Hagan's Haus 2017 NFL picks (week 6)

Hagan’s Haus 2017 NFL picks week 6

Welcome to Hagan’s Haus, where football is the only thing that matters. You won’t find me in a church on Sunday because football is my religion and the number one priority in my life. I am so excited that the NFL season is finally back in action! I pride myself in studying the game of football. We can’t get all our picks or predictions right, but I am going to leave it here in the open every week for everyone to see. In Hagan’s Haus, it’s all about bragging rights. 

Who is the best? Because winning is the only thing that matters. We don’t get points for second place. I challenge you to post comments on your weekly picks and compare them to mine. This isn’t about point spreads. I will give a score prediction, but winning is winning. Doesn’t matter if it’s by an inch or a mile. So try and beat me in picking NFL games. I promise you it won’t be easy, but it will be fun. Here are Hagan’s Haus 2017 week 6 NFL picks.

Last week: 5-8

Overall: 37-39

Teams on byes: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas, Seattle

Thursday Night

Philadelphia Eagles (4-1) @ Carolina Panthers (4-1):

Sunday Morning

Miami Dolphins (2-2) 13 @ Atlanta Falcons (3-1) 28: The Dolphins are trending in the wrong direction and maybe people will finally see that Jay Cutler is no solution to a problem under center. Miami averages just 251.3 yards per game resulting in just 10.3 points per game. It is going to take three times as many points to beat Atlanta who is averaging 26 points per game themselves. Matt Ryan is going to thoroughly outperform Jay Cutler to push Atlanta to 4-1.

Detroit Lions (3-2) 35 @ New Orleans Saints (2-2) 37: Detroit is coming off a home loss to the Panthers in which the game wasn’t as close as the score was. The Lions looked really good in the first three weeks but haven’t looked as good in the last two games. The Saints, on the other hand, have a two-game win streak and are coming off of a bye. This game has the feeling of a shootout and Drew Brees is a hard man to outscore. The Saints are favored by five points. They won’t cover the spread, but they will win sending the Lions to .500.

Hagan's Haus 2017 NFL picks (week 6)

(Photo Credit: Matt Blewett/The Minnesota Sports Report)

Green Bay Packers (4-1) 20 @ Minnesota (3-2) 24: Very few football minds will be picking the Vikings in this game, but this is really a 50-50 game, especially in Minnesota. The Vikings have a defense that has, at times, caused fits for Aaron Rodgers. They have held Rodgers under 15 points in two of the last three matchups. The one thing that could be tough for the Vikings is scoring. Their offense is missing key pieces and interchanging quarterbacks like socks. The defense must dominate for Minnesota to have a chance. They will be dominant and get the upset at home.

New England Patriots (3-2) 45 @ New York Jets (3-2) 17: New York was supposed to be winless but instead find themselves with three wins. It is extremely surprising that they are in this position but the surprises end here. New England is going to make a massive statement in this game. They will go to New York and put up 40 points behind a 350-yard performance from the great Tom Brady. This will be a blowout.

San Francisco 49ers (0-5) 20 @ Washington Redskins (2-2) 24: Personally, I don’t think the Redskins are all that good of a team this season but are 2-2 and get a chance to play a winless team at home which favors Washington. There will be a heavy dose of running from Washington clash as the Redskins have the seventh-ranked rushing attack and the 49ers give up 116.6 yards per game. San Francisco won’t be able to stop them and Washington will control the clock. This will be a close game on the scoreboard but the Redskins will dominate.

Chicago Bears (1-4) 24 @ Baltimore Ravens (3-2) 21: Bears fans should be smiling after last week. Mitchell Trubisky didn’t set the world on fire but showed tons of potential. Over time he will develop into a solid NFL quarterback. This week he has to face a good, stingy Raven defense. On the other side, the Ravens offense is one of the worst in the league which gives the Bears a chance. Due to the Ravens woeful offense, the Bears have a chance to win. Chicago is going to fly to Baltimore and get an upset behind a big game from Trubisky.

Cleveland Browns (0-5) 24 @ Houston Texans (2-3) 34: This is a great opportunity for DeShaun Watson to step on the field against the Browns and make them miserable for not selecting him in the draft. Watson is second in the NFL in touchdown passes and has looked really good. Sometimes the accuracy isn’t there but that is tolerable with his playmaking ability. Watson has another four-touchdown performance to make Brown fans puke.

Sunday Afternoon

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) 34 @ Arizona Cardinals (2-3) 38: Arizona made huge waves this week trading for Adrian Peterson but will it help them on the field? Probably not in his first game. He has to learn the offense and the Bucs only give up 87.3 yards per game. There will be a lot of passing in this game as both teams struggle to run the ball and both are good at stopping the run. Jameis Winston has a younger arm and a better supporting cast so the Bucs will go to Arizona and get a big road win.

Hagan's Haus 2017 NFL picks (week 6)

(Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Los Angeles Rams (3-2) 24 @ Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2) 21: This game isn’t getting a ton of publicity but will be one of the best games of the week. The Rams have the fifth-ranked passing attack and the Jaguars have the third-ranked rush defense. If Los Angeles comes into the game planning to run they will win the game. Jacksonville gives up 146.4 rush yards per game, the second-worst in the NFL. Todd Gurley will have a career game and lead the Rams to a victory.

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) 27 @ Kansas City (5-0) 31: The struggling Steelers are heading into Arrowhead to face the best team in the NFL. Big Ben said he may not have it anymore which means he will probably light it up to prove a point. Even if Big Ben does so, the Chiefs offense is just way too explosive to shut down. At some point, Kareem Hunt will hit a wall and have a bad game but it won’t be this week.

Los Angeles Chargers (1-4) 21 @ Oakland Raiders (2-3) 24: The site of the game may change with the crazy wildfires burning in California. That type of uncertainty can affect both teams.  It is still up in the air if Derek Carr will play but the Raiders should win regardless. They are the better team. Oakland will finally get their running game going as the Chargers have the worst rush defense in the league, allowing 161.2 yards per game.

Sunday Night

New York Giants (0-5) 0 @ Denver Broncos (3-1) 24: There is not much of a summary needed on why the Broncos will the game. Denver will run all over the Giants defense in a game that shouldn’t be televised nationally. They are coming off a bye and have had two weeks to prepare for a Giants offense that can’t run the ball and has lost their receiving threats. Denver may even pull off a shutout in this game so that will be the prediction. A shutout.

Monday Night

Indianapolis Colts (2-3) 17 @ Tennessee Titans (2-3) 28: This is a must-win for both teams in order to stay in the divisional and playoff races. The Colts are trying to fight through the season until Andrew Luck can return to lead them. The Titans need to keep pace with Houston and Jacksonville to fulfill their preseason expectations of being a playoff team. Marcus Mariota is expected to play which will be the difference in the game. Titans move to .500 to keep pace in the AFC South.

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NFL week 6 picks

NFL week 6 picks against the spread

It was another solid effort last week. I went 7-7 against the spread and called three outright upsets. My record for the year is now 32-42-3. My picks are bolded, outright upsets have an asterisk and all lines are from rtsports.com at the time of my writing. The beat goes on.

Thursday Night

Eagles at Panthers (-3) – What a way to kick off the week. Both teams are exceeding expectations. We could see this matchup again in January. These teams win by dominating up front on both sides of the ball and letting their franchise quarterbacks make plays.

This is a close call. The only logic I have is that Thursday night games are set up for the home teams to perform better. Car 28 Phi 24

Sunday

Bears at Ravens (-6) – Mitch Trubisky made some plays and kept Chicago in the game during his NFL debut. The Ravens’ offense still leaves a lot to be desired. Even so, any rookie quarterback going on the road to face the Baltimore defense is in deep trouble. Bal 24 Chi 13

Browns at Texans (-10) – So far, Deshaun Watson has not been special. I said it. His best performance was in a loss to New England. Last week, his offense was ran out of the stadium before Kansas City backed off in the fourth quarter. He also guided Houston to a dominant victory over a Titans team that faced Houston’s elite defense primarily with a backup quarterback.

NFL week 6 picks

Photo: express.co.uk

There is a difference between being special and just being better than anything the Texans franchise has ever had at quarterback. Don’t be fooled.

The Browns played their best half of football when Kevin Hogan finally replaced an ineffective DeShone Kizer last week. With Houston now missing several key pieces on defense, Hogan is set up to perform well again. The winless Browns will remain that way, but not by much. Hou 24 Cle 21

Lions at Saints (-6) – Despite their traditional late rally, Detroit was beaten soundly by Carolina last week. New Orleans comes in off a bye and with its defense playing pretty well for a change.

This game will be the true test to see if the Saints recent defensive uptick has staying power. If it does, the rest of the league is in trouble. Drew Brees at home is always a solid bet, especially if he gets any kind of help from the defense. NO 30 Det 20

Packers (-3.5) at Vikings – The Packers are rolling right now. Aaron Rodgers continues to amaze. For the Vikings, quarterback issues and the loss of rookie workhorse running back Dalvin Cook are making life on offense look really tough at the moment. Minnesota’s defense is good enough to keep this respectable, but it is tough to see how the offense can be productive enough to win this one. GB 27 Min 17

NFL week 6 picks

Photo: theringer.com

Patriots (-9.5) at Jets – One of these teams was predicted by many to go undefeated this year. The other was bound to go winless in the minds of a lot of folks. Yet, here they are battling for first place six weeks into the season. Sports are amazing.

Obviously, the reigning Super Bowl champions have more offensive firepower. However, every opponent has been able to find some level of offensive success against the Patriots defense this year. The Jets have a top ten rushing offense that should be able to do some damage here. Additionally, this game is always close, even when the Jets are playing for nothing but pride. They played New England to the wire late last year.

As they so often do, New England will find a way to win. However, with the Jets at home, anything over a touchdown in this matchup feels like easy money. NE 28 NYJ 20

Dolphins at Falcons (-11.5) – Miami got back on track last week. However, the outlook remains bleak for the Dolphins. Jay Cutler did not even throw for 100 yards last week. This week’s opponent is quarterbacked by Matt Ryan, not Matt Cassel and is going to put up a whole lot more than 10 points. At home, the Falcons have been held to 17 or fewer points just twice since November 2015.

