Posted in Hot Take of the Week

NFL Overtime debate: Bills deserve loss, but we deserve a new format

By Chris Schisler 

NFL Overtime doesn’t need a change but it should change anyway

The Buffalo Bills lost a heartbreaking playoff game to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The game went into overtime. Patrick Mahomes got the ball first and took his team the distance. There was no opportunity for a Bills counterstrike, Josh Allen didn’t get the ball. Of course, this game was played by the rules, yet we can forgive the Bills Mafia if they believe the rules should be tinkered with.

It’s not necessarily unfair. Overtime technically works as it is. If you play defense and get a stop you’re actually at an advantage. After the stop you’ll get better field position and then you just need a field goal. The problem is when you get to a situation like the NFL had at the end of the divisional round, it doesn’t feel fair. Everyone watching knew the team that won the coin toss was winning the game. The coin flipped the Chiefs way and made Josh Allen’s and Gabriel Davis’s masterful performances a moot point.

College football overtime is a fun alternative. In this scenario, each team gets a possession at the 25-yard line, right outside of the red zone. Whoever is ahead at the end of the untimed period wins. If the teams match scores, we go into double overtime and so on and so on. This is an entirely different experience and nobody is leaving without touching the ball in overtime. It takes away the who question of “But what if the other team won the coin toss?”

Change already happened, now go all the way there: 

The league already changed the sudden death rules once, so it’s not like we have to abide by the rules that won the Baltimore Colts a championship when Alan Ameche scored the first sudden-death touchdown. Once they took a field goals power away on the first overtime possession, by not allowing it to decide the game, the NFL acknowledged an overtime dilemma. They chose a half measure.

Changing the rules to give both teams a guaranteed possession would have given us what we wanted, more of that incredible game. If the Bills had a chance to respond to the Chiefs touchdown, we wouldn’t be debating the all-mighty power of a coin flip. No football fan would have anything to bicker about, they’d get a satisfying process, even if it wasn’t the outcome they were pulling for.

The Bills tempted fate. They asked for this. Buffalo saw fire, touched fire, and learned it hurt. They asked for this when they gave up two Chiefs scores in less time than it takes to read this blog post. They had a lead with 13 seconds. Buffalo had a lead with 13 seconds and they lost. You can argue they lost fair and square. Letting the game get tied at all with 13 seconds is unforgivable.

The fact that this game shouldn’t have gone into overtime in the first place doesn’t mean it didn’t point out a problem. The team that wins the toss usually wins. If the idea is starting a brand new football game, why should either team get a huge advantage? The NFL official basically said that they were starting a new game. Getting the ball at the beginning of the game or after halftime is monumentally different than getting the ball to start overtime. 

The Bottom Line on NFL Overtime: 

Seeing what is essentially a shootout between Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes would have been the most compelling television in human history. You were already at the edge of your seat. The game was an instant classic, imagine what using the college overtime rules would have added to the enjoyment of the game. It would have been the most interesting moment in the history of the NFL playoffs. 

NEXT POST: Don Martindale out as Ravens defensive coordinator: Breaking it down

The NFL added a Monday night wild card game for entertainment purposes, not a football purpose. They already like this line of thinking. Overtime doesn’t need a change, however changing it could make it a better version of free football. In my personal opinion, there’s nothing more entertaining in sports than College Football overtime. The NFL should do this. They won’t, but they should.  




Posted in Ravens Thoughts

NFL Playoffs: 5 things we learned from Wild Card Round

By Chris Schisler

The NFL playoffs are underway and one round is in the books. What did we learn? How has the race for the Super Bowl started to take shape, and what do we know about some of the teams who didn’t do so hot this past weekend? Here are some answers, five lessons from the NFL Wild Card round.

1. The NFL playoff expansion hurts the quality of football:

There’s no way around the fact that the number two seed in both the AFC and NFC had a cakewalk of a game. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had it the easiest. They got a Philadelphia Eagles team that looked completely unprepared for the moment. The Buccaneers won 31-15 and the Eagles scored all 15 of their points in the fourth quarter. That may have been the worst playoff game I’ve ever seen. It was awful. The Kansas City Chiefs looked like they had a challenge. Then they turned on the jets and the Steelers were in trouble. Kansas City won 42-21.

The seventh seed led to two very pointless games. The Buffalo Bills also dominated the New England Patriots 47-17. The Los Angeles Rams made the new Monday night wild card game boring with a 34-11 win over the Arizona Cardinals. The playoffs are already where the contenders start to separate from the pack. Wild card blowouts aren’t actually that much of a rarity. Six teams per conference were enough. Seven teams per conference increase the chance of pretenders playing playoff games.

2. The Chiefs and Bills have a lot of firepower

The Chiefs looked like the Super Bowl contender that everybody feared them to be. Patrick Mahomes just went 30/39 for over 500 yards with five touchdown passes. Travis Kelce added a touchdown pass for good measure, I guess. Six Chiefs caught at least four passes. It was an onslaught and it was unstoppable. When the Chiefs are in a groove they are the most deadly offense in the NFL.

