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NFL Previews and Predictions: Carolina Panthers

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Carolina Panthers

Carolina PanthersCam Newton took the Panthers to the Super Bowl after the 2015 season. He had a disastrous season in 2016 and didn’t look much better than average in 2017.

Left guard Andrew Norwell was allowed to leave via free agency and there is no answer yet as to who will replace him. Jonathan Stewart is no longer in the backfield next to Newton.

Offhand, it looks like the Panthers are challenging Newton to step up his game. That would be correct, as new offensive coordinator Norv Turner has big plans for Carolina’s offense.

Expect Newton to use deep drops and throw an occasional deep pass like the old days. The additions of veteran Torrey Smith and rookie DJ Moore provide threats the Panthers have lacked since Ted Ginn left.

Second-year running back Christian McCaffrey is expected to touch the ball more often in 2018. If the youngster can’t handle it, veteran CJ Anderson signed on to be a Stewart-like power back in Turner’s scheme.

Safety Da’ Norris Searcy and cornerback Ross Cockrell will shore up the defensive backfield, while Dontari Poe adds some beef to the interior defensive line.

Not surprisingly, head coach Ron Rivera expects this team to be in the Super Bowl come February, even if oddsmakers call them the third-best team in the NFC South, behind Atlanta and New Orleans.

Want to watch? NFL Live Streaming Options

NFL Sunday Ticket assures you won’t miss a single play of the 2018 Panthers’ season. For those of us who don’t want to spend so much money, there are less expensive options.

PS-Vue and Hulu With Live TV offer high-quality streaming NFL games on all four NFL channels (FOX, CBS, ESPN, and NBC). Free trials can get you started. PS-Vue is slightly more expensive but includes the NFL Network.

2018 Panthers Prediction:

Carolina has a chance to get off to a fast start with one of the easiest first-half schedules in the league. Things get tougher in the second half. The final three weeks features two games with the New Orleans Saints sandwiched around the Atlanta Falcons.

Those final weeks could determine if and where the Panthers land in the postseason race. With youth and fragility at key positions, we don’t think it will go as well as Panther fans would hope for. Carolina finishes 10-6 and out of the playoffs.

 

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Houston Texans: live stream, NFL Previews and Predictions

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Ryan Griffin

Houston Texans comes off a year to forget when injuries robbed them of any chance to compete. After a 4-12 season, they entered the 2018 draft without a pick in either of the first two rounds, the result of maneuvering to land Deshaun Watson.

But the offseason wasn’t a total loss. The Texans are excited about two tight ends they drafted. Ryan Griffin, a 2017 draftee, showed enough last year to be considered the starter, but rookie Jordan Thomas at 6’ 6” and 267 pounds is an intriguing prospect.

GM Brian Gaines landed safety Tyrann Mathieu and cornerback Alvin Coleman early in free agency. With JJ Watt among the Texan defenders returning healthy, the defensive backfield should be more than adequate for the Texans.

The Texans also claimed wide receiver Sammie Coates off waivers. Along with several exciting rookies, coach Bill O’Brien is reveling in the quality of his wide receiver group. Of course, DeAndre Hopkins at the head of that group lifts the bar significantly.

Alfred Blue may have a role backing up Lamar Miller at running back. The Texans are unsure if second-year runner D’Onta Foreman will make it back for opening day.

The key to Houston’s season is the healing knee of their quarterback, Watson. Houston’s backups are on par with their recent quarterback options. Watson is not perfect, but his strong arm and mobility offer the best chance for Houston to field a competent offense.

Ryan Griffin

Want to watch? NFL Live Streaming Options

NFL Sunday Ticket assures you won’t miss a single play of the 2018 Texans’ season. For those of us who don’t want to spend so much money, there are less expensive options.

PS-Vue and Hulu With Live TV offer high-quality streaming subscriptions to NFL games on all four NFL channels (FOX, CBS, ESPN, and NBC). Free trials can get you started. PS-Vue is slightly more expensive but includes the NFL Network.

2018 Texans Prediction:

Houston can’t possibly have as jinxed a season as last year’s injury-plagued fiasco. Coach O’Brien has done a lot with some mediocre rosters. This year, he has a variety of better options if they remain healthy.

Watson might not be the running threat we saw last season. With a healthy defense, He is still enough to lead the team to a playoff spot. Houston is a wild card team at 10-6.

