2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 17

football-introducing-the-science_1Before we move forward with this week’s picks I must correct an oversight on my part. The past couple of weeks we’ve been dealing strictly with NFL games because I indicated the college football season was over except for the bowl games. The problem is that isn’t exactly true. There are playoff games going on at the FCS, Division II, & other “lower” levels of NCAA football. We wouldn’t pick those games because neither Zach nor myself are knowledgeable at all about any of the teams involved, but I feel like it is important to recognize that those games exist. As a student at Marshall University in the early 90’s I witnessed multiple 1-AA playoff games and was privileged to be in the stadium when my Thundering Herd won the national title in 1992. There are a lot of football snobs out there that only acknowledge “big boy football” as played by the SEC, Big Ten, Notre Dame, Florida State, etc., but the football played in other divisions can be just as exciting & fun to watch, and there have been no shortage of players from lesser known smaller schools that have made an impact in the NFL. Their putrid 2016 season notwithstanding, part of me has often wished Marshall would have stayed in 1-AA/FCS. Since moving up the best they have been able to do is battle for a MAC or C-USA conference title and then play in some prosaic December bowl game that no one cares about or remembers. As a fan it was much more interesting to see my team move thru a 16 team playoff and have an opportunity to play for a championship. At any rate, I felt it important to recognize those other, often overlooked & marginalized, levels of college football. Last week both Zach & I were at our mediocre best, he at 2-3 and I at 3-2. Average seems to be our thing this season. A few NFL teams have already clinched playoff berths, but these last few weeks will see a lot of jockeying for position. Since Sunday is Christmas Day much of the action will take place the day before, which is fine with me. Merry Christmas fellow football fans. I sincerely wish all of you a most delightful holiday.

My Season:        47-46

Z’s Season:        33-60

 

 

 

 

 

Indianapolis      at      Oakland (-4)

raidersThe Raiders are already in the playoff field, while the Colts really need to win their final two games and even then face an uphill battle. I’d really Indianapolis_Colts_Helmetlove to pick Indy since I predicted that they’d win the division, but it just doesn’t feel like the chips are falling in their favor. I think Oakland is just too good. Zach has apparently been infected with my Vibes. He’s picking the upset though he doesn’t really know why. Good luck with that dude…it rarely works out well for me.

My Pick:     Oakland

Z’s Pick:     Indianapolis

 

 

Tampa Bay        at      New Orleans (-3)

tampa-bay-buccaneersThe Bucs still have an opportunity to win their division, but winning their last two games is probably necessary. Even a wildcard spot is going to be tough. Conversely, the Saints can only play spoiler and have to win out just to finish at .500. I don’t expect any surprises and neither does Zach.

My Pick:     Tampa Bay

Z’s Pick:     Tampa Bay

 

 

Minnesota                    at      Green Bay (-6.5)

After beginning the season 5-0 the Vikings have lost 7 of the last 9 games. Their defense is still formidable, but they’ve sputtered offensively and QB Sam Bradford no Green_Bay_Packers_Helmetlonger looks like a long term answer in case Teddy Bridgewater is unable to make a successful comeback. The Packers have had a roller coaster season but are riding a four game winning streak and have an outside shot at the playoffs…maybe even a division title. These are simply two teams going in opposite directions and I see no evidence the tide will turn this week. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Green Bay

Z’s Pick:     Green Bay

 

 

Denver                at      Kansas City (-4)

kc-chiefs-logoI told y’all the Chiefs were going to the playoffs, and a win here would probably secure a spot. Denver’s quarterback situation has torpedoed anybroncos-4759 chance they had of achieving the success they had last year. Peyton Manning retiring has that effect. Although it does look like they made the right choice to let Brock Osweiler walk in free agency. There will be no upset here, atleast in my opinion. Conversely, Zach thinks Denver, with their back against the wall and in a dogfight for a playoff spot, will get the job done.

My Pick:     Kansas City

Z’s Pick:     Denver

 

 

Detroit                 at      Dallas (-7)

Detroit_Lions_HelmetThe Cowboys are going to win their division before the inevitable postseason crash & burn. The Lions have snuck up on everybody, but they dallas-cowboys-logo2have Green Bay hot on their trail and need to win out to secure a division title. This is your Monday night game and I am predicting an early start to Dallas’ certain demise. Zach disagrees. He predicts it’ll be a blowout for the favorites.

My Pick:     Detroit

Z’s Pick:     Dallas

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 15

football-introducing-the-science_1The only college games remaining are this weekend’s Army-Navy contest and all of the bowl games. We’ll be doing our bowl picks soon, but as far as this weekly deal goes it’s all NFL all the time from now on. Last week’s NCAA conference title games worked out a little better for me than Zach, as I was 4-1 while he was 0-5. I have a lot of thoughts about the college playoff and related matters, but this isn’t the time. Stay tuned. For now the NFL has its own playoff race heating up, so let’s focus on that.

My Season:        44-39

Z’s Season:        30-53

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oakland              at      Kansas City (-3.5)

I pretty much nailed the AFC West in my season preview, and as predicted these are the two teams battling it out for the division lead. The Raiders are riding a 6 game raiderswinning streak and I look like a genius in my dynasty fantasy league for snagging QB Derek Carr. The Chiefs get the home field bump, but a close examination of their schedule reflects the fact that six of their nine victories have been by less than a touchdown. I’m not sure that’s meaningful since a win is a win and they’d only need to win this game by four points, but if Oakland’s offense is firing on all cylinders it’ll be a tough trick for KC to pull off. Zach has concerns about the Raider defense but agrees that their offense will be the deciding factor in pulling out a close game.

My Pick:     Oakland

Z’s Pick:     Oakland

 

 

Houston             at      Indianapolis (-6.5)

The AFC South is even more mediocre than most expected. 8-8 might win the division. Indy has the advantage as long as QB Andrew Luck stays healthy. Conversely, Indianapolis_Colts_HelmetBrock Osweiler has been a $72 million disappointment for the Texans, although I think he’ll be alright in the long run. At this point I think the Colts have the better team and certainly the better signal caller, which should be enough to get them into the postseason. Zach believes Luck is good enough to lead his team to a two touchdown victory.

My Pick:     Indianapolis

Z’s Pick:     Indianapolis

 

 

Seattle (-2.5)      at      Green Bay

A few months ago this would have looked like a great matchup on paper, but with the Packers losing 5 out of the last 8 games and after Seattle’s decimation of the seattle-seahawks1Carolina Panthers last weekend it is difficult to get too excited about it now. I am far too lethargic to do any research, but I have to believe it is rare for Green Bay to be underdogs at home on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, especially in December. I’d love to pick the upset, but I just can’t pull the trigger. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Seattle

Z’s Pick:     Seattle

 

 

Dallas (-3)           at      NY Giants

dallas-cowboys-logo2The Cowboys are running away with the NFC East, but the Giants are in excellent position to grab a wildcard spot. This is the Sunday night Giants Logogame on NBC, and as such fans would obviously love to see a great battle. Personally I’ve never been all that impressed by QB Eli Manning…I think he’s more lucky than good. With defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul out with a groin injury it’ll be that much tougher for the G-Men to slow down Dallas’ dynamic rookie duo of Zeke Elliott & Dak Prescott. Zach has nothing to lose and thinks this could be a trap game for the Cowboys.

My Pick:     Dallas

Z’s Pick:     NY Giants

 

 

Baltimore           at      New England (-7.5)

I’d love to see both of these teams lose. It’d certainly help my Steelers if the hated Ravens were to go down. The Patriots’ offense will be hindered a bit for the remainder New_England_Patriots_Helmetof the season with tight end Rob Gronkowski on IR, but how much?? This is the Monday night game, so I’ll be watching pro wrestling. I suppose I’ll go the smart route and pick New England. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     New England

Z’s Pick:     New England

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 7

cfoot2As I sit here writing this there is an NFL game, hockey’s opening night, the MLB playoffs, & a college football game all on at the same time. It’s the most stimulating experience I’ve had in many moons. At any rate, bonus picks didn’t really work out so well for either one of us last week, but I’m nothing if not persistent so we’re going to try again. Zach was 3-5, while I broke even at 4-4. We picked LSU/Florida, but they didn’t play because of Hurricane Matthew. That game has been rescheduled for mid-November. As of right now Alabama, Clemson, Washington, & the winner of Ohio St./Michigan look like the favorites to get into the NCAA playoff, while the NFL is being dominated by the Vikings, Cowboys, Broncos, & Falcons. Of course the cool thing about sports is that all of that could change in a single day.

My Season:        16-18

Z’s Season:        11-24

 

 

 

 

 

Alabama (-13)              at      Tennessee

tennessee_volunteers_football_iphone_wallpaperThe Tide hasn’t really been challenged much this season, winning every game by atleast 19 points with the exception of a 5 AlabamaCrimsonTide2point thriller against Ole Miss. The Vols were on a roll until they ran up against Texas A&M last weekend. Perhaps they were looking ahead to this game. When revealing my pre-season Top 25 I opined that “it would surprise me less if this team actually lost 3 or 4 games than it would if they’d go undefeated”. Of course I also had Oklahoma & LSU in my Top 5, so what do I know?? As a fan I am hoping for a great game, and that would necessitate something closer than 13 points. I’m not all that confident about it, but that’s the direction I’ll go. Conversely, Zach has faith in ‘Bama’s defense and believes they’ll win by a comfortable margin.

