Tag Archives: Football

Red’s NFL Picks – Week 6

Image result for chicago 73 washington 0

Last week Red was 3-3 again.  For the season Red is 18-12.  On the money line, it wasn’t so great a week:

Packers covered the spread and Red made good on the over – $ paid

Bengals covered the spread (barely) – $ paid

Buccaneers failed to cover the spread (barely) and missed wildly on the over – Bust

Giants/Chargers blew through the over – Bust

Answer to Last Weeks Trivia:  The final score was Bears 73 OTNAs 0 in the 1940 NFL championship game which set multiple records including largest margin of victory.  No other NFL team has hit the 70’s.

This Week’s Trivia:  Which player scored the most points in an NFL game?  Hint: You have to go back a long ways to find this one.

Your Chicago Connection Pick of the Week –  Bears over Ravens. Well, after more or less stating that he would never pick the Bears (as they keep finding new and imaginative ways to lose), Red is stretching this week to find an upset.  Ravens are favored by 7.  The 1-4 Bears need a win badly.  The 3-2 Ravens are surprising a lot of analysts (Red including) by not sucking.  Red will likely regret this one, but at least he won’t lead you down the wrong path by recommending any bets here.  Chicago 17 Baltimore 16.

Your Second Chicago Connection Pick of the WeekBuccaneers over Cardinals.  Jameis Winston seems to show up for work every other week.  Meanwhile, Carson Palmer seems to have gone into early retirement.  Well, early retirement would have been 3 years ago, but CP seems ready for the rest home now.  Bucs’ offense struggled against a weak Pats defense last week.  Look for a break out game against the ragged remnants of what used to be a top tier NFL defense.  Amazingly, the Cards are favored by a whole point!  Red thinks the Bucs cover that rather easily.  Tampa Bay 28 Arizona 17.   

Your Throw Down a 40 Pick of the Week – Saints over Lions.  See below re: Lions.  Saints have to win a few games this season.  Why not this one?  Saints are getting 4 points at home.  Take that and the under at 51.  New Orleans 20 Detroit 17. 

Your Extra Point Pick of the Week – Texans over Browns.  It was a sad Sunday night for Texans fans.  The majority of the mourning was for the loss of JJ Watt for the second season in a row.   Watt’s first 5 seasons in the league are the stuff of legends, but losing most of a second season in a row is putting what seemed to be a certain Hall of Fame career in doubt.  As longtime sports radio host Charlie Palillo says, “Attendance is part of the grade.”  Red was in the vast minority by being more upset about the loss of Whitney Mercilus.  WM is actually the more versatile player if not as disruptive as JJW.  Watt can be “replaced” with a defensive lineman.  Mercilus is a tougher proposition as he lines up in multiple positions.  Well, the tonic for tragedy is the Browns.  Texans are a heavy favorite, but Red is skeptical of giving up 12 points ever.  He is also skeptical of ever betting on the Browns to cover.  However, the over at 44 looks tempting given the number of points the Texans are putting up since Deshaun Watson took over – Dude is a scoring machine and he will have to be if the Texans are to win games with the loss of their top two defenders.   Houston 39 Cleveland 21.

Your Stanford Connection Pick of the Week – Titans over Colts.  Red is so far rather highly disappointed with the Titans who he picked to go 13-3.  Well that obviously aint happening.  And who gives up 57 points to the Texans anyway?  The defense righted the ship allowing only 16 points last week.  But the offense without Mariota is a rudderless wreck.  There is no line yet because of that unknown factor.  If Mariota is back, the Titans should roll.  If not, all bets are off.  Tennessee 21 Indianapolis 14.

Your Unparalleled Excellence Pick of the Week – Eagles over Panthers.  After encountering the high-powered Eagles offense last week, the once-vaunted Cardinals defense was carried off the field in a basket.  Meanwhile the Panthers were efficient in dispatching a Lions team unlikely to beat any team with a winning record at season end.  Expect the Panthers to put up a better fight than the hapless Cards, but the Eagles offense has Carson Wentz in full control and is averaging almost 400 yards per game.  Somehow the Eagles are getting 3 points.  This may be the betting opportunity of the season.  Double up on the Eagles and the over at 45.  Philadelphia 35 Carolina 24. 