 

 

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NFL Previews and Predictions: Tennessee Titans

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Malcolm Butler

Tennessee loves their Titans football team. If we only read their local and fan-based news sites, we’d be convinced Tennessee is on the precipice of a Super Bowl run.

Last season’s surprising 9-7 regular season record and their come-from-behind Wild Card victory over the Kansas City Chiefs gives fans reason to be optimistic.

The team signed some good free agents and made the most of their four draft picks. They addressed their suspect pass defense by signing cornerbacks Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan. Each had an interception in the first day of training camp. The team traded up to land two solid linebackers in the draft.

Malcolm Butler

Offensively, former Patriot running back Dion Lewis comes in to provide a change of pace behind the young star, Derrick Henry. Third-year wide receiver Tajae Sharp returns from a foot fracture that cost him his 2017 season. The Titans’ pair of 2017 draft picks, Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor are out to prove they can do more than they did as rookies. Reliable Rishard Matthews is the lone veteran receiver.

Marcus Mariota enters the season healthier than he was at any point last season. Will that be enough to lift the Titans, in a new offensive scheme under coach Mike Vrabel, to new heights with a trio of unproven wide receivers and a nondescript, even if steady, veteran?

Tennessee had one of the top offenses last season with all of those pieces under-utilized or under-performing in a predictable offense.

Want to watch? NFL Live Streaming Options

NFL Sunday Ticket assures you won’t miss a single play of the 2018 Titans’ season. For those of us who don’t want to spend so much money, there are less expensive options.

PS-Vue and Hulu With Live TV offer high-quality streaming NFL games on all four NFL channels (FOX, CBS, ESPN, and NBC). Free trials can get you started. PS-Vue is slightly more expensive but includes the NFL Network.

2018 Tennessee Titans Prediction

Tennessee’s schedule is loaded with teams we can’t be sure about in 2018. Will Deshaun Watson make the Texans a powerhouse? Will Andrew Luck be on the field? Will the Bills, Raiders, and Giants adjust to big changes?

We feel most of those teams will provide surprisingly stiff competition. Tennessee takes a step back amid changes of their own and finishes 7-9.

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NFL Preview and Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Ryan Griffin

Jameis Winston will either be Tampa Bay’s long-awaited franchise quarterback or a perennial backup option by the end of this season. He needs to show what he can do with his talent if he wants the happier ending. What better way to start off the most important season of his career than with a three-game suspension?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ryan Griffin

Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ryan Griffin took most of the snaps in the first day of training camp. Tampa Bay says they are intrigued by Griffin and trust Fitzpatrick’s experience. But if the Buccaneers are going to improve on their 5-11 record of a season ago, Winston needs to come back strong after his suspension and take advantage of an above-average set of wide receivers and tight ends.

Rookie Ronald Jones is expected to challenge Peyton Barber for the starting running back role. Until he improves his pass-blocking skills, third down will belong to Chris Sims or Jacquizz Rodgers. There is not a single name in this paragraph that sparks fear in the hearts of opposing defenses.

Jason Pierre Paul and Vinny Curry were added in the offseason, along with Beau Allen and rookie Vita Vea, to address the Buccaneers’ pass rush. Whether they will be good enough to cover for a young secondary and a weak linebacker group is far from certain.

Kicker Chris Catanzaro might provide the most worthwhile upgrade from 2017.

Want to watch? NFL Live Streaming Options

NFL Sunday Ticket assures you won’t miss a single play of the 2018 Buccaneers’ season. For those of us who don’t want to spend so much money, there are less expensive options.

PS-Vue and Hulu With Live TV offer high-quality streaming NFL games on all four NFL channels (FOX, CBS, ESPN, and NBC). Free trials can get you started. PS-Vue is slightly more expensive but includes the NFL Network.

2018 Buccaneers Prediction:

Tampa faces five difficult matchups to open the season. They can easily be 1-4 or even 0-5 before righting the ship. Offenses will exploit the questionable defense behind the linemen.

With an unproven running game, it is difficult to imagine defenses won’t go all out to stop the Buccaneers’ passing game. With so many receiving options, the Buccaneers might connect on some big plays. Can they find success with a big-play offense?

Not with back up quarterbacks. Tampa Bay goes 6-10 before drafting Winston’s replacement.

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