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NFL Talk: Week 1 Picks



NFL Talk: Week 1 Picks


So the NFL regular season is finally here. We have had a long off-season to wait but more than anything else, we have missed fantasy football. Many people have already got their picks ready, their teams are set, now its time to see what fan made the right picks. I will be giving my own personal picks and a brief summary of how the teams looking going into each game. The order is by the time of date and schedule so these teams will be done in order.


Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots: Winner – Patriots


This a very interesting match-up considering how much importance will be on special teams. Tyreek Hill (Chiefs WR) was a very low draft pick due to domestic abuse charges and he ended up becoming a lethal weapon for the Chiefs on special teams. The Patriots’ secondary will be tested to see how well they can manage the Chiefs offense since Alex Smith is the perfect example of a game manager. However, the Patriots have the advantage in terms of offense though that will be tested with the Chiefs defense having the highest paid safety in the league (Eric Berry) and one of the emerging corners in Marcus Peters, and a Top 10 Linebacker in Derrick Johnson. However, I feel more confident with the Patriots ability to score points than I am with the Chiefs.


New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills: Winner – Bills


Oh boy, by far the ugliest match-up of Week 1. Both teams are currently fighting for the #1 overall pick rather than compete in the playoffs. These teams are in-division rivals but sadly one of them is going to win, and everybody will likely hate. Right now, the Buffalo Bills haven’t completely lost all of their talent like with LeSean McCoy and with Tyrod Taylor coming back off concussion protocol, I have more confidence in the Bills ability to score points then the Jets who don’t really have a #1 QB on their team. They have sold all of their talent for a full on rebuild for the #1 overall pick and it’s painfully clear.


Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans: Winner – Texans


Right now, The Jags are still a young team that has a talented overall defense but their offense needs a franchise QB and Blake Bortles is CERTAINLY not the answer they want. The Houston Texans are in a similar situation with Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson as their QBs but nonetheless, they can manage their situation better than the Jags simply because they have a Super Bowl-caliber pass rush. With J.J Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus on the defensive line, I would not want to be the QB, I will say that much. Right now, Texans have at best average QB-play, high-level defense and are already a playoff capable team but aren’t quite there yet. The Jags on the other hand, still need pieces at several key positions (especially QB). And the situation with Hurricane Harvey, I feel like the Texans will have the full home crowd advantage in this case, so it adds further to my choice here.


Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns: Winner – Steelers


It hurts me to say this considering how much improved the Browns are compared to their go awful 2016 season, they still aren’t ready yet to make a legitimate attempt at the division title. That honor is still with the Steelers, who have the Killer Bs in Big Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. The Steelers still have a killer offense and their defense is looking more promising with the addition of a young talent like T.J Watt. However, the Browns seemingly will be a surprise team for this year as I doubt they could go 1-15 with this current roster, but them losing Myles Garret to an ankle injury will hurt their chances in this game. Browns will be Browns.


Arizona Cardinals @ Detroit Lions: Winner – Cardinals


Currently, The Detroit Lions were a shock to see in the playoffs last year, it’s just too bad they had to go against the Packers. As of now, the Arizona Cardinals were a team that got hit with injuries on several key players like Safety, Tyrann Mathieu, completely changed the team once he was off the field. While Detroit has just paid Matthew Stafford the highest QB contract of all time, they are still in a situation where the demand to put pressure on Stafford is on since he isn’t getting any younger now. (He will 30 by next year) An underrated matchup will be how Detroit’s offensive line will be able to protect their QB against a very deep Cardinals’ defense that has Chandler Jones as the main pass rusher, Patrick Peterson as #1 Cornerback and Tyrann Mathieu as the safety. There is no doubt, this is a defense that can handle any offense and I feel more confident with betting on the Cardinals on making a comeback year performance.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Miami Dolphins: POSTPONED


Due to the effects of Hurricane Irma, the Bucs vs. Dolphins game will be postponed until further notice (which means that none who has these teams in their fantasy this week are going to have a bad time).


Atlanta Falcons @ Chicago Bears: Winner – Falcons


The Bears are currently in a rebuild mode right now, and though they have an elite interior offensive line and Jordan Howard is one of the latest in a long line of elite Bears’ running backs, the Falcons have a huge amount of talent. Despite the losses of Offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, the Falcons have an elite offense across the board and their defense is still young but talented nonetheless. The Bear’s defense I can’t trust to contain playmakers like Devonta Freeman or Julio Jones especially with their secondary.


