2019 NFC East Previews & Predictions

Last year’s NFC East race was one that showed that football is a marathon not a sprint. Last year when the green and white crossed flags were waved the Redskins were dominating the division with a 5-3 record. By season’s end it was a resurgent Cowboy team that dominated winning 7 of their last 8 games. They leaped right over the defending champion Eagles and won the NFC East.

Yet here goes Jerry  Jones again with all the angst surrounding the contracts of Zeke, Dak, and Amari Cooper. How will this affect the team’s psyche at the outset of the season?? With Elliott holding out and Jerry Jones drawing a line in the stand, this stalemate will go into the season. Who will Jones sign first?? Will Jones sign all three??

This team has several young quarterbacks coming into the division in Dewayne Haskins in Washington and Daniel Jones in Gotham with the Giants. Each were 1st round selections which should be clipboard holding rookies although there were grumblings in NewYork wanting to see more of Jones after 1 exhibition game.

2019 NFC West Predictions

  1. Philadelphia Eagles 11-5 *
  2. Dallas Cowboys 9-7
  3. Washington Redskins 6-10
  4. New York Giants 5-11

One season removed from their Super Bowl championship, the Eagles find themselves a team with a lot to prove. Can Carson Wentz fulfill the promise of his #1 draft status?? Many pundits credit the miracle playoff run of Nick Foles for the Super Bowl LII championship although Wentz had led the team to a 11-2 record before his injury. Speaking of which can Wentz finish the season upright?? Wentz has been knocked out ending the last two seasons on the sideline.

The Eagles lacked muscle and attitude in the running game once they lost LaGarrette Blount to Detroit. However the Iggles may have pulled a coup stealing RB Jordan Howard from the Bears in an offseason trade.

Entering his 4th season he has already rushed for 1,000 yards (1,313 yds & 1,122 yds) in ’16 and ’17 respectively. He fell out of favor with Bear Coach Nagy whose gimmicky offense didn’t allow Howard to get into a groove. He’s a power back who will move the chains and keep defenses honest. Expect a 1,200 yard season in ’19.

Carson Wentz will be the benificiary of defenses being bludgeoned by Howard and have a rebirth with All Pro Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffrey and the resigning of deep threat DeShawn Jackson. This team will win the division going away.

Conventional wisdom has Colt McCoy headed to become the Redskins starting QB over 1st round pick Dewayne Haskins this season… conventional wisdom will get Coach Jay Gruden fired if it plays out this way. McCoy hasn’t passed the eye ball test since he was knocked out of the National Championship Rose Bowl vs Alabama.

Last year he was 0-2 in his starts completing just 34 of 54 for 372 yards 3TDs and 3 ints. This was on a team that started 6-3 where Lazarus (Peterson) rose to rush for 1,090 yards and a defense that finished 17th. Washingon’s defense gave up less than 20 points 6 times in their 1st 9 games then only once over the final 7. McCoy couldn’t win with or lift his team’s spirits then there is no chance of doing it now. Haskins has to play. McCoy’s NFL ceiling is that of a second string QB… Haskins?? Can become a Pro Bowl player if he gets in camp and shows he wants it.

A murderous 0-3 start facing Philadelphia on the road, then Dallas and Chicago at home should do the trick. Haskins would then start against the moribund New York Giants (24th ranked defense) with a bye week to follow. Haskins has these next 6 weeks to save Gruden’s job. Why not now with a veteran laden group and a power runner to take the pressure off??

Over in New York it’s hard to watch Eli Manning age and fall into a QB controversy as 1st round pick Daniel Jones. The heir apparent should wind up holding a clip board all year as Manning has his final season where Jones can learn on the sideline. Unlike the situation in Washington, this team is in a complete restructure where playoff aspirations are out of reach.

The only talent in The Big Apple is Saquan Barkley who may have to dial it back a bit to keep from being overworked. A super back out of the Walter Payton/ OJ Simpson mode. Tremendous talent on a team where he is the sole focal point of an inept offense. The future isn’t now in New York…next year once they add some players they can make a move and insert Jones.

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2016 AFC West Previews & Predictions

The real reason Osweiler may have left the division.

The real reason Osweiler may have left the division.

What is it about the Denver Broncos winning Super Bowls and having quarterbacks retire?? This of course wouldn’t mean as much had Brock Osweiler stayed around. Now they have Mark Sanchez and highly regarded 1st round pick Paxton Lynch. This time around there won’t be a Mike Shanahan brain fart going with untested Brian Griese over veteran Bubby Brister. Hopefully Coach Kubiak will opt for the veteran and bring his prized rookie along slowly.

However an autumn wind is billowing in from the west. Its always fun to watch a team as it starts growing before your very eyes. Khalil Mack, Derek Carr, and Amari Cooper headline a young star studded group out in Oakland. The question is will it grow to a point to challenge for supremacy in the AFC West this season??

raiderfanlogo2016 AFC WEST PREDICTIONS

Oakland Raiders 10-6 *

Kansas City Chiefs 9-7

Denver Broncos 7-9

San Diego Chargers 4-12

Most will scoff at the notion of the Raiders overtaking the Chiefs until you realize Alex Smith is still their starting quarterback. We have seen the best of his abilities and he will just keep you in ball games. At times he plays scared of throwing the football down the field. Jamaal Charles just made it off the PUP list but when will he gain his original explosiveness??  Now with LB Justin Houston returning from knee surgery also can we expect the same production there?? They were 11-5 with the 7th best defense in the NFL and OLB Tamba Hali is coming back from a broken thumb. This team will slide back in 2016.

