them from an inconsistent and mediocre team to one that contends for division titles every year. I’m not so sure the Titans will make the playoffs next year like they did this year, though, especially with the rise of the Jaguars and a healthy Texans team. But again, we don’t know what to expect with a true rookie head coach in Vrabel and how his players might respond to his coaching style.

Oakland Raiders Hire Monday Night Football Broadcaster Jon Gruden


This is easily the highest-profile coaching hire of the offseason. Jon Gruden was a pretty well-decorated coach with the Raiders from 1998-2001, then with the Buccaneers from 2002-2008, including a Super Bowl XXXVII victory with Tampa over the same Raiders team that had fired him the year before. He also holds the distinction of being the winningest coach in Buccaneers’ history and was inducted into their Ring of Honor this past season. Since being fired from the Buccaneers in 2008, however, Gruden has been the color commentator for ESPN’s Monday Night Football, where his antics had become endearing to many fans. He now rejoins a Raiders team that really regressed last season but there are a lot of talented pieces in place. The AFC West appears to be wide open next season as both the Chiefs and Chargers, who finished ahead of Oakland, were wildly inconsistent while the Broncos struggled mightily. I think Gruden gets the Raiders back in the thick of things, though we may see some early-season rust.

Chicago Bears Hire Former Kansas City Chiefs’ OC Matt Nagy


Matt Nagy was the first coach hired this offseason, as he was introduced as Bears’ head coach one week to the day that John Fox was fired. He may have the smoothest transition out of any of these coaches as he has a quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky that has a very similar skillset to his previous quarterback, Alex Smith, and an excellent runningback in Jordan Howard. Nagy is only 39 years old and had been playing football professionally as recently as 2008 with the Columbus Destroyers of the Arena Football League. Nagy has been a coach since 2010 as a coach’s assistant with the Eagles and was an offensive quality control coach there until 2012. He had been with the Chiefs since 2013, where he served as quarterbacks coach until 2015 when he was promoted to offensive coordinator, a position he had held up until his hiring with the Bears. Under Nagy, the Chiefs experienced a lot of success on offense through ball control and ball security, as they were #1 in turnover differential in 2016 and #2 in 2017. We’ll have to see if the transition is as seamless as I think it has the potential to be, considering the similarities I find between Trubisky and Smith, because if it is, then I think the Bears could be dark horses in 2018, perhaps becoming next year’s version of the Rams. Young head coach, young quarterback, complete overhaul in offensive philosophy. It worked in LA, can it work in Chicago?

That’s going to do it for my thoughts on the NFL head coaching hires. Let me know what you think of these hires in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10 and contribute to my Patreon.

Divisional Round Picks: Day 1

The Wild Card Round was rough for my picks segments, as the only game I hit on was Jaguars-Bills (one of the worst playoff games I’ve ever had the privilege to miss most of due to being on a plane). But now the winners of those games face the teams that had a week to prepare for them but history has shown that it’s not always a guarantee the team with the extra week will win. So with that, let’s get to the picks.

Atlanta Falcons (10-6) vs Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)

The Falcons dispatched an inexperienced Rams team in Los Angeles in their 26-13 victory. The Rams special teams unit made botch after botch, most of them revolving around Pharoh Cooper and the Falcons managed to take advantage. They take on an Eagles team that is actually quite similar statistically. The Eagles averaged exactly one more yard per game than the Falcons did offensively and defensively both teams sport top 10 defenses. The Eagles were the talk of the NFL for most of the year, getting out to a 10-1 start and finishing the year as the 1 seed in a stacked NFC at 13-3. Quarterback Carson Wentz was having an MVP-caliber year and may be the favorite had he not torn his ACL in the Eagles’ 43-35 win over the Rams in Week 14. Nick Foles has been the Eagles quarterback since then and he hasn’t been particularly great, just good enough to get the job done. The Eagles were 2-1 in his starts, the one loss being when he didn’t play a whole lot in Week 17 against the Cowboys and was sat to rest in favor of former Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld, who actually finished with the highest completion percentage amongst quarterbacks playing their first game at 83% (minimum 20 attempts). Foles’ line as starter was 47-87 for 439 yards with 5 TD’s and 2 INT’s in 3 starts, which isn’t awful overall, but it’s a far cry from what Carson Wentz was doing. The Eagles’ rushing attack was also quietly very good, as the stable of LeGarrette Blount, midseason acquisition Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, and Wendell Smallwood combined to be the 3rd best rushing attack in the NFL. They also got a potentially career-saving year out of Nelson Agholor at receiver and a breakout season from tight end Zach Ertz. Defensively, the Eagles thrived under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who may be in line for his second head coaching gig when all is said and done. They were 4th overall in scoring and total yards and were best in the NFL at stopping the run. However I think they’re going to run into some problems against the Falcons. They’re going to have to ask Nick Foles to keep up with the reigning NFL MVP Matt Ryan and I just don’t think he’ll be able to do that. It’s not 2013 where that isn’t so ridiculous a thought (seriously, go back and look at Foles’ stats when he was the Eagles’ starter in 2013. He was fantastic). But despite how good the Eagles have been defensively overall, stopping the pass has been more of a weak point for them, as they’re only average at that (17th against the pass). Their corners will have a hard time stopping the trio of Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Taylor Gabriel. Plus, the Falcons were a top-10 defense this season and have guys that can fly around the field and cause problems for the Philly offense. I’m actually going to pick the Falcons to advance to the NFC championship game for the second consecutive year. However had Carson Wentz been healthy, I think this might be a different story.


Projected Score: Falcons 27 Eagles 20

Tennessee Titans (9-7) vs New England Patriots (13-3)