Speaking of in a groove, that’s what we got from Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. The Bills scored on every offensive possession except the one where Josh Allen took a knee at the end of the game. It wasn’t just the Allen to Steffan Diggs show. It was nine different Bills catching a pass. Also, it was Allen picking up 66 yards on the ground and Devin Singletary churning out over 5.1 yards per rushing attempt. When the Bills and Chiefs are on, they are very on.

These teams are set to take on each other in a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game. The amount of firepower these two teams have is going to make this must-see TV. It’s a good chance that the AFC representative for the Super Bowl is the winner of this battle.

3. The 49ers have a Jimmy Garappolo problem

If the San Francisco 49ers could get by without throwing the football, they probably would. While the Dallas Cowboys had no answers for Elijah Mitchell or Deebo Samuel, they didn’t let Jimmy Garappolo have a big day. Garappolo threw a costly interception that got the Cowboys back in striking distance. While he was efficient completing 16 out of 25 passes, he only mustered 172 yards. It’s almost surprising how little the 49ers ask Garappolo to do.

The 49ers have some big wins under their belt. Garappalo has been average and he’s had some games where his play reached a high level. The big question against the Green Bay Packers though, is whether or not Garappolo will keep this offense in the hunt against Aaron Rodgers and a good Packers team. This is the best Packers team since Rodgers won the Super Bowl over the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s hard to have confidence in the 49ers’ quarterback and that’s a problem.

4. NFL Wild Card game proves Raiders should be looking for a new head coach:

Rich Bisaccia may be the only interim head coach to lead a team to the playoffs, but he also had more talent than most interim head coaches have. The Raiders had Derek Carr, Darren Waller, Josh Jacobs, and a heck of a pass rush. That’s not a bare cupboard to bake dessert with. The fact of the matter is that the Raiders were a borderline playoff team. They got in, but it could have easily gone the other way. A playoff appearance isn’t a ticket to keeping the job.

The Raiders made it a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. They lost 26-19. but they looked completely out of sorts. The whole game was the Raiders playing catch-up and doing so in very uninspiring chunks at a time. The Raiders were penalized seven times. Most of this was undisciplined self-inflicted mistakes for the Raiders. Did Bisaccia take over for Jon Gruden and exceed expectations? He did, but how low were his expectations?

The Raiders are starting over. There’s no more Gruden. There’s no more Mayock, and keeping Bisaccia may make their fresh start a half-measure.

5. The Bengals are unfazed by the NFL postseason pressure

Give credit where credit is due. The Bengals handled the pressure of going for their first playoff win in 31 years beautifully. They embraced it and clearly saw it as an opportunity rather than something to worry about. Joe Burrow looked like he’s been in the playoffs before and it was his first trip to meaningful games in January.

Look, I’m still waiting for the shoe to drop. The defense has some issues and their inability to protect Joe Burrow in the pocket is worth bringing up. Larry Ogunjobi being out for the postseason hurts their defensive line and if Trey Hendrickson is out on Saturday it’s good news for the Tennessee Titans. Whether they’ve overachieved or not, this Bengals team is a confident one. They have a legitimate shot at going to the Super Bowl. If the shoe doesn’t drop and their carriage doesn’t turn into a pumpkin, the Bengals may be for real. The fact that beating the Raiders looked like another day at the office is a big sign for Zac Taylor’s team.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens coaching staff: 2021 exit assessment

Bring on the NFL Divisional Round. This should be fun.

Posted in Ravens Thoughts

NFL Wild Card Preview: Thoughts for Saturday Slate

By Chris Schisler

The NFL Wild Card round starts today and it’s time for a quick preview of the action. The Saturday slate starts with a battle in The Jungle, it’s the Las Vegas Raiders vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. The nightcap is the Buffalo Bills hosting the Patriots in a division rivalry playoff style. Here’s what I’m thinking going into these games.

Raiders vs. Bengals

This game feels a lot like the Ravens playoff game against the Titans in 2019. It’s a Bengals team that’s feeling itself after winning the division for the first time in a long time. It’s a sneaky good matchup for the Las Vegas Raiders. The Bengals rebuild comes on the backs of young players and their lack of playoff experience has to be noted. The pressure is on the Bengals and if the Raiders make this a game, Cincinnati may not be able to handle it.

The Bengals are the best team in this matchup. Joe Burrow and those three great receivers are the marquee players here. Remember the Ravens were objectively better than the Titans in 2019. In the playoffs, it doesn’t matter unless you’re the better team that day. The Bengals’ offensive line isn’t great. Burrow has been sacked 51 times this season. That’s the most sacks a quarterback has taken this year,

Ravens fans know firsthand how Maxx Crosby can ruin a game. Crosby has eight sacks and a favorable matchup against a team built to throw it a lot. Yannick Ngakoue had 10 sacks this season and the Raiders are generally known for their ability to get after the quarterback.

Because of the Raiders’ one matchup advantage here and the fact that the Bengals are brand new at this contender thing, give me the Raiders. I’m going with the upset.

Prediction: Raiders win 35-28

Patriots vs. Bills:

This one is tough. These teams know each other very well and the AFC East was decided by the slimmest of margins. The Patriots have a young quarterback, but they have all the things that help said young quarterback. They have a coach who is a game plan master. They have a running game that has three running backs averaging over four yards per attempt. New England also has great tight end play. If the Bills can’t stop the run it will be a problem.