Meanwhile, Miami has scored just 41 total points in four games this season. That includes a defensive touchdown from last week. With that kind of scoring, it is a miracle this team is .500 rather than winless. This game has the potential to be a blowout. Atl 35 Mia 13

49ers at Redskins (-10) – The winless 49ers have lost four consecutive games by three points or fewer. The Redskins’ offense is prolific and productive and coming off a bye. The 49ers will lose this one by a lot more than three points. A team from out west traveling east is often a component of a blowout as well. Was 31 SF 17

*Rams at Jaguars (-2.5) – Jacksonville’s defense might be the biggest surprise of the entire season to this point. However, in two of their three wins, Blake Bortles has failed to complete 15 passes. In the modern NFL, you cannot hide your quarterback to that extent and be a real threat. The Jags’ nice start is nothing more than a statistical anomaly for now.

Despite last week’s loss to division rival Seattle, the Rams are the much more complete football team here. This line shows you that even professional bookies overreact from time to time. LAR 24 Jac 14

Buccaneers (-2.5) at Cardinals – Anyone who tells you they know what is coming here is lying. Tampa Bay is a talented young football team that still makes a lot of silly mistakes and mental errors.

Arizona has the oldest roster in the league. After getting blown out by the Eagles last week, that roster looks ready to be put out to pasture. This is not 2009. Adrian Peterson will not change their fortunes. Tampa has more weapons to work with, but their two losses this year have been the kind that make a team tough to trust. I will nervously do so here. TB 23 Ari 17

*Steelers at Chiefs (-4.5) – This upset pick will probably raise some eyebrows. Often times though, when a team gets embarrassed like the Steelers did, they come back strong the next week.

Pittsburgh has been a model of stability for well over 30 years. Throw in the talent on the roster, and they have earned the benefit of the doubt for one more week. Moreover, Kansas City’s offense is off to an unbelievable start, but unless they are all-time great, they will come back down to earth very soon.

Even if this is not that week, Pittsburgh’s “Killer Bs” are more than capable of matching Kansas City in a shootout. Also, the Steelers are the far more desperate football team. Pit 34 KC 30    

*Chargers at Raiders (-4) – The Chargers finally finished a game and broke in to the win column last week. Oakland seems intent on rushing Derek Carr back from injury. After watching EJ Manuel last week, it is not hard to see why.

Even before the Carr injury, the Raiders’ offense had suddenly started to struggle in a big way. As long as Philip Rivers is around, the Chargers will always put up points. It is hard to have that same confidence in the Raiders right now. LAC 21 Oak 20

Giants at Broncos (-11.5) – Denver is fairly healthy and at home coming off a bye. The Broncos are a top 10 team in both rushing and stopping the run. The disastrous state of the Giants is well-documented. They are winless and their top three wide receivers are all down with injuries.

No one giving New York a chance here is understandable. However, the Giants still have a decent defense. Denver’s offense is pretty pedestrian. Blowouts are rare in the NFL, especially when the public expects them to happen. The Giants will keep this close, but ultimately find another way to lose. Den 22 NYG 14

Monday Night:

*Colts at Titans (-3) – With Marcus Mariota’s status still unclear, this is a tough game to find a line on at the moment. It will be another week of Jacoby Brissett at quarterback for the Colts. Brissett’s mobility helps hide the offensive line’s short comings and create something when nothing is there.

No matter who has been at quarterback for the Titans, they have struggled to score as of late. Indy’s offense is a bit more explosive and trustworthy at the moment. Ind 23 Ten 20

           

Featured image from si.com

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

2017 NFL power rankings: week 6

When was the last time the NFL had three teams start 0-5? There are some really bad teams this season. There is also one amazing team that looks like they have everything you need to win a Super Bowl. That team has been ranked first in the NFL since the opening Thursday. As for the rest of the league, there are a ton of teams that have shown great flashes but have also looked like pretenders. It is still too early to tell who are contenders and who is not. As the season goes on these rankings will continue to fluctuate but as of now here are the 2017 NFL power rankings: week 6.

32. New York Giants (0-5)

Last week: 31 (-1)

Next game: away vs. Denver

The Giants are one of three winless teams in the NFL but their miserable rushing attack and now decimated receiving corp is the biggest reason they are dead last in these rankings. They were already struggling but the loss of Odell Beckham just kicked the Giants when they were down. There is little to no chance they win this week and it is beginning to look like the Giants may not win more than three games this year.

31. Cleveland Browns (0-5)

Last week: 32 (+1)

Next game: away vs. Houston

Cleveland fans have to be hurting even more than usual this week. DeShone Kizer got the nod from the start but has been benched and now the Browns don’t know who the starter will be moving forward. To make matters worse the Browns passed on DeShaun Watson and he is off to an unbelievable start. One smart writer said the Browns could not pass on Watson and this week they will get a first-hand look at what they missed out on.

30. San Francisco 49ers (0-5)

Last week: 29 (-1)

Next game: away vs. Washington

The 49ers need an offense and it shows weekly averaging just 17.8 points per game. The 49ers are going to give Washington a tougher game than people expect but it probably won’t be enough to win the game. San Francisco will win somewhere around two games this season so don’t expect them to move much more in the power rankings.

29. Los Angeles Chargers (1-4)

Last week: 28 (-1)

Next game: away vs. Oakland

Los Angeles finally got a win and it was on the road on the other coast. It wasn’t a pretty win but they got the job done. This week they head to Oakland who has underperformed greatly this season. It is another opportunity for the Chargers to get a win. In their division, they won’t make noise but in this crazy game, a win could keep them alive for a wild-card spot. It is unlikely they get a spot in the playoffs, but mathematically the Chargers still have a lot to play for.

28. Indianapolis Colts (2-3)

Last week: 30 (+2)

Next game:  away vs. Tennessee

The Colts are treading water until Andrew Luck gets back. If they are in the race of the AFC South when he returns the Colts can become a possible playoff team. Without Luck, they are averaging 19.4 points per game. When he returns he can raise that total by an entire touchdown, he’s that valuable. If they want to stay in the race for the playoffs they need to get a win against Tennessee and that seems unlikely.

27. Arizona Cardinals (2-3)

Last week: 22 (-5)

Next game: home vs. Tampa Bay

Do you ever just feel bad for Larry Fitzgerald? The guy does everything the right away and is a first ballot Hall of Famer but has rarely been on a good team. Arizona is totally lost on offense without David Johnson and they need to figure out the kinks soon because Johnson isn’t coming back anytime soon. At 2-3 they are far from out of it and only one game behind in their division. The trade for Adrian Peterson shows that they want to turn this season around and make a run.

26. New York Jets (3-2)

Last week: 26 (no change)

Next game: home vs. New England

The Jets are an organization that makes you scratch your head. With all the moves they made this offseason it clearly felt like a tank. Here we are though after five weeks and the Jets are 3-2 and in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC East. If the Jets were trying to tank they have done a horrible job. Since it has been so hard to see if the Jets are serious about being a good team, this week will prove who they really are as they take on the Patriots.

25. Chicago Bears (1-4)

Last week: 25 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Baltimore

The Bears have hope, which is about all they have. Mitchell Trubisky is showing signs but it is going to take some time for him to develop. Chicago is going to need to surround Trubisky with weapons to give him the opportunity to succeed. The Bears have a good defense it is just decimated by injury. This season won’t be a good one but hold your heads high Bear fans, the future looks solid.

24. Oakland Raiders (2-3)

Last week: 12 (-12)

Next game: home vs. Los Angeles Chargers

The Raiders were one of the teams that were expected to make a run in the AFC. They are struggling to live up to the hype. Marshawn Lynch was acquired to help the run game but the Raiders are only averaging 90.6 yards per game. The air attack is also abysmal averaging just 188.6 yards per game. The offense was supposed to be the dominant unit and it is average at best. The defense isn’t picking up the slack giving up 351.2 yards and 21.8 points per game. The Raiders look nothing like a Super Bowl contender.

23. Miami Dolphins (2-2)

Last week: 27 (+4)

Next game: away vs. Atlanta

Jay Cutler needs to go back into retirement. Cutler threw for 92 yards against the Titans and is averaging just 176.5 yards per game. The entire Miami offense is averaging just 231.2 yards per game. That is the worst mark in the NFL. With such a bad offense the Dolphins are going to struggle to win many more games this season. This week they face Atlanta who will be too much for the Dolphins to handle. Dolphin fans should enjoy this rank because it will get worse from here on out.

22. New Orleans Saints (2-2)

Last week: 23 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Detroit

Not much to say about the Saints after coming off of a bye is what this was going to say until the Saints traded Adrian Peterson. New Orleans loves rookie running back Alvin Kamara and will be moving away from the experiment with Peterson. Moving forward the Saints will still look to air the ball out behind Brees. If they can keep playing the way they have the two weeks before their bye then they may have a shot at the playoffs. It all depends on the defense and how they play.

 

21. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3)

Last week: 24 (+3)

Next game: Bye

Yes, the Bengals did get a huge win against the Bills. Some of you may get upset that they only moved up three spots but it is more due to the fact that the other teams are just better than them up to this point. If the Bengals continue to get in the win column they will demand more respect. As of now they still have an average Andy Dalton under center. Until he can prove he can be more than average than the Bengals will be average. This week they get a rest as they are on a bye.

20. Baltimore Ravens (3-2)

Last week: 20 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Chicago

Baltimore is hard to watch. Their offense does nothing exciting. The Ravens average just 288.8 yards per game resulting in just 18 points per game. It is somewhat miraculous that the Ravens are above .500 because their defense is giving up 19.4 which is more than they are scoring. If this trend continues then the Ravens will end up with a top 10 pick in the 2018 NFL draft.

19. Washington Redskins (2-2)

Last week: 17 (-2)

Next game: home vs. San Francisco

Washington had a bye week but still dropped two spots in the rankings. Similar to the Saints, other teams are just better teams at this point. It is still very early and a lot can change but the Redskins will struggle to make the playoffs. Losing Josh Norman is going to hurt the defense greatly. Until the Redskins can prove they are good against good opponents, and consistently, they will remain in the lower half of the rankings. THis week won’t help them as they face one of the worst teams in the league. They better win this game or they will look even worse.

