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The Denver Defense Takes Over The Super Bowl

(photo courtesy Joe Amon/The Denver Post)

(photo courtesy Joe Amon/The Denver Post)

The Super Bowl was a matchup of the old guard and the new school of quarterbacks in the NFL. We had Cam Newton and the high-scoring Carolina Panthers in one corner and veteran Peyton Manning and the gritty Denver Broncos in the other corner. Both teams had fought through different things to make it to the big game. The Panthers lost their top wide receiver and many did not expect much of them to start the year. And for the Broncos, they had their share of quarterback issues and offensive issues as a whole. But there these two stood, battling for the Lombardi Trophy. In the end, the Broncos were able to prevail over the favored Panthers 24-10. And with that, Peyton Manning now has his second Lombardi Trophy to add to his illustrious career. The Panthers fought hard, but they just did not have enough to make it happen. And for the Broncos, their defense definitely won this game.

The Broncos defense had a tall task: stopping the MVP, Cam Newton. He has been terrorizing defenses all year with his feet and his arm. But in this game, the terror was what he faced in the Denver defense. The Panthers offensive line was not very successful in protecting Newton and that led to him being sacked seven times in this game. The main guy who was after Newton all game was pass-rusher supreme Von Miller. The free-agent-to-be and MVP of the game was all over the field and on Cam’s heels all night long. He had a total of 2.5 sacks Sunday night. The pressure on Cam was the most he had seen all season long. And the hits that he took just kept coming all night long. That led to him not having much time to hit any of his wide receivers down field and having to throw away more passes than he had all season long. Because of the disrupting of the passing game by the Denver pressure packages, the Panthers looked disjointed in the passing game and Cam never seemed to get comfortable in the pocket. And when he scrambled, Cam had a few runs of note, but he had the clamps put on him for most of the night.

Coming into this game, the Panthers were the team that was known for forcing turnovers. They had the best turnover ratio in the NFL coming into this game. But in the Super Bowl, the Broncos defense turned the tide. The Broncos forced three turnovers in this game. And the Panthers, they were only able to force three turnovers. Usually the turnovers the Panthers force end up in points. But in this game, they were not able to take those turnovers and convert them at all, as the Denver defense was stingy all night long. The Denver defense, however, forced two big turnovers that led to their two touchdowns. The first big turnover they forced came when the Von Miller sacked Cam Newton. Miller was able to strip Newton on the play and then the Broncos recovered the ball in the endzone for a touchdown. And the other huge turnover was when they were up 16-10 and Carolina had the ball, needing a touchdown and extra point to take the lead. Von Miller again striped Cam Newton of the ball while rushing the passer. That turnover led to the game-clinching touchdown that would seal the game. Those 14 points the Broncos defense helped either score or setup were the difference in the game tonight and helped them hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

Another huge key in this game was the running game. Coming in, the Carolina Panthers were the team that was used to having a consistent running game. With Cam Newton being able to run and Jonathan Stewart running the ball very solid coming into the game, it was thought the Broncos could be the team to have the issue running the football. But the Panthers were never really able to get their running game going. Newton ended up with 45 yards on six carries, but Jonathan Stewart was missing in action all night long. The veteran running back out of Oregon had one big run of 12 yards in this game. But other than that, he had only eleven carries for 17 yards and a touchdown. With the running game never getting started, the Panthers had to depend on the passing game. And if anyone has watched the Panthers play this year, they are not a team that typically depends on the passing game to get them going. Besides their veteran tight end Greg Olsen, the Panthers had a pedestrian receiving corps. In this game, their dropped passes finally caught up to them. And add to that some errant passes from Cam and the passing game was stuck in neutral as well.

Peyton Manning may be retiring after this game and riding off into the sunset as a two-time title and arguably the greatest of all-time. But the Denver Broncos did not win this championship because of his stellar play. They won this game on the strength of their defense. And from the beginning of the season to now, their defense carried the offense on their collective backs. It’s only fitting that the final game of the season was a defensive masterpiece.