What a game between the Titans and Chiefs. I expected the Chiefs to win in a bloodbath, which it looked like they were well on their way to doing. However Travis Kelce suffering a concussion late in the first half plus a lack of touches for Kareem Hunt really hurt the Chiefs as the game went along and allowed the Titans to creep back into the game. It was 21-3 at halftime in favor of the Chiefs, then Marcus Mariota threw a touchdown pass to himself and momentum seemed to swing in the exact opposite direction. The Titans were able to pull out a 22-21 victory over the Chiefs and will take on the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. The Patriots had a year that seemed akin to their 2014 run with a blend of 2015 in it. They got off to a slow 2-2 start to the point where everyone was questioning if this was the year the Patriots would finally fall off. But then the Patriots remembered they’re the Patriots and finished the year going 11-1 and seemingly fixing every problem they had in the first four games. Except there’s one little blemish for New England that makes there some resemblance to the 2015 team: injuries. It started with Julian Edelman tearing his ACL in a preseason game against the Lions and it hasn’t let up since. The list of Patriots on IR include Edelman, Dont’a Hightower, Marcus Cannon, Derek Rivers, Malcolm Mitchell, Vincent Valentine, Shea McClellin, Cyrus Jones, Nate Ebner, and Martellus Bennett. That’s a lot of key contributors. But the Patriots have had guys step up in big ways. Kyle Van Noy was able to adequately fill the void left by Hightower’s injury. The combination of La’Adrian Waddle and Cameron Fleming have adequately filled in for Cannon. The Patriots have continued to follow their “next man up” mantra and it has helped them finish near the top in the NFL in many major categories. They’re the #2 scoring offense, #1 in total yards, #2 in passing, #10 in rushing, and #5 in scoring defense despite being #29 in yards allowed. That’s the definition of a bend-but-don’t-break defense right there. One of the breakout stars for the Patriots has been Dion Lewis, who has reinvented himself from just a scat back that was used as a change of pace to an all-around back that isn’t afraid to run through defenders from time to time. In fact, Lewis led the NFL in rushing in the second half of the season to finish with 896 yards rushing on just 180 carries (5 yards per carry). I’m predicting in this game that Lewis will again be a big factor in a Patriots victory over the Titans to advance to their 7th straight AFC Championship game against either the Steelers or the Jaguars.

at Gillette Stadium on December 31, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Projected Score: Patriots 30 Titans 17

That’s going to do it for my picks for day one of the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Let me know what you think about this slate of games in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10 and contribute to my Patreon.

Wild Card Round Picks: Day 2

Welp the Titans made me look pretty stupid. But that’s why I don’t gamble on sports, things like that happen. Though I think Travis Kelce getting knocked out with a concussion was a huge blow for the Chiefs, as I don’t think they scored a single point after he went to the locker room. That was, to me, the biggest factor in their blowing a 21-3 lead (just doesn’t have quite the same ring to it that 28-3 does). There was a brief shining moment as it appeared Marcus Peters had stripped Derrick Henry of the football and Derrick Johnson took it to the house, only to have it overturned by replay, which was the correct call as Henry was clearly down before the ball left his possession. As for Falcons-Rams, I may have gotten that pick wrong, but I feel that if the Rams’ special teams didn’t dig them into an early hole like it did, then they probably would’ve beaten the Falcons because as the game went along, that offense looked more and more comfortable until the Falcons regained their footing. Though I could have sworn I read somewhere that Julio Jones and Marcus Mariota were both going to be scratches from their games. Maybe I misread or read fake accounts. *UPDATE* I figured out what happened with that. PFT Commenter of Barstool Sports was quote tweeting injury reports for both players from past seasons and making them out to be for these games and I fell for the trap. It happens to the best of them. So with that, let’s get to the Sunday picks. Make sure you read all the way through, because I do have an announcement to make at the end of this blog.

Buffalo Bills (9-7) vs Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6)

This will be the Bills first playoff appearance since 1999, which had been the longest such drought in the major four sports. It was kind of an odd season for them. They went 9-7 after starting out 5-2 and included a disastrous quarterback switch. For whatever reason, Tyrod Taylor was benched in favor of Nathan Peterman against the Chargers. Peterman promptly threw 5 first half interceptions (not all of them were his fault, but they’re still charged to him). He was benched in the second half for Taylor, who played reasonably well in what was basically the perfect moment for Taylor to establish himself as the unquestioned starter. Week 17 came along with their playoff hopes on the line and they got the job done by beating Miami. They just needed the Ravens to lose to the Bengals, since the Titans and Chargers had won their games, in order to make the playoffs. 4th and 12, Andy Dalton hits Tyler Boyd for a 49-yard TD and the Bills are going to the playoffs. It came at a price, though. In their victory over Miami, Buffalo lost star runningback LeSean McCoy due to an ankle injury, where he had to be carted off the field. Good news for Bills fans, though, McCoy said the injury wasn’t as bad as he thought and he’s hoping to suit up against Jacksonville. I’m not so sure if that’s going to help them a whole lot. McCoy is at his best when he’s able to make hard cuts and juke guys out. That’s hard to do on a bad ankle. I don’t think it’s going to go well for him in this one, especially against a Jaguars defense that’s as dominant as this one. Jacksonville has been a revelation this season. They recorded their first winning season in a decade and were the breakout team of the AFC en route to a 10-6 record despite inconsistent play from quarterback Blake Bortles. However Bortles looked pretty good to close out the season and I think it may have the higher-ups in Jacksonville rethinking their plans to move on from him. The only way I think Bortles has 100% job security is a Super Bowl victory, though. But the story of this Jaguars team has been the defense. I’ve raved about the impact signing Calais Campbell has been ad nauseam, but he really has been the difference. The Jaguars were just okay defensively prior to his arrival from Arizona with a lot of young players with potential. Campbell arrives, then suddenly they’re the #2 overall defense in the NFL behind only the Vikings. Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye (whose arrival I also think contributed heavily to the defense’s success) have been shutdown corners, Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler have been absolute studs rushing the passer, Telvin Smith and Myles Jack have been holding down the second level, really no matter where you look on this Jacksonville defense, you’ve got guys that are kicking ass. It’s that fire on defense that I think is going to give the Jags the win in this game, though I think the Bills will be competitive throughout. Their defense is pretty underrated.


Projected Score: Jaguars 20 Bills 17

Carolina Panthers (11-5) vs New Orleans Saints (11-5)

In my opinion, this is the game of the Wild Card Round. This will be the third time these two teams will square off this season, each of the prior two meetings being won by the Saints, which gave them the tie-breaker for the division crown. The Panthers defense has looked similar to the one that helped lead them to an appearance in Super Bowl L, as Kawann Short continues to dominate on the interior of the defensive line, which sucks because he’s a Boilermaker. The Boilermaker on the other sideline, Drew Brees, has also been damn good for the Saints, as his connection with Michael Thomas is reminiscent of when he was hitting Marques Colston on a consistent basis. But the biggest matchup I’m going to watch for is Saints runningbacks vs the Panthers front 7. The Saints offensive line has been very good this year despite injury troubles. Rookie tackle Ryan Ramczyk has been very good like I expected him to be (which unfortunately wasn’t published because this blog didn’t exist back then) and Andrus Peat has adjusted very well to a move to guard. Larry Warford has also been terrific and Max Unger has been his usual self. Their runningbacks Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram have been the deadliest 1-2 punch in the game this season. To think, this group included Adrian Peterson for a few weeks before getting sent to the Cardinals. Imagine if that trio had been able to gel. Turns out it took Peterson leaving for this group to really come together. Ingram finished with 1124 yards rushing, fifth in the NFL, while Kamara had over 1500 yards of total offense. Both players’ play styles complement each other so well that defenses have a hard time keeping up. But the Panthers defensively have one of the best front 7s in football, as you’ve got guys like Short and Star Lotulelei clogging the interior, Mario Addison on the edge, and Shaq Thompson, the ageless Thomas Davis, and Luke Kuechly at linebacker. So if any team were to match up with well with the Saints, it would be the Panthers. However that hasn’t been the case this season, as the Saints beat the Panthers twice by scores of 34-13 in Week 3 and 31-23 in Week 13. So perhaps the Panthers are figuring things out, as that margin of defeat was cut significantly the second time around. I really want to pick the Saints for this game but I just have the weirdest gut feeling that the Panthers are going to pull this one out. I’m going with the Panthers, however my brain doesn’t feel good about it.


