UFC Covington vs. Woodley

Predictions for one of the most loaded cards you will ever see that isn’t a PPV. Top to bottom this card has fights worth making sure you are watching from the go. Bare with me on the order of the card as UFC’s site and MMA Junkie have the order one way and ESPN and MMA fighting have the card another. I am going to go with ESPN’s order since the card is on ESPN they should have the appropriate order.

Prelims on ESPN+ @ 5PM/ET:

Tyson Nam (19-11-1) vs. Jerome Rivera (10-2): We kick off the night in the bantamweight division. This fight is going to be a battle of contracting fight styles. Rivera is debuting in the UFC following a dominant decision win on the contender series. He will have a 4-inch reach advantage in wingspan and leg length. I would say it gives him a true advantage in this fight but Rivera is better on the ground and will look to get the fight there. His opponent Tyson Nam is a 3-fight veteran in the UFC who has struggled to find his way. He will need to keep this fight on the feet and if he does so while applying pressure, he should find himself successful at the end of the night. This fight will go the distance as both will find their moments in a fight that might be a little slow. I believe in the end Nam will pick up a close split decision victory.

Darrick Minner (24-11) vs. T.J. Laramie (12-3): We move along to the featherweight division in this one. I believe this fight could be as one sided as the odds makers have this one. Darrick Minner is a good fighter who has stopped 21 of his 24 professional fights on the mat, but his stand up is not UFC level. T.J. Laramie is someone I am personally really excited to see in the UFC. If his contender series fight was a glimpse of what to expect, watch out UFC featherweights. Laramie is debuting following a fight where he forced a doctor stoppage after the first round. Laramie is a phenomenal striker with great ability to apply pressure with a very underrated ground game. I have hinted at this fights direction and my prediction is very much that, Laramie wins via 1st round TKO late round 1.

Andre Ewell (16-6) vs. Irwin Rivera (10-5): Back to bantamweight we go in what should be a fun fight. Irwin enters the third fight of his UFC career and will be the biggest test in his entire career. He is 1-1 in the UFC coming off a very close split decision win. Rivera is going to have a tough time in this fight as he enters with a 9-inch reach disadvantage and will need to keep this fight inside a phonebooth. If Rivera can keep this fight in close he will have a slight advantage in this one. Ewell will enter this fight the big time favorite. His skill set is the better of the two, plus his reach advantage. The only concern Ewell will have is that if this fight gets in tight and they exchange in tight. Ewell has struggled some with fighters applying pressure and getting in close, otherwise he has been completely dominant when using his range. I think this fight could be fun early but Ewell will pick up a 2nd round submission once Rivera applies pressure Ewell will find a takedown and dominate on the mat before locking in a RNC.

Journey Newson (9-2) vs. Randy Costa (5-1): Back into the bantamweight division we go for one of the closest fights on the card. Journey is going to have to overcome a 6.5-inch reach advantage in this fight. Journey is overall a very balanced fighter who has struggled to find consistency in the UFC. Journey will have the advantage on the mat and if he can successfully close the distance and bring the fight to the mat he will win. Costa is a great fighter for the fans as he has finished all 5 of his professional wins via KO/TKO. Costa has to keep this fight standing though as his one loss was via RNC and didn’t look comfortable at all on the mat. Costa has the reach advantage and a striking advantage in this fight which I believe he will use well. Randy Costa wins this one as the underdog in round 3 via KO.

Jessica-Rose Clark (9-6) vs. Sarah Alpar (9-4): The first fight in the women’s divisions in the UFC takes place in the bantamweight division between a veteran of the UFC and a new comer. Sarah enters her UFC debut following a contender series submission win in August. Sarah will need shake her cage jitters early as Jessica’s veteran presence will be pushing to turn around her 2 straight losses. This fight is going to be a test to honestly see who belongs in the UFC’s bantamweight division. Alpar could find great success on the mat in this fight, if she can manage to overcome Jessica’s pressure and strength. I believe this fight will reach the judges score card in a fight that struggles to excite the fans but shows some MMA skills. I have Jessica-Rose Clark winning this one via dicision.

Mayra Bueno Silva (6-1) vs. Mara Romero Borella (12-8, 2NC): We move right along on the card to the women’s flyweight division. This fight should be pretty open and close as Mayra Silva should dominate this fight. Borella’s sint in the UFC has been rough as she has gone 2-4 inside the octagon and unfortunately with a loss will most likely find herself without a UFC job. Marya will use her Muay Thai skills to outstrike Borella in round 1 and then lockup a submission in round 2.

