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Week 18 of ESPN NFL Picks

Week 18 of ESPN NFL Picks

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espn nfl picks

ESPN NFL picks are an excellent way to begin your fantasy football season. Their analysts provide expert analysis and insight into every NFL game.

This week, eight experts predict the outcomes of some of the biggest games of the season. Take a look at their predictions below and share your opinions in the comments section.

Cowboys vs. Chargers

The NFL regular season is coming to a close, but there's still plenty of action on tap for Week 18. Whether you need picks for an important game or some betting advice, there are plenty of options available to choose from.

The Cowboys have a chance to secure their second consecutive playoff berth with a victory against Washington. If that occurs, the Cowboys will travel to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers in the Wild Card round.

This is an exciting matchup, but also somewhat of a gamble. The Buccaneers are a solid team but not quite at the same level as either the Patriots or Rams.

On the contrary, the Chargers are far better than a year ago and have been playing well since Keenan Allen's trade. Their defense has also improved significantly; it hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher yet this season.

Moreover, the Chargers' offense has been highly efficient this season and should have plenty of time to get their running game going against Tennessee's defensive line. The Titans have allowed an AFC-low 135.5 rushing yards per road game this year, which should only get better with Derrick Henry back in tow.

Furthermore, the Chargers' offensive line has allowed their running backs an average of 4.65 yards per carry on the road this season and are among the top-20 rankings for both second-level yards and open-field facilitated yards. Furthermore, their running backs have averaged a touchdown and 90 yards in their past four games, making this matchup difficult for Dallas' secondary.

On FOX, the game will be televised and the over/under is listed at an eye-popping 48.5 points. That number could make all the difference in whether the Chargers come out on top or lose.

The Bills enter this game with a 44% chance of clinching the playoffs, but their odds could improve to 53% or fall to 20% with a loss. Conversely, the Dolphins could potentially miss out on their second consecutive postseason appearance with losses or ties against Buffalo as well as those from Jets and Patriots.

Eagles vs. Giants

The New York Giants are one of four teams left in the NFC playoff picture and will face off against Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday night. The winner of this matchup advances to face Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game.

The Giants are coming off a win against the Minnesota Vikings and now head to Philadelphia on Saturday for what could be their most important game of the season. After winning four straight games to secure their spot in the NFC wild card round, they are now favored by 7.5 points.

They are led by two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning, who has returned to his old ways after some setbacks. In their victory over the Vikings, he had five touchdown passes and no interceptions while also showing why he is considered one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL by running for three touchdowns and showing the rest of his team that he is back to his old self.

Though the Giants boast a potent offense, they cannot expect to prevail without an elite defense. At 31st in yards allowed per attempt and 27th in rushing yards per game, New York must make it difficult for the Eagles to move the ball effectively.

Meanwhile, the Eagles boast a formidable pass defense that ranks second in the NFL and only behind the New Orleans Saints. This could prove to be a formidable obstacle for the Giants' offensive line.

This should be an exciting contest between two well-coached teams, with the winner advancing to Sunday's NFC Championship Game. The Eagles have won their last four meetings against the Giants and currently lead the series 92-86-2.

The Philadelphia Eagles are heavy favorites on the oddsboard for this game, and they boast a number of talented players to help them prevail. LeGarrette Blount and receiver Mike Wallace lead the charge on offense, while an impressive offensive line should allow them to keep up with the Giants on the ground; however, their pass defense will be tested.

Broncos vs. Buccaneers

The Broncos come into this matchup riding a two-game winning streak after taking down the Patriots in Week 2. Additionally, they've been an impressive defensive unit at home this season; allowing just 20 points per game at Mile High Stadium and no more than 24 on the road this year.

They are a surefire pick to cover this spread and win on Monday Night. This matchup is one of the most crucial in the NFL, with potential implications on playoff positioning.

One aspect to pay attention to when selecting your team for any given game is how much rest each team has received. Usually, the most rested squad has a better chance at making an impressive play, particularly against the spread.

In that vein, the Buccaneers' lackluster performance against the Cowboys in Week 2 suggests they aren't quite at full strength yet. Two of their top wideouts (Chris Godwin and Julio Jones) were absent for the contest.

However, they've been playing better at home and remain the hottest offense in the NFL. If they can get their offense to run efficiently on the ground, the Bucs should have no trouble defeating the Packers on Sunday afternoon.

But they must improve on defense as well. While the Packers boast an effective running game and pass rush that can eat up the middle of the field, they have been lacking protection and pressure that was crucial in their win over the Bears.

