San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals
The 49ers are hot. They won their seventh straight last week, 51-13 over Carolina. San Francisco can run the ball – they had 232 yards on the ground last week – and play great defense (they sacked Carolina QB Kyle Allen seven times). The Cardinals ran into the Saints last week but can’t be overlooked. QB Kyler Murray is dynamic, but not dynamic enough for the 49ers defense… San Francisco 34, Arizona 17
Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars
It’s a huge AFC South matchup as the 5-3 Texans take on the 4-4 Jaguars. Jacksonville battled Houston in Week 2 but lost 13-12. Home field could be an advantage especially for QB Gardner Minshew who had another strong performance last week (22-of-34, 279 yards, 3 TDs). Houston’s Deshaun Watson had a big game last week too (27-of-39, 279 yards, 3 TDs). Houston won both games last year and has won nine of the last 11 in the series. That gives them the advantage… Houston 27, Jacksonville 24
Washington Redskins @ Buffalo Bills
The Bills took one on the chin last week losing at home to the Eagles. Now 5-2, Buffalo faces one of the worst teams in the NFL in Washington. The Redskins can’t score – 12.4 points per game (30th) – and can’t play defense – 26th in the total defense. Buffalo will be looking for revenge and is playing at home. The Bills have won six of the last seven in the series with Washington dating back to 1993… Buffalo 23, Washington 10
Minnesota Vikings @ Kansas City Chiefs
Without Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs are a different football team. They did put up a fight last week in a loss to the Packers, but Aaron Rodgers was no match for the KC defense. The Vikings Kirk Cousins has been hot and RB Dalvin Cook leads the league in rushing. Matt Moore gives the Chiefs a chance, but KC is just 1-3 at home this year… Minnesota 30, Kansas City 28
New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins
Get out the pillows. The 1-6 Jets take on the equally abysmal Dolphins in the Pillow Fight of the Week. The Jets and Dolphins are statistically the two worst offensive teams in the NFL. The Jets average 11.1 points per game and Miami scores 10.5. Something has to give. The Dolphins give up 35.2 points per game. That’s the difference… NY Jets 17, Miami 10
Chicago Bears @ Philadelphia Eagles
It’s hard to believe, but the Chicago Bears are now in last place in the NFC North. A 17-16 loss to the Chargers last week leaves Matt Nagy’s team 3-4. Now, Chicago must go to Philadelphia and beat an Eagles team that destroyed Buffalo (5-2) in Buffalo last week. It’s a tough stretch for the Eagles who play New England in two weeks and Seattle the week after. It’s a must-win at home… Philadelphia 27, Chicago 24
Tampa Bay Bucs @ Seattle Seahawks
Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winston is a turnover machine. He had four more last week as the Bucs lost 27-23 to Tennessee. The Seahawks are 6-2 after beating Atlanta last week. Playing at CenturyLink Field is difficult for anyone even though Seattle has uncharacteristically lost two home games this season. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is having an MVP-worthy season. Tampa Bay has dropped three straight… Seattle 28, Tampa Bay 17
Clevelan Browns @ Denver Broncos
The Browns were back to their normal selves last week in a loss to the Patriots. In one three-play sequence, Cleveland managed to fumble the ball twice and toss an ugly interception. All the offseason hype has led to a 2-5 record, which is similar to Denver’s 2-6 mark. The Broncos just can’t seem to figure out how to score. They average just 15.6 points per game. Still, it’s hard to see them losing to the Browns… Denver 17, Cleveland 15
Green Bay Packers @ Los Angeles Chargers
Can anyone stop Aaron Rodgers and the Packers? Rodgers was on fire once again last week with 305 passing yards and three touchdowns in a big win over Kansas City. The Chargers managed to pull out a win last week when Chicago missed a last-second field goal. The Chargers have some issues, but DE Joey Bosa could give Rodgers some headaches. Bosa had two sacks against the Bears. Green Bay is simply better… Green Bay 33, LA Chargers 27
New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens had last week off to prepare for the Patriots, who just toyed with the Browns last week. The Patriots defense will have its hands full trying to slow down Lamar Jackson, but leave it to Bill Belichick to figure out how to do it. The 5-2 Ravens will be at home and will have to have success with their NFL-leading running attack. Baltimore averages 204.1 yards rushing per game. The Patriots only allow 85.3. The Ravens at home points to an upset, but somehow the Patriots find a way… New England 29, Baltimore 28
Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants
The Cowboys had a week off to prepare for the second half of the season. They face NFC East rival the Giants first. New York shows flashes, but the Giants are just not consistent enough. Rookie QB Daniel Jones is still learning. RB Saquon Barkley is back and that should energize the offense, but the Cowboys defense and QB Dak Prescott are looking to put away the competition in the division. Dallas beat the Eagles 37-10 two weeks ago. The Cowboys need a win before facing Minnesota the following week… Dallas 35, NY Giants 20
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2015 NFL predictions
Cleveland @ Cincinnati
The battle of Ohio shouldn’t be much of a battle as the undefeated Bengals (7-0) entertain Cleveland (2-6) on Thursday night. Cincinnati is coming off a Sunday win over Pittsburgh, so the short week might give the Bengals some trouble, but hey, it’s Cleveland! The Browns are still trying to figure things out. Chalk up another loss… Cincinnati 27, Cleveland 19.
