3. Being less dependent on home teams winning.
Mark Sanchez leads the Eagles into an easy home match-up, despite losing to Miami in a similar one, also against a Florida team. But Philly is still relevant, at least enough to beat out the Bucs.
The Eagles good running game may be in jeopardy against the heavy rush Bucs D, but the receivers and tight ends have a huge opportunity against a weakling secondary. The Bucs secondary is practically empty. Receivers like Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Riley Cooper, plus tight ends Zach Ertz and Brent Celek should all have big games and be huge factors in the Eagles blowout.
The Bucs have a similar defense to face, but have issues that will hold them back. Doug Martin will run for it when Fletcher Cox and Connor Barwin get something started. Meanwhile, the Bucs don’t have enough key receivers to lead to dominance of the Eagles secondary. With Vincent Jackson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins injured, Mike Evans is really the only key receiver. So, clearly, the Bucs will fall, and all because they lack offensive weapons.
John Fox takes on his old team in this intriguing match-up. About three weeks ago, the Broncos would be clear winners. But Peyton Manning was benched and the Broncos are trending down. And at the same time, the Bears are in a nice uptrend. The Broncos are now run by former Ravens o-coordinator Gary Kubiak, who was replaced by former Bears coach Marc Trestman. Yup. Trestman, Fox and Kubiak moved teams in a triangle.
Let’s get into the juicy details. Well, I think the Bears offense might just have a shot against this balanced Denver defense. Jeremy Langford will see more carries, even if Matt Forte returns. The reason Forte got so many reps is because his backups before Langford plain out sucked.
But they also have Ka’ Deem Carey, Antone Smith and Jacquizz Rodgers to help in the backfield if the defense gets to Forte and Langford. The reason I like this for the Bears is because Eddie Royal and Jay Cutler are both former Broncos. I could see a lot of Cutler to Royal action, especially if the Broncos three best secondary members are valuing Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett, Marquess Wilson even Zach Miller over Royal. That gives Royal a shot to break out, if he plays. Carry the offense for TDs. Sure, he’ll be helped by Cutler’s other receivers, but he should be seeking revenge on the Broncos.
On the Broncos side of the ball, the young Bears defense is one of the most underrated in the league. I like the Bears secondary a lot. They have young developing players in Adrian Amos, Kyle Fuller and Tracy Porter. Well, Fuller is already pretty much developed. They have a mentor in safety Antrel Rolle. That should take care of the main guys, like DeMaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Owen Daniels and newbie Vernon Davis. Sleeper Cody Latimer still will be open, but he’s done nothing, so so what? The running game even will be guarded appropriately. Pernell McPhee and Eddie Goldman should be enough to stop Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson. And don’t say Brock Osweiler will be any better with preventing interceptions. This Bears D is enough to prevent TDs, but Denver will come close, and have plenty of failed attempts. You know what that means. Plenty of field goals, and a big day for kicker Brandon McManus. I expect about 5 FGs and a couple XPs. Enough for 17 whooping fantasy points!! That’s plenty for a kicker. But face it. If Chicago keeps scoring TDs and Denver keeps scoring field goals, you know who’ll win. If you guessed the now Good News Bears, or just the Bears, you are correct.
Jaguars, 24, Titans, 6 NFLN Thursday 8:25 PM EST
This AFC South division is so pathetic, that if they win this, the JAGUARS can actually play for something. That means they have
a motive to win this game!!!! That hasn’t been the case for Jacksonville this far into the season for over a decade, and this team is only about 25-30 years old. Not very often does it happen. The Titans are even more modern and bad though.
Jacksonville has good running backs in Denard Robinson and TJ Yeldon, but they have a good guard, Brian Orakpo and Jurrell Casey. However, even with Allen Robinson guarded by Jason McCourty, one, McCourty’s not that good and two, they have Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee, Julius Thomas and Marcedes Lewis all unguarded. So, they have something to cheer for.