Projected Score: Panthers 24 Saints 20

That’s it for the blog. As promised, I have an announcement to make. I’ll be adding a new writer to my staff. When that will be I’m not sure, we’re still working out how we want to do things. But I’m very excited to get another guy producing content, as writing 1000+-word articles a day while balancing school and work can get a bit rough. Let me know what you think of my picks or my new “hire” (I say that very loosely, as I still don’t have a revenue stream to pay anyone with) and hit me up on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10 and contribute to my Patreon.

Wild Card Round Picks: Day 1


Last Week: 8-8                      Season Record: 144-81

So first I want to address the story everybody seems to be talking about with the whole “there’s drama in the Patriots organization” story that ESPN published at 1am yesterday. That’s about as exaggerated a piece as I’ve heard in my life. People are really digging for things to knock the Patriots down a peg at this point. While I do think that Brady is terrified of his career’s mortality and Alex Guerrero may have a bit more real estate in Brady’s head than some may care to admit (some of the stuff in the TB12 Method is a bit ridiculous), the idea that there’s some kind of power struggle between him, Bill Belichick, and Robert Kraft is just ludicrous. It ends with a line that suggests that Belichick won’t return after this season to coach somewhere else. For a guy who has written as many hit pieces about the Patriots as author Seth Wickersham has (and there have been a few), this seems to be a pretty uninformed statement. Every single source he had in that paper was anonymous, which harms your story’s credibility. Believe it or not, if you request to remain anonymous or want to say something off the record, there is nothing that holds the journalist back from using that stuff. That’s all fair game to use and a reporter can say “no” to anonymity. There are no legal grounds for any of that so the fact that not a single source was named puts things into question for me. But it’s not like anything was that damaging, either. It suggested that Brady was basically a 40 year-old child, saying that he never won “Patriot of the Week” from the coaching staff during the 2017 season, which is about as preposterous a gripe as I’ve ever heard in my life about Brady. The guy has 4 Super Bowl MVP’s and 2 regular season MVP’s, you think he gives 2 shits about “Patriot of the Week?” Get the fuck out of here. Now that that’s done, I’m going to get to my first set of Wild Card Round picks then I’m going to have a Wachusett Bella Czech Pils in support of the Patriots. That’s not a plug, I promise. If it were, I’d be using it a lot more frequently. But just look at this can:


I feel a strange urge to cut off half of each sleeve on my sweatshirts, scowl at everyone I come across and give one word answers to every question. That’s a very odd buzz. Enough rambling, Wild Card picks time.

Tennessee Titans (9-7) vs Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)

I was pretty disappointed to see the Titans make the playoffs. I don’t know if there’s ever been a more undeserving 9-7 team in league history. Offensively they were 23rd in total yards and 19th in points scored (they scored fewer than the Texans for Christ’s sake). Defensively, they were 13th in total yards and 17th in points allowed. Their turnover differential was -4 on the season. So how the Hell is this team 9-7 and not 6-10 like they statistically probably should be? Marcus Mariota regressed in a big way in 2017, as he threw for just 3232 yards with only 13 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. This is the same guy that had a touchdown-turnover ratio of 42-4 in his final year at Oregon. I have a strange suspicion that if the Titans get blown out of the water in this game, then the front office may make some changes to the coaching staff because Mariota is too skilled a player to be putting up a garbage stat line like that. Nevertheless, the Titans are in the playoffs for seemingly doing the bare minimum to get by. That’s going to hurt them when they face the Chiefs. Nobody started the season better than the Chiefs did. Their first two games they beat up both the Patriots and Eagles, the two 1-seeds in the NFL playoffs, en route to starting out 5-0. But that’s when the roof seemingly caved in on them. They became predictable offensively and teams were able to snuff them out. They lost 6 of their next 7 games before Andy Reid relinquished playcalling duties. They won their last 4 to close out the season. They seem to be back on the right track, looking more like the early season world-beaters vs the pathetic midseason team each day. Kansas City’s main strength is that they don’t turn the ball over, as they only did so 11 times this season for a turnover margin of +15, second best in the NFL after the Baltimore Ravens at +17. If the Titans are going to have any chance of beating the Chiefs given the talent on each roster, they’re going to need to get takeaways and that’s just not going to happen. I’ve got the Chiefs winning pretty easily and will take on the Patriots if the Jaguars beat the Bills or the Steelers if the Bills beat the Jaguars.


Projected Score: Chiefs 38 Titans 14

Atlanta Falcons (10-6) vs Los Angeles Rams (11-5)

The last time the Falcons were in LA, they steamrolled the Rams in what proved to be Jeff Fisher’s final game as Rams head coach. This year will be COMPLETELY different circumstances, as the Rams have been amongst the best teams in the league this year. They did a complete 180 offensively, as in 2016 they were the worst scoring offense in the league but the best in 2017. Defensively, the Rams were pretty good in their first year with Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator, though I felt they were capable of much better. They were +7 in turnover margin, which really helped because they ranked just 19th in total yards allowed and 12th in points allowed. There are some fantastic players on the Rams defense, particularly Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn, and Alec Ogletree who can really take over games if you let them. Jared Goff’s development was HUGE for their success and it didn’t hurt that Todd Gurley had an MVP-caliber season (as you may have read, I picked Gurley for MVP in my awards blog). The Falcons barely made it into the playoffs after barely losing Super Bowl LI after at one point holding a 28-3 lead over the Patriots. Defensively, Atlanta continued to make strides in the right direction, as they were 9th in yards allowed and 8th in points allowed. Not bad for a team that didn’t crack the top 20 last year. However they did struggle to get turnovers, as they ranked 27th in that category, falling behind the likes of the Colts and 49ers of all teams. Offensively they took a step backward, however that’s to be expected when you’re coming off a season where you scored the most points in the league and lose your offensive coordinator to a head coaching position elsewhere (Kyle Shanahan with the 49ers). They were still very good offensively, though, as they finished 8th in total yards but 15th in points. A lot of that has to do with the fact that they were -2 in turnover margin, which will hurt your total output. But Todd Gurley did lead the NFL in fumbles and we saw with Deion Jones in Super Bowl LI that he’s more than capable of ripping that ball out to create turnovers. I think if the Falcons’ defense is able to step up and create turnovers, then they will win this game. If not, then the Rams are going to have their way with them. This is probably the hardest game to pick in Wild Card weekend, though I guess I kind of deserve it considering how easy a pick I think Chiefs-Titans is going to be. I think I’m going to give the edge to the Rams just because I think they’ve got more guys having breakout seasons than the Falcons do and will face the Vikings in the divisional round.


