Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts preview

Steve Ovenden (@happyhappysteve) believes the winner of this AFC South match-up will cement themselves as a contender in the AFC

The Colts play host this Sunday and welcome the Houston Texans to Lucas Oil stadium.  This AFC South divisional match is shaping up to be the biggest game of the season so far.  Winner takes the lead in the division and whoever wins will show they potentially have what it takes to be playoff contenders. read more

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New England Patriots @ New York Jets preview

Josh Capps (@JCapps_)  believes the Jets can keep things close against the Patriots

Jets hopes will be sky high after their first victory of the season but the Patriots will want to ensure that the runway is blocked before they can take off on Monday evening.

Brady and the Patriots come off the back of a superior second half against the Giants, in a game which they started slowly and finished strong; a trend of New England this season.

The Jets secured their first win of the season in a surprising win against Dallas. Sam Darnold posting two touchdowns and 338 yards which saw him finish with a 113.8 rating. All be it a fantastic victory, the worst offence in YPG and 31st worst in PPG (12.6) will be coming up against the current best defence in football who tops the league in takeaways and interceptions.

The Jets do boast a pretty sound defence of their own, proving this last week against Prescott & Co. Some strong holds when it mattered and also standing tall against two-point conversions and also very strong against the running game. The men in green will certainly need to stand strong against the Patriots O-line who will be looking to go 7-0 and look ever more confident in making another Super Bowl.

The New England Patriots will want to show a stronger start than they have shown in some of their games so far this season. Two quick touchdowns against them in the first half last Thursday; one from a Brady fumble, gave the Patriots a slight scare before half time. The Pats have proven they can go on to win games but they will not want to continue to start slowly, especially away in New Jersey.

Looking to stay unbeaten, the Patriots should stay sound against the Jets but Sam Darnold will give this a good go and keep this tighter than it maybe should be.

Ones to Watch

Patriots: Julian Edelman – Over 110 yards against the Giants last week, Edelman is beginning to find space and with N’Keal Harry

Jets: Le’Veon Bell – The return of Bell this season is still yet to get started, but be fearful if Bell gets space and unleashes his true pace.

Score Prediction

New York Jets 17  New England Patriots 27

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The return of the First and Ten power rankings

We are back!

Some of you may remember that when I first started First and Ten I ran these along with four other people. We combined our rankings to get an overall power ranking. I hope this gives a more balanced and hopefully correct view.

We are bringing them back, only bigger and better than ever. This week we have 16 different people ranking (I will list them at the end) but before this all kicks off I want to thank all of them for taking part.

I won’t waste any more time, why not start with a predictable number 32…

Image result for josh rosen

32 – Miami Dolphins

High 31 Low 32

So close to being unanimous. Somebody obviously sees something in these Dolphins.

31 – Cincinnati Bengals

High 30 Low 32

This team probably should have beaten the Seahawks in week one. That feels like a lifetime ago now.

30 – Washington Redskins

High 29 Low 31

A very predictable coaching change and got the win against Miami. There isn’t much else to say about them right now. 2020 it is.

29 – Atlanta Falcons

High 26 Low 30

Tipped by so many to be a contender for the Super Bowl. Maybe the biggest disappointment for a second season running. Dan Quinn’s time in Atlanta is surely running out.

28 – New York Jets

High 24 Low 30

Feel like they are a contender to rise up these rankings now Sam Darnold is back.

27 – Tennessee Titans

High 21 Low 30

I almost forgot to rank them. Until they get their now quarterback in the offseason they are the most forgettable franchise in the league. The good news for Titans fans is with a real quarterback they could well be a contender next season.

26 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

High 21 Low 27

It looked like things were turning for Jameis Winston. He then went to London and threw 700 interceptions.

25 – New York Giants read more

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Three stars that could on the move before the NFL trade deadline

 has looked at three players that could be traded before the deadline in two weeks

The NFL trade deadline is fast approaching and with the contenders starting to separate themselves, there could be some talented players finding themselves lining up for a new team before the October 29 deadline passes.

Von Miller

Strong rumours coming from Philadelphia suggest this could be a goer. The price will be pretty big for one of the best pass rushers in the game and he is due big money through 2021, but I feel the Broncos would like extra picks in this years draft to perhaps package with their own picks to finally secure the quarterback they so desperately need. Drew Lock was taken in the second round of the 2019 draft but the team are far from tied to him if there is an opportunity in what is seen as a more talented quarterback group in 2020.

Patrick Peterson

The former All-Pro cornerback is currently serving a six game suspension for violating the leagues PED policy. On what is a team lacking in talent he is one of the few valuable trade pieces the Cardinals could use to start rebuilding their offence. They have the QB in place and now they need to start filling out some more skill positions. Look for the Eagles, Seahawks & Chiefs to be interested here.

