Bro-Picks Presents: The Top 10 Super Bowls of All Time

Super Bowl 52 came and went, but does it crack the top 10 of the greatest Super Bowls of all time?

Despite its grandiose nature, the Super Bowl is often a one-sided affair and relatively uncompelling. Every so often, however, we get a Super Bowl that is actually competitive and exciting, and it’s important to cherish these games since they don’t come around often. The top 10 Super Bowls of all time are:

10. Super Bowl V: Baltimore Colts V. Dallas Cowboys

Also known as “The Stupor Bowl”, this game is often ranked as one of the worst games of all-time due to its sloppy play, but it’s undeserved. Sure the game featured 11 turnovers combined, a missed PAT, and even some officiating miscues, but Super Bowl V was a back and forth contest that came down to the final play of the game: a 32 yard field goal by Colts kicker Jim O’Brien. If that doesn’t qualify as a great Super Bowl, then what does?

9. Super Bowl XXXII: Denver Broncos V. Green Bay Packers

After agonizing defeat after defeat, Super Bowl XXXII was shaping up as another disappointment for Denver’s QB John Elway, as the Broncos were 14 point underdogs against the reigning Super Bowl champion Packers, who were led by QB Brett Farve. Super Bowl XXXII went down to the wire, and featured one of the most iconic plays in Super Bowl history, when Elway launched himself in the air in the hopes of gaining a first down, and was hit and spun around like a helicopter. Talk about a heart of a champion.

8. Super Bowl XXXVI: New England Patriots V. St. Louis Rams

In the wake of 9/11, how fitting was it that a team called the Patriots pulled off an incredible upset against the then St. Louis Rams “Greatest Show on Turf”? Sure, allegations of cheating have marred the Patriots dynasty, but it was the first Super Bowl appearance and victory in their remarkable 18 year run that featured an enthralling game winning field goal from New England kicker Adam Vinatieri.

7. Super Bowl LII: Philadelphia Eagles V. New England Patriots

This year’s Super Bowl featured one of the more exciting games in the big game’s history. A back and forth contest that saw the Eagles and Patriots combine for 1,151 yards offensively and featured only one key defensive play late in the fourth quarter, it also featured a blown lead and two comebacks. Somehow, the Eagles managed to shake-off their choker label and win their first Super Bowl in franchise history, and Super Bowl LII should be remembered as an all time great Super Bowl.

 

6. Super Bowl XIII: Pittsburgh Steelers V. Dallas Cowboys

Two of the NFL’s most iconic franchises did battle for the second time in four years, and this one was one for the ages. An offensive explosion that featured seven touchdown passes from future hall of fame QBs, Pittsburgh Steelers QB Terry Bradshaw and Dallas Cowboys QB Roger Staubach, the game gave us another iconic Super Bowl moment when Cowboys TE Jackie Smith dropped a pass in the end zone that would’ve tied the game at 21. The Cowboys would never recover, and the Steelers walked away with their 3rd Lombardi Trophy in a thrilling contest.

5. Super Bowl XXIII: San Francisco 49ers V. Cincinnati Bengals

Another re-match bowl, Joe Montana and the 49ers capped off their 3rd Super Bowl victory with a 92-yard touchdown drive that all started with a spotting of comedy legend John Candy in the stands. To win the game, Montana threw a 10-yard touchdown to WR John Taylor, his only catch of the game. It added to Montana’s legend as “Joe Cool”, and was the last game Niners coach Bill Walsh roamed the sidelines on as a member of the organization.

 

4. Super Bowl XXV: New York Giants V. Buffalo Bills

After New York executed a game plan that kept the ball out of the explosive Bills no-huddle offense, Buffalo still had a chance to win the game with a 47-yard field goal with eight seconds left. Bills K Scott Norwood missed the kick wide right, a thrilling finish to a game that would mark the end of coach Bill Parcel’s tenure with the Giants and the beginning of the Bills four straight Super Bowl appearances in the 90s. Broadcasting legend Al Michaels’ two words, “wide right”, continues to haunt the city of Buffalo to this day.

