You can throw out the records when these two southern rivals meet, as no matter how good or how bad one team or another is, they seem to bring their best in this matchup. The Falcons come in 5-0, but last week were shaky in their overtime win at home, while the Saints are 1-4 and on the verge of their season being over. Rumors now even swirly over Coach Sean Payton who is likely to be a hot commodity for teams looking for another coach. That being said look for Drew Brees to have a strong game and beat the Falcons in a shootout at the Superdome.
The Bengals showed a lot of moxie last in their comeback win over the Seahawks. At 5-0 they have been one of the league’s best teams. The Bills have had their up and downs, as their defense has been strong, while the offense has sputtered in recent weeks due to injuries. The way the Bengals are playing on both sides of the ball at this point it is hard to see an incomplete team as the Bills presently are beat a team playing as well as Cincinnati.
The Browns have been very competitive so far this season and are coming off a thrilling win in Baltimore last week, benefit from Gary Barnidge’s Butt Catch. I have heard of stick’em and tacky gloves, but receivers now having sticky buns that is a new one. The Broncos may be 5-0 entering the game, but every game has been close and their offense has yet to get on track. Meanwhile their strong defense is a man short with DeMarcus Ware out with a sore back. The Broncos have been ripe for the picking and in Cleveland in an early game picked they will be as the Browns get another win and improve to 3-3.
The Lions are wallowing at the bottom of the NFL once again, losing their first five games and are the NFL’s last winless team. The Bears who come in with two straight wins may be even worse. The Bears have had two straight late comeback wins over the Raiders and Chiefs teams that have themselves been nearly as bad. Some of the Lions losses have been due to misfortune, as they were right on the verge of winning in Seattle, when the Seahawks were bailed out by an officiating error. Back home against a bad Bears team I see the Lions breaking out in a big way.
Both of these teams come into the game with 1-4 records and face what is essentially an elimination game. The Jaguars have been stuck in the mud a long time, and now they must question if Blake Bortles is in fact the quarterback of the future. The biggest disappointing for Houston meanwhile is their defense has thus far looked ordinary. However, in last week’s Thursday Night loss to the Colts, the Texans may have found their offense as Brian Hoyer came on in replacement of Ryan “frowny face” Mallet, and played well. Look for Hoyer to keep Mallet unhappy by winning in Jacksonville.
There is no denying any more the Chiefs are a disaster, losers of four straight the Chiefs are now without their leading weapon on offense Jamaal Charles for the remainder of the season. The loss of Charles in a game in which they blew a 17-3 lead at home to the Bears illustrates just how bad things are for the Chiefs in the early part of the season. Meanwhile the Vikings coming off a bye have been solid since Week 1 and have been nearly perfect at home.
The Jets defense has been good as advertised during a 3-1 start. While they have yet to face a good offense other than the Colts who themselves came out flat in Week 2, it has been hard for anyone to score on gang green this year. Now the Jets defense may be getting even better as Sheldon Richardson returns from a four game suspension. The Redskins offense even on its best days never burn up the field and coming into the Meadowlands is a tall order as the Jets continue to fly high in a close defensive battle.
With the exception of a Week 4 hiccup the Cardinals have been one of the most impressive teams, not just winning four of five games but often blowing the other team out. The Steelers meanwhile were fortunate to win last Monday, scoring on the final play of the game. Even with that win, it is apparent they miss Ben Roethlisberger. Michael Vick has at least kept the Steelers in the last two games, but against a team playing as well as the Cardinals with a strong secondary it is hard to imagine them winning on the short week.
Two teams entering this game 1-3. One comes in with a rookie quarterback and playing better than the record suggest, the other has been a major disappointment after entering with high expectations. For the Dolphins this game will show if there is any hope of salvaging the season under interim coach Dan Campbell. Since they last played in London two weeks ago changes have been fast and furious in Miami. Campbell has suggested a more aggressive approach and tougher practices after so much failure the Dolphins now how need to show accountability, and there is too much talent for them to continue to look like bums like did under Joe Philbin the worst coach in the NFL.
No team has haunted the Panthers more over the last few seasons than the Seahawks who eliminated them in the division round last season and beat them in Carolina in each of the last two seasons. The Panthers have been terrific so far winning their first five games, while the Seahawks thus far have yet to get going and at 2-3. Seattle could be in genuine trouble if they lose this one especially after last weekend’s collapse. Back on their home field and with the help of 12th man, I think we see their defense again frustrate the Panthers to get back to .500.
At 5-0 the Packers have been one of the most impressive teams in the NFL, as Aaron Rodgers is off to another MVP start. The Chargers coming of a gut wrenching Monday Night loss and have very little to refocus for the best quarterback in the league. In their loss to the Steelers, they allowed a Michael Vick to throw a long touchdown bomb. On offense Philip Rivers has struggle so far as the Chargers offense has looked ordinary. No matter how you slice it this one has blowout written all over it.
At 1-4 the Ravens have been one of the league’s most disappointing teams, as their defense has been terrible, clearly missing Terrell Suggs who was lost for the season during their season opening loss to the Broncos. The 49ers are also 1-4 and have played better the last two weeks, but come in after a devastating Sunday Night loss to the Giants. On the surface it may favor the Niners, but one must remember John Harbaugh still coaches the Ravens and his brother was mistreated by the 49ers. I can see a call coming in from Ann Arbour giving Brother John some pointers and how to exploit them to help the Ravens get a big win.
Until the Colts can even keep the game close with the Patriots it is hard to even pick them to beat the Patriots even if the game is at home. The Patriots come in 4-0 and look like the team to beat in the AFC yet again, while the Colts are a soft 3-2 with Quarterback Andrew Luck missing the last two games with shoulder injury. All three Colts wins have come against teams in the AFC South, all teams that have one win each. Unless Luck can come back play his best game of the year and the Colts can find a way to stop Tom Brady this game will be another romp as the Patriots seek to make Indy pay for catching them cheating.
Last week the Eagles may have finally gotten on track with their strong second half performance at home against the Saints. Already losing to the Cowboys and Redskins, this game is a must win for the Eagles if they are to have a chance to win the NFC East. The Giants come in with three straight wins, but have some serious health question marks with Odell Beckham Jr. and Antonio Randall listed as questionable with sore hamstrings. Even if their two top receivers are able to play the Giants will have a tough time winning in Philadelphia.