Author: GM

Daniel Hartmann’s NFL Week 9 Watchability Rankings

So this a new blog for me. I am going to start ranking the games each week in order of how exciting the game will be to watch. So if all these games were played at the same time, on different channels, these are the order of how I would watch them. Three rules. Number One: Matchups matter. So Offense vs. Defense, Receiver vs. Corner, Left tackle vs. pass rush all matter. Number Two: Star power matters. I’d rather watch a hobbled Russell Wilson than Nick Foles any day. And Number three: Playoff implication matters. Two teams fighting for the playoffs is more fun than two teams fighting for the number one pick. Without further ado, here are the rankings from worst to first.

Blake Bortles is no fun to watch at all. Last year this would have been much better. But this year, the jaguars have turned into the plain garbage time team. They do nothing else all game. Jalen Ramsey turns heads, but still. The Chiefs are getting more fun, but Alex Smith could be slowed, Spencer Ware may not play, and the Chiefs rely on the horizontal pass game a bit too much. Travis Kelce is good, and Marcus Peters could always take one back, but this should be a boring game.

Russell Wilson is hurt. His line sucks. His running game is nonexistent. The only saving graces there are Jimmy Graham doing Jimmy Graham things, and the L.O.B. The Bills are led by Lesean McCoy… who’s hurt. Tyrod Taylor won’t be fun when he gets stopped by Bobby Wagner on every play. Luckily, the Bills defense is getting healthier, and Marcell Dareus is back and beastly. There’s just not enough here to make me interested.

If this was an unintentional comedy contest, this game would rank much higher. Ryan Fitzpatrick will sail a few throws and get stared down by his receivers. Matt Forte is a guy who thinks he’s a bowling ball, but is actually a pin ball. And all of a sudden, the Jets decide they want to play a top-five defensive tackle at linebacker. Jay Ajayi single handedly pulls this game higher, as does a suddenly impressive Dolphins line, but that’s not enough to make up for the Jets total unwatchability.
10) SAINTS AND 49ERS- If this was the 49ers of a couple years ago, versus the Saints of Drew Brees prime, this would be a lot better. As it is, Colin Kaepernick doesn’t do what he used to, the 49ers defense is just horrible, and the run game gets no push. The Saints have Drew Brees throwing to about 12 different options, and some of them can be exciting. But the defense doesn’t force any turnovers, and the offense commits too many. A win here pushes the Saints back into the playoff conversation, and that’s the only reason this game ranks higher than some of the games below it.

I wanted to rank this game higher than I did. I really tried and originally I had this game slotted in at number six. The positives? Matthew Stafford is playing extremely well. His receivers are excelling in the possession game. Jim Bob Cooter has a great name. The Vikings defense is scary because of their propensity for turnovers, and because of that it should be able to pin their ears back and get after Stafford in this one too. But something here just feels off. I don’t know whether it’s the stink of the Viking’s offensive line, or the horrible Lions secondary. There’s just an odd feeling that this game is going to fall flat against its high expectations. The playoff seeding race improves the ranking, but not by much.
8) PANTHERS AND RAMS- This game ranks this highly solely because of the star power and positional matchups. Cam Newton. Luke Keuchly. Arron Donald. Todd Gurley. Those names alone will make people tune in. Not to mention those stars play opposite sides of the ball in direct competition with each other. Keuchly will be tasked with slowing up Gurley all afternoon, while Donald is going to be breathing down Newton’s neck from first quarter to fourth. The other intriguing thing is how weaknesses matchup in this game. The Panthers have a poor pass rush, the Rams have a poor line. The Panthers have a bad secondary, the Rams have weak receivers. One team is going to have to make a weakness a strength in this one. If this game had better playoff implications, it would rank above the next game on this list.

