We are about halfway through the 2016 NFL regular season, and a ton of headlines have come thus far. From impressive rookie campaigns, to season-ending injuries, there is no telling on what’s to come. Last week, I was able to score a record of 9-5-1, bringing my total to 63-43-1. With that being said, let’s take a look at who I have winning in this week’s NFL Pick ‘Em Series:
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-4) at Tennessee Titans (3-4)
For The Jaguars: After an unimpressive first half to the 2016 season, what has been the most disappointing aspect of this organization has been its offense. Allen Robinson currently has only 26 receptions to his name, which is enough to rank 64th in the league.
For The Titans: I thought the Titans would be able to edge out the Colts last week, but it turns out that the Colts wound up with a last-minute victory instead. Marcus Mariota has been a player to watch, as he has thrown 8 of his last 12 touchdowns within the last three weeks.
Prediction: I like the Titans at home in this one, only because the Jaguars defense has not been able to prove that they are capable of stopping the run game. With the weapons the Titans have in the backfield, it shouldn’t be much of a contest.
Washington Redskins (4-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-4)
For The Redskins: The Redskins are hanging onto the NFC East race, trailing by only two games at the moment. With DeSean Jackson dealing with minor injuries through the season, he has placed himself fourth on the roster when it comes to receptions, but first when it comes to most yards per reception (out of receivers with 10+ receptions).
For The Bengals: After a 14-point victory over the Browns last week, the Bengals now have potential to make quite the run. With Dalton ranking fourth in the league when it comes to total passing yards, as well as a 4:1 TD:INT ratio, there is no ceiling for what he can do.
Prediction: The Redskins have been able to play great football as of the past couple of weeks, but I’m going to take the Bengals, who have found signs of life in their backfield as of late.
Kansas City Chiefs (4-2) at Indianapolis Colts (3-4)
For The Chiefs: In my opinion, there really isn’t anything special about the Chiefs. With a mediocre offense, and defense for that matter, the only thing going for them is the fact that their turnover ratio has resulted in a +7 so far.
For The Colts: Andrew Luck was able to carry the team last week against the Titans, but he won’t be able to do that each week. With time of possession slightly on their side, that will be a huge factor coming into this one.
Prediction: Even though I bashed the Chiefs for not being special, I’m going to pick them on the road in this one. Jamal Charles is easing back into things, but Spencer Ware has been a special talent in his absence.
Oakland Raiders (5-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3)
For The Raiders: The Raiders are 5-1 on the season, yet have won four of their five games on the road. Going up against an average Bucs defense, the Raiders need to execute to stay undefeated on the road.
For The Bucs: The Bucs are a story much different than the Raiders, seeing that they are 3-3, and none of their wins have been at home so far. With injury concerns in the backfield, expect Winston to heavily rely on his receiver Mike Evans on Sunday.
Prediction: I think the safest bet would be to choose the Raiders, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Derek Carr has the perfect situation around him, and it’s going to take an above average defense to stop him.
Seattle Seahawks (4-1-1) at New Orleans Saints (2-4)
For The Seahawks: After an awful performance on Sunday night, which resulted in a 6-6 finish, the Seahawks find themselves relying on their defense to keep them in games. With Cliff Avril ranking fourth in the NFL when it comes to sacks, the Seahawks will need to somehow contain Drew Brees and company.
For The Saints: The Saints average 29.3 points per game, which is good enough for third in the league. None of that winds up helping though when you consider the fact that they let up 32.5 points per game as well.
Prediction: The Seahawks have struggled to put points on the board all season, so I’m actually going to take the Saints at home in this one.
Detroit Lions (4-3) at Houston Texans (4-3)
For The Lions: The Lions run game hasn’t been consistent whatsoever this season, especially when you look at the fact that they’ve had five ball carriers through seven weeks of football. With Theo Riddick looking healthier, and averaging 7.3 yards per reception out of the backfield, the Lions may be in contention for a wild card slot.
For The Texans: After having to settle for only field goals in Monday’s loss, the Texans have proven exactly why it’s better to bet on tested veteran quarterbacks, rather than the hot hand. Brock has a great ending to 2015, but 2016 has been a bust in every sense.
Prediction: I’m going to wind up favoring the Lions in this one, just because I love the way Stafford has been able to play in the first half of this season.
New York Jets (2-5) at Cleveland Browns (0-7)
For The Jets: I had the Jets winning last week behind Geno Smith, but they happened to do it behind Fitzpatrick instead. With the Jets forced to move forward with Fitz, there is no telling how this team will wind up on Sunday.
