The Lions come into the game winners of 3 of the last 4 and their QB, Matthews Stafford, is finally starting to play like what most expected in throwing for over 300 yards/game in the last 4 and tossing 4 TD’s. Lions have also gotten solid play out of their defense.
The Vikings have been going in the opposite direction. They’ve lost 3 of 4 and their defense has been ripped apart in the last 4, giving up an average of 29.5 PPG. During that span, quarterback Christian Ponder has been abysmal. Completing just 57.1% of his passes and throwing 4 TD’s compared to 6 INT while also losing a fumble. He has to play well for the Vikings to win, but don’t expect him to.
Prediction: 27-13 Lions.
Atlanta @New Orleans.
The Falcons currently possess the NFL’s best record at 8-0 and giving up the 5th least points per contest at 17.9 while scoring the 6th most at 27.5. Quarterback Matt Ryan is third in the NFL in quarterback rating and 4th in TD passes. Big reason for that is having the NFL’s best 1-2 combo at WR in Roddy White and Julio Jones. Look for them to feast today against the Saints, who give up the 5th most PPG and most yards per game.
The Saints have won 3 of 4 and are playing better. The offense looks more like the Saints of old(Brees 22 TD, 8 INT) and the offense will keep them in the game most of the day, but an awful defense will allow ATL to pull away.
Prediction: Falcons 38-24.
This will be battle of struggling offenses. The Giants’ offense the last 2 weeks has at times looked horrible. Eli Manning has been erratic and error-prone. In Manning’s last 14 quarters, he has one touchdown and four interceptions, often looking wildly inaccurate. The Giants won the three games prior to last Sunday’s loss in large part due to turnovers by the opposition. With the Giants’ upcoming schedule, if he doesn’t get his act together, the Giants can expect to not have home field advantage in the playoffs if they make it at all.
Andy Dalton is another guy who’s struggling with turnovers. In the last 4 games, Dalton has thrown 6 TD’s and 7 INT’s. He’s turned it over every single game this season. The Bengals simply aren’t good enough to win despite his turnovers. He needs to take care of the ball for them to win games. Against the Giants expect much better performances from both QB’s.
Prediction: Giants 27-23
The Raiders come off a game where they gave up 278 yards to the Bucs. Expect a heavy dose of Ray Rice, that is if offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron decides to stop trying to outsmart everybody. Joe Flacco is simply not a guy you can consistently win with when he’s throwing it 40+ times. Ray Rice should touch it 30+ times running and catching.
The Ravens’ pass defense is vulnerable and a surprisingly solid, Carson Palmer should take advantage but will also turn it over. Expect to see a decent amount of points today, but the Ravens take care of the ball.
Prediction: 34-24 Ravens.
Buffalo @New England.
The last time these teams played, the Patriots threw for over 330 yards and ran for over 240 yards and that was before the Patriots’ offense really clicked like it is now. Bills should hang for a half but the Patriots dominate the 2nd half again.
Prediction: Patriots 41-20.
The Titans rank last in points allowed per game and 3rd worst in yards allowed per game. This one could get ugly and get ugly fast against a very underrated Dolphins with improving rookie QB, Ryan Tannehill.
Prediction: 38-14 Dolphins
San Diego @Tampa Bay.
San Diego has to travel across the country for an early game and has to play a Tampa Bay team who is clicking offensively. Over his last 4 games, QB Josh Freeman has 11 touchdowns and one interception his last 4 games and rookie running back, Doug Martin coming off a 251 yard, 4 touchdown performance. Combine that with the Chargers’ QB, Philip Rivers struggling badly and this won’t be pretty for the Chargers.
Prediction: 34-13 Buccaneers.
This has the potential for an upset. The Broncos come into the game red-hot having won 4 of 5. Peyton Manning has been incredible this season (20 TD, 6 INT), but might just be catching the Panthers when Carolina is playing their best. Their defense has been very good the last few games and now the offense and Cam Newton have shown signs of improvement. The Broncos have to travel two time zones to play an early game, that favors the Panthers. Look for an upset here.
