Entering into the second half of the season this week. I hope that everyone turned their clocks back an hour. Maybe it will effect teams traveling or playing the later games. Either way, the weather is changing and football is at the forefront of the sports world. There are some pretty awesome match-ups this week. Teams on a bye this week are Arizona, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, NY Giants, and Philadelphia. They all need a breather, in my opinion. Here is what I think of the games this week….
CHICAGO BEARS vs BUFFALO BILLS:
The Chicago Bears have fallen into their rhythm. QB Mitchell Trubisky has gotten the offense on track the past couple of weeks. The defense will be the deciding factor for the Bears in this contest. As with last year, Buffalo has had inconsistency at the quarterback position. This will not fair well against the Bears’ defense. Without the ability to score consistently, the Bills will find it hard to keep up. Buffalo is going to depend on their defense as well. Do no expect this to be high scoring, unless Buffalo just cannot perform on defense.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS vs CAROLINA PANTHERS:
Talk about quarterback inconsistencies! YIKES! Tampa is back to starting Ryan Fitzpatrick. Jameis Winston’s less than stellar performance last week was so bad that they pulled him. So, back to Fitzpatrick we go. Unfortunately, he will be facing a team with a quarterback whose inconsistencies have gotten his team to a 5-2 record. Of course, that record was not without help from Christian McCaffery and Devin Funchess. Carolina’s defense will have no problem dissecting the Tampa Bay offense. Lack of a running game and weak passing game will be the reason why the Bucs will not get it done.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS vs CLEVELAND BROWNS:
Two of the most exciting young quarterbacks this season match up in this game. Only one of them has an amazing supporting cast. It is not the team with the color in its name. The Browns have relied on rookie QB Baker Mayfield far too much on offense. The defensive side of the ball has not lived up to expectations. Mayfield has been in too many shoot outs to hold up against a gunslinger like Patrick Mahomes. The Browns are not going to lay down nor have they game to game, but there is no way they can measure up to the Chiefs and what they bring offensively.
Kansas City Chiefs
NEW YORK JETS vs MIAMI DOLPHINS:
Disappointment oozes from both of these squads this season. This is one of those “flip a coin” games. Neither team has anything to brag about on either side of the ball. The rookie QB Sam Darnold is having a rookie type of season. Nothing too fantastic and nothing obviously horrible. The noise that Miami was once making at the beginning of the season is now a low murmur. In situations like this, the edge goes to the home team.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS vs BALTIMORE RAVENS:
When these two teams meet up, there is always an exciting game. Baltimore is said to have an elite defense. Pittsburgh is finally running like a well oiled machine. The Ravens offense will be their downfall. It is hard to tell which Joe Flacco will show up. No doubt that the Ravens will play up to the competition, but the talented offense of the Steelers will keep that to a minimum. Do not look for the rivalry to be score for score. The Steelers will steal the show.
DETROIT LIONS vs MINNESOTA VIKINGS:
What is there to say about the Detroit Lions? With one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the league, one would think they would be far better than they are currently. One week they are blowing out a team, the next they are looking like they could not beat a college team. Which team will show up against the shaky Minnesota Vikings? Hard to say. If Minnesota plays their cards right, they could take full advantage. Overcoming the mistakes made when they played New Orleans should help them beat Detroit, especially the turnovers. It would also help if the Vikings defense could step up. In any event, this division match up will be lopsided.
ATLANTA FALCONS vs WASHINGTON REDSKINS:
It is hard to pick against the Washington Redskins right now. Adding Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to the mix certainly gives the defense more spark on coverage. Now, they have the top two safeties in the league. This does not give much of a chance to the underwhelming Atlanta Falcons. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are still a great combination, but they have not combined for any touchdowns, despite the points on the board. As with most under performing teams, the Falcon defense is the issue. Even with Redskins QB Alex Smith playing average, the Falcons struggling defense cannot hold him off.
HOUSTON TEXANS vs DENVER BRONCOS:
If there is any team that is hot right now not named the Rams or Chiefs, it is the Texans. They have rattled off five straight wins. Do not look for the Broncos to slow them down. Deshaun Watson, J. J. Watt, and Jadeveon Clowney have been playing like they were expected to play from the beginning of the season. On the other side of the ball, Case Keenum has not been much to talk about. With the release of Chad Kelly, Keenum is the answer for right now. That is about all of the good news for the Broncos.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS vs SEATTLE SEAHAWKS:
Coming off a bye week, the L. A. Chargers are still a team on fire. Phillip Rivers has his team on a roll. They will likely continue that roll with Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler helping him out. Russell Wilson will try his best to keep up, but without a stronger supporting cast, it is not going to be possible. Although Seattle’s defense has been surprising, L. A.’s offense is better. This has the potential to be one of the best games of the day. Both quarterbacks have a way of getting the win.
Los Angeles Chargers
LOS ANGELES RAMS vs NEW ORLEANS SAINTS:
Ok! The late games keep getting more exciting. The undefeated Rams are up against the record breaking Drew Brees. Both teams can score. Both teams have explosive players on offense. It will boil down to defense. This is where New Orleans becomes vulnerable. The Saints defense is the reason why Sean McVey will find a way to win this game. It will be a challenge to stop Todd Gurley. Not a challenge that the Saints are up to, ideally. Expect a shoot out of sorts with the Rams pulling away near the end.
Los Angeles Rams
GREEN BAY PACKERS vs NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS:
What a fabulous Sunday night game! Two of the best quarterbacks in the league go head to head. Aaron Rodgers will make his Foxsboro debut. Both teams are not the perfect teams to pit against each other, but if the quarterbacks are as great as everyone thinks, that should not matter. It will be a uphill battle for the Packers. They recently let go of Ty Montgomery to the Baltimore Ravens and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to the Washington Redskins. Not sure how this plays out in a game of this magnitude. Tom Brady and the Patriots have a way of turning on the jets in the second half of the season. Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, and newly acquired Josh Gordon are making statements in their regular season run. There is no question that the Pats will take advantage of every Packer weakness. Rodgers cannot win this one by himself.