Ravens 20, Dolphins 17; 8:30pm CBS/NFL Network
Thursday Night Football in Baltimore. Matt Moore will be starting against the Ravens as Jay Cutler recovers from a rib injury. Joe Flacco will need to show up against a Miami defense that ranks 6th in the NFL. He’ll need to eliminate turnovers and release the ball quickly in order to win this game. The Ravens defense will most likely have to carry the team as Flacco has been playing very poorly thus far. Whichever team wins the turnover battle, wins the game.
Vikings 30, Browns 13; 9:30am NFL Network
Things couldn’t get any worse for the Browns last week. Not only did they fall to 0-7, but they also lost their best offensive lineman, Joe Thomas, for the season. The Vikings strong defense should be a challenge for a struggling Browns offense who start a different quarterback almost every game. 13 points may be too generous for Hue Jackson’s team.
Eagles 27, 49ers 13; 1:00pm FOX
Philly comes into this game with four consecutive wins. Carson Wentz leads the league in TD passes (17) and the Eagles are flying high under Doug Pederson. San Francisco, however, remains 0-7 under Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers’ key to winning is their offensive line keeping C.J. Beathard upright. Tough task considering they gave up 5 sacks to a suspect Dallas defense.
Jets 24, Falcons 20; 1:00pm FOX
To tank or not to tank, that is the question… no seriously, what are the 3-4 Jets doing? Anyway, I’m calling an upset here. Look for the Jets defense to stifle an Atlanta offense that mustered only 7 points against a below-average Belichick defense.
Fun Fact: Atlanta is 0-3 against the AFC East this season
Saints 27, Bears 19; 1:00pm FOX
Sean Payton’s Saints are back home in the Superdome against John Fox’s Bears. The Bears defense is coming off a game in which they scored two defensive TD’s (Eddie Jackson scored both) against a strong Carolina team. They’ll have to bring that same performance against Drew Brees. Rookie Mitchell Trubisky will need to have morecompletions and will need to rely on Jordan Howard/Tarik Cohen in order to pull off an upset against New Orleans.
Bengals 24, Colts 16; 1:00pm CBS
The Bengals and Colts come into this game with a loss, and both head coaches are on the hot seat with a disappointing start to the season. The Red Rifle, Andy Dalton, will look to capitalize on a Colts defense that lost rookie Malik Hooker for the season and that ranks 31st in total yards allowed.
Jacoby Brissett will need to release the ball quicker (he ranks 31st in seconds from snap to throw). Look for the Bengals to score over 20 points, and for their defense to thrive against Indy’s struggling offense.
Bills 24, Raiders 20; 1:00pm CBS
This will be a fun game to watch. Key matchup: Raiders offense vs Bills defense. Whichever unit wins this matchup wins the game.
The Bills have exceeded expectations at 4-2 while the Raiders have underwhelmed at 3-4. Skittles won’t be playing against the team that drafted him back in 2007, so Derek Carr will have to put the team on his back yet again.
Panthers 24, Bucs 23; 1:00pm FOX
Big NFC South matchup. The Panthers are coming off two losses in which the running backs ran the ball for a combined 55 yards (Cam Newton had a combined 121 yards running). Look for the Panthers to bounce back and pound the rock against a Tampa Bay defense that is tied in 17th for rushing yds allowed/game. The key in this game will be Luke Kuechly. If he comes back from his concussion, look for this defense to be vastly improved. If not, then this game will be a close one.
Patriots 26, Chargers 24; 1:00pm CBS
L.A. Chargers have won three straight after starting the season 0-4 and seem to be on the rise. Can they continue their hot streak? I don’t think so. This game could be a shootout especially when talking about Brady and Rivers. Look for Brady and company to squeeze out a close win in Foxborough.
Seahawks 26 Texans 20; 4:05pm CBS
Another fun matchup to watch. Deshaun Watson and co. against the Legion of Boom. Since Watson has taken over as QB, the Texans offense has scored 30+ points in 4 out of 5 games. Playing at one of the loudest stadiums, CenturyLink Field, Watson will need to overcome the crowd noise. The Legion of Boom will have to keep Watson in the pocket and pressure him early to throw him off. Russell Wilson will need to be efficient against a Texans defense that ranks 7th in the league. This will be a close game and could even be a low scoring affair if both defenses can contain the opposing team’s quarterback.
Redskins 27, Cowboys 24; 4:25pm FOX
Huge NFC East matchup between Dak’s cowboys and Kirk’s Redskins. Dak is 2-0 against the Redskins so far in his young career, but look for Kirk Cousins to make it 2-1. Kirk Cousins is arguably the hottest quarterback right now with an average passer rating of over 100. Don’t expect that to change against an average Dallas defense that ranks 15th in the NFL.
As for the Cowboys, it seems that Ezekiel Elliott will be playing this Sunday, however, don’t expect him to be gashing through the Redskins’ 9th ranked rush defense.
Steelers 27, Lions 24; 8:30pm NBC
Someone needs to stop Le’Veon Bell, but will the Lions defense do it? I’m not so sure. Although the Lions defense ranks 8th against the run, look for Le’Veon dissect the defense through the passing attack. The Three B’s— Ben, Bell, and Brown— will need to perform well in order to stump the stingy Lions defense. The question for the Lions is will Matt Stafford be mobile? He was forced to throw from the pocket after suffering an ankle injury against the Saints. If he is not at 100%, then look for the Pittsburgh defense to throw a lot of blitzes at him. The Lions are always competitive in every game so don’t be surprised if they keep it close until the last drive.
Chiefs 23, Broncos 16; 8:30pm ESPN
The Broncos laid a goose egg against the Chargers last week. Look for Siemian and the offense to be a little more efficient this week. Will it be enough? Probably not. He’ll have to keep up with MVP candidate Alex Smith who has thrown 15 TD passes and no interceptions. The “No Fly Zone” will have a tough task considering Smith can also scramble from the pocket at any time.