Oakland Raider @ Tennessee Titans: Winner – Titans


I am predicting a lot of wins on the road this week but this ain’t one of them. The Raiders last year were on a huge resurgence and the fact that they have signed Derek Carr long-term shows they are already set with their rebuilding and can focus more on their defense as the offense has many play makers like Amari Cooper (who had limited participation) and newly signed Marshawn ‘Beast Mode’ Lynch in the backfield. The Titans are currently one of my sleeper teams this season that could sneak into the playoffs, they have one of the best offensive lines in the league and can potentially torch the Raiders’ secondary. None of the Titans’ wide receivers are 100% for this game (Eric Decker is still questionable, but Corey Davis and Rishard Matthews who is likely the 4th on the depth chart) but with the news of Khali Mack not being a participate at Wednesday practice means he will likely not be 100% for Sunday’s game which is bad for the Raiders. Mack is a complete difference maker and he was Defensive Player of the Year last season but the Raiders are hit with injuries and the Titans are much healthier going into this game.


Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals: Winner –  Bengals


You just need to see the injury reports on the Ravens’ secondary to know they are playing with effectively bench warmers for defensive backs. I would normally say that the Ravens are the better team especially from a  defensive standpoint especially with news about Bengals’ defensive back Adam Jones and linebacker Vontaze Burfict both suspended. However, the Bengals still have a decent offensive powerhouse in receiver A.J. Green who should have a solid game this week. Despite the fact the Bengals have their share of injuries as well, its easier to handle then what the Ravens have lost. Joe Flacco just coming back from IR and he already looks to being having a rough start to his season.


Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins: Winner – Eagles


This is going to be one of the closer games coming into Week 1. However, the Eagles have a much better Front 7 that can compete with anybody in the league especially with players like Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham leading them. I feel that Kirk Cousins is possibly the better QB compared to Carson Wentz but even with the addition of Terrelle Pryor from the Cleveland Browns, I feel that the Redskins’ offense has a lot of potential problems if they don’t click. I expect both teams to play decent but I will trust the better defense in this case. The Eagles still have some difference makers on offense like Alshon Jeffery or LeGarrette Blount (who came from the Patriots), they still might not be able to get through the secondary with players like Josh Norman.


Indianapolis Colts @ Los Angeles Rams: Winner – Rams


This game would go straight to the Colts if Andrew Luck was healthy. Sadly, the Colts QB has been reported to not likely return to possibly the beginning of October. I would choice to believe that Colts’ backup QB Scott Tolzien or newly acquired backup Jacoby Brissett could handle the offense, but its very evident that this team is night and day without help. Jared Goff is currently on the hot seat right now as expectations for the former No.1 overall pick in the 2016 draft are still there. Even without DT Aaron Donald likely to attend practices due to contract negotiations, this team still has some good play makers especially with Todd Gurley trying to make a comeback after his terrible 2016 season. I feel terrible for T.Y Hilton since he likely will be struggling more trying to get the ball from his QB than trying to avoid the defensive backs.


Carolina Panthers @ San Fransisco 49ers: Winner – Panthers


This is an interesting game, on paper, the 49ers match up really well with the Panthers. However, Kyle Shanahan is a new head coach and though he has a familiarity with the Panthers defense, I feel that based on the fact the 49ers in terms of overall talent don’t match up quite with the Panthers, but defensively they have a good set up with players like NaVarro Bowman with the additions of Reuben Foster and Soloman Thomas. Although none of them are on the same level with a defensive player like Luke Kuechley, they can mean trouble for rookie running back Christian McCaffery. Cam Newton has reported his shoulder injury but showed full participation in practice so he will likely return. The Panthers secondary is still suffering growing pains as they try to move on from Josh Norman like last year. However, I think that players like Marcquis Goodwin and Carols Hyde will have a shocking game and this will be a much closer game than analysts realize. Brian Hoyer will be limited to a game manager for this and if he handles the pressure could have a surprising night.


Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers: Winner – Packers


Quite possibly the biggest game in Week 1 is taking place at Lambeau Field. This is in Green Bay’s territory, but the Seahawks based on defense are superior but the two biggest names in the NFC in Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers are going to be having a crazy night.  Rodgers is the superior QB, but the Seahawks secondary will give him plenty of headaches, even with Ty Montgomery in the backfield and Martellus Bennet at tight end and Jordy Nelson fully healthy. Green Bay wins thanks to having the home field advantage (the Packers are incredibly difficult at home) but the Seahawks could pull a big upset but it’s very big if when it comes to facing Mike McCarthy. The two teams have very similar match ups, but the Packers are capable of holding the Seahawks offensive line down (especially with how little they still have done to fully address that issue).


New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys: Winner – Cowboys


The second game to look out for is most defiantly, Giants vs. Cowboys. Right now, if Odell Beckham Jr. was healthy, I would chalk this one straight to the Giants simply because they had the Cowboys number last season, but Ezekiel Elliot’s case has been pushed back to have his suspension start Week 2. This means that the Cowboys will have their full starting offensive lineup. That will be tough for the Giants to handle and while the Cowboys had a difficult time handling the Giants’ the majority of that was due to ODB staying on the field. He may be a drama queen but he is one of the most talented receivers in the NFL. Newly acquired receiver Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard are going to have a long night. If Elliot was out this week, I would give it to the Giants, but his suspension being pushed back changes this pick over to the Cowboys because of how critical he can be to that running game.


