Bills(1-2) vs Patriots  (3-0)

Coming off what could have been a season-saving victory, Rex Ryan prepares to match wits with his biggest rival when he leads the Buffalo Bills into a matchup against Bill Belichick and the host New England Patriots on Sunday (Enter Contest). Despite the absence of quarterback Tom Brady due to a four-game suspension, the unbeaten Patriots are in a familiar perch atop the AFC East.

About the Patriots

It’s unclear if Jimmy Garoppolo or rookie Jacoby Brissett, who are both dealing with injuries, will be under center for New England. They have not missed a beat since the beginning of the season. The team improved to 3-0 with a 27-0 demolition of Houston on Sept. 22. They’ve won 21 of their last 22 division home games.

Both Garoppolo (shoulder) and Brissett were limited in drills during Thursday’s practice. The prognosis of the offense was further muddled by the limited status of star tight end Rob Gronkowski (hamstring). Although he did not have a catch in his season debut against the Texans, Gronkowski is expected to be more involved against Buffalo. Running back LeGarrette Blount, who leads the NFL with 298 yards rushing and has scored four touchdowns, was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month on Thursday. Wide receiver Danny Amendola had nine receptions for 117 yards in the last meeting against Buffalo.

New England’s defense is ranked in the middle of the pack. They’ve allowed an average of 90.3 yards rushing and 15.0 points per game. The Patriots won 23 of the past 25 meetings between the longtime division rivals, including a season sweep a year ago.

About the Bills

Buffalo rebounded from a pair of six-point losses with a dominating 33-18 victory over Arizona on Sunday. It was six days after Ryan fired offensive coordinator Greg Roman. The absence of star wideout Sammy Watkins forced Buffalo to rely on a ground game that produced 208 yards rushing versus Arizona. LeSean McCoy nearly matched his total from the first two weeks combined by rushing for 110 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He rushed for more than 80 yards in both matchups against New England last season.

Watkins was placed on injured reserve Friday, officially ruling him out for at least the next eight weeks. McCoy will be in line for another heavy workload. Buffalo’s defense came alive last week by registering five sacks and four interceptions. Ryan’s teams are 4-18 following a win since 2012.

Posted in NFL

Thursday Night Football

HOUSTON TEXANS (2-0) vs NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (2-0)

Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien likely isn’t going to sob over the predicaments of former boss in New England Bill Belichick ahead of their matchup for Thursday Night Football game (Enter Contests) at Foxborough. The Patriots are expected to start third-round rookie Jacoby Brissett in spite of Tom Brady’s suspension and Jimmy Garoppolo’s shoulder injury. Brissett completed 6-of-9 passes for 92 yards in Sunday’s 31-24 victory over Miami, after Garoppolo went down.

Team’s Breakdown

All-star tight-end Rob Gronkowski has yet to make his season debut. He’s still bothered by a hamstring injury, but could be making his return to the lineup Thursday. Acquired from Chicago in March, Martellus Bennett has done a good job in place of Gronkowski. The nine-year veteran has played on all but two offensive snaps during the season’s initial two games. He reeled in a 20-yard touchdown on Sunday against Miami. Bruising running back LeGarrette Blount collected 193 yards and two touchdowns this season. He’ll look to stay healthy, especially against the team that landed him on the injured reserve last season.

 

After enduring the round and round of their own quarterback carousel last year, the Texans have welcomed the stability afforded by their expensive offseason acquisition Brock Osweiler. Signed to a four-year, $72 million contract, Osweiler was able build good chemistry with Pro Bowl selection DeAndre Hopkins and first-round rookie Will Fuller. While Hopkins leads the team with 12 receptions and two touchdowns, Fuller became the third wideout to start his NFL career with two straight 100-yard receiving games.

Running back Lamar Miller provides O’Brien with a constant presence in the backfield, as the offseason acquisition’s 53 carries are second only to Pittsburgh’s DeAngelo Williams (58) for most in the league. Defense has been the name of the game for Houston, which surrendered just 26 points (NFL third-best), 274.5 yards allowed (third-best) and 178.5 passing yards (fourth-best). Three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt earned 1.5 sacks in a 19-12 triumph over Kansas City last Sunday, while linebacker Whitney Mercilus has had two of them this season and 17 in his last 14 games overall.

Posted in NFL

Fanpicks.com College Football Bowl Game Preview

Belk Bowl

Mississippi State vs. North Carolina State

The Belk Bowl will feature another exciting game between Mississippi State and North Carolina State.  Fanpicks.com the premiere daily fantasy sports site is proud to provide you with the following bowl preview in which we predict will be taken by Mississippi State in a close 30 – 27 final score.  Play the best fantasy college football contests only at Fanpicks.com

A pair of potent offenses and dual-threat quarterbacks square off when Mississippi State takes on North Carolina State in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C. Both teams average more than 400 total yards and 33 points per game, and their talented quarterbacks are the catalysts. Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott has passed for 3,413 yards with 25 touchdowns and four interceptions while rushing for 541 yards and 10 more scores; N.C. State’s Jacoby Brissett has rolled up 2,448 passing yards with 19 touchdowns and four interceptions while adding 303 yards and five TDs on the ground.

