Stack your money Sunday’s: Week 7

Week six review (0-3) OVERALL: 12-6

Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings 23 Green Bay Packers 10

A legal, but dirty, hit by Minnesota Vikings star Anthony Barr cost the Packers their season. In the first quarter, Aaron Rodgers went down and suffered a broken collarbone. Brett Hundley took over, and was an absolute disaster. The Packers were only down four at half, and still had a legitimate shot to win, but Hundley was just terrible. The UCLA standout finished with three interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 39.6.

This was just an ugly game, and totally unlucky for bettors. Both teams had trouble getting much going, as neither were able to score a touchdown in the second half. Credit to Minnesota’s defense, and with the Rodgers injury, the Vikings should be able to win the NFC North.

Los Angeles Rams @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-2.5)

Los Angeles Rams 27 Jacksonville Jaguars 17

“Greg The Leg” has been vital for the Rams (LA Times)

This was another rather unlucky game. Had I known the Jags would be a total disaster on special teams, I would have avoided this matchup.

On the opening kickoff, Rams return man Pharoh Cooper took it the house on a 103-yard touchdown return. In the second quarter, Los Angeles blocked a Jaguars punt and returned it for a score.

The Jaguars defense remained elite, only allowing one touchdown to the opposition. Blake Bortles played alright, and Leonard Fournette, who got injured in the game, tore up the Rams defense. Fournette ran for 130 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown in response to Cooper’s kickoff return. Rams special teams won them this game, and we haven’t even mentioned Greg Zuerlein, who hit two field goals, including one from 56 yards out.

Los Angeles Chargers @ Oakland Raiders (-3)

Los Angeles Chargers 17 Oakland Raiders 16

While Derek Carr looked amazing against the Chiefs in their Thursday night win, last Sunday was a totally different story. Carr, who was most likely playing injured, threw a pair of interceptions and had a quarterback rating of 67.5. The Raiders just couldn’t move the football, with a total of only 274 yards.

Philip Rivers deserves some love, as he led the Chargers down the field, setting up a Nick Novak game-winner as time expired. Solid win for Los Angeles, but at 2-4, it’s going be tough to climb into playoff contention.

WEEK 7 PICKS

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Buffalo Bills (-3)

PICK: BILLS TO COVER

The Bills are a lot better than people think, and Jameis Winston is not as good as we thought he would be. Winston is questionable, but is expected to start. Winston looked bad against the Patriots, and terrible against the Vikings. This is a Buffalo defense who has allowed the fewest points in all of the NFL, and should have no problem shutting down Winston.

Expect a big game from LeSean McCoy (SportingNews)

Buffalo has allowed fewer passing touchdowns than any team in the league, and currently rank seventh in fewest rushing yards allowed.  The Bills are only allowing 85 yards per game on the ground. In the 12 previous games in which the Bucs rushed for 85 yards or less, they went 3-9. Tampa Bay is a pass heavy team, and Buffalo is second In the NFL in interceptions.

The Buccaneers defense is quite abysmal. They currently rank 30th in total yards allowed and 31st in passing yards allowed. They have the fewest sacks in the league, and if you can’t get to Tyrod Taylor, he will make you pay with his feet.

The Bucs are also allowing the fourth highest quarterback rating to opposing quarterbacks. They aren’t any prettier in the red zone, allowing the second most red zone opportunities for opposing teams.

Tyrod will not put up huge numbers, but he rarely turns the ball over, and has kept Buffalo in every game. The last time LeSean McCoy played the Bucs, he ran for 116 yards, so expect big things from Shady.

Arizona Cardinals @ Los Angeles Rams (-3.5)

PICK: RAMS TO COVER

As weird as this may sound, the Rams are legit. They are still first in the league in scoring, and fourth in the league in third down percentage. Arizona’s defense currently ranks 28th in points allowed, and 30th in points allowed per red zone trip.

Carson Palmer is washed up, and has been getting absolutely demolished this season. He has already thrown six interceptions, and has been a sacked a grand total of 21 times. Because of this, Arizona is 24th in points per drive. They almost blew a huge lead to Ryan Fitzpatrick. I think that says enough.

Although Adrian Peterson had a nice game last week, I don’t see it happening again. On the flip side, Todd Gurley is averaging over four yards per carry in his career versus the Cardinals. The Rams defend the pass well, and are first in the league in field goals per drive, all thanks to the best kicker in the league, Greg Zuerlein. Look for the Rams to continue their early success.

Atlanta Falcons @ New England Patriots (-3.5)

PICK: PATRIOTS TO COVER

The Super Bowl rematch preview is a lot different than we expected. The Patriots defense is a disaster, and Matt Ryan is back to being his average self. He has thrown six interceptions and his Falcons are a totally different team than last season. They have already lost to the Bills and the Dolphins.

It should also be noted that they were literally inches away from losing to the Lions, and an end zone drop away from losing to the Bears. Atlanta’s defense has caused the fewest turnovers in the league, and cannot get off the field. They currently rank 31st in average time per opposing drive.

Matt Ryan has never beaten the Patriots, but this should be a shootout. Expect New England’s defense to look a little better, and for the Pats to win by at least seven.

 

Featured image by Bleacher Report

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2017 NFL power rankings: week 7

2017 NFL power rankings: week 7

The NFL has the least predictable league in the country. Even with the countless injuries to the game’s biggest stars, it is hard to determine who is good, who is average and who is going to be picking in the top 10. Unless you’re the Browns, Giants or 49ers, we know those teams flat out stink. Still, the Giants upset the Broncos proving that in the NFL, any given Sunday is a truly viable slogan. With all the craziness and unpredictability happening in the NFL this season, it is difficult to rank the teams. Nobody ever agrees with power rankings as it is so this week’s rankings may cause an even bigger stir. Here are the 2017 NFL power rankings: week 7 edition.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-6)

Last week: 31 (-1)

Next game: home vs. Tennessee

Cleveland got a first-hand look at DeShaun Watson last week. They are kicking themselves seeing a guy they passed on leading the NFL in touchdown passes as a rookie. Cleveland may never find a guy to succeed at quarterback for them, there has to be some kind of a curse. Per usual, the Browns are terrible and the number one overall pick is a realistic possibility. The only question is how will they mess it up when it comes time to make the pick?