Cleveland is a lot more fun to watch than people realize. I joined their bandwagon this year even though they’re still winless. Terrelle Pryor is a monster at wide receiver. Duke Johnson and Isiah Crowell are a fun tandem in the backfield. Oh, and Jamie Collins gives them a legitimate difference maker on defense. And the Browns score highly in the unintentional comedy category because of their quarterback situation. The Cowboys are fun because of Ezekiel Elliot and Dak Prescott’s assault on the league in their rookie seasons. The defense doesn’t do much outside of Sean Lee, but the offense makes up for it. This game is dragged down because the Browns are so far out of playoff race.
6) STEELERS AND RAVENS- A rivalry game can only get you so far in these rankings. If Ben Roethlisberger plays and looks healthy, this ranking is going to be low. Landry Jones just doesn’t bring the same kind of fun to a game. There’s that, and the fact that the Ravens are just boring this year. I bet 95% of people outside of Baltimore could not name more than five players on the Ravens excluding Joe Flacco. Mike Wallace can go deep, and Steve Smith is grumpy and mean, so that’s fun. On the other side, Leveon Bell is amazing. Antonio Brown is electric. And Sammie Coates will either drop three passes right off his hands, or catch two 90 yard touchdown passes. There is no in between with him. The Ravens looking to end a losing streak, and both teams fighting for playoff positioning raises this ranking considerably.

This game ranks this high for one reason, and one reason only. The quarterbacks are studs. I mean, I guess you could say that Green Bay has a decent defense. Or maybe that T.Y. Hilton is a stud at receiver. Or maybe even Frank Gore is fun to watch as the slowest running back in the league. But being completely honest, everyone should be hoping this game scores 80 points combined. And it actually might. Three weeks ago, people were worried about bashing Aaron Rodgers for not putting up his typical passing totals. Where are those people now? Rodgers is Green Bay. There’s no one else. The same thing is happening in Indianapolis. Andrew Luck at least has Hilton, but that’s it. His defense might be objectively the worst defense in football. The star power in this game elevates this one to the top five, as does the fact that Green Bay needs a win badly to stay near Dallas in the standings.

Playoff positioning. Star power. Matchup contrasts. Positional battles. This game has it all. A loss all but assures that the Chargers won’t stay in the playoff picture, while a win keeps them in desperation mode. The Titans are wholly inconsistent, but they are squarely in the race in the AFC South and looking better each week. Star power? Phillip Rivers has to be a dark horse in the MVP conversation. Demarco Murray is front runner for the Comeback Player of the Year. Jatavis Brown and Joey Bosa are near the top of the Defensive Rookie of the Year listings. Plus Melvin Ingram, Marcus Mariots, and Jurrell Casey all bring their massive skillsets to the game. The two teams are extremely different. The Chargers are the high flying offense with the speedy defense. The Titans are ground and pound on offense, and smash-mouth, in-your-face on defense. I wanted to rank this game top three, but the next game on the list edged it because of the potential for rivalry sparks.

I like this game a lot for both teams. They matchup pretty well on both sides of the ball, and they’re both fighting for playoff positioning this week as well. Fletcher Cox is a monster on the Eagles defensive line, and Brandon Graham is always a threat to lay a monster hit on someone. Same with Rodney Mcleod. On the other side, Ryan Matthews is a jitterbug, and Carson Wentz does rookie things that make watching him interesting. The Giants still have Eli Manning throwing crazy amounts of yards. OBJ is always entertaining, and he has the unintentional comedy category on lock. Plus these two teams just flat out don’t like each other, which makes picking the winner a chore. Both teams are 4-3, and they both need a win to stay in their respective division races. The other games just have better matchups or contrasts for the week.

Yes, I may be a tad biased in ranking this game so highly. But I’m a sucker for storylines and for offensive shootouts. The Falcons are trying to rid themselves of their past collapses, and improve on their NFC South leading record. The Buccaneers are the team that is consistently on the short side of the stick, and can’t find a way to win. They could easily be 5-2 with a bit more focus. But the main reason to watch this game is the offense. Oh, the offense. Matt Ryan leads the league in passing, while Julio Jones is second in receiving. Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman are the best running back tandem in the league when healthy. The Falcons can hang 50 on someone any given day. The Buccaneers counter with the biggest loose cannon in the league. Jameis Winston made a throw two weeks ago that went 70 yards through the air. Granted, it went 10 yards too far, but it was still impressive. Jacquizz Rodgers has decided that he doesn’t want to give up his starting spot. And finally, Mike Evans is back to looking like the stud he was two years ago. If the Buccaneers want to stay semi-close in this one, it’ll be because Evans has a monster game. Either way, it should be a shootout.