For The Browns: Another week, another loss for the Browns, as they haven’t been able to show up on either side of the ball. If they were going to win a game all season, maybe doing it against a broken Jets team is the right scenario.
Predictions: It’s way too hard to bet on the Browns in any game, even if it is at home. For that reasoning, I’ll take the Jets by double-digits.
New England Patriots (6-1) at Buffalo Bills (4-3)
For The Patriots: The Pats have been able to cruise by so far, yet their only loss came to the Bills, in which they scored 0 points on their home turf. In all fairness, Tom Brady wasn’t playing at the time, and Rex Ryan knows this round will be a lot different than the last one.
For The Bills: Tyrod Taylor is one of three qualified quarterback that have two turnovers or less, placing himself in the category of Russell Wilson and Andy Dalton. Even with Taylor’s great gameplay, the real story has been about LeSean McCoy, who has been playing some of the best football of his career in 2016.
Prediction: Bills fans can be rough, and I think this will be a 7-point game, but I’ll take the Patriots. Brady will be able to pick apart the Bills, who are coming into this one way too confident after their previous matchup.
Arizona Cardinals (3-3) at Carolina Panthers (1-5)
For The Cardinals: The Cardinals running game has been one of the best in the business, yet Carson Palmer has 5 INTs to his 7 TDs so far this season. If the Cardinals are going to prove to be contenders in a competitive NFC conference, they need a strong second half of the season.
For The Panthers: I was one of the few who claimed Cam Newton was hyped by the media and even overrated, and 2016 has been a prime example of that. The defense the Panthers had in 2015 is nothing compared to what they have in 2016, and I don’t mean that in a good way.
Prediction: Both of these teams have been underwhelming to say the least, but I’m going to favor the Panthers at home, but only because I think the Cardinals will give this one away somehow due to Palmer.
San Diego Chargers (3-4) at Denver Broncos (5-2)
For The Chargers: The Chargers were a team I have been bashing for a few weeks now, and the results are baffling to me. Ranking second in points per game, as well as fifth in passing yards per game, the Chargers offense has been surprisingly good to me, taking into account that they are without some of their key weapons.
For The Broncos: Trevor Siemian has been able to protect the football, and the defense was even better than it was in 2015 (in my opinion of course). With that formula, there are only so many ways you can lose football games on a week-to-week basis.
Prediction: Rivers has done a solid job in the first seven games this season, but I think the Broncos defense will allow them to improve to 6-2 on the season.
Green Bay Packers (4-2) at Atlanta Falcons (4-3)
For The Packers: The Packers haven’t been great by any means, but this defense is probably up there in the top ten to me. If Rodgers can get his act together, the Packers should be able to at least get a wild card slot in the NFC down the road.
For The Falcons: How great has Julio Jones been? Well, he leads the NFL in receiving yards by 55, as well as yards per game by 7.9. If the Falcons offense can continue to blow through teams by outscoring them, the NFC South is theirs to lose.
Prediction: I’m torn on this one, and I believe it’ll be relatively close, but I’ll take the Falcons by field goal only, which will come later in the game.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-2) at Dallas Cowboys (5-1)
For The Eagles: Folks can claim Carson Wentz is great as much as they want, but the real reason the Eagles are 4-2 right now is because of their stellar defense. With the Eagles and Cowboys facing off for the first time this season, this will be a matchup you don’t want to miss.
For The Cowboys: This offensive line has been able to lead Dallas to five wins in six games, and the Cowboys have no signs of slowing down. Garrett has been able to keep everything under control, but when it comes to the Cowboys, we all know anything can happen.
Prediction: The Eagles defense will be the biggest factory on Sunday night, but I’ll take Elliot for another 100+ rushing yards in a 10-point victory.
Minnesota Vikings (5-1) at Chicago Bears (1-6)
For The Vikings: Even though the Vikings suffered their first loss last week, that doesn’t take away from the fact that they look like a great contender this year. If Bradford can avoid mistakes late in the game, the Vikings have a chance to do something special.
For The Bears: With Jay Cutler cleared by the medical staff, there is still a lot wrong with the organization. With little to no confidence in the locker room, this franchise is overdue on a rebuild era.
Prediction: I’ll take the Vikings on the road, in a game in which Cutler will struggle once again, giving Bears fans no hope for the near future.