 

3. Super Bowl XXXIV: St. Louis Rams V. Tennessee Titans

Sure, the Rams at one point led the game 16-0, but Steve McNair and the Titans led a furious comeback to tie the game at 16. After Rams QB and league MVP Kurt Warner threw a 73 yard TD pass to WR Isaac Bruce, the Titans had a chance to win the game with 1:54 left. On the final play of the game, McNair completed a pass to WR Kevin Dyson, who was tackled by Rams LB Mike Jones 1-yard short of the goal line. One. Yard. Short. Perhaps the greatest finish in Super Bowl and NFL history.

2. Super Bowl XLIII: Pittsburgh Steelers V. Arizona Cardinals

For the Steelers, appearing in Super Bowls is second nature. For the Cardinals, it seemed like a pipe dream. A close contest throughout, Super Bowl XLIII gave fans one of the greatest plays in football history when Steelers LB James Harrison intercepted a pass from Cardinals future hall of fame QB Kurt Warner and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown before halftime. The Cardinals would battle back valiantly, scoring the game’s next two touchdowns, including a 64-yard touchdown reception by WR Larry Fitzgerald, which gave Arizona a three point lead with 2:37 remaining. Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger then led the Steelers on an 8 play, 78-yard drive that was capped off by WR Santonio Holmes’ terrific tip-toe catch in the back of the end zone to secure Pittburgh’s 6th Lombardi trophy, the most in NFL history.

 

1. Super Bowl XLII New York Giants V. New England Patriots

With the prospect of a perfect season on the line, the New England Patriots had only one game to win in order to immortalized as the greatest team ever. The New York Giants had other plans. The game was a 7-3 score stalemate throughout until an amazing fourth quarter took place. First, the Giants took the lead after QB Eli Manning threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to unknown WR David Tyree (*more on him later) to give the Giants a 10-7 lead. Just a few possessions later, Patriots QB Tom Brady did what he does best by leading a 12 play, 80-yard drive that resulted in a 6-yard touchdown pass to WR Randy Moss to give the Patriots a 14-10 lead. On the Giants final possession, Eli Manning escaped the clutches of Patriots DE Richard Seymour and DE Jarvis Green and delivered a 32-yard completion to WR David Tyree, who out-jumped Patriots All-Pro S Rodney Harrison and caught the ball by pinning it to his helmet in what is now referred to as “The Helmet Catch.” Four plays later, Manning tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to WR Plaxico Burress to cap the upset of the century, and the greatest Super Bowl of all-time.

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Philadelphia Eagles End Title Drought, Win Super Bowl LII

The Eagles are the top dogs of the NFL.

Fly Eagles, fly.

After postseason disappointment after postseason disappointment, the Philadelphia Eagles ended their title drought and won Super Bowl LII 41-33 against the favored New England Patriots.

Sure, the Eagles looked dominant during the season, but their star 2nd year QB, Carson Wentz, suffered a torn ACL, MCL, and LCL in week 14. The Eagles limped into the playoffs with back-up QB Nick Foles. Everyone counted them out.

Many counted the Eagles out after 2nd year QB Carson Wentz was lost for the season due to injury.

But not the Eagles themselves. They embraced the role of the underdog literally throughout the postseason, donning dog masks whilst holding the favored Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings to 17 points total between the two, steam-rolling their way to Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII.

But people didn’t believe the Eagles could defeat the mighty New England Patriots, the NFL’s crown jewel franchise. One could hardly blame someone for believing New England would win the game. Patriots QB Tom Brady, head coach Bill Belichick, and owner Robert Kraft were making their eight Super Bowl appearance together. Who would bet against the golden boy and the hoodie? Their dynasty had seemingly no end in sight.

The trio of Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and Robert Kraft were making their 8th Super Bowl appearance together in Super Bowl LII.

