The battle of Ohio has not had this much of an impact in a quarter of a century, as both teams are above .500 and in tight playoff race in which all four AFC North teams hold winning records at the season’s midway marker. The Browns have mostly benefited from an easy schedule, while the Bengals after an October stumble are again looking like the best team in the division. The Bengals are at home and should be able to use the slight experience edge to help them get past the Browns who though they are a team on rise, still has a long way to go.
The Ravens are in last place with a record of 5-4. Their record has them in the playoff picture, but last place is like an anchor as they are two games behind the Bengals and have lost their last two games, making this game a must win, especially with three big losses in the division. The Titans are terrible, they have had trouble holding leads and have struggled on both sides of the ball. This sets up perfectly for the Ravens to get back on track as they will win easily.
Both teams come into the game 5-3 and know the game has high stakes. The Bills have won with an outstanding defense and have gotten just enough offense, while the Chiefs after losing their first two games have been red hot, winning five of their last six games. The Bills have the homefield edge, but have already lost twice in Buffalo. The Bills are a young team that has problems with injuries to their running game, and coming off a bye could blunt their momentum. I like the Chiefs in this situation, but the game will be close throughout.
The Dolphins come in off an absolute stomping of the Chargers at home, while the Lions coming off a bye week are sitting pretty at 6-2. The Lions have won with a strong defense that is ranked among the best in the NFL. The Lions could be getting a boost as a bye week gives players like Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush who been out with injury a chance to get back on the field. The Lions seem to win all their game close and this one won’t be any different as they win by a Field Goal in overtime.
The Cowboys after a 6-1 start have begun to show signs of a collapse after losing their last two games. The biggest worry is the health of Quarterback Tony Romo who suffered a two broken bones to his back and missed last week’s game. The Cowboys are saying he will play in London, but you have to wonder if this is a wise move especially with a ten hour flight. Romo when he returned against the Redskins two weeks ago clearly did not look right, and while Brandon Weeden was terrible last week, it could be a big risk to put Romo out there. The Jags meanwhile have been competitive lately and will likely bring forth a tip top effort and get the upset at Wembley.
The Saints come in having won their last 11 games at the Superdome, during the streak the closest they came to losing was a 23-20 win over the 49ers last November. The win was controversial as the Saints benefited from a questionable roughing the passer penalty. Both teams come into this game 4-4, with the 49ers being the more desperate team off a bad loss at home to the Rams. The Saints appear to be getting set for a run, but in a bad division have less pressure to win and a due to lose at home. Look for the 49ers to resemble a championship contender and get their season back on track.
Ben Roethlisberger has thrown six touchdown passes. He did at home against playoff contenders. While the Steelers are going on the road, the Jets are a dead team walking. Rex Ryan is officially a lame duck and the Jets secondary if beyond awful. The Steelers traditionally have been able to beat the Jets like a drum. This game has blowout written all over it. It is hard to imagine any scenario in which the Jets don’t score at least 30 points and it is hard to see the Jets scoring more than 20 points with their struggling offense. Add the fact Jets tickets are cheap on Stub Hub and it will sound like a Steelers home game as the Black and Yellow had Gang Green a ninth straight loss.
When they met in Week 3, the Falcons humiliated the Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football 56-14 in the Georgia Dome. The Falcons have not won since and come in with a record of 2-6 following a bye week that was preceded by a second half collapse in London. The Buccaneers won the game following their embarrassment in Atlanta, which remains their only win of the season. The Bucs did play well despite losing in Cleveland last week and are due for another win. The Falcons have been ravaged by injuries and could be seeing a major shakeup on the horizon as Owner Arthur Blank was furious with the team’s performance, add the fact they have struggled on the road and this sets up for payback from Tampa.
The Broncos are coming off a terrible performance in Foxboro and have lost the inside track to home field in the playoffs. However, if they don’t want to need a return trip to New England in the playoffs they must bounce back fast, and hope the Patriots stumble. The Raiders come in with 14 straight losses and have not beaten Denver in five years. If the Broncos want to bounce back they must make the Raiders pay. While Oakland has shown signs of life in recent weeks it’s hard to imagine that Derek Carr can compete with Peyton Manning, who has traditionally torn apart the Silver and Black. This game won’t be any different as the Broncos win easily.
It’s time to take the Cardinals seriously as they hold the best record in the NFL at 7-1, a mark they have not seen in 40 years. The Cardinals secondary is nearly impossible to beat with Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu and Antonio Cromartie. The Cardinals offense meanwhile is getting stronger with a healthy Carson Palmer having a pair of receivers in Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd that can make big plays. The Rams are a bit more unpredictable and do have a defense that keep them in the game. The Cardinals are the better team and will continue their winning ways in another close one.
Things could become falling apart for the Giants who have lost their last three games and have lost Prince Amukamara for the remainder of the season. Amukamara is perhaps the Giants best cover corner and will leave the Big Blue secondary vulnerable for the rest of the season. The Seahawks have yet to break out and continue to struggle despite a 5-3 record. However, there are signs they are about to break out. Coming off a Monday Night blowout loss the Giants could be ripe for the pickins. Look for the Seahawks to get an easy win at home and start a second half surge.
The Chicago Bears, with players like Dick Butkus, Richard Dent, Mike Singlerarry and Brian Urlacher have always prided themselves on defense. This year their defense has been a sieve allowing teams to go through them like a hot knife through butter. The Packers would like nothing more than to bury their rivals. Look for Aaron Rodgers to have a big night as the Packers go up and down the field to sweep the Bears and all but end Chicago’s postseason hopes.
At 3-5-1 the Panthers could be entering desperation mode, as they have won just once since winning their first two games. The Eagles at 6-2 are in a vulnerable state with Quarterback Nick Foles expected to miss at least four weeks with a broken collar bone. Mark Sanchez did a fine job in relief last week in Houston, but the Eagles have to worry if his past struggles can crop up. Playing at home may help and the Eagles do have a solid running game and good targets for Sanchez to throw to. The Panthers just have been able to bring enough pressure on the QB since Greg Hardy was suspended and will continue to stumble in Philadelphia.