Mirsad Bektic (13-3) vs. Damon Jackson (17-3-1): The featherweight division takes the spotlight here in what should be a much closer fight than the odds makers are saying as they have Bektic significantly here. I am not saying Bektic won’t or can’t win, but it won’t be domination. Damon enters his UFC debut with a tough test, but his dominance on the mat makes him a threat at all times with or without control. Damon will need to pace himself and avoid Bektic power shots while looking for a takedown opportunity because his dominance on the mat is his best chance to win this fight. Now Bektic was seen as a threat in the featherweight division before his two fight losing streak to Ige and Emmett. Now Bektic looks to get back on track and can do so confidently if he keeps this fight standing and uses his striking skill-set. This will be a back and forth battle early as both fighters try to get the fight where they are most comfortable. Bektic I believe gets comfortable on his feet in round 2 and picks up a knockdown and finishes with ground and pound.

#13 Jordan Espinosa (15-7) vs. #14 David Dvorak (18-3): The main event of the prelims is going to be one hell of a fight in the flyweight division. This fight is going to be back and forth between two guys trying to climb the growing flyweight division. Espinosa needs a win to stay ranked in this division and the way to do that for him is probably get top control on the mat. Espinosa is a good fighter, but needs to find a way to keep fights from the judges score card as he will realize they are unreliable. Espinosa is most comfortable when a fight finds the mat and will pace himself and shoot if he has an opportunity. Now his opponent Dvorak is my personal pick to make a title run in the future and probably hold the belt some day. Dvorak hasn’t lost a fight professionally since 2012 and is currently riding a 14 fight win streak. This fight is interesting because when it goes to ground it is a toss up on who has the better talent, but standing this fight is entirely in Dvorak’s wheelhouse. I am so excited for this fight as it is a true showing for whoever wins this fight that they are true contenders ready for a top 8 fight. I believe Dvorak will roll and pick up a 2nd round TKO stoppage as his momentum and striking skill-set is just too hard to bet against.

Main Card 8PM/ET on ESPN+:

Kevin Holland (18-5) vs. Darren Stewart (12-5): We kick off the main card in the middleweight division in what should be an exciting fight start to finish, which most likely won’t go 15 minutes. This should be an all out brawl between two incredibly talented, fast handed, power strikers looking to knock the other ones head off and get themselves ranked in this division. I am interested to see who can take the bigger shot as both will have to in this fight to land successfully during this fight. Holland will have a 7-inch reach advantage in this fight which during a striking battle could be huge, Holland by TKO in round 3.

#15 Mackenzie Dern (8-1) vs. Randa Markos (10-9-1): We move to the women’s strawweight division for this next fight. Dern is hungry and since having her daughter seemingly more motivated than ever to be a true title contender. Markos will most likely need to clinch and make this a grind it out type fight to survive as Derns hands are heavy and her submission skills are as elite as it gets in this division. I believe Dern will use her strength and size to keep Markos from turning this into a clinch war and pick up a submission win in round 1.

#11 Johnny Walker (17-5) vs. #12 Ryan Spann (18-5): The next fight takes place in the light heavyweight division and will be a complete contrast in fight styles. Johnny is all about putting on a show for the fans and getting KO finishes as his striking skills are elite, but his ability to fight on the mat and off his back is weak. He claims he has refocused his life as he changed coaching, management, and stopped partying to focus his career on his fighting. Spann is a power wrestler with average striking but great takedowns and ground and pound. He will look to use his skill-set and close the distance for a takedown and dominate Johnny proving he is the next big thing in this division not Walker. This fight is extremely close on the betting line, and rightfully so as I am torn picking a winner here. If Johnny really changed his lifestyle and entire focus entering this fight I will take that as the edge here and take Johnny Walker to pick up a decision victory.

Khamzat Chimaev (8-0) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (31-13): Oh man the trash talk between the two picked up hard when Dana said Chimaev will fight again in a few weeks, as Meerschaert took it personally as an assumption that Dana thinks Chimaev will win this fight with no issues. Meerschaert a blackbelt in jiu-jitsu and might try to rely on that to win this fight. Khamzat comes in with a crazy amount of hype as some are comparing him to Khabib and this will be his toughest test yet. He has shown so far he is an aggressive fighter with incredible wrestling, takedown, and striking abilities. I struggle to find a way for Meerschaert to be safe from his dominant style of fighting and see Khamzat grabbing a second round TKO from ground and pound following a pickup slam takedown.

