Fantasy football week 6: Three waiver wire targets

The Ezekiel Elliott suspension is official. Now fantasy owners have to make up for his loss this week and for the next six weeks. Plus the Cowboys, Bengals, Seahawks and Bills are on a bye this week so players like A.J. Green, LeSean McCoy, Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin and many more won’t be in your lineup. Here’s three players who you can pick up that will help you fill those voids in your lineup this week.

QB- Carson Palmer (Arizona Cardinals)

Once again, Carson Palmer makes this list. If you didn’t pick him up last week, you may be thinking that you avoided a bullet, but that’s not true. Carson Palmer continued his consistent season with 15 points against a stout Eagles defense. After passing for 291 yards and one touchdown, Carson Palmer jumped up to 12th on the quarterback rankings in standard scoring. Now Tampa Bay travels to Arizona to take on Palmer and the Cardinals.

fantasy football week 6: three waiver wire targets

Carson Palmer (Photo by: azcardinals.com)

The Tampa Bay defense is a good defense, but their strength is their front seven. They haven’t performed like they would’ve wanted to so far this year, but the main playmakers are on the defensive line and linebacker positions. The Bucs’ secondary has given up an average of 19 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks including 27 to Case Keenum in week three.

With the addition of Adrian Peterson and the always reliable Larry Fitzgerald, look for Carson Palmer to have a big week against the Buccaneers in week six.

RB- Adrian Peterson (Arizona Cardinals)

If you need to fill a spot left by Ezekiel Elliott, look Peterson’s way. The Cardinals have been looking for someone to replace the injured David Johnson and they think that AP can be the guy. “All Day” struggled to get into a groove with New Orleans, but that’s because of the limited touches he’s received in the first five weeks of the season.

Again, the Buccaneers travel to Arizona where Peterson faces what I said was a tough defense. The Cardinals want to get their running game going and it is necessary if they want to win more games this season. This starts with Adrian Peterson. He’ll be new to the playbook and it may be a week before he gets going in Arizona, but he’s worth the pickup until David Johnson is healthy again.

WR- Sterling Shepard (New York Giants)

Tough week for the Giants. They lost not only Odell Beckham Jr., but also recently acquired Brandon Marshall. Add the injury to Dwayne Harris to that list, and the Giants become very, very thin. Someone who has to step up for them is Sterling Shepard. The second year wide receiver also went down last game with an ankle injury but seems to be ok.

Now I usually wouldn’t advise picking up a wide receiver who is playing the Denver Broncos defense, but the volume will be there for Shepard. With the run game basically non-existent for New York, Eli Manning has to take the game into his own hands, and he seems excited to work with his new group of receivers. Shepard will be the clear number one for the Giants and we can all assume that Eli will be looking for him a lot on Sunday.

 

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

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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Odell Beckham Jr. fantasy injury

Fantasy reaction: Odell Beckham Jr.’s injury

The New York Giants had a rough week 5 on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers. Not only did they not get their first win, but they also suffered multiple injuries at one position.

The team lost four receivers on Sunday. They lost Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard to ankle injuries within a span of four plays in the second quarter. Then they lost Dwayne Harris to a foot fracture and is out for the remainder of the 2017 season.

But the bigger name is their star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The Giants announced after the game that Beckham fractured his ankle and is expected to miss the rest of the season. This is of course a big blow to the Giants offense and to fantasy owners.

Fantasy players know that they can fix this, even if it’s a high-caliber player like Beckham.

The Giants situation

Granted the Giants had other options, but they don’t have someone to replace a talent like Beckham. Now they face the problem of who will replace the other receivers. According to ESPN, Shapard could miss a couple of weeks, and Marshall’s injury is unknown, but being carted off isn’t a good sign.

Odell Beckham Jr. fantasy injury

Odell Beckham Jr. (Photo by: nytimes.com)

The only wide receiver healthy as of Sunday on the roster is Roger Lewis Jr., who had a 29-yard touchdown catch on Sunday. The Giants made a couple of moves on Monday, promoting Travis Rudolph from their practice squad and re-signing Tavarres King, who played the last three seasons with the Giants. They also have tight end Evan Engram, who is more of a receiver tight end and will likely become Eli Manning’s top target. Also expect running back Shane Vereen to have a bigger role in the passing game.

It will be hard to be rely on these new faces especially with their matchup this week against the Broncos at Denver. Even with a poor offensive line, don’t expect the Giants’ offense to offer reliable fantasy options.  The only players to give a look at especially in deeper leagues are Lewis and Engram and then Vereen only in PPR.

