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 3

football_goalFirst things first. Last week both Zach and I went 2-3. We would’ve done better if the Bengals would’ve score another couple of points or if Texas Tech had played anything resembling defense. At any rate we move on. The college schedule is a little more appetizing this week, and atleast we now have some evidence on which to base NFL picks, so I am hoping we improve our accuracy from now on.

My Season:     6-6

Z’s Season:     4-8

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florida St. (-2.5)           at      Louisville
Florida_State_SeminolesThe Seminoles are 2-0 but haven’t really been tested yet. The Cardinals are also 2-0 but haven’t played anyone. This is a matchup of Louisville-Cardinalstwo Top 10 teams and Louisville has the home field, but I think they are probably overrated. I don’t believe Florida St. will have any problems winning easily. Conversely, Zach really likes Louisville’s big play QB and thinks he’ll get the job done in a shootout.

My Pick:     Florida State

Z’s Pick:     Louisville

 

 

Michigan St.                at      Notre Dame (-7.5)

A year ago this was a marquee matchup, and while it is still interesting I don’t think anyone will deny that neither team is as good as they were in Michigan_State_Spartans2015. The Spartans have only played one game, beating Furman by just two TDs. The Irish are 1-1 and have the home field. Despite that fact I’m going to pick the upset. I think it’ll be a tight game decided in the final five minutes. Zach agrees that Michigan St. will win, although he believes they’ll put a 17 point beatdown on Notre Dame. I’d be okay with that.

My Pick:     Michigan State

Z’s Pick:     Michigan State

 

 

Ohio St.     (-2)             at      Oklahoma

Ohio_State_BuckeyesThe Sooners are still slapping themselves upside the head trying to figure out what went wrong in the season opening loss to oklahomaHouston. They rebounded by beating up a speck of dust last week but that means nothing. Meanwhile, after losing half their team to the NFL Draft, the Buckeyes look like they haven’t missed a beat, although they haven’t played an opponent worthy of their best effort yet. That all changes this week. If it were just about any other team I might pick the upset, but I don’t believe Urban Meyer will allow Ohio St. to let their foot off the gas. As a matter of fact they might actually play better against good competition. Zach has an irrational animosity toward Ohio St. that clouds his judgment.

My Pick:     Ohio State

Z’s Pick:     Oklahoma

 

 

Seattle                at                LA Rams

I can’t find odds for this game, but does it really matter?? The Seahawks can, should, & will win easily. Zach concurs.seattle-seahawks1

My Pick:     Seattle

Z’s Pick:     Seattle

 

 

Green Bay (-2.5)                   at      Minnesota

Both teams are off to a 1-0 start, with the Vikings having defeated the Titans on the road and the Packers squeaking by the Jags, also on the road. This Green_Bay_Packers_Helmetis the Sunday night game on NBC and will be the inaugural game played in Minnesota’s fancy new stadium. I had pretty much given up on the Vikes after QB Teddy Bridgewater was lost for the season to a knee injury, but their defense bailed them out in the season opener. It’s just a matter of time before newly acquired Sam Bradford replaces journeyman Shaun Hill behind center, but I’m not sure that is all that much of a confidence booster. As much as I’d love to see Minnesota christen their new digs with a victory I’d be shocked if it actually happened. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     Green Bay

Z’s Pick:     Green Bay

2015 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 3

kickoff_footballA half point. A stinkin’ half point!! That’s all that separated your humble Potentate of Profundity from perfection. Alas, the Michigan St. Spartans won by only 3 points…not the required 3.5. That’s just how it goes sometimes. Anyway, what that means is that I went 4-1 last week, while Zach was hot on my heels at 3-2. The lesson: don’t go against BYU. They’ve got God on their side. And Donny & Marie. We can’t forget them.

Overall Records:   Me = 8-2      Z= 4-6

The college schedule is mostly unappealing this week as supposedly good teams continue to play what amounts to pre-season games against foes like Troy, Georgia St., & SMU. Some teams, like my WV Mountaineers, have an early bye, which has got to drive coaches crazy. If I were in charge all byes would be concentrated within a three week period no earlier than Week 6 of the season. Unfortunately I am not in charge of anything outside of The Manoverse, to the general detriment of mankind. At any rate, we’re leaning a bit more on the NFL than I’d prefer to at this point, but we do what we gotta do. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Georgia Tech (-2.5) at Notre Dame
NotreDame1The Ramblin’ Wreck, aka the Yellowjackets, are often overlooked during the season, until, all the sudden, they’ve won 10 or 11 gatechlogocos-3games and are playing in a major bowl game. However, after just obliterating their first two opponents and scoring over 130 points in the process, they are actually favored against the Irish…in South Bend. Trust me, I checked that three times. I can only assume that this is an overreaction to Notre Dame losing starting QB Malik Zaire to a season ending broken ankle. Well okay…I suppose the fact that they needed a last second TD to defeat lightly regarded Virginia last week has a lot to do with it as well. If this game was being played in Atlanta I’d be inclined to go with the boys in Vegas, but regardless of the injury situation I just can’t imagine the Irish not defending their house. Zach, on the other hand, likes Tech’s triple option offense and thinks it’ll confuse Notre Dame.