This game is by far the best game of the week. It has everything you could want in a football game. The winner of this one keeps first place in the AFC West, and will be the two seed in the AFC. The loser falls to 6-3, and will most likely fall behind Kansas City for third place. The good news is that both teams should be able to pull off a playoff spot at the end of the year. You want a contrast in styles? The Raiders might well have the best offense in the league, the Broncos are statistically and objectively the top defense in the league. The Raiders have no defense, the Broncos have no offense. And the specific player matchups? Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree versus Aqib Talib and Chris Harris. Shane Ray and Von Miller against Donald Penn and Vadal Alexander. Khalil Mack versus Ty Sambraillo. David Carr versus… well okay Trevor Semien. But still. The game is played in prime time, and should provide plenty of sparks and bad blood for a rivalry that is destined to take off and restore the division to its glory days.

Jeremy Sneed Week 8 NFL Picks

Thursday Night Football 7:25
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-4) @ Tennessee Titans (3-4)
-This is a matchup that I am actually really excited and I think will be an exciting game. The Jaguars had won back to back games prior to their loss last week to Oakland. The Titans fell victim to the same fate after winning back to back games. I am predicting an upset as I believe the Jaguars offense will come out swinging and knock off the Titans. Final Score: 27-24

Sunday Morning Football Game (In London) 8:30 AM
Washington Redskins (4-3) @ Cincinnati Bengals (3-4)
-Yet another game in London, but at least this one is being broadcasted on Fox. I think this is a good game for London because it involves two really good teams. The Redskins had won four in a row before losing last week and the Bengals have been underperforming all season. In this neutral site game, I think Kirk Cousins and the Redskins will outscore Andy Dalton and the Bengals.
Final Score: 32-17

Sunday Noon Games
Kansas City Chiefs (4-2) @ Indianapolis Colts (3-4)
-Ever since getting demolished by the Steelers, the Chiefs have won two straight and the defense has looked pretty well in doing so. The Colts have too many issues on offense relating to T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle being the only targets. I think the Chiefs defense will be too strong and lead Kansas City to the victory.
Final Score: 24-16

Oakland Raiders (5-2) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3)
-The Buccaneers are 0-2 at home and the Raiders are 4-0 on the road. That is a recipe for disaster for Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers. I am going with the Raiders in a not so close win.
Final Score: 38-27

Seattle Seahawks (4-1-1) @ New Orleans Saints (2-4)
-The Seahawks are coming off of an abysmal game Sunday night in which they tied with the Cardinals at 6-6. However, their defense looked fantastic and I think it will be too much for Drew Brees and the Saints. I am going with the Seahawks in a close victory.
Final Score: 26-23

Detroit Lions (4-3) @ Houston Texans (4-3)
-This could be the second hardest game to predict besides the Cardinals-Panthers game. These teams are very similar in that if their offense isn’t clicking, the game is pretty much over. I do think the Texans defense is much stronger than Detroit’s, and I think that will lead to a Houston win.
Final Score: 34-26

New York Jets (2-5) @ Cleveland Browns (0-7)
-The Browns are a team that shouldn’t be winless. If it wasn’t for Cody Parkey, the Browns would have at least one win. Last week, Ryan Fitzpatrick was benched, but got called into action when Smith tore his ACL leading to a Jets win. I am a believer in the Browns this week and they are my upset pick of the week as they will defeat the Jets. Final Score: 28-21

New England Patriots (6-1) @ Buffalo Bills (4-3)
-In week 3, the Bills defeated the Patriots 16-0. That was with a banged up Jacoby Brissett and barely any production from Gronk. This week will be much different, considering that LeSean McCoy is injured now. I think the Patriots will blow out the Bills to continue their dominance with Brady at the helm.
Final Score: 41-17

Arizona Cardinals (3-3-1) @ Carolina Panthers (1-5)
-Like I mentioned earlier, this is by far the hardest game to predict this week. The Panthers could get going any second and start looking like the Super Bowl contenders they were last year. The Cardinals have had a very up and down season with David Johnson being the lone bright spot on offense. I think the Panthers upset the Cardinals, if we can call it an upset. Coming off of a bye week can be crucial for teams, and I think it will be for Carolina.
Final Score: 24-23

Sunday Afternoon Game 3:05
San Diego Chargers (3-4) @ Denver Broncos (5-2)
-Despite the Chargers defeating the Broncos a few weeks ago, I am picking the Broncos because Trevor Siemian is back for this matchup. I think it will be a close game through three quarters, but Denver will pull away in the 4th.
Final Score: 30-20