This game goes down to two things. Can the New England Patriots win the battle at the line of scrimmage? Secondly, can Josh Allen play at a level where the Bills are going to win regardless? Allen has been hot and cold this season. If Allen throws for under 250 yards and this is a defensive battle, the balance goes to the Patriots. If Allen plays his best, the Patriots aren’t stopping the Bills and their receiving weapons. The Bills have more firepower and they know it. They want to be aggressive in this game and get out to a fast start.

In the first game between these teams, the weather had a huge factor and the Patriots were able to just run the ball and get the win. Tonight will be brutally cold at Orchard Park, but for Buffalo standards, the wind is pretty mild. Both teams are used to playing in the cold so it’s hard to see this playing too much of a factor. In the end, I’ll go with Josh Allen over Mac Jones. Give me the Bills in this one.

Prediction: Bills win 28-24

NEXT POST: Ravens NFL Draft spotlight: Evan Neal OT, Alabama

The Purple and Black Nest aren’t getting a break just because the Ravens are out of the mix. There is plenty of offseason talk to go over with you. At the end of the day, this is a football site and the playoffs are in our jurisdiction. Playoffs, NFL Draft season, you name it and we’re on it.

Posted in Ravens Thoughts

Baltimore Ravens: Top 3 offseason needs ranked

By Chris Schisler

Technically, the Baltimore Ravens season isn’t over. If you can’t start looking to the offseason and turn a bit to free agency and the NFL Draft though, you’re not living in reality. The Ravens are in a better situation than many teams faced with a likely elimination from a postseason berth. They have their quarterback (stay off the dark corners of Ravens Facebook – they have their quarterback and he wears number eight). The Ravens have their head coach and are looking at a 2022 season where they’ll get back key pieces to the puzzle.

The Ravens are going to miss the playoffs in all likelihood though, so let’s get ready. The first step for any problem solving is admitting you have a problem. What are the Ravens’ team-building problems? Let’s talk about where they need to get better.

1. The Baltimore Ravens need the offensive line fixed

One could say that the secondary is the biggest area of need. It’s a close second. But when the ravens get Marcus Peters back (assuming he returns next season), and Marlon Humphrey is back, a lot of the secondary problems will go away or at least be severely muted. There is no quick fix to the offensive line. The return of Ronnie Stanley will be a great boost, but the unit isn’t set the second he returns.

In the 2020 season, the Ravens were plagued by that awful combination that is Tyre Phillips and D.J. Fluker. In 2021, the offensive tackle was a mess for the Ravens. Alejandro Villanueva made it pretty clear that he’s only comfortable on the left side and he’s not a great left tackle. Villanueva was somewhat solid and on the offensive line’s most important position group that will never fly for long.

The real problem was on the right side though. Patrick Mekari did admirably in fill-in duty but he’s not who you want starting at tackle. Mekari will be back, rightfully so after signing a nice extension with the team. Ideally, he’s your most valuable fill-in who can play every offensive line position.

When Mekari wasn’t at right tackle it was ugly. One goal of the offseason has to be never seeing Tyre Phillips play right tackle again. The Ravens can’t go into next season with Phillips even a plan B at right tackle. The Ravens would be wise to load up on tackles. Maybe Villanueva stays as a backup to Stanley- there are worse situations in the world – but the Ravens need to address this position. From the NFL Draft or maybe even free agency, they need a starting right tackle and a plan B, that doesn’t make Ravens fans cover their eyes.

The Ravens have Stanley, Bradley Bozeman, and Kevin Zeitler. That’s what works for the starting offensive line for next season as of now. Adding two starters and filling out the depth chart for the big guys up front is essential. The Ravens have to win the line of scrimmage before they can worry about anything else. It’s that simple.

2. The Secondary

What the Baltimore Ravens need more than anything is a free safety. The Ravens need a defensive back who can play the middle of the field, who has the range to take away big plays and make some in the process. Think about how different this defense would be with a player like Ed Reed. Then find a player who gives you the closest possible match to that. You’ll never find another Reed but the idea is getting a ballhawk, with range and football instincts you can’t coach. A play-making free safety who takes the ball away would make Don Martindale a more dangerous defensive coordinator.

If this season taught us anything it’s that you can never have enough cornerbacks. Anthony Averett is a free agent and I could see him getting paid elsewhere more than the Ravens should pay him. The Ravens have to add a bit to the cornerback position. Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Tavon Young, and Brandon Stephens make a nice start. You need to draft a guy who can chip in right away and has a chance to develop. You could make an argument that the Ravens should go with a defensive back in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, but with many picks, they need to address the secondary with a couple of players.

3. Defensive Line/ Pass Rushers:

The Ravens added a piece to the puzzle with Odafe Oweh in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Ravens need to add another young edge rusher to the mix. They need to find a complementary talent that will grow up with Oweh in this defense. You always need pass rushers. You always need more pass rushers. We already know that. With Justin Houston being a free agent, an edge rusher could be a bigger need.

