2017 NFL Week 3 Bettor’s Guide

2017 NFL Week 3 Bettor’s Guide
M.D. Wright

Last week was all about blown covers, including a couple of backdoor covers late. Nothing like last second scores to swing the cash. Early season parlays are not wise nowadays. Games change at the drop of a hat in today’s NFL.

Last Week:
SU: 11-5
ATS: 7-9

SU: 21-11
ATS: 16-15-1

Week 3: (LAR vs. SF, LAR covered with points)



2017 NFL Week 2 Bettor’s Guide (Picks Only)

2017 NFL Week 2 Bettor’s Guide (Picks Only)
M.D. Wright

Picks Only this week:

Last Week:
SU: 10-6
ATS: 9-6-1

SU: 10-6
ATS: 9-6-1

Week 2:
HOU vs. CIN: (HOU +6; Covered, HOU ML; Hit)

BUF (+7) UNDER (43) vs. CAR
BUF 17
CAR 23

TEN OVER (41.5) vs. JAX (-3)
TEN 20
JAX 24

NE OVER (57) vs. NO (+7)
NE 27
NO 38

MIN (+6) UNDER (45) vs. PIT
MIN 20
PIT 24

PHI UNDER (47.5) vs. KC (-6)
PHI 16
KC 24

ARZ (-7.5) OVER (44) vs. IND
ARZ 34
IND 13

CHI OVER (43.5) vs. TB (-7)
CHI 17
TB 31

CLE (+8) OVER (38.5) vs. BAL
CLE 23
BAL 20

NYJ OVER (43.5) vs. OAK (-14)
NYJ 15
OAK 38

MIA UNDER (45.5) vs. LAC (-3.5)
MIA 17
LAC 26

SF UNDER (41.5) vs. SEA (-14)
SF  6
SEA 27

DAL UNDER (43.5) vs. DEN (+3)
DAL    13
DEN    23

WSH UNDER (45.5) vs. LAR (-3)
WSH 19
LAR 23

GB OVER (56.5) vs. ATL (-3)
GB  26
ATL 34

DET UNDER (42) vs. NYG (-3)
DET     13
NYG     19


2017 NFL Week 1 Bettor’s Guide

2017 NFL Week 1 Bettor’s Guide
M.D. Wright

Week 1 is upon us and the season is underway. A few points of order with this season’s bettor’s guides:

As previously stated earlier this week, will be doing the Thursday games separate from the remaining Bettor’s Guide, as Friday practices (Saturday for Monday night teams) affect lineups and obviously the action thereafter.

KC +8 (Hit), KC ML (Hit).

SU: 1-0
ATS: 1-0

Week 1:
Atlanta Falcons vs. Chicago Bears
Soldier Field
Chicago, Illinois
My Call: ATL -7
Over/Under: Over 48.5

We don’t really know what the Bears are entering this season. They released Jay Cutler, then signed Mike Glennon to a galling contract in the offseason, before needlessly sacrificing a draft pick in order to move up to draft Mitch Trubisky, who looked every bit as good as Glennon (and, at some points, better; albeit versus second-stringers and final cuts in some instances) in the preseason.

Nevertheless, we know what the Falcons are. Their offense might not be as electric as it was last year with a new coordinator and surely a slightly different approach with the departure of Kyle Shanahan to take the San Francisco head coaching position, but their defense should be even better with the additions of Dontari Poe at nose/defensive tackle and Takk McKinley via the draft. There should be a bit more balance with this squad, as the offense carried the team until the defense began to gel late in the season. You would be a trivia genius if you could name all 11 Bears starters on defense without looking them up.

Most importantly, the Falcons know who they are, and will gameplan and execute accordingly.

Atlanta                        34
Chicago                       17

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins
FedEx Field
Landover, Maryland
My Call: PHI -1
Over/Under: Over 48

These two tend to play some wild games in recent years, regardless of the locale. Both teams have had drastic overhauls on both sides of the ball. It’s a tough call for that reason. Both teams return their starting quarterbacks from last season, but that is basically where the continuity ends. The Eagles’ secondary is virtually made over; moving on from Brandon Boykin, and trading WR Jordan Matthews to acquire CB Ronald Darby from Buffalo. LB Mychal Kendricks wants out of town, but the Eagles linebackers are solid. We don’t really know what to make of their defensive line — which, on paper, looks stout — with top dog Fletcher Cox, Florida State legend Timmy Jernigan, who was acquired from Baltimore, and Brandon Graham. The Eagles’ WR corps is a major question mark, as is their running game.