31. San Francisco 49ers (0-6)

Last week: 30 (-1)

Next game: home vs. Dallas

The 49ers are struggling through their rebuild but there is still a lot to be optimistic about looking toward the future. Their defense is going to be elite because John Lynch will continue to build the defense in upcoming drafts. The offense needs to build around Carlos Hyde who can be a workhorse for this offense. Until Lynch has two or three more drafts the Niners are going to be bottom feeders. If done right the wait will be worth it.

30. New York Giants (1-5)

Last week: 30 (+2)

Next game: home vs. Seattle

New York finally got a win, surprisingly against the Denver Broncos. The defense played lights out forcing two interceptions, returning one of them for touchdowns. The Giants also only allowed the Broncos to score 10 points. This was the defense many were expecting to see in the beginning of the season. New York was able to run the ball successfully too, which took pressure off Eli Manning. It was an unexpected win but it doesn’t change their season much. The Giants will still end up with a top 10 pick.

29. Los Angeles Chargers (2-4)

Last week: 29

Next game: home vs. Denver

The Chargers are a few plays away from being 4-2 but until they find a way to win more games they will remain low in these power rankings. They got a big win against Oakland but the Raiders seem to be trending the wrong way. If they find a way to beat Denver they will earn a ton of respect but that is a big if.

28. Indianapolis Colts (2-4)

Last week: 28 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Jacksonville

The Colts blew a lead against the Titans to fall to 2-4. There is little the Colts are doing well this season and though it sounds like a broken record, they won’t go anywhere without Andrew Luck. The positive note is that despite their struggles they are only one game back from first place. If Luck can return soon they can still find a way to win the division but as of now, they look like a team that will be picking top five come April.

27. Baltimore Ravens (3-3)

Last week: 20 (-7)

Next game: away vs. Minnesota

The Ravens lost to Jacksonville 44-7 but this loss to the Bears is a season-low for them. Baltimore is only scoring 19 points per game and the offense can’t pass the ball. The Ravens rank 31st in passing yards per game with 159.7. Opposing teams can load the box to stop the run and fear nothing else. The deeper the Ravens go into the season, the harder it will be to run and get wins behind a defense that will be on the field often.

26. New York Jets (3-3)

Last week: 26 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Miami

The Jets are playing better than many could have predicted and exceeded all expectations. It looked like the tank was in, but they are somehow 3-3. Most of what the Jets do, they do is relatively average. They rank 13th in points allowed (21.7 per game), 15th in passing yards allowed (219.2 per game), 18th in rushing offense (105.2), 22nd in passing yards (213.5 per game) and 21st in total offense (318.7 yards per game). New York isn’t the laughing stock we predicted They are an average team but they still aren’t a playoff team either.

25. Chicago Bears (2-4)

2017 NFL power rankings

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

Last week: 25 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Carolina

Chicago got a huge road win in Baltimore in Mitchell Trubisky’s first ever road start in his second career start. It wasn’t pretty but the Bears played solid defense and ran for 231 yards to make life easy for their rookie quarterback. This is the formula for success in Chicago. Following this model will notch the Bears a couple of wins but they won’t be a player this season. This week the host Carolina and shutting down Cam Newton will be difficult. A win is possible but very unlikely.

24. Oakland Raiders (2-4)

Last week: 24 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Kansas City

Who are these imposters that have been wearing Raider jerseys since week three? After an impressive 2-0 start the Raiders have lost four straight games and are falling into a dangerous zone in the NFL. If they don’t right the ship soon they will not make the playoffs. Last year’s prolific offense is missing in action and there needs to be a missing person report filed for Amari Cooper. Cooper has 18 receptions for 146 yards and one touchdown. If the offense doesn’t find their groove then this team has no shot.

23. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3)

Last week: 21 (-3)

Next game: away vs. Pittsburgh

The Bengals are coming off a bye and their next task is the Pittsburgh Steelers who beat the last undefeated team in the NFL. Cincy is eighth in the NFL in time of possession and that is going to be key this week in their game. If they can keep the Pittsburgh offense off the field there will be less opportunity for the triple B’s to hurt them. A win against the Steelers on the road could propel the Bengals to new heights.

22. Miami Dolphins (3-2)

Last week: 23 (-1)

Next game: home vs. New York Jets

The Dolphins are one of the most confusing teams in the NFL. They open the season in week two after a hurricane to beat the Chargers 19-17. They then lose consecutive games scoring a total of six points and got shut out by the Saints. Everyone knows the Saints don’t have a defense capable of great things. After those two atrocious weeks, they win against Tennessee and on the road in Atlanta. It remains to be seen if the Dolphins are pretenders or contenders.

21. Green Bay Packers (4-2)

Last week: 4 (-17)

Next game: home vs. New Orleans

The Packers’ season is done, put a fork in them now. Aaron Rodgers covered up a lot of the Packers deficiencies with his greatness. Without Rodgers, the Packers wouldn’t have beaten Dallas or Cincinnati. Rodgers led epic comeback drives to win those games that very few men in this world could lead. That is the difference from 4-2 and 2-4 for Green Bay. Moving forward the running game and defense are going to need to step up. Green Bay only averages 88.3 yards per game on the ground. The defense ranks 14th in the NFL in total yards. It is unlikely the Packers improve in these areas well enough to keep the season alive.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3)

Last week: 18 (-2)

Next game: away vs. Buffalo

Tampa Bay had high expectations for this season but have fallen to 2-3 after their loss to Arizona. They couldn’t slow down Adrian Peterson who ran for 134 yards. This team will continue to struggle as long as they give up 403.4 yards per game. Their secondary deserves most of the blame for giving up 301.6 yards per game. They don’t have to worry about a dangerous passing attack against Buffalo but going into Buffalo is still going to be difficult.

