New York Giants vs Buffalo Bills, 8/20/16 – Preseason Prediction and Pick

New York Giants vs Buffalo Bills

When: 4:00 PM ET, Saturday August 20, 2016

Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

Lines: Buffalo -2.5

Total: 40

Saturday afternoon preseason football action and the New York Giants will battle the Buffalo Bills from Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park. The Giants enter this game off a 27-10 loss to Miami, while the Bills come in off a tough 19-18 loss at the hands of the Colts.

Where Is The Passing Game?

The Giants fell 27-10 in their opener vs the Miami and it was not a good game all around for them as they had their struggles on both sides of the ball. Let’s start with the offense. The passing game was horrendous. Eli Manning didn’t play at all in the game and that left Ryan Nassib and Logan Thomas as the signal callers in the game and they didn’t perform well at all. Nassib was 7/15 for 75 yards, while Thomas was just 2/3 for 12 yards. Not good at all. Manning is expected to play in this game, but not much and if he goes down this year then the giants will be in real trouble as they have shown already that they don’t have a solid backup. Also not in the line for the Giants was Victor Cruz and he will miss this game as well. Rookie Sterling Shepard had a solid debut as he caught four passes for 24 yards to lead the team. He is expected to be on the field plenty this year with Victor Cruz, which will give the Giants a strong aerial attack, especially with Manning at QB.

The running game has been average at best the last few years, but they did total 158 yards on 32 carries vs the Dolphins. They had to run as they couldn’t throw the ball at all. Leading the way was Andre Williams, who had 41 yards on nine carries, while rookie Paul Perkins had 36 yards on seven carries. He is a player to watch for the Giants and could get plenty of time on the field this year. The offensive line depth is a concern for the Giants so look for them to work on that the rest of the preseason. The defense allowed just 192 yards through the air and they had four sacks in the game, but Miami also connected on 20 or 29 passes in the game, which is good for 69% passing. Not good at all and must be addressed. Rookie B.J. Goodson had a solid opener as he led the team with six tackles. Look for him to get plenty of time in this one and during the regular season as he really looks like an impact player.

Bills Come Up Just A Bit Short Vs The Colts

Yes it’s preseason football, but still any player hates to lose a game, especially one they had a real chance to win. The Bills led the Colts 12-9 as the teams headed to the 4th quarter, but the colts scored the first 10 points of the 4th to take an 19-12 lead. Buffalo then got a four yard TD pass from Cardale Jones to Jarrett Boykin to make the score 19-18 as time expired. Buffalo then missed the two-point conversion and that’s the way the game ended. Very tough loss in a game that was hard fought throughout from both teams. On offense the Bills put up 372 yards of total offense and were led by rookie QB Cardale Jones, who had a great debut as he was 11/21 for 162 yards and a TD, plus he ran for another 34 yards. He has all the tools to make it in the NFL, but for now is playing for a backup role. EJ Manuel was 10/18 for 92 yards in the game and he had a TD as well. Those two will continue to battle for the backup role behind Tyrod Taylor, who was one of the bright spots for the Bills last year and just signed a six year extension with the team.

The Running game had a good showing with 126 yards overall and was led by rookie Jonathan Williams, who had 44 yards on just eight carries, while Walter Powell lead all receivers with 88 yards on just four catches. The defense for the Bills struggled some vs the pass as they allowed the Colts to throw for 244 yards, while not recording a sack in the game. The defense is dealing with injuries to rookies Shaq Lawson (1st round pick, DE) and Reggie Ragland (2nd round, LB), plus they will be without star defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, who just received a 4-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy, so they are a bit short-handed. Still the front seven was excellent in the loss to the Colts as they allowed just 30 yards on 23 carries in the game. Rex Ryan states that even with the injuries and suspension that the Bills defense will be improved over last year’s team that allowed 22 ppg and 356 ypg. Stay tuned.

Trends

New York is:

  • The Under is 0-4 in their last four games during week two of the preseason

Buffalo is:

  • The Under is 12-5 their last 17 home games

The Under is the play in this game. Neither team has strong offenses, especially the Giants who will struggle to score once Eli Manning is out of there. The defense were not great, but both teams do have solid players on that side of the ball that are looking for playing time and I see both teams have better play in this one. The teams may score a TD or two with the first team offenses in there, but both will struggle to score once the backups come in. Mid-30s at most in this one.   

