Hagan's Haus NFL picks week 11

Hagan’s Haus 2017 NFL picks week 11

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 No. 1 priority in my life. I am so excited that the NFL season is finally back in action! I pride myself on 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 is 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 11 NFL picks.

Last week: 12-2

Overall: 86-59

Teams on byes: Carolina, Indianapolis, New York Jets, San Francisco

Thursday Night

Tennessee Titans (6-3) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2):

 

Sunday Morning

Hagan's Haus NFL picks week 11

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

Detroit Lions (5-4) 27 @ Chicago Bears (3-6) 16: When the Bears finally decided to start Mitchell Trubisky some thought they would make a run at the playoffs because Aaron Rodgers went down. The Bears are not going to do that and will be lucky to win six games this season but the future is bright. Matthew Stafford should have a field day at Soldier Field to send the Bears to 3-7.

Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3) 23 @ Cleveland Browns (0-9) 6: Cleveland will get another step closer to 0-16 this week as the Jaguars come to town. Jacksonville’s defense could force a shutout this week as they are allowing the fewest points per game at 14.9 while the Browns are averaging just 15.9 points per game. It would be a major upset if the Browns found a way to win.

Baltimore Ravens (4-5) 20 @ Green Bay Packers (5-4) 22: Neither team is really good but the Packers are struggling because they lost Aaron Rodgers. Baltimore is struggling because they have no offense. The edge should go to Baltimore because they are coming off a bye but they have to travel to Lambeau. I have no clue what will happen in this game but I have a feeling that Brett Hundley will have a big game.

Los Angeles Rams (7-2) 23 @ Minnesota Vikings (7-2) 24: This is the best game of the week and it should be in primetime. Both teams are 7-2 and in a battle for the second seed in the NFC. It is also a clash of styles with as the Rams have the third-ranked offense and the Vikings have the fifth-ranked defense. Typically in the past, when top defenses square off against top offenses the defenses win. That, paired with the Vikings playing at home gives Minnesota the edge. The Vikings win to continue their path towards a Super Bowl run.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6) 27 @ Miami Dolphins (4-5) 26: These two teams are playing the game they missed in week one due to Hurricane Irma. Both teams were expected to make a playoff appearance but now it looks like neither will as both have looked horrible this season. This will be a dull game that is watched by few. Heck, picking the winner might come down to a coin toss. Actually, it will be a coin toss. Heads Tampa wins, tails Miami wins. It was heads.

Washington Redskins (4-5) 21 @ New Orleans Saints (7-2) 37: When looking at Washington all you can see is an average team which is why they continue to float around .500. Their loss to the Vikings all but ended their season. Traveling to New Orleans is going to make it even more unlikely that Washington makes a run at the playoffs. New Orleans, on the other hand, is on a seven-game win streak. Many are picking the Saints as the favorite to win the NFC. Washington will not be able to keep up with the Saints’ offense and fall in the Superdome.

Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) 27 @ New York Giants (1-8) 20: Kansas City is in need of a confidence builder and this is the perfect opportunity. The Chiefs have lost three of their last four games but are still one of the top teams in the AFC. The Giants are fighting for the top overall pick in the draft and are in tank mode. When this ends the score may be close but the game will never be in question. Kansas City will get back to their winning ways.

Arizona Cardinals (4-5) 24 @ Houston Texans (3-6) 21: Two or three weeks ago this would be an easy game to pick. Without DeShaun Watson, the Texans are struggling. The defense is banged up as well which means the Texans have nothing to rely on. The Cardinals are also banged up but are more prepared for the injuries they have. Arizona will ride Adrian Peterson to a win.

Sunday Afternoon

Hagan's Haus NFL picks week 11

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

Buffalo Bills (5-4) 14 @ Los Angeles Chargers (3-6) 24: Buffalo has made a quarterback change in the midst of a playoff race. This tells us one thing, they truly don’t believe they can make the playoffs. They are trying to get their young quarterback ready for the future with game time experience. Los Angeles plays good defense and will make it a huge challenge for Nathan Peterman. Los Angeles will win this game with a great defensive performance and two touchdown day from Melvin Gordon.

Cincinnati Bengals (3-6) 21 @ Denver Broncos (3-6) 20: Cincinnati and Denver are both 3-6 but the Bengals have looked better thus far. Cincinnati is still playing great defense while the Broncos have stopped excelling at everything. Denver will not be able to win this game because their offense is anemic. Andy Dalton will have one of the best games of his career to give the Bengals a win.

New England Patriots (7-2) 27 @ Oakland Raiders (4-5) 24: It seems like each week Oakland is playing in a must-win game. Once they get to six losses they will really be in must-win games if they want to make the playoffs. New England is still hot and rolling like they typically do. This game is in Mexico City and the Patriots have prepared for it by practicing in Denver all week. New England will win because they are going to be more prepared than Oakland.

Sunday Night

Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) 24 @ Dallas Cowboys (5-4) 27: This is an obvious trap game for Philly. All divisional games are difficult but this one will be even more difficult. The Eagles will be traveling to Jerry World to face the Cowboys who will be without Ezekiel Elliot or Sean Lee. Everyone is expecting the Eagles to win because they are both good and Dallas is banged up. If Dallas is going to win this game they are going to need a huge night from Dak Prescott. They will get it and Dallas will upset Philadelphia.

Monday Night

Atlanta Falcons (5-4) 24 @ Seattle Seahawks (6-3) 20: A win by the Falcons and they could throw themselves right into the thick of the wildcard race again. Atlanta has been struggling on offense this season but they will be able to score this week. Seattle just lost Richard Sherman for the season. He is the heart and soul of the defense and without him, the defense will lose their spark. The offensive line is also the weak unit of the offense and the Falcons will feast on it. Atlanta will win this game behind their defense.

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NFL Week 11

Stack your money Sundays: Week 11

Week 10 Review (3-0) OVERALL: 19-9-2

Minnesota Vikings (-1) @ Washington Redskins

Minnesota Vikings 38 Washington Redskins 30

In an emotional return to the sidelines for Teddy Bridgewater, Case Keenum could not be stopped. Did Bridgewater’s return spark Keenum to play big, knowing that his job is on the line? Maybe, but whatever it was, keep it up Case!

The former Houston standout threw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. He was extremely efficient, completing 21 of his 29 passes and was also never sacked in the contest. Adam Thielen had a monster day, hauling in eight receptions for 166 yards and a score.

Minnesota was also able to rush for over 100 yards, while limiting the Redskins to just 81 rushing yards on 27 carries. In the article leading up to this game, we talked about how the Vikings were ranked sixth in third-down conversions, while the Redskins ranked 19th in opposing third-down conversions. As expected, Minnesota went 8-12 on third-down conversions.

The Redskins put up a fight, as Kirk Cousins threw for 327 yards while Vernon Davis and Jamison Crowder each had 76 receiving yards. Unfortunately, their poor defense and lack of run game left them just short. They now sit at 4-5 while the Vikings are looking great at 7-2.

New York Jets @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 15 New York Jets 10

This was one of the ugliest games of the season. It was a double revenge game, as both quarterbacks, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh McCown, faced off against their former teams. It literally took until 6:05 left in the fourth quarter for a touchdown to occur. Imagine paying to sit through this disaster.

Both teams were unable to rush for over 100 yards, and the Bucs won while throwing for only 187 yards and scoring one touchdown. Since 2007, teams that threw for under 190 yards, rushed for less than 100 and scored only one touchdown have a .129 winning percentage. Shout out to the Bucs for beating the odds.

New England Patriots (-7.5) @ Denver Broncos

New England Patriots 41 Denver Broncos 16

NFL Week 11

The GOAT (Photo from Boston Herald)

The Broncos have fallen so hard, and it’s honestly sad. After stopping Brady and the Patriots on the opening drive, Denver muffed the punt and gave the ball right back. From that point on, the game was over. Tom Brady continues to defy odds as he had a miraculous three-touchdown, 125.4 quarterback rating performance.

Brock Osweiler continued to do Brock Osweiler things. He was inefficient with his throws and unable to make any big plays.

To Osweiler’s defense, Denver’s D did not help him at all. They have now allowed the fourth most points in the NFL, and are second to last in defensive turnovers. So yeah, Brock isn’t great, but Denver’s defense is playing at an all-time low. They should be able to rebound this week against the Bengals.

 

WEEK 11 PICKS

Buffalo Bills @ Los Angeles Chargers (-4)

PICK: CHARGERS TO COVER

So a rookie quarterback is going on the road against a Philip Rivers team, and Rivers only has to win by four? Sign me up. Luckily, Rivers was a full participant in practice and looks ready to go.

To much surprise, Tyrod Taylor was benched in favor of Nathan Peterman, the former Pitt quarterback. As crazy as this move seems, it kind of makes sense. Under Taylor, the Bills were 30th in passing yards, 27th in first downs, 28th in total yards and 24th in passing touchdowns. Peterman, who played well in garbage time against the Saints, will most likely be handing the ball off over 30 times to a running back.

San Diego’s defense, although shaky against the run, has done a pretty solid job as far as keeping teams off the scoreboard. The Chargers rank ninth in opponent points per game and third in opponent points per play. As far as the red zone goes, they are the No. 1 defense in terms of percentage of red zone trips that end in touchdowns.

Rivers has won 60 percent of his home games in November, which is absolutely respectable. He is clearly the better quarterback, and his defense, which does a great job of not allowing points, is going up against one of the weakest offenses in the league. In their last 18 road games during the months of November-January, the Bills are 4-14. Not a good road team this late into the season.

Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5) @ Dallas Cowboys

PICK: EAGLES TO COVER

No Sean Lee means major problems for Dallas. The Cowboys fear that their star linebacker could miss several games due to his hamstring injury. Without Lee in the lineup, Dallas is a completely different defense. In Lee’s first six starts of the season, the Cowboys held opposing teams to just 80.3 rushing yards per game. In the two games he missed in October, the Cowboys allowed 164 rushing yards per game.

NFL Week 11

The favorite for MVP, Carson Wentz (Photo from The Undefeated)

When Lee was in against Atlanta, the Falcons had four carries for negative two yards. Even without Devonta Freeman for a majority of the game, Atlanta ended up with 132 yards on 34 carries.

The Eagles are arguably the best team in the NFL, and are also coming off a bye. Carson Wentz looks like the MVP of the league, as his Eagles are fourth in yards per game, second in points per play, third in third-down conversion percentage and first in red zone scoring efficiency on touchdown drives.

Not only is their offense second in the league in points per game, but Philly’s defense is tenth in the league in regards to fewest points allowed. They also do an exceptional job of defending on third down, ranking third in opposing third down percentage. When it comes to defending the run, the Eagles are first in opposing rushing yards per game, as well as opposing rushing first downs per game.

No Ezekiel Elliott and no Sean Lee might be too much for Dallas to overcome, especially against the hottest team in the league, who is fresh off a bye.

Atlanta Falcons @ Seattle Seahawks (-3)

PICK: SEAHAWKS TO COVER

Not only have you been stacking your money on Sundays, but now you should invest and stack some more on Monday.

Seattle, coming off a Thursday night win, has had an extended amount of time to prepare for this one. The Richard Sherman injury will sting, but it won’t kill this potent defense.

Matt Ryan has been shaky all year, and will most likely continue this trend on his way to Seattle. The Seahawks are allowing the fifth fewest points per game and the fourth fewest points per play. This team defends the red zone well and ranks sixth in opposing touchdowns per game. Atlanta has been an average offense that turns the ball over too much.

In his career at home in November, Russell Wilson is 11-2. Contrary to this, Ryan is 8-9 on the road in the month of November. The Seahawks offense is seventh in total yards and second in terms of total passing yards. Wilson has only thrown six interceptions and ranks in the top 10 in yards per pass.

Atlanta turns the ball over more, is on the road and has the weaker quarterback. This should be a solid win for Wilson and the Seahawks.

 

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Nathan Peterman fantasy

Fantasy impact: Tyrod Taylor benched for Nathan Peterman

The Buffalo Bills announced on Wednesday that rookie Nathan Peterman will take over the starting job at quarterback over Tyrod Taylor. He will start on the road against the Los Angeles Chargers.

This move brings fantasy implications with the different style that Peterman has than Taylor. Peterman is a more traditional pocket passer that could give more opportunities to his receivers such as Jordan Matthews, Charles Clay and newly acquired receiver Kelvin Benjamin. Taylor is a more mobile quarterback with mediocre passing ability.

Peterman had a decent preseason, but struggled more than strived. He only completed 54.4 percent of his throws with one touchdown in 79 attempts against second-team defenses. Of course he doesn’t have the ability to move in the pocket or the speed that Taylor has along with the arm strength. He could be somebody in dynasty leagues, but it’s hard to tell as we have to wait and see how he develops. He should help the players around him right away by increasing their targets.

Lesean McCoy

A position that won’t change much is the running game. LeSean McCoy hasn’t played like the back he was in 2016, and the change in quarterback won’t do much helping him run the ball. Part of his struggles come from the lack of a passing game in Buffalo. With no passing game, it allows opponents to crowd the box.

However, McCoy could see some value in PPR leagues. To help Peterman get comfortable early, he could dump some short passes off to McCoy here and there to get going. Other than that, it’s hard to trust McCoy as a valuable asset even with the change. But this doesn’t mean he should be on the bench unless there are better options. He should be viewed as a RB2 from this point.

Kelvin Benjamin and Jordan Matthews

For the receiving corps, this could be a jumpstart with a more traditional passer.

Nathan Peterman fantasy

Kelvin Benjamin and Jordan Matthews (Photo from newyorkupstate.com)

Kelvin Benjamin struggled in his first game as a Bill. He caught three passes for 42 yards against the New Orleans Saints while playing the entire game from behind. The 6-foot-5 receiver isn’t a guy that will create separation. Pairing him with Taylor doomed him from the start because Taylor never showed any willingness to throw in tight spots, even with Benjamin’s size.

Now with a new quarterback, this could be a win for Benjamin. With Peterman’s ability to sling it and Benjamin’s size, this could create some opportunity for more targets. Even though they will still run a balanced offense, his value should rise as a WR2 or a high-end flex option with Peterman rather then Taylor.

As for Jordan Matthews, it could go the same way as Benjamin. He has had a lackluster first season in Buffalo. Matthews is more of a slot receiver that can create more space than Benjamin, which can give him more looks.

But like Benjamin, he doesn’t have the speed. Either way, both have potential at gaining some value. For Matthews, he could be a nice pickup as he will likely be available in most leagues.

Charles Clay

Charles Clay could be the one who benefits the most out of this move when all is said and done.

Nathan Peterman fantasy

Charles Clay (Photo from buffalobills.com)

One thing Peterman did in preseason and against the Saints more than Taylor was utilize the middle of the field. That benefits the tight end.

Clay could become the No. 1 option for Peterman on third down and red zone opportunities. That could lead to a couple of big scoring games from a fantasy perspective during the stretch run of the regular season.

The tight end position has been one of the more lacking in fantasy football all season. Clay could cash in and be the tight end that dominates for the rest of the season if he’s healthy. He has missed three games with an injury and if injured again, backup Nick O’Leary could be on the radar.

Tyrod Taylor at this Point

It’s safe to say the Tyrod Taylor era in Buffalo has come to an end. He played his last game as a Bill unless Peterman is injured. Taylor even playing at that point isn’t guaranteed. There have been rumbles all season about whether or not he should be the starter and questions about his willingness to play in Buffalo. It was a surprise he even came back. Now he will likely be traded or cut at the end of the year.

 

Featured image from boltsfromtheblue.com.

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NFL Week 11 picks

Week 11 NFL picks against the spread

After going 5-8-1 against the spread last week, my record for the year now sits at 64-76-6. The climb back towards a respectable record starts this week. My picks are bolded, outright upsets have an asterisk, and all lines are from rtsports.com at the time of my writing.

Thursday Night

Titans at Steelers (-7) – Tennessee is on a four-game winning streak, but three of those wins were Indianapolis, Cleveland and Cincinnati. The Steelers are a significant step up. The emergence of JuJu Smith-Schuster has made the offense all the more dangerous, and being at home seems to shield them from slow starts like last week.

NFL Week 11 picks

Photo: from cincyjungle.com

The Titans may need to put up over 30 points in this one, something they haven’t done since the start of their winning streak. Pittsburgh is just a little more consistent on both sides of the ball at the moment. They will pull away late. Pit 31 Ten 21

Sunday

Cardinals (-1.5) at Texans – This game will feature a quarterback duel between Tom Savage and Blaine Gabbert. How can you not be pumped up for that?

Sarcasm aside, Arizona has at least shown an occasional ability to let Adrian Peterson carry them to victory in recent weeks. With Deshaun Watson hurt, Houston has not managed to come close to finding a similar winning formula. Ari 16 Hou 9

Ravens (-2) at Packers – This is a coin flip. The Packers finally figured out how to look like an NFL offense without Aaron Rodgers last week, but the injuries are piling up. The offensive line and backfield are now affected. It is easy to say “next man up,” but a team can only overcome so much.

Baltimore’s offense was not playoff worthy early in the year, but all the teams in the AFC Wild Card race have the same issue. The spark provided by Alex Collins in recent weeks has at least made them a realistic part of that conversation. In a game of struggling offenses, Baltimore’s defense is better. Bal 23 GB 20

Lions (-3) at *Bears – The Bears are undermanned and have serious limitations on offense, but they continue to manage it pretty well. Even though it is not showing up in the form of wins, John Fox may need to save his job. Chicago can run the ball and play defense against anyone.

The one thing Chicago cannot do is fall behind early. The good news this week is Detroit waits until the fourth quarter to start playing almost every week. The Lions are in the playoff hunt and every game is big. They tend to struggle in that situation. Chicago is just a bad matchup for them this week. Chi 19 Det 16

Jaguars (-7.5) at Browns – For the first time in a long time, Jacksonville is in the thick of the playoff hunt. Doug Marrone and his players deserve a ton of credit. However, the offense is still a one-man show centered around Leonard Fournette. Surprisingly, Cleveland’s run defense is top five in the league. With the offense coming off its best game of the year, the Browns should keep this close, and getting their first win is not out of the question. Jac 19 Cle 14

Chiefs (-10) at Giants – Kansas City has lost three of its last four after a 5-0 start. However, the Giants just lost to the hapless 49ers and are growing more dysfunctional by the hour. Additionally, Andy Reid is 16-2 in games following a bye week during his coaching career. There is absolutely nothing to suggest this game will be anything other than a bloodbath, which should make anyone who bets it nervous. KC 30 NYG 13

*Rams at Vikings (-2.5) – Two of this year’s most pleasant surprises face off here. The Vikings defense is very good, but the Rams have gashed every defense they have faced this year. So, it may not matter.

