NFL Nation: Orlando Tuskers

2014 Predictions: New York Giants

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
video New York Giants reporter Dan Graziano makes his game-by-game picks for the 2014 season.

Week 1: at Detroit Lions

The Giants are coming off a mess of a preseason, undermanned and overwhelmed, with the offensive line still a mess and the new offense not clicking at all. No one will pick them to win this game. Except me. Prediction: Win

Week 2: Arizona Cardinals

This one's a comedown off the Week 1 surprise, as Arizona's banged-up defense still manages to flummox Eli Manning and collect a few interceptions. It's a bummer of a home opener as reality begins to set in. Prediction: Loss

Week 3: Houston Texans

Houston's defense is as liable as Arizona's to make life miserable for Manning and the offensive line. But Houston has bigger questions on offense than even the Giants, and this is a win for the New York defense against Ryan Fitzpatrick. Prediction: Win

Week 4: at Washington Redskins

The short week and Washington's stellar crew of offensive weapons prove too much for the Giants to overcome. Will Beatty still sees Brian Orakpo in his nightmares. Prediction: Loss

Week 5: Atlanta Falcons

The pattern continues, and the Giants overcome two Osi Umenyiora sacks to outscore the Falcons with a furious Manning comeback in the final minutes. The Giants poke their heads over the .500 mark as they make the turn into the most brutal stretch of their schedule. Prediction: Win

Week 6: at Philadelphia Eagles

The Giants don't have Matt Barkley to kick around this time when they visit the City of Brotherly Love. Chip Kelly and the Eagles show them what a truly innovative offense looks like. Prediction: Loss

Week 7: at Dallas Cowboys

The season-long debate about what gives when an anemic Giants offense meets a pathetic Cowboys defense tilts in Dallas' favor in the first meeting. Tony Romo & Co. have more than enough weapons to outscore Manning and his bunch, and the Giants hit the bye with a 3-4 record. Prediction: Loss

Week 9: Indianapolis Colts

After a long break before the Monday night home game, the Giants get taken apart by Andrew Luck, Hakeem Nicks & Co. at MetLife Stadium for a third straight loss. The offense is starting to run more smoothly, but it still doesn't have enough playmakers to outscore one of the league's better offenses. Prediction: Loss

Week 10: at Seattle Seahawks

You're kidding, right? Prediction: Loss

Week 11: San Francisco 49ers

The Giants have obviously handled the Niners in recent years and in some high-profile situations. But by this point in the season, San Francisco's defense is back to full strength, and the 49ers can't afford to lose ground to the Seahawks by failing to beat the team Seattle just beat the week before. Prediction: Loss

Week 12: Dallas Cowboys

A sixth straight loss is by no means out of the question here, as Romo and his crew still have the potential to outscore anyone in a given week. But from this far out, I'll forecast that something goes wrong for Romo late in this game, and the Giants get a gift. Prediction: Win

Week 13: at Jacksonville Jaguars

This is where the schedule starts to soften up, when the Giants start playing teams that insist on not starting their best quarterback. It's unfortunate they're 4-7 at this point and just about out of the playoff hunt, but they will get it going against the bottom-feeders. Prediction: Win

Week 14: at Tennessee Titans

I think the Titans are going to be dreadful this year, and by December they won't be very difficult for anyone to beat, even at home. A third straight victory keeps the Giants' hopes alive. Prediction: Win

Week 15: Washington Redskins

Have to be honest: The NFC East is so unpredictable that, when doing these predictions, I just decided to give the Giants a 3-3 division record with victories in all three home games and losses in all three road games. It's as fair a way as any to do it, I believe. Prediction: Win

Week 16: at St. Louis Rams

After moving back to .500 with four straight wins, the season falls apart at the hands of the St. Louis pass rush. An offensive line that has once again been the Giants' biggest problem all year can't protect Manning in a must-win game. Prediction: Loss

Week 17: Philadelphia Eagles

Tom Coughlin's teams can always find a way to play for pride. The Giants' playoff hopes are extinguished, but they still manage to end the season on a high note and with a .500 record. Prediction: Win

Predicted Record: 8-8


2014 Predictions: Seattle Seahawks

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
video Seattle Seahawks reporter Terry Blount makes his game-by-game picks for the 2014 season.

Week 1: Green Bay Packers

All the pregame hype will center around the so-called Inaccurate Reception, the controversial Hail Mary catch by Golden Tate two years ago that won the game over the Packers at Seattle on a Monday night. Tate has moved on to Detroit, but the Seahawks now have too many weapons for the Packers to stop, no Hail Mary required. Prediction: Win

Week 2: at San Diego Chargers

The Chargers better hope they play a lot better than they did in the preseason game at Seattle, a 41-14 victory for the Seahawks on Aug. 15. San Diego will play better, but not good enough to beat a much better team. Prediction: Win

Week 3: Denver Broncos

The Broncos and their fans got a tiny bit of meaningless Super Bowl revenge in the preseason opener with a 21-16 victory over the Seahawks in Denver. Enjoy it while it lasts, boys. Repeating that outcome in Seattle is not an option. Prediction: Win

