Ok so of course the week i start doing blogs for my predictions and analyses is when I have my worst week of the season. Many teams made me look like a pick em fool last week. Its ok though because I’ve never had back to back bad weeks and I don’t intend to start now. This week is when the playoff puzzle pieces are falling into place and the picture of the postseason is becoming clearer. The Ravens have proven for yet another week why they are a force to be reckoned with and the Bengals finally chalked up a W. The Seahawks have usurped the 49ers as the strongest team in the NFC but the Saints are doing their best to make the Seahawks share the seat. Many stories are playing out right now and this is one of the most exciting times of the year. It’ll be an exciting week of action and I’m excited to watch it all unfold. With that being said, let’s get down to it.
COWBOYS (6-6) @ BEARS (6-6)
The Thursday night matchup is an interesting one for sure. The Cowboys have been a standout offense this season but have lacked the ability to win close games against solid and mediocre teams alike. When the moment has called for heroism or a game breaking play, they’ve fallen short. The offense has been phenomenal, as they’re ranked 1st overall. Prescott is playing well and they’re rushing attack is top 10. They just havent been able to convert that key first down in crunch time or make the key defensive stop when they need it most. The Bears have been a rather different story. The Bears defense has been rather impressive. They rank 7th overall and are 4th in points allowed per game. The offense however has been far short of good. They rank 29th overall and have sorely missed guys like Howard and Trubisky has taken a step back in his growth. He was a solid game manager capable of putting up enough points and killing time at the end of games. This season he’s been struggling to make key throws and find a rhythm. You can’t be a skilled game manager if you can’t move down the field and put your team on top. The Cowboys are solid on both sides of the ball and I look for them to be playing with desperation as they try to stay on top of the NFC East. Give them the win here in their much needed redemption game.
PREDICTION: COWBOYS 20 BEARS 16
PANTHERS (5-7) @ FALCONS (3-9)
This game is a consolation game for two teams just looking to wrap up the season. The Panthers have seen the enigma that is Christian McCaffrey do enough to help overshadow their lackluster passing attack. McCaffrey has put up a remarkable season and has placed himself right in the middle of the MVP race. However, a lack of talented receivers and a mediocre offensive line haven’t helped much and the defense has been disappointing enough to help drag the team down to a sub-.500 record. The Falcons havent looked much better either, currently having them ranked 28th in the league. They’ve lacked any hope in their ground game ranking only 30th in that category. They’ve been just as mediocre on the other side of the ball ranking 23rd in overall defense and 27th in points allowed. They also ranked as the second worst team in getting to the QB. If they cant generate pressure on Allen, they wont be able to make the Panthers one dimensional and McCaffreys fingerprints will be all over this game. The Panthers are league best in sacks and that pressure will bother Ryan all day, and without a running game to speak of, I think they’ll lose this one badly.
PREDICTION: PANTHERS 27 FALCONS 10
BENGALS (1-11) @ BROWNS (5-7)
This game is much like the Panthers-Falcons game. Two teams who have underwhelmed this season to say the least. The Bengals have the worst record in the league and have been hurting without AJ Green and a formidable QB under center. Dalton is a solid game manager and can make some throws, but he’s clearly not the Franchise QB the Bengals need. At this point, theyre likely looking to secure the 1st overall draft pick and start their rebuild. The offensive line needs bulked up for Mixon and they need to look for pass rushers and a Franchise QB. They rank 29th in rushing, 31st in scoring, and 30th in sacks. This team needs help across the board. The Browns have all the pieces to be a formidable team, they either are lacking the coaching or just have yet to put together the chemistry and haven’t learned to play together yet. The Browns have been overshadowed by slightly below average play and lots of negative drama. They’re hungry to prove they can play well and are looking to bounce back from a frustrating loss to a depleted Steelers team. I think they will do just that as Baker is decent QB with time and the Bengals are severely lacking in the pass rush.
PREDICTION: BROWNS 23 BENGALS 13
REDSKINS (3-9) @ PACKERS (9-3)
I’m sensing a recurring theme this week as I’ve only covered 1 game of the last 3 that I think will be close. This one will be one more that I think might be a comfortable win. The Packers are a solid team with a decently well-rounded offense but a lack-luster defense. Luckily for the Packers theyre facing the worst offense in the league. Haskins has had a rough debut season, but we can likely chalk it up to a rookie that just wasnt ready to start. He struggles to push the ball down the field and they are the worst in percentage of drives that end in touchdowns and can’t put up points to save their life. To a Packers defense that only ranks 28th, that’s music to their ears. They can do enough to keep the Skins out of the end zone and we all know Rodgers and company can put up points. I see this one being a blowout for the Pack.
