NBA First Half Awards
With the season just over halfway done, let's look at the major awards. Feel free to disagree but it's James Hardens world right now and we're just living in it.
There is no more Thursday night games for the 2017 NFL season, but there will be two Saturday night games in Week 16. It is the chase to the postseason in the final two weeks of the regular season. A lot of scenarios are on the line this week. There will be 14-out-of-16 games this weekend that involve playoff implications.
My record with my picks last week was 9-7. My record so far this season is 128-94-2.
Washington Redskins 13 Tennessee Titans 30: This is a big game for both teams because they are both alive to make it to the postseason. Washington won on the road last week against Jacksonville. The defense was very good for them, but they are facing a better offense this week. Marcus Mariota is a much better quarterback than what the Jaguars have and Derrick Henry is on fire running the ball. The Titans might stack eight in the box again this weekend and their defense was very effective last week by shutting out the New York Giants on the road 17-0.
Baltimore Ravens 14 Los Angeles Chargers 20: The Chargers could be in for a let down after an emotional win on the road last Thursday night against the Kansas City Chiefs. Los Angeles's offense will in for a big test against the Ravens defense. Baltimore might be able to run the ball effectively and keep the Los Angeles Chargers offense on the sideline. The difference in this game will be the turnover battle. Philip Rivers will outplay Lamar Jackson.
New York Giants 3 Indianapolis Colts 38: Is it possible for the Colts to have two straight shutouts? It wouldn't be a surprise because the Giants were shutout last week and the offense isn't very good if Saquon Barkley can't do anything. Indianapolis will probably stack eight in the box and Andrew Luck will have the chance to torch New York's defense after being snubbed from the Pro Bowl.
Jacksonville Jaguars 10 Miami Dolphins 24: The Dolphins still have a chance to make it to the playoffs. The Jaguars are a mess right now and they can't play well offensively. The defense will get worn down early and often. Ryan Tannehill will have one of his better games of the season.
Atlanta Falcons 31 Carolina Panthers 17: The Panthers are shutting down quarterback Cam Newton for the rest of the season because of a shoulder injury. Taylor Heinicke is expected to be the starting quarterback for the final two games for Carolina. The Falcons defense should be able to play well, but they haven't all year. The offense should be able to get on a roll on Sunday on the road.
Cincinnati Bengals 17 Cleveland Browns 24: The Browns still have a slim chance to make it to the playoffs, but they could be eliminated from playoff contention by the time Sunday rolls around. Cleveland is playing with a ton of confidence. Baker Mayfield is playing well enough to win games and Nick Chubb is running the ball with force on the ground. The defense continues to make big players from time-to-time. The Bengals season is a lost cause and they hope to avoid a season sweep against the Cleveland Browns.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 25 Dallas Cowboys 27: The Cowboys need to make sure that they take care of business at home this weekend so they won't feel the pressure to win on the road against the New York Giants in Week 17. Dallas was shutout on the road last week against the Indianapolis Colts. Tampa Bay has one of the worst defenses in the league and the Dallas Cowboys offense should bounce back.
Minnesota Vikings 35 Detroit Lions 14: The Vikings erupted for 41 points last week at home against the Miami Dolphins in their first game under the new offensive coordinator. Minnesota was able to balance the passing game and running game better. It should be effective again this weekend because Detroit's defense is hit or miss. The Lions had a terrible loss on the road last week against the Buffalo Bills.
Buffalo Bills 17 New England Patriots 33: The Patriots will need to stay focused in the final two weeks in order to have a chance to get a first-round bye in the playoffs. New England doesn't have the speed like they used to. Josh McDaniels needs to call better plays for the New England Patriots offense. Rob Gronkowski and Josh Gordon need to be more involved and they should this weekend against the Bills. Josh Allen could cause problems for the Patriots defense, but he won't have enough around him to win the game.
Green Bay Packers 20 New York Jets 16: This will be an interesting quarterback battle between Aaron Rodgers and Sam Darnold. Both teams are eliminated from playoff contention. This could either be a really exciting game or a really boring game.
Houston Texans 23 Philadelphia Eagles 28: The Eagles will be riding the energy into this game with Nick Foles after pulling off an upset on the road last week against the Los Angeles Rams in prime time. Expect Philadelphia to take a ton of deep shots since the Texans secondary is not that good. Houston was lucky to beat the New York Jets on the road last week and they are not as good as they are. A lot is at stake in this game.
Los Angeles Rams 37 Arizona Cardinals 22: The Rams need to win in order to stay in the number two seed in the NFC. Los Angeles has lost two consecutive games. Jared Goff has not looked the same. He has been picked off six times in the last two games. The Cardinals defense has not been good all year long. Los Angeles should also get its confidence back on defense.
Chicago Bears 28 San Francisco 49ers 21: The Bears can't afford to fall into a trap considering the fact that the 49ers have upset the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks at home in back-to-back weeks. Nick Mullens continues to be a problem for opposing defenses. Chicago already clinched the NFC North title, but they are looking to get a first-round bye.
Pittsburgh Steelers 38 New Orleans Saints 40: This could be a lower scoring game than I think it is going to be because both the Steelers and the Saints could get after the quarterback. The reason why it won't be the case is because the quarterbacks will get rid of the ball quickly into open space. James Conner and Jaylen Samuels in Pittsburgh's backfield could be just as fun as watching Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram in New Orleans's backfield. This game will come down to making extra points and field goals.
Kansas City Chiefs 30 Seattle Seahawks 24: I don't expect the Chiefs to lost another big game this season. Patrick Mahomes will ball out, but could the defense make just one play when it matters? Russell Wilson will be ready to ball out as well. Both backfields will struggle running the ball. Kansas City is a better football team than Seattle is.
Denver Broncos 23 Oakland Raiders 15: The Broncos will not be in the playoffs for the third consecutive season. Von Miller and Bradley Chubb will cause problems for the Raiders offense. Phillip Lindsay will be a nightmare for Oakland's defense.
Bold Predictions: 1. The Washington Redskins will be held to under 275 yards of total offense against the Tennessee Titans on the road.
2. Andrew Luck throws for four touchdowns against the Giants.
3. There will be more rushing yards in the Steelers vs Saints game than passing yards.
4. Nick Foles will out play Deshaun Watson.
5. The Minnesota Vikings will clinch a playoff spot this weekend.