Wavier Wire

The first option is to look at the wavier wire and look at streamable players from this point on. Of course none of these receivers are anything close to Beckham, but they could help you week-in and week-out especially if you need players with good matchups.

The first is to look at Lewis of the Giants. He’s the next man up after the Giants lost four receivers on Sunday. He had a 29-yard touchdown catch. It may not look like much, but with Beckham out and Marshall and Shepard expected to miss time, he could be the new No. 1 receiver for Big Blue. However, his next two matchups are Denver and Seattle, who will both be coming off byes. He might not be the first choice, but shouldn’t be ignored if you’re desperate.

Odell Beckham Jr. fantasy injury

Roger Lewis Jr. (Photo by: sanluisobispo.com)

A streamable receiver to look at is Carolina Panthers receiver Devin Funchess. Since they lost tight end Greg Olsen in week 2, he has seen 27 targets over the last three weeks. Funchess also has crossed the goal line on three occasions over the last two games.

Part of his success is his quarterback Cam Newton playing sensational the past two games. His 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame makes him a natural red-zone target.

The Panthers face the Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the next three weeks. These three teams are ranked inside the top-10 in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers. Funchess also missed practice on Monday with a knee injury, and should be watched closely if he doesn’t play on Thursday.

Other receivers to look at are Jermaine Kearse of the Jets, Mike Wallace of the Ravens, Nelson Agholor of the Eagles and Kendall Wright of the Bears.

Look at trades

If no one in free agency interests you, maybe it’s time to find a trade. Personally I’m not a big fan of trades unless I’m the one receiving the trade, but if times are desperate, then a trade could be in the cards.

One big name that is having a good start to the season is New England Patriots receiver Chris Hogan. Sure he may cost you, but if you have assets, he’s worth it. He may be 31st in the league in targets, but he is a touchdown machine. Hogan has turned four of his last 26 targets into trips to the end zone. They may have lots of mouths to feed in New England, but he has been consistent since week 2 and is continuing to play at a high pace.

Now there’s players to look at who are having down years. Names like Amari Cooper, Terrelle Pryor, Sammy Watkins and Golden Tate could be valuable down the stretch if they turn it around. Some fantasy owners might give up these players for the right price, and it might not take much to land these players. Even with their struggles, they are top receivers on their teams. Their targets will remain consistent, and the plan here is to hope for a bounce back.

Now if you’re one of those players that want to land a star to replace a star then look at Julio Jones. He has struggled out of the gate with no touchdowns, but coming off a bye could be what Jones needs to get going. If you have assets and want to make the swing to the fences, this a trade you want to try.

Best bet: Look for the hot hand

In the end, the best bet is to look at players that are hot. Running backs, wide receivers and tight ends that are playing consistent are the best way to replace Beckham without getting rid of your whole team. There’s no clear way to replace Beckham, but we all can relate to losing the star of your team. Hopefully to most they can overcome this, but continue to make moves for the hot hand if there’s no clear long-term replacement.

 

Featured image from sportingnews.com.

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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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Hagan's Haus 2017 week 4 NFL picks

Hagan’s Haus 2017 week 5 NFL picks

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

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

Last week: 8-8

Overall: 32-31

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

Sunday Morning

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

Hagan's Haus 2017 week 5 NFL picks

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

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

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

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

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

Hagan's Haus 2017 week 5 NFL picks

(Photo Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports)

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

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

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

Sunday Afternoon

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

Hagan's Haus 2017 week5 NFL picks

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

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

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

Sunday Night

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

Monday Night

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

 

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week five DFS don'ts

Week five DFS don’ts: Wide receiver

Last week was the first time I hit on all three of my DFS don’ts at the wide receiver position. It’s nothing groundbreaking, it’s just proof that this position is all about the week-to-week matchup.

We know there are defenses that take away a team’s number one wide receiver. That would include teams like the Vikings, Lions and Cardinals. All of those teams have a great cover corner that shadows the opposition’s best receiver. So, let’s go beyond the obvious plays to avoid in the wide receiver edition of week five DFS don’ts.

Odell Beckham Jr: FanDuel Price $8,900

I’m sure you’ve heard the cliche “the best ability is availability”. I hate it too, but most cliches have elements of truth. Odell Beckham Jr. entered this season with an ankle injury. Now, he’s dealing with an injured finger on his right hand. Normally, this wouldn’t bother me. However, I saw that this injury caused him to miss multiple goal line snaps against Tampa Bay.

For any receiver, goal line targets are DFS gold. It’s the only reason I’m willing to pay up for Jordy Nelson each week. Since the Giants have one of the worst running games in the NFL, Odell is the primary target on every down, especially near the goal line. But, if he’s not healthy, I want very little exposure given his gaudy price tag.

