Posts by Austin Taliaferro

2015 Insider Picks: Week One

The following Week 1 picks are the average score as selected by the staff of The Sports Quotient. If you think a game will have a different outcome, let us know in the comments!

Indianapolis Colts

26

20

The following Week 1 picks are the average score as selected by the staff of The Sports Quotient. If you think a game will have a different outcome, let us know in the comments!

Indianapolis Colts

26

20

Buffalo Bills

Two AFC contenders face off in Week 1, as the Indianapolis Colts take on the Buffalo Bills. With Dwayne Allen and T.Y. Hilton healthy and ready to go, look for a high powered passing attack by the Colts, led by quarterback Andrew Luck. On the other side of the ball, look for the Bills defensive line to dominate against the run, with support from Preston Brown and Nigel Bradham. The key to this game will be how Indianapolis’ run defense is able to contain LeSean McCoy. After being decimated on the ground by the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game last year, the Colts will have to be committed to stopping the run to hold back Shady.

Green Bay Packers

33

18

Chicago Bears

Aaron Rodgers is down a number one receiver, but that really shouldn’t be a factor in this one. The Packers have owned this division in Rodgers’ stay at starter, and he and the Pack have an opportunity to continue that dominance traveling to Soldier Field on Sunday. The Chicago Bears had a disappointing season last year, but they have hit the mini-reset button by letting go of Mark Tressman and hiring John Fox. Given departures, aging, and injuries, they are noticeably less talented on the offensive side of the ball. A defense that struggled mightily last season will need to play well for the Bears to have a chance in this one.

Kansas City Chiefs

18

17

Houston Texans

Two impressive defenses square off in Week 1. Both offenses struggled last year in the passing game, and there are plenty of questions still to be answered there. Now that the Chiefs have  acquired Jeremy Maclin, the WR touchdown drought should end. The Texans could struggle in that area without Andre Johnson, who joined the rival Colts in free agency. One of the biggest keys of the game will be how Texans QB Brian Hoyer will perform in his first game with the Texans. A strong performance from him could result in a Texan victory.

Carolina Panthers

18

14

Jacksonville Jaguars

Another Week 1 defensive battle, the Panthers and Jags will likely struggle offensively for at least a few weeks. The Panthers are without WR Kelvin Benjamin, who will miss the season with a torn ACL. The Jags are still very young offensively, and it could take a while for their offense to gel. The kickers could be the difference in this one.

Cleveland Browns

12

19

New York Jets

The Browns have various issues to address: poor quarterbacks, an awful defensive line, and no real offensive threat. To make things worse, the game is in New York. Their lone bright spark is the secondary, but that shouldn’t be enough to prevent the Jets from winning this one easily in a low-scoring affair.

Seattle Seahawks

24

18

St. Louis Rams

St. Louis shocked the defending champs last year by playing them hard in their own building and coming away with the win. Expect this game to be played no differently. Although Nick Foles is no savior at quarterback, he is a million times better than what they were working with last season. The Rams defense should be as good as ever with their defensive line pressuring Seattle. But if anyone can handle the pressure, it’s Russell Wilson, who even has a shiny new toy in Jimmy Graham. And by the way, that Seattle defense is no bunch of slackers either.

Miami Dolphins

29

14

Washington Redskins

There are many questions entering this game for Washington. With the ever-lasting controversy surrounding RGIII, it will be interesting to see how the team comes together in Week 1 behind Kirk Cousins. Cousins has shown glimpses of being good quarterback but has also shown the opposite as well. On the other side, the Miami Dolphins are a team everyone has their eyes on. Ryan Tannehill is out to prove that he can lead the Dolphins into the playoffs and that he isn’t only a “statistically good QB.” Look for Tannehill to have a big game in this one, playing a Redskins team that seems a bit out of sort.

New Orleans Saints

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26

Arizona Cardinals

A classic battle of offense versus defense. The Saints have attempted to retool their offensive line in order to protect Drew Brees and create a running game to rival their high-firing passing attack. The Cardinals defense is certainly up the test and will contain the Saints enough to give their offense a shot. It will come down to whether Carson Palmer can return from injury and break his preseaon struggles to play at a high level.

