1) Right now… especially after holding Dallas to 7 points and Detroit to 6 points (2 FGs)… the New York Giants’ defense appears to be peaking and firing on all cylinders. For the season the defense has only given up a total of 250 points (17.8 ppg.) Only the Seattle Seahawks (235 total points/16.8 ppg) in the NFC and the AFC New England Patriots (233 total points/16.6 ppg) have better points allowed defenses.
Assuming they finish regular season play no worse than 1-1 and enter the playoffs an 11-5 wild card… how dangerous do you think they will be in this year’s NFL tournament for the Super Bowl? Is this a possible repeat of 2007 when they won a wild card, and, then seemingly against all odds, ran the table and ultimately beat the undefeated New England Patriots and won their 3rd Super Bowl?
(Editor’s note: Who they also beat in 2011 for their 4th ring. And, who just might be in this year’s Super Bowl once again as the AFC entrant.)
Chad: They can certainly be dangerous.
Round one would be in a dome, either in Atlanta or a rematch in Detroit, so, yeah, this team with Eli at QB and that defense definitely can make noise in these playoffs.
David: I’m still not a believer in the Giants.
The problem is, other than the Cowboys, who are the solid teams? The Falcons can be beaten up on, the Redskins are a fraud, the Packers are getting hot but we have seen this before, the Lions can’t put a game away, the Seahawks are imploding. So, who is the big team to come out of the NFC?
Why not the Giants? Because you have to flip a coin 3 times and come up tails for the G-Men to make the Super Bowl. I just can’t see them dropping 35 points for 3 weeks in a row.
Dan: I think the Giants are a dangerous team defensively as they’ve shown in recent weeks and they are definitely Dallas’ Kryptonite. If, they can face them again in the playoffs, odds favor the Giants in winning that match-up as does the match-up itself on paper.
I do think there are a couple teams who can top the Giants, but, it’ll be tough. If, they can muster up some scores on that defense, you can hold Eli Manning and that offense to low points. Eli is having a down year. Their offensive line isn’t very strong. The running game is a question mark. But, the defense is winning them games. And, they definitely can win them another Super Bowl.
Do I think it’s the Giants’ year? No. Do they have a real good shot at making it to the SB? Yeah, they definitely can.
Earl: The Giants defense was much maligned last season but it appears that they are clicking on all cylinders right now. The Giants defense has kept two high powered offenses in check, but, the back injury to Janoris Jenkins has me a little weary. If the injury isn’t too serious, then I think the Giants have a fair chance in making the Super Bowl. They have beaten the Cowboys twice, they have beaten the Lions, and I would like their chances against the Falcons. So, yes I like the Giants chances at making another Super Bowl.
2) Who walks away with the win in the upcoming Christmas day game between Pittsburgh and Baltimore? Why?
In these matchups I tend to give the edge to the home team especially when they have Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown surrounding Big Ben.
They can throw the ball with Big Ben, and, can run the ball with Bell. The defense is a problem, but, if, you can get to 20, you can beat the Ravens.
Dan: I think Pittsburgh is going to come out with the victory. They have a very strong offense led by Big Ben, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown and their defense is starting to pick up. Baltimore has a very strong defense but has shown in recent weeks that you can move the ball rather easily against them. Their offense isn’t too bad with Flacco and the combo duo of West and Dixon at RB, but I don’t think they have enough talent to over top the Steelers in this match-up. Bell is starting to heat up and is going on a tear as everyone saw against the Bills. I think Pittsburgh wins by a touchdown.
It should be a typical AFC North hard hitting game but the Steelers behind LeVeon Bell should emerge with the victory. Both teams can defend and both teams love playing hard nosed defense but the Steelers offense is just better and that will be enough to get the W.
3) Can Detroit rebound from their loss to the Giants and beat Dallas on the upcoming MNF game? Why or why not?
Chad: Yes, they can.
Especially, since Dallas may not play at their full capacity since they have everything pretty much wrapped up.
David: Not with that run defense.
Dallas’ defense is going to be ticked that they were ignored for the Pro-Bowl and will take it out on a Lions team that is playing a bit over their heads.
Dan: I think, if everything goes perfect for Detroit, they can beat Dallas. Is that realistic? No.