My Pick – Notre Dame
Z’s Pick – Georgia Tech

 

 
Auburn at LSU (-7.5)
Auburn looked absolutely awful last week, needing overtime to beat 1-AA Jacksonville St. Meanwhile, LSU was just happy to get out on the field after LSU_Helmet_2Mother Nature scratched their first game. The Tigers never trailed but definitely let their foot off the gas in the 4th quarter in a narrow victory over Mississippi St. To be honest I don’t think anything we’ve seen thus far presents a particularly accurate picture of these two teams, so I’m relying on my pre-season vibes, which means that I like LSU more. Zach concurs, opining that LSU will dominate and win by 17.

My Pick – LSU
Z’s Pick – LSU

 

 
New England (-1) at Buffalo
I don’t even know what to say about the Patriots. I think maybe the safest thing…in an effort to keep my blood pressure in check…is to say as little as Buffalo_Bills_Helmetpossible. The Bills, on the other hand, pulled off maybe the biggest upset in the opening weekend of the NFL by easily defeating the Indianapolis Colts. I, along with what I would have to think is a huge portion of the general NFL fanbase, would love to see Buffalo or anyone else challenge New England for the AFC East division crown, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It is interesting that the Bills aren’t getting the usual home field bump and are actually underdogs in Orchard Park. I suppose the Patriots have theoretically earned that respect, although I’m not sure how anyone can respect an organization full of filthy cheaters. At any rate, I’ve got to go with my heart in this one. This is your shot Rex Ryan. Is your team for real?? This is a huge opportunity for Buffalo to prove their legitimacy and for QB Tyrod Taylor to validate himself as a worthy NFL starter. Zach isn’t a big Rex fan, but also thinks that the Steelers beat themselves last week more than anything against the Patriots. He likes Buffalo’s defense to make the difference.

My Pick – Buffalo
Z’s Pick – Buffalo

 

 
Dallas at Philadelphia (-4)
Dallas scored a narrow victory in Week 1, while Philly’s comeback fell short in a loss that wasn’t as close as it looks on paper. The Eagles get the philadelphia_eagles-3715requisite home field advantage, but I’m not sure any of that matters when these two teams meet. Cowboys’ WR Dez Bryant is out for atleast a month after suffering a broken foot last weekend, and that’s a huge difference maker. Add to that the fact that Eagles’ RB DeMarco Murray, who ran for only 9 yards on 8 carries (and one of those was for 8 yards), will be motivated to come out strong against his old team. Philadelphia surely won’t throw the ball as much as they did against Atlanta. I think this will be a fantastic game, and I have to go with the home team. Zach concurs.

My Pick – Philadelphia
Z’s Pick – Philadelphia

 

 

Seattle at Green Bay (-3.5)
The Sunday night game on NBC features two of the NFC’s top teams and Super Bowl favorites. Green Bay had no problem conquering the Chicago Green_Bay_Packers_HelmetBears in Week 1. Conversely, the Seahawks suffered a surprising overtime loss to the St. Louis Rams. It’d be really interesting if Seattle went 0-2. Will that happen?? If this game were being played in the Pacific Northwest I’d say no way. However, the Packers win over 80% of their games at Lambeau Field during the Aaron Rodgers era and Seattle hasn’t won there since 1999. I have to go with Green Bay. Zach likes the Packers as well…in an overtime thriller.

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

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 5

Friends I have done something this week that was very difficult for a control freak to do. But before I go into that let me mention that last week I went 2-3, which wasn’t a huge shock and an outcome that I am not particularly upset about. I knew that picking against both the Alabama Crimson Tide and Seattle Seahawks was risky and unfortunately it didn’t pan out. Zach also went 2-3 although he got there in a slightly different way. So for the season so far it looks like this:

Me = 9-12
Zach = 9-11

For the first time ever I let Zach pick the games this week. It is pretty slim pickins’, especially on the college level. There aren’t even any interesting west coast games to look forward to Saturday night. However, I think he came up with a good assemblage of games from the lackluster crop from which he had to choose.

