Cowboys vs Saints (Thursday)
Throwback: Saints have won 10 in a row, the second longest streak in franchise history. The longest streak was in 2009, which ended at 13 games after the Cowboys beat them on a non-Sunday game. Since that 2009 game, Saints have won 4 of 5 with the Cowboys only win coming in 2014, the year they went 13-2 and won the division
Analysis: Going bias and with the upset. I think this game will be much closer then people think and it will be more a defensive match-up then anticipated. If this game goes into the 30s the Saints will win, but I think the Cowboys will be looking to make a statement at home and be able to hold the Saints to under 30.
Falcons vs Ravens
Throwback: 5 meetings all-time with each team alternating wins and losses. Ravens won the last game in 2014 and Falcons last win came in 2010.
Analysis: Lamar Jackson has looked good for Baltimore, guiding them to two straight victories since entering the lineup. He’s faced two bad defenses (Bengals and Raiders) and the Falcons don’t offer much more of a challenge than those two. Atlanta is suddenly awful, losing three straight games.
Packers vs Cardinals
Throwback: Cardinals have won 3 of the last 4, with two of the wins coming in overtime. Their last meeting was a 2016 playoff game where Aaron Rodgers hit Jeff Janis on a hail mary to send the game to overtime. One minute into extra time, Larry Fitzgerald scored on a pass from Carson Palmer.
Analysis: I think it’s safe to say this is a MUST win for the Packers. The Cardinals are a bad team and playing in the cold tundra, they will not be able to get “hot” and outscore the Packers.
Dolphins vs Bills
Throwback: This is their first meeting of 2018. Bills swept the series in 2017 and the Dolphins swept the Bills in 2016.
Analysis: The Dolphins lost a hard fought game against the Colts last weekend. The Bills have fought hard but again I just don’t think they will be able to put up enough points to beat the Fins at home.
Colts vs Jaguars
Throwback: Colts beat the Jaguars three weeks ago in Indy. Jaguars swept both games last year. From 2012-2015, Colts won 6 out of 8 (and 6 in a row), and since that time are just 2-4 vs Jacksonville.
Analysis: Jaguars suck. Blake Bortles is bench. Leonard Fournette is suspended. Offensive Coordinator is fired. Meanwhile, as my partner Mike has stated numerous times, Colts coach Frank Reich is his pick for Coach of the Year. Hard to argue with how well the offensive line has played. Eric Ebron, who caught 11 touchdowns in 4 years with Detroit, leads all TEs in 2018 with 11. The Colts beat the Jaguars in Indy 2 weeks ago and I expect much of the same result here. Give me the Colts to win their 6th in a row and stay in the playoff hunt.
Bears vs Giants
Throwback: Giants have won 3 of the last 4 meetings, most recently in 2016. Bears last win came in 2013, in a game where Jay Cutler shockingly didn’t turn the ball over.
Analysis: The Bears coming off a 10 day break and will be well rested to chase Saquon Barkley all over the field. While Saquon attempts to carry the team on his back, Odell Beckham will be complaining about….something, anything… to whoever will listen. Look for Khalil Mack to have a big game against the immobile Eli Manning.
Browns vs Texans
Throwback: Texans are 6-3 all-time vs the Browns and have won the last four matchups. The Browns last victory came in 2007, which was their last season finishing over .500 (10-6, but missed playoffs). QB Derek Anderson completed 24-35 passes for 253 yards and 2 TD. TDs were caught by Owen Daniels and Kevin Walter. Browns are averaging just 10 ppg during their 4 game losing skid to Houston.
Analysis: I’m going with the team who needs to prove more in this one. The Browns one their first road game last week in god knows how long and dare I say; will look to win their 2nd road game in row! If Baker can stay turnover free I think the Browns will find a way to win this one.
Broncos vs Bengals
Throwback: These teams have met each of the last four years and have each won twice. Bengals won last year, in Denver, 20-17 and Broncos won the last meeting in Cincinnati, 29-17 in 2016.