My Pick:     Tennessee

Z’s Pick:     Alabama

 

 

Northwestern              at      Michigan St. (-4.5)

Northwestern_WildcatsNeither team is going to win the Big Ten (which has 14 teams), but with identical 2-3 records this is a game that could swing Michigan_State_Spartansthe momentum one way or the other and lead to a season to either feel alright about or flush completely from the memory. I’m no psychologist, but I assume that the rocky start isn’t a shock for the Wildcats, and a win here would be a giant boost to their morale. Conversely, the Spartans have been very successful in recent years, especially last season when they were in the playoffs. Recent events have to be rather disconcerting to them. I think Northwestern comes into this contest hyped up and ready to turn things around, while Michigan St.’s spirit may have already been broken. Zach thinks Northwestern is too inconsistent and believes Michigan St.’s defense will get the job done.

My Pick:     Northwestern

Z’s Pick:     Michigan St.

 

 

Stanford                       at      Notre Dame (-3)

photo.stanfordtreeUsually this is an important game between two highly ranked teams. This year…not so much. The Irish lost half their team to NotreDame1the NFL and are currently 2-4. Stanford has seen the Heisman buzz for RB/WR Christian McCaffrey virtually disappear in the throes of a two game losing streak that has them at 3-2. Part of me believes that Notre Dame HAS to win this game, since pride & defending their home turf are about the only worthy goals remaining, but I can’t fight this feeling that Stanford…atleast for this season…is the better team. Zach likes Notre Dame QB Deshone Kizer and thinks he’ll lead the Irish to victory.

My Pick:     Stanford

Z’s Pick:     Notre Dame

 

 

Ohio St. (-10)               at      Wisconsin

I didn’t have the Badgers anywhere near my pre-season Top 25. I just didn’t see any room for them to succeed in the loaded Big Ten. However, they WisconsinBadgersare capably filling the Top 10 spot I thought would be held by the faltering Iowa Hawkeyes. Of course no one is surprised by the 5-0 Buckeyes, who’ve barely broken a sweat thus far. That’ll change this week. I’d be surprised if Ohio St. lost, but I don’t think they’ll win by double digits on the road. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Wisconsin

Z’s Pick:     Wisconsin

 

 

Philadelphia (-2.5)      at      Washington

Washington_Redskins_logoThe NFC East might be the best, most competitive division in the NFL. Dallas is better than I thought they’d be, and the NY philadelphia_eagles-3715Giants are hanging around. This is an important game for Philly & the Redskins since the winner would stay on pace with the Cowboys. Rookie QB Carson Wentz has been impressive for the 3-1 Eagles, while the 3-2 Redskins don’t have much of a running attack and have relied completely on QB Kirk Cousins. It’s interesting that Washington isn’t getting the usual home field bump. The oddsmakers clearly have an opinion on which is the better team, but I’m going to go against the grain and pick the upset. Zach literally flipped a coin…I think…and is going with the favorites.

My Pick:     Washington

Z’s Pick:     Philadelphia

 

 

Carolina (-3)                 at      New Orleans

New-Orleans-Saints-Logo-244x300In my NFL Preview I stated that I didn’t think the Panthers would fall prey the usual foibles of Super Bowl losers. That assessment CarolinaPanthersmay have been wrong. Not only is Carolina 1-4, but QB Cam Newton has been concussed and missed last week’s game. It looks like he’ll be back this week, and fortunately for he & his struggling team they face the equally dismal 1-3 Saints. Or is it fortunate?? The Superdome will be rockin’, and what better way to right the ship then for Drew Brees to lead his troops past the defending NFC champs?? I’m not sure either team can catch the Atlanta Falcons in the division, but a win here could conceivably catapult the victor into wildcard contention. Zach is looking for a high scoring game and thinks Newton will lead his team to a win.

My Pick:     New Orleans

Z’s Pick:     Carolina

 

 

Dallas                           at      Green Bay (-4.5)

Green_Bay_Packers_HelmetThis should be a really good game. Rookie QB Dak Prescott has been better than Cowboys fans could have ever expected in thedallas-cowboys-logo2 absence of Tony Romo, and fellow rookie Zeke Elliot might be the best running back in the NFL at the moment. I am not among those that think that Romo has already lost his starting gig, but I’m sure he’ll be on a short leash upon his return. For the powers-that-be in Dallas it’s a nice problem to have. Meanwhile, the Packers seem like a forgotten team, lost in the shadow of division foe Minnesota. If Prescott can go into the unfriendly environment of The Frozen Tundra and snag a victory I’ll be more than impressed…but I don’t believe that’s going to happen. Zach, on the other hand, likes the Cowboys’ offensive line a lot and thinks they are a legit title contender.

My Pick:     Green Bay

Z’s Pick:     Dallas

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 2

cfoot2The NFL season is officially underway, and for the purposes of these picks the timing couldn’t be better. After a stellar opening week schedule the college lineup falls off dramatically, with a gimmicky Tennesee-Virginia Tech matchup at Bristol Motor Speedway getting most of the attention. Despite that fact we’ll forge ahead. Neither of us began the season as well as we’d hoped, with Zach going 2-5 and myself limping to a 4-3 record in Week 1. The trick to all of this is picking the right upsets, and neither of us chose Houston over Oklahoma or Wisconsin over LSU. Both of us did get Texas over Notre Dame right, but that is small comfort in light of the overall results. At any rate, we move forward as the season now gets into full swing. As a summer kind of guy it pains me to admit it, but autumn has arrived. Thankfully football makes the transition much easier.

 

 

 

 

Texas Tech       at      Arizona St. (-3.5)

The Red Raiders are 1-0 after beating up on 1-AA Stephen F. Austin last week, while the Sun Devils began the season with a 4th quarter surge to beat Texas-Tech-260x300small fish Northern Arizona. Virtually nothing can be learned from those wins, so we’re kind of flying blind on this one. This is another one of those late games that I’ll miss because of my job, which makes me want to find a new job. Arizona St. has the home field advantage, but The Voices are telling me to go against the grain and pick the upset. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Texas Tech

Z’s Pick:     Texas Tech

 

 

Virginia               at      Oregon (-24)

The Cavaliers beat in-state “rival” Richmond in Week 1, while the Ducks knocked the snot out of some school called UC-Davis, which is about 15 miles vacavoutside of Sacramento. Again, no real intel is to be gained from such meaningless games. The interesting thing here is the 3TD+ spread. I am always a bit uncomfortable with such large margins, yet am always impressed by how accurate the oddsmakers tend to be. Oregon will probably win easily, and I am sure it’ll be by about three TDs…but I’m going to roll the dice and say the Virginia will keep it just close enough to cover. Zach agrees because he forsees Oregon having their scrubs in during the second half and taking their foot off the gas.

My Pick:     Virginia

Z’s Pick:     Virginia

 

 

NY Giants          at      Dallas (-1)

Giants LogoThe Cowboys begin life without Tony Romo, atleast for now…although it’s really nothing new since it seems like Romo hasdallas-cowboys-logo2 been injured a lot the last couple of years. The difference this time is that rookie Dak Prescott, a rookie 4th round pick from Mississippi St., is filling in. Whether or not that is a good thing is the unknown factor. Prescott apparently had body parts of Dallas fans all tingly in the pre-season, but we all know that the real thing is much different. The Giants have a new head coach and a lot of unknowns as well, but we do know QB Eli Manning pretty well. He’s decent enough, but he’s no Peyton. Anyway, Dallas has the nominal home field advantage, but it is essentially a pick ‘em. I think the Giants defense will smell blood in the water and give the rookie a memorable welcome to the NFL. Conversely, Zach believes in young Prescott and doesn’t think Romo will be missed all that much.

My Pick:     NY Giants

Z’s Pick:     Dallas

 

 

New England    at      Arizona (-6)

nflarizonacardinalsThe Patriots are without Tom Brady for a few weeks for reasons with which we are all familiar. The Cardinals are a popular Deflated Footballpick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl and they have the home field advantage. I have no doubt that New England will win their division and make a decent run at another title, but I don’t believe that their season will get off to a successful start. Zach, on the other hand, believes that this will come down to coaching and that the Pats will do enough to get the job done.

My Pick:     Arizona

Z’s Pick:     New England

 

 

Cincinnati (-2.5)           at      NY Jets

We may look back at this game a few months from now and realize that it had playoff implications. The Jets probably aren’t winning their division, Cincinnati_Bengals_Helmetbut they should be in the thick of the wildcard conversation when December rolls around. The Bengals might have a little better chance to win their division, but could also be forced to rely on snagging a wildcard spot. I am not enamored with New York’s QB situation. Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t decide to return until the end of July, and Jets’ fans spent the first 2/3 of summer awaiting his decision as if he is the second coming of Johnny Unitas, which is laughable. Meanwhile, Cincinnati has become surprisingly stable. It’s amazing what can happen when half the team isn’t in jail. As much as it pains me to do it I have to pick the favorites. Zach agrees, noting that the Bengals’ defense tips things in their favor.