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Red’s NFL Picks – Week 5

Red was 3-3 last week remaining a respectable 15-9 for the season.    The money line wasn’t too bad either:

Rams covered – paid $

Texans/Titans over – paid $ – Note that the Texans had covered the Over by themselves early in the 3rd quarter.

Niners covered – paid $

Falcons lost – Bust

Titans lost – Bust (an alternate pick)

Packers/Bears went over – Bust

Answer to Last Week’s Trivia:  The Chicago Cardinals (now the Arizona Cardinals) and the Decatur Staleys (now the Chicago Bears) are the only two original NFL franchises in the league since its formation in 1920.  The Packers joined the next season and it is the franchise that has been in the same city with the same mascot the longest.

This Week’s Trivia:  In honor of the Texans’ 57 point whipping of the Titans – Which team scored the most points in an NFL game?  Bonus for naming the opponent and year. Double bonus for correctly calling the number of points scored.

Your High Point Game of the Week – Bengals over Bills.  Bills are the biggest surprise of the season so far leading the AFC-East at 3-1.   Unfortunately for Bills fans, the first place crown rests uneasily on the franchise from Western New York.   After a horrendous start to the season, the Bengals drank the Brown tonic – which cures all ills.  The Bengals are too good to suck as much as they did for the first three weeks.  They aren’t good enough to make the playoffs but  . . .  Someone thinks the Bengals are for real as they are giving up 3.5 this week.  Red likes the over at 39. Cincinnati 37 Orchard Park, NY 33

Your Low Point Game of the Week –  Vikings  over Bears.  Vikings can’t catch a break with Dalvin Cook out for several games most likely.    Red thought for a moment about  picking the Bears.  But then he wrote that down – “Red is picking the Bears.”  Oh, hell no. There is no line on this game right now and that is as it should be.  Minnesota 17 Chicago 13.

Your Middling Point Game of the Week – Buccaneers over Patriots.  Jameis Winston v. Tom Brady would seem to be a no-brainer.  And last Sunday it seemed the script was going according to plan.  The suddenly lame-ass Patriots defense had the team in another hole and Brady led the comeback to tie the game.  But then, the writers gave it a happy ending with the Panthers winning.  Here’s the stat that tells it all.  The Panthers punted once.  They did have two turnovers.  But when your defense has 3 stops all day, it’s not going well.  Red just isn’t sure the Pats offense is going to be able to score enough points to keep up with the up and coming Bucs. Tampa Bay gets 4 points and doesn’t even need it.  A pretty hefty over at 54 but Red is going with that too.  Tampa Bay 35 New England 27.

Your Offensive Game of the Week – Packers over Cowboys.   The Cowboys’ loss to the Rams exposed some serious weaknesses in the Dallas defense.  The Cowboys’s middle is soft – Sean Lee notwithstanding.  Everyone knew the Cowboys secondary was weak, but the run defense was fairly good last season and the pass rush was effective in spots.  But this season, the Cowboys’ defense has been rolled and smoked by the Broncos and the Rams.  That doesn’t bode well for the Packers game this week.   A-Rodg is expert at exploiting the weakest link.  His only problem this week will be choosing among the weak, weaker and weakest links.  Somewhere someone is giving the Packers 2.5.  Take it and run.  The Pack might cover the 53 point O/U by their lonesome (see, e.g. the Texans last week), but don’t bet on it.  Green Bay 44 Arlington 30.  