Pick: Under 40

Jets vs. Redskins, 8/19/16 – Free Preseason Prediction

New York Jets vs Washington Redskins

When: 7:30 PM ET, Friday, August 19, 2016

Where: FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland

Lines: Washington -3.5

Total: 40

NFL Preseason football action this evening and the New York Jets will do battle with the Washington Redskins from FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. The Jets enter this contest off a 17-13 win over the Jaguars, while the Redskins took a 23-17 loss at the hands of the Falcons.

Pass Defense Struggles In Win Over The Jaguars

The New York Jets have normally been known for playing solid defense and while they did hold the Jaguars to just 13 points in the games, they also allowed them to throw for 319 yards as well. Last year the Jets allowed just 319 ypg total between rushing and passing. The pass defense allowed just Jags to hit 68.7% of their passes, but the Jets did stiffen in the Red Zone as the Jags converted on just one of their four chances inside the 20. Bend-but-don’t break defense at it’s best. Still the Jets have to be concerned about how their pass defense played overall vs a pretty weak Jaguars pass offense. Fourth round pick DB Juston Burris did extended reps and will so again in this game, but he must show better coverage skills as must as must Dee Milliner, who struggled in covering Allen Robinson, who had three grabs for 80 yards.

On offense, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick started the game and was 3/4 for 72 yards, and while Bryce Petty and Geno Smith did throw for a combined 172 yards, they were also just 15 for 28 in the game which is just 53.4%. Geno Smith did throw a TD in the game. Leading the receiving corps was Quincy Enunwa, who had 315 yards receiving all of late year, but had 69 yards vs the Jags. He should continue to see more time as he looks to develop into a solid receiver. The running game was weak and was led by Robert Morris, who had just 27 yards on 11 carries. The offensive line struggled and they don’t have great depth, so look for some intense battles from that crew. Jalin Marshall had a solid game as a returner and he gives the Jets a home run threat in the return game that they haven’t had in a long time.

Offense Struggles In Loss To The Falcons

The Washington Redskins averaged a decent 24 ppg and 355 yag last year, but in game one of the preseason vs Atlanta they could muster just 17 points and 234 yards of total offense. Not good at all. Kirk Cousins did hit all five of his passes when he was in there for 39 yards, but Nate Sudfeld and Colt McCoy could only combine for 142 yards the rest of the way. The latter two combined to get sacked three times and the Skins as a team finished with just 155 yards passing. Last year they averaged 257 ypg through the air. It’s clear that they will need Cousins in their for the offense to be successful. Still in this game you will see a lot of Sudfeld and McCoy as the two battle for the backup QB spot. The run game is a cause of concern for the Skins as well. This used to be a team with a powerful ground attack, but last year they averaged just 98 ypg and the year before just 106 ypg. In game one it hasn’t changed as they put up just 79 yards on the ground and were led by Robert Kelly, who had 40 yards on seven carries, which really isn’t that bad for him, but the rest of the squad could put up just 39 yards on 17 combined carries.

Rookie WR and first round draft pick Josh Doctson is currently on the PUP list and while his workload did increase in practice this week, there is still no timetable for his return. Rashad Ross had just 184 yards receiving all of last year, but he led the Skins with 49 in the loss to the Falcons. The bottom line for Washington is that they really need their run game to improve, which will take plenty of pressure off the passing game, but working on the run game vs this Jets defense will not be easy. On defense the Skins allowed the Falcons 359 yards of total offense, including 280 through the air, but they did have a bright spot on that side of the ball and that was the play of 2nd round pick OLB Su’A Cravens, who only had three tackles in the game, but he really showed that he is an impact player on both defense and special teams. Look for him to continue to get time on the field.

Trends

New York is:

  • The Under is 4-1 in their last five games overall

Washington is:

  • The Under is 4-0 their last four games vs the AFC East
  • The Under is 3-0 their last three games on Friday night

The Under is the play here. Both teams really struggled in pass defense in week one, but both offenses don’t have strong passing game and both teams really need to work on sluggish ground attacks. That should help keep the clock a rolling. Both defense were solid against the run in week one and that should also create some long yardage situations for some young backups, which they will not be ready to handle. Look for a total of 34 points at most in this one.

Pick: Under 40

Chicago Bears vs. New England Patriots, 8/18/16 – Preseason Prediction

Chicago Bears vs New England Patriots

When: 8:00 PM ET, Thursday August 18, 2016

Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

Lines: New England -3.5

Total: 40.5

Preseason Week Two gets underway on Thursday night when the Chicago Bears will pay a visit to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts to do battle with the New England Patriots. The Bears enter the game off a 22-0 loss to Denver, while the Patriots beat New Orleans 34-22.

