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Archive for the tag “Cincinnati Bengals”

Hue Jackson Takes Over In Cleveland

(photo courtesy of the Associated Press)

(photo courtesy of the Associated Press)

Hue Jackson had a bevy of options to become a head coach this offseason. As soon as the Cincinnati Bengals’ season was over, the interviews started. Up first was the San Francisco 49ers and next were the Cleveland Browns. The Giants were trying to get in on him too as he was one of the hottest commodities out there to be a head coach. But the choice began to get clearer when the second interview was set for Hue with the Cleveland Browns. The Giants, although they tried hard, were not even granted an interview with Jackson in favor of him taking the second interview with Cleveland. And in that second interview, it was apparent that he was the guy they wanted. Hue, for his part, could have played the game a little more and waited to give an answer to all that were interested. But Jackson heard some things he wanted to hear in the meeting with the Browns. And now Jackson will get the opportunity to pick up where he left off in terms of being a head coach.

The biggest thing that Cleveland needs is players. The team has had draft pick after draft pick not produce for them. The most recent ones have been picked by former Browns GM Ray Farmer. Needless to say, the Browns have not had much luck developing draft picks. With Jackson, he may not develop them as much, but he will be the guy that has some power over who gets picked up in the draft. Jackson is rumored to have taken this job because of the power over personnel. And with that caveat in addition to being the head coach, it would have been hard for Jackson to refuse. The 49ers or Giants clubs would not even come near giving personnel power to any new head coach. There are some that dislike this deal because it gives a head coach more to worry about: general management. But the difference between Jackson and a guy like Chip Kelly (who was given personnel control in his second season) is that Hue has been in the NFL as a coach while Chip was a college coach trying to adjust. In Cleveland, he essentially will be allowed to make the decisions necessary personnel-wise. And if he is successful at doing so, then he will end up bring back Cleveland in football.

One of the first personnel decisions Jackson will have to make is on his quarterback position. Quarterback Johnny Manziel was drafted two years ago along with CB Justin Gilbert. The belief there in Cleveland is that Manziel would end up being the starting quarterback for this team. Well, things have not worked out that well when it comes to Johnny. The youngster has been on television for all things but playing quarterback. One of the conditions that helped Hue Jackson agree to being the head coach in Cleveland was to move on from Johnny Manziel. He has had enough of him after viewing him from afar and the time has come to turn the page. Hue could go one of three ways to get a quarterback. He could go get a quarterback with the 2nd pick in the NFL Draft (presumed to be California quarterback Jared Goff). Hue could also let Josh McCown come back healthy so he could back up the rookie. Another option is trading for a young quarterback in a backup situation, like Zach Mettenberger for example. Either situation would probably give them some sense of being steady at a position of need.

Another big task for Hue is the defense. The draft picks over the last five years have not been as great as they thought. Names like outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo and cornerback Justin Gilbert have not lived up to the expectations from where they were picked. And the only defender that many worry about is cornerback Joe Haden. This defense has no identity and needs retooling in the worst way. Hue’s forte is not defense, but he has to hire an intuitive mind to work with what he has and make it work. If he is able to make the right hire, then the picks and free agents will fall into play, often as if they are done effortlessly. Free agency and trades can help the Browns rebuild. But the main thing is to set the base from within. That means making the correct personnel calls in terms of Cleveland so that they can mimic his former employer: the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals have thrived over the last few years due to their strong drafts. An if Hue can do some of the same things, then the sky is the limit

The Cleveland Browns got one of the best head coaching candidates out there in Hue Jackson. No one thought this would happen but it did. And now we have a team fighting for relevance and getting that elusive head coach that many wanted but could not have. We shall see if this move makes the Browns better or worse.

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The Hue Jackson Watch Is On

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The coaching carousel has a new star and his name is Hue Jackson. It was thought that he would be the coach for the Raiders for a while, but he seemed to not make many friends in the organization after being promoted to head coach from offensive coordinator in 2011. He was promptly fired after his one season as coach and brought to the Bengals coaching staff by head coach Marvin Lewis. And although he was ironically brought on to coach defensive backs, he eventually made his way back to offense. In 2014 when offensive coordinator Jay Gruden left to become the head coach of the Washington Redskins, the one-time Raiders offensive coordinator and head coach got his shot to make a name for himself again on the coaching circuit. And he did not disappoint. Since Jackson has taken over the offense, the Bengals have been very good. In 2014, the team finished ranked 15th in scoring and total yards per game. But in 2015, Jackson took them to the next level. The Bengals were still 15th in total yards per game, but they were 7th in scoring this year, becoming one of nine teams to score over 400 points this season. The growth in the offense was incredible, as tight end Tyler Eifert was one of the best pass-catching tight ends in the NFL and wide receiver Marvin Jones was steady on the opposite side of superstar wide receiver AJ Green. But by far the biggest difference in Cincinnati this year was the growth of Andy Dalton. He fell two short of tying his career-high in touchdown passes with 25, but he threw a career-low seven interceptions and had his highest completion percentage of his career. A lot of that growth can be attached to Jackson and his tutelage. And because of that, he is a hot commodity on the coaching market. Currently, he is coveted by the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants. And even though the Giants are in the mix, it is believed to be down to the 49ers and the Browns. So which does he choose?

If Jackson chooses the 49ers, he would be going to a franchise that had one its worst years in a long time. The team was inept offensively and the defense was not the same when not playing at Levi Stadium. After the season they had, they fired head coach Jim Tomsula immediately and began the search for his replacement. Hue Jackson would be a fit for this team simply because of his offensive prowess. The typical offense over the years for San Francisco has been running the football and using the tight ends. With Hue there, the offense gets a chance to open up. Although Hue likes to use the running game, he often likes to be as versatile as possible offensively. That would mean multiple formations and many different offensive wrinkles that he can throw at you. The offensive personnel of the 49ers is not quite as talented as the Bengals, but Hue could definitely do some things with the likes of wide receiver Torrey Smith, wide receiver Anquan Boldin and running back Carlos Hyde out there (provided they retool the offensive line). If he is to take this job with the 49ers, a decision will have to be made on Colin Kaepernick. Back when Colin Kaepernick was in the 2011 Draft, Jackson was intrigued by his abilities and wanted to draft him. Only thing is the Niners got to him first. It would be interesting to see if Jackson would like to take over here and work with Colin or not based on what he has seen of him since 2011. But a positive he has here is the team has a projected $50 million in cap space next season to upgrade the roster. And another positive he has defensively is he has a leader to work with for his defense in linebacker Navarro Bowman.

When it comes to the Browns, Hue would definitely be a good pickup for them. Like with the 49ers, he would be coming into a situation with an anemic offense again. And another thing that would be the same with as the 49ers is the uncertainty at quarterback. Johnny Manziel has been solid when he has played but he more than likely will not be back due to his messy off-field behavior. And as far as Josh McCown, he is not the long-term answer for the Browns. They more than likely will be looking for a quarterback with whomever they bring in as coach. But quarterback is just one position the Browns will be looking to upgrade as the previous management left the cupboard bare in terms of talent on the team. This team needs retooling on both sides of the ball just like the 49ers do, but the difference here is the Browns may be able to offer more to Hue in this circumstance. The 49ers will not be giving Hue any control in player personnel. But it is being reported by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport that the Browns will offer him significant player control. That would allow Hue to have what he wanted when he was in Oakland. But the one thing that may hamper him getting players in there is the cap space they may not have. Even though he has $20 million in cap space there, this team needs more than $20 million worth of work done to it. Hue definitely has to make good with his picks going forward should he decide to take the Cleveland job. This job, like the 49ers job, would be a rebuild that would take probably 3 years to happen provided everything goes right. And not only would he have an uphill battle with the team, but an uphill battle with the stigma that is around there. Hue would be battling that every step of the way and it can become somewhat overwhelming if you are not fully prepared to deal with it. But the positives are he would be able to make the roster in his image and he would also have a low ceiling of expectation. A winning season or an 8-8 season would be cause for optimism there in Cleveland.

Hue is expected to make his decision soon. And although he has an interview to do with the Giants, these two teams seem to be the ones that are fighting for his services. So in the end, he can go back to his home state and coach or he can go to try and make some history with the Cleveland Browns. The choice is up to you Hue Jackson. Where do you want to be?