Anderson will breakout n 2016.

Anderson will breakout n 2016.

In Denver the preseason has played out exactly as The Chancellor thought, no one is taking control at the quarterback position. Mark Sanchez’s penchant for turnovers has come back to haunt him in both preseason games. We still don’t have a starter named going into week 3 of the preseason. First rounder Paxton Lynch still needs grooming. He’s taken a few more sacks than you’d like but could become the starter by mid season if the offense sputters. His arm has shown zip. Now he needs to develop touch and throw the ball on time.

For a team that was 6-1 in games decided by 6 points or less the one thing they can ill afford is turnovers. Turning the ball over 3 & 4 times a game will get a defense in trouble. Even a #1 ranked defense. Go ask the ’85 Bears, 2000 Ravens and ’02 Bucs why they didn’t repeat. So expect Coach Kubiak to lean on RB CJ Anderson who should breakout with a 1,400 yard season. However the ball doesn’t bounce a team’s way 2 years in a row and QB instability will lead to 3 or 4 close losses this season.

Carr will lead Oakland to the playoffs in 2016.

Carr will lead Oakland to the playoffs in 2016.

It won’t be enough to hold off the growing Raiders under Coach Jack Del Rio. Look no further than the stunning development of Derek Carr. Last year’s performance (350 of 573  3,987 yds 32 TDs / 13 ints) marked him as an up and coming superstar and this will be the year he cements that notion. Both Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are back as his main receivers along with 1,000 yard rusher Latavius Murray.

The improvement has to come from last year’s 22nd ranked defense. Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton Jr did get LB Bruce Irvin from Seattle this year and signed S Reggie Nelson to replace Charles Woodson. Both are coming from winning organizations which should provide veteran leadership to help a young team learn how to win. First round draft pick Karl Joseph has Nelson to groom him for the pro game.

Circle the week 6 match-up with Kansas City, where the Raiders could be sporting a 4-1 record against a 1-3 Chiefs team. The knockout blow that could ignite an AFC West Championship for the Oakland Raiders.

The Chancellor & Super Bowl LI Trophy at the Hall of Fame.

The Chancellor & Super Bowl LI Trophy at the Hall of Fame.

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’15 Midterm: Oakland Raiders

As the 2015 season has moved toward the midway point one thing has become evident. The Oakland Raiders are blossoming into an up and coming football team. Not only do they pass the eyeball test but you can see the game slowing down for a series of young players. Most notably 2nd year QB Derek Carr.

Carr looks like the real deal out in Oakland.

Carr looks like the real deal out in Oakland.

As you observe young quarterbacks in the NFL, many have the penchant for throwing rocket balls late relying on arm strength. They use this to compensate for reading the defense late thinking they can squeeze in passes, which leads to getting picked off by the underneath coverage. Carr has learned the touch to throw over linebackers into the space just before the secondary converges.

The only real late throw he had in a point of regression was the pick six against the Broncos in week 5. The Raiders lost 16-10 and easily could have won that game. However they sit at 4-3 and Carr is putting together a Pro Bowl year. Right now he is 150 of 229 (65.5%) for 1,793 yds 15 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions.  He’s on pace to throw for 34 TDs to 7 ints. Hmmmm… with the season Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck are having, show The Chancellor who should beat him out for a trip to Hawai’i if he continues playing at this pace. The growth he has shown just going back to last year is immense.

The Raiders are on pace to have a 1,000 yd rusher in Latavius Murray (534 yds / 3tds), 2 -1,000 yd receivers in rookie Amari Cooper (38 ec. / 553 yds / 3tds) & Michael Crrabtree (40 rec./ 483 yds / 3tds) & Carr passing for 4,000 himself. Add Marcell Reese’s 3 scores with the 2 to Andre Holmes last week, tell us where the focal point is to stop this attack. In short, this is giing to keep rolling.

Khalil Mack is the next Derrick Thomas.

Khalil Mack is the next Derrick Thomas.

As for the defense, the Raiders are 31st against the pass and 26th overall. Yet heady play by S Charles Woodson (5ints / 33 tackles) Khalil Mack (4 sacks ) and former Seahawk Malcolm Smith (3 sacks) have kept the defense above board. Going into the 2nd half of the season, if Aldon Smith can turn a corner and veteran Justin Tuck can step up their games, this unit can make it into the teens in terms of ranking. This will be enough to be a playoff contender this year.

When it comes to veteran leadership, Malcolm Smith, Justin Tuck, and Charles Woodson have Super Bowl rings won in the last 6 years. You don’t think what these vets can teach the young guys will go unheeded?

You better recognize what is happening in Oakland. This set of young bucks are learning their way up the ladder. Two of their three losses are to the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals and undefeated Denver Broncos. This team is just learning how to win. The Chancellor of Football  has a saying:  At some point you have to believe what your eyes are showing you. This team is growing week to week. With the Steelers losing LeVeon Bell, this team is going to grow and fly under the radar. They will be hell to deal with come playoff time. All you have to do is get there and take your shot….this team has enough leadership to teach the young pups what they need to know. Stay tuned….

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