Teddy Bridgewater is a fantastic story. However, the fact that there was even a discussion about him replacing Case Keenum this week makes you wonder if Mike Zimmer is looking to fix something that isn’t broke. It is the kind of delicate situation that can ruin a team if it isn’t handled properly.

In the short term, the Rams offense is in touch more explosive. That gives them the edge here. In the long-term, Minnesota had better be very careful in regards to its quarterback situation. LAR 28 Min 27

Buccaneers at Dolphins (-1) – This game is taking place 10 weeks later than originally scheduled due to Hurricane Irma. Both of these teams have been disappointments this year. Last week aside, Miami has been better at winning ugly.

The Dolphins defense got absolutely leveled in Carolina last week, but the Bucs offense has not shown the capability to put up 45 points on anyone this year. The Dolphins defensive unit is actually pretty good and will be eager to bounce back from last week’s embarrassment. Mia 20 TB 17

Redskins at Saints (-7.5) – This season, the Saints have totally reinvented themselves on the fly. Their bread is now buttered via the running game and defense. Drew Brees may not be what he once was, but the 38-year-old quarterback is still plenty good enough to get the job done.

New Orleans has destroyed some really solid teams over the last seven weeks. Washington is not a terrible football team, but they don’t have the horsepower to keep up here. NO 30 Was 20

Bills at Chargers (-4) – Buffalo is panicking. After two straight blowout losses, they are turning to rookie mid-round draft pick Nathan Peterman at quarterback. Tyrod Taylor has not been the problem for the last two weeks. The problem has been giving up 81 combined points.

NFL Week 11 picks

Photo from si.com

For a team that still has a realistic shot at ending a 16-year playoff drought, the move is stranger than strange. The Chargers found yet another way to lose a close game last week. With Philip Rivers in concussion protocol, Kellen Clemens may get the call here. Even if that is the case, the Los Angeles pass rush should be enough to overwhelm the rookie signal caller on the other side. LAC 27 Buf 19

Bengals at Broncos (-2.5) – The seasons for both these teams have gone off the rails in a big way. Denver is at home and some of their struggles have come against three of the best teams in football. Moreover, Brock Osweiler and the offense made some strides last week. It is hard to come up with any positives like the ones above for the Bengals. Denver should benefit from a much needed step down in opposition. Den 28 Cin 21

Patriots (-6.5) at Raiders (Mexico) – New England has become the well-oiled machine we are used to after a slow start. They are doing everything well right now. The Raiders high-powered offense has disappeared. They have scored fewer than 20 points in five of their last seven games.  Especially since this is not a true road game, the Patriots should keep rolling here. NE 34 Oak 20

Eagles (-3) at *Cowboys – It is rare for a home team to be an underdog in a rivalry game. When it applies, taking the points is always wise.

Too much is being made of what happened to Dallas in Atlanta last week. The Falcons are built to play in their building. They make a lot of teams look bad there. The same thing happened to Green Bay earlier this year. The Packers turned out fine until their Hall of Fame quarterback got hurt.

The Cowboys have had another week to adjust to life without Ezekiel Elliott. The loss of Sean Lee on defense may be tough to overcome, but they match up well with all of their division rivals.

As good as the Eagles are, they are still a pretty young football team. Going on the road to face the defending division champions is their toughest test yet. It is hard not to have serious doubts about whether any young team is ready for something like this. Dal 24 Phi 20

Monday Night

Falcons at Seahawks (-3) – Both of these teams are very talented, but this is a pretty simple matchup. Seattle is the better team and has lost just two home games in two years. Atlanta has struggled on the road as of late and has had a hard time scoring on a consistent basis this year. Seattle is not the place to go to fix those issues. Sea 22 Atl 14

 

Featured image from profootballspot.com

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first-year NFL head coaches

Checking in on the first-year NFL head coaches

We are far enough into the NFL season that it is now fair to evaluate how all the head coaches are doing. While there are 32, the coaches who took new jobs prior to this season are always of particular interest. So, let’s see who is making the grade.

Sean McVay

What the former Redskins offensive coordinator has done defies logic and description. At the time of his hiring, he was the youngest head coach in league history. Also, he took over a mess.

The Rams were the worst scoring offense in the league in 2016 and limped to a 4-12 mark in their first year back in Los Angeles. Much of the offensive personnel has remained the same under McVay, including second-year quarterback Jared Goff, who was totally overwhelmed as a rookie.

The Rams are now the top scoring offense in the NFL and sit atop the NFC West. It is impossible to be sure whether McVay is brilliant or his predecessor Jeff Fisher was grossly incompetent. The answer is likely a little bit of both. The Rams defense was pretty good all along.

There is a lot of football left to be played, and it is hard to imagine any team averaging 32.9 points per game for an entire season. That puts you in the conversation with some of the greatest offenses ever.

For now though, McVay is the runaway winner for coach of the year. Turnarounds like this simply do not happen this quickly in pro football.

Grade: A+

Vance Joseph

When Gary Kubiak stepped down due to health concerns after the 2016 season, the former Dolphins defensive coordinator took over an organization that won a Super Bowl less than two years ago.

first-year NFL head coaches

(Photo from Denver Post)

However, the Broncos have regressed under Joseph. Trevor Siemian was at least serviceable last year. That cannot be said of Siemian or any other Broncos quarterback this year. Despite the team being very good for most of his tenure, John Elway has had to hire three head coaches during his relatively short time in the Denver front office.

With a workable schedule down the stretch, Joseph could still salvage the season if he can lead an upset over the Patriots Sunday night, but that is unlikely at best.

No individual is responsible for anything in the NFL. Even so, with the Broncos among the league leaders in penalties and turnovers and on a four-game losing streak, it is starting to look like Elway will be finding another head coach sooner than he would like.

Grade: D+

Anthony Lynn

The former Bills offensive coordinator took over a franchise that was relocating to a city where it has virtually no fan base. That is an unenviable position for any coach to be in.

However, Lynn did inherit Philip Rivers as his quarterback. This is something even some established coaches in this league would kill for. Early in the season, the seemingly never-ending trend of the Chargers finding ways to lose close games continued.

Lynn’s team showed some impressive toughness by winning three in a row after an 0-4 start. The defense is also much improved thanks mostly to the hiring of former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley as defensive coordinator.

3-5 is not where any coach wants to be through eight games. All things considered though, Lynn has done an okay job. Remember, this is also a team that is essentially playing 16 road games this year and potentially beyond.

Grade: C+

Sean McDermott

This is the toughest one for me. The former Panthers defensive coordinator has the Bills in the mix to end a 17-year playoff drought. The best thing this team has going for it is a defense that is allowing less than 19 points per game.

Getting blown out by the Jets on Thursday night in Week 9 was a big blow. They still have to play division rival New England twice, as well as New Orleans and Kansas City. They will be underdogs in every one of those games.

McDermott would not be the first Bills coach as of late to lead Buffalo to a hot start only to fade late in the season. He has done well to this point, but his job is about to get a lot tougher.

Grade: B-

Kyle Shanahan

The mastermind behind last year’s electric Falcons offense is still searching for his first win as a head coach in San Francisco. Shanahan is well aware that he is bringing the less talented roster into almost every game this season.

Despite that, the 49ers are playing hard and have been in almost every game. The best thing the young head coach has done is oversee or possibly facilitate the acquisition of Jimmy Garoppolo from New England before the trade deadline.

Shanahan is certainly taking his lumps as a first-time head coach this year, but if Garoppolo turns out to be the star that many people believe he will be, the wins are not far behind.

Grade: C+

 

Featured image from espn.com

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2017 NFL picks Week 10

Hagan’s Haus 2017 NFL picks Week 10

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 No. 1 priority in my life. I am so excited that the NFL season is finally back in action! I pride myself on 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 is 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 10 NFL picks.

Last week: 8-5

Overall: 74-57

Teams on byes: Baltimore, Kansas City, Oakland Philadelphia

Thursday Night

Seattle Seahawks (5-3) @ Arizona Cardinals (4-4):

Sunday Morning

2017 NFL picks Week 10

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

New Orleans Saints (6-2) 24 @ Buffalo Bills (5-3) 20: This game could turn into a defensive battle, which sounds crazy when the Saints are involved. New Orleans is only giving up 15.4 points per game in their last five games. That is pretty impressive for a franchise that has recently been terrible defensively.

This game will come down to who can make the plays on offense. The edge is highly in favor of an offense led by Drew Brees. The win streak stays alive another week.

Green Bay Packers (4-4) 17 @ Chicago Bears (3-5) 20: The oldest rivalry in the NFL will be writing another chapter this week, this time without Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has destroyed the Bears throughout his career. Rodgers has gone 15-4 against Chicago, throwing for 4,596 yards, 42 touchdowns and just nine interceptions.

He has been the difference maker consistently. Without him, the Packers are going to struggle. Because of great defense and a solid run game, the Bears will win this chapter at Soldier Field.

Minnesota Vikings (6-2) 24 @ Washington Redskins (4-4) 16: Washington got a big win last week in Seattle, and a lot of people see it as a season-changing win. Because of that win, they will be the favorites.

Not many people believe in the Vikings, but they are a good team. Their defense will cause a major problem for Kirk Cousins, and with two weeks to prepare, Minnesota will go to the nation’s capital to show they are a team that nobody will want to see come January.

Cleveland Browns (0-8) 19 @ Detroit Lions (4-4) 31: Cleveland is coming off a bye, but that won’t help them in the motor city. The Browns are a bad team that Matthew Stafford can, and will pick apart.

Cleveland gives up 229.2 passing yards per game. Stafford will have over 300 this week to send the Browns seven games away from a winless season.