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(photo credit: http://www.fansided.com)

A Loss Of Composure Leads To The End Of The Bengals’ Season

(photo courtesy of USA Today)

(photo courtesy of USA Today)

The Cincinnati Bengals were on their way to winning their first playoff game since 1990. It was late in the fourth quarter and the Bengals just took the lead 16-15 on a pass AJ McCarron to AJ Green touchdown with 1:50 left in the game. All the pressure fell on the Pittsburgh Steelers as they were being led by backup quarterback Landry Jones (Ben Roethlisberger left the game injured in the second half). And on the first play on that drive following the Bengals’ touchdown, Jones threw an interception to Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict. That seemingly was the end of the game. All the Bengals had to do was run the clock down as much as they could (Pittsburgh had three timeouts left). But instead of controlling the clock, Bengals running back Jeremy Hill had the ball forced out of his hands by Steelers’ linebacker Ryan Shazier. The Bengals had given up possession and all Pittsburgh had to do was drive the field and kick a field goal for the win. Roethlisberger, who was on the sideline, decided to come back in the game and drive his team to the final score. The Bengals were making the Steelers take a ton of time making their way down field, when with 18 seconds, key players from the Bengals lost their cool. Big Ben through a pass to the Antonio Brown and Burfict was flagged for a defenseless receiver flag. Antonio Brown laid on the field and was diagnosed with a concussion and will be in concussion protocol with the NFL. Steelers assistant Joey Porter came on the field to check on Brown and that is when some more shenanigans happened. Brown reportedly said something to the Bengals players and there was a push and then a flag came down. Altogether, there were two flags for a total of 30 yards (the second flag was on Pacman Jones) that got the Steelers into field goal rang. And with that, the Steelers kicked the game-winning field goal and won the game 18-16.

The Bengals players and fans looked distraught after the game. There were camera shots of a fan crying and there were shots of Adam “Pacman” Jones crying on the sideline as well after the game. Just like that, the Bengals go from winning a physical game to losing a game in a careless way. The Bengals were the more talented team. There was no question that they have a great array of talent on both sides of the ball. But what has escaped the Bengals over the years is getting over the hump. In Marvin Lewis’ tenure, the Bengals are 0-7 in the playoffs. And it isn’t as if they are a bad team each year. It just seems they find ways to lose games. But this year had to be the most maddening way to lose a game. The team lost their composure and that is a bad reflection on the coach of this team. He is already under enough pressure with trying to win that now he has to deal with the attitudes. There was already the thought out there that Marvin Lewis did not have control of his team. But with this latest demonstration, it definitely displayed that. And along with the loss, he now has to answer for what happened at the end of the game. Marvin took chances on Burfict and Jones and it would be bad to see him get fired on account of this moment in time being the last straw.

As far as Burfict, he is a talented football player. He has gotten better and better as he has been in the NFL. But for the same reason he was an undrafted player out of college is the same reason that he is in the middle of this mess. It seemed like every single situation, he was right in the middle of it. He was right there being separated from the Steelers’ players and he was talking to the refs about things all game long. His passion to play the game is unquestioned. But Burfict has yet to learn how to control himself when on the field. It seems that fines or things like that never seem to get his attention. So the next step has to be taken. Burfict has to be released. He is a good player, but he just does not get it that he cannot do some of the things he does out there. If he is to get cut, that may let him know that he has to reign it in some. Other than that, I don’t know what else will help that young player get it together. Because if he does not reign it in soon enough, then he could end up doing something that could endanger someone else and himself.

Adam “Pacman” Jones has been around the league long enough to know better in some situations. There were some other things going on that the Steelers may or may not have done on the field. But in the end, you have the ultimate control over yourself. When someone knows they can get under your skin, then they try to use that as an advantage. And as a result, the Steelers are marching on while the Bengals and Pacman are mad and headed into the offseason. As a veteran player on this team, he should be the one reigning everyone in, not riling everyone up. Now this one incident does not diminish all the things that Pacman has done to become a better player and better person on and off the field. But what he can do going forward is not let this incident define what all he has done to become who he is today. It was a bad incident, but he has to learn from it and recognize when someone is trying to get under his skin.

The antics of a few cost the Bengals the game and the whole team must suffer the consequences for it. The leaders of this team should take control of this situation first and foremost. And by leaders, that means the players that lead this team not the coach. No matter if Lewis is fired or not, there has to be some players take ownership of this team or these type of things will continue to disrupt what they are trying to build. This had to be very embarrassing not only to the NFL but to the ownership of the team. Going forward, it will be interesting to see what changes happen as a result of this mental breakdown at the wrong time.

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The General’s NFL Proclamations-Wild Card Weekend

(photo courtesy of Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

(photo courtesy of Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

The regular season is over and the real games will now begin. The time that many have been waiting for is finally here. The playoffs present a different type of intensity. Gone are the times when players take plays off and preserve themselves. Now is the time when players play for keeps. They can see the ending in sight and that includes their shot at a ring. But of course these games will be decided by individual and team efforts. It’s time for the General Proclamations: Wildcard Edition.

Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans

  1. The Houston Texans have been led by defensive lineman JJ Watt. And he will show up and play well in this game. Look for him to have one sack and countless quarterback hurries in this game.
  2. The Kansas City Chiefs have their own tandem of pass rushers in outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. And with Houston scheduled to play this game, look for the Chiefs to get at least three sacks as a team in this one.
  3. The Kansas City Chiefs have been solid in the running game without Jamaal Charles. Look for them to be solid in this one, just in an unconventional way. Quarterback Alex Smith will have at least 70 yards rushing to go along with his two touchdown passes in this game.
  4. The score of this game will be 24-14 and the Chiefs will come out the winner.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals

  1. Much has been made of the Steelers not having that strong a defense this year. But in this one, look for someone up front to step up. His name you may ask: Bud Dupree. The rookie outside linebacker out of the University of Kentucky will have at least one and a half sacks in this one and will be the force they expected him to be.
  2. The Bengals, not to be outdone, have a feared pass rusher in Carlos Dunlap. And in this one, he will get tons of pressure but will not get a sack. He will play hard and play well, but with Big Ben back there avoiding and shrugging off defenders, he will save his team a few sacks.
  3. The Bengals offense seemingly ran well with backup quarterback AJ McCarron in place of Andy Dalton. But the playoffs are a different animal. And in the playoffs, McCarron will have to play airtight football. But being that he is inexperienced, the Steelers will force him into that one crucial turnover that will cost the Bengals.
  4. This will be a close one, but the edge goes to the Steelers in Cincinnati, 28-24.

Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings

  1. The running game has been a staple of both teams for so long. But in this one, both teams will key on the running game, causing both the Vikings and the Seahawks to be rendered almost useless in the running game. And with Marshawn Lynch not able to play (abdomen injury), even trying to establish the Seattle running game will be harder. Look for both teams to not rush for over 100 yards as a team.
  2. The Seahawk defense has been known to be tough on opponents over years. Expect them to give Vikings’ quarterback Teddy Bridgewater a run for his money. And with that, Teddy will have a solid day but it will be one that has him hurrying to throw the ball more than usual, as he is sacked a minimum of three times in this one.
  3. The Vikings front four has been playing well. But in this game, the Seahawks offensive line is playing better than they have all year. Seattle will not give up any sacks in this game.
  4. This will be another close one, with the road team winning again. Seattle 23. Minnesota 17

Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins

  1. The Green Bay Packers have been struggling to pass the ball to any of their receivers. With the combination of a bad offensive line and no separation when receivers run routes has made it a little harder for quarterback Aaron Rodgers to get some things done. Well in this one, he will have some trouble as well. Expect the veteran to let it all hang out in this one. Look for him to have at least two touchdown passes while he throws for 250 yards.
  2. Washington has their own gunslinger in Kirk Cousins back there at quarterback. And he has definitely been playing well down the stretch. But this is the playoffs and Kirk has never started in a playoff game before. So expect some mistakes to happen from him. And in this one, he will have one big interception that will hurt the Redskins down the stretch of this game.
  3. This game will be won in the trenches. Which team can protect the quarterback, run the football and pressure the quarterback best will win the game. The Redskins have the upper hand in protecting the quarterback better due to Green Bay’s offensive line issues, but Green Bay could have the upper hand in the other departments. Expect Clay Matthews to have at huge impact in this one along with Eddie Lacy running the ball for at least 80 yards for the Packers.
  4. This one will be a close one with Green Bay sneaking by Washington 27-24.

 

It’s the most wonderful time in the year for sports fans. Have fun watching the games. It should be fun to see how they all pan out.

