Thursday November 13
Bills (5-4) @ Dolphins (5-4)
SunLife Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL 8:25 (NFLN)
Favorite Dolphins by 4
Last Week Bills lost to Chiefs 17-13, Dolphins lost to Lions 20-16
Fast Fact The Bills allowed 405 rushing yards in their first six games but 460 in their last three.
Both teams are coming in the short week off of tough close losses, Ryan Tannehill should be a go for the Fins who need their running game to play light years better than the puny 50 yard output against the Lions if they hope to keep the withering Bills pass rush totally honest. Kyle Orton is playing respectably for the Bills and having a hale Sammy Watkins will help his numbers immensely. As tight as the AFC playoff picture is this may very well be a virtual elimination game. I’m going with the home team here but I’m not the most confident about it
Sunday November 16
Falcons (3-6) @ Panthers (3-6-1)
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite Falcons by 1
Last Week Falcons defeated Buccaneers 27-17; Panthers lost to Eagles 45-21
Fast Fact Panthers QB Cam Newton has taken 561 hits (tackles, sacks, pressures) since coming in the league in 2011. The next closest QB has barely half that total in the time frame
What most would say would be a throwaway game is actually a game to stay in the divisional race. Both teams are a mess, though the Falcons are coming off a decently played win over the hapless Bucs while the Panthers are bedeviled by a nonexistent pass rush and a porous offensive line. This game is a tossup but for some reason I trust the Panthers less than I do the equally weak Falcons
Vikings (4-5) @ Bears (3-6)
Soldier Field, Chicago 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Bears by 3
Last Week Vikings were on their bye; Bears lost to Packers 55-14
Fast Fact The Bears are the first team since the 1923 Rochester Jeffersons (yes that was an NFL team) to give up 50 or more points in back to back games
The Bears are imploding badly, their nationally television destructions at the hands of the Pats and Packers are telling a grim story. The well-rested Vikes are no juggernaut but have been slowly improving and while not likely to have the service of Adrian Peterson will have a decent running attack at their disposal and a withering rush to bother an increasingly erratic Jay Cutler. The Vikes are dicey on the road and the Bears are winless at home. But I think the Bears are quitting on themselves and the Vikes are more than happy to help turn the out the lights further.
Texans (4-5) @ Browns (6-3)
FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Browns by 3
Last Week Texans were on their bye; Browns defeated Bengals 24-3
Fast Fact Browns run defense has allowed an average of 91.7 yards rushing a game in their 3 game win streak
Fresh off a bye the Texans head to the frosty climes of Northern Ohio to face the Browns who are flying high after a Thursday beatdown of their despised downstate rivals. The Browns stout run defense will face a stern test against the redoubtable running of the Texans Arian Foster. While Brian Hoyer isn’t flashy, he pilots the Browns offense like a grizzled vet and his poised play has kept the Browns steady and win playing well. In a super tough AFC North, that could keep them in the hunt as stakes on these games get higher. This will be a grimy gritty game, I keep waiting for the Browns to take their expected pratfall but with Texans still unsettled at QB, it bodes well for the home team here
Seahawks (6-3) @ Chiefs (6-3)
Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Chiefs by 2½
Last Week Seahawks defeated Giants 38-17; Chiefs defeated Bills 17-13
Fast Fact This is matchup of teams that play in the loudest NFL stadiums as Arrowhead and CenturyLink in Seattle have traded the title at least six times over the last three years with Arrowhead holding the current record with an eardrum splitting 142.9 dB…yikes!
This ultra-noisy matchup features two team trying to stay in contention in their respective conferences. The Seahawks are trying to hold on to their champs mantle as long as they can but Russell Wilson is looking quite mortal and while Marshawn Lynch continues to run rugged, the defense is a shadow of its once formidable self. The Chiefs are staying strong with a super tight running game, and Alex Smith playing mostly mistake free ball, The Seahawks are a tough team still but going in to KC is a nightmare even for a noise tested squad like the Hawks. I just think that the Chiefs are a team to reckon with and catching them at their crib is not good
Bengals (5-3-1) @ Saints (4-5)
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Saints by 7½
Last Week Bengals lost to Browns 24-3, Saints lost to 49ers 27-24 in OT
Looking at the records you would think that the Bengals are the first place team and the Saints are the 3rd place team scuffling along, when it’s the exact reverse. The Bengals are scrambling after a humiliating home loss to their upstate rivals and the Saints while leading the woefully weak NFC South are scrambling themselves after a heartbreaking OT loss to the Niners. Both team are wildly inconsistent, but I’m just not real sold on the Bengals as of late especially on the road. Had the Saints won last week I would say the Bengals could use this as a real bounce back. But I’m not betting on the Saints to lose back to back at home. And given the Bengals Andy Dalton skittish play as of late, I just can’t call an upset here and despite the records a Bengals win here would be an upset, but it’s not happening here.