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The General’s NFL Proclamations-Super Bowl Special

(photo courtesy Associated Press)

(photo courtesy Associated Press)

It all comes down to one game. Two teams, the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos, have fought hard to make their way to the Super Bowl. One was expected to be a contender from the beginning of the season. The other was not expected to even win six games. But now both are in Santa Clara, California getting ready to try and win the biggest football game in their professional careers. One will achieve that goal while the other will take in the bitter feeling of defeat on the NFL’s biggest stage. Which one will be taking that loss and more in the final installment of the General’s NFL proclamations coming right now!

Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers

  1. The Panthers are very heavy run-oriented and the Broncos stop the run very well. One of these strengths are going to have to give. The feather in the cap Carolina has is Cam Newton running the football. And with that being said, the Panthers will have 125 yards total on the ground, with Cam acquiring at least two first downs and 50 yards rushing. And just for good measure, let’s add in a touchdown for him as well.
  2. The Broncos have to get their running game going. And in doing so, they will be trying to run against a stingy defense as well. But unfortunately, the Broncos have not been as successful as the Panthers’ offensive line. In this one, look for the running game of the Broncos to not gain over 80 yards rushing.
  3. Cornerbacks Josh Norman and Aqib Talib have played very well for the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos respectively. Talib will have his own issues to deal with, but Norman has two really good receivers he will get some time against in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. He will not be able to guard both, but he can affect both of them. Look for him to hold whoever he checks defensively to 4 receptions for 70 yards at the least.
  4. The Denver pass rushing duo of Von Miller and Demarcus Ware can cause havoc on opposing offenses. And every game they have played in together, they both have had an impact on the game. Well in this one, they will have their chances. Of course it will be hard for them to get Cam down. But they will get there at least once to get Newton.
  5. Peyton Manning versus Cam Newton has been the story for most of the week leading up to the Super Bowl. Many have wondered which one will have the better game. Well, both will have an interesting one in this game. Both will have at least one turnover and there will be one play made by one quarterback that will be the difference in the game.

Prediction: The Panthers come in riding high off their two big wins in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Broncos were able to hang on and win two big game to get to the big stage. Both teams need the running game to be effective and both defenses stop the run very well. Eventually, the playmaking of Cam overcomes the nasty defense of the Panthers. And through the air and on the ground, Cam makes the plays for the Panthers to win the game. And although Peyton will come out and play well for a while, he will not be able to keep up the pace for the entire game. The Panthers win their first ever Super Bowl title and it will be a close one. Carolina 27, Denver 21

The Carolina Panthers are Dabbin’ all the way back to Charlotte with the Lombardi Trophy.

(photo courtesy USA Today)

(photo courtesy USA Today)

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Five Factors For Denver To Win The Super Bowl

(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

The Denver Broncos are where not many thought they could be. After their big start to the season, they struggled offensively and Peyton Manning was hurt. At that point, many had lost faith that could get it right. But during the postseason, they have made it happen and will be representing the AFC in the Super Bowl. Their opponent in the Super Bowl, the Carolina Panthers, will present a formidable challenge. If they are to win, they will definitely have to play outstanding in all aspects. But it isn’t impossible for them to win this one. After all, the games aren’t won just off matchups alone. Here are a few things that could swing the game in their favor.

  1. Running game consistency

The Denver Broncos are facing a stingy run defense in the Carolina Panthers. Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis are two linebackers that can cause any offense problems. The offensive line of the Broncos will be charged with creating holes for their running backs. If they are able to run the football, then they keep the Panthers’ defense on their heels. But just as key as it is that the Denver offensive line open holes, it will also be important that running backs CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman hit those holes. Because against Carolina, any sliver of daylight they get running the football will close quick. If Denver is not able to run the football, then they will be at the mercy of the Panthers’ defense, who will be able to do whatever they want to.

  1. Paging Demaryius Thomas

Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas got paid this offseason to be one of the best receivers in the NFL. And in the regular season, he played very well (105 receptions for 1,304 yards and six touchdowns). But in the postseason, Thomas has been less than stellar (six receptions for 52 yards). For the Broncos to win, they have to get something from Thomas when in passing situations. They have been able to win without him so far in the postseason, but on the big stage they need all their weapons to play well. Josh Norman will surely defend him a good percentage of the time, but it does not matter. Thomas has to be big and play big.