Your Who Cares Game of the Week – Giants over Chargers.  The only problem with this week’s Shit Bowl is that it is not being played in the Shit Bowl Stadium in Carson, CA where the Chargers play their “home” games.  In case you haven’t been paying attention.  The Chargers fans are not exactly flocking to the 27,000 seat stadium that is their temporary home.  In fact, opposing fans – always on the make for a bargain – are swarming into the tiny venue and making things very uncomfortable for the hapless Chargers.  The Chargers may be glad to play a game on the road in an environment that is supposed to be hostile.  And hostile it will be this week as fans of the winless Giants (who supposedly had Superb Owl aspirations, says Red chortling) are likely to boo every player on the field, all the coaches, the cheerleaders and the ball boy.  Unload the .45 before settling in to watch this Doleful Doo-Doo Display lest ye empty the chamber into your 70 incher at the 2 minute warning. Take the under at 44.5.  New Jersey 17 Somewhere in California 13. 

Your Red Knows Some Trivia Game of the Week – Rams over Seahawks.  The Rams are looking very for real after rather handily dispatching the Cowboys on Sunday afternoon.  3-1 is very for real in the NFL over the course of any 4 weeks of the season. The Seahawks offensive line is simply atrocious. It seems Russell Wilson is running for his life on almost every play.  He is good at that but it does wear on a body.  Red looks for the Rams to return to Earth later this season, but not this Sunday.   This one’s a Pick’em.  Red picks the Rams. Los Angeles 35 Seattle 24.  

 

Red’s NFL Picks – Week 4

Last week Red was 4-2 on the straight up picks.  Red is now 12-6 for the season.  The money act ion was a different story last week and Red extends apologies to anyone foolish enough to follow his advice.  Out of five money bets, Red only scored on the Jags to cover 4.5 points.  The main problem was excessive scoring as Red like the under on the Pats/Texans and Titans/Seahawks and those teams scored 69 and 60 respectively.  You don’t see O/U’s in the 60s much in this league.  The Raiders collapse was unexpected and the Eagles failed to cover by .5.  Oh well.

Answer to last week’s trivia question:  Tony Dorsett had a 99 yard run from scrimmage in the Cowboys game against the Vikings in the last game of the 1982 season.  The Cowboys lost the game but had already secured a playoff spot.  The victory put the Vikings in the playoffs.  After the game, it was revealed that the run came on a broken play where the Cowboys had only 10 men on the field.  The handoff was supposed to go to RB Ron Springs, but Springs misunderstood the play call and ran off the field.  Dorsett alertly took the handoff and set a record that can never be broken.

This week’s trivia question:  Only two original teams from the founding of the NFL (then called the American Professional Football Association)  in 1920 are still in existence.   Can you name them.

Hint:  Both teams are no longer in their city of original and one has changed its mascot.  More obvious but not necessarily true hint:  Both teams are in the NFC.

Your Illinois Pick of the Week – Packers over Bears.  The only real surprise here is that the Bears could be sitting atop the NFC Central at the end of this game.  And the Bears typically play the Packers tougher than expected.  But a Thursday night game in northern Wisconsin is a tough challenge for any team.  At least it’s short flight for the Bears.  But sadly, it will be a long flight home.  Neither one of these offenses is generating much right now.  Take the under at 45.5.    Green Bay 24 Chicago 14

Your Stale Pick of the Week  – Titans over Texans.  If you are a Texans fan and at any point last Sunday thought the Texans actually were going to beat the Patriots (or if you thought that Donald Trump as president would be anything short of great but amusing national embarrassment), there is a word for you.  Fool!  There are no moral victories in the NFL.  Had the Texans won that game, they might have had some momentum against a Titans team that Red is still picking to finish 13-3.   After stumbling out of the gate against the Raiders, the Titans offense is moving fast at the quarter-pole.  Expect Mariota to use the mass of talent around him to average about 30 points per game the rest of the way.  Meanwhile, the vaunted Texans defense is giving up 25 points per game.  Texans simply cannot keep up with Titans this week.  Take the over at 44 or the Titans giving up 1.5.  Tennessee 35 Houston 27

Your Avian Pick of the Week – Falcons over Bills.  Bills may be the biggest surprise of the season so far as they could easily be 3-0 but for inability to cross goal line against Panthers in Week 2.  Falcons are playing to form and are 3-0 thanks to replay which negated the Lions last second touchdown last week.  That call confirmed that the Falcons are on a mission from God to make up for the second half of SBLI.  The Bills have a good defense but  are merely in the way this week. Take the Falcons giving up a hefty 8 at home.    Atlanta 31 Orchard Park 17.

