Each week, we break down all the games this weekend and who our predicted winner will be. Through 14 weeks, we are 133-73-2 and we are now down to the home stretch where there are no more bye weeks for any teams. This week is going to be very interesting as many teams are without key players as the injury plague has hit teams hard in recent weeks. How will team’s fare without some key players, especially when they are your starting quarterback?
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
The two NFC West teams have succeeded due to remarkable play of their fill-in quarterbacks. Geno Smith is currently one of the top contenders for comeback player of the year while Mr.Irrelevant Brock Purdy just defeated the GOAT Tom Brady in his first ever career start. Despite the improbability, both teams have winning records and their quarterbacks have held their own, but their defenses have been excellent. Specifically the 49ers who have had the best defense in the league when healthy. The 49ers have a Super Bowl level roster and they’re rolling right now and we’re liking them to keep that streak going.
Winner: San Francisco 49ers
Indianapolis Colts at Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings got upset by the Lions last week which was not due to a lack of effort by their offense. Kirk Cousins threw for 425 yards with 223 of those yards to Justin Jefferson which broke a Vikings franchise record for most receiving yards in a game. The Vikings offense should have another fine showing and their defense can get a bit of a break against a Colts offense with one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. The Colts can’t drive the ball down the field and need to spend the offseason reinvesting into their offensive line to give Jonathan Taylor the protection he needs to excel and whoever is at quarterback an opportunity to actually throw the ball. Vikings get a confidence boost for their defense against the awful line of the Colts.
Winner: Minnesota Vikings
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
After Anthony Brown came in for Tyler Huntley who was replacing Lamar Jackson, the Baltimore Ravens still found a way to beat the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens have been riding a winning streak in large part due to their defense while their offense has seen better days. The Ravens have another matchup against a division rival who is inferior to them in the Cleveland Browns who are more so focused on their long term future. The Ravens defense earns them another victory this week.
Winner: Baltimore Ravens
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Losers of 2 straight, the Miami Dolphins are trying to avoid going 8-6 and falling out of the playoff picture with a loss against division rival Buffalo on Saturday night. The Bills lost the 1st matchup this year against Miami and a win this time would clinch the division for them. Both teams need this win, but who’s going to fight for it more? The answer is the Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins will put up a fight but the Bills want vengeance and are on a mission to fight for the #1 overall seed in the AFC. That is their main objective and will get past the Dolphins to get one step closer to that.
Winner: Buffalo Bills
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
The best team in the NFL this season has been the Philadelphia Eagles. They maintain the best record in the NFL and have shut down some legitimate teams. The Eagles face one of the worst teams in the NFL in Chicago. This game isn’t going to be close and the Eagles are one step closer to getting their first round bye clinched.
Winner: Philadelphia Eagles
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
The Atlanta Falcons have announced that Desmond Ridder will be the starter for the remainder of the season replacing Marcus Mariota. This is a move the Falcons should’ve done earlier in the season or not done at all this year. This was a slap in the face to Mariota who was serviceable, but not great. The Falcons have a lot of problems overall with their organization and those problems aren’t going away anytime soon. The team they’re facing in New Orleans also has their fair share of problems, but the benching of Mariota when there is still a chance to win the division was not the right move. The Saints get a victory due to another poor move by the Falcons organization.
Winner: New Orleans Saints
Detroit Lions at New York Jets
Surprisingly, the matchup between the Detroit Lions and New York Jets has a lot of playoff implications on the line. Both teams are fighting for the last wild card spot in their respective conferences and both could use this win. Both teams are looking from the outside in right now and have a legitimate chance of making it in. The Lions have one of the worst defenses and the Jets have one of the worst offenses. This is going to be an interesting matchup, but with Mike White’s injury, the Lions defense catches a break and somehow makes it back to a .500 record after their poor start to the year.
Winner: Detroit Lions
Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers
Somehow, some way the Carolina Panthers are only one game out of sharing the division title. This is baffling as they hold a 5-8 record and very well could share the lead with a win here and a Tampa Bay loss which is very possible. If you asked us at the beginning of the season that through 14 weeks that the Panthers have a legitimate chance of winning the division, we would’ve thought you were crazy. The Panthers should beat the Steelers who are most likely going to be without Kenny Pickett and should squeak past them in what’s been a rough year for them as well. Sam Darnold has his best performance of the season and we expect a bounce back game from DJ Moore as well.
