by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 11-04-2016 17:00
|Matt’s Value Players:|
San Diego’s secondary is very beatable and I love the rushing upside to Mariota. This will give you flexibility to spend elsewhere. To go with 11 rushing attempts, Riddick also had 11 targets in the passing game. Detroit might have to play catch up here and he is a perfect back for that role. Over the last three weeks, Hurns has seen 29 targets. Garbage time points here are almost certain. Back from injury and in his first game Ebron sees 10 targets. Stafford is going to be forced to throw a ton here and why not use this player and price to move up for a more expensive RB?
|Will’s Value Players:|
He was mediocre at best last week on the road in Chicago but Sam Bradford is very much capable of bouncing back week nine at home against a Detroit secondary that’s surrendered a league-high 19 passing TD’s. For the absolute lowest price a QB can be in daily, and over his last four games averaging 36 per outing, Bradford is the frugal buy that enables you to stack your lineup with superstars at other positions. It was evident during his absence that no one in Oakland’s backfield can quite do the job that Latavius Murray does. Denver has a tough D but Murray will still get plenty of touches and 100% of all the goalline opportunities. Golden Tate over the last few weeks has emerged as the top wideout in Detroit like we all expected. The Lions offense will have trouble on the ground against Minnesota’s front seven so expect another 40+ passing attempt game from Matthew Stafford. With Ben Roethlisberger expected to be under center, James won’t have to pass protect nearly as much as he did last week with Landry Jones under center. Ben’s new favorite redzone target will see plenty of action against Baltimore.
Matt’s Pick: NO -3 @ SF
My spidey senses say take New Orleans -3 in San Fran. The 49ers can’t even seem to stop a cold. If Tampa can storm into Santa Clara a few weeks ago and cover 2, the Saints are more than capable of doing the same. This game could get ugly quick.
Will’s Pick: PIT +2.5 @ BAL
Three of the last four meetings in Baltimore have come down to a field goal and as of late Thursday afternoon, all signs are pointing to Big Ben being under center for this bitter AFC North rivalry. Expect a low scoring game here but with all the offensive firepower in Pittsburgh’s offense, the pressure is on the Baltimore D to contain AB and company.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 11-04-2016 16:00
Start ‘em: Nick Foles, Dak Prescott
Foles is a high risk option if you have a QB on bye this week, but he’s not afraid to throw it deep and KC is still favored by 9. I like him here.
What a story Prescott has been all season, marching Dallas to an impressive 6-1 record. Against Cleveland’s atrocious D with zero weather concerns, Prescott will give us at least one more solid performance before the return of Tony Romo. Side note, might be a tame atmosphere if Cleveland fans still haven’t gotten over the heartbreak from Wednesday’s Game Seven.
Sit ‘em: Derek Carr, Russell Wilson
Carr was unstoppable last week against Tampa Bay, torching the Bucs for four TD’s and over 500 passing yards. But this week against Denver’s top shelf D and with rain a possibility in the East Bay, don’t expect to see last week’s numbers in this heavyweight bout between bitter division rivals.
Ok, hear me out… Yes, he is at home against the Saints, but keep this in mind... The Saints are more prone to allowing rushing TD’s in the red zone as opposed to giving it up thru the air. Temper expectations here.
Start ‘em: Jonathan Stewart, Derrick Henry
Four TD’s in the last two games?! Ya, that’s right! Protecting Cam is clearly what’s happening here. Carolina will be moving the ball Sunday and I like Stewart’s high floor.
With DeMarco Murray nursing a hamstring injury, Henry could see a massive increase in his workload. If by some chance Murray doesn’t suit up, this week at sunny San Diego could be the former Heisman Trophy winner’s breakout game.
Sit ‘em: Todd Gurley, Frank Gore
I believe Carolina will use all of its resources to shut down Gurley. They will force Case Keenum to beat them.
On the road against a Green Bay D that on average allows less than 75 rushing yards per game, Gore will be touchdown dependent for week nine. He’ll still see over 15 touches but don’t expect a 90+ yard afternoon from the veteran back despite the favorable weather conditions.
Start ‘em: Terrelle Pryor, Donte Moncrief
If you haven’t figured it out by now, Pryor is a must start when he’s healthy. He’s hogging all the targets, he’s getting the occasional carry and he’s even lining up under center. He’s the lone weapon in Cleveland’s offense and everything is being routed through him. Nothing will change on Sunday with clear skies expected in Cleveland.
TY is a little banged up and this game is going to be a shootout. There are plenty of opportunities here to score and seeing double digit targets is a great possibility.
Sit ‘em: Allen Robinson, Doug Baldwin
Robinson has not returned to last year’s form and now heads into Arrowhead on Sunday. KC’s defense will stifle Bortles and I see this one being a long day for Jacksonville.
At home against a Buffalo secondary that allows over 240 passing yards per game, Baldwin isn’t a terrible play but he’s not going to be the difference-maker in your fantasy lineup. There’s plenty of wideouts with high-ceilings this week and Baldwin just isn’t one of them with rain a possibility in Seattle Monday night.
Start ‘em: Hunter Henry, Gary Barnidge
After two down games, I like Henry here at home against Tennessee with zero weather concerns. I believe this game will be a high scoring affair and if Henry gets his expected targets, he will do very well for you this week.
As defenses hone in on doubling up on Pryor, Barnidge can really thrive in the redzone with the secondary’s focus mostly on the Cleveland playmaker. A healthy Pryor only means attention is off Barnidge and the likelihood for more targets only increases.
Sit ‘em: Julius Thomas, Coby Fleener
Back to praising the KC defense here where the Chiefs are one of the best against the tight end. Look elsewhere.
Aside from only a pair of solid performances this season, the new Saints TE has been more of a disappointment than anything else. New Orleans shouldn’t have any issues moving the ball against SF but averaging only four targets a game over the last four games, Fleener just isn’t as integral a part of the NO offense as we all had hoped for.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 11-03-2016 18:00
The Oakland Raiders are primed to host their most pivotal home game in roughly a decade. Knowing how inconsistent the Bay Area weather can be, the visiting Denver Broncos could be in for a chilly and/or damp evening but most importantly, the AFC West summit is on the line Sunday night.
According to NFLWeather.com, temperatures will dip into the high-50s for the evening kickoff at the Oakland Coliseum with minimal wind expected. There’s currently about a 20% chance of precipitation, as of Tuesday ,but Bay Area weather can be unpredictable and sporadic so despite party cloudy being the current forecast, there’s a decent chance the east bay could see some drizzle. It feels like every season the Raiders host an absolute mud bowl on their battered bluegrass playing surface and hopefully Sunday night’s heavyweight divisional bout will provide us fans with another.
After hiding in mediocrity for so many years, who in their right mind would have thought that Oakland would be sitting at 6-2 right now?!?! The Raiders are fifth in the league in total offense with over 400 yards per game and average over 285 passing yards. However, having already played in and lost one weather impacted game, 26-10, at home to Kansas City in the rain; it was glaringly apparent the offense was struggling to battle both the elements and the Chiefs’ mediocre defense.
Another concern is the Raiders are 3-5 in rain games since 2009, according to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics. Of those games, quarterback Derek Carr has been under center in three and posts a career rain game record of 1-2. But, miserable weather and a little drizzle doesn’t seem to deter Carr from dropping back on average in weather-related games over 36 times. He also still manages to average at least one TD per game. Even with his decent passing stats, Carr will still be handing the ball off plenty to a now healthy Latavius Murray, but expect Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper to get still their targets regardless of playing conditions.
Denver (6-2) has also played in a rain game already this season, thumbing the Buccaneers 27-7 after an excruciatingly long weather delay. During that nonconference road win, despite racking up 32 total carries, the team only rushed for 89 total yards. It was clear the offensive game plan was to take the pressure off first year starter Trevor Siemian but the former Northwestern QB still managed to thrive in the crummy conditions prior to exiting the game with a shoulder injury. Backup Paxton Lynch came in and picked up where Siemian left off, leading the Denver offense downfield with ease en route to Denver’s fourth win of the season. The two QBs combined for 19 completions from 31 attempts while finding the endzone twice and accumulating 218 total passing yards. Not bad for a pair of inexperienced quarterbacks.
With CJ Anderson done for the year, the Broncos rushing attack will now relay on Devontae Booker to carry the load. Booker, averaging 4.3 yards per carry and has scored in each of his last two games, is an ideal bruising back for goal line and short yardage situations yet he’s still surprisingly shifty and elusive. In only two games, Booker has earned defense’s respect and if Oakland starts putting eight or nine defenders in the box, Siemian will have a field day finding Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders tormenting a secondary that surrenders over 285 passing yards per game.
When Denver hosts Oakland on New Year’s Day, it’s probably safe to assume weather will be a factor in that week 17 battle. But week nine in the East Bay might feature far from flawless conditions. If that’s the case, points might be hard to come by but big, tenacious hits certainly won’t be in this heated and bitter division rivalry.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 10-28-2016 10:30
|Matt’s Value Players:|
Tampa has a pretty decent run defense. This will be a high scoring affair where both team will be throwing a ton. I see Carr going low owned here in big tourneys so take a chance on a QB with zero weather conditions. As for Freeman, is $6,500 really a value play at this price? Absolutely! He is guaranteed all the touches since Tevin Coleman will be out. He’ll have at least 25 touches including a few catches and with all that being said in a possible shootout? This is value. Same goes for Cole Beasley who’s lowest point total is 10 this year. With Dez back, I think this will open more room up for Beasley and I predict his ownership drops this week making him a sneaky play. C.J. Fiedorowicz, say that five times. A big target Osweiler has been relying on heavily this season. His targets are getting more and more consistent and also note Detroit is awful in shutting down the tight end. This price will allow you to construct a lineup with more high priced players.
|Will’s Value Players:|
At home against a Detroit defense that this season has on averaged surrendered over 270 passing yards per game, the Houston offense should have no issues extending drives if they continue to spread the ball as much as they do. Osweiler has been a wildcard all season but $5,400 is a modest price for a QB that could potentially put up top-10 fantasy numbers. The Cleveland backfield has been unpredictable all season but it’s apparent that The Crow is the more reliable rusher and is regularly expected to get more carries. A $3,700 price tag is a steal for a starting RB. Last week was a tough game for Jordy Nelson fans as Devonta Adams, Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery stole the show. Adams is far from a one-hit wonder and will be targeted heavily on Sunday. Atlanta once again has one of the NFC’s most high octane offenses. While secondary’s keep constant tabs on Julio Jones, Tamme has thrived in the redzone. In this high scoring matchup, he’s a TD or bust play and for under $3,000, that’s a gamble worth taking.