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Maryland at Indiana (-3)
The Terrapins are 3-1 but haven’t beaten anyone. Their most impressive game was a close loss to my WV Mountaineers. Conversely the Hoosiers are 2-1 but university-of-maryland-terrapinscoming off an impressive upset of Missouri in Columbia. Are they really that good?? Will there be a hangover after such a big victory?? Indiana has the slight home field advantage, but based solely on what I saw (well okay…heard on the radio…we don’t get The Big Ten Network here in Appalachia) when Maryland played WVU I’m going to pick the Terps. Zach isn’t buying the Missouri game as any kind of indicator that Indiana is actually a decent football team and thinks Maryland will roll.

My Pick = Maryland
Z’s Pick = Maryland

Arkansas vs Texas A&M (-10.5)
texas_am_01I have to be honest…I really thought the Aggies would struggle a bit after the departure of Johnny Football, but I was wrong. Thus far they razorhave looked unstoppable in the course of going 4-0, destroying their opponents by an average margin of victory of 46 points. Meanwhile, the Razorbacks are a mildly impressive 3-1, having lost their opener to Auburn. This is a neutral site game being played at The Palace in Dallas, approximately three hours from College Station, TX and 5 hours from Fayetteville, AR. I’d be really surprised if Arkansas wins this game and I don’t think it’ll be all that competitive. Covering the spread shouldn’t be an issue for A&M. Conversely, not only does Zach believe this wil be a close game but he thinks Arkansas might actually win.

My Pick = Texas A&M
Z’s Pick = Arkansas

Green Bay at Chicago (-3)
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is telling the good folks in Green Bay to relax after their tepid 1-2 start. He’s probably right, but let me say this to Mr. Rodgers: I have youGreen_Bay_Packers_Helmet and a couple of your teammates on some of my various fantasy teams so you better GET THE LEAD OUT!! Okay…I feel better now. The 2-1 Bears have the home field but I’m going to go with the underdogs. I predicted them to go 13-3 and make it to The Super Bowl in my NFL Preview and I can’t abandon that idea just yet. Zach also has faith that Green Bay will work out the kinks and get back on track in this contest. Don’t let us down Rodgers!!

My Pick = Green Bay
Z’s Pick = Green Bay

Philadelphia at San Francisco (-4)
10517112-san-francisco-49ersThis should be a really good game. The Eagles are 3-0 although it hasn’t been easy. The 49ers are 1-2 and certainly don’t look like the same eaglesteam that has been to three straight NFC title games and lost the Super Bowl just two years ago. I’m a little bit surprised that ‘Frisco is favored even if they are playing at home. That being said, I don’t think any team stands a chance of going undefeated and this is probably as good of an opportunity for Philly to be knocked off their perch as any. Zach is even more surprised than me about the spread and thinks that the Eagles’ explosive offense will lead them to victory.

My Pick = San Francisco
Z’s Pick = Philadelphia

Carolina at Baltimore (-3)
Both teams come into this game with identical 2-1 records and haven’t looked especially terrible or particularly impressive. Therefore I really can’t get a good read on CarolinaPantherseither one quite yet. I don’t think any of the off-the-field stupidity circling around Baltimore has had any kind of significant negative effect on the team’s efforts. My Steelers showed the blueprint for beating the Panthers…good old-fashioned smashmouth football. Eat the clock and keep Carolina QB Cam Newton off the field. But do the Ravens have the horses to pull that off?? I’m going to roll the dice and go with the underdogs. Zach concurs and predicts the Panthers will win by a field goal.

My Pick = Carolina
Z’s Pick = Carolina

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 3

Better late than never. Simmer down. No worries. Our first game doesn’t kick off until 10pm EST Saturday night.

There are few things more frustrating than being right and still losing. However, when I began doing these picks I decided that it would be far too prosaic to just do straight win/lose, that the element of the point spread had to be incorporated to increase the complexity of the challenge. Unfortunately, as I am sure hardcore gamblers know all too well, this also means that sometimes the spread can reach up and bite one in the butt. Such was the case last week when the Denver Broncos beat the Indianapolis Colts by 7 points instead of 7 ½ points. Even more infuriating is the fact that at one point the Broncos led the game 24-7. Denver letting their foot off the gas resulted in a loss for me and a win for Zach, making me 2-3 for the week and him 3-2. I am rather competitive so this kind of ticks me off. Thanks a lot Peyton Manning. At any rate I suppose I just need to move on and hope for better things this week. The season thus far shapes up like this:

Me = 4-7
Zach = 6-4

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Nebraska (-10.5) at Fresno St.
The Huskers barely escaped what would have been a devastating loss to 1-AA (I kick it old school) McNeese St. last week. Meanwhile, the normally solid & nebraska-cornhuskersentertaining Bulldogs come into this game 0-2, having been hammered by an average of 35 points. Double digit spreads make me nervous, but I’ll go with the favorites here. Zach thinks Nebraska will win by 4 TDs.