Projected Score: Rams 27 Falcons 24

Those are my thoughts on the Patriots “bombshell” and the first two games of the Wild Card round. Tune in tomorrow when I do Sunday’s set of games. You can leave a comment below or on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10 and contribute to my Patreon.


NFL Picks: Week 17

Last Week: 13-3                 Season Record: 136-73

The regular season finale of my NFL Picks. This will likely be the hardest week to pick since the early season picks (you may remember those as the ones where I would consistently whiff horribly, including one week where I only hit on a single 1:00 game) because a lot of teams could be either resting their guys for the playoffs, or have nothing to lose and will try and play some young guys to see what they can do. Wouldn’t shock me if this week ends poorly for me. Not that I’m trying to use that as an excuse for bad picks or anything…

Detroit Lions (8-7) vs Green Bay Packers (7-8)

Two teams whose seasons will not be ending the way they had hoped. The Lions and Packers both had promising seasons as they each got off to good starts in the first quarter or so of the year. However the Packers’ season was basically canned the minute Anthony Barr landed on Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone and the Lions would shoot themselves in the foot with untimely poor play. This could potentially be Brett Hundley’s final audition should a QB-needy team become desperate and try to acquire his services. I think he plays with a little extra fire in him and leads the Packers to victory.

Projected Score: Packers 27 Lions 20

Houston Texans (4-11) vs Indianapolis Colts (3-12)

Like the Packers, the Colts’ season was over the minute Andrew Luck’s injury was discovered to be serious and wound up costing him his season. The Colts out of desperation acquired Jacoby Brissett from the Patriots in exchange for disappointing receiver Philip Dorsett, who has played sparingly for New England. Brissett played about as well as one could expect given how little time he had to learn the playbook, but the Colts struggled mightily in what may be the final season in Indy for Chuck Pagano. However, the Texans have also had a season from Hell, as injuries ravaged this young team. I actually think the Colts will win this game, though. This is really just a gut feeling.

Projected Score: Colts 21 Texans 13

Chicago Bears (5-10) vs Minnesota Vikings (12-3)


If the Vikings win this game, they will lock up the 2 seed in the NFC and a first round bye with a home game in the divisional round at the very least, so there’s still plenty to play for here. For the Bears, this season went about the way I expected it to, as they’re under .500 but not so bad that they can be deemed an embarrassment. Mitchell Trubisky has shown some flashes of a potentially solid career and I think the Bears would be wise to try and let him loose this week to see what he can achieve. What have you got to lose? However whether they make that call or not, I still believe that the Vikings will win. They’re just that much better than the Bears.

Projected Score: Vikings 31 Bears 17

New York Jets (5-10) vs New England Patriots (12-3)

The Jets seem to always play the Patriots hard and they nearly came out with a win several weeks ago (that weird Austin Seferian-Jenkins non-touchdown is still one of the more bizarre things to happen this season). The Patriots still have the 1 seed to play for, which they will obtain with a victory. The Patriots were in basically an identical situation last year and they put the beatdown on the Dolphins, so I expect a similar approach this year. The Jets have really outperformed their talent this year, so much so it earned head coach Todd Bowles an extension. However they still aren’t on the Patriots’ level.

Projected Score: Patriots 34 Jets 13

Washington Redskins (7-8) vs New York Giants (2-13)

I’m so glad I didn’t have this blog up at the start of the season in time for NFL season predictions because I do not want to have any sort of record of me thinking the Giants were going to win the NFC East this year. Thank God for small miracles. The Giants will start Eli Manning, however since Geno Smith will be inactive, I think they will give Davis Webb a chance at some point to show what he can do. I don’t think it will be enough for them to beat the Redskins, though. They gave up on this year a long time ago.

Projected Score: Redskins 30 Giants 10

Dallas Cowboys (8-7) vs Philadelphia Eagles (13-2)

The Eagles have already locked up the 1 seed in the NFC and the Cowboys were eliminated from the playoffs with their loss to the Seahawks on Christmas Eve, so there really isn’t anything to gain from this game. I think the Eagles will play their starters for a little bit just to keep them warm and the Cowboys will try and end this disappointing season on a high note. I’m picking the Cowboys to win this game.

Projected Score: Cowboys 20 Eagles 16

Cleveland Browns (0-15) vs Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3)


Sorry, Browns fans, I don’t see this one happening, which really hurts to say because I hate seeing teams go winless. It sucked seeing it happen to the Lions in 2008 and it’s going to suck this year. Which is a shame, too, because I think there are some talented pieces in Cleveland. The Steelers are playing for a shot at the one seed so I don’t envision them holding back.

Projected Score: Steelers 35 Browns 7

Carolina Panthers (11-4) vs Atlanta Falcons (9-6)

This is an extremely important game for both teams. For the Panthers, they have a shot at a division title and possibly a first round bye with a win, wild card game with a loss. Meanwhile the Falcons are in the playoffs with a win while their future will be uncertain with a loss. It will depend on what happens with the Seahawks. I think the Falcons will win this game, though. I think they’ve got just a tad bit more incentive than the Panthers, which can go a long way for a team on the bubble.

Projected Score: Falcons 24 Panthers 20

Cincinnati Bengals (6-9) vs Baltimore Ravens (9-6)

The Ravens are in perhaps the best situation of the four teams vying for the final two Wild Card spots in the AFC. A win and they’re the 5 seed, however a loss could eliminate them depending on what happens with the Titans, Chargers, and Bills. The Bengals’ season is over and Marvin Lewis’ tenure in Cincinnati will pretty much be over after this game. I’ve got the Ravens taking care of business and returning to the postseason.

Projected Score: Ravens 28 Bengals 17

Buffalo Bills (8-7) vs Miami Dolphins (6-9)

The Bills need a win and some help in order to make the playoffs. In order to get in for the first time in the 21st century, they will need to win and 2 out of the 3 teams they’re competing with to lose, that being the Ravens, Titans, and Chargers. There’s still a chance, but their odds are the lowest of the four. I do think they will do their part and beat Miami, though. But I think Miami will give them a fight. This team has struck me as the type that will enjoy playing the role of spoiler.

