At some point the Cowboys rookie backfield will stumble and have a bad game, whether it be Quarterback Dak Prescott being off target and turning the ball over or Ezekiel Elliott struggling to get anything going. It will happen, and the Cowboys winning streak will end. Both teams come in with a full week of rest after playing on Thanksgiving and the Vikings defense even in their recent struggles has been strong. With the game at home and desperation setting in for Minnesota, this sets up just right for an upset. Look for the Vikings defense to get a big turnover to win the game in the fourth quarter.
This could be a good one as both teams are in the thick of the playoff chase. The Falcons win with one of the league’s top offenses, while defense is the key to the success for the Chiefs. The Falcons have gotten an excellent year from Matt Ryan thanks to his speedy wide outs Julio Jones and Taylor Gabriel. The Chiefs offense meanwhile has been hit or miss as they were fortunate to have enough time left to tie the game and eventually win in Denver last week. The Falcons can exploit some holes in the Chiefs secondary and get the win at home.
The Dolphins are playing their best football in years as they have thrusted themselves into playoff position with six straight wins. However, there are some concerns as their offensive line is banged up with three offensive linemen missing last week’s game. Without them Jay Ajayi was unable to get anything going against the worst run defense in the league. The Dolphins are confident that Branden Albert and Laremy Tunsil can return, but on the road in Baltimore it will still be a tough task against the Ravens defense. Though if Kiko Alonzo or Ndamukong Suh can get in Joe Flacco’s face a door could open for the Dolphins.
Putrid. That is the only way to describe this one. The Bears are 2-9 with a backup quarterback, while the 49ers are 1-10 with ten straight losses. Both teams did play well last week as the Bears nearly rallied to beat the Titans, though their receivers had a bad case of the dropsies. The Niners meanwhile nearly stunned the Dolphins, with Ndamukong Suh and Kiko Alonzo slamming Colin Kapernick on the final play two yards from pay dirt. The question is who is the worst team in the NFC, the answer is the only thing of note about this dreadful matchup. The Niners and Kaepernick are almost due for a win it seems while the Bears are due for a franchise quarterback in the draft. The really winner of this game will be the loser who gets a better pick in the draft.
Two struggling teams meet hoping to stop the bleeding in Cincinnati. The Eagles were the remedy for what ailed the Packers last week, as they stumbled at home on Monday Night, while the Bengals got held up at the end in a loss to the Ravens. The Bengals have some major injury issues on offense, as the loss of A.J. Green has put a crimp in their passing game, while the Eagles seemingly have no reliable receivers to begin with. This has big a hindrance in the development of rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. Add the Eagles struggle away from home and the game sets up perfectly for a Bengals win.
With an impressive performance on Monday Night, the Packers hope they can get their season back on track. Coming home they face a Texans team that may be in first place, but hardly looks like a playoff team. Not only have the Texans been terrible on the road, but Brock Osweiler has been an unmitigated bust in his first year in Houston. Lambeau Field has been tough on opponents and a bad quarterback like Oseweiler won’t be able to exploit of Green Bay’s weaknesses. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers appears to be finding his grove a win here and the Packers can get back in playoff contention.
Following a brutal Sunday Night loss, the defending champion Denver Broncos are suddenly in danger of not making the playoffs. Their defense still is one of the NFL’s best, and Trevor Siemian has not been terrible, but too often a play here and there has not gone their way. Last week they were inches from winning but replay gave a game tying touchdown to the Chiefs, while a decision to attempt a 62-yard field goal was like handing the game over on a silver platter. The Jaguars know all about handing games over as Blake Bortles has been doing it all year. With the feel of a lame duck situation prevailing in Jacksonville it is hard to see them winning this one.