19. Denver Broncos (3-2)

Last week: 5 (-14)

Next game: away vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Denver looked horrendous against the winless New York Giants. They couldn’t stop the run against a team that had only been averaging 77.8 yards per game. The defense needs to get back to stopping the run to force teams into passing situations so that their deadly pass rush can be effectively. Offensively Trevor Siemian is proving to be an average quarterback. Denver needs to find someone who teams are scared of or they will continue to struggle offensively.

18. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3)

Last week: 10 (-8)

Next game: away vs. Indianapolis

Jacksonville seems to be in the beginning stages of greatness. They are still learning how to win. The defense is on its way to becoming Super Bowl elite thanks to their awesome secondary. Jacksonville has the third ranked passing defense in the NFL giving up just 166 yards per game through the air. To become a truly dominant defense the front seven need to stop the run. That is their biggest issue as they give up 145.7 yards per game. They also need to continue feeding the beast in the backfield. If they do that they can find a way into the playoffs.

17. Arizona Cardinals (3-3)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 7

(Photo Credit:https://www.si.com)

Last week: 27 (+10)

Next game: away vs. Los Angeles Rams

It would be an understatement to say that Adrian Peterson sparked this team. He flat out ignited the offense and it led to a win against Tampa Bay who was a very popular pick to make the playoffs. Peterson had 27 carries in his first four games this season but got 26 this week for the Cardinals. He ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns as well. If he maintains this type of production he will end up in the M.V.P race. Let’s see if he can keep this up this week against the Rams weak run defense which ranks 29th in the league.

16. Washington Redskins (3-2)

Last week: 19 (+3)

Next game: away vs. Philadelphia

The Redskins are coming off a bye week and their next opponent is the red-hot Philadelphia Eagles. These two teams already met this season once in Washington and it didn’t go well for the Redskins. Philly won the game 30-17 by scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter. Washington is going to try and run the ball to control the clock and win this game but it is unlikely. The Redskins are not going to stay this high unless they find a way to win in Philadelphia.

15. Dallas Cowboys (2-3)

Last week: 8 (-7)

Next game: away vs. San Francisco

Some may think it is unfair for the Cowboys to fall so far after a bye week but there are reasons for it. First off, there are teams that had a chance to show they were better and some teams, like the Vikings, Saints and Rams, look like better teams. The second reason is that the Ezekiel Elliot drama is ongoing. They should still win against San Francisco but catching Philly is going to be a season long challenge.

14. Detroit Lions (3-3)

Last week: 8 (-8)

Next game: Bye

The Lions couldn’t ask for their bye at a better time. It is time for them to regroup. Detroit has a very good shot at winning the NFC North after the Vikings knocked out Aaron Rodgers for the season. The Lions have also already beaten the Vikings in Minnesota. After this break they need to come out firing. There are points where this defense looks great. There are also times the offense looks great but they need to get it all clicking together. Detroit can still prove to be a playoff team but they better end this losing streak after the bye week.

13. Tennessee Titans (3-3)

Last week: 15 (+2)

Next game: away vs. Cleveland

It took a while but the Titans finally started rolling in the second half against Indianapolis. Marcus Mariota shook off the rust to throw for over 300 yards. Mariota connected with Taiwan Taylor on a 53 yard touchdown with 5:29 remaining in the game to give the Titans the lead before Derek Henry sealed the game with a 72 yard touchdown run. This team got a big win before they head to Cleveland. This is the point in the season where they start the train towards the playoffs.

12. Atlanta Falcons (3-2)

Last week: 7 (-5)

Next game: away vs. New England

I tried to tell people Atlanta wouldn’t make the playoffs this season because of their epic collapse in the Super Bowl. At some point they were going to be in a situation where their palms would get sweaty and those horrible memories would creep back into the front of their mind. That happened when they got a 17-0 lead at home against Miami. The Falcons blew a 17-0 lead and lost 20-17. Now maybe they were looking ahead to their matchup against New England but either way the loss was painful. They can’t afford games like that solely due to the psychological effect it will have. Hopefully they don’t blow a huge lead in New England because if they do this team will never recover.

11. Seattle Seahawks (3-2)

Last week: 11 (no change)

Next game: away vs. New York Giants

Seattle is also coming off a bye week and no matter what they did during that time, it isn’t going to fix their offensive line. Until that happens the Seahawks are a fringe top 10 team. The defense is still doing great things like only allowing 17.4 points per game which currently ranks sixth. The Legion of Boom is still the team’s identity. This week they face a Giants team coming off their first win of the season. It will be tough for Seattle to fly across the county and get a win despite the how bad the Giants are. They can’t take them lightly or they will lose and fall greatly in the rankings.

10. New Orleans Saints (3-2)

Last week: 22 (+12)

Next game: away vs. Green Bay

New Orleans is a completely different team than the one that started out 0-2. The defense has looked somewhat better but the offense seems to be rolling. Drew Brees is leading the offense to 29 points per game behind his 258.4 passing yards per game. This week they get to face Green Bay who’s secondary is decimated by injury. It should create a huge advantage for the Saints and they can continue their winning streak.

9. Houston Texans (3-3)

Last week: 17 (+8)

Next game: Bye

Deshaun Watson is slowly becoming a superstar. It is clear the man is going to be an electrifying player for years to come. Without him, this team would barely be competitive. The defense has suffered major injuries and is giving up 24.5 points per game. Watson is doing magical work with a bad offensive line. The Texans get a week off and once they return to playing they will be in the race for the AFC South crown.

8. Buffalo Bills (3-2)

Last week: 9 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Tampa Bay

Buffalo is coming off a bye and preparing to take on a Bucs team that cannot stop the run. Buffalo likes to run the ball but aren’t doing so as efficiently as they like averaging just 106.6 yards per game. This week LeSean McCoy will have a huge game. As the Bills try and control the clock the defense will have to defend for a fewer amount of plays making them fresher. They already have the number one scoring defense and with more rest, they could look even better. Buffalo is trending upwards and will fight for a playoff spot.