Projected Score: Bills 17 Dolphins 13

New Orleans Saints (11-4) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11)

at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 24, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Saints clinch their division with a win, as they hold the tie breaker over the Panthers. The Buccaneers have been a major disappointment this season, though reports are that head coach Dirk Koetter will be retained for next season, as I had suggested in my head coach hot seat blog. It may end up being next year that the Buccaneers take that next step, but this game will be about trying to salvage what you can out of a lost season. I think the Saints will win and clinch the NFC South.

Projected Score: Saints 38 Buccaneers 20

Jacksonville Jaguars (10-5) vs Tennessee Titans (8-7)

If the Titans win, then they’re in. The Jaguars have nothing to gain from this game, as they’re already locked into the 3 seed, so if I’m head coach Doug Marrone, I’m considering resting my star players in preparation for the playoffs, which very easily could be a rematch against this very Titans team. Despite the Titans having everything to lose in this game, I do think the Jaguars will pull this one out despite not utilizing all of their talent. Just a hunch.

Projected Score: Jaguars 34 Titans 27

Kansas City Chiefs (9-6) vs Denver Broncos (5-10)

Both teams will be starting their young quarterbacks in this game. Since the Chiefs have nothing to gain, as they’re locked into the 4 seed, Andy Reid will be starting rookie first rounder Pat Mahomes to give Alex Smith some rest. The Broncos will be going with Paxton Lynch in a last ditch effort to see if he’s going to be worth waiting on. The former first rounder really hasn’t shown much, if anything in his two years in the league and this game could be extremely important in establishing confidence in him for the future. If not, I expect the Broncos to be a team to watch for in the 2018 Draft. I think Mahomes will do okay overall, as I believe he will make a few throws that will show you why he was the 10th pick in the draft. However I actually think the Broncos will win this due to the fact the Chiefs will be going half-staffed, so to speak.

Projected Score: Broncos 17 Chiefs 10

Oakland Raiders (6-9) vs Los Angeles Chargers (8-7)


The Raiders were the preseason darlings of the AFC after a stellar 2016 season, however things just haven’t gone their way in 2017. I think they need to look to improve their defense in the offseason. The Chargers have a chance to make the playoffs after starting the year 0-4, which if things go the way my blog predicts, they’ll have an opportunity to do with a win, considering I predicted the Titans to lose. I think for that reason, the Chargers will get the job done and will get into the playoffs with a win over the Raiders.

Projected Score: Chargers 28 Raiders 24

San Francisco 49ers (5-10) vs Los Angeles Rams (11-4)

Last week I predicted the Jaguars would be Jimmy Garoppolo’s undoing. Then he went and dropped 44 on them. The Rams also boast a tough defense with the potential to throw him off his game, but after what he did to Jacksonville, I’m not so sure they’ll be able to do it, especially considering the Rams have already locked up the NFC West. Offensively the Rams have been an absolute revelation this season and they’ve been really fun to watch under Sean McVay, who could very easily win coach of the year. I do have the Rams winning, though. However Jimmy G will probably make me look dumb for saying so.

Projected Score: Rams 27 49ers 24

Arizona Cardinals (7-8) vs Seattle Seahawks (9-6)

There are no primetime games this week so this here is essentially the final game of the regular season. If I weren’t working, I’d be living on NFL Red Zone all day, as every single game will be featured on it. Based on what I have happening, the Seahawks will have already been eliminated before this game even starts, as I predicted the Falcons to win. However, if the Panthers wind up beating the Falcons, then a win would clinch a playoff berth for the Seahawks. I think they will win regardless, though, and be the casualties of what has been a very tough NFC this year.

Projected Score: Seahawks 28 Cardinals 21

That’s it for my regular season NFL picks. The first week of the New Year will be my end-of-year series for the NFL, which will be something similar to what I did with the MLB season. I can’t promise that will start New Year’s Day, though. Pretty much from 11 am until sometime after midnight on New Year’s Day I will be busy. I’d give it a 25% chance of there being a blog. Please leave a comment below or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10 and contribute to my Patreon. Happy New Year everybody.

How Jimmy Garoppolo’s Success Has Reshaped the NFL Offseason


Heading into the Trade Deadline, the 49ers were having a season from Hell. They were 0-8 and it seemed feasible that they could end the season winless. Then they sent a second round pick to the New England Patriots for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, whom the Patriots had been grooming since they drafted him in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. They went 1-2 with CJ Beathard at quarterback and Garoppolo on the bench before he finally entered the game in the the 49ers’ loss to the Seahawks, throwing a touchdown in the process. After that appearance, it was announced that Garoppolo would remain the team’s starter. They haven’t lost since.

Sure the 49ers sit at a 5-10 record and will surely have a high draft pick, but the future is extremely bright, provided they shell out the money that Garoppolo will command. Jimmy G is a free agent at the end of the year, which was a big deciding factor for New England to trade him despite Tom Brady being 40 years old. I think it’s pretty clear that the 49ers are at worst going to franchise tag him, then work out a long term deal. He’s provided too much of a spark for the team and for the fan base to be allowed to leave. A big pay day is in his future. An argument against this could be that Garoppolo was beating lesser teams. Now yes, his first three wins were the hapless Bears, the injured Texans, and the underwhelming Titans. But then on Christmas Eve he led the ‘9ers to 44 points against one of the toughest defenses in the NFL in their win over the Jaguars. That pretty much confirmed for me that Garoppolo is no fluke. Some fans might complain that he may be playing too well, as a win on Sunday against the Rams could quite possibly knock them out of the top 10 picks (they currently sit at #8), which could’ve been used on a guy like Penn State’s Saquon Barkley. But I’m sure 49ers fans will live with great play out of their young signal caller. The future is certainly bright.

With Garoppolo’s emergence, a different quarterback’s situation changes DRASTICALLY: Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins. The obvious potential destination for Cousins (he developed into a good quarterback under the tutelage of current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan) is now gone so what this could mean is that Cousins may be stuck with the eternal franchise tag in Washington, which can’t be too bad of a gig as he’s going to be making well over $20 million under it. However there is no certainty around it whatsoever, which often makes players nervous and can put a lot of pressure on Cousins, as he’s basically in a contract year every year. A potential destination could be the Bills, who seem to be very non-committal to Tyrod Taylor and are blessed with two first round picks in 2018 thanks to the trade they made last year with the Chiefs so they could take Pat Mahomes. I don’t think they’ll do it, though. Both of the Bills picks will likely come in the late teens-early 20s range and each of the prize quarterbacks will likely be gone by then. The Redskins will need to acquire a pick in the top 10 to ensure they land one of the various talented quarterbacks in this year’s draft if they decide to trade Cousins. This could make the Browns an enticing option, as they will likely have 2 top 10 picks this year thanks to their trade with the Texans for the right to draft Deshaun Watson.

