Thursday, November 29th
New Orleans Saints (10-1) at Dallas Cowboys (6-5)
This game will be closer than people think. Both teams are riding win streaks and have a lot of confidence going into this primetime game. Most people would assume MVP frontrunner Drew Brees would blow out the ‘Boys with his cadre of undrafted no-names (unless you are a Saints buff, you would be lying if you said you knew Keith Kirkwood); however, the Cowboys do have a top-5 scoring defense that could go punch-for-punch against the Saints offense. The Cowboys have also recently reinvigorated their offense by feeding Ezekiel Elliott and unlocking Amari Cooper’s potential. Therefore, it is very possible that the Cowboys can keep it close with the New Orleans Saints, but in the end, the Saints will come out on top due to superior play calling by Sean Payton and an MVP caliber performance by Drew Brees.
New Orleans Saints 28, Dallas Cowboys 20
Sunday, December 2nd
Chicago Bears (8-3) at New York Giants (3-8)
Even if Mitch Trubisky doesn’t start, the Chase Daniel-led Bears will still get another win over the meager Giants. If the Giants couldn’t take advantage of the injury-decimated secondary of the Eagles last week, then how can they move the ball against the top defense in the NFL? Expect Khalil Mack feasting on New York’s weak offensive line and Eddie Jackson picking off Eli Manning for his 5th interception of the season. Daniel will do enough to lead the offense, but like last week, the Bears defense will ultimately lock away the game against the Giants, solidifying their lead in the NFC North.
Chicago Bears 21, New York Giants 16
Arizona Cardinals (2-9) at Green Bay Packers (4-6-1)
While the Packers have been struggling as of late due to lackluster play calling from Mike McCarthy and subpar QB play from Aaron Rodgers, it is very unlikely that the Packers can lose to the lowly Cardinals. After putting up below average stats against the Vikings (198 yards, 1 TD), Aaron Rodgers will have a bounce-back game at Lambeau, softening the shards of criticism coming from Cheeseheads and TV analysts. The only thing Arizona needs to do through the remainder of the season is to find a way to make Rosen more comfortable and not allow him to lose his confidence moving on. Green Bay wins comfortably.
Arizona Cardinals 13, Green Bay Packers 30
Indianapolis Colts (6-5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (3-8)
Man, what has happened to the Jaguars? More importantly, how did the Jaguar’s Super Bowl window close so quickly? After losing to Josh “Trash” Allen the previous week, the Jaguars now need to prep against a white-hot Colts team that has won 5 straight with their new starting QB Cody Kessler. With Jalen Ramsey also hurt, the Jaguars’ chances of winning seem bleak. With a win, the Colts can solidify their wild-card spot and even catch up with closer to the division-leader Texans. Also, shoutout to the Colts offensive line who should get more credit than they get for doing such a great job in protecting Luck.
Indianapolis Colts 27, Jacksonville Jaguars 16
Cleveland Browns (4-6-1) at Houston Texans (8-3)
Hot take of the week: the Browns will beat the Texans. Since Hue Jackson was fired, Baker Mayfield has had the 2nd highest passer rating in the NFL (behind MVP frontrunner Drew Brees), and the entire Browns offense has been clicking under coordinator Freddie Kitchens. While Houston played its most complete game of the year on Monday, the team has not been consistent offensively throughout the year, barely beating Colt McCoy’s Redskins and the Denver Broncos. With Cleveland gaining momentum now after beating the Bengals and Falcons with ease, Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins must click on all cylinders to keep up with a “dangerous” Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb-led Browns team. It’ll be a tight game, but the Browns have what it takes to defeat the Texans.
Cleveland Browns 27, Houston Texans 23
Carolina Panthers (6-5) at Tampa Buccaneers (4-7)
Panthers will look to rebound against the Bucs after a three game-losing streak. The Buccaneers offensively have what it takes to compete with any team (as seen in Week 1 when the Bucs beat the Saints 48-40), but the success of the offense all rests on Jameis not making any boneheaded mistakes and throwing costly picks. Unlike the Bucs, the Panthers are still competing for a playoff spot, and it will be Carolina who will play with more motivation and win the game. By the way, don’t sleep on Christian McCaffrey. He’s playing like a top five back in the NFL right now.
Carolina Panthers 31, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24
Buffalo Bills (4-7) at Miami Dolphins (5-6)
Man, the Dolphins almost had the victory over the Colts last week when they led 24-14 in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, the Dolphins might have to win out to secure a wild-card spot in the AFC, and their first win would have to come against Josh Allen and the Bills. The Bills, while mediocre on offense, have a phenomenal defense (the Bills defense is ranked 2nd on defensive DVOA according to Football Outsiders) that will allow the Bills to stay competitive within games. In the end, the game will be decided on better QB play; therefore, the Dolphins will beat the Bills due to the fact that Tannehill will play better than Allen.
Hot Take #2: Josh Allen is better than Lamar Jackson in both passing the ball and running it.
