Updated: Jan 8
16. Dolphins vs. Texans
Race for Season Success
The Dolphins look to continue their undefeated streak with Tua Tagovailoa and reclaim their rightful place at the top of the AFC East. The Texans need to win out to maybe make the playoffs. However, if they could at least win four of their last seven games, it would show progress from the previous two seasons. The Texans have benched their QB, Davis Mills, to try to turn around the season around. Will Kyle Allen be the answer, or will it be more of the same? Also, the Dolphins are coming off a bye. Have they made the necessary defensive adjustments?
15. Broncos vs. Panthers
Who Can Drag Their Offense To a Win?
The Broncos and Panthers are actually pretty similar. They both have terrible offenses and great defenses. So who will be able to get their offense going in time to win the game? The game should probably be a pretty low-scoring affair. Whoever can achieve any semblance of offense will probably win. The real difference between the Panthers and the Broncos is that the Panthers fired their inept coach, and the Broncos haven't. Will it come back to bite the Broncos?
14. Saints vs. 49ers
The Deep End
The Saints and the 49ers are in do or die mode. The Saints have been bullshititng all season. But, because their entire division has struggled all season, they actually have a chance to make the playoffs. The 49ers got off to a rough start because they tried to start Trey Lance over Jimmy Garoppolo, and the defense had some key injuries. However, once Jimmy got up to speed and they added Christian McCaffrey, the 49ers got closer to a super team than the team they walked into the season as. However, now they are 6-4, and they need to outrun the Seahawks to keep control of their division. On the other hand, the Saints need wins to stay relevant this season. So will the Saints stay alive? Can the 49ers keep a hold of the NFC West?
13. Chiefs vs. Rams
The Rams are pretty injured right now. Cooper Kupp is hurt, Two of their three QBs are injured, and Allen Robinson has an ankle injury. Plus, the Rams have waived Darrell Henderson. The question for the Rams is: Can they even pose a threat to the Chiefs? The Chiefs have a few injuries of their own. They have lost Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kadarius Toney, and Mecole Hardman. However, the Chiefs still have JuJu Smith-Schuster, Skyy Moore, Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes, Isiah Pacheco, and Andy Reid. Realistically, this is an excellent chance for Mahomes to pad his MVP resume.
12. Falcons vs. Commanders
The Falcons are one and a half games behind the Bucs. If they win, they could reclaim the NFC South lead. As improbable as it is, the Commanders have slayed the undefeated Eagles and got hot. They have nearly caught up with the rest of their division. The Falcons and the Commanders are not so different. They both have QBs getting their second chance to prove they are starters. Also, they both have old-school coaches. However, I think the Commanders defense has shown more potential. Both teams are hungry, but who is going to eat?
11. Cardinals vs. Chargers
Both the Cardinals and the Chargers got thrashed by their division rival. The Chargers were so close to finally beating the Chiefs, but Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce shut that down. The Cardinals, on the other hand, got scorched on national television. Which is worse: To have never had a chance or to be so close and fail? Either way, both teams get a chance to bounce back this week. But who will? Will it be the Cardinals who are getting Kyler Murray back, or will Justin Herbert close the door on the Cardinals?
10. Bucs vs. Browns
Running Out of Time
What's going to happen when the worst rushing offense in the NFL goes head-to-head with the best running back in football, Nick Chubb? The Bucs barely have their heads above water, but people still expect to see them in the playoffs. However, now they have lost Leonard Fournette, and they need to keep winning to put distance between themselves and the division. Tom Brady is 2-0 since his divorce. Will he continue to roll, or will the Browns find another win to keep their playoff hopes alive?
9. Jets vs. Bears
Draft Class Drifters
Justin Fields was supposed to go number two in the draft, but in the eleventh hour, Zach Wilson got the press and the second pick. However, now it looks like Fields should have gone number one. Zach Wilson has been benched for wasting a playoff roster, and Justin might be too injured to play after trying to lift up a tanking team all by himself. However, it looks both QBs could miss this game. Will the Jets get one step closer to the playoffs, or will the Bears get back in the win column for the first time in weeks?
8. Cowboys vs. Giants
Reaction (Thursday Football)
The Cowboys finally didn't disappoint on Thanksgiving. They followed up their big win with another one. The Cowboys are looking more focused and scarier than ever. I know not drinking the Cowboys Kool-Aid is like the number one rule of sports, but God damn, the Kool-Aid looks good. The Giants, on the other hand, look to be in trouble. The secret is out. If you can stifle Saquon Barkley and make Daniel Jones play QB, the Giants got nothing. It's clear Brian Daboll is a good coach, which is why the Giants were close to winning in the end. However, until the Giants get more talent, they can't realistically contend.
Predicted: Cowboys; Winner: Cowboys
7. Ravens vs. Jaguars
Move Up or Move Over
The Jags have been struggling mostly on offense. The defense has shown the ability to play well. On the other side, Lamar Jackson got away with mediocre play against the Panthers. Hopefully, that was just because he was playing after being sick. The Jaguars defense was able to limit Travis Kelce when they played him. If they can do the same thing to Mark Andrews, it will be a rough day for the Ravens. The Ravens are at the top of their division. In order to stay that way, they will need to play keep away from the Bengals. The Jaguars are not out of the playoffs, but they have a ton of winning they need to do to make playoffs. So, will Lamar return to form? How will the number one pick Trevor Lawrence look next to Lamar?