Rodgers should be in great form this Christmas Day as he looks to showcase his newfound skill set. His record for finding open receivers in the red zone suggests he can once again lead his team to victory on Christmas.

The Rams are in much better shape than they were last year. Their defense has seen dramatic improvements, they boast a potent running game and some talented young secondary players. On Sunday they'll face off against an Arizona defense that is still trying to find its footing after suffering its first Week 1 loss. While they should have the advantage against Rams' offensive line, scoring will likely only be possible if they can turn over the ball more frequently.

Cardinals vs. Chargers

Last weekend, the Chargers earned a big victory against the Patriots; now they must remain focused to take on the Cardinals this week. Without starting quarterback Kyler Murray, Arizona must prepare without him so it's essential to check injury reports. Colt McCoy had an excellent game against New England last weekend, completing 26-of-37 passes for 238 yards and scoring one touchdown.

The Cards are 4-6 and must win this game to stay in the playoff picture. They boast a formidable defense but face off against an equally formidable opponent.

They boast a formidable offense, but they must hone their passing game. Their wide receivers are their strongest assets and must make more impressive catches to stay ahead of the competition.

Their running game may not be at its peak, but they still average more than 2.8 yards per carry. To improve that statistic, the Patriots must overcome a Chargers defense that has struggled against running effectively in recent weeks.

This will be a closely contested game. If the Chargers want to prevail, their defense must step up but they're not getting enough help from their offense.

There are a lot of potential outcomes here, and it can be hard to know which one will work out best in the end. But if the Chargers win, they'll secure first place in the NFC West and a playoff spot.

This season, the Seahawks have recorded 21 defensive takeaways - tied for second most in the NFL. Furthermore, they've had 10 games with multiple takeaways, which is more than any other team has had this season.

What's at stake: According to ESPN's FPI, Seattle has an 80% chance of making the playoffs - though that number could change depending on how this game plays out. Carolina's chances are less favorable but they remain more likely to land a top draft pick.

ESPN's Football Power Index projects the Chiefs to have a 44% chance of being the top seed in the AFC. A win would increase that to 75%, while a loss could reduce it to 50%. See our playoff picture for more information.

espn boston

ESPN Boston Issue: The Celtics, Patriots, Red Sox, and Celtics

ESPN will release an all-Boston issue, featuring the Patriots, Bruins, Red Sox and Celtics.

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum is credited as being a major factor in why his team has enjoyed one of the best offseasons in NBA history, according to an ESPN survey.

According to a survey conducted by ESPN, the Celtics were considered co-favorites with Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat for winning the Eastern Conference.

Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics have established themselves as one of the premier sports franchises in American history. Throughout their tenure, they have won 16 championships and participated in prestigious events such as the NBA Finals. Furthermore, they have had fierce rivalries with rivals like Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Atlanta Hawks.

The Boston Celtics began their long run of success during the 1950s. This success coincided with the proliferation of television sets in America, giving the team and its players a national spotlight. Some iconic moments for the team include Bill Russell's 40-rebound game in 1960 and 1962 NBA finals, John Havlicek's steal of an inbounds pass from Philadelphia 76ers during 1965 Eastern Conference championships, Red Auerbach trading Ed Macauley to St. Louis Hawks for University of San Francisco center Bill Russell, Holy Cross standout Tommy Heinsohn, and a first-round draft pick.

After years of struggle, the Celtics returned to prominence during the 2007-08 season. This period saw them assemble a new "Big Three" lineup consisting of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen that eventually led them to win their 17th NBA title.

However, the Celtics have had a difficult stretch recently. Since February 9, they have won only four of their last 11 games and are currently in second place in the Eastern Conference standings, 2.5 games behind Milwaukee Bucks.

Fans have been particularly concerned by Jayson Tatum's recent shooting slump, which has seen him average less than 20 points per game and shoot over 50 percent from the field only twice this season.

Despite these setbacks, the Celtics remain one of the best teams in the NBA. As defending Eastern Conference champions, they play at TD Garden - one of basketball's oldest arenas.

The Celtics are led by star forwards Jayson Tatum and Kyrie Irving, with a talented supporting cast including Marcus Smart, Rajon Rondo, and Gordon Hayward. Over the last five seasons, they've won an unprecedented 13 playoff series while making seven trips to the NBA Finals.

Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins have long been a beloved team among hockey enthusiasts nationwide. Recognized for their iconic black-and-gold color scheme and idealized aggressive, skilled style of play, the team also boasts an extensive hockey heritage.

Established in 1924, the Boston Bruins are one of the original six teams that founded the NHL. Based in Boston, they play their home games at TD Garden.

