Browns (6-4) at Falcons (4-6):
The long awaited arrival of Josh Gordon has finally come. This game in Atlanta will show if he is simply a shell of his former self or is still a future Hall-of-famer With Brian Hoyer receiving a new weapon, Cleveland’s running game can finally get jumpstarted. Less men will fill the box on Atlanta’s defense leaving room for Terrence West to rush the ball. On the other side, the Falcons will try to take the outright lead in the NFL’s worst division. Matt Ryan will try to rip apart an injury depleted defense in the hopes of winning a third straight.
Browns win 24-21
Lions (7-3) at Patriots (8-2)
The Patriots are coming off two impressive victories against the Broncos and Colts, beating each team by 22 points. New England’s passing and running games are both clicking with Jonas Gray rushing for a little over 200 yards and four touchdowns in their win over Indianapolis. If the Pats can manage to use an even distribution of running and passing, the offense will look to amass large yardage totals against a defense that ranks first in yards allowed this season. Detroit’s offense is another story. Matthew Stafford and Detroit’s running game have performed poorly in the last six games, scoring a meager six points in their last contest against the Cardinals.
Patriots win 27-17
Bengals (6-3-1) at Texans (5-5):
After replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett recorded 211 yards and two touchdowns and earned a victory in his first career start. One of the two touchdowns was thrown to JJ Watt, possibly the best defensive lineman in the league. Houston also made do with a rookie Alfred Blue, who turned in an outstanding performance as a replacement for All-Pro Arian Foster. With AJ Green returning two weeks ago, Andy Dalton and Cincinnati have a revitalized air game that will prove to be critical in deciding the outcome of the game.
Texans win 20-14
Buccaneers (2-8) at Bears (4-6):
After breaking a three game skid in Minnesota last week, the Bears are looking to make up some lost ground in the NFC North. Jay Cutler has not been his best self this year with 12 interceptions. His top two threats, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery can heat up in a hurry though. The running game has picked up part of the slack but has not been entirely present all the time. Matt Forte ran for 117 yards last week against the Vikings and ranks third in the league in the category. The Bucs start Josh McCown under center, who replaced Cutler for the Bears for a part of last year. His new toy, Mike Evans exploded last week for over 200 receiving yards to along with two scores. It’ll be up to Tampa Bay’s below-par defense to hold Chicago from scoring into the 30s.
Bears win 31-17