Last week: 9-4
Atlanta Falcons (2-4) at Baltimore Ravens (4-2):
The Falcons started 2-1, but have lost their last three because they do not possess a running game and cannot defend effectively. Matt Ryan has played well, but without help from the defense and running backs, he is helpless to defense’s relentless blitz or 8 men in the secondary. While the Falcons have been struggling, the Ravens have been very impressive and absolutely smashed the Bucs last week. Flacco has found a nice rhythm with Torrey and Steve Smith and the defense has put forth solid play.
Ravens win 27-14
Tennessee Titans (2-4) at Washington Redskins (1-5):
The Titans were able to win last week, but it was against the Jaguars and they barely held on at home. Without a legitimate threat on offense or a playmaking defensive star, the Titans are set for a long season. The Redskins have lost their last four, but their last two against the Seahawks and Cardinals have been fairly impressive. Cousins has limited his turnovers, but the running game has not been impressive, which holds back the team.
Redskins win 20-17
Seattle Seahawks (3-2) at St. Louis Rams (1-4):
After the Seahawks lost to the Cowboys at home and traded Percy Harvin, many prognosticators are wondering if the team can even make the playoffs. However, the team still has a lot of talent and has been able to silence doubters over the past two years. Along with the Seahawks poor performance, the Rams did not play well on Monday Night against the 49ers. Austin Davis is not the answer on offense and without the ability to accumulate sacks on defense the team will have trouble in the future.
Seahawks win 27-13
Cleveland Browns (3-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6):
The Browns came away with one of the best wins in the league last week as they went into Pittsburgh and defeated the Steelers. Brian Hoyer has been a revelation in the passing game and the defense has led the team to a 3-2 record. While the Browns are able to win and sit their first round pick, the Jags have yet to win although Blake Bortles have started the last three games. Bortles has improved and nearly led the Jags to their first victory. The Jags are clearly the worst team in the league and this will not be the week where they get their first win.
Browns win 24-13
Cincinnati Bengals (3-1-1) at Indianapolis Colts (4-2):
In one of the best games of the week, the Bengals will try to rebound after tying the Panthers at home last week. It is still doubtful if AJ Green will play this week, which significantly takes away from Andy Dalton and the entire Bengals offense. However, it will likely come down to the defense, which has not been good lately, if they are going to stop the great Andrew Luck. This year, Luck has been the MVP of the regular season and seems to throw for 350 yards each week. Along with Luck, the combination of Bradshaw and Richardson has been serviceable, which has made them one of the best teams in the league.
Colts win 37-31
Minnesota Vikings (2-4) at Buffalo Bills (3-3):
The Vikings looked to have their quarterback questions answered with Teddy Bridgewater when he led them to 41 points and a win against the Falcons. However, he has been hurt and his play has been shoddy, which has left people thinking that the season is over once again for this struggling franchise. However, people in Buffalo have confidence, although they lost last week to the Pats. Kyle Orton is a professional quarterback, who will give the Bills solid results, especially if the running game and defense can play well.
Bills win 21-17
Miami Dolphins (2-3) at Chicago Bears (3-3):
The Dolphins are coming off of a nice effort at home against the Packers, but desperately need a win, if they want to make the playoffs. The running game with Lamar Miller has improved the Dolphins potential on offense and their defense continues to be solid with a good pass rush. The pass rush will need to be effective, if they are going to beat Jay Cutler. The combination of Cutler, Forte, Marshall, and Jeffrey showed how dangerous they could be last week against the Falcons. With another week to heal, the quartet should be too much for the Dolphins to handle, especially at Soldiers’ Field.
Bears win 27-24
New Orleans Saints (2-3) at Detroit Lions (4-2):
The Saints have been one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL this season. The offense has not been as dynamic this season with the injury to Jimmy Graham and the ineffectiveness of Marques Colston and even Drew Brees. Along with a poor offense, the defense has not been top 10 like last season and they should continue to have troubles this week on the road. The Lions may be without Calvin Johnson again this week, but they have been winning with consistent play from Stafford and one of the best defenses in the league. The front four of the Lions is finally living up to their potential, which ahs contributed to their 4 wins.