Detroit Lions

21

24

San Diego Chargers

Two high powered offenses take the field Sunday, with the Detroit Lions playing the San Diego Chargers. The Lions will look to balance their passing and rushing attack with Calvin Johnson and rookie running back Ameer Abdullah. On the other side, the Chargers are looking to lock down Calvin Johnson with the underrated cornerback duo of Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett. The key to this game will be the Chargers’ front seven stepping up and defending the run. If Corey Liuget is able to step up on the line, it could mean a strong victory for the team

Baltimore Ravens

21

30

Denver Broncos

Will Peyton be able to master Kubiak’s offense? Will Baltimore be able to get it together? This one has more questions than answers, but is likely to be a thriller. In the end, never count out Peyton in a regular season game.

Cincinnati Bengals

24

16

Oakland Raiders

Two young quarterbacks look to face off this week as the Cincinnati Bengals take on the Oakland Raiders. Andy Dalton is looking to break the narrative of being a game manager and would be hard pressed to find an easier team to take advantage of. On the other side, the Raiders are looking forward to a disruptive pass rush after signing Aldon Smith this past week. The key to this game will be if second-year quarterback Derek Carr can take the next step in his progression as a franchise player, and the Bengals defense will make sure he is tested. If he is able to establish a connection with rookie wide reciever Amari Cooper early on, it could mean a sold victory for the team.

Tennessee Titans

16

17

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It’s the tale of two rookie QBs playing their first ever NFL regular season game. This one should be decided by the QB play, as the teams are rather evenly matched.

New York Giants

23

32

Dallas Cowboys

As history has proven, a battle between Tony Romo and Eli Manning has always been entertaining. Each QB has shown that they can either perform outstandingly or inexcusably terribly. With that being said, Sunday night’s match-up will be intriguing. Dallas’ offense is out to prove that it can remain elite without former Cowboy running back DeMarco Murray, while the Giants are looking to prove that it isn’t a two-headed race in the NFC East. Look for the return and impact of Sean Lee on the defensive end for the Cowboys, while the injury-plagued Giants secondary attempts to last against Romo and the Boys.

Philadelphia Eagles

32

26

Atlanta Falcons

This game has all the pieces to be a shootout in the making: Chip Kelly’s high-octane offense versus Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. Can Dan Quinn turn Atlanta’s defense into Seattle’s? Doubtful. Get ready for a shootout.

Minnesota Vikings

24

14

San Francisco 49ers

Two franchises heading in two seemingly different directions face off in the final game of the NFL’s opening season. Minnesota has been a sexy pick throughout the offseason, and rightfully so, to make a massive improvement and push for a playoff spot. On the exact opposite side of the card, the 49ers, who just missed the playoffs last season after three consecutive trips to at least the Conference Championship, are predicited to be on the decline due to their many big name departures. The Vikings need to win this game to validate the faith that so many have put in them.

Week 1 Record: 1-0

Season Record: 1-0

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NFL Insider Picks: Opening Night 2015


The following Week 1 pick is the average score as selected by the staff of The Sports Quotient. If you think this game will have a different outcome, let us know in the comments! The remaining Week 1 picks will be posted Saturday, September 12.

Pittsburgh Steelers


The following Week 1 pick is the average score as selected by the staff of The Sports Quotient. If you think this game will have a different outcome, let us know in the comments! The remaining Week 1 picks will be posted Saturday, September 12.

Pittsburgh Steelers

24

27

New England Patriots

The opening of the NFL season couldn’t be more representative of the problems the league faces. Tom Brady is starting for the New England Patriots after his suspension for having “general awareness” of deflated footballs was overturned. Both starting running backs for each offense, as well as Steelers’ wide receiver Martavis Bryant are suspended under the league’s substance abuse policy. And Ben Roethlisberger is starting, and let’s not forget his alleged sexual assault case. But after a long offseason of deciphering the scientific garble from Bill Belichick’s press conference, balls jokes and courtroom sketches, it’s time for the on-field drama to begin. And this should be a good one, as it could be a preview of two teams who could be facing off again in the playoffs. But, for now, both teams are without major pieces on offense, and the defenses are still grooming replacements after some major offseason departures. With no running game for either team, this one will become even more passing centered. Kick your feet up and enjoy the game, because football is finally back. (Austin T)

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