Sunday Afternoon Game 3:25
Green Bay Packers (4-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (4-3)
-I am very confident that the Packers will put out a win this week. The offense had been weak leading into their Thursday night victory last week against the Bears. But the offense looked to be in sync in that game. I think the Packers take that confidence and take advantage of a poor Atlanta defense.
Final Score: 34-27

Sunday Night Football 7:30
Philadelphia Eagles (4-2) @ Dallas Cowboys (5-1)
-Some of you might be asking, “Well isn’t this one a tough game to predict?” I really don’t think so. The Cowboys have been looking better and better each week as Prescott and Elliott continue to shine. The Eagles have been looking worse and worse with Carson Wentz struggling prior to their win last week. I think #DakAttack and Ezekiel Elliott will run right through the Eagles defense and dominate this game from beginning to end.
Final Score: 36-26

Monday Night Football 7:30
Minnesota Vikings (5-1) @ Chicago Bears (1-6)
-The Vikings lost a tough one last week to the Eagles in a game where the offense looked awful. Just like how the Packers worked out their flaws against the Bears last week, I think the Vikings will come back to form and beat the Bears. Whether or not Jay Cutler plays, I think it will be a long night for the Bears as the offense will struggle against the strong Minnesota defense.
Final Score: 29-13

Daniel Hartmann NFL Week 8 Picks

The Jaguars have looked better over the last two weeks, but Blake Bortles has not. On the other side, of the football the Titans have looked even better than the Jaguars. Demarco Murray put up another big week, and should find some running room again Thursday Night. Mariota makes enough plays to win this one.
FINAL: Titans 24- Jaguars 17

The Bengals just seem better than a typical 3-4 team. Andy Dalton has played well, he has AJ Green, a solid two in Brandon Lafell, and a good running back duo. But the Redskins just keep finding ways to win. Kirk Cousins is the master of the play-action, and the Bengals linebackers aren’t good enough to slow him down.
FINAL: Redskins 31- Bengals 24

JETS (2-5) VS. BROWNS (0-7)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m on the Browns bandwagon. If they’re going to win a game soon, it needs to be now. Ryan Fitzpatrick throws this one away again for the Jets.
FINAL: Browns 17- Jets 14

SEAHAWKS (4-1-1) AT SAINTS (2-4)
The Seahawks are all D and no O. The Saints are all O and no D. The difference between the two is that the Seahawks offense doesn’t commit turnovers, while the Saints can be fairly careless with the football. My gut? This is your upset of the week. Drew Brees has too many weapons, and Russell Wilson only has Jimmy Graham, and sort of Doug Baldwin.
FINAL: Saints 24- Seahawks 20

If the Panthers are going to make a move back into the playoff conversation, it needs to be this week. They can’t wait anymore. The Cardinals should have won last week and didn’t that cost them playoff positioning as well. Both teams are desperate, but only one is at home.
FINAL: Panthers 34- Cardinals 24

The Bills are good. The Patriots are better. Without Shady at full health, the Bills don’t have enough weapons in this one. Brady can pick apart the Bills however he wants.
FINAL: Patriots 28- Bills 16

LIONS (4-3) AT TEXANS (4-3)
A tale of two quarterbacks in this one. Matthew Stafford is playing the best ball of his career. Even at his worst though, he’d still be better than Brock Osweiler. The Texans D can at least slow Stafford, but that won’t matter when they’re too gassed to move in the second half.
FINAL: Lions 31- Texans 13

This is the offensive match-up of the week. The Raiders are still building up their reputation, but their offense is for real. Shut down one option, and two more take its place. The Buccaneers can’t match up to the Raiders with so many guys hurt, but Jameis Winston and Mike Evans will give it their best shot.
FINAL: Raiders 45- Buccaneers 31

CHIEFS (4-2) AT COLTS (3-4)
The Chiefs are criminally underrated again this year. They started slowly and people forgot about them. But the defense is scary, Alex Smith has weapons everywhere, and the Chiefs are back to destroying people. The Colts are only good on one side of the ball. Andrew Luck can’t do it all himself. Chiefs in a blowout that seems worse than the score.
FINAL: Chiefs 31- Colts 20

The Chargers are the best 3-4 team in football. Since Joey Bosa started playing, the defense can actually play defense! Jatavis Brown and Denzel Perriman look great too. Oh, and Phillip Rivers is throwing it back to his MVP candidate days. The Broncos defense is good, and Devontae Booker is breaking out in a hurry for the offense. But the Chargers are too scary right now.
FINAL: Chargers 21- Broncos 17