#14 Donald Cerrone (36-15) vs. Niko Price (14-4): The co-main event takes place in the welterweight division and could be a fight of the year contender. Niko Price is one of the most, if not the most, entertaining fighters on the entire UFC roster and he comes into this fight against Cerrone with the potential to show the world he can handle a legend. Cerrone has started to show the insane amounts of fights he has taken during his career are catching up to him, but if he rewinds the clock for this fight, we will see Cerrone in possibly the most entertaining fight of his entire legendary career. I don’t think we will see either fighter go to the mat as they will look to making this a fun, crazy, and wild striking exchange. I believe Price’s hunger and current skill-set is better than Cerrone’s at this point in his career. Niko Price picks up a unanimous decision win in a bloody crazy war between the legend and himself.

#2 Colby Covington (15-2) vs. #5 Tyron Woodley (19-5-1): The main event of the evening is a feud as bad as it comes in the UFC, since arguably Diaz vs McGregor. Unfortunately it comes too late in Woodley’s career. Woodley has seemingly lost that fire and aggression that made him a champion in the UFC. Unless T-Wood finds that fire and pressure he used to fight with he will get buried in this fight. I hate Covington, his personality and act, but his talent is top of the line. Covington is a great striker and a phenomenal wrestler. He is probably the only person in the UFC who can compete with Usman in this division right now. If we get the Woodley of old, which this rivalry could provide it, we will see another possible fight of the year candidate. I am excited for this fight as I personally hope we see the Woodley of old as I was a big time fan when he fought with fire and passion. I will have to pick though based off the fighters we have seen most recently and believe Covington will absolutely dominate Woodley into retirement with a 2nd round TKO from ground and pound following a beautiful takedown.

What we learned from TNF

If you watched the Browns vs Bengals you saw a lot of important information to take in during the game, if you didn’t here is what you missed.

The Browns beat the Bengals 35-30 in a game where Cleveland led all game long but Cincy kept fighting. Cleveland might have won the game, but I believe the positives were there for both teams equally.

Cleveland had some things they can definitely be happy with besides the win. They got to see Chubb and Hunt show they are the best duo in the NFL at RB and both can help carry this team. We saw Odell and Landry get open and use their skills to provide Baker reliable targets. Baker had a good game when you consider the week before, it has to be nice for Cleveland fans to see why he’s their starter. The browns defense though is a concern as they have now given up 68 points and 734 yards in 2 games. That is something to watch as it seems to be unless their pass rush hits home they are getting beat regularly. In all I say we learned a lot about Cleveland last night.

Now the Bengals have a positive to focus on that was so bright it will seem like they won the game in the fans perspective. Joe Burrow threw the ball 61 times without throwing an INT, though he did lose a fumble during a beautiful strip sack from Myles Garrett. Burrow as a rookie without a preseason to adjust to the NFL had a 37/61, 316 passing yards, 3 TDS, 0 ints, 1 fumble lost, and 19 yards rushing. Cincy hasn’t had a QB play this well in a long time and it was only his second game. The Bengals have a lot to be excited about at the QB position. Now there was a MASSIVE issue in the game besides the non-existent run defense. AJ Green once again isn’t healthy and got banged up during the game providing no help to his young QB. Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins will have to step up immediately for this team to find success. In the end we learned Burrow is for real, remember he’s behind a horrendous offensive line.

Thursday Night football week 2

Predictions for TNF week 2 Bengals vs. Browns

Final Score: Bengals 28 – Browns 26.

I think the Browns will look better against the Bengals than they did last week but Baker is just so bad even with his QBR against the Bengals being above 100, I have no faith in them. Burrow was a leader last week and showed more maturity than Baker, Bengals find a way to overcome their prime time woes and pick up a huge road win. -MK

Week 2 Fantasy 5/5/5

Here are my week 2 fantasy football 5 must starts, 5 sleepers, 5 busts of the second weeks matchups. I try to make my must starts people that aren’t obvious weekly starters like Davante Adams they are meant to be people more on the fence.

5 Starts:

  1. Joe Burrow/QB/Bengals vs. Browns
  2. Clyde Edwards-Helarie/RB/Chiefs vs. Chargers
  3. Amari Cooper/WR/Cowboys vs. Falcons
  4. T.Y. Hilton/WR/Colts vs. Vikings
  5. AJ Brown/WR/Titans vs. Jaguars

5 Sleepers:

  1. JK Dobbins/RB/Ravens vs. Texans
  2. David Johnson/RB/Texans vs. Ravens
  3. Baker Mayfield/QB/Browns vs. Bengals (his QB rating against the Bengals is +100
  4. D’Andre Swift/RB/Packers vs. Lions
  5. Van Jefferson/WR/Rams vs. Eagles (deep sleeper)

5 Busts:

  1. Any jets offensive player
  2. Melvin Gordon/RB/Broncos vs. Steelers
  3. Terry McLaurin/WR/Washington Football team vs. Cardinals
  4. DK Metcalf/WR/Seahawks vs. Patriots
  5. Marvin Jones/WR/Lions vs. Packers

NFL Power Rankings Week 2

My power rankings week 2. The previous weeks rankings will be in parentheses next to their current ranking.