The Titans offense however, may be in some trouble. They don’t have many weapons against a growing Jaguars defense. Even with running back David Cobb back, him and Antonio Andrews, even Dexter McCluster will be covered by Paul Posluszny, Sen’ Derrick Marks and strong rookie defensive lineman Michael Bennett. Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker have powerful safeties; rookie James Sample and Jonathan Cyprien. Even if sleepers like Anthony Fasano and Harry Douglas slip away, the Jaguars still have the edge.
Lions, 24, Raiders, 10 CBS Sunday 1:00 PM EST
The Raiders are favorites in this one, and even with my new ways, the Lions were on to something in their defeating of the Packers last week. I think they can do the same, especially at home, and with somewhat of a chance of snow. Oakland isn’t used to that.
I feel that Golden Tate and Eric Ebron should have good games along with Megatron, and sleepers Lance Moore, Tim Wright and Brandon Pettigrew. Matthew Stafford should have plenty of passing options. Ameer Abdullah may even have some touchdown opportunities. The Raiders rush suffered a big loss in their star linebacker Aldon Smith to a one year suspension.
The Raiders may be able to work the pass as well, but the Lions are even heavier on the rush. They have their linebacker Stephen Tulloch, and D-lineman Hatoli Ngata. I just think overall, Detroit has more general passing weapons, costing the Raiders the game.
Falcons, 38, Colts, 27 CBS Sunday 1:00 PM EST
Even if the Colts are in trouble in the division, pressured to win and Matt Hasselbeck is 2-0 and the Falcons are also on a downtrend, I think Matt Ryan’s offense has enough power to receive the bounce back win, despite their history of being good very early and being horrible late in the season. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, but I see this one differently, and it’s because of the Colts’ impact on the Falcons, and it’s not a good one, if you’re a Colts fan.
The Colts have a balanced, but weak defense going. With lots of hard work, the stars like Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones can break through. Sleepers like the struggling Roddy White, (was passed in depth chart by Leonard Hankerson) could look
like himself again. Tight ends could even have a chance. Jacob Tamme, Levine Toilolo. Even Tony Moeaki. They’re all that bad, the defense doesn’t know who to guard! But that little bit of beast in them could mean they make some small contributions.
The Colts however, are facing the Falcons decent defense. The most mediocre in combined balance and power. The running game is done. Is Jonathan Babineaux and Paul Worrilow enough to stop the rush? Along with maybe Vic Beasley? I think yes. Justin Durant could even help, by keeping Hasselbeck down on blitzes. They might have a few passing opportunities, but it will never match up to the Falcons offense. I have a could feeling about their offense.
Texans, 37, Jets, 31 CBS Sunday 1:00 PM EST
Why are the Jets even favored in this game? The Texans proved themselves last Monday Night, knocking down and undefeated team, with T.J. YATES at QB. Yates may start again this week with Brian Hoyer going through the concussion protocol. Meanwhile, the Jets are on a downtrend. On Thursday Night last week, the Bills tied them for 2nd place in the AFC East by beating them.
The Jets will not be left with much options on offense. Chris Ivory and crew have J.J. Watt and much more to deal with, so the running game has no chance to get through. Four amazing defenders (Watt, Clowney, Cushing, Wilfork) await. That takes care of Ivory, Bilal Powell, Zac Stacy even Stevan Ridley. The passing game will still have lower down receivers like Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley maybe Chris Owusu but Brandon Marshall shall be guarded appropriately. The Texans only have one quality corner. He can’t guard four receivers and tight end Jeff Cumberland. That leaves some scoring opportunities, but it doesn’t match up to the Texans.
With Sheldon Richardson out, I think Alfred Blue or Chris Polk may have a shot at a TD. The Jets secondary is still tough, but the Texans have so many passing options. Expect sleepers Cecil Shorts III, Keith Mumphery and Nate Washington us star DeAndre Hopkins to put on a show, even if it means Hopkins is taking a trip to Revis Island. So, things are looking up for the Texans, especially if the Colts also lose.