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The General’s NFL Proclamations-Week 17

(photo courtesy of Bleacher Report)

(photo courtesy of Bleacher Report)

The last week of the NFL season has finally arrived. There are some teams that are glad that it is finally here. At last some can put an end to a season that was a lot less successful than they thought it would be. There are some teams that are trying to get it together for the postseason. Whether some are still trying to get themselves into the postseason or others trying to better their position, the urgency has arrived as the seasons have changed. It should be interesting to see how the end of the year effects the play on the field. Will some coast into the playoffs or will they button down the hatches and bring it for the last week? We shall indeed see on Sunday but for now, here are the General’s NFL proclamations for Week 17.

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills

  1. The Jets are trying to ensure being in the playoffs, so expect them to play hard in this game. And with that being said, look for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and wide receiver Brandon Marshall to connect at least two times for touchdowns.
  2. The Bills have found their quarterback in Tyrod Taylor. And he will cement that he is their quarterback by throwing for a least one touchdown and 200 yards and running for one touchdown as well.
  3. The winner of this game will not score more than 24 points. Although the Jets may be capable of scoring over 24 points, the game will have some sloppy moments and that will slow down the pace of the game.

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins

  1. The Patriots are playing for the first seed in the playoffs, but they will still be resting some guys here. With that being said, expect them to eventually take Tom Brady out of this game.
  2. The Dolphins have not met expectations them and their fans had this season. And one guy that did not play as well as they expected is big free-agent signing Ndamukong Suh. Look for him to do his usual thing, and that means taking plays off and just being a bystander in this one. He will do more watching than making plays in this game.
  3. The Patriots, although they will take players out of this game, will still put up points against the hapless Dolphins. But they will not do it in the way that most expect. Look for them to use the ground game to the tune of running for 200 yards on the Dolphins this weekend.

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons

  1. The rivalry is still there although both will be out of the playoffs this year. Expect at least three or four scuffles in this game. There is no love lost between these teams.
  2. The matchup between Matt Ryan (Falcons) and Drew Brees (Saints) are always good. And in this one, Brees comes in a little banged up. That nagging foot injury will harm him in this one as he throws at least two interceptions and looks less like the Drew Brees we know.
  3. The Falcons will finish the season with an offensive flurry. That flurry will definitely include wide receiver Julio Jones. Look for him to have at least 120 yards receiving and two touchdowns to cap off his spectacular season.

Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears

  1. The Bears are trying to finish the season strong after the bad start to the season. And if they are to finish this season off right, they must get good play from quarterback Jay Cutler. Look for him to get at least 250 yards passing and at least two passing touchdowns.
  2. The Lions will also be trying to finish the season off strong. And in doing so, they will follow their leader, quarterback Matthew Stafford. The veteran quarterback will be looking to cap off a solid finish and he will have at least 300 yards passing and one touchdown.
  3. Both teams will commit at least two turnovers. Both teams have been bad for a reason and that will show in this game.

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants

  1. The Eagles have not scored at the clip they wanted to this season. And in this game with rumors abound that Tom Coughlin will be retiring as head coach of the Giants, the scoring will be even tougher. The Eagles will not score over 17 points in this game.
  2. The Giants want to send out Tom Coughlin with a solid performance if this is his last time on the Giants’ sideline. With that being said, look for Odell Beckham Jr to make up for missed time and score not one but two touchdowns in this game.
  3. The Giants will score over 30 points in this game. They are due for a big game and the Eagles are ripe for the picking in this one.

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys

  1. The Redskins have won the division and are going to the playoffs. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to take it to the Cowboys. Look for quarterback Kirk Cousins to have at least two touchdown passes and throw for at least 250 yards.
  2. But not only will Cousins get it going, but so will wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Look for him to have at least three receptions for a total of at least 100 yards receiving and one touchdown.
  3. The Cowboys offense has been struggling. And most of that has to do with uneven quarterback play. Look for this game to continue the bad play offensively as the Cowboys will not score more than 16 points in this game.

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts

  1. The Indianapolis Colts will be starting Josh Freeman at quarterback. No that is not an early April Fool’s Day joke. The fact that he will be starting says something about the ability of the Colts’ offensive line to protect their quarterback. And in this one, Freeman will see what Matt Hasselbeck, Andrew Luck and Charlie Whitehurst saw. He will be sacked at least four times and will be lucky to escape this game unscathed.
  2. The Titans are not going to be the only one getting after the quarterback though. They have not exactly protected the quarterback well either. And with Mariota out, Zach Mettenberger will be sacked at least four times.
  3. Seeing that both quarterbacks will be under duress the entire game, look for this game to have no flow at all. And that means that there will be little scoring in this one. The first team to 20 will win this game.

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals

  1. The Ravens jumped up and beat the Pittsburgh Steelers last weekend at home. That win may have made the Ravens look good, but it also caught the attention of the Bengals. Look for Cincinnati to come out focused and that means they will be putting up at least 35 points in this game.
  2. In those 35+ points, look for the Bengals to raid through the air. That means AJ Green will be having a good time toasting the Ravens’ secondary. Look for him to get at least 140 yards receiving with two touchdown catches.
  3. The Ravens will have at least one highlight in this one and that will be Kamar Aiken. The young Ravens receiver needs 132 yards to get his first 1,000 yard season receiving. Look for him to get that in this game, as the Ravens will be playing from behind all game long and having to pass the football.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns

  1. The Steelers’ offense looked asleep at the wheel last weekend and they lost the game they needed badly. Although it may be too little too late, the Steelers offense will come out and follow the lead of their leader, Ben Roethlisberger. The veteran quarterback will throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns.
  2. The Browns will be starting backup Austin Davis in this game versus the Steelers. And for a defense needing a break, they just got one. Davis will throw at least two interceptions in this game versus a defense that has struggled this season.
  3. The Steelers will put up at least 30 points in this one. Even though it may not even matter in terms of their playoff hopes, this game will help get the bad taste out of the Steelers’ mouths after last week’s game.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans

  1. The Texans have come back from the dead to push towards the playoffs. To cement it, they need a good win versus the Jaguars. And that all comes down to the defense and how they play. Look for the Texans, behind JJ Watt, to get at least two sacks and one interception in this game.
  2. The Jaguars have been explosive in the passing game. And knowing the situation that awaits them, expect them to try and play the role of spoiler in this one. Look for Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson to connect on two huge plays of more than 30+ yards.
  3. The Texans will have multiple running backs touch the football in this one. Look for them to have at least two of those running backs score touchdowns in this game.

Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs

  1. The Raiders have been dangerous offensively this year. But in this one, the only danger will be Carr throwing interceptions in the direction of defensive back Marcus Peters. The opportunistic defensive back will get at least two interceptions in this game, as he continues his ball-hawking ways.
  2. The Chiefs have been impressive offensively over the last couple of months. And in this one, look for them to take advantage of the Raiders secondary (minus Charles Woodson of course). Jeremy Maclin will have at least 100 yards receiving and one touchdown. He has been everything they have needed in Kansas City this season.
  3. The Chiefs will score at least 30+ points in this game. The Raiders have gotten better, but this game they are running into a Chiefs team that is looking to finish strong.

San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos

  1. The Broncos clinched their playoff berth last week, but they still have work to do. Winning this game could help them, so expect them to come out with energy on both sides of the ball. And being that the Chargers have had protection issues all season, look for the Denver defense to tee off on the Chargers offense. With that being said, the Chargers will probably be giving up at least 4 sacks in this game to Denver.
  2. Denver offensively got on track last game. This time, they started slow and ended fast. That trend will more than likely continue this week, as Brock Osweiler will finish with two second-half touchdown passes in this one versus the Chargers.
  3. The Broncos will not only terrorize Phillip Rivers by sacking him, but they will make him pay for errant throws. Look for the Broncos to take one of Rivers’ mistakes back to the house for a touchdown.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers

  1. The Carolina Panthers took their first loss last weekend and many came down on them. Well, this week will show that it only thickened their resolve. The Carolina Panthers will come out and score at least 28 points this week as they recover offensively from one of their worst games of the season.
  2. The Bucs have been up and down all year long. But in this one, the stock will be pointing down. The Panthers will be fired up defensively and that will lead to the Bucs committing at least three turnovers in this game.
  3. The Bucs will not score over 10 points in this game. It may be the end of the year for the Panthers, but they will be fired up.