Let’s look at this defensive line though. Calais Campbell may call it quits after this season, and if he does continue his career he’s a free agent. Brandon Williams is getting up there and even if he’s solid we’re seeing diminishing returns. Justin Madubuike’s okay but he didn’t have the year two breakout we were looking for. The defensive line is not a high-impact group right now. The Ravens may have needs in front of this one, but they have to fix that.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens fall to Rams: Good, bad, ugly



Posted in Ravens Thoughts

The Aaron Rodgers situation: And why the NFL has to do something

By Chris Schisler

Aaron Rodgers won’t be playing this week for the Green Bay Packers because he tested positive for Covid-19. That’s not the story though. The story is that an unvaccinated player that we collectively assumed was vaccinated, who hasn’t followed rules regarding masks in press conferences and talking to the media, has been facetious about his vaccine status up to this point.

The NFL gave players a choice, the vaccine was never mandated and the players union made sure of it. The good news is that Rodgers, has been considered unvaccinated all year long, so he’s been tested as an unvaccinated player and his quarantine will follow the guidelines. The bad news is that either the NFL and/or the Green Bay Packers decided to look the other way while Rodgers was disregarding rules towards masks.

Aaron Rodgers lacks the respect for others he seeks for himself

The dishonesty is the worst part of this. Rodgers has been interacting with members of his team, his organization and, the media. He misled people intentionally. The Packers quarterback got away with playing by his own rules and he kept going like nothing ever happened. The fact that it took a positive test for all of this to come to light halfway through the season, is the big problem. The coverup is always worse than the crime and this creates a trust problem for the NFL.

Rodgers has demanded respect from the media yet he hasn’t been straightforward with them. He’s been at a higher risk of carrying and spreading Covid-19 and he hasn’t been wearing masks. Forget about being selfish in regards to his team (Which is a whole different issue) he’s asking for respect from the media that he’s not willing to give back on his end. Respect is a two-way street.

Here is a link to the interview Rodgers gave today on the Pat McAfee show:

The one thing that is clear as day is that Aaron Rodgers cares only about Aaron Rodgers. He had a storm of an offseason and now he’s bringing a cloud over an otherwise amazing season for the Packers. Rodgers has done nothing to get the benefit of the doubt.

The NFL can’t ignore this:

The NFL can go about this one of two ways. They can make Rodgers follow the rules going forward and try to move on in the quietest possible way or they can take action. The Green Bay Packers should be fined. Rodgers being suspended for a game or two after his quarantine is unlikely but not necessarily uncalled for.

The NFL has to own up to the fact that a double standard has been created. What the NFL needs to be concerned about is setting a precedent and establishing trust with the media, the teams, and their fans.

The real harm is that Rodgers is spreading misinformation. Rodgers is peddling anti-vaxxer rhetoric and was given a hall pass from these conversations all season. Now he thinks he has the NFL in a corner. The NFL has to show Rodgers that this is not the case. Mina Kimes of ESPN put it better than I’ve heard it from anyone, Here’s the link to that video clip.

Kimes called a spade a spade. Rodgers is pushing information that has been debunked by the medical community. She was right to say that. Rodgers has the potential to do more harm by being a champion of bad ideas. This isn’t a contained problem even if he has to follow the rules going forward.

The Bottom Line:

This isn’t about football at this point. Like Mina Kimes says there is a human element of this and Rodgers doesn’t seem to care. Rodgers asked for an alternative to vaccination. The NFL didn’t bite. The NFL knew about this the whole time. They can’t save face but they can course correct. Hold Rodgers accountable. Hold the Green Bay Packers accountable.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens vs. Minnesota Vikings: 4 predictions and a score

The NFL has to do something. Forget the Packers’ next game against the Chiefs. This has become a much bigger problem than the Packers not having their quarterback for a game or two. This is a bad look for Rodgers and it calls a lot into question at the NFL.

Posted in Ravens Thoughts

NFL Week 7: Picking each game on the slate this weekend

By Chris Schisler

Here is a pick for each NFL game of the season. Winners are in purple.

NFL Week 7 starts tonight (Thursday)

Broncos @ Browns

With the uncertainty around Baker Mayfield’s non-throwing shoulder injury, I’ll go with the Denver Broncos here. The Browns don’t look right. They lost badly to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Cleveland’s defense isn’t winning much trust right now and that makes the Browns an enigma. Are they paper giants pretenders? The Broncos may not be that good of a team, but they’re all of a sudden quite desperate after their 3-0 start. Give me Denver here, while the Browns try just to get their ducks in a row.

NFL Sunday:

Chiefs @ Titans

The Chiefs probably are going to see a lot of people pick the Titans. The Titans just played an incredible game against the Bills. So what? Do you really see the Titans defense (one which has been a liability all year) stopping Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes in back-to-back weeks? I don’t see it.

Washington @ Packers

This one is simple. Washington has seen their secondary torn apart all season. Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback for Green Bay. This is a big game for Green Bay. It’s got that written all over it.

Bengals @ Ravens

Earlier today I released my prediction for this game. I see the Ravens taking full grasp of every bit of AFC North power they can get. This is not only a game the Ravens should win (against an admittedly improved Bengals team) but a huge opportunity to stay way ahead of the rest of their division. Lamar Jackson won’t let the Ravens lose this game.

Panthers @ Giants

The Panthers are the better team here. They just have more talent. They have been competitive all season long. The Giants are 1-5. Daniel Jones isn’t working. Joe Judge isn’t working. The Giants aren’t working. The Giants just don’t have enough going for them to beat middle-of-the-pack teams like the Panthers- unless Carolina gives it to them.