Prediction: 24-20 Panthers
The Jets play Seattle on a road trip that is cross-country against a Seattle team that is playing so well offensively and the Jets are coming off a game where it looked like they quit. With often shaky, QB, Mark Sanchez needing a big game for his confidence, don’t expect it to come against the Seahawks. Seattle is a top 10 defense and is third in the NFL in sacks. Could end badly for Sanchez.
Prediction: 27-10 Seahawks
St. Louis @San Francisco.
The 49ers are coming off a dominant 24-3 win where quarterback, Alex Smith was damn near perfect. He was 18 of 19 for 232 yards and 3 touchdowns. About as flawless a performance as one could ask from a QB.
St. Louis on the other hand put together a dreadful performance against the Patriots in London. The Pats had 38 points in 2 1/2 quarters in a 45-7 win. If the Rams don’t put together a better effort, they will get drilled again, this time by the 49ers.
Prediction: 28-7 49ers
In a battle of two teams who have to find a way to get back into the playoff race, this is sort of an elimination game. Loser falls to 3-6 and has to be nearly perfect the rest of the season to have a shot at the playoffs. Both teams are also playing for their head coach’s job. Both teams came into the season with high expectations and have flopped so far this season. Romo(15 turnovers) and Vick(14 turnovers) have the 2nd and third most turnovers in the NFL. Romo has 10 TD’s and 13 INT’s. That’s unacceptable. You can’t be a winning football team when your QB is averaging almost 2 turnovers per contest. He’s cost the Cowboys multiple games with poor decision-making. If the Cowboys are to get back in the division race or make a run at a wild card, he has to be a lot better.
Vick has suffered from poor offensive line play, same could be said for Romo, but it’s no excuse for carrying the football around like it’s a loaf of bread. Fumbling 10 times is really inexcusable. Philly is a team that needs very good QB play to win and is getting at times, horrendous QB play from Vick.
This game may just come down to which QB doesn’t meltdown turnover wise. Game is in Philly, give the edge to the Eagles.
Prediction: 23-17 Eagles
The Bears come into this game with the best takeaway team in the NFL. Their defense has forced an NFL-high 32 turnovers and scored 7 defensive touchdowns. Having a defense like that can be the difference in the game. Chicago is middle of the pack against the pass, teams can move the ball on them, but Chicago’s opportunistic defense has made the plays when they needed to have them to put away games or comeback to win games.
Chicago’s QB play has been pretty average. Cutler has padded his stats in garbage time to make them seem better than they are. He isn’t a top 10 QB in the league and fits the role of game manager more than some of the guys that have been labeled a “game manager”. At some point the defense won’t get the turnovers and Cutler is going to have to win a game with his arm. The one time he’s had to do that against a quality team, he looked pretty dismal.
The Texans come into the game at 7-1 and have the look of a team who’s gonna give the Bears a challenge. The Texans’s defense gives up the 4th least PPG and third least yards per game. They have just 6 turnovers in 8 games. They likely will force the Bears’ offense to have to win a game. Look for Houston’s defense to step up and Matt Schaub to make the key plays for the Texans.
Prediction: 24-17 Texans.
Kansas City @Pittsburgh.
The Chiefs have had a wildly disappointing season. QB, Matt Cassel has been horrible. He has 6 touchdowns and 18 turnovers this season in 7 GAMES. Hard to believe he was good just 2 years prior. Kansas City is 1-7 and hasn’t held a lead in regulation. They will somehow keep this game close cause Pittsburgh has played close games like these bad teams repeatedly. Roethlisberger though, will help put this away and continue to improve his career-high season. He’s on pace for 32 touchdowns and 8 interceptions and should be without a doubt in the MVP discussion. Just flies under the radar.
Prediction: 20-9 Steelers