My Pick:     Cincinnati

Z’s Pick:     Cincinnati

2015 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 9

pfootHappy Halloween citizens!! I realize that some may consider the holiday an evil tool of Satan, and I respect that viewpoint though I disagree. To me Halloween is just a fun night when kids dress up in costumes and beg for candy. Your mileage may vary and that’s okay. Anyway, last week was a good one (in my humble opinion), as I was a robust 6-1, bringing my season record to 30-14…a 68% winning percentage. Hey ESPN…call me!! Meanwhile, Zach was 2-5 last week and his overall record stands at 18-26. The college football season is…believe it or not…past the halfway point, with the national playoff picture and the various conference title races coming into focus. The NFL season is getting interesting too, with the playoff contenders beginning to separate themselves just a bit from the pretenders. So let’s look into the ol’ crystal ball and make some picks.

 

 

 

 
Ole Miss (-7.5) at Auburn
auburnSomewhere…I think it may have been in my pre-season rankings…I opined that I didn’t think the two Mississippi schools would ole miss2be really good like they were last year. I was wrong, as both teams are 6-2 and have an outside shot at winning their SEC division. The Rebels are coming off a big win over Texas A&M and need to win out to win the division. Meanwhile, it has been an up & down year for 4-3 Auburn, who lost an OT heartbreaker last week to Arkansas. The thing about an inconsistent team is that one never knows when they might lay an egg…or unexpectedly dominate. I’m going to give the Tigers the home field benefit of the doubt here and predict that this one will be decided by a field goal one way or another. On the flip side, Zach likes Ole Miss to win by 3 TDs.

My Pick: Auburn
Z’s Pick: Ole Miss

 

 

Florida (-2.5) vs Georgia
gatorsThey call this The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party…or atleast they used to. I believe there was a movement a few years agogeorgia to change that, and the TV folks seem to minimize their usage of the moniker. I suppose some politically correct morons think it glorifies drinking or paints southerners as a bunch of boozehounds. Those people are what I like to call stupid. College football is all about tradition and that shouldn’t be tampered with. At any rate, the Gators are a surprising 6-1 and aren’t out of the national playoff conversation. The Bulldogs are 5-2 and not in the playoff hunt, but could still make it to the SEC title game. As a matter of fact, this game will likely decide the SEC East and determine who will eventually lose to LSU or Alabama in that conference championship battle. Technically this is a neutral site game in Jacksonville, but since it’s much closer to Gainesville than Athens, GA the Gators should have the crowd on their side. Florida lost their starting QB to suspension and they are coming off of a bye week after losing to LSU a couple of weeks ago, so the Bulldogs are probably the smart choice. However, when it comes to these picks I tend to listen to The Vibes more than my brain. Zach’s gut is telling him something different. We’ll see which mysterious sense is more accurate.

My Pick: Florida
Z’s Pick: Georgia

 

 

 
Notre Dame (-10) at Temple
ndTemple is ranked in the Top 25?? Really?? What the heck is going on?? Anyway, I give credit where credit is due, but the owlsundefeated Owls haven’t really played anyone good since the season opener against Penn St. Meanwhile, the Fighting Irish are 6-1 and still have an opportunity to sneak into the playoff if the dominoes fall their way. They certainly aren’t going to let a glorified 1-AA team like Temple ruin that chance. The points are a bit much for my comfort, but I think the favorites will cover. Conversely, Zach believes the game will be closer than 10 points.

My Pick: Notre Dame
Z’s Pick: Temple

 

 

 

Seattle (-6) at Dallas
seahawksIn my NFL Preview I said that the Seahawks might be even better this year than last. That definitely has not been the case thus far. They are 3-4 and in 3rd place in their division. They just can’t seem to finish games in the 4th quarter. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are 2-4 and have been beaten in four straight games. Losing QB Tony Romo and WR Dez Bryant has really derailed their season. I think Seattle is more likely to turn things around than Dallas, so that’s the direction I’ll go. Zach concurs.

My Pick: Seattle
Z’s Pick: Seattle

 

 

Green Bay (-3) at Denver
broncosThis is a rematch of Super Bowl XXXII (that’s 32 for those of you saddled with learning math in states that use Common Core), but since that was nearly two decades ago it’s kind of a useless factoid. I suppose it could be a preview of the next Super packersBowl, but I won’t hold my breath. Rumors of Peyton Manning’s demise were…again…premature. Though he is undeniably not the quarterback he used to be even just 2 or 3 years ago Manning has somehow found a way to evolve utilizing his football IQ and making abundant use of the solid talent surrounding him. Conversely, Packers’ signal caller Aaron Rodgers is in his prime and is probably the best player in the game right now. Both teams are undefeated and hold first place in their divisions. Denver isn’t getting any home field love from the oddsmakers, but that’s understandable. I’m really torn because I like both teams, but The Vibes are telling me that somehow old timer Manning will find a way to pull off the upset. Zach thinks Manning is in for a long day and will be sacked atleast five times. He’s going with Green Bay in a blowout.

My Pick: Denver
Z’s Pick: Green Bay

2015 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 4

kickoff_footballNow things are starting to get interesting. The conference schedules are heating up in the NCAA, and we’re beginning to get a good idea which NFL teams just might have a chance to be pretty good and which ones may have been a bit misjudged. Both Zach & I were mired in mediocrity last week…he went 2-3 while I was only slightly better at 3-2. Our hatred of the New England Patriots may have clouded our judgment a little, and the Philadelphia Eagles are even worse than I thought they’d be. So that means our season looks like this so far:

Me = 11-4               Z = 6-9

I’m feeling generous this week, and y’all may remember what that means…bonus picks!! I like to do that occasionally when the schedule seems particularly intriguing, and also because we usually end up taking a bye week for one reason or another at some point. We’re split down the middle with college & pro picks this week, and when it’s over we’ll have an even better inkling of the paths the season is heading down. Enjoy.

 

 

 
TCU (-7) at Texas Tech
Texas-Tech-260x300The Horned Frogs are currently ranked 4th in most polls, which would put them in the playoff. However I still think they will TCU Cool Logoultimately fall short…again. They didn’t look all that impressive in their season opener at Minnesota, and have played two cupcakes since then. Meanwhile, the Red Raiders blew thru their first two opponents and then pulled off a minor upset at Arkansas last week. In 2014 these two teams met in Fort Worth and TCU obliterated Tech 82-27. Not only is this game in Lubbock, but TCU recently had to kick a couple of guys off the team after they were arrested for beating some students up and stealing a case of Keystone Light. I’m not much of a beer connoisseur nowadays, but if I’m going to jail it’s not going to be for Keystone Light. Anyway, I’m not quite gutsy enough to pick the outright upset but this feels like a close one to me, the kind of game that will be decided late in the 4th quarter by a field goal, turnover, or punt return. Zach, on the other hand, thinks TCU will win easily.

My Pick – Texas Tech
Z’s Pick – TCU

Utah at Oregon (-13.5)
Oregon-DucksThe Utes are better than I expected. I don’t think they’re winning the Pac 12, but they could win 9 or 10 games and end up with utahquite the desirable bowl locale. The Ducks, as predicted, fell at Michigan St., so the national title is probably off the table…a conference title isn’t though. The points concern me more than a little, but I’m going to swallow hard, pray, & pick Oregon to cover. Zach is a bit more pragmatic, choosing Utah to cover the points but probably not win the game.

My Pick – Oregon
Z’s Pick – Utah

USC (-5.5) at Arizona St.
USC_Trojans2I haven’t bought into the Arizona St. hype from Day 1, but there are those that still believe they will have a stellar season and be in the conference title hunt. Conversely, I picked the Trojans #2 in my pre-season poll, a choice that doesn’t look promising after last week’s loss to Stanford. I think there remains a narrow path to the Final Four for USC, but it is undeniably a tough road. It’s interesting that the Trojans are favored on the road coming off a loss against an opponent riding a two game winning streak. I think it wise to pay attention to such things. Zach was as surprised as the rest of us by Stanford’s upset of USC, but he believes that the Trojans will rebound and win this one by two TDs.

My Pick – Southern Cal
Z’s Pick – Southern Cal

 

 

UCLA (-3.5) at Arizona
Well I know what I’ll be doing Saturday night. Since fair & festival season is over it’ll be nice to actually stay at home and relax with a warm beverage college_arizona_90& a good ball game. The Bruins escaped a thriller against BYU last week, while the Wildcats have barely broken a sweat thus far this season. UCLA has lost three defensive players to season ending injuries, with the latest being talented linebacker Myles Jack. That hurts. Conversely, Arizona defensive end Scooby Wright may or may not be ready to come back from an injury he suffered a few weeks ago. Bruins’ freshman QB Josh Rosen is probably the real deal, but he’s not faced a situation like this…a huge game in a hostile environment. This is Arizona’s moment to shine and I believe they’ll take it. Zach expects a high scoring shootout, with Arizona pulling off the upset.