Falcons @ Dolphins

Oh gosh, this matchup is ugly. I think the Falcons have more than enough offensive firepower to win this one. Kyle Pitts has gotten going. Statistically, Matt Ryan isn’t having a bad season by any standards. The Dolphins are having a nightmare of a season and losing to the Falcons constitutes a continuation of the nightmare.

Jets @ Patriots 

I have good news for the Jets. They have the same number of losses as the Patriots do, that usually is only true before week 1. The bad news for the Jets is that the Patriots already beat them and New England has lost in some very good games. Neither team is that good this season. Let’s not act like the Patriots’ level of bad is as bad as the Jets’ level of bad.

Eagles @ Raiders

Jon Gruden resigning didn’t have much of an impact on the game last week. The Raiders rolled over the Broncos for a win. The Raiders had a bit of a skid, but they’ve otherwise been red hot. Give me Vegas to just win baby!

Lions @ Rams 

Nope. Nope. Nah… you don’t need analysis here. The Lions aren’t stealing a win in Los Angeles. If they do they may deserve a parade though.

Bears @ Buccaneers

Tom Brady is on fire. The Buccaneers are 5-1 while the Bears are 3-3. One of these teams is a Super Bowl contender with an offense that can do damage and a defense that can win it on their own if need be. The other team is a middle-of-the-pack team. Bucs roll.

Texans @ Cardinals 

The Cardinals are due for a bad day, but they have way more talent than the Texans. Kyler Murray is going to unload on the Texans’ defense.

Colts @ 49ers

The Colts are a team that is better than their record. I think the Colts are starting to figure out who they are as a team. Do I think they’re Super Bowl contenders? No. I could see them making some noise in the AFC South though.

NFL Week 7 ends on Monday Night Football:

Saints @ Seahawks

The Seahawks looked kind of iffy without Russell Wilson. The Saints are capable of playing good football- you just never know if they will. With that in mind, I’ll call this a coin flip of a game. Heads is the call in the air… it goes to the Saints.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals: 4 predictions and a score

There you go. A pick for each game. Let’s do this thing… NFL Week 7!

Posted in Picks for each NFL game

NFL Week 6 picks: Quick takes on each game this Sunday

By Chris Schisler

NFL Picks are here. It’s been an interesting week and this post is usually up on Thursday. My bad guys. I’m not leaving you hanging though so here is your Sunday morning quick takes on each matchup today. For the record, I tweeted out that the Buccaneers would win over the Eagles so I’m 1-0. Fun fact, I haven’t gotten a Thursday Night Football game wrong all year. Winners will be highlighted in purple:

NFL Week 6:

Dolphins @ Jaguars

I’m just going, to be honest, I probably won’t pick the Jacksonville Jaguars once this season. First of all, they’re not good enough. Secondly, Urban Meyer is a bad NFL coach and I love to see the man get knocked down a peg after years of getting away with being a jerk. If the Jags are going to win a game this might be it. With Tua Taglovailoa back I’ll go with the Dolphins.

Vikings @ Panthers

The Vikings are a hard team to get pegged down. They really are. They got a last-second win against Detroit, almost Baltimore Ravens style.  The Vikings were close against the Browns and took the Bengals to overtime. I think they’re a scrappy team and when their offense gets going they work as a team. Give me the Vikings.

Chargers @ Ravens 

I’ve already made my official pick for this game. I got the Ravens 31-28 so sue me. Look, this is a team that just finds a way. If we’ve learned one thing about the Ravens this season it’s that. I think Herbert comes down to earth a little bit and Lamar Jackson walks away even more obviously the MVP of the NFL. This will be tough but give me Baltimore.

Rams @ Giants

The Giants are awful. I’m sorry, they’re not good. They beat the Saints and have lost against Washington, Denver, and Atlanta. I’ll give them a pass against the Cowboys because that is some real competition. They got smoked. The point is they lose to bad teams and the Rams aren’t a bad team.

Texans @ Colts 

The Colts are 1-4 after the shocking comeback for the ages that happened last week. Frank Reich is a great coach so his team is going to come out angry and not wounded. Give me the Colts big. Davis Mills is coming back down to earth today.

Chiefs @ Washington

The Chiefs have already played this game. What happened against the Eagles is just going to happen again. An NFC East team is going to make it interesting because the Chiefs’ defense is bad enough to keep up for a while. Then Kansas City turns on the turbo and it’s over. Chiefs win. Play the over.

Packers @ Bears

The Packers haven’t lost since week 1. Aaron Rodgers is feeling it but the Packers defense has started doing its thing as well. The Packers held the Bengals to 22 points. They held the Steelers and the Lions under 20. Rodgers will be the headline. The defense will be the underrated story.

Bengals @ Lions

I want the Lions to win this game so bad. Dan Campbell almost got me choked up last week and I could care less about the Lions. Guys, it’s not happening. The Lions have a good work ethic and a lack of talent in key areas.

Cardinals @ Browns

The Cardinals are the best team in the NFL. That sentence seems wrong. I think it may be true though, so I’ll go with it. Kyler Murray has been spoiled with weapons. The defense of Arizona is much better this season. Cleveland is good. I just don’t trust Baker Mayfield in a shootout.