Garoppolo’s emergence also relinquishes one QB-needy team in the upcoming NFL Draft. I did a couple of personal mock drafts in my spare time earlier this year (because that’s the type of football guy I am) and each time I had the 49ers up, I either had them taking USC’s Sam Darnold or UCLA’s Josh Rosen, my two highest-rated quarterbacks. However not only has Garoppolo’s performance filled the gap the 49ers have had at quarterback that has been there since the height of Colin Kaepernick’s playing career, but it has knocked them out of a position to take one of these guys. This could actually make them into a very enticing trade partner. A team in the later part of the draft could get desperate if they think a team ahead of them will take the quarterback they wanted, so the 49ers’ phones will likely be ringing with calls from teams willing to trade up. Hell, it worked for the Bills last year. The Chiefs were scared the Saints were going to take Pat Mahomes (which they were), so they swapped with the Bills to jump one spot ahead of the Saints and gave up a future first rounder to Buffalo with the trade (the Saints ended up with cornerback Marshon Lattimore, so I don’t think they are too disappointed). I wouldn’t put it past a team like the Bills, possibly the Redskins, the Jaguars, or the Cardinals to part with a 2019 first rounder in order to move into the top 10 and the 49ers could be the beneficiaries of these desperations.

Garoppolo’s emergence could also make the 49ers an enticing free agent destination. They have the second most projected cap space in the NFL, barely trailing the Browns and significantly ahead of the third place Colts, so they ought to be big players in the free agent market. Potential free agents include Le’Veon Bell, Nate Solder, Trumaine Johnson, Dontari Poe, Ziggy Ansah, Malcolm Butler, and many others. If these guys want to be a part of an upstart organization, then the 49ers will be a very sexy pick and they’ll be able to get a little more cash than they would from a team that’s strapped for it such as the Chiefs and Eagles (who are expected to be over budget next season).

It’s pretty amazing how much one guy can change the fortunes of a franchise. The 49ers appear to have an extremely promising future and all it took to acquire it was what currently stands as the 40th overall pick in the Draft. That’s it for today’s blog, let me know what you think of Jimmy Garoppolo in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10 and contribute to my Patreon.

Playoff Picture Heading Into Week 17

So with one week left in the regular season, the playoff picture has pretty much taken shape with just a few slots left for grabs. Let’s take a look at where all 32 teams stand with one week to go in the regular season.

Eliminated From Contention

Cleveland Browns

New York Giants

Indianapolis Colts

Houston Texans

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chicago Bears

San Francisco 49ers

New York Jets

Denver Broncos

Cincinnati Bengals

Miami Dolphins

Oakland Raiders

Arizona Cardinals

Green Bay Packers

Washington Redskins

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Teams that Clinched Playoff Berths

New England Patriots

Pittsburgh Steelers

Philadelphia Eagles

Minnesota Vikings

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

New Orleans Saints

Carolina Panthers

Los Angeles Rams

Future Undetermined

Baltimore Ravens

Tennessee Titans

Atlanta Falcons

Seattle Seahawks

Los Angeles Chargers

Buffalo Bills

Week 17 is going to be huge for the teams on this list. I’m going to break down each playoff contender’s situation

AFC Picture

All the divisions have been clinched in the AFC, however both Wild Card spots are up for grabs. We also know who will have the first round byes, as the Patriots and Steelers have both clinched now that the Jaguars have lost to the 49ers and the Steelers have beaten the Texans.

New England Patriots (12-3)


Week 17: Home against the Jets

If the Patriots win, they clinch home field throughout the AFC playoffs. However, if the Jets do the unthinkable and win in Foxboro, the Patriots can still take home field if the Steelers lose to the Browns. They’ve already clinched a bye so no matter what the Wild Card Round will not feature Brady’s Bunch.

Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3)


Week 17: Home against the Browns

The Steelers still have a chance to clinch home field despite the fact that the Patriots hold the tie breaker, but they’re going to need to become Jets fans. Despite not having Antonio Brown, the Steelers offense went to town on the Texans defense, so I’m sure they’ll be okay against the Browns. If they beat the Browns and the Patriots lose to the Jets, they’ll be the number 1 seed. However if the Patriots win, it won’t matter what the Steelers do against the Browns.

Jacksonville Jaguars (10-5)


Week 17: On the road against the Titans

The Jaguars clinched the 3 seed after losing to the Jaguars coupled with the Steelers defeating the Texans. They hold the tie breaker over the Chiefs thanks to a superior conference record so even if they finish the season tied, which would require a Jags loss and a Chiefs win, Jacksonville would still be the 3.

Kansas City Chiefs (9-6)


Week 17: On the road against the Broncos

As mentioned above, the Jaguars hold the tie breaker over the Chiefs so Kansas City is locked into the 4 seed. It wouldn’t shock me at all to see Andy Reid rest his starters for this game as it’s very likely that the Chiefs’ opponent in the Wild Card round will be a physical team.

Baltimore Ravens (9-6)


Week 17: Home against the Bengals

The Ravens have not clinched a playoff spot yet, but they do control their own destiny. A win over the Bengals would clinch them the first Wild Card spot and a date with the Chiefs. However, if they lose and two of the following three teams win (Bills, Chargers, Titans), then the Ravens are out. But if they lose and only one of those teams wins, then the Ravens will be the 6 seed.

Tennessee Titans (8-7)


Week 17: Home against the Jaguars

The 6 seed is currently held by the Titans but it is sure to be the most interesting playoff position of them all, as a loss by the Titans practically ensures one of the other two teams competing get in. Add in the fact they’re playing the Jaguars, whom they actually blew out back in Week 2 and things get even more interesting. However since that game, both teams have gone in opposite directions, the Jaguars showing themselves to be top talents in the league while the Titans are barely scraping by. However if the Titans win, they’re in. If not, they’ll be done provided the Chargers and/or Bills win. And who knows? If the Titans and Ravens both win, then the Titans will end up playing the Jaguars in back-to-back weeks.

Los Angeles Chargers (8-7)


Week 17: Home against the Raiders

The Chargers need to win this game if they’re going to have a chance and they’re going to need to get some help. If they win and the Titans lose, they’re in. I believe the same is true if the Ravens lose. They hold the tie breaker over the Bills, which they gained in their head-to-head victory (you may remember it as the game where Nathan Peterman threw 5 interceptions in the first half of his starting debut). But they’re out with a loss to the Raiders, so they can’t get caught scoreboard watching.