PREDICTION: PACKERS 37 REDSKINS 13
RAVENS (10-2) @ BILLS (9-3)
This is the strongest test the Bills have faced all season. The Ravens have won 8 in a row and are looking to keep the streak going. They have put up a historic season on the ground, led by their one of a kind playmaker Lamar Jackson. They’ve torn through some of the best defenses in the league, but Jackson did show signs of his football humanity against the 49ers daunting defense last week. The Bills also have a formidable defense. The Bills defense ranks 3rd overall and does well with getting pressure on the QB. They have a talented roster all around and have the potential to pose a very tough challenge for the Ravens. For Lamar and the Ravens, the key has been unpredictability and solid rushing. When the passing game gets rolling and they begin to open up the field, that’s when the running game is at its best, and that best has been historically great this season. Lamar is on pace to shatter Vick’s single season QB rushing record and the team is on pace to break the team single season rushing record. With Lamar sitting pretty at the front of the MVP race, they need to use his arm to help open up the run on this tough defense and keep the clock rolling and stay on the field. The Bills need to take away the passing game and force all the pressure on the run. This game will be a close game for the Ravens again amd will show that they’re beatable yet again, but they wont fall this week. I see them pushing their winning streak to 9 wins in a close game.
PREDICTION: RAVENS 27 BILLS 23
BRONCOS (4-8) @ TEXANS (8-4)
This game is gonna put a bit of a shock in the Texans. The Broncos aren’t a huge threat, but with a QB with very little game film to study, it’ll be difficult to game plan against. The Broncos have Lock starting in just his 2nd career start and 2nd career game played. He managed the game well last week against a less than formidable Chargers team. He looked sort of comfortable, and found ways to move the ball downfield and put points on the board. He converted well on 3rd downs and kept making plays. They looked like a decent table that is actually capable of winning some games. This week they have a much more daunting opponent, facing a strong Texans team that just beat the very strong Patriots. Watson has been very good this season and they have found much success on the offensive side of the ball. Their big weakness is their pass defense. They allow the 5th most passing yards and are also only ranked 27th in sacks per game. With a lack of a pass rush to frustrate the young Denver QB and a poor season against the pass, can the Texans avoid the trap game against the putrid Broncos team? I say yes, but it’ll be close. If youre betting on this, dont take the Texans with the 9.5 point spread.
PREDICTION: TEXANS 23 BRONCOS 20
LIONS (3-8-1) @ VIKINGS (8-4)
This game is your typical division rivalry that will be close only because thats how divisional games tend to go. David Blough made headlines for the Lions last week as he stood out with a big game against the Bears. He made big plays and kept the ball moving downfield. Despite their putrid record they have the 7th best offense in the league. Their big struggle is on the defense. They struggle all across the board. They’re 29th in total defense, 25th in scoring defense, and 31st in red zone defense. This Vikings offense can catch fire in an instant and could easily abuse this revolving door defense. The Vikings have a top 10 offense and can put up points in a hurry. Diggs is one of the most elusive players with the ball in his hands and has game breaking speed. Of course, they also have Dalvin Cook who has the 5th most rushing yards and is tied for 1st in rushing TDs. The defense is decent and will surely be looking to put pressure on Blough in this one. They are 11th in points allowed and 14th in sacks. I look for them to put plenty of pressure on Blough and to let Cook produce on the offensive side to establish a rhythm. The Lions need to keep Cook from making plays and try to keep the Vikings off the field if they can. I dont think this game will be super close but Blough will make a solid effort in keeping up with the Vikings.
PREDICTION: VIKINGS 34 LIONS 24
49ERS (10-2) @ SAINTS (10-2)
This is definitely the game of the week. The Saints are the top seed in the NFC and the 49ers just were the top seed last week prior to a close loss to the Ravens. The 49ers have been one of the biggest surprises this season and a team very worthy of their top 5 power rankings spot. The 49ers have the 6th ranked offense and the top defense in the league. They’re 2nd in both points allowed and sacks. They have a lethal front 7 and were the first team to make Baltimore look human and beatable. They bring constant pressure and are capable of making even the top passing offenses look average. Bosa, Buckner, and Armstead have anchored a defensive line that gets constant pressure and are a huge nuisance. The QB theyre facing however is one of the best passers of all time. Brees is part of the GOAT conversation and is very calm, collective, and can make all the throws. They’re a top 10 passing attack and are top 10 on defense as well. The X Factor in this one will likely be Taysom Hill. When Hill gets involved in multiple aspects of the game, its keeps defense on their heels and opens up the game for Brees and company. Lets not forget either that Michael Thomas is in the middle of a potential record breaking season. This will surely be a good game and it’ll be close, but I see Brees and the Saints coming through in a close one.