Injury circumstances aside, the Chargers have Casey Hayward, who is an above average corner. The Chargers also have an elite pass rush with Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. More importantly, Hayward played shadow coverage for the first time since week one last week. According to Pro Football Focus, on the 74 percent of routes that Hayward shadowed Alshon Jeffery, Jeffery had one catch on four targets for 13 yards. If you want to take the risk on Odell this weekend, be my guest. I’ll happily take your money.

Antonio brown: FanDuel Price $8,800

week five DFS don'ts: wide receiver

Antonio Brown is one of the few players to appear twice on my DFS don’ts list (Courtesy of; The Source Magazine).

What? How is Antonio Brown on my DFS don’ts list for the second time this season? I’m glad you asked. It’s all about the matchup.

Last Sunday, the Jaguars deployed shadow coverage for the first time all season. According to Pro Football Focus, Ramsey shadowed Jermaine Kearse on 64 percent of the snaps. During that time, Ramsey allowed two catches on four targets for 14 yards.

Now, the Jets are by no means the Steelers. However, it’s important to take this trend into consideration. On the other 36 percent of the snaps, Brown will likely see A.J. Bouye, who has played very well since becoming a Jaguar. Overall, you need to consider fading Brown this week.

If you want to pay up, consider cheaper options like Jordy Nelson, Dez Bryant or DeAndre Hopkins. Those players are in great matchups and will allow you to fit in at least one of this week’s elite running backs.

Devin Funchess: FanDuel Price $6,300

Every week I have to include a player who had a breakout game on this list. Devin Funchess, like Bengals tight end Tyler Kroft, had a great situation on Sunday. Like Kroft, great opportunity and great matchup aligned.

Please don’t chase the points here. The Patriots have solidified themselves as the worst defense in the NFL. They are actually on pace to be worse than the 2012 Saints, who are statistically considered to be the worst defense in NFL history.

Let’s just use common sense. Funchess has never been a consistent fantasy producer. Yes, you may have watched every snap of that game. Yes, he was impressive. But guess what? The Detroit Lions are watching that same game film and see Funchess destroying the Patriots. They will no doubt have a strategy to contain the Panthers’ passing game.

Also, if you take Funchess, you’re betting on Cam Newton to come through again. Funchess is the classic example of point chasing, thus, he’s joins Beckham and Brown on my week five DFS don’ts list.

 

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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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2017 NFL power rankings: week 5

2017 NFL power rankings: week 5

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

32. Cleveland Browns (0-4)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 5

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

Last week: 32 (no change)

Next game: home vs. New York Jets

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

31. New York Giants (0-4)

Last week: 28 (-3)

Next game: home vs. Los Angeles Chargers

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

30. Indianapolis Colts (1-3)

Last week: 27 (-3)

Next game: home vs. San Fransisco

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

29. San Fransisco 49ers (0-4)

Last week: 31 (+2)

Next game: away vs. Indianapolis

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

28. Los Angeles Chargers (0-4)

Last week: 25 (-3)

Next game: away vs. New York Giants

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

27. Miami Dolphins (1-2)

Last week: 24 (-3)

Next game: home vs. Tennessee

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

26. New York Jets (2-2)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 5

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

Last week: 29 (+3)

Next game: away vs. Cleveland

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

25. Chicago Bears (1-3)

Last week: 22 (-3)

Next game: home vs. Minnesota

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

24. Cincinnati Bengals (1-3)

Last week: 30 (+6)

Next game: home vs. Buffalo

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

23. New Orleans Saints (2-2)

Last week: 23 (no change)

Next game: BYE

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

22. Arizona Cardinals (2-2)

Last week: 26 (-4)

Next game: away vs. Philadelphia

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

21. Baltimore Ravens (2-2)

Last week: 21 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Oakland

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

20. Seattle Seahawks (2-2)

Last week: 20 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Los Angeles Rams

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

19. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2)

Last week: 16 (-3)

Next game: away vs. Pittsburgh

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

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 5

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

Last week: 13 (-5)

Next game: home vs. New England

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

17. Washington Redskins (2-2)

Last week: 12 (-5)

Next game: BYE

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

16. Tennesse Titans (2-2)

Last week: 5 (-11)

Next game: away vs. Miami

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

15. Houston Texans (2-2)

Last week: 19 (+4)

Next game: home vs. Kansas City

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

 

14. Minnesota Vikings (2-2)

Last week: 9 (-5)

Next game: away vs. Chicago

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

13. Dallas Cowboys (2-2)

Last week: 8 (-5)

