NFL Week 9 Picks

Here are my picks for the NFL’s Week 9 slate (excluding Thursday Night Football).

Last week: 6-7

Patriots at Jets: Patriots

Broncos at Falcons: Falcons

Seahawks at Bills: Seahawks

Bears at Titans: Titans

Ravens at Colts: Ravens

Panthers at Chiefs: Chiefs

Lions at Vikings: Lions

Giants at Washington: Giants

Texans at Jaguars: Texans

Raiders at Chargers: Raiders

Steelers at Cowboys: Steelers

Dolphins at Cardinals: Cardinals

Saints at Buccaneers: Buccaneers

NFL Week 8 Picks

Here are my picks for the NFL’s Week 8 slate (excluding Thursday Night Football).

Last week: 10-3

Patriots at Bills: Bills

Vikings at Packers: Packers

Titans at Bengals: Titans

Jets at Chiefs: Chiefs

Colts at Lions: Colts

Steelers at Ravens: Steelers

Rams at Dolphins: Rams

Raiders at Browns: Browns

Chargers at Broncos: Chargers

Saints at Bears: Bears

49ers at Seahawks: 49ers

Cowboys at Eagles: Eagles

Buccaneers at Giants: Buccaneers

NFL Week 5 Picks

Due to the delay for the Patriots-Broncos game, here are my picks for the NFL’s Week 5 games (excluding Thursday Night Football).

Last week: 9-4

Jaguars at Texans: Texans

Bengals at Ravens: Ravens

Panthers at Falcons: Falcons

Raiders at Chiefs: Chiefs

Cardinals at Jets: Cardinals

Eagles at Steelers: Steelers

Rams at Washington: Rams

Dolphins at 49ers: 49ers

Giants at Cowboys: Cowboys

Colts at Browns: Browns

Vikings at Seahawks: Seahawks

Chargers at Saints: Chargers

Bills at Titans: Bills

The Pats welcome Las Vegas for a high stakes contest in Foxborough!

Tomorrow, the Patriots will take on the newly-minted Las Vegas Raiders (2-0) for the first time in 3 seasons, in a matchup that will make or break New England’s season due to the mounting difficulty of their season.

Here are some things to consider entering this Week 3 contest.

1. Can Cam & the offense maintain their momentum?

During last week’s loss in Seattle, the Patriots’ offense came alive, with Cam Newton passing for almost 400 yards, along with Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, and Damiere Byrd having big performances as well. However, as the team has stated all week, you can’t take moral victories from a defeat, which means that the offense will have to show up once again to prove that Week 2 wasn’t an aberration. They may have a golden opportunity against a Raiders’ defense that ranks amongst the NFL’s worst. They have young players throughout their defense, such as Maxx Crosby & Johnathan Abram, to go along with veterans such as Lamarcus Joyner & Cory Littleton. Due to the Raiders’ relatively weak defensive line, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Josh McDaniels decide to emphasize running the football, with either Newton or the team’s running backs. As always, having success on the ground could open up the run-pass option or play action, which could help keep the defense off guard.

Either way, the Patriots will have to adjust to the absence of David Andrews, who broke his thumb against the Seahawks, and will miss at least three games. Andrews has been crucial blocker for both aspects of the offense, which will put a lot of pressure on his replacement. When it comes to the passing game, I’d expect New England to have a similar game plan to last week, with a greater deal of short to intermediate passes, along with deep passes when the opportunity presents itself. If N’Keal Harry & Damiere Byrd can deliver once again and complement the ever-reliable Julian Edelman, it may be hard to stop Cam Newton & the Patriots’ offense this week.

(Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

2. Will the defense rebound?

Last week, the Patriots’ defense got dissected by Russell Wilson, who had 5 passing touchdowns, which was more than they gave up during all of the 2019 season. They will face a much more conservative quarterback in Derek Carr, who is definitely more effective when he throws shorter throws. Regardless of his supposed shortcomings, Carr was efficient against the Saints last week, as he found his top weapon Darren Waller 12 times for 105 yards and a touchdown. Waller is best described as a big receiver even though he’s listed as a tight end, as his speed cannot be understated. As Las Vegas’ top speedster in Henry Ruggs is missing this game with an injury, I’d expect Bill Belichick’s defense to double Waller with Stephon Gilmore or Joejuan Williams, along with a safety. This would leave the rest of the team’s secondary with the task of covering Hunter Renfrow, Bryan Edwards, & Nelson Agholor.

On the other hand, the Raiders are much more deadly running the football, due to the ever-brilliant play of Josh Jacobs. Despite some injuries, Jacobs had a strong game against the Saints, as he totaled nearly 90 yards on the ground, and helped to put the game away. If Jacobs is at full health, it may be a long day for the Patriots’ defense, as they have struggled stopping the run lately (with the game against Seattle being a prime example). It wouldn’t be surprising if Jon Gruden & Las Vegas coaching staff decide to primarily focus on their rushing attack, which could tire down the defense, and keep Cam Newton off the field.