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2)

Last week: 18 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Arizona

Tampa put up a heck of a fight against Tom Brady and the Patriots but they fell short of the win. Their biggest issue is the kicking game. If they can solve that problem then they can become a contender in the NFC. Another problem facing the Bucs is their extremely tough division. The Panthers look similar to the team that went to the Super Bowl and the Falcons are continuing to win games. This week they face Arizona who just acquired Adrian Peterson. It will be interesting to see the outcome of this one.

17. Houston Texans (2-3)

Last week: 15 (-2)

Next game: home vs. Cleveland

Houston just suffered two major blows on defense. They lost J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus to season-ending injuries. This could prove to be detrimental to their chances at making the playoffs. The defense was already struggling to stop offenses. Houston was giving up 26 points per game. Luckily, the Texans do have DeShaun Watson. Watson will now and forever be known as the “Houston Houdini”. He also ranks second in passing touchdowns even though he didn’t start until week two. Watson is now the only hope the Texans have as the defense has fallen. This week he is going to make the Browns regret the fact they didn’t draft him.

16. Dallas Cowboys (2-3)

Last week: 13 (-3)

Next game: Bye

Dallas suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Packers. Dak Prescott did what he was supposed to by leading his team down to take the lead with 1:13 left in the game. The problem was he left too much time for Aaron Rodgers. Dallas is struggling to run the ball to the same success they did last season. It was their formula for success because they controlled the clock and kept the defense off the field. Until they get their run game going they will be a middle of the pack team.

15. Tennessee Titans (2-3)

Last week: 16 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Indianapolis

Tennesse lost to Miami but without Marcus Mariota nobody expected them to win. Many predicted that the Titans would take a big leap and make the playoffs but they are struggling through the first five weeks. The biggest issue is the defense is giving up over 28 points per game. That number needs to come down drastically. This week they have the luxury of playing the Colts. Even if Mariota can’t go they should still win this game behind their ninth-ranked rushing attack.

14. Los Angeles Rams (3-2)

Last week: 9 (-5)

Next game: home vs. Jacksonville

The Rams fell victim to one of the most backward rules in the NFL but the fact of the matter is they still lost to the Seahawks. It is relatively early and it is still extremely possible for them to still have a great season. It is vital they defend their home field this week against the defense juggernaut Jaguars. If they win this game they have a chance to shoot back up in the rankings.

13. Minnesota Vikings (3-2)

Last week: 14 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Green Bay

Sam Bradford has an issue with his knee that seems like isn’t going away. If there is no structural damage and this much going wrong with his knee, his career could be in jeopardy. Case Keenum came in against Chicago and performed well. He has looked solid but is not a guy you want starting 16 games. Teddy Bridgewater should be ready to roll sooner rather than later. Wouldn’t be a phenomenal story if he came back and led the Vikings to the promised land? Until the quarterback situation in Minnesota is handled they will have to continue to rely on their talented defense and won’t be true contenders.

12. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2)

Last week: 2 (-10)

Next game: away vs. Kansas City

Big Ben may have lost it, as he said himself. He is really struggling to ball this season. In fact, the entire Pittsburgh offense looks out of sync. Le’Veon Bell isn’t having the impact many were predicting and the Steelers are only one game above .500. Now they must go into Arrowhead and face the hottest team in the NFL. All signs point to the Steelers dropping this game and that is when they usually find a way to win. If they do they will vault back into the top five. If they lose, they won’t move much lower than they are now.

11. Seattle Seahawks (3-2)

Last week: 20 (+9)

Next game: Bye

Seattle got an impressive win against the Rams last week. It put them in the driver seat in the race for the NFC West crown. As has been the case for the last five years, the Seahawks are doing it with defense. Seattle is only giving up 17.4 points per game, which is fifth best in the NFL. As long as they keep playing great defense, the Seahawks have a chance to win every game they play. Russell Wilson will make just enough plays for the offense to do its part.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2)

Last week: 19 (+9)

Next game: home v. Los Angeles Rams

Who the hell are the real Jacksonville Jaguars? Are they the team that destroyed the Texans 29-7, the Ravens 44-7 and the Steelers 30-9? Or are they the team that lost to Tennessee three touchdowns and the Jets by three? The answer is both. Jacksonville has the best secondary in the NFL and the proof is in their pass defense that allows just 177.8 yards per game and has a league-leading 10 interceptions. Jacksonville is young and they need to continue running the ball. If they keep the ball out of Bortles’ hands they will continue to defy the odds and make it to the playoffs.

9. Buffalo Bills (3-2)

Last week: 6 (-3)

Next game: Bye

It wasn’t a joke when I said that Buffalo had a trap game in Cincinnati. Everyone was expecting a Bills win but they aren’t that team yet. The Bengals are a solid football team that wasn’t going to let an up and coming team like the Bills to just walk into their jungle and win Buffalo is still a good team though with a great defense. That defense will continue to carry them to a lot of wins and possibly a playoff berth.

8. Detroit Lions (3-2)

Last week: 4 (-4)

Next game: away vs. New Orleans

Detroit almost pulled off yet another comeback at home against the Panthers. Cam Newton put a stop to that though. Detroit is actually relying on their defense much more this season. The Lion’s offense ranks 29th in total yardage but managing to score a lot of points still. Detroit still has to prove they can be a great team for a 16 game season and this week they have a trap game in New Orleans. The Saints are favored by the bookkeepers in Vegas for a reason. Be wary Lion fans, they just may drop this game in New Orleans.

7. Atlanta Falcons (3-1)

Last week: 11 (+4)

Next game: home vs. Miami

Atlanta was able to move up four spots because some of the teams that played looked rather putrid. The Falcons, however, are still a team with only one loss and couldn’t look bad coming off their bye. This week they get to face Jay Cutler and the Dolphins. They are fortunate to get such a weak opponent after two weeks of preparation. Atlanta should win easily but it won’t help them move further up in the power rankings.

6. New England Patriots (3-2)

Last week: 10 (+4)

Next game: away vs. New York Jets

10 weeks from now nobody will remember that the Patriots were 3-2 because they will probably still only have two or three losses. It is what the Patriots do. New England got a win on a short week thanks to shaky special teams play from the Bucs. Their reward is facing the Jets who, let’s face it, are playing way above their ability as of late. New England will win easily in New York and everyone will be praising how great the Patriots are.

5. Denver Broncos (3-1)

Last week: 8 (+3)

Next game: home vs. New York Giants

Denver is also coming off of a bye week and they too get to face an opponent whose season is already over. The Broncos get to play an offense that can’t run the ball and is decimated at wide receiver. The Giants may not score in this game. Denver is also going to run the ball down the Giant’s throats. This game can’t really help the Broncos too look good but getting upset can make them look really bad. There shouldn’t be much movement from Denver from this week to the next unless the teams above them lose.

4. Green Bay Packers (4-1)

Last week: 7 (+3)

Next game: away vs. Minnesota

It does not matter who the Packers put on the field, as long as they have Aaron Rodgers. The man is a football God who can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. Whether in the pocket or on the run he can place the ball anywhere it needs to be and when it matters most he elevates his game. Green Bay is the favorite to win the NFC North as long as Aaron Rodgers is suiting up. That also means the Packers are going to be a threat in the NFC playoffs. Green Bay looks good but only because of the baaaaad man Aaron Rodgers.

3. Carolina Panthers (4-1)

Last week: 5 (+2)

Next game: home vs. Philadelphia

Is Cam back or what? Man, it is fun to watch that man play at the top of his game. Two weeks ago many were writing Cam off as a good player. Some were even saying his M.V.P season was a fluke. That was foolish and I am happy to not be included in that group. Like him or not, the man is a baller. He went into New England and Detroit in back to back weeks and threw for over 300 yards. Oh, and he got two massive road wins. Carolina is a contender again and everyone should fear the Panthers because of Superman.

2. Philadelphia Eagles (4-1)

Last week: 3 (+1)

Next game: away vs. Carolina

It was hard to pick who the second best team in the NFL was but the Eagles have slightly earned this spot in the power rankings. Everything seems to be clicking for Philly. Their defense forces turnovers and can get to the quarterback. Offensively they are pretty balanced ranking fifth in the NFL in rushing and eighth in passing. This week they have to travel to Carolina and face the red-hot Panthers. If they win on the road they will validate this ranking. If not they are still a top five to 10 team in the NFL.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (5-0)

Last week: 1 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Pittsburgh

It is starting to sound like a broken record but there shouldn’t be a surprise on who the best team in the NFL is. They are also the lone undefeated team remaining. Alex Smith is the front-runner for M.V.P because he is lighting it up. Kareem Hunt is the front-runner for rooking of the year as well. Kansas City has the highest scoring offense in the NFL averaging 32.8 points per game. Until someone beats the Chiefs there is no debate.

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Hagan's Haus 2017 week 4 NFL picks

Hagan’s Haus 2017 week 5 NFL picks

Welcome to Hagan’s Haus, where football is the only thing that matters. You won’t find me in a church on Sunday because football is my religion and the number one priority in my life. I am so excited that the NFL season is finally back in action! I pride myself in studying the game of football. We can’t get all our picks or predictions right, but I am going to leave it here in the open every week for everyone to see. In Hagan’s Haus, it’s all about bragging rights. 

Who is the best? Because winning is the only thing that matters. We don’t get points for second place. I challenge you to post comments on your weekly picks and compare them to mine. This isn’t about point spreads. I will give a score prediction, but winning is winning. Doesn’t matter if it’s by an inch or a mile. So try and beat me in picking NFL games. I promise you it won’t be easy, but it will be fun. Here are Hagan’s Haus 2017 week 5 NFL picks.

Last week: 8-8

Overall: 32-31

Teams on byes: Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins

Sunday Morning

Buffalo Bills (3-1) 23 @ Cincinnati Bengals (1-3) 21: This game is a trap game for the Bills. After a horrendous start to the season for the Bengals, they have looked much better over the last two weeks. Andy Dalton has been playing better and the defense is still really good. They could pull off this upset at home. Even though it is on the road the Bills are expected to win. They are a good rushing team averaging 112.8 yards per game. If they can impose their will on the ground in this game they will win.