7. Los Angeles Rams (4-2)

Last week: 14 (+7)

Next game: home vs. Arizona

The Rams have the number one scoring offense in the NFL at 29.8 points per game. Todd Gurley is the engine of the offense and it is because of his play they have been successful on that side of the ball. Gurley has 521 yards on the ground and 245 yards receiving on the season. He puts a strain on opposing defenses, making the game easier for Jared Goff. Defensively, Wade Phillips has this team thriving in attacking the quarterback. Los Angeles is tied for second in the NFL in sacks. Next, they get Arizona in a divisional game. The Rams have the opportunity to stay ahead of the pack in the division if they can defend their home field.

6. Minnesota Vikings (4-2)

Last week: 13 (+7)

Next game: home vs. Baltimore

Minnesota just finds a way to keep the boat rowing. Despite constant injuries at the quarterback position, and other positions as well, the Vikings continue playing elite defense. Minnesota ranks fifth in points allowed per game (17.2), 14th in passing defense (216.8), third in rush defense (78.7) and fifth in total defense giving up 295.5 yards per game. With a defense this talented, the offense needs to just protect the ball and be average. Minnesota is doing more than that though averaging 356 yards per game which ranks 10th in the NFL. Now that Aaron Rodgers is out for the season the NFC North race is down to Minnesota and Detroit. The Vikings’ defense makes them the favorites to win it.

5. New England Patriots (4-2)

Last week: 6 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Atlanta

Don’t pay attention to New England and they will silently do what they always do. They will finish with 12 or more wins and be Super Bowl contenders. All paths to being a champion lead through the Patriots whether you’re in the AFC or NFC. This week they get another chance to play the Falcons in a Super Bowl rematch. The defense is really struggling ranking 30th or lower in points allowed, rush yards allowed, pass yards allowed and total yards allowed. It isn’t something to worry about because as proven in the past, the Patriots improve as the season progresses. They will be a top-five team for the rest of the season.

4. Carolina Panthers (4-2)

Last week: 3 (-1)

Next game: away vs. Chicago

The Panthers lost a tough game at home to the best team in the NFC. Carolina will use this as a learning experience to improve as a whole. They are in the top 10 in scoring defense giving up 20.3 points per game. This is helping the offense that is struggling to protect the ball. If the offense starts to protect the ball then the Panthers will become a scarier opponent. The Panthers should get an easy win this week in Chicago. If they lose this game then the panic may start on Carolina.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2)

Last week: 12 (+9)

Next game: home vs. Cincinnati

The Steelers are back after a huge road win in Arrowhead. Nobody is talking about it but the Pittsburgh defense is one of the best in the league right now. They give up just 17 points per game, fourth best in the NFL. The strength of the defense is the first ranked passing defense. The Steelers are only allowing 153.5 yards through the air. The offense will come around to complete this team as a true juggernaut.

2. Philadelphia Eagles (5-1)

Last week: 2 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Washington

The Eagles continue to roll on both sides of the ball. The offense has a prolific offense behind second-year quarterback Carson Wentz. Philly averages the third most yards in the NFL with 383.2 per game. The defense is also playing outstanding. They are the best run stuffing team allowing just 65.7 yards per game. If they continue dominating both sides of the ball then a Lombardi Trophy may be in the immediate future.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (5-1)

Last week: 1 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Oakland

There is no need to overact to the loss the Chiefs suffered this past week. They weren’t going to go undefeated and they lost to a team that will be contending for the Super Bowl. Kansas City also should have won that game. They have to get over the hump of beating the Steelers because there is a good chance they meet them in the playoffs. But again, no need to overreact, they still have a good defense and extremely explosive offense. The Chiefs are still the best team in the NFL.

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Stack your money Sunday’s: Week 6

WEEK FIVE REVIEW (3-0) OVERALL: 12-3

Baltimore Ravens (+3) @ Oakland Raiders

Baltimore Ravens 30 Oakland Raiders 17

I’ll never understand E.J. Manuel being favored in an NFL football game, but anyways, this game was rather predictable. Ravens had no problem scoring early against a weak Raiders defense, as Baltimore scored 24 of their 30 points in the first half. Manuel did not turn the ball over, but only managed to throw for 159 yards, and completed half of his passes.

On the other hand, Joe Flacco was rather efficient, and let the running backs control most of the offense. Justin Tucker had a perfect day, notching three field goals, and went a perfect three for three on extra points. With this win, the Ravens are now tied with the Steelers for best record in the AFC North.

 

Seattle Seahawks (+1.5) @ Los Angeles Rams

Seattle Seahawks 16 Los Angeles Rams 10

The Rams were a Cooper Kupp catch away from beating Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks. Luckily, had Kupp hauled in the last minute touchdown, the Seahawks still would have covered. Nonetheless, great win for Seattle, as they often struggle visiting the Rams.

The Seahawks defense came up big and made Jared Goff look like the rookie version of himself. Goff threw a pair of interceptions, and had a quarterback rating 48.9. He also had an abysmal completion percentage of 46.81.

Although Seattle now sits at a comfortable 3-2, the offense still has a lot of work to do. The Seahawks had a real hard time running the football against a weak Rams run defense, and Russell Wilson did not look great. The Rams had over 100 more total yards, so if it weren’t for their five turnovers, Seattle would have gotten blown out.

 

Green Bay Packers (+3) @ Dallas Cowboys

Green Bay Packers 35 Dallas Cowboys 31

For a second, it looked like Dallas was going to win this one, but then I realized if you give Aaron Rodgers a minute and a timeout, you might as well quit. Rodgers was absolutely sensational, throwing three touchdowns, with a quarterback rating of 122.9. The sneakiest, elite performance was Aaron Jones. A rookie from UTEP, Jones rushed for 125 yards and scored his second touchdown in as many weeks.

The unsung hero of last week, Aaron Jones (Lombardi Ave)

Dallas had more first downs, total yards, third downs converted, and more time with the football than Green Bay, but it’s hard to beat Aaron Rodgers when you turn the ball over three times. Through five weeks, Dallas already has tied their loss total from last season. Not to mention they have Ezekiel Elliot’s suspension starting next game.

 

WEEK 6 PICKS

Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Minnesota Vikings

PICK: PACKERS TO COVER

As you can tell, this is now the second week in a row betting on the Packers, hence, Aaron Rodgers is really good and I would trust him with my life. Listen, the guy is 12-6 in his career vs. Minnesota, and has a quarterback rating north of 112. He’s completing 68% of his passes in these games and has 39 touchdowns.