Buffalo Bills (8-7)


Week 17: On the road against the Dolphins

The Bills are basically in the exact same situation as the Chargers, except they need to win and two out of the three other teams in the Wild Card hunt need to lose, that being the Ravens, Titans, and Chargers. Also like the Chargers, if the Bills lose, they’re done. The Ravens and Titans control their destiny in these situations.

NFC Playoff Picture

There’s only one team left to clinch a spot and it’s either going to be the Falcons or Seahawks. However, seeding is confusing as shit. I’m not even 100% sure of how it all works at this stage. The easiest route of action would be for the Vikings to win their game or a Panthers loss, then there won’t be anything confusing. But we don’t always get what we want.

Philadelphia Eagles (13-2)


Week 17: Home against the Cowboys

The Eagles clinched the 1 seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs, so there is nothing left for them to gain. They can rest their starters against the Cowboys if they so choose.

Minnesota Vikings (12-3)

at Lambeau Field on December 23, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Week 17: Home against the Bears

The Vikings have tie breakers over the Rams and Saints, which is huge considering they are right on their tails. However, the Panthers hold the tie breaker over the Vikings due to Carolina’s head-to-head victory. But the Saints hold the tie breaker over the Panthers so if there’s a 3-way tie between the three teams, there will be a loop of tie breakers: Vikings over Saints, Saints over Panthers, Panthers over Vikings. In that scenario, should the Vikings lose and the Saints and Panthers win, then it would come down to what happens with the Rams. But if the Vikings, Saints, and Rams lose and the Panthers win, Carolina jumps from the 5 to the 2 seed, meaning they’d go from having to play on the road in the Wild Card round to having a bye and a home game in the Divisional round.  Is your brain in a knot yet?

Los Angeles Rams (11-4)


Week 17: Home against the 49ers

The Vikings hold the tie breaker over the Rams so it’s guaranteed the Rams will be a 3 or 4 seed, since they won their division. If they lose to the 49ers, which used to be unthinkable but is now entirely possible thanks to the emergence of Jimmy Garoppolo, then they will drop to the 4 seed with either a Saints or Panthers victory.

New Orleans Saints (11-4)

at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 24, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Week 17: On the road against the Buccaneers

A Saints win clinches them the division and a home game in the first round, since they hold the tie breaker over the Panthers. The Vikings hold the tie breaker over the Saints so I think they can’t get a bye no matter what happens with the Vikings. If they lose and the Panthers win, though, the Panthers will take the division and the Saints will be the 5 seed.

Carolina Panthers (11-4)


Week 17: On the road against the Falcons

A Panthers win would make things very confusing in the playoff picture due to the circular tie breakers, so I’m kind of praying the Falcons win just so I don’t have to think so hard. But it would certainly get interesting if the Panthers win because if the Vikings lose, then even though they wouldn’t win the division, they’d hold the tie breaker over the potential 2-seed. It’s all weird and I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around things. And don’t even get me started on conference records because the Vikings hold the advantage over the Panthers in that regard, but head-to-head comes first.

Atlanta Falcons (9-6)

at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 24, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Week 17: At home against Carolina Panthers

The Falcons control their destiny. If they win, they’re in. However they face a Panthers team that has a chance to win their division, so it won’t exactly be a cakewalk. No matter what, the Falcons would be the 6 seed if they got in. They could also get in with a loss, but the Seahawks would also have to lose, considering Atlanta holds the tie breaker.

Seattle Seahawks (9-6)

at AT&T Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Arlington, Texas.

Week 17: At home against the Cardinals

If the Seahawks win and the Falcons lose, the Seahawks are the 6 seed. Atlanta holds the tie breaker based on their win in their head-to-head matchup in Week 11 in that Monday Night game where Blair Walsh’s potential game-tying kick was too short.

Games with no Playoff Implications:

Winning these games would essentially be as meaningful as winning a bowl game. You can probably skip these ones.

Giants vs Redskins

Packers vs Lions

Texans vs Colts

Eagles vs Cowboys

Chiefs vs Broncos

Those are the playoff scenarios, I explained it as well as I could, but that 2-5 situation in the NFC is kind of brutal. If you can clean that up for me, let me know in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10 and contribute to my Patreon.


NFL Picks: Week 16

Last Week: 11-5                 Season Record: 123-70

We’re almost at the end of my NFL picks. Excuse me while I bawl my eyes out. I’m going to end up missing most of these games because I’m working at that time, but hopefully my boss will at least let us listen to the Patriots game over the radio. There weren’t any Thursday games and for the Saturday games, I picked the Ravens and Vikings to beat the Colts and Packers, respectively. Let’s get to the games.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10) vs Carolina Panthers (10-4)


This is not how I expected the Buccaneers’ season to go. They showed so much promise and watching them on Hard Knocks, you could tell there was a lot of energy and hope with this team. But things just haven’t gone that way. It’s hard to tell where things really went wrong, but I like to point to early kicking woes that really killed their confidence early. The Panthers, on the other hand, have done a complete 180 from their huge letdown 2016 season and will more than likely make the playoffs, whether they host as a division champion or visit as a Wild Card team has yet to be determined. I’ve got the Panthers.

Projected Score: Panthers 30 Buccaneers 17

Cleveland Browns (0-14) vs Chicago Bears (4-10)

It’s the 1-year anniversary of the last time the Browns won a game, when they beat the Chargers thanks to a late blocked field goal. The Browns will look for another Week 16 Christmas miracle when they take on the Bears, who have also had a lot of problems this season. I would really hate to see a team go 0-16, that’s just no fun for anybody, even if it is the hapless Browns. But I can’t envision them stopping Jordan Howard, though if Deshone Kizer can find Josh Gordon a little more frequently, then I think they’ll have a chance. But I’ve got the Bears taking this one and the Browns falling to 0-15.

Projected Score: Bears 24 Browns 20

Detroit Lions (8-6) vs Cincinnati Bengals (5-9)

The Lions got off to a great start last Saturday against the Bears but kind of disappeared in the second half offensively. Luckily for them, their defense kept up their great performance all game and they were able to get the win. Marvin Lewis won’t be returning to the Bengals next season and I get the sense at this point that the Bengals are going to be phoning in the rest of the season. I’ve got the Lions in a blowout and their playoff hopes will still be alive come Week 17.

