It’s another NFC North matchup in Green Bay this weekend as the Packers and Bears look to rebound from last week’s losses. The Packer took one on the chin from the Cowboys and Chicago blew another late-game lead and lost to Jacksonville, 17-16, on a 51-yard TD pass with 29 seconds left in the game. The Bears (1-5) really need a win, but the Packers (3-2) can’t afford another loss, especially in the division… Green Bay 33, Chicago 20.
Both the Rams and the Giants started the 2016 season with some success. The Rams were 3-1 after losing on opening night and the Giants started 2-0 with a rebuilt defense that can actually stop opponents. Even so, both teams have proved that they are still far from playoff worthy. Los Angeles has lost two straight losing last week in Detroit, 31-28, on a late field goal. The Giants finally got their third win last week (27-23 over Baltimore) after three straight losses. Playing at home, give the Rams the edge… Los Angeles 19, NY Giants 17.
The Saints have proven they can score on anyone. Their problem is that they are not very good at keeping opponents out of their own end zone. QB Drew Brees lit up Carolina last week for 465 yards and four touchdowns, but the Saints gave up 38 points. The Chiefs (3-2) looked impressive in a win over AFC West rival Oakland. Give the Chiefs and the better defense the advantage… Kansas City 27, New Orleans 23.
With its loss to Houston last Sunday night, the Colts are now firmly in last place in the AFC South. Indianapolis continues to find ways to blow leads in the fourth quarter. Now, they face a hot Titans team that has won two in a row. Sure, the wins were against the Dolphins and Browns, but Tennessee has a strong running game with RB DeMarco Murray and QB Marcus Mariota continues to improve. The Titans win at home… Tennessee 23, Indianapolis 20.
Not too long ago, the Eagles were 3-0 heading into a bye week. They haven’t won since and rookie quarterback Carson Wentz proved that he is human. He completed just 11-of-22 passes for 179 yards last week in a loss to the Redskins. In fact, Philadelphia was held to just 239 total yards. Now, they face the best defense in the NFL as Minnesota visits Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. The Vikings are fresh off of a bye too… Minnesota 22, Philadelphia 10.
The Browns (0-6) are off to their worst start since 1999. They lost again last week, 28-26, to Tennessee and now must face division rival Cincinnati. The Bengals are off to their worst start since the 2010 season when they ended up 4-12. One plus for the Browns is that QB Cody Kessler is improving. He threw for a career-high 336 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to the Titans. The Bengals need to figure out how to play defense again. A week after giving up 28 points to the Cowboys, Cincinnati allowed 35 by New England. Still, playing at home Cincinnati will be hard to beat… Cincinnati 28, Cleveland 24.
For the second week in a row, Detroit won a game it probably shouldn’t have. Can the Lions do it again? They will take on the resurgent Redskins who have won four in a row since losing the first two games of the season. The Washington defense shut down Philadelphia and rookie QB Carson Wentz last week and Redskins QB Kirk Cousins is back on track with 263 yards passing and two touchdowns against the Eagles. Somehow, the 3-3 Lions figure out another way to win at home… Detroit 37, Washington 31.
The Raiders could have claimed sole possession of first in the AFC West but lost to Kansas City last week. Now, they face a very winnable game against 2-3 Jacksonville. It’s a dangerous game for Oakland as the Jaguars have won their last two games over the Colts and the Bears. Jags QB Blake Bortles hit WR Arrelious Benn with a 51-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter to beat Chicago last week. The Raiders need a win to bolster their claim to the division title and a postseason berth… Oakland 33, Jacksonville 28.
Fresh off a huge win over Pittsburgh last week, Miami faces another tough opponent in AFC East division foe Buffalo. The Bills took both games last year over the Dolphins, both in convincing fashion. In fact, Buffalo has won five of the last six meetings between the two teams and only one of those five was close. The last win for Miami was at home in 2014. It still doesn’t look good for the Dolphins… Buffalo 27, Miami 20.
Can it get any worse for the Jets? Well, yes it can. They have to face a 3-3 Ravens team coming off a close loss to the Giants. In fact, the Ravens haven’t won since Sept. 25 when they beat Jacksonville. After three straight losses, don’t expect head coach John Harbaugh’s team to lose again. The Jets are still trying to figure out if giving QB Ryan Fitzpatrick $12 million for this season was the right call… Baltimore 22, NY Jets 17.
After a win over Carolina, Tampa Bay enjoyed a week off to get ready for the 1-5 49ers. San Francisco head coach Chip Kelly started Colin Kaepernick at quarterback last week, but it didn’t make much of a difference as the 49ers fell to Buffalo 45-16. Kaepernick was just 13-of-29 for 187 yards and he led the 49ers in rushing with 66 yards on eight carries. He is going to have to have more success in the air if the 49ers are going to add to their win total this season. This is the week it gets started… San Francisco 29, Tampa Bay 25.