Hagan's Haus 2017 week 5 NFL picks

(Photo Credit: CLIFF WELCH/ICON SMI/ICON SPORT MEDIA VIA GETTY IMAGES)

New York Jets (2-2) 24 @ Cleveland Browns (0-4) 27: The Jets are 2-2 and it is absolutely shocking. New York is one of the best ground teams in the NFL averaging 130.8 yards per game. Cleveland, on the other hand, has a top 10 rush defense. This is a clash of strengths and with Cleveland at home, and searching for its first win, they should win this game. It will be close and back and forth but DeShone Kizer will make a few plays to get the Browns their first win.

Carolina Panthers (3-1) 24 @ Detroit Lions (3-1) 20: Carolina versus Detroit is one of the best games in the NFL this week. Both teams are 3-1 and coming off of huge wins. The Lions only scored 14 points last week but held the Vikings to just seven. Detroit is only giving up 17.5 points per game which have helped them jump to 3-1. The Panthers are also giving up 17.5 points per game. Even though this game is in Detroit, Cam Newton finally got rolling last week and will be too much to handle in the Motor City.

San Francisco 49ers (0-4) 21 @ Indianapolis Colts (1-3) 27: There won’t be many viewers tuning into this matchup as the 49ers and Colts are a combined 1-7. This is one of the few games the 49ers have a true shot to win. For the 49ers to win this game, they will have to score more than the 16.5 they average on the season. San Francisco will also have to shut down the threat of Jacoby Brissett’s feet. That will be a tall task and the 49ers will fall short.

Tennessee Titans (2-2) 30 @ Miami Dolphins (1-2) 17: Tennessee must bounce back from a true spanking at the hands of Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans. It is still up in the air if Marcus Mariota will be ready for this game. If he can’t go, the Dolphins will likely win this game despite their lackluster offense. Jay Cutler is proving what he has proven over his entire career. He is not a guy that will lead a team to the promised land. Mariota will find a way to play and get a big road win to keep pace with the Texans.

Hagan's Haus 2017 week 5 NFL picks

(Photo Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports)

Los Angeles Chargers (0-4) 19 @ New York Giants (0-4) 24: Unless they find a way to tie, the Chargers or Giants will finally get in the win column. Los Angeles has fallen short in their games due to special teams and an inability to protect the ball. The Giants are one-dimensional offensively and are not as stout as they were last season defensively. New York almost upset the Bucs last week and that momentum will help them get a win in this one.

Arizona Cardinals (2-2) 21 @ Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) 31: Arizona has been an average team at best this season and is not going to be a playoff team. Carson Palmer is having a solid year but the offense is only averaging 18.5 points per game while the defense is giving up 22.8 per game. The Cardinals do a good job defensively against the run and the Eagles’ strength offensively is running the ball. The Eagles are going to win this battle and therefore the game.

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) 17 @ Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) 21: The Jaguars are a team still learning how to win. They are young and still have to fight through games with Blake Bortles under center. Jacksonville’s defense is balling, allowing the 10th fewest yards per game. It will be a good defensive matchup as the Steelers rank second in fewest yards allowed at 267 per game. With two top 10 defenses, winning this game will come down to who can make the big plays offensively. Pittsburgh has better playmakers and will pull out a win.

Sunday Afternoon

Baltimore Ravens (2-2) 13 @ Oakland Raiders (2-2) 17: The Raiders are going to struggle while Derek Carr sits with a back injury. Oakland must rely on their run game and defense to win them games. That doesn’t bode well for them because they don’t have a defense capable of locking down offenses in such a way that will win games. Fortunately for them, they play the Ravens this week who are a trashy offensive team. Baltimore only averages 15 points and 269.8 yards per game. They struggle against everyone and will have even more trouble flying across the country. The Raiders will win this game and keep their season alive despite losing Carr.

Hagan's Haus 2017 week5 NFL picks

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Seattle Seahawks (2-2) 21 @ Los Angeles Rams (3-1) 31: The Rams are a legitimate contender in the NFC. Los Angeles has the highest scoring offense in the NFL averaging 35 points per game. They also have done well against the Seahawks in recent history winning four of the last six against Seattle. The Rams front seven is going to dominate the Seahawks offensive line to become the kings of the west.

Green Bay Packers (3-1) 31 @ Dallas Cowboys (2-2) 34: Two of the NFL’s most storied franchises clash in Dallas. These two met in the playoffs and Aaron Rodgers made one of the greatest throws ever to help the Packers get the win. Dallas is going to get some payback for that game. Look for Ezekiel Elliott to rush for over 150 and lead the Cowboys to a big home win.

Sunday Night

Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) 37 @ Houston Texans (2-2) 32: Kansas City is the only undefeated team remaining in the NFL. They have a difficult game this week in Houston. Deshaun Watson is the real deal and will be a tough gameplan. The key in this game is can the Texans shut down the Chiefs high powered offense. The answer to that is no. Houston gave up 36 to New England and the Chiefs offense is better. Kansas City will win this game and it will be a shootout.

Monday Night

Minnesota Vikings (2-2) 23 @ Chicago Bears (1-3) 17: Last season the Vikings went into Soldier Field on Halloween in another Monday Night game and got spanked. This will be the first start in the young career of Mitchell Trubisky. Facing a Mike Zimmer defense in your first start puts you behind the eight ball. The Bears are a much-improved team but won’t be ready for the Vikings. The Minnesota defense will dominate to lead the Vikings to a win.

 

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NFL

NFL week 5 picks against the spread

Finally, a winning week. I was 11-5 against the spread last week and called the Jets’ upset over Jacksonville. The goal this week is to improve on a season record of 25-35-3. My picks are bolded, outright upsets have an asterisk and all lines are from rtsports.com at the time of my writing. Let the second quarter of the season begin.

Thursday Night:

Patriots (-5.5) at Bucs – Relax. The Patriots are fine. A .500 record through four games is not a death sentence. In fact, in most NFL cities it is pretty good. Tom Brady is still among league leaders in touchdown passes. The defense is not going to give up 32 points a game all year long. Even if the defense does not improve, Brady and the rest of the offense will still outscore most opponents.

Meanwhile in Tampa Bay, the Bucs were very fortunate to escape the winless Giants last week. Prior to that, they were taken to the woodshed by Case Keenum in Minnesota. Jameis Winston still has a bright future. However, the more this team plays the more obvious it becomes that the hype train pulled into the station a year early. NE 34 TB 20

Sunday:

Cardinals at Eagles (-6.5) – Whether the Eagles are for real or not remains to be seen. Arizona’s roster continues to age in dog years. They have been fortunate to notch comeback wins over San Francisco and Indianapolis to this point.

The Eagles are slowly finding their identity on offense. Arizona desperately needs a new one. Unfortunately for them, you can’t find a brand new offensive identity in the middle of the season. Philadelphia should dominate in the trenches here. Phi 28 Ari 17

Bills at Bengals (-3) – This is one of two lines that probably caught a lot of people by surprise. The Bills are the darlings of the league after back-to-back wins over the Broncos and Falcons. However, we have seen those starts from Buffalo in recent years. They currently possess the longest playoff drought in the league. Throw in an offense that lacks consistent playmakers outside of running back LeSean McCoy, and it is not hard to see why gamblers are skeptical.

The Bengals salvaged some pride by knocking off Cleveland last week. The offense has been much cleaner since Bill Lazor took over as offensive coordinator. The defense has played really well all year long without much fanfare.

People will look at this line and the team records and throw their life savings on Buffalo. In a situation like that, the other side is always the safe place to be. Buffalo cannot be taken seriously as a contender until the winning game like this. It is not all that difficult to catch a really good team by surprise on occasion. It is far more difficult to go out and keep that momentum going against a lesser opponent. Cin 27 Buf 20

*Panthers at Lions (-2.5) – This could go either way, but the Lions’ tendency to lollygag around for three quarters always makes me nervous. Both of these teams are the offensive firepower to light any opponent up on any given day, but the Panthers should be writing a bit higher after going in to New England and pulling off the upset. Car 27 Det 24

Jaguars at Steelers (-8.5) –  Antonio Brown’s sideline antics last week let us all know that things are not exactly harmonious in Pittsburgh at the moment. However, they do not need to be harmonious for an offense that kind of weaponry to score. The fact that they are playing an offense who struggles to score on a consistent basis for the second straight week does not her either. Pit 31 Jac 17

Chargers at Giants (-3.5) – Someone will be winless no more after this one. Looking at these teams rosters, it is hard to fathom that both are winless. A team from out west traveling east is always susceptible to getting jumped on early.

The Giants have one of the worst rushing offenses in the NFL. The Chargers have one of the worst rush defenses in the NFL. In so many ways, something has to give in this game. It is anyone’s guess as to exactly what will give, but the team that gets to sleep in their own beds is the smart bet. NYG 28 LAC 20

Jets at Browns (-2.5) – This is the other line that will surprise people. Again, the vast majority will throw their money on the Jets. Thus, go the other way. Even though the Jets are exceeding expectations at 2-2, they still have basically the same personnel that led to talk of going winless before the season. Also, whenever a team starts talking about not getting enough respect like the Jets did after beating Jacksonville, it is a slippery slope that can backfire.

Speaking of going winless, the Browns know that this is one of few realistic chances they have to avoid that fate this season. Combine that incentive with the fact Cleveland was playing well in defeat prior to last week’s blowout, and I say they get it done. Cle 17 NYJ 14

49ers at Colts (-1.5) – Jacoby Brissett has a chance to guide the Colts right back into the AFC South conversation with a win here. At the very least, his mobility has made the offense more dynamic than anyone thought possible in the absence of Andrew Luck. The 49ers lost their second heartbreaker of the year in Arizona last week. This is another winnable game for a winless team, but Brissett’s mobility and playmaking ability gives the Colts something the 49ers simply do not possess. Ind 24 SF 19

Titans (Pick ‘em) at Dolphins- With Marcus Mariota injured, Matt Cassel may start for the Titans. The quarterback questions create the uncertain line year. We do know that Jay Cutler will start for the Dolphins in this game, which is exactly why the Titans will win it.

