At 6-6, the New England Patriots have crawled back into playoff contention. A win on Thursday and the rest of the AFC will need to be on full alert. The Patriots played their best game of the season, embarrassing the Chargers 45-0 at SoFi Stadium. They stayed in Los Angeles and will be on the same field as they take on the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams are coming off a solid win in Arizona that put them back in first place. The Rams defense is stellar and will cause problems for Cam Newton which will be the difference in the game.
AT 4-8, the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos are nearly identical in every way. Both teams are all but eliminated from playoff contention and will look to finish strong for next season. The Broncos have a stronger defense, while the Panthers have been better on offense. Expect Denver to do enough to get the win.
When they were 5-1, there was a sense that the Chicago Bears were on borrowed time as their wins were more of good fortune than good play. That fortune has vanished as the Bears have lost their last six games. The Bears appear to be in for an off-season of change. The Houston Texans, despite their 4-8 record, have played better as of late. Look for that trend to continue as the Bears fade into oblivion continues.
The Dallas Cowboys defense is among the worst in the NFL, as they cannot stop any team that is capable of running the ball. The Cincinnati Bengals are broken and battered. Their best offensive players are out, and their team appears to be in shambles once again. The revenge factor could be in play as Andy Dalton, now leading the Cowboys, will come in to light up his former team.
After their worst game of the season, the Tennessee Titans are due for a rebound against a Jacksonville Jaguars team that has not won since Week 1. The Jaguars had their chances last week but lost to the Vikings in overtime. Mike Glennon has played well for Jacksonville, who may be due for a win, but it will not come this week as Derrick Henry has a big day to get Tennessee back on the winning track.
The Miami Dolphins are a team on the rise; there is no doubt the future is bright in South Florida. Tua Tagovailoa is coming off a strong game against the Bengals, and the Dolphins defense, which has forced a turnover in 18 straight games, has been impressive. However, the future is now for the Kansas City Chiefs, who, after the Steelers’ loss last week, are now in a position to soon get home field as they seek to win a second straight Super Bowl.
The Arizona Cardinals are going in the wrong direction. At one time, they were 5-2 and tied for first in the NFC West. Since, then they have lost four of their last five, the lone win coming courtesy of a Hail Mary. Kyler Murray has struggled as of late with turnovers as the Cardinals sit at 6-6, with their playoff hopes withering away. The New York Giants are now in first place. They have won four straight and have their defense playing at a high level. In addition, there is hope that Daniel Jones can play at quarterback after missing last week’s win in Seattle.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers come off a much-needed bye week sitting at 7-5. Tom Brady was struggling before the bye week and need to get back on track. After a bad start, the Minnesota Vikings are 6-6 but have benefited from a soft schedule as they were fortunate to win their last two games against the Panthers and Jaguars. Look for Brady to have a big bounce back as the Buccaneers sail to a win.
The Las Vegas Raiders are coming off two terrible games out east, as they were fortunate to beat the Jets last week in the Meadowlands. The Indianapolis Colts have had their ups and downs but are right in the thick of the playoffs as they are tied atop the AFC South. The Colts defense should provide problems for the Raiders, who appear to be wobbly as they enter the season’s final stretch.
It is New York, New York, for the Seattle Seahawks as they get set to host the winless New York Jets after their stunning loss to the Giants last week. The Giants defense put Russell Wilson in a box last week and unwrapped a win. Last week, the Jets should have won but proved they would go to the no end to tank for Trevor. Going west for the next two weeks after the firing of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Look for the Seahawks to come out and win this one going away.
In recent years the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions have played many close games. The Packers can clinch the division with a win and a Vikings loss. The Lions had a great comeback in Chicago last week as they won their first game for interim coach Darrell Bevell. Every team that has made a change has improved under their interim coach in 2020. This a gut feeling, but I sense an upset at Ford Field.
Carson Wentz was awful this season, but the issues surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles are much deeper. Wentz’s team has not played well around him; their receiving corpse is bad, their offensive line is weak, and the coaching has been terrible. Jalen Hurts will not fix these problems. The New Orleans Saints have shown they are more than Drew Brees as Tasom Hill has won all three games. Brees could be back this week, but the Saints have shown that will not matter as they will win this one easily.
This game feels like that Spiderman meme of the two web slingers pointing at each other. The Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Chargers are both experts at blowing leads and underachieving. The Falcons decided to change coaches early in the season, and they have played better for Raheem Morris. They nearly had a comeback win over the Saints last week. The Chargers have the look of a team that has quit on coach Anthony Lynn.
The Washington Football Team is alive and well after handing the Steelers their first loss of the season. The San Francisco 49ers are just hoping the season will be over soon. While both teams are 5-7, the Niners are slumping and are a playoff longshot in the NFC West, while Washington is tied for first in the zany NFC East. It has been a season of injury and inconvenience for San Francisco as they will play in Arizona again with the COVID restrictions in Santa Clara. Washington’s defense will shut down the Niners and continue their resurgence.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were exposed last week when they lost their first game of the season against Washington. The Steelers were 11-0 but big fat frauds, as they were close to losing several times. The Buffalo Bills are closing in on their first AFC East title in 25 years. They are coming off an impressive win over the 49ers and are playing great football on both sides of the ball. Look for the Bills to shine again under the lights as the Steelers lose a second straight game.
With the COVID chaos, the Baltimore Ravens are the week’s final game for the third straight week. They had two games moved from Thursday to Wednesday and Tuesday. This time it is a scheduled game on Monday Night, and the stakes are high. The Cleveland Browns come in red hot and can all but look up their first playoff berth in 18 years with a win. Lamar Jackson, even in his win over the Cowboys, had his problems throwing the ball. In their first meeting, the Ravens crushed Cleveland this time, the Browns get the win as Baker Mayfield playing like an MVP shines, while the Browns run defense creates problems for Jackson.