Are the Raiders the Patriots biggest threat in AFC?

Are the Raiders the Patriots biggest threat in AFC?

New England are big favourites to repeat and win the Super Bowl. Will they have any competition in the AFC?

The Steelers are second favourites but I think the Raiders could be the team to look out for. Yes, the Patriots have one of the greatest coaches of all time and possibly the greatest quarterback but it is very hard to repeat in the NFL despite the additions the Pats made. They added Brandin Cooks to give Brady another weapon on offense and added Stephen Gilmore on defence. Why do I think the Raiders will be the team to look for? They have a great young quarter back in Derek Carr who had a great season last season throwing for over 3,900 yards 28TDS and only 6 interceptions over 15 games. He was only sacked 16 times. He makes good decisions, takes care of the ball and he’s not afraid to throw the ball away rather than take an unnecessary sack. The Raiders added Marshawn Lynch and if he can be in full beast mode this season the Raiders could be equally as good running the ball. The also added Jared Cook at tight end and Cordarrelle Patterson at wide receiver to go alongside Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree means that they are loaded on offense.

Their defence let them down last season but should improve after drafting cornerback Gareon Conley from Ohio State, Connecticut Safety Obi Melionwu and UCLA defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes. They also signed line-backer Jelani Jenkins in free agency. If their defence improves then together with that star-studded offence the Raiders could challenge the Patriots and make it to a Super Bowl before they leave Oakland for Las Vegas.

The Raiders are in a tough division with Kansas City and Denver. Their Schedule is tough too starting off in week one at Tennessee before hosting the Jets and then going to Washington to face the Redskins. They face the Giants and Cowboys at home and travel to Mexico City to face the Patriots on November 19th. I think the Raiders have what takes to win their division even though the Chiefs are favoured to win the AFC West by most. The raiders could have advanced further in the playoffs if Carr hadn’t have got hurt last season. Lynch is playing for his local team and would love to bring a championship to the city of Oakland before they leave for Las Vegas in 2020. Seeing Carr and Lynch on the same team with those weapons at receiver will cause fear in opposing defences.  The Raiders could have a great season and I can see them in the AFC Championship game facing off against the Patriots and moving on to win their fourth Super Bowl.

This OTI article was written by Niall Walsh. Niall is a Green Bay Packers fan from Carlow, Ireland. He is a huge NFL and college football fan. He has recently finished an honours degree in Humanities and has plans to peruse a Master’s Degree in journalism. You can follow him on twitter @Irishluda.

 

What’s in a name? Corey DAVIS!

What’s in a name? Corey DAVIS!

Dogged, Man is he dogged! Extremely good at selling routes, setting up defenders well whether it’s a pass or run play. He’s a ball winner…Fact!

Might not have elite speed but he’s an elite ball winner reminiscent of Deandre Hopkins. Hell, from the tape I’ve watched, he’s a half decent run blocker too!!

All time FBS leader in receiving yards with 5,278 Yards, accumulated over 4 years, Together with 52 receiving touchdowns.

Records fall when Davis is out there catching the ball.

Vital to the progression of Quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Tennessee Titan’s No.2 overall pick in 2015, was the Front Office’s work in putting together the weapons to make best use of his talents. Prime among them was a true No.1 receiver. At 6’3 and 210 lbs, Davis fits the bill…. size wise at least.

Injury meant that he was unable to perform at the NFL Combine and he was also unable to do any Pre Draft workouts for teams due to his recovery from ankle surgery. It didn’t stop the Titans selecting him at No.5 overall though, which bodes well for his medical reviews. I would worry about ankle injuries with wide receivers in general and hope it doesn’t come back to haunt him down the line.

Small school players rarely see the heights Of No.5 Overall on NFL Draft night and it shows massive faith in the prospect out of Western Michigan, that the Titans took him that high.

Some might question his production given the level of competition. I’m a believer!

I’ve traded up to take him No.1 overall in several of my Dynasty Leagues, so I’m hoping he can deliver on the big stage for my sake also.