Cincinnati Bengals (3-5) 21 @ Tennessee Titans (5-3) 28: Tennessee is winning games without Marcus Mariota playing up to his ability, which should make Titan fans happy. Tennessee is winning these games because they are protecting and running the ball.

The Titans are 10th in rushing, averaging 117.9 yards per game. Cincy struggles to stop the run, giving up 116.5 yards per game. That will be their downfall in this game.

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) 38 @ Indianapolis Colts (3-6) 21: This game is another game that should not be close at all. The Steelers have a top 10 offense, putting up 363.8 yards per game while the Colts have the 31st ranked defense.

Pittsburgh’s defense will lock down the elementary offense while the Steelers offense will easily put up points. Pittsburgh will have over 500 total yards to get to 7-2.

New York Jets (4-5) 24 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6) 27: Tampa Bay is going to win this game somehow. It just has the feeling of a game the Jets would find a way to lose.

Jameis Winston has been shut down and will not play. The Jets win and lose games they shouldn’t, and this is the perfect game for the same to occur. Ryan Fitzpatrick will get a chance to play his former team and will want to make a statement.

Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) 21 @ Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3) 23: This is going to be a hard-fought defensive game. Leonard Fournette is coming off his suspension and will be looking to prove how valuable he is.

Philip Rivers is going to try and force the ball, and Jacksonville’s elite secondary will make him pay. Jacksonville will win this game because of this and get to an impressive 6-3.

Sunday Afternoon

2017 NFL picks Week 10

(Photo by Scott Varley, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

Houston Texans (3-5) 17 @ Los Angeles Rams (6-2) 34: Los Angeles has the No. 1 scoring offense in the NFL. Houston is dealing with injuries all over the field and will need to put up at least 30 points to have a chance.

Tom Savage is incapable of putting up that many points. Jared Goff and Todd Gurley will be the difference that leads Los Angeles to a win.

Dallas Cowboys (5-3) 31 @ Atlanta Falcons (4-4) 30: Atlanta is trying to stay in the playoff race, but another loss could really hamper that goal. Atlanta’s offense is not producing to the same level as last season, and Matt Ryan looks average at best.

Dallas is still dealing with the sage of Ezekiel Elliott’s possible suspension. With or without Zeke, the Cowboys will win this week due to the fact that Dak Prescott will outperform the reigning MVP.

New York Giants (1-7) 23 @ San Francisco 49ers (0-9) 24: This will be an absolute snoozefest. Last week I thought the 49ers would get their first win of the season, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

This will be the week, or they will go 0-16. The Giants are just as bad as they are. The only reason the 49ers will win this game is that it is in San Francisco.

Sunday Night

New England Patriots (6-2) 41 @ Denver Broncos (3-5) 21: There is no reason to think this will be a close game. These teams are trending in opposite directions. The Patriots were off to a slow start, but have begun to resemble the team everyone is used to seeing in New England. Denver is still looking for Peyton Manning’s replacement and has wasted away a great defense because of it. New England will win this one comfortably.

Monday Night

Miami Dolphins (4-4) 7 @ Carolina Panthers (6-3) 27: All we hear is that Cam Newton can’t do this or he can’t do that, yet he continues to lead Carolina to wins. He may not consistently beat teams with his arm, but he can still get it done on the ground.

Carolina also quietly has one of the best defenses in the league. Shutting down Jay Cutler will not be a problem for the Panthers, and they will find themselves at 7-3.

 

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Week 10 NFL picks

Week 10 NFL picks against the spread

I continued to tread water last week with a mark of 6-6-1 against the spread. Upon the arrival of Week 10, 59-68-5 is where I stand for the year. My picks are bolded, outright upsets have an asterisk and all lines are from rtsports.com at the time of my writing.

Thursday Night

Seahawks (-6) at Cardinals – Even after a last-second loss last week, Seattle is fine. Sometimes the opposing quarterback makes a couple great throws and you get beat. Three missed field goals also did not help matters, but that happens sometimes too.

Arizona may be able to rely exclusively on Adrian Peterson against winless San Francisco, but not an angry Seattle team. Drew Stanton will have to play the game of his life for his team to have a chance here. It is nearly impossible to expect that from a career backup. Sea 27 Ari 13

Sunday

Bengals at Titans (-4.5) – The Titans offense is still very pedestrian. Fortunately for them, they are battling Jacksonville for the division title and teams like Baltimore for a possible Wild Card spot. All those teams have similar issues.

This pick has more to do with the opponent. I am officially out on the Bengals after the way they were dominated in Jacksonville last week. It is one thing when a guy like Vontaze Burfict loses his cool. However, when a model citizen like A.J. Green loses his cool, it is time to clean house. Ten 21 Cin 13

Browns at Lions (-12.5) – The Lions proved me wrong and did exactly what they should have done against a shorthanded opponent last week. They find themselves in a similar spot here. It would be insane to pick the winless Browns, but they are still playing hard. One week does not change a recent history of struggling in strange spots for Detroit.  Det 31 Cle 20

Packers at Bears (-5.5) – My goodness, the Brett Hundley led Packers looked awful last week. I really thought they would be okay at home coming off a bye, but they were dominated by Detroit. The advantages Green Bay had before the game last week are gone, and Chicago has improved in all phases of the game in recent weeks. Aaron Rodgers is not saving the day anytime soon. Chi 20 GB 13

*Chargers at Jaguars (-4) – Blake Bortles has actually been a key part of Jacksonville’s last two wins. This team might actually be around for the long haul. However, the Chargers pass rush is one of the best kept secrets in football, and the Jags defense will have a much tougher time controlling a borderline future Hall of Famer like Philip Rivers as opposed to the other quarterbacks they have dealt with in recent weeks. LAC 27 Jac 24

Vikings (-1) at *Redskins – This is the toughest pick of the week for me. Minnesota’s quarterback situation continues to evolve, and they continue to win. That speaks to how good the rest of the roster is.

Week 10 NFL picks

Photo from NBC Sports

However, what Kirk Cousins pulled off in Seattle last week with a third of the roster battling injuries was nothing short of remarkable. It felt like a turning point for Washington’s season as well as his career. Everyone who has bought in to Cousins has eventually been burned.

I have never bought in until now. The Redskins’ playoff run starts with him leading his team to a mini upset here. Jay Gruden also deserves a ton of credit for the way he has worked around all the injuries. Was 21 Min 20

Saints (-3) at Bills – I am also out on Buffalo after last week. They had a golden opportunity to tighten their grip on their first playoff spot in 18 years and got run over by the Jets. Sean McDermott is the right guy in the long-term. However, with their remaining schedule, they needed to win last week. It looks like we are headed for at least one more year of the “same old Bills.”

Meanwhile, the Saints have given up losing after dropping their first two games. Drew Brees finally has a running game and a defense to help him out. New Orleans looks unstoppable because of it. NO 30 Buf 20

Jets (-2.5) at Buccaneers – The Bucs are the third and final member of my “officially out” club after last week. Jameis Winston clearly has the talent to be the building block of an NFL franchise, but not the maturity. His lack of maturity seems to have spread to the entire roster.

Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick will fill in for an injured Winston for the next few weeks. With the team sitting at 2-6, it hardly matters. The good news is Tampa Bay does have some good players, and the maturity issue is fixable, but not with this coaching staff.

Conversely, you will not find a coach who has done a better job this year than Todd Bowles. He has a team that many people predicted to go winless on the brink of being .500 in mid-November. Whatever he is selling, his guys are clearly buying in. NYJ 17 TB 10

Week 10 NFL picks

Photos from nocoastbias.com

Steelers (-10) at Colts – Indianapolis is awful, but not as awful as everyone thinks. With Jacoby Brissett at the helm, the Colts have won three games and lost two others by three points or less. They are a few bounces of the ball away from being a .500 football team.

The Steelers are one of a handful of AFC teams with six wins. As long as Le’Veon Bell is the centerpiece of the offense, they will remain tough to deal with.

Pittsburgh has more firepower and will win. However, they have a tendency to play down to their competition. This will be closer than it should be. Pit 28 Ind 24

Texans at Rams (-11.5) – Normally, swallowing this many points in an NFL game is foolish, but the Rams are rolling right now, and we saw what the Texans are without Deshaun Watson last week. 11.5 points does not feel like enough here. LAR 35 Hou 13

Cowboys at Falcons (-3) – Most people have bailed on the Falcons. They have lost three out of four, but they are a different team on their home turf. In recent home games, they have jumped out to early leads only to fade late.

With or without Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas is not built to play from behind. They may well prove to be the better team over the long haul, but this is simply a bad matchup. Atl 31 Dal 24

Giants (-2) at 49ers – These two teams have one win between them. It will be a tough game to watch and is also tough to predict. The 49ers just do not have much talent. Jimmy Garoppolo changes nothing in the short term. The Giants have plenty of talent, but most of it is injured or disgruntled. They win the coin flip here because Eli Manning will play well after all the talk about replacing him this week. NYG 17 SF 13

Patriots (-7.5) at Broncos – Last week, I joked about the Broncos defense going on strike. Unfortunately for Denver fans, that is basically what ended up happening. Even though they were up against the hottest quarterback on the planet, it was still shocking. Even more shocking is the fact that Denver still ranked in the top five in passing and total defense after giving up over 50 points last week. That is how good they had been.

This is a proud defense that has given Tom Brady fits over the years, especially in Denver. They did not take kindly to being humiliated in Philadelphia.