Bears’ Offense a No-Show vs Broncos

The Chicago Bears have really sputtered on offense the last two years, but they were expecting to be a bit better this year. Well them might in the regular season, but after their first preseason game that offense was a no-show. They did take on a tough Broncos defense, but still they also played against many of their backups. The Bears put up just eight first downs in the game and had just 194 yards of total offense. They have been a decent rushing team, but were able to put up just 48 yards on the ground. It was so bad that QB Connor Shaw led the team in rushing in the game with 14 yards. QB Jay Cutler was in one series and went 3/4 for just 18 yards. Brian Hoyer had the best numbers as he was 7/10 for 81 yards.

The offense for the Bears was so bad that they never even made it to the Red Zone and they only possessed the ball for 24 minutes, while the Broncos had it for 36 minutes. It just was not a good showing for the Bears offense altogether. The defense also struggled in the game, especially their pass defense, which allowed 261 yards. Mark Sanchez has not been a good QB in his career yet he completed 10 of 13 passes for 99 in his time in there. This will be an important game for the Bears, who obviously have plenty of things to work out. Their defense is bad and the offense is even worse, especially that running game which is missing Matt Forte. He does vow to be ready for week 1 of the regular, but that won’t help the Bears in this one.

Jimmy Garoppolo Sharp For Patriots

The Patriots will be without Tom Brady for the first four games of the season and that means that Jimmy Garoppolo will get the call. He had a good preseason last year, but wasn’t needed to start the year as Brady did from day one. Well he started of this preseason in fine fashion as he was 11/18 for 168 yards in his time in there in New England’s 34-22 win over the Saints. He didn’t throw a TD pass, but also didn’t have an INT. Garoppolo will need help from the ground game as it will take pressure off of ham and the Pats rang up 151 yards on 30 carries vs the Saints. Leading the way was Tyler Gaffney, who had 64 yards on just nine carries, which included a 44 romp for a TD. That run game accounted for just 83 ypg last year, so it’s important that it continues to grow. James White led the WR corps with 56 yards on one catch. Nice efficiency there.

The defense allowed just 22 points in the game, and their run defense was solid as they allowed the Saints just 78 yards on 30 carries, but the Pats did have issues at defending the pass as they allowed 291 yards through the air. The Pats were solid against the pass last year as they allowed 235 ypg, so this is a concern for them, especially when you allow Luke McCown to hit 18 of 27 passes for 143 yards. The secondary will be the big battle to watch in this one as they try and sort out their pass defense. The Pats did have just two sacks in the game and would like to get more pressure on the quarterback as well.

NFL Trends:
New England is:

  • 15-6 ATS in Week 2 of preseason.

Going with the Patriots here. Their big problem last week was their pass defense and the Bears have no passing game right now, plus they have no running game without Forte in there. New England should be able to have a far better defensive game in this one, while Jimmy Garoppolo continues to have a strong spring vs a Chicago defense that had problems stopping Mark Sanchez last week. Look for an easy win by the Patriots here.

Pick: New England -3.5

 

Houston Texans vs. San Francisco 49ers, 8/14/16 -Preseason Free Prediction

Houston Texans vs San Francisco 49ers

When: 7:00 PM ET, Sunday August 14, 2016

Where: Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California

Lines: San Francisco -3

Total: 37

Tonight the opening week of preseason football concludes as the Houston Texans do battle with the San Francisco 49ers from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Last year the Texans won the AFC South with a 9-7 record, while the Niners finished last in the NFC West with a record of 5-11.

Can Brock Osweiler Take the Texans to The Next Level

Houston has had their QB Issues of late, but they are hoping that it changes with the addition of Brock Osweiler from Denver. The hope is that he jumpstarts an offense that averaged just 20 ppg last year. So far the reports are that Osweiler has looked very good in practice and he really looked sharp in a practice session vs the Niners defense. Osweiler is expected to see about a quarter’s worth of action in this game. Gone is Arian Foster and in steps Lamar Miller at running back. He is expected to be their workhorse this year, but probably won’t see much action in this one. The rest of the skill players are improved, but the Texans have some big question marks along the offensive line and that is where you will see many battles in this game and the rest of the preseason. Look for the Texans to take a long look at WR Braxton Miller in this game as well.