Week 2 Power Rankings:

1.(1) Baltimore Ravens (1-0): The Ravens absolutely dominated the Browns and made Baker look worse than any QB in the NFL. Lamar and the defense combined are going to be issues for this league. The only negative this team has is their rush defense, which could hurt them down the road.

2.(2) Kansas City Chiefs (1-0): The Chiefs offense looked incredible with a real RB at the helm last week. Their defense still has some question marks though and I believe the Ravens crazy offense would smack it around.

3. (6) Seattle Seahawks (1-0): The Seahawks traveled to the east coast to start the season and pretty much dominated the Falcons. Jamaal Adams really made this defense play with attitude and a fire that is rare these days in an offensive league, the NFL better watch out if they continue to let Russell have reigns to this offense.

4. (4) Green Bay Packers (1-0): Damn, the Packers came into Minnesota and threw all over this team we call a top defensive team. Yes, their success could rely on Davante Adams, but MVS is gaining Rodgers trust and respect which could be great.

5. (3) New Orleans Saints (1-0): I would have the Saints higher but Michael Thomas out a few weeks with an ankle injury really hinders this teams offense and concerns me.

6. (5) Buffalo Bills (1-0): The coaching staff alone is incredible, but the talent on this roster is not to be messed with. I love their defense and a young hungry offense, this team is going to have it’s downs but it’s highs are going to be fun as hell to watch.

7. (9) Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0): The Steelers defense is absolutely incredible. I questioned their offensive line, but the way Benny Snell was able to run wild showed that there are no questions this line is still solid. They could continue to climb the rankings with their talent if they stay healthy.

8. (12) Arizona Cardinals (1-0): The Cardinals looked great for no preseason to practice with their new weapon, DeAndre Hopkins. This offense could be really effective the entire season.

9. (21) LA Rams (1-0): Their jump isn’t due to them dominating, because they had a close hard fought victory, it’s due to my underestimation of Sean McVay as a coach and his ability to turn this roster into a competitor. The Rams looked good and I would like to see them in a tougher test.

10. (7) San Francisco 49ers (0-1): The 49ers are hard to figure considering they have 0 healthy weapons at WR right now and their QB just isn’t top tier. I could post average numbers with Kittle as a weapon and Shanahan as my head coach. Their defense will get back to the elite level that got them to the Superbowl after a few games, though they need to figure out how to defend mobile QB’s.

11. (13) LA Chargers (1-0): The Chargers defense is sneaky good even without Derwin James. The offense won’t turn the ball over under Tyrod which is HUGE considering how big of an issue it was last year. I am not saying they are fun to watch but they are effective.

12. (10) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1): I am concerned slightly by 3 consecutive games with a pick 6 by Tom Brady. That being said Mike Evans is rehabbing an injury, Fournette isn’t fully healthy nor adjusted to the system. Tom does need to stop focusing so hard on Gronk being the top target and realize Evans and Godwin are the best weapons on the roster. The team will be okay in time, no preseason hurt them greatly.

13. (17) Tennessee Titans (1-0): The Titans still have a great defense which will help them a lot this season. Derrick Henry is still Derrick Henry as well so the Titans are still dangerous, even with an at best average QB.

14. (15) Dallas Cowboys (0-1): The Cowboys had a decent game for being under a new coach on the road without a preseason. I think they have the best shot to win their weak division, they must fix being 1-7 in their last 8 one score games.

15. (22) New England Patriots (1-0): It was only the Dolphins, but the Pats defense still looked great. I am always amazed by Belichick and his ability to coach the talent on roster. Cam with a short time with the team seemed to be like a leader who knew the offense. This week against Seattle might not be pretty but this team could sneak their way into the playoffs.

16. (11) Indianapolis Colts (0-1): Trust JT is simple, but something the Colts clearly seemed to have no interest in for some reason. They asked Rivers to throw 46 times which seems to be a lot for a QB new to the team and system without a preseason to adjust. I think the Colts still are very capable of winning the division.

17. (19) Houston Texans (0-1): They might have started out with a loss, but their offense seemed to find some rhythm looked good later in the game. The Ravens though could send them plummeting.