Next game: home vs. Green Bay

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

12. Oakland Raiders (2-2)

Last week: 4 (-8)

Next game: home vs. Baltimore

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

11. Atlanta Falcons (3-1)

Last week: 2 (-9)

Next game: BYE

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

10. New England Patriots (2-2)

Last week: 3 (-7)

Next game: away vs. Tampa Bay

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

9. Los Angeles Rams (3-1)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 5

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

Last week: 18 (+9)

Next game: home vs. Seattle

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

8. Denver Broncos (3-1)

Last week: 11 (+3)

Next game: BYE

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

7. Green Bay Packers (3-1)

Last week: 14 (+7)

Next game: away vs. Dallas

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

6. Buffalo Bills (3-1)

Last week: 17 (+11)

Next game: away vs. Cincinnati

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

5. Carolina Panthers (3-1)

Last week: 15 (+10)

Next game: away vs. Detroit

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

4. Detroit Lions (3-1)

Last week: 10 (+6)

Next game: home vs. Carolina

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

3. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 5

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

Last week: 7 (+4)

Next game: home vs. Arizona

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

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)

Last week: 6 (+4)

Next game: home vs. Jacksonville

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

1. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)

Last week: 1 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Houston

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

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Stack your money Sundays: Week 4

Week three review (1-2) overall: 6-3

Atlanta Falcons (-3) @ Detroit Lions

Final: Atlanta Falcons 30, Detroit Lions 26

Wow, this one was lucky. Golden Tate appeared to have won the game when Matthew Stafford hit him with eight seconds left. After the scoring review, it was clear that Tate was actually stopped short of the goal line and because of a mandatory 10-second runoff, the game was over.

Matt Ryan had three interceptions and was very fortunate to squeak out of Detroit with a victory. The Falcons did a good job of defending the run, as well as stopping the Lions on third down. Detroit only converted three of their 13 third down attempts.

Where we went wrong 

Miami Dolphins (-6) @ New York Jets

Final: New York Jets 20 Miami Dolphins 6

This game was a clear example of how past numbers cannot tell the whole story. Going into this game, the Jets were the worst ranked defense. They were also 28th in passing yards and 28th in first downs. New York ranked dead last in rushing yards allowed, so it seemed like Jay Ajayi would run all over this team, and Cutler would have no problem moving the ball, right?

Ajayi rushed 11 times for 16 yards. The Dolphins racked up a total of 225 yards. Cutler was sacked twice, and they converted one third down in 12 attempts. Not to mention Miami went 0/3 on fourth down as well. Josh McCown decided to complete 78 percent of his passes and did not turn the ball over. Good for the Jets, who people thought would fail to win a single game this year.

Oakland Raiders (-3) @ Washington Redskins

Washington Redskins 27 Oakland Raiders 10

Stack money Sundays: week 4

Redskins D held Lynch to just 18 yards. (YouTube)

After not turning the ball over through the first two games, Oakland had three turnovers, including two interceptions from Derek Carr. The Raiders were only able to muster off 128 yards of offense, while the Redskins had 472. Marshawn Lynch had only 18 yards rushing, and the offense failed to convert once on third down. That’s right, Oakland was 0/11 on third down conversions.

Oakland played bad, but the Redskins defense is no joke. They have allowed the fifth fewest total yards, second fewest rushing yards, and are fourth in the NFL in takeaways. If Kirk Cousins can play how he did last Monday, then the Redskins could seriously win the NFC East.

 

Week 4 picks

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) @ Baltimore Ravens

PICK: STEELERS TO COVER

Both of these teams are coming off disappointing losses. Baltimore just went into London and got demolished by the Jags, and the Steelers took an L to Mike Glennon and the Chicago Bears. Yes, the Steelers are not that good on the road, and I understand that Ben Roethlisberger is 2-7 in his career against Baltimore, but like stated before, numbers can’t tell the full story. The Steelers are just a flat out better team than Baltimore. The Ravens are last in total yards, and Joe Flacco looks horrible, so bad that Ryan Mallett got some snaps last week.

Le’Veon Bell is bound to have a big game. The holdout has clearly effected his play, but after three games, Bell should be ready to breakout. Last time these two teams squared off, Bell ran for 122 yards. Look for Flacco to continue to struggle and the Steelers to get back on track.

Cincinnati Benglas (-3) @ Cleveland Browns

PICK: BENGALS TO COVER

This is the battle of 0-3 teams. In all honesty, the Bengals should have beaten Aaron Rodgers and the Packers last week, but for some odd reason, Cincinnati could not get in the red zone during the entire second half.