  1. Put Greg Olsen on a milk carton

The Panthers passing game was something many questioned at the beginning of the year. And to their credit, they answered the bell and have played well as a unit all year. But make no mistake about it, tight end Greg Olsen is Cam Newton’s must trusted weapon in the passing game. The Broncos have to eliminate him from the equation in this one. One way to do so would be for them to use safety TJ Ward on him and maybe play under Olsen with a linebacker. That will be tough to do since they also have to contain quarterback Cam Newton, but it isn’t something that cannot be done. Another option would be to put cornerback Aqib Talib on him some in this game. If they are able to eliminate Olsen, then it puts the onus on the Panthers’ wide receiving crew to make it happen. And although they have been solid all season long, including Ted Ginn Jr having a career year, they are still not generally looked upon as a strong group. If the onus is placed on them, it will be interesting to see how they react.

  1. Third-down proficiency

The Carolina Panthers have been one of the better teams at converting third downs this season, doing so at a 42% clip. On the opposite side, the Broncos are one of the least efficient teams in the NFL on third downs. For the Broncos, a huge factor will be stopping drives and converting to keep drives alive. If the Broncos are able to bring that percentage down from the Panthers while getting theirs up, then that will definitely increase their chances of winning this game versus Carolina. If they don’t, well we know what could happen. And of course that would not be a pretty sight for the many that want Peyton to win what could be his last game.

  1. Contain Cam

Cam Newton has been special this season. He has passed and ran his way all the way to what will be his first MVP award. But in order to win this game, they must be able to contain him. Of course there will be times that he will break contain and make a play in this game. But as long as they are able to keep him in the pocket for majority of the time, their chances increase to win this game. One thing the Broncos may try to do is Mush Rush. In doing so, they may be able to keep Cam in the pocket while hopefully holding up in coverage. The Denver pass rush will be pivotal in this game. And with Von Miller, Demarcus Ware and Derek Wolfe getting after Cam, there will be an interesting battle going on between them and Cam.

The Broncos made it here and they are now getting a chance to make it happen on the big stage. There is no telling when they will be back and if they will ever get back to the Super Bowl. So they have to take advantage of their opportunity. And if they do these five things, then they increase their chances to potentially send Peyton Manning out on a winning note.

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Denver Outlasts New England To Make The Super Bowl

(photo courtesy of Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

(photo courtesy of Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

Denver was considered the underdog going into the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots. People were expecting the Patriots offense to come in and put the Broncos defense on their heels a little bit behind the strength of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. And as for the offense of the Broncos, everyone thought that this could be Peyton’s last game. But little did we know the Broncos would have something for the Patriots in Denver today. The Broncos held Tom Brady in check for most of the game and the offense was just effective enough as the Broncos won the game 20-18 and punched their ticket to the Super Bowl. And just like that, Manning plays on. For the Patriots, a season that started so well ends in the bitter taste of defeat. The Brady versus Manning battle actually proved to be much more than these two Hall of Fame quarterbacks.

The big question all week for the Denver defense was how they would cover the Patriots in the passing game. The Patriots have one weapon that many have trouble covering in the NFL: Rob Gronkowski. The big tight end out of Arizona is a matchup nightmare with his size, speed and soft hands. Coming into this one, the Broncos were aware that he would probably get his. And pairing him with shifty wide receiver Julian Edelman could cause big problems for the Broncos because of all the rub routes and things the Patriots run. But the Broncos counteracted all the things the Patriots do in the passing game with their front four. Brady was constantly under pressure all game long and that was enough to force two interceptions and also 3.5 sacks in this game. It seemed like the Patriots offensive line had no answer for Von Miller, Derek Wolfe and the Broncos front line. And because of that, the timing was off in the passing game for the Patriots. Brady was not able to set his feet in the pocket a lot and was often running for his life. And that resulted in some inaccurate passes along with plenty of passes thrown away to the sidelines. The final drive was something that could have come back to get them, as they let up just a little and let the Patriots have a chance. But in the end, they turned it up one more time and forced Brady into a mistake on the two-point conversion, missing the opportunity to tie the game.