The Titans are building a decent team and hope that Davis can propel them to the Playoffs…….  and beyond perhaps?

This OTI Piece was written by Eric Flynn. Eric is a San Francisco 49ers fan from Cork, Ireland. Huge fantasy focus on game weekends. He has been playing Fantasy Football for over 6 years in all types of leagues, having started out in IDP leagues. Check him out on Twitter @EricJohnFlynn.”

What’s in a name? Fournette!

What’s in a name? Fournette!

Fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft. Selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars. This follows on from Ezekiel Elliott being taken at the same spot by the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.

Overweight? – Fournette weighed in at 240 lbs in Indianapolis for the NFL combine. His playing weight at LSU was 235 lbs.

Still with this extra “water weight”, Fournette managed to run 4.51 in the 40-yard dash.

Underweight? – Fournette slimmed down to 228 lbs for his college pro day. Is the fluctuation a signal of something sinister? Do the jaguars need an Eddie Lacy type problem.

Fournette offered that he was showing teams what he could do by putting on and taking off the weight.

Receiving? – some questions arise out of his lack of action in the passing game at LSU. I would suggest that there wasn’t a passing game to begin with. When you’ve quarterbacks of the calibre of Danny Etling, Brandon Harris and Anthony Jennings throwing the ball, it doesn’t work. Just ask Malachi Dupree, a former 5-star recruit.

Need – hell yeah, the Jaguars need a running game and they’ve paid a high price hoping that Fournette can provide it. 2 years after drafting TJ Yeldon out of Alabama and a year removed from giving a large free agent contract to Chris ivory, the new front office believe Fournette can turn their running game around.

Expectation – dubbed the next Adrian Peterson at several stages of his young career, Fournette’s hype has raged since he was one of the most highly recruited players ever coming out of high school. Some felt he could skip college altogether.

Tom Coughlin – tom likes to run the ball down your neck old school and he’s found his guy to do it. A marriage made in heaven?

Trouble – the jaguars offensive line would be in the lower third of the league at present and Blake Bortles doesn’t exactly scare teams in the first 3 quarters of games, so can Fournette expect to find much daylight to break off some big runs. He could find the NFL game frustrating in Jacksonville.

Exceptional talent – to my eyes Fournette has all the tools to be a big-name player in the NFL. He may not show it early but his talent should see him have a fine NFL career. Who knows, he might be able to transform this jaguars team to produce results that the depth chart on paper should, in what is a weak division.

“This OTI Piece was written by Eric Flynn. Eric is a San Francisco 49ers fan from Cork, Ireland. Huge fantasy focus on game weekends. He has been playing Fantasy Football for over 6 years in all types of leagues, having started out in IDP leagues. Check him out on Twitter @EricJohnFlynn.”

OTIPodcast #243 – Matt Caraccio

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OTIPodcast #242 – Mike Huguenin

 

 


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OTIPodcast #241 – Matt Kelley

 

 

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OTIPodcast #240 – Adam Rank

 

 

 

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Super Bowl LI Preview

266 games down, 1 more to go. Super Bowl LI provides us with a mouth-watering clash between the NFL’s greatest dynasty and one of the most explosive offenses in league history, as the New England Patriots will face off against the Atlanta Falcons in NRG Stadium, Houston, this Sunday. The Patriots can secure their fifth Super Bowl title with a victory, while the Falcons are aiming to win their first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history. Both sides are loaded with talent, and are coached by some of the brightest and most innovative minds in the game, which should result in a hotly-contested game that will go down to the wire.

Tom Brady would undoubtedly cement his legacy as the best quarterback of all time with a victory on Sunday. The 39 year-old is showing no signs of regression, boasting an impressive 33:4 touchdown-interception ratio this season, including the playoffs. Brady has a clear advantage against a relatively inexperienced Atlanta defense, that could potentially become the first team ever to start four rookies in a Super Bowl.