N.C. State should enjoy a de facto home-field advantage. The Wolfpack are playing a short distance from home and have 15 players from the Charlotte area, including TE/FB Jaylen Samuels (315 rushing yards, 7 TDs; 64 receptions, 599 yards, 7 TDs). It will be the third time the Wolfpack have played in the bowl, where they defeated Louisville 31-24 in 2011 and beat South Florida 14-0 in the 2005 game, then known as the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Both coaches have enjoyed success in bowl games. Dan Mullen has Mississippi State in its sixth bowl in seven years and has posted a 3-2 record, though the Bulldogs have lost two of their last three bowls – including a 49-34 loss to Georgia Tech in last year’s Orange Bowl. N.C. State’s Dave Doeren is 2-0 in bowl games, including a 34-27 win over UCF in last year’s St. Petersburg Bowl – his first postseason trip with the Wolfpack.

NORTH CAROLINA STATE Season Overview (7-5, 3-5 ACC): The Wolfpack rolled through a weak non-conference schedule and took care of the bottom tier of the ACC, but they lack a signature win. Their impressive offensive totals are skewed somewhat by rolling up big numbers against weak competition, but they did put up 514 total yards against North Carolina and 389 versus top-ranked Clemson and are at their best when the ground game led by Matt Dayes (865 yards, 12 TDs) is working. The defense also was impressive against the weaker teams on the schedule but was exposed by Clemson (623 total yards), Florida State (479) and North Carolina (553).

MISSISSIPPI STATE Season Overview (8-4, 4-4 SEC): While Prescott is the engine, the Bulldogs are far from a one-man team, as Fred Ross (81 catches, 933 yards, 4 TDs) and De’Runnya Wilson (55 catches, 822 yards, 9 TDs) lead a talented receiving corps. Turnovers were a major problem late in the season, though, as Mississippi State had nine giveaways over its final four games, including at least two in each contest. The defense had its share of struggles against top competition, especially against the run, as five opponents rolled up more than 200 rushing yards against the Bulldogs with another finishing just six yards shy of that mark.

 

Posted in CFB

College Football Fantasy News 10-9-2015

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles versus Marshall Thundering Herd College Football Fantasy Preview 10-9-2015

Conference USA is featured on Friday October 9th as the Marshall Thundering Herd will host the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. College football draft GM’s can tune to CBS Sports Network at 7PM Eastern Time to track the results of their fantasy roster picks.

Marshall has really piled up the points in their previous three meetings with Southern Miss all resulting in victories. They scored 63 on Southern Miss in 2014, 61 points in 2013 and 59 points in 2012. Marshall Thundering Herd is 4-1 on the year with the lone loss coming on the road to the Ohio Bobcats in week two. Marshall has not had the offensive success they have had in previous seasons ranking 103rd in the nation in total yards by pushing across 351 yards per game.

Southern Mississippi has gone through some pretty lean years of late. So far in 2015 the Golden Eagles are 3-2. They lost their two biggest tests with a 36-28 road defeat at Nebraska and a 34-16 home defeat to Mississippi St. Those games may have been losses on the ledger, the Golden Eagles has shown the ability to at least compete against BCS competition.

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles QB:

Nick Mullins

A junior quarterback Mullins has completed 66% of his throws for 1691 yards with 14 touchdowns and three picks. Mullins has started all three years with the program and has shown significant improvement during this his junior year.

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles RB:

Ito Smith

Smith has emerged as an offensive star of the team with 45 carries for 365 yards and three touchdowns. He is averaging 8.1 yards per carry. He put up good numbers against Mississippi St in week one rushing for 69 yards on eight carries.

Marshall Thundering Herd QB:

Chase Litton

The freshman quarterback was inserted into the lineup in week three and is 3-0 as a starter. Litton has completed 57% of his throws for 633 yards with eight touchdowns and two picks.

Marshall Thundering Herd RB:

Devon Johnson

The running back leads the team with 59 carries for 390 yards and three touchdowns. Johnson has missed last week’s game and had only five carries in week four with a back problem. He is expected to play on Friday night.

North Carolina St Wolfpack versus Virginia Tech Hokies College Football Real Money League Fantasy Preview 10-9-2015

These ACC squads last met in 2010 as they compete in different divisions. The Virginia Tech program has seemed to be slipping in recent season. The team is 2-3 as they have dropped two straight games. It was a poor offensive performance for the Hokies last week as they gained just 100 yards on the Pittsburgh Panthers defense.

NC State is 4-1 with their lone loss coming against Louisville last week at home by the score of 20-13. The four wins have come against very weak competition so the Wolfpack had not been tested until their home date with Louisville.

North Carolina St Wolfpack QB:

Jacoby Brissett

The senior signal caller for the Wolfpack has hit on 73% of his passes for 992 yards with seven touchdowns and no picks. In his step up game against Louisville Brissett completed 16 of 28 throws for 183 yards with a touchdown.

North Carolina St Wolfpack RB:

Matthew Dayes

The Wolfpack running back has been a workhorse in 2015 with 95 carries for 522 yards and ten touchdowns.

Virginia Tech Hokies QB:

Brenden Motley

Motley a junior seeing his first significant action this year has hit on 57% of his throws for 861 yards with seven touchdowns and five picks. He has been sacked 12 times. He had a bad game against Pittsburgh by going 9 of 20 for 91 yards with a touchdown and three picks.

Virginia Tech Hokies WR:

Isaiah Ford

The Hokies sophomore wide out has 24 catches for 382 yards and three touchdowns. He has been held without a touchdown in his past three games.

Posted in CFB