The hardest pick of the week for me. Aaron Rodgers showed last week that he’s still Aaron Freaking Rodgers. The Packers stuck a receiver in the backfield and he ran for 60 yards. The defense still looks awesome. But I can’t shake the feeling that this is the week the Falcons turn it back around. They’ve been on and off lately, but this is a momentum changer for them at home.
FINAL: Falcons 27- Packers 24

A good primetime football game? Gasp! Two stellar rookie quarterbacks. Two good defenses. The difference is in the run game. The Dallas offensive line is the best in football bar none. The Eagles ground game is just decent. Carson Wentz just doesn’t get the help he needs in this one. Dak keeps the pressure on Jerry Jones.
FINAL: Cowboys 23- Eagles 18

VIKINGS (5-1) AT BEARS (1-6)
For such a terrible team, the Bears have an inordinate amount of nationally televised prime time games. Even with Jay Cutler back, the team is just bad. The Vikings got out Vikinged last week, but they’re still the best defense in football. Bad news for the Bears offense.
FINAL: Vikings 21- Bears 6

10/28/16 SIU Women’s Volleyball vs Bradley University

by Claire Patri

The Salukis women’s volleyball team challenged the Bradley Braves from Peoria, Ill Oct. 29 at
7p.m. Head Coach Carol Price-Torok geared her team toward better defense against star Salukis
player Alex Rosignol. Middle hitter Rosignol from Mount Carmel, Ill., come out strong for the
kill. Setter Hannah Kaminsky from Woodridge, Ill., with the kill following in the next set play.
Rossignol again with another kill with great fierceness on the court in their formation to stay
organized and structured to produce a score. Outside hitter Abby Barrow out of Metamora, Ill.,
opens with a kill. Brave Erin Olson had her first serve, SIU returned it over the net with a out of
bounds kill that gained Bradley a point. Olson serves making SIU struggling to keep ball in the
air with a eventual tip over the net for a point. The middle of court proved to be a weak spot for
the Salukis because it was wide open for the ball to land for a opponent point. The Braves took
advantage of this weakness, but the Salukis seemed to quickly close this team formation gap to
protect their score momentum. Rosignol with the serve, 3-4, then tied 4-4 with a out of bounds
by Bradley. Middle hitter Kolby Meeks showed she is definitely a vital part of the Salukis team
as she kills many shots of the night. SIU setter Alayna Martin with the serve, ending in a Brave
kill. A Lot of Brave determination and heart demonstrated, striving to regain the ball in the air.
SIU outside hitter Andrea Estrada with the kill while the score is 8-7. Outside hitter Mariana
Pilon showed heart, upon a serve from Brave Kelsey Cave ending in a point for SIU. Pilon with
the serve, Braves return a out of bounds which gave SIU a point.

There was nice back and forth returns continuously throughout the match, full of passion for the
points accumulated on the scoreboard. Kaminsky and Estrada definitely showed teamwork that
night as they just wanted to play the game for the game. Braves are tough battle because they
have heart to produce a point. The Braves call there first time out at 19-14 in the first set. SIU
win first set.

Kaminsky opened second set with a serve, SIU and Braves fight for a score and Braves end up
getting first point of this set. Brave Erica Haslag who had the most kills for the Braves at 9. She
served, ending in a point for SIU. Barrow with serve and a point gain for the Braves. Estrada and
Meeks kill consistently throughout this match showing their determination and love for the
volleyball sport on their home court. Outside hitter Shannon Hagen and Nellie Fredriksson who
had the second most kills with 11, both also showed heart to produce a second set win 25-12.
Barrow had the most kills at 14 on the attack. She opened the third set with a easy dominated
kill. Fredriksson and Rosignol both produce kills consistently against Brave defense. Brave
Hanna Alexander with the serve, ending in a SIU return, Brave return, SIU return and Braves
return with a out of bounds kill ending in point for SIU. This was a recurring situation of both
teams going back and forth across the net and neither team gaining a point because of the others
out of bound kill. Meeks was on the net with a couple tip overs to get sneaky points on the
scoreboard as Barrow gave powerful kills from the side of the court. The Salukis ended this set
with a win 17-25.

The first set had 17, second set had 18 and the third set had 16 kills for the Salukis. The set
scores were with SIU at 3 and Bradley with 0.