Category: Sports Blog

Matt’s NFL prospect preview


 

By Matt Schneider

This is my first edition of the preview. This is to get you ready for the draft in April. Whether your favorite college team is losing a star or your favorite NFL team is looking bad and you are already looking forward to the draft. This is meant to preview the draft happening in April. I will preview a mock draft of the top ten based on records and will highlight one player each week and talk about their strengths and weaknesses. We will look at the different positions as well. Since we are in Southern Illinois, we will preview what the St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears should do in the draft. The NFL draft is the time for teams to grab franchise players and to find those diamonds in the rough. This is what we will dissect throughout the NFL season.

 

If the NFL season ended today this is what the first ten picks in the draft would look like:

  1. Detroit Lions – Robert Nkemdiche DL Ole Miss. Detroit needs a replacement for Suh and this is it.
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars- Joey Bosa DL Ohio State. There offense is progressing but that defense is a work in progress. Bosa brings this defense a threat on the edge.
  3. Baltimore Ravens – Ronnie Stanley T Notre Dame. They need help on that line and this pick provides instant support.
  4. New Orleans Saints- Jaylon Smith LB Notre Dame. Any pick here for defense would make sense but Smith is a playmaker and my top linebacker.
  5. Houston Texans- Laremy Tunsil T Ole Miss. Houston needs help all over. This pick helps there running game and there passing game also.
  6. Kansas City Chiefs- Vernon Hargreaves CB Florida. The Chiefs need help on both sides of the ball. This pick helps the secondary a lot.
  7. San Francisco 49ers- Jalen Ramsey CB Florida State. The secondary got torched by Eli this week and is a need of an upgrade.
  8. Tennessee Titans- Ezekiel Elliot RB Ohio State. The way to make Mariota better is to add a playmaking running back.
  9. Miami Dolphins- Jack Conklin T Michigan State. This helps Tannehill and hopefully stops his complaining.
  10. Chicago Bears- Jared Goff QB California. This pick changes the scheme in Chicago. The best quarterback in the draft falls to Chicago.

 

Chicago gets a steal with Goff. Houston needs a quarterback but there are much more needs to address before that. There are not that many sexy picks but it is because of the teams in this position. Goff is the top player in this draft but many teams in this draft don’t have a need for him.

 

Jared Goff, Quarterback, California 

In my opinion Jared is the best prospect in this class. Many people have said he is the best quarterback in the draft since Andrew Luck. He has been compared to people like Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, and Matt Ryan. He is everything you want in a rookie passer. Goff makes good decisions and has the ability to make changes and read the defense. He is small and isn’t an elusive runner. He has good arm strength but not the best. He also doesn’t step into throws and fades when he throws the ball. He reminds me of Eli except he doesn’t turn the ball over as much. They both are similar in their skills and have great footwork.

 

Chicago Bears Scouting Notebook: Team needs: QB, LB, CB, S

Chicago has many team needs but these are immediate. The Bears should be able to fill one of these right away. I have Goff going to Chicago but that is if teams pass on him. If they don’t get Goff they could go for Christian Hackenberg the number 2 rated QB from Penn State or could fill any of there defensive problems.

 

St. Louis Rams Scouting Notebook: Team needs: WR, CB, T

The Rams have a great defense but if there is a weak part it is the secondary. Nick Foles needs someone to throw the ball down the field to. The Rams can become legitimate contenders if this offense can be a consistent threat. I see them going after a wide out in the first round. They will have their choice of recievers to choose from. Josh Doctson, Mike Williams, and Laquon Treadwell are going to be a few of their options.

Salukis stomp Bears in MVFC battle


 

By: Steve Maves

The Southern Illinois University Salukis (2-3, 1-1 MVFC) hosted the Missouri State Bears (1-4, 0-2 MVFC) on Saturday night at Saluki Stadium winning 73-26. While most of the SIU students started fall break on Friday it was the Bears who seemed like they were taking a break on the football field.

SIU dominated on both sides of the ball en route to the most points score by a Saluki team in forty-two years.

