No team has been more disappointing over the last month than the Dolphins, who started 3-0 but have plunged into the same funk as the other two Florida teams. Against the Bengals things won’t get any better, as the Bengals defense is too quick and too strong and the Dolphins offensive line has too many problems. Ryan Tannehill is on pace to be sacked 72 times, and quarterback can’t win on his back. The Bengals offense meanwhile is finding its groove after a 49 point game against the Jets on Sunday.
Don’t sleep on the Buffalo Bills; despite their 3-5 record they give nearly everybody a fight. They nearly beat the Patriots and Bengals earlier in the season and were in the game against the Saints for the first half last week. The Chiefs at 8-0 has looked somewhat vulnerable the last two weeks and are due for a loss. With the bye week and the Broncos coming up this is the week they get caught looking ahead and sleeping on the Bills who are due for a breakthrough win.
With a win the Panthers can cement their credibility in the playoff chase and drive a steak into the coffin of the division rival Atlanta Falcons. Cam Newton has been flawless in the last three weeks as the Panthers have begun to make a serious move into contention. However, Newton has gotten lots of help from Running Back Mike Tolbert who has been putting up solid numbers, while their defense is turning into one of the best units in the league. The Falcons meanwhile have been sleep walking all season and I don’t see things getting better.
Dazed and confused is the best way to describe the Cowboys after their stunning fourth quarter collapse against the Lions last week. Nobody was more confused than Dez Bryant who threw a temper tantrum as big as Texas. The Vikings are also in a state of confusing as their quarterback situation has seen three straight different starters. The Cowboys will take out their anger against the Vikings this Sunday as Dez Bryant has a big game against the Vikings defense, which appears to be mailing in the rest of the season.
Last week the Bengals went up and down the field at will against the Jets who saw Rookie Quarterback Geno Smith continue his pattern of alternating good and bad performances. This week Geno is due for a good game, but the question is will it be good enough? The Jets defense will be the one that needs to step it up even more as the Saints offense has ranked among the best in the NFL. Drew Brees will tutor the Jets Rookie QB on big games as the Saints win big.
The Rams defense put up a tremendous effort on Monday Night, holding the Seahawks to 135 yards total offense, 80 of those yards came on one play as Robert Quinn and Chris Long each recorded three sacks. However, the Rams came up two yards short of a win, following a goal line stand. It is yet unknown if Jake Locker will get the start for the Titans, but if the Rams repeat their quarterback mashing effort, the Titans may want to wait another week before activating their injured quarterback. A win would be extra sweet for Rams Coach Jeff Fisher, who coached the Titans for 16 seasons.
For nearly three quarters the Redskins were out playing the Broncos last week in Denver holding a 21-7 lead, before Peyton Manning led a 38 point explosion. Redskins Quarterback Robert Griffin III continues to struggle, but last week’s bump on the knee could be what he has been waiting for to get past the fear of tearing his ACL again. I see RGIII having a big game against the groggy Chargers, who traditionally struggle when playing in the early game on the East Coast.
The word is out and the NFL has figured how to stop the Eagles gimmick offense, as they have not scored a touchdown in their last two games. This when we are going to learn whether or not Coach Chip Kelly can adjust and succeed in the NFL, or should he go flying back to the College ranks. Nick Foles has been cleared to practice, Michael Vick has felt his hamstring pop and Matt Barkley should become a chef because he is great at creating turnovers. The Raiders do the Pennsylvania two step winning their second straight game against Keystone State team.
On Monday Night the Seahawks played a terrible game, managing just 135 yards in total offense against the Rams. However, as good teams often do they found a way to win the game, as they held off the Rams 14-10 with a classic goal line stand. The Buccaneers have not only been bad they have shown no desire to even try and going into the Hawks nest is only going to bring more pain for the team in Pewter. This one will get ugly fast as the Seahawks defense shutouts the anemic Bucs offense.
If the Ravens are going to make a serious push in the second half this is a game they must have. The Browns have a solid defense, but without an offense they stand little chance to win many more games. Brian Hoyer gave them a spark with three straight wins, but both Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell have been awful. The Ravens defense has played well as of late and should be able to contain Campbell, while Ray Rice will eventually make the big run to get the Ravens back to .500.
The Patriots had a great gutsy win last week, overcoming a 17-3 halftime deficit to beat the Dolphins and all but clinch another division championship. The Steelers meanwhile came back to earth losing on the road to the Raiders. Going coast-to-coast the Steelers now find themselves in Foxboro, where despite the Patriots holes on defense the Steelers offensive problems are by far more serious. With a loss the Steelers will begin to turn their focus on reevaluating for the future after this week.
Both of these teams are coming off their bye week and heading in opposite directions. The Colts playing their third straight game under the primetime glare are 5-2, with a win over former QB Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, while the 2-5 Texans have lost five straight. If the Texans are going to make a turnaround they must win this game at home. The bye week could be just what the doctor ordered in Houston as the Texans simply too good to go quietly into the night. Look for the Texans to keep their season alive.
Both of these historic rivals come in with their team’s looking like a MASH unit. The difference is the Packers most important player Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and having another All-Pro season. The Bears will be without their Quarterback Jay Cutler and without Charles Tillman on defense. With this game in Lambeau Field that means nothing but bad news for the Da Bears, look for the Packers behind another big night from Rodgers to win going away.