But the Eagles put an end to the Patriots machine. Philadelphia’s offense moved the ball at will against the Patriots defense, as they gained 538 total yards of offense and scored 5 touchdowns. The most dazzling and gutsy of those touchdowns was a 4th down touchdown when Eagles TE Trey Burton tossed a touchdown pass to QB Nick Foles to put Philadelphia up 22-12 in the waning moments of the first half.

QB Nick Foles catches a touchdown pass from TE Trey Burton before the end of the first half to put the Eagles up 22-12.

But the Patriots didn’t stay down for long, as Tom Brady led three straight touchdown drives in the 2nd half, including a 4 yard TD pass to TE Rob Gronkowski to put New England up 33-32 with 9:22 left in the fourth quarter. Tom Brady did what he does best: lead a comeback.

But the Eagles had one last hurrah in them. Back-up QB Nick Foles then led the Eagles on 14 play, 75 yard touchdown drive that was capped off by a controversial 11-yard touchdown catch to TE Zach Ertz that took nearly 7 minutes off the clock. They inexplicably left Tom Brady too much time on the clock, however, as 2 minutes and 21 seconds remained in the game. If you remember the endings to Super Bowl XXXVI, XXXVIII, XLVIX, and LII, you know how this movie ends.

Zach Ertz’s go-ahead 11-yard touchdown catch was met with controversy due to the NFL’s catch/ no-catch rule.

But in a twist most movie executives would reject, the Eagles defense, which had been torched for most of the game and allowed New England to gain 638 yards on offense, made the big play to save the game. Eagles DE Brandon Graham sacked Brady and forced a fumble, which was recovered by Philadelphia DE Derek Barnett. Eagles rookie kicker Jake Elliott then made a 46-yard field goal to put the game out of reach.

Eagles DE Brandon Graham made the play to save the game by sacking Patriots QB Tom Brady and forcing a fumble that was recover by Philadelphia DE Derek Barnett.

After countless choke-jobs throughout the franchise’s history, particularly under the guidance of Andy Reid, it’s ironic a descendant of Reid’s coaching tree, Dough Peterson, was able to coach the Eagles to victory. He put together the perfect game plan: play ball control offense to keep the ball out of Brady’s hands, take shots down the field, and call every single “special” play every team has in their playbook, en route to the Eagles first Super Bowl in franchise history.

Back-up QB Nick Foles, who had considered retirement just years earlier after bouncing around the league as a journeyman and having lost his love for the game, played the game of his life. Foles threw for 373 yards and 3 touchdowns and caught another one to earn Super Bowl MVP honors. Make no mistake, this is still Carson Wentz’s team, but Foles rose to the occasion and played a huge role in Philadelphia’s victory.

Eagles QB Nick Foles won Super Bowl MVP honors for his performance in Super Bowl LII.

As improbable as their victory was, maybe we shouldn’t have reduced the Eagles success down to one player, QB Carson Wentz. Wentz was having an MVP season before going down with a season ending injury, but the Eagles proved why they were one of the best teams in the NFL this season with their magical postseason. This team is built to make another run at the Lombardi trophy, but the city of Philadelphia, whether it is still standing or not after the partying and rioting takes place, will enjoy this victory and remember it for generations.

The city of “Brotherly Love” loves playing the role of the underdog, having built a statue of the fictitious Rocky Balboa from the Rocky franchise, and the Eagles embraced this role during the postseason. If their victory in Super Bowl LII proves anything, it proves every dog has its day, even the Eagles and the city of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie hoists the Lombardi Trophy during the Eagles post-game celebration after defeating the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII.

Jon Gruden: The Return

Sorry Jack, Chucky’s back.

Back in 1998, then Raiders renegade owner, the late Al Davis, made a bold head coaching move. He fired coach Joe Bugel after a terrible 4-12 season, the Raiders worst season since 1987, in favor of a young, fiery, unknown commodity by the name of Jon Gruden. Gruden was a hit with the Raider Nation, embodying the eccentric fan base to a T. The fans showed their adoration for the coach by bestowing him the nickname of “Chucky”, the killer doll and horror icon from the Child’s Play franchise.