My Pick – Arizona
Z’s Pick – Arizona

 

 

Atlanta (-2) at Dallas
No Romo. No Dez Bryant. No chance for the Cowboys?? Ehhh…I won’t go that far. I don’t think they’ll win the 12 games I originally forecasted, but falconsthey still have a better than average opportunity to top the pedestrian NFC East. Meanwhile, the Falcons are off to a hot start and also play in a mediocre division, which bodes well for them. Dallas will win games during the absences of Romo & Bryant…but not this game. Zach predicts the Falcons will win by atleast two TDs.

My Pick – Atlanta
Z’s Pick – Atlanta

 
Indianapolis (-3) at Tennessee
Tennessee_Titans_HelmetWhat in the world is going on with the Colts?? I thought Andrew Luck was supposed to be the next elite quarterback, theIndianapolis_Colts_Helmet standard bearer for the league once guys like Brady, Manning (you know which one), & Roethlisberger fade away. Elite quarterbacks overcome minor nuisances like their team’s poor defense or a substandard offensive line. Elite quarterbacks don’t go 0-2…or 0-3. It seems unlikely that Indy will go 14-2 as I predicted, but they are yet another team that can seemingly weather the storm and win an average division. Or can they?? Is the NFC South…with Tennessee, Houston, & Jacksonville…really as unimpressive as most believe?? Titans’ rookie QB Marcus Mariota looked pretty good in a Week 1 victory at Tampa, less so in last week’s loss to Cleveland. The smart money is on the Colts rebounding in this game and easing any doubts people have started to have about them, and also on Mariota continuing to have growing pains. Normally I’d go with that flow, but The Vibes are shouting at me to go against the grain. Zach thinks the Titans can hang for 3+ quarters but will eventually be defeated.

My Pick – Tennessee
Z’s Pick – Indianapolis

 
Buffalo at Miami (-3)
It looks like these are two teams that are still…sadly…chasing after the elusive golden snitch called the New England Patriots. Rumors of their vast Buffalo_Bills_Helmetimprovement were greatly exaggerated. That being said, there may still be a wildcard berth in the future of whichever team can get a leg up, and that starts now. The Bills do have some interesting weapons in WR Sammy Watkins & RB LeSean McCoy, and their defense has potential. I’m not at all sure QB Tyrod Taylor is legit, and going forward that is a mystery that’ll need to be solved. The Dolphins’ defense hasn’t met high expectations yet, and their running game is abysmal. At this particular moment in time Buffalo looks like it has the better overall team, and that’s the direction I lean. Zach concurs.

My Pick – Buffalo
Z’s Pick – Buffalo

 

 

Kansas City at Green Bay (-6.5)
kc-chiefs-logoThis is the Monday night game and I anticipate that it’ll be a dandy. Despite starting the season 1-1 I am still high on the ChiefsGreen_Bay_Packers_Helmet and expect them to be a playoff team. However, they are playing the Packers on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. That’s no easy task. RB Eddie Lacy has a sprained ankle and may or may not play for Green Bay, but James Starks is a capable backup. In my opinion it’s all about the defenses and I think Kansas City will stymie Aaron Rodgers just enough to make it way closer than 6 ½ points. Conversely, Zach believes Green Bay will win by a comfortable margin.

My Pick – Kansas City
Z’s Pick – Green Bay

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 10

Okay friends…your humble Potentate of Profundity is woefully behind so this is going to be quick & dirty.

 

But first allow me to vent…..

 

I was really looking forward to the new college playoff, but now I’m not so sure. First of all, if there are going to only be 4 teams in the playoff why is the selection committee doing a Top 25?? This on top of the AP & Coaches’ polls seems redundant. Secondly, why is the committee doing their poll on a weekly basis?? It’s the very definition of excess. So many of these teams are going to be playing each other in the coming weeks and knocking one another out of the race, so any & all debate right now is kind of useless. Why wouldn’t the committee do a Top 10 and announce it…at the most…every other week?? Also, though I am admittedly biased since Marshall University is my alma mater, to not have the Herd anywhere in their poll is a huge insult by the committee. Look, I know Marshall’s schedule is weak. I am not one who believes they should be anywhere near the playoff even if they finish the season undefeated. I am hoping that East Carolina, Colorado St., & Boise St. all lose another game and Marshall is the clear choice to represent the non-power conferences in a New Year’s Day bowl game. I think it is the best case scenario. However, to not even rank them as one of the Top 25 teams is wrong. I think it is becoming clear that we are heading for a split wherein the 5 power conferences (SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Pac 12, & Big 12) will play for a national title and all other football programs will either drop down to the 1-AA/FCS level or be placed into their own division with their own title game. As it stands teams in conferences like the MAC, AAC, Sun Belt, C-USA, & Mountain West have very little to play for because, as is being proven with Marshall, even an undefeated record will not garner a team enough respect to be considered a championship contender.

 

Anyway, you came here for some picks. Last week I went 4-3 while Zach went 5-3. That brings both of our season records to 25-25. Let’s see if either one of us can get above .500.

 

 

 

 

East Carolina (-7) at Temple
templeI need the Pirates to lose this game…plain & simple. The highest ranking non-power conference team at the end of the season gets to go to East_Carolina_Pirates2either the Orange or Fiesta Bowl and I want that spot to go to my Thundering Herd. Right now East Carolina seems to be getting more love even though they’ve lost a game. I don’t know anything about the Owls except for they always sucked when my WVU Mountaineers used to play them every year. I need them to not suck enough to win this game. Zach…apparently not aware of the stakes…is picking the Pirates to win by 40. Dammit.

My Pick = Temple
Z’s Pick = East Carolina

 

 

 

Arizona at UCLA (-6.5)
ucla_bruins2I had the Bruins as a Top 10 team in my pre-season rankings but they’ve suffered a couple of losses and bounced in & out of the rankings. ArizonaWildcatsMeanwhile the Wildcats have had a nice season (as I predicted) and could eventually sneak into the Top 10. I think the ‘Cats play better as underdogs but despite the point spread they aren’t sneaking up on anyone anymore. A victory here could save UCLA’s season. Zach still thinks Arizona has some magic left and is calling for the upset.

My Pick = UCLA
Z’s Pick = Arizona

 

 

 

Auburn at Ole Miss (-1.5)
Both of these teams currently hold a playoff spot so this game should be an elimination game. However the talking heads are so in love with the SEC that their auburnteams are kind of like one of those killers in slasher films…never really dead no matter how many times they get taken down. That’s one reason why I have very little interest in the game. It should matter but I’m not sure it does so I don’t really care. I remain convinced that the sports media would have a collective orgasm if they could somehow finagle an all-SEC playoff…no matter how much ESPN’s Colin Blowhard tries to convince me otherwise. I suppose I’ll take Auburn. Zach thinks Auburn is a bit overrated (he’s probably right) but believes they’ll rise to the occasion.

My Pick = Auburn
Z’s Pick = Auburn

 

 

 

Arizona at Dallas (-3.5)
It is looking more & more like the Cardinals are for real. And I guess the Cowboys are as well…atleast until they choke in the playoffs. Since I have a deep & nflarizonacardinalslongstanding disdain for Dallas I suppose I’ll take Arizona. Zach dislikes Dallas and their idiotic owner Jerry Jones as much as I do.

My Pick = Arizona
Z’s Pick = Arizona

 

 
Indianapolis (-3.5) at NY GiantsIndianapolis_Colts_Helmet
Last week my favorite fantasy team…my decade old dynasty league team…went into the weekend undefeated. I started QB Philip Rivers as I had most of the season because Ben Roethlisberger isn’t usually a great fantasy QB. Big Ben proceeded to torch the Colts like villagers hunting down Frankenstein. If I would have started him my team would have set league records that might never be broken and of course remain undefeated. None of that happened though. However, I don’t think Indianapolis will have another week like that. I believe they’ll score a fairly easy victory. Zach agrees, although he thinks it’ll be a close contest.

My Pick = Indianapolis
Z’s Pick = Indianapolis

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 7

Last weekend was a bloodbath. There’s no other way to soft sell it. One of the keys to success in the prognostication arts is being able to predict big upsets and last week college football had more than its fair share…very few of which I saw coming. As a fan it was lots of fun to watch, but for the purpose of these picks it was viciously humbling. I ended up going 3-4. Both Zach & I picked Arizona & Virginia Tech correctly, and I was happy to see Nebraska stage a late comeback to atleast cover the points even though they didn’t win. Zach was 4-3 and picked both Mississippi St. and Notre Dame correctly. We both completely whiffed by picking LSU & Alabama. You know it’s a wacky year when both of those teams lose in the same day. So the season records look like this:

Me = 15-18
Zach = 16-16

There are several big college games again this week but I prefer to have a little variety and not pick games involving the same teams week after week. With the NFL this is somewhat unavoidable because there are only 32 teams, but the NCAA has a much bigger selection from which to choose and so we shall.

 

 

 

 

 

TCU at Baylor (-8.5)
The Horned Frogs are 4-0 and coming off a surprising upset of Oklahoma. Baylor is now a legitimate part of the national playoff conversation but they need to keep baylorwinning. I am sure TCU will put forth their best effort, but don’t believe they are an authentic Top 10 team. This game is in Waco and the home team should roll to a solid double digit victory. Zach likes the Bears’ high powered offense and expects that it’ll be hard for TCU to get revved up for another big upset so soon.