The defense has the best defender in the world in J.J. Watt, but he will miss the entire preseason and really doesn’t have a timetable for his return right now. That gives some youngsters like D.J Reader to get some time. He was their 6th and final pick of the draft and can be a solid pass rusher that would compliment Watt’s ability to get to the QB. Jadeveon Clowney missed a few practice days, but should still get some reps in this game. With Watt out it looks like the leader of the defense right now is Brian Cushing and he should see limited time in this game as well. The defense is the strength of the team and the Texans will be looking to work on their depth during the preseason on that side of the ball. Houston has all the tools this year to repeat as division champs.

Can Chip Kelly Turn The Niners Around?

Probably in the long run, but it won’t happen overnight. This is a team with many questions and will be looking to employ the high-powered attack that Kelly likes to run. That should really make the QB Battle between Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert a fun one to watch. Kelly has stated that his offense will be a bit more vanilla in the preseason, but still he has to find the right QB to run his offense. The feeling is that Kaepernick’s skill set is a bit more suited for Kelly’s style of offense. No matter who is the QB, the Niners will surley average more than the 14.9 ppg they put up a year ago. The Niners have some good young receivers that are worth watching in this game, including Devon Cajuste, DiAndre Campbell, Dres Anderson, DeAndrew White and DeAndre Smelter. Having a solid WR corps will be important for the growth of this offense as well as a strong running game and Carlos Hyde has that covered. He stated that learning the new offense seemed to be easier than expected.

The defense is expected to be very vanilla in the preseason as well and the Niners this year will be looking to improve on the 24 ppg they allowed last year. They were also 29th in the league in total defense. This side of the ball has some work to do, especially since they will probably be on the field a lot as last year Chip Kelly’s offense in Philadelphia ranked last in the league in time of possession. This does look to be an improved defense as the Niners used four of their top five picks in the draft on that side of the ball and you should see all four on the field tonight as they battle for roster spots. The Niners are improved, but do they have what it takes to escape the basement of the NFC West this year? Only time will tell, but the Niners should be a fun team to watch.

Yes the Niners will employ their uptempo offense, but it will also be mostly a vanilla one. I don’t expect a ton of scoring from them, especially since they averaged just 14.9 ppg last year and are taking on a tough Houston defense in this one. The Texas should be better on offense this year, but it will still take time for the unit to gel and the Niners have improved their defense greatly. I expect a round 34 points at most in this one.

Pick: Under 37

Dallas Cowboys vs. L.A. Rams, 8/13/16 – Preseason Prediction

Dallas Cowboys vs Los Angeles Rams

When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, August 13, 2016

Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California

Lines: Los Angeles -5

Total: 35

Professional football is back in the Los Angeles area and tonight the Dallas Cowboys will battle the Los Angeles Rams in preseason NFL action from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. This should be a good game between a couple of teams that would like to build momentum and confidence for the regular season.   

Better Health Should Lead To Better Results

The Dallas Cowboys went just 4-12 last year as the wheels completely fell off this team. That was on the heels of a 12-4 mark the year before. The big issue last year was an offense that dropped 11 ppg from the year before. Wow. Inconsistency at QB, which was aided by injuries to Tony Romo was the real killer as Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel and Kellen Moore were not able to make up for the loss of Romo. His three replacements combined to go 1-12. The Cowboys also lost Dez Bryant last year as well, but this year both he and Romo are healthy again and to aid their running game they drafted Ezekiel Elliott, who really gives them a homerun threat in the backfield. With better health and the addition of Elliott, but the best OL in the league, the Cowboys offense should resemble more of the 2014 edition, which put up 28 ppg.

The defense was very respectable last year as they allowed just 23 ppg, but still they need to learn how to pressure the QB, as they had just 31 sacks last year. They did sign Greg Hardy (but he is now gone) last year and DeMarcus Lawrence had seven sacks in his last eight games, but still it wasn’t enough. After Elliott, the Cowboys used their next three pick on the defensive side of the ball, in hopes of improving their pass rush. We do note that Lawrence will be serving a four game suspension to start the year. All-in-all the Cowboys have some nice pieces on this side and with a more consistent offense they should put up some nice numbers this year. The Cowboys have improved health and had a nice draft and we couple that with the 4th easiest schedule in the league, which mean they may be walking away with a division title this year.

Football Is Back In Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Rams have return to California and they are hoping that a new two will and a new quarterback will help turn their fortunes around. The Rams did trade away a ton of draft picks to move up in the draft to get QB Jared Goff, who is expected to be the opening day starter. He has all the tools to be a bigtime QB in the NFL, but we also note that the Rams don’t really have much in the way of a threatening WR corps. That could temper his numbers a bit this year. What they do have on offense as strong running game that is led by Todd Gurley and a very solid offensive line. Despite their deficiencies at WR, the Rams should still top the 17 ppg that they averaged last year.