Jon Gruden roams the sidelines during his first tenure with the Oakland Raiders.

Gruden’s tenure with the Raiders was immensely successful, posting a 38-26 record in 4 seasons as the Raiders head coach, and guiding them to the AFC Championship game in 2000. His stint with the Raiders came to an abrupt end, however, when Raiders lost in controversial fashion in what is now known as “The Tuck Rule Game” against the New England Patriots. Gruden lost a power struggle with owner Al Davis, the same man who had hired him to lead the Raiders to the promised land. He was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a king’s ransom, including Tampa Bay’s 2002 and 2003 first round draft picks, their 2002 and 2004 second round draft picks, and $8 million in cash.

A joyous Jon Gruden hoists the Lombardi Trophy after his Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated his former team, the Oakland Raiders, 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Gruden made Davis pay for his move, as the Buccaneers blew out the Raiders the next season in Super Bowl XXXVII 48-21. Gruden’s next six seasons as head coach of the Bucs weren’t nearly as successful, posting a 45-51 record, appearing in the playoffs twice, and no playoff victories. He was fired at the end of the 2008 season after a season ending loss, which knocked Tampa out of the playoffs, to the same Raiders that had traded him away six years earlier. Ironic.

Jon Gruden looking underwhelmed during a press conference while head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It didn’t take long for Gruden to land on his feet, as he was soon announced as the color commentator for ESPN’s flagship sporting event, Monday Night Football, and remained in that role for nine years. Gruden’s star power emerged even more during this time, as he was not only praised for his commentary inside the booth, but began hosting rookie QBs ahead of the NFL Draft in “Gruden’s QB Camp.” He starred in commercials for Corona and Hooters as well, and seemed like a man who was comfortable living his life without the stresses and pressures of coaching in the NFL. But the 3:17 a.m. wake-up calls and itch to coach again never left Chucky, and teams, both in the NFL and the NCAA, seemingly pursued him every offseason. But Jon didn’t feel the time was right to return. Until now.

Jon Gruden during a broadcast of ESPN’S Monday Night Football.

Following a colossally disappointing 6-10 season for the Raiders, a season in which before it began many believed Oakland would appear in the Super Bowl, head coach Jack Del Rio was fired. The team’s star QB, Derek Carr, lost confidence. The offense under the guidance of first year offensive coordinator Todd Downing looked broken. The Raiders had massively underachieved. Before Del Rio could even announce he was fired, ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortenson reported Jon Gruden was set to return to the Black Hole, where his head coaching career began. Nearly 10 days later, Jon Gruden was introduced as the new head coach of the Oakland Raiders.

“This is a big effing deal,” proclaimed Raiders owner Mark Davis at the introductory press conference. It absolutely is. Gruden’s contract is reportedly for 10 years and $100 million dollars. Mark Davis knew he had to make a splash and keep scorned Oakland Raider fans invested in the lame duck franchise for the next two years while they remained in Oakland before bolting to Las Vegas. The fate of the franchise depended on it.

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis needed to make a splash head coaching hire for his “lame-duck” franchise or risk losing fans before the team’s move to Las Vegas.

It helps, however, Jon Gruden believes he has unfinished business with the Raiders, as he invoked horrific memories of his final game as a Raider, “The Tuck Rule” game. “(Tom) Brady fumbled that ball,” Gruden stated. He went on to say, “Yeah, there is unfinished business as a coach. I was traded, I was fired. I’ve missed the game terribly. But I’ve really missed the Raiders. And for my career to end on that night in New England? It still ticks me off. I’m just so thrilled to be back here.”

Jon’s love for the fanbase and the city of Oakland was also prevalent throughout the press conference. “A big reason why I’m here is my passion for the city of Oakland and this franchise. And the people in the Black Hole, if you’re out there listening. I can’t wait to see you guys, man. I really can’t.”, Gruden stated. While Gruden may have 100 million little reason as to why he’s back, it’s clear he wants to be a Raider again, and wants to deliver a winning football team to the city of Oakland before loading the moving trucks. So much of the love letter to Oakland in the wake of the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas has seemed like a PR strategy, as evidenced by the acquisition of retired RB Marshawn Lynch, a native of Oakland, last offseason. But Jon Gruden epitomizes the Raiders and the East Bay’s attitude, so his adoration for the city and the franchise seems genuine.

