The last time the Colts faced the Jaguars they lost on a stunning last minute Touchdown pass from Blaine Gabbert, to date it is the Jaguars only loss. It is also the last game coached by Chuck Pagano before being diagnosed with Leukemia. Since then the Colts have used their coach as inspiration and won four of their last five games. Look for the clean shaven Colts, 30 of which cut off all their locks, to use Thursday Night as inspiration and continue to win for Chuck.
Last week the Ravens got back on track with a win in Cleveland, while the Raiders run defense was flattened by Doug Martin. On the road in the early start against Ray Rice I expect to see the Raiders defense struggle again. Add to the fact that Raiders QB Carson Palmer is playing awful football and you got another ugly loss for the team in silver and black.
The Broncos are hitting their grove as Peyton Manning and his receivers get more and more comfortable, playing on the road for the second week in a row could be tough but the Panthers defense just does not seem strong enough to contain the Broncos offense. Last week Cam Newton did have his best game, but the Panthers only scored 21 points.
Last week the Giants appeared distracted while losing at home to the Steelers. They had good reason to have their minds elsewhere as 90% of the team had been affected in some way by Hurricane Sandy, including Eli Manning who had his home flooded. The Giants should bounce back against the reeling Bengals as they are a stronger team on the road.
The Titans are coming off one of the worst performances in the last few seasons, as they turned the ball over like it was Halloween Candy, while their defense was shredded by the Bears. Owner Bud Adams made it clear he was unhappy, but things won’t get any better this week as the Dolphins front seven will contain Chris Johnson, while the Titans defense is ripped again.
After a 5-2 start the Vikings are suddenly crashing towards earth, with two straight losses, as QB Christian Ponder who played well early has struggled as of late. Meanwhile the Lions who have won two straight are starting to look like a contender again. The Vikings did win in Detroit earlier in the season, but not I think the Lions will get revenge as they continue their strong play.
When the Bills play the Patriots it is about as competitive as a hammer and a nail. The Bills have won just once since 2003 and that win was kind of fluky last year. In their earlier meeting this year the Pats had a 45 point eruption in the second half. I expect more of the same after a bye week, look for another Bills shredding in New England.
The Falcons may be 8-0, but they are hardly the most impressive teams in the NFL as they have dogged several bullets. Against their chief rival on the road, the Falcons are just right for the pickens. Look for this game to be a track meet as the Saints win at home by a Field Goal.
The Chargers up and down play lead one to believe this game will be a down game as they travel across the country to an early game in Tampa. The Buccaneers meanwhile are hitting their stride thanks to the play of Rookie Running Back Doug Martin, who ran over the Vikings and Raiders in the last two weeks.
The Jets are a giant mess; coming off a bye week and heading into Seattle I do not expect things to get much better. The Seahawks have a strong secondary and a huge crowd advantage. Look for another hard day night for Mark Sanchez as the Jets are rolled over like a dog.
It may only be Week 10, but this game is an elimination game as the loser will be 3-6 and focusing on the future, likely with a new coach and perhaps a new quarterback. The Cowboys have played well despite losing their last two games, while the Eagles appear to be in the death spiral. They have already changed Defensive Coordinators and all of Philadelphia has had their fill of Coach Andy Reid, who despite being the most successful coach in Eagles history is now remembered for his failures to win a Super Bowl.
The Rams have been horrendous away from St. Louis, including a blowout loss in London against the Patriots. The 49ers who like the Rams are coming off a bye have a strong defense that will overwhelm the Rams spotty offensive line and cause Sunday afternoon to be a nightmare for the Rams, as the 49ers win going away.
The Bears and Texans at 7-1 have been the two most impressive teams in the NFL this season. Ironically both teams’ losses have come at the hands of the Green Bay Packers. Both teams have versatile offenses, with star running backs and overwhelmingly strong defenses. The Bears defense has been monstrous and with the game in Soldier Field I see them getting the win in a close game that we can see again the first week in February.
The Steelers coming of a win over the Giants are just hitting their stride as the Chiefs are fading fast and looking like they should begin thinking about tearing it down and starting from scratch. On Monday Night I expect the losses to continue, as their streak of not leading other than at the end of overtime in their lone win continues with an ugly loss in Pittsburgh.