This may be the best Thursday Night match up yet, as first place in the NFC West is on the line with these two 4-2 teams. Both come in with different mind sets as the 49ers want to get the bad taste out of their mouth from a blow out loss to the Giants, while the Seahawks want to build off a comeback win over the Patriots. The 49ers have an advantage playing the game at home, and they also have seemed to play well when they are in primetime games.
Both teams are coming off impressive wins, as underdogs in Week 6. The Titans won on Thursday Night Football against the Steelers a late kick by Rob Bironas, while the Bills needed overtime to beat the Cardinals. The Bills win may have been more important as it came on the road and saw a good defensive effort. If they can duplicate the effort at home they can climb above .500. The Titans don’t play well on the road, and with this game in Buffalo I see a good day for the Bills.
Both teams have been disappointing so far as Panthers QB Cam Newton has hit the sophomore slump, while the Cowboys just always seem to make the dumb mistake. The bad news for Dallas is Running Back DeMarco Murray is hobbled by a foot injury. When he is running well it takes pressure of Tony Romo, and gives the Cowboys a chance to win. However, without Murray on the road things don’t look good for the pokes. In addition I see Cam Newton having a breakout game to lead the Panthers to a win.
Last year it was the Ravens who ended the Texans first trip to the postseason, now the two are the only teams in the AFC with winning records. The winner of this game will have a leg up on homefield in January. The Ravens defense is beat up and has been run on in the last two weeks. Coming off their first loss I see the Texans taking full advantage. Look for a big game by Arian Foster, as the Ravens banged up defense could by a weak spot the rest of the season without Ladarius Webb, Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs.
So far Quarterback Andrew Luck has found comfort in his Indiana home, winning two of three games at Lucas Oil Field. Last week the Colts suffered a letdown in the Meadowlands, after their upset over the Packers. This week facing the Browns off a win they should rebound. The Browns are ready for a major shake up after the resignation of President Mike Holmgren and will spend the rest of the season evaluating talent with wins being rare.
Both teams come in at 4-2, but with different mind sets as the Cardinals after a 4-0 start look to be in free fall, with QB Kevin Kolb suffering a rib injury, while the Vikings come home and despite a letdown in Washington their defense is just a bad matchup for the Cardinals. Led by sack master Jared Allen expect to see John Skelton spend most of the game on the ground, as the Cards week offensive line is putting its players in danger.
In winning the Super Bowl last season, the Giants failure against the Redskins has been gnawing at them as they lost both game last season. The Redskins are a better team now with RGIII at QB. However, coming off their best game of the season and the rise of Prince Amukamara the Giants defense is up to the challenge, while Eli Manning is also playing well. I expect a good performance at the Meadowlands as the Giants start to move to the top of the NFC.
Is the Pack Back? That is the question that is hanging from last week’s impressive win in Houston. The Rams have played well at home so far and have a good pass rush, but so do the Packers as Clay Matthews is off to a monster start. Rams QB Sam Bradford tends to struggle under heavy pressure and that will happen again, as Aaron Rodgers continues his momentum and leads the Packers over .500 for the first time this season.
Even when they were losing their first four games, the Saints offense was playing well, especially QB Drew Brees. With a bye week following their first win they should have some renewed confidence as they face the Buccaneers on the road. The Bucs don’t have the offense to keep up and with Aquib Talib suspended four games their secondary could be vulnerable to a big game from Brees and the Saints receivers.
Don’t make Tom Brady angry, you won’t like him when he is angry. Seahawks CB Richard Sherman taunted Brady after last week’s game and raised his ire. Now he will take it out against the Jets in Foxboro. The Jets played well last week at home, but going on the road this week it will be hard to see them do it again, the loss of Darrelle Revis will really show in this game as the Jets will not have any way of stopping the Patriots passing game.
The Raiders played their best game of the season last week, despite losing in Atlanta. Back home they face the hapless Jaguars, who coming off a bye themselves make the long trip to Oakland. Other than Maurice Jones-Drew there is not a lot to like about the Jaguars. The Raiders seemed to get their passing game on track and their defense which could make them a strong team for the rest of the season as they take the easy win over the Jaguars.
Two AFC North playoff teams meet on Sunday Night desperately needing a win. Simply put the loser of this game will have four losses and will be in serious early season trouble. The Bengals have two straight bad losses, but they get the game at home. The Steelers have not won on the road this year and look old and beat up. Troy Polamalu is out again and when that happens, the Steelers usually do not win. They won’t win this week either as the Bengals get back on track, with BenJarvis Green-Ellis and A.J. Green leading the way.
Last year when the Bears and Lions met in Chicago it turned into a melee as a brawl erupted. The Lions may have saved their season with a comeback win in Philly last week, but it has been a long time since they won at Soldier Field. The Bears off a bye have been the Monsters of the Midway this year and will continue to lead the NFC North as their defense is just too strong and the Lions offense is just too predictable.