The Salukis were off and running early in the game as they received the ball first and in just two plays senior quarterback Mark Iannotti passed for a 24 yard completion to Billy Reed. After that Iannotti called his own number and ran 61 yards untouched for the SIU touchdown.

After the touchdown it was the defenses turn to do something and defensive back and leading tackler Kenny James came up big for the Salukis forcing a fumble, even though it was recovered by the Bears they had to punt on the next play.

After a Bears field goal to make the game 7-3 it never got any closer for Missouri State because in the next drive Iannotti again put together a great drive 11 plays 75 yards resulting in a 17 yard touchdown pass to Isra Lamprakes. SIU’s dominance continued on their next drive again put together by the aerial assault of Iannotti and Lamprakes who connected on a 54 yard completion and on the next play Iannotti found Reed for a 3 yard touchdown and it was 21-3 after the first quarter.

By what you can tell the end score was much more than just the first quarter and the pounding SIU put on Missouri State cannot be justified in words, but the dominance that was shown by the Salukis tonight NEEDS to continue every week if they want to get back into contention in the conference.

By halftime SIU was leading 38-16, end of the third 59-23 and then the final of course 73-26. The last time SIU scored this many points in a game was back on October 13th, 1973 in a game against Xavier (Ohio).

If SIU wants to compete with the teams like North Dakota State, Illinois State, Youngstown State or any team in the Valley Conference they will need to continue winning at home, but also figure out a way to win games on the road.

SIU’s next game will be next week as they travel to Terra Haute, Indiana to face off with the #19 Indiana State Sycamores. After that they will be home for two straight weeks including homecoming on October 24th against Youngstown St. and will host the North Dakota State Bison on Halloween.

The Missouri State Bears next game will be at home for their homecoming against the #4 Illinois State Redbirds. After that they will head to Vermillion, South Dakota to take on the South Dakota Coyotes.

Because of all the players that played in the game I will provide a link for you at the end of this so you can go check out the dominating numbers put up by the Salukis in their win over the Bears.

Zach T’s Fantasy Football


By Zach Thomas

Welcome one, welcome all to the first installment of my weekly fantasy football picks! I’m going to provide you with locks, sleepers, and guys to stay away from at each position each week for fantasy football! If you do play fantasy, this will be the article to read! If you don’t play, why are you still reading this when you should be signing up for a league already?! As a side note, the Thursday Night Football game will not be covered in this week’s article (but for you Andrew Luck owners out there, I’m sure you knew already not to play him as he is sitting against Houston). Without further ado, let’s get this show on the road! Fantasy studs like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson, and Rob Gronkowski will not be featured as they are viewed as every-week starters.

 

P.S. How about those Cubbies?!?!?!

 

NO DOUBT STARTS

QUARTERBACKS

Eli Manning: This may come as a surprise to some. However, for those of you that have watched the 49ers this year, you know that they are TERRIBLE so far on both sides of the ball. They lost a slew of starters this past offseason and have had a dismal start to the season, winning only by the effort of Carlos Hyde in Week 1. The G-men are coming off an upset victory of the formerly undefeated Buffalo Bills where Eli Manning threw three touchdowns. Despite allowing only one passing touchdown from Aaron Rodgers a week ago, I expect the 49ers to struggle containing Eli and his big-play receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

                        Prediction: 316 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception

 

Carson Palmer: If you took Carson Palmer as a backup quarterback in at least one of your leagues (like I did), then you got the steal of your draft at quarterback. Palmer has one game this season where he threw less than 3 touchdowns and that was last week against the Rams…where he still threw for 352 yards! This week, I see Detroit’s secondary struggling to keep up with Arizona’s high-powered passing attack. Palmer is a no-brainer play this week.