6. Eagles vs. Packers
The Fall and Rise
The Eagles are at the top of the Power Rankings at 9-1. They are trying to secure the one seed and remain the best team in football. However, now all of a sudden, they have a lot of competition. The Chiefs are a game behind the Eagles now. The Cowboys are trying to chase the Eagles down. The Eagles need to continue their momentum, and it starts with the defense. They have a star-studded defense, but they haven't dominated in awhile. The Eagles defense has the star power to dominate games. They just have to go out and do it.
The Packers are fighting for their season, trying to stay alive in the Wild Card. Aaron Rodgers, in particular, looks to have a lot on the line. Because if the Packers are knocked out of contention, there is a chance they shut Rodgers down and give Jordan Love a look. I, for one, am not ready to write Love off as a bust. If he gets in and plays well, Rodgers is done in Green Bay.
5. Steelers vs. Colts
The Standard vs. The New Kid on the Block
Jeff Saturday is 1-1 so far as an interim head coach. The Colts team has looked great in both the win and the loss. Fixing the line has changed everything for the Colts. However, the Colts only win is against one of the bottom five worst teams in the NFL. The Colts first loss is against the best team in the NFL. Now that the Colts are playing a middle-of-the-road team, what will they do? Mike Tomlin is not a new coach with no experience. He has coached year after year, and he has never had a losing season. He will have an uphill battle to do that this year. However, will the Colts be a notch in the belt of the Steelers, getting them one step closer to a non-losing season?
4. Seahawks vs. Raiders
The Raiders are fighting to look like a respectable team. The Seahawks are in a power struggle for the division with the 49ers. Both the Raiders and Seahawks have very exploitable defenses. Both teams also have tons of firepower on offense. I expect this game to be a shoot-out. When the dust settles, and one team needs that one stop to escape with a win, I expect it to be the Seahawks who get it. They have the stronger defense of the two, and that could be the difference.
3. Vikings vs. Patriots
Reaction (Thursday Football)
The Vikings and the Patriots played a very competitive game. The Vikings came away on top, but there were still some concerning parts of the game. For example, Dalvin Cook was stuffed in the run game all night long, and the Vikings didn't really incorporate him in the passing game as much as they could have. Also, the Vikings defense looks very situational. They can get big stops from time to time, but they will probably give up tons of points first. On the plus side, the Vikings showed how talented they are. Bill Belichick tried to take away Justin Jefferson, but Jefferson fought threw that. Also, when the Vikings needed Adam Thielen to make plays, he did. Hopefully, the Vikings can get back to throwing to Thielen as well as Jefferson because it makes them even more dangerous.
On the Patriots side, they played pretty well. Mac Jones, especially, played well. Mac had 382 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. This game showed that the Patriots could come up with a game plan that gives them a chance to win against the more talented teams, but that it's still hard for them to overcome that talent gap. The Patriots have not contended with playmakers very well this year. They have lost to the Dolphins, the Bears, the Ravens, the Vikings, and the Packers. They have beaten the Colts, the Jets (twice), the Lions, the Browns, and the Steelers. Right now, the Patriots are on fraud alert.
Predicted: Vikings; Winner: Vikings
2. Bills vs. Lions
Reaction (Thursday Football)
The Bills and the Lions started Thursday off right with an intense back and forth game in Detroit. Even though the Lions lost, they look like a good team and their beat-up defense still looked good against Josh Allen, who they picked off in the red zone. The Lions offense was able to move the ball up and down the field on the Bills defense. Jared Goff might be a Lion for many years to come. He has looked really good at times this year. The Lions lost a heartbreaker. It didn't feel like the Lions lost the game, it felt like the Bills just beat them.
The Bills struggled to run the ball consistently, and they didn't look like their normal self. Josh Allen still threw a bad pick, and he still isn't sliding. Also, Gabe Davis has completely disappeared in this offense. If the Bills are trying to win a Super Bowl, they need to be able to get to their number two receiver. Remember, it was Gabe Davis who went off last year against the Chiefs. Also, for a team that's supposed to be far and away better than the rest, they didn't play like it. Where is the team that beat the Titans 41-7? The Bills should not be barely escaping with a win against the Lions.
Predicted: Bills; Winner: Bills
1. Bengals vs. Titans
AFC Playoff Rematch
Last year, the Titans were the number one seed, and they looked to be in a great position to contend for a Super Bowl. Then, the Bengals rode in, and they knocked the Titans off in their first playoff game and stole all their momentum. The Bengals rode it all the way to the Super Bowl. I know the Titans want to get the Bengals back for that. Ryan Tannehill, in particular, should want revenge on the Bengals. The three picks the Bengals got on him put his job in jeopardy. Now, it is Tannehill's chance for a redo to show he is the franchise.
The Bengals are in a similar position to last year, but they don't feel like last year's team. Now, we will get to see if they still have the same moxie they had last year. Once again, they will be a lowly Wild Card contender facing the division leading Titans. Will the Bengals be able to upset them again?