Friday - Feb 15, 2019

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The Prognosticator – Week 1

Welcome my fantasy brethren to another edition of The Prognosticator, may it hit a lead-off triple for you. Welcome back to the 2015 NFL Season and I couldn’t be more excited. There’s been a cloud over the NFL in between Roger Goodell and his arbitrary self-governing ways, concussion protocols, gangsta-thug players and a sharp lack of role model personalities, that it’s time for us to get back to the game and let it play itself out.

Brady_Goodell_Poster_1
The Prognosticator is tired of the off-field drama and is ready for the games to begin.

All is forgotten when Odell Beckham pulls in an acrobatic catch or when a team comes back from a 28-point deficit. It’s why we watch this game, it’s certainly not to cringe each time we see or hear from Roger Goodell. In some respects, the NFL is broken and it truly rests with the owners not taking the sanctity of the game seriously. What they need to understand is that they are the caretakers for the game and as a group, they need to take steps to better the game while they are on their watch. My advice would be to take some time to step back from concession sales and merchandising and instead, purposely take a high level, long view of the game. I understand that the game will go on, it’s bigger than me, it’s bigger than them, but sometimes you have to take one step backwards to take two steps forward and the hardest part is taking that initial step.

Passing Rushing
Team Score Team Score
PIT 229 SEA 121
NE 224 NYJ 112
DEN 222 DAL 110
GB 222 CAR 108
NO 221 SF 103
NYG 216 HOU 101
ATL 215 CIN 101
PHI 214 GB 100
IND 208 PHI 94
SD 198 WAS 93
MIA 193 NO 92
BAL 193 PIT 89
SEA 190 BUF 89
BUF 190 DET 89
DAL 190 IND 89
ARI 189 BAL 87
DET 187 ARI 86
CHI 186 CHI 86
TEN 183 NE 86
CAR 180 TB 85
WAS 180 DEN 85
OAK 178 MIN 84
CIN 176 MIA 84
KC 172 JAX 83
CLE 171 NYG 82
TB 170 KC 82
STL 166 STL 80
MIN 166 ATL 79
HOU 159 OAK 78
SF 157 TEN 78
NYJ 154 CLE 77
JAX 153 SD 60

How to read the table: The table shows how a team will do Passing and Rushing in the upcoming week of the NFL. Red is HOT, Yellow is WARM, White is NORMAL, Light Blue is COLD and Dark Blue is FREEZING COLD. Play players from teams that are Red and Yellow, avoid players from teams that are Light or Dark Blue and expect average days from teams that are White.

All times are Eastern

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots – Thursday 8:30pm

Unfortunately, the opening game of the season will be all about Deflategate. If I could pay money for a broadcast that pledged to not discuss anything about it, I’d pay. I just want to watch football. I don’t really care if all of the air leaks out of the balls, just play the games.  I want to see how the Patriots “revamped” secondary tries to keep up with Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, I want to see Tom Brady feed the ball to Gronk. With LeGarrette Blount suspended for a game, I want to see who if anyone, steps up from the Patriots backfield. I’m curious how DeAngelo Williams looks spelling Le’Veon Bell for the first couple of games this season. Both teams went through some changes on their offensive lines, I’m very curious to see how those lines hold up. There are a lot of questions to answer and for a fan of the game, I just want to watch football. Is that really too much to ask?

The Patriots are going to look rusty, particularly on defense, as it will take a few games for the Patriots to find their stride this season. Expect the Steelers to pass at will with a big game from Ben Roethlisberger. The Patriots will focus on trying to take Antonio Brown away, it’s what they do, but that will leave Markus Wheaton wide open half-way down the field for some big strikes. The Steelers will miss Martavis Bryant in this one, as this game is a poster child opportunity for the WR2 for Pittsburgh. Thankfully for the Patriots, the Steelers secondary will somehow find a way to be even worse than the Patriots secondary. It could be a long year for the Steelers defense this year.