The defense has not really been an issue for the Rams as they have allowed 21, 22, 23 and 22 ppg the last four years. This year they could be even better as this is the 3rd year of the Greg Williams system. They have move on from cornerback Janoris Jenkins, free safety Rodney McLeod, middle linebacker James Laurinaitis and end Chris Long and are hoping that they have filled those holes nicely. E.J Gaines and Trumaine Johnson will for a formidable duo in the secondary, while Aaron Donald (2014 AP Rookie of the Year) anchors a very solid front wall. This is a strong defense and the offense will be improved, but still they have plenty of ground to make up and have to do it vs the 4th toughest schedule in the league.


A new town, new attitude and a reason to come out firing in game one of their preseason. The Rams may not get a whole lot of win in their first year back in LA, but they should pick up a solid win here. Tony Romo is back for the Cowboys, but he won’t be in the long and the backups that include Dak Prescott and Jameill Showers will just not be able to make have vs a very solid Rams defense. This is a huge game for the Rams and they will play like it as they win by at least a TD.

Pick: Los Angeles -5

Oakland Raiders vs. Arizona Cardinals, 8/12/16 – Preseason Prediction

Oakland Raiders vs Arizona Cardinals

When: 10:00 PM ET, Friday August 12, 2016

Where: University Of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona

Lines: Arizona -3

Total: 37.5

Tonight in the desert the Oakland Raiders will battle the Arizona Cardinals in NFL preseason action from University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. Both teams have some question marks on their teams, but both are very solid and will be looking to start their seasons off on a winning note.  

Raiders Had A Big Offseason

Watch out for this team this year. The Raiders went 7-9 last year, which may not be good for most teams, but it was in the first year of Jack Del Rio’s systems and it also brought an end to a string of seasons that saw them post double losses in 10 of their previous 11 years. Now time for the next step and the Raiders have been ranked by Pro Football Focus as having the best offseason of any of the 32 teams in the league. The defense really got an upgrade as they were able to sign LB Bruce Irvin and DBs Sean Smith and Reggie Nelson, plus they grabbed Karl Thomas with their first pick in the draft and he was the best safety on the board. Just try throwing the ball on this defense. Now add all those new pieces with Khalil Mack, Aldon Smith and last year’s 2nd round pick Mario Edwards and this has the makings of a special defense and one they allow much less than the 25 ppg and 364 ypg that they allowed last year.

The offense last year was one of the most improved in the league and should be even better now that Derek Carr is in his 3rd year. Last year he hit 61% of his passes for 3987 yards, with 32 TDs and 13 INTs. As a result the Raiders averaged 22 ppg after putting up just 16 ppg in 2014. Amari Cooper is ready for another strong season after becoming the Raider’s first 1000 yard receiver since Randy Moss did it in 2005. Michael Crabtree had another solid season and TE Clive Walford was very strong down the stretch. Latavius Murray ran for 1006 yards last year and could have an even bigger season this time around as he is setting behind one of the better offensive lines in the league. This is now a dangerous team and with the decline of the Broncos they will be a threat in the AFC West race.

Cardinals Look To Win The West Again

The Arizona Cardinals are off a couple of nice nice years that saw them go 11-5 and 13-3, but in 2014 their last in the first round of the playoffs and then last year they fell in the NFC Championship game. Now it’s time for them to take the next step. The Redbirds improved by 94 ypg on offense and 35 ypg on defense last year over the 2014 edition and they look to be just as strong this year. The main corps of this team is back, including QB Carson Palmer, who will be looking to erase the bad taste from his mouth after throwing four INTs in the NFC title game last year. He still has Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd as his go-to guys and the running game was much improved with the emergence of David Johnson. The Cards could very well top last year’s 29 ppg that they put up.

On the defensive side of the ball the Cardinals look to be very strong as well after allowing 21 ppg last year and 19 ppg in 2014. This could be the best on yet of the least three years. The Cardinals scored a nice draft pick in DT Robert Nkemdiche with their first pick and also added in pass rushing specialist Chandler Jones. Those two should help a pass rush that had the fewest sacks of all playoff teams last year with 36. They know have the pieces to scare opposing QBs. They did struggle at defending the pass and with more pressure on the QBs that should change, while their run defense was very solid as they allowed just 97 ypg on the ground and should be even better this year, especially with the addition of Nkemdiche. On paper this looks like the best team in the NFC West.