PREDICTION: SAINTS 30 49ERS 28
DOLPHINS (3-9) @ JETS (4-8)
This is a battle of the most inconsistent teams in the league. The Dolphins were once the embarrassment of the league, but have followed an 0-7 start with a 3-2 stretch. They have beaten the Jets once already and are coming off of a shootout game against the Eagles. Fitzpatrick has played rather well the last 3 weeks or so and they’re starting to not be so embarrassing. They’re starting to balance out their putrid defense, but still find it very tough to keep up with the troublesome 30th ranked defense. They have practically no run game and can’t keep offenses out of the end zone. Lucky for them their opponent is 1 of 2 teams that is worse on offense. The Jets have been close to just as bad this season, having lost to both laughing stocks this season in the Bengals and Dolphins. We’ve seen Darnold come out and look like a reliable QB, and we’ve seen him come out and look terrible and unable to sense pressure. We never know what to expect when the Jets take the field. The difference maker in this one will be LeVeon Bell against the Dolphins 31st ranked run defense and the Jets 6th ranked defense. I look for the Jets to do just enough to outlast the Dolphins.
PREDICTION: JETS 38 DOLPHINS 30
COLTS (6-6) @ BUCCANEERS (5-7)
This is another game that is hard to predict and pin down. The Colts once had the makings of a good team, capable of making the playoffs. They’re not out of the playoff race, but just have looked like a shell of their former selves lately. They’ve lost 4 of their last 5 and just have seemed to struggle without Hilton. They are more or less middle of the pack in most stats aside from rushing and converting 3rd and 4th downs. The Buccaneers do very well against the run and in stopping offenses on 3rd down. The one game breaking piece that Tampa Bay struggles with that is a strength of Indy is those pesky 4th down attempts. They give up the 6th most 4th down conversions per game. I think this game could easily come down to that part of the game and it can be a huge difference makes. The Colts will keep Winston from scorching them, and will force a key turnover or 2, as well as converting 1 or 2 key 4th downs. Give this one to the Colts close.
PREDICTION: COLTS 27 BUCS 24 OT
CHARGERS (4-8) @ JAGUARS (4-8)
We have finally gotten the Minshew Mania return that we’ve all been hoping for. The Mustached Enigma has returned and we’re all so thankful and here for it. He returns after being benched following Foles’ recovery from an injury. Foles has played the last 3 games and all 3 games have been heavy losses. Foles just hasn’t had the same magic in Jacksonville as he did in Philly. The Jaguars are about middle of the pack in almost all stats except scoring. They’re 29th in scoring in the red zone and 22nd in keeping their opponents out of the red zone. They can only hope the return of Minshew can spark some life into this offense and change their scoring problems for the better. The Chargers have been possibly one of the most disappointing teams this season. Many teams thought them capable of making a playoff push and even contending with the Chiefs this year. That has been far from the case though as they’re a measly 4-8. They have ranked 12th in total offense and 4th in total defense. So whats the issue with this Chargers team? Their biggest flaw is their turnovers, they rank 28th in turnover margin. They can’t seem to not throw picks and can’t really force them themselves. This game will come down to Minshew and Fournette. Can they capitalize on LA’s inability to force turnovers or generate pressure? Or will LA find a rhythm and get Gordon and Ekeler rolling? I say the Jags find a way to use Minshew’s return as a spark and ride the momentum to a win.
PREDICTION: JAGS 17 CHARGERS 13
STEELERS (7-5) @ CARDINALS (3-8-1)
This game is more predictable than expected. I think people see this as a close game. Murray is a solid dual threat, Fitzgerald is ole reliable, and they can make plays, but this season they’re 23rd on offense and have the worst defense in the league. They fail to generate alot of pressure amd don’t really force turnovers. Connor has a small chance to return for the Steelers this week and that can help bring more stability to Duck Hodges. The Steelers have been solid, winning 6 of their last 7. They’re fighting for a playoff spot and are looking to keep the ball rolling against the Cards this week. The Cards have one monumental weakness that gets the spotlight in this one. The Cards have lost big in games against teams that have top notch pass rushing groups and are very solid at forcing turnovers. It just so happens that Pittsburgh is 3rd in sacks and 2nd in Ints. Look for Pittsburgh to make Murray extremely uncomfortable and create some turnovers. They win by a very comfortable margin in this one.