                        Prediction: 287 yards, 2 touchdowns

 

RUNNING BACKS

Justin Forsett: Forsett had his fair share of season struggles before last week’s game against Pittsburgh, where he ran for 150 yards, more than doubling his season. This week, he plays a Cleveland Browns’ defense that has allowed two 150-yard rushers up to this point, each of whom scored at least one touchdown. Forsett is a good bet to rack up more yardage this week against another division rival.              Prediction: 120 yards rushing, 25 yards receiving, 1 touchdown

Eddie Lacy: While it may be strange to see a running back of Lacy’s caliber on this list, he hasn’t started the season as many owners would have hoped. After suffering an ankle injury in week two, Lacy has yet to score a touchdown. However, after 19 touches in last week’s game, reports say Lacy appears to be fully over his injury. Just in time too, as he faces a Rams defense that has allowed two hundred-yard rushing games through four this year. Keep Lacy in your lineups.

                        Prediction: 89 rushing yards, 32 yards receiving, 2 touchdowns

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Mike Evans: After missing the first two games of the season due to injury Evans hasn’t kept the hype going from his spectacular rookie season. In his season debut, Evans had over 100 yards receiving while last week, he caught a meager three passes for 32 yards. Granted, a matchup against up-and-coming shutdown corner Josh Norman will do that to a receiver. Don’t give up on Mike Evans yet as he matches up this week against a very beatable Jacksonville secondary.

                        Prediction: 6 catches, 95 yards receiving, 1 touchdown

 

Jeremy Maclin: Over the last two weeks, Maclin has absolutely lit it up for fantasy owners, putting up a 19-249-1 stat line since week two. If that isn’t convincing enough for you to start him, the Bears have surrendered seven touchdowns to wide receivers this year through only four games. Maclin’s mouth-watering matchup makes him a WR2 play with immense WR1 upside for this week.

                        Prediction: 8 catches, 110 yards receiving, 1 touchdown

 

TIGHT ENDS 

Antonio Gates: One of Phillip Rivers’ favorite targets, Gates is ready to return after violating the league’s performance enhancing substance policy. Coming back from the 4-game suspension, Gates gets an interesting matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers allowed four touchdowns to tight ends in week 1 against New England, but have yet to allow one to the position since. However, Gates has immense touchdown potential after catching 12 passes for pay dirt a year ago. It will be interesting to see how much rust, if any, Gates will have to shake off in week five.

                        Prediction: 5 catches, 61 yards receiving, 1 touchdown

 

Charles Clay: Clay has begun to create some very nice chemistry with quarterback Tyrod Taylor, posting a 17-212-2 line after a pedestrian week one. Clay’s week five matchup takes him to Tennessee, where the Titans surrendered 110 yards and two touchdowns to Austin Seferian-Jenkins in week one. Since then, they have been able to keep tight ends in check. However, Clay’s momentum has risen too high to consider benching him for this week. Play him with confidence.

                        Prediction: 6 catches, 82 yards receiving, 1 touchdown.

 

KICKERS

Matt Bryant: With a home matchup against the Redskins, Matt Bryant and the Falcons should have plenty of chances to put up points.

                        Prediction: 2/2 FGs, 4/4 XPs

 

Brandon McManus: The Broncos head to Oakland for a division matchup with the Raiders, with nine field goals in the first four games, McManus should have opportunities to kick with the Broncos scoring a combined 88 points in the last two outings against Oakland.

                        Prediction: 3/3 FGs, 4/5 XPs

 

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Buffalo Bills: The Bills were a big fantasy disappointment last week against the Giants, recording only one interception with no sacks and allowing 24 points. Rex Ryan’s defenses are much better than that. This week, Mariota and the Titans are on tap and while Mariota shows glimpses of excellence, he still makes rookie mistakes, giving up two defensive touchdowns in three games. Start the Bills with confidence as they try to pressure the former Heisman trophy winner.

                        Prediction: 14 points allowed, 2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery, 4 sacks

New England Patriots: While the Patriots defense may not have the stats to warrant them as must-start status, their matchup does. If the Patriots are able to eliminate Dallas’ rushing attack, they can make the Cowboys one dimensional, forcing Brandon Weeden to throw. The Patriots’ secondary may not be what it was last year with Browner and Revis, but this defense has 5 INTs this season so far and is more than capable of making big plays. Roll out New England if you got ‘em.