Gruden didn’t make any promises in regards to producing a winner on the field, however, stating “I’m gonna do everything I can, no guarantees, no promises, but I want to win.” The Raiders will have to find a way to repair their offense, and must greatly improve their defense as well. Gruden seems to have taken steps in those directions already, as he announced Rams QB coach Greg Olson and Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will be the offensive and defensive coordinators respectively.

It’s not often former head coaches come back to the NFL and succeed, only Dick Vermeil won a Super Bowl with the then St. Louis Rams in 1999 after taking a hiatus from coaching. It’s not like the Raiders have had much success at bringing back old coaches either, as evidenced by Art Shell. After coaching the team from 1989 through 1994 during their Los Angeles days, Shell was re-hired to coach the team in 2006, yielding a disastrous 2-14 campaign, their worst in franchise history.  History may not be on Gruden’s side, but the time was right to come back. “I just, in my heart feel this is the thing to do. This is what I want to do. This is the organization that I want to be a part of, and I’m all in.”, Gruden said.

Jon Gruden and the Raiders won the press conference. They’ve riled-up the Raider Nation and have them believing 2018 will be their year. They have reason to believe Gruden can guide the team back to championship contention despite his near decade-long absence from coaching. Win, lose, or tie, Jon Gruden will be a member of the Raider Nation forever, but only time will tell if Mark Davis’ desperate hire will pay dividends within the next 10 years. Much like at a high stakes poker table in a Las Vegas casino, Mark Davis is all-in on Jon Gruden.

Jon Gruden and Mark Davis pose for a photo after Gruden’s introductory press conference at the Raiders headquarters in Alameda, California on January 9th, 2018.

 

 

Bro-Picks: NFL Wild Card Weekend Predictions

The wild wild (card) weekend.

After weeks of debating who would get in and who would be left out, the NFL Playoffs are upon us. They begin with what is typically the most unpredictable of rounds the NFL Playoffs have to offer, Wild Card Weekend. This round is reserved for seeds 3 through 6, with the 3rd and 4th seeds being division winners and the 5th and 6th seeds representing teams who may not have won their division, but won enough games to punch their ticket into the dance.

Only six teams in NFL history have ever won the Super Bowl as a Wild Card team: the  1980 Oakland Raiders, the 1997 Denver Broncos, the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers, the 2007 New York Giants, and the 2010 Green Bay Packers. The odds may be stacked against this year’s wild card teams, which include the Tennessee Titans, the Buffalo Bills, the Carolina Panthers, and the Atlanta Falcons, but all of these teams have a reason to believe they can make it to Minneapolis and hoist the Lombardi trophy. Never count out the wild card.

Last Week: 10-6

Overall: 164-92

Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs (Saturday 4:20 EST)

Two of the NFL’s most boring/ “they won’t win the Super Bowl” teams face off in ESPN’s biggest money loser. In what could be Jon Gruden’s last game calling Monday Night Football/ Wild Card games for ESPN before he and “The Rooney Rule” breaking Raiders reunite, it’s the Chiefs suddenly resurgent offense that should carry them to victory. However, the Chiefs supposed home-field advantage in Arrowhead stadium hasn’t meant much in years past, as Kansas City is 0-5 in home playoff games dating back to the 1995 NFL Playoffs. Don’t be shocked if the impotent Titans lull the Chiefs to sleep and come away with an upset victory, but all bad things turn around eventually, right?