Matt’s Pick: PHI +4.5 @ DAL
In the last six games at Dallas, the Eagles are 5-1. This will be a close game, as a lot of divisional matchups are and this game will come down to a field goal. You are all welcome again for another lock of the week.
Will’s Pick: NE -6 @ BUF
With rain in the forecast, historically Tom Terrific is lights out in crummy conditions. If Shady McCoy can’t go, the Buffalo offense is hopeless on Sunday. The Pats should easily pick up a second straight road win and bring the Bills back to .500.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 10-28-2016 10:00
Start ‘em: Sam Bradford, Trevor Siemian
With so many teams on bye this week, you might find yourself with the need to stream a few players. Bradford is in a good spot here in week eight against a poor Chicago secondary. With just an average run game, I can see Bradford filling in nice here with a healthy Stefon Diggs back.
After three straight modest starts, Siemian has the opportunity to improve and impress this week at home against San Diego’s defense that’s surrendered 30 points or more in three of the last four games. A cheap play in daily fantasy and with weather a nonfactor this week, Siemian will have plenty of drop backs and should spread out the ball nicely to his numerous offensive weapons.
Sit ‘em: Carson Palmer, Phillip Rivers
Anyone who struggled to sit through Arizona’s dismal draw against Seattle last week isn’t debating if Palmer should start. They’re thinking who they can find on the waiver wire so they can rid themselves of the inconsistent train wreck that Palmer has sadly become. Against a well-rested Carolina D coming off a bye week, an already questionable Palmer will be under pressure all afternoon.
Denver’s defense will be ready for this one. In this divisional matchup at home, I can see Denver forcing a few turnovers and getting to Rivers.
Start ‘em: LeGarratte Blount, Matt Asiata
Could this be the NFL’s best goal line and shortage back that no one is talking about? He’s getting plenty of touches and if rain hits Buffalo on Sunday, those touches will only increase.
With a huge bye week combined with some other running back injuries around the league, Asiata will be a good fill in. Now, he might not accrue a mass amount of yards but he will be the guy to punch it in near the goal line. Also add the fact McKinnon might not play ups his opportunities for scores.
Sit ‘em: Melvin Gordon, Matt Jones
We’ve returned to our faith in Denver’s defense again. If you have a different option at RB, think hard on this one. Gordon might not be a lock for starter points here on the road.
Jones has been handed countless chances to take the reins as the top back in Washington but he just keeps finding a way to blow it. With two fumbles last week and Chris Thompson impressing more and more, Jones’ touches, and opportunities, could be decreasing.
Start ‘em: Michael Crabtree, Emmanuel Sanders
The guy is averaging almost 9 targets per game. Playing against a terrible TB secondary, Oakland will be throwing a ton here. Crab all day.
It’s tough to think of a #2 receiver on any other team in the league that’s more lethal than Emmanuel Sanders. For a little guy, he fearlessly goes across the middle and can burn corners on a deep route. San Diego’s pass defense gives up over 275 passing yards per game and Sunday in sunny Mile High Stadium will be no different. Averaging over 10 targets per game, Sanders might see even more than that.
Sit ‘em: Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson
Going against a stout Minnesota D here plus add the fact that he might be on the trading block? Ugh, I cannot imagine he puts up great numbers here. Pass.
He’s only been targeted 10 times or more once this season and he’s racked up only one 100-yard receiving game. DeSean Jackson is no longer the most dangerous weapon in Washington’s attack. Averaging only 32.5 receiving yards over the last four games, Jackson isn’t even worth FLEX consideration against Cincinnati.
Start ‘em: Zach Miller, Zach Rudolph
By now, Miller is no longer the best kept secret at the TE spot in 2016. He’s been Chicago’s only reliable receiving option and Monday night with Jay Cutler returning under center, Miller will be his go-to red zone security blanket. Unless the Windy City gets a little too windy in the evening, passing conditions will be prime for this bitter NFC North bout against Minnesota.
Don’t need to repeat myself here for Rudolph against Chicago. Bears’ defense is weak sauce. Start him.
Sit ‘em: Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry
Just because Hunter Henry shouldn’t be started in fantasy lineups doesn’t guarantee Antonio Gates should either. Gates saw plenty of targets last week but the dinged-up veteran dropped all the vital ones. He’s losing a step, he’s losing his chemistry with Phillip Rivers and he’s losing his starting role to Henry. The once great Gates shouldn’t even be rostered at this point.
Man, I am jumping all over Sand Diego here but with Henry being a little banged up and Rivers really relying on Gates last week, maybe stream another tight end on this one.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 10-26-2016 16:00
Fall is officially in full force in scenic, upstate New York but locals in Buffalo won’t be braving the rain on Sunday to see the leaves change. Bills fans will be raining down insults on Tom Brady when the heated-rival Patriots storm into town for a damp, divisional clash.
According to NFLWeather.com, rain is possible throughout the entire afternoon in Buffalo with a light wind of 10-12 mph as well. Temperatures inside Ralph Wilson Stadium will be in the mid-50s for this bitter AFC East rivalry. We’ve seen a number of muddy playing fields already this season but traction won’t be an issue on the Bills’ Astroturf surface.
In 2013, New England beat up Buffalo in a rain game, 34-20, at home in late December. The Pats focused heavily on the rushing attack, racking up well over 40 carries between five different players and totaling roughly 200 total rushing yards. But that hasn’t always been New England’s game plan for big games in crummy conditions.
It’s easy to assume Tom Brady carries the Patriots’ offense. In rain games, that’s not always the case. For example, Brady averaged 39 passing attempts per game last season. Over his last six rain games, he’s only dropped back 30+ times twice. But that doesn’t slow down the offense, averaging 33 points per game over that span. Expect Brady to spread the ball around the field, honing in on Gronkowski in the red zone. Well, that’s if the NFL’s top bruising short yardage back, LaGarrette Blount, doesn’t hog all the goal line action.
The Patriots (6-1) in rain games are almost unbeatable. Well, they actually have been for over four years, dating back to a 24-23 loss in 2012 to Seattle in a drizzle. Since then, they’ve been a flawless 5-0. According to NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, the Pats are 8-2 in rain games since 2009 and 6-0 at home during that stretch.
Buffalo (4-3) has been a thorn in New England’s side over the last few meetings, splitting the series 2-2 dating back to December 2014. But when it comes to battling the elements, the Bills have been extremely weak, posting a 3-6 record in rain games since 2010. To make matters worse, the Bills haven’t even won a game in the rain since 2013.
Not having LeSean McCoy at full health last week in Miami was a massive blow to the offense. Shady is expected to be back against the Pats but without the shifty RB, Buffalo will struggle mightily against a New England defense that, on average this season, has surrendered just over 15 points per game. Averaging only 18.5 points per rain game since ’10, it’s up to McCoy and Tyrod Taylor to make some big plays on the fly in order to pull off the unfathomable season sweep of New England.
With Tom Terrific back under center, it’s tough to find a more dominant and Super Bowl-worthy team in the league right now than New England. But the only team to down the Pats, thus far, this year has been Buffalo. An AFC East upset could just as easily be in the forecast as storm clouds on Sunday.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 10-22-2016 08:30
|Will’s Value Players:|
After his phenomenal performance last week against Cleveland where he threw three TD’s, it’s astonishing Mariota’s price tag dropped $100 from last week. Expect similar numbers this week at home against Indy for the second-year starter. Rodgers was a revelation last week, tormenting the Carolina defense with 30 touches for over 100 yards and five receptions. Against the 49ers who surrender on average almost 175 rushing yards per game, Rodgers could put up Le’Veon Bell-like numbers. The Raiders can’t stop an aerial attacking team for the life of them which will mean big things for Jacksonville’s Allen Hurns. Across the state in Tampa Bay, Brate has been a machine since taking over the starting tight end roll. After only seeing three targets a week ago, he’ll bounce back against San Francisco’s Swiss cheese defense.
|Matt’s Value Players:|
|RB||Duke Johnson Jr.||$3,900|
At this price and expected output, plugging in Winston here gives you flexibility for roster construction. The likelihood the Browns falling behind to the Bengals is very good and a receiving back like Johnson has the higher ceiling when playing from behind. There’s a chance Pryor might miss this game which could result in more looks for Johnson. Hogging all the passes for the Rams this season, Britt has emerged as their #1 option. Anytime you can get a starter like that for this price, take it. With Dwayne Allen listed as doubtful for this week, look for Doyle to be a major part of the Colts offense. This will be a high scoring game and at this price, he’s a steal.
Will’s Pick: BAL +1 @ NYJ
The Jets’ offense is a sinking ship, and now that Geno Smith is in control, scoring double digits might be too tall an order let alone beating a solid Baltimore side. The Ravens won’t even need the point in this one.
Matt’s Pick: TB -2 @ SF
Tampa has the potent offense and San Francisco has the poor defense. It’s that simple. Buccaneers should run away with this one (pun intended for Chip). Take this one to the bank.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 10-22-2016 08:00
Start ‘em: Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston
Over the last four consecutive weeks, the dreadful Browns D has allowed opposing QB’s to toss for at least three touchdowns a game. With clear skies in Sunday’s forecast, expect Dalton to eviscerate the in-state rival Browns’ atrocious secondary.
Playing against the 49ers means Winston’s fantasy floor is very high this week. A fast paced game means more offensive plays and creates more opportunities to score points. A great streaming option if your QB is on a bye this week.
Sit ‘em: Carson Wentz, Alex Smith
Last week against Washington, Wentz was sacked five times and completed only half of his passes. If Philly’s offensive line doesn’t get it together against Minnesota’s stout D that only surrenders 12 points per game this season, another poor performance by the Wentz is in the cards. Winds could kick up to 15-20 mph which could also create some problems for the rookie.
Ok, hear me out… Yes, he is at home against the Saints, but keep this in mind... The Saints are more prone to allowing rushing TD’s in the red zone as opposed to giving it up thru the air. Temper expectations here.
Start ‘em: Jacquizz Rodgers, Spencer Ware
After seeing what Shady McCoy did the 49ers did last week, I can see Rodgers racking up good numbers here. Head Coach Dirk Koetter will always ride the running back no matter who it is. Until Doug Martin returns from injury, keep Rodgers starting in your lineup.