Broncos (7-2) @ Rams (3-6)
Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Broncos by 9
Last Week Broncos defeated Raiders 41-17, Rams lost Cardinals 31-14
Fast Fact The Broncos have never won in St. Louis (tied the then St. Louis Cardinals in 1973 and are 0-2 against the Rams)
The Broncos bounced back strong to whip the Raiders while the Rams struggled in the desert. Peyton Manning regained his touch and that really bad news for the Rams who have been up and down as of late, their pattern has been win-loss and are due for a win, but the Broncos look to be in no mood to play niceties here. I think Manning will abuse the Rams suspect secondary while the Rams are turning back to Shaun Hill for the ineffective Austin Davis. It won’t matter much as the Broncos should roll to the win
Pick-Denver (Lock of the week)
49ers (5-4) @ New York Giants (3-6)
MetLife Stadium; East Rutherford, NJ 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite 49ers by 3½
Last Week 49ers defeated Saints 27-24 in OT; Giants lost to the Seahawks 38-17
Fast Fact the Niners haven’t won in NYC against the Giants since 2002 (lost last two visits)
The Niners stole a controversial win in the Big Easy and stay on the fringes of the NFC playoff picture while the G-Men are crumbling badly as evidence by the whomping that they got in Seattle last week. I’ve long maintained that west coast teams going east for a 1p kickoff are often in trouble and I would think that the Niners would be in some kind of trouble but I’m thinking that the G-Men’s butter booty soft defense is in no shape to slow down the Niners rugged running game and Colin Kaepernick’s dynamic passing. I think the Niners grind out a tight win
Buccaneers (1-8) @ Washington (3-6)
FedEx Field; Landover, MD 1:00 (FOX, CBS, NBC, ESPN)
Favorite Washington by 7½
Last Week Buccaneers lost to Falcons 27-17; Washington was on a bye
Fast Fact The Buccaneers are giving up 30.2 points a game only Lovie Smith’s former team in Chicago (30.8) gives up more.
The Bucs are wandering through this long season, while Washington is trying to wake up from this nightmare season after their bye. This is a real who cares game, the Bucs defense is pretty porous and while Washington welcomes back RG3 they lack a real direction and identity. I’m thinking that the Bucs won’t be able to garner anymore road wins this season.
Raiders (0-9) @ Chargers (5-4)
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego 4:05 (CBS)
Favorite Chargers by 10½
Last Week Raiders lost to Broncos 41-17, Chargers were on their bye
Fast Fact The Chargers were shutout in week 9 for the first time since 1999
The Chargers were flying high when they went to the East Bay to face the scuffling Raiders but haven’t won since they pulled out a 31-28 win four weeks ago. The Raiders are trying their best but find a way to come apart at critical junctures. The Broncos toyed with them a while before tearing them up last week while the Chargers have had a week to brood over their 37-0 implosion against the Dolphins before their bye. I want the Raiders to pick up a win since they are seriously looking like a reverse table run. But I can’t find a win here. The Chargers need a bounce back in the worst way and they will get one here.
Lions (7-2) @ Cardinals (8-1)
University of Phoenix; Glendale, AZ 4:25 (FOX)
Favorite Cardinals by 1
Last Week Lions defeated Dolphins 20-13; Cardinals defeated Rams 31-14
Fast Fact The Lions haven’t won in Arizona since 1993
The late NFC games are top notch, the Lions are playing like a tough team but have a steep challenge facing the Cards in their desert stronghold. The Lions are looking to follow up their gritty comeback win while the Cards are hoping that Drew Stanton will be able to fill in capably for the injured Carson Palmer. I think that the Lions rugged defense will be too tall a task for the young Stanton
Pick-Detroit (Upset of the Week)
Eagles (7-2) @ Packers (6-3)
Lambeau Field, Green Bay 4:25 (FOX)
Favorite Packers by 5½
Last Week Eagles defeated Panthers 45-21, Packers defeated Bears 55--14
Fast Fact Packers have won its games at Lambeau by an average of 25.3 points this season
Both teams are coming off primetime beatdown wins, Mark Sanchez looked especially crisp in his return to starting duties, but the curve gets really steep facing the Packers in Lambeau who are coming off a thrashing of the Bears last Sunday night. Now while I like the Eagles high powered offense and think that Sanchez looks good running, better than he ever did with the Jets the Packers defense isn’t soft like the Panthers and you can believe the likes of Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and AJ Hawk will put more pressure on him. While Aaron Rodgers won’t come close to the 6 TD first half performance he had last week he should be able to get a solid performance enough to get the win.
Patriots (0-0) @ Colts (0-0)
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis 8:30 (NBC)
Favorite Colts by 3
Last Week Both teams were on their respective byes
Fast Fact The Pats have averaged 40.2 points during their 5 game win streak.
The Primetime matchup is a doozy both teams rested up for a high scoring shootout, The Pats have been scoring in obscene bunches during their 5 game win streak but aside from a quick run to Buffalo, they haven’t went far on the road during their win streak Tom Brady has been putting rumors of his slide to rest while Andrew Luck is representing the young guns very well with his sharp play. Both teams are strikingly similar but I’m real curious which defense will come out looking better. It’s a tossup to be sure. I’m going to bet on the home team and likely be wrong.
Monday November 16
Steelers (6-3) @ Titans (2-7)
LP Field, Nashville 8:30 (ESPN)
Favorite Steelers by 6½
Last Week Steelers lost to Jets 20-13, Titans lost to Ravens 21-7
Fast Fact Steelers have allowed 36 points on opponents’ first possession this season, league worst
The Steelers are coming in off an embarrassing loss to the lowly Jets and now have to face a Titans team that stood bravely against the Ravens before losing a tight game. The Steelers should be able to get their offense in gear against the Titans soft defensive front and Zach Mettenberger might have a more difficult time against the Steelers defensive rush. The Titans are not the best of teams but the Steelers for some puzzling reason struggle against weaker teams that they should drill. As tempted as I am to call another stunning upset of the Steelers here. I can’t do it.
Last Week: 9-4 (Lock Correct/Upset Incorrect)