Your WTF Pick of the Week – Rams over Cowboys.  A man can dream can’t he?  The Red rule comes into play this week.  That is “score 14 points and beat the Cowboys.”  Take the Rams and 7.5.  Los Angeles 14 Arlington 13. 

Your 1920 Pick of the Week – Cardinals over 49ers.  Two troubled franchises right now.  The Cards’ offense is troubled without David Johnson and even though Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald have defied Father Time for a couple of weeks that simply can’t last.  Niners showed signs of life last week in close loss to the Rams – but those were the Rams after all.  This would be a good call for this week’s Shit Bowl – but see below.  Red hesitates, but takes the Niners to cover 7 against a leaky Cards defense.   Arizona 23 Santa Clara 18.

Your Shit Bowl Pick of the Week – Browns over Bengals.  It’s just too easy to put the Browns in the Shit Bowl week after week.  Please Browns win a game so Red can move on to something more interesting – like picking the Giants to stink it up.  Browns could not handle the pressure of being a road favorite against the lowly Colts last week.  It might get to them again this week except they are predicted to lose by 3 at home to a pathetic Bengals team..  If you feel even slightly inclined to bet on this game, Red has some advice.  Take that money and donate it to one of the many relief funds set up to help folks in Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico.  They need it more than your bookie.  And lastly, clear the Man Cave of all belts, sheets, ropes or other items that could be used to string yourself up in front of the 70 incher before tuning in to watch this turgid turd tussle.  Cleveland 15 Cincinnati 8.

Red’s NFL Picks – Week 3

Red was 5-1 on straight up picks in Week 2.  That puts Red at a respectable 8-4 for the season.  Red also made some decent calls on the betting line.

Eagles/Chiefs over – paid $

Seahawks/Niners under – paid $

Broncos +3 – paid $

Falcons/Packers over – paid $

Broncos/Cowboys under – bust

Chargers/Dolphins over – bust

Ka-ching!

Answer to last week’s trivia question:  Warren Moon was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2001 and the NFL Hall of Fame in 2006.  At the time of his retirement, Moon held combined CFl/NFL records for most pass attempts, pass completions, passing yards, and touchdowns, all of which have since been broken.

This week’s trivia question:

Which player had the longest scoring run from scrimmage in NFL history?

Your Longest Yard Pick of the Week – Raiders over OTNAs.  Red hasn’t finalized his season ending picks yet – which is kind of cheating – okay really cheating, but the Raiders in their current form and playing in a dilapidated POS of a stadium  are looking more and more like a team that could possibly, if they stay healthy, on a good weather day and with all the breaks going in their favor, actually beat the hated evil empire of the defending NFL Champion Patriots.  How’s that for a Conradesque sentence?  The Raiders offense (con El Beast) is trending towards unstoppable at times.  Meanwhile the OTNAs are living down to doormat of the NFC East status.  Take the Raiders giving up somewhere between 7 and 34.   Oakland 45 Landover, MD 10

Your Pennsylvania Pick of the Week – Eagles over Giants.  The Eagles loss to the peaking to soon Chiefs may be a good thing in the long run.  They lost no ground on the Cowboys and actually were in this game until Carson Wentz gave away 7 points.  You can’t give the Chiefs anything right now.  Meanwhile the Giants are muddled mess searching for an offense and wondering what happened to their vaunted D.  Take the Eagles giving up 3.5.  Take it to the bank.  Philadelphia 21 New Jersey 13

