Chargers at Chiefs: A battle for AFC West supremacy, Philip Rivers’ Chargers will need to rebuff history; he’s lost nine straight to KC. MVP front-running Mahomes, Chiefs look to keep rolling; Eric Berry’s expected return couldn’t come at a better time. The games shootout potential is heightened by injuries to both backfields.
Prediction: 33-30 Chiefs
Texans at Jets: On the opposite ends of the spectrum, these meet with different goals in this matchup. The Jets are in full evaluation mode, down their top running back and their quarterback of the future is dealing with a foot injury that caused him to miss three games. Houston just wants to make it out healthy, albeit with a win, of course. Guys will be playing for jobs, but the New York doesn’t stand much of a chance against Houston.
Prediction: 24-14 Texans
Browns at Broncos: Another game with two teams whose futures seem to be going opposite ways. The upstart Browns, fresh off a win against the Panthers, look to continue building confidence and momentum behind their future star QB, Baker Mayfield. Denver’s biggest issue since Peyton Manning retired has been QB, an odd twist with John Elway running things.
Prediction: 23-20 Browns
Cardinals at Falcons: Two teams playing out the rest of disappointing seasons. At least for Arizona that was to be expected. Losers of five straight, Atlanta is only two years removed from a title appearance. Last year the excuse was OC Steve Sarkisian. This year will likely be put in the injury to starting RB Devonta Freeman, but one man does not a season make…unless it’s a QB. Speaking of, aside from getting Josh Rosen live reps, this season is a major dud for the other Cardinals; namely David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald.
Prediction: 21-17 Falcons
Lions at Bills: In what is a running theme for the week, we get two sub-.500 teams simply filling out the slate at this point. The Lions traded away their best receiver, lost their second best to I.R. and had their promising rookie runner also go down with a knee issue. Jim Bob Cooter’s offense obviously regressed. Buffalo has Josh Allen and not much else. That is bad for Josh Allen. Hopefully the team is able to put the right pieces around him before he’s ruined by having to do too much with too little.
Prediction: Bills 17-14
Packers at Bears: The Bears come in flying high after shutting down the Rams and a chance to take out a rival and clinch a playoff spot. They’d like to redeem themselves for a week one loss that could have gone the other way. Look for the defense to be fired up after recent comments by Aaron Rodgers. The Packers QB did not mince words when asked about the team’s rest-of-season outlook, and has the ability to get it done. Whether the players around him hold up their end remains to be seen. They were a factor in the team’s performance thus far, after all.
Prediction: Bears 27-24
Raiders at Bengals: Building for 2019 and beyond since the preseason; ‘Oakland’ might not be where the Raiders play sooner than expected. Having parted ways with the GM, Jon Gruden now has free reign and a bevy of premium of draft picks the next couple of years. Cincinnati has lost their Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and a bunch of games – a lot before either injury happened. Might the Marvin Lewis eon finally be coming to an end?
Prediction: 20-17 Raiders
Cowboys at Colts: Finally a matchup with dual playoff implications. Dallas comes in winners on five straight. The offense has really opened up since acquiring Amari Cooper, but Dak Prescott has been worse on the road and against Colts-favorite, zone defense. Indy has to be rejoicing over the return of Andrew Luck to form. Aside from a clunker loss against the woeful Jags, the Colts have won six of their last seven on Luck’s arm. He’ll need to be wary of a Dallas defense that has been playing lights out. Zeke is the deciding factor here.
Prediction: 24-21 Cowboys
Dolphins at Vikings: Last week’s final play Music City Miracle impression notwithstanding, the Miami gets to trade celebrating on South Beach to trying to avoid a dip in the waters of Lake Minnetonka. The luster is wearing off Adam Gase, expect sweeping changes this off-season whether he stays or goes. Minnesota already fired their OC and some have speculated that Mike Zimmer might not be too safe either. It seems that $84M dollar investment in Kirk Cousins was bad for everybody involved, save for Cousins’ bank account, of course.
Prediction: 27-17 Vikings
Titans at Giants: Derrick Henry set a Titans record last week against the Jaguars, gets his chance for a encore against the Giants. He won’t catch them off guard like the Jags, but it’ll be interesting to see if he can end the season strong. The Titans are very much alive in the playoff race and need quarterback Marcus Mariota to keep up his recent solid play. New York won without Odell Beckham Jr last week and Get to show if it was a fluke or if there is at least some credence to the idea that OBJ is the problem. The Titans are the latest team that gets to try stopping Saquon Barkley.
Prediction: 28-21 Giants
Redskins at Jaguars: Not much to see here folks. Be it the devastating injuries suffered by Washington or the devastatingly bad play of Jacksonville, this game is disappointment personified. In fact, the most intriguing storylines surrounding these teams is the post surgery infections of the Skins’ Alex Smith and Derrius Guice or the benching of Blake Bortles – fresh off a contract extension – for Cody Kessler. Unless you have to, it might be best to just check the box scores on this one.
Prediction: 14-10 Jaguars
Buccaneers at Ravens: Tampa Bay has far too much talent offensively to have the record they do. The problem is their defense would suggest it should be much worse. Jameis Winston has been far steadier since being reinserted as the starter, committing just two turnovers. Baltimore will once again start Lamar Jackson under center, though he could lose snaps to Joe Flacco since the Ravens are still fighting for a playoff spot. This is really the Bucs offense against the Raven D, but Jackson gives it at least one other point of interest.
Prediction: 21-17 Ravens
Seahawks at 49ers: Coming off a hard-fought victory over Minnesota, Russell Wilson leads playoff hopeful Seattle against San Francisco for the second time in three weeks. The offense was brutal versus the Vikings so a struggling Niner defense should be a welcome sight. San Fran is another team who’s season has been over. When Jimmy Garoppolo went down expectations went with him. Look for Seattle to rely heavily on the ground game to get what should be one of their easier wins of the season.
Prediction: 28-14 Seahawks
Patriots at Steelers: This is a matchup that has always produced a lot of drama, and the expectations should be for the same. His team in a tailspin recently, home is where Ben Roethlisberger plays best ball. They’ll need him too with James Conner set to miss another game and the running game struggling last week. Tom Brady had the best game he’s every played in Miami, and still couldn’t shake his South Beach curse. Luckily for him, Pittsburgh is not Miami. Last team with the ball wins.
Prediction: 34-28 Patriots
Eagles at Rams: Not what the schedule makers had in mind when this matchup was set. Still Los Angeles is surely happy to get this draw after the lockdown they suffered in Chicago. The offense should rebound nicely against an Eagles defense that is starting JV players in the secondary. Philly has not flown this year. Injuries have played a major role, and now it seems quarterback Carson Wentz faces the very real possibility of being shut down with a fracture in his back.
Prediction: Rams 34-10
Saints at Panthers: New Orleans shook off a slow start and beat Tampa Bay; significant because the Rams loss puts the Saints in the driver’s seat in the NFC – New Orleans beat Los Angeles in week nine giving the Saints the tiebreaker. Carolina is sliding fast amidst rumors that Cam Newton is dealing with an injury to his reconstructed right shoulder. Not insignificant for a right-handed quarterback. Christian McCaffrey is having a stellar season but New Orleans has been good against the run most of the year, minus the Dallas game.
Prediction: Saints 34-24