The legend of Tom Brady began in earnest 15 years ago, when the Patriots upset the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. Since then the Patriots have been a dynasty, winning 13 division titles, five more trips to the Super Bowl and three Lombardi Trophies. The Rams meanwhile have become been silenced lambs and have been baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad as they have cycled back to Los Angeles. Last week their defense was carved apart by Drew Brees, now its Tom Brady’s turn. Look for the Patriots to chew up the Rams in Foxboro as Tom Brady eats up yards with a side fava beans and a nice chianti.
The Lions have been living on the edge all season, despite their 7-4 record as they have trailed in the fourth quarter in every single game this year. Matthew Stafford has been terrific when the game is on the line and has helped Detroit rally seven times, but a team can only win so much under those high stress circumstances before they suffer a letdown. The Lions success in the fourth quarter has been keyed by a solid defense which has made several big plays. This week though there will be no miracles as Drew Brees is able to tame the Lions with another big passing game at the Superdome.
Last week the Raiders showed residency, guts and fortitude rallying to beat the Panthers in the fourth quarter after Derek Carr had his pinky finger run wee wee wee all the way home. Wearing a black glove, Carr got the tying score and set up the winning field goal. The Bills meanwhile come in at 6-5 at a cross road as a win, ensures they will contend for the playoffs while a loss all but ensures a 17th straight season without the playoffs in Buffalo. The Raiders look like they have some magic as their first winning season since 2002 is already secure and now it’s about as good as playoff spot as they can.
The Cardinals at 4-6-1 have been one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL this season. Their secondary has not quite been able to contain teams with big passing games. This could be a problem against the Redskins, who have gotten another solid season from Kirk Cousins. Meanwhile on offense, while David Johnson has been terrific Carson Palmer has looked like a quarterback ready for the retirement home. That being said, the Arizona desert air always seems to rejuvenate and that will be a boost for the Cardinals as they keep their faint playoff hopes alive.
With six straight wins the Giants are on target to return to the playoffs at 8-3 as they have done just enough in most weeks to win. The Steelers who have had their ups and downs appear to be on track with two straight wins have the advantage with the game at Heinz Field. The Giants defense has been solid, but with the Steelers finding their groove their work will certainly be cut out for them. Last week Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown feasted on the Colts on Thanksgiving. With a showdown against the Cowboys, being an even more important game for the Giants and the Steelers needing to win the game more, it seems to set up for a win for the team in Black and Yellow.
At 5-6 the Chargers have been the hardest team to nail down in the NFL from a pick standpoint. Some weeks they look like they could compete with the big boys, while other weeks they look like they could fight it out with the Browns for the top pick. The Buccaneers meanwhile are 6-5 and playing their best football of the year as Jameis Winston grows into the professional game. Despite a win earlier this year in San Francisco, the Buccaneers have always had their problems in California, before that win they had lost 15 of their last 20 games on the Pacific coast. The Chargers will gut this one out by a field goal.
Whether it be Cam Newton getting stripped of the ball, losing yards on a sack or throwing an interception, when the game is on the line the Panthers have faltered all season. Their defense has also been a disappointment as they have clearly missed Josh Norman in the secondary, add the concussion status of Luke Kuechly and it has all led to a lost season for Carolina after losing in the Super Bowl. Last week’s game in Oakland was likely the Panthers last stand as they overcame a 17-point halftime deficit and led 32-24 in the fourth quarter before again stumbling down the stretch. With the Seahawks looking to avenge their loss in the Divisional Playoff round look for Russell Wilson and the Legion of Boom Defense to drive the last nail in Carolina’s coffin.
It’s all about luck for the Colts, who lost last week at home with their star quarterback sidelined with a concussion on Thanksgiving. The extra time to rest plus a game on Monday Night has all signs pointing in the right direction for Andrew Luck to return. The Colts at 5-6 must consider themselves lucky to be in the NFL’s worst division as no team has taken the bull by the horns. Unfortunately, when it comes to games against the Jets the Colts have never had much luck ever since Super Bowl III. The Jets have won four of the last five meetings, including a Monday Night win in Indy last season. It’s been a lost season for the Jets but they will get some satisfaction adding some pain to the Colts.