Right now, the San Francisco 49ers look like a machine as Nick Bossa is not only making a case for Defensive Rookie of the Year but as Defensive Player of the Year. Bossa has dominated in his first seven games, helping the Niners get off to a 7-0 start. The only player drafted ahead of Boss was Kyler Murray, who has played well for the Arizona Cardinals but is not ready for Primetime. Look for the 49ers to win by two scores.
Get an early wake-up call this Sunday, as the London Game this week is actually worth getting up for as two contenders in the AFC South meet in a key battle in what could be the division with the tightest races. The Jaguars are coming off a big win against the Jets, while the Texans lost J.J. Watt but beat the Raiders behind the heroics of Deshaun Watson. Watson overall is the better quarterback here, and that will be the difference.
Last week had to be somewhat concerning for the Buffalo Bills as they came in flat off the bye week are were crushed by the Eagles at home. Even while starting 5-1, the Bills offense was not the story as their defense carried much of the weight. The Washington Redskins have been awful at 1-7, but it’s their offense that has been particularly bad as Dwayne Haskins has looked lost every time he has been on the field. With Case Keenum hurting, Haskins could make his first start in Buffalo, and that could lead to a low scoring day as the Bills defense gets them another win.
Last week the Carolina Panthers got punched in the mouth by the 49ers. Coming back home, they need to rebound, especially Kyle Allen, who suffered his first loss after winning his first four starts. The Tennessee Titans meanwhile have won two straight games with Ryan Tannehill under center. Both wins were rather fortunate as they benefited from the Chargers’ inability to score from the one and a blown call by the official against the Buccaneers. Hard to see the Tennessee luck continuing as the Panthers get back on track.
While the Patriots have had the easiest schedule in the history of the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs, losers of the AFC Championship Game, has endured a never-ending gauntlet of tough matchups. They have been particularly bad at home, losing the last three at Arrowhead. This week they welcome in the Minnesota Vikings who are playing terrific football. With Patrick Mahomes likely to miss another game or two, the Chiefs are likely to suffer a fourth straight loss at Arrowhead.
It’s the Adam Gase Bowl; the Miami Dolphins are in the position they are partially thanks to Adam Gase, who in three years as head coach alienated star players leading to their departure. Now, Gase, the crazy-eyed coach is doing the same thing for the New York Jets, see ya, Jamal Adams. He also failed to be a quarterback guru for Ryan Tannehill, so unless the Jets wise up and fire him ASAP, they will be taking like Miami. As for the tank, it takes a step back as the Dolphins get their one win on the season, shoving it to their former coach as Ryan Fitzpatrick haunts the Jets, and Shaggy Darnold continues to look spooked.
It is clear that Matt Nagy has lost faith in Mitch Trubisky. Down one, ball on the 21, he chose to kneel and try a field goal, coming up snake eyes against the Chargers last week. With morale low, the Chicago Bears now face a tough road game. The Philadelphia Eagles had an impressive win last week against Bills and now need to expand on it. Look for them to take advantage of the Bears quarterback struggles to get an easy home win, keeping the pressure on the Cowboys in the NFC East.
The Indianapolis Colts have been the little team that could take so far this year. In every game, they have managed to start 5-2 after losing Andrew Luck. Jacoby Brissett has been okay at quarterback, but it has been the Colts defense that has turned into one of the best in the league that has been the key to their success. The Pittsburgh Steelers had their ups and downs against the Dolphins last week. If they play as poorly as they did in the first half this week, they will not be able to defeat the Colts.
After nearly two months on the road, the Oakland Raiders are finally back in their own stadium for their wind down to their exit to Las Vegas. The Raiders actually played well in their six-week odyssey, posting a 2-3 record. The Raiders could have won last week in Houston but faltered down the stretch. Look for them to enjoy the home cooking as the Detroit Lions struggles on defense will continue to haunt them.
The Seattle Seahawks are getting an MVP type season from Russell Wilson. While they have yet to hit their stride at home, the Seahawks quarterback is having a career season. The same cannot be said for Jameis Winston. The only reason that Winston has yet to be benched is that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do not have a better option. However, after another ugly loss, the Bucs may begin to reconsider that stance.
The winter of discontent has arrived early for both of these teams. Last week Joe Flacco said the Denver Broncos were playing to lose, for not going for it on fourth down, while Baker Mayfield stomped away from reporters Ryan Leaf style. The Cleveland Browns brash quarterback has had a sophomore slump at 2-5 while struggling at home. Flacco will not play this week as the Broncos quarterback could be lost for the season. The Broncos have nobody to replace him as Paxton Lynch remains on IR, while neither Brett Rypien nor Brandon Allen has seen the field. The Browns have played a tough schedule, and that has been the source of frustration. With the Broncos essentially not having a quarterback, the Browns should get the win in Denver.
Since moving, the Los Angeles Chargers have become the road team at home more often than not as few fans in Los Angeles root for the team that used to call San Diego home. Meanwhile, every team that comes into Dignity Health Sports Park usually brings a large group of their fans with them. The Green Bay Packers have fans all over and should be able to continue this uncomfortable trend for the Chargers. The Chargers were fortunate to win in Chicago last week. The Packers meanwhile are trying to show they are among the top teams in the NFC and will love to impress the LA Chapter of Cheesehead Nation.
Finally, the New England Patriots are playing a team with a pulse. The Baltimore Ravens are just the second team with a winning record the defending Super Bowl champions have faced. At 8-0, the Patriots have faced six teams with two or fewer wins. The Ravens have played well thanks to the play of Lamar Jackson, but with the Patriots monstrous defense, it is hard to see if his style of play has any chance to succeed as the Patriots defense has scored more points than they have allowed.
Daniel Jones has had his moments at quarterback for the New York Giants. However, the more significant issue is their porous defense, which lately has been trampled by every team they have played. Facing the Cowboys for the second time, the defense will really be put to the test on Monday Night as the Cowboys coming in rested of a bye week will look to make a statement. Jones might have a big passing game, Saquon Barkley may rush for 100 yards, but the Giants defense will be the problem as they will be unable to stop the Cowboys attack at the Meadowlands.