Winner: Chiefs

Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams (Saturday 8:15 EST)

The Los Angeles Rams are the biggest surprise to arise from the NFL this season. Head coach Sean McVay has turned the league’s worst offense in 2016 into the league’s highest scoring offense in just a year’s time, making him the favorite for coach of the year honors. RB Todd Gurley has been reborn into an MVP candidate, piling up 2,093 yards from scrimmage and scoring 19 total touchdowns. But at QB, the league’s most important position, the Rams tout a much improved Jared Goff, while the Falcons will trot out reigning league MVP Matt Ryan. From muscle memory alone, you’d think the Falcons have a clear advantage over the upstart Rams, who currently have only six players on their roster with playoff experience.

Winner: Falcons

Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars (Sunday 1:05 EST)

Bills mafia, the eccentric and dangerous fan base of the Buffalo Bills, rejoiced when Bengals QB Andy Dalton threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to WR Tyler Boyd to send the Ravens home packing, while catapulting Buffalo into the playoffs for the first time this millennium. It came at the price of the sprained ankle of RB LeSean McCoy, who is a game-time decision for the match-up. The Bills offense desperately needs him, as the vaunted “Sacksonville”defense ranked 2nd in the league in total defense this season. If they can hold down Buffalo’s rushing attack, all the Jaguars need from QB Blake Bortles is to hand the ball off to potential offensive rookie of the year winner, RB Leonard Fournette, and not turn the ball over. That formula should result in a re-match against the Steelers in the Divisional round.

Winner: Jaguars

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (Sunday 4:40 EST)

New Orleans dominated their regular season meetings against Carolina, averaging nearly 33 points and winning those contests by nearly 16 points per game. The Saints have finally surrounded Drew Brees with a running game, compliments of the one two punch that is Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. The Saints defense has also improved greatly, as they were 10th in turnover differential the NFL at + 7. The Panthers are a seasoned veteran team, and QB Cam Newton bounced back from his awful 2016 season. He threw 22 touchdown passes and led his team and all QBs in rushing yards with a career high 754 yards, and is the Panthers 1st, 2nd, and 3rd option. For better or worse, Carolina goes as Cam goes, which isn’t the greatest position to be in against a future hall of famer in Drew Brees.

Winner: Saints

 

 

 

 

Bro-Picks: NFL Week 8 Predictions

We’ve reached halftime of the NFL season.

After week 8 of the NFL season, we will have officially reached halftime of the 2017 season. By now, you would think teams would have started to separate themselves as true contenders, but if this season has proven anything, parity is alive and well in the NFL. There are no unbeaten teams remaining, and even the better teams in the league have fatal flaws that could cost them a trip to Minneapolis for Super Bowl 52. A win in week 8, however, goes a long way towards obtaining that goal… except if you’re the Browns and the 49ers. They can start making their vacation plans now.

Last Week: 11-4

Overall: 58-48

Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens (Thursday Night Football)

The Ravens offense has fallen and can’t get up. Meanwhile, Dolphins QB Jay Cutler was having his best game of the season last week prior to being knocked out of the game due to breaking his ribs. Backup QB Matt Moore came in and the Dolphins offense finally resembled the one that was one of the best offenses in 2016. It’s the best break they’ve caught all season.

Winner: Dolphins

 

Minnesota Vikings at Cleveland Browns (in London)

Browns QB DeShone Kizer apologized this week for being out late Friday night into the wee hours of Saturday morning at a bar. It should be the Browns apologizing to him for making him suffer through a rookie season where he’s thrown 11 interceptions. Next up is the Vikings defense, as if losing future hall of fame LT Joe Thomas for the rest of the season and playing in London wasn’t bad enough.

Winner: Vikings

 

Oakland Raiders at Buffalo Bills

After a month of looking like a pretender despite lofty expectations, the Raiders offense finally had a breakthrough and won a big divisional game against the Chiefs. The Buffalo Bills are off to a 4-2 start, and this could be a statement game that shows they’re a contender should they come away victorious.

Winner: Raiders

 

Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals

Colts WR T.Y. Hilton had to apologize for correctly pointing out his team’s offensive line sucks. Someone on the Bengals should apologize for QB Andy Dalton’s performance against the Steelers. This one could go either way.