The Vikings barely squeaked by against the Bears, who started a rookie quarterback for the first time, and are one of the most injured teams in the league. Last year, Minnesota ranked third in fewest passing yards allowed. Today, they are 20th. However, they do defend the run well, so it will be interesting to see if they will be able to slow down Aaron Jones, who looks to be the next Ahman Green.

The Packers are forcing a bunch of turnovers, and sit fifth in the league in that department. Their offense also stays on the field. Green Bay is 27th in three and outs, and also are arguably the most efficient team when it comes to scoring in the red zone. The Pack are first in the league in points per red zone trip, as well as first in touchdowns per red zone trip.

Sam Bradford will not play this Sunday, so this game could be over in a hurry. Minnesota is firth worst in touchdowns per drive, and are currently punting on 50 percent of their drives. Look for Aaron Rodgers to throw all over this team, and for Case Keenum to struggle moving the chains for Minnesota.

 

Los Angeles Rams @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-2.5)

PICK: JAGUARS TO COVER

Betting for the Jaguars to cover just sounds like a fun time. Honestly though, Jacksonville is one of the big surprises of the year. They are fifth in scoring and are first in rushing. The Jags defense is insanely elite. That sounds crazy, but they are one of four teams in NFL history with 20+ sacks, 10+ interceptions and 4+ defensive touchdowns through five games in a season. The Jaguars have allowed the second fewest points in the league, rank first in turnovers in created, first in interceptions, and third in fewest passing yards allowed. Jacksonville also allows the fewest points per drive.

We saw what Jared Goff looks like against a good defense last week, so expect more of the same this week. Also, the Rams are allowing the sixth most rushing yards, and the most rushing touchdowns in the league. Jacksonville loves to run the football, as we saw last week against the Steelers. Leonard Fournette and Chris Ivory combined for 222 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Bortles doesn’t look great, but the Jaguars are doing a wonderful job of masking his flaws. He is throwing less and they are winning more. In last week’s slaughtering off the Steelers, Bortles only threw a total of 14 passes. The Rams are 23rd in points allowed, and it is highly doubtful Jared Goff starts out 3-0 on the road. Have to believe in Post Marrone and the Jaguars squad to get another W.

 

Los Angeles Chargers @ Oakland Raiders (-3)

PICK: RAIDERS TO COVER

During our weekly podcast, the Raiders were a one-point favorite, and now that it is three, I am not even remotely worried. Derek Carr is playing, and his Raiders have won their last four matchups against the Chargers. The Raiders have lost three in a row, so this is essentially a must win. They cannot drop to 2-4 in a division with the Chiefs and Broncos.

Derek Carr and the Raiders look to remain hot against the Chargers (Raiders.com)

Because of Carr’s injury, Oakland will most likely run the ball a lot. This would make sense because the Chargers have allowed the most rushing yards in the league. They are literally allowing five yards per carry to opposing backs. LeGarrette Blount ran wild against them, so expect a big game from Marshawn Lynch.

With Carr healthy, this is a totally different team. Philip Rivers has already thrown five interceptions and their defense has not been great. Los Angeles is 25th in yards allowed per drive. They are allowing the fourth most points per drive and are the 31st rank defense in terms of time of possession per drive. The Chargers defense cannot get off the field, and will struggle mightily against Carr and the Raiders offense.

Featured image by Jacksonville.com

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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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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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week six DFS don'ts

Week six DFS don’ts: Kicker and Defense

While choosing a kicker and defense can seem mundane and pointless, those positions can be the difference between winning and losing. When I make lineups, I have the same tight end, kicker, and defense. It helps keep my lineups consistent in terms of scoring and structure. Thankfully, I had the Dolphins defense and Harrison Butker on every single cash and tournament lineup in week five. So, let’s find out who you should avoid in this special teams edition of week six DFS don’ts

Mason Crosby: FanDuel Price $4,800

This might be the first and last time I every break down the long snapper and holder for any team ever. However, it was talked about at nauseam during the game. The Packers had a new long snapper and holder entering their contest with the Dallas Cowboys. I’m a believer that a professional kicker should make the extra point with few exceptions. Clearly, those new players had a negative impact on Mason Crosby.

Personnel aside, the opportunities will be limited this weekend. The Minnesota Vikings at home have played incredibly well as a defensively. The Packers showed early that they will allow pressure on Aaron Rodgers, and, the Vikings have a superior unit to the Cowboys at almost every level. I don’t see Crosby paying off on his $4,800 price tag. And as always, I believe there are much better options that are cheaper and in a better situation. Green Bay and their special teams personnel have landed Crosby on my week six DFS don’ts list.

Jacksonville Jaguars: FanDuel Price $4,900

week six DFS don'ts

The Jaguars defense proved they are an elite unit with their performance against the Steelers on the road last Sunday (Courtesy of; Jaguars.com)

Here is my weekly public service announcement about not chasing points. The Jacksonville Jaguars did what most NFL teams fail to do, stick to their identity. Despite the score, the Jaguars continued to run the ball and trust their defense.

Frustration aside, they did not abandon their offensive identity. Sadly, the Steelers resorted to throwing the ball 55 times and played right into the strength of the Jaguars defense. It was the perfect situation for Jacksonville.

That will not happen again this weekend. While I still have doubts about the Rams offense, they have established an identity, and they stick to it. Todd Gurley had his season-low in total touches with 15. This was the second time this season Gurley had less than 20 total touches.

Coincidentally, it led to their second loss of the season. The Rams will return to featuring Gurley this weekend and take the Jaguars’ corners out of the game by distributing the ball in between the hashes.

It’s entirely possible the Jaguars score 11 or 12 points. And, if those are your expectations, then roster them. Just please, do not expect them to record another five turnovers and two touchdowns on defense this weekend.

 

Featured Image Courtesy of On Milwaukee

Like what you read? Tune into the Suck My DFS Podcast this Friday and find out who TGH fantasy experts will be playing in their DFS lineups this week. You can find the link on our Podcast page.