Week 5: at Washington Redskins

Traveling coast to coast to play on the road for a Monday night game is a tough task against any NFL opponent, and even tougher against quarterback Robert Griffin III. But the Seahawks catch a break in this one by coming off a bye week with plenty of time to prepare and be fresh for the journey. Prediction: Win

Week 6: Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones gave Seattle a little bulletin-board material last month when he said the Seahawks were to blame for the increase in penalty flags during the preseason. There won't be near enough flags against Seattle for the Cowboys to win this one. Prediction: Win

Week 7: at St. Louis Rams

Any division game in the NFC West is a rugged battle. The Rams have a defensive line that gave the Seahawks problems a year ago. But they aren't strong enough overall to beat Seattle, even at home in their out-of-date dome. Prediction: Win

Week 8: at Carolina Panthers

The Seahawks were fortunate to win the season opener at Charlotte a year ago. That Panthers team was better than this one, but back-to-back road games against very physical defensive teams will end the Seattle winning streak. Prediction: Loss

Week 9: Oakland Raiders

Coming off their first loss of the season and returning home against an outmanned opponent, is there any doubt? Prediction: Win

Week 10: New York Giants

The Seahawks easily defeated the Giants 23-0 last year in New Jersey, a dress rehearsal for their Super Bowl victory at the same location -- MetLife Stadium. The Seahawks won't need a rehearsal to roll past the Giants in this one. Prediction: Win

Week 11: at Kansas City Chiefs

This likely will be a low-scoring game between two strong defensive teams. Odds are against any team that has to try to win by matching its defense against the Seahawks' D. Prediction: Win

Week 12: Arizona Cardinals

The last time the Cardinals played at CenturyLink Field was last December when they handed the Seahawks a 17-10 loss. That won't happen again unless the Seahawks get caught looking ahead to the 49ers game. The Seahawks don't look ahead. Prediction: Win

Week 13: at San Francisco 49ers

It's a Thanksgiving night, national TV game in the 49ers' shiny new stadium against the hated Seahawks. If San Francisco can't win this one, its time as a championship contender is over. Prediction: Loss

Week 14: at Philadelphia Eagles

This is the toughest part of the season for the Seahawks with back-to-back road games against likely playoff contenders. But the 10 days between games will help and be enough of a cushion to keep Seattle from losing two in a row. Prediction: Win

Week 15: San Francisco 49ers

This is a game that could decide which team wins the NFC West. No way the Seahawks lose to the 49ers twice in three weeks, especially not in front of a rabid full house of 12s. Prediction: Win

Week 16: at Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals probably will be fighting for a playoff spot, and the Seahawks already will be in at 12-2. That difference will be just enough for Arizona to win at home in the same stadium where the Seahawks will win the Super Bowl a few weeks later. Prediction: Loss

Week 17: St. Louis Rams

For the second consecutive year, the Rams close the regular season in Seattle. And for the second consecutive year, the Seahawks will beat them without much trouble. Prediction: Win

Predicted Record: 13-3

video San Diego Chargers reporter Eric D. Williams makes his game-by-game picks for the 2014 season.

Week 1: at Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals have a handful of new starters on defense. Two of Arizona's best players on that side of the ball definitely will not play in linebacker Daryl Washington (suspension) and defensive end Darnell Dockett (injury). San Diego appears to be catching the Cardinals at the right time. Prediction: Win

Week 2: Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks' 41-14 manhandling of San Diego a month ago during preseason play at CenturyLink Field was not a good showing for the Chargers. The starters for both teams will play in this one, and the game is at Qualcomm Stadium. However, the Seahawks will have 10 days of rest after the team's season opener against Green Bay, while the Chargers are playing on a short week after a Monday night game in Arizona. Prediction: Loss

Week 3: at Buffalo Bills

The Bills are improved, with one of the better defensive front sevens in the NFL. They have a nice 1-2 punch at running back in C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson and a human highlight film in receiver Sammy Watkins. But EJ Manuel remains inconsistent at quarterback. Prediction: Win

Week 4: Jacksonville Jaguars

This game could be the first start for rookie quarterback Blake Bortles if Chad Henne struggles early. The Chargers haven't lost to the Jaguars at Qualcomm, but Jacksonville's defense should be better with the addition of defensive ends Red Bryant and Chris Clemons. The Jaguars also get after the football defensively. Prediction: Win

Week 5: New York Jets

Will Michael Vick be the starting quarterback for the Jets instead of Geno Smith by Week 5? No matter the signal-caller, Rex Ryan will lean on the run game -- his Jets were one of 12 teams to rush for at least 2,000 yards in 2013. The Jets averaged just 15 points a game on the road in 2013. Prediction: Win

Week 6: at Oakland Raiders

The Chargers lost 27-17 on the road against an awful Oakland team last year. San Diego will be ready and bring more effort this time. However, the Raiders do have a bye before this game, so they will be rested. Prediction: Win

Week 7: Kansas City Chiefs

San Diego has not lost to Kansas City at Qualcomm Stadium since 2007. That streak should continue, although the Chargers can't rely on a Ryan Succop missed field goal to bail them out again. Prediction: Win