Andy Dalton is 9-3 in his career against Cleveland, including 3-0 in his last three games at FirstEnergy Stadium. Dalton looks to be back on track after completing 77 percent of his passes against Green Bay. A.J. Green had a monster 10-catch, 111-yard performance, which was beautiful for fantasy owners. Green will continue his nice play as he has owned Cleveland in the past. In the last two games against the Browns, Green has a pair of touchdowns and 297 receiving yards.

DeShone Kizer is not the answer at quarterback for Cleveland. This was evident after his three-interception game against the Colts. How do you only complete 46 percent of your passes against Indianapolis? Anyways, the Browns are first in turnovers and will not be able to defend Dalton and the Benglas.

New York Giants (+3) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

PICK: GIANTS TO COVER

Stack money Sundays: week 4

Eli Manning has never lost to Tampa Bay (Sportige.com)

There is no chance the Giants start 0-4 after many people thought they would win the NFC East and possibly reach the Super Bowl. While those two feats seem unlikely, they will at least beat Tampa Bay. In the final half against Philadelphia, it was clear Eli and the offense remembered how to play football.

Odell Beckham Jr. is back and he is clearly unstoppable. He had two amazing touchdowns last week and one legendary celebration. In his only game against Tampa Bay, OBJ had nine catches for 105 yards.

Eli is 4-0 in his career vs. the Bucs, including 2-0 in Tampa. Jameis Winston is still growing and is not consistent enough to be trusted. His three interceptions last week against Minnesota show that he still has a lot of work to do.

Eli will have a nice game, the Giants defense will be all over Winston, and OBJ will entertain the crowd with at least one cool celebration.

 

 

Featured image by CincyJungle

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“From our Haus to Yours”

Hagan’s Haus 2017 week 4 NFL picks

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

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

Last week: 8-8

Overall: 24-23

Thursday Night

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

 

Sunday Morning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday Afternoon

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

(Photo Credit: YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

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

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

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

Sunday Night

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

Monday Night

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

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2017 NFL power rankings: week 4

2017 NFL power rankings: week 4

Week three was pretty wild in the NFL. There were a plethora of games that finished with a very unexpected outcome. It has caused a shift in power rankings. It is still early and difficult to tell which teams are contenders and which teams are pretenders. The deeper the season goes the clearer the picture will be. With week three officially in the books, here are the 2017 NFL power rankings: week 4

32. Cleveland Browns (0-3)

Last week: 29 (-3)

Next opponent: home vs. Cincinnati

Losing to the Colts makes the Browns look like the worst team in the NFL. They won’t finish the season this low but right now this is where they rank. Not everything about the game on Sunday was bad. Cleveland fought back from a 28-7 deficit to lose 31-28. Saying this will get old by the end of the season but this team is young and heading in the right direction. They are still learning how to win.

31. San Fransisco 49ers (0-3)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 4

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

Last week: 28 (-3)

Next opponent: away vs. Arizona

The 49ers have been battling tough in their games but are coming up short. The defense has been making strides but is too young and inexperienced. They let Todd Gurley and Jared Goff go bonkers on them. Offensively they must rely on Carlos Hyde to carry the workload and hope that Brian Hoyer doesn’t make too many mistakes.

30. Cincinnati Bengals (0-3)

Last week: 27 (-3)

Next opponent: away vs. Cleveland

The Bengals almost pulled off the upset in Lambeau Field. They even got a pick six off Aaron Rodgers. In the end,  the offense was unable to close out the game. The Bengals were winning 21-17 late in the game. Had the offense driven the ball into the end zone to take a 28-17 lead they would have won the game. Instead, they had to settle for a field goal taking the lead to 24-17. They committed a cardinal sin. You should never give the ball to Aaron Rodgers with the game on the line. Rodgers drove the Packers down for a touchdown and won the game in overtime. The Bengals are in for a long season and may start a rebuild.

29. New York Jets (1-2)

Last week: 32 (+3)

Next opponent: home vs. Jacksonville

Holy crap the Jets actually won a game. They weren’t going to go 0-16 but beating the Dolphins in week three was a surprise. They don’t look the like the worst team in the NFL but can still end up there as the season progresses. Heading into week four they will play host to the Jaguars. If they find a way to win that game then the Jets will have fully messed up their tank.

28. New York Giants (0-3)

Last week: 23 (-6)

Next opponent: away vs. Tampa Bay

Who would have thought that after three weeks the winless New York team would be the Giants? Not a single person would have predicted this. The Giants are struggling to run the ball averaging just 48.7 yards per game, the worst mark in the NFL. Eli Manning isn’t able to make up for a one-dimensional offense. The defense is also underperforming giving up 23.3 points per game. Last year they gave up 17.8 points per game. The Giants are in danger of having a horrible season and if they do they will move on from Eli.