I expect them to bounce back strong and keep the home team in the game. However, Denver’s current offense facing the reigning Super Bowl champions is like bringing a plastic knife to a gunfight. NE 24 Den 20

Monday Night

Dolphins at Panthers (-9.5) – This is way too many points to swallow. Relatively speaking, the Dolphins offense has been a bit better in recent weeks. They have scored over 20 points in two of their last three games.

Defense has not been an issue for the Dolphins this year, and Carolina has struggled on offense at times. Despite winning two of their last three games, they have only scored 40 total points in that span. Jay Cutler was really good in the first half against Oakland last week. He finally seems to be finding a bit of rhythm.

Carolina is the better team here and will find a way to get the job done. However, they never seem to blow anyone out, especially when they are supposed to. Car 24 Mia 21

 

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2017 NFL power rankings: week 10

2017 NFL power rankings: Week 10

Many teams are starting to separate themselves into their positions this season. We are learning who the true contenders and pretenders are.

The Wild Card races will also be extremely entertaining over the next eight weeks. In the AFC, the two teams in the current Wild Card spots have three losses. There are eight other teams with four or five losses that are within two games of being in their shoes. In the NFC, the two Wild Card teams also have three losses, and there are seven teams with three, four or five losses.

The picture should become more clear each and every week. For now, here are the 2017 NFL power rankings: Week 10.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-8)

Last week: 32 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Detroit

Cleveland had a bye week, but nothing happened in Week 9 to prove there is a team worse than them.

Yes, the 49ers are also winless and sit at 0-9 rather than at 0-8, but if the two teams played, who would you pick to win? Cleveland will likely win at least one game at some point this season because going 0-16 is hard to do.

Either way, the Browns are still the Browns and will end up with a top three pick that they will find a way to mess up.

31. San Francisco 49ers (0-9)

Last week: 31 (no change)

Next game: home vs. New York Giants

The 49ers are not a team with talent that should be winless. They lack a quarterback, and everyone can tee off on the run game. The defense is young and just needs time to grow.

This week, they play another horrible team and have a shot at a win. Last week, I picked the 49ers to upset the Cardinals, and it didn’t happen. This week though, they will beat the Giants and move up in the rankings.

30. New York Giants (1-7)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 10

(Photo from https://sports.yahoo.com)

Last week: 30 (no change)

Next game: away vs. San Francisco

New York was completely overwhelmed and annihilated by the Rams. New York needs to hit the reset button and rebuild this franchise. It is time to trade Eli Manning and fire Ben McAdoo.

This offense needs to build around Odell Beckham Jr. Defensively, they need to build around Landon Collins.

New York can look to OBJ and Collins to lead a new era of Giants, but this season is done. McAdoo has already proven to be incapable of leading this team to success.

29. Indianapolis Colts (3-6)

Last week: 29 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Pittsburgh

Indy beat a Houston team that just lost all hope after Deshaun Watson tore his ACL. Beating Tom Savage is not an impressive feat. This team also shut down Andrew Luck for the season, which basically tells the world they are throwing in the towel for the season.

Jacoby Brissett has looked decent, but his team has little talent on either side of the ball. Three wins are decent for what they have, but they will be lucky to win three more games this season.

28. Denver Broncos (3-5)

Last week: 22 (-6)

Next game: home vs. New England

Denver got manhandled by the Philadelphia Eagles, so badly that the Broncos have now moved into the top 10 of the NFL draft. They will stay at the top of the draft and likely finish fourth in the AFC West.

This team went from a juggernaut defense that could carry an offense to a team that needs a rebuild. They have nothing on offense that can help a quarterback. A whole new offense is needed. On defense, Von Miller is still a stud, but the secondary has been split up and is getting old.

Vance Joseph looks lost as a head coach. He doesn’t challenge things he should, but then challenges things he shouldn’t. In his press conferences, he keeps talking about how good practice was. The man is straight up overwhelmed. The future looks bleak at best in Denver.

27. Miami Dolphins (4-4)

Last week: 27 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Carolina

So Miami is the epitome of an average NFL team. One week they look like world beaters, and the next they look like the Browns.

Two weeks ago, the Ravens slaughtered them 40-0. This week they gave the Raiders all they could handle, but fell short. Jay Cutler threw for a season-high 311 yards. It still wasn’t enough to get a win, which says all you need to know about the Dolphins.

Even if Jay Cutler plays like an MVP, this team can’t make the playoffs.

26. Baltimore Ravens (4-5)

Last week: 25 (-1)

Next game: Bye

Baltimore is playing good defense, ranking in the top 10 in points allowed per game. The one issue they have is stopping the run, as they allow 125.9 yards per game.

On the other hand, the offense runs the ball well for an average of 120.9 yards per game. This only results in the team scoring 21.1 points per game. The Ravens are competitive, but won’t make the playoffs.

25.  Arizona Cardinals (4-4)

Last week: 28 (+3)

Next game: home vs. Seattle

Despite losing Carson Palmer, the Cardinals were able to win behind Drew Stanton and Adrian Peterson. Peterson had a career-high 37 carries for 159 yards. Stanton threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns. That was all it took to beat the San Francisco 49ers, who are going through a rebuild.

When Arizona plays better teams, they won’t be able to give Peterson nearly 40 carries that often. He is way too old and injury prone to rely on this much.

Next week, Arizona faces Seattle, and the Cardinals will fall back to reality.

24. Chicago Bears (3-5)

Last week: 24 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Green Bay

The Bears are coming off a bye and face their biggest rival. Because the Bears are at home, they have a real shot to win with Aaron Rodgers out. Chicago’s defense is much better than anyone realizes.

The Bears will continue to run the ball to take pressure off of rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky. For the first time in a long time, the Bears will not have to outscore the Packers to win.

They may not make the playoffs this season, but the Bears might be building something special in the windy city.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6)

Last week: 23 (no change)

Next game: home vs. New York Jets

Tampa already has six losses, but are not as bad as their record. There is too much talent on this team for them to have this record, but sometimes that is the way the cookie crumbles.

When you look at the Bucs, the burning question is, what is their identity? The problem is they don’t have one.

Until Tampa can find their identity, they will continue to underachieve.

22. Cincinnati Bengals (3-5)

Last week: 21 (-1)

Next game: away vs. Tennessee

Cincinnati just can’t get above .500, and every time they get close, they run into a really good team. This team is on the brink of a complete implosion, and it showed when one of their most level-headed players, A.J. Green, threw Jalen Ramsey into a chokehold.

The Bengals offense will not help the defense out, who is holding up their end of the bargain. Until the offense can get rolling, the Bengals will remain in this downward spiral.

21. Houston Texans (3-5)

Last week: 14 (-7)

Next game: away vs. Los Angeles Rams

The Texans have lost their season with the loss of Deshaun Watson. He was the sole reason this team still had a shot to be competitive and possibly earn a playoff berth. Watson was not only leading the NFL in touchdown passes, but he had the Texans as the highest scoring team in the NFL.

An optimistic Texans fan should hope that the Texans tank the season to earn a high draft pick. If they get a great college player, then when Watson and the others who were injured and lost for the season return, the team will have enough talent to possibly win a Super Bowl.

20. Green Bay Packers (4-4)

Last week: 20 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Chicago

The Packers’ flaws are being exposed due to the injury to Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay’s defense can’t stop a nosebleed, and an offense led by Brett Hundley can not outscore other teams.

It is time for a change of scenery in Green Bay. It is evident that the success of the Packers is solely due to the greatness of Rodgers.

Green Bay needs a new general manager who will bring in more talent around him. They also need a new coach who can help build a respectable defense.

19. New York Jets (4-5)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 10

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America)

Last week: 26 (+7)

Next game: away vs. Tampa Bay

The Jets are stuck in the middle of the NFL. At 4-5, they have a shot at making the playoffs, but aren’t truly contenders for a spot or even a run.

At 4-5, they also won’t be getting a high enough pick to really change the team around. The Jets are stuck in Mediocreville, and there is no way out. Just when you expect them to win, they lose and vice versa.

We will see what they do this week, but whatever you expect to happen, the exact opposite will unfold.

18. Los Angeles Chargers (3-5)

Last week: 18 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Jacksonville

The Chargers are a competitive team, but aren’t quite ready to be a playoff team. The defense is young but making good strides. The Chargers are only giving up 19 points per game.

Part of the defensive success is coming from their ability to pressure the quarterback. Los Angeles averages the third most sacks per game at 3.3.

If the offense can just protect the ball, they will have a shot to win any game they play.

17. Oakland Raiders (4-5)

Last week: 19 (+2)

Next game: Bye

The Raiders are down but not out. Their bye comes at a great time to give them a chance to regroup.

Derek Carr is beginning to heat up, throwing for over 300 yards in three straight games. During Carr’s hot streak, the Raiders are putting up 24 points per game.

The problem with Oakland is the defense. As crazy and fictional as it might sound, the Raiders have yet to record an interception. The defense is also giving up 23.8 points per game.

If they can fix the defense during their bye, they can make a run in their second half of the season.

16. Atlanta Falcons (4-4)

Lst week 15 (-1)

Next game: home vs. Dallas

The Falcons are seriously hungover from the Super Bowl. This is true and a bit lazy to say, but it is fun to say a team is hungover.

Atlanta’s true problem is that the offense is no longer lighting up scoreboards. Matt Ryan is not playing at an MVP level and is really missing offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Ryan has just 11 touchdowns this season.

Dan Quinn was hired for his defensive genius, but Atlanta is ranked in the middle of the pack defensively. The road doesn’t get easier either, as their remaining opponents have a combined record of 38-27.