Even with Jamaal Charles back, Ware out touched the veteran RB last week 26 to 11 and is still very much an important factor of Andy Reid’s offense. Heading into week seven’s bout against a New Orleans defense that allows 117 rushing yards per game, Ware is a must-start and with wind expected to be a factor, Reid will prefer the traditional ground and pound attack.
Sit ‘em: Jay Ajayi, Lamar Miller
Expect Ajayi to come back down to earth this week at home to Buffalo. That, along with the fact Arian Foster is a week healthier, I can’t expect a large point total here this week. Wind and rain could end up being a factor here as well.
With only one rushing touchdown under his belt, it’s safe to say the expectations set for Miller in Houston this season were exceedingly too high. He’ll have his occasional 100-yard performances but against Denver’s lights out defense, there’s a minimal chance he’ll hit triple digits on Monday night.
Start ‘em: Brandon Marshall, Allen Robinson
Geno Smith, Fitzmagic, PeeWee Herman, or Carlton Banks.. It could be anyone under center but regardless of which clown is taking snaps, Marshall will get his looks and targets regardless. Expect a Brandon Marshall kinda game here.
Robinson, who was taken in most fantasy drafts in the third round, is a sleeping giant just waiting to put up big numbers against a sorry defensive unit. A visit from Oakland’s awful secondary that gives up over 312 passing yards per game might just do the trick. With clear skies in the forecast, Blake Bortles has perfect passing conditions to reignite his chemistry with his top wide out.
Sit ‘em: DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Floyd
At this point in the season, Hopkins has been touchdown dependent. It gets worse this week when they arrive in Denver for a matchup nightmare. Hopkins was probably your first round pick, but sad to say he might not perform this week.
Aside from future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona receivers can’t be trusted. Against Seattle’s stellar defense and with Carson Palmer dinged up from last week, Floyd’s two targets from last week could be an indication he’s being phased-out of the Cardinal’s offensive game plans.
Start ‘em: Gary Barnidge, Hunter Henry
Finally, Barnidge is once again a key factor in Cleveland’s [limited] passing attack. Over the last four weeks, Barnidge’s targets-per-game has leaped to 6.5 after averaging just over three a game following the first two weeks. With the Browns expected to be trailing the Bengals and forced to play catch-up, Cleveland will be compelled to abandon the run.
Henry’s production has been unbelievably consistent over the last month or so. Atlanta has two rookie LB’s and one rookie strong safety starting. Expect a lot of points put up in this game and Henry will be a part of it.
Sit ‘em: Dennis Pitta, Zach Ertz
The Jets can be beat through the air but with Flacco not 100% and this most likely being a low scoring game, the ceiling is low here for Pitta.
Since returning from injury, fantasy and Philly fans alike have been waiting for Ertz to live up to his hype. Well, both parties are still playing the waiting game and not much is expected to chance against Minnesota’s tenacious defense. Wind could be a factor on Sunday and if the Viking’s D-line causes the same problems Washington’s did last week (five sacks), Philly may need Ertz to help out in pass protection.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 10-19-2016 20:00
Hurricane Matthew absolutely pummeled the east coast and corners of Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas are still picking up the pieces. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that the late-summer Caribbean storms are done causing problems on NFL Sunday’s just yet, specifically for the AFC East this week when the Miami Dolphins host the Buffalo Bills.
According to NFLWeather.com, a 20-mph breeze is expected to be swirling inside Hard Rock Stadium for Sunday’s game with temperatures lingering in the upper-70s. As of Tuesday, there was a small percentage chance of precipitation, however, the most recent tropical storm east of the Bahamas is projected to become a cyclone in the next few days and could easily force a rainstorm northwest towards Miami and the southeastern coast.
The Dolphins (2-4) are coming off a dismantling of a well-rounded Pittsburgh Steelers team and appear to be turning a corner after a lousy start. If they can keep momentum going into week seven’s bout with Buffalo, Miami is right back in AFC contention instead of a dismal 2-5 start. But history doesn’t bode well for the ‘Phins who post a 2-5 record in rain games since 2009 and haven’t won a rain game at home since 2011. Ironically, that was a 35-8 drumming of the Bills.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill, 0-4 in his last handful of rain game starts, only averages 194 passing yards per game but his most concerning weather-related stat is he’s sacked on average 3.75 times per game. Against a Buffalo D that’s already tallied 20 sacks this season (2nd best in the NFL), quick drop backs and shorter routes are crucial to aerial success. So far this season it’s felt like a one-man show in terms of receiving threats as star wideout Jarvis Landry has averaged roughly 10 targets a game. Fellow WR DeVante Parker and tight end Jordan Cameron desperately need to have more of an offensive impact and assert themselves more in this offense. What better time to do so than a pivotal divisional game in the rain?
But the ‘Phins may not need to relay on Tannehill’s arm following Jay Ajayi’s sensational performance on the ground last weekend against Pittsburgh where he amassed over 200 yards on 25 touches and found the end zone twice. Arian Foster was slated to return but Ajayi may have earned himself the starting role for at least one more game while Foster continues to rehab.
Like Miami, the Bills (4-2) haven’t had much success recently in the rain either. Buffalo hasn’t won a rain game since 2013, where they convincingly crushed Miami, 19-0, and according to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, post a 3-6 record in the rain since ’10. The man they need to step up and reverse this trend is their coveted workhorse, LeSean McCoy, who’s rushed for over 100 yards in three of his last four games. McCoy has reestablished himself as an elite back in the NFL and if rain and wind affect the passing game, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Shady gets 30+ touches.
The Bills have a passing attacked currently ranked 31st in the league and should anticipate Miami stacking the box and forcing Tyrod Taylor to beat them with his inconsistent arm. Ideally, Buffalo would prefer to ground and pound (especially against a defense that surrenders 147 rushing yards per game) but with heavy wind in the forecast they’ll need Taylor to make a few plays on his own. Whether that be with his legs or being more accurate with the ball, missing Sammy Watkins is no longer a legit excuse for lack of production. Now is the time for Robert Woods to prove he’s capable of carrying the starting role.
The x-factor in this AFC East matchup could ultimately be the kicking game, where both Dan Carpenter (BUF) and Andrew Franks (MIA) have been far from flawless. Carpenter is 4-of-6 from 40+ yards this season while Franks is only 3-of-5 from between 20-29 yards and 0-for-1 from 50+. With brutal wind and rain a possibility, points could be at a premium in Miami on Sunday.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 10-15-2016 07:15
|Will’s Value Players:|
For a $6,000 price tag, Wentz is a frugal buy with the potential to put up top-tier fantasy numbers against a weak Washington defense. Starting Wentz over, say, Russell Wilson, saves almost $1,000 that can be used on an upgraded FLEX play. Lacy hasn’t been practicing all week and if he’s out for Sunday’s game, Starks will be the workhorse and a starting RB for under $3,500 is a steal. It’s next to impossible to find a team’s number one WR for under $4,000, aside from LA’s Tavon Austin who also earns special teams points too. Tamme has been a hit or miss TE this season but for the price and with rain in the forecast, Ryan might be utilizing his safety blanket more than usual.
|Matt’s Value Players:|
Sitting at $6,100, this is a great price for a QB who is at home against the Browns D. They have been shredded by the pass all season long and I expect nothing less this week. At this price, it will be easier to fit a high price player into your lineup. For Gio, there is a good chance the Pats go up in this one and with the lingering chest injury Jeremy Hill has, more touches could be headed Bernard’s way. Roberts Woods is now the top receiver and he just so happens to be playing in a high-paced game this week. Value here is too great not the consider him. Since week 3, Zach Miller hasn’t scored less than 12 points in fantasy per game. Since then, he’s seeing almost seven targets on average per game. With a high floor, this price is great.
Will’s Pick: NO +3 vs CAR
The New Orleans offense has returned as one of the NFC’s elite scoring units by having scored under 32 points only once this season and averaging over 300 passing yards per game. Against a diminishing defensive unit in Carolina that surrenders 27 points a game and let Matt Ryan have a field day against them in the Georgia Dome two weeks ago, there’s a chance Drew Brees can put up heroic numbers at home and down a potentially Cam-less Carolina team.
Matt’s Pick: GB -4 vs DAL
Green Bay will force the Cowboys to throw early and often. I do not see Dez playing in this problematic weather-free game which means the Pack should be able to pull away early in the second half. Dak comes back down to Earth here.
by Will Strome and Matt Aloisi | 10-15-2016 07:00
Start ‘em: Blake Bortles, Brian Hoyer
Without a running game, Jacksonville is going to need to throw a ton. Turns out Chicago’s secondary is very poor and will likely give up the big play. With the possibility of drizzle looming, I still have no problem rolling out this QB. On the other side of the field and having opened his Chicago career averaging 300+ passing yards and two touchdowns per game, it’s doubtful a little drizzle will slow down red-hot Hoyer. Against a Jaguars D that surrenders on average two passing touchdowns per game. If the rain picks up, Hoyer might not put up big passing yards but at least you can bank on a touchdown or two.
Sit ‘em: Andy Dalton, Dak Prescott
New England’s defense has been pretty good against the QB this year in fantasy and I expect this to remain the same against an inconsistent Cincy side. The Bengals have one receiving threat, and the Pats will game plan around AJ Green. No real weather concerns hereto affect the passing game. Having to go against the league’s top defense against the run, Dallas might be forced to ask the rookie QB to do too much on the road in Green Bay. Expect Prescott to force the ball on a number of occasions but hopefully he can limit the turnovers. At least he won’t be battling the harsh Wisconsin elements with clear skies expected at Lambeau.
Start ‘em: LeSean McCoy, Jordan Howard
The Bills RB has had a great start to the season and this week he draws the 49ers. Why would Shady ever want to play the game of his life here, oh I don’t know…. Oh yeah! He is playing Chip Kelly who shipped him to Buffalo a few years back. Hmmmm….. Fantasy owners had high hopes for Jeremy Langford in the Chicago backfield but who would have expected Jordan Howard to fill the void so well once Langford went down with an injury. In his two starts thus far, Howard has accumulated almost 300 total yards and is a weapon between the tackles as well as catching passes in the flats. With rain a possibility, he could see even touches than expected.