27. Indianapolis Colts

Last week: 31 (+4)

Next opponent: away vs. Seattle

Jacoby Brissett didn’t look too bad in his start against the Browns. He completed 17 of 24 passes for 259 yards and a touchdown. Brissett also added 14 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The Colts are going to hang around with good teams but won’t have enough talent to win many games without Luck. The defense played well but it against a rookie quarterback and the Browns. Going forward this team will remain somewhere within the top 10 of the NFL draft.

26. Arizona Cardinals

Last week: 25 (-1)

Next opponent: home vs. San Fransisco

Carson Palmer had a clean pocket and found Larry Legend all night against the Cowboys. Fitzgerald had 13 receptions 149 yards and a touchdown but it wasn’t enough to get a win at home. The Cardinals defense has been considered elite but that isn’t the case anymore. They are giving up 25.3 points per game. There is nothing positive to look forward to this season for Arizona.

25. Los Angeles Chargers (0-3)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 4

(Photo Credit: http://boxscorebrothers.weebly.com)

Last week: 20 (-5)

Next opponent: home vs. Philadelphia

Philip Rivers is an interception throwing machine and it is hurting the Chargers. Los Angeles has a good defense and can run the ball but still can’t win games because of Rivers and their special teams. The Chargers will continue being competitive this season but will finish fourth in their division. The next step for the Chargers is finding a replacement for Rivers as soon as possible.

24. Miami Dolphins (1-1)

Last week: 19 (-5)

Next opponent: home vs. New Orleans

Jay Cutler gets all the hype and a big win in their first game but then comes back and lays an egg against the Jets. After two weeks the Jets ranked 18th in pass defense giving up 224 yards per game. Cutler only completed 59 percent of his passes for 220 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The Jets were also allowing over 30 points per game and the Dolphins only managed to score six. It was a lousy performance that raised many questions on how good the Dolphins will be this season.

23. New Orleans Saints (1-2)

Last week: 26 (+3)

Next opponent: away vs. Miami

It was a strange week in the NFL and the Saints deserve part of the blame. They intercepted Cam Newton three times and held the Panthers to just 13 points. The defense played much better than they had in the first two weeks. Offensively, Drew Brees got the ball to a ton of different weapons and threw for 220 yards and three touchdowns. This performance might have saved the season for the Saints. If they go to Miami and get a win they will be back in the thick of the NFC.

22. Chicago Bears (1-2)

Last week: 30 (+8)

Next opponent: away vs. Green Bay

The Chicago Bears have been known as a defensive franchise for most of their history. This season they seem to have gotten back to that and it looks like the Bears are going to be better than most expected because of it. They lost a close one to Atlanta and then upset the high-powered Steelers. The Bears rank 12th in total defense allowing just 321.7 yards per game. Chicago may not make the playoffs but they are going to be a tough opponent for everyone they face.

21. Baltimore Ravens (2-1)

Last week: 13 (-8)

Next opponent: home vs. Pittsburgh

The Ravens are as bad as I thought they were and they finally showed it. Baltimore traveled to London just to get lit up by none other than Blake Bortles. The Ravens only managed to score seven points and those points came with the outcome of the game already decided. The Ravens defense was picked apart and the offense looks more basic than a middle school offense. Baltimore will not win a lot of games this year.

20. Seattle Seahawks (1-2)

Last week: 16 (-4)

Next opponent: home vs. Indianapolis

All great empires fall at some point unless you’re Bill Belichick. The Seahawks don’t look as mighty as they were expected to or have in the past. Seattle still can’t run the ball as well as they would like too and the entire offense revolves around Russell Wilson running for his life and being a playmaker. The defense is getting gashed in the run game and giving up 146 rush yards per game. As long as that continues the Seahawks are going to be in a ton of dogfights.

19. Houston Texans (1-2)

Last week: 21 (+2)

Next opponent: home vs. Tennessee

DeShaun Watson played pretty well against the Patriots but it wasn’t enough. Tom Brady drove 92 yards on the vaunted Texan’s defense to hand Houston a second loss in three games. The Texans now have to host the Titans who may be one of the true contenders in the AFC. Houston is giving up just under 100 rush yards per game. They need to do that against Tennessee in order to get a win. The Texans will either pull to .500 or fall to 1-3 and maybe too far behind in the race for the division.

