5 more Sundays of regular season football before postseason football begins. Josh Gordon will be making his return after being reinstated after being out of the league for 3 years because of an indefinite suspension handed to him back in 2014. Also, Jimmy Garropolo will be starting his first game with the 49ers since being traded from the Patriots back in Week 9. Also, there are several key matchups including an NFC South battle between the Panthers and Saints, an NFC matchup between the Vikings and Falcons and much, much more.
Minnesota Vikings @ Atlanta Falcons; 1:00pm
1. Case Keenum and Adam Thielen Connection
Case Keenum’s favorite target, Adam Thielen, is on fire this season currently sitting in 3rd in receiving yards with 1,005 and will look to continue his brilliant performance this week. Keenum will be playing against a Falcons defense that ranks 8th in passing yards per game allowed (207.9) and we’ll see how good Keenum really is when this matchup arrives.
2. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones Connection
Matty Ice provided Julio Jones huge performance as Jones caught 12 passes for 253 receiving yards… which is absolutely insane. These two will be facing a Vikings defense that ranks 11th in passing yards per game allowed (214.9). Jones will be facing a lot of man to man coverage from Xavier Rhodes and double coverage as well so Ryan will need to find his other recievers in this game.
3. Falcons Run Game
Devonta Freeman will be coming back from a concussion he suffered two weeks ago