The Redskins defense is shaky. They are going to miss Trent Murphy during his suspension. They will also interior anchor Chris Baker, who commanded two blocks for most of the season in 2016, allowing Ryan Kerrigan and Murphy to run free in run support and to get after the passer. Their secondary is not good. DeAngelo Hall is on his last legs. Bashaud Breeland got exposed throughout last year. Josh Norman’s play did not match his bluster at any point in 2016. Offensively, while the team acquired Terrelle Pryor in free agency, they moved on from Pierre Garçon and, at least this week, Jamison Crowder’s availability is in question. They will finally have Josh Doctson healthy, however. It is anyone’s guess how many games Jordan Reed will be healthy for in 2017, but as for now, he will be ready for Week 1.

Washington’s run game is a major question mark. Rob Kelley looked decent in 2016, but even his production tailed off toward the end of the season. They moved on from Matt Jones, who is now a Colt.

This team has more questions than answers. But again, these two teams play wild, high scoring and close games every time they square off; hence the lines. It is a virtual pick ’em.

Philadelphia                          27
Washington                           23

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns
FirstEnergy Stadium
Cleveland, Ohio
My Call: CLE -9.5
Over/Under: Over 47

The Browns tend to play the Steelers competitively; whether it be an entire game or at least for a half. It is shaky to propose the Steelers winning by 10 or more, particularly with the addition of Gregg Williams as defensive coordinator for the Browns, and the addition-by-subtraction by cutting the already-washed-up Joe Haden. The Browns defense looks like a solid unit. The real questions are about their offense. At best, it is a project and a work in progress. But they have a good amount of talent at the “skill” positions.

The Steelers had trouble on the road last season. They do get Martavis Bryant back for this season, but he missed all of 2016 with a suspension and it is difficult to think that he will pick right up where he left off in 2015. Le’Veon Bell is effectively playing himself into football shape in this game. The Steelers SHOULD win, but do not be the least bit surprised if the Browns, at the very least, cover.

Pittsburgh                  26
Cleveland                   20

Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Paul Brown Stadium
Cincinnati, Ohio
My Call: BAL +3
Over/Under: Under 42.5

We don’t know what to make of the Ravens offense as of right now. We did not see Joe Flacco in the preseason. Will the Ravens have a pass rush? Will they have enough in the secondary? We think so, but it’s hard to pin your hopes for wagering purposes until you’ve seen a live game. That’s the crap shoot that is Week 1 in the NFL season nowadays.

The Bengals should be relatively healthy, and Joe Mixon figures to eventually make Jeremy Hill expendable before long. Slight questions in the secondary, but the Ravens don’t appear to have much in the way of a running game. You just never know. Should be close, though. Tough call to pick the Ravens to cover and lose a close game, but it should turn out about that way.

Baltimore                     19
Cincinnati                    20

Arizona Cardinals vs. Detroit Lions
Ford Field
Detroit, Michigan
My Call: DET +2
Over/Under: Over 48

We’ll take the Lions only because Ameer Abdullah should — SHOULD — at least be healthy for Week 1’s game, right? Beyond that, who knows?

Arizona                       24
Detroit                        31

New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills
New Era Field
Orchard Park, New York
My Call: NYJ +8
Over/Under: Under 40

Who cares?

NY Jets                        16
Buffalo                       20

Oakland Raiders vs. Tennessee Titans
Nissan Stadium
Nashville, Tennessee
My Call: TEN -1.5
Over/Under: Under 50.5

The Titans played the Raiders tough last season. In fact, some would argue that they blew the game. The Titans are favorites (with us, at least) to win the AFC South. As they should be. Don’t know why so many people think anyone but the Raiders or Chiefs win the AFC West, but we’ve seen picks for the Chargers and Broncos at times. Odd.

As for this game. It should be more of the same from last year’s meeting. Maybe not 17-10, but something along those lines in terms of separation on the scoreboard.

We’re actually going to take the Titans money line here.

Oakland                              23
Tennessee                          27

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
NRG Stadium
Houston, Texas
My Call: JAX +6
Over/Under: Under 39.5

First of all, we send out prayers TO GOD — FOR (not “to”) — those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Some fans are looking for some semblance of normalcy, and sports can be a great unifier and a means to take minds off the catastrophe at hand.

Not that this ugly game — and these two teams really play some stinkers — will exactly suffice, but anything to return to some normalcy is good enough.

Both teams have such immense talent on both sides of the ball and are held back by QB play. Unless Tom Savage gets a quick hook in this game in favor of Deshaun Watson, that will hold true.