Leonard Williams

The 2015 sixth overall pick has never quite lived up to the expectations the Jets had when they drafted him. Sure he’s been good but he hasn’t been the game wrecking sack machine you’re after from a sixth overall pick. He’s set to make $14.2m this season which could put off a few teams but interest is believed to be high. I’d be looking at the Jets getting back at best a first round pick but more realistically it could look very similar to the deal the Rams made to get Dante Fowler last year which ended up being a 3rd and a 5th round pick

Will not be moving

Someone who won’t be getting traded however is AJ Green. Despite the Bengals being god awful this season and Green being injured, the team have never traded away star players and that’s mainly because when Green does return he will ensure bums on seats. Something that’s seemingly more valuable to the ownership than a winning team.

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Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers preview

Steve Ovenden (@happyhappysteve) believes the crowd in London will get a good game in this tight clash between the Buccaneers and Panthers

Week s brings us to London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for our second International Series game as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) host their NFC South Divisional rivals the Carolina Panthers (3-2).  The first game in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last week saw the Oakland Raiders overcome the Chicago Bears 24-21 in a thrilling match-up.

Last week we saw the Carolina Panthers complete the turn around of their season with a 34-27 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. This win took the Panthers onto a three game winning streak which means they are now sitting at 3-2  after starting the season 0-2 with one of those losses coming at home to the Bucs. Tampa however, went in the opposite direction last week after a road loss of 31-24 to another divisional rival the New Orlean Saints and they now see themselves with a 2-3 record.  The Bucs will want to take advantage of the enthusiastic London crowd to give themselves a boost to try and complete a season double over Carolina.

Both sides this week are finding preparation for Sundays game a little difficult as training is seeing numerous players limited or not participating because of injury.  It has already been reported that Panthers quarterback Cam Newton did not travel because of his foot injury but perhaps more worryingly, Christian McCaffrey missed mid week practice due to a back injury.  McCaffrey was highly influential in Carolina’s victory over the Jags by recording 176 yards and two touchdowns on the ground and six receptions for 61 yards and a third touchdown on the day. His absence would be a big miss for the Panthers and the British audience should he not play.  Stand-in quarterback Kyle Allen would also be missing out. The improving Allen has started the last three games for the Panthers and they have won all three. The QB really has changed the Carolina offence and he himself has 60/90 for 674 yards over the three games.  He will be hoping to top up these stats if all his weapons are available on Sunday.

Tampa have also had their fair share of players not practising so far this week.  One notable absentee would be defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. He has been missing practice due to a knee problem but doesn’t mean he will miss the game on Sunday.  He will be key if the Panthers have all their offence available. Bruce Arians has said this week that all injuries are minor apart from Guard Alex Coppa who is out with a broken arm.  Jaimis Winston has been making steady progress over the course of the season so far and could provide some inspiration for the Bucs. His 102 completions from 160 attempts for 1371 yards puts him in good stead to put on a show with some big plays. 

This game could be a tight affair.  A divisional game which is essentially being played on a neutral field in a different country with both teams needing a win to stay in touch with the Saints who are sitting atop the division with a 4-1 season so far.  Both teams have improving QB’s and talent on the offensive side of the ball. It could actually be the defences that have a big say on the fate of this game. Carolina boast the NFL’s third ranked pass defence and the Bucs have allowed  the second fewest rushing yards per game. The London crowd shouldn’t be disappointed with this one.

Last Time They Met

12/9/2019 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20 @ 14 Carolina Panthers

Ones to Watch read more

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San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams Preview

Josh Capps (@JCapps_) believes the running backs will decide this big battle in the NFC West

When people saw this week 6 schedule meeting in Los Angeles, not many would have expected the visitors to be the ones coming in unbeaten for the NFC West clash.

After two very strong and positive years under Sean McVay, the LA Rams have some-what found it difficult to get going in 2019. Winning their first three games this season, it almost looked like we were in for a carbon copy of what we have seen before, but a narrow defeat last Thursday due to a missed field goal late on, and a surprising heavy defeat at home to the Bucs back to back have dented that positive record.

The 49ers and Garoppolo maintained a perfect record with a convincing win on Monday Night Football, meaning only two quarterbacks went unbeaten into Week six, Brady and Garoppolo. Coincidence, I think not! The strong performances of tight end George Kittle and running back Matt Breida are helping drive this 49ers down the field each week, scoring plenty of points in the meantime.

The feeling is San Francisco will rely more on their number 1 ranked rushing offence with Breida showing his pace on Monday night, and averaging over 100 yards more per game on the ground than the Rams, it may seem too obvious. The Rams are leaking too many points this season, allowing 26.8 per game, and the task won’t get any easier coming up against a strong 49ers offence.

Everything suggests a high scoring tie in Los Angeles with the running backs being key on who takes home the W.

Ones to Watch

San Francisco: Matt Breida – Cheetah like pace tore the Browns apart on Monday, expect more of the same when Kittle isn’t catching the ball.

Los Angeles: Malcolm Brown – With Todd Gurley looking set to miss the game, the pressure will be on Brown to get it done on the ground for the Rams

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Pittsburgh Steelers @ Los Angeles Chargers preview

Markr1991 believes that Devlin Hodges will shock the NFL community and get the Steelers their second win of the season.

