SAINTS VS FALCONS (THURSDAY)
One of the toughest picks for me this week. Previous to last week, the Falcons were on fire offensively. They pretty much got shut down last week, but their defense played pretty well. I think they can keep playing well on defense, while having a much better game offensively. The Falcons know they need this win to have a shot at winning their division. It will be very interesting if they do. Expect a big game from Julio Jones after he had a terrible game last week.
PACKERS VS BROWNS (UPSET)
After a great performance a couple weeks ago, Brett Hundley went back to being average at best. He didn’t really have to do much last week because the Packers running game was so good. The Browns run defense has actually been pretty good this year, allowing less than 100 yards per game. If the Browns can stop the Packers running game, they’ll make the Packers have to win through the air. Hundley can’t perform consistently, so forcing him to beat them is their best chance. My upset pick of the week has the Browns winning their first game of the season.
LIONS VS BUCCANEERS
Matthew Stafford has a banged up throwing hand, but we’ve seen him play with a hurt hand before. I’m not really sure the severity of this hand injury, but I don’t think it matters unless it’s career threatening. The Lions must win this game if they want to remain in the playoff hunt. The Buccaneers have struggled this year so even without Stafford the game is winnable, but Stafford gives them the best chance. I think Stafford will play and the Lions win.
RAIDERS VS CHIEFS
The Raiders have won 3 of their last 4 games, but those 3 wins came against some of the worst offensive teams in football this year (Dolphins, Broncos, Giants). The Chiefs have had a few bad offensive games, but for the most part they’ve been pretty good. Last week they were great offensively, but their defense couldn’t get a stop. I think the Chiefs will have a good offensive game, which will be too much for the Raiders. Derek Carr is also winless in Kansas City. He never seems to play well in their stadium.
VIKINGS VS PANTHERS
Carolina struggled against the Saints last week. They had a few turnovers among several other problems. The Vikings held the Falcons offense in check last week, and I think they’ll do the same against the Panthers. I see some more turnovers coming for Carolina against a Vikings defense that has been dominating every offense it faces.
49ERS VS TEXANS
To be honest, I don’t know who to choose in this game. The 49ers pulled out a victory last week, but it wasn’t much better than how they’ve been playing. The Texans are still bad. I feel like the Texans have more playmakers on the offensive end, so I’ll just go with the Texans.
COLTS VS BILLS
This is tough choice for me to make considering Tyrod Taylor may not be playing in this game. If does play I’ll probably pick the Bills to win, but if he doesn’t I would probably pick the Colts. Remember what happened last time Tyrod Taylor didn’t play? We’re all trying not to. I’ll just have to bet on Taylor playing.
BEARS VS BENGALS
The Bengals defense played pretty well against the Steelers last week until the very end when they gave up the win. One of the best defensive units in the league is going to be tough for a Bears offense that hasn’t had much going for them lately.
COWBOYS VS GIANTS
Dallas got things back on track against the Redskins last week. Their running game came back, which is exactly how this team wins games. This week Dallas plays a Giants team that has been terrible all season. I’m not going to say that this game will be easy for the Cowboys, but it’s a game they should win and must win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
TITANS VS CARDINALS
This game is the best opportunity for the Titans to capitalize on securing a playoff spot. The Jaguars are tied with them for the lead in their division, but the Jaguars are also playing the Seahawks this week. I’m picking the Seahawks to win, so the Titans better take advantage of a Cardinals team that isn’t playing for much right now.
JETS VS BRONCOS
One of the worst offensive units in football this year just put up 35 points against this Broncos defense. The Jets may not have a great record, but they’ve been competitive in most of their games. If the Broncos offense continues to look like it has, the Jets are going to have an easy time.
REDSKINS VS CHARGERS
20+ offensive line combinations on the season is not what you want when facing one of the league’s best defensive lines. The Dallas defensive line walked all over the Redskins offensive line, and I expect the Chargers to do the same thing. I expect a dominating performance from the Chargers defense, creating turnovers and short fields for the offense.
SEAHAWKS VS JAGUARS
The Seahawks had a dominating performance against the Eagles last week. Even with all the injuries to their defense, the Seahawks are playing great. If they can handle one of the league’s best quarterbacks in Carson Wentz, they can handle Blake Bortles. Bortles has been playing better this season, but I still don’t see him being able to handle Super Bowl contending teams.
EAGLES VS RAMS
The Eagles win streak finally came to an end. The Seahawks were arguably the best team the Eagles have played all season. After looking through the schedule, I noticed that the Eagles have only beaten one team all season with a record of over .500. The schedule isn’t their fault, but still. The Rams now have the blueprint to stopping the Eagles. Sean McVay has shown he’s a smart coach all season. If he was smart, he’d try to replicate exactly what the Seahawks did, and I think he does.
RAVENS VS STEELERS (SUNDAY NIGHT)
I don’t know how the Steelers are doing it, but they just keep barely getting by. They played a pretty good Bengals defense last week, and now they have no easy task in playing the Ravens defense. I think the Ravens defense will keep them in this game, but the Steelers know how to get it done when it matters most.
PATRIOTS VS DOLPHINS (MONDAY NIGHT) (LOCK)
The Patriots are right where they usually are at this point in the season. They’re just rolling by each opponent right into the playoffs. It won’t be any different this week. The Dolphins aren’t built to beat this Patriots team. Most teams aren’t.