Hide your eyes.

Jacksonville                       16
Houston                              19

Indianapolis Colts vs. Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Los Angeles, California
My Call: LAR -5
Over/Under: Under 39.5

Scott Tolzien at QB? No Vontae Davis on an already-bad defense?

If the Rams can’t win this game, they won’t win more than 5 or 6 all season.

And even if they do, they will do so in epic-struggle fashion.

Indianapolis                13
LA Rams                       20

Seattle Seahawks vs. Green Bay Packers
Lambeau Field
Green Bay, Wisconsin
My Call: SEA +3
Over/Under: Over 51

Last season is over. Zero correlation between the 2016 tilt between these two and this game. The Seahawks are healthy across the board except at left tackle. They possess arguably the best defense in the NFL, though a couple of teams could make equal cases. The offense should be fine regardless of the injury to George Fant at the aforementioned left tackle spot. Rees Odhiambo will occupy that spot.

Green Bay is stocked offensively, and will present a few issues for Seattle at times. It will be tough sledding for Ty Montgomery & Co. on the ground, and there will be plays available in the passing game for sure.

But Green Bay’s defense still leaves a lot to be desired.

Seattle                   29
Green Bay            23

Carolina Panthers vs. San Francisco 49ers
Levi’s Stadium
Santa Clara, California
My Call: CAR -6
Over/Under: Under 47.5

The Panthers should win, but it will not be easy. We need to see more from the Niners’ offense before we can get a good idea of who they truly are.

Carolina                          24
San Francisco                17

New York Football Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys
AT&T Stadium
Arlington, Texas
My Call: NYG +4
Over/Under: Over 47.5

Some (Vegas) appear to be concerned about Odell Beckham’s availability for this game, but he is almost certainly playing. To what level of fluidity? That remains to be seen.

The Giants boast one of — if not arguably the best — defense in the NFL. The offense, with the addition of Brandon Marshall, who possesses the outside size the Giants desperately lacked in 2016, allowing Sterling Shepard to operate in the slot, and the freedom for Beckham to also alternate at every WR position, opens up more options for the Giants’ passing attack. The team also upgraded at tight end, which was a position of great lack, to one of great depth in 2017. Blocking TE Rhett Ellison will help with the run game, Evan Engram provides a downfield threat, and proved that he can effectively block when called upon. Additionally, holdovers Jerrell Adams and Matt LaCosse provide quality depth.

The Giants’ run game was a concern in 2016, but should be better simply with the release of Rashad Jennings alone. The offensive line itself isn’t bad (or great) at run blocking, but help on the edges will augment that aspect of the game with Paul Perkins & Co. in the backfield. The Giants have not had a reliable fullback in ages, and Shane Smith paid dividends in preseason. This will also help the run game, as well.

Pass protection is a concern to a degree, but the line now has depth should any of the starters show that they are unable to hack it. Half of Dallas’ defense is injured or suspended (and another who received a DUI should be, but isn’t, as well). This isn’t exactly the best game to gauge the progress of the Giants’ offensive line.

Dallas lost Doug Free to retirement after last season, and placed La’el Collins at right tackle to fill that need. Chaz Green at left guard is a liability. Dallas loves to boast about their offensive line, but it is not cohesive yet. Green has either been nicked up and, when he’s played, looked horrible. The Giants’ front isn’t the one to sort out one’s shortcomings. Soon-to-be suspended Ezekiel Elliott will have trouble finding rush lanes. We will see what Dak Prescott is truly made of Sunday night, as he gets a chance to prove that he wasn’t just a product of the offensive line’s protection, Elliott’s abilities in and outside of the backfield, and a solid, if not unspectacular defense that notched high grades in analytics, but isn’t particularly talented at all. Even less so in the secondary, and, especially for this game, their defensive line in Week 1.

NY Giants                           31
Dallas                                  20

New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings
U.S. Bank Stadium
Minneapolis, Minnesota
My Call: MIN -3
Over/Under: Over 48

Forget all the Adrian Peterson storylines. That is for the media to build up an audience for the game. As it is, it does the Saints no good to have Mark Ingram, Peterson,  and Alvin Kamara to run the football if Drew Brees ends up still managing to pass the ball 40 times every week. The Saints’ main problem for years wasn’t always a lack of talent defensively; it was that they were on the field for long stretches or for more time per game than the offense. The Saints are marginally better defensively, but Florida State legend Dalvin Cook will give the Saints problems — even behind a poor offensive line — as he is also a superb pass receiver out of the backfield. The Vikes have plenty of weapons on the outside to counter what the Saints do.

