Every week, we’ll look at the matchups of the week, and give our predictions for each of the games. If you were a betting man, I’d take the opposite of these picks.
Last week, your resident expert went 11-5, and is sitting at 99-62-2 on the year.
Dallas Cowboys (10-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (6-5)
The Vikings have had a rough few weeks, and it got worse with the news of Mike Zimmer being hospitalized. His status is unknown for the game, but it’s a blow nonetheless. Outside of that Dallas is rolling, but the Vikings defense is still good. I think they play spoiler despite the problems they’re having.
Prediction: Vikings 20-17
Kansas City Chiefs (8-3) @ Atlanta Falcons (7-4)
In terms of quality of matchup, how is this one of the early games? Two juggernauts are going head to head, and the Chiefs are fresh off an emotionally charged win over Denver. The Falcons have come back to life after a rough patch. Beating the Falcons at home is just hard to do, and I think they need the win in the division. But the Chiefs can do it.
Prediction: Falcons 24-20
Detroit Lions (7-4) @ New Orleans Saints (5-6)
The Saints are inconsistent in general, but they are a force at home. The Lions are rolling, trying to lock up their division and stun the football world. Still, coming to New Orleans and beating this team is hard, and the Lions defense isn’t the best in the world. Neither is New Orleans, but winning there is hard.
Prediction: Saints 28-24
Los Angeles Rams (4-7) @ New England Patriots (9-2)
Jared Goff hasn’t jumped off the page, but he hasn’t looked bad either. And historically, he’s progressing at about the rate you’d want out of a number one pick. That being said, he’s no where near where he’d need to be for the Patriots to be worried about their home game. The defense is good for LA, but so is New England’s.
Prediction: Patriots 27-17
Denver Broncos (7-4) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)
The season of misery continues for the Jaguars, who have just had a rough stretch of games. Bad news though: the back half is even worse. They welcome the Broncos this week, and that offense certainly is going to love this. Chance for Gus Bradley to fall to 31 games below .500 as an NFL head coach!
Prediction: Broncos 27-14
Houston Texans (6-5) @ Green Bay Packers (5-6)
The Packers showed promise in their Monday night affair last week. The Texans are sliding, and in danger of opening the door within the division. The Packers are a good team, particularly at home, and the Texans are really, really bad on the road. I don’t’ see any reason to pick against them here.
Prediction: Packers 24-17
Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) @ Cincinnati Bengals (3-7-1)
Speaking of desperation, these two teams ooze it. The Bengals season is probably over, while the Eagles aren’t far behind them. The Eagles have been pretty abysmal on the road, while the Bengals have been pretty solid at home. Still, I think this Bengals team is teetering toward a collapse down the stretch before any idea of a wake up.
Prediction: Eagles 28-20
Miami Dolphins (7-4) @ Baltimore Ravens (6-5)
Find a hotter team in the last few weeks than the Miami Dolphins. They are back from the dead, and traveling into the cold in Baltimore to face a division leader. But if there’s been an Achilles heel, it’s been road trips. Defense travels, and the Dolphins don’t have much of one. The Ravens have to have this game.
Prediction: Ravens 24-17
San Francisco 49ers (1-10) @ Chicago Bears (2-9)
Both of these teams have probably had this game circled for weeks. This is as close to a win as either of these two can comfortably get, and they both need one. At least the loser will get a higher draft pick. Going with Chicago based solely on the fact that they are at home.
Prediction: Bears 20-10
Buffalo Bills (6-5) @ Oakland Raiders (9-2)
The Bills are fighting for their playoff lives, while the Raiders are just trying to maintain within the division. They got a fight from Carolina a week ago, but pulled it out in a thriller. The Bills will try and subdue that attack on the outside, and I actually think they’ve got a chance to catch the Raiders sleeping.
Prediction: Bills 24-20
New York Giants (8-3) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5)
I know the Giants are winning, but are we sure they are good yet? They’ve played some pretty weak competition, and while they’re winning, they are beatable big time. The Steelers at home are tough, and the defense is coming around. Big Ben can get a bounce back game right here.
Prediction: Steelers 28-24
Washington Redskins (6-4-1) @ Arizona Cardinals (4-6-1)
I just can’t figure out the Cardinals losing every single week. The talent on the roster is unquestioned, and they’ve been fairly good at home. The Redskins are trying to keep playoff hopes alive, and need a win in a bad way. Still, the Cardinals are just too good on defense, right?
Prediction: Cardinals 24-21
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) @ San Diego Chargers (5-6)
The Bucs have surged, sticking with the Falcons within the division almost the whole way. They’ve garnered some pretty big upsets in doing so, and got a big win over Seattle last week. But, I don’t think they’re consistent enough to turn around and do it again against a good San Diego team.
Prediction: Chargers 28-21
Carolina Panthers (4-7) @ Seattle Seahawks (7-3-1)
Man, this game was circled at the beginning of the season, but it’s lost its luster. The Panthers now have to win out to even have a chance at returning to the playoffs, while the Seahawks have a loss to avenge. While I don’t think the Seahawks have a lot to play for, I think they’ll do it because Cam is on the opposite side.
Prediction: Seahawks 24-20
Indianapolis Colts (5-6) @ New York Jets (3-8)
If there was ever a game the Colts have to win, it’s this one. The Jets are off a demoralizing close loss against the Patriots, while the Colts have stumbled and fallen somehow into contending for this division. They have to get the win here, and I think Andrew Luck can carry them there.
Prediction: Colts 17-14