My Pick – Nebraska
Z’s Pick – Nebraska

 

 

Nevada at Arizona (-15.5)
nevadaThe Wolfpack are one of those teams that no one likes to play. They are usually a solid bowl team and seem to play “bigger” teams tough, pulling off the occasionalcollege_arizona_90 upset. They did go 4-8 in 2013, but come into this game 2-0, including an impressive victory over the PAC 12’s Washington St. Cougars last week. The Wildcats….as much as it physically & emotionally hurts me to say it…have been pretty decent under head coach Rich Fraudriguez and come into this game 2-0 as well, although they had a difficult time defeating Texas-San Antonio last week. It is likely that Arizona holds serve on its home field this week, but the large point spread gives me pause. For that reason I’m going to pick Nevada. Zach, apparently unware of Nevada’s 2-0 record, thinks they suck and reluctantly picks Arizona, even though he hates their coach as much as I do.

My Pick – Nevada
Z’s Pick – Arizona

 

 

Miami at Buffalo (even)
Buffalo_Bills_HelmetNo result from the first week of NFL action was as shocking to me as the Dolphins upsetting the New England Patriots. But the Bills pulled off Miami_Dolphins_Helmeta pretty big surprise themselves by beating the Chicago Bears. Now look, let’s be honest…the Patriots are still winning the division. However, both of these teams (as well as the New York Jets) ae looking to make the jump up to a solid wildcard contender that wins 9 or 10 games. This game will tell us a lot about both teams. The folks in Vegas seem to think they are evenly matched, which both simplifies and complicates things. I’m going with Buffalo because of the home field advantage. Zach doesn’t believe that Miami’s victory last week was a fluke and believes they will be a serious playoff contender.

My Pick – Buffalo
Z’s Pick – Miami

 

 

Seattle (-5.5) at San Diego
The defending Super Bowl champions looked quite impressive in their season debut, soundly defeating the Green Bay Packers. Meanwhile, the Chargers lost a seattle-seahawks1heartbreaker last week to the Arizona Cardinals. As much as I’d love to go with the underdogs here I just can’t pull the trigger. I thought Seattle might ease off the throttle and fall back just a little bit this season, but so far that prediction looks like it might be wrong. Zach concurs.

My Pick – Seattle
Z’s Pick – Seattle

 

 

NY Jets at Green Bay (-8)
The Packers began the season on the receiving end of the previously mentioned beatdown at the hands of the Seahawks. The Jets took care of the Oakland Green_Bay_Packers_HelmetRaiders. I like Green Bay to rebound here, especially in the friendly confines of the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. The points are a bit much for my taste, but if Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense are firing on all cylinders it shouldn’t be a problem. Zach agrees.

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

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.

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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.

2013 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 15

Okay citizens, this is going to be another quick one. Your humble Potentate of Profundity has once again ran into some unfortunate computer issues and I have limited time in my secret Plan B bunker. In last week’s grand finale of college football’s regular season Zach 3-4 and I went 3-5, so our season records look like this:

                Zach       =             34-41

                Myself  =             38-38

From here on out we’ll be riding down the home stretch with the NFL where playoff berths and positioning will be the name of the game. It should be fun.

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New England (-1)             at            Miami

New_England_Patriots_HelmetThe Patriots are like a serial killer in a cheesy slasher flick…rumors of their demise are always greatly exaggerated. All the sudden they have aMiami_Dolphins_Helmet legit shot at being the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Meanwhile the Dolphins are clinging to a playoff spot like a Black Friday shopper who scored the first Xbox One but is now cornered by an angry mob of desperate mothers. In other words it doesn’t look promising. I’ll be cheering on Miami (because I truly loathe the Pats), but honestly the smart pick here is New England. Zach thinks the loss of tight end Rob Gronkowski will have a negative impact on New England, plus he feels like the Dolphins will be extra motivated with a wild card berth on the line.