And we know how the Saints play when they’re on the road.

And against a great defense?

New Orleans                    23
Minnesota                        27

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Denver Broncos
Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium
Denver, Colorado
My Call: LAC +3
Over/Under: Over 43

Not the most attractive game ever, but it should be good. For what it’s worth, the Bolts weren’t terrible in 2016. They lost a ton of games in the closing moments in almost comical fashion in a few instances. They were ravaged by injuries across the board, as well. Other than Denzel Perryman on defense, they are relatively healthy. They also have Joey Bosa, who had a full camp this year, who was unstoppable for long stretches last season.

Denver has to show and prove that they can run the ball against a very good defense, and that Trevor Siemian has actually made progress after a decidedly average season in 2016.

LA Chargers                        31
Denver                                 24

A Word of Wisdom and Exhortation for September 7, 2017

A Word of Wisdom and Exhortation for September 7, 2017
M.D. Wright
Audio Here:
I woke up with more motivation today than I have in MONTHS. I have felt this many times, but it was more in my 20s when I was truly doing what I should have been doing and working toward my personal objectives. I lost sight of these things due to “life” and have recently been working my way back to the place where I need to be spiritually; particularly with the help from a dear friend who cared enough to outlast my massive outbursts at times and help me see some things that I was unaware of (or lost sight of) within myself. The proverbial light bulb went off this morning, and I had that “aha!” moment that I used to get when these messages were to be delivered for the benefit of others, as was my ministry — again, when I was “doing what I was supposed to be doing” — which means NOT being cooped up in the four walls of a “church edifice” but actually exemplifying the spiritual gifts that I have been blessed with in order to uplift and exhort others; in other words, living the faith that I believe, instead of just preaching it without aligning actions, or WORSE, turning completely away from the faith altogether.
Don’t ask me to tell you something on demand. I am not a conjurer or fortune-teller or any of those things. I’m not even a prophet. I just speak what is given to me, as untainted as I can articulate it in words and parables, such that the reader/listener can understand.
I only got three hours of sleep overnight and don’t feel “no ways tired” like James Cleveland.
My head is spinning because as soon as I hit the floor, my spirit was awake like it was when things were flowing in every direction for me.
I had four missed calls by 9 am when I woke up, and my phone has been ringing all day, while bombarded with emails pertaining to opportunities, one of which I am considering taking next week.
I will finally be moving out of here by the end of this month, but not going far (thank God), and time to get another car, as well.
I have had a deep impression in my spirit for weeks now, and I tried to figure out where it applied to me, but only very little of it was for me. It was for OTHERS TO HEAR, so I would be doing a disservice by not sharing it:
— You cannot go back and retrieve the time you spent in a job that failed, or the bad decision/regrets you may have regarding your choice of career or which school you went to, how much money you spent going there. The time for you to make the changes necessary is now. There sometimes appear to be obstacles in your path that are not truly obstacles beyond those in your mind. Re-center your focus on what your ultimate purpose and plan in life truly consists of, and do not block God’s blessings by flapping your gums about things to the wrong people.
— Tell your loved ones — relatives, longtime friends, spouse, significant other, love interest — that you love them. Tell them how you truly feel about them. The unspoken can be just as damaging and serve as an impediment for you and the person you should be telling these things, as it can be an impediment by babbling to the wrong people. You never know who you will inspire by simply expressing your truest emotions and seeing how that can motivate someone to finally do something that they have put off working on for months or even years.
— Revel in others’ success. Seek out those who have things going well in their lives at the moment. Instead of being bitter about not having things go the way you’d hope right now, relish their success and be their cheerleader and supporter. You reap what you sow. The difference is either reaping the fruit of bitterness, envy and jealousy, or reaping an abundance because you were truly and unconditionally/altruistically happy for someone else.
— Let go of the past altogether. If that business failed, so be it. Learn from what you did wrong and apply it going forward. But move on. If that relationship did not work out, remember why it did not work out and do not return to it. Do not dwell on the things that caused the relationship to fail (even if you are chiefly at fault — if you’re honest with yourself), by now, you should have taken the time to sort out matters within yourself and healed to the point where it is time to turn the corner. Reopening that Pandora’s Box will only make it 100 times tougher to close the next time, and with even more pain and agony than it produced before, leading to the broken dreams of a failed business, a lost job, or a broken relationship/friendship/marriage.
— Focus on what you have right now and be grateful for every “little” thing, rather than lusting over what (or who) you DON’T have. Gratitude is the best way to have “opportunity meet preparation.” That goes for any situation you can think of.
— Don’t let fear apprehend you. Sometimes the best opportunities coming before you in the near future are those that require you to vacate your “normal” or “usual way of doing things” — those methods sometimes serving as the reason why you have been unable to move forward into things that you thought would have happened already. We are our own worst enemies most of the time, and it takes someone with wisdom, discernment and the ability to articulate things about ourselves TO US in order to see these blind spots that we overlook on a daily basis.
— Don’t quit. When the temptation is the greatest to fold and cut and run, that is when you should be standing right in the face of the storm and enduring the pain. Most people by nature run as soon as discomfort or something that reminds them of a painful memory in the past comes along. Again, the one’s own worst enemy angle. The breakthrough is quite often right around the corner from what appears to be a major, catastrophic storm directly in front of us. Have you ever driven through a severe thunderstorm? From a distance, the clouds are extremely dark and lightning and heavy rain abound, but as you approach the storm, it doesn’t look as bad as it did from a distance, and once you’ve cleared the dark cloud, you realize a) it wasn’t as bad as you thought after all, and b)some of the things you stressed about when approaching the storm weren’t scary after all; in fact, the resolve necessary to keep the car within the lanes and remaining aware of your surroundings are the very things that you need to be equipped to get to where YOU ARE GOING IN THE FUTURE. For some, this could be the very NEAR future. Don’t turn around and out-race the storm in the other direction. You’re still going to have to pass through it, and it’s going to take you twice as long to get to the other side now.