Going with the Raiders here. This is a young team that needs to build confidence as the regular season draws near and they would love to take this opener. They have all the pieces in place for a strong run at the AFC West title and all their new toys they got in the offseason will look to make a statement right away. Arizona should be favored to with the NFC West, but still they are an older team and will really look to work on their depth in the preseason. I see the Raiders as wanting this one a bit more and will call for the outright upset here.

Pick: Oakland +3

New Orleans Saints vs. New England Patriots, 8/11/16 – Prediction and Pick

New Orleans Saints vs New England Patriots

When: 7:30 PM ET, Thursday August 11, 2016

Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

Lines: New England -3

Total: 39.5

Tonight the NFL preseason officially gets underway, that is if they have the correct paint on the field and it will be the New Orleans Saints doing battle with the New England Patriots from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Should be a good game between a couple of teams that have high aspirations this year.

Defense Will Be Key For A Return To The Playoffs

Last year the New Orleans Saints finished just 7-9 overall and in 3rd place in the NFC South. Now they try an make a return to the playoffs and they will once again attack the league with one of the best offenses around. Drew Brees is entering his 16th year in the league and at some point his skill will start to diminish, but that won’t happen this year. Last year he led the Saints to the 2nd overall offense and the top rated passing offense that generated 310.6 ypg. He is clearly the key to the offense and again he has some nice weapons to work with including Brandin Cooks, Coby Fleener, Willie Snead and rookie Michael Thomas. On paper this is one of the best WR corps in the league, despite the fact that they lost Marques Colston.

The running game will be very solid with Mark Ingram, C.J. Spiller and Tim Hightower getting most of the work and they all set up behind a strong OL. This will again be a top five offensive team. The problem for the Saints over the years has been their defense, but they got a good upgrade by bringing in James Laurinaitis and Nick Fairley. Dennis Allen did take over as DC last year, but the defense still struggled and his defenses struggled when he was head coach of Oakland as that team allowed 28 ppg in 36 games. The Saints are hoping that a full year and a plethora of new starters on this side of the ball will help them improve enough to get back to the posteseason.

Patriots To Miss Brady For First Four Games

The Patriots went 12-4 last year and lost to the Broncos in the divisional round of the playoffs. This year they again have a solid team, but the rest of the division is closing the gap and the Pats will have to play their first four games of the year without Tom Brady, who has been suspended for his role in deflategate a couple of years ago. Yes justice moves slowly. That presents an interesting problem for Bill Belichick. He must get backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo enough playing time to get him ready for the season, while also being careful not to expose him to injury. Once Brady is back, you can expect this offense to really fly as they are solid again on that side of the ball with Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and newly acquired Martellus Bennett, while the running game should be strong with the return of Dion Lewis, who missed parts of last year with an injury and the running game really suffered when he went down.

The defense was solid last year as they ranked 9th in the league in total yards allowed and it should be a solid unit once again. The defense has been led by their secondary, which includes Malcolm Butler, Matt Patricia and Patrick Chung. Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins for a strong duo at LB and they have some depth in the LB corps overall. The DL did lose sack leader Chandler Jones and also Akiem Hicks, which will weaken the front and make it very average at best. The Pats first four games are vs Arizona on the road and then they have Miami, Houston and Buffalo all at home. The loss of Brady may not hurt them all that much with that schedule. I do feel bad for the Browns, who will be the first team he faces when he comes back.

 

Have to feel that the offenses will be a bit rusty here. Yes Jimmy Garoppolo needs the work, but still he can’t stay out there too long as the Pats need him for the first four games of the year. On defense the Patriots have a dynamite secondary, that also has depth and will be able to hold the high powered Saints down in this one, especially once Brees exits the game. I see this one being played around 34 points at most.

Pick: Under 39.5

 

Green Bay Packers vs. Indianapolis Colts, 8/7/16 – Prediction

Green Bay Packers vs Indianapolis Colts
When: 8:00 PM ET, Sunday August 7, 2016
Where: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio
Lines: Indianapolis -3
Total: 34

NFL 2016 gets underway on Sunday with the Hall of Fame Game between the Green Bay Packers and the Indianapolis Colts, which will take place at Tom Benson Hall Of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Green Bay was 10-6 last year and lost to the Arizona Cardinals in the Divisional Playoffs, while the Colts went just 8-8 and were not involved in the playoffs for the first time in four years.