Week 8: at Denver Broncos

A nationally televised game against the best team in the AFC last year will be a good, midseason test of where this team stands. San Diego traditionally plays the Broncos tough in Denver -- the Chargers are 6-3 against the Broncos in Denver, including the playoffs, since 2006. Prediction: Loss

Week 9: at Miami Dolphins

The Chargers let one slip away at Miami last year. The Chargers haven't won a regular-season game in Miami since 1980. Prediction: Loss

Week 11: Oakland Raiders

San Diego players should be well-rested for the Raiders coming off of a bye week. Since 2003, the Chargers are 9-2 at Qualcomm Stadium against Oakland. Prediction: Win

Week 12: St. Louis Rams

The Rams have one of the most dominant defensive fronts in the NFL, but Shaun Hill does not instill fear in the hearts of NFL defenders. Prediction: Win

Week 13: at Baltimore Ravens

This game is the beginning of a brutal stretch of games to finish the season. San Diego has never defeated the Ravens in Baltimore. Prediction: Loss

Week 14: New England Patriots

New England runs the football, has an improved defense and one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. And that Bill Belichick is a pretty good coach. Prediction: Loss

Week 15: Denver Broncos

This game is a late-season AFC West battle that the Chargers likely will need to win in order to stay in playoff contention. Expect San Diego to play with urgency in this one. Prediction: Win

Week 16: at San Francisco 49ers

You can't discount how San Diego's defense handled San Francisco's offense in the preseason matchup between these two teams. But Jim Harbaugh should have his team playing much better by December. Prediction: Loss

Week 17: at Kansas City Chiefs

For a second straight season, the Chargers finish against the Chiefs, but this time on the road. Since 2004, San Diego is 6-4 at Kansas City. Prediction: Win

Predicted Record: 10-6 Oakland Raiders reporter Bill Williamson makes his game-by-game picks for the 2014 season.

Week 1: at New York Jets

The Raiders traditionally don't play well on the East Coast. Plus, Rex Ryan's team will be tough to score on. I see a low-scoring defeat. Prediction: Loss

Week 2: Houston Texans

I think the Raiders slug out a win here. Houston has a tough defense, but I think the Raiders defense comes up big and they win a similarly low-scoring game. Houston will be questioned for passing on quarterback Derek Carr. Prediction: Win

Week 3: at New England Patriots

This, on paper, is one of the Raiders' toughest tasks and I think it will play out that way. Tom Brady is just too tough to beat at home. Prediction: Loss

Week 4: Miami Dolphins

I think the Raiders are going to rise up to being the home team in London. The Dolphins have given the Raiders trouble, but I think the Raiders win in England. Prediction: Win

Week 6: San Diego Chargers

The Raiders have had success against the Chargers at home, and while the Chargers are improved, I like this matchup for the Raiders on both lines. Prediction: Win

Week 7: Arizona Cardinals

Raider Nation will want to see Carson Palmer fail in Oakland -- they've seen it plenty of times. But I think the Cardinals are too tough on defense for the Raiders in a critical midseason game. Prediction: Loss

Week 8: at Cleveland Browns

Maybe the Raiders will be facing Johnny Football or maybe not. Either way, I think the Browns will be a mess and the Raiders will win a rare game in the Eastern Time Zone. Prediction: Win

Week 9: at Seattle Seahawks

This is where the season toughens -- in a big way. An Oakland win in Seattle would be one of the upsets of the season. Don't see it. Prediction: Loss

Week 10: Denver Broncos

Here's another tough task. Peyton Manning will be just too much -- as usual. Prediction: Loss

Week 11: at San Diego Chargers

While I like the Oakland matchup against the Chargers, I think San Diego will find its stride and win a pivotal game. Prediction: Loss

Week 12: Kansas City Chiefs

I think the Chiefs will be up and down this season. This will be a down week. Prediction: Win

Week 13: at St. Louis Rams

The Rams are good and they may be playing for something at home. Tough spot for the Raiders. Prediction: Loss

Week 14: San Francisco 49ers

This will be a Super Bowl atmosphere for Raider Nation. But the 49ers will be hitting their stride in December. Prediction: Loss

Week 15: at Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs were down in Oakland and I think they will be up at home as they try to keep their wild-card hopes alive. Prediction: Loss

Week 16: Buffalo Bills

I'm not sure either team will be playing for much, but I think the Raiders give the home crowd a good showing to say goodbye to the season. Prediction: Win

Week 17: at Denver Broncos

Let's just say the Broncos will need to win this game. I don't like the Raiders' chances in that scenario. Prediction: Loss

Predicted Record: 6-10

video Kansas City Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher makes his game-by-game picks for the 2014 season.