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals

  1. The Seahawks and Cardinals will both be in the playoffs. Expect some players to make early exits because both are already in the playoffs.
  2. The Cardinals will not score more than 24 points in this game. The Seahawks will be as aggressive as they always are, but they will start shutting it down and that will change the outlook of this game.
  3. The Seahawks need to see what they have in their running game. And after this one, they will be glad to have Marshawn Lynch coming back next weekend. Christine Michael will not do much in this game. He will have only around 30 yards rushing and will not score a touchdown.

St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers

  1. The Rams had a big win versus the Seahawks in Seattle last weekend. And in this one, they will try to finish the season strong. Look for them to come out and put it to the 49ers to start the game. The Rams will score at least 20 points in the first half in Santa Clara.
  2. The 49ers will be trying to finish the season strong as well. And the main guy that will be trying to leave a lasting impression is quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Look for him to come out and throw for 200+ yards and one touchdown along with one interception.
  3. The Rams and 49ers will have at least one scrum in this one. Both teams are physical and that can end up spilling over beyond the whistle too.

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers

  1. The Packers and Vikings will be playing for the NFC North title. With that being said, look for Aaron Rodgers to get it going to the tune of 300 yards passing and 3 touchdown passes.
  2. The Vikings have been playing well, but there is always the legend of Lambeau that happens to get teams. And in this one, the Vikings will come out offensively and not play to their standards. Look for the offense to score under 17 points.
  3. The Vikings and Packers will both give up at least three sacks in this game. Both defensive front sevens will have a good time trying to make things happen in this one.

The season ends on all these division games. The intensity will be high in a lot of them, but in some there will be no energy at all. The end of the season is finally here and the postseason is now coming up quickly.

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The General’s Top Three Candidates To Replace Chip Kelly

(photo courtesy of www.philly.com)

(photo courtesy of http://www.philly.com)

The Philadelphia Eagles entered this year under total control of Chip Kelly. The former University of Oregon head coach took over the general manager duties in his third year with the Eagles after back-to-back ten win seasons. But after some head-scratching trades and signings along with some underwhelming play, the Eagles now sit at 6-9 going into the last game of the season. The Chip Kelly experiment did not turn out as it was expected going into year three and with that, there was some blowback. Per ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio, Eagles president Jeffrey Lurie wanted to strip Kelly of his personnel control. After all, Chip traded away running back LaSean “Shady” McCoy for banged up linebacker Kiko Alonso, let dynamic wide receiver Jeremy Maclin walk in free agency and signed cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and running back DeMarco Murray. Besides the trade of quarterback Nick Foles for quarterback Sam Bradford (which was somewhat successful), all of his other moves were not successful. Chip apparently did not want to give up the personnel control. And when he did not do that, Lurie called his bluff. Chip Kelly is now out as the head coach of the Eagles and the team that thought they had their successor to Andy Reid is looking for a head coach again. There are many candidates that are out there, but here are three that could be on their radar.

The first call Lurie could make is to Cincinnati. No, he is not going to be speaking to Marvin Lewis and trying to bring him to Philly. The man he should be looking to speak to there is offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. Under Jackson’s tutelage, the Bengals are averaging 26 points per game this year. And each year he has been there, they have gotten better and better offensively. The good thing about Hue is he has head coaching experience and his offenses have been known to be versatile. His addition in Philly would be huge for DeMarco Murray. Hue likes to run traditional running formations with a fullback and that would allow Murray to run more downhill like he is accustomed to. But along with the traditional formations, Hue can also bring in the explosive formations with three or four wide receivers and is also used to having wide receivers that he can flex out in the slot (Philadelphia has Zach Ertz that he can use that way). Whatever he has offensively, he makes it work and gets the most out of it. And most of all, he would cut out some of the empty possessions that the Eagles had all this season. The one question mark about Hue would be who he would bring in as defensive coordinator. That would be huge for the Eagles due to them being in a 3-4 for the last three seasons.

But Hue is not the only offensive coordinator out there that people are going to be looking at. Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase was the hot name on the coaching circuit last season when he was calling plays for Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos’ offense. But unfortunately for him, he did not land a head coaching gig and ended up following John Fox to Chicago. Some thought some of the shine would wear off, but he has still been solid as an offensive coordinator in Chicago. The best thing he has done in Chicago is coaching Jay Cutler. The veteran out of Vanderbilt is having one of his best seasons (interception-wise) in four years. Gase would instill an offense that would be similar to the one that Chip Kelly ran in terms of pace and getting rid of the ball quickly. But the one difference is he uses the running game better than Chip does. That would help utilize DeMarco Murray more and also help the offense and whoever is quarterbacking that team next season. And the defense more than likely would stay in a 3-4 since that is what he is used to having. The one question always about Gase is how smart is he and did the quarterbacks he had make him look better than what he is? Are the Eagles willing to hedge their bet financially that he is the creator of the system? Only time will tell.

The Eagles had problems offensively this season, but they did have some issues defensively, especially with their defensive backs. Teryl Austin is a former defensive backs coach in his career and he also is the defensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions. The defense was excellent last season under him when he had defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and crew running wild up front. This season, they got off to a rough start, but they were able to get it going this season down the stretch. One thing that Austin would bring to the Eagles was a sense of urgency at all times. His defenses always hustle and play at breakneck speed. Adding him to this organization would mean a switch of defenses (from the 3-4 to the 4-3), but it would also mean that there would be a former defensive backs coach there to maybe help bring the Eagles defensive backfield, which has struggled the last two seasons. If he could solve that and then keep the rest of the defense on par, then the Eagles may be solid there. The one question (along with who will be playing quarterback next season in Philly) will be what will the offense look like? Will he run more of a power offense to support a physical defense or will the offense be something of a wide-open offense. The offensive ideas that he could potentially tell the Eagles brass (should he get the call for an interview) could make or break his candidacy for the Philadelphia job. But either way, he would be a solid hire due to his infectious energy and his accountability he holds players to.

These three candidates would fit in Philly. Of course there are some question marks about them, but there are also some positives that they will bring to the Eagles organization. And most of all, each hire has something that will help the prized free agents the Eagles signed last offseason. The reality is Murray and Maxwell are not going anywhere anytime soon. You may as well bring in a coach that can help maximize their abilities instead of letting them waste away and having to eat all that guaranteed money. It should be interesting to see who they hire next. But as far as the Chip Kelly experiment, it all went horribly wrong once they gave a man that had won nothing absolute power.

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Cam Newton Is Going To Make MVP History Whether Folks Like It Or Not

(photo courtesy of Mark Zaleski/Associated Press)

(photo courtesy of Mark Zaleski/Associated Press)

The MVP race has had his ebbs and flows this year. At first people were speaking of Tom Brady of the Patriots winning it. Then there was Carson Palmer of the Arizona Cardinals mentioned. And after that Cam Newton of the Panthers has taken it over. The Panthers were undefeated leading up to their game against the Falcons in Atlanta this week. Plenty looked at it as a continuation of the 38-0 woodshed beating the Panthers put on Atlanta in Charlotte. But this one had quite the different story. The Falcons came out and played with heart and pride as they beat the Panthers 20-13. The Falcons defense was after Cam Newton all day, as he had one of his worst games all season. And immediately, many began to question whether he was the MVP. But that was not all that was said. Many began to speak on the narrative that has long been said about Cam Newton. That he was an arrogant guy and that he was a guy that did not take losing well. And some even said that this loss brought Carson Palmer back into the MVP race. For those that think this MVP race is even close, I got a few words for you: Open your eyes.

Before the season, the thought was the Panthers would not be very good. They had lost their star wide receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, to a torn ACL. And they had a ragtag group of receivers left that many felt were horrible. The defense was still there, but the offense was very questionable. But Cam not only made this offense viable, he made it one of the best in the NFL. The Panthers are ranked second in the NFL in scoring (30.8 points per game) and are the second leading rushing team in the NFL. And although their passing game is not ranked very high (23rd in the NFL), they are very explosive. For example, Ted Ginn Jr had not had double-digit touchdowns in a year in his career. This season, Cam has helped him have the best season of his career, getting 10 touchdowns up to this point. And as far as the offensive line, that was an issue that was mentioned before the season. Many thought that they would be terrible and would not be able to protect Cam. They have had their issues, but Cam has helped them some with his mobility. And they even produced two Pro Bowlers out of the bunch (center Ryan Khalil and guard Trai Turner).