Detroit didn’t look good against NYG and that’s the only team that has proven they can beat the Cowboys. I don’t think Stafford can lead their offense past the Cowboys D and I don’t think their defense is going to stop Ezekiel Elliot or Dak Prescott, even though Prescott is starting to look a little more human as of recent games. The Lions have a history of playing close games all season, especially trailing in the 4th quarter in the majority of their games. I think they’ll get behind in this match-up and fall to a point they can’t overcome. They’re on the road in a hostile environment, on Monday night, and against a strong team. You have to think Stafford’s hand will also effect him this week as well.
I think it’ll be some what close, but Dallas will win by between 7-10 points.
Earl: Absolutely. The Lions are a good team, as are the Giants but the Lions have the offense to give Dallas a run for their money. The Cowboys looked good beating the Buccaneers on Sunday night but they are vulnerable. If, Stafford gets time to throw and they get something from their run game, then, yes, they got a shot.
Do I think they win? No, but, I think the Lions can make it a good contest.
4) Barring anything amazing occurring as the 2016 season ends, the Browns, 49ers and the Jaguar’s should have the 1st, 2nd and 3rd picks respectively in the upcoming draft. Each team could arguably use a QB, but, if you were the GM for any of these teams would you take the best QB possible or would you rather take a defensive player in what is being touted as defensive heavy draft year?
Chad: I would probably go for the defense because “defense wins championships” and rookie QBs, more often than not, are projects to get used to the NFL.
David: There isn’t a QB I’d take in the first round. The Browns need to take a defensive player and hope they get Luke 2.0 to lead that defense and be a cornerstone on that defense.
I could see grabbing either the UNC or ND QB at the top of the 2nd and making him sit a year. Seriously. I wouldn’t even bring him to the road games. Hire a QB guru to do nothing for a year but work off the field.
Dan: One of these teams has to go out and get a quarterback. The Browns are absolutely terrible and Myles Garrett has been projected to go to them for a while. I’d keep it the same way. They need a good defensive line presence and they really need help on defense. They have RGIII at QB that they can stick with and try to get some pieces around him, but, they need help with their D. Every team facing them is a fantasy football player’s dream. They have two picks within the top-10. They’re in a great position to start with defense.
The 49ers need help everywhere as well. They have Hyde at RB so they’re set there. They need a QB bad. Kaepernick isn’t cutting it. Their depth is horrible. Trubisky is projected to go number 2 in many mocks, but Kizer from Notre Dame is also projected at top 5 (some mocks have him going to Chicago). So they’ll be set with two options and in this scenario, I’m going Trubisky. Plays in a better system, more accurate and just doesn’t turn the ball over.
For Jacksonville, they can stick with Bortles. Management seems like they want to shy away from him, but they have a solid offensive starting point. They just need Bortles to come around. He looked like he was going to after the 2015 season, but, 2016 has not treated him well. They have two solid weapons in Robinson and Hurns, solid TEs and a nice RB combo of Yeldon and Ivory. They need to go defense with Jonathan Allen as their pick in many mocks. They could go with a corner in Wilson out of Florida or Lattimore out of Ohio State or Humphrey out of Alabama. They could grab Robinson at OT from Alabama or they could snag Barnett from Tennessee who has had a great season. I’d stick with what most mocks do and grab Allen at 3.
So, Cleveland grabs Garrett out of Texas A&M, San Francisco grabs Trubisky from UNC and Jacksonville goes Jonathan Allen from Alabama.
Earl: This draft lacks a standout quarterback. Deshaun Watson from Clemson, DeShone Kizer from Notre Dame and Mitch Trubisky from North Carolina are good quarterbacks but none of them are franchise quarterbacks. All three teams should take the best player available, which will likely all be defenders.
5) Who wins the game between the San Francisco 49ers (1-13) and the home team Los Angeles Rams (4-10)? Why?
Chad: Really, nobody wins… the teams, the fans, the league… nobody wins. Both of these teams are just awful.
Dan: I think both teams are horrible, and, I think the Rams made the correct choice getting rid of Jeff Fischer since he couldn’t coach that offense if his life depended on it. I still think the Rams will win this.
San Francisco is absolutely horrible and I just can’t see them being able to move the ball much against Los Angeles. They have a solid little offense with Jared Goff at the helm. I think Los Angeles wins by a couple touchdowns and this game won’t be close.
Earl: Wow. What a horrible game. I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended in some dreadful 3-3 tie, but, if, someone has to win, I’ll go with the 49ers. In a battle between Colin Kaepernick and Jared Goff, I’ll take the seasoned vet in Kaepernick.
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