Thomas Dimitroff and Scott Pioli deserve huge credit for building an extremely athletic defense that features playmakers at every level. Vic Beasley, who led the league in sacks with 15.5, needs to get pressure on Brady if the Falcons are to have any chance of slowing down the Patriots’ passing attack. The Broncos set the blueprint for beating the Patriots in the 2016 AFC Championship Game, in which Brady was hit a whopping 23 times. If Beasley and co. cannot make Brady uncomfortable in the pocket, things could get out of hand quite quickly.

Meanwhile, inside linebacker Deion Jones has had an exceptional rookie campaign, showcasing blazing speed and outstanding coverage abilities, leading all linebackers with 11 pass breakups this season. Expect to see him flying around the field making plays along with fellow rookie Keanu Neal, who has provided a physical edge to the Falcons’ secondary.

Brady and his receiving core have a clear advantage over an Atlanta defensive backfield that includes three players with two years or less of NFL experience. Julian Edelman has quietly been one of the most effective receivers in the league since Rob Gronkowski was lost to a season-ending back injury, while Chris Hogan comes into this game on the back of a sensational two-touchdown performance in the AFC title game. Despite the significant strides made by the Falcons defense throughout the season, it is difficult to see the Patriots’ aerial attack being slowed down.

Don’t be surprised to see LeGarrette Blount carry the ball 20+ times in this game in an effort to keep the Falcons’ offense off the field. Atlanta has been mediocre in run defense this season, and Josh McDaniels can prevent this game from turning into a shootout by controlling the clock. New England’s ability to sustain long drives throughout the game will be crucial to the outcome of the game.

Defensively, the Patriots will have their hands full against the most prolific offense in the league. The Falcons are averaging an astounding 34.4 points per game this season, while leading the NFL in yards per play with 6.7. Matt Ryan can place his name in the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks with a strong performance on Sunday, and he has a plethora of weapons at his disposal to assist him in doing so. Julio Jones is making a strong case for being the best receiver in the league, averaging over 100 yards per game this season. The Patriots have been using two receivers to mimic Jones in practice in the build-up to the game, and you can be sure that Matt Patricia and Bill Belichick have formulated a gameplan that aims to limit the star wideout.

Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel will have huge roles to play should the Patriots provide safety help over the top of Jones, and it is imperative that they exploit their one-on-one matchups. Running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman form what is arguably the most talented backfield in the NFL, combining for almost 1,600 rushing yards and 24 total touchdowns this season. Both backs are capable of ripping off chunk plays on the ground, so New England must be careful not to overcommit to stopping Atlanta’s high-flying passing attack.

Kyle Shanahan is going to come out with guns blazing in what is likely to be his final game as offensive coordinator for the team, but he faces a tough test against the number one scoring defense in the league. This Patriots defense is built on versatility, especially in the secondary. Safeties Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty are both capable of dropping down to the line of scrimmage and covering slot receivers and tight ends. Malcolm Butler is no stranger to making big plays in the Super Bowl, and his number one priority will be to contain Julio. Butler and the rest of the secondary do not have the luxury of a proficient pass rush to help them out, so there is a lot of pressure resting on their shoulders to perform.

The experience of the New England Patriots cannot be overlooked as a key factor in this game. Sunday’s game will mark Tom Brady’s seventh Super Bowl appearance, and he appears to be as hungry as ever to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. He should be able to exploit the weaknesses in the Falcons defense with the help of his numerous receiving weapons. Meanwhile, you have to trust Belichick to have a plan to keep Matt Ryan and Julio Jones in check. The Patriots are the more balanced and well-rounded team, and they have a slight edge in this matchup.

Score prediction: New England Patriots 34-27 Atlanta Falcons
This OTI Piece was written by Cathal Keane. Cathal is a passionate Cincinnati Bengals fan from Dublin. Follow him on Twitter @whodeycathal

OTIPodcast #239 – Superbowl LI Preview

 

 

 

 

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OTIPodcast #238 – Chris Wesseling

 

 

 

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