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NY Jets                  at            Carolina (-11)

I have to give the Jets credit. I predicted that they’d win 2 games and they’ve already won 6. QB Geno Smith, while still inconsistent, has performed far better Jets-Pin-Prothan I thought he would. I don’t think they’re going to make the playoffs but kudos are still in order for having a much better season than anyone ever dreamed they would. My prediction was also a bit off about the Panthers, whom I thought would be a .500 team at best but instead they are 9-4 and look to have a wild card spot locked down unless they completely flame out over the next few weeks. I’m rather uncomfortable with the double digit point spread so even though I think Carolina will win I’m going to pick the Jets. Zach is on the same wavelength.

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Green Bay           at            Dallas (-7)

Nothing would give me more pleasure than to see the Cowboys go down. However, Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers is still out with a collarbone injury so putting dallas-cowboys-dallas-cowboys-15496395-1280-1024one’s faith in backup Matt Flynn is a shaky proposition. Dallas’ defense is terrible but if the only thing they need to worry about is shutting down Green Bay’s rook RB Eddie Lacy that’ll make thinks a bit easier. If this game was being played on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field I’d probably go with the underdog even considering the quarterback situation, but it’s being played at The Death Star in Big D so I’ll go with Dallas. Zach concurs.

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New Orleans (-6)              at            St. Louis

The Saints need a victory to maintain their division lead, plus they are still in contention for home field in the NFC playoffs. The Rams are a mess. I’d be 10_new_orleans_saintsshocked if New Orleans didn’t win easily. Zach agrees.

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Baltimore            at            Detroit (-6)

I predicted the Lions would go 7-9 and finish last in their division. Instead they are currently 7-6 and lead the division. This is the Monday night game this week Detroit_Lions_Helmetand it should be a dandy. Weather won’t be an issue inside the comfortable confines of Ford Field, and I think Calvin Johnson will have a big game. This isn’t a spot that Detroit is used to whereas it is par for the course for the defending Super Bowl Champion Ravens who are in a battle for a playoff spot. I’m going to roll the dice on the Lions since they have the home field. Zach…like myself…has a strong dislike for the Ravens and refuses to pick them. He’s predicting a big game from Calvin Johnson as well.

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Superfluous 7 – Ways To Fix The Pittsburgh Steelers

This weekend fans across the nation of teams like the New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, and five others will sit down in front of their big ol’ flat screen TVs or gather with friends & fellow fans at a local watering hole or wings eatery and cheer on their favorites as they compete in the conference semifinals of the NFL playoffs. As a lifelong fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers I steelwill pay casual attention to the games but spend the vast majority of my time reading a book or watching movies. This is unacceptable. However, since I am a solutions oriented type of guy I have decided to offer a fan’s perspective on what the folks in the Steelers front office need to do so that this time next year…okay, maybe the year after next if I am being perfectly honest…I may once again enjoy the playoffs and look forward to my Steelers making a legitimate run at a 7th Vince Lombardi Trophy. Therefore, it is with all due respect to an organization that has dominated the NFL for most of the past four decades and won more Super Bowls than anyone else that I humbly present…..

 

 

 

from the home office in Latrobe, PA…..

 

 

 

The Superfluous 7 Ways To Fix The Pittsburgh Steelers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7       A Legit #1 RB

When people talk about the Steelers the conversation traditionally goes in one of two directions…the awesome defense or the strong running game. The Steelers have always been primarily a running team until the past few years. Even when Swann & Stallworth were catching balls from Bradshaw in the late 70’s & early 80’s there was still the specter of Franco Harris & Rocky Bleier, who combined for 1500 yards or so for several years. More recently there was The Bus Jerome Bettis, who ran for over Franco-Harris-reinstated-as-charity-chariman-TMME7L9-x-large1000 yards annually from 1996 to 2001 until injuries and time share situations decreased his role. There have also been a whole host of guys that maybe didn’t make a long term impact but were pretty darn good for a short time…Bam Morris, Frank Pollard, Willie Parker, Merrill Hoge, Barry Foster. Does current starting RB Rashard Mendenhall measure up to Franco, Rocky, & The Bus?? Hell no. Is he as good as those second tier guys?? Maybe, which is why I am not ranking this as a primary need…yet. But since BettisMendenhall was a 1st round draft pick there is a heightened level of expectation. Since beginning his NFL career in 2008 Mendenhall has only exceeded 1000 yards twice, and in 2012 was hampered by injuries. Backup Isaac Redman is exactly that…a backup, and it became clear this past season that he cannot be counted on to carry the load. I do not think the Steelers should jump thru hoops or make any crazy trades to snag a back, but if the opportunity presents itself I would not be heartbroken to see Mendenhall shown the door and someone new be given the chance to tote the rock.