When you take a look at what Cam compared to Carson Palmer, there are a few things that people can say make him the MVP. The offense of the Cardinals is the only one better than the Panthers in the NFL. Also, Palmer has a better percentage rating and has thrown for more yardage. But what no one talks about is Palmer has one of the best lines in the NFL and he also has skill position players that Carolina can only dream of. Besides tight end Greg Olsen, the Cardinals have far and away better offensive weapons than Cam does. So essentially Cam does more with less than anyone in the NFL right now. And overall, Cam has accounted for more total touchdowns (41) than Carson has (35). But the main numbers that sway the MVP is the wins. And for those that will try to say this game caused Carson to get back in the race, they may want to remember that Carson’s has had some dud game and that he has not thrown for five touchdowns in a game once all season.

The underlying narrative that is being formed is people are out there that do not want Cam Newton to win the MVP. There have been plenty that have not liked him since he stepped foot in the league or even since he was at Auburn. People have been going out of their way to point out reasons why he would not succeed in the NFL. They said he was too dumb to be an NFL quarterback when he first got here (the usual Black quarterback narrative that is put out there). And then they went on to point out the way he wraps his head in a towel on the sideline and how he seemingly is not in a good mood when they are losing (I wonder where those same people are when Tom Brady is going off on the sidelines and even yelling at a coach). They also try to say he is a poor sport because he has fun while he plays and dances in the endzone. (No one ever said quarterback dancing in the endzone was wrong). Whether folks like it or not, the MVP trophy is coming to Charlotte, making Cam the first African-American quarterback to win the MVP award outright. History is about to be made and Cam will be the face of it.

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The General’s Christmas Gifts To NFL Teams

(photo courtesy of Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(photo courtesy of Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

It’s Christmas time and kids around the world are unwrapping gifts from under their Christmas tree. Some got gifts they were hoping for while others got unexpected surprises. All in all, the gift of giving was in full swing. In that spirit, every NFL team is in need of something. So why not gift them a few things that they need? Here is the list of gifts the General would give to NFL teams going into the end of the regular season.

Arizona Cardinals-A healthy Tyrann Matheiu

The Cardinals are a dangerous team heading into the playoffs. They have multiple weapons on offense and their defense can put pressure on you from all angles. Unequivocally, their best playmaker was defensive back Tyrann Matheiu. But unfortunately, the third-year defensive back tore his ACL in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cardinals are a still a threat to win the NFC, but that threat is less without Matheiu. If only they could be gifted a healthy playmaker like him at this time.

Atlanta Falcons- Better decision-making for Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan has always been said to be one of the great young quarterbacks in the NFL. But this year, he has definitely struggled. He is near the top in interceptions thrown in the NFL and he has just been off ever since the hot start by Atlanta. If he had some better decision-making, then maybe the Falcons win some of those games instead of taking a loss.

Baltimore Ravens- Health

The Ravens have struggled this season. They have also been hit with key injury after key injury. They have lost their top pass-rusher, wide receiver, quarterback and running back this season. Not many teams can overcome that one. Maybe they would have been better with some of their key pieces healthy. But all of that is pure speculation at this point.

Buffalo Bills- Some consistency

The Buffalo Bills are definitely a talented team. But their issue is they show up inconsistently. If they were a solid team, they would have been in the playoffs at this point. But instead, they are on the outside looking in. The key word is consistency with them and they have yet to find it all season long.

Carolina Panthers- A healthy Kelvin Benjamin

The Carolina Panthers have had a storybook season so far. They have won scoring a ton of points and won scoring very little. It just seems like they have the “it” factor. Cam Newton has stepped up as a passer and that is huge for Carolina. But he would probably much rather be throwing the football to Kelvin Benjamin than Ted Ginn Jr. The speedy veteran is having a career year, but he still has questionable hands and Benjamin was the closest thing they had to a sure thing at that position. Hopefully that does not catch up to them in the playoffs.

Chicago Bears- More defensive playmakers

Looking at the Bears, they are not badly set up offensively. Jay Cutler has not played bad this year for the Bears and Alshon Jeffrey has been solid this season. But on the defensive side of the ball, there are not many playmakers there. Besides Darnell McPhee, not many playmakers you can speak of there. Hopefully for them, they are able to bring in some defensive playmakers this offseason. They need them sorely.

Cincinnati Bengals-A postseason win for Marvin Lewis

The Bengals have been great in the regular season for a while now. That used to be something that could never be uttered ever. But now, the Bengals are a perennial participant in the playoffs. Making the playoffs is not enough anymore for the Bengals, as they have lost every playoff game they have had since Lewis has taken over there. For him, it is imperative that they get a win in the playoffs soon. If he doesn’t, he could potentially get the ax.

Cleveland Browns- A moment of clarity

The Browns have not been relevant ever since they reappeared in the NFL in 1999. And the most recent edition is a group that is much in disarray. It seems the front office and the coaching staff cannot ever get on the same page. So for them, a moment of clarity is needed. Maybe with that moment can come some people that actually can be on the same page and build that organization. If that moment never comes, they will continue to be known as “The Mistake By The Lake”.

Dallas Cowboys- A healthy Tony Romo

The Cowboys seemed like they never could get it going this season offensively. They had star wide receiver Dez Bryant get injured early and quarterback Tony Romo was injured early also. He meant a lot to that team because they have only won one game since he has been injured. The Cowboys are now on their fourth quarterback and they would do anything to have their star QB back. Alas, the Cowboys will go from division champs to potentially the cellar dwellers in their division in one year.

Denver Broncos- Consistency offensively

The Denver Broncos were one of the most potent offenses in the NFL last season. They could get it done whether it be Peyton Manning throwing touchdown passes or their running attack chewing up yardage. But John Fox and his coaching staff were let go after the season in favor of former Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak. Ever since he has been there, he has changed the offense and not for the better unfortunately. The offense has not been consistently firing on all cylinders all year and if it were not for their defense, the Broncos would be in trouble. And no matter if it were Peyton Manning or Brock Osweiler, there is just that learning curve that it takes to get comfortable in a new offense. Maybe Denver will get consistent one of these days offensively.

Detroit Lions- Some sense of direction

The Detroit Lions had a tumultuous start to the season. They lost six straight games and then there was a shakeup in their coaching staff and their front office. In all that, the Lions have played better since the changes have happened. But honestly, this franchise has no direction at this present time. Maybe with the next hires in their front office and coaching staff they will find some direction and be able to move forward.

Green Bay Packers- A consistent offensive line

The Green Bay Packers have had their issues offensively this year. Some would pin those issues on the loss of wide receiver Jordy Nelson. But their issues are much deeper than the loss of a veteran wide receiver. The offensive line has not been what it usually is. You can consistently see quarterback Aaron Rodgers running around trying to make plays while avoiding defensive players coming for him. A quarterback like Rodgers deserves to have someone consistently block for him. And if the line could block more consistently and the running game show up every week, the Packers may be a more consistent team.

Houston Texans- A consistent defensive playmaker opposite of JJ Watt

The Houston Texans are sitting in first place and much of the credit (at least defensively) should go to JJ Watt. He has fought through all kinds of things to still have an impact on the game. But the thing that is amazing is he has had no consistent threat opposite him most of his career. If they could only find someone to consistently be a threat along the defensive line with Watt, the defense would be even better than they are right now.

Indianapolis Colts- Offensive line help

The Colts have paid many people along their offense. They brought in veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson and running back Frank Gore. They even gave an extension to wide receiver TY Hilton. But they have never really addressed their offensive line. And because of that, they now sit with two banged up quarterbacks and an offense that has been very inconsistent. Maybe they should look at the guys up front when it comes to spending money next offseason.

Jacksonville Jaguars- A defensive pass rush

The Jacksonville Jaguars have made some strides this season. Their young players have stepped up. Allen Robinson has become the receiver they thought he would. Allen Hurns has been excellent in his first two years. And quarterback Blake Bortles has taken a giant step forward. Defensively, they have the pieces, but they are missing one crucial element. The Jaguars need a consistent pass rusher that strikes fear in the opponent. Maybe this offseason, they will be blessed with one.

Kansas City Chiefs- Another wide receiver

The Kansas City Chiefs were known as a team that ignored their wide receivers when it came to the endzone in 2014. Last year they did not have one touchdown to their wide receiver. Coming into this season, they acquired wide receiver Jeremy Maclin from the Eagles to bolster that wide receiver corp. Maclin has done well for Kansas City. But for the Chiefs to get better, they need another wide receiver to expand their offense. If they are able to find that playmaker opposite Maclin, then watch out for what Andy Reid can do with them.