My Pick = Baylor
Z’s Pick = Baylor

Louisville at Clemson (-10.5)
Louisville-CardinalsThe Cardinals have represented themselves rather well in their inaugural season in the ACC. They are 5-1 and currently in 2nd place in theirclemson division. I must admit I did not think they’d be that successful this season, especially after losing QB Teddy Bridgewater to the NFL. Conversely Clemson is 3-2 and hasn’t done well against stiff competition. They lost a lot of talent to the NFL and it has shown. I don’t think Louisville will win this game, but I do think they’ll play good enough to cover the points. Zach disagrees and thinks Clemson will win in a blowout.

My Pick = Louisville
Z’s Pick = Clemson

 

 

Denver (-8) at NY Jets
8 point spreads in the NFL are almost like 20 points in the collegiate ranks. Theoretically these guys are all professional athletes and no team should get shellacked denverby 2 or 3 touchdowns. However we all know that it does happen. This spread is especially insulting to the Jets since they are the home team. However, I do agree that the Broncos are a team on a mission…Super Bowl or bust…and that New York is a hot mess without a good starting QB and with a head coach who has to feel the noose tightening. I’d be surprised if the game isn’t essentially over at halftime and Peyton Manning isn’t chillin’ on the sidelines by the 4th quarter. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Denver
Z’s Pick = Denver

Dallas at Seattle (-8)
seattle-seahawks1I know everyone is jumping on the Dallas bandwagon, but I’m not buying it. They are 4-1 but three of their wins are over teams with a dallas-cowboys-logo2combined record of 4-10. Simmer down Cowboys fans…no need to be more obnoxious than usual just yet. Philadelphia is still going to win the division. Meanwhile the defending champs are 3-1 and I think their early season loss to the San Diego Chargers will actually prove beneficial. It’s really easy for champions to become complacent but the Seahawks got a wake-up call and now seem to be back on track. I think this will be an easy win for Seattle. Zach isn’t a Cowboys fan but does believe that there is good reason for folks to have high expectations. He thinks Dallas is a solid playoff team and will atleast cover the points in this one.

My Pick = Seattle
Z’s Pick = Dallas

 

 

NY Giants at Philadelphia (-2.5)
philadelphia_eagles-3715The Giants are another team that everyone suddenly has renewed faith in, although it’s a bit more understandable in their case. They have aGiants Logo history of bouncing between being a playoff contender and a bottom dweller as effortlessly as Marty McFly travels thru time. On the flip side the Eagles are 4-1 but haven’t been quite as dominating as some (including me) expected. RB LeSean McCoy is only averaging 55 yds/game. To call that underwhelming would be like calling President Obama somewhat of a disappointment. Philly’s defense isn’t that good either, ranking 24th in the league against the run and 29th in passing defense. This is the Sunday night game and I think it’ll be a high scoring back & forth kind of contest with the home team getting the victory late in the 4th quarter. Zach agrees that it’ll be close but believes it will be the Giants that score late to seal the victory.

My Pick = Philadelphia
Z’s Pick = NY Giants

2014 NFL Preview & Prognostications

laces-football-grassAllow me to be bluntly honest. Not that I am usually dishonest, but I am rarely blunt. At any rate, I’m not as excited as usual to do goodevil-copythis preview. The NFL is becoming harder & harder to watch thanks to that moron Fidel Goodell. I look at professional football suits, including the league office and team front offices, kind of like I do the government. I believe they should interfere with the game as little as possible. Unfortunately nowadays, with Goodell’s “personal conduct policy” and the pathological need to make a violent collision sport “safe”, all the talking heads ever yap about (whenever they aren’t slobbering all over rookie defensive end Michael Sam, indulging Browns “backup” QB Johnny Manziel, or being offended by the Washington Redskins name) are penalties and suspensions. Defense used to win championships, but the NFL has neutered defenses to the point that they might as well not even take the field. I sincerely believe we are only a few years away from flag football. Goodell is a succubus that has almost singlehandedly ruined what was once the greatest sport and the best pro league in the world. Thanks a lot jackass. So anyway, I suppose I will move forward with this preview and I’ll watch the games. I might even enjoy myself on occasion. But it’s not the same. It never will be unless Goodell is run out office and is replaced by someone with the cahonas to reverse nearly every bad decision that has been made in the past 8 years.

 

 

 

 

 

NFC

East
Philadelphia Eagles
(10-6) 14-2
Dallas Cowboys
(8-8) 7-9
NY Giants
(7-9) 6-10
Washington Redskins
(3-13) 6-10
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly didn’t have quite the growing pains in his rookie season that I expected, and I believe Philly will be even better this year. The rest of eaglesthis division is mediocre at best. The Cowboys defense isn’t any better than it was in 2013. The Tom Coughlin era in New York will likely end in the next couple of seasons with a whimper instead of a bang. And the Redskins backup quarterback may be better than their vastly overrated starter.

 

 

 

North
Green Bay Packers
(8-7-1) 13-3
Detroit Lions
(7-9) 8-8
Chicago Bears
(8-8) 7-9
Minnesota Vikings
(5-10-1) 7-9
Another mediocre division. The Packers, despite losing defensive tackle BJ Raji (to injury not free agency), should run away with the crown behind QB Aaron Green_Bay_Packers_HelmetRogers and RB Eddie Lacy. The Lions may show some improvement but aren’t ready to break thru just yet. Bears QB Jay Cutler is even more overrated that RGIII in Washington. And Minnesota won’t contend until they decide to let Teddy Bridgewater take the reigns as the franchise signal caller he was drafted to be and stop pussyfooting around with Matt Cassel.

 

 

 

South
New Orleans Saints
(11-5) 10-6
Carolina Panthers
(12-4) 10-6
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(4-12) 9-7
Atlanta Falcons
(4-12) 7-9
Now we’re starting to have some fun. Until Drew Brees shows that he just can’t do it anymore he has to be considered one of the few elite quarterbacks in the 10_new_orleans_saintsleague. I’d feel a little bit better if the Saints had a franchise RB (no…Mark Ingram, Khiri Robinson, & Pierre Thomas don’t count), but as long as TE Jimmie Graham is around to catch touchdowns from Brees and the defense is atleast solid the Saints must be considered the favorites. Carolina probably takes a bit of a step back this year since their all new receiving corps consists of Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant, & rookie Kelvin Benjamin and they lost cornerstone left tackle Jordan Gross. I look for Benjamin to grow into a big time receiver, but let’s not rush things. The brief Greg Schiano era is over in Tampa and Lovie Smith…inexplicably canned by the Chicago Bears a couple of years ago…takes over a team with a solid defense, a potentially very good receiving corps, and a decent running game. I understand why the Bucs are receiving a lot of buzz. But neither Josh McCown nor Mike Glennon inspire much confidence in the quarterback position, so until they remedy that issue Tampa can’t be considered serious contenders. I look for the Falcons to bounce back a little bit from an abysmal 2013, but this is such a tough division that I still think they draw the short straw.

 

 

 

West
Seattle Seahawks
(13-3) 10-6
San Francisco 49ers
(12-4) 10-6
Arizona Cardinals
(10-6) 9-7
St. Louis Rams
(7-9) 3-13
Super Bowl Champions oftentimes slip a little the following season. They have a huge target on their back, spend a little too much of the offseason in celebration seattle-seahawks1mode, and tend to lose a few players to free agency who are understandably cashing in on the team’s success. Seattle is no different. However, luckily for the Seahawks their main rivals…the 49ers…are having a rough offseason with the 9 game suspension of troubled defensive tackle Aldon Smith as well as not having the services of linebacker Navorro Bowman, who tore up his knee in the NFC championship game. I like the Cardinals a lot but I’m not ready to say they are better than Seattle & ‘Frisco just yet. I might regret not venturing out on that particular limb. The Rams’ season was probably going to be forgettable anyway, but with the loss QB Sam Bradford…again…to another knee injury they are likely looking at a top 5 pick in the 2015 draft (which they’ll probably use on a quarterback to replace the disappointing Bradford).

 

 

Playoff Teams: Philadelphia, Green Bay, New Orleans, Seattle, Carolina, San Francisco
NFC Championship: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Green Bay Packers

AFC

East
New England Patriots
(12-4) 13-3
Buffalo Bills
(6-10) 8-8
NY Jets
(8-8) 8-8
Miami Dolphins
(8-8) 7-9
Good Lord when will the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era end?? Ateast the Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl in awhile. But they shouldn’t have any problem winning New_England_Patriots_Helmetthis division. I think the Bills are headed in the right direction and we’ll find out this season if QB EJ Manuel is the real deal. The addition of rookie WR Sammy Watkins will help. Jets coach Rex Ryan did enough last year to keep his job, but I don’t believe we’ll see any improvement this year. I am sure the Geno Smith/Michael Vick battle at QB will be the dominant story all season in The Big Apple. The Dolphins are likely to remain insignificant. Don’t be surprised if head coach Joe Philbin finds himself on the hot seat by the end of the year.