Green Bay @ Carolina
This is a huge game. The NFC North leader against the NFC South frontrunner. Green Bay is coming off a tough loss to Denver. It’s hard to see them losing two in a row. Carolina hasn’t lost at home and their defense, led by LB Luke Kuechly, is tough. Panthers in a tight one… Carolina 14, Green Bay 13.
Washington @ New England
The Redskins are up and down. They have played well in wins over Philadelphia and Tampa Bay and have even battled in losses to Atlanta and the Jets. In the end, though, Washington just doesn’t have what it takes to beat a team like New England. The Patriots are just up and will continue to be Sunday… New England 37, Washington 20.
Miami @ Buffalo
This game will have some implications in the AFC East. Both teams are 3-4. The Dolphins have yet to win a division game but have been playing much better since the firing of Joe Philbin. They did run into the Patriots last Thursday and they don’t play well in Buffalo. The Bills just can’t seem to put it together. Starting QB Tyrod Taylor may return from injury. The Bills lost to Jacksonville last week. Ugh, and they haven’t played well at home… Miami 31, Buffalo 28.
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St. Louis @ Minnesota
The hottest team in the NFL right now may be the Minnesota Vikings. Head coach Mike Zimmer’s defense is shutting people down and Adrian Peterson is running people over. Next up is St. Louis. At 4-3, the Rams are improved from last year. Rookie RB Todd Gurley is impressive. Can he rip up the Vikings defense? Not this time… Minnesota 23, St. Louis 17.
Oakland @ Pittsburgh
The old Steelers-Raiders rivalries of the 1970s and ‘80s are long gone. The two teams are now headed in different directions. The Raiders have won two in a row and feature a potent offense. The Steelers were supposed to feature a potent offense. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returned from a knee injury last week to guide Pittsburgh to a measly 10 points in a loss to Cincinnati. Still, the Steelers won’t lose two in a row at home… Pittsburgh 30, Oakland 24.
Atlanta @ San Francisco
After starting 5-0, the Falcons have lost two of their last three with both losses coming against NFC South Division opponents. The lone win in those three games was a 10-7 victory over lowly Tennessee. Atlanta is not playing well, but they face a 49ers team that hasn’t played well this year. San Francisco doesn’t throw the ball well. They are worst in the NFL in scoring (13.6 points a game) and they don’t play very good defense. Even if Atlanta struggles, the Falcons win… Atlanta 31, San Francisco 17.
Denver @ Indianapolis
Can anyone beat Denver? Well, it won’t be the Colts. Indianapolis is 3-4 and leads the AFC South Division. The Colts have wins over teams with a six victories. While Peyton Manning is not enjoying a stellar season, he is still Peyton Manning and the Denver defense is just dominating. They lead the NFL in points against… Denver 35, Indianapolis 14.
NY Giants @ Tampa Bay
The Giants are coming off a thrilling loss to New Orleans, while the Bucs claimed an overtime victory over Atlanta last week. The Giants offense, with QB Eli Manning and WR Odell Beckham Jr, is virtually unstoppable. Tampa Bay has been inconsistent and rookie QB Jameis Winston is improving. Still, the Giants need this win… NY Giants 33, Tampa Bay 28.
Philadelphia @ Dallas
The Sunday night game is a pivotal one in the NFC East. Dallas has yet to win a game without Tony Romo at quarterback. Romo won’t return until later this month and if the Cowboys can’t muster a few wins, their playoff hopes are done. The Eagles are in the same boat. They did beat New Orleans and the Giants in successive games but lost to a very good Carolina team in their last game. The Eagles did have a bye week to prepare… Philadelphia 24, Dallas 17.
Chicago @ San Diego
The 2-5 Bears against the 2-6 Chargers on Monday night. It could be a yawner. The Chargers, with the NFL’s top passing game, have dropped four straight because they just don’t play very good defense. The Bears have dropped two in a row by a total of six points. The Bears aren’t all that good on defense either, which might mean that a lot of points get put up… San Diego 37, Chicago 34.