NFL Week 5 picks against spread

Photo: aol.com

Miami is coming off being shut out by the Saints and putting up just six points against the Jets. It is over. Adam Gase outsmarted himself. The Cutler experiment is a failure. The Titans have major issues of their own, but they run the ball well. Miami’s lack of a passing game has even neutralized Jay Ajayi. Ten 19 Mia 10

Ravens at Raiders (-2.5) – This line tells you a lot about the Ravens offense. Baltimore possesses a defense that aside from a terrible performance in London, has held opponents to 12 points per game.

That defense is facing backup quarterback E.J. Manuel this week. Yet, the Ravens are underdogs here. That certainly is not because the defense will not be able to stop Manuel.

In fairness to the former first-round pick, he did give his team a much-needed spark after replacing an injured Derek Carr in Denver last week. This will not be a pretty one to watch, but the Raiders are slightly more capable of running the football effectively. That will be the difference in a battle of stagnant offenses. Oak 13 Bal 9

*Seahawks at Rams (-1) – This is the toughest pick of the week. The Rams have played Seattle as well as anyone in recent years. Moreover, I am officially a believer after their upset in Dallas last week. Their next big test is going to be winning a game where the offense will struggle to put up 20 points. Whether they are ready or not, that test is coming in this matchup.

It feels like Seattle is being sold short here though. Chris Carson is the latest Seattle running back who will miss extended time. However, the offensive line blocked much better last week. By the end of the game, Seattle looked like the physically dominating team that we have become accustomed to. In close games, there are not many guys who would be taken ahead of Russell Wilson. Ever since his college days, it is has been difficult to pick against his team. He will find a way here. Sea 24 Lar 20

*Packers at Cowboys (-2)- With the Cowboys sitting at just .500 through four games, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are each finding out that life is a bit harder in year two in the NFL. However, they are not the issue here. Aaron Rodgers is coming to town and the Cowboys have the 20th ranked passing defense. There is plenty of time for Dallas to steady themselves, but this is not the week. GB 31 Dal 24

Chiefs (-1.5) at Texans – Deshaun Watson has Texans fans salivating. While it is understandable, slow down a little. He has played in four games, had two great outings and two clunkers. While he probably is the future in Houston, at present he is no different than 95 percent of young quarterbacks. The Texans are not contenders to win anything other than their mediocre division.

NFL Week 5 picks against spread

Photo: thecomeback.com

Kansas City is the last remaining undefeated team. They are not the kind of team that is ever going to blow people out, but it is going to take something special to beat them. They do everything well. If the Texans defense were a tick better or Watson a year older, Houston may be capable of producing that something special. For now though, the Chiefs keep rolling. KC 30 Hou 20

Monday Night:

Vikings (Pick ‘em) at Bears- With Mitchell Trubisky making his first career start for the Bears and Sam Bradford continuing to be a question mark for the Vikings, a pick ‘em line makes perfect sense. No one knows what to expect here.

Dalvin Cook’s injury was a back breaker for Minnesota. Even so, whoever plays quarterback for them here will not be overwhelmed. It is hard to have that same confidence in a rookie going up against a solid defense. Min 23 Chi 16

 

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2017 NFL power rankings: week 5

2017 NFL power rankings: week 5

Injuries seem to be a big theme early on in this 2017 NFL season. The Vikings lost their leading rusher, Dalvin Cook, to a torn ACL. Tennessee and Oakland held their breath as Marcus Mariota and Derek Carr went down with injuries. Julio Jones, Jordan Matthews, Markus Golden, Josh Norman, Greg Olson, Chris Carson, Andrew Luck and many others have all been dealing with injuries. This will affect many teams and how their season will go. It is often said that the best team doesn’t always win the SUper BOwl. Sometimes it is either the healthiest or luckiest team, or a combination of both, that go on to win it all. It seems like this year more than others, that statement may be true. With all the injuries going on, and the results of last week, here are the 2017 NFL power rankings: week 5.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-4)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 5

(Photo Credit: http://www.cleveland.com/browns/)

Last week: 32 (no change)

Next game: home vs. New York Jets

In the first couple weeks, the Browns were showing promise. Over the past two weeks, however, they have shown a decline. Their defense is giving up 26.8 points per game, fourth worst in the NFL. The offense is ranked 26th averaging 296 yards per game. Nothing seems to be going right as the Browns continue to experience growing pains. This week they have a winnable game but there is no certainty that they win.

31. New York Giants (0-4)

Last week: 28 (-3)

Next game: home vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Everyone expected a New York team to be winless after four weeks but the Giants weren’t that team. The Giants are crumbling before our eyes and their season is sinking faster than the Titanic. Their offense can’t run the ball because their offensive line is so atrocious. It is hard to succeed in football without a good rushing attack. They will win some games and maybe even this one, but this team is no longer a playoff contender.

30. Indianapolis Colts (1-3)

Last week: 27 (-3)

Next game: home vs. San Fransisco

Indianapolis has the worst defense in the NFL. Currently, they are giving up 34 points per game. Even with Andrew Luck, they would not be able to win games with this bad of a defense. As the season progresses, they may find a way to win one or two other games, including this one against the 49ers. But when it is all said and done, Indianapolis will have a top-five pick.

29. San Fransisco 49ers (0-4)

Last week: 31 (+2)

Next game: away vs. Indianapolis

The 49ers defense has improved greatly this year after giving up over 30 points per game last year. They have brought that number down to 23.5 this season. Unfortunately, the offense isn’t doing their fair share. Brian Hoyer is leading the offense to just 16.5 points per game. If this trend continues so will the losses for San Fransisco. This week will be one of the few instances in which they can pull out a win.

28. Los Angeles Chargers (0-4)

Last week: 25 (-3)

Next game: away vs. New York Giants

As long as Phillip Rivers struggles to protect the ball, Los Angeles will continue to underperform. His carelessness is putting the defense in holes they can’t climb out of. This is why the defense does not rank high in any statistical categories. In order for the Chargers to get a win, they need a game without turnovers. Once they accomplish that, they also need their special teams to not choke. It is going to be a long year for Charger fans, I recommend checking out mock drafts.

27. Miami Dolphins (1-2)

Last week: 24 (-3)

Next game: home vs. Tennessee

Jay Cutler was supposed to be the answer. Anybody with a football brain knew that wasn’t true. Cutler has proven time and time again who he is and how far his teams go, nowhere. In the past two weeks, the Dolphins have scored a total of six points and got shut out by the Saints. Getting shut out by a Saints defense should be forced retirement. It is the most pathetic thing that could ever happen to an offense. Miami is going to wish Jay Cutler never left the booth by the time the season reaches the end.

26. New York Jets (2-2)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 5

(Photo Credit: http://dailydolphin.blog.palmbeachpost.com/)

Last week: 29 (+3)

Next game: away vs. Cleveland

Even when the Jets try to tank they can’t get it right. Somehow the Jets have a two-game winning streak to be .500 on the season. Two wins supposed to be their entire season win total. This week New York has a chance to get above .500 with the Browns coming into town. If they win this game they will have officially thrown themselves out of contention for the number one overall pick. Sorry Jet fans, there is no playoff season happening despite their surprising start to the season.

25. Chicago Bears (1-3)

Last week: 22 (-3)

Next game: home vs. Minnesota

Mitchell Trubisky has finally been named the starter in Chicago. His first career game will be against Mike Zimmer and one of the most fearsome defenses in the NFL. The Bears always fight well against the Vikings and even beat them on Monday Night at Soldier Field last season on Halloween. There is a good chance they do so again this season. The Bears could save their season if Trubisky is the savior Chicago is hoping him to be.

24. Cincinnati Bengals (1-3)

Last week: 30 (+6)

Next game: home vs. Buffalo

After playing the Packers tough in Lambeau and annihilating the Browns, the Bengals look like a solid football team again. In the preseason I predicted they would go 8-8 and that is still a likely finishing point for them. This week they will run into a very hot Buffalo team. It is a good thing they are playing at home because it gives them a shot to win. Until the Bengals show more they will rank in the mid-20’s.

23. New Orleans Saints (2-2)

Last week: 23 (no change)

Next game: BYE

The Saints have the week off but have looked extremely impressive after an 0-2 start. They have pulled to 2-2 on the season to salvage their season.  Drew Brees is still doing incredible things in his late 30’s. Brees ranks fourth in the NFL in passing yards with 1,135. He has also thrown eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. The defense found some way to get a shutout which is one of the most surprising things to happen in 2017 in the world. New Orleans will have to wait two weeks to prove if they will continue this upward trend.

22. Arizona Cardinals (2-2)

Last week: 26 (-4)

Next game: away vs. Philadelphia

Arizona is going to be an average team this season. They were able to beat the 49ers but won’t beat many more teams. The defense isn’t as good as they have been in the past five seasons. Their offense is lost without David Johnson and it shows in their play calling. They pass the ball 69.9 percent of the time. If this trend continues, Carson Palmer will wear out by the end of the season.

21. Baltimore Ravens (2-2)

Last week: 21 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Oakland

Joe Flacco does not belong as a starting quarterback in the NFL. His one playoff run is the only reason he still has a job. Flacco has thrown four touchdowns and six interceptions. He is the signal caller of an offense averaging just 15 points per game. That is tied for the second-worst mark in the NFL. If the Ravens are unable to beat a Raider team that will be missing Derek Carr then they will drop further in the rankings.

20. Seattle Seahawks (2-2)

Last week: 20 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Los Angeles Rams

Seattle finally went off in a game, the only problem was that it came against the dreadful Colts. They have looked like a below average team all season and until they show something against a quality opponent they will remain a low ranked team. If they go to Los Angeles and beat the Rams they will have proven they are a real threat once again.

19. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2)

Last week: 16 (-3)

Next game: away vs. Pittsburgh

Just when the Jaguars look like they might be a threat they go and lose to the Jets. This team has a lot of talent but to truly become great they have to find consistency. They can’t play great against good teams and play badly against bad teams. Jacksonville is going to be a tough out with a defense that only gives up 18.5 points per game. The key, as always, will be Blake Bortles. However he performs determines if the Jags win or lose.

