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.
Week 17 will be the most dramatic week in the NFL. There is a lot on the line this week. Some teams are hoping for help while others control their own destiny. Non-playoff teams will look to play spoiler role. My record with my picks last week was 11-5. My record so far this season is 139-99-2.
Miami Dolphins 13 Buffalo Bills 20: The Dolphins were eliminated from playoff contention with a loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday. Miami might have mailed it in. They usually don't play well in cold weather games. The Bills will show up for this game and play for pride. Josh Allen will have a big day and Buffalo's defense will make Ryan Tannehill look lost.
Detroit Lions 14 Green Bay Packers 35: It looked as if the Packers were going to lose against the New York Jets on the road. Aaron Rodgers rallied the troops and they won the game in overtime 44-38. Green Bay will continue to play for pride in this game and Detroit has mailed it in.
Jacksonville Jaguars 17 Houston Texans 20: The Texans must win this game or they will be playing on the road on Wild Card weekend. Houston hasn't looked that good in the past few weeks. They return home and that might be a good thing. The Jaguars will be ready to play this game. They may not have a good offense, but the Houston Texans have been prone to giving up the big play as of late. The difference in this game will be the turnover battle.
New York Jets 30 New England Patriots 31: Sam Darnold has played better down the stretch for the Jets and he will make this game very interesting for them on Sunday afternoon on the road. New York could spoil the Patriots chances to get a first-round bye. However, the New York Jets always find a way to mess up. Sony Michel will need to big a factor in this game on the ground for New England. Rob Gronkowski seems to be washed up and that is not a good thing for this team. Tom Brady will do just enough for this team in order to win.
Carolina Panthers 13 New Orleans Saints 38: The **Saints have no intention to rest their starters in the regular season finale on Sunday. New Orleans has already clinched the number one seed in the NFC. What might happen is that if they have a comfortable lead at halftime, Sena Payton might pull his players then. The Panthers are down to their third quarterback. Kyle Allen will be the starter on Sunday and it won't be pretty.
Dallas Cowboys 31 New York Giants 17: The Cowboys are locked into the number four seed in the NFC. They will probably play their starters on the road in the regular season finale against the Giants. I thought Dallas was going to rest their starters, but that isn't going to be the case. This could be Eli Manning's last game in a New York uniform. It will be a good game, but the Dallas Cowboys are a better football team.
Atlanta Falcons 34 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16: The Falcons will probably end the season on a high note after having a rough 2018 season. Atlanta will have chances to score early and often. They haven't had a great defense all season long, but they will force turnovers. The Buccaneers turn the ball over too much and this could be the last game that Jameis Winston is in a Tampa Bay uniform. This is also probably Dirk Koetter's last game as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Cleveland Browns 20 Baltimore Ravens 23: This is going to be one of the best games of the weekend. The Browns have improved tremendously this season. Cleveland will look to play spoiler. The Ravens need to win this game and they will win the AFC North. If they lose, it will most likely be the fourth consecutive season that Baltimore won't be in the playoffs. Winning on the road against the Los Angeles Chargers last week and the Pittsburgh Steelers losing to the New Orleans Saints on the road was huge for them. The Cleveland Browns will give everything the Baltimore Ravens can handle. The Ravens defense will also be a big test for Baker Mayfield and the Browns defense might be able to defend the read option that Lamar Jackson runs well. At the end of the day, it will come down to the leg of Justin Tucker to put Baltimore into the postseason.
Oakland Raiders 20 Kansas City Chiefs 35: The Raiders have looked better the past few weeks, including Derek Carr. Carr could have his best game of the season against a really bad Chiefs defense. Patrick Mahomes will be ready for the challenge. He only needs two touchdown passes to reach 50 on the season and he only needs 184 passing yards to eclipse the 5,000-yard mark for the season. I don't see Kansas City letting the number one seed slip through their fingers.
Chicago Bears 24 Minnesota Vikings 28: This game is going to be a dandy for sure. The Bears will look to knock the Vikings possibly out of the playoffs and possibly a number two seed in the NFC if things fall right. A win for Minnesota puts them into the postseason. These are the kind of games that the Minnesota Vikings brought in Kirk Cousins for. He has to live it up and I think he will.
Cincinnati Bengals 14 Pittsburgh Steelers 42: The Steelers must getting going from the opening kickoff. Pittsburgh can't show any signs of playing down to their opponent. Cincinnati is a 14.5 point underdog in this game. If the Pittsburgh Steelers give them any chance to win this game, they will blow it. Pittsburgh needs a win and a Baltimore Ravens loss to get into the playoffs.
Philadelphia Eagles 27 Washington Redskins 24: Nick Foles has sparked the Eagles to two consecutive wins. They need a win and a Minnesota Vikings loss to get into the playoffs. Philadelphia could be very dangerous if they get in. The Redskins almost upset the Tennessee Titans on the road last week. Washington will give everything the Philadelphia Eagles can handle, but never under estimate the heart of a champion.
Los Angeles Chargers 37 Denver Broncos 16: The Chargers should not lose this game because the Broncos have looked lost recently. Denver's offense has not looked the same ever since Emmanuel Sanders went down with a Torn Achilles in practice. Philip Rivers will look to carve up their defense early and often. A bigger story in this game will be Melvin Gordon because the Denver Broncos struggle stopping the run. Los Angeles will get the number one seed if they win and if the Kansas City Chiefs loss to the Oakland Raiders.
San Francisco 49ers 13 Los Angeles Rams 34: The 49ers have not won a game on the road all year. The Rams will look to wrap up a first-round bye. Todd Gurley will probably rest in this game. He is nursing a knee injury. C.J. Anderson will probably get the start again. Anderson could be an x-factor for this team. Jared Goff needs to find his stride in this game.
Arizona Cardinals 13 Seattle Seahawks 30: The Seahawks will look to wrap up the number five seed and play the Dallas Cowboys on the road on Wild Card weekend. Seattle could slip to the number six seed if they lose. I think they would rather play Dallas and the Seattle Seahawks have beaten them already this season. They don't want to face the Chicago Bears on Wild Card weekend and they lost to them this season. Russell Wilson and Chris Carson will dictate the game for Seattle's offense early and often. Arizona's offense hasn't been good all year.
Indianapolis Colts 31 Tennessee Titans 24: Andrew Luck has the Titans number in his career and he is 10-0 against them. The winner of this game will head to the playoffs and the loser will go home. If the Houston Texans lose, the winner of this game will have a home game on Wild Card weekend. Tennessee doesn't know who will be quarterbacking in this game. It will either be Marcus Mariota or Blaine Gabbert. Jurrell Casey was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury and that will not be good for this defense. Winning of the line of scrimmage will matter in this game, but Indianapolis is in their heads right now.
Bold Predictions: 1. Derek Carr throws for 350 yards and three touchdowns for Raiders on the road against the Chiefs.
2. Aaron Rodgers will throw for 400 yards and four touchdowns for the Packers against the Lions.
3. The Steelers defense sacks the Bengals offense seven times and forces four turnovers.
4. The Browns and the Ravens will not reach 315 yards yards of total offense.
5. Teddy Bridgewater will throw a touchdown pass for the Saints against the Panthers.