 

 

 

North
Cincinnati Bengals
(11-5) 10-6
Baltimore Ravens
(8-8) 9-7
Pittsburgh Steelers
(8-8) 7-9
Cleveland Browns
(4-12) 6-10
As much as it breaks my heart I have to admit that I don’t have much confidence in my Pittsburgh Steelers. A quarter of their draft picks didn’t even make the team. Cincinnati_Bengals_HelmetClearly something is amiss in the Steelers front office. I don’t think the Bengals will get very far in the playoffs but they should win the division. The Ravens are no longer a serious Super Bowl contender but they’ll be competitive. The quarterback situation in Cleveland is murky at best and I’m not at all impressed with new head coach Mike Pettine who seems ill prepared for the job.

 

 

 

South
Indianapolis Colts
(11-5) 12-4
Jacksonville Jaguars
(4-12) 8-8
Tennessee Titans
(7-9) 8-8
Houston Texans
(2-14) 6-10
Is Andrew Luck just an above average quarterback or is he an elite transcendent talent on par with Manning (you know which one), Brady, & Brees?? I think we’ll beIndianapolis_Colts_Helmet better equipped to ponder that question after this season. I like the direction the Jags are headed, but they need to stop this Chad Henne silliness and make rookie Blake Bortles the starting QB. Sure he’ll make some mistakes, but he’ll also grow & learn and do some good things that Henne just doesn’t have the talent to achieve. Tennessee and Houston are treading water, although if the Texans make newly acquired QB Ryan Mallet the starter sooner rather than later they might have some potential.

 

 

 

West
Denver Broncos
(13-3) 11-5
San Diego Chargers
(9-7) 10-6
Kansas City Chiefs
(11-5) 9-7
Oakland Raiders
(4-12) 8-8
This is probably it for Peyton Manning. The window is closing fast. The Broncos upgraded their defense a lot this offseason and the offense should be as good or broncos-4759better than 2014, so anything less than a Lombardi Trophy would be a huge disappointment. The Chargers are sneaky good and could be a scary team to face in the playoffs. I think the Chiefs fall back a bit from their surprisingly successful season of last year. The Raiders will run like the wind with Maurice Jones-Drew but it won’t be enough. Look for rookie QB Derek Carr to emerge as the starter, but head coach Dennis Allen might be the first to lose his job this year.

 

 

Playoff Teams: New England, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Denver, Baltimore, San Diego
AFC Championship: Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts

Denver Broncos 31 sbGB Packers 28


My First Ever NFL Mock Draft (2014)

I have pondered the idea of doing a mock NFL draft for a few years now, but there have been some things stopping me. I am by no means an “expert” who pores over tape or scouting reports like a Mel Kiper Jr. or Mike Mayock. I’m not an “insider” with a plethora of contacts within the NFL like Chris Mortensen or John Clayton. I’m just a normal, average, run-of-the-mill fan who just happens to have an nfloutlet thru which I can pontificate about things that interest me. I don’t know who half of these players even are…I have gathered a lot of information from various sources and just have to trust their assessment. I do watch a lot of college football, but I learned long ago that there isn’t always as much crossover as one would assume there’d be between talented collegiate players and good pro prospects. There are always college football stars that are deemed to be too small, too slow, or unathletic enough for the NFL. Conversely, there are a lot of guys who make an impact in the NFL that few fans ever heard about in college. There are a numerous mock drafts available, so why add to the pile??

 

Despite these reservations I finally decided to forge ahead. The first thing I elected to do was make this a 3 round mock draft. Any yahoo can do a one round draft…I want a challenge!! The second thing I knew I wanted to do was throw in some trades. As my fantasy football pals know I love wheelin’ & dealin’. Sadly there isn’t enough of that that actually happens in the real draft. I do know football-introducing-the-science_1that they have a conversion chart that tells the suits what equals out to a fair exchange, but since I don’t have access to that and only have three rounds to work with I just do the best I can. If you see “via X Team” it indicates that is a real pre-existing trade. When you see “trade w/X Team” that means it is a trade that I am creating for this draft. It must be noted that we are almost three months away from the actual draft and a lot of things will occur in that time, especially when free agency begins next month. There will probably be a lot of opinions changed…one way or another…about certain prospects during the NFL Combine later this month. Some well-known names will become salary cap casualties. I may do a revised mock draft a week or two before the real thing, but I’m not making any promises. In the meantime, for those of you nerdy enough to enjoy this stuff as much as I do please peruse my selections and don’t hesitate to leave feedback.

***************

Round 1

1              Cleveland Browns (trade w/Houston Texans)Cleveland_Browns_Helmet

            QB Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M)                            

The Browns move up to get the quarterback that they covet. The move makes sense.

2              Houston Texans (via Washington Redskins & trade w/St. Louis Rams)houston-texans-mobile-wallpaper

            QB Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville)

In this scenario the Texans move down and then move back up, securing not only an extra pick but the player they really wanted all along anyway.

3              Atlanta Falcons (trade w/Jacksonville Jaguars)falcons

            DE Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina)

The Jags move down knowing they can get who they want a few picks later plus add another draft choice. The Falcons leapfrog a couple of other teams to make sure they get Clowney. It’s a win-win for both teams.

4              St. Louis Rams (trade w/Houston Texans)St_Louis_Rams

            WR Sammy Watkins (Clemson)

The Rams are tempted to take an offensive lineman, but this draft is deep at that position and there’s really no one that is transcendent at the top. However, Watkins does stand far & above any other receiver.

5              Minnesota Vikings (trade w/Oakland Raiders)vikingshelmet1

            QB Blake Bortles (Central Florida)

The Vikings are desperate for a quarterback. The Raiders figure they can find one in the second round plus add a couple of picks. Only time will tell who was smarter.

6              Jacksonville Jaguars (trade w/Atlanta Falcons)Jacksonville_Jaguars

            DE Kony Ealy (Missouri)

‘Tis a tough position for the Jags. They miss out on both Clowney and Bortles. There is a huge temptation to reach for a quarterback, but that’s not the smart move. A good pass rusher is always a decent fallback option.

7              Tampa Bay BuccaneersTampa_Bay_Buccaneers_Helmet

            OT Greg Robinson (Auburn)

The Bucs won’t walk…they’ll run to the podium to make this choice.

8              Oakland Raiders (trade w/Minnesota Vikings)raiders

            OT Jake Matthews (Texas A&M)

Yes the Raiders need a quarterback. But there’s no one in this spot that’d be a good value. Matthews being available at #8 would be a shocker and few teams will ever pass up a cornerstone left tackle.

9              Buffalo BillsBuffalo_Bills_Helmet

            LB Khalil Mack (Buffalo)

If Mack, who played collegiately for the Buffalo Bulls, was hoping to escape the frigid northeast for a warmer climate he’ll be disappointed…but he’ll be rich.

10           Detroit LionsDetroit_Lions_Helmet

           CB Darqueze Dennard (Michigan St.)

The Lions defensive backfield was atrocious last season, and the Seattle Seahawks have proven how important a great secondary can be.

11           Tennessee TitansTennessee_Titans_Helmet

         S Calvin Pryor (Louisville)

The Titans are very very tempted to snag a quarterback, but maybe the Jake Locker era isn’t over just yet. Instead they address another need area by upgrading their secondary.

12           New York GiantsGiants Logo

           LB Anthony Barr (UCLA)

Some early mock drafts had Barr as a Top 5 pick. The G-Men would be ecstatic to find such value at this spot.

13           St. Louis RamsSt_Louis_Rams

        OT Cyrus Kouandjio (Alabama)

With their first pick the Rams added a top flight receiver. With their second 1st round choice they add some protection for quarterback Sam Bradford. Not a bad day’s work.

14           Chicago Bearschicago-bears-logo13

          S Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix (Alabama)

Ridiculous name aside, this is a pick that addresses an area of need for the Bears without reaching for an offensive lineman that wouldn’t be as good of a value here.

15           Pittsburgh Steelersdiamond-steelers

            CB Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma St.)

The Steelers’ secondary hasn’t been all that great for a few years in my opinion, and they’re getting old. This pick addresses a huge problem and injects some much needed youth into the defense.

16           Baltimore Ravens Baltimore_Ravens2

           WR Mike Evans (Texas A&M)

What was the difference between the Super Bowl Champion Ravens of 2012 and the non-playoff Ravens of 2013?? Some say one key change was the loss of receiver Anquan Boldin who was traded to the 49ers. Evans would solve the problem.

17           Dallas Cowboysdallas-cowboys-logo2

           DE Dee Ford (Auburn)

As much flack as quarterback Tony Romo and head coach Jason Garrett receive the fact is that the biggest reason the Cowboys continue to be a disappointment (besides their meddling owner Jerry Jones) is their porous defense. Ideally they’d trade out of this spot as the value at the secondary positions is later in this round or in the 2nd & 3rd rounds, but they have trouble finding a taker and therefore reach just a little for the best defensive end available.

18           New York JetsJets-Pin-Pro

           WR Kelvin Benjamin (Florida St.)