15. Buffalo Bills (5-3)

Last week: 7 (-9)

Next game: home vs. New Orleans

Buffalo has improved this season and might still make it to the playoffs. But they are still not a true contender.

The loss to the Jets shows that more than anything. Buffalo is building a great defense behind Sean McDermott. The offense, however, is a middle of the pack ranked offense, and that is what is going to hold them back.

They can’t lose games to teams like the Jets if they want to be considered a true contender.

14. Detroit Lions (4-4)

Last week: 16 (+2)

Next game: home vs. Cleveland

Beating Green Bay without Aaron Rodgers isn’t all that impressive, but any win in the NFL is tough to come by. The Lions were able to get back to .500 and are just two games back of the Vikings for first place in the NFC North.

The Lions will go as far as Matthew Stafford can take them, and typically that means 8-10 wins. 8-10 wins won’t be enough to beat out the Vikings for the division or even earn a Wild Card berth.

Detroit will sit perfectly in the middle of mediocrity for the rest of the season.

13. Seattle Seahawks (5-3)

Last week: 8 (-5)

Next game: away vs. Arizona

Seattle is going to be held back by their offensive line. Just when you think they are still going to be one of the best teams in the NFC, they lose at home to the Washington Redskins, who will finish as a .500 team.

The Seahawks can win a bunch of games due to the great defense and playmaking ability of Russell Wilson. However, they will not make it deep into the playoffs if they even make it.

12. Washington Redskins (4-4)

Last week: 17 (+4)

Next game: home vs. Minnesota

The Redskins are a better version of the Miami Dolphins. They look great one week and incompetent the next.

For now, they deserve the high ranking because they went on the road and beat the Seattle Seahawks. They will likely finish 8-8, but if they end up beating Minnesota, it will prove that they might be better then they have looked up to this point.

11. Tennessee Titans (5-3)

Last week: 12 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Cincinnati

Few are looking at the Titans as a serious threat, but they are quietly moving along this season. They are tied for first place in their division, and the three-team race has come down to a two-team race.

Marcus Mariota isn’t doing anything eye-popping, but has thrown only five interceptions in three games. Tennessee will continue to run the ball, and once Mariota gets hot, the Titans will have an unstoppable offense.

10. Carolina Panthers (6-3)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 10

(Photo from http://ftw.usatoday.com)

Last week: 13 (+3)

Next game: home vs. Miami

Cam Newton gets so much hate, but his receivers were dropping balls left and right last week. When it mattered most though, Cam took over the game and led Carolina to a win against a division rival.

For as bad as people say Cam is, he has the Panthers sitting at 6-3 and still in a prime position to earn a playoff berth. Carolina can get hot at any moment. Before you know it, they could end up with a first-round bye. Now, that probably won’t happen but anything is possible.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3)

Last week: 11 (+2)

Next game: home vs. Los Angeles Chargers

The Jaguars defense is really good and is the backbone of the team. From top to bottom, the Jaguars defense is elite. Jacksonville has the best scoring defense (14.6 points per game allowed), best pass defense (156.4 passing yards allowed per game) and are third in total defense (281.2 total yards allowed per game).

Jacksonville must continue to run the ball effectively to keep up their winning ways. It can be done, and Jacksonville is marching toward the playoffs with a championship caliber defense.

8. Dallas Cowboys (5-3)

Last week: 10 (+2)

Next game: away vs. Atlanta

Dallas got a season-changing win against Kansas City. Two weeks ago when they faced the 49ers, I mentioned it was the perfect time for them to get on a roll. Now they have won three straight.

The rest of the schedule remains challenging, but the Cowboys are back to the formula that gave them a ton of success last season. As long as they continue to run the ball well, they will stack up wins.

7. New Orleans Saints (6-2)

Last week 9 (+2)

Next game: away vs. Buffalo

After an 0-2 start and terrible defense, the Saints’ season looked like it was over. However, after winning their next six games, they are considered one of the best teams in the NFC.

Drew Brees continues to play at a high level, and they are getting help in the running game. The key to the Saints six-game winning streak is the improvement of the defense. Over their last five games, New Orleans is allowing just 15.4 points per game, including one shutout.

If they maintain this level of play defensively, then a Super Bowl run is possible.

6. Kansas City Chiefs (6-3)

Last week: 3 (-3)

Next game: Bye

Kansas City is in a rut with three losses in their last four games. They have cooled off mightly since their 5-0 start.

This is more due to the fact they are playing some tough opponents and losing close games. The Chiefs will still finish as one of the best teams in the AFC and will be a threat to the Patriots.

Their bye week comes at a good time to regroup for a run at a Lombardi Trophy.

5. Minnesota Vikings (6-2)

Last week: 5 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Washington

A bye week came at the perfect time for the Vikings. They played exactly half their season and got a chance to evaluate how they must finish in order to win the division. At 6-2, the Vikings are on pace for a 12 win season.

Minnesota fans should be cautious though because last season the Vikings went 5-0 before finishing 8-8. The second half of the Vikings schedule is much tougher than the first half was, but they should still find their way to 10 wins. They still have to face the Bears, Lions, Bengals and Packers, all games that they can and should win. The other four games against Washington, Carolina, Atlanta and the Los Angeles Rams could go either way.

Minnesota should finish between 10-12 wins, and if they do so, will finish as one of the top teams in the NFL.

4. Los Angeles Rams (6-2)

Last week: 6 (+2)

Next game: home vs. Houston

The greatest show on turf seems to have returned, but this time they are performing in Hollywood. Sean McVay is the leading candidate for coach of the year for what he has done with the Rams and their offense.

Jared Goff has made amazing strides in his second year. Goff has thrown for 2,030 yards, 13 touchdowns and just four interceptions in eight games. For comparison, in seven games last season, Goff threw for 1,089 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions.

McVay has also revitalized Todd Gurley, who has 1,024 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns. Los Angeles will continue to win games, and the playoff drought will end.

3. New England Patriots (6-2)

Last week 4: (+1)

Next game: away vs. Denver

Time to sound like a broken record. The Patriot way continues to bring about wins to the franchise. With Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, the Patriots will put up 12 or more wins and make it to the AFC Championship.

The only question is who will be their challenger and will it actually be a challenge. Speaking of challenges, they won’t have one this week because Denver isn’t very good.

The Patriots will be 7-2 in the next rankings, and if the Steelers falter, they can move up to No. 2.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2)

Last week: 2 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Indianapolis

The Steelers had the week off thanks to their bye week right at the halfway point of their season. Pittsburgh is back to getting it done on the defensive end. The Killer B’s (Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown) started to warm up before the bye, averaging 417 yards per game in their last three games.

Just like the Patriots, the Steelers will be playing deep into January with hopes of winning the Super Bowl.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (8-1)

Last week: 1 (no change)

Next game: Bye

Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind that the Eagles aren’t? They are one of the most balanced teams in the league, which is the reason they are 8-1. They average over 30 points per game with success in both phases of the offense. Philly throws for 240 yards and rushes for 136 yards per game.

Defensively, the Eagles are giving up less than 20 points per game and are 11th in total defense. Philly gets a break this week so they will remain at the top for at least another week.

 

Featured image from Getty Images

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Hagan's Haus 2017 NFL picks week 9

Hagan’s Haus 2017 NFL picks Week 9

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 on 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 is 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 9 NFL picks.

Last week: 10-3

Overall: 66-52

Teams on byes: Cleveland, Minnesota, New England, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Los Angeles Chargers

Thursday Night

Buffalo Bills (5-2) 45 @ New York Jets (3-5) 14: Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills, as Chris Berman would say. This team is marching toward the playoffs behind a great defense. Buffalo is only allowing teams to score 16.4 points per game.

This week, they are going to suffocate New York’s offense. The bold prediction is that LeSean McCoy is going to go over 150 yards, and the Bills rout the Jets by more than four scores.

Sunday Morning

Hagan's Haus 2017 NFL picks week 9

(Photo by Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Baltimore Ravens (4-4) 20 @ Tennessee Titans (4-3) 34: Baltimore is coming off a huge 40-0 win over Miami. Tennessee is not Miami. It is going to take more than good defense to win this game.

Tennessee is coming off a bye week, which gives them an advantage. The Titans will look to run the ball down the throat of the Ravens. Tennessee has the ninth-ranked rushing attack, while the Ravens can’t stop the run, giving up 132.8 yards per game.

The Titans will run the ball and open up the pass so that Marcus Mariota has a huge day with four total touchdowns.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-5) 34 @ New Orleans Saints (5-2) 37: These teams are trending in opposite directions. Both were expected to be in the other’s shoes.

Drew Brees has had some big games against the Bucs over the years, and this will be another. Tampa Bay is ranked 30th in pass defense.

New Orleans will put up a lot of points and push the Bucs to the depths of the sea. Okay, maybe not the sea, but definitely the depths of the NFC South.

Los Angeles Rams (5-2) 31 @ New York Giants (1-6) 27: New York should just throw in the towel on the season. They should have also sent away Eli Manning so that he doesn’t have to end his career on a rebuilding team.

The Giants have failed to live up to expectations and are going to lose their seventh game in eight tries. Los Angeles had a week off and will be looking to get back to having the No. 1 scoring offense in the NFL. Houston has surpassed them by 0.4 points. Todd Gurley will have 200 all-purpose yards to send the Rams to 6-2.

