The Texans have done quite a good job, posting a 3-2 mark in their first five games. Defense has been their specialty with J.J. Watt making an early case for NFL MVP. However, they have succeeded despite Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Colts have Andrew Luck who can take advantage of the Texans questionable secondary and the Colts defense, which has played well in recent weeks, should be able to smother Fitzpartrick as the Colts have always dominated the Texans.
Since the winning the opening game of the 2003 season, the Bills have lost 20 of their last 21 games against the Patriots. Few of these games have been close as the Patriots routinely have won by double digits. No team likes getting routinely beaten by another this bad, but the Bills come close acting like Kevin Bacon in Animal House and saying, “Thank You Sir, may I have another”. The Pats got their season on track last week, and the Bills won’t win many games with Kyle Orton.
The Bengals were bound to come down to earth a bit, they are a solid team but they are not the best team in the NFL. They were in an impossible situation last week, facing a Patriots team that for a week was called old and ripped in the media. The game was in primetime where the Bengals always struggle and on the road. Coming back home against the Panthers, I fully expect them to bounce back and win comfortably.
If the Browns are to be taken seriously they must win this game. The Browns have done a good job, splitting their first four games. They have been competitive in each game. Last week they rallied to win in Tennessee after trailing 28-3. In Week 1 against the Steelers at Heinz Field the Browns made a similar comeback, but lost when Shaun Shuisham kicked a walk off Field Goal. At home they should be able to complete the job as QB Brian Hoyer has been terrific in late game situations.
It is hard to imagine that Ryan Tannehill could match Aaron Rodgers score for score. Before he became head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Joe Philbin was the offensive coordinator of the Packers, and is quite familiar with Rodgers and the Pack’s attack. Still after getting on track two weeks ago the Packers are just the more talented team. The game should be close, but in the end the Dolphins will fall just short.
The Lions must be snake bit; Calvin Johnson is likely out with a high ankle sprain that he aggravated during last week’s loss to the Bills. They have already lost Stephen Tulloch to a discount double check and been missing Joseph Fauria who as felled by a puppy named Lil Ruffio. The Vikings have always dominated the Lions in Minnesota and will be able to win this game even if Christian Ponder starts at quarterback.
This one could get real ugly. Geno Smith has proven that he can’t handle the rigors of being NFL quarterback, screaming at fans and choosing to see a movie instead of going to a team meeting. It is a mystery how he can remain the starter. Now comes the Broncos with Peyton Manning five touchdowns away from tying the record for career touchdown passes. The Jets secondary is soft and Peyton will have a field day at the Meadowlands as fans continue to turn on Geno, Rex Ryan and the Jets.
I think I finally understand the reasoning for the Buccaneers uniform change. Go out there in garb that is so ugly it is uncomfortable to look at, and take advantage of the teams eyes being seared by the ugliness. It almost worked last week in the Superdome. However, typically they chose to wear their white at home early in the season. The Ravens have been solid all season and should be able to avoid a blinding loss in Tampa.
Last year the Jaguars earned their first win of the season on the road against the Titans. This week they will again earn their first win of the season in Tennessee. The Jaguars have showed signs of improvement with Quarterback Blake Bortles, while the Titans are coming off a game in which they blew a 25 point lead at home against the Cleveland Browns. The Titans may be without QB Jake Locker, and have played terrible at home; this is the perfect time for Bortles to break through.
Since losing in Week 1, the Chargers have been quite impressive, winning four straight including a beat down of the Seahawks. However, the Chargers have always struggled in Oakland. The Raiders and Chargers are one of those rivalries you can throw out the records when they play. The Raiders are also playing for a new coach and should put forth their best effort. In the end the Raiders will fall short, but they will get some positives as the game will be tight right up until the Chargers escape with a win.
The Cardinals don’t want memories of 2012 to creep in. That year they started 4-0, and won just one game the remainder of the season. Last week the Cardinals suffered their first loss of the season, it was against the Broncos in Denver, quite excusable, but if they want to make the playoffs they need to beat weak teams at home. The Cardinals may even get a boost with the return of Carson Palmer. Even if he does not play the Cardinals secondary should be able to coax a mistake out of Kirk Cousins and get another win in the desert.
The Falcons are the proverbial Jekyll and Hyde team. At home they look like Super Bowl contenders on the road they are exposed as pretenders. This week they are home and facing a soft Bears defense. Matt Ryan should be able to pick apart the Bears secondary, and with Devin Hester facing his former team, the trend of the Falcons exploding at home will continue. Look for Hester to get a return touchdown and another touchdown catch as he shows the Bears what they miss.
Bravo Cowboys, bravo; your 4-1 start has been terrific. However, the Cowboys have yet to prove themselves on the road against a tough team. It does not get any tougher then in Seattle. DeMarco Murray is off to a terrific start on the pace to rush for 2,000 yards. However, he is also averaging a fumble a game. A fumble against the Seahawks will be back breaking as the reigning champs are expert at taking advantage of other team’s mistakes. The Seahawks are 3-1 and have not had a true breakout game since Week 1, this game sets up for them to get a big win at home.
This could be the first Sunday Night classic of the season. The Eagles are 4-1, but have been quite shaky; needing to overcome a ten point deficit in their first three games, and nearly blowing a 34-7 lead at home against the Rams last week at home. The Giants after starting 0-2 are looking solid in their last three games as they are finally grasping the new offense of Ben McAdoo. However, the Giants have never fared well when going down the Turnpike to Philadelphia. The game will be close, but in the end the Eagles squeak one out in overtime.
Call this a gut feeling, the Rams nearly had a great comeback in Philadelphia last week, and Quarterback Austin Davis has played well. The 49ers have won their last two games, but they have yet to play a complete game. The defense clearly misses Aldon Smith and the reported turmoil between the team and Coach Jim Harbugh could undermine their chances this season. All season the team has been unable to shake rumors that Harbugh will leave after the season and that the players on the team have grown tired of their coach, despite three trips to the NFC Championship Game.