Week 1: Tennessee Titans

Although it's ridiculous to label any season opener a must win, this is probably as close as it gets. The Chiefs face a minefield over the next five games, so they need to take care of business in this one. Prediction: Win

Week 2: at Denver Broncos

The Chiefs haven't beaten the Broncos since Denver was quarterbacked by Tim Tebow. They are 0-4 against Peyton Manning's Broncos, and this doesn't look like the game in which they will bust through. Prediction: Loss

Week 3: at Miami Dolphins

It's not unreasonable to suggest the Chiefs' ability to stay in the playoff hunt hinges on this game. They could get buried if they lose to the Dolphins. Prediction: Win

Week 4: New England Patriots

This would be only the third game Tom Brady has played at Arrowhead Stadium. The joint will be jumping for this Monday night matchup. Prediction: Loss

Week 5: at San Francisco 49ers

A taxing stretch of schedule, a short week and travel to the West Coast are too much for the Chiefs to overcome. Alex Smith will play well but not well enough to beat his former team. Prediction: Loss

Week 7: at San Diego Chargers

The Chiefs are due for a win in San Diego. They haven't brought one home from Qualcomm Stadium since 2007 -- until now. Prediction: Win

Week 8: St. Louis Rams

The Chiefs have won all five of their games against the Rams since the Rams moved to St. Louis. They will continue to own the state of Missouri. Prediction: Win

Week 9: New York Jets

If the Chiefs' schedule has a flat stretch, the Jets are right in the middle of it. It's hard to see them having meaningful games down the stretch if they don't win this one -- but they will. Prediction: Win

Week 10: at Buffalo Bills

Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stadium had been a haunted house for the Chiefs until they busted through with a victory there this past year. But they won't be able to sustain the momentum. Prediction: Loss

Week 11: Seattle Seahawks

The Chiefs will put up a strong fight in front of a raucous home crowd. But they won't have quite enough to beat the defending Super Bowl champions. Prediction: Loss

Week 12: at Oakland Raiders

Another tough West Coast assignment for the Chiefs, again on a short week. But this time they rise to the challenge. Prediction: Win

Week 13: Denver Broncos

The Broncos can't be looking forward to coming to Arrowhead for a Sunday night game. Again, the Chiefs will make things difficult for one of last year's Super Bowl participants, but they won't quite pull off the victory. Prediction: Loss

Week 14: at Arizona Cardinals

The Chiefs' playoff hopes take a fatal hit in the desert. This loss guarantees the Chiefs won't be making a repeat trip here for the Super Bowl. Prediction: Loss

Week 15: Oakland Raiders

The Chiefs take out their frustrations on the Raiders. In the process, they will get a second straight season sweep of their longtime rivals. Prediction: Win

Week 16: at Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh has been another place where the Chiefs have traditionally found it difficult to win. This game extends a losing streak that goes back to 1986. Prediction: Loss

Week 17: San Diego Chargers

The Chiefs haven't swept a season series from the Chargers since 2003. They get the job done this time against an opponent that will make the playoffs. Prediction: Win

Predicted Record: 8-8

2014 Predictions: Denver Broncos

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
video Denver Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold makes his game-by-game picks for the 2014 season.

Week 1: Indianapolis Colts

The Broncos have opened at home, in prime time, the previous two seasons and scored 31 and 49 points, respectively. In last year's opener, quarterback Peyton Manning threw seven touchdown passes and this year's offense is primed for another big year. Prediction: Win

Week 2: Kansas City Chiefs

Personnel executives around the league said throughout the preseason the Chiefs have some unresolved issues in the secondary and that's not a good place to have unresolved issues against the Broncos. Manning threw six touchdowns in two meetings against the Chiefs in '13. Prediction: Win

Week 3: at Seattle Seahawks

For months the Broncos have listened to and, no matter what they've said publicly, heard every word of criticism they were too soft, too intimidated to handle the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII. A potential early-season classic. Prediction: Win

Week 5: Arizona Cardinals

The Broncos will be just a quarter of the way through the season and they will already be two games into their NFC West trek. The Cardinals were a 10-win team in '13 that didn't make the playoffs, but their defense will sorely miss the injured Darnell Dockett. Prediction: Win

Week 6: at New York Jets

The Broncos didn't like much of what happened the last time they played in MetLife Stadium and Rex Ryan will have some defensive surprises waiting. But if the Broncos beat their body clocks in this one -- kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. MT -- they'll get another win. Prediction: Win

Week 7: San Francisco 49ers

The Broncos haven't made it through a home schedule undefeated since an 8-0 run in 2005. The teams that will offer the biggest tests will be the teams that can pound the ball on offense and pressure Manning with a four-man rush. The 49ers can do both. Prediction: Loss

Week 8: San Diego Chargers

These two teams took decidedly different approaches in the offseason. The Broncos were active in the free-agency market, showering contracts on several new arrivals, whereas the Chargers took a far more measured approach. San Diego will see the new guys have made a difference. Prediction: Win

Week 9: at New England Patriots

Since the start of the 2006 season the Broncos have played five games in Gillette Stadium, including a playoff game to close out the 2011 season to go with the 2012 and 2013 regular seasons. Prediction: Loss

Week 10: at Oakland Raiders

In the past five meetings with the Raiders, the Broncos have scored 34, 37, 26, 37 and 38 points. There is no reason to believe the Broncos won't add another 30-something output to the pile. Prediction: Win