18. Los Angeles Rams (2-1)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 4

(Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Last week: 18 (no change)

Next opponent: away vs. Dallas

Not many are going to believe this but the Rams have the number one scoring offense in the NFL at 35.7 points per game. This high point output may be a bit fluky as their 40 point outbursts came against the Colts and the 49ers. Two teams that aren’t all that good. The good sign though is that Todd Gurley and Jared Goff are off to hot starts to the season. If they play like this all year they will dethrone the Seahawks in the NFC West. The Rams will move higher in the power rankings if they can continue their success against tougher opponents.

17.  Buffalo Bills (2-1)

Last week: 24 (+7)

Next Opponent: away vs. Atlanta

The Bills were able to upset the Denver Broncos and now look like a wildcard candidate in the AFC. Buffalo’s new head coach, Sean McDermott, built his reputation on defense and that is what he is excelling at in Buffalo. The Bills are first in scoring defense giving up 12.3 points per game. As long as the Bills continue to dominate on defense they will be a playoff team. On offense, Buffalo needs to focus on running the ball. Tyrod Taylor needs to manage this team and not turnover the football. After three weeks, the Bills look like they may finally end their playoff streak, but it is early and there is plenty of time for the wheels to fall off.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1)

Last week: 23 (+7)

Next opponent: away vs. New York Jets

Was that Blake Bortles at quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars or some new super quarterback? Bortles looked outstanding against a Ravens defense that was embarrassing opposing quarterbacks. Bortles threw for 244 yards and four touchdowns in a 44-7 rout. The real strength of this team is the defense. The Jags rank third in total yardage allowing just 259.7 per game. They can thank their amazing secondary for this third overall ranking. Jacksonville is allowing a league-best 124.3 yards per game through the air. That is nuts considering the passing era the NFL is in. If they continuing playing this well throughout the year then Jacksonville will make the playoffs.

15. Carolina Panthers (2-1)

Last week: 7 (-8)

Next opponent: away vs. New England

Cam Newton might have rushed back to quickly because he looks horrible this season. He has thrown four interceptions and just two touchdowns. His accuracy has been all over the place. Once he fixes his issues, or his should becomes fully healthy, the Panthers will become a Super Bowl contender. Until then, their defense is going to keep them competitive but they need their MVP to start playing like an MVP. The season isn’t getting any easier as they head to New England this week.

14. Green Bay (2-1)

Last week: 14 (no change)

Next opponent: home vs. Chicago

It is going to be unpopular to say, but the Packers aren’t very good this season. They got a win over Seattle in a tough fought game but the Seahawks look bad this year. That win just doesn’t look impressive. Green Bay then lost to the Falcons fairly easily. This past week they struggled to beat the Bengals at home. Their defense gave up 24 points to a team that didn’t have a touchdown through their first two games. Aaron Rodgers will win them around nine to 10 games but there will be no deep playoff run.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)

Last week: 8 (-5)

Next opponent: home vs. New York Giants

Tampa Bay is a tough team to figure out. They miss week one due to a hurricane the, in week two, they absolutely annihilate the Bears. The Buccaneers looked to be a real threat in the NFC. Week three their opponent was the Vikings who are down to Case Keenum at quarterback. Tampa Bay was a road favorite and nobody expected the Vikings to win. In conclusion, the Bucs lose 34-17 to the Vikings and it is still yet to be determined how good the Bucs really are.

12. Washington Redskins (2-1)

Last week: 17 (+5)

Next opponent: away vs. Kansas City

Very few saw the Redskins manhandling the Raiders the way they did. Washington held them to 10 points and a total of 128 yards. The Redskins exploded for 472 yards of offense. There is part of me that thinks this was a flukey game for Washington. This week they travel to Kansas City to take on a very good Chiefs team. If they win that game they will have proven to be a legitimate team that should be feared.

11. Denver Broncos (2-1)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 4

(Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Last week: 6 (-5)

Next opponent: home vs. Oakland

It was rather shocking to see the Broncos lose to the Bills but everybody in the NFL is tough if you don’t come to play. The Broncos had two turnovers, both of which were interceptions by Trevor Siemian. That proved to be the difference in the game. Denver is still playing great defense and they are finally running the ball the way they did during their Super Bowl runs. Denver has a chance to move up this week with a huge divisional game against Oakland.

10. Detroit Lions (2-1)

Last week: 9 (-1)

Next opponent: away vs. Vikings

Honestly, the Lions got robbed and should have won that game. Detroit should be 3-0 but at the end of the day, they sit at 2-1. The Lions are still a very good team and will be in the thick of the NFC North race all season but they are right around the top 10 in terms of power rankings. The only reason they aren’t higher on this list is that they haven’t played a tough schedule. Arizona and New York are bad football teams and the Falcons are overrated. A huge divisional game takes place this week for the Lions and a win could really do wonders for their playoff aspirations.