Your Texas Pick of the Week – Patriots over Texans.  Does Red really have to explain this pick?  Pats lead all-time series 8-1 (including playoff buttwhippings in 2012 and 2016 seasons).  Texans have never been close in a game played at Foxboro.  The closest they have come to winning a meaningful game against the Pats was in 2003 when they took them to OT in a sloppy game on a Sunday night in November.  The only victory in the series was the season-ender in 2009 when they eked out a win over a Pats team that had nothing to play for and Texans were fighting for their first winning season ever.  Tom Brady v. DeShaun Watson, Bellicheat v. Bill O’ the Clown.  Dynasty v. Definition of Mediocrity.  Maybe the Texans will surprise by keeping it close – a moral victory this early in the season.  Red likes the under at 43.5.  Texans are getting 13.5 which might look nice, but don’t be a sucker. New England  24 Houston 10.

Your Running Out of Bounds Pick of the Week – Browns over Colts.  The first Shit Bowl of the year.  And a particularly huge stinking turd of a game this will be – except for the fact that Browns fans will get to celebrate the first of a few hard fought wins this week.  If your are unfortunate enough to live in an area that will be broadcasting this game, please fasten your seat belts and put your tray tables in an upright position before settling in to watch this Boring Bowel Battle.  Cleveland (+2.5) is a favorite on the road for the first time in 3 years.  Which tells you two things: (1) if that somehow interests you and you are even thinking you might be somehow inclined to bet on this game, you my friend have a serious problem; and (2) the Colts have hit bottom and are still digging.  Cleveland 17 Indianapolis 9.

Your Heisman Trophy Pick of the Week –  Titans over Seahawks.   Mr. M. Mariota seemed to find the formula last week against a pretty good Jaguars defense.  Seahawks defense is probably better – but not that much better and Seahawks offense looks particularly inept right now – which is something of an insult to the inept.  Titans have a nice rushing duo with Henry and Murray and an efficient passing game.  They will win a lot of games the old-fashioned way –  with ball control and defense.    The under looks pretty tempting at 43, but Red says so with some trepidation as he can resist anything but temptation.   Tennessee 20 Seattle 10.

Your Rookie of the Year Pick of the Week –  Jaguars over Ravens.  The Jaguars travel to their home away from home at Wembley in London (future home of the London Lords in 2025 Red predicts) for the Sunday breakfast taco game at La Casa Rojo this week.   The Jags are actually 2-2 in England since the NFL began forcing them to play one home game a year “across the pond.”  And they have won the last two such “matches.”  They have a reasonably favorable draw in a beat-up Ravens team that can’t protect Flacco Joe and that will have to rely on Javorious Allen and some other guys for offensive punch. Meanwhile, potential ROY Leonard Fournette has one of his better games.  Red likes the Jags getting 4.5 right now.  Jacksonville 24 Baltimore 17.

 

Red’s NFL Picks – NFC North

The division Red hates most of all.

Vikings.  What a start to last season with the Vikings coming out of the gate 5-0.  Then cold hard reality (like a Minnesota winter) set in and the team went 3-8 to finish the season.  But for the fast start an even season would have looked pretty good after losing Teddy Bridgewater to what may still prove to be a career-ending injury.  With Sam Bradford at the helm and little help from the running backs, the Vikings probably did about as well as could be expected.  Adding Latavius Murray and rookie Dalvin Cook will give SB some more tools and there have been improvement on the O-line, but this season will turn on the defense.  Mark Zimmer had the unit humming last year – ranking 3rd in yards allowed and 6th in points allowed.  They start the same basic unit this season with only Captain Munnerlyn and Chad Greenway gone.  Just a little better play from up and coming players like Danielle Hunter, Tres Waynes and Eric Kendricks could make this the second or third best defense in the league.  More turnovers and they are there.  Red likes the Vikings chances in an overall down year for this divisions.  Minnesota blows no one away but manages a title with a 11-5 record.