Cowboys @ Patriots

Dak Prescott is on fire. Trevon Diggs has the defensive player of the year award in the bag… right? Cowboys roll. I could see this being a blowout.

Raiders @ Broncos 

Jon Gruden is out. The Raiders may be good enough to win this game but let’s not pretend this is a weird week for them. Give me the Broncos… not confidently.

Seahawks @ Steelers 

The Steelers are lucky. With Russell Wilson, the Seahawks would win. Without him, let the least ugly offense prevail. The Steelers defense at home in a primetime game against Geno Stone isn’t fair. The Steelers are not getting much better but their record will improve anyway.

Bills @ Titans

The Titans have to play a perfect game to win this. Their defense can’t stop the Bills. One slip and it’s over before it gets going. The Bills firepower will win this game. Hopefully, for my friend Zach (a Titan’s fan) that perfect game exists. The NFL would love to see a thriller here, I’m just not sure it’s possible.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens: Three Big Questions Versus the Chargers

It’s NFL Sunday. Let’s have some fun.

Posted in Picks for each NFL game

NFL Week 5: Predictions for every game of the weekend

By Chris Schisler

It’s Thursday afternoon and that means it’s time to make my picks for the NFL week. Last week I got 10 games right giving me a total record of 39-25. Going into the fifth week of the season I feel confident that I can at least maintain this rate of picking winners. Each game will get a nugget of analysis. The winners will be highlighted in purple:


Rams @ Seahawks

I haven’t gotten a game wrong on Thursday night all season. I’m bound to have that streak broken eventually and this game could go either way. Despite the Seahawks being at home, I have the Rams in this one. Russell Wilson will have to do too much in this one and Seattle’s offensive line will struggle against the Rams front. Look for a big game from Aaron Donald in this one.

Jets @ Falcons

The Jets beat the Titans last week. Are they a good team? Not really, but things are moving in the right direction. Corey Davis was a great free agent signing for New York and Zack Wilson has had just enough ups to go with his downs as a rookie quarterback for the Jets to have some hope. By the way, the Falcons have never met a lead they couldn’t lose.

Patriots @ Texans

The Patriots are a good football team. We learned that when they went toe to toe with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. The Patriots have a step or two to get back to being a contender, but they should wipe the floor with the Texans. Davis Mills is bad and we all saw this coming.

Lions @ Vikings 

The Lions gave the Ravens a fight, but it was in a game where the Ravens hurt themselves. The Lions have given me no reason to pick them in a game this season. Even in a close game, they’ll find a way to lose. The Vikings just gave the Browns a scare and went to overtime with the Bengals. Give me Kirk Cousins to go off against a very vulnerable secondary.

Eagles @ Panthers 

I want to pick the Eagles so badly here. They’re a fun team because I love me some Jalen Hurts and Devonta Smith is an exciting rookie. The Panthers have been playing good football overall. The Eagles still haven’t shown me who they are. Give me the Panthers’ defense to come up in this game, with enough from Sam Darnold to get the win.

Saints @ Washington Football Team

I don’t want to pick this game. The Washington defense has been awful. The Saints have been completely inconsistent. Don’t make me pick it. Fine, I’ll go with the home team. This is a game I would stay away from coming from a betting perspective. You never know if you’re getting the Saints team that beat the Packers and Patriots into the ground or the team that lost to the Giants and the Panthers.

Titans @ Jaguars

The Tennessee Titans have issues. They just lost to the Jets, in overtime… yeah things aren’t good. Still, the Jaguars are a mess. Urban Meyer is looking like he’s as much of a bad NFL coach as he is a first-class creep. Tennessee should put up too many points for Jacksonville to keep up with. Distracted or not, the Jaguars are a bad team. I have no problem publishing the fact that I have no respect for Urban Meyer.

Dolphins @ Buccaneers 

The battle of Florida goes to the defending Super Bowl champions. The Buccaneers defense should get this one for Tampa Bay. Tom Brady just needs to be a game manager to win this one. The Dolphins have only looked compelling for one game this season and are rightfully without a win.

Packers @ Bengals

This is going to be a good game. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are feeling it and the Bengals actually became a decent team. Joe Burrow may make this a barnburner. In the end, it’s hard to go against Rodgers.

Broncos @ Steelers

If Teddy Bridgewater returns to the starting quarterback position, the Broncos should put up enough points to win this game. The Steelers’ offense has been awful this season. Denver needs to put up 24. That should do it. It’s in Pittsburgh and the Broncos offensive line is going to have a tough day. This isn’t a stone-cold lock, but this Steelers team just isn’t it this year.

Bears @ Raiders 

The Raiders woke up too late in the second half of their second Monday Night Football appearance. I want to see this game. Justin Fields has my attention as the Bears starting quarterback. I think the Raiders’ offense bounces back and the Bears won’t be able to protect their rookie quarterback enough to keep up on the scoreboard.

Browns @ Chargers

This is a good game. The Chargers are undefeated and at home, hosting a Browns team that has to go out to the west coast after a tough week 4 game. The Chargers’ offense is the talk of the NFL, but their defense is the reason they’re winning this game.