Winner: Carolina Panthers
Dallas Cowboys at Jacksonville Jaguars
Both teams let us down big time last week. The Cowboys were playing the league’s worst Houston Texans at home and needed a last minute drive to beat them. That just showed us they aren’t as strong of a contender as we think. The Jaguars who are very unpredictable couldn’t get past the Lions in a game we thought they had secured a mere two weeks ago and then destroyed the Titans. The Jaguars however have been the bigger disappointment on the year and Cowboys can outlast them.
Winner: Dallas Cowboys
Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans
Much like the Philadelphia at Chicago game we mentioned earlier, this is another example of a top team in their respective conference playing one of the bottom feeders in the league in Kansas City at Houston. The Chiefs should have no problem beating a team that wants to lose to secure the #1 overall pick in the 2023 draft.
Winner: Kansas City Chiefs
Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos
The Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos should both be without their starting quarterbacks this game. The Cardinals have to lean on Colt McCoy for the remainder of the year as Kyler Murray went down with an ugly looking injury early in the Patriots game. Russell Wilson left last week to enter concussion protocol and his ability to play is up in the air. Regardless if he plays or not, this Broncos offense has been a huge disappointment and he doesn’t do much to help. The Broncos have the better defense, but the offense can’t do anything which has been a huge frustration. Colt McCoy has more experience than Brett Rypien and should do enough in this ugly matchup.
Winner: Arizona Cardinals
New England Patriots at Las Vegas Raiders
The Patriots defense has been stellar all season long and that’s been the story for a few teams across the league this year. Their defense shut down Arizona and has done the same to other teams. Despite better play from the Raiders offense as of late, the Pats defense is in a much better position and should carry the workload for the team for another week while their offense continues to struggle.
Winner: New England Patriots
Tennessee Titans at Los Angeles Chargers
This matchup between the Titans and Chargers feels very pick ’em’ where any team can win. This has been the hardest game of the week for us to predict. Both teams enter with identical records, both having flaws, injuries, and then reliant on one star to do the job. The Titans are coming off an embarrassing loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars while the Chargers got a win on Prime Time against Tua and company. The Chargers have the worst run defense in the NFL and the Titans have Derrick Henry. The Titans have a subpar pass defense and the Chargers have Justin Herbert. We think Henry is going to get off to a hot start early in the matchup while the game script still calls for a mixture of plays, but as the game gets later, it’s going to turn more pass heavy and without Treylon Burks, we don’t see a way that the Titans can keep up with the Chargers. The Chargers win this one in a close one, but it wouldn’t surprise us if the Titans got off to an early lead and won. We’re giving a very narrow edge to the Chargers.
Winner: Los Angeles Chargers
Cincinnati Bengals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Super Bowl runner up visits the 2021 Super Bowl winner in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have had an up & down season but still lead the division at 6-7 and we think they can still make the playoffs despite having a losing record. The NFC South is just that bad and even after they inevitably fall to 6-8 against the surging Bengals, they still should be in the lead. The Bengals win with another great game by Joe Burrow and the offense.
Winner: Cincinnati Bengals
New York Giants at Washington Commanders
After a tie two weeks ago, the Giants got blown out by the Eagles this past week and the Commanders had a week off to strategize how they can get past the Giants this time around. Both teams enter with identical 7-5-1 records and this is an important matchup in the NFC playoff race as the winner will get one game ahead holding the tiebreaker for one of the last remaining wild card spots. Both teams played each other through regulation and overtime to the last second in a draw and this go around should be similar coming down to the wire. We’re going with the team that’s been staying hot lately with Washington getting a very pertinent win.
Winner: Washington Commanders
Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers
Both the Los Angeles Rams & Green Bay Packers were two of our favorite contenders from the NFC to make the Super Bowl this year. Both have fallen significantly short of that and the Rams have been eliminated from playoff contention while the Packers are a long shot to make it. Aaron Rodgers isn’t going down without a fight and he’s going to give it his all to compete for the last wild card spot in the NFC. Especially with this game being played at Lambeau Field on a Monday Night in December, Aaron Rodgers excels in these situations and gets the job done in the cold.
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