Last 2 Weeks: 11-7
Washington Redskins (3-8) at Indianapolis Colts (7-4):
The Redskins are in the middle of another quarterback controversy as they will be starting Colt McCoy this week. Although they invested so much money and draft picks into RG3, RG3 has not been impressive and cannot lead the Redskins to wins. This week, Colt McCoy will not be asked to take many chances, which should be easy since he has a lot of talent, Jackson, Garcin, and Morris. The Redskins will need to step up their game on the road against the best young quarterback in the NFL. After falling to New England two weeks ago, the Colts will have little chance of claiming a bye in the first round. Also, Andrew Luck needs to prove that he can beat the best teams in tough situations. This will be the second week without Ahmad Bradshaw and the Colts will need to either integrate Herron or Richardson into the offense.
Colts win 31-17
Tennessee Titans (2-9) at Houston Texans (5-6):
The Titans will hope that Zach Mettenberger will continue to develop into a starting quarterback. If Metternberger shows promise, they will be able to fill one of their many holes on their team besides quarterback with their first selection. The Titans have very little talent on their team besides for their offensive line. In addition to the emergence of Mettenberger, Bishop Snakey has impressed analysts because he has good speed, size, and vision. On the defensive side of the ball, the Titans will need to stop the run game of the Houston Texans. Whether it is Alfred Blue or Arian Foster, Bill O’Brien will run the ball frequently to give a put Ryan Mallet in a better situation. Although Mallet is a young quarterback and does not have a lot of experience, he has good weapons that should allow him to succeed over the rest of the season.
Texans win 28-17
Cleveland Browns (7-4) at Buffalo Bills (6-5):
The Browns have been the surprise story of the NFL this season as they are in the middle of the playoff push. Although Brian Hoyer has not been great, he has been clutch and they have taken advantage of a week schedule. The Browns were able to take advantage of the return of Josh Gordon. Gordon is one of the most exciting and talented receivers in the league, which will help Hoyer’s game. In addition to the offense, the defense has been very good because they are able to force turnovers and provide the offense with extra possessions. Like the Browns, the Bills are also in the middle of the AFC playoff race. The Bills use their talented defense to force turnovers and stop opposing offenses. The Bills front four, led by Marcell Dareus and Mario Williams, applies constant pressure on quarterbacks. The weather in Buffalo will lead to a low scoring game and the team that can run the most effectively will win.
Bills win 17-13
San Diego Chargers (7-4) at Baltimore Ravens (7-4):
The Chargers still have a chance to rectify their season if they can win against the Ravens in M&T Bank Park. The Chargers have not been playing well lately because their offense has not played at the same level as the start of the season. Phillip Rivers was a serious MVP candidate, but has been unable to play lead his team to many wins. In addition to Rivers, Branden Oliver and Ryan Matthews are not consistent running backs, which has made Rivers’ life tougher. The Ravens are coming off of a great win on the road against the Saints and want to make the playoffs after missing the contest last year. Outside of the disaster in Pittsburgh, the Ravens defense has been very good and some have been calling them dominant. The home crowd should help Ravens leave the Bank with a win.
Ravens win 28-17
New York Giants (3-8) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-10):
The Giants started the season 3-2, but have lost 8 straight games, which could lead to the demise of Tom Coughlin and possibly Eli Manning. However, the Giants lost a close game last week, but everyone became aware of the name Odell Beckham Jr. ODB had been very effective throughout his rookie season, but last week he exploded and had some of the best catches in NFL history. Manning will continue to look his way, especially if Rashad Jennings can maintain his strong rush defense. Over the past few weeks, Blake Bortles has not been very consistent. The Jags desperately need to supply Blake Bortles with some weapons on the outside to take advantage of his arm and size. Like last week, the Jags will come after Eli Manning in hope that he will throw a few interceptions. Although they do not have a lot of talent, they play incredibly hard for Gus Bradley.