Winner: Bengals

 

Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots

Don’t look now, but the Chargers are on a three game winning streak. Their reward for somewhat righting the ship? A date with the suddenly competent New England Patriots. No pressure.

Winner: Patriots

 

Upset of the Week: Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints

The Bears have gone back to the George Halas era by winning games in which their rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky throws 7 passes a game. Somehow, this has worked. The Saints defense has finally come out of hibernation, which they’ve been in since their Super Bowl 44 victory in 2009. However, Saints QB Drew Brees has recently caught the turnover bug, something Bears DB Eddie Jackson, who had 2 defensive touchdowns last week, may want to take note of.

Upset of the Week Winner: Bears

 

Atlanta Falcons at New York Jets

The Atlanta Falcons may be disintegrating before our eyes. The number one ranked offense last season ranks only 14th this season, and QB Matt Ryan has looked like anything but his MVP self. They’re lucky to be facing the Jets this week, who might be pulling off the most competitive tank job in professional sports history.

Winner: Falcons

 

Lock of the Week: San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles

Tell me where in the remaining schedule for the 49ers the game they’ll win? It definitely won’t be this week, as Eagles QB Carson Wentz appears the be the best QB in the NFC left standing halfway through the season.

Winner: Eagles

 

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

QB Cam Newton has walked out on press conferences 2 weeks in a row now, and his turnovers last week cost the Panthers the game against the lowly Bears. Carolina needs this win to keep pace with the Saints, but so do the Buccaneers, who may want to consider a coaching change after their disappointing start to what was supposed to be a breakthrough season.

Winner: Panthers

 

Houston Texans at Seattle Seahawks

Texans rookie QB Deshaun Watson is on a tear with 15 touchdown passes this season. This is his first big test against a great defense, and the legion of boom playing at home with the 12th man behind them is too tall of a task for a rookie to overcome.

Winner: Seahawks

 

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins

The Cowboys looked dominant against the 49ers last week, but that’s not very hard to do. The Redskins are now 0-2 in their divisional games after losing to the Eagles. In a key NFC East match-up, Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott, who has his appeal hearing for his suspension the next day, will be the difference maker. Talk about great timing.

Winner: Cowboys

 

Pittsburgh Steelers at Detroit Lions (Sunday Night Football)

The Steelers seem to have found the winning formula: run RB Le’Veon Bell, set up QB Ben Roethlisberger for play action to throw to WRs Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, and let the defense loose. This is the type of game the Lions need to prove they’re for real, but it’s the type of game they always seem to drop the ball on.

Winner: Steelers

 

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (Monday Night Football)

The Broncos offense didn’t get past midfield until the 2nd half last week. The only reason QB Trevor Siemian isn’t getting benched is because Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch are the backups. The Chiefs are also on a cold streak of their own after losing two straight, and will look to reclaim their spot as one of the best teams in the REGULAR season.

Winner: Chiefs

2017 NFL Season Preview

Football is back.

The NFL season is upon us. Every year fans get a newfound sense of hope. The hope that their favorite team may rise up and raise the Lombardi trophy as Super Bowl champions. While some teams are closer to accomplishing this goal than others, it’s time to separate the contenders from the pretenders and predict the 2017 NFL Season.

AFC North

afcnorth

1. Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4

2. Cincinnati Bengals 8-8

3. Baltimore Ravens 7-9

4. Cleveland Browns 4-12

The Steelers are by and far the best team in this division, and their schedule will allow them to rack-up wins this season. The Bengals will be average, the Ravens don’t have enough offensive talent to be a contender, and Browns QB DeShone Kizer will showcase his talent whilst running for his life.

 

AFC East

afc-east

1. New England Patriots 13-3

2. Miami Dolphins 7-9

3. Buffalo Bills 6-10

4. New York Jets 2-14

It’s Tom Brady’s world. Every other team is just happy to be considered an NFL team in the AFC East. Jay Cutler won’t move the needle with the Dolphins, the Bills are rebuilding, and the Jets look like they could be one of the worst teams in a long time by tanking this season.