Sit ‘em: Arian Foster, Carlos Hyde
Just because he’s available, doesn’t make him “startable”. Foster is likely to make his return this week at home to Pittsburgh but his workload is questionable. If Miami falls behind big, the Dolphins may have to abandon the run altogether. Rain is currently in Sunday’s forecast so if playing conditions get ugly, Miami won’t risk Foster reinjuring himself. A west Coast team flying east for an early game rarely turns out positively. I believe Buffalo will go up big which will force San Francisco to throw heavily in an attempt to keep up, resulting in less touches for Hyde.
Start ‘em: Robert Woods, Quincy Enunwa
With Watkins out, Woods is the #1 option for Buffalo. Whether you believe he has the talent or not to be a #1, it does not take away the fact that his targets are increased. Woods is a great bye week fill-in option for your fantasy team this week. Now that Eric Decker is done for the year, Enunwa is a must-own in all leagues and is expected to take over the number two role behind Brandon Marshall, who’s also harboring a few nagging injuries. Enunwa currently averages almost 10 targets per game and that was with Decker. Just wait to see how involved he is now in the Jets offensive weekly game plan.
Sit ‘em: Alshon Jeffery, Golden Tate>
He is not simply receiving the targets that a franchise receiver should. His numbers are down and I expect this to continue, especially if Hoyer is the QB. Chicago’s Royal, Miller, and Meredith have all seen an increase in passes coming their way, so maybe think about your options on this play. He is simply not returning the value based upon where you drafted him. Just because he’s not worthy of starting doesn’t mean he’s ready to be given up on. His individual production has been atrocious thus far but the big-play potential is still there. After all, he’s the guy the Lions were hoping would step up as the number one receiver following Megatron’s departure and he’s still on a pass-heavy Detroit offense. He’ll be as much a nonfactor as the weather inside the Ford Field dome on Sunday.
Start ‘em: Jesse James, Jason WittenHaving scored touchdowns in three of the last four games, Jesse James is no longer the best kept secret in the Pittsburgh offense. He had a career day last week, hauling in six of eight targets for 43 yards and a score and has clearly earned Big Ben’s trust in the redzone. The last time the Steelers played in the rain, James scored. Expect a similar performance in the Florida rain here. Green Bay’s stout run defense will force the Cowboys to drop back heavily. Who is a rookie’s best friend? A sure-handed tight end.
Sit ‘em: Dwayne Allen, Vance McDonald
Last week was his first touchdown since week one and he’s averaging less than five targets per game. He was thought to be a top ten TE in fantasy this season but that’s just not going to happen for Dwanye Allen with less-known newcomers like Cameron Brate and Jesse James being much more productive fantasy plays this season. Even perfect playing conditions in Houston won’t help Allen this week. Besides the Pats, the Bills have been excellent against the tight end in fantasy. San Francisco is rolling out their second QB this week and starting McDonald would be a gamble. There’s a minor chance for rain being a factor here as well.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 10-14-2016 16:00
With fall comes foliage for most of the country. But in the Pacific Northwest, the seemingly endless rainy season is about to begin and just in time for a pivotal NFC showdown and potential playoff bout when the soaring Atlanta Falcons visit the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
According to NFLWeather.com, rain is likely to hit Seattle hard on Thursday and isn’t expected to let up until the middle of next week. Temperatures will be in the mid-50’s come kickoff but a chilly 14-15 mph wind could play a factor for both teams’ passing and kicking games. Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, former defensive coordinator for Seattle, is well aware of how the elements will impact his new indoor side.
As you would expect, the Seahawks (3-1) have played in the most weather impacted matchups in the league since 2009 and post an impressive 9-2 record at home. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, the Seattle offense averages over 30 points per game in the rain while the notoriously stingy defense only surrenders 15 per game. Seems next to impossible to storm into Seattle and pull out a win in crummy conditions, but the Rams did just that last season, something that hasn’t been done to the ‘Hawks at home since 2011.
Coming off a bye week, Russell Wilson and company have had plenty of time to prep for Atlanta’s high-octane aerial attacked. But Wilson himself needs to be the smarter of the two elite QB’s and avoid turnovers at all costs. In 12 career weather impacted matchups, Wilson has tossed ten picks and coughed up four fumbles. That won’t fly during Sunday’s downpour so the running game will need to be established early against a Falcons D that allows roughly 100 rushing yards per game. Christine Michael will carry the workload but Alex Collins and newly-acquired CJ Spiller may chip in with a handful of carries.
The Falcons (4-1), a dome team, haven’t fared very well in the rain with a 2-3 record since ‘09. But quarterback Matt Ryan has put up impressive numbers in rain games on the road. In five career weather impacted matchups, Ryan has a 68% completion percentage, has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 10:2 and averages almost 240 passing yards per game. For an indoor QB, the former Boston College gunslinger has been a bright spot for Atlanta on ugly days.
But if the offense expects to rely solely on Ryan and the unstoppable Julio Jones against Seattle’s immovable front seven, they’re destined for a loss. Despite the Seahawks’ defense allowing only 80 rushing yards per game and swirling wind in Sunday’s forecast, Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman will need to grind out tough yards against the Legion of Boom. If Atlanta can get Seattle to respect the running game, the play action might create a few big play opportunities for Mohamed Sanu or tight end Jacob Tamme, pending the wind will allow it.
With the high-scoring offense that they do, it wouldn’t be a huge shocker if Atlanta pulled out the win but it would still be an upset nonetheless. Last week, not many fans thought the Falcons could fly into Denver and pull out the win that they did. Maybe Atlanta can rain on another home team’s parade for the second consecutive week.
by The NFLW Team | 10-10-2016 08:00
|Matt’s DK Team:||Will’s DK Team:|
|QB||Phillip Rivers||$6,900||QB||Derek Carr||$6,800|
|RB||Devonta Freeman||$5,000||RB||Melvin Gordon||$7,000|
|RB||CJ Anderson||$6,900||RB||Jordan Howard||$5,200|
|WR||Dontrelle Inman||$4,100||WR||Antonio Brown||$9,800|
|WR||TY Hilton||$7,400||WR||Julian Edelman||$6,700|
|WR||Odell Beckham Jr.||$8,500||WR||Tavon Austin||$3,700|
|TE||Zach Ertz||$3,500||TE||Clive Walford||$2,700|
|Flex||Eddie Royal||$4,200||Flex||Eddie Lacy||$5,900|
|DEF||Minnesota Vikings||$3,400||DEF;||Chicago Bears||$2,200|
Will’s Pick: CHI +4.5 @ IND
Indianapolis is the first team in NFL history to not receive a bye after playing an overseas game in London. Having lost in brutal fashion by blowing a late fourth quarter lead to the division rival Jaguars and having to endure the long flight home, it’s going to be tough for the defense to get fired up for this one. Even if the Bears don’t win, they’ll keep it close.
Matt’s Pick: TEN +3.5 @ MIA
This games looks to be a sloppy one with awful weather conditions expected this weekend. If Cleveland hadn’t made an incompetent move with their kickers, Miami would have lost at home to the Mistake by the Lake. Both these teams are flat out bad and Miami won’t run away with this one.
by The NFLW Team | 10-09-2016 22:00
Start ‘em: Derek Carr, Eli Manning
In four career games against the division-rival Chargers, Carr has found the endzone eight times while tossing only two picks. With beautiful weather and clear skies expected in Sunday’s Bay Area forecast, it’ll be ideal
passing conditions for the Oakland QB who averages over 38 passing attempts a game this season.
Green Bay has the best defense in the NFL against the run yet the Packers are also 31st in the league in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. I expect Eli will throw often which will lead to a high floor for his projected fantasy outcome. The weather doesn’t seem to be a factor in this one, so here comes the points!
Sit ‘em: Ryan Tannehill, Tyrod Taylor
This game could be an absolute weather disaster. Conditions could be tough to throw in and Tennessee has only allowed an average of one TD a game thus far. With weather concerns and Tannehill’s inconsistencies,
expect a subpar output.
With Sammy Watkins down for the season, Taylor doesn’t have many explosive weapons in the Buffalo attack. It certainly doesn’t help his situation this week when the Bills travel to Los Angeles to play a Rams team that has already shut down Carson Palmer and Russell Wilson. LA will have perfect weather but Taylor will have far from a perfect afternoon.
Start ‘em: Terrance West, Devonta Freeman
Rain is expected to hit the Chesapeake this weekend so the long ball might be out of the question for the Ravens offense. That being the case, Baltimore will expect Terrance West to carry a heavy workload both
between the tackles and being Flacco’s primary check down option out of the backfield. Now that Justin Forsett has been released, it’s all West until Kenneth Dixon gets healthy.
With Tevin Coleman a question mark, the Falcons will need to rely heavily on Freeman who will get the lion’s share of carries and targets for Atlanta. If Coleman sits, expect no less than 25 touches. With weather a potential factor in most other cities, looks to be a beautiful day in Denver for Sunday’s kickoff.
Sit ‘em: Charles Sims, LaGarrette Blount
After minimal offensive production the last few weeks despite the absence of Doug Martin, its clear Sims has failed to impress as the lead back in Tampa Bay. Against Carolina this season, the most rushing yards a single
rusher was able to rack up was 65 by CJ Anderson. If Hurricane Matthew hits the east coast in time to disrupt this NFC South clash, Sims will be stuck in the mud for most of the afternoon against a stout Carolina front seven.
With Tom Brady back, the Pats will look to pass more with James White by his side in the backfield. You can’t rely on Blount to get 20 touches here because you can bank on NE likely going out of the way to ensure Tom gets his TD. It looks like decent weather on Sunday’s horizon at the Mistake by the Lake.
Start ‘em: Odell Beckham Jr., Julian Edelman
Forget all the drama OBJ is going through, CB Sam Shields is not going to suit up in this one. Against a poor secondary, expect Eli to air it out early and often. This is a great game for the star wideout to get back
Tom Brady has returned and all Julian Edelman fantasy owners can rejoice. Despite a dismal start to the 2016 fantasy campaign, Edelman is primed to be the top target with Gronk still not quite back to full health. Despite averaging less than five receptions a game, Edelman’s production is about to skyrocket. With wind expected to be a factor off Lake Erie, Brady likely will prefer the short, crossing routes opposed to the deep ball.
Sit ‘em: Demeryius Thomas, Tajae Sharpe
In the Mile High City on Sunday, Thomas will be drawing Desmond Trufant, the best CB in the league nobody is talking about. With the Falcons decimated at the LB position, I see Denver running the ball more than usual.