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Week five DFS don’ts: Report card

Well, as fun as week five was, it was not nearly as kind to me as week four. My DFS profitability reached a season high; however, my individual player picks were not as good. I’d like to move on to week six as soon as possible, so lets get into the report card edition of week five DFS don’ts.

Quarterback: 2/5

Thank goodness my top two quarterbacks came up big. Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott anchored my cash game lineups. With 24 and 30 points respectively, they made up for some of the stragglers in my lineups. Sadly, I was totally wrong about Cam Newton and Tyrod Taylor.

However, I’m the most upset about Carson Palmer. He somehow managed to double his $7,200 price tag and did it without Larry Fitzgerald or Jaron Brown scoring a touchdown. Carson Palmer might be my least favorite player in the NFL after this Sunday.

Runningback: 2/4

Since Ty Montgomery didn’t play, I will not be counting him as a win. I just thought it was worth noting in my DFS don’ts series because of the unclear picture provided by the Packers earlier this week. Le’Veon Bell, along with Marshawn Lynch came up small. On the bright side, Leonard Fournette came up huge for my tournament lineups, since he was owned in the single digits, and Bilal Powell busted.

Wide Receiver: 0/6

I’m so sorry if any of you chose to listen to me and fade any receiver on my week five DFS don’ts. While the Giants and Steelers lost in demoralizing fashion, Odell Beckham and Antonio Brown played incredibly well. Devin Funchess also managed to double his value with a score against Detroit.

At least everyone was wrong with me on Jordy Nelson and Dez Bryant. They had okay games, but neither produced to the level that their price tags dictated. And of course, my Jaron Brown call proved to be more embarrassing than Jay Cutler’s wildcat performance against the Saints.

Tight End: 3/4

This would have been a perfect four for four if Charles Clay didn’t get injured against the Bengals. It’s clear that offense will struggle if he cannot return quickly. I told you Tyler Kroft wouldn’t get it done in my tight end edition of week five DFS don’ts. And, I took pure joy in watching Darren Fells, not Eric Ebron, score two touchdowns against the Panthers. Austin-Seferian Jenkins also came through by doubling his value with a touchdown.

Defense: 2/2

If there’s one thing we nail on the Suck My DFS Podcast, it’s the special teams portions of the roster. We were all on the Dolphins defense as soon as the Titans signed Brandon Weeden. They were a huge reason why we were able to cash this weekend, despite injuries and poor performances. And, the Rams defense failed to double their value, so that’s a win.

Kicker: 2/2

We nailed the kicker position as well. I outlined exactly why you needed to fade Greg Zuerlein. I hope you listened. We also talked on the podcast value kickers that would produce. My choice was Harrison Butker, and he delivered.

Overall Score: 11/23

Like I said in the opening paragraph, I’m ready to move on to week six. My week five DFS don’ts predictions were some of the worst of the season. However, we will start over tomorrow with the defense and kicker edition of week six DFS don’ts.

 

Featured Image Courtesy of  Grizzly Bear Blues

Like what you read? Tune into the Suck My DFS Podcast this Friday and find out who TGH fantasy experts will be playing in their DFS lineups this week. You can find the link to our podcast on the Podcast page.

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Stack your Money Sunday’s: Week 5

Week Four Review (3-0) Overall: 9-3

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) @ Baltimore Ravens

Pittsburgh Steelers 29 Baltimore Ravens 9

Like stated in the previous week, you can never rely too much on numbers. Big Ben was 2-7 in his career in Baltimore before this game. The Steelers were also coming off a loss to Mike Glennon and the Chicago Bears. All that did not matter.

In last week’s article, I stated that Le’Veon Bell was bound to have a big game. Bell rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns, while also hauling in four catches for 42 yards. We also expected Joe Flacco to struggle, as he had a quarterback rating of 64.6 and threw a pair of interceptions.

Cincinnati Bengals (-3) @ Cleveland Browns

Cincinnati Bengals 31 Cleveland Browns 7

Andy Dalton moves to 10-3 in his career against Cleveland, and was practically flawless in this blowout. Dalton threw four touchdowns, and had a quarterback rating of 146. The Bengals had more time of possession, first downs, third downs converted and total yards. Usually when this happens, you win the game.

A.J. Green continued his success against Cleveland, hauling in one touchdown on five catches. DeShone Kizer continued his poor play, and does not look like a starter in this league. Maybe it is because he is on the Browns, but not a great start to his professional career.

New York Giants (+3) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 25 New York Giants 23

Good teams win, great teams cover (SNY)

The Giants really have yet to win a game, but at least they covered. Shoutout to Nick Folk. Not only was he terrible on Thursday against New England, but he also missed an extra point and two field goals in this one.

Unlike his performance against the Pats, Jameis Winston played well in this one. He threw three touchdowns and only took one sack. The Giants possessed the ball more, converted more third downs and had more first downs than Tampa Bay, but somehow found a way to lose. Only one team in NFL history, the 1992 Chargers, has made the playoffs after starting 0-4, so maybe there’s a chance?

WEEK 5 PICKS

Baltimore Ravens (+3) @ Oakland Raiders

PICK: RAVENS TO COVER

There is a super slim chance that Derek Carr suits up for Oakland, and Vegas still has the Raiders favored? You are telling me an E.J. Manuel led offense is favored in an NFL football game? This is absolutely insane. The Raiders are nothing without Carr.

Baltimore is coming off a tough home loss to Pittsburgh, so it’s hard to believe they would drop two straight, especially to a team starting a backup quarterback. Joe Flacco is struggling, but this guy won a Super Bowl. He may not be elite, but he has what it takes to cover in this situation. Flacco is 3-2 in his career vs Oakland.

As expected, Oakland’s defense has struggled. They can’t cause any turnovers, and are 22nd in yards allowed. Running backs are having no problem moving the ball against them, and this Baltimore team is top 10 in running. Look for Baltimore to have no issues moving the ball. By the way, in his one game against Baltimore, Manuel threw two picks and only completed 45 percent of his passes.