 

AFC South

afcsouth

1. Houston Texans 9-7

2. Tennessee Titans 9-7

3. Indianapolis Colts 6-10

4. Jacksonville Jaguars 3-13

Defense wins championships. Houston still has one of the best defenses in football, and rookie QB DeShaun Watson will be the starter for the Texans come the end of the season. The Titans are building something special in Nashville, the Colts will be lost without QB Andrew Luck, and the Jaguars are starting QB Blake Bortles because QB Chad Henne is the alternative. (*cough Colin Kaepernick*)

 

AFC West

2017-afc-west-predictions-nfl-football-gambling-odds

1. Oakland Raiders 10-6

2. Kansas City Chiefs 9-7

3. Denver Broncos 7-9

4. Los Angeles Chargers 6-10

The Raiders’ offense will carry this team to a division title, but the back seven of the defense seems to have regressed. The Chiefs will eventually start rookie QB Patrick Mahomes, the Broncos lack of offensive firepower will be mitigated by their stellar defense, and the Chargers play in a soccer stadium.

NFC North

nfc-north

1. Green Bay Packers 10-6

2. Detroit Lions 8-8

3. Minnesota Vikings 7-9

4. Chicago Bears 3-13

The Packers have Aaron Rodgers. The Lions have Matthew Stafford. The Vikings have Sam Bradford. The Bears have Mike Glennon and Mitchell Trubisky. The quarterback situations for each team in this division tell you all you need to know.

 

NFC East

nfc-east

1. Dallas Cowboys 11-5

2. New York Giants 10-6

3. Philadelphia Eagles 9-7

4. Washington Redskins 6-10

QB Dak Prescott is the real deal, and he’ll thrive with or without RB Ezikiel Elliot. The Giants’ defense is Super Bowl worthy, the Eagles will fly with their new toys on offense, and the Redskins still don’t know if their QB’s name is Kirk or Kurt Cousins.

 

NFC South

NFC-South

1. Carolina Panthers 11-5

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6

3. Atlanta Falcons 8-8

4. New Orleans Saints 6-10

QB Cam Newton will see the Panthers rise from worst to first now that their Super Bowl 50 hangover is gone. QB Jameis Winston will help the Buccaneers take the next step towards contention, the Falcons will still be hungover from their Super Bowl 51, and the Saints still don’t play defense… ever.

 

NFC West

nfl-oeste-1

1. Seattle Seahawks 13-3

2. Arizona Cardinals 8-8

3. Los Angeles Rams 5-11

4. San Francisco 49ers 4-12

The Seahawks tout one of the best defenses in the league, and QB Russell Wilson is one of the best QBs in the league despite taking snaps from a stitched-together offensive line. The Cardinals are another year older, the Rams are still trying to make QB Jared Goff happen even though it will never happen, and any progress the 49ers may make will be sabotaged because their owner runs every coach out of town, even when they make it to the Super Bowl.

 

AFC Playoff Picture

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1. New England Patriots

2. Pittsburgh Steelers

3. Oakland Raiders

4. Houston Texans

5. Kansas City Chiefs

6. Tennessee Titans

 

Wild Card

wildcard

3. Raiders over 6. Titans

4. Texans over 5. Chiefs

 

Divisional Round

nfl-divisional-playoffs

1. Patriots over 4. Texans

2. Steelers over 3. Raiders

 

AFC Championship

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2. Steelers over 1. Patriots

 

NFC Playoff Picture

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1. Seattle Seahawks

2. Dallas Cowboys

3. Carolina Panthers

4. Green Bay Packers

5. New York Giants

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

Wild Card

wildcard

5. Giants over 4. Packers

3. Panthers over 6. Buccaneers

 

Divisional Round

nfl-divisional-playoffs

1. Seahawks over 5. Giants

2. Cowboys over 3. Panthers

 

NFC Championship

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1. Seahawks over 2. Cowboys

 

SUPER BOWL LII

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Steelers over Seahawks