18. (16) Atlanta Falcons (0-1): The Falcons will be okay after their loss, but their ground game is going to hurt them down the road. Julio is still Julio and could pick them up some wins alone with his strong impact.

19. (23) Las Vegas Raiders (1-0): They went on the road to Carolina for a early game and their offense looked good. There is no faith in this defense to be had though.

20. (30) Washington Football Team (1-0): This pass rush and defensive front 7 is a force. Haskins leadership showed some growth from last year at halftime and it motivated his offense to a hell of a comeback against a divisional rival Eagles.

21. (8) Philadelphia Eagles (0-1): The talent is there but never healthy, and their offensive line is so bad I could beat them to Wentz. They have to get healthy and protect their QB to be respected.

22. (14) Denver Broncos (0-1): The Broncos offense is good, their defense is a concern though. Losing Von Miller to injury and Chris Harris to free agency has left this defense without a true leader and it seemed a bit off.

23. (18) Minnesota Vikings (0-1): Wow this defense lost too many pieces and is horrendous. The offense is a good unit, but your offense can’t function when your defense doesn’t have the ability to stop an offense at all.

24. (32) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0): The win over the Colts has given me faith in them some that they aren’t the worst team in the league. Heck they aren’t even the worst team to pick up a win after week 1. They really looked decent against a tough opponent on opening week.

25. (28) Chicago Bears (1-0): The Bears are the worst team to pick up a win in the first week of the season. They should have lost honestly but horrendous coaching and an offense that sputtered its wheels the entire second half gave them a win week 1.

26. (31) Cincinnati Bengals (0-1): Joe Burrow looked good week 1 for a rookie without a preseason, truly it was impressive. With a good and mobile QB at the helm the Bengals could show some positive steps forward from a disheartening season last year.

27. (24) Cleveland Browns (0-1): Yikes the Browns have way too much talent on this roster to get smashed the way they did. Simply Baker is garbage and Stefanski might be in slightly over his head.

28. (25) Miami Dolphins (0-1): The Dolphins offense was tough to watch last week though their defense should be no issue. The coaching staff will fix the issues but Tua taking over some day should help this teams lackluster offense.

29. (20) Detroit Lions (0-1): The constant collapses are embarrassing and a disgrace. Matt Patricia probably should have been fired in the off-season and could be fired at the end of week 4 when they start the season 0-4 heading into a bye week.

30. (29) Carolina Panthers (0-1): They had a west coast team in Carolina for a 1 PM start time and couldn’t play an ounce of defense. Matt Rhule seems to not understand the Panthers hired him to be creative as he decided to run a full back run on 4th and 1 with the game on the line, with Christian McCaffery just standing in the backfield.

31. (26) New York Giants (0-1): Joe Judge looked confused and Barkley has started to show he might be HR or nothing as of late. We can blame the offensive line, but 15 carries for 6 yards, you gotta break some tackles and read some breakdowns on your own.

32. (27) New York Jets (0-1): Adam Gase might be the worst head coach in NFL history. This team is going to continue to fail as long as they keep him running the team. The Jets have talent but Gase is the worst thing to happen to this franchise and needs to be freed of the burden to the fans.

Fantasy Players for week 1

Each week I, Matt Koontz, will be posting an article I call my 5/5/5. I will be posting 5 must players, 5 bust/avoid players, 5 sleepers for that particular week in fantasy football.

My 5 Musts:

  1. TY Hilton- WR/Colts vs Jags: who do the Jags have to slow him down?
  2. Carson Wentz- QB/Eagles vs Washington: They don’t have the secondary to stop him.
  3. Patrick Mahomes- QB/Chiefs vs Texans: I don’t trust the Texans secondary at all.
  4. Christian McCaffery- RB/Panthers vs Raiders: McCaffery could run for 80 and add 80 in the passing game. Big week for him.
  5. Keenan Allen- WR/Chargers: The Bengals corners are going to be roasted by Keenan Allen.

My 5 players to avoid:

  1. Baker Mayfield- QB/Browns vs Ravens: Calias Campbell plus the Ravens secondary. Bad day for Baker on the way.
  2. Alvin Kamara- RB/Saints vs Bucs: The Bucs run defense is stellar. Should be a slow start to 2020 for Kamara.
  3. Amari Cooper- WR/Cowboys vs Rams: Amari is bad on the road plus Jalen Ramsey will shut him down.
  4. Daniel Jones- QB/Giants vs Steelers: The Steelers defense is too elite for any of the Giants subpar WRS to get open.
  5. Kyler Murray- QB/Cardinals vs 49ers: The 49ers defense and pass rush will eat Kyler alive.

