Around the tenth game of the season all rookies face a bump in the road, for some it is a minor obstacle, while others it is something they need to take into a the next season to improve upon. Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill looks like the later as the rookie wall led to his worst game at home against the Titans on Sunday. Playing four days later will not help especially on the road in frozen Buffalo. The Bills meanwhile played well despite losing in Foxboro and with a win they can get into playoff contention.
After suffering their first loss of the season last week, the Falcons will be looking to get back on track quickly as they face the Cardinals at home. The Cardinals have a solid pass defense and a solid receiving game but little else, and they are not a very good road team. The offensive line can not protect anyone so any chance to keep up with the Falcons offense is unlikely as the Dirty Birds beat the Angry Birds four days before everyone feast upon succulent bird.
No team in the NFL has been hotter as of late, than the Buccaneers who have three straight wins and are suddenly in the playoff chase. Driving the Bucs resurgence is rookie Running Back Doug Martin. The Panthers playoff hopes are all but gone at 2-7, but Cam Newton has played better in recent weeks. Look for Newton to put together a strong game at home as the Panthers prove to be a strong home dog and play spoilers to their NFC South rivals.
After winning the survival bowl, the Cowboys at 4-5 are right in the thick of the NFC East Division race, as the struggling Giants have come back to the pack. With Thanksgiving a few days away it is time to examine what role the Browns play in the festivities. A bright orange helmet that inside, has squishy gooey players. So naturally it is safe to assume the Browns are the pumpkins, and the Cowboys with their strong defensive line will carve them up and be able to rest up for next Thursday’s annual Turkey Day game.
The Packers had their by week come at the right time last week, as they began to take on injuries to key players like Clay Matthews, who will still be unable to play with a sore hamstring. The Lions meanwhile are desperate at 4-5, and need a win to keep any playoff hope alive. Taking advantage of the Packers, the Lions offense should have a big game and win a close one as they wait for another tough game four days later. Call this one an overwhelming gut feeling.
At 8-1 off a solid win in Chicago, the Texans are having Super Bowl dreams, while the Jaguars appear to be the team that soon will be on the clock. While the Texans have roll through their schedule the Jaguars have been downright uncompetitive at times. This week does not look much better as they simply do not have a prayer in this game, especially without Running Back Maurice Jones-Drew.
Last week after struggling in October, the Bengals snapped out of it with a beat down of the Giants at home. This week on the road they face the Chiefs, who last week led for the first time in regulation all season but lost again to the Steelers on Monday Night. Simply put Matt Cassel is not a NFL quarterback. The Bengals offense meanwhile has come to life and should have another big day to get back to .500.
The Rams last week should have won in San Francisco, the Jets meanwhile seem to be in a hopeless death spiral. After two straight ugly losses, the Jets are now fighting among themselves with unnamed players ripping Tim Tebow as Mark Sanchez is playing an awful brand of quarterback. This is a mess that only a complete house cleaning can fix, and it is quite possible that the Rex Ryan era which began with such promise is coming to a crashing end.
Phrase you don’t hear any more; the Eagles are Super Bowl contenders, Michael Vick is a star quarterback, Andy Reid is a genius, and dead as a door nail. Well the Eagles are dead as a door nail, Michael Vick is washed up and Andy Reid is set to put his house for sale, though one day when the Eagles are irrelevant fans will say what a genius Reid was. As for this week Nick Foles shows he is not the answer at quarterback as the Eagles get buried again and slip into last place where they will reside for the foreseeable future.
The Saints are coming off an emotional win, while the Raiders are coming off a humiliating loss. At 4-5, the Saints who just a few weeks earlier were given up for dead can get right back in the playoff chase with a win, while the Raiders are barely hanging on at 3-6. Going coast to coast is tough for anyone and the Saints typically are not a strong team playing out west. The Raiders meanwhile muster some pride and get a strong game from Carson Palmer and win a shootout at home.
When they met last month, the Broncos had a miracle second half comeback to stun the Chargers in San Diego on Monday Night Football. It was in that game that the Broncos and Peyton Manning began to round themselves into a team. The Broncos are continuing their surge and playing at home they won’t need a comeback this week. Look for an easy win at Mile High as the mistake prone Chargers begin to look like a team ready for some big changes.
Both of these teams are 6-3, as the Colts have become the inspirational story of the NFL this season, winning five of six since Coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with Leukemia. However, now their schedule gets tougher as they face the Patriots in Foxboro. Not that Andrew Luck will have a bad game, but he can not be able to keep up with Tom Brady who is starting to get into a groove look for the Patriots to win the game easily.
Do not expect any sympathy from the Ravens who face the Steelers, who will be playing without Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday Night football. Already the Steelers have been ravaged with injuries playing most of the year without Rashard Mendenhall and Troy Polamalu. However, the loss of Big Ben will be crimpling especially against their hated rivals who when they smell blood go in for the kill and seize control of the AFC North in the process.
This weeks Monday Night showdown of two NFC contenders has become a game of question marks, as both the Bears and 49ers had weeks they rather forgot. Both teams saw their starting quarterbacks suffer concussion as the 49ers had an ugly used car salesman type polka dot tie while the Bears lost in the slop at home. Both teams have great defenses and solid running backs. The Bears do have a better special teams unit and that will be the difference as they also have a better back up quarterback if needed again this week.