Miami Dolphins- A redo on the Ndamukong Suh contract

Let’s be honest. Ndamukong Suh has not had the impact that he was thought to have when he signed that megadeal in Miami. He has been seen loafing on plays and there have been reports that he has “gone rogue” a few times on the field. I don’t know what the Dolphins thought was going to happen when they signed him, but they have been utterly disappointed and are wishing they had a warranty on Suh so they could trade him in.

Minnesota Vikings-Another playmaking wide receiver

The Vikings have started to make strides towards getting it back on track there. They got Adrian Peterson back and he returned to form. But unfortunately for them, their wide receivers have not panned out like they thought. The trade for Mike Wallace was not as profitable as they thought and rookie Stephon Diggs has turned out to be their best playmaker. The team obviously needs another guy there to help Teddy Bridgewater and that passing game. If they get that added weapon, then the Vikings could be even better offensively.

New England Patriots-Health

The Patriots are always a perennial title contender. But this year, the team has had some health issues. Julian Edelman is currently out injured (although he is practicing now) and running back LaGarrette Blount is out for the year with a hip injury, joining third-down back Dion Lewis (torn ACL) on injured reserve. If the Pats were fully healthy, the team would probably still be undefeated and even more dangerous. But now they are not as dangerous offensively and they need some players to step up.

New Orleans Saints- A redo on Brandon Browner’s contract

The New Orleans Saints have not exactly been where they thought they would have been this season. The team has struggled and they will not be making the playoffs again. One piece that was supposed to make them better was cornerback Brandon Browner. He was brought in from New England to bolster their secondary, but he has nothing but create drama. The veteran corner set a record for most penalties in a season this year and has been a disruption for the team. If only the Saints could have seen the future before they signed him.

New York Giants- Holding on to leads

The New York Giants appear to be heading to another season sitting at home instead of being in the playoffs. They had a bunch of chances to make the situation better for themselves, but they just could not close the deal. If the Giants just could have held on to the leads they had in fourth quarters this season, they would be talking playoffs right now. But instead, they invented ways to lose in football’s most important quarter.

New York Jets- A redo of the Eagles game

The Jets are in the playoff race this year and could make the playoffs. And when you’re in that situation, there is always the thought of what games got away from you. The one that got away from the Jets was the game versus the Eagles earlier this season. They just seemed to be not in the game and when they tried to make a comeback, it was too late and the Eagles had the game at hand. If they had won that game, they would not be in the predicament they are in right now, scratching and clawing for a playoff spot.

Oakland Raiders- Defensive backs

The Oakland Raiders are trying to get it right. The progress is there. Khalil Mack is a wrecking ball defensively and the offense has definitely got the right pieces, led by quarterback Derek Carr. But as far as defensive backs, the Raiders need help there. Safety Charles Woodson was the lynchpin back there and took care of a lot of mistakes that were made. But he is retiring after this season and they will need someone to replace him. Along with that, the pieces they have there are not ones that prove to be a solid secondary. The Raiders may be shopping for cornerbacks this offseason.

Philadelphia Eagles-redo on the contracts of DeMarco Murray and Byron Maxwell

The Philadelphia Eagles have plenty of issues going on that have affected their season. Two of them happen to be players they brought in to make them better. Byron Maxwell was paid handsomely to be their shutdown corner. He has proven not to be that shutdown corner. And although he has had some good moments, he has had others that make you wonder whether it was him or the Seattle defensive scheme. Offensively, Murray never fit the offense that Chip Kelly ran and it showed. He is more of a North/South runner in a scheme that does not cater to that at all. If they could have saw the future, they surely would have avoided these two in free agency.

Pittsburgh Steelers- Late-game adjustments and decisions

The Steelers have a high-octane offense and they have a defense that is growing with each week. But unfortunately, some of the adjustments and calls down the stretch from the coaching staff leave things to be desired. For example, the Steelers had the game won versus the Denver Broncos when offensive coordinator Todd Haley inexplicably called a pass play that was intercepted by the Broncos’ Brandon Marshall. Denver ultimately lost the game and could not capitalize on the gift, but these sort of gaffes and inexplicable coaching decision have happened a lot this year. If the Steelers could clean these decision up and continue to grow as a team, they would give some team fits come playoff times.

San Diego Chargers-A resolution to the stadium issues

It seems like the Chargers and the city of San Diego have been fighting over a new stadium for decades at this point. News is out that the team may be moving to Los Angeles with them getting the new stadium that they craved so much. The move still has to be voted on by the owners in Houston in January, but it seems like the stadium questions may finally be coming to an end for the Chargers and the city.

San Francisco 49ers- An end to the nightmare

The San Francisco 49ers season has been painful. They lost a few players to retirement and others to free agency. And all the while, the team did not really replace those players who left. And this season has some remembering the days when Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary were coaching the team. It is an endless nightmare that seems to have no end in sight currently. For the sake of the 49ers and their fans, they are hoping it ends soon.

Seattle Seahawks- a rebirth of the Legion Of Boom

The Seahawks are soaring right now and their offense is the one leading the way. Russell Wilson is playing at a level he has never played at before. However, the secondary needs to get it together like they have in years past. There have been some breakdowns that normally did not happen in past years. If they can get that together for the playoffs, then all is well. But that has to be alarming though. And it has to be fixed when crunch time comes around.

St. Louis Rams- Consistent quarterback play

The Rams thought they solved their quarterback issues when they traded for Nick Foles from the Eagles. But unfortunately, he has not been what they thought he would be and has been benched in favor of Case Keenum. But let’s not be fooled here, Keenum is not the answer either. If this team had a solid quarterback to depend on, then they would be ready to take the next step. Until then, they will continue to be pretenders.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Consistent pass rush

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made some improvements this season. The offense has become more solid and the running game has gotten better. Defensively, they have had games where they have looked solid and others where they have been missing in action. One thing that would make them more solid is a consistent pass rush. If they are able to add that and maybe more cornerback help, then the progression of this team can continue.

Tennessee Titans- Offensive line help

The Titans drafted quarterback Marcus Mariota with their first round pick this season and he made some headway as a starter. But he also was taking a lot of hits this season behind a makeshift offensive line. In order to protect their investment, the Titans need to invest in the offensive line and that starts in the offseason and in the draft. Once they do that, then maybe the offense will get better.

Washington Redskins- Defensive pressure

The Redskins have been surprisingly good this season. Many did not expect this, including me. But they are in control of their own destiny. If they continue to win, then they will be in the playoffs. But one thing they have overcome this season is consistent pressure up front. If they had that this season, they would be better. But going forward, that would be an investment worth making for them.

Merry Christmas to all and hopefully your NFL teams accept the gifts that await them. They sure could use them.

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The General’s NFL Proclamations-Week 16

(photo courtesy of Bleacher Report)

(photo courtesy of Bleacher Report)

Week 16 is upon us and many teams have called it a season at this point. There are some that will be sitting players, trying to position themselves for draft position. And while some teams will still play their regulars, we all know they are trying to get that best draft position available. On the flip side, there are some other teams that are trying to clinch a playoff spot this weekend. And while some may lose, there will be some that land in the playoffs because of what another team does. The difference between who wins or loses could be one play of ever one player. Without further ado, here are the General Proclamations for Week 16 in the NFL.

San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders

  1. The Oakland Raiders took a loss last week, but they stuck around with the Green Bay Packers. Thanks to quarterback Derek Carr, they will be in this game from the jump as well. Expect Carr to have at least 300 yards passing and at least two touchdowns.
  2. The Chargers got an emotional win last week in what some expect to be their last game in San Diego. Look for them to have an emotional letdown this week, as they score 17 points or under versus the Raiders defense.
  3. There will be a fight in the stands between Raiders fans and Chargers fans. Both are repping California and if these fans get rowdy like Raiders fans do when they see 49ers fans, then this may not be a pleasant experience for those that are not involved.

Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles

  1. The Redskins have been getting consistent offensive play as of late from quarterback Kirk Cousins. Well, look for him to take a make some shots in this one as well. Expect him to have at least 250 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
  2. The Eagles have been inconstant all season. And in this game, they have a chance to strike back against the Redskins. Unfortunately for them, they will be mentally exhausted coming into this one and it will cost them.
  3. The Redskins will have at least three sacks in this one. It seems like they have not had any consistent pressure on the opposing quarterbacks. That must change for Washington as I have an idea.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens

  1. The Steelers showed the Broncos Lethal Weapon 3 with their wide receiver corps. In this one, the Ravens better put on their track shoes. Big Ben will throw for over 315 yards two touchdowns.
  2. The Ravens are depleted offensively and that is not good going up against the Steelers. Look for the Ravens’ offense to have at least two turnovers against Pittsburgh.
  3. The Ravens will score less than 14 points in this game. There is simply nothing there that scares the Pittsburgh defense.