Giants @ Cowboys 

I never really feel comfortable saying this, but the Cowboys may be a good team. The defense is so much better than it was a year ago it’s not funny. The offense is capable of putting up points in a hurry. The Giants beat the Saints on the road. I’m not buying into Daniel Jones getting two straight road wins though, give me Dallas.

49ers @ Cardinals 

The Cardinals are awesome this year. Kyler Murray is playing at an MVP level, the defense is getting the job done and this team has talent on top of talent. The 49ers have proven to be a tough out but the Cardinals have more going for them here.

Bills @ Chiefs 

The Ravens flipped the script on the Chiefs and Kansas City has problems on defense. I could see this as a big win for the Bills, yet until I see the script flipped for Buffalo, Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid own this matchup.

Your Baltimore Ravens close out NFL Week 5:

Colts @ Ravens

The Ravens don’t have their toughest opponent of the year here. The only way this game is interesting is if the Ravens make it harder than it has to be. This is a game where the Ravens have to move forward and show their most convincing and complete performance of the year. The Colts don’t have an answer for Lamar Jackson and the Colts offense won’t keep up in front of a primetime Baltimore crowd, with Don Martindale calling the shots.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens tied the record, Denver Broncos need to get over it

There you have it. A pick from every game on the NFL slate this weekend.

Posted in Picks for each NFL game

NFL Week 4: Predictions for every NFL game

By Chris Schisler

Welcome to week 4 in the NFL! It’s Thursday and that means it’s time for my NFL picks for the week. So far my record is 30-19. I’m giving you a little over 60 percent winners. As I start to feel this season out even more I’m hoping to get that number up. So we’re not doing bad, let’s see how good we can get this. Winners will be highlighted in purple.


Jaguars @ Bengals

The Bengals just beat the Steelers and they’re feeling it. The Bengals have gotten to the point where they can be trusted to win against bad teams. Give me the Bengals here. I don’t think they’re quite a contender yet, but Joe Burrow and company don’t need to find that out just yet. The Bengals strike me as a middle-of-the-road team with the arrow pointing up. The Jaguars strike me as a run-of-the-mill bad team.

Titans @ Jets

I can’t trust the Jets here. The Titans have picked it up in the last two weeks after a clunker to start the season. Give me a whole lot of Derrick Henry, and Ryan Tannehill playing well enough to get past a struggling Zack Wilson and the Jets.

Lions @ Bears 

This is a tough game to predict. The Lions showed the Ravens that they were tougher than they were expected to be. The Lions also seem like a team that will find a way to lose no matter what. Give me Justin Fields having his first big day as an NFL quarterback. Give me the Bears but I don’t feel overly confident in either team.

Colts @ Dolphins

The Colts are not a good team. The Dolphins just took a very good Las Vegas Raiders team to the brink in an overtime game. I’m going with the Dolphins. I trust the Colts about as much as I trust the franchise owner of the Colts.

Browns @ Vikings

The Browns are a better team here. They just walloped the Bears. There is no reason to think the Browns won’t do the same thing to the Vikings. This looks like a big day for Nick Chubb and the Browns run game. The Vikings may put up some points but they aren’t going to win this duel.

Washington Football Team @ Falcons

It’s the Falcons. The Falcons made the Philadelphia Eagles look like world-beaters. The Buccaneers had no challenge with them. The Giants lost to the Falcons, but it’s not like the Giants are any good. Picking the Falcons seems like a bad idea. I have less confidence in Washington than I did at the start of the season yet I can’t pick the Falcons under almost any circumstances.

Texans @ Bills

I’ll give the Texans credit. They have played better football than I thought they would. David Culley may have a chance as a head coach in this league. The Texans still aren’t good. Davis Mills isn’t outdoing Josh Allen. The Bills win big at home.

Giants @ Saints

If the Saints lose this game, I really can’t figure them out. The Saints have looked too good this season to lose this game. Give me a big day for Jameis Winston and Alvin Kamara. Give me a bad day for Daniel Jones and the Giants.

Chiefs @ Eagles

In the dictionary, under “Get-Right-Game” there is a picture of this matchup. The Chiefs aren’t going to fall three weeks in a row and lose to Andy Reid’s old team. The Eagles just let up 41 points to the Dallas Cowboys. Patrick Mahomes has at least 35 points for the Chiefs this week and the Eagles won’t keep up.

Panthers @ Cowboys 

Speaking of the Cowboys, they know exactly who they are. They’re rolling on offense and Dak Prescott is playing at an MVP level. Give me the Cowboys, especially considering Christian McCaffery is out for the Panthers.

Seahawks @ 49ers 

I keep rolling with the Seahawks and they keep proving to me that they’re not a complete team. The 49ers were impressive against the Packers they just left 30 seconds for Aaron Rodgers. Give me the 49ers. The 49ers’ offense can stay on the field and limit Russell Wilson’s chances. They just lost a duel with a Pro Bowl quarterback, but they’ll win this one.

Cardinals @ Rams

Don’t kill me if this one is wrong, because it could easily go either way. The Rams are probably the better overall team and this is a “Show Me’ game for Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford. It’s a shame that it’s not the Sunday Night Football game. This for the record is objectively better television than the Sunday Night Game.

Steelers @ Packers 

The Steelers can’t put up enough points to win this game. It’s just not a very high possibility. The Packers’ offense should put up too many points. Anything Joe Burrow can do, Rodgers can do better. Give me the Packers to get a delicious victory.