Offensively, the Broncos were not exactly the greatest all season. The running game was inconsistent and the passing game was not very dependable either. Despite people wanting to see Brock Osweiler and thinking Peyton Manning was done, Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak went with the veteran Manning when it mattered the most. And so far, Manning has not disappointed him or the fans of the Broncos. Last week his wide receiver corps had a ton of drops and that almost cost them the game. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas was a disappearing act in this game. And so far for the playoffs, he has only caught six passes for 52 yards and has scored no touchdowns. But when he did not show up, the passing game did not stall. Tight end Owen Daniels may not have put up big numbers, but he was big in the redzone for Manning. He caught two passes all game and both of them were for touchdowns. Manning hit Daniels across the middle off a blown coverage from the Patriots for the first touchdown of the game. And for Daniels second touchdown, Manning hit Daniels in the corner of the endzone, beating Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins. The usage of Daniels was good early in the game and allowed the Broncos to open things up just a little offensively. The Patriots defense would only allow six more points the rest of the gsme. But with how well the Broncos defense was playing along with the running game getting going down the stretch of the game, Denver was able to hold the Patriots off.

The Broncos now go to where some had them at in the beginning of the season: the Super Bowl. And along with that, Peyton has a chance to cap off this season with a championship. If you take a look at the Broncos six weeks ago, no one would have saw this coming. Manning was out injured and Brock Osweiler was starting. And along with that, no one knew what to expect from this team as they tried to hang on and make the playoffs. Amazing how much things can change over a small amount of time. And now the Broncos will move on to the Super Bowl in what could be Manning’s swan song in the NFL. It will be interesting to see what they do on the big stage.

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The General’s NFL Proclamations-Conference Championship Weekend

(photo courtesy of Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports)

(photo courtesy of Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports)

It has now come down to Conference Championship Weekend. Four teams with dreams and aspirations still alive to win the title. In these big games, the pressure will be heavy. The plays that are or are not made could go a long way in determining this one. And this is also one of the games where special players play their best or miss their opportunity. For these four teams, the time is now. There is no tomorrow. Without further ado, here is the General’s Proclamation for Conference Championship Weekend!

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos

  1. The Broncos’ defense was good enough to get it done last week versus a depleted and injured Pittsburgh offense. And good thing they were playing well because the Denver offense was decent at best. They were dropping passes right and left and the running game was inconsistent as it has been. In this one, the offense needs to be better. And with that being said, look for them to at least drop less passes in this game, led by wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who will catch at least five passes for 80 yards and a touchdown, as he shakes off his big-game struggles.
  2. The Patriots looked like themselves offensively because of the return of wide receiver Julian Edelman. The veteran wide receiver can be seen regularly running patterns across the field, constantly getting open. In this game, look for him to have some fun. The Broncos are a team that plays a lot of man-to-man defense and crossing patterns are great for beating that coverage. Look for Edelman to get at least nine receptions for at least 120 yards and one touchdown.
  3. To counteract Tom Brady and his offense, the Broncos will need to mix things up. We all know that Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips does not like to mix up his coverages, but he may be forced to in this one. But no matter what defensive coverage he switches to on the backend, he must get pressure from his front seven. And with that being said, look for the Broncos to get home at least four times, with pass rush specialist DeMarcus Ware getting one that forces a turnover.
  4. Defensively for the Patriots, they will need their linebackers to be good in disguising coverages. If they are not, then that makes it easy for Peyton to figure out what is going on and then attack it (there will probably be tons of “Omaha” calls made). With that being said, look for the Patriots to get Peyton Manning at least once. And by getting him, I mean tricking him into an interception.
  5. Many have talked about this being a Manning vs Brady battle again. But this game is more than that and it speaks to the regression of Peyton Manning. The Broncos ran the ball almost 50% of the time with Peyton on the field and that is unheard of. In this one, they get the lead and force Peyton to have to throw to catch up. And in that situation, that is advantage Patriots. The Patriots win this game 27-17 and we will more than likely be saying goodbye to the Manning vs Brady matchups forever. The Pat