 

 

6       Backup QB

It is not unusual to see an NFL team floundering like water deprived fish on a warm sidewalk when roethlisberger-out-browns-jkjpg-7dab2c5a751ea52b1their starting quarterback goes down. But most teams have gotten the message that in the modern NFL a decent backup QB is essential. The Steelers brass is far from clueless and until now have had the situation covered, but it has become obvious that this has evolved into an area of need. 38 year old Charlie Batch is believed to be retiring, and Byron Leftwich is an injury waiting to happen. And the elephant in the room is the fact that Ben Roethlisberger is now 30 years old and, because of his freewheeling style of play and the fact that a porous & injury prone offensive line has left him hung out to dry far too much in the past few seasons, usually misses atleast a game or two every year due to injury. At the very least a reliable veteran backup is needed that might be able to lead the team to a couple of victories now & then, and it may not be a horrible idea to groom a youngster to take the helm in 3 or 4 years. Kirk Cousins anyone??

 

 

5       Faster Linebackers

Lawrence Timmons & Lamarr Woodley are both fairly young players, but the two had a total of just harrison-sack10 sacks between them in 2012. That has to improve. James Harrison & Larry Foote are both in their 30’s and have obviously lost a step, The jury is still out on Jason Worilds (although it doesn’t feel to me like he’ll ever become anything more than a complimentary player) as well as youngsters Stevenson Sylvester & Sean Spence. It seems likely that the team will need to add atleast one, maybe two linebackers. As a Steelers fan it is odd…and a little disconcerting…when a discussion of the best linebackers in the NFL includes names like Patrick Willis, Clay Matthews, Terrell Suggs, and DeMarcus Ware with nary a Steeler in sight. This must change. Would Jarvis Jones or Manti Te’o look good in black & gold?? Maybe.

 

 

4       Younger Defensive Line

Brett Keisel & Casey Hampton are in their mid-30’s and likely finished. Will Ziggy Hood, Cameron Heyward, & Steve McClendon step up and become a new Steel Curtain for the 21st century?? It is possible. However, it is likely that one or two additional pieces are needed. Alameda Ta’amu was 91506_feature_mediumsupposed to be Hampton’s replacement, but he was cut then re-signed to the practice squad in the wake of a felony arrest for drunk driving, aggravated assault, & fleeing law enforcement last autumn. I suppose Ta’amu could potentially still evolve into the second coming of William “Refrigerator” Perry, but one can fairly assume that he is on a v-e-r-y tight leash and will have to work extremely hard to cajole himself into the lineup. The Steelers front office has always had the knack for knowing when to cut veterans loose who had nothing left in the tank while simultaneously having their replacements ready & able to step into the spotlight, but one has gotten the feeling over the past couple of years that they may have held onto a couple of these guys a bit too long and haven’t been as prudent as usual in laying out a succession plan.

 

 

3       Depth on the O-Line

I must give proper credit where it is due. Last year the Steelers drafted guard David DeCastro in the 1st round and tackle Mike Adams in the 2nd, so it isn’t as if they have not addressed the problem. And it is no one’s fault that a pre-season knee injury derailed most of DeCastro’s rookie campaign. Steelers-offensive-linemenHowever, there is still work to be done. Various injuries plagued the offensive line throughout 2012, exposing a few players as either injury prone or just not worth the effort. Some tough decisions are going to have to be made about who to keep around and who to cut loose. Obviously salary cap issues will play a significant part in these decisions as well. Since I am far too indolent to do the necessary research about such mundane issues as salaries & contracts, I’ll just go with the eye test. I’d jettison guards Willie Colon & Ramon Foster, as well as tackle Max Starks. That means drafting atleast one or two offensive linemen again as well as signing a couple in free agency. It might make for a rough 2013, but since that is probably going to occur anyway they may as well look ahead to having a solid line ready for the following season.

 

 

2       Offensive Coordinator

It was clear from the very beginning that Todd Haley and QB Ben Roethlisberger weren’t on the same page. And even though head coach Mike Tomlin did a fine job of keeping egos in check most of the season that discord never completely disappeared. At this stage of his career I think Big Ben has earned a certain amount of influence in the direction of the offense. I didn’t have a problem with Haley’s ideas about getting back to traditional Steelers smashmouth football, but the fact is that when you have a quarterback with the unique skill set of Roethlisberger, a group of pedestrian & injury hi-res-6587156_crop_exactprone running backs, an average at best & also injury prone offensive line, and a fine receiving corps like Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, & TE Heath Miller you dance with the one who got you to the soiree. It is my understanding that Haley is being interviewed for some of the various head coaching & offensive coordinator positions available throughout the NFL, and I wouldn’t be heartbroken if he took off for greener pastures. Maybe Norv Turner would like to recapture some of his offensive coordinator mojo by working for a fine organization like the Pittsburgh Steelers & with another future Hall of Fame QB like Roetlisberger. And even if Turner is a pipe dream I still think there’s got to be a better answer than Todd Haley. Heck, I’d even welcome Mike Mularkey back into the fold.