Lions win 34-27
Carolina Panthers (3-2-1) at Green Bay Packers (4-2):
The Panthers have been impressive the last two weeks, but surprisingly due to their quarterback and offense, instead of their defense. Although the defense is allowing nearly 400 yards per game, Cam Newton is showing why is was the number one overall pick and leading his offense with his leg and arm. Similar to Newton, much of the Packers success can be attributed to Aaron Rodgers. Besides Luck and maybe Rivers, Rodgers has been the best quarterback in the league and will continue to allow his fan base to relax, if he can maintain his solid play on offense with Nelson, Lacy, and Cobb. In a high scoring contest, I will take the experience and weapons of the Packers over the Panthers.
Packers win 31-27
Kansas City Chiefs (2-3) at San Diego Chargers (5-1):
Since their first loss against the Titans, the Chiefs have been a very good team, winning twice and narrowly losing to the Broncos and 49ers on the road. Alex Smith has been very effective and the defense has been dominating opponents, similar to last season. The Chiefs will need to continue their solid play on the road against a very good San Diego team. The Chargers, behind the play of Philip Rivers and surprise running back Brandon Oliver, have won 5 straight. Although they barely survived against the Raiders, they came away with a victory, which should keep their confidence high this week. Fans should expect a close game that will likely come down to the last seconds, like last seasons final matchup.
Chargers win 23-20
Arizona Cardinals (4-1) at Oakland Raiders (0-6):
Although they do not look like a 4-1 team in terms of talent, the Cardinals have been one of the most underrated and unmentioned teams in the NFL. Without a consistent quarterback, it is unlikely that they will go very far in the playoff. However, with their solid defense and Carson Palmer the team should win close to 10 games and definitely beat the Raiders this weekend. The Raiders confidence should be sky high, after narrowly losing to one of the best teams in football last week. Derek Carr played the best game of his career and should have the confidence maintain his success another week at home, albeit against a top defense.
Cardinals win 20-13
New York Giants (3-3) at Dallas Cowboys (5-1):
Many fans and experts were about to jump on the G-Men’s bandwagon before they were mutilated against the Eagles on national television. Without Jennings, the Giants had no form of a running attack, which allowed the Eagles to consistently blitz and sack Eli Manning. While the Giants fans were in hiding, many Cowboy fans were shouting their praise after the Cowboys pulled off the most impressive win of the season. Behind the best offensive line in football, the Cowboys were able to dominate the time of possession and the Seahawks. The Cowboys will maintain their rushing attack with DeMarco Murray because no defense has been able to stop him and the extra time on the field hides their suspect defense.
Cowboys win 28-20
San Francisco 49ers (4-2) at Denver Broncos (4-1):
After a slow first quarter against the Rams, the 49ers played exceptional football. Throughout the last three quarters, Kaepernick was amazing, the running game and offensive line were impressive, and the defense was aggressive, constantly applying pressure on the quarterback. The 49ers will need another complete game if they are going to beat one of the best teams in the league on the road. Although Manning has been unable to repeat his historic season through 5 games, he has maintained his position as an elite quarterback in the league. Similar to last season, the Broncos have incredible weapons on offense and seem to have even more playmakers on defense.
Broncos win 24-17
Houston Texans (3-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3):
The Texans last played on Thursday Night and nearly completed a great comeback against the Colts. The Texans will rely on their running game with Arian Foster and pass rush with JJ Watt and possibly Jadeavon Clowney in order to make big plays. The trio will need to make a lot of big plays in order to match the skill of Pittsburgh. The Steelers have played very bad football over the past three weeks, including an embarrassing loss to the Browns last week. Since their demolition of the Panthers, the Steelers have not experienced much success and it is unlikely to turn around this week.
Texans win 21-17