Sharpe became a popular target on waiver wires after his promising start to the season, but on an offense that’s struggling to produce points, it’s tough to stand out and be a worthy fantasy option. It doesn’t help his case that QB Marcus Mariota has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 0:3 since week two. With Hurricane Matthew expected to disrupt the Titan’s game in Miami, the passing game might end up being nonexistent altogether.
Start ‘em: Cameron Brate, Martellus Bennett
Since taking over the starting tight end roll, Brate has been a must start in the Tampa attack. In two games he’s been targeted 18 times and hauled in 10 catches for 113 yards and two scores… all of this against a pair
of solid defenses in Denver and Los Angeles, where monsoon-like weather conditions were a major factor. Against a Carolina D that’s surrendered touchdowns to tight ends in three consecutive games, Brate has the potential to
have a field day here regardless of the rainy conditions.
With the opening spread sitting at 10.5, there is a realistic chance the Pats go up big and never look back. If that’s the case, look for New England to rest Gronk and stick it to the NFL by running up the score. Bennett is a great option and will be productive in this game with Gronk watching from the sidelines.
Sit ‘em: Charles Clay, Jacob Tamme
There’s a ton of big name tight ends on byes this week (Travis Kelce, Jimmy Graham, Coby Fleener, Julius Thomas) so fantasy owners are hitting the waiver wire hard. One option who is available in seemingly all leagues
(for good reason) and should be avoided despite his decent performance a week ago is Charles Clay. He saw seven targets last week which might make him a bit more appealing for a desperate owner, especially with weather not
being a factor in LA, but don’t be fooled, this is a move you’ll absolutely regret.
Tamme has not had back-to-back productive games yet this season and against Denver’s exceptional defense, I see him limited, at best. His former team knows him well and the Broncos will game plan around that.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 10-05-2016 18:00
The intrastate clash between Maryland rivals will be a soggy one on Sunday as heavy wind and rain are forecasted to roll through the greater Chesapeake region as the Washington Redskins take the I-95 northbound to battle the Baltimore Ravens.
According to NFLWeather.com, a gusting wind maxing out around 20 mph is expected to be in full-swirl on Sunday inside M&T Bank Stadium. It doesn’t help the situation that Hurricane Matthew is projected to be climbing up the eastern seaboard towards the end of the week and with rain as well as 90%+ humidity already in the Saturday forecast. Chances are Sunday showers could hit for the 1pm kickoff. The crummy conditions will be a nightmare for the kicking game, especially on the slick Bermuda Grass surface that was already battered during last weekend’s narrow loss to Oakland.
Haters love to knock on Joe Flacco, but, the former Super Bowl winner always seems to find a way to pull out a win despite never looking overwhelmingly impressive. Flacco’s numbers speak for themselves. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, Flacco is 7-1 in rain games since 2009 and anchors an offense that averages over 27 points per matchup. Over that eight-game span, he’s averaged 236 passing yards per game and 30 passing attempts while finding the endzone 11 times and only turning the ball over twice. Averaging almost 42.5 passing attempts per game this season, it’s safe to say Flacco will air it out, rain or shine.
Historically, the Baltimore (3-1) QB’s top target in poor weather matchups has been his tight end, Dennis Pitta. In the Ravens most recent rain games, Pitta has averaged seven receptions for roughly 85 yards and at least one touchdown. He’ll be the top redzone target while the undersized yet overwhelmingly speedy Mike Wallace, Steve Smith Sr. and Kamar Aiken will be the seam and deep route options (Smith has both the most receptions and targets this season), pending the wind will allow it. The only thing more difficult than predicting who will be Baltimore’s weekly top receiver is picking the more imposing running back. Terrance West has passed Justin Forsett as the lead rusher but Forsett continues to be the more targeted back in passing situations. If a downpour hits the harbor, expect Joe Flacco to look more for swing passes to his backs as well as short, crossing routes for his receivers. Don’t be stunned if Baltimore runs up the score on a defense that is tied for the league-worst in first downs allowed and gives up over 413 passing yards per game.
The Washington (2-2) offense isn’t quite the conundrum the Ravens’ is. Matt Jones, who was penciled in as lead back in the Redskins attack to start that season, has been proving himself more and more each and every week by seeing an increasing workload (week 1: 7, week 2: 13, week 3: 17, week 4: 22). Last week was a career-day for Jones against Cleveland as he torched the Browns D for 117 yards and a touchdown. The more rain in the forecast, the more carries we should expect from Jones as Jay Gruden will look to take the pressure off his inconsistent quarterback, Kirk Cousins. He’ll also do so by having his QB look for quick dump passes to versatile tight end, Jordan Reed.
Cousins is 0-2 in career rain games but the Redskins haven’t won a game in the rain since 2008 (0-6 since then). Against a defense that historically only surrenders 11 points per game in the rain since ’09, the Redskins need a monsoon of Baltimore turnovers if they have any shot of pulling this one out.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 09-29-2016 18:00
Recognized as North America’s hotbed for lightning storms, Tampa Bay has already experienced one weather delay at home this season and it looks apparent that yet another late-summer storm will be in full force when the undefeated Denver Broncos march into town this weekend.
According to NFLWeather.com, a light rain is possible throughout the entirety of Sunday’s late afternoon showdown with winds swirling around 11mph. Humidity is expected to rise from 60% to close to 70% by the end of the game, indicating the likelihood of yet another Florida thunderstorm interrupting this outing just like last week and soaking into the already battered grass surface inside Raymond James Stadium. Most east coast NFL games kickoff around 1pm, however, both this and last week’s home games for the Bucs have been pushed to 4pm in hopes of avoiding the daily end-of-summer showers. That certainly didn’t happen last week against Los Angeles and it’s looking more and more likely the same will occur for Sunday’s week four nonconference matchup.
The delay lasted well over an hour and ultimately delayed the inevitable for Tampa as the Bucs squandered their final possession after forcing the Rams to punt once both sides returned to the field. But a loss in the rain is really nothing new for Tampa. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, since 2011 the Buccaneers are a dismal 1-6 in weather-related games, on average surrender 27 points per game and held the opposition to 10 points or less only once. With such a swiss cheese D, the offense will desperately need to keep the defense rested by dominating the time of possession battle and establishing a ground game lead by Charles Sims who will continue to fill in for the injured Doug Martin.
Former Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston may only have one career rain game under his belt, but the young gun is no stranger to a slippery football in a Florida storm having played his college ball at Florida State. During the downpour last week, Winston even hit his career high in passing yards with 364 prior to the delay and 405 total yards on the afternoon. But his glaring kryptonite is his how often he turns the ball over; having already tossed six picks this season and lost a pair of fumbles. Despite having weapons like Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson tormenting the opposing secondary, if the young QB keeps giving the ball away as frequently as he does, Tampa (1-2) will continue to lose as frequently as they do.
Denver (3-0) has played impressively well over it’s last six or so weather-related matchups but dating back to 2009, they post a mediocre 8-9 record. But it’s tough to see them not cruise through this one en route to 4-0, given Tampa’s D has allowed an NFL-high 101 points (almost 34 ppg) and the Bronco’s offense has scored the fourth-most in the league this season (84 points, 28 ppg). On average in weather impacted games, the Denver offense averages 24 total points.
Trevor Siemian, who’s been a pleasant shock to the 2016 season thus far, has found surprising early success in both the win column as well as with his top targets Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. Both wideouts are off to a pro bowl-like campaign as well as bruising running back CJ Anderson whose experiencing quite the resurgence. If Denver gets rolling on the ground and in the air on Sunday, Tampa will be stuck in the mud all afternoon.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 09-21-2016 21:00
The weather is day by day in Charlotte for Sunday when the undefeated Minnesota Vikings when the defending NFC North champions battle both the southern storms and the reigning NFC titleholders, Carolina Panthers, in a crucial conference showdown. According to NFLWeather.com, clear skies are currently in the forecast for Sunday’s game but that could easily change as Charlotte is expected to get pummeled with rain all week and who’s to say that the drizzle won’t linger around for another day with Tropical Storm Karl heading towards the southeastern coast.
It doesn’t help either side that the Panthers are now notorious for having a less than favorable field following last season’s playoff run where both the visiting Seahawks and Cardinals had to change cleats midgame for better traction. The grass surface inside Bank of America Stadium will likely be covered by a tarp during the midweek rainfall but once it’s removed for the game, we could see a surface similar to that of Pittsburgh’s battered field from a week ago. Wind won’t be much of an issue though and temperatures should be in the low-80’s.
When it comes to rain games, Cam Newton is the real deal, having scored at least once in each of his six career outings while posting an impressive 5-1 record. But the former Heisman Trophy winner is prone to turning the ball over, also averaging at least one fumble or pick per weather-impacted game. He, alongside his running back committee of Fozzy Whittaker, Mike Tolbert and Cameron Artis-Payne, will need to keep a solid grip on a slippery pigskin as they fill in for injured veteran Jonathan Stewart who may miss time with a hamstring injury.
Carolina (1-1) is an extremely tough team to beat in crummy conditions, especially at home where they’re 5-0 over the last five seasons. Defensively, it’s hard to find a better team in weather impacted matchups than the Panthers who have surrendered 20 or more points only once since 2011, according to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics. Despite the departure of Josh Norman, the Panthers D is seventh-best in the NFL, allowing just over 300 total yards per game and will need a lights out performance to avoid a 1-2 start.
The Vikings (2-0) have a pretty stout defensive unit as well, holding the opposition to less than 290 ypg is currently fifth-best in the league. But, all eyes are on an offense that will be without their most coveted weapon, Adrian Peterson. Jerick Mckinnon is expected to get the bulk of the carries in AP’s absence with Matt Asiato sprinkled in as well. Both backs will not only have the opportunity to capitalize on a rare opportunity to start and carry the workload, but they’ll also need to take the pressure off a quarterback making only his second start for his new team while having to endure the elements.
Sam Bradford, who shined in his domed debut last weekend against Green Bay, has minimal professional experience in rain games. His last was back in 2012 where Bradford went 22-of-30 for 205 yards with both a touchdown and a pick in a crushing loss to New England. Expect tight end Kyle Rudolph to be Bradford’s security blanket in the red zone and go-to option but if Minnesota’s talented young wide-outs Stefon Diggs and Laquon Treadwell fail to create some havoc in the secondary, the Vikings will continue to struggle in poor weather games where they currently post a 4-8 rain record since 2011. Vikings fans will continue to reminisce about Bud Grant, Fran Tarkenton, Ahmad Rashad, the Purple People Eaters and the good ole’ days before the dome.
by The NFLW Team | 09-18-2016 08:00
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 09-14-2016 10:00
NFLWeather Impact Report: Steelers and Bengals Try to Beat The Rain…..Again
When Pittsburgh stormed into Cincinnati last January, they escaped with a narrow 18-16 AFC wildcard playoff victory in a torrential downpour. The only thing more unpredictable than the miraculous fourth quarter comeback was the weather. Hopefully, this game will be equally as exciting as the last outing. It looks promising that the elements will make another damp and dreary appearance.