PREDICTION: STEELERS 31 CARDS 9
CHIEFS (8-4) @ PATRIOTS (10-2)
We have another big, primetime matchup here. This game features a matchup that was some extremely exciting, must-see football. The Pats this year have had a historically great defense. They lead the league in interceptions, are 4th in sacks, and have only allowed 12 points per game. The other side of the ball has been a flip of what we’ve seen from the defense. Brady has looked far less than the GOAT we’ve seen in years passed. He’s made mistakes and missed throws. They struggle in the running game and rank just 27th in red zone scoring in their last 3 games. This offense finally has weaknesses that arent quite capable of being overcome easily. The Chiefs rank 3rd in passing and have only thrown 2 interceptions this season. The Chiefs havent been quite as electric as they were last season but Mahommes and this offense have still thrived since his return from injury. Hes still a special QB and they can win games against some of the strongest teams in the league. I look for Mahommes to limit their offense to either 1 or 0 turnovers and continue to put nicks in the Pats armor.
PREDICTION: CHIEFS 23 PATS 17
TITANS (7-5) @ RAIDERS (6-6)
This is the meeting of 2 teams that have made strong play off pushes lately. The Raiders had a solid stretch before getting blown away in the last 2 games. They’ve been average across the board this season and have seen quite a performance from possible offensive Rookie of the Year favorite Josh Jacobs. Hes ranked 4th in rushing yards and has been a big difference maker on that side of the ball. The Raiders also rank 6th in red zone TDs at home. They have the 11th ranked run defense and that will be a huge factor if they hope to win as they’re facing the 3rd ranked running back in Derrick Henry. Henry has been reliable this season and has been on fire lately. They have lost their last 3 matchups against the Raiders and look to change their luck in this one as they’re fighting with Pittsburgh for that 6th spot in the wildcard. The key matchup in this one is Jacobs vs Henry. Both run defense rank 10th and 11th and it will come down to which RB will be able to have the biggest effect on the game and help open up their average passing attack. I look for Henry to prove why is the bigger game breaker as he runs over the Raiders defense in this game.
PREDICTION: TITANS 20 RAIDERS 6
SEAHAWKS (10-2) @ RAMS (7-5)
We have a solid divisional game that could promise some solid football. The Rams this season have been missing something on offense that just has been causing them to fall short. They’ve struggled against divisional opponents but, put up a very close game against the Seahawks in week 5. The Rams have done well at scoring in the red zone and the Seahawks have been average in preventing red zone TDs. They have been mediocre at home though this season and the Seahawks are 7-0 away. The Seahawks have been very good on offense this year. Russ has put up an MVP caliber season, Carson has been very solid, and the receiving group has been more than reliable. They force turnovers and even have the 3rd best turnover margin on the road. This game will come down to if they can force turnovers and frustrate Goff. I think they can win this game by more than one score.
PREDICTION: SEAHAWKS 31 RAMS 20
GIANTS (2-10) @ EAGLES (5-7)
I know last week I said the Giants would upset the Packers last week, and ended up getting absolutely crushed. Last season we saw Barkley run all over the Eagles, but now this team is led by Daniel Jones and Barkely has not looked anywhere near the electric player we saw last year. Daniel Jones has shown some good flashes in a season of suckery from the Giants this year. They havent won since week 4 and we’re likely to not see Jones play this week and Eli will get the start. Eli hasnt played since week 2 so we’ll see what happens. Just keep in mind Barkley since to play better and have much more of an impact with Eli in the game. That could be trouble for the Eagles. The Eagles will be looking to stay alive in the fight for the NFC East. Theyre only one game behind the Cowboys for the division and have to avoid a loss at such a critical point in the season. Wentz has looked rough this year and has raised questions about the chemistry and relationship with his receivers. The big bright spot for Philly is their stout defense. Capable of stifling offenses of all kinds, this defense could cause the Giants alot of problems if they can apply pressure on Eli. The Giants have lost 8 straight games and I dont think a divisional game against a desperate Eagles team in Philly is not the time to start.
PREDICTION: EAGLES 26 GIANTS 16
Ok so here’s to hoping I can recover from last week’s bad pick em week. I had my worst one, of course with my first blog post of the season. The playoff picture is becoming clearer and things are shaking out to be an exciting season conclusion. Lets see what this week brings and as always, I hope you enjoy this article. Please read, comment, and share with friends and family that love football. Thanks for reading and good luck to your favorite team this week.