Week 11: at St. Louis Rams

From a personnel standpoint the Rams, with quarterback Sam Bradford out for the season, aren't quite ready for prime time all the time just yet. But at some point, an early Week 4 bye and a stretch of six road games in eight weeks will kick in for the Broncos and they will lose one they shouldn't. Prediction: Loss

Week 12: Miami Dolphins

It will be the Dolphins' first trip to Denver since 2008 -- Mike Shanahan's final season as coach. Miami, in a bit of a roster makeover, will find things have changed. Prediction: Win

Week 13: at Kansas City Chiefs

Last season the Broncos scored a single-season record 606 points and still couldn't run the table in their AFC West games, losing to the Chargers in Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Trouble spots this time around figure to be this game or the one in San Diego two weeks later. Prediction: Win

Week 14: Buffalo Bills

From all of the offensive struggles the Bills had in the preseason, things figure to be more than a little frayed by the time they get to this point in the season. The Broncos will be pointing toward postseason seeding. Prediction: Win

Week 15: at San Diego Chargers

No matter the time of the year, no matter the rosters on either side, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has usually played well against the Broncos and put the Chargers in position to win the game. But this is the point of the schedule when the Broncos' new look on defense needs to look playoff ready.
Prediction: Win

Week 16: at Cincinnati Bengals

Finally, right here, the Broncos conclude the long, difficult trek through the road games that dominate the second half of their schedule. The Bengals, if still healthy on defense by this point, can rush the passer in the middle of the field and can create matchup problems on offense. Prediction: Loss

Week 17: Oakland Raiders

The Broncos nailed down home-field advantage with a win over the Raiders to close out the 2013 season. If all goes well for the Broncos, and a potential loss in New England would sting too badly, they should be in position to do that again in this one. Prediction: Win

Predicted Record: 12-4

video New England Patriots reporter Mike Reiss makes his game-by-game picks for the 2014 season.

Week 1: at Miami Dolphins

The Patriots' ability to handle the heat and humidity will be critical, and conditioning has been a big part of training camp. The Dolphins have a new offensive coordinator in Bill Lazor, so there will be a bit of a new twist to preparations of a familiar foe. Prediction: Win

Week 2: at Minnesota Vikings

Tom Brady vs. Matt Cassel. A fun one from a Patriots quarterback perspective, as Cassel was the backup in New England from 2005-08. Prediction: Win

Week 3: Oakland Raiders

Don't see the Raiders being able to come into Gillette Stadium and beat the Patriots, even though I think Derek Carr is the better option at quarterback over Matt Schaub. That's a tough spot for the Raiders, who travel to London the next week. Prediction: Win

Week 4: at Kansas City Chiefs

Arrowhead Stadium is a tough place to win. When the schedule was initially released, I figured the Chiefs would get this one, but I'm reversing course now. Prediction: Win

Week 5: Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals got the Patriots last year in Cincinnati. I don't think they pull it off again, even though this is a good spot for them coming off the bye and with the Patriots on a short week. Prediction: Win

Week 6: at Buffalo Bills

Looks like the Bills still have big questions at quarterback. In that case, it's hard to invest in them in this game. Prediction: Win

Week 7: New York Jets

The Jets' defense could play New England tough, but I'm not betting against Darrelle Revis in this one. Prediction: Win

Week 8: Chicago Bears

With a long week to prepare, it's hard to pick against the Patriots. The Bears could be a tough matchup with two top-flight receivers, but the Patriots are always tough to beat at home. Prediction: Win

Week 9: Denver Broncos

Next year's game will be in Denver if the teams both finish in the same spot in the standings. Peyton Manning versus Tom Brady -- it never gets old. Prediction: Win (in overtime)

Week 11: at Indianapolis Colts

This is the iron part of the schedule. I think Andrew Luck finally breaks through against the Patriots, in part because the game is at Lucas Oil Stadium. Prediction: Loss

Week 12: Detroit Lions

Tough spot for the Lions, following up a road trip to Arizona and then playing the following Thursday on Thanksgiving. Prediction: Win

Week 13: at Green Bay Packers

Not easy to win at Lambeau Field. This could be one of the most entertaining games of the season. Prediction: Loss

Week 14: at San Diego Chargers

Asking a lot of the players in this tough, back-to-back road stretch. The Chargers are one of the more underrated teams in the NFL. Prediction: Loss

Week 15: Miami Dolphins

The Patriots always seem to fair well against the warm-weather Dolphins at home in December. Prediction: Win

Week 16: at New York Jets

There's always one game that surprises us and we never saw coming. Could this be the one? Prediction: Loss

Week 17: Buffalo Bills

Another season finale against the Bills, just like last year. Should be the same result. Prediction: Win

Predicted Record: 12-4

2014 Predictions: New York Jets

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
video New York Jets reporter Rich Cimini makes his game-by-game picks for the 2014 season.