According to NFLWeather.com, rain is expected for the entirety of this mouthwatering rematch between bitter AFC North rivals. Temperatures will be in the high-70s with humidity hovering around 80%. The wind shouldn’t be much of a factor, topping out around 7mph, but Heinz Field’s open end zone has always been a problem for kickers, rain or shine. And, a muddy grass surface could be the difference factor in the special teams department for both sides.
In Pittsburgh’s rainy playoff win, neither team was particularly impressive as each quarterback threw a pick and both sides combined for seven fumbles (four recovered by opposing team). Despite both teams missing key players (Andy Dalton for Cincy was sidelined and the Steelers were forced to start a third string RB with Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams done for the season), all the heavy hitters will be back for this one, with the exception of Bell serving his suspension.
Since 2012, the Steelers (1-0) have posted an impressive 9-2 record in weather impacted matchups. Regardless of conditions, one player we can bank on that won’t be phased by the rain is Ben Roethlisberger. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, only once in 11 rain games has Big Ben not thrown a touchdown pass and in his last six weather-related matchups, he’s averaged 33 passing attempts and over 240 yards. A little drizzle doesn’t deter Roethlisberger from finding his top target as Antonio Brown has averaged over 10 targets a game in the rain.
Even though Cincinnati (1-0) has played in fewer weather-related games than Pittsburgh, posting a 3-3 record since 2011, don’t let Dalton’s lack of experience in crummy conditions fool you. His last two starts in the rain resulted in wins over tough Denver (2014) and New England (2013) teams while star wideout AJ Green was a complete non-factor against the Broncos. In those pivotal wins, Dalton completed 37-of-53 attempts for 358 yards, two touchdowns and two picks. The stats might not be anything to gloat about but a 2-0 record against both of those juggernauts certainly is. Expect Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard to alleviate some of the pressure off Dalton in the rain-soaked rivalry with Hill likely to see significantly more carries than his speedy counterpart.
by The NFLW Team | 09-11-2016 10:00
Greetings NFL Fans:
Our kickoff newsletter is a short one this year. First and foremost, NFLWeather.com is now available in Spanish. You will see two flags in the top right corner of NFLWeather.com Simply click on the flag that represents the language of your choice. See http://www.nflweather.com/es
Second, NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics now reports the weather conditions at the end of each quarter. As an example, see the details page from Thursday night’s game between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos.
Third, we’re pleased to welcome back noted sports blogger Will Strome who will be providing weekly insights into the weather impact on key games. His articles also feature in action photos from USA Today photographers. See his KickOff blog post on the NFL’s Top Mudders.
Finally, the pennant race is upon us. For those who also follow baseball, don’t forget about MLBWeather.net
by The NFLW Team | 09-07-2016 09:00
Seven months after hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in Santa Clara, the Denver Broncos will defend their Super Bowl 50 crown against a vengeful Cam Newton and company who will be searching for nothing short of sweet revenge.
According to NFLWeather.com, temperatures will be in the low-80s with humidity lingering around 27% at game time. Wind shouldn’t be much of a factor, topping out around 5 mph, and the likelihood of precipitation is 0% as of Tuesday. However, a light rain and fog is expected to roll through the area Tuesday evening so who knows what could still be hovering around Denver come Thursday’s kickoff on the grass surface of Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
According to NFLWeather.com’s Historical Analytics, The Broncos are rarely bothered by the natural elements, posting a 4-2 record in rainy matchups since 2010 with an offense that averages just under 30 points per game. Over those six games, it’s clear the offensive game plan doesn’t sway towards the run in the rain with quarterbacks dropping back on average almost 32 times per game. That could mean Trevor Siemian, making his first career NFL start, could surprise a few people with a higher number of drop backs than most would expect. Rain or shine, Peyton Manning’s successor shouldn’t be too phased by the elements having played his college ball at Northwestern University, along the windy banks of Lake Michigan. It also doesn’t hurt having aerial weapons such as Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders at your disposal as well as a bruising running back like CJ Anderson to hand off to.
Carolina, 0-2 in the high altitude since 1997, is historically a solid team in bad weather as well. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, the Panthers are 5-1 in weather-related games since 2011 with a defense that only surrenders 17.3 points per game. But all eyes will be on Newton who averages at least one touchdown and one turnover in every outing where weather is a factor. Against a stout Denver defense that was third best in the league last year against the run (83.6 yards against per game); the Panthers will need tight end/security blanket Greg Olsen to cause some problems between the hashes and highly-touted wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who missed all of last season, to create some plays downfield. Jonathan Stewart will be the workhorse in the backfield both this game and the entirety of the 2016 campaign.
Back in 2014, Denver had home games week one and two, and while the first game was not impacted by weather, the second game against Kansas City featured a downpour. Here’s to hoping we see some unexpected conditions for Thursday’s anticipated Super Bowl rematch to ignite the NFL season.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 08-24-2016 14:00
1. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
Spearheading the punishing Packers’ ground game is former Heisman Trophy winner Eddie Lacy. Entering his fourth season, Lacy has established himself as the ideal short-yardage and goal line rusher in the NFL…when he’s healthy, that is. Despite battling nagging injuries, Lacy still averaged over 4.0 yards per carry in 2015 but only found the end zone three times, a career-low.
But in poor weather match-ups when Lacy is healthy, Lacy is a battering ram. In six career weather-impacted match-ups, he’s rushed for 593 yards on 114 touches and seven touchdowns. Last year alone in a pair of rain games, the former University of Alabama running back averaged over 114 yards on 20 carries per game (roughly 5.7 yards per carry). Green Bay is 3-0 in poor weather when Lacy doesn’t cough up the pill.
Eddie Lacy will likely have a handful of weather-impacted match-ups to look forward to this season with three December home games at the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, a trip to Chicago in mid-December, and if hurricane season hits Florida in early September, know that Green Bay opens the season at Jacksonville. According to NFLWeather.com, Green Bay has hosted six poor weather games since 2012. For 2016, Eddie Lacy leads the Pack and is #1 on NFLWeather.com’s list of the NFL’s Top Mudders.
2. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
Yet another top tier running back that can’t seem to stay healthy for a full season, Jamaal Charles will continue to be the top ball carrier in Andy Reid’s rushing attack. However for the first time in a long time, he’ll have some competition from Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware, who shined in damp and dreary weather conditions during Charles’ absence last season.
Heading into 2015, Charles was arguably the best all-purpose rusher in the rain, averaging roughly 6.6 yards per carry when the weather took a turn for the worse. But a groin injury last season allowed West and Ware to platoon at RB in KC’s pair of weather-impacted matchups. With Charles sidelined for both rain games, West and Ware combined for 220 yards on 37 touches (almost 6.0 ypc) and zero fumbles.
With the versatility of weapons in the KC backfield, it’s no surprise that the Chiefs had the sixth-best rushing attack in the league and were tied with Carolina and Buffalo for most rushing TD’s in 2015. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, Kansas City has averaged at least two poor weather match-ups a season. That trend should continue with a trio of December home games and a late-November divisional matchup at Mile High Stadium in Denver.
3. Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders
Despite only competing in three career weather-related games, the former sixth-round draft pick has already asserted himself as a premier back in lousy weather. Murray had the third-most carries in the league last season for the Raiders, 266, and the team has already indicated in multiple press conference interviews that that number could easily rise this season. So when Oakland gets hit with a gameday downpour, Murray will be the go-to option both early and often.
In his last two weather-impacted games, not only are the Raiders 2-0, but, Murray racked up 166 yards on only 26 carries (almost 6.4 ypc) and two touchdowns. One thing that Murray doesn’t have, that most other RB’s on this list do have, is experienced and reliable depth behind him (Marcel Reece is suspended for first three games of this season). With this being the case, Murray will absolutely dominate the workload and when conditions heavily damper the passing game, he’ll be relied upon even more so in all offensive situations. With a road game against the Broncos slated for New Year’s Day in Denver, hopefully we’ll see what he can do in the snow as well. In 2016, Latavius Murray jumps up to #3 on our list of the NFL’s Top Mudders.
4. Matt Forte, New York Jets
A staple in the Chicago offense for almost a decade, Matt Forte has finally moved from the Windy City, landing in the Big Apple. Both the Bears and Jets were top-10 teams in the league in '15 in rushing attempts so he’s basically transitioning from one run-heavy scheme to another. Despite missing a handful of games last season due to injury, Forte still accumulated over 200 carries for the eighth consecutive season, making him an ideal lead back for New York’s weakened rushing attack, following the departure of Chris Ivory.
Over the last three seasons, the 30-year-old veteran has featured in five weather-impacted matchups with the Bears posting a 5-0 record. Since 2013, Forte has rushed for 467 yards on 107 carries and two TD’s in those games.
According to NFLWeather.com, the Jets have played in five weather impacted games since 2012 meaning there’s a great chance he’ll partake in a snow or rain game at some point in '16. The Jets travel to Buffalo on New Year’s Day (last year the heavy snow in upstate New York forced the league to move this matchup to Detroit) and head to New England the week prior. The Jets host the Patriots at 8:30pm in late November and Indianapolis the following week for another frigid primetime kickoff.
5. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
A wildcard to make the list, having played all his home games in a dome last season, but the second-year star out of Georgia really made a case for himself last season in the rain against the league’s top rushing defense. At Seattle, in a downpour during his rookie season, Gurley rushed for 85 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown against the Legion of Boom who didn’t allow a single 100-yard rusher during the regular season. The statistics might not seem like much, but any back that averages over 4.0 ypc against that particular front seven is genuinely impressive.
Gurley is in an ideal situation with the Rams right now, a team that ranked seventh in rushing a year ago. Even though last year was his rookie campaign, the Rams turned Gurley into a workhorse as he finished the season ninth in the league in touches, 229. With first overall-pick Jared Goff likely to take over the reins at some point this season, there’s no reason why Gurley won’t see even more touches than the year before to alleviate the pressure on the rookie QB.
