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The Football Freak is back

['Journal Pioneer NFL columnist John Turner.']
['Journal Pioneer NFL columnist John Turner.']

Columnist taking a different approach this season

Here we go again with another NFL season already upon us, and for the hard-core football fans from P.E.I., this is better than. . .
The Football Freak is going to take a different approach this season. There were many emails last season wanting insight on all the games each week as many people are involved in NFL Survivor pools and the increasing popularity of online betting.
With that type of feedback from readers, The Freak will happily predict all of the weekly games, but will have less of a weekly theme like in the past. Enjoy the excitement of Week 1!

The sure thing
Baltimore is at home to a bad Buffalo team starting Nate Peterman at quarterback. The Ravens have a revamped receiving core, and will reveal a new aerial attack with a win.
No Jameis Winston for the Bucs in a road divisional game to start the season, no running game, take the Saints in the Big Easy.
The Jets are starting rookie quarterback Sam Darnold on the road against a solid team in the Lions. This isn’t college ball son, Detroit wins.
Khalil Mack can rush the passer, but Aaron Rodgers has that quick release. The Bears’ D will make it a game at Lambeau, but fall short.

Don’t mortgage the house picks
Can Saquon Barkley save the Giants? With New York’s revamped O-line, new defensive scheme, a healthy Odell and the Jags’ Blake Bortles with no receivers, take the Gmen
The 49ers are much improved, but this is asking too much for them to go into tough Minnesota – in Kirk Cousins’s debut – and beat them. The Vikes get a W.
The Patriots’ game against the Texans will be a lot closer than you think. Think about this – a healthy JJ Watt and Deshaun Watson. These two will put on a big performance, but it won’t be enough to beat New England at home.

Flip a coin
Miami is a question mark, Tennessee is a question mark. The Titans win on the road as they have a better defence and a solid offensive line.
Alex Smith and Sam Bradford make their debuts for Washington and Arizona. Smith has an injury-depleted backfield with the ancient one, AP, starting while Bradford gets the return of David Johnson. Enough said, Cards win in the desert.
Dallas doesn’t have a receiver that would scare the Summerside Clippers, let alone Carolina. The Panthers will stack the box with eight to shut down Ezekiel Elliott. Carolina slips by the Cowboys at home.
Seattle doesn’t have the Legion of Boom anymore, but they still have quarterback Russell Wilson. The Broncos, on the other hand, have decided on one-year wonder Case Keenum to run their offence. Even with no defence, Russ will make enough plays to get the ‘Hawks a road win.
The return of Andrew Luck after missing all of last season will fire up the crowd and his teammates when they host the aging Bengals. T.Y. Hilton will have a big game with Luck throwing the ball. The Colts get the victory.
The Chargers have a good defence, and the Chiefs might have one of the worst in the NFL. It’s the much-anticipated debut of the big right arm of Pat Mahomes for the Chiefs. Veteran Philip Rivers will give the youngster a lesson on how to play the position in the NFL. Bolts win.
The Rams were the surprise team last season, but Chucky Gruden might have a few tricks up his sleeve in his Raiders’ debut as head coach. He will get the underachieving Raiders to play inspired football and beat the Rams, much to the delight of the Black Hole.

Upset special
The Freak has a gut feeling that the Le’Veon Bell distractions, the Browns’ improvement at quarterback in Tyrod Taylor, who doesn’t turn over the ball, a solid running game to go along with new target Jarvis Landry, and a young athletic defence, can only means one thing.
An upset in the making.
Take the Browns over the Steelers.

John Turner is a Summerside school teacher and coaches youth football. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to ssidespartansfootball@yahoo.ca.

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