Ravens @ Broncos

Oddly, I’m feeling more confident about the Ravens than I was before the Lions game. The team is getting healthier. The Ravens are a scrappy team that finds a way, let’s be honest this feels like vintage Ravens football. The Ravens’ offense will have a bounce-back game, Marquise Brown included. I think it takes 24 points to win this game and the Ravens should get there first.

The NFL presents Sunday and Monday night football:

Buccaneers @ Patriots

I have a prediction for you, Cris Collinsworth will lay on the “Brady Returns” thing on so thick, you’ll forget that there is a football game. It’s going to be obnoxious, there’s no way it can’t be that way. The Buccaneers will win convincingly so they may not have much else to talk about in the fourth quarter.

Raiders @ Chargers

The Raiders are a more complete team than the Chargers. Do I expect this to be a great game? Absolutely. It’s worth ruining your Tuesday morning. I have the Raiders winning on the road in a game that will feel more like a home game for them.

NEXT POST: Lamar Jackson: Looking at his crazy start to the 2021 season

There you go. My NFL picks are now locked and official. As always take them for whatever you think they are worth and have fun!

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NFL Kickoff preview: Breaking down Cowboys vs. Buccaneers

By Chris Schisler

The NFL Kickoff is here! It’s here! We made it. The sun now has my permission to come up each morning, my neighbor’s rooster even has permission to “ca-caw” today. Everything is a little bit better because the NFL is back. Let’s break down the game we’re all about to see. Do we usually just stick to Baltimore Ravens football? Yes. But, you’re watching tonight so I’m talking about the game.

Bucs Defense could write the story of NFL Kickoff

This game is going to boil down to the defensive side of the football. The Buccaneers won the Super Bowl after Tom Brady came in and legitimized their operation. Still, the best part of the Buccaneers is the defense.

The athleticism that the Tampa Bay defense is off the charts, especially at the second level of the defense. Devin White and Lavonte David can cover a lot of ground and help against the run and in pass defense. Shaq Barrett is one of the best pass rushers in the game of football. With a good secondary behind them, this defense is the calling card of the team that gets less attention than the quarterback who wears 12.

The big key for the Buccaneers is to keep everything in front of them. Without Dak Prescott the Dallas Cowboys were a sad puppy fighting wolves. Prescott is back and the Cowboys have some teeth to show again. Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup make a nice trio at the wide receiver positions, while Ezekiel Elliott is still a dangerous running back.

You know what the Cowboys want to do. They want to push the ball deep down the field. Prescott, not Elliott, has become the main ingredient in the Cowboys’ attack. The game plan for the Buccaneers is going to be incredibly similar to their game plan in the Super Bowl against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. While Prescott isn’t exactly Patrick Mahomes, he’s still arguably a top 10 passer in the NFL.

If the Buccaneers can keep things in front of them while generating pressure without sending too many extra blitzing linebackers, Dallas is going to be bottled up. That athleticism I talked about at the second level of the defense is going to be such a huge key in this battle. The linebackers ability to cover is going to be a core component of the game if Tampa Bay wins this thing.

How the Cowboys should attack Tampa Bay:

If I was Mike Mccarthy here’s what I would do with my Cowboys’ offense. I would try to give Tampa a heavy dose of Ezekiel Elliott. Going to a more run-oriented attack is running into the strength of the Buccaneers linebacker corps, but it’s not like the middle of the field can be off-limits for the whole offense.

Sticking to the ground game will allow the Cowboys to keep some of the pressure off Prescott in his first game back from a brutal injury last season. The Buccaneers have no interest in allowing big plays down the field – big plays down the field are going to be the lifeblood of the Cowboys’ offense – so play-action needs to be set up. The Cowboys need to trap the Buccaneers into being over-aggressive in the tackle box. That’s when Prescott can attack.

That’s when the Cowboys can get the real payoff there. It’s not about Elliott and Tony Pollard racking up 100 or more yards on the ground. It’s about sneaking a couple of shots past a defense that doesn’t give many up. If the Cowboys do run for over 100 yards, this will be a damn competitive game.

I said the whole thing boils down to defense. I meant that. The reason I have focused on the Buccaneers’ defense is that they have my trust. I know what to expect from Tampa Bay on defense. The Cowboys have to earn my trust on the defensive part of the equation. There’s no getting around the fact that the Cowboys’ defense has been absolutely terrible, and terrible for a while.

The NFL Kickoff bottom line:

I could see this game being a shootout or a close struggle in which both teams have some kinks to work out. Either way, I trust the Buccaneers’ defense to get enough stops, to get at least one more stop than  Dallas will. Probably several more stops. The Cowboys gave up 29.6 points per game last season. If the Buccaneers score just 24 in this game,

NEXT POST: Picks for each NFL game on the week 1 slate

I think they’ll have enough. Last year, the Buccaneers averaged 30.3 points per game. I wasn’t ignoring the Buccaneers’ offense in this post. I just think we can expect the Buccaneers’ offense to have the best of the matchup against the Cowboys defense. The Buccaneers can win in multiple ways, the Cowboys just need their offense to do too much of the heavy lifting to expect a Dallas win. Happy NFL Kickoff guys and gals.