They have been in the NHL for 94 seasons and are considered one of its most successful franchises. They have won three Stanley Cups (including one in 2019), as well as making it to the finals eight times.

The Boston Bruins have had their share of ups and downs over the years, yet they remain competitive in the NHL. They boast a talented core of young players that are rapidly developing into future stars - forwards Patrice Bergeron and Nathan Horton as well as goaltender Tuukka Rask.

In addition to their remarkable talent, the Bruins are renowned for being a fun and competitive team. They've had some memorable moments throughout their tenure - such as winning the 2010 Winter Classic against Philadelphia Flyers.

Since then, the Bruins have produced top-tier athletes. Star defenseman Zdeno Chara and center Marc Savard have been added to their roster over time.

Consequently, the Bruins have become one of the most beloved teams in the league. Their loyal fan base travels from across America to watch their games each week, while a large television audience tunes in each week to catch every action.

They are widely considered one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, having won five times and reaching the playoffs each season since 2013. The Bruins also rank among other elite teams worldwide.

The team has won two Stanley Cups, in 1970 and 1972. Additionally, they were inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame many years ago, making TD Garden an increasingly popular destination for hockey fans to attend matches.

Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are one of the most beloved teams in American sports history. They have won nine World Series titles and 14 American League pennants during their time based in Boston, Massachusetts; currently owned by MLB and the city of Boston.

The team's history is filled with legendary players. Left-handed slugger Carl Yastrzemski made his debut in 1961 and quickly rose to the top of Boston's offense. Ultimately, he would go on to win three Triple Crowns, six Gold Gloves, 18 All-Star games and earn Hall of Fame recognition in 1989.

Third baseman Wade Boggs, another member of Boston's elite, debuted in 1961 and quickly established himself as one of baseball's most powerful hitters. Although he later went on to star for rival New York, his tenure with Boston was some of its most productive in terms of accomplishments; he earned four Silver Slugger awards, was an all-star eight times, and won five consecutive batting titles.

Other notable Red Sox players include pitchers Ted Williams and Pedro Martinez, shortstop David Ortiz and catcher Manny Ramirez. All played at Fenway Park and have left a lasting legacy for the franchise that continues to thrive today in Boston.

Baseball is a beloved sport in Boston, and the Red Sox are well-represented on ESPN. Indeed, the opening game of the 2021 season between Boston and New York Yankees drew an astounding 8.4 million viewers!

Many Red Sox fans are disappointed that their team hasn't won a World Series since 2013, but there is still much to look forward to this year. They boast several promising young players in their farm system, such as shortstop Marcelo Mayer who ESPN ranks as the consensus top player within Boston's farm system.

The Boston Red Sox have a solid rotation and an exciting roster full of potential stars that could make them the surprise team of 2021. Led by seven-time All-Star Chris Sale and two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, this team has plenty of talent to build upon for success this year.

Boston Patriots

The Boston Patriots are one of the NFL's most successful teams, having won seven championships and earned 29 playoff berths since 2001. Much of their success can be attributed to sabermetrics - a statistical analysis that seeks to identify a team's strengths and weaknesses through data-driven research.

In the 1990s, the Patriots experienced a period of mediocrity before beginning to win more frequently in the 2000s. Led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, they had four straight years with at least 10 wins in 2003 - when Belichick earned himself his second Super Bowl ring and earned himself recognition as NFL Comeback Player of the Year.

One major reason for their success was the Patriots' offseason retooling. Among other changes, they traded former New York Jets defensive tackle Jim Plunkett to the Baltimore Colts in exchange for future Hall of Fame cornerback Tim Fox and draft picks that went to them in exchange. This move enabled them to build up their defense around linebackers Mike Haynes and Tim Fox, leading it into Hall of Fame status.

Meanwhile, the Patriots continued their offensive development. Many players selected in the first round were able to contribute, including quarterbacks Steve Grogan and Drew Bledsoe. Finally, in 2006, they won their fifth Super Bowl.

Though not as widely followed as some of their NFL counterparts, the Patriots do have a passionate fan base in Boston and have been featured on ESPN for many years. Most recently, Sean McDonough joined the broadcast crew as their game caller; he began calling Patriots' games since joining Monday Night Football's cast back in 2010.

On Wednesday night, Reiss' article was altered to remove two sections that contained inaccurate data. It remains unclear why the network took this action; nonetheless, Mortensen's report remained undisturbed.

Reiss' piece is particularly unprofessional given that it relies on Chris Mortensen's false Deflategate story, which was republished earlier this month and remains on ESPN's website. This comes from a network that has been praised by Boston sports fans for correcting numerous false reports in recent months.

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