That is for someone, but don’t shoot the messenger.
— Don’t let pride get in the way of your progress. If you are supposed to be partnering with someone or a group of people to work on a project that you KNOW you have a vision to accomplish, work the phones, emails, texts, etc. and begin making it happen. No one wants to be around someone in their 50s and 60s killing their ears with the “I shoulda done this, that and the third” when the only reason they did not get it done was pride, ego and an unwillingness to work together with others. Hogging the spotlight so that you can claim that you “pulled yourself up by the bootstraps with no one’s help” means nothing at all. You will have your reward in full. The greater reward is working with those who you are supposed to work with to achieve things that are beyond your own comprehension and finite vision.
This goes for me, along with some people who I know it applies to. I will not say names.
— Let go of the bitterness about the situation you may have found yourself in over the past year or so. If an ex cheated on you, let it go. Someone who actually appreciates your virtue and who you are AS you are is out there, but you won’t be able to “see” or appreciate them in return if you are hung up on what an ex did to you before.
That is for several people, I know for sure. Again, don’t shoot the messenger. Bristle at the message if you want, but you’d rather be angry now than to be 100 times more bitter later when you realized you shortchanged your own self by hanging onto the past and blowing right past the right person for you due to fear of getting rejected, hurt and betrayed again, or whatever the cause of the breakup.
— WIth how things have shaken out during the first eight months of the Trump regime, we have realized that the way we “used to do” things has to change. No longer can we depend on jobs and a singular source of income as the means to achieve the things we dream (for those of us who are dreamers and visionaries). You have to be willing to think outside of the box. I have said for many years, “Money is a reward for solving a problem that society did not know it had.” Chasing money isn’t the way. With that mindset, once you have the money, your focus isn’t on doing things greater than your own selfish and lustful desire. Choosing to focus on a void that needs to be filled for the benefit of society at large — whether it is your neighborhood, your city, nationally or globally, what have you — will produce wealth far beyond that which you could have fathomed AND open doors for others to benefit, which is really most of our individual purpose in life.
— Be malleable. Try new things. Try new things with new people.
— Turn off the TV once in a while. Too many people live in a fantasy world and it distorts their REAL LIFE encounters and the way they perceive “success.” Reality TV, if it is your cup of tea, isn’t a killer on its own merit. The damage is done when you — consciously or otherwise — begin patterning your lives after the frivolities that are indulged in by the characters on those shows; many of whom are acting purely from a script.
What TV additionally does (outside of a few exceptions which actually depict art imitating real life) is provide a warped idea about what relationships and marriage should look like — often by people who have no earthly idea what a successful relationship or marriage entails — while causing people to form blind spots to their own personal shortcomings. The result? A ton of people who are unaccountable to others with their own words and actions, and the same people harshly critical about even the most minor character flaw in someone else. Everything becomes a blame-fest, emotions are damaged, gender wars with words ensue, and a trail of bitterness and broken relationships result.
Date with a purpose. Don’t just get with someone because you are lonely. Don’t just do so because of societal or familial pressure. Likewise, don’t cut yourself off from what can be a beautiful thing because you are so focused on your career and the desire for total autonomy, that you fail to realize that the right person for you can — and again, if they are truly the right one for you — WILL take you to higher heights than you can by yourself. Whatever you do, remaining purposely single, or dating, courting, or just allowing things to develop with someone who you deem to be special, do it with a purpose.
— Avoid toxic relationships. If it means cutting off some family members, or moving away from certain “friends”, or continuing to entertain a situationship that you know deep down isn’t going anywhere, and will only end with unnecessary heartache — with at least one better option available all along while you wallow in the mud with Mr. or Ms. Good-for-Nothing — and you’re only doing yourself the greatest disservice in the long run.
This is definitely for several people.
— Don’t let fear of failure (or fear of success for that matter) be the reason you don’t act on something you feel passionate about. Once again, the unsaid and undone is a soul-crusher for many when they get older. They know they can only blame themselves, and it can eat away at you for the rest of your life in some instances. Choose to learn from the wisdom of your elders, some of whom made these mistakes due to a lack of information, and avoid making the same mistakes yourself.
The money you spend on empty pursuits and things of no appreciating value can be used to do the very things that you have a passion to do, and procrastinate or allow fear to hold you hostage.
— Always remember (not dwell) the pains you felt when you were in your darkest hour. Those trials were preparation for you to not only achieve what you have been purposed to do, but to SUSTAIN you in it. You do not want to be like a lottery winner with no financial counsel; one who gets $100 million and blows through it in five years. Without the trials of learning financial strategies, this is the result for many; whether they are lottery winners or professional athletes, celebrities or what have you. Your trails are to prepare AND sustain you once you’ve achieved. You can remember what it was like to go without and to be met with obstacles everywhere you’ve turned, and use that as motivation to not do the things that would land you back in the situation from whence you came.
Additionally, your trials aren’t always just for you. Do not begrudge (we all have to vent when we feel overwhelmed by anger, anxiety and grief, but be swift to recenter your focus on the bigger picture, lest you drive yourself insane) your struggles. They are often your testimony for OTHER PEOPLE’S benefit.
Think on these things. If they apply to you, just remember I am merely a conduit. I’ve sat on some of these things because I didn’t feel like I was in the best condition to share them without being tainted with what I have gone through since I moved to Maryland, but I had an abundance of things that I was given to speak to others, and here it is for you.
Take heed and if things apply to you, govern yourself accordingly. I don’t get these messages all that often, but when I do, they are applicable to the audience which I have at the given time.
I will place this in audio format so that some can follow better and not get lost in the massive amount of text.
Now on to football and whatever else you have on the docket this evening.

