Can it get any worse for the Giants? After battling to take a late 31-30 lead over Carolina last Sunday, they watched as Panthers K Graham Gano hit a 63-yard field goal with one second to play. It dropped the Giants to 1-4. Now, they face the Eagles who have lost two straight. The Giants have beaten the Eagles just once in the last eight tries. Make it nine… Philadelphia 27, NY Giants 24.
After starting the season with two wins and some Fitz-Magic, the Bucs got a much needed extra week to prepare for Atlanta. The Falcons are a surprising 1-4 after getting drilled by Pittsburgh last week. In Atlanta, the Falcons will be tough to beat. They have beaten Tampa Bay in three straight. That is likely to become four in a row… Atlanta 31, Tampa Bay 28.
The Bengals sit at the top of the AFC North at 4-1. Pittsburgh needed a big 41-17 win over Atlanta last week to even its record at 2-2-1. As is customary in a Steelers-Bengals matchup, there will be plenty of violence. One thing is for sure. Sunday’s game will be physical. Cincinnati is somehow fourth in the NFL in scoring averaging 30.6 points per game. They are also unbeaten at home this season. Pittsburgh has won the last six straight against the Bengals. Something has to give… Pittsburgh 27, Cincinnati 24.
After disposing of Oakland last week, the Chargers get another shot at a win when they travel to Cleveland. These aren’t the same Browns though. QB Baker Mayfield threw for 342 yards last week and led the Browns to a 12-9 overtime win over Baltimore. The Browns and Chargers have played in each of the past three seasons. L.A. is 2-1. Could the Browns really win two in a row? Nah… LA Chargers 27, Cleveland 20.
The Seahawks lost a tough one to the Rams last week giving up nine fourth quarter points in a 33-31 defeat. At 2-3, Seattle is still very much alive in the playoff race in the NFC. The Raiders are 1-4 after a brutal 26-10 loss to the Chargers. Oakland can’t run the ball – 95.2 yards per game, 24th in the NFL – and the defense is porous (29.8 points per game, 29th). Even playing at home will not be enough… Seattle 28, Oakland 14.
After a 3-0 start, Miami has dropped two straight to fall to 3-2. The Dolphins’ offense averages just 19.8 points a game. The Bears defense is the best Miami has seen so far this season. Chicago gives up 16.3 points a game, third in the NFL. The Bears and Dolphins have played just times in the 2000s. Miami is 3-1. Chicago’s only win came in 2010 in Miami. Khalil Mack and company will be too much… Chicago 21, Miami 18.
The Vikings pulled themselves right back into the thick of the NFC North race with a 23-21 win over Philadelphia last week. They face Arizona, which scored its first win of the season last week a 28-18 victory over San Francisco. The Cardinals will continue to play with rookie quarterback Josh Rosen. The Vikings defense will be too much for the young QB to overcome… Minnesota 33, Arizona 20.
The Jets are streaky. Last week, Isaiah Crowell rushed for 219 yards and rookie QB Sam Darnold completed just 10 passes but three were for touchdowns in a 34-16 win over Denver. The Colts played well but lost to New England last week to drop to 1-4. The 10-day layoff between games might be exactly what the Colts need to get healthy. The last time the Jets faced Indianapolis at home? That was 2016 and the Colts scored a 41-10 win. Watch for it to happen again… Indianapolis 35, NY Jets 23.
Despite losing rookie Derrius Guice for the season, the Redskins have found a running game behind veteran Adrian Peterson. He is a big part of Washington’s early success in 2018. They will host 3-1 Carolina, a team the Redskins have not beaten since 2006, on Sunday. Washington has lost five straight to the Panthers. The last loss was in 2016, a 26-15 defeat also in Washington. Carolina has the No. 1 running game in the NFL. That will make a difference… Carolina 28, Washington 20.
The Bills and Texans may be the two NFL teams that no one can figure out. After starting the season 0-2, the Bills dismantled Minnesota 27-6. After getting blanked by Green Bay, Buffalo beat Tennessee 13-12 last week. Houston started the season 0-3 and has won two straight following a 19-16 win over Dallas last Sunday night. The two teams have played just eight times and the series is locked at 4-4. Houston has won the last two in the series when playing at home. That could be the difference… Houston 23, Buffalo 17.
The Rams are the best team in the NFC. At 5-0, the Rams have the best offense in the NFL and one of the best defenses. Denver fell to 2-3 after a surprising blowout loss to the New York Jets. The Broncos offense is scoring only 20 points per game and the defense is giving up points by the bunches (26.2 per game). Since 2000, the Rams are 4-1 against Denver with the only loss coming in 2002 in Denver. The Rams did win the last time they played in Denver (2010) and should overpower the Broncos again… LA Rams 34, Denver 28.
The Jags took one on the chin from Kansas City in a game where QB Blake Bortles threw four interceptions. Jacksonville had 502 yards of offense but lost 30-14 dropping their record to 3-2. The Cowboys lost a close one (19-16) to Houston last week. The Dallas passing game is awful (172 yards per game, 30th in the NFL) leading to just 16.6 points per game (30th). The last time these two teams played was 2014. Dallas won 31-17 in Jacksonville. Look for the Jags to return the favor… Jacksonville 32, Dallas 18.
Expect both the Ravens and Titans to be reeling after close unexpected losses last week. The Ravens fell to Cleveland 12-9 in overtime. Tennessee turned the ball over three times in a 13-12 loss to Buffalo. Both Baltimore and Tennessee play outstanding defense. The Ravens are second in scoring defense (15.4 points a game) and the Titans are fourth (17.2). The difference is on offense where Baltimore has the NFL’s eighth-best passing offense (305 yards per game) and averages 26.1 points a game compared to Tennessee’s 17.4… Baltimore 24, Tennessee 21.