New Orleans Saints @ Minnesota Vikings: Winner – Vikings


We will have two Monday night games starting with the Saints against the Vikings. I call this the grudge match of the week with the Saints and Adrian Peterson going against his former team. Despite how much we like this story line, this news is that the Saints who had the No.1 offense last year, are without no.1 receiver Willie Snead due to suspension. In addition, this has suffered a list of injuries this summer including the latest being  WR Tommylee Lewis. Despite, AP still being a strong back, I doubt he can recapture his 2015 performance and with the Vikings defense being fully healthy, and a new stadium all set up for this season’s Super Bowl, I doubt the Saints will be to squeeze a win out of this. I ain’t sleeping on the Saints though, but I doubt the team’s defense is ready even with the strong showing they have had this preseason.


Las Angeles Chargers @ Denver Broncos: Winner – Chargers


Right now, I would normally give this game straight to the Broncos because Mile High is quite possibly the most difficult field to play in. However, the injuries coming out of the Broncos camp have been relatively good with the returns of Demaryius Thomas coming back. However, the Chargers are currently all healthy (shocked!) yet the team is relatively good with their current roster and based on how familiar this team is with their in-division rivals, they will be competitive against the Broncos. I have a feeling with Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa showing up big last season, they will have more to show now that they have further experience under each others’ belts. Siemian for the Broncos is still their best option at quarterback and right now, I wouldn’t be certain how much he has progressed but still, it is clear he isn’t the long-term answer at QB but he is definitely capable as a game manager. But for the new Los Angeles Chargers, it is evident they need to make a strong showing this year with how bad the team’s move has been received.

Stephen is a Contributing Editor for Trifecta Sports Network and covers the New England Patriots and the NFL.

New England Patriots

Patriots Talk: The Two Bills Premiers Tonight



Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells

The Tale of Two Legends

It’s hard to believe how long ago Bill Belichick became the Patriots Head Coach in 2000. It came shortly after Belichick had turned down the New York Jets Head Coaching job only a day after being accepted.  Understanding the man has been a very difficult ordeal for the sports media over the years. However, tonight we will get a small peek into his world, as well as his former mentor, Bill Parcells in ESPN’s newest 30 For 30 documentary, ‘The Two Bills’.

This is a documentary that has been 3 years in the making. Director Ken Rodgers stated that it took several years in development due to scheduling errors and both men not being able to set a date together. It’s quite understandable considering Belichick is still an NFL Head Coach and Parcells spends most of his time acting as a courtesy consultant for the Cleveland Browns.

The two Bills formerly worked together for the New York Giants from 1981 till 1990. Parcells became the Head Coach in 1983 while Belichick became the team’s defensive coordinator in 1985. For the next five seasons, the Giants would go on to Super Bowls XXI (21) and XXV (25).

The two men would go their separate ways after the 1990 season, with Belichick becoming the Cleveland Browns Head Coach in 1991 and Parcells going to the New England Patriots in 1993. Its interesting that it took so much effort to get these two men together again but this is a must see for sports enthusiasts. Fans of American football owe it to themselves to watch this.

As of this article, it is Thursday, February 1st. I wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s day, and boy I think sports fans will be getting a special Valentine today. ESPN’s “30 For 30” Documentary, titled ‘The Two Bills’ will premier tonight at 9 P.M. EST.

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New England Patriots

NFL Talk: Divisional Recap And Championship Preview



Sorry this is coming in late everybody. But man, last week’s games were something else. I hate when I am wrong, but its so awesome when I am right. The only games I was dead on were the Patriots vs. Titans. I knew the Titans weren’t going far in the playoffs and with the firing of Mike Mularkey, they will need to work overtime with getting their new hiring of Former Patriot Mike Vrabel, up to date.


But I was wrong on the Falcons making a redemption run. I was wrong on believing the Steelers wouldn’t play down to their competition, which they did. The Jaguars winning their game 45-42 I did not expect at all. I new the game was going to be somewhat close but not even I could see that.


But the Vikings vs. Saints Divisional game, that will go hands down, as one of the greatest finishes in NFL history. No game have I seen in my life ended like what the Vikings game did in those last four seconds. It was straight out of a fantasy. Vikings fans are riding on a destiny sort of run where they feel like the team can actually make it. But being 1-3 right now in the playoffs hurts me but only two more games left till the Super Bowl. It’s going to be intense.