In what should have been a battle of two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks drafted in the same year, instead this game will be played out between one shot caller nearing retirement and another getting his first career start. Not the quarterback battle we wanted but one I can get behind. read more

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Arizona Cardinals @ Cincinnati Bengals preview

Dave Gray (@djg23) believes this will be the week that we see Kyler Murray show why he was the first overall pick

One of these teams is likely to walk away from this one with a first win of the season. The Bengals had a good week one against the Seahawks but have been dismal since and the Cardinals haven’t been a great deal better.

While both offences have struggled a little, this could be the week that we see both break out. The Bengals are the 30th ranked defence and the Cardinals are 25th according to Football Outsiders.

Kyler Murray has show flashes of what made him the first overall pick earlier this year, but the main issue has been keeping him on his feet. He has already been sacked 20 times this season. Some of that is on his playing style but he is getting little help from the offensive line. There is only one team with fewer sacks this season than Cincinnati so it could be a week that we really see Murray take off.

In week one Andy Dalton and the Bengals offence put up a really impressive showing as they almost pulled off an upset against the Seahawks. Since then though it has been all downhill. Last week they put up just three points as they fell to a 27-3 loss to the Steelers. Things have gone from reasonably promising to what looks like a battle for the first overall pick for the Bengals. If they lose this week then the season will be done.

Joe Mixon has played fairly well over the past two weeks – averaging over four yards per carry – but if this Bengals team is going to come out of this season with any positives then it is probably going to come from him. The Cardinals are one of the worst defences in the league against the run and we could see a big week for the running back.

Ones to Watch

Cardinals: Kyler Murray – This could be the week we really see what he has against a very poor defence

Bengals: Joe Mixon – He has played well in some bad circumstances but this week could be the week he steps it up

Score Prediction

Cardinals 28 Bengals 17

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Jacksonville Jaguars @ Carolina Panthers preview

Dave Gray (@djg23) believes this one is almost too close to call and could come down to which of the star running backs performs best

This one sees a battle of two young backup quarterbacks that some would argue are outperforming their more experienced and certainly higher paid number ones.

Gardner Minshew, a sixth round rookie, has been something of a revelation since taking over from the injured Nick Foles. He led a big comeback in their last game against the Broncos and there is already talk about whether Foles will ever get the job back that he held for less than a quarter.

Kyle Allen has also been impressive since taking over from Cam Newton. He is completing over 70% of his passes and is yet to throw an interception this season. It is making things a lot easier for the Panthers to hold Newton out until he is fully fit.

The pair of quarterbacks are arguably getting their toughest tests yet against two very good defences. This one may come down to which of them can handle the likes of Luke Kuechly, Brian Burns, Calais Campbell and Josh Allen breathing down their necks.

This game also sees a battle of two players leading the way in the race for the rushing title. Christian McCaffrey is leading the way on 411 yards – he has another 218 through the air – with Dalvin Cook the only man separating him from Leonard Fournette in 404 yards. This game could well come down to which of these two can get going on the ground.

Ones to Watch

Panthers: Christian McCaffrey – He is the Panthers offence right now. Everything runs through him and he may be the most important non-quarterback in the league right now

Jaguars: Leonard Fournette – he had an incredible 225 yards against the Broncos and will need another big performance here

Score Prediction

Jaguars 21 Panthers 22

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Chicago Bears @ Oakland Raiders preview

Dave Gray (@djg23) believes Khalil Mack and the Bears defence will put on a show in London

The 2019 International Series kicks off with the first ever NFL game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Raiders host the Bears in what looks like an interesting match-up, particularly with Khalil Mack going up against his old team for the first time since being traded just over a year ago.

Both teams head to London on the back of wins in week four. Chase Daniels took over from the injured Mitch Trubisky and led the Bears, with the help of a dominant defensive performance, past the Vikings. The Raiders ran out fairly easy winners against the Colts

This game is going to be all about Mack and whether he can (or how many times) get to his friend Derek Carr. The Raiders offensive line has been ok, but the Bears defence is on another level to anybody they have faced so far. If the Raiders, and particularly Trent Brown, can handle Mack and co then they have a chance. If they can’t then this is going to be a long evening in London for Carr and the rest of the offence.

Daniel will be in at quarterback again and there is some debate about whether this is a downgrade. He moved the ball fairly well when he came in last week. With Trubisky’s having a pretty bad start to 2019, Allen Robinson and the rest of the Bears’ receivers could fair better with the back up in.

The Raiders could be without some key men as Clelin Ferrell and Tyrell Williams have both missed practice all week. Both are listed as questionable but look unlikely to play. Darren Waller has had an amazing start to the season and there could be even more passes coming his way if Williams can’t go.

In better news for the Bears, Akiem Hicks returned to practice on Friday.

Ones to Watch

Bears: Khalil Mack – He is one to watch on any normal game, but going up against his old team he will want to prove a point

Raiders: Darren Waller – He is averaging eight catches and over 80 yards per game this season. If the Raiders are going to overcome the fearsome defence then he will play a big part

Score Prediction

Bears 20 Raiders 10

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