Sunday night’s Chiefs-Patriots clash could be a preview of the AFC title game. The two teams met last in year in an epic battle won by Kansas City which scored three fourth quarter touchdowns in a 42-21 victory. The Chiefs are off to a 5-0 start. New England recovered from two September losses to move to 3-2 after beating Miami and Indianapolis in consecutive weeks. Kansas City won in Foxborough last year. It’s not happening again… New England 34, Kansas City 33.
The 49ers are without starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for the remainder of the season. C.J. Beathard has filled in, but his performance last week left much to be desired. Beathard did complete 34-of-54 passes for 349 yards against Arizona but his four turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles) were the big reason why the 49ers lost to the Cardinals 28-18. Now, the Niners head to Green Bay to face the Packers. History is on San Francisco’s side. The 49ers won at Lambeau Field the last two times they played their (2012, 2014) and since 2010, San Francisco is 9-1 on Monday night. Don’t expect the streaks to last… Green Bay 27, San Francisco 20.
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2018 NFL Football Season
Atlanta @ New Orleans
The Falcons are the hottest team in the NFL. They are third the league in scoring averaging 34.2 points a game with an offense led by quarterback Matt Ryan. Ryan has 1,202 yards passing and six touchdowns, four to Julio Jones who looks like the best receiver in the league. The Saints looked awful last week in a loss to Philadelphia. They may play better at home…but not that much better… Atlanta 29, New Orleans 18.
Arizona @ Pittsburgh
The Cardinals are 4-1 after pummeling Detroit 42-17 last Sunday. Quarterback Carson Palmer is enjoying a solid season with 1,155 yards passing and 10 TDs. Arizona is second in the league in scoring averaging 37 points a game. The Steelers will once again play without starting QB Ben Roethlisberger. The Cardinals will have a tough time on the Heinz Field turf. Pittsburgh pulls a slight upset… Pittsburgh 37, Arizona 31.
Cincinnati @ Buffalo
If Atlanta isn’t the hottest team in the NFL, then it must be Cincinnati. The Bengals moved to 5-0 with an impressive 27-24 win over Seattle. Andy Dalton is in command of the offense. Cincy has a powerful running game with Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill. A.J. Green has had a few career days this season and the defense is doing just enough. Head coach Marvin Lewis and the Bengals will have to travel to Buffalo to take on a 3-2 Bills team that can be dangerous. Cincinnati may run out of luck in this one… Buffalo 20, Cincinnati 17.
Denver @ Cleveland
The Browns got a huge win over Baltimore last week as Josh McCown threw for 457 yards. Cleveland will be at home but will face the league’s best defense. The Broncos recorded another pick six last week when Some Guy intercepted and returned a Derek Carr pass for a touchdown. While Cleveland is excited, they won’t beat Denver… Denver 31, Cleveland 17.
Carolina @ Seattle
Surprisingly, the Carolina Panthers are 4-0 as they head to Seattle to face the Seahawks. Head coach Pete Carroll’s club blew a 24-7 lead last week in an overtime loss to Cincinnati. But, Seattle always plays well at home and the crowd could be a problem for Carolina QB Cam Newton. The Panthers are built much like Seattle with a running game that is fourth in the league and a defense that is third in scoring defense yielding just under 18 points a game. Give the edge to the home team… Seattle 24, Carolina 17.
San Diego @ Green Bay
Can anyone beat the Packers at Lambeau Field? Probably not San Diego. The Chargers have one of the league’s more prolific offenses, but the team’s defense is suspect. In their first four games, San Diego’s defense gave up at least 24 points in each. Still, the Chargers offense may be enough. On the other side of the ball, Aaron Rodgers is the league’s best QB. The Packers are efficient, play great defense, and get great effort from those that need to give. Another win at Lambeau… Green Bay 35, San Diego 20.
Baltimore @ San Francisco
A few years ago, this game was for a Super Bowl champion. In 2015, the two teams meet to try and get out of last place in their respective journey. Each team has just one win on the season. The 49ers offense has been pathetic. Going into last Sunday night’s game with the New York Giants, San Francisco had scored just 48 points in 4 games. The offense, under QB Colin Kaepernick, has struggled to say the least. The Ravens aren’t much better. They lost to division rival and patsy Cleveland last Sunday. It’s a long trip to the West Coast… San Francisco 17, Baltimore 13.
New England @ Indianapolis
This has been a marquee matchup that past two seasons. The Colts are still leading the AFC South, albeit with a 3-2 record. They did manage to beat Houston 27-20 last week. The task ahead is much tougher as the Patriots stand in the way. New England is clearly the NFL’s best team right now. At 4-0, quarterback Tom Brady is as good as ever. He has 1,112, good for fifth best in the NFL, yards through the air. At Indianapolis, the Colts have a shot, but the Pats are just too good… New England 27, Indianapolis 20.
NY Giants @ Philadelphia
It’s an NFC East classic on Monday night. The Giants and Eagles will battle next Monday from Philadelphia. The Eagles were able to pull off a somewhat impressive 39-17 victory over New Orleans. The Giants battled San Francisco last Sunday night. The winner still has a good shot a postseason berth. The loser will be hurting its chances at making the playoffs. At home, take a chance on an improving Philly team… Philadelphia 22, NY Giants 19.