Seattle Seahawks (+1.5) @ Los Angeles Rams

PICK: SEAHAWKS TO COVER

The Rams have won last the last three meeting when playing Seattle at home. Russell Wilson is 1-4 in his career at STL/LA. This is just like the Steelers over the Ravens last week. Generally, Seattle plays poorly on the road vs Los Angeles, but this game just seems different.

Russell Wilson scoring with ease in a previous matchup vs Rams (CBS Sports)

Everybody loves the Rams, and you can essentially already pencil in Sean McVay for AP Coach of the Year, but I am not sold yet. They are still giving up a lot of yards on the ground, as they rank 30th in rushing yards allowed. Los Angeles has also given up seven rushing touchdowns. Seattle likes to pound the football, so this is a major advantage.

Russell Wilson always gets better and better as the season goes on, and in Jared Goff’s only game vs. Seattle, he completed only 52 percent of his passes for a measly 135 yards. The Legion of Boom will not let Goff get going, and Seattle will have no problem covering in this matchup.

Green Bay Packers (+3) @ Dallas Cowboys

PICK: PACKERS TO COVER

Las Vegas is really giving Aaron Rodgers three points against the team he destroyed in the postseason a year ago? The most talented quarterback of all time, Rodgers has played exceptionally well against the Cowboys. In eight career games, Rodgers has 13 touchdowns and only two interceptions.

Although Green Bay’s defense is nothing special, they are somehow sixth in the league in terms of fewest yards allowed, and fifth in fewest passing yards. The Cowboys defense has been pretty weak, allowing opposing quarterbacks to throw all over them. Dallas ranks 27th in passing touchdowns allowed, and 26th in first downs allowed. Keep in mind they are playing Aaron Rodgers this week, who already has 10 passing touchdowns.

This Dallas offense is not what it was a season ago. Last year, Cowboys were fourth in first downs, and first in rushing attempts. Today, they rank 20th in first downs, and 22nd in rushing attempts. Dak is proving to be an average game manager at best. He is 14th in passing yards, and 18th in quarterback rating. Vegas absolutely has this one wrong.

 

Featured image by Bleacher Report

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Deshaun Watson fantasy

Don’t believe the Deshaun Watson fantasy hype

The name Deshaun Watson related to fantasy has been synonymous. After nearly pulling off an upset victory in week 3 against the New England Patriots with 301 passing yards, 41 rush yards and a couple touchdowns, he did even more in week 4.

Watson threw four touchdown passes and ran for another against the Tennessee Titans. He had over 300 total yards for the second consecutive week. He is now ranked fifth among fantasy quarterbacks. The impressive thing about this is he didn’t start week 1.

I will say he becomes a top-10 fantasy quarterback from this point on. However, don’t get too comfortable.

The Hype is real

After his decent performance in week 2 against the Cincinnati Bengals, he has followed up with two great performances.

Against Tennessee last week, he was in the driver seat. He hit a 35-yard pass between two defenders to Bruce Ellington after stepping up in the pocket, a play that set up a Lamar Miller read-option rushing touchdown. Then he got his first scoring touchdown on a dart to DeAndre Hopkins, and it didn’t stop there.

Deshaun Watson fantasy

Deshaun Watson (Photo by: chron.com)

He threw to Will Fuller V, who was a second option, for a 16-yard score. Then he had a rushing touchdown and had a 31-14 lead in the first half.

Watson then poured it on in the second half, connecting with Fuller on a fade route from 10 yards out. Then lobbed a red-zone flare pass to Miller for six more. He has done things that rookies usually struggle with. He has had some miscues, but has dominated the past two games.

He had two great weeks in fantasy. Why he has had this hype is because top quarterbacks have struggled. Quarterbacks like Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton haven’t had the start they were hoping for, and Andrew Luck hasn’t even played yet. This has made fantasy owners desperate, especially those who had Luck and had a struggling backup quarterback.

Watson was a playmaker in college and has adapted to the pros quickly using his arm and his legs. He has also made the Texans one of the most exciting teams to watch.

But heres Why I Don’t believe in the hype

Do I think Watson can be a good NFL quarterback? I do. What he has done on the field early in his career has surprised me, especially against the Patriots. You can’t take that away from him, and I give credit where it’s due.

However, here are the numbers for the defenses he played the last two weeks. They rank 32nd and 28th in terms of yards allowed per game through the air. They are also the only two teams that have already allowed double-digit passing touchdowns.

Deshaun Watson fantasy

Watson (Photo by: si.com)

Again, I’m not taking away what he did or his talent, but Newton struggled the first three weeks and torched the Patriots last week. Alex Smith isn’t known for his fantasy numbers and had a career day against them in week 1. Derek Carr and Russell Wilson had their best fantasy days against the Titans.

Numbers don’t lie. Quarterbacks against these two defenses are must starts every week.

The next test for Watson is next week against the Kansas City Chiefs. Even though they rank near the bottom in passing defense in fantasy, they are right now the best team in the league. They have been know for their defense. If Watson can play like he has against this defense, then my opinion will change.

How to handle Watson this point on

Right now, I don’t view him as a must start every week. As I said, if he plays well against the Chiefs, he could be depending your quarterback options. He’s gonna be a streamable option in the right matchups.

Deshaun Watson fantasy

Watson (Photo by: chron.com)

He has the Chiefs, who are 25th in passing yards per game and the Cleveland Browns (23rd) before his bye. After his bye week, he has some tough matchups. He plays Seattle (fourth), Indianapolis (29th), the Los Angeles Rams (13th), Arizona (12th), Baltimore (16th) and then Tennessee, where he dominated. The problem with some of these games is that two of these eight opponents are in the top-10 in rushing defense.

If these teams stop the run, Watson could be pressured to throw the ball and could make rookie mistakes. Carson Wentz is a good example from last year. He was great in his first three games, but was up and down the rest of the year. That’s how I see Watson from this point.

A lot could change after this week, but play Watson in favorable matchups. He’s home for the Chiefs, which could give him confidence. With how the Chiefs are playing, I might bench him this week. His performance the last two weeks could give you reason to start him.