Dallas Cowboys at Buffalo Bills

  1. The Bills and Cowboys are essentially done when it comes to the playoffs. So all bets are off as to what will happen. But one thing we can look forward to seeing is Dallas quarterback Kellen Moore throwing at least two interceptions.
  2. The Bills offense has been in good hands this season under quarterback Tyrod Taylor. In this one, look for him to throw for over 200 yards and run for a little under 100 yards.
  3. The Bills and Cowboys will combine to score around 40 points.

Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  1. The Bucs were looking solid until last week’s game versus the Rams. In this one, look for them to get back to having some success and that will start with the running game. Doug Martin will run for 150 yards and one touchdown in this game.
  2. The Bears have had success this season when throwing the football in the direction of wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey. In this one, look for the Bears to throw his way early and often to the tune of 7 receptions for at least 115 yards and one touchdown.
  3. The winner of this game will win by at least 15 points. Both of these teams have not shown consistency when coming from behind.

San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions

  1. The Lions have been playing a lot harder since they made their changes organizationally and coaching-wise. And in this one, look for their defense to have a good game to the tune of at least one interception and holding the 49ers to under 250 yards of offense.
  2. Linebacker NaVarro Bowman has been very good for the 49ers this year. Expect that to continue in this one, as he will have double-digit tackles in this one, including a tackle for loss.
  3. The Lions will be out to at least a 14 point lead at the end of the first half. The Niners have shown a propensity for getting down big at halftime recently and there is no indication that trend will be changing anytime soon.

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons

  1. Roddy White had something to say about Panthers cornerback Josh Norman this week. The veteran wide receiver spoke on Norman and it was not glowingly at all. Well, Norman paid attention and responded, but let’s not look for White to respond on the field. Roddy will not have three receptions and he will not have over 30 yards at all.
  2. The Panthers have been making it happen all year long in different fashions. But in this one, look for the Panthers’ defense to come out strong in this one. They will not allow the Falcons to score over 14 points.
  3. The Panthers have got a career year out of wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. In this one, look for him to have another two touchdown catches and go for over 100 yards receiving again. He and Cam Newton have been special through the air this year.

Indianapolis Colts at Miami Dolphins

  1. The Colts’ season is on the brink, as they have fallen out of first place in their division and there is no guarantee they will recapture it from the Texans. In this one, expect them to play desperate, especially offensively. Look for them to put up at least 25 points on offense this week.
  2. The Dolphins looked sad last week versus the Chargers. One of their major things that has hurt them is not giving the football to running back Lamar Miler. In this game, look for him to get at least 20 carries to get a good lather going.
  3. The Dolphins have been horrible in stopping the run this season. Look for that to continue as veteran running back Frank Gore goes for at least 100 yards rushing against the Miami defense.

New England Patriots at New York Jets

  1. The Patriots have been making it happen despite losing pieces week after week. Look for Brady to make it happen again this week with the running game. Brandon Bolden will get at least 100 yards rushing against the Jets.
  2. The Jets have been efficient offensively this season and that comes directly from the quarterback play of Ryan Fitzpatrick. In this one, look for him to have a good game to the tune of 250 yards passing and 2 touchdown passes.
  3. Expect this game to go down to the wire between these two, as the Jets have gotten better since their last meeting.

Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans

  1. Marcus Mariota will not be playing in this game. With him out, Zach Mettenberger will get the start. And like usual, he will be a statue back there for the Texans to topple. Expect them to get at least five sacks of Mettenberger in this game.
  2. The Titans may have had issues offensively this year, but they have not been bad defensively. Look for them to get at least four sacks of their own against Houston and quarterback Brandon Weeden.
  3. This game has the potential to be ugly. And by ugly, I mean a low-scoring bore of a game. Get other activities ready during this one. It could be more boring than watching grass grow.

Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs

  1. The Browns have been letting Johnny Manziel start at quarterback. The premise is they have to see what they have. And against the Chiefs, they will see what they don’t have. Manziel will throw at least two interceptions and will fumble the football once.
  2. Kansas City has been rolling, but this one will be a little tougher for one reason or another. Look for them to have struggle to reach 20 points in this game.
  3. The Chiefs will go back to being the Chiefs in this one. They will not have a touchdown scored by a wide receiver in this game.

Jacksonville Jaguars at New Orleans Saints

  1. The Jaguars lost a close one to the Falcons last week. But in this one, expect them to play a little better offensively. The tandem of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns at wide receiver along with quarterback Blake Bortles will have the Saints putting up at least 30 points in this game.
  2. The Saints offense may have some issues this week with Brees reportedly having a foot injury. Look for the running game to be given more chances. But even with that, the Saints will not rush for more than 150 yards.
  3. The Saints will get booed this week at home. This game has the potential to get ugly for them and it just might do so by halftime.

Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals

  1. The Packers have been sporadic for the most part this last few games. Expect them to be inconsistent again this week, as the Cardinals’ defensive line will be hard for the Packers’ offense to handle.4
  2. The Cardinals’ offense has been dynamic this season with the multitude of weapons they have. Look for their newest weapon, running back David Johnson, to take center stage yet again. Twenty touches for 150 total yards and one touchdown is not out of the question for him in this one.
  3. The Cardinals will be missing safety Tyrann Mathieu. And although the Cardinals’ secondary is still tough without him, they will get hit up by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for a big play.

St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks

  1. The Seattle Seahawks played the Rams in the first game of the season and they were beaten in overtime. The Seahawks have gotten things back on track as a team but they can still be susceptible to the running game. Look for Todd Gurley to get at least 100 yards rushing and one touchdown.
  2. Russell Wilson has been on fire, throwing touchdowns right and left. In this one, look for him to throw at least four touchdowns while not throwing an interception.
  3. The Seahawks defense will show a little glimpse of the past in this game, but that flicker will go away pretty quickly. Look for the Seahawks to give up at least 20 points in this one.

New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings

  1. The Vikings have been an interesting team this year. They have played good against the bad teams and been inconsistent against the good teams. Look for them to play well against New York, putting up at least 30 points against the New York secondary.
  2. The Giants will be without star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. following his suspension for an incident last week. With him gone, look for the Giants to find their one mismatch they have on the field, tight end Will Tye. The young tight end has shown his ability to make plays and catches and will do so in this game to the tune of 5 receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown.
  3. The Vikings and Giants will both have at least two turnovers in this game. More than likely it will be chilly in this one. And the cold weather tends to produce a slippery football.

Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos

  1. The Broncos played well in the first half week and disappeared in the second half. The Bengals were paying attention and will bring pressure all game, trying to confuse Brock Osweiler. And in this one, they will also confuse the Denver offensive line to the tune of 4 sacks.
  2. The Bengals stalled a little out of the blocks but recovered enough to win against the hapless San Francisco 49ers. But in this one, if they stumble, this one will not end well. The Broncos’ defense is for real and will be holding this offense to 16 points or less.
  3. The winner of this game will not score more than two touchdowns. Both defenses are tough and will give each offense fits all game long.

This completes the General’s Proclamations for Week 16 in the NFL. It should be a fun week to watch some NFL action.

For more sports talk, feel free to follow me on Twitter or check me out on Facebook.

The General’s NFL Proclamations-Week 15

(photo courtesy of Getty Images)

(photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Week 15 is upon us and that means there is three weeks for teams to show what they are made of. A few divisions are already sewed up, but others are still wide open. These next three games will go a long way towards showing who wants to be in the playoffs and who is ready for an offseason vacation. For a lot of these teams, the games are division games, which mean a lot. And for others, there is a chance to make a powerful statement. Without further ado, here are the General’s Proclamations for Week 15 in the NFL.

Tampa Bay at St. Louis

  1. Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston is on the big stage for once this season. And many will get a chance to see what he can do. Look for him to throw for at least 250 yards with one touchdown throwing and running.
  2. The St. Louis Rams have been good when Todd Gurley has been running the ball effectively. Look for him to get it going I this game to the tune of 125 yards and one touchdown.
  3. Tampa Bay and St. Louis have not exactly been lighting it up on the scoreboard this year. Look for both of them to score under 25 point in this game.