Panthers, 20, Redskins, 16 FOX Sunday 1:00 PM EST
This may be closer than you think, but in the end Carolina’s defense will jump in to help the entire team to a win. The Panthers have faced a lot of adversity without Kelvin Benjamin at receiver, despite going undefeated so far. Since then Corey Brown and Jerricho Cotchery have suffered injuries, and their other receiver, rookie Devin Funchess has struggled.
Cotchery is back, but unless Funchess can step it up, it’ll all be up to sleeper Ted Ginn Jr. Cotchery has DeAngelo Hall to deal with, but the remainder of the secondary is easy. Funchess, Ginn even Greg Olsen and Ed Dickson. So, the Panthers have options, even if running backs Mike Tolbert and Jonathan Stewart are guarded well. I expect Superman to take the running game using the QB sneak or just going for it.
The Redskins are in even more of a pickle though with this strong Carolina defense. Running backs Alfred Morris, Matt Jones and Chris Thompson have two great linebackers and a strong defensive end to face (Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, Charles Johnson). Wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jamison Crowder have Josh Norman and Charles Tillman. The tight ends may slip away easy, but they do have some good safeties and LBs to face. So in the end, I think Carolina will win.
Dolphins, 44, Cowboys, 38 FOX Sunday 1:00 PM EST
Even with Tony Romo back, I think Dan Campbell and the Dolphins have enough power to beat the struggling Cowboys, who are only still in it due to a seriously weak division. The Dolphins have the power to beat them, Romo-less or not. When you lose your star running back in the off season, you stink. It’s what you do :).
But Miami’s offense will need to step it up. This week I actually like Lamar Miller. Jay Ajayi will get all the Rolando McClain attention after last week, and then, BOOM!!! Miller breaks out. I also expect sleep receivers DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills to do something. But the offense will mainly belong to Miller, Damien Williams and the running game.
The Cowboys however, have a relatively healthy defense to face. Infact, Miami is emerging into on of the league’s healthiest teams, (knock on wood). Darren McFadden and Robert Turbin should be stopped by stud d-lineman Ndamukong Suh & Olivier Vernon. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten will be a perfect fit for Brent Grimes and Reshad Jones, but sleepers like Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley and Gavin Escobar may do something. Still, it won’t be enough to beat that stupid Miami running game. Dolphins win in a slugfest, 44-38.
Rams, 45, Ravens, 42 FOX Sunday 1:00 PM EST
Even with Case Keenum at QB for the Rams over NICK FOLES and SEAN MANNION in what I’d call the worst QB decision this season, the Ravens have been so unlucky with injuries and bad overall, that I can’t say that Case Keenum will lose the Rams this game. This off season, the Rams’ll need a new QB, but for now, I guess Keenum will have to do.
Plus, Todd Gurley, Wes Welker, Tavon Austin and the rest of the offense can make up for it. The Ravens secondary is very weak, meaning big games for Tavon Austin, Wes Welker and Jared Cook. That could be the difference in this game. Todd Gurley may struggle against the strong Ravens rush D, but the receiving game makes up for it.
The Ravens are in a similar situation (key word: similar). Justin Forsett may also fall to a tough rush, but in the Ravens case, unless former Ram Chris Givens can step it up, the Ravens receiving game is out of luck. Joe Flacco has so few weapons that it will cause them to fall to Case Keenum’s Rams in Baltimore!!! (Note: This is one of those games I’m trying to look at differently.)
Chargers, 34, Chiefs, 28 CBS Sunday 4:05 PM EST
Although the Chiefs have slowly improved lately, and the Chargers have been really bad, I think San Diego can beat their division rival at home. San Diego has also had some serious injury problems, but they won’t let that hold them back.
The Chargers still likely have Antonio Gates, Ladarius Green, and Steve Johnson. Only one Eric Berry, only one Marcus Peters. Expect Antonio Gates to have a big one today. He hasn’t fully broken out since his season starting 4 game suspension. Gates is one of the premier tight ends of all time, among Gronk and Tony Gonzalez. The running game again will be worn down, but Rivers still has passing options through many injuries. I would also expect to see sleepers get receptions, far down ones like Dontrelle Inman.
The Chiefs will run it easy via Charcandrick West & Knile Davis through a weak San Diego rush D, but the Chiefs passing options are in such depth, that Eric Weddle and former Chief Brandon Flowers are enough to take down all the quality ones, just TE Travis Kelce, and Jeremy Maclin. So, the Chargers actually surprisingly have the EDGE in this game.
Vikings, 45, Packers, 30 FOX Sunday 4:25 PM EST
This is one of the most intriguing match-ups of the week. If the Vikings win, the Packers are two games out and have a 4 game losing streak. If Green Bay wins, they take back the division. So, let’s get in to this.
The Packers may have a good game on offense, but it won’t neccisarrily earn them a win. I think Eddie Lacy will finally go back to normal, with a monster game today, maybe even looking better than he did at the beginning of the season. I think the Vikings secondary will be able to stop Randall Cobb and James Jones though. Good young corners. Xavier Rhodes, and Antone Exum Jr. But Richard Rodgers and sleep receivers Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery and Jeff Janis.
The Vikings however are in an even better place. Adrian Peterson may have adversity to overcome, facing Clay Matthews. But the young receivers, like Stefon Diggs and Charles Johnson, maybe even Mike Wallace, are pretty much guard free. I also like Kyle Rudolph and Rhett Ellison at tight end. So, the Vikings have more scrounge chances. They win at home vs. Green Bay.
Seahawks, 27, 49ers, 10 FOX Sunday 4:25 PM EST
This will be a blowout. The Seahawks will charge to easily demolish the Niners. Even off a bye, Blaine Gabbert will still be washed up, and with Shaun Draughn as the best running back on the team, it means nothing big. Garrett Celek has to deal with Kam Chancellor, and Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin won’t be any help against a good secondary.
In Seattle, they’re facing the worst NFL defense. Come on. Jimmy Graham will do well, Fred Jackson should do well, Thomas Rawls even. But whatever they do, it’ll be better than the Niners, especially on defense.
Cardinals, 28, Bengals, 20 NBC Sunday 8:25 PM EST
The 7-2 Cardinals take on the 8-1 Bengals. Be sure for a game to watch when teams this good square off. Not. When the Bengals are one of them, and the game is prime time, because Andy Dalton + Prime Time = DISASTER!!!!!!!!!!
The Bengals are facing a tough defense anyways. A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert face good secondary members. Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu will guard them to the end of the Earth. The running game has a great set of linebackers in Sean Weatherspoon, LaMarr Woodley and Matt Shaugnessy. So, not many scoring opportunities except for sleep receivers Marvin Jones and Mohammed Sanu.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, will have LOTS!!! The running game may have a tough defense match-up but Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd is greater than Marvin Jones and Mohammed Sanu, so Cardinals get the edge in this game.
Patriots, 38, Bills, 23 ESPN Monday 8:25 PM EST
My Pats face the division rival Bills on Monday Night. I think that they can pull off the win.
The Bills are still full of offensive injuries. LeSean McCoy, Karlos Williams and Dan Herron are facing an improving rush defense. Sammy Watkins and Charles Clay will face a nice pair of safeties, (McCourty and Chung). So, again not many opportunities to score.
For the Patriots, they face a balanced, but overrated Bills defense. Blount Force Trauma could be in trouble, but Brady will go heavy on his receivers again, even without Edelman. Expect Danny Amendola to break out, joined by tight end overload, (Gronk, Chandler, Michael Williams). So they have more weapons to take the edge over the Bills. It’ll be 10 down, 6 to go on the Revenge Tour.