These are the crucial weeks. Team wins are becoming a must. Some teams are trying their best to be spoilers for those on the edge of making the post season. Some teams are needing others to lose to get despite them winning themselves. The analytics of it all come to a head in these last weeks of the regular season. With that being said, let’s see how I have this week’s games turning out.
NEW YORK JETS vs BUFFALO BILLS:
Unfortunately, the Bills could not keep Josh Allen from having to run for his life on every play last week against the Dolphins. That they kept it close in that loss was amazing. Buffalo should not have that problem this week against New York. This game is inconsequential, so there is no real right answer here. The Jets have nothing to speak of as far as talent. Let’s take the better of the two worsts.
NEW YORK GIANTS vs WASHINGTON REDSKINS:
The New York Football Giants have been decent as of late. Decent enough to get looked at as a quality pick for the week. The fact that Washington is on the backup to the backup quarterback is not a good sign. This could mean more turmoil for the once top of the division team. Not that Mark Sanchez as the starter is bad, but coming in at this juncture does not have that same positive vibe that was once present at the beginning of the season. With a slight chance of making the playoffs, Washington needs this win. Will they get it?
New York Giants
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS vs TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS:
Tampa Bay should be the bounce back game for New Orleans after that unexpected loss to Dallas last week. Seems simple enough, right? It will be. The fight for the NFC rages on, and New Orleans plans on being a part of it.
New Orleans Saints
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS vs MIAMI DOLPHINS:
Ryan Tannehill made an impressive comeback against the Buffalo Bills last week. Not sure if that will be enough against a Patriots team that is doing their normal end of season run. It is doubtful that Miami will be able to stop the Patriots. Stopping quality teams has been a sore spot for the ‘Phins all season. No spoilers here.
New England Patriots
BALTIMORE RAVENS vs KANSAS CITY CHIEFS:
This will be a tough game for Lamar Jackson to start. He is going up against an offense that takes advantage of the other team’s mistakes. Jackson seems to make a few too many. Not that the Ravens have not won, but they have not played the Chiefs in any of those wins. Baltimore’s offense has picked up a little since Jackson has been starting, but it will definitely be the Baltimore defense that will determine the outcome of this game. If they can get Patrick Mahomes off balance, they may eke by with a win.
Kansas City Chiefs
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS vs HOUSTON TEXANS:
Did anyone really think that the Colts would lose like that to the Jags last week? They should not have lost. This was the week that a loss would be acceptable. Winning four straight is no small feat, but compared to nine in a row, well… Indianapolis needs a few more weapons to compete with the talent of Houston right now. The Colts can still make a run for the post season though.
ATLANTA FALCONS vs GREEN BAY PACKERS:
Mike McCarthy is no longer the head coach in Green Bay. If the analytical game is played and the rest of the division loses the rest of their games and the Packers win all of theirs, the post season is a dream in their grasp. Same scenario with the Falcons. This is not a perfect world, and those things will not happen, ideally. Essentially then, this game is for pride purposes only. Things will be slightly rejuvenated in Green Bay with some of the tension lifted. Atlanta could get it to be a shoot out, but do not look for that to happen with the Packers playing with a sense of renewal.
Green Bay Packers
CAROLINA PANTHERS vs CLEVELAND BROWNS:
GRRR!!! The Carolina Panthers have been the worse pick ever the past few weeks. What is really going on down there? Do they have Cam in the pocket too much that defenses are causing him to be frustrated and sacked? Picking Cleveland here would feel like such a dirty move. The Browns have either missed opportunities to score or cannot hold a team off to hold on to the lead. The Browns are just a coach away from being a great team. They have the talent. They lack the skills to put together a complete game.
DENVER BRONCOS vs SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS:
Reality has set in again for the 49ers. Nick Mullens looked to be that breath of fresh air they needed, but ended up coming down to earth the last couple of games. Denver, meanwhile, has been slowly working their way into the playoff talks with that defense that has been giving teams trouble.
CINCINNATI BENGALS vs LOS ANGELES CHARGERS:
Marvin Lewis’s time may be coming to an end. Every time it seems to be going great for the Bengals, the carpet is pulled from underneath them. A.J. Green cannot seem to stay healthy. Andy Dalton attempts to keep everything on track, but simply gets outplayed by the opposition. Los Angeles has the playoffs in sight. The Bengals will not be a hinderance this week.
Los Angeles Chargers
DETROIT LIONS vs ARIZONA CARDINALS:
Another not so meaningful game here. Arizona has the rookie behind center, and at times, looks like he is just behind center. Detroit has not been exactly pathetic, well, maybe a little, but they have managed to win a few games against big teams like New England, Green Bay, and Carolina. Granted those teams were a bit better at the time they played them. Nonetheless, they are a more veteran team. If they take advantage of the rookie’s mistakes, they should be able to get this one.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS vs OAKLAND RAIDERS:
Everyone should find their own way home on their own dime if the Steelers do not win against the Raiders. It does not even have to be a blow out. It only takes one point more than your opponent to win. That is all that is needed. The Steelers need this to stay in the playoff picture. Oakland is the last team anyone needs to play spoiler.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES vs DALLAS COWBOYS:
Philadelphia is leaving a lot to be desired this season. New injuries have plagued the team every week. Carson Wentz looks about average. There is nothing to truly get excited about with the team. Whereas, Dallas has come out looking like a brand new pair of shoes on prom night. There is a renewed sense of urgency with post season hopes in reach. Dallas already sits atop of the division. With a banged up defense, Philly may not stand a chance with Ezekiel Elliott running the ball.
LOS ANGELES RAMS vs CHICAGO BEARS:
Mitchell Trubisky will be back this week. This will definitely be a game to tune in for tonight. The Rams have not faced a defense like the Bears. The Bears have a defense that can throw quarterbacks off their game. Do not look for much of an offensive battle. This game will be won in the trenches. Both teams are known to take full advantage of mistakes made by the other team. The question will be which team will make the biggest errors and which team is better at capitalizing on them. Best game of the day right here.
There you have it folks. Not the most exciting lineup of games, but it is football, and we will watch. Let me know what you think. Good lick to your teams and picks!
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