Week 1: Oakland Raiders

The schedule-makers did the Jets a solid by matching them with the Raiders for the opener -- at home, no less. There's no way the Jets can lose to rookie Derek Carr and a rebuilding Oakland team. Prediction: Win

Week 2: at Green Bay Packers

This is a tough, tough spot for the Jets' depleted secondary. Their young DBs will have a hard time communicating at loud Lambeau Field, and Aaron Rodgers will tear them to shreds. Prediction: Loss

Week 3: Chicago Bears

The Brandon Marshall-Alshon Jeffery receiving tandem is scary for the Jets, but they can get pressure on Jay Cutler and control the game with their "Ground & Pound" rushing attack. It'll be old-school football for the Jets on the Monday night stage. Prediction: Win

Week 4: Detroit Lions

This could turn into a prolific pitch and catch between Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, but this is where Rex Ryan's defensive acumen will come into play. He'll cook up an exotic scheme that will confuse the interception-prone Stafford. Prediction: Win

Week 5: at San Diego Chargers

Ryan likes San Diego -- he won a playoff game there in January 2010 -- but this trip to the West Coast won't go as well. It'll be too much travel and too much Philip Rivers, who will cool off the hot Jets. Prediction: Loss

Week 6: Denver Broncos

Oh, brother. In this case, the Manning brother at MetLife Stadium will be Peyton. Unless he's freaked out by Super Bowl nightmares from last February, Manning will have a field day with the Jets' secondary. Prediction: Loss

Week 7: at New England Patriots

The Jets get only three days of rest before facing Tom Brady & Co. on the road. There are easier things in the NFL than having to prepare for the Patriots on a short week. It's almost not fair. Prediction: Loss

Week 8: Buffalo Bills

This is a must-win game, and the Jets will respond to the challenge. With fans and media clamoring for Michael Vick, Geno Smith will play his best game to even the Jets' record at 4-4. Prediction: Win

Week 9: at Kansas City Chiefs

Call this the Buddy Bowl. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg worked under Chiefs coach Andy Reid in Philadelphia and Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton served under Ryan with the Jets. In the end, the Chiefs' home-field advantage will be the difference. Prediction: Loss

Week 10: Pittsburgh Steelers

The Jets have dropped three straight to the Steelers, including the 2010 AFC Championship Game. It's not the Jets' favorite matchup, but this isn't your typical Pittsburgh team. It's time for some redemption. Prediction: Win

Week 12: at Buffalo Bills

Here's a guarantee: The Jets won't visit the local Dave & Buster's on the eve of the game, as they did last season on the trip to Buffalo. The Jets lost and Ryan was ripped for trying something outside the box. No matter, they'll lose again. Prediction: Loss

Week 13: Miami Dolphins

Expect the unexpected in this old rivalry. The Jets have dropped two straight at home to the Dolphins, failing to score a touchdown. Some things are hard to explain. Playing on Monday night, the Jets drop to 5-7, prompting Ryan to bench Smith in favor of Vick. Prediction: Loss

Week 14: at Minnesota Vikings

By now, Teddy Bridgewater will be starting for the Vikings. Ryan's defense is tough on rookies, so the Vick-led Jets will save their season with a rousing victory in the cold of Minnesota. Prediction: Win

Week 15: at Tennessee Titans

Chris Johnson circled this game on his calendar as soon as the schedule was released, making no attempt to hide his bitterness toward his former team. He'll run wild against an overmatched Tennessee defense. Prediction: Win

Week 16: New England Patriots

Ex-Jets star Darrelle Revis returns to MetLife Stadium, this time as a member of the Jets' top rival. He'll intercept Vick, but the Jets will get the last laugh, improving to 8-7. Prediction: Win

Week 17: at Miami Dolphins

In a repeat of last season, the Jets will close the season on an upbeat note, ending the Joe Philbin era in Miami. Unfortunately for them, a 9-7 record won't be good enough for the playoffs, marking the fourth straight year out of the postseason. Prediction: Win

Predicted Record: 9-7

video Baltimore Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley makes his game-by-game picks for the 2014 season.

Week 1: Cincinnati Bengals

The Ravens are banged up in the secondary, but they tend to be at their best against Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. Baltimore is 3-0 against Dalton at home, picking him off seven times. Prediction: Win

Week 2: Pittsburgh Steelers

On a short week, the benefit of playing an easier season-opening opponent (Cleveland Browns) is a definite edge for the Steelers. Plus, the Ravens haven't dominated Pittsburgh at M&T Bank Stadium, winning only two of the past four games played there. Prediction: Loss

Week 3: at Cleveland Browns

The Ravens have won 11 of their past 12 games against the Browns. They even get a few extra days to prepare for the Browns because they're coming off a Thursday night game. Prediction: Win

Week 4: Carolina Panthers

If this game is close, wide receiver Steve Smith will find a way to will the Ravens to a win over his former team. Is there any way Smith doesn't get 100 yards receiving in this game? Prediction: Win

Week 5: at Indianapolis Colts

The Ravens are vulnerable in the secondary, which is why they'll struggle against elite quarterbacks this year. And Andrew Luck is an elite quarterback, especially at home, where he is 13-3. Prediction: Loss

Week 6: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Ravens aren't going to lose to Josh McCown for a second straight year. The reason? Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil are going to get pressure against that Bucs offensive line. Prediction: Win