Denver Broncos (3-4) 16 @ Philadelphia Eagles (7-1) 24: Denver has no help at quarterback, and it is holding the entire team back. Philly can stack the box with seven, eight or even nine defenders, and they know that Trevor Siemian will not be able to beat them. Denver’s defense can only do so much to stop the bleeding this season.

The Eagles, on the other hand, are flying high behind Carson Wentz. The addition of Jay Ajayi is going to help this offense even more, even if it isn’t right away. Philly wins this one at home fairly easily.

Atlanta Falcons (4-3) 24 @ Carolina Panthers (5-3) 27: In what most would consider a head-scratching move, Carolina shipped out Kelvin Benjamin to Buffalo minutes before the trade deadline ended. This could be the move that actually improves Cam Newton’s play.

Before you go crazy, think about this. Cam Newton won league MVP when Kelvin Benjamin missed the entire season.

Cam will have a huge game this week. Atlanta snuck by the Jets and still do not look like a Super Bowl contender. This week they will lose ground when they go into Carolina.

Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) 20 @ Jacksonville Jaguars (4-3) 24: Sacksonville is hosting the Cincinnati Bengals this week, and it could mean another 10 sack performance by this great defense. This is the type of game the Jaguars must win if they are serious about making the playoffs.

The Bengals must also win this game to get back into the thick of things. Cincinnati can win this game, but it will come down to who can get to 20 points first, and the Jaguars will do so thanks to their rushing attack.

Indianapolis Colts (2-6) 21 @ Houston Texans (3-4) 34: Houston has found something special in Deshaun Watson, who is tied for first in the NFL in touchdown passes with 19. This man has also pushed the Texans to the No. 1 scoring team in the NFL. He is doing wonders, and once this team becomes fully healthy, they will be dangerous.

This week they get to take on the dreadful Indianapolis Colts. Houston should roll at home to get back to .500 on the season.

Sunday Afternoon

Hagan's Haus 2017 NFL picks week 9

(Photo by Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)

Arizona Cardinals (3-4) 17 @ San Francisco 49ers (0-8) 20: San Francisco made a blockbuster trade to acquire coveted backup Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots. He won’t be ready this week, but will be the future of this franchise at quarterback.

This week, they host the Cardinals in a game they can steal. If they contain the Cardinals offense, which is missing Carson Palmer and David Johnson, then the offense can ride Carlos Hyde to a win. With the moment from the big trade, the 49ers will do both of these to get their first win of the season.

Washington Redskins (3-4) 19 @ Seattle Seahawks (5-2) 27: Seattle is the NFC’s version of the Patriots. No matter their flaws, or what is going on in the rest of the league, they pile up wins.

Russell Wilson isn’t getting the national recognition he is used to, but is still having an excellent season. Wilson has 15 touchdowns and just four interceptions through the air. He will be a handful for the Redskins this week.

Washington lost what was somewhat of a playoff game last week. The Redskins are not going to win this game on the road, and they will miss the playoffs again with Kirk Cousins.

Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) 30 @ Dallas Cowboys (4-3) 27: Dallas has gotten back to the formula that made them successful last season, which is running the ball effectively. In the last two games, the Cowboys are averaging 217 yards on the ground.

To have a shot in this game, they must run the ball to control the clock and keep Kansas City’s offense off the field. They won’t be able to stop this offense for four quarters and ultimately will lose.

Sunday Night

Oakland Raiders (3-5) 34 @ Miami Dolphins (4-3) 20: Oakland has been very underwhelming. This is a must win, or they can kiss the playoffs goodbye.

Miami has officially thrown in the towel on the season by trading Jay Ajayi. Jay Cutler came out of retirement to collect millions and has averaged just over 150 yards passing per game.

Miami has nothing going for them anymore, and this shouldn’t be a contest. Derek Carr will have a big day to keep Oakland’s season alive.

Monday Night

Detroit Lions (3-4) 31 @ Green Bay Packers (4-3) 27: In the beginning of the season, this game had the possibility of being a great primetime game. But the Packers have lost Aaron Rodgers, and the Lions have lost three straight and do not look like a playoff team.

Neither team can run the ball effectively. This could be an all out aerial attack, and Matthew Stafford is better than Brett Hundley. The Lions will win in Green Bay to push both teams to 4-4.

 

Featured image from http://turnonthejets.com

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

2017 NFL power rankings Week 9

2017 NFL power rankings: Week 9

There were not a lot of changes to the power rankings after a pretty predictable week of football. Most the teams that were expected to win did their job and won the game. The playoff picture is starting to form and the races will begin to heat up as the weather around the country gets colder. Here are the 2017 NFL power rankings for Week 9.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-8)

2017 NFL power rankings Week 9

(Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)

Last week: 32 (no change)

Next game: Bye

Cleveland had the world stunned after the first half of their game in London. They were up on the Vikings 13-12 at the half.

The Browns went out in the second half and got outscored 21-3. This proves that the Browns have talent and they are still learning how to win.

They get a week to regroup with a bye and will be looking to find a win in the second half of the season so that they won’t become the second team to finish a season 0-16.

31. San Francisco 49ers (0-8)

Last week: 31 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Arizona

The 49ers got manhandled against the Eagles, but it was pretty expected. Philly is the best team in the NFL, and San Francisco doesn’t even have a win.

The 49ers will continue to struggle. Unless the Browns find a way to get a win, they won’t move much in these rankings. With time and patience though, John Lynch will rebuild the 49ers into winners. That much shows with their draft trades and their recent trade for Jimmy Garoppolo.

30. New York Giants (1-6)

Last week: 30 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Los Angeles Rams

The Giants are coming off of a bye, but it won’t do much to help their season. At 1-6, there is little to no chance that they can make the playoffs. The offense only puts up 16 points per game, which ranks 30th in the league.

The entire offense needs to be rebuilt from the offensive line up. This week won’t get any easier either as they take on the Rams.

29. Indianapolis Colts (2-6)

Last week: 29 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Houston

The Colts almost beat the Bengals, but almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Indianapolis hasn’t had a good defense in a very long time. Even when they won the Super Bowl, the defense was only good in the postseason. They are giving up over 400 yards and 30 points per game. With Houston up next, they will likely add another loss to their miserable season.

28. Arizona Cardinals (3-4)

Last week: 27 (-1)

Next game: away vs. San Francisco

Arizona had a bye week last week, but the rest of the season still looks dreadful. After losing David Johnson early in the season, the Cardinals have also lost Carson Palmer. Arizona’s offense is going to struggle to put up points even though they still have Larry Fitzgerald and Adrian Peterson.

The defense can’t lead this team as they are giving up the third most points in the NFL at 27.3 per game. Arizona needs to tank the rest of the season to get a good pick that can help this team compete in a tough division.

27. Miami Dolphins (4-3)

Last week: 20 (-7)

Next game: home vs. Oakland

The Dolphins were utterly and completely embarrassed against Baltimore. They looked more like a 2-4 team rather than a 4-2 team.

All season I have been saying this team isn’t as good as their record. They won’t win more than six games this season, and last week’s performance against the Ravens shows why. Miami has nothing to go to on offense, and it will be even worse with the trade of Jay Ajayi. The Dolphins only average 13.1 points per game, fewest in the NFL.

This team is going to stink and may even fall into the bottom three by the time the season ends.

26. New York Jets (3-5)

Last week: 26 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Buffalo

The Jets had a shot to beat Atlanta, but were outscored 9-3 in the fourth quarter. New York is having a great season considering that nobody expected them to have three wins after eight games. They won’t win more than five games total, but they aren’t as far away from being a playoff team as we all expected.

This week they get a divisional rival that is on a roll and will likely lose their fourth straight game.

25. Baltimore Ravens (4-4)

Last week: 28 (+3)

Next game: away vs. Tennessee

Despite losing Joe Flacco during their last contest, Baltimore smacked the Dolphins 40-0. The Ravens scored two touchdowns off of interceptions, one by C.J. Mosley and the second by Jimmy Smith.

Going forward, this team will need these type of performances to win games. Baltimore may also be without Flacco for an extended amount of time.

Either way, this team may be competitive, but won’t be a playoff contender.

24. Chicago Bears (3-5)

Last week: 25 (+1)

Next game: Bye

The Bears defense is keeping this team competitive. Chicago played the Saints tough, but ultimately fell short 20-12.

Not many people talk about it, but the Bears do have a very stingy defense. In their last three games, teams are only scoring an average of 15.7 points per game on them.

If Chicago can continue to run the ball effectively as Mitch Trubisky grows as a quarterback, then this team can pull off some upsets. In the end, the future looks bright in Chicago.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-5)

Last week: 24 (+1)

Next game: away vs. New Orleans

It is hard to condone the Bucs moving up a spot in these rankings, but the Dolphins getting annihilated forced a few teams to move up.

Just like the Dolphins are not as good as their record, the Bucs aren’t as bad as their record. Tampa has lost three of their five games by five points or less. This team is on the verge of being good. Once they learn how to win close games, they will be dangerous.

22. Denver Broncos (3-4)

2017 NFL power rankings Week 9

(Photo by Jack Dempsey / AP)

Last week: 19 (-3)

Next game: away vs. Philadelphia

It is so obvious that Denver needs help at quarterback. Trevor Siemian is incapable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL. He would make an excellent backup though.

The Broncos will be held back by their inability to pass. Teams can stack the box and stop the run, forcing them to throw the ball. That is exactly what the Eagles will do to send Denver to another loss.

21. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4)

Last week: 23 (+2)

Next game: away vs. Jacksonville

The Bengals were extremely close to having their season end. A loss to the Colts would have been a new low. Cincinnati managed to win the game 24-23 in the end.