Favorite: New England Patriots by 3
Prediction: New England Patriots 31 – Pittsburgh Steelers 23
Category Advantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers

Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills – Sunday 1:00pm
We already have a good idea about who the Colts are. Andrew Luck and what he does, won’t change a lot between last year and this. It gives the Bills a lot to go on in the film room for a Week 1 opponent. The Bills on the other hand, give opponents almost nothing to go on. Tyrod Taylor was just named the starting quarterback, they just cut stalwart Fred Jackson and their schemes are completely different. If I were the Colts, the only tape I’d have is to study some of Rex Ryan’s defensive schemes while with the Jets to try and get some idea of what they will try and do. It’s actually a tough assignment for the Colts, opening their season in Orchard Park against a team they know practically nothing about. The Bills defense has the potential to be scary good as the Colts offensive line will struggle to protect Andrew Luck as the Bills know how to get after the quarterback. Defensively for the Colts too, they will struggle with their assignments as the Bills will put on a clinic in run blocking on their way to victory.
Favorite: Indianapolis Colts by 2.5
Prediction: Buffalo Bills 27 – Indianapolis Colts 23
Category Advantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers

Cleveland Browns at New York Jets – Sunday 1:00pm
Both teams are in transition but the Browns seem a bit further behind. Rex Ryan left some decent building blocks in New York and while they will struggle to put up numbers in the air, the Jets will tear gaping holes through the Browns on the ground. Expect the trio of Chris Ivory, Zac Stacy and Bilal Powell to be the reasons why the Jets win this. Look especially for Powell to be a sneaky play in PPR leagues as he’ll get a lot of looks in the passing game. The Jets defense, very quietly, is one of the better units in the league, expect them to give the Browns offense all they can handle to open their season. It won’t be a pretty stat line for your Brownies.  Also, expect a low scoring game as neither one of these teams will want to throw the football.
Favorite: New York Jets by 3
Prediction: New York Jets 23 – Cleveland Browns 17
Category Advantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers

Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars – Sunday 1:00pm
There are only two things you need to know in this contest: Jonathan Stewart and the Panthers Defense. The Panthers Defense will make a statement early this season and will ultimately be a top-3 performer in 2015. Blake Bortles will have his days but this will not be one of them. This is not the week to get cute and start a Jaguar. Really. It’s not.
Favorite: Carolina Panthers by 3.5
Prediction: Carolina Panthers 20 – Jacksonville Jaguars 17
Category Advantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers

Miami Dolphins at Washington Redskins – Sunday 1:00pm
Washington is going to be just fine on the ground in this one. They have a very talented 3rd-down running back in Matt Jones (who may also get some early down work) and Alfred Morris is still quite capable. But where it all goes so horribly wrong for Washington this week is when Miami throws the ball. Ryan Tannehill is severely underrated this drafing season and the Dolphins have a lot of new shiny weapons to work with. If they can muster any kind of a ground game and their secondary holds up, they can absolutely challenge the Patriots for the AFC East and the Patriots haven’t been challenged in a while.
Favorite: Miami Dolphins by 3.5
Prediction: Miami Dolphins 23 – Washington Redskins 20
Category Advantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears – Sunday 1:00pm
I know on paper this looks like a Packers blowout, but “not so fast!” I say. The Packers will be one of the best teams in the NFL again yes, and the Bears will have too many holes to fill to be a contender, but this is a rivalry game, in Soldier Field, opening game of the season. Both teams won’t look sharp but the Bears defense will do a decent job containing the Packers with a “bend but don’t break” game plan and some unusual pressure on Aaron Rodgers. The Packers will have some uncharacteristic key turnovers that will keep this game close and the Bears special teams will out-play the Packers special teams unit which will give the Bears a chance. It is still the Packers game to lose but it will be a nail-biter and will end up being one of the better games of the weekend to watch.
Favorite: Green Bay Packers by 6.5
Prediction: Green Bay Packers 24 – Chicago Bears 23
Category Advantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers

About Tony Holm

Founder and President of FantasySharks.com. Five-time nominee for the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame. Started publishing fantasy content on the web in 1993 and hasn't stopped yet.