2017 NFL Week 1 Powre Rankings

2017 NFL Week 1 Powre Rankings
M.D. Wright

Now that preseason has concluded and most pivotal roster spots have all but been sewn up, we can now roll out the inaugural Powre Rankings for 2017. We may or may not do “What We Know” weekly this season; it depends purely on demand and time constraints, but as always, these rankings are based upon where teams are today, not how they finished last year (unless the team is largely intact and unchanged from the 2016 season).

1. Seattle Seahawks.
Seattle recently pulled off a smart trade by handing off Jermaine Kearse — who went kicking and screaming, as he did not want to leave Seattle — and a 2nd Round pick (swapping 7th Round picks) to the Jets, and acquiring DE Sheldon Richardson. Richardson bolsters what is already a stout defensive line with Uncle Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Jarran Reed and rotational defensive end Frank Clark. Richardson will definitely be a 3-tech in some packages and a nose in some of the exotic looks Seattle can devise. With Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright anchoring the linebackers and the notorious Legion of Boom, Seattle arguably possesses the best defense in the NFL.

Their offensive line has a question mark (not MARKS) at left tackle only. When George Fant went down in the preseason at left tackle, the scramble ensued to fill the role. We won’t know what to expect from whoever will be on Russell Wilson’s blind side until Week 1.

2. Atlanta Falcons.
The Falcons are what they are offensively. That has not changed. No real detractions on that side of the ball. Their defense will be even better with numerous young players notching important experience last season. And they have gotten dramatically better with Dontari Poe at defensive tackle, and exceptional drafting of Takk McKinley and others. They will be a formidable force, though we don’t think they will win the NFC South.

3. New York Football Giants.
The Giants defense is a known quantity. It got even deeper on the defensive line, and BJ Goodson is the best athlete with the best instincts they have had at the position in over 10 years. The secondary rivals that of Seattle’s. If the free safety position can remain healthy (for once this decade), it will be extremely difficult to consistently move the ball against this defense all season; just as it was last season.