                        Prediction: 20 points allowed, 2 interceptions, 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 TD

 

NFL Week 5 Predictions


By Jeremy Sneed

12:00 Bills (2-2) @ Titans (1-1)

The Titans are coming off of a week 4 bye and I think they will look like a new and improved team. I think the slumping Bills will lose their second straight game. I also think that Mariota will have a huge game similar to week 1 and lead his team to a 24-14 victory.

12:00 Browns (1-3) @ Ravens (1-3)

Even though the Ravens had help last week from now former Steeler kicker Josh Scobee, a win is a win. With the Browns defense struggling to hold leads, I think Flacco leads his team to their second straight win. Finals score: 20-17

12:00 Bears (1-3) @ Chiefs (1-3)

The Chiefs, much like the Bears, have not had the easiest schedule to work with. Since winning week 1, the Chiefs have lost three in a row to the Broncos, Packers and Bengals. Going against the Bears should be an easier task for the Chiefs. With that being said, the Bears looked a lot better with the return of Jay Cutler in week 4. I think the Bears carry their momentum from that week 4 victory and beat the Chiefs 23-14.

12:00 Seahawks (2-2) @ Bengals (4-0)

The Seahawks offense was supposed to be an improvement after signing Fred Jackson and trading for Jimmy Graham. But, their offense has been their biggest downfall. I think Dalton and the Bengals continue their red-hot start to this season and defeat the Seahawks 31-10.

12:00 Rams (2-2) @ Packers (4-0)

I think the Rams are just too inconsistent on both sides of the football. On the opposite side, the Packers have been consistently good on both sides of the ball. Like the Bengals, I think the Packers improve to 5-0 with a 42-21 victory.

12:00 Jaguars (1-3) @ Buccaneers (1-3)

Blake Bortles looked great despite a week 4 loss to the Colts. The Jaguars, like the Steelers, suffered from having a kicker who couldn’t handle the pressure. The Bucs offense just hasn’t been strong enough this season to compete against even average teams. I think Bortles leads the Jaguars to their second win of the season with a 28-17 victory.

12:00 Saints (1-3) @ Eagles (1-3)

DeMarco Murray is upset with Eagles not giving him the ball enough. I think the Eagles give Murray what he wished for and I think he finally breaks through this week with a huge game against the Saints. I think Murray leads the way for the Eagles offense and they win their second game of the season 23-19.

12:00 Redskins (2-2) @ Falcons (4-0)

My themes this week have been the undefeated teams continuing their winning ways (Bengals & Packers). This matchup is no different. Even though Kirk Cousins lead the Redskins to a huge divisional win last week, I think Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense will be too much for the Redskins. Final score: 35-17

3:05 Cardinals (3-1) @ Lions (0-4)

Sadly, I am going to pick the Cardinals in this one. The Lions offense has been too inconsistent and the Cardinals defense seems almost impenetrable this season. The Lions fall to 0-5 with a 23-13 loss this week.

3:05 Patriots (3-0) @ Cowboys (2-2)

The Pats are heading into hostile territory after Greg Hardy’s harsh comments about Tom Brady. During this heated matchup, I think the Pats offense will be just too strong for the Cowboys defense. I think the Patriots blow out the Cowboys winning this one 48-10.

3:25 Broncos (4-0) @ Raiders (2-2)

The Raiders lost a tough one on the road to the Bears last week. But, I think they get one back this week and defeat the 4-0 Broncos at home. Manning hasn’t looked like same Peyton Manning that we are used too and the running game has not been there for the Broncos. I think Derek Carr leads his team to a 23-17 victory.

7:30 49ers (1-3) @ Giants (2-2)

The Giants have won two games in a row and I think they will extend that win streak this week. The 49ers offense has been too inconsistent and I think OBJ will have a huge bounce back game this week and help lead the Giants to a victory. Final score: 26-21

Monday Night Football

7:30 Steelers (2-2) @ Chargers (2-2)

The Chargers are coming off of a close week 4 victory over the Browns. I think the Steelers will lose their second straight game on the road this week against the Chargers. I think Keenan Allen will have another huge game for the Chargers and they win this game easily 21-7.