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 5

(Photo Credit:http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/news/jameis-winston-buccaneers-offense-stats-highlights/7lw8yb18k9fj1wla3pu5zdsl1)

Last week: 13 (-5)

Next game: home vs. New England

Tampa Bay barely beat the winless Giants. A win is a win but their big drop in the rankings has more to do with how well other teams look. The Bucs may end up in the playoffs this season but there are 17 teams that have looked more impressive this season. Tampa Bay has a big game against the Patriots and if they find a way to win they will have earned more respect.

17. Washington Redskins (2-2)

Last week: 12 (-5)

Next game: BYE

Although the Redskins lost, they looked extremely impressive on the road in Kansas City. Arrowhead is a difficult place to play but the Redskins didn’t seem to be fazed by the atmosphere. Washington will be on a bye this week so they won’t be able to show an improvement however they should not be taken lightly.

16. Tennesse Titans (2-2)

Last week: 5 (-11)

Next game: away vs. Miami

The Titans have a similar problem as the Jaguars. One week they look absolutely impressive and the next they look like a bunch of bums. Tennesse also has a history of completely blowing games in which Marcus Mariota goes down with an injury. Next time they meet the Texans they won’t get blown out so badly. Until then they have to be ranked lower than Houston and must show improvement to earn a higher ranking.

15. Houston Texans (2-2)

Last week: 19 (+4)

Next game: home vs. Kansas City

Holy cow, the Houston Texans put on a show last week. DeShaun Watson did not look like a rookie. He threw for 283 yards and put up five total touchdowns while leading the offense to a 57 point outburst. If Watson can play this well all season then the Texans will end up winning the Super Bowl. This week they have the opportunity to take on the best team in the NFL. An upset win versus the Chiefs will prove that the Texans are a real contender.

 

14. Minnesota Vikings (2-2)

Last week: 9 (-5)

Next game: away vs. Chicago

Is there any team in the NFL that deals with as many injuries as the Vikings? Last season they set an NFL record for how many offensive linemen they used in a season. They lost Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson to season-ending injuries. This year Sam Bradford came down with a mysterious knee injury that has plagued him since week one. Now, rookie running back Dalvin Cook has a torn ACL and the Vikings are going to struggle. Their defense is still Super Bowl caliber but Minnesota doesn’t have the health to be a true threat.

13. Dallas Cowboys (2-2)

Last week: 8 (-5)

Next game: home vs. Green Bay

Dallas was in a dogfight last week against the Rams. They lost that fight and fell to 2-2 on the season. It is still early in the season so the Cowboys can still win the division. They will fight with the Eagles over the season but their running game will break out and lead them to plenty of wins. This week they face off against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, the team that knocked them out of the playoffs. They will be looking for revenge and a chance to prove they are still the cream of the crop in the NFL.

12. Oakland Raiders (2-2)

Last week: 4 (-8)

Next game: home vs. Baltimore

Oakland is in serious trouble if back injuries plague Carr this season. He will miss anywhere from two to six weeks and for the sake of the Raiders, hopefully, it is two weeks. This team was one of the favorites in the AFC to challenge the Patriot’s throne. The defense is not good enough to carry them. If Carr can’t come back quickly and perform at a high level, the Raiders dreams of a Super Bowl will die.

11. Atlanta Falcons (3-1)

Last week: 2 (-9)

Next game: BYE

Matt Ryan looks nothing like an MVP this season. He has thrown five touchdowns and five interceptions and looks bad when Julio is not on the field. The defense is nothing spectacular either allowing 22.2 points per game. A loss at home is worse than a loss on the road and many thought the Bills were an inferior team. The Falcons have to wait two weeks to make up for it, but this loss will be the start of the decline for Atlanta.

10. New England Patriots (2-2)

Last week: 3 (-7)

Next game: away vs. Tampa Bay

Before the season the big question about New England was whether or not they would go undefeated and who could even come close to challenging them. Now they are 2-2 and do not look like the best team in the AFC. Tom Brady is still looking amazing as he has thrown for 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Patriots have the second-worst scoring defense in the NFL allowing 32 points per game. If they don’t fix that bad defense they will be in danger of the Bills taking their spot as AFC East champions.

9. Los Angeles Rams (3-1)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 5

(Photo Credit: https://twitter.com)

Last week: 18 (+9)

Next game: home vs. Seattle

The number one scoring offense in the NFL belongs to the Los Angeles Rams. They may not be the greatest show on turf but are on their way to becoming the greatest show in L.A. It is early, but Todd Gurley should be in the conversation for M.V.P. Gurly has 696 all-purpose yards and seven touchdowns in just four games. The Rams may finally win the division.

8. Denver Broncos (3-1)

Last week: 11 (+3)

Next game: BYE

The story of the Broncos this season is their strong running game. They average 143 rush yards per game. Denver continues to play great defense and that is the key to their season. The Broncos got a big divisional win against Oakland and now they get a break this week. It will be interesting to see how they perform in two weeks against the Giants. Hopefully, they don’t take them lightly or they will end up falling behind the Chiefs further in the AFC West.

7. Green Bay Packers (3-1)

Last week: 14 (+7)

Next game: away vs. Dallas

Green Bay beat up on the Bears as if they were their little brother on Thursday night. As long as Aaron Rodgers is on the team they will have a chance to win any game. If they go on the road and beat Dallas again then there is no question they are still the favorites in the NFC North.

6. Buffalo Bills (3-1)

Last week: 17 (+11)

Next game: away vs. Cincinnati

Defense wins championships and the Bills have the best scoring defense in the NFL allowing just 13.5 points per game. They also succeed in taking the ball away forcing 1.8 turnovers per game.Keeping up with this pace is going to be the key in the Bills ending their long playoff drought. The offense just needs to take care of the ball and move it down the field. The Bills next step is winning games they are expected to win like this week against the Bengals.

5. Carolina Panthers (3-1)

Last week: 15 (+10)

Next game: away vs. Detroit

That is the Cam Newton that everyone has been waiting to see. The M.V.P caliber performance against New England will shut the doubters up. Cam had 316 yards through the air and had four total touchdowns. They also got the win on the road which is more impressive. Carolina is going to have another huge road game against Detroit and a win in that game may spring them even higher in the rankings.

4. Detroit Lions (3-1)

Last week: 10 (+6)

Next game: home vs. Carolina

Detroit has a defense that is capable of playing up to the level of their offense and that makes them extremely dangerous. Minnesota had been an explosive offense in two of their first three weeks and they held them to just seven points. The offense is still dangerous as ever with the comeback kid Matthew Stafford. A win against Carolina could really set the Lion up for a truly memorable season.

3. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 5

(Photo Credit:http://www.philly.com)

Last week: 7 (+4)

Next game: home vs. Arizona

Philly is on a roll this season. Their only loss has come to the undefeated Chiefs and they played well in that game. Carson Wentz is off to a nice start throwing for over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns. They also have the third-best rushing attack in the NFL with an average of 143 yards per game. Their next game is against the Cardinals and they should win this rather easily to get to a very impressive 4-1.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)

Last week: 6 (+4)

Next game: home vs. Jacksonville

The Steelers are playing well but there is also the feeling that they haven’t hit their stride. The potential is there for them to be the best team in the NFL. Big Ben is showing regression, which is why he was contemplating retirement. The offense is still a strength of the team but they will go as far as the defense will take them. This defense is only giving up 14.8 points per game, second best in the NFL. It will be fun to see if the Steelers and Chiefs are on a collision course to meet in the playoffs for a rematch.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)

Last week: 1 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Houston

There is no question the Chiefs are the best team in the NFL. They proved it again winning on Monday Night against the Redskins. They are the last undefeated team remaining. The offense is extremely explosive with Travis Kelcie, Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt. Alex Smith is not a game manager and can lead this team to the promised land. The defnese is still elite and the Chiefs are the current favorite to win the Super Bowl.

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Chris Carson fantasy

Chris Carson set to shine in Week 4

More changes come to the Seattle Seahawks backfield. Chris Carson will start this week against the Indianapolis Colts. This isn’t much of a surprise. For three straight games, the rookie has played as Seattle’s clear-cut primary back. From week 1 to week 3, he has led all Seahawks’ backs in offensive snaps in each game this year, with 25 (52.1 percent), 48 (60.8 percent) and 41 (56.2 percent).

While the Seahawks struggled last week against the Tennessee Titans, Carson delivered a solid stat line. He had 11 carries for 34 yards and two catches for 18 yards and a touchdown. That gave fantasy owners a double-digit week. In week 4, he’s in an ideal spot to cash in on another great week.

Week 4 VS Colts

To start off, Seattle will be without their pass catching back C.J. Prosise due to an ankle injury. Carson has expanded his game, becoming not just a good runner, but a dependable pass catcher out of the backfield as both of his targets last week were caught. He averaged 9.9 yards per reception on 30 receptions in 21 games played in two years for Oklahoma State, according to Sports-Reference. Through three games, he’s caught four of five targets for 35 yards and a touchdown in week 3.

Chris Carson fantasy

Chris Carson (Photo by: espn.com)

The Seahawks are in position to have a great day against the Colts. Carson should be in line for plenty of opportunity. He could have a similar day like week 2 against the 49ers. He finished with 20 carries for 93 yards and one catch for 7 yards. Carson has a chance to top those numbers against the Colts.

However, the Colts actually aren’t that bad against the run. The Colts have only allowed 85.7 rushing yards per game, the 10th-best in the NFL so far. No running back has gained more than 44 rushing yards, including matchups against Todd Gurley and Isaiah Crowell. Gurley did get 15 points, but Crowell struggled. Duke Johnson Jr., the backup in Cleveland, had 104 total yards and a touchdown.

Carson should still have a solid day, especially if he plays like last week. Sometimes good players find a way in bad situations, and he is capable of doing that.

What to do now with their other running backs

As for his week, the backups will be Thomas Rawls, who only had one snap last week and 16 in week 2, and Eddie Lacy, who has not seen a snap since week 1. Expect this trend to continue this week.

Chris Carson fantasy

Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls (Photo by: sea.247sports.com)

Rawls entered the year as the starter, but Pete Carroll had high praise for the rookie Carson since after the preseason. Carroll even stated he wanted to give Carson more snaps.