If the Patriots want to avoid a tough game, they will need their defense to bounce back with a vengeance, and shut down a potentially potent Raiders offense. More than anything else, the defensive line & linebacking corps will need to step up & stop the run.

derek carr v patriots w3p20
(Photo via NBC Sports Boston)

Injury Report:

Patriots

  • David Andrews (hand) – Out
  • Josh Uche (foot) – Out
  • Adam Butler (shoulder) – Questionable
  • Brandon Copeland (knee) – Questionable
  • Julian Edelman (knee) – Questionable
  • N’Keal Harry (ankle) – Questionable
  • Isaiah Wynn (calf) – Questionable

Raiders

  • Trent Brown (calf) – Out
  • Henry Ruggs (knee) – Out
  • Nick Kwiatkoski (pectoral) – Out
  • Denzelle Good (thumb/illness) – Questionable
  • Josh Jacobs (hip) – Questionable
  • Darren Waller (knee) – Questionable
  • Sam Young (groin) – Questionable

What’re they wearing?:

(Photo courtesy of the Gridiron Uniform Database)

Prediction: Patriots 28, Raiders 20

Here are my picks for the rest of the NFL’s Week 3 games.

Last week: 12-3

49ers at Giants: 49ers

Washington at Browns: Browns

Bengals at Eagles: Eagles

Bears at Falcons: Falcons

Rams at Bills: Rams

Texans at Steelers: Steelers

Titans at Vikings: Titans

Panthers at Chargers: Chargers

Jets at Colts: Colts

Cowboys at Seahawks: Seahawks

Lions at Cardinals: Cardinals

Buccaneers at Broncos: Buccaneers

Packers at Saints: Packers

Chiefs at Ravens: Ravens

“New” Threads for a New Era

For the first time in 20 years, the Patriots will have a quarterback not named Tom Brady under center. However, that’s not the only big change for the team in 2020, as they recently debuted their “new” uniforms for the upcoming season. Other than the addition of alternate/throwback uniforms in the mid-2000’s and 2010’s, this is the first major tweak for the team since the turn of the millennium.

What’s different?

These uniforms are based on the Pats’ popular Color Rush alternates, which were introduced in 2016, as part of a league-wide initiative for Thursday Night Football. The Color Rush program was ultimately mothballed prior to the 2018 season, but teams such as the Patriots have continued to wear them as an additional alternative uniform. New England essentially took the monochromatic blue uniform, with thick red and white stripes on the shoulders (a nod to their popular Pat Patriot uniforms) and pants, and only changed the numeric font. In order to match their new home uniform, the team created a white counterpart (similar to their AFL away uniform), which features an inverted stripe pattern (with red and blue) and paired it with the same blue pants. Both jerseys feature slight silver accents on the numbers, and are paired with the team’s traditional silver helmet with a red facemask. The Pats also introduced new socks, which feature a color-blocked scheme of red, white, and blue.

new-patriots-uniforms
(Photo via the New England Patriots)

Although there are people who think that the team came up with the idea of new uniforms as soon as Tom Brady announced his decision to leave, this change has been in the works since 2018, in cooperation with the NFL’s rules on uniform changes (which requires at least 2 years advance notice from teams to the league office). This means that Tom Brady would have worn these uniforms if he had chosen to stay in New England.

How have Patriots fans reacted?

As most NFL teams (other than the Chargers) have realized this year, it is impossible to please your fans when it comes to changing your uniforms. Even though ESPN’s Mike Reiss mentioned in March that these changes would be “subtle”, most Pats fans imagined unrealistic possibilities ranging from re-adopting the Pat Patriot uniforms to making a modernized version of the polarizing 1990’s uniforms. Hence, fan reaction to this change has been mixed at best, as evidenced by several heated reactions on the team’s Twitter feed.

The negative reactions on social media can also be attributed to several blunders on the team’s part. For instance, the uniforms looked clunky on the models they chose, and they even advertised the wrong pants. The studio models were wearing last season’s Color Rush pants, with thick white stripes, while the uniforms sent to player such as Stephon Gilmore and James White featured pants with thick red stripes, which matches up with the stripes on the blue jersey.

What do I think?

Personally, I love the changes the team instituted, as I have been a big fan of the Color Rush alternates from the day they were introduced. Compared to the “Brady era” uniforms, these uniforms are much less cluttered, without unnecessary piping and side panels. There’s no doubt that the team’s previous uniforms are iconic and synonymous with success, due to the team’s unprecedented six Super Bowl victories while wearing that set, but it’s hard to ignore how dated the uniform got as time went on. This became evident when the league switched from Reebok to Nike for their uniforms, as Nike’s materials made the home silver pants look drab and boring, as compared to Reebok’s materials, which had made them look shiny and appealing.

slate old unis
(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

In addition, as Nike’s uniform templates got more advanced, the Pats’ early 2000’s design looked more out of place, as form-fitting uniforms made the team’s piping and side panels look increasingly unappealing.