Analysis: Some guy named Jeff Driskel is playing QB for the Bengals. Driskel was a 6th round pick in 2016 – he spent the first four years of his career at Florida before transferring to Louisiana Tech to finish his career. His inexperience, plus a bad Cincy offensive line, plus depleted weapons (AJ Green has been hurt), plus the presence of perennial losers Marvin Lewis and Hue Jackson – I’ll take the Broncos. Mostly in part because I expect big games from their defensive playmakers, Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.
Panthers vs Bucs
Throwback: Panthers have won the last three, including a 42-28 victory during week 9 this season. Overall, Panthers have won 9 of the last 11 games against the Bucs, since the 2013 season.
Analysis: Man, the Pathers blew another one. They have now lost 3 in a row since the last time they played against the Buccaneers. A loss here, would slide them all the way down the wild card standings, to the point where they may not be able to recover. Against a bad Bucs defense, Cam Newton and company get back on track.
Rams vs Lions
Throwback: The Lions have won 3 of the last 4 meetings against the Rams. That lone Rams win came in 2015, Case Keenum started at QB for the Rams and Todd Gurley ran for 140 yards and 2 TDs.
Analysis: Rams are coming off a bye will pick up where they left off and steam roll the Lions. I would not be surprised to see the Rams defense outscore the Lions offense.
Chiefs vs Raiders
Throwback: Since the start of the 2013 season, the Chiefs are 8-2 vs the Raiders. The Raiders did win last year’s meeting in Oakland, 31-30.
Chiefs will put up 40+ points easily in this one. The Raiders will continue to countdown the days until they move to Vegas.
Titans vs Jets
Throwback: Jets have won the last two meetings (2014, 2015). Titans last win over Jets came in 2013 when they won 38-13, with Jake Locker at QB vs Geno Smith.
Analysis: Jets have seemingly quit on coach Todd Bowles. They are a mess offensively and defensively. The Titans aren’t a mess, but they are one of the most inconsistent team from week to week. They have moments of greatness and then moments of utter confusion and frustration. I’ll take the inconsistency over the quit.
Patriots vs Vikings
Throwback: This is the 13th matchup all-time, with the Patriots holding an 8-4 advantage. The Pats have won the last 4 meetings, all started by Tom Brady. Because they are in opposite conferences, these teams only meet once every four years and the last Vikings win was back in 2000. Dante Culpepper led the 3-0 Vikings to a win over Drew Bledsoe and the 0-3 Patriots.
Analysis: Patriots at home in December, I’ll take them every time. Vikings haven’t won consecutive games in a row since a three game win streak between weeks 5-7, they have alternated wins and losses since. Kirk Cousins will likely turn the ball over a few times and the Patriots run game gets reinforcements with Rex Burkhead returning from injury. Also, Gronk looked healthy and fresh last week, catching his second TD of the year. Look out for the Pats down the stretch, as always.
Seahawks vs 49ers
Throwback: Seahawks have won 9 games in a row over the 49ers. The last SF win came in December 2013. The Seahawks winning streak started in the NFC Championship game in 2014 when Richard Sherman deflected a Colin Kaepernick pass late, to help the Seahawks advance to the Super Bowl.
Analysis: Seahawks had a nice win on the road last weekend against a tough Carolina Panther team; where they saw Christian McCaffrey run/catch for over 200 yards against them and still win. San Francisco does not have any weapons like CMAC. Give me the Seahawks and the 12th Man!
Chargers vs Steelers
Throwback: Steelers won the last meeting, in 2015, 24-20 in a game played in San Diego. Chargers won the last game in Pittsburgh, where this one will take place Sunday night, back in 2012.
Analysis: This will be a tough road test for the Chargers, but I am going to side with the better defensive team here. I think the Chargers’ D-Line will give the Pittsburgh’s O-Line trouble and Safety Derwin James will find his way to picking off Big Ben in this one. With or without Melvin Gordon, Philip Rivers and the offense continues to roll.
Eagles vs Redskins
Throwback: Eagles snapped snapped a 5 game losing streak to the Redskins in 2017 with a sweep of their division rivals.
Analysis: Eagles finally got back on the winning track against the self-imploding Giants. The Redskins have Colt McCoy under center against a very talented D-Line that will give him issues on the road.