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers

  1. The Panthers started out strong last week against the Seattle Seahawks. They got out to a 31-0 lead and hung on for the win. A big part of that win was them running the football. It is the thing that gets their offense going. Arizona isn’t exactly the easiest team to run against, so this will be a challenge for them. A challenge that has to be answered first by running back Jonathan Stewart. Look for him to have at least 20 carries in this game and around 80 yards rushing with a touchdown.
  2. The Cardinals did not play their best game, but they were able to fight off a feisty Green Bay team in overtime. Carson Palmer did not play like the guy many thought was in the MVP race this year. And in this game against the Panthers, the Cardinals better hope he plays better than last game. In this game, look for him to be more responsible with the football. He will have only one interception in this game.
  3. The matchup of Panthers cornerback Josh Norman versus Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald will be fun to watch. Both play with an electricity and a passion for the game. And although one is more talkative than the other, they both get the job done. I expect Norman will not be on Fitzgerald all game due to the defensive alignment of the Panthers. But when both are matched up on each other, look for Larry to have only one or two receptions on him. Norman got victimized last week and I expect him to come out ready to go in this one. It’s the most important game he has played in.
  4. The one guy that makes a huge difference for this Cardinals defense is linebacker Deone Bucannon. He is an undersized linebacker, being that he was a safety to start the season. But he has played well and helped the Cardinals defense be solid if not spectacular this season. Look for him to get at least 8 tackles in this game as he flies all over the field. But the key thing to watch in this game is how he gets off blocks in the run game, which is huge for the Panthers.
  5. Both teams have running games and both offenses can be explosive in their own way. But the difference in this one will be the quarterback play. Both defenses will be stingy against the run sans a few good runs to make numbers look better. But for Carolina, having Cam Newton at quarterback will eliminate the bad plays and turn them into good gains on the ground and thru the air. The Panthers head to the Super Bowl on the strength of a 30-20 win. The Cardinals had a great run, but this is the end of it in Charlotte.

Both of these games will have some drama in them. And there will be some moments of doubt for both teams. But it’s about which team can overcome the bad plays and make the least mistakes. And with that being said, look for a Panthers/Patriots Super Bowl. The best two teams will be left standing.

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The Denver Broncos Survive A Scrappy Pittsburgh Steelers Team

(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

Going into the Divisional Round, it looked like everything was lining up for the Denver Broncos. They were getting to face a Pittsburgh team that would be without starting running back DeAngelo Williams, wide receiver Antonio Brown and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was playing with a shoulder injury himself. But when the game was actually played on Sunday, the Broncos actually struggled. The defense had some issues with the plethora of weapons the Steelers had at wide receiver and the offense just could not kick it into another gear. But one big play was enough to sway the momentum Denver’s way. Leading 13-12 with a little under 10 minutes left in the game, the Steelers were driving to add to their lead. Steelers’ running back Fitzgerald Toussaint ran the football around the left side of the offensive line on a 2nd and four from the Broncos’ 34 yard line. He seemingly was going to get the first down for the Steelers and move the chains, but Denver’s Bradley Roby made a fantastic play to turn the tide. Roby fought off a block from Pittsburgh wide receiver Darius Heyward-Bey to hit Toussaint and dislodge the football. The result was a fumble recovery by the Broncos. Denver would turn that turnover and drive down the field for a touchdown. The Broncos added a two-point conversion on top of the touchdown as the Broncos took a lead they would never relinquish. The final score was 23-16 and with that, the Broncos are headed to the Conference championship game to play the New England Patriots.