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New England Patriots

NFL Talk: Wild Card Recap and Divisional Playoffs



Rob Gronkowski, NFL Tight End For The Patriots

The NFL is going through some crazy news this week but that is all for later. I will do some recaps from the previous week of football to start out. It was a pretty wild week of playoffs and there was quite abit of unexpected results. I was only 2-2 last week as I had the Kansas City Chiefs over the Tennessee Titans (27-21), but somehow Chiefs Head Coach, Andy Reid, managed to out do himself in that game. I also had the Los Angeles Rams beating out the Atlanta Falcons (28-24) yet it seems that the Rams have yet to take that next step.


The other two wild card games I was pretty much on the nose. Buffalo Bills losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars (20-10), I nearly lost if the Bills got within the red zone but the Jags pulled through somehow. It was pretty predictable of the Saints to win over the Carolina Panthers but now the NFC playoffs should be interesting from here on.


AFC Divisional

Tennessee Titans @ New England Patriots: Winner – Patriots


The Titans are a team that have been a odd team. They are quite possibly one of the worst teams we have seen in the last decade to make it into the playoffs. However, that is still debatable. What isn’t debatable is that they will likely lose to the Patriots in Foxboro. When it comes time for the playoffs, Bill Belichick is quite possibly the most dangerous man in the NFL. His recent interview had him talking about for a full 10 minutes of nothing but the kicking side of football. Even former NFL punter Pat McAfee appreciates the respect he has for the game in that retrospect.


Football is a game of territory. It’s a game of gaining territory and losing territory until you end up in the end zone. And if you’re a lover of the original sense of football, field position is monstrous. … (Belichick’s) deep appreciation for field position and ownership of territory is something that should not go unnoticed as why he’s one of the greatest coaches of all time or the greatest coach of all time.


The Tennessee Titans are a team that will need to take a lot of steps moving forward if they hope to keep this game close. However, I have the Patriots winning this game 27-20. It will be a closer game then most expect, especially if Marcus Mariota manages to keep his composure in the pocket. But his Head Coach, Mike Mularkey, will need to get a much better offensive coordinator going into next season that much is a certainty if he still keeps his job.


Jacksonville Jaguars @ Pittsburgh Steelers: Winner – Steelers


The Jaguars are a team that are just up and down this season. I will be honest in admitting that Blake Bortles didn’t cost them last game but this time around it could be very different. The Jaguars secondary is dangerous and will likely have their hands full just trying to cover both Antonio Browns and Juju Smith-Schuster. This will be a game that Le’Veon Bell will be a key factor in.


The Jaguars offense will need to step up big time for this match up. Blake Bortles was shut down hard by the Bills defense and held him to only a  TD. I doubt even the Jaguars secondary will have the same result with the Steelers offense.


As of this writing, I have the Steelers taking this game, 27-17. I have little confidence in Blake Bortles and unless he shows up at Heinz Field, I doubt the Jaguars will be able to manage with Leonard Fournette powering the offense alone.


NFC Divisional

New Orleans Saints @ Minnesota Vikings: Winner – Saints


It’s odd for me to say it but Minnesota could pull an upset here if the pieces fall into place. I believe that the Saints are a team that can manage the game clock better. Time of possession is always something that is critical in games like these. The Vikings have a great defense with a well managed offense. The Saints are just all around great on both sides of the football.


If we were to just pick which team has the better QB between Drew Brees and Case Keenum? Drew Brees wins out every single time. The long time Saints signal caller will be a first ballot Hall of Famer yet will likely be overshadowed for playing in the same era as Aaron Rodgers, Tome Brady, and Peyton Manning.


The Vikings defense will seemingly match-up well against the Saints offense but it will depend on how well the Saints running back core hold up. Alvin Kamara and Melvin Ingram are a duo that has rocked the NFL and are likely to be the play makers in this if Micheal Thomas and Teddy Ginn Jr. get shut down.


I have the Saints winning this game 24-23. This is a game that will be a must watch. I have a lot of faith in the Vikings defense with Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes, Anthony Barr, Everson Griffin, Linvall Joseph and Danielle Hunter, but that Saints defense is also quite deadly. This will be a game that will be very close.


Atlanta Falcons @ Philadelphia Eagles: Winner – Falcons


I feel bad for the Eagles fan base. Not those who are just over hyped band wagoners from ealry in the season, I mean those who felt that this was ‘their’ season. Carson Wentz still led the league in TDs despite missing a good afew games left of the season. The team could have gone all the way through the playoffs and make a Super Bowl apperance.  But with his ACL tear, Nick Foles is the starting QB and I doubt he manages to pull through this game.


The Atlanta Falcons are a team that have been tested and somehow pulled through. They are a team that wants to get back to the Super Bowl at all costs. They are team that has been through some UGLY games this season. But they have shown they can do it.


I don’t trust the Eagles offense without Wentz as they have lost quite abit on the offensive line and in their running back core. (that includes Jay Ajayi) However, they will pull this game close, but I have the Falons still winning 27-24 as they upset the Eagles at home.

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