My 5 Sleepers:

  1. Ben Roethlisberger- QB/Steelers vs. Giants: The Giants have a bad secondary and Ben will exploit it, especially with no pass rush.
  2. Marquez Valdes-Scantling- WR/Packers vs. Vikings: The Vikings secondary is going to be weak and Rodgers likes MVZ entering this season.
  3. Michael Pittman Jr- WR/Colts vs Jaguars. With no secondary and a great QB Pittman should have a great rookie debut for the Colts.
  4. Bryan Edwards- WR/Raiders: Assuming Donte Jackson is covering Ruggs, Edwards will be open often.
  5. Will Fuller V- WR/Texans vs Chiefs. I think the chiefs secondary is weaker than people realize, if Fuller is healthy he could have a great game.

– Matt Koontz

NFL Power Rankings Week 1

Here are Matt Koontz’s power rankings entering the NFL season, I will be doing one each week.

NFL Power Rankings

#1. Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens have the most talented roster in the league top to bottom. The Ravens are going to be hard to stop.

#2. Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs offense is going to be hard to stop, I do worry about the defense though.

#3. New Orleans Saints: The Saints are going to be tough to stop in the NFC and Brees is hoping to get one more Super Bowl before retiring.

#4. Green Bay Packers (12-4): The Packers are in their second year under head coach Matt LaFleur which is great for Aaron Jones. The defense, I believe will be slightly better as the young players are getting closer to their prime talents. I like their schedule this year too.

#5. Buffalo Bills: The Bills defense is elite and their offense gained Stefon Diggs. This team is hard not to be excited by, the only question mark is can Josh Allen limit his turnovers. The Bills are an interesting team this year for sure.

#6. Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks are terribly underrated for some reason entering this season. I love the offense this season as DK Metcalf continues to grow. The Seahawks added Jamal Adams to bring the boom on defense.

#7. San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers defense is the reason this team will be successful. The 49ers pass rush, run stopping abilities, and ability to slow down the pass is going to carry this team. Their issue is their QB is going to hinder the talent on offense.

#8. Philadelphia Eagles: If I could trust this team to stay healthy, I would have them 12-4 easily. The simple matter is they are already hurt and have been hurt way too often over the years. Eagles fans hated him but this issue didn’t exist under Chip Kelly and his advancements on sports science. Something has to change if injuries hinder this team again this season.

#9. Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers are hoping Ben can stay healthy for the first time in years. They were near a playoff contender with a rotating door at QB. Their defense can carry the team pretty far, with Ben they can possibly shatter my expectations.

#10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I believe Brady can make this team a playoff threat, but I need to see him in a system without Bill before I drink the kool-aid.

#11. Indianapolis Colts: Rivers behind an elite offensive line is so exciting. The addition of Jonathan Taylor will give them depth at RB like no other. The defense is going to be crucial into the teams ability to stop offenses they come across.

#12. Arizona Cardinals: I love the offense and the addition of Isiah Simmons automatically makes the Cardinals a better team. The Cardinals are a team that could surprise a lot of people.

#13. LA Chargers: Tyrod doesn’t turn the ball over which gives this defense the ability to rest and play consistent football. This team is going to be a surprise as most have them written off, to those people I say not so fast.

#14. Denver Broncos: The loss of Von Miller is going to cost this defense some which could hurt the as Drew Lock will have ups and downs. I believe Lock becomes a star in this league, but will show some struggles at times this season as he grows.

#15. Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys are a team I just can’t get sold on yet. Mike McCarthy needs time to set up his system and I think this year will be an adjustment period. The talent is there it just comes down to coaching and Dak’s inability to lead this team against playoff caliber teams.

#16. Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons improved their offensive line which is nice, though I don’t think their pass rush will do it’s job. Don’t get me wrong this team has potential to make a run with their offense, but that defense does concern me greatly.

#17. Tennessee Titans: The Titans have the defense and ground game, but I am far from sold on their over priced QB that is all about check downs. This team will be disappointing compared to where they finished last year.

#18. Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings are missing a large part of their defense on this roster with Everson Griffen gone, Danielle Hunter out due to injury for a few weeks, Trey Waynes gone. This team is going to need consistency on offense to keep this defense off the field.

#19. Houston Texans: The Texans traded their best weapon for Watson to throw the ball to. They didn’t improve the offensive line, didn’t upgrade the tight end position, downgraded at running back. The offense is going to struggle and Watt needs to stay healthy on defense.

