Top Predictions For Second Half Of The 2016 NFL Season
From Carolina’s pathetic early-season collapse after making the Super Bowl last season, to the emergence of Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot as standout rookies, to New England’s not-so-surprising stellar start to the season despite Tom Brady’s suspension through the first four games of the season, to Mathew Stafford doing it all for the Detroit Lions even without Megatron; the first half of the 2016 season has been nothing short of spectacularly eventful. And by Monday Night next week, most teams will have played at least half of their games this year, marking the start of a furious eight-week marathon in the second half of the season. Here a few NFL betting picks and predictions you may want to consider for the second half the 2016 NFL season.
In Depth Analysis On The Top Predictions For Second Half Of The 2016 NFL Season
Buffalo Bills Finish Above .500, Make the Playoffs
The Bills have not appeared in the playoffs since 1999, but from the early look of things, that drought may be coming to an end this year. For starters, the Bills have been playing admirably well this season, with marquee wins over top teams like New England and Arizona, showing that they’d be able to handle whoever they face in the second half of the season. In addition, the Buffalo Bills—who are 4-3 entering Week 8—have a balanced unit, ranking #2 in rushing yards per game, #6 in points scored per game and #8 in points allowed per game. Add that to the flux state of top AFC playoff contenders like Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Denver and Oakland; the Bills—who have a fairly easy schedule in the second half of the season—should be able to tally around 9-or-more wins and earn themselves an AFC wild card spot, as New England obviously hoists the AFC East title.
Atlanta Reaches 10-win Mark, Wins NFC South
Defending NFC South champs, the Carolina Panthers (1-5), are pretty much out for the divisional race. New Orleans (2-4) will continue making noise because of its offense, but the Saints don’t have anything to call a defense so this team won’t be going anywhere. For Tampa Bay, Jameis Winston continues to improve and the sustained support from his runners will allow the Bucs to win around 7—maybe even 8 games if they punch above their weight. But if you are looking for the next NFC South winner, look no further than Atlanta. Not only do the Falcons have the best offense in the nation—averaging 446 total per game and nearly 33 points per game—but Matt Ryan and his teammates are showing real hunger for greatness. Of course, Atlanta’s defense has had its struggles—a big reason the Falcons have had two heartbreaking losses to the Seahawks and Chargers in their last two games—but Coach Dan Quinn is well-capable of using the few good D pieces he has at his disposal to make the most with the team, as long as Ryan, Julio Jones and the versatile duo of Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman continue to put up big numbers in the offense. Plus, outside Kansas City and Arizona, the rest of the schedule looks damn easy for the Falcons, who should be able to get back to winning ways sooner rather than later and run their way to the top of the NFC South and a double-digit finish at the end of the regular season.
Drew Brees Will Have the Most Passing Yards in the Nation
Atlanta’s QB, Ryan, has been super-hot this season and he currently leads the nation with 2,348 passing yards through seven weeks. Brees is trailing him at No. 2 with 2,101 passing yards. And going by how Atlanta has been playing, it looks like the title for the most passing yards in the nation will be Ryan’s to lose. But here’s the thing, New Orleans’ defense is ranked worst in the NFL in scoring (32.5 PPG allowed) and that means Brees will have to continue making plays with his arms in order to try and bail out his team. Also, New Orleans’ running game is far from consistent. On the flipside, Ryan can decide to run the ball via his very solid tailbacks, as he often does, leading to some drop in his passing numbers down the stretch of the season. Coleman, who doubled as running back and potent receiver in Atlanta’s offense, is also injured; something that is bound to have an effect on Ryan’s numbers. So, even with Jones (Julio) continuing to do his thing dangerously and Atlanta also looking to put up big numbers to offset the fact that their defense is allowing 28.4 PPG, we feel that Brees should be in a better position to overtake Ryan and finish the season as the league’s top passer, beating the likes of Andrew Luck (and his limited weapons) and Andy Dalton (who’s been up-and-down with his numbers recently).
New England Finishes with the Best Overall Mark in the Regular Season
Yes, I know the Vikings have been playing really well and the fact that Sam Bradford suffered jitters in his return to Philadelphia shouldn’t make Minnesota be viewed as a pretender. In fact, barring any major injuries, the Vikes should be your preferred pick for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. I also know that Prescott, Zeke and the returning Tony Romo plus Dallas’ solid defense will keep the Cowboys dangerous all season and keep them in the conversation for the best overall mark in the nation. But, really, it’s hard to pick anyone else besides New England for this spot. Not only are the Pats 6-1 on the season—despite missing Brady for the first four games—but New England is looking hellishly solid on both sides of the ball. Last week, for example, Brady finished the day with just 222 yards through the air and two touchdowns, but the Patriots still beat the Steelers comfortably, albeit without Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh’s line up. And that was, mind you, after he averaged 391 yards passing average in his first two games since his suspension ended, including a monster game against Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Cleveland Finishes UNDER 2.5 Wins this Season
The Cleveland Browns have nine games to disapprove this pick, but after seeing what they’ve done through the first seven weeks en route to their 0-7 mark, I am as confident as the surest crystal ball that Cleveland won’t be hitting the three-win mark. As you all know, the Browns finished with three win last season, and that was when their quarterback situation was slightly better than it is now and the injuries weren’t that bad. Fast forward to this season, the Browns are mired in a never-ending unfortunate luck of injuries at QB, the latest of the casualties being rookie Cody Kessler, who got injured in the Week 7 loss to Cincinnati. Veteran QB Josh McCown is expected to be back under the center this Sunday, but after breaking his collarbone in September, I don’t see him playing efficiently, leave alone lasting long as starter without getting injured again. Then there is Cleveland’s monster second-half schedule–@Ravens, vs. Steelers, vs. Giants, vs. Bengals, @Bills, vs. Chargers, @Steeler. You still fancy the god-awful Cleveland going above two wins? Good luck wasting your money on that.
Zeke Wins Offensive ROY
It’s no secret that Prescott has been a better quarterback than Wentz as far as rookie quarterbacks are concerned. In fact, if I was to pick the best offensive Rookie of the Year candidate right now, I’d go with Prescott. The problem, however, is that Prescott—who’s been the main architect of Dallas’ 5-1 start to the season—could soon be giving way to Tony Romo, hence bringing an end to his time on the field. And resultantly, that may take away some his votes for offensive ROY. Wentz, in his own respect, has been solid, outplaying a good number of veterans (including Ben Roethlisberger and Sam Bradford) to help the Eagles to their commendable 4-2 start to the season. Philadelphia, unfortunately, still has a really tough slate of games, and I highly doubt if Wentz will have a second half that is as good as his first, even if Philly’s third-scoring defense continues to wreak havoc on opponents. That leaves me with Elliot as the best offensive ROY pick. Not only has the first-round RB put up dazzling numbers so far and broken several records in the process, but he is guaranteed to get more touches whether it is Prescott or Romo handing the ball to him for the second-half of the season. In addition, Zeke, the current leading rusher in the NFL, proved durable in his three-year stint at Ohio State, so there shouldn’t be many concerns about him staying healthy. And did we say that the offensive ROY has been dominated by running backs? Well, there’s that too; of the 49 players to win Offensive ROY since it was incepted, 33 of them have been running backs, with the rest being won by wide receivers (9) and quarterbacks (7). That number, of course, includes last year’s winner, Rams RB Todd Gurley. So, simply put, Elliot should be your favored pick here even at his currently high betting price.