Giants win 21-7
Cincinnati Bengals (7-3-1) at Buccaneers (2-9):
Although the Bengals are an inconsistent team, they are third in the AFC and have put forth two solid performances in a row. Although Andy Dalton did not play well last week, the running game has been very good. The duo of Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill have been incredible because they can catch the ball out of the backfield and they have the ability to make big plays through the air and on the ground. In addition to the offense, the defense is starting to hit its stride as they were able to shut down the Texans last week to only 6 offensive points. While the Bengals are playing well, the Bucs are one of the worst teams in football, but still have a chance at claiming a playoff spot due to the NFC South. The lone bright spot on the Bucs this season has been the rookie Mike Evans. Evans is a big tall receiver that can make big plays in the passing due to his size. McCown is used to great wide receivers in Chicago and he has taken advantage of Evans and Jackson.
Bengals win 27-13
Oakland Raiders (1-10) at St. Louis Rams (4-7):
The Raiders were able to obtain their first win last Thursday at home against a very good Kansas City Chiefs team. Derek Carr played very well and have people in Oakland thinking that he has a chance to be the franchise quarterback for the next decade. Carr has very good arm talent and surprisingly athleticism, but desperately needs better weapons to reach his potential. The Raiders, like the Jags, should not select a quarterback in the first round of the draft because of their numerous needs all over the field. The Raiders need to continue adding pressure on Shaun Hill in order to stop the Rams’ offense. Over the past two weeks, the Rams’ offense has been better as they nearly defeated the Chargers and beat the Broncos at home. Kenny Britt is finally healthy and has proven in the past that he can be incredibly successful when he is on the field. The Rams play better at home because their solid pass rush can use the turf to play fast and reach the quarterback.
Rams win 21-17
New Orleans Saints (4-7) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4):
The Saints have been awful this season, even at home, but still have a chance to win the division. Since Mark Ingram has returned from injury, the Saints have given him a lot of carries, but the offensive line has been unable to create holes for the big back. Although more defenders are at the line stopping the line, Drew Brees has not taken advantage of one on one matchups. This year, Brees has not performed like an elite quarterback, even when Jimmy Graham has been in the lineup. The Saints’ defense has not matched last years’ success, but they need to play well against one of the best offenses in the league. The combination of Brown, Bell, and Roethlisberger has been very difficult to stop, especially at home. The Steelers are coming off of a bye, which gives time for the trio to take advantage of the poor Saints’ defense. In addition, Wheaton and Bryant have been very good as a deep threat.
Steelers win 31-28
Carolina Panthers (3-7-1) at Minnesota Vikings (4-7):
The Panthers are only a game out of first place and desperately need Newton to play well in order to make the playoffs for the second straight year without the same great defense. The Vikes are allowing for Bridgewater to grow as a quarterback while their defense continues to play at a high level.
Vikings win 24-13
Arizona Cardinals (9-2) at Atlanta Falcons (4-7):
The Cardinals were embarrassed for the first time all season against the Seahawks on the road, but Drew Stanton and the defense should be able to get back on track this week. The Falcons, thanks to Mike Smith’s poor clock management, fell to 4-7, but they remained in first, even though they have no defense, offensive line, or running game to help Matt Ryan.
Cardinals win 24-13
New England Patriots (9-2) at Green Bay Packers (8-3):
The Patriots have been the most impressive team this season as their defense has been amazing with Revis and their offense has been unstoppable with Gronk and an improved offensive line to protect Brady. While the Pats have been the most impressive, the Packers are the hottest team in football because Rodgers has a connection with Cobb and Nelson that is unmatched.
Patriots win 35-31
Denver Broncos (8-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (7-4):
The Broncos were able to find their offense last week as Manning threw for 4 touchdowns and the defense was very impressive when they needed to make stops at the end of the game against the Dolphins. The Chiefs have two of the worst losses in the league, Titans and Raiders, but they still are a very solid team with a great running game and elite defense.
Broncos win 27-24
Miami Dolphins (6-5) at New York Jets (2-9):
The Dolphins almost came away with a win last week against the Broncos, but Ryan Tannehill is playing very well along with their defense, which should lead them to the playoffs. The Jets have been disastrous this year as they turn back to Geno Smith to finish the season and the Rex Ryan Era in New York.
Dolphins win 27-13