The Broncos were solid defensively in spurts in this game. The one interesting move they made in this one was backing off their cornerbacks to start the game. Denver defensive coordinator Wade Phillips remembered how Ben Roethlisberger torched them in the second half of their regular season matchup when they played tight man-to-man coverage and wanted to switch it up. The changeup Phillips threw out there was inconsistent in its effectiveness. The Steelers were able to give the Broncos more issues because they had more space to operate in. The Broncos defense eventually mixed up how they were going to line up during the game and that essentially helped them win the football game. The mixup of coverages helped the Broncos get pressure on Big Ben down the stretch. You could notice as the game went on, Big Ben was trying to find people that were breaking open down the field. Part of the sack issue falls on Big Ben because he held the ball waiting on his receivers to get open. But you have to give credit where credit is due. The pressure they are able to create can come from any angle and when the coverages are mixed up, that gives that Denver defensive front more time to get to the quarterback. And with the likes of Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware and Derek Wolfe up front, that can give any quarterback nightmares. They sure gave Big Ben fits when they got to him.

Offensively, it was a grind for the Broncos in this one. They just could not get it going the way they wanted to. Part of the reason they could not do so was the running game. With Gary Kubiak there as head coach, the emphasis on the stretch run game was brought in. And over the season, they have had times where the running game was effective and times where it was non-existent. In this game, the running game was just like it was all season. It showed up at times and at other times, it disappeared. But on the lead-taking drive in the fourth after the turnover, the combination of Ronnie Hillman and CJ Anderson came through for Denver. They totaled 31 yards together on that drive and Anderson finished the drive with a 1 yard plunge. These two may not be consistent, but they were enough of a threat in the second half that it gave the Denver offense some sort of threat to help the passing game. The other thing that kept the Denver offense sputtering was the drops they had. They had the Pittsburgh defense beat numerous times. And if they would have caught the basketball, then they would have done much more damage with the passing game. But Manning was not getting much help from his receivers and it nearly cost them the game. Usually in the cold-weather games, it falls on Manning and his performance in the eyes of many. But in this one, he still went 21/37 despite the numerous drops that hit wide receivers square in their hands. The Denver receivers would have gotten a lot of unwanted attention for how bad they were if it would not have been for the big catch by wide receiver Bennie Fowler on the lead-taking drive for 31 yards.

The Denver Broncos now move on and welcome the New England Patriots to Denver next season. And once again, we will hear the Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning talk. But for Denver, it’s about much more than stopping Tom Brady. They have to clean up the offense and defense for them to make it where they want to go. It will be interesting to see what adjustments they make to try and keep up with the Patriots.

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The General’s NFL Proclamations-Divisional Round

(photo courtesy of Associated Press)

(photo courtesy of Associated Press)

The Wild Card Weekend was indeed wild. We had a missed kick to win the game, a team lose their cool down the stretch, a team pulled a no-show and one team that ran out of steam. And just when you thought it could not get any better, here come the Divisional Rounds of the playoffs. We have some great matchups. In the NFC, we have two rematches. In the AFC, there is one repeat matchup and there also the hottest team in the NFL going against a banged-up Patriots’ team. This weekend, you can look for some unpredictable and mind-boggling plays. Welcome to the General Proclamations for the Divisional Rounds.

Kansas City at New England

  1. Alex Smith was solid versus the Houston Texans last game and that was all because of tight end Travis Kelce. Eight of Smith’s seventeen completions went to Kelce last week. Look for the Patriots to make him a focus. And because of that, he will not have more than 4 receptions in this one and no more than 40 yards receiving with no touchdowns.
  2. For New England, Tom Brady has two weapons that are limping into this one. Both tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman are both questionable coming into this one. But that means another guy has to step up. Wide receiver Brandon LaFell has had drop issues, but he has an opportunity to step up and make some plays. With so much attention to Edelman and Gronkowski, look for LaFell to have at least 5 receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown.
  3. The Chiefs have a star in defensive back Marcus Peters. The rookie quickly struck fear in opposing teams with his propensity to make big plays. And in this one, he will definitely make one big play. Look for him to pick off Tom Brady in a crucial part of the game.
  4. The Patriots are the walking wounded in this game and the Chiefs are not doing much better. In this battle of attrition, look for the Patriots to survive by the skin of their teeth, 22-17.

Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals

  1. The Packers were destroyed in Week 16 when they visited Arizona last time. Their offensive line was completely destroyed in the last game. In this one, it would be a logical conclusion to think Aaron Rodgers would be spending time looking up at the lights of University of Phoenix Stadium. But he will get sacked less in this game mainly because of the adjustments of Mike McCarthy. Look for the Cardinals to get to him, but only get to him roughly three times.
  2. The Packers also struggled defensively last time when they played the Cardinals. Their cornerbacks were exposed versus the wide array of weapons the Cardinals have on offense. Look for them to equip themselves better, but veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald will still have himself a game. Look for Fitzgerald to have at least 6 receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown.
  3. The running game for both teams will be paramount. For the Cardinals, they have rookie David Johnson leading the charge. For the Packers, they have a tandem of Eddie Lacy and James Starks with wide receiver Randall Cobb sprinkled in there some. Needless to say, the running could be rough for both teams. Look for both team to not get over 100 yards rushing in this one.
  4. The Packers looked like they found their rhythm last week versus the Washington Redskins. But of course, the Cardinals are a different breed of defense than they faced last week. Look for a closer game, but the Packers will still taste defeat. Cardinals win 27-17.

Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers

  1. The Seahawks offense was dormant for almost all the game last week versus the Vikings last week. The biggest thing that held them dormant was the lack of a consistent running game. With Marshawn Lynch apparently ready to go in this one, the threat of the running game increases and will help loosen things up for Russell Wilson. Look for him to throw for at least 250 yards and two touchdowns in this game. But don’t get too confident Russell and test Josh Norman. That would not end well.
  2. The Panthers have been relaxing, waiting to see who they were going to play. In playing the Seahawks, they face a team that is as physical as they are. And in that, the running game will be slowed down. Look for Cam Newton to supplement the running game with his running in this one, making plays out of no plays when Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett are bearing down on him. He will get at least 4 first downs with his feet in this one and run for at least 70 yards.
  3. Both defenses are aggressive, fast and physical. And both of them like to get to the quarterback. But sacking both of these quarterbacks is no easy task. Expect Russell and Cam to both be sacked only two times apiece. But of course the pressure will be on them both all game long.
  4. This one will be a physical ballgame with big plays made on both sides of the ball. But in the end, the Panthers will make more and behind the strength of Super Cam, the Panthers will march on to the Conference Championship Game, 23-17.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos

  1. The Steelers offense is the walking wounded coming into this one. Running back DeAngelo Williams will be sitting out a second game in the playoffs due to a foot injury. Wide receiver Antonio Brown is out, still recovering from a concussion suffered in last week’s win versus the Bengals. And quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is scheduled to play despite a couple injuries to his shoulder. But even in that, the Steelers still have weapons. Look for wide receiver Martavis Bryant to step up and be the man in this one. He will have at least one touchdown and have 100 yards receiving. He has accepted the challenge that Big Ben laid down for him to start the postseason. The Denver defense is tough, but Bryant can be a special player.
  2. The Broncos have decided to go with Peyton Manning at quarterback after the comeback he engineered in the season finale versus the San Diego Chargers in a relief role. It seems that people have hope that Peyton will lead this team to the win this week. But in this game, the running back tandem of Ronnie Hillman and CJ Anderson will be the barometer. Look for both to try and run the ball in this one, but not combine for over 100 yards rushing.
  3. The big matchup in this game for the Pittsburgh defense will be their secondary versus Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. But that matchup will not be decided by the wide receivers and secondary. The offensive line of the Broncos versus the Pittsburgh front seven will be the matchup to determine how the passing game attacks the Steelers. Look for the Steelers front seven to put some stress on the Denver offensive line. The Steelers will get at least three sacks in this one and cause some problems for Manning and his receiving threats.
  4. The Broncos are at home, but the Steelers are tough and battle-challenged. Roethlisberger is injured, but he seems to play better when he is injured, like Rocky used to fight better in his movies when he was getting pummeled. This one will come down to the wire, but the Broncos will succumb to the Steelers 20-17 in clutch fashion.

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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 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.

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