The Giants offense had its major woes in 2016. Left tackle Ereck Flowers has improved (though he is still not where he needs to be in order for the passing game to get to where Ben McAdoo would like), Bobby Hart was dominant in pass protection in the preseason. Whenever John Jerry was in the lineup, the interior of the line was piss poor (including Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg, who often get passes for their substandard play from some fans and writers). When substitutions came in for Jerry, both run blocking and pass pro were markedly better.

The Giants need to keep Shane Smith at fullback. He has been very solid in the hole and springing runners. With all the other additions the Giants have made to their “skill” positions, it is highly unlikely that the team will struggle offensively as they did in 2016.

4. Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders shuffled their offensive line and allowed Latavius Murray to walk in free agency. However, they coaxed Marshawn Lynch out of retirement and now any concerns about the running game are erased. Derek Carr is back to 100% health. The questions surround Mario Edwards, Jr. and his health, and what can the team do to replace “lost cause” Aldon Smith, who has thrown away potentially generational talent. The Raiders are our pick to come out of the AFC, and barring injury, they very well should be. They would have done so in 2016 if Carr had not been injured late in the regular season.

5. New England Patriots.
We know about all of the superlatives when discussing Bill Belichick and his staff’s ability to shapeshift and adjust, but the loss of Julian Edelman cannot be quantified by statistics. There is a certain feel between Edelman and QB Tom Brady that cannot be quickly replicated by whoever the Patriots throw into the slot. Plus the team has injuries at key positions like CB, as Cyrus Jones blew out his knee in the preseason finale — a position where they team does not have much depth behind Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler. They’ll cakewalk through the AFC East, as usual, as it is arguably worse than it has been since the early 1990s, but they’re not coming out of the AFC this year.

6. Green Bay Packers.
The Packers need to show that they have improved defensively. They’ve made moves to that end, but we won’t find out about their defense until the regular season dictates them playing 60 minutes, unlike preseason. We have zero concerns about what should be a rather explosive offense.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tampa is not ranked higher at this point, because we know that they have some questions in their secondary. These are not major questions, however. They are loaded up front, especially in acquiring run-stuffing defensive tackle Chris Baker to play next to Gerald McCoy, and their linebacking corps might be the most athletic in the league INCLUDING Seattle, in Kwon Alexander, Lavonte David, and rookie Kendall Beckwith.

Tampa signed Desean Jackson and drafted OJ Howard out of Alabama to give burgeoning superstar Jameis Winston even more weapons to go along with favorite targets Mike Evans and Cameron Brate. They have also upgraded their offensive line, a line that killed their playoff hopes in December last season, as it fell apart with horrid efforts following the loss of Demar Dotson at right tackle. They will win the NFC South.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers.
Like many of the teams in the top 10 in these rankings, the Steelers’ offense is not of much concern. They’ll get whatever they want quite often. Getting Martavis Bryant back from his year-long suspension is a welcomed sight. The defense appears to be better with Bud Dupree healthy and the drafting of TJ Watt. You still have to wonder about their secondary, even after the acquisition of Joe Haden, which really does not move the needle.

9. Dallas Cowboys.
Dallas has shuffled their offensive line due to the retirement of Doug Free, moving La’el Collins to right tackle and Chaz Green to left guard. This is not going to work out as well as the line they featured in 2016. Whenever Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension kicks in (and it will be all six games, despite his, the NFLPA’s and his counsel’s antics), Dak Prescott will be exposed. Dallas has no real secondary to speak of, and half their front seven is suspended and/or out for season due to injury before Week 1 arrives. They could arguably be ranked in the teens or twenties right now.

10. Kansas City Chiefs.
There is a ceiling for a team with regards to Alex Smith’s ability to lead them. This must be known by now.

11. Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikes have all the defense in the world, but their offensive line looked no better in preseason than it did in its atrocious display in 2016.

12. Tennessee Titans.
We really like what the Titans are building here. Don’t act surprised when they show it by winning the AFC South.

13. Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens surprisingly haven’t signed a WR at the tail end of his career as is their typical wont to do. Their defense will be its typically stout unit, though their secondary is dealing with injuries, but what do they even have offensively? Yuck. Their defense bolsters this ranking, that much is for sure.

