Dallas Cowboys vs Washington Redskins
Ezekiel Elliott was right when he said it’s mandatory for the Cowboys to beat the Redskins this week. Not only would winning push the Cowboys above .500 for the first time this season, but it would also give them the lead in the NFC East. There’s still a lot of time left in the season, but anytime you have a division lead, it’s better than not having it.
Another reason why this is a must win for the Cowboys, is because they haven’t won a road game this year. Dallas scored 40 points last week, but that won’t mean anything if they can’t build on it. Dallas has been good at home, but terrible on the road. That problem can’t continue if they want to make the playoffs.
The Redskins currently have the lead in the division, so getting a win in this game would only help them as the season goes on. It’s possible they could have a two game lead if they beat Dallas. Washington would move to 4-2, while Dallas would be 3-4, New York would be either 2-5 or 1-6, and Philadelphia would either be 4-3 or 3-4. Them having that two game lead would depend on the Eagles losing, but first they need to take care of their own business against Dallas.
Houston Texans vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Right now the Texans and Jaguars are in a three way tie for first place in the division with the Titans. Whoever wins this game will either take sole possession of first place, or be in a two way tie. Tennessee has struggled the last couple of weeks and now play a hot Chargers team, meaning there’s a good chance the winner of this game takes the lead in the AFC South.
Houston is on a three game win streak after starting the season 0-3. The defense has played much better recently, and the offense seems to be finding themselves also. Although they’ve won three games in a row, those victories weren’t the most convincing. They beat the 1-5 Colts, barely escaped against a Dallas team who hasn’t won a road game yet, and then beat the 2-4 Bills.
This week they play a Jaguars team who is coming off their worst performance of the season. They got wrecked 40-7 by the Dallas Cowboys. We know the Jaguars’ offense is built for RB Leonard Fournette, but he remains out with an injury. They traded for Carlos Hyde to fill in, but I don’t think that’s enough to keep the Jaguars going until Fournette gets back.
Jacksonville needs a win this week to give them some breathing room while waiting for their star offensive player to return and hopefully carry them throughout the rest of the year. Houston needs the win so they can stay hot and have confidence heading into tough matchups against the defense’s of the Dolphins and Broncos in their next two games.
Tennessee Titans vs Los Angeles Chargers
Tennessee needs a win vs the Chargers in order to stay in a tie for first place in their division with either the Jaguars or Texans. They also need a win to get their season back on track. The Titans are losers of two straight games, one against the Bills and another against the Ravens, in which they didn’t score.
The Chargers may not be the best team to be playing against this week to get back on track. Philip Rivers has his team sitting at 4-2 and are winners of three straight games. The offense has averaged 31 points per game while on this win streak. That’s not good for the Titans, who have struggled to score in recent weeks.
For the Chargers, they must win this game in order to stay just one game back in the AFC West. It’s possible they could enter into a tie for first place with the Chiefs if the Chiefs lose. Kansas City would still technically have the lead because they beat the Chargers earlier in the season, but being a tiebreaker behind is better than a game or two back.
It’s definitely possible the Chargers could steal the division title from the Chiefs this year, but they have to keep winning, especially against struggling opponents like the Titans.
New England Patriots vs Chicago Bears
I would say this is more of a must win for the Bears, but the Patriots are facing at least a little pressure in this game. The Bears currently have the lead in their division. If they lose this game, that’d put them behind the Packers and possibly the Vikings. Losing the division lead would make it very difficult to get it back, especially with Aaron Rodgers in the division.
For New England, we know they’ll be just fine if they lose this game. The reason why I included them on the must win games list, is because they’re in a two way tie with the Dolphins for the division lead right now. Both teams are at 4-2. If the Dolphins win and the Patriots lose, New England would have a little catching up to do.
I’m not that concerned about the Patriots winning the division, especially after they started 1-2 and are now 4-2. Miami also started 3-0 and had a two game lead on the Patriots in the division, but now the Patriots are already back on top. Still, it’s better to secure a lead than having to catch up and get it back.
Cincinnati Bengals vs Kansas City Chiefs
Both the Bengals and Chiefs have the lead in their divisions right now. With a loss this week, the Bengals could potentially lose their division lead. The Chiefs won’t lose their lead this week with a loss, but it would put them in a two way tie for the division lead.
The Bengals have a tough division this year. The Ravens are 4-2 and hold one of, if not the best defense in the league right now. The Steelers seems to be getting back on track, and the Browns are much more competitive than in previous years. A loss would make things a lot tougher for them to win the division. If they win, they could potentially take sole possession of first place with a loss by the Ravens.
Kansas City doesn’t have as much competition as the Bengals do within their division, but they do have at least one other team fighting for the AFC West title. The Chargers are playing well right now, meaning the Chiefs don’t have a lot of breathing room, even with a one game lead and a tie breaker over their division rivals.
Losing this game won’t kill either of these teams, but it will make things more uncomfortable for them.