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NFL Second Half Preview

Mill Woods

Posted on November 1, 2018 11:49

1 user

The Redskins rampaged on the Atlantic, while the Raiders sank into the Pacific. As expected, the NFL's first half delivered some unexpected drama. The Raiders - and five contenders from a year ago - are lagging in the race for the playoffs, while a few Cinderellas grab headlines. In November, several teams are riding tremendous momentum, while others need an about-face just to survive.

Where, oh where, has my little dog gone?  In early September, I thought the Raiders had a chance at the blue ribbon; two months later, they look like stray dogs. My preseason playoff picks were:

1. Atlanta Falcons
2. Green Bay Packers
3. Oakland Raiders
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
5. Kansas City Chiefs
6. Los Angeles Rams
7. Minnesota Vikings
8. New England Patriots
9. New Orleans Saints
10. Philadelphia Eagles
11. Pittsburgh Steelers
12. Tennessee Titans

At the halfway mark, I feel good about the Rams, Chiefs, Patriots, Saints and Steelers. But other top dogs, while not dead, have taken a beating. And we can place a nice 'RIP' on the Raiders' tombstone.

Currently, the NFL's winningest division is the NFC South, with a collective 17 wins. The banged-up Falcons have sunk to third place. In the NFC North, the Packers are also hobbling in third place, while the Bears roar. In the NFC East, the defending-champion Eagles have lost two more games than the suddenly-virile Redskins.

The AFC belongs to the Chiefs and Patriots. The AFC North is a dead heat. The Texans are surging in the South. The Titans have lost their last three games and the Jaguars have slumped in their last four.

This week, the NFC's current top seed - the undefeated Rams - visit the #2 Saints, while the Falcons try to lift off versus the red hot Redskins. Those hungry Chargers visit the Seahawks, while the Steelers and Ravens renew old grudges in the AFC North.

Looking ahead, Week 10 gives us the Steelers hosting the Panthers in a head-knocker. Other big games include the Bengals, Patriots and Eagles being tested by the Saints, Titans and Cowboys. Week 11 showcases the following rumbles: Bengals-Ravens, Vikings-Bears, Eagles-Saints and Steelers-Jaguars. The year's top Monday Night Football game features the leaders of each conference - Rams versus Chiefs - on November 19.

By Black Friday, some of the playoff dust will already have settled; Turkey Day showcases the Bears and Lions in a morning brawl, the Cowboys and Redskins shooting it out in the afternoon, and the Falcons taking another shot at the Saints in the night game. Those three are all must-see TV, setting the stage for an exciting December dash.

Last week, I rebounded, picking 12 of 14 games correctly. Here are the Week Nine clashes - and my picks:

1. Raiders at 49ers                         49ers
2. Falcons at Redskins                    Redskins
3. Lions at Vikings                          Vikings
4. Steelers at Ravens                     Steelers
5. Chiefs at Browns                        Chiefs
6. Jets at Dolphins                         Dolphins
7. Bears at Bills                             Bears
8. Bucs at Panthers                        Panthers
9. Chargers at Seahawks                Seahawks
10. Texans at Broncos                    Broncos
11. Rams at Saints                         Saints
12. Packers at Patriots                    Patriots
13. Titans at Cowboys                    Cowboys

The weather may be getting cooler, but football season is heating up.  Enjoy!

Mill Woods

Posted on November 1, 2018 11:49

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