Four weeks in a row with double digit victories, including a 12-4 record this past week. Now we are getting down to the nitty-gritty where the final playoff spots and positions get settled. A lot of teams are on the bubble and are vying for position, so vast majority of the games being played this weekend have something of value at stake, whether it be a playoff spot or playoff positioning.
In any event, after this weekend, the road to the Super Bowl will be a lot more clear.
Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks
Maybe with Jeff Fisher gone, the Rams will be able to field an offense that ranks above horrid. And with Earl Thomas out of the picture, the Seahawks have proved susceptible to the deep ball. But come on. Teams rarely get better after firing their coach with only a few games left in the season. And while the Seahawks struggled mightily against the Packers, one has to believe that they will step up at home and dispatch the lowly Rams.
Seahawks get the win.
Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets
The Jets have completely mailed it in. They lost to the Goddamn 49ers. The Jets at this point in the season may be the worst team in football. I actually have a morbid curiosity as to who would win a game between the Browns and Jets.
But to put it simply, there is no reason the Dolphins should lose this game. They have a better defense and a better offense (even with Matt Moore) and should walk all over the pathetic Jets.
Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears
The NFL’s oldest rivalry comes to a head as the Packers are fighting for a playoff spot and the Bears are fighting for… uuhmm… I guess nothing.
We can talk about stats and match-ups all we want, but the fact of the matter is that the Packers will win because they actually have something to play for.
Cleveland Browns @ Buffalo Bills
I know the Browns do not want to go the whole season without a win. Unfortunately, their plan worked too well. They are a team that was built to lose, and in that they have succeeded. The fact is that the Browns will lose because that is what they were meant to do. The Bills will win despite the brothers Ryan who are as incompetent of coaches as you will find in the NFL.
Bills get a W.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Baltimore Ravens
Statistically the Ravens have the best defense in the NFL. After 14 weeks, that is not a fluke. The Eagles have a bright future, but that is not enough at this point. the Eagles will lose because they will be unable to score more than 10 points against the Ravens and I have faith in the Ravens to score more than that this weekend.
Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs
Last weekend the Titans picked up a big time win against the Broncos. But the problem is that the Broncos do not have a legitimate offense, hence they cannot mount a legitimate attack against an aggressive defense.
The Titans will run well, and they will play tough on defense, but in the end the Chiefs can perform better than anyone when it comes to the three phases. Point being is that the Chiefs will win over the New York Giants.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ New York Giants
Game of the week right here. Both teams need the win. The Steelers are on the outside looking in at the playoffs and cannot afford another loss in the closing weeks of the NFL season. The Giants put themselves in a great position with a big win against the Cowboys and control their own destiny, but if the Giants continue to win they could conceivably overtake the Cowboys for the division and get a first round bye. So both teams will be extra motivated.
Odell Beckem Jr. right now is the best receiver in football. In 40 games the dude has 34 touchdowns. But that being said, OBJ is the only consistent weapon they have and after the big win this past weekend I think the Giants are due for big let down.
I like the Steelers on the back of a dominant Le’Veon Bell.
Indianapolis Colts @ Minnesota Vikings
I have been saying it all season long, the Colts do not have an NFL caliber offensive or defensive line. Because of that, they are completely incapable of prolonged success.
On the flip side, the Vikings have been hit hard by injuries and it has significantly hindered their season. But with their defense and special teams, the Vikings have kept themselves competitive in every game this season.
I like the Vikings because their defense and special teams can score enough to win the game.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans
A battle between arguably the two most disappointing teams in the NFL. Both of these teams entered the season with serious playoff aspirations. Brock Osweiler has been terrible for the Texans and the Jaguars will likely be looking for a new head coach after another season with little to no development.
At the end of the day the Texans can still play a little defense and that should be enough to beat a bad Jaguars squad in Houston.
New Orleans Saints @ Arizona Cardinals
If this was in New Orleans, I would like the Saints. But this is another matchup between disappointing teams and neither one of them evokes much confidence. The key here is the run game. David Johnson has emerged as one of the best running backs in the league, whereas Mark Ingram has battled injuries and had trouble getting his season off the ground.
And despite the various moves made by the Saints, their defense still sucks something awful. I like the Cardinals to win this one because they just have more talent.
San Francisco 49ers @ Atlanta Falcons
Falcons win. Do I need to explain?
Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers
The Chargers were already a bad team, but with no Joey Bosa they will be unable to get pressure on Derek Carr and without Melvin Gordon they will have no offensive balance. Philip Rivers will still be able to move the ball a bit on that Raiders defense, but there is no way they will be able to keep pace with that offense, unless Carr’s hand is hurt worse than we know.
Raiders get a much needed win.
New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos
I predicted before the season began that the Broncos would not make the playoffs. I still believe that. They have an inconsistent run game and no quarterback that can shoulder the load at this point in time. While their defense is still great, they can only accomplish so much with mediocrity on the other side of the ball.
The Patriots are not as good as their record indicates either. They are a very flawed team that has had a fairly easy schedule. Good coaching and efficient quarterback play has guided them past a few teams that have more talent, but come playoff time I think they are in trouble.
With all that being said I am going with the Patriots because they still have Belichick and Brady. And that is a deadly combo.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Dallas Cowboys
Tampa Bay is the most unheralded team in the NFL. They are currently tied with the Falcons and are playing their best football of the season right now. The return of Doug Martin has helped to take pressure off of Jameis Winston and their defense is criminally underrated.
But the Cowboys are at home and will be looking to redeem themselves after a rough loss to the Giants. With Dak out of the cold and back at home, I like him to continue his efficient and effective play.
Cowboys win and solidify their playoff position.
Carlina Panthers @ Washington Redskins
A lackluster Monday Night Football game. The Redskins are still in the playoff race, so they will come out firing, but the Panthers are just trying to wrap up a very disappointing season. Honestly, if the Redskins can jump out to a quick lead, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cam Newton get pulled so as to avoid injury.
I like the Redskins to win. They are motivated and at this point in time, Kirk Cousins is the better quarterback.