In the history of the NFL, the Falcons have beaten the Chargers eight times. San Diego has beaten Atlanta exactly once and that was in 1988. That win did come in Atlanta back when the Falcons played at Fulton County Stadium. Still, don’t expect a miracle on Sunday even considering that the Chargers somehow managed to beat the Broncos last week. RB Melvin Gordon ran for 94 yards and Philip Rivers didn’t have an outstanding day but was good enough. The big thing for San Diego was that they held Denver to just 13 points. Don’t expect that against Atlanta, the NFL’s best offense… Atlanta 45, San Diego 28.
The Steelers are going to be hurting without Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. The veteran injured a knee last week and will miss Sunday’s game with the Patriots. He may miss just one week, maybe more. Either way, the Steelers are in trouble. Their usually stout defense gave up over 200 yards rushing to Miami. The Patriots, with Tom Brady back at quarterback, will find a way to gouge the Pittsburgh defense repeatedly. Brady and company did it to Cincinnati last week. The star quarterback had three touchdown passes and 376 yards in the air. The Patriots will slice up the Pittsburgh D… New England 34, Pittsburgh 29.
Seattle, very quietly, is now 4-1 on the season. They shut down the NFL’s best offense as best they could and pulled out a 26-24 victory over the Atlanta Falcons last week. Atlanta QB Matt Ryan still threw for 335 yards and three touchdowns, but Seattle QB Russell Wilson (23-for-37, 270 yards) led two fourth quarter drives that produced 10 points to rally the Seahawks. Head coach Pete Carroll’s defense will have to come up big against Arizona QB Carson Palmer who is returning from injury. Arizona is a tough place to play, but the Cardinals have lost at home twice already. Here comes another one… Seattle 21, Arizona 20.
The Broncos are going to have to figure out their offensive woes quickly. Houston has found its running game with RB Lamar Miller, who has 520 rushing yards thus far this season. Texans QB Brock Osweiler proved he is worthy of his hefty contract by rallying Houston from 14-points down last week in a win over Indianapolis. Osweiler will have to beat his former team and one of the best defenses in the NFL, which also happens to be playing at home on Monday night… Denver 24, Houston 17.
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2018 NFL Football Season
Pittsburgh @ Kansas City
The Chiefs have lost five in a row. They are suffering without star RB Jamaal Charles. The offense has put up just 27 points in the past two games combined. Pittsburgh got a huge win with Landry Jones at QB last week in a 25-12 win over Arizona. The Steelers win on the road no matter who the quarterback is… Pittsburgh 29, Kansas City 14.
Cleveland @ St. Louis
The Browns are getting closer. They took the 6-0 Denver Broncos to overtime before losing last week. Besides their season opening loss to the Jets, the Browns have dropped a game to Raiders by a touchdown and the last three in a row by three points to San Diego, Baltimore, and the Broncos. The Rams have two impressive wins – Seattle and Arizona – but have yet to be consistent. This is a game they should win at home… St. Louis 17, Cleveland 16.
NY Jets @ New England
It is the Jets who have the NFL’s best scoring defense and No. 1 running game. First year head coach Todd Bowles has the Jets playing very well. The problem is that they must face arguably the league’s best team, New England in Foxboro. The Patriots are scoring over 36 points a game and can beat a defense on the ground or in the air. Choose to take away one and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick beats you with the other… New England 37, New York 31.
Dallas @ NY Giants
The Cowboys string of bad luck may be over. Wide receiver Dez Bryant may return from injury this week. Quarterback Tony Romo is still out though and backup Brandon Weeden will likely be replaced with Matt Cassel, who played in the Cowboys loss to New England two weeks ago. Dallas is coming off a bye. Still, they won’t beat the Giants at home… NY Giants 27, Dallas 20.
Oakland @ San Diego
It’s an old AFL rivalry game as the Raiders take on the Chargers in an AFC West battle. Both teams have two wins but neither has won a division game yet. The Chargers offense can score on anyone, but the defense is awful. The Raiders are improved but have lost two in a row. Make it three… San Diego 34, Oakland 20.
Houston @ Miami
Interim head coach Dan Campbell brought some life to the Miami Dolphins as the team recorded a 38-10 win over Tennessee last week. The Dolphins now take on a struggling Houston team that has lost two straight but is coming off a bye week. Brian Hoyer will start at quarterback this week for the Texans as head coach Bill O’Brien has tired of Ryan Mallett. Give Miami the advantage of playing at home… Miami 26, Houston 23.
Baltimore @ Arizona
A year ago, this looked like a great Monday Night Football game. What a difference a year makes. The Ravens are just 1-5 and in last place in the AFC North. Arizona has lived up to its part as leader of the NFC West although the Cardinals did lose to the Steelers last week. At home on a Monday night, the Cardinals get back on track… Arizona 24, Baltimore 17.