14. Miami Dolphins.
Miami signed Jay Cutler because of his (ONE YEAR) “familiarity” with Adam Gase’s system. You do not master someone’s system in one year, with a bunch of players you haven’t played with. Speaking of “played,” Miami played themselves by cutting off their nose to spite their face and not signing Colin Kaepernick when Ryan Tannehill was lost for the season. They will pay for it by missing out on the playoffs in excruciating fashion in Week 17.

15. Denver Broncos.
Is Trevor Siemian better than he was last year? It doesn’t appear to be the case. Denver’s willing to cut TJ Ward (which they still may do on the 53-man deadline). Who knows what this team really is.

16. New Orleans Saints.
The Saints have runners, but Drew Brees will still be back there passing 40 times a game. They got a Super Bowl win they should not have in 2009, and have not figured out that without all-world defensive players, their offensive approach does not mesh and hence all the shootouts the Saints face week in and week out. Adrian Peterson at this point in his career will not move the needle much unless the Saints really stick with the running game.

17. Houston Texans.
The Texans have defense for days, but who is their QB? Tom Savage knows the offense, but how far can they take them? Deshaun Watson has all the moxie in the world, but he is NFL-raw.

18. Philadelphia Eagles.
Another season, and Eagles fans are ridiculously delusional about their team. They have potential to be good for sure, but you cannot count on a bunch of young players at key positions to play complete games every week. There will be growing pains. This team may finish the team in strong fashion, however.

19. Carolina Panthers.
A mediocre outfit here.

20. Detroit Lions.
What is the Lions’ identity? They haven’t been able to run the football in years, their passing game is the only consistent thing they’ve had the past few years. They have major question marks at each level on defense.

21. Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals will eventually be good towards the midseason and latter portion of the season, but right now they don’t look that good.

22. Arizona Cardinals.
Wait-and-see mode with this team. They will eventually challenge Seattle with a scare for the division, but there just feels like something is missing with this team.

23. Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts stink. And they’re playing games with the fans knowing full well Andrew Luck isn’t anywhere near ready to play football.

24. Washington Redskins.
The Redskins have a lot of questions on defense. We know about Kirk Cousins’ situation and the signing of Terrelle Pryor to a prove-it deal on his way to big money next offseason, but outside of that, what do they have? Yes, Josh Doctson is finally healthy, and Jamison Crowder has some things in which he excels, but what running game do the Redskins possess? If they have one, they did a great job in slipping it in through the back door during preseason, because it was nowhere to be found during August.

25. Los Angeles Chargers.
If a tree falls in a forest, and no one hears it, does it actually make a sound? That is a perfect axiom to describe the Chargers’ presence in Los Angeles versus San Diego.

26. Los Angeles Rams.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars.
This team wastes more talent on both sides of the ball than any team in the league. They literally have playmakers all over the field. Last year, the defensive talent was misused by a system not fit for their collective abilities. The offense has players, but Blake Bortles’ inadequacies stifle any potential for success of the offense; while reverberating throughout the team as a whole, as the defense ends up on the field for long stretches every week, losing effectiveness.

28. Cleveland Browns.
The Browns will be tough defensively, if not dirty, which they have shown to be in preseason. Who knows what to make of their offense? DeShone Kizer got the nod as the Browns’ starting QB, and he has some talent on the outside. Did the Browns do enough to augment their offensive line play? We’ll see. They have major question marks in their secondary on defense, as well.

29. Buffalo Bills.
The Bills are in pure tank mode, but they still have some talent

30. Chicago Bears.
The Bears looked like fools giving Mike Glennon all that money, only to play themselves in a trade with San Francisco, only to turn around and draft a QB with just as many college starts as the aforementioned QB has had in the NFL. Talk about mismanagement of assets. Who even know what the Bears plan consist of, or if they even have one at all. They are practically looking to hypnotize WR Kevin White into believing he can actually play at the NFL level. That is where the Bears are right now.

31. San Francisco 49ers.
This is a wait-and-see situation. They were horrid from a talent standpoint last year; while Colin Kaepernick still managed respectable numbers while passing to a bunch of #3 WRs, no healthy running backs, and all behind a beat-up offensive line, across from one of the franchise’s worst seasons on the defensive side of the ball). There has naturally been a major overhaul of personnel with new GM John Lynch and new head coach Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers could be markedly better in 2017, but have to wait and see over the first couple of months of the season to truly know of the ability with this made-over team.

32. New York Jets.
The Jets should fold.

Todd Bowles deserves hazard pay for having to deal with this toxic waste which was set up for him to fail and lose his job after the season (watch the Jets bring in a new coach, suddenly want to spend in free agency and the new coach gets all the credit in 2018; mark these words).