Patriots Rams Super Bowl Football
(Patrick Semansky/AP)

Going back to the new uniforms, I love the red and white stripes on the home jersey, as they really give a pop of color against the blue base. The white jersey looks sleek, although I do agree with the people on Twitter who feel as though the team would be better off switching the red and blue in the striping pattern, as it is more pleasant to look at. My main gripe with the uniform set is that the team opted not to include white pants (for now), which would have perfectly complemented the current rotation. The all-blue home uniform is attractive, but pairing it with white pants could take it to another level.

cr promo
(PeterBretter/Reddit)

At the same time, having white pants would enable the team to also wear all-white on the road, which would be a heavily appealing option. The Pats wore all-white in 2017 against the Buccaneers in their old uniforms, which showed how sleek the combination could be. Hopefully the team chooses to bring them back!

Patriots Buccaneers Football, Tampa, USA - 05 Oct 2017
(Photo via Shutterstock)

 

A sign for the future?

Many fans wanted the Pats to bring back white helmets, which would have simplified the team’s color scheme, and enabled them to bring back the popular Pat Patriot throwbacks, which they have not worn since 2012 (due to the NFL’s controversial one-shell rule, which prevents teams from using more than one helmet). Fortunately, comments from the Patriots indicate that there may be changes in the works for the 2021 season, as the press release for these uniforms specifically mentioned the possibility of bringing back the red throwbacks if the league’s rule on helmets is nixed.

dev throwbacks
(Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

 

Ranking the other new NFL uniforms

The Patriots were one of seven teams to announce uniform changes, with the Rams being the only team to not introduce their new uniforms as of yet.

Here’s a ranking of the uniforms introduced so far (excluding the Patriots)

1. Chargers

chargers new unis
(Photo via the Los Angeles Chargers)

2. Browns

browns new uniforms
(Photo via the Cleveland Browns)

3. Buccaneers

buccaneers new unis
(Photo via the Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

4. Colts

colts new unis
(Photo via the Indianapolis Colts)

5. Falcons

falcons new unis
(Photo via the Atlanta Falcons)

 

NFL Week 17 Picks

Last week: 11-5

Dolphins at Patriots: Patriots

Packers at Lions: Packers

Jets at Bills: Bills

Bears at Vikings: Vikings

Chargers at Chiefs: Chiefs

Browns at Bengals: Browns

Saints at Panthers: Saints

Falcons at Buccaneers: Falcons

Colts at Jaguars: Colts

Eagles at Giants: Eagles

Cardinals at Rams: Rams

Steelers at Ravens: Ravens

Titans at Texans: Titans

Raiders at Broncos: Raiders

Redskins at Cowboys: Cowboys

49ers at Seahawks: 49ers

NFL Week 16 Picks

Here are my picks for the NFL’s Week 16 slate of games.

Last week: 8-7

Bills at Patriots: Patriots

Texans at Buccaneers: Texans

Rams at 49ers: 49ers

Steelers at Jets: Steelers

Saints at Titans: Saints

Panthers at Colts: Colts

Bengals at Dolphins: Dolphins

Ravens at Browns: Ravens

Jaguars at Falcons: Falcons

Giants at Redskins: Redskins

Lions at Broncos: Broncos

Raiders at Chargers: Raiders

Cardinals at Seahawks: Seahawks

Cowboys at Eagles: Cowboys

Chiefs at Bears: Chiefs

Packers at Vikings: Vikings

NFL Week 15 Picks

Here are my picks for the NFL’s Week 15 slate (excluding Thursday Night Football).

Last week: 10-5

Patriots at BengalsPatriots

Bears at PackersPackers

Seahawks at Panthers: Seahawks

Texans at TitansTitans

Dolphins at GiantsDolphins

Eagles at RedskinsEagles

Broncos at ChiefsChiefs

Buccaneers at LionsBuccaneers

Browns at CardinalsBrowns

Jaguars at RaidersRaiders

Vikings at ChargersVikings

Rams at CowboysRams

Falcons at 49ers49ers

Bills at SteelersSteelers

Colts at SaintsSaints

NFL Week 14 Picks

Here are my picks for the NFL’s Week 14 slate (excluding Thursday Night Football).

Last week: 6-7

Chiefs at Patriots: Patriots

Colts at Buccaneers: Colts

Ravens at Bills: Ravens

Lions at Vikings: Vikings

Redskins at Packers: Packers

Broncos at Texans: Texans

49ers at Saints: 49ers

Bengals at Browns: Browns

Panthers at Falcons: Falcons

Dolphins at Jets: Dolphins

Chargers at Jaguars: Jaguars

Titans at Raiders: Titans

Steelers at Cardinals: Steelers

Seahawks at Rams: Rams

Giants at Eagles: Eagles

NFL Week 10 picks!

With the Patriots on their much-needed bye week, here are my picks for the NFL’s Week 10 slate (excluding Thursday Night Football).

Last week: 6-7

Lions at BearsLions

Ravens at BengalsRavens

Bills at BrownsBills

Chiefs at TitansChiefs

Falcons at SaintsSaints

Giants at JetsGiants

Cardinals at BuccaneersBuccaneers

Dolphins at ColtsColts

Panthers at PackersPackers

Rams at SteelersRams

Vikings at CowboysVikings

Seahawks at 49ers49ers