Week 7: Atlanta Falcons

In a game where the quarterbacks will headline, Matt Ryan will get the better of Joe Flacco. This looks like a bounce-back year for the Falcons. Prediction: Loss

Week 8: at Cincinnati Bengals

The Ravens historically don't play well in Paul Brown Stadium. Baltimore has lost four of its past five games in Cincinnati. The Ravens even lost there last season when Dalton threw three interceptions. Prediction: Loss

Week 9: at Pittsburgh Steelers

The Ravens haven't been swept by the Steelers since 2008. But this could be the season when Pittsburgh takes back the AFC North. Prediction: Loss

Week 10: Tennessee Titans

Joe Flacco is 11-1 at home in November with a 98.2 passer rating. Look for the Ravens to pick on former teammate Bernard Pollard in the passing game. Prediction: Win

Week 12: at New Orleans Saints

The Ravens return to the site of their Super Bowl championship, but this is far from a neutral field. This is the Ravens' most difficult road game of the season. The Saints are 20-4 at the Superdome over the past three seasons. Prediction: Loss

Week 13: San Diego Chargers

In his past four games against the Ravens, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has averaged 295 yards passing, throwing seven touchdowns and two interceptions. His passer rating is 102.3. Only Peyton Manning has a better rating (131.2) against the Ravens since 2007. Prediction: Loss

Week 14: at Miami Dolphins

Flacco is 4-0 against Miami, which includes a divisional playoff win in January 2009. He has completed 61.9 percent of his passes against the Dolphins and has a 95 passer rating. Prediction: Win

Week 15: Jacksonville Jaguars

Since 2009, the Jaguars are tied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns for the worst record in December. The Jaguars have lost 16 of 22 games in that month. Prediction: Win

Week 16: at Houston Texans

New Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak will want to prove something to all the Texans fans who thought his attack was too predictable. Plus, could the Ravens be facing rookie quarterback Tom Savage at this point? Prediction: Win

Week 17: Cleveland Browns

The schedule is set up for the Ravens to finish strong, and history heavily favors the Ravens in this one. The Browns are one of two teams who haven't won a regular-season finale since 2010 (St. Louis is the other). Cleveland's average margin of defeat in the past four season-enders is 15.7 points. Prediction: Win

Predicted Record: 9-7

2014 Predictions: Miami Dolphins

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
video Miami Dolphins reporter James Walker makes his game-by-game picks for the 2014 season.

Week 1: New England Patriots

The Patriots have dominated the AFC East division for a long time. New England will be at or near full strength in Week 1, which is bad news for Miami. Prediction: Loss

Week 2: at Buffalo Bills

Buffalo swept Miami last year and has been an awful matchup for the Dolphins in recent seasons. This will be the Bills' home opener and Miami's first road game. That is not a good combination. Prediction: Loss

Week 3: Kansas City Chiefs

At this point, Week 3 will be a must-win for Miami, which cannot fall to 0-3. Kansas City was a playoff team last season, but the Dolphins have enough talent to pull off an important win. Prediction: Win

Week 4: at Oakland Raiders

Although you never know how a team will respond going overseas, this should be a win for the Dolphins in London. Oakland is a struggling team that won't win many games this year. Prediction: Win

Week 6: Green Bay Packers

The Dolphins will receive a boost on defense with safety Reshad Jones and defensive end Dion Jordan coming off suspensions. But quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense will be too much as Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin loses to his former team. Prediction: Loss

Week 7: at Chicago Bears

Winning in Soldier Field is never easy. The Dolphins lose a close one on the road. Prediction: Loss

Week 8: at Jacksonville Jaguars

This is a road game the Dolphins should win. Miami's defense can take advantage of former Dolphins draft bust Chad Henne or an inexperienced Blake Bortles at quarterback. Prediction: Win

Week 9: San Diego Chargers

West Coast teams usually struggle when making the long flight to Miami. The Dolphins pull this one out to keep things interesting in the second half of the season. Prediction: Win

Week 10: at Detroit Lions

This is one of those "swing games" that will make or break Miami's season. The Dolphins are capable of beating Detroit but fall short. Prediction: Loss

Week 11: Buffalo Bills

Despite being an awful matchup, the Dolphins can't afford to get swept by the Bills for the second year in a row. Miami wins a competitive game over Buffalo at home. Prediction: Win

Week 12: at Denver Broncos

Unless future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning is injured, the Dolphins have little chance of winning this game. This will be a homecoming of sorts for Miami running back Knowshon Moreno, who played in Denver. Prediction: Loss

Week 13: at New York Jets

The Dolphins usually play well in New York. However, that streak of beating the Jets on the road comes to an end this season. Prediction: Loss

Week 14: Baltimore Ravens

Miami let the Ravens escape last season with a win in Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins will be determined not to let it happen two years in a row. Prediction: Win

Week 15: at New England Patriots

The Patriots on the road in December is asking for disaster. New England usually is full-throttle by this time of year and rounding into playoff form. Prediction: Loss

Week 16: Minnesota Vikings

Miami finishes the regular season with two home games in December. The Vikings are mediocre and should be a winnable game late. Prediction: Win

Week 17: New York Jets

Similar to 2013, this game could have wild-card implications. The Jets and Dolphins usually split, so Miami gets the nod at home. Prediction: Win

Predicted Record: 8-8

Matt BryantAP Photo/Bill KostrounAfter regaining his kicking stroke in the UFL last season, Matt Bryant found a home with the Falcons.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- He kicked them to victory at a time when his heart was broken. In return, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicked Matt Bryant to the curb.