#20. Detroit Lions: The Lions are a team I could see actually contending this year IF they stay healthy. They HAVE to stay healthy though for that to be the case which has been an issue. The Lions players also have to work out their issues with Matt Patricia.

#21. LA Rams: The Rams are broke, with no money left to sign anyone if they lose a star to injury. That is a dangerous place to live especially since their offensive line is weak to start with and their line backers could use some work. I am sorry Rams fans this team is going in the wrong direction.

#22. New England Patriots: Cam Newton is working hard and I believe in him, but 8 players opted out. They have lost key pieces on defense as well, plus Brady is gone. The Pats will struggle to find any momentum this season unless Bill somehow surprises us.

#23. Las Vegas Raiders: They need to upgrade at QB and head coach before I will ever believe this team is headed somewhere. Gruden has been dated by the league and he is struggling to catch up while Carr seems to have moments and then regression.

#24. Cleveland Browns: A roster dripping with talent you would think is bound for top 10 in a power rankings, but they have two concerns. The Browns have an issue at QB as Baker somehow is regressing already as he gets further from Lincoln Riley. The Browns are also under a new head coach which without a preseason means the team will take time to learn.

#25. Miami Dolphins: I like how the Dolphins finished the season. I believe it will take patience, but this team has a future.

#26. New York Giants: The Giants with Joe Judge could grow offensively throughout the season. The issue with the Giants though is simply their defense, as their pass rush is bad, their corners are weak, possibly the weakest in the league. I think the Giants got a rough year ahead for sure.

#27. New York Jets: The roster has more talent than a good amount of the teams above them, but Adam Gase is the worst coach in football and will continue to hinder this roster.

#28. Chicago Bears: The NFC Norths worst team will be hindered by the worst starting QB in the NFL with a subpar ground game. Their defense has nice pieces but holes in it as a unit. Bears fans have a long way to go.

#29. Carolina Panthers: This might seem harsh, but the team is going through a complete overhaul. Their defense is weak outside of the defensive line and their offense has been changed greatly. Without a preseason I think the new system on offense will take time to develop which is why I have them low here with room to grow for sure.

#30. Washington Football Team: Almost as bad as starting the season with this as the team name here comes the team. The defense is great up front, hell elite even, but their secondary is shaky at best which will get exposed. Their offense has only one receiver in Terry McClaurin, not a single tight end worth mentioning, their ground game is horrid, their offensive line is MIA, and Haskins is probably the second worst starting QB in the league. This offense will kill this team and exhaust the defense.

#31. Cincinnati Bengals: I think Burrow’s leadership is something that was missing under Dalton, but their offensive line is easily the worst in the league. The defense is probably the worst in the league overall.

#32. Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jags are the worst team in the NFL. Their tank for Lawrence plan has surely worked with all the trading of talent and letting other talent walk. Minshew is not good enough to win games for a team by himself which he will now have to do. This team would be lucky to go 3-13 this season.

  • Matt Koontz

2020 Week 1 NFL Picks

Houston @ Kansas City TNF @ 8:20 PM on NBC

Pick: Kansas City-34 Houston-24

The KC offense will be too much for the Houston defense. – JL

Pick: Kansas City- 36 Houston 27

The Chiefs simply have better weapons than the Texans, their offense will roll all game while the Texans will have moments. – MK

Miami @ New England, Sunday @ 1PM/ET

Pick: New England-24 Miami-21

Miami will hang in there but the Pats defense will make enough plays to get the win here. – JL

Pick: New England 20 – Miami 17

For me these two teams are far from playoff contenders, but it comes down to Cam Newton > Ryan Fitzpatrick. – MK

Chicago @ Detroit, Sunday @ 1PM/ET

Pick: Detroit-20 Chicago-13

A healthy Stafford with an improved defense should be enough to get by the Bears. – JL

Pick: Detroit 27 – Chicago 17

The Lions are far superior to the Bears on every aspect of the game. – MK

Seattle @ Atlanta, Sunday @ 1PM/ET

Pick: Seattle-27 Atlanta-23

One of the best games of the week. Wilson gets it done in the 4th quarter. – JL

Pick: Seattle 24 – Atlanta 20

This game will come down to the final possession in which I believe the Seahawks will make a defensive stand. – MK

Philadelphia @ Washington, Sunday @ 1PM/ET

Pick: Philadelphia-34 Washington-13

Philly is better on offense and defense. Philly wins pretty easy. – JL

Pick: Philadelphia 27 – Washington 10

The Redskins defense is a good unit, but their offense is a joke, Eagles take this easy. – MK

Green Bay @ Minnesota, Sunday @ 1PM/ET

Pick: Minnesota-24 Green Bay-21

Minnesota lost a lot on defense but I think they still have enough to get the win over the Packers at home. – JL