9. Minnesota Vikings (2-1)

Last week: 15 (+6)

Next opponent: home vs. Detroit

Minnesota deserves some respect. Their defense is nasty and nobody is having success running against them. The Vikings rank third in the NFL against the run allowing just 62.7 yards per game. This defense is forcing teams to become one-dimensional. Offensively there are playmakers all over the field. Dalvin Cook has adjusted to the NFL nicely and is the second leading rusher. Adam Thielen is second in receiving yards while Stephon Diggs is third. Diggs also leads the NFL in touchdown receptions. Minnesota has a divisional game at home and a win could vault them into the top five.

8. Dallas Cowboys (2-1)

Last week: 12 (+4)

Next opponent: home vs. Los Angeles Rams

Dak Prescott is getting the job done yet again in his second season. Dak had three total touchdowns in the Cowboys Monday night win against the Cardinals. The running game also got going this week and Dallas may be starting to hit their stride. The defense has been shaky but still held the Cardinals to just 17 points. The task will be tougher this week as they face the number one scoring team in the NFL. Dallas should be able to defend home field but if they don’t they will drop significantly in the power rankings.

7. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)

Last week: 10 (+3)

Next opponent: away vs. Los Angeles Chargers

The Eagles are firing on all cylinders so far. Their only loss has come to the best team in the NFL in a tightly contested game. Philly is putting up the 10th most points per game (25.7). They run the ball well averaging 119.3 yards per game (9th) and pass the ball well too, averaging 252.7 passing yards per game (10th). Many, including myself, believed that the Cowboys would win the NFC East but Philadelphia has looked like the best team thus far.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1)

Last week: 3 (-3)

Next opponent: away vs. Baltimore

There is no need to have a crazy overaction to the loss the Steelers suffered in Chicago. Every season the Steelers lose games on the road they shouldn’t. Last year it was in Philadelphia 34-3. Pittsburgh just plays down to the level of their competition. By the end of the season, the Steelers will still win the division and be in the playoffs.

5. Tennessee Titans (2-1)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 4

(Photo Credit: Austin Anthony/AP)

Last week: 11 (+6)

Next opponent: away vs. Houston

Tennesee punked a Seahawks team that never gets punked. The Titans ran the ball right down Seattle’s throat to the tune of 195 yards. Marcus Mariota also threw for 225 yards against the Legion of Boom. The Titans are really looking like the eventual AFC South champions and have a chance to create some early breathing room in the division this week. It may not seem like it but the Titans have one of the best offenses in the league scoring 28.7 points per game. Teams in the AFC should be worried about the Titans.

4. Oakland Raiders (2-1)

Last week: 2 (-2)

Next opponent: away vs. Denver

Boy, the Raiders really crapped the bed on Sunday Night Football against the Redskins. Derek Carr didn’t look like himself and the defense made Kirk Cousins look like an elite quarterback. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree combined for two receptions and 13 yards.  Marshawn Lynch had only six carries for 18 yards. There will not be another performance that bad from Oakland the rest of this season. This game will be chalked up as a flue and the Raiders will get back to looking like Super Bowl contenders.

3. New England Patriots (2-1)

Last week: 4 (+1)

Next opponent: home vs. Panthers

Tom Brady drove down 92 yards against the Texan’s defense to win the game. Even at 40, Brady can get it done when the team needs it the most. New England is still figuring out their defense but Bill Belichick always has them improving over the course of a season. As long as Brady is playing at this level the Patriots will be alright.

2. Atlanta Falcons (3-0)

Last week: 5 (+3)

Next opponent: home vs. Buffalo

Atlanta doesn’t look great but are still managing to win games. They snuck out of Chicago with a win thanks to three drops. The Falcons then beat Green Bay in week two but allowed a lot of points late in the game. On Sunday, the Falcons walked out of Detroit with an extremely controversial win against the Lions. The defense is still struggling. Atlanta has earned this rank as they remain undefeated but they won’t remain here much longer.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)

Last week: 1 (no change)

Next opponent: home vs. Washington

There is no question that the Chiefs are currently the best team in the NFL and Kareem Hunt is not only the rookie of the year but looking like the M.V.P. as well. Hunt leads the league with 401 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Alex Smith is also playing lights out completely 77.4 percent of his passes while throwing for seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Chiefs defense ranks seventh in the NFL allowing 19 points per game. This team is arguably the most well-rounded team and the reason they have proven to be the best so far.

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Featured image courtesy of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4F5eI9U-J4

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