Lacy on the other hand was in line to compete, but was named the backup after the preseason. He was drafted in many leagues only because no one believed Carson would break out. Rawls and Lacy are now players you can dump into waivers.

As for Prosise, he is worth a look in PPR leagues as he is the pass catching back in Seattle. He saw 27 snaps last week with three catches for 65 yards. When healthy, he will fit right back into his role with Carson.

Prediction: Carson will finish a top-15 back

Carson is a RB2 right now and a high flex play. If he has a great game against the Colts, he could be primed for a good season. One reason is because of how much the Seahawks like to run the ball. From 2012 to 2015, they ranked in the top three in rushing attempts.

Even though their offensive line is mediocre, he’s averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Carson is also getting the majority of the snaps. As I mentioned in the beginning, he saw 41 snaps last week where the next guy only saw 27.

This isn’t just a one week phenomenon. This has been building since the beginning of the season. I expect him to keep playing at a high level and get better as he could bring Seattle back to its roots in having a good running game.

 

Featured image from sports.mynorthwest.com.

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Hagan’s Haus 2017 week 4 NFL picks

Welcome to Hagan’s Haus, where football is the only thing that matters. You won’t find me in a church on Sunday because football is my religion and the number one priority in my life. I am so excited that the NFL season is finally back in action! I pride myself in studying the game of football. We can’t get all our picks or predictions right, but I am going to leave it here in the open every week for everyone to see. In Hagan’s Haus, it’s all about bragging rights. 

Who is the best? Because winning is the only thing that matters. We don’t get points for second place. I challenge you to post comments on your weekly picks and compare them to mine. This isn’t about point spreads. I will give a score prediction, but winning is winning. Doesn’t matter if it’s by an inch or a mile. So try and beat me in picking NFL games. I promise you it won’t be easy, but it will be fun. Here are Hagan’s Haus 2017 week 4 NFL picks.

Last week: 8-8

Overall: 24-23

Thursday Night

Chicago Bears (1-2) 17 @ Green Bay Packers (2-1) 20: Green Bay seems to be struggling this season. They are 2-1 but have not looked all that great. The performance against the Bengals shows just that as they allowed 24 points to a team that hadn’t scored an offensive touchdown. Aaron Rodgers can still get the job done but the defense leaves question marks. The Bears, on the other hand, have played well in two of their three games. Chicago’s defense is an under the radar powerhouse. This game will be very close and if it took place in Chicago it would be easy to take the Bears. Since it is at Lambeau Field the Packers will win in the final minutes.

 

Sunday Morning

New Orleans Saints (1-2) 33 @ Miami Dolphins (1-1) 24: New Orleans played their best game of the year against their division rival Panthers. The defense finally stepped up and created some turnovers while Drew Brees did what he does best, spread the ball to every receiver imaginable. Jay Cutler and the Dolphins stunk it up against one of the two worst teams in the NFL. The Dolphins are overrated and will struggle this season. The Saints will march into Miami and even their record.

(Photo Credit:http://www.sportingnews.com)

Buffalo Bills (2-1) 24 @ Atlanta Falcons (3-0) 26: Buffalo is a bit of a surprise team thus far. Their head coach, Sean McDermott is somewhat of a defensive guru and he has the Bills fanbase believing they could make the playoffs. A big road win in Atlanta could cause complete mayhem. The Falcons have been more lucky than good this season. The defense is allowing 22 points per game and is still underachieving. Atlanta is heading into a trap game. Buffalo is going to fall one play short of upsetting Atlanta.

Cincinnati Bengals (0-3) 24 @ Cleveland Browns (0-3) 23: Either Cincinnati or Cleveland will get their first win of the season unless they find a way to tie. Which would be the perfect ending of a game between these two teams. Cincinnati finally found the end zone but Aaron Rodgers snatched the rug right under them. The Browns are still learning how to win. The road is going to be bumpy and there won’t be many wins but this game is one of the games they could win. I really want to predict a tie but that is just crazy to do so I’ll give the Bengals a win because the Browns are the Browns.

Detroit Lions (2-1) 21 @ Minnesota Vikings (2-1) 23: Even though it is just week four this is a big game in the battle for the NFC North. The Lions are heading to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. Minnesota is 2-0 at home with an average margin of victory 13.5 points. It may not seem like it but the Vikings have an explosive offense. Dalvin Cook is second in the NFL in rushing yards and Adam Thielen is second in receiving yards. Emerging star Stephon Diggs is third in receiving yards. The Lions will have their hands full but have won two straight against Minnesota. This is a tough game to pick. Minnesota is going to find a way to win at home.

Los Angeles Rams (2-1) 31 @ Dallas Cowboys (2-1) 34: Dallas finally got rolling in the desert on Monday Night Football. Dak Prescott had three total touchdowns while Ezekiel Elliot ran for 80 yards. The defense sometimes bent but did not break and only gave up 17 points to Arizona. They are gonna need the defense to step up again as the number one offense in the league comes to town. Jared Goff and Todd Gurley are going to put up a lot of points but the Cowboys will win this shootout.

Carolina Panthers (2-1) 17 @ New England Patriots (2-1) 24: Cam Newton is struggling this season and it looks like his shoulder isn’t one hundred percent. The defense and running game must make up for it while Cam gets back to being himself. Unfortunately, they are going to Foxborough to take on the best franchise in the NFL. Tom Brady showed his greatness with a long drive to win the game against the Texans. He may need to do that once again this week against a really good defense. New England will defend their field this week and pick up another win.

(Photo Credit: http://www.chron.com)

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1) 27 @ New York Jets (1-2) 6: The Jaguars are a tough team to figure out. They blow out the Texans with a stellar defensive performance and then get destroyed by Tennessee. Jacksonville then goes to London and beats the Ravens as if they were a European team. If the Jaguars stick to the run and Blake Bortles protects the ball then this team could make a deep playoff run. This week they face a Jets team who go a win against the Dolphins. The Jets are a very bad team and won’t win more than three games this season. This is a game they could win because as soon as the world expects the Jags to win they usually lose. That won’t be the case this time. Jacksonville will win this game with ease.

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) 16 @ Baltimore Ravens (2-1) 10: The Ravens went to London to surrender while the Steelers laid an egg at Soldier Field. Both of them will be looking to bounce back this week against one another in a divisional showdown. The Ravens only have their defense going for them. They will struggle to score on the Steelers. Pittsburgh seems to be going through the motions and have not looked all they great. The offense isn’t doing anything to put fear into opposing defenses. This will be a tight battle as it always is but the Steelers offense is better and it’s going to result in a win.

Tennessee Titans (2-1) 34 @ Houston Texans (1-2) 20: This divisional matchup is one of the biggest and the reason is that the Texans can not fall to 1-3 if they want to win the south. Their defense failed to stop Tom Brady to seal the win against the Patriots. The challenge is the Titans and their terrific run game that averages 156.3 yards. If they can slow them down they will win this game. They won’t be able to slow down Marcus Mariota and the Titan offense. Tennessee is going to Houston to make a statement to the rest of the NFL in this game.

Sunday Afternoon

San Fransisco 49ers (0-3) 20 @ Arizona Cardinals (1-2) 24: Both of these teams are trending toward tumultuous seasons. The 49ers don’t have the offense to win games. The defense is still too young to win games themselves. Arizona is still trying to find themselves after losing David Johnson. Larry Fitzgerald was able to reach into the fountain of youth put on an artistic display against Dallas. He won’t be able to do that every week because Carson Palmer won’t be on fire every week. At this point, the Cardinals do seem like the better team which is why they will find a way to win this game.

(Photo Credit: YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) 28 @ Los Angeles Chargers (0-3) 21: Los Angeles still has Philip Rivers which means they will lose every turnover battle. The defense will have short fields and as they fall behind in games they won’t be able to run the ball as much. This formula is not a formula for success. Philly is playing excellent defense while Carson Wentz has the offense soaring high. The Eagles will have an uphill battle by traveling across the country but will still win the game.

New York Giants (0-3) 27 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) 24: Until the Giants run the ball effectively their atrocious rushing attack must be brought up in every discussion involving the Giants. Their terrible offensive line can’t create running lanes. The Giants have managed to only run for 48.7 yards per game. Tampa Bay can focus on the pass without having to worry about a running game. This gives the Bucs a huge advantage. With that advantage, they will still struggle to stop Odell Beckham Jr. who will have over 150 yards in this contest. Jamis Winston will also have a big game but it is impossible to see the Giants falling to 0-4. Eli Manning makes one more play to Odell than the Bucs can handle.

Oakland Raiders (2-1) 31 @ Denver Broncos (2-1) 28: This game should be the Sunday or Monday night game because this is must-see television. These two division rivals are going to put on an epic battle to gain the edge in the playoff race. Both teams are playoff caliber but both won’t make the playoffs. This game could go a long way in determining who gets in and who is left out. Denver is running the ball well this season averaging 143 yards. The Raiders have trouble stopping the run, ranking 20th in rush defense. This could end up being a shootout while the Broncos run all over the Raiders and the Raiders air it out on the “No Fly Zone.” The Raiders are the better team which is why they will upset the Broncos in the Mile High city.

Sunday Night

Indianapolis Colts (1-2) 14 @ Seattle Seahawks (1-2) 33: The Colts barely look like an NFL franchise without Andrew Luck and their win was against the Browns. That is never a glamorous win. Seattle is also 1-2 and has not looked like the Seahawk team we are used to seeing. it is probably getting old hearing about how bad the offensive line in Seattle is but that is the case. The defense doesn’t have the edge they have had in the past and part of the world wonders if Marshawn Lynch’s locker room presence was the heart and soul of this team. Even if the Seahawks are struggling this season they are nowhere near as bad as the Colts. They should win this game but if they do manage to lose then changes will be happening in Seattle sooner, rather than later

Monday Night

Washington Redskins (2-1) 24 @ Kansas City Chiefs (3-0) 38: This could turn into a very entertaining Monday Night game but that is highly doubtful. The Redskins have been running the ball extremely well. They have to do this to keep the Chiefs offense off the field or they will get lit up. Kareem Hunt is going to have another big game but the real star will be Tyreke Hill. He is going to have over 250 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns to torch Washington on national television.