While Los Angeles weather updates often consist of smog reports, Gurley will get plenty of opportunities to showcase himself in weather related games this season. A cross country trip to New England in early-December and followed by a visit to rainy Seattle two weeks later. places Todd Gurley at #5 on NFLWeather.com's list of the NFL’s Top Mudders.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 02-04-2016 16:00
It’s the most celebrated sporting event in America and for only the 5th time in its 50 year history, the Super Bowl may be marred by rain. Levi Stadium in Santa Clara is located on San Francisco Bay, not far from the Santa Cruz Mountains and the southern tip of the Pacific NorthWest Rain Forest.
According to NFLWeather.com, partly cloudy skies are expected to be hovering over Levi’s Stadium with temperatures in the mid-60s come kickoff. But, Bay Area locals are well aware of just how unpredictable Mother Nature can be this time of year, especially with El Niño lingering offshore. Inconsistent scattered showers have been off and on over the last few weeks which could cause problems for the stadium’s most recent addition, a Bermuda grass hybrid surface.
Since the stadium opened in 2014, Levi’s Stadium has yet to host a rain game but players and coaches have been moaning about the awful playing surface since day one. However, the surface on Super Bowl Sunday will not be the same sod used during the regular season. In fact, the league replaces the playing surface each time the big game is played on natural grass, according to an ESPN report.
Weather has been a factor in only a limited number of Super Bowl matchups but none more memorable than in 2007 when the endless rain poured on the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears in Miami, FL. Ironically, this muddy matchup was the single game that ensured Peyton Manning’s legacy amongst the league’s most elite quarterbacks following his gutsy performance in a downpour.
Since joining Denver, Manning is 3-1 in rain games and averages just fewer than three passing touchdowns per game with a completion percentage of over 70%. A rainy day doesn’t seem to have an impact on the Broncos offensive play calling with Manning dropping back over 33 times and racking up over 250 yards on average each outing. He’s throwing fewer long balls and more short out patterns these days, a combination that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have near perfected in any weather.
According to NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, Denver is 3-0 in rain games when Manning avoids throwing an interception. Not that a turnover will cost Manning and the Broncos a championship, having tossed a pick in Super Bowl XLI and still managed to down the Bears, 29-17, and return to Indianapolis with both the Lombardi trophy and the Super Bowl MVP honor.
Like Manning’s passing stats, his receiver’s production hasn’t been deterred by the elements either. Over the last two seasons, Demaryius Thomas averages over 12 targets in the rain with Emmanuel Sanders targeted over 10 times per game. Whether it’s a drizzle or a downpour, Thomas and Sanders will be relied upon heavily to alleviate the pressure on Denver’s rushing attack.
Even though the Broncos pass extremely well in the rain, the team’s zone blocking scheme creates glaring issues for the opposing defense as well. In the rain, Denver running backs average over 30 touches and well over 130 yards per game. Since 2012, the RBs have found the end zone eight times in six games. CJ Anderson, who rushed for 113 yards on 15 carries and two scores against New England in the snow, will be the lead back with Ronnie Hillman receiving a handful of touches as well.
Offensively in the rain, the Carolina Panthers don’t quite put up the impressive numbers as Denver does (Denver averages 29.6 while Carolina averages 18.5) but the defense more than makes up for it. The Panthers surrender just over 17 points per game in the rain and have allowed 20 or more only once since 2011.
But against Denver’s solid front seven, Carolina will need Cam Newton to give them a Superman-like performance if they want the Super Bowl trophy. In Newton’s most recent weather related matchup, the former Heisman winner bounced back from two turnovers and responded by completing 16-of-35 attempts for 248 yards and two scores en route to a 29-26 overtime win over the Colts.
Over the course of his six career weather-impacted professional outings, Newton is 5-1 and found the end zone in every rain game. However, in those six matchups Newton turned the ball over eight times, five of which were interceptions.
Surprisingly when the weather gets ugly, Newton doesn’t tuck any more often than he usually does. This season he averaged over eight carries a game but since his rookie season, Newton tallies roughly six carries a game in the rain. Not that the Panthers will need production from Newton on the ground, having the league’s top rushing attack averaging 148ypg, but it wouldn’t hurt and will definitely force Denver to respect the run and play eight in the box at all times.
The lead dog responsible for Carolina’s unstoppable ground game all season has been veteran Jonathan Stewart. Despite racking up only three 100-yard performances all season, he’ll be relied upon heavily if a torrential downpour hits the Bay.
Another key component for Carolina is Newton’s security blanket, tight end Greg Olsen. In rain games, Olsen averages nine targets a game and hauls in over five. This matchup could be crucial since Denver is notorious for allowing tight ends to put up solid offensive numbers in the rain. In six rain games, while opposing tight ends get targeted almost 10 times per matchup, the Denver defense has surrendered five touchdowns.
It’s too easy to assume that rain forces teams to hone in on the ground game and abandon the passing attack. If winds kick up, that could be the case. But don’t expect that a little rain will slow down these two high octane offenses. It’s a given that defenders will slip and passes will be dropped, but don’t think for a second that the tenacity and passion we’ve seen in previous Super Bowls will be compromised.
This damp Super Bowl will end one of two ways. We’ll either see a fairytale ending for arguably the greatest QB in NFL history, or we’ll witness a changing of the guard from the successful and wily veteran to the exciting young maverick. Either way, it’s going to rain on someone’s Super Bowl parade, come Sunday night.
by The NFLW Team | 01-10-2016 20:00
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 01-07-2016 08:00
Ten years ago, Pittsburgh snuck into the playoffs and stormed into Cincinnati as the six-seed and stunned the Bengals. Here we are in 2016 and little has changed, aside from the weather.
According to NFLWeather.com, temperatures will be in the mid-40s but rain will be lingering in southwestern Ohio. Wind shouldn’t be too much of a factor, roughly 7-10 mph, but the rain is expected to start Friday and roll through Sunday.
When these two fierce AFC North division rivals square off on Saturday night, a damp and dreary night will be in full force in Cincy. Despite not playing in a rain game all season, the Bengals have had to prepare on a handful of potential poor weather matchups including an early season matchup at home against the Seahawks and again in late November with the Rams.
The last time the AFC North champions played in a legitimate rain game at home was a 13-6 dogfight against the New England Patriots. That was back in October of 2013 and the Bengals weren’t starting a backup quarterback. As Andy Dalton continues to watch from the sidelines, backup AJ McCarron is expected to be under center for the Wildcard matchup.
During the rain game win over N.E., the Bengals (12-4) defense rose to the occasion and held Tom Brady to only 18 completions of his 38 attempts, forced an interception and sacked him four times. Against the run, the defensive unit was equally as stout, holding the Pats ground game to 82 yards.
Shutting down the high-powered Pats offense was crucial, but out-possessing NE by 10 minutes and rushing for over 160 on almost 40 attempts was the blueprint to victory. If Cincinnati has any chance of getting the monkey off their back, they’ll need to stick to the same formula. Despite not having an elite passing defense, they more than make up for it with a solid front seven that holds its opposition to 92.3 rushing yards per game.
Unlike Cincy, who has avoided weather-related games over the last few seasons, Pittsburgh (10-6) has played in almost a dozen over the last three seasons. According to NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, Pittsburgh is 8-2 in rains games since 2012 but 0-1 this season.
The loss came in week one on the road in New England where the Pats put on a passing clinic through much of the first half. By the time the Steelers could muster any sort of offense, the game was well out of hand.
But in the rain, Pittsburgh is notoriously a tough team to beat. Defensively, the team surrenders on average roughly 20 points per game and held the opposition to 14 points or less on five separate occasions when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Offensively, Ben Roethlisberger puts up favorable numbers despite the natural elements. Only once in 10 rain games has Big Ben not thrown a touchdown pass. The same goes for Antonio Brown who, in weather impacted matchups, averages over 10 targets per games.
The only glaring issue with the Pittsburgh offense is the potential to be without DeAngelo Williams who has been carrying the ground game since Le’Veon Bell suffered a season-ending injury. Fitzgerald Toussaint will be the starting running back which reminds Steelers fans of the Wildcard loss a year ago against Baltimore where an inexperienced backfield was unable to establish any sort of ground game.
If the Cincinnati defense can’t slow down the Steelers, it’s safe to assume that neither will the rain. This matchup has upset written all over it which won’t bode well for the Bengals’ faithful who may have to wait another long season to finally get over that playoff hump.
by The NFLW Team | 01-05-2016 20:00
Get ready for some old time football as Antonio Brown and the Pittsburgh Steelers knock helmets against the Cincinnati Bengals Saturday Night in the wind and rain at Paul Brown Stadium. For Details, see http://www.nflweather.com/game/2015/wildcard-weekend/steelers-at-bengals.
by The NFLW Team | 12-27-2015 08:00
There are still a few games left in the regular season and while we're not ones to count our chickens before they hatch, we're already dreaming of potential Super Bowl match-ups. There's one possibility that we're particularly excited about and that would be a rematch of the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers. Both teams are playing terrific football this year, and if the two were to meet up in the big game, the real winners would be sports fans.
Fair weather fans will find themselves in luck for Super Bowl 50 if they're looking forward to nice weather on game day. The championship will be played at San Francisco's Levi's Stadium where it hasn't rained for the past 18 games . However, it is important to bear in mind that January and February are the rainy season for the northern part of California so it might not be a bad idea to pack a poncho should you head out.
According to NFLWeather.com NFLWeather.com, the Panthers have only had to play one rain game so far this season. Also, all of the team's closest games that have been won by less than a touchdown have occurred when it was either overcast or raining. Overcast skies are currently predicted for the Panthers upcoming game against the Atlanta Falcons (which won’t matter in the Georgia Dome , which could turn out to be one of the toughest challenges to its perfect season yet.
Carolina and New England previously met in the Panthers' only Super Bowl appearance back in 2004 in what is largely considered to be one of the better played and more exciting Super Bowls in recent memory. That's not even counting the additional frenzy caused by a certain "wardrobe malfunction" that took place during the halftime show of Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson. While halftime won't have nearly the same amount of fireworks with Coldplay scheduled to perform, the game has the potential to be just as good as both squads are arguably among the best either franchise has ever put on the field.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is staking his claim for league MVP and has helped lead the Panthers to a franchise best 12-0 start. Meanwhile the Patriots continue to do what the Patriots do, win with clinical efficiency. Although, the effectiveness of the New England offense has been greatly hindered by injuries to star tight-end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman.