New York Jets at Dallas Cowboys

  1. The Jets have been riding high under the quarterback play of Ryan Fitzpatrick. In this one, look for him to have fun at Jerry’s playhouse with at least 300 yards passing and two touchdown passes.
  2. Wide receiver Dez Bryant is the next contestant on Revis Island. This season, Revis Island has not been has treacherous this season, but neither has Bryant. Expect Dez to end up with 3 receptions and less than 40 yards receiving.
  3. The Dallas defense was dominating last year. But this year it has not been the same. Expect them to give up at least 450 yards in total offense. Amazing how things can change in one year.

Carolina Panthers at New York Giants

  1. Carolina has been rolling behind the star power of Cam Newton offensively. In this game, his eyes must have lit up seeing the Giants secondary. Look for Newton to have at least four touchdown passes in this game. And of course, there will be four souvenirs for some lucky kids in the stands.
  2. The Giants offense will have to keep the Panthers in this one. And if the Saints proved anything, it’s that the Panthers can be scored upon. Of course the main weapon the Giants will try to use is Odell Beckham Jr. He and Josh Norman should be a good one. But expect Norman to continue to shine bright when he is matched up with Norman, holding Beckham to only two catches on him. The Giants will have to scheme to get Beckham Jr some good matchups this week.
  3. The Panthers defense will score a touchdown this week. Eli and the Giants offense have been known to give up some turnovers and this defense is one that will make them pay.

Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots

  1. The Patriots lost running back LeGarrette Blount for the year with a hip injury. But this just opens an opportunity for running back Brandon Bolden to step up. Expect Bolden to have 40 yards receiving and at least 60 yards rushing.
  2. The Titans have had one consistent offensive player this season: tight end Delanie Walker. Look for the veteran tight end to have at least five catches for 90 yards and a touchdown.
  3. Tom Brady has to be licking his chops looking at this defensive secondary. And with tight end Rob Gronkowski back, look for the future Hall Of Fame quarterback to throw for four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Buffalo Bills at Washington Redskins

  1. Buffalo has been inconsistently showing up offensively. They lost in an emotional game last week in Philly. But in this one, they will put up at least 30 points.
  2. The Redskins have one of the most dangerous weapons on the field in wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Look for him to get loose one time and score a touchdown from at least 50 yards out.
  3. The Redskins finally won a road game last week and showed some toughness doing so. Look for Washington to come out lackadaisical in this one and let the Bills get out to a big lead.

Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens

  1. The Chiefs have been on fire and have even scored touchdowns with their wide receivers this year. Look for Alex Smith to throw two touchdowns to two different wide receivers in this game.
  2. The Ravens have been struggling this season and have lots of injuries as well. Look for them to continue to struggle and not even put up 13 points.
  3. The Chiefs have been solid without their starting running back, Jamaal Charles. But the running game has continued to be solid. Look for not one of the running back crew in Kansas City to stand alone. But look for them to combine for at least 150 yards rushing.

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts

  1. Houston defensive lineman JJ Watt has been having to do things for himself this year mostly. He needs someone to step up and take some pressure off him. Jadeveon Clowney stepped up last week and made a little noise. Look for him to continue to build upon that game last week in this one with one sack, three tackles and one tackle for loss.
  2. The Colts are reeling after big loss to Jacksonville last weekend. In this one, they will not give up 50, but they will give up at least 28 points in this one versus Houston.
  3. Andrew Lucks is expected to be out again and Matt Hasselbeck will be the starter once again. Look for him to have a solid game with one touchdown pass along with 225 yards throwing. But he will have one crucial mistake due to the pressure that Houston will bring.

Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars

  1. Jacksonville has a talented duo at wide receiver in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. These two guys can cause serious damage. And in this one, look for both to go over 100 yards receiving and have a touchdown apiece.
  2. Quarterback Matt Ryan has been struggling the last six weeks. Look for his struggles to continue versus Jacksonville, as he will throw two touchdowns, but have at least two interceptions.
  3. The Jaguars will put up at least 38 points in this game. It seems like quarterback Blake Bortles and crew have it going offensively and this game will be an extension of the last one in which they scored 51 points.

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings

  1. The Bears almost came back and beat the Redskins at home last week, but they came up short. Look for them to hang with the Vikings in this one, led by quarterback Jay Cutler, who will throw for 275 yards at least and two touchdowns.
  2. The Vikings need to feed Adrian Peterson this one a lot. And if he is able to get 25 carries, the veteran running back will run for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Minnesota would be smart to feed him as much as possible.
  3. The Bears have been learning defensively all season under new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Look for them to have some hiccups in this one, as they give up at least 30 points.

Green Bay Packers at Oakland Raiders

  1. The Green Bay Packers got their running game back last week with running back Eddie Lacy. Look for them to continue to feed him this week and Lacy will continue to pay them back. Lacy will get at least 100 yards rushing and a touchdown.
  2. The Raiders have been led defensively by Khalil Mack. He had a monster game in Denver where he had five sacks and in this one, he will be after Rodgers all day long. Look for him to have at least three sacks in this game. The kid has been a monster this season.
  3. Green Bay has a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. But in this one, he will get outperformed by Derek Carr. The younger Carr will throw for more yards and throw for one more touchdown than Rodgers in this one.

Cleveland Browns at Seattle Seahawks

  1. Johnny Manziel was solid at quarterback last week versus the 49ers. But the defense he is facing this week isn’t the 49ers. They are tougher. Look for Manziel to be sacked at least four times and he will throw at least one interception.
  2. The Seahawks offensively have been carried by quarterback Russell Wilson. Look for him to throw for at least three touchdowns in this one as he continues to try and throw his name in the MVP talk.
  3. The Seahawks will put up over 40 points on the Cleveland Browns. There are not many things that Cleveland has going for them. Quite honestly, the best thing going for them is they don’t see Seattle much because that would be cruel and unusual punishment.

Cincinnati Bengals at San Francisco 49ers

  1. The big question this week for the Bengals is how will AJ McCarron do? For those that don’t remember, Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton injured his thumb and is out for the rest of the regular season. In this one, the young quarterback will have a tough time adjusting to starting. He will throw one touchdown pass, but he will also throw at least two interceptions.
  2. The 49ers have been pleasantly surprised by running back Shaun Draughn. Look for him to get at least 70 yards rushing and 30 yards receiving in this one. And he will score at least one touchdown.
  3. Cincinnati will not score over 20 points in this game. The 49ers defense has been tough at home and that trend could continue given the circumstances in this one.

Miami Dolphins at San Diego Chargers

  1. The Chargers have been reeling this season. And this game will continue that slide. The Dolphins will score at least 30 points against San Diego/
  2. San Diego quarterback Phillip Rivers has escaped a lot of criticism over the years. But in this game, he will get some criticism. Look for him to throw two interceptions and not throw for over 215 yards.
  3. This game will not be a fun one to watch. Both team have yet to figure themselves out and it isn’t happening anytime soon for both either.

Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers

  1. The Broncos had a rough one against the Oakland Raiders and in this one it could get ugly for a minute too. Look for the Steelers to get at least three sacks versus the Broncos offensive line.
  2. The Steelers have the best wide receivers corps in the NFL. And the Broncos have the best cornerback tandem in the NFL. Three versus two leaves one guy open in this equation. With that being said, look for third wide receiver Marcus Wheaton to get loose in this one for at least 100 yards and a touchdown.
  3. After this game, there will be rumblings loud that Manning should be the quarterback again in Denver. Osweiler will not play bad, but he will not be outstanding either in this one.

Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles

  1. The Eagles got a gritty win last week. But this game will be tougher than the last one because the Arizona defense is tough. Look for the Eagles to score under 20 points in this game as Arizona’s defense travels to Philly.
  2. Carson Palmer has been solid and some are even giving the veteran quarterback some MVP consideration. In this one, he shows why he has been receiving so much praise with at least 300 yards passing and two touchdowns.
  3. The Cardinals will force a huge turnover late in the game. The Eagles have had moments where they make the big play and they give up the huge turnover. This week the Cardinals deliver the backbreaker to them late.

Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints

  1. Both teams can score. And with that being said, both will have over 30 points in this game.
  2. Quarterback Drew Brees will definitely try and do his thing in this one. He will throw at least two touchdown passes. But he will also toss a key interception.
  3. The Lions have had solid play from quarterback Matt Stafford recently. Look for him to keep it up this week by throwing for no interceptions versus New Orleans.

The General’s Proclamations are in folks. Let’s see how they pan out in this week’s games.

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