Packers.  Packers needed six consecutive wins to end the season after a mealy 4-6 to claim the NFC North last season. But guess what – they still have Aaron Rodgers and a talented crew around him.  That is, except for at tailback where the untested Ty Montgomery is stepping in. Opening with Seattle will be a reasonable test of the Pack and could set the tone for the first half of the season.   But it doesn’t get any easier for the Packers as they also face the Falcons, Bengals, Cowboys, Vikings and possibly dangerous Saints before a favorable Week 8 bye.  Expect a 4-3 record at the break. After that it is a bit easier.  Packers are 10-6 and in as the Wildcard.

Lions.  Matt Stafford is now the highest paid player in the history of the NFL?  Does that make any kind of sense – even nonsense?  No.  Even with the HPPITHOTNFL, the Lions were drubbed in the playoffs by Seattle. This year no one gets the chance to drub the Lions in the playoffs.  Detroit is an 9-7 team at best and while that got them a playoff beating last year – it won’t be good enough in 2017.

Bears.  Red swears the Bears will not switch gears and stay in arrears (in wins) this year, so hear this,  steer clear (if you hold your cash dear) of ever betting on the Bears – except to lose – Red fears.  Sorry.  Chicago 3-13.

Red’s NFL Picks – AFC East

Ah, the NFC East – also known as the “uncontested lay-up” division for all pundits.

Patriots. As long time readers know (and Red hopes they are both awake and not hungover this morning), this is where Red always writes that it is “cowardly and spineless to pick the Patriots year after year” and then confirms his cowardice and utter lack of vertebral support by picking the Patriots anyway. In fairness to Red, look at the rest of this division – details to follow below.   Red has finally come to terms with the fact that Brady and Bellicheat long ago made a pact with the Dark Lord and while their souls may be damned for all eternity at least they will both end up in the Hall of Fame. Realistically, Red thinks this may be the season where Tom Brady finally looks tired and old and Bellicheat gets his playbook stolen by Russian hackers.  That coupled with a brutal stretch after the Week 9 bye; from November 12 to December 17 the Pats play 5 of 6 games on the road against real competition (Broncos, Raiders, Dolphins and Stealers).  Oh, for crying out loud. Quit kidding yourself Red, you know you have no balls when it comes to this division.  Save your foolishness for the NFC West. Who on the schedule can beat the Pats even on a bad day?  Maybe the Chiefs, Raiders, Broncos, Falcons and Stealers? Certainly not the Texans as long as Tom Brady is in the house.   New England breezes to another divisional crown with a 12-4 record.  Red really hates himself today.

Bills.  The Bills have not made the playoffs in 17 years – the longest active post-season drought in the NFL (yes – worse than Cleveland even).  Red sees no reason that streak ends anytime soon.  Yes, the inevitably flawed “Rex Ryan as a head coach” experiment ended up with broken glass on the floor and poisonous gasses filling the laboratory/locker room.  Trump supporter Ryan failed in his promise to make Bills’ fans “tired of winning.”  New coach Sean McDermott will at least not be flaunting absurd predictions  of success.  Rather, the Bills seem to be building an offense suited to the limited repertoire of QB Tyrod Taylor.  Coordinator Rick Dennison is implementing a version of the vaunted “West Coast Offense” with short routes mixed with long bombs and quick decisions.   If Sammy Watkins can stay on the field, he leads a corps of competent wideouts.  And then there is the redoubtable LeSean McCoy.  Red isn’t about to guess what to make of his 2017 season.  On the defensive side, out is the Ryan family’s complicated 3-4 scheme and back in with a traditional 4-3.  The Bills seem headed in the right direction after years of aimless wandering, but that probably only translates to a less than awful season.  Orchard Park is reasonably happy with an 8-8 campaign.

Dolphins.  The Dolphins at least went 10-6 and made the playoffs last year. But against the Pats, they were behind 31-3 in week 3 before rallying to lose by only 7 and then were blown out 35-14 in week 17.  In the playoffs the Stealers pushed them aside like a Latvian President and that was it for the aquatic mammals.  The Dolphins cupboard is not bare with up and coming talent like Jay Ajayi and others.  But when your season depends on Jay Cutler . . .  [insert bad thing happening here].  Miami regresses to 7-9.