The Jets need offensive playmakers…plain & simple. Geno Smith can be an effective NFL quarterback, but he needs better options than what he had in 2013.

19           Miami Dolphins                Miami_Dolphins_Helmet

         OT Taylor Lewan (Michigan)

The Dolphins really need a workhorse running back, but since they seem to be devalued these days I doubt if they’d choose one with a mid-first round pick. Instead they solidify their offensive line with someone who hopefully won’t find themselves in the midst of an idiotic bullying scandal.

20           Arizona Cardinalsnflarizonacardinals

          OT Zack Martin (Notre Dame)

I think the Cards can squeeze another year or two out of Carson Palmer, so there’s no need to reach for a quarterback just yet.

21           Green Bay PackersGreen_Bay_Packers_Helmet

         TE Eric Ebron (North Carolina)

The Packers were a playoff team and I think they’ll be even better in 2014, so they don’t have any major needs. They could use an upgrade at cornerback but anyone taken here would be a reach, so instead they replace tight end Jermichael Finlay. Finlay’s 2013 season ended at the halfway point with an injury that required spinal fusion surgery. He’s only 26 years old, but he’s also a free agent so the prudent thing to do…especially since quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a plethora of weapons at his disposal anyway…is find a healthier & less expensive alternative.

22           Philadelphia Eagleseagles

           LB CJ Moseley (Alabama)

Head coach Chip Kelly is an offensive guru, but if he really wants to take his team to the top he needs to pay attention to the defense. Moseley is a well-rounded player with tremendous leadership skills.

23           Kansas City Chiefskc-chiefs-logo

         LB Ryan Shazier (Ohio St.)

The Chiefs were the NFL’s most improved team in 2013, but something was lacking. After starting the season 9-0 they finished 2-5 and lost a close one to the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs. The popular sentiment is that they’d like to add a big time receiver for quarterback Alex Smith to target, but I think that the Seattle Seahawks provided the blueprint for defeating the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl…defense, defense, & more defense.

24           Cincinnati BengalsCincinnati_Bengals_Helmet

         CB Jason Verrett (TCU)

The Bengals are a solid playoff team so they can afford to reach just a little to solidify their secondary.

25           San Diego ChargersSan_Diego_Chargers_Helmet3

         G David Yankey (Stanford)

The Chargers flew under the radar in 2013 and right into the playoffs. Time may be running out for quarterback Philip Rivers to fulfill the potential so many thought he had when drafted a decade ago. The best way to maximize his abilities is to keep him upright and give him time to find a receiver downfield.

26           Houston Texans (via Indianapolis Colts & trade w/Cleveland Browns)houston-texans-mobile-wallpaper

           OT Morgan Moses (Virginia)

The Texans get this pick for moving down in the first round and allowing the Browns to draft Johnny Football. Of course they then moved back up and got their quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. So now what?? Well, when you’ve got a big time signal caller the first thing you want to do is protect him.

27           New Orleans Saints10_new_orleans_saints

       OT Antonio Richardson (Tennessee)

The pickins’ are getting slim at the tackle position, but the Saints can afford to roll the dice in an effort to protect Drew Brees.

28           Carolina Pantherscarolina_panthers_logo-14336

         WR Marqise Lee (USC)

I believe that the Panthers are one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl next season. They’ll have to get past the Seattle Seahawks at some point to get there, and a top flight receiver would help a lot. Steve Smith is 34 years old.

29           New England PatriotsNew_England_Patriots_Helmet

          TE Jace Amaro (Texas Tech)

The Patriots will be heartbroken to see all of the top receivers…Watkins, Evans, Benjamin, & Lee…off the board. But we know they have several options in the playbook for a solid tight end that can catch the ball.

30           San Francisco 49ersSan-Francisco-49ers

         DT Aaron Donald (Pitt)

Most folks seem convinced that ‘Frisco will be right back in the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy in 2014. I’m not so sure. This is a team that is getting older at some key spots and they need to address the issue before it becomes a problem. Receiver Anquan Boldin is 33 years old, but I think that position can be dealt with later. For now the prudent idea might be to take the best defensive player on the board.

31           Denver Broncosbroncos-4759

         CB Marcus Roberson (Florida)

The Broncos looked old & slow in the Super Bowl. It was kind of sad. They need to get younger & faster really quickly if they want a chance to get Peyton Manning another ring.

32           Seattle Seahawks            seattle-seahawks1

         WR Odell Beckham Jr. (LSU)

What can you possibly get the team that seemingly has everything?? Well, I’m going to say another weapon for quarterback Russell Wilson.

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Round 2

 

33           St. Louis Rams (trade w/Houston Texans)

         G Xavier Su’a-Filo (UCLA)

The Rams get this pick after trading down with the Texans earlier. This is the third pick for them and they’ve already added a legit #1 receiver and a solid offensive tackle. Depth on the offensive line is always great to have though.

34           Washington Redskins

          DT Timmy Jernigan (Florida St.)

The Redskins didn’t have a first round pick due to the trade that snagged them quarterback RGIII a couple of years ago. They still end up getting first round talent though, and improve their defense in the process.

35           Cleveland Browns

          RB Ka’Deem Carey (Arizona)

Either Trent Richardson wasn’t the answer at running back or the Browns gave up on him too quickly. Either way they need a replacement, because if they go into 2014 with 32 year old Willis McGahee & Fozzy Whittaker as  their starters they are screwed.

36           Oakland Raiders

         QB Derek Carr (Fresno St.)

Patience pays off for Oakland. Truthfully Carr shouldn’t drop this far, but there is some trepidation since he is the younger brother of former #1 overall pick David Carr, who was a huge bust coming out of Fresno St. in 2002. Fair?? Probably not, but the comparisons are inevitable.

37           Jacksonville Jaguars (trade w/Atlanta Falcons)

           G Cyril Richardson (Baylor)

At this point one has to feel some semblance of sympathy for the Jags. They traded down in the first round but it seemed like they could snag Carr early in the second. Oops. Fortunately there are a few more decent quarterback prospects available…but not here. Instead they add depth to the offensive line.

38           Tampa Bay Buccaneers

           LB Vic Beasley (Clemson)

The Bucs addressed offensive line issues in the first round. This time they reach just a bit for a pass rusher.

39           Jacksonville Jaguars

           DT Louis Nix III (Notre Dame)

The Jags are up again?? They go defense again and get great value with a huge defensive tackle.

40           Minnesota Vikings

           WR Allen Robinson (Penn St.)

Minnesota got their quarterback in the first round, so now it is time to get him some weapons. Adrian Peterson can’t do it all.

41           Buffalo Bills

          TE Austin Jenkins (Washington)

Any quarterback…especially a young guy like EJ Manuel…benefits from a solid tight end that can catch the ball. Adding Jenkins with the already decent Scott Chandler could give the Bills a unique tandem that’d be the envy of the league.

42           Tennessee Titans

          WR Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt)

Matthews provides an upgrade over aging Nate Washington and oft injured troublemaker Kenny Britt, who some team will likely overpay in free agency.

43           New York Giants

          S Terrence Brooks (Florida St.)

The Giants continue to upgrade their defense by adding some speed to the secondary. Brooks could play cornerback in a pinch as well, and that kind of flexibility is a good thing in the NFL.

44           St. Louis Rams

          DT RaShede Hageman (Minnesota)

The Rams have their fourth pick of the draft and add some depth on defense this time.

45           Detroit Lions

          CB Bradley Roby (Ohio St.)

Did I mention that Detroit’s secondary was really bad last year?? Taking two corners with their first two picks might seem a bit out-of-the-box, but if it works then why not??

46           Pittsburgh Steelers

           G Gabe Jackson (Mississippi St.)

My Steelers addressed the secondary with their first pick, so now it is time to begin rebuilding the offensive line. The top echelon of tackles were all taken in the first round, but I like the idea of pairing Jackson with David DeCastro on the interior of the line with center Maurkice Pouncey in the middle.

47           Baltimore Ravens

          OT Jack Mewhort (Ohio St.)

The Ravens got the big wide receiver they needed in the first round, and now they will look to solidify the offensive line. They are likely to lose atleast one significant lineman in free agency, so a replacement is necessary.

48           Dallas Cowboys

          S Ed Reynolds (Stanford)

Dallas must redo their secondary. It’s just that simple.

49           New York Jets

          RB Tre Mason (Auburn)

Neither Bilal Powell nor Chris Ivory are feature back material. The powers-that-be in The Big Apple have a few good choices here, but I’m guessing they’ll fall in love with Mason’s speed & versatility.

50           Miami Dolphins

         RB Carlos Hyde (Ohio St.)

The Dolphins get their workhorse back. Adios Lamar Miller & Daniel Thomas!!

51           Chicago Bears

          S Deone Bucannon (Washington St.)

The Seattle Seahawks showed us the blueprint for success…a big, physical secondary. The Bears have been paying attention.

52           Arizona Cardinals

           LB Kyle Van Noy (BYU)

The defensive braintrust in Arizona loves linebackers who can get after the quarterback. With John Abraham turning 35 it is time to turn the page.

