STRIPLV1017

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Striplv Magazine - The Sexiest Magazine on the Planet, Issue 1017

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Marcus Peters) and special teams, the Chiefs face a tough schedule this year as four of their five non-divisional road opponents were playoff teams last year (New England, Houston, Dallas and the New York Giants). If the Chiefs stay in the hunt through December, the fact that three of their last four games will be played at home can mean the difference between a division win, a wildcard spot or staying at home. Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian has been called an extremely safe thrower who dinks and dunks and will take sacks while holding onto the ball too long. If he starts the season as their QB, for the Broncos’ sake he better be the player he was for the first half of last season and not the second half. But Siemian is not the only trouble spot on the team. Denver has major question marks at running back and on both offensive and defensive lines. Those issues, combined with a schedule that puts the Broncos on the road for seven of the last 11 weeks, paints a very bleak playoff picture. Still, Denver could see a wild card spot depending on how the Chiefs and cross-conference competitors Baltimore Ravens fare. Los Angeles Chargers – If the team stays healthy, the Chargers could make a run for the playoffs, but there is a lot to overcome. First and foremost they play in arguably the toughest division in the NFL. Then there is the uncertainty of how the move to L.A. and playing in the smallest venue in the league, will affect them. If wide receiver Keenan Allen and cornerback Jason Verrett can play the way they did before their injuries and wide receiver Mike Williams can catch as he did at Clemson, then perhaps quarterback Philip Rivers can lead the Chargers to the promised land. AFC North Pittsburgh Steelers – It is possible the Steelers can go 5-0 before facing the Chiefs in Kansas City week six? To kick off the 2017 campaign, Pittsburgh plays Cleveland, Minnesota, Chicago, Baltimore and Jacksonville. Of those games, the only one that shouldn’t be a walk is the one against division rival Baltimore. The Steelers boast perhaps the best offensive trio in the NFL with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell. The Steelers will not be challenged for the division title. Baltimore Ravens – Coach John Harbaugh is going to have his work cut out for him. While the Ravens were active in free agency, it was mostly on the defensive side of the ball. Considering that wide receiver Mike Wallace isn’t getting any younger, running back Kenneth Dixon is suspended to start the season and wide receiver Breshad Perriman has a history of injuries, quarterback Joe Flacco needs more than running back Danny Woodhead to improve from last year’s 21st-ranked scoring offense in the league. Despite all the challenges, the Ravens should still have enough in them to make a playoff run. Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals couldn’t catch a break last season, losing seven of nine games by a single possession. Despite having an offensive line that appears questionable and will most likely have an impact in early November when they play three consecutive strong defensive teams on the road in the Jaguars, Titans, and Broncos, the Bengals still have a pretty good chance of starting the season at 4-1 before their bye week as they face Baltimore, Houston, Green Bay, Cleveland and Buffalo. Cleveland Browns – While there’s cause for optimism in Cleveland, even if the Browns win three more games than they did last year, their improvement won’t amount to very much. Yes, they strengthened their offensive line. Yes, they continued to add decent receivers. And yes, they made a good choice when picking the versatile Jabrill Peppers. Even with that optimism, it won’t take the Browns out of the AFC North cellar. AFC South Tennessee Titans – It’s been nine years since the Titans have been in the playoffs and only a tiebreaker kept this team on the rise out of last year’s postseason. As long as quarterback Marcus Mariota can return to form at 100 percent from his broken leg, and with one of the top-three offensive lines protecting their franchise QB he should, the Titans will be a major force in the AFC. They will, however, face a major challenge late in the season as they play four of five games on the road, including a Thursday night game in Pittsburgh. Indianapolis Colts – The big question for the Colts is how healthy will quarterback Andrew Luck be coming off a major shoulder surgery when the season starts? How much protection can he realistically expect from an offensive line that is questionable? And how much can they rely on their 34-year-old running back Frank Gore? Making two West coast trips in the first month to face some pretty physical defenses in the Rams and Seahawks could be the litmus test for their offense and set the pattern for the whole season. Nose tackle Johnathan Hankins reinforces their defensive front, but as a whole, their defense isn’t really strong enough to take them down the stretch. Do not expect Indianapolis to make a run for the playoffs. Houston Texans – Some experts are thinking the Texans, who have won their division the last three seasons, will go 8-8 at best this season, while most think they will finish with seven or six wins tops. Considering that their top two quarterbacks (Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage) have two combined NFL starts between them, it’s easy to understand why 2017 will be a season of rebuilding for Houston. And even though the Texans defense, led by a healthy J.J. Watt, should have another stellar season, defenses can’t win championships; they can only keep teams in the hunt. Without an offense to put numbers up on the board, it looks like it is going to be a long season for the Texans. Jacksonville Jaguars – There’s a great deal of excitement around Jacksonville heading into the season because of how active they were with free agency and because Tom Coughlin is back as their executive VP, overseeing all football operations. They have an upgraded offensive line, a potential superstar running back in rookie Leonard Fournette and a potentially dominant defense, all of which could restore this franchise to relevance. But the Jaguars’ big question mark is at quarterback. Unless Blake Bortles can get back on track and improve over last year, this will not be Jacksonville’s year. NFC East Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys and division rival New York Giants will not only be physical with each other as they always are, but both will be playing against the AFC West, which will take its toll. Because of this, there are some people who doubt quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott can repeat their performance from last year, especially considering the Cowboys’ offensive line has two new starters. While their defense is still questionable, it does appear that they have improved at pass rushing over the last season. Still, the Cowboys admittedly have a ton of offensive firepower and play four of their five November games at home, putting them in a great position to take the division title once again. New York Giants – Like their division rival Dallas Cowboys, the Giants’ season will be physically demanding, and even though quarterback Eli Manning can close his eyes and hit wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, or Sterling Shepard, there are still plenty of question marks that could keep the Giants from

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