Pick: Green Bay 24 – Minnesota 20

No Michael Pierce, Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen, Trey Waynes, I believe this defense will be run through by Aaron Jones enough for the Packers to pick up the win. – MK

Indianapolis @ Jacksonville, Sunday @ 1PM/ET

Pick: Indianapolis-31 Jacksonville-24

The Jacksonville defense is no good and Indy will take advantage in a big way. – JL

Pick: Indianapolis 34 – Jacksonville 10

The Jags are clearly tanking while the Colts have Rivers behind an elite offensive line, I am really excited. – MK

Cleveland @ Baltimore, Sunday @1 PM/ET

Pick: Baltimore-34 Cleveland-21

The Ravens defense will show that they are still elite and set the offense up with plenty of good opportunities to score. – JL

Pick: Baltimore 31 – Cleveland 17

Baker is not even average, the Ravens defense is elite. – MK

NY Jets @ Buffalo, Sunday @ 1PM/ET

Pick: Buffalo-17 NY Jets-13

This screams low scoring to me. Buffalo gets the win in a very defensive game. -JL

Pick: Buffalo 28 – NY Jets 17

Adam Gase is still the head coach, so the Jets offense finds no rhythm and struggles. – MK

Las Vegas @ Carolina, Sunday @ 1PM/ET

Pick: Carolina-24 Las Vegas-17

Teddy will be just good enough to compliment CMC. – JL

Pick: Carolina 24 – Las Vegas – 20

I think this game will be fun to watch, in the end Bridgewater’s lack of turnovers win this game. – MK

LA Chargers @ Cincinnati, Sunday @ 4:05 PM/ET

Pick: Los Angeles-27 Cincinnati-16

Tyrod has plenty of weapons to put up points on this Bengals defense. – JL

Pick: LA Chargers 28 – Cincinnati 17

The Bengals offensive line is a steaming pile of garbage so bad that a high school team in Texas could outplay them, Bosa and Ingram will tear them apart. – MK

Tampa Bay @ New Orleans, Sunday @ 4:25 PM/ET

Pick: New Orleans-34 Tampa Bay-24

Tom in Tampa won’t be enough to beat Brees in New Orleans. -JL

Tampa Bay 27 – New Orleans 24

The Bucs offense is far deeper than the Saints, and in the 4th quarter it makes the difference needed for the win. – MK

Arizona @ San Fransisco, Sunday @ 4:25 PM/ET

Pick: Arizona-24 San Fransisco-21

Super Bowl hangover combined with an improving team. Arizona with the upset. – JL

Pick: Arizona 23 – San Francisco 20

Cardinals offense got better, the 49ers offense is beat up already and will struggle with their subpar QB. – MK

Dallas @ LA Rams, Sunday night football @ 8:20 PM/ET on NBC

Pick: LA Rams-27 Dallas-24

Goff starts his bounce back season with a good performance in the season opener. – JL

Pick: Dallas 30 – Rams 24

The Cowboys are all around just a better team and Ramsey can slow down Cooper, but Gallup and Lamb should run wild. – MK

Pittsburgh @ NY Giants Monday @ 7:10 PM/ET on ESPN

Pick: Pittsburgh-30 NY Giants- 17

Big Ben is back and the offense improves a lot. – JL

Pick: Pittsburgh 34 – NY Giants 20

Ben returns with a win against an inferior Giants defense. – MK

Tennessee @ Denver, Monday @ 10:20 PM/ET on ESPN

Pick: Denver-20 Tennessee 13

The Denver defense slow down Henry and hold on to win at home. – JL

Pick: Tennessee 21 – Denver 20

The Titans score late and stop the Denver offense from mounting a comeback late, then use Henry to burn clock. – MK

KEY: JL- Jaycob Lofts, MK- Matt Koontz

Ngakoue traded!

After turmoil between Yannick Ngakoue and the Jaguars front office for what has felt like forever, thanks to 2020 feeling like forever, the star pass rusher has a new home.

Ngakoue has been traded to the Minnesota Vikings. The Jaguars recieve a 2nd round draft pick in 2021 and a conditional round 5 pick in 2021 for the pass rusher.

The Vikings let Everson Griffen leave for Dallas in free agency and just replaced him with another all-pro level pass rusher to play the opposite side of Danielle Hunter. This was a great move for both teams as the Vikings defense thrives on that double edged pass rush. The Jaguars are rebuilding and can move on from the veteran player who had become a distraction for the locker room. I give both teams an A on this trade.