 

 

1       A Shutdown Corner

I’ve been saying this for it seems like forever. I must again give due credit though. Kudos to both Keenan Lewis & Cortez Allen for stepping up in 2012 and being decent enough corners. Between them and Ike Taylor things weren’t horrible this past season, but they can & should significantly improve. The Steelers only forced 1.3 turnovers/game, which ranks near the bottom of the league. Theyaaa intercepted 14 balls…far less than 19-21 range where the league leaders reside. The defense accounted for 37 sacks, which puts them in the middle of the rankings for that category, not near the top where they should be. This obviously has more to do with not getting enough pressure on the opposing QB, but I also think it means that the pass coverage needs to be better. Look, I know that some people might look at this and say “Dude…the Steelers statistically had the top defense in the league in 2012…what are you complaining about??”. I get that. But one thing that no one seems to ever account for is the fact that the Steelers offense always ranks near the top in time of possession, which means that the defense is on the field less. I believe that helps to mask certain issues. Is it a bad defense?? Of course not. Are these cornerbacks that atrocious?? Not really. But if the opportunity arises to draft Dee Milliner from the national champion Alabama Crimson Tide, or sign a free agent like Leodis McKelvin or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie then I think it would behoove the suits in The ‘Burgh to do so.

 

 

 

2012 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 7

I’m feeling a little frisky this week, and you know what that means…bonus picks!! Last week I was a respectable 4-3, with Florida, South Carolina, New England, & New Orleans all pulling through for me. Stanford won but didn’t cover the spread, while Air Force and the Buffalo Bills just plain stunk up the joint and made me look like a fool. Ah well…c’est la vie. My overall record for the season stands at 17-27, and I don’t expect to make up that deficit in one fell swoop, although one can hope.

 

 

 

 

Louisville (-3)         at            Pitt

What has happened to the Pitt Panthers?? While my WV Mountaineers have moved on to The Big 12 and are enjoying a fine season & a Top 5 ranking, Pitt is languishing in mediocrity with a record of 2-3. Meanwhile Louisville, who I ranked 20th in my pre-season Top 25, cruises into this game 5-0. It is telling that the oddsmakers are giving the edge to the Cardinals despite the fact that they are playing in Pittsburgh. Heinz Field may be a big advantage on Sundays for the Steelers, but on Saturdays the good citizens of The Burgh couldn’t seem to possibly care less about the Panthers and find other things to do rather than attend a football game. I’d be very surprised to see an upset, although I suppose anything is possible. Louisville has done nothing to dissuade my belief in them and I think they win easily.

 

 

Texas                    vs.          Oklahoma (-3)

Ahhh…The Red River Shootout…one of the best rivalries in college football. The Longhorns are 4-1 but coming off of a disappointing loss to WVU. Oklahoma is 3-1, with the only blemish being a disappointing loss to Kansas St. This game takes place at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX, meaning it’s not really a home game for either team. It really is a neutral site, with both campuses being about 200 miles away. Both teams probably expected and certainly atleast hoped to be undefeated coming into this contest, but since that isn’t the case I guess the question is who has the momentum. And to me the other question is whether or not Texas will lose two weeks in a row. I watched the Texas/WV game, and it was a dogfight. Just because the Longhorns lost doesn’t mean they aren’t a very good team. I haven’t had the opportunity to watch the Sooners play this season, and I am sure they are extremely talented as well, but my vibes are saying that Texas will win an exciting & competitive game.

 

 

Kansas St. (-7)        at            Iowa St.

Kansas St. is one of the biggest surprises of the season thus far, as they are 5-0 and ranked in the Top 10. Meanwhile the Cyclones aren’t too shabby themselves, coming into this game 4-1. I don’t know enough about these teams to intelligently comment on the ins & outs or strengths & weaknesses of either. Like most of my fellow Mountaineer fans I am a novice when it comes to the intricacies of The Big 12 and just learning as I go along. I do recall that the Cyclones had a huge upset over Oklahoma State last year when the Cowboys were the #2 team in the nation. And I know that Wildcats’ head coach Bill Snyder has been around a long long…long time. I suppose it is possible that Kansas St. could be “looking ahead” to a Top 5 matchup next week in Morgantown against the Mountaineers, but that is precisely why I would love to see the Wildcats win this one. Iowa State’s 2011 defeat of Oklahoma St. actually works against them here because no one will take them lightly or overlook them. Therefore I must go with Kansas St. to win & cover here.