Jets. The Jets have been a reality TV show for the last several seasons – and a really bad reality TV show at that.  Of course, when the White House is pretty much a reality TV show, maybe Red is on the wrong side of this issue.  Probably not, but Red is an open-minded sort of guy.  But the Jets! What is going on with this franchise? When Red went to the Jets  official website – they did not have a depth chart posted!  Maybe when your choices for starting quarterback include the appropriately named Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty it’s just as well to keep everyone in the dark.  What is going on is a massive roster dump to get the first draft pick next season – thought to be USC quarterback Sam Darnold. Every season Red’s fondest wish is for a 6-10 team to make the playoffs.  His runner-up wish is for a team to go winless.  The Jets love Red this season –  0-16 Baby!

Red’s NFL Predictions – NFC West

Many are calling this the “easiest division in the NFL” which was certainly a fair characterization  last season. Red sees some teams up, one team down and a tougher level of competition that in recent seasons.

Cardinals. After a disappointing 2016 campaign, the Cards are looking to rebound with a quick start to 2017. The Cards started last season 1-3 and unlike the Stealers never found Recovery Road.  Red is leading with his heart rather than his head on this one.  He went all in for David Johnson in a couple of fantasy leagues and also got stuck with tired old Carson Palmer at QB.  The Cards defense remains solid.  The question is whether the team can win a bunch of ugly 17-13 or the like games.  They can and they do. Arizona sashays to 11-5 record and a sweet playoff berth.

Seahawks.  A popular pick to win the west, many think the Seahawks will dominate the NFL’s “easiest division.”  But other than playing the weaklings (see below) in their division, the Hawks have fairly tough sledding ahead with road games against the Packers, Titans and Cowboys and home games against the Texans, Colts, Eagles and Falcons.  The Hawks could lose all of those games despite the double and triple time zone hex.  Pete the Cheat has had his share of good fortune up to now; maybe this season the worm turns. Seattle struggles to 9-7 and takes a seat for the playoffs.

Rams. Playing in the oldest stadium in the NFL but with the youngest head coach in NFL history in Sean McVay, the Rams will maintain the Jeff Fischer tradition of abject mediocrity.  Actually that’s somewhat of an insult to mediocrity as Fischer was unable to ever post a winning record in his 5 years with the Rams.  Second year QB Jared Goff was the major disappointment of 2016 going 0-7 in his starts and making journeyman Case Keenum look scintillating by comparison.  But in fairness to Goff he was playing behind a makeshift offensive line and with little help from any wideout other than Kenny Britt.  2017 looks better all around.  Tavon Austin looks like the third down back every team wishes it had and Todd Gurley is at least competent and will likely average more than the pathetic 3.2 yards per rush he managed last year. Expect more than 23 total touchdowns this season and for the Rams to not be the worst offense in the league.  Maybe only the third-worst. Los Angeles (for now) improves slightly to 6-10.

49ers.  The Chip Kelly as a professional football coach experiment seems to have come to an end.  The excitement CK was able to bring to Oregon never translated to the pros and Chip if you’re reading – it looks like UNLV might be in the market for some new leadership after losing to lowly Howard in “the biggest upset in college football history.”  A tip of the helmet to the Niners for giving Kyle Shanahan his first opportunity as a head coach. Unfortunately, KS could not bring Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman with him.  Instead he will have to make do with tired old Brian Hoyer and Pierre Garcon.  That’s like going from a Corvette to a Ford Escort, but Shanahan and the Niners will surprise a few folks.  This storied franchise has seen more hard times than good and with the exception of the Harbaugh era has been unable to find a steady hand for 15 years.  Remember Jim Tomsula or Mike Nolan?  Anyone, anyone? Hell, Red thought Mike Singletary was the answer.  Don’t expect miracles in season one, but the Niners are coming back – they’re just coming from way back. Santa Clara goes 6-10.