53           Green Bay Packers

           CB Lamarcus Joyner (Florida St.)

After finding a replacement for Jermichael Finlay in the first round the Packers will look to add secondary depth here.

54           Philadelphia Eagles

            CB Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech)

The Eagles continue to fortify the defense by adding a piece to the secondary.

55           Cincinnati Bengals

           S Jimmie Ward (Northern Illinois)

Cincy adds more depth to the secondary. That’s where the value is in this draft.

56           San Francisco 49ers (via Kansas City Chiefs)

          WR Davante Adams (Fresno St.)

This pick belongs to the 49ers due to the trade that sent QB Alex Smith from ‘Frisco to KC last year. Adams can learn for a year under Anquan Boldin before taking his job.

57           San Diego Chargers

           LB Jeremiah Attaochu (Georgia Tech)

San Diego’s defense is young but that doesn’t mean the pass rush can’t be improved.

58           New Orleans Saints

          LB Trevor Reilly (Utah)

At this point the linebacker group starts to look a bit thin, so the Saints grab one while they can.

59           Indianapolis Colts

           OT Joel Bitonio (Nevada)

The Colts didn’t have a first round choice due to trading it to Cleveland for RB Trent Richardson. If that trade stands any chance of working out in the long run Indianapolis has to spend this pick on an offensive line upgrade.

60           Carolina Panthers

           DT Stephon Tuitt (Notre Dame)

The Panthers add depth on the defensive line.

61           San Francisco 49ers

           DT Trent Murphy (Stanford)

The 49ers have already addressed their defensive line and picked up some depth at receiver. They are in a unique position to take the best player available, which just so happens to add more depth on the defensive line as well.

62           New England Patriots

          DE Scott Crichton (Oregon St.)

The Pats add youth & athleticism to the defensive line.

63           Denver Broncos

          G Dakota Dozier (Furman)

Denver added a much needed younger piece to the defensive backfield in the first round…now they address the offense. Peyton Manning was never that fleet of foot, but at his advanced age protection becomes even more of a priority. Offensive line depth is crucial to another Super Bowl run. Dozier can play both guard & tackle, which makes him a versatile and valuable asset.

64           Seattle Seahawks

           DE Jackson Jeffcoat (Texas)

Do the Seahawks really need an upgrade on defense?? No, not really. But Jeffcoat is the best player available and Chris Clemons is 32 years old.

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Round 3

65           Houston Texans

            CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste (Nebraska)

The Texans give some attention to the defense by adding some size to the secondary.

66           Washington Redskins

           LB Christian Jones (Florida St.)

Brian Orakpo is a free agent and the ageless London Fletcher finally retiring…I think. Linebacker is a significant need.

67           Oakland Raiders

           WR Brandin Cooks (Oregon St.)

The diminutive Cooks might not be the #1 wideout the Raiders really covet, but he could be a tremendous slot receiver in the vein of a Wes Welker. That can be a valuable asset in today’s NFL.

68           Atlanta Falcons

          RB Charles Sims (West Virginia)

Steven Jackson will turn 31 this summer. His days as a #1 back are over. The Falcons must move forward.

69           Tampa Bay Buccaneers

          TE Troy Niklas (Notre Dame)

Mel Kiper & Adam Shefter will probably use the word “upside” a hundred times when talking about Niklas. He only started one year at Notre Dame, but at 6ft.7 270lbs. the former linebacker has size & athleticism and could find himself starting fairly early in his career.

70           Jacksonville Jaguars

           QB AJ McCarron (Alabama)

Don’t be surprised if the Jags also try to trade for a young veteran signal caller like Kirk Cousins or Ryan Mallet or sign a stop gap like Michael Vick, Josh Freeman, or Matt Cassel.

71           Cleveland Browns

          G Brandon Thomas (Clemson)

After taking care of major issues at QB & RB the Browns now move to solidify an offensive line that is already decent but could be better.

72           Oakland Raiders (trade w/Minnesota Vikings)

          S Dion Bailey (USC)

The Raiders have this pick after moving down in the first round, a trade which allowed the Vikings to snag quarterback Blake Bortles. Oakland has to get younger in their secondary. Former Heisman winner Charles Woodson is 37 years old.

73           Buffalo Bills

           OT Ju’Wuan James (Tennessee)

A team can never have enough offensive line depth.

74           New York Giants

         RB Bishop Sankey (Washington)

Is it too soon to give up on 2012 first round pick David Wilson?? Probably. But he just underwent surgery for spinal stenosis so his future is cloudy at best.

75           St. Louis Rams

          S Ty Zimmerman (Kansas St.)

The Rams have had a great draft thus far, adding a big time receiver and significant help on both lines. Now they add some depth to the secondary.

76           Detroit Lions

           C Travis Swanson (Arkansas)

Detroit just re-signed center Dominic Raiola for another year, but he is 35 years old and it’s time to look toward the future. Raiola can mentor Swanson for one season before passing the torch.

77           San Francisco 49ers (via Tennessee Titans)

           CB Loucheiz Purifoy (Florida)

The 49ers are likely to suffer some losses in the secondary via free agency, so they take the opportunity to replenish.

78           Baltimore Ravens

          C Marcus Martin (USC)

The Ravens offensive line was an issue last season. Upgrades are needed because when a team has a good running back like Ray Rice it is crucial to be able to take advantage of his talent by opening up holes for him to run thru.

79           Dallas Cowboys

          CB Terrance Mitchell (Oregon)

The Cowboys continue to look for answers to solve their defensive backfield issues.

80           New York Jets

          LB Shayne Skov (Stanford)

Starting linebacker Calvin Pace is 33 years old. The Jets need to find some youth at the position.

81           Miami Dolphins

         WR Paul Richardson (Colorado)

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill needs more weapons. Mike Wallace & Brian Hartline ain’t gonna cut it.

82           Chicago Bears

          DT Will Sutton (Arizona St.)

The Bears add some much needed depth on the defensive line.

83           Cleveland Browns (via Pittsburgh Steelers)

           CB Keith McGill (Utah)

Cleveland takes the opportunity to upgrade the corner opposite All-Pro Joe Haden.

84           Arizona Cardinals

          QB Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois)

The young signal caller from Eastern Illinois (alma mater of fellow quarterback Tony Romo) was impressive in a couple of post-season all-star games. This is a good situation for him as he can sit for a year or two and learn the ropes from Carson Palmer.

85           Green Bay Packers

          NT DaQuan Jones (Penn St.)

Free agent BJ Raji is likely headed out of Green Bay, so they need a replacement.

86           Philadelphia Eagles

           RB De’Anthony Thomas (Oregon)

Thomas is an interesting prospect. He’s not an every down running back and he’s not quite a wide receiver. He’s a situational player with blazing speed. Eagles’ coach Chip Kelly coached Thomas at Oregon and has to be salivating at the thought of being able to utilize his unique skillset in the NFL. If anyone should know how to best use Thomas it’s Coach Kelly.

87           Kansas City Chiefs

          WR Donte Moncrief (Mississippi)

Kansas City grabs an underrated prospect who can be a nice complement to Dwayne Bowe.

88           Cincinnati Bengals

         LB Telvin Smith (Florida St.)

James Harrison is 35 years old. He won’t last forever.

89           San Diego Chargers

          DT Dominique Easley (Florida)

Easley is coming off an ACL injury (his 2nd since 2010) and probably should have stayed for his senior year at Florida. The Chargers are very young along the defensive line and can afford to be patient.

90           Indianapolis Colts

           G Anthony Steen (Alabama)

The Colts continue to upgrade their offensive line. Quarterback Andrew Luck must be protected and a running game has to be established.

91           New Orleans Saints

           CB Jaylen Watkins (Florida)

N’awlins adds some depth to the secondary.

92           Carolina Panthers

         G Brandon Linder (Miami, FL)

This is probably a bit of a reach, but Carolina can afford to be a bit cheeky. Protecting Cam Newton is essential so it’s worth a gamble.

93           New England Patriots

           DE Will Clarke (West Virginia)

Clarke is another guy who really helped himself in post-season all-star games. This isn’t necessarily an area of need for New England, but Belichick will figure out how to fit Clarke into the rotation.

94           San Francisco 49ers

      C Weston Richburg (Colorado St.)

Starting center Jonathan Goodwin is 35 years old. Time to get some new blood to go with the rest of the young & talented offensive line.

95           Denver Broncos

          QB Zach Mettenberger (LSU)

I don’t think that Brock Osweiler or Zac Dysert are worthy candidates to eventually replace Peyton Manning. As much as the Broncos want to get Manning that second ring the fact is that the powers-that-be have to have one eye on the future and Mettenberger, who is currently recovering from a torn ACL, can “redshirt” for a year before possibly being in a position to gently push Manning into retirement.

96           Oakland Raiders (trade w/Minnesota Vikings via Seattle Seahawks)

           S Ahmad Dixon (Baylor)

Minnesota had this pick due to the trade that sent Percy Harvin to Seattle in 2013. They then gave it to the Raiders in order to jump up in the first round. The Raiders have added a QB, slot receiver, & cornerstone tackle already. They also added some young, fresh legs to the secondary and do so again here.