Both teams in this week’s Thursday Night game are coming off horrendous soul crushing losses. The Saints on the verge of taking the lead at home against the Broncos had a PAT blocked and returned for two points, while the Panthers blew a 17-0 lead and lost when Kelvin Benjamin was undressed by Marcus Peters. The loser of this game will be finished for the season, as both teams have nearly no room for error. The Panthers are the better team and it is stunning they are 3-6, despite their loss Sunday they have been playing well and will get back on track with a solid performance at home.
The Bengals season is on the brink at 3-5-1 coming off a frustrating Monday Night loss in the Meadowlands against the Giants. The Bengals had their chances but, Andy Dalton was sacked on back to back plays allowing the Giants to hold on to a one-point win. The Bills coming off a bye week have lost their last three games and can’t afford another defeat. The week off should help LeSean McCoy rest his hamstring, but with the game in Cincinnati it is hard to imagine it will be enough. The Bengals have the better players and are the better team, as the sun is getting ready to set on the Rex Ryan’s head coaching career.
With four straight losses the Steelers are reeling, fortunately the entire AFC North is struggling as well so it’s not two late for them to bounce back as long as they don’t make two many mistakes going for two point conversions. Like penicillin the Browns are the perfect cure for the ailing team, as they are 0-10 with a defense that is trampled on a weekly basis. Despite their loss and their love of the number two the Steelers offense got on track last week. Look for Ben Roethlisberger to have fun throwing two Antonio Browns and handing off two Le’Veon Bell as the Steelers prove two much for the Browns two overcome.
At 8-1 the Dallas Cowboys have the best record in the NFL as Ezekiel Elliott continues to run over opposing defenses with the Cowboys steam rolling offensive line leading the way. The only concern for the Cowboys is looking ahead to their Thanksgiving game against the Redskins. Many times, even in their best season the Cowboys have stumbled in their last game before thanksgiving. The Ravens have won their last two games and can beat the Cowboys if they play a flawless game. However, Joe Flacco has been anything but flawless in the end a Flacco pick opens the door for the Cowboys to escape once again.
The Lions had a terrific bye week as they took over first place while sitting on their couches as the Vikings dropped their fourth straight. Heading into the bye the Lions were playing solid football winning four of their last five games including a dramatic overtime win in Minnesota. The Jaguars meanwhile are reeling at 2-7 as Blake Bortles has been terrible all season. Darius Slay has been terrific in the secondary making several big plays to seal wins for the Lions. It is hard to imagine a reversal of these trends as the Jaguars appear to need wholesale changes while the Lions could be the sudden favorites in the NFC North with the Vikings and Packers reeling.
As the season goes on you can see the improvement each week for Marcus Mariota and the Titans, who are 5-5 have won as many games this season as the last two years combined. The Titans are in playoff contention, but before they can be taken seriously. The Colts have won ten straight against the Titans, including a 34-26 win in Week 7 in Nashville. The Titans who have also lost 15 of 16 to the Colts have never won at Lucas Oil Stadium, as their last win Indianapolis was at the RCA Dome in 2007. Look for Andrew Luck to outgun the Titans as the Colts continue to own the Titans.
At 7-2 the Chiefs are rolling and in front of the toughest division in the NFL. Last week they had a real character building win against the Panthers on the road, overcoming a 17-0 lead to win 20-17 after Marcus Peters snatched the ball out of Kelvin Benjamin’s arms late in the fourth quarter. Back home they face a Buccaneers team that continues to have its ups and downs under second year QB Jameis Winston. The Chiefs defense is playing at a high level and their secondary is among the best in the NFL.
The Vikings are reeling, losers of four straight after starting the year at 5-0 as their offense has been beyond awful over the last month. The Cardinals escaped last week against the 49ers as they had trouble themselves getting anything going with Carson Palmer having a terrible game. Palmer and the Cardinals have underperformed all season at 4-4-1, with two rotten egg performances in their previous early kickoffs. On the road in Minnesota the Cardinals again play in the early window. The Vikings are nearly as bad as they are over the last month as they were good over the first month and with the Cardinals themselves scuffling the door is open to get back on track.
The Giants under rookie coach Ben McAdo are on track to make the playoffs sitting at 6-3, with four straight wins. While they are not blowing any teams away they seem to do enough each week to win. A big part of the Giants recent success is the play of Landon Collins who seems to get an interception every week. The Bears meanwhile have looked more like Chipmunks, scuffling along at 2-7 as Jay Cutler after one strong game reverted to the mistake prone quarterback Bears fans know and hate. Look for more Chicago to continue to be the Bad News Bears as the Giants continue to stay red hot.
The Dolphins continue to impress beating the Chargers on Kiko Alonzo’s pick six with one minute left in San Diego. The Chargers picked off Philip Rivers four times and are playing well on both sides of the ball. The Rams meanwhile beat the Jets last week without scoring a touchdown, the second time they won without reaching the endzone this year. Finally, after ten weeks Jared Goff is getting his first start. The Dolphins will be a challenge for the number one overall pick as they have been pounding quarterbacks all season just as Russell Wilson, Jimmy Garoppolo and Ben Roethlisberger all of whom were hurt playing Miami.
The Patriots had a full reversal of Super Bowl XLIX last week losing to the Seahawks by a touchdown despite having the ball first and goal at the one as they failed to get the ball in the endzone. The Patriots despite their loss still should be considered the team to beat at 7-2. The 49ers meanwhile are the that is just easy to beat as they sit at 1-8 and have barely been competitive outside of last week’s strong showing in Arizona. The Patriots have too many weapons and with Niner fans selling their ticket this could turn into a New England home game for local boy Tom Brady as the Patriots could name the score they want to win by.
Coming off a solid win against the Falcons, the Eagles face another big test against the Seahawks. The Eagles have been terrible away from Lincoln Financial Field, losing their last four road games. The Seahawks meanwhile, are perfect at home thus far and traditionally are hard to beat the Century Link Field with the help of the 12th Man. Coming off a win in Foxboro, the Seahawks could be ready to take flight, as their offense had one of its best games, with their defense winning the game with an epic goal line stand in the final minute. This looks like too big of task for the Eagles to overcome.
There is something rotten in Green Bay, as the Packers have completely stunk like limburger. Losers of three straight and four of their last five games, the Packers defense has turned into Swiss Cheese, while Aaron Rodgers has looked rather moldy as their offense has gone not looked sharp in weeks. If things continue to go this way, the Packers playoffs hopes will melt like cheese wiz as Mike McCarthy soon will no longer be the head cheese for the cheese heads. The Redskins are playing well losing just one of their last seven games. Look for that trend to continue as they shred the Packers on Sunday Night.
Hello the NFL heads South of the Border on Monday Night as the Raiders face the Texans at the historic Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. The Raiders resurgence is one of the stories of the season as they went into the bye week at 7-2 after an impressive win over the Broncos. The Raiders have played well outside of Oakland, while the Texans have struggled away from Houston. The only thing the Raiders need to guard against is a letdown off a bye. otherwise they should win this won easily as they will have a big fan edge in Mexico.