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Brett Favre

Week 4 NFL picks against the spread

Week three in the NFL was full of surprises. Given the crazy week, a 6-9-1 record against the spread is not terrible. My season record of 14-30-3 is still quite the eyesore though.

The good news is it only takes one great week to change that. My picks are bolded, outright upsets have an asterisk and all lines are from rtsports.com at the time of my writing. For better or worse, here it goes.

Thursday Night

Bears at Packers (-7) – The Bears peskiness was finally rewarded last week against the Steelers. However, going on the road to face Aaron Rodgers on a short week is a tall order. Given Green Bay’s strong finish last week and Chicago’s subpar quarterback situation and secondary, this could get ugly. GB 34 Chi 20  

Sunday

Saints (-3) at Dolphins (London) – These London games are becoming impossible to predict. Anyone who says that they had Jacksonville winning by 37 last week is lying. With Drew Brees at the helm, the Saints are going to score anywhere against anyone. The trick is getting a few stops on defense, like they did last week.

The Jay Cutler experiment has not gone well for the Dolphins to this point. Miami was manhandled by the Jets last week. Thus, the Saints should be able to do what is needed on defense. NO 27 Mia 20

Bills at Falcons (-8) – This matchup is fairly simple. Atlanta is really good, especially at home. Buffalo is not very good on the road. Despite a 2-1 mark, Buffalo has yet to put up more than 26 points in a game this year. They will need a whole lot more than that if they want to keep this close. I don’t see that happening. Atl 41 Buf 21

Panthers at Patriots (-9) – The Patriots are the Patriots. They will be at the forefront of the conversation when winter rolls around. However, they are having more early-season issues then we are used to, particularly on defense.

Given that New England has not fully hit its stride yet, Carolina has enough talent to hang around here. Tom Brady won’t be going through the Carolina defense like a hot knife through butter. The linebackers in particular are too good to allow that.

After a lackluster start, Cam Newton’s offense should be able to get going against a Patriots defense that is just leaving too many people open right now. Ultimately though, the all-too-familiar turnovers and inconsistencies will doom the Panthers again. NE 30 Car 22

Bengals (-3) at Browns – As an Ohioan, I am grateful to have the NFL Sunday ticket package. Thus, this is not the only game I will have access to.

Despite another loss last week, the Bengals figured out how to get the ball to their playmakers thanks to new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. They certainly have more of those than Cleveland does. What Hue Jackson is doing in Cleveland to build from the ground up is admirable, but if it does not pay off in the form of wins soon, he will not be around the seemingly never-ending rebuilding process in Cleveland for much longer. Cin 30 Cle 23

Lions (-2) at *Vikings – Much like the line for Minnesota’s game last week, this line will fluctuate wildly until Sam Bradford’s playing status becomes clearer. Case Keenum showed that he can get the job done in this league from time to time.

Detroit’s habit of relying on late comebacks finally caught up with them last week, even though it was literally by an inch. Against this defense on the road, the Lions cannot afford another slow start. The problem is that it seems they are incapable of avoiding one. Min 28 Det 27

Jaguars (-3) at *Jets – The Jets at .500 at the end of September? The defense has not lost all of its edge from a few years ago when Rex Ryan really had it cooking. Josh McCown sure is not flashy, but there is a reason he has been around as long as he has. To play quarterback in the NFL in your late 30s, you must be doing something right. The Jets ground game has also been adequate to this point.

Jacksonville is not in London or playing a team that can’t decide who its quarterback is. Based on recent history, that means they will lose. Start saving for those playoff tickets Jets fans!

Okay that might be a bit of a stretch, but .500 when the calendar flips to October is not. NYJ 14 Jac 13

Rams at Cowboys (-6) – When the Rams made Sean McVay the youngest head coach in league history, it raised more than a few eyebrows. However, what he has done with this offense is remarkable.

Sean McVay

Photo: turfshowtimes.com

Many of the same players that Jeff Fisher could not even get first downs with have helped contribute to 107 points through the first three games. Wade Phillips does not have the defense clicking yet, but the front seven is still one of the best in football. It is just a matter of time. The offense should also come back down to Earth before long, but this is a team that will cause problems for every opponent it faces.

The Cowboys had a nice bounce back win on the road last week and still have more firepower than their fast improving opposition. I think they get the win. However, if they are expecting anything less than a dogfight, they will get beat.  Dal 30 LAR 27

Steelers (-3) at Ravens – This is one of my favorite matchups in the NFL. No matter the records, it is always hard hitting and close. Neither team is playing particularly well at the moment. However, the Steelers’ offense is littered with playmakers. Baltimore’s offense makes my head hurt. Pit 21 Bal 17

Ravens Steelers

Photo: fanspeak.com

Titans (-1.5) at Texans – From an outsider’s perspective, Tennessee must be an incredibly difficult team to prepare for. No one else plays like they do. Their physical, mistake free, run-first approach makes them feel like a team that belongs in the 80s.

Teams do not get a handle on how to play them defensively until it is too late. Houston is riding the roller coaster that is having a rookie quarterback. Deshaun Watson was brilliant last week, but horrible in the week before.

Watson has to play well for his team to have a chance here. Tennessee will be too solid for the inconsistent youngster. Ten 20 Hou 14

*Giants at Buccaneers (-3) – I was very high on both of these teams before the season. It has not panned out particularly well for them to this point. The Giants may be winless, but they showed signs of life last week and did some good things. Meanwhile, Jameis Winston folded and Tampa Bay made Case Keenum look like a top-tier quarterback.

Even if you are on the road, you have to win against backup quarterbacks in this league. The Bucs loss last week shows that they are a young football team that may not be anywhere near true contender status this year. NYG 23 TB 17

Eagles at Chargers (-1) – The Chargers have to catch a break at some point. Philip Rivers continues to compete his guts out for a city that is now indifferent to how good he is. Rivers had a tough one last week, and I expect him to bounce back.

If this matchup were taking place next year, Carson Wentz and the Eagles would probably have the edge. However, Rivers still has a bit of good left in him, and his coach is more committed to the run game than their opponent.  LAC 27 Phi 19

*49ers at Cardinals (-7) – The theme of last week was bad teams showing up, playing well and in some cases, coming out on top. The 49ers were on the wrong end of a shootout against the resurgent Rams, but there was a lot of positives from the offense. They did everything well after digging themselves an early hole. I expect that to carry over.

However, this pick has more to do with the Cardinals. In every game this year, their aging roster has come out strong only to fade or barely hang on down the stretch. The rebuild probably should have started already. Carson Palmer is on his last leg. The window is closed. A home upset by a winless division rival will establish that once and for all. SF 20 Ari 17

Raiders at Broncos (-2.5) – Both of these teams were given sobering reminders as to how hard it is to win on the road in the NFL last week. The Raiders’ offense has an endless wealth of talent. We have seen what Derek Carr and company are capable of, but something is missing early in the season.

Khalil Mack is great, but the Oakland defense as a whole is still well below average. The Broncos offense is still a work in progress, but has been more dynamic in the early part of 2017 than it was at any point last season. When it comes down to it, the Raiders could not move the ball at all against the Redskins. How in the world are they going to move the ball enough to beat the Broncos in Mile High? Den 24 Oak 17

Colts at Seahawks (-13) – Whatever ratings issues Sunday Night Football may or may not be facing, this matchup will not help. The Titans proved the Seahawks defense may not be what it once was last week, but Russell Wilson and the offense did get going and Seattle is back home this week. Despite recent improvement thanks to Jacoby Brissett, the Colts are still bringing a knife to a gunfight. Sea 27 Ind 12

Monday Night

Redskins at Chiefs (-7) – After watching the Redskins Sunday night, there is nothing they cannot do on offense. Kansas City might be the best team in football right now, and explosive offense is no longer a weakness.

However, defense is still where KC’s bread is buttered. That style does not lend itself to blowouts. The Redskins’ offense is easily the most balanced the Chiefs have faced this year. They will get theirs here. KC 31 Was 30

 

Featured image from sportingnews.com

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week four DFS don'ts

Week four DFS don’ts: Tight End

Where do I even begin with this position? It’s an incredibly frustrating position to predict in seasonal and daily fantasy. You could choose to pay up for Travis Kelce, and he kills you. Or you could pay down for Eric Ebron, and he kills you. Let’s find out which two tight end land mines you should avoid in this edition of week four DFS don’ts.

Hunter Henry: FanDuel Price $5,600

I wasn’t as high on Hunter Henry as the public was entering this season. He plays in a tight end friendly system and plays with a quarterback who has shown he will throw to the tight end. Sadly, there has been no consistency to Henry thus far.

In two of his three games, he has zero targets. That’s right. Not zero touchdowns. Not zero catches. Zero, freaking, targets. It’s so disheartening to see a player who tied for first for touchdowns at his position just a year ago, be relegated to such a diminished role. Sadly, the Chargers have utilized Henry as a blocker to help combat fierce pass rushers. Even though he didn’t get a target, he still out snapped Antonio Gates.

On the bright side, Antonio Gates can’t last forever. Physically he doesn’t have it anymore. Now that he has the tight end touchdown record, I could see them starting to phase Gates out of the offense. Until we have more clarity and consistency, we have to remove Henry from our selection process moving forward.

Jack Doyle: FanDuel Price $5,400

week four DFS don'ts

Jack Doyle faces a tough match up this week versus the Seattle Seahawks (Courtesy of; Rant Sports)

I try not to have players appear more than once on my weekly lists, but, I have to break that trend today. I love Jack Doyle, but this match up is not good. In last weeks tight end edition of DFS don’ts, which you can read here, I talked about Seattle’s scheme and how it’s not great for tight ends.

Delanie Walker, who is superior to Doyle in talent and offensive circumstances, had a down game. Seattle’s cover three scheme limits tight ends because it doesn’t allow them to get down the field. So, that means you won’t see any tight end running free down the middle off play action, because the defensive backs divide the field into thirds.

The only way Doyle pays off this week is through tremendous volume and if by some miracle he gets in the end zone. There are other options available and we’ll have to pivot towards them this week. Doyle is the first player to be featured twice in this segment, as he joins Hunter Henry on my week four DFS don’ts.

 

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