As of right now, the two teams are co-favorites to win the Super Bowl, though we'd have to give the edge to the currently undefeated Carolina Panthers. By this point in the season, the Panthers have proven that their success is much more than just a fluke. Also, Newton's performances have only continued to improve in the clutch. Whether rain or shine, the Panthers have been able to weather all comers regardless of conditions. If nothing else, that fact proves the drive and versatility of this dynamic offense. The quarterback put up his best performance of the year in a barnstormer against New Orleans where he threw for 5 touchdowns in a 41-38 victory.
According to Bwin News, the Patriots lost the last two Super Bowls that they were favored to win (Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLIV) and generally perform better as underdogs or slight favorites (7 or fewer points). So in a bizarre twist of fate, Carolina's success could work in New England's favor. In last year's Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks, the choice of which teams was the favorite was a toss-up. And sure enough, it was a close match that the Pats won 28-24. It was also played in a dome, which meant the weather wasn't a factor. That being said, it's clear from the Pats' past few seasons that, rain or shine (or snow!), they tend to win.
The Patriots will desperately need all the offensive weapons they can get if they want a chance of home field advantage for this year's playoffs. As of this writing, both safety Patrick Chung and Rob Gronkowski have returned to practice (the latter sporting a knee brace), which definitely bodes well for New England's chances going forward. Edelman is expected to return by the end of the regular season, as is Danny Amendola (aka Edelman lite), but we'll have to wait and see if that will be in time to help the team. Meanwhile if the Panther's can remain healthy, there's no reason not to expect them to keep pounding all the way to Super Bowl 50. The largest variable will be the weather at Levi Stadium Santa Clara which is located on San Francisco bay at the Southern Top of the Pacific Northwest rainforest. There could very well be a February downpour similar to the one the Bay Area just experienced in this El Nino year. But on the bright side, if it’s raining in the Bay Area, its snowing in Lake Tahoe. Bring your BBQs, rain coats and your skis.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 12-17-2015 21:00
The Rain City won’t exactly have monsoon-like conditions on Sunday when the surging Seattle Seahawks host the Cleveland Browns but wind and rain will certainly be in full force in the Pacific Northwest all weekend.
According to NFLWeather.com, the field turf inside CenturyLink Field will be slick with rain forecasted to hit the area hard Sunday and the days leading up to the non-conference matchup. Temperatures will be in the mid to low-40s with southwest wind gusts in the 8-10 mph range. See NFLWeather.com for further details.
Last year during the pregame warmups of the NFC Championship game, a torrential downpour engulfed Seattle’s stadium but simmered down as game time approached. Sunday’s conditions won’t be quite as harsh, but, the elements will certainly play a predominant role in the outcome of this mid-December matchup as the ‘Hawks enter the game with a flawless 8-0 record in weather-related games since 2012.
Legion of Boom aside, the biggest difference maker in Seattle’s rain game unbeaten run has been their dominant control of the ground game. The Seahawks greatest weather game weapon, Marshawn Lynch, may or may not play again this season which is extremely unfortunate because Lynch has 15 touchdowns and averages over 110 yards a game.
But even when Beast Mode is sidelined, the Seattle (8-5) rushing attack still thrives. Over the last three seasons in poor weather conditions, the ‘Hawks offense averages just under 200 rushing yards a game. But without the RB tandem of Lynch and Thomas Rawls (also on IR), former Buffalo Bills RBs Bryce Brown will get the start with Fred Jackson slated to be the third down back. Both backs are very familiar with awful playing conditions, having braved the Buffalo winters over the last few seasons.
Russell Wilson has also been a dangerous duel threat outside of the tackle box and already has one 100-yard rushing rain game performance under his belt. As for the passing attack, Wilson averages 22 drop backs in his eight career weather impacted outings but has 11 turnovers as well. He does a phenomenal job of utilizing all his offensive weapons, in turn, over eight games the ‘Hawks have only had two 100-yard receivers.
Cleveland (3-10) in the rain, however, is predictable and unimpressive with a 2-3 rain game record since 2012. Offensively, the team has put up 30+ points in two of its last three weather impacted matchups but over a five-game span the Browns average roughly 18 points per game.
According to NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, only once in five rain games have the Browns had a running back surpass 100 yards which spells trouble for an offense led by the shaky rookie, Johnny Manziel. The Browns can’t honestly believe that Manziel will beat the ‘Hawks in front of the 12th Man so the pressure is really on the offensive line and the one-two Cleveland punch featuring Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. to control the clock. Most importantly, keeping the high-octane Seattle offense at bay that averages 34 points per rain game. Will be key for the Browns. Of course if they lose, the consolation prize is taking the lead for the 2016 first draft pick.
With a bruising ground game and a solid defensive unit that seems to be getting better by the week, the only foreseeable way the ‘Hawks don’t soar past the Browns is a Manziel miracle in a monsoon. Unfortunately for the Cleveland faithful, that’s about as unlikely as the Browns not selecting a bust in the first round of the NFL draft.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 12-12-2015 16:00
The cruel Wisconsin winter will show it’s frigid form with relentless rain on Sunday when the NFC Eastern contending Dallas Cowboys travel to Green Bay with high hopes of downing the Packers. According to NFLWeather.com, 14 mph winds will be a major concern for the kicking game with a relentless rain expected to linger all afternoon. Lambeau’s Desso Grassmaster surface will be put to the ultimate test, especially if temperatures drop. Come kickoff, temperatures should be low-50s but a late afternoon kickoff will result in a frigid second half.
At the top of the NFC North is Green Bay (8-4), a team that’s already lost one rain game at home this season. On Thanksgiving against heated-rival Chicago, turnovers and missed opportunities lead to a major upset. Aaron Rodgers completed 22-of-43 attempts for 202 yards, a touchdown and an interception but it certainly didn’t help the passing game that Davante Adams only hauled in two of his 11 targets. Aside from his fumble, Eddie Lacy had a solid performance with 17 touches for 105 yards and a score. But the Rodgers pick and the Lacy fumble were ultimately too detrimental to overcome.
We all remember from Deflate-gate that in colder and damp conditions quarterbacks like their footballs with slightly less air. If the nonstop downpour turns to freezing rain, both quarterbacks will have major issues with their grip and release. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, both teams over the last four years have played in a combined 10 rain games and only once has either side had less than 20 passing attempts. Clearly neither offense allows Mother Nature to dictate when and how often the play calling commands for an aerial assault.
Since the 2011 season, Dallas (4-8) averages over 32 passing attempts per rain game. Tony Romo has been under center for all of them but Sunday’s starter will once again be veteran Matt Cassel whose last start on the road in the rain was back in 2012. Back then, Cassel was with Kansas City and his Chiefs lost a 16-13 overtime heartbreaker to Pittsburgh. He finished the afternoon 11/26 for 154 yards and one interception.
The Cowboys are 2-2 in rain games since 2011 but 0-2 against NFC opposition. Green Bay has played in six rain games since 2012 with three different starting quarterbacks, posting a 3-3 record. With Rodgers, the Pack are 2-1 with the lone loss coming against Chicago on Turkey Day.
But it’s the Green Bay ground game that routinely determines a Packers win or loss in weather impacted matchups. When Eddie Lacy and James Starks combine for 25 touches or more, the team is 3-1. Lacy is an ideal back for weather-related games because of his bruising running style, especially between the tackles. He averages over 75 yards per game in the rain and a touchdown.
Like GB, if the Dallas rushing attack gets 30 carries or more, then the Cowboys are 2-0. Against Miami in the Cowboys’ lone rain game victory (24-14) of 2015, the team rushed for 166 yards with Darren McFadden accounting for 129 on 29 touches.
During the downpour on Sunday, even though both sides will likely drop back at least 20 times or more, limiting turnovers will be crucial but an absent ground game will without a doubt result in a loss.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 12-05-2015 08:00
It’s a make or break matchup for both the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens when the two wildcard hopefuls go head-to-head in a soggy Sun Life Stadium on Sunday. Despite firing head coach Joe Philbin weeks ago, Miami’s wildcard hopes are, surprisingly, very much alive. What’s not surprising are the Floridian rain storms expected to hit south Florida all weekend, just in time for a pivotal matchup against the Ravens on the exact same “in the hunt” boat as the ‘Phins.
According to NFLWeather.com, 20 mph winds will be swirling around the grass surface stadium with light rains rolling through south Florida. Thunderstorms are expected to hit the area on Friday and Saturday so the grass surface should be an absolute disaster.
But this is all familiar territory for a Dolphins side that has expected and had to prep for rain prior to a handful of their regular season matchups thus far. Miami (4-7) has played in three weather-related games this season and almost had a fourth when east coast rain storms narrowly avoided the team’s divisional matchup in New York against the Jets.
This season alone, Miami is 1-2 in the rain and a dismal 1-5 since 2012. It’s glaringly apparent that the Dolphins struggle to run the ball when Mother Nature takes a turn for the worse. In three games this season, Lamar Miller averages only 43 yards per game but has two rushing scores and caught a TD.
Ryan Tannehill hasn’t exactly been stellar in rain games this season with two turnovers but he does a solid job of utilizing all of his offensive options. The top receiving option for Tannehill in the rain has changed from game to game which makes it very difficult for the defense to focus on one specific threat. Jarvis Landry is the most dangerous receiver but Rishard Matthews, Jordan Cameron and even Lamar Miller could see a lot of looks.
Baltimore (4-7) hasn’t played in a weather impacted game since 2013 and only 1-2 in the rain since 2012. Poor weather certainly doesn’t deter Baltimore from taking to the air but things could be very different on Sunday without starting QB Joe Flacco. In his three rain games, Flacco has averaged over 42 passing attempts but at least one interception in each outing. Former Viriginia Cavalier and Houston Texan Matt Schaub will be the starter for the second straight week.
In the rain, it’s clear the Baltimore passing attack prefers tight ends over any other wide out target. In two of the three weather games, Dennis Pitta (injured all of 2015) has seen the most targets with a seven reception for 125 yards and two TD performance back in 2012 and six grabs for 48 yards and a score in 2013.
Like Miami, Baltimore struggles to establish the ground game. With Justin Forsett done for the year, the bulk of the carries will be going to straight to Javorious Allen who will be making his professional rain game debut. But if Baltimore can’t get something going on the ground early, then the fate of Baltimore’s potential postseason berth lies in the arm of Matt Schaub.
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