After last week’s stink bomb, we deserve a good game on Thursday, and a matchup of two teams in playoff contention delivers. The Carolina Panthers come in 6-2, with three straight wins, the Pittsburgh Steelers at 5-2-1 have won four straight. Cam Newton is playing solid football, while the Steelers have a well-rounded offensive attack, with James Connor making anyone forget about Le’Veon Bell. Both teams have been known to give up the points, though the Steelers defense has been better in their streak. With the game in Pittsburgh and the short turnaround, the Steelers are in better position for a win.
Over the next two weeks, the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions are going to see a lot of each other as two teams meet at Ford Field on Thanksgiving, before that they have a game on Sunday at Soldier Field. The Bears defense was strong last week in destroying the Bills. The Lions defense also played well in Minnesota but could not get their offense going. The Bears are in the heart of the race for first in the NFC North. If they are serious contenders, they must win games like this.
The New Orleans Saints delivered the type of signature win that wins championships as they handed the Rams their first loss of the season in a game full of offensive fireworks 45-35. The two weeks before beating the Rams, they staged a fourth quarterback against the Ravens and avenged a playoff loss by beating the Rams. Their next two games are against the defending champions and the rival Falcons on Thanksgiving. Can you say donut game? Only this donut causes stomachs to churn as the Cincinnati Bengals will pull off the upset at home.
After a 1-4 start, the Atlanta Falcons have scratched and clawed their way back to .500, as they played their best game of the season last week in beating the Redskins. A win here and they will be over .500 for the first time all season. The Cleveland Browns played well in their first game under Gregg Williams but still fell short against the Chiefs. The Falcons are healthy and looked poised for a nice run, especially with Julio Jones finally finding the end zone.
It is a battle of survival between a pair of 3-5 teams coming off a bye week. For the Jacksonville Jaguars, the bye week came at the right time, as they were reeling with four straight losses. For the Indianapolis Colts, the bye came at the wrong time, as they won two straight and were getting an offensive rhythm together. Bye Weeks are always good for helping injured players get healthy and the Jaguars should get a boost from the return of Leonard Fournette. The Jaguars had Super Bowl expectations as far back as Week 2. That team is still in there somewhere.
The Kansas City Chiefs are an overwhelming favorite as they host the Arizona Cardinals. This is ahead of a big showdown in Mexico City against the Rams. The Chiefs biggest battle will be looking ahead and not focusing on the Cardinals. However, it is hard to see that happening, as the Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes have been too strong on offense, while the Cardinals offense and their two wins against the lowly Niners have been one of the worst.
Oh, this is a real barnburner in the Meadowlands as the Buffalo Bills and the WOAT face the New York Jets and Josh McCown as Sam Darnold is out with a sprained foot. There is a slight chance that Josh Allen could play for Buffalo, which means there is a slight chance the Bills could win. The Bills defense could have a big game against a struggling Jets offense in a game that comes at the perfect time for everyone to clean his or her kitchen instead of watching this yawn fest.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense has been so bad this year that any ham and egger could probably look like an all-pro. Alex Smith the NFL’s ultimate game manager coming off a bad game last week should be able to manage some big numbers as the Washington Redskins have played well on the road all year. Ryan Fitzpatrick may be able to keep the Buccaneers in the game, but it will not be enough as the ship continues to sink for Tampa.
The Tennessee Titans showed they have some life left with an impressive Monday Night win in Dallas, as Marcus Mariotta, coming off a bye week had perhaps his best game of the season. The New England Patriots meanwhile are truly rolling now, with six straight wins and are coming off a beat down of the Packers on Sunday Night. The Titans defense is solid at times but lacks the manpower the strength to stop the Patriots for a full 60 minutes.
The Los Angeles Chargers have quietly been one of the best teams in the NFL at 6-2. They have been overshadowed in the AFC West by the Chiefs; they have been overshadowed in Los Angeles by the Rams. The only two teams to beat them coincidently. The Oakland Raiders meanwhile are just hoping to hide in the shadows after their embarrassing game last Thursday. It is clear the Raiders are the worst team in the NFL and that they have begun to embrace the tank. Look for this one to get ugly as the Chargers win easily.
The Green Bay Packers season hangs by a thread at 3-4-1. Coming off a pair of tough losses to the Rams and Patriots they are back home, to take on the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins are 5-4 coming off a win against the Jets that was hardly impressive. The Dolphins defense was able to take advantage of the Jets injuries on offense. Doing the same against the Packers in Lambeau Field will be nearly impossible as the Miami defense itself has taken several hits. The bottom line is at quarterback, where its Aaron Rodgers against Brock Osweiler, need I say more.
The Los Angeles Rams are coming off their first loss of the season. An 8-1 record is always impressive, especially when that only loss is at the Superdome against the Saints. The Seattle Seahawks have had their ups and downs at 4-4 and a home loss against the Chargers. The Rams beat the Seahawks in a close game last month. This time the Rams will be able to have some breathing space as the Seahawks have struggled outside the comfort of their home nest in the Pacific Northwest.
Before their bye week, the Philadelphia Eagles got a big win in London to get back to .500. Last week getting the same chance at home, the Dallas Cowboys failed to get back to .500 as fans have begun to turn on Dak Prescott. The Eagles should benefit from their bye week as they are getting healthier and stronger for a second-half run. The Cowboys meanwhile are in danger of fading away, as the torches and pitchforks are out looking for a change, with Troy Aikman even stating the Cowboys need to tear it down and start all over.
Last week Nick Mullins came out of nowhere and led the San Francisco 49ers to a win over the lowly Raiders on Thursday Night Football. The Niners are under the lights again in another terrible primetime matchup against the 1-7 New York Giants, who are hoping for a strong finish off their bye week in what is a lost season. Mullins caught the Raiders by surprise the Giants had a week to prepare for this and if they have any pride left will get the win. If not then the Giants must search for a new start.