Miami Dolphins 23, Buffalo Bills 20
Denver Broncos (5-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-6)
One team is trending up after upsetting two great teams in the Steelers and Chargers while the other is falling like Newton’s apple. Even with A.J. Green projected to play, the Bengals would need Jeff Driskel (who has to fill in for the injured red rifle) to transform to Kenny Anderson in order for them to compensate for their horrendous defense. The face of Colorado, Phillip Lindsay, should have a comfortable day running the ball against the 2nd worst rushing defense in the NFL. After playing through two tough games, the Broncos will win comfortably against the Bengals.
Denver Broncos 27, Cincinnati Bengals 14
Baltimore Ravens (6-5) at Atlanta Falcons (4-7)
Even with their slew of injuries towards their defense, the Falcons should not be this bad. While the blame should be placed mostly on the ailing defense, Sarkisian should also take responsibility for their three-game losing skid as the offense has scored less than 20 points in those losses. Now having to play against an elite defense in the Ravens, the Falcons will continue their streak of scoring in the teens. The Falcons’ defense will do just enough to allow Lamar Jackson to lead the Ravens towards another victory and help Harbaugh save his job.
Baltimore Ravens 24, Atlanta Falcons 19
Los Angeles Rams (10-1) at Detroit Lions (4-7)
Wouldn’t it be the most Lions ever if they upset the 10-1 Rams? Unfortunately, the Rams aren’t playing the Lions; they’re playing Matthew Stafford. Seriously, how can Stafford succeed if he doesn’t have anybody besides Kenny Golladay to throw to? With Marvin Jones on IR, Eric Ebron becoming a scoring machine on the Colts after signing with them during free agency, Tate being traded to the Eagles, and Kerryon Johnson being hurt, the whole Lions offense has been stripped bare naked. Luckily, for Stafford, he already got his 135 million dollar contract; otherwise, he would be depressed with his situation on the Lions. The Rams will win easily and continue their campaign for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Los Angeles Rams 34, Detroit Lions 13
Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) at Oakland Raiders (2-9)
The hottest team in the AFC against the hottest garbage in the AFC. No way will the Chiefs lose against a high school team. This game will only be significant for the Chiefs as it will allow Mahomes to pad his stats to stay within the MVP race.
Kansas City Chiefs 38, Oakland Raiders 20
New York Jets (3-8) at Tennessee Titans (5-6)
Will the Jets ever be good again? If they want to be a playoff contender in the near future, the first step would be to fire Todd Bowles and hire an offensive mastermind as their next head coach. The Titans, two weeks removed from upsetting the Patriots, should be able to win against an inferior Jets team. The Titans will also be the more desperate team as they would need to win out to claim a wildcard spot. Another loss would put Mike Vrabel’s rookie head coaching season in jeopardy. The game will be close, but the Titans will come out to survive another week.
Tennessee Titans 23, New York Jets 17
Minnesota Vikings (6-4-1) at New England Patriots (8-3)
The Vikings should be a little disappointed with how their season has gone after their preseason expectations. However, if they are able to beat a surprisingly vulnerable Patriots team on Sunday, the hype surrounding the Vikings will come back. While Tom Brady and the Patriots have slowed down this season, they are still a juggernaut that should be feared by other teams. In order for the Vikings to beat the Patriots, they would need Kirk Cousins to play up to his money-tag and have the offense click together (something that has not yet been truly seen from the Vikings this season). Expect a close game in which the better team (Patriots) comes on top.
New England Patriots 30, MInnesota VIkings 23
Seattle Seahawks (6-5) at San Francisco 49ers (2-9)
Remember the hype surrounding Nick Mullens a few weeks ago? Well, that hype must have dissipated when the 49ers couldn’t put up any points against an inept Bucs defense. If the 49ers can’t score on the Bucs, they shouldn’t be able to score against a good Seahawks team. After being dismissed in the offseason as being a mediocre team, the Seahawks have shown that they are still a worthy challenger in the NFC. The Seahawks will win and solidify their chances for a playoff spot.
Seattle Seahawks 27, San Francisco 49ers 10
Los Angeles Chargers (8-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3-1)
This is the game of the week. Two great teams pummeling each other for AFC glory. The Steelers, after two consecutive weeks of playing lousily on the offensive side of the ball, need to rebound against an upstart Chargers team that just blew out the Cardinals. While both teams have talent on the offensive side of the ball, the Chargers have the advantage in this one as they have the momentum coming into this game and the better defense. While Melvin Gordon will be missed, Austin Ekeler will comfortably fill in the void for the Chargers running game. Chargers will win in a shootout and will stay competitive against the Chiefs in the playoff race.
Los Angeles Chargers 28, Pittsburgh Steelers 26
Monday, December 3rd
Washington Redskins (6-5) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
What a lousy matchup on Monday Night Football a week after the legendary Chiefs-Rams game. The Eagles, with the better offense, will beat out the team led by Colt McCoy and old man Adrian Peterson. While the Eagles have holes in the secondary, the Redskins will not take advantage of it due to poor quarterback play from McCoy. The Eagles will stay in contention for the NFC East division.
Philadelphia Eagles 20, Washington Redskins 17
Image Source: Chaz Palla / Trib Total Media