The Bengals are clawing their way back into the playoff race. The task will remain difficult this week as they travel to Jacksonville to take on the toughest defense in the league. A win puts them back in the thick of the playoff race while a loss makes their task almost impossible.

20. Green Bay Packers (4-3)

Last week: 21 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Detroit

The Packers had a bye week to try and figure how they are going to ride Brett Hundley to some wins. The problem is the defense and the run game. Neither will take enough pressure off of Hundley to win enough games to catch the Vikings or earn a wildcard berth.

The Packers should tank the rest of the season and get a good draft pick to help out Aaron Rodgers. This week they take on the Lions, and there is a good chance they find a way to win.

19. Oakland Raiders (3-5)

Last week: 19 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Miami

In order for the Raiders to make the playoffs, they can only lose one more game the rest of the season. Having more than six losses will eliminate any team contending for the Wild Card.

To get their season on track, they have to travel to Miami to take on a bad Dolphins team. If Oakland losses this game, their season is over. If they win, it will likely be the confidence booster they need to revive their playoff hopes.

18. Los Angeles Chargers (3-5)

Last week: 17 (-1)

Next game: Bye

Los Angeles’ three-game win streak came to a halt, but nobody expected it to continue in New England. They did keep it close, losing by just eight points.

Heading into the bye, Los Angeles is 3-5, but are better than their record indicates. They could get hot and make a run for the playoffs, but it is unlikely.

The Chargers must continue to build their defense and tailor the offense around Melvin Gordon. Once they find the replacement to Philip Rivers, the Chargers can truly become contenders.

17. Washington Redskins (3-4)

Last week: 16 (-1)

Next game: away vs. Seattle

Washington was basically in a playoff game against Dallas and lost. They couldn’t stop the run at all as Ezekiel Elliott ran for 150 yards. The Redskins were also unable to run the ball themselves.

Washington doesn’t have a team talented enough to make the playoffs. To even have a chance to win games, they must protect the ball, and the Redskins have a minus turnover ratio. Moving forward, Washington will finish somewhere around six or seven wins.

16. Detroit Lions (3-4)

Last week: 14 (-1)

Next game: away vs. Green Bay

The Lions have stumbled to a 3-4 record. They can’t bring it together at the same time. One week the offense plays amazing. The next week, the defense does.

Matthew Stafford is doing his thing on offense, but the Lions still don’t run the ball well enough consistently. The Lions only average 82.1 rush yards per game. Until they balance their offense, this team will not find success.

15. Atlanta Falcons (4-3)

Last week: 18 (+3)

Next game: away vs. Carolina

The defending NFC Champions struggled against the Jets, but still found a way to win. Offensively, Atlanta is not clicking the way they were last season, and Matt Ryan is struggling. He has only thrown nine touchdowns in seven games.

If the Falcons are to become a contender again he must get this offense rolling. Until then the Super Bowl hangover will continue and the Falcons will be in danger of missing the playoffs.

14. Houston Texans (3-4)

Last week: 11 (-3)

Next game: home vs. Indianapolis

Houston put up a valiant fight against the Seahawks in Seattle, mostly because Deshaun Watson is a stud who nobody should have passed on.

Watson is giving the Houston fanbase something to look forward to. As he develops, he will have the Texans as Super Bowl contenders for the next ten years.

Right now, they are going to play .500 ball with all the injuries on defense and the lack of an offensive line. This week they should pull back to .500 with the Colts coming to town.

13. Carolina Panthers (5-3)

Last week: 14 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Atlanta

Carolina got back in the win column after a disappointing loss to the Bears. The defense stepped up by shutting out the Buccaneers.

Cam Newton is still struggling this season, and it is causing the up and down season from the Panthers. If Cam can start playing at the level he is capable of, then this team will become extremely dangerous.

This week they have a tough game against their rival Falcons. A win would help the Panthers stay on the heels of New Orleans for first in the NFC South.

12. Tennessee Titans (4-3)

Last week: 13 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Baltimore

Just like Jacksonville, Tennessee jumped up a spot while on a bye due to Houston’s loss. Tennessee is a roller coaster right now. They have had great highs and bigger lows.

Coming off their bye, they have a two-game winning streak and are fortunate enough to face Baltimore next, a team they are better than and should beat.

Tennessee has the ninth-ranked rushing attack, averaging 124.6 yards per game. They must continue running the ball to stack wins and fight for a playoff berth.

11. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-3)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 9

(Photo from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPdIb6uKkBI0)

Last week: 12 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Cincinnati

Thanks to a loss by the Texans, Jacksonville jumped up a spot while on a bye. The Jaguars are 4-3 but are still poised for a playoff appearance due to their historically great defense. Jacksonville ranks sixth in total defense (300.3 yards per game), first in pass defense (161.7) and is giving up just 15.7 points per game. The Jaguars have 33 sacks in just seven games and have also forced 16 turnovers this season. If they protect the ball they will continue to win games.

10. Dallas Cowboys (4-3)

Last week: 10 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Kansas City

Dallas’ game against Washington felt like a playoff game. Both teams were 3-3 and trying to keep their season afloat with a win. Dallas won the game 33-19 to keep their season alive.

The Cowboys have won two straight games because they are finally running the ball successfully. In those two games, Dallas has averaged 217 yards per game on the ground. They must keep that up if they want to find themselves in the playoffs.

9. New Orleans Saints (5-2)

Last week: 9 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Tampa Bay

The Saints are on a five-game winning streak and in control of the NFC South. Most predicted it would be the Falcons, while others were split between the Bucs and Panthers. Few expected it to be the Saints.

As usual, the Saints are doing it with their offense behind future Hall of Famer Drew Brees. New Orleans’ 27.3 points per game is sixth in the NFL.

The defense has stepped up lately, allowing just 344.7 yards per game in their last three games. That is why they have won five straight.

8. Seattle Seahawks (5-2)

Last week: 8 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Washington

Seattle was in a shootout against the Houston Texans. Fortunately for them, Russell Wilson threw for a career-high 452 yards and four touchdowns to lead them to a win. The lack of a strong offensive line has yet to hurt the Seahawks. Defensively, Seattle had a bad week, but is still the strength of this team.

They should get another win this week against the Redskins. The road to the Super Bowl in the NFC will require a path through Seattle if they keep this up.

7. Buffalo Bills (5-2)

Last week: 7 (no change)

Next game: away vs. New York Jets

Buffalo had their most convincing win of the season, beating Oakland 34-14. The Bills are for real and can truly challenge the Patriots for the top spot in the AFC East.

Buffalo, like many of the top teams in the NFL this season, is doing it with defense. Buffalo is tied for second in points allowed with 16.4 points per game.

The Bills don’t need to do much offensively to win games, and that is why the Bills are seeing success.

6. Los Angeles Rams (5-2)

Last week: 6 (no change)

Next game: away vs. New York Giants

The Rams are coming off a bye and are now in second place in both scoring offense and in their division. They have the same record as the Seahawks, but Seattle beat them once this season.

This week, they get to face the Giants, who only have one win this year. Los Angeles is going to run the ball and play solid defense to get another win. If they lose, they could see a significant drop in the rankings.

5. Minnesota Vikings (6-2)

Last week: 5 (no change)

Next game: Bye

Early on against the Browns, the Vikings looked lackadaisical. They were also in danger of having the worst loss in the NFL this season. At halftime, they were trailing 13-12, but outscored the Browns 21-3 in the second half to pull out a win and stay atop the NFC North division.

Moving forward, the Vikings will continue to rely on their Super Bowl caliber defense to win games and get into the playoffs.

4. New England Patriots (6-2)

Last week: 4 (no change)

Next game: Bye

The Patriots head into the bye on pace for 12 wins, also known as a typical Patriots season. New England has gotten to six wins by improving their defense.

In the first four games of the season, New England was giving up 32 points per game. In the last four games, the Patriots are only giving up 12.8 points per game.

It may sound like a broken record, but the Patriots will continue to win, continue to be a Super Bowl contender and continue to remain in the top five of everyone’s power rankings.

3. Kansas City Chiefs (6-2)

Last week: 3 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Dallas

The current run Alex Smith is on is quite legendary. After half a season, Smith is completing 69.1 percent of his passes with an average of 8.4 yards per attempt, which is a career high. He has also thrown for 2,181 yards 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Yes, you read that correctly. Alex Smith has no interceptions through the first eight games. This offense is clicking on all cylinders and should continue to lead this team to victories.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2)

Last week: 2 (no change)

Next game: Bye

Pittsburgh heads into their bye with a big road win to push their record to a stellar 6-2. They are on pace for 12 wins and a possible first-round bye.

The Steelers are led by a defense that is a nightmare for opponents’ passing attacks. Pittsburgh has the second-best pass defense, allowing just 180 yards per game. The offense is finally getting hot as well, scoring 20 points or more in their last two games.

The Steelers will get some rest before facing a very easy second-half schedule. Their remaining opponents have a combined record of 26-32.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (7-1)

Last week: 1 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Denver

Philly continues to roll through the competition. Their latest victim was the San Francisco 49ers, who they beat down 33-10.

The Eagles are firing on all cylinders. The offense is ranked sixth in total yards (371.8), 11th in passing yards (242.5), fifth in rushing yards (129.2) and fourth in points (29).

Defensively, the Eagles rank 14th in total defense (327.1), first in rush defense (70.4) and 10th in points allowed (19.5). They are a balanced team, and the only thing that can beat the Eagles at this point is themselves.

 

Featured image from SportsFormulator

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