He’s been through more tragedy and a very humbling experience since that 2008 weekend when he buried his infant son and booted the Buccaneers to victory. But if you thought all those off-field sorrows were going to relegate Bryant to a spot in the minor leagues and send him on a path out of football, think again.

Bryant, 34, is back in the NFL, back in the NFC South and doing just fine. He’s the kicker for the Atlanta Falcons and, in some ways, he’s stronger now than he was before the sudden death of his infant son, Tryson, and the slow and painful death of his father.

“There’s never a day that goes by that I don’t think about my son and now my dad," Bryant said after a recent workout with the Falcons. "That just never goes away. It doesn’t change and it probably never will. That’s all right because that’s my life. But when I step out on the field, no matter what has happened off the field, I go out there with the mentality of trying to be the best.''

That’s Bryant’s mindset these days and he’s in a good spot. The Falcons have some younger kickers on the roster, but all indications are they’ll go with Bryant as long as he kicks well in training camp and the preseason.

“Right now, Matt Bryant is our kicker, but we have a very competitive situation,’’ Atlanta coach Mike Smith said. “Matt’s advantage is he has done it in this league. He’s had some tough times personally, but he’s a very strong man.’’

Probably stronger than any of us realize. After going undrafted out of Baylor, Bryant had to scratch and claw his way to the NFL. He worked in a pawn shop and as a personal trainer for several years before catching on with the New York Giants in 2002. He bounced around with the Colts and Dolphins, too, before finally finding what seemed like a home in Tampa Bay in 2005.

[+] EnlargeMatt Bryant
AP Photo/Reinhold MatayMatt Bryant blew a kiss as a tribute to his son during a game against the Packers on Sept. 28, 2008.
That’s where Bryant thrived for four seasons. In 2006, he made a game-winning 62-yard field goal and the city declared a day in Bryant’s honor. He firmly grabbed the city’s heart in September 2008, when just days after his infant son, Tryson, died in his sleep, Bryant kicked a game-winning field goal.

But a strange thing happened when coach Jon Gruden was fired after the 2008 season. Even though Bryant temporarily survived the purge of veterans such as Derrick Brooks that started soon after coach Raheem Morris and general manager Mark Dominik took over, it quickly became obvious he also was on the way out.

The Bucs spent $2.4 million (more than double Bryant’s salary) to bring in kicker Mike Nugent.

“That was their guy," Bryant said. “It was very clear and obvious. I’d love to tell you the whole story and if I do it would actually accomplish something. If I thought it would do any good, I would. But it would probably actually hurt me. Let’s just say it was a very frustrating situation that could have been easily resolved. All the way from the top, from the owners to the GM, it was a frustrating situation that I wish I never had to have been a part of it. My family and I loved Tampa and the fans were absolutely great. But there are some situations you can’t pick and choose."

The Bucs kept Bryant through training camp as he dealt with a hamstring injury. He said he was healthy enough to kick by the final preseason game, but the Bucs didn’t let him. They released him in the final cut and the perception around the league was he still had hamstring issues.

He got a tryout in Cleveland last September.

“It was exactly a year from the day Tryson had passed,’’ Bryant said. “Going into it, I didn’t feel very good and I hadn’t kicked with a snapper and a holder in two months. I didn’t have a great workout.’’

That left Bryant with only one option -- taking a big step back from the NFL. He signed a contract with the Orlando Tuskers of the United Football League. That’s where Bryant’s kicking stroke firmly returned and the Falcons kept an eye on him from a distance. With veteran Jason Elam struggling with accuracy, the Falcons signed Bryant on Dec. 1, 2009.

“Going to the UFL was good,’’ Bryant said. “The pay was considerably less, but it still was football. It was good football. Everybody was there for their own reasons. I want to publicly thank them for letting me come into their league.’’

Bryant finished the season with Atlanta, but not without another tragedy. After a lengthy battle with ALS, Bryant’s father passed away late last season. Bryant had another funeral to attend, but didn’t miss any game time.

Painful as it may be, Bryant is trying to put distance on the tragedies. He’s spent much of his offseason in Atlanta and his family recently moved into the area. Wife Melissa’s been busy getting the children involved in sports and school and Bryant’s been focusing on football.

They once thought they had a long-term home in Tampa. That’s what they now are trying to build in Atlanta.

“It’s been a tough couple of years," Bryant said. “I’ve had some big losses and I’ve been very humbled professionally. But I’m coming in here and starting over. I’m approaching it with the mindset of going out there every day and doing my best and letting whatever happens happen."