Projected Score: Lions 35 Bengals 10

Miami Dolphins (6-8) vs Kansas City Chiefs (8-6)

The Dolphins defense has impressed me this season, especially cornerback Xavien Howard, who had perhaps his best performance of the season when he shut down star Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks. Things weren’t so great against the Bills last week, as offensively they couldn’t get a thing going. They’re going to struggle against the Chiefs, who have suddenly returned to their early season form now that Andy Reid has given up playcalling duties. I’ve got the Chiefs winning this, I don’t think the Dolphins can keep up with them offensively.

Projected Score: Chiefs 31 Dolphins 20

Buffalo Bills (8-6) vs New England Patriots (11-3)

Things could get chippy in this game. None of the Bills came to Tre’Davious White’s defense after Rob Gronkowski’s cheap shot a few weeks ago and they may be trying to make up for that this week. Keep an eye on how guys are covering Gronk throughout this game. The Buffalo defense was impressive the last time they played the Patriots, but their offense couldn’t do a thing, which led to their 23-3 loss. I still don’t think they’ll be able to score enough points and I think the Patriots will win this one. Whether people get ejected or not will be another story.

Projected Score: Patriots 27 Bills 17

Atlanta Falcons (9-5) vs New Orleans Saints (10-4)

at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 17, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

A Saints win and a Panthers loss will clinch the division for the Saints so they’re going to be playing with some extra motivation against the Falcons this week. However, if the Falcons win and the Panthers lose, then there will be a 3-way tie for the top spot in the NFC South and I can’t think of a more perfect scenario the way the division has gone this year. I’m half hoping for a Falcons victory here, but I think the Saints are just too complete a team for the Falcons to beat twice in one year, as the main reason they won last time was the Saints shooting themselves in the foot. I’ve got New Orleans in a close one.

Projected Score: Saints 31 Falcons 28

Los Angeles Chargers (7-7) vs New York Jets (5-9)

The Chargers are one of the more underrated teams in the NFL this season and a lot of that has to do with how poor a start they got off to, as they were 0-4 until they defeated the Giants. The Jets are pretty much done this season, which Josh McCown’s injury seemed to signal. Bryce Petty has had his issues but wasn’t terrible against a good Saints defense last week. But the pass rush from the Chargers is going to fluster him and I think the Chargers are going to take this game in a cake walk.

Projected Score: Chargers 27 Jets 7

Los Angeles Rams (10-4) vs Tennessee Titans (8-6)

If the Titans aren’t careful, they could miss the playoffs entirely. They’ve already pretty much lost the division to the Jaguars, who with a win or a Titans loss will have officially clinched. The Jags take on the suddenly hot 49ers while the Titans are facing the even hotter Rams. Sean McVay’s squad has been an absolute revelation this season and I think he’s the frontrunner for Coach of the Year and I think they’re going to put a beatdown on the Titans, as they will cause too many problems for Marcus Mariota.

Projected Score: Rams 41 Titans 24

Denver Broncos (5-9) vs Washington Redskins (6-8)


Brock Osweiler looked pretty good in relief of the injured Trevor Siemian and it appears he’s going to be the starter the rest of the way. However that was against the Colts and having a good game against the Colts is like beating somebody who just got maced in a staring contest. The Redskins defense has been up and down this season but one constant has been Ryan Kerrigan, who was elected to the Pro Bowl this season. He’s been getting after the quarterback all year and I think if he’s not getting sacks, he will at least force Osweiler into some poor throws. I’ve got Washington.

Projected Score: Redskins 28 Broncos 20

Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4) vs San Francisco 49ers (4-10)

Since Jimmy Garoppolo became the starting quarterback, the 49ers are 3-0. Now granted, they’ve played the Bears, Texans, and Titans, but still, considering the fact they were 1-10 heading into this stretch, you have to be excited if you’re a 49ers fan. However the Jaguars are a beast the likes of which they haven’t seen all year, as their defense is absolutely suffocating. I’ve got the Jaguars ending the 49ers’ run.

Projected Score: Jaguars 31 49ers 14

New York Giants (2-12) vs Arizona Cardinals (6-8)

The Giants are terrible and Eli Manning being reinserted into the starting lineup changed nothing. While the Cardinals haven’t been very impressive themselves, they’ve at least shown some positive things this season, such as Chandler Jones leading the NFL in sacks this season. The Giants are going to get their asses kicked, though each of the last two times I’ve said that they’ve gotten a win. I’m still taking the Cardinals in a blowout, but don’t be surprised if I jinxed them.

Projected Score: Cardinals 34 Giants 14

Seattle Seahawks (8-6) vs Dallas Cowboys (8-6)

This is basically a playoff game right here, as considering how tough a lot of the Wild Card competition is in the NFC, a loss will likely eliminate either of these teams. So pretty much everything is on the line here. The Cowboys will be getting Ezekiel Elliott back from his suspension in this game and it could be just the boost they needed. The Seahawks just got their teeth kicked in by the Rams following an emotional loss to the Jaguars. Based on these turns of events, I think I’m going to go with the Cowboys to win this game, handing the Seahawks their third loss in a row and ending their playoff hopes.

Projected Score: Cowboys 31 Seahawks 21

Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3) vs Houston Texans (4-10) 

The first of the two Christmas Day games, the Steelers are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Patriots where Jesse James’ touchdown was overturned, then Ben Roethlisberger’s fake spike was intercepted by Duron Harmon. Personally, I felt that the call on James was the correct one, as the ball did bobble when he hit the ground. However I do think the rule needs to be amended in the offseason. Plus they lost Antonio Brown for an unknown period of time due to a leg injury, however I think he will be back in time for the playoffs. It’ll be interesting to see how the Steelers offense performs without their stud playmaker against a Texans defense that has been solid despite the injuries. I think the Steelers will still win, but I think it will be a lot closer than it would’ve been had Brown been healthy. Eli Rogers will be a guy to watch.

Projected Score: Steelers 24 Texans 21

Oakland Raiders (6-8) vs Philadelphia Eagles (12-2)


The other of the two Christmas Day games, the Raiders have been a disappointment this season and things don’t appear to be getting any better as they head into Philadelphia, who despite having lost Carson Wentz, seem to still be in the thick of things with Nick Foles at the helm. They fell behind big against the Giants but were able to come all the way back and win, showing me that they will be fine with Foles at the helm. Probably not as fine as they would be with Wentz, but Foles is about as good a replacement as you could ask for. I’ve got the Eagles.

Projected Score: Eagles 31 Raiders 20

That’s it for the picks this week, there won’t be a blog on Christmas Day as my schedule on Christmas Eve is just way too packed. However I will try and write something on Christmas to post on the 26th. Your Christmas present from me is that I’m not going to tell you to leave a comment below or find me on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10 or even contribute to my Patreon. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays.