Updated: Dec 5, 2022
14. Panthers vs. Falcons
Game Reaction (Thursday Night Football)
After getting blown out by the Bengals, the Panthers got another chance at the Falcons, who skated by with a win two weeks ago. The Panthers were efficient and unflinching, and they kept stacking up points and making stops on defense. D'Onta Foreman is clearly the key ingredient to the Panthers winning games. If he can get going as he did in this game, the Panthers can control the clock and win games. The Panthers head coach, Steve Wilks, deserves to be applauded. He has had his best player, Christian McCaffrey, traded and inherited a dumpster fire, yet he has still performed well.
The Falcons, on the other hand, did not perform well. The Falcons poor performance comes down to two factors. First off, Cordarrelle Patterson was not used enough in this game. He is the best running back the Falcons have. He is a switchblade because he is a weapon in the receiving and running game, and his usage was utterly uninspired. Also, Marcus Mariota was bad. I say this as someone who is rooting for Marcus and hopes he succeeds this year. He was awful. He was trying to throw blind passes from the ground and basically punting the ball to defenders. He showed poor situational awareness and decision-making. His best receiver Drake London, who couldn't even manage 39 yards in four quarters. The Falcons have enough talent to be more proficient in the passing game than they are.
Predicted: Panthers, Winner: Panthers
13. Giants vs. Texans
Saquon Barkley vs. Dameon Pierce
This game is pretty simple. Both teams have great running backs and good defenses, and run their teams through them. So, who will take this game over? Dameon Pierce ran all over the Eagles defense, so why not the Giants defense? Will Dameon show up Barkley and lead his team to victory? Or will Barkley show the rookie that there are levels to this and continue the Giants winning ways?
12. Chiefs vs. Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence is supposed to be the generational talent of the future. So, what happens when he runs up against the generational talent of the present? The Titans only lost to the Chiefs because their offense wasn't good enough to capitalize on the opportunities their defense gave them. However, the defense did lay out the blueprint for stopping the Chiefs. The Chiefs will be extremely limited if the Jaguars shut down Travis Kelce. However, will Trevor Lawrence be able to stand up and play big against the Chiefs? Patrick Mahomes is the measuring stick. How does Lawrence measure up?
11. Browns vs. Dolphins
Jacoby Brissett returns to Miami as the Browns starting QB. Will he be able to beat the QB he used to be backup for? Also, neither defense is playing amazing right now. Will Nick Chubb be able to take over the game and run all over the Dolphins defense?
The Dolphins are undefeated when Tua Tagovailoa starts and finishes games. However, can Tua keep that going? The last two weeks, he has faced an uphill battle because his defense has been a revolving door, but can Tua keep propping them up?
10. Colts vs. Raiders
This is a game between a coach that shouldn't have been hired and a coach that should be fired. Will Jeff Saturday make a splash in his coaching debut at Josh McDaniel's expense, or will Josh embarrass Saturday in his coaching debut? The Colts are getting Jonathan Taylor back, while the Raiders are losing Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller to IR.
9. Steelers vs. Saints
The Steelers are coming off their bye. Hopefully, that means they're coming back healthier and more prepared than before. They still have a chance to have a winning season, but they need to focus on the running game more and throw more efficiently. The Saints, on the other hand, are wasting their potential. We have now seen, once again, that when the Saints play a team that can actually score at all, Andy Dalton can't keep up. Dennis Allen insisting on starting Dalton is costing the team a chance to make a run in a soft NFC. If Allen wants to keep beating mediocre teams and get smashed whenever a real team shows up, then keep starting Dalton. If Allen wants to make a run, start Jameis Winston.
8. Vikings vs. Bills
To Josh or Not to Josh
Josh Allen is at least pretending that he will play this week despite the injury risk. If Josh Allen can play and avoid injury, the Bills should win. The Bills will probably be angry after losing to the Jets, and they won't make the critical mistakes that cost them the Jets game. Also, if Josh Allen starts, we will get to see just how good the Vikings really are. However, there is also a chance Josh Allen doesn't start, which would put the Vikings in an excellent spot to steal one from the Bills. Josh Allen is so much of the Bills game that they don't have a backup that can nail the long throws and create extra time in the pocket. Also, the Bills don't have a particularly strong running game to lean on either. Also, if Josh doesn't play, Case Keenum and Stefon Diggs have a chance to get revenge on Kirk Cousins.
7. Cowboys vs. Packers
McCarthy's Revenge Game
Super Bowl-winning head coach Mike McCarthy isn't coaching the Packers right now because of Aaron Rodgers. They had friction and Green Bay chose the QB. Since Mike McCarthy was fired, the Packers haven't won or played in a single Super Bowl. They have had good seasons and have done well in the regular season, but this year they aren't even doing that. This is the perfect time for Mike McCarthy to beat Rodgers and get his revenge.
However, Aaron Rodgers is 7-2 against the Cowboys. He does not typically lose to this team. The question is: Can Green Bay pass the ball efficiently and run this offense through their running backs? Last week, Rodgers thought he had a matchup he could exploit to make himself look like the MVP again. Three interceptions and a loss to the Lions later, everyone realized that's not who this team is. Rodgers isn't going to have an MVP season, but he can still win. He is going to have to sacrifice his passing stats to run the ball and control the clock to win games. Can Rodgers do it?
6. Cardinals vs. Rams
Both the Rams and the Cardinals were playoff teams last year. Both teams are talented teams, but somehow both teams seem like they will miss the playoffs this year. The Cardinals aren't the same team without DeAndre Hopkins. However, even with him back, they aren't as good as they should be. If the Cardinals lose this game, they will have been swept by the Rams, and the Cardinals pretty much solidify themselves as the worst team in their division.
The Rams are struggling with the scheme. They aren't using Allen Robinson effectively on a consistent basis and they have no run game. The Rams still seem like they are searching for the brand of football that works for them. Either way, if they want any hope of defending their Super Bowl Championship, they have to win this game.
5. Broncos vs.Titans
The Titans were the number one seed last year, but their very public burnout in their first playoff game definitely soured people on the Titans. Then, they followed that with a terrible first two weeks of the season this year. First, they lost to the Giants, who nobody believed in at that point. Second, they got absolutely obliterated by the Bills, who everyone believes are real contenders. Nobody cared when the Titans started winning and took control of their division. It doesn't help that they just took another primetime L to a contender. The Titans defense showed they were legit against the Chiefs. All they needed was offensive help. Now, they have Ryan Tannehill and Treylon Burks back.
The Broncos have had a great defense all year, but they haven't capitalized on it. Russell Wilson is still a great QB and could turn it on at any moment. The Broncos traded for Chase Edmonds and they could get a big boost in the running game. The Broncos are coming off their bye and have a chance to course correct. If they do, they could be sneaky contenders.
4. Commanders vs. Eagles
The Commanders and Eagles have already played once this season, and the Eagles beat them soundly. However, this is still a division game and anything can happen in a divisional game. Part of being undefeated is not dropping your guard and taking a silly loss to a lower-tier team. The Commanders don't have Super Bowl expectations. Being the team that ruined the Eagles undefeated streak could make the Commanders season. The Eagles, on the other hand, need to keep rolling and they need to keep getting better. If the Eagles win, they will not only be undefeated, but they will have swept the Commanders.
3. Chargers vs. 49ers
Both these teams are stacked with talent, which creates some great matchups. Who will be more productive, Khalil Mack or Nick Bosa, Austin Ekeler or Christian McCaffrey? The Chargers are trying to keep pace with the Chiefs. The Chargers are only a game behind them. If they beat the 49ers, they would then have an opportunity to beat the Chiefs for the division. The 49ers are finally getting healthy and they have loaded up through trades. Now, it's time to show everyone if they are still Super Bowl contenders. They are 4-4 right now. The 49ers season can go either way.
2. Lions vs. Bears
New NFC North
The Lions just beat the Packers, and the Bears have finally found their franchise QB. The NFC North is clearly changing. However, are the Bears still better than the Lions? Both the Lions and Bears are having great years offensively, but both teams also haven't had much luck with wins. The Bears have been losing due to the fact they have been rebuilding and don't have many weapons. Even some of the defensive stallworths the Bears did have were traded away. The Lions, on the other hand, have had injury troubles. The Lions have the edge on defense, and most Bears fans don't care about wins and losses this season. However, if there is one game the Bears should pull out, it's the Lions.
1. Bucs vs. Seahawks
Before the season, this would have probably been seen as an easy win for the Bucs. However, the Bucs have been struggling all year, and they have scratched and clawed to get control of the NFC South. Meanwhile, the Seahawks have been balling out of control and are firmly in control of their division. This should be a very telling game for both teams. Was Brady's last-second drive against the Rams a fluke or a sign of things to come? Can the Seahawks keep up with a team that has so much talent on both sides of the ball? I think the Bucs defense will be a matchup problem for the Seahawks.