 

 

Stanford              at            Notre Dame (-8)

Stanford is 4-1 and coming off of a rather close call against Arizona. The Irish are sailing along at 5-0 and enjoying their best season in recent memory. Brian Kelly is an excellent coach and it seems like he finally has things figured out in South Bend, although the musical chairs being played between QBs Everett Golson & Tommy Rees is a cause for concern and I believe will eventually become an issue. The point spread gives me pause because I have a feeling this might be a pretty close game. However, I am going to bite the bullet and go with Notre Dame. I’ll probably regret it.

 

 

South Carolina           at            LSU (-2.5)

The Gamecocks opened up a can of whoopass on the Georgia Bulldogs last week en route to a 6-0 record and a Top 5 ranking. Conversely, the other shoe finally dropped for LSU when they lost to Florida, a loss quite a few people saw coming a mile away. These are simply two teams headed in opposite directions. However, circumstances might be conducive for an “upset” (even though LSU is favored). South Carolina could conceivably suffer the classic letdown after winning such a big game, and LSU might have finally gotten the wake-up call they needed. That’d be the conventional wisdom anyway. But you know what?? To heck with conventional wisdom. I picked South Carolina to win the SEC and I am sticking with that choice. I’ll go with Spurrier’s Gamecocks here. I hope I don’t regret this one too.

 

 

Indianapolis       at            NY Jets (-3)

All the talking heads can yap about this week is whether or not it is finally Tebow Time in New York. No one seems to care that rookie QB Andrew Luck led his team to a huge upset of the Green Bay Packers last week. Regardless of whether or not Rex Ryan pulls the plug on QB March Sanchez and gives Tebow a whirl, the fact is that the Jets are a mess. A big freakin’ 2-3 mess. Sure the Colts are only 2-2 themselves, but I suspect the mood in Indy is far more jovial than in The Big Apple. The Colts are of course dealing with the health issues of head coach Chuck Pagano that has necessitated offensive coordinator Bruce Arians becoming the interim coach, but such adversity tends to motivate & galvanize a team. A win here for Indianapolis would add to the early success of Luck, while a Jets loss might seal the fate of Sanchez. As much as I would love to see the former occur, I shudder at the consequences of the latter. I think Sanchez lives to fight another day, while the legend of Luck will take just a little longer to build. I hesitantly choose the Jets.

 

 

Detroit                                 at            Philadelphia (-5)

I honestly thought Detroit would atleast be in the playoff conversation this year. Instead they find themselves 1-3 and at the bottom of what has suddenly become quite a competitive division. The Eagles certainly haven’t been boring thus far, winning three games by a total of 4 points, and losing last week to my Steelers on a last second field goal. I haven’t watched a Lions game yet, but I know that their running game is a mess and someone else besides Calvin Johnson needs to become a pass receiving threat. I am not feeling an upset here and will pick Philly to win, this time by a comfortable enough margin to cover the spread.

 

 

Dallas                    at            Baltimore (-3.5)

The Ravens are 4-1 and as good as advertised, although I’m not sure what in the world happened last week in Kansas City when they won a 9-6 snoozefest against the Chiefs. Dallas is a 2-2 hot mess, what with QB Tony Romo’s penchant for choking in big games & throwing passes to the other team’s players. Having said that, I must confess that if this game were being held at the palatial Jerry Jones shrine in Irving, TX I might have to ponder the possibilities. However, the game just so happens to be taking place in Baltimore, so that makes things considerably easier. I think Baltimore wins & covers without breaking a sweat.

 

 

Green Bay           at            Houston (-3.5)

This is the Sunday night game on NBC. I told you that they get all the cool games now…Monday Night Football is so yesterday (somewhere Hank Williams Jr. has a big ol’ grin on his face). This would be a lot more intriguing if the Packers had held up their end of the bargain and come into the game undefeated like their opponents. Unfortunately for cheeseheads everywhere their team has looked pretty ordinary so far in compiling a shockingly subpar 2-3 record. It’d even be more interesting if the game was being played on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. However, the Texans are hosting this party and have looked pretty unstoppable thru 5 games. I think Green Bay will eventually get things figured out and still believe that they’ll win their division and go to the playoffs. However, I don’t think that breakthrough will come this week, and I am confident that Houston will win & cover.