Do I think Watson could have a good game? I do. I think he could have a solid game. I do think he will have his moments though where he will make mistakes and will continue to throughout the game with the Chiefs pressuring him to throw the ball.

 

Featured image from chron.com.

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NFL MVP and Coach of the Year Candidates

The smell of pumpkin is in the air, the leaves are starting to fall and Halloween stores are getting ready to sell out. It’s October, and we are already a quarter of the way done with the NFL regular season. If the season ended today, the following players and coaches would be in line to earn the NFL’s biggest awards.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Kareem Hunt

Imagine if Spencer Ware didn’t get injured in the preseason. We would have been missing out on some miraculous numbers to say the least. Kareem Hunt is just flat out special. After fumbling on his first ever NFL touch, Hunt has turned into a monster.

Obviously, it is extremely rare for a non-quarterback to win this award. Of the last ten winners, Adrian Peterson is the only running back to win the award. Peterson won in 2012, when he rushed for over 2,000 yards. Through four weeks, Hunt’s 502 rushing yards has him on pace to be a 2,000-yard rusher.

Hunt is averaging a league-leading 125.5 yards per game on the ground. His 659 yards from scrimmage have him on pace to shatter the all-time record for yards from scrimmage in a season. That’s right, Hunt is on pace to reach 2,636 yards, which would eclipse Chris Johnson’s record of 2,509.

Hunt is averaging 7.4 yards per carry, which has never been done through four weeks when a running back has at least 50 carries. He is also nearly impossible to tackle, as his 25 broken tackles leads the NFL. The best stat about Hunt is, if we only counted his second half rushing yards, he would still lead the NFL in rushing. The Chiefs have yet to lose a game, and although Alex Smith looks good, Kareem Hunt is the main reason for their success.

Todd Gurley

NFL MVP coach year candidates

Todd Gurley can do it all for LA (Huffington Post)

Because of Kareem Hunt, Todd Gurley is not getting nearly the amount of love that he deserves. Yes, people are talking about the Rams and Sean McVay changing the culture, but what Gurley is doing is absolutely remarkable. Not only is he dominating on the ground, but Gurley also is playing like an elite receiver.

Gurley is second in rushing yards, second in rushing touchdowns, second in rushing yards per game and first in first downs converted. He is more efficient on the ground than last year, and his receiving numbers are up there with legit number one wide receivers.

Gurley is fourth in receiving touchdowns, tied for 20th in catches, and is top 25 in terms of receiving yards. Through four weeks, Todd Gurley has more receptions than Julio Jones, Demaryius Thomas and T.Y. Hilton.

The former Georgia star is on pace for 80 receptions, which would shatter his previous high of 43. His seven total touchdowns lead all players. Gurley is making Jared Goff look like a franchise quarterback.

Tom Brady

Unfortunately, Tom Brady cannot play both sides of the ball. The Patriots defense, which has allowed more total yards than anyone in the league, is the real reason why the Pats sit at 2-2. Brady is doing just fine. He currently sits first in passing touchdowns with 10, is second in passer rating, first in passing yards and first in adjusted yards gained per pass attempt. Brady also has yet to throw an interception.

This is all without his favorite target, Julian Edelman, who is done for the season. The 40-year-old legend is playing out of his mind, and shows no signs of slowing down. For the Patriots’ sake, let’s hope their defense doesn’t end up in the history books as one of the worst defenses of all time. No seriously, New England is on pace to dethrone the 2012 Saints record for most yards allowed in a season.

Aaron Rodgers

Arguably the most gifted quarterback in league history, Aaron Rodgers is off to a superb start, and he has his Packers at 3-1. Rodgers is no stranger to this award, winning it back in 2011 and 2014. In 2014, Green Bay started out 2-2 and Rodgers had nine touchdowns. This year, Rodgers has 10 touchdowns, and is completing 66.9 percent of his passes, which would be his third most efficient season in his career.

Rodgers is tied with Brady for passing touchdowns, but also has been sacked 15 times, which is third most in the league. If Rodgers wants a shot at a third MVP, the Packers better learn how to protect him. In his two MVP seasons, Rodgers was sacked 36 and 28 times. He is on pace for 60 in 2017.

AP COACH OF THE YEAR

Sean McVay

NFL MVP coach year candidates

Sean McVay and the Rams sit atop the NFC West at 3-1 (Washington Post)

This time last year, the Rams were also 3-1. In the next 12 weeks, they would go on to win only one more game. For some reason, this year’s 3-1 feels a little different. The youngest head coach in the NFL has changed the culture in Los Angeles.

In 2016, the Rams finished dead last in points, yards and first downs. Under McVay, they are currently the highest-scoring offense and fifth in the league in yards. Everyone assumed Jared Goff would be a bust, and now, in a legit offense, he looks like a franchise guy. Todd Gurley is being used in the passing game, and Tavon Austin is finally running plays that best fit his style and skillset.

After going into Dallas and winning, it will be interesting to see if the Rams can beat Seattle this week, as they have defeated the Seahawks in their last three home matchups. McVay is the clear frontrunner for this award, as he took over a middle school offense, and has the Rams atop the NFC West.

Andy Reid

Andy Reid has a track record of regular season success, so this comes to no surprise. The only undefeated team left, Andy Reid has the Chiefs playing great all-around football. It will be interesting to see if Kareem Hunt and Alex Smith can continue to play essentially flawless football, but Reid has clearly put these men in position for success.

The shovel pass to Travis Kelce seems unstoppable and Reid knows exactly when to use it. Smith and Hunt will most likely come back down to Earth, and Kansas City’s defense is not great, but they are 4-0 and Andy Reid has not mismanaged a game yet with a timeout call.

Jim Caldwell

Last year, the Lions defense ranked 28th in takeaways and 31st in passing touchdowns allowed. Approaching week 5, Detroit is first in takeaways, and fourth in passing touchdowns allowed. They haven’t played scrubs either. These are stats against guys like Matt Ryan, Eli Manning and Carson Palmer. Detroit is one yard away from being undefeated, and if their defense can keep playing like this, the Lions could surprise a lot of people. Great start for Jim Caldwell.

 

Featured image by Sporting News

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