Updated: Oct 22, 2021
Last week, I went 12-4 on predictions. Let's see if I can top that.
14. Rams vs. Giants
Story: Wrong Place, Wrong Time
Last week, the Giants lost almost all their starters while facing the Cowboys on the anniversary of Dak's ankle injury. Now they are depleted and facing the Rams just as they are coming together. The Giants don't have much of a chance in this one.
13. Jaguars vs. Dolphins
Story: Florida Revival Game
Tua should be back this week, and with him back, the Dolphins have a chance to contend. They have fallen behind the Bills, but it's a long season. Lawrence and the Jags could contend. One win and they are back in contention for the playoffs. So, which QB will lead their team back? Will it be this year's savior or last year's savior?
12. Colts vs. Texans
Story: Double Loss
Last week, I underestimated the Texans. Even though they lost, they showed way more life than I thought they would. This team is gritty. They lack talent, but not heart. I've been increasingly impressed with Lovie Smith and Culley. That being said, the Texans should definitely be concerned about facing the Colts. Colts offense seems to be coming together. The offensive line is pushing the defensive line to the second level. Colts running game looks dangerous, and Wentz just threw for three hundred yards. Plus, the Colts defensive unit is looking strong again, if they can stay healthy. It's a division game, which means whoever loses will basically be losing twice because they fall back while a rival moves up in the division rankings and gains a head-to-head win. Anything could happen but…
11. Bucs vs. Eagles
Storyline: Super Bowl Rematch
I know it's not the same Eagles team that beat Brady in the Super Bowl, but Brady doesn't care. He is still going to want to pound the Eagles into dust. This is the same guy whom didn't shake hands with Nick Foles after Foles beat him three years later with the Bears. Between the Eagles Super Bowl win and crowd jeers from Eagles fans, Brady should have sufficient motivation to go off. I think Jalen Hurts can make it competitive against a Bucs defense that is banged up and can be taken advantage of.
10. Bengals vs. Lions
Story: Big Cat Battle
This would be a pretty awesome fight in real life. That being said, the football game should be pretty good too. The Lions have been in every game they played, and I see no reason for that to change here. This is another winnable game for the Lions. Joe Burrow comes into the game with a throat contusion, crowd noise will be a factor. Also, Mixon is banged up and Perine is out. Still, the Bengals have an ace up their sleeve, and that is their superior air attack. Between Chase, Boyd and Higgins, a weak Lions defense could be in for a long day.
9. Seahawks vs. Steelers
Story: Comeback Game
Geno is at the helm of a Seahawks team that seems to be going down. Geno showed flashes last game, can he complete the career resurgence against the Steelers? Or will it be a comeback for the Steelers, who many people including me started to count out? Steeler's defense is healthy now and Seahawks defense is awful.
8. Raiders vs. Broncos
Story: AFC Western Showdown
Both of these teams got off to a hot start. However, now they are both slowing down. They both enter this match up 3-2 and trying not to fall behind in the race to bury the Chiefs in the standings. The Raiders are under new leadership after Gruden left in disgrace and the world is waiting to see who will they be, how will they play? The Broncos have got to be questioning everything. They are starting to look a little like frauds based on their schedule. A win over the Raiders would help to establish them a bit more. Even though they burned me last week, I'm going to believe in this defense and running game again.
7. Bears vs. Packers
Story: Future of the North
The Packers-Bears rivalry runs deep. It's the oldest rivalry in the NFL. However, it's the first time Justin Fields will be a part of the rivalry. It will be interesting to see if Fields can take the reins from Rodgers and shift the power balance in the North. The winner gets first place in the North because the Packers are only up one game. Most people assume the Packers will win, I'm not so sure. They are without their best pass rusher and corner, and their offensive line is worse than it was last year. Add to that the fact that they barely beat the Bengals, a team the Bears easily handled. Also, the Bears defense has been playing well and stopping the run, and they only have one receiver to cover. It's Rodgers versus everybody, and as great as he is, I don't care for those odds.
6. Cowboys vs. Patriots
Story: Will the Real Patriots, Please Stand Up?
The Cowboys don't have much to prove, they have proved they are good. They just need to keep rolling towards playoffs. Their biggest challenge will be Belichick. Many have questioned McCarthy's game managing skills, and now he is up against whom many call the goat coach. Cowboys need to avoid stupid mistakes.
The Patriots have a lot to prove. They come into this game with many questions. How good is Belichick without Brady? Is Mac Jones just a check-down artist? Are the Patriots even good? Last week, Belichick's genius was nowhere to be seen. He is supposed to be a juggernaut against rookie QBs, but nobody told Davis Mills that. They escaped with a win when they should have won big. Now, a high-scoring playoff team with a good defense is coming to town. It's time to show the world who the Patriots are. Are they a playoff-caliber team or a bad team that can only beat other bad teams?
5. Chiefs vs. Washington Football Team
Story: Battle of the Defenseless
Both of these teams have disappointed thus far, and in both cases, it's because the defense has regressed. This could be a blowout or a shootout. Either way, it should be an electric game for the offenses and fantasy managers with players in this game.
4. Bills vs. Titans
Story: Trap Game of the Week
The Bills are riding high after beating the Chiefs, which I predicted, and probably look at the Titans as a team they should beat up on, and they are. However, if they underestimate their opponents, the Titans could quite literally run away with this one. The Titans already have AJ Brown back, and they might get Julio Jones back. The Titans defense being lunch for Josh Allen is a given, but if the offense rebounds, they can control the clock. The Titans are more like the Titans team that needed a Music City Miracle to beat Buffalo than the team that hung 42 on their head last year, but they have a chance. However, the Bills are one of the best teams in the NFL and elite on both sides of the ball, they should be fine as long as they stay focused.
3. Panthers vs. Vikings
Story: Powder Keg Game
These two teams are very similar. Two of the best RBs in the entire league who we would all like to see duel. However, both running backs are questionable and might not play. The QBs are similar as well. Cousins is probably Darnold's ceiling as a QB. That being said, Darnold rides in with a better defense. I acknowledge that the Panthers have a good defense, I don't fully trust it yet, the Vikings have the better offense and Cousins is playing out of his mind right now. I'm going to trust that, but this game is a very tough call. I expect both offenses to explode.
2. Cardinals vs. Browns
Story: The Streak
The Cardinals are defending their undefeated streak. They barely escaped last week with a win against the 49ers. Still, they did win and are still the best team in football. I bring up the 49ers game because the Browns are a similar team. They have a stout defense and great running game. After losing in a shootout to Herbert, look for the Browns to try to control the clock better this week. Also, the Cardinals will be missing their run-stopper Chandler Jones. Cardinals are in for a tough streak defense, but I think they are up to the task.
1. Ravens vs. Chargers
Story: MVP vs MVP
Lamar Jackson and Justin Herbert are two of the front-runners for MVP, and they have both been balling out of control. This match is the best of the week because two of the most electrifying QBs in the league are competing. Herbert has the better supporting cast, but Jackson has one advantage. His team is superb at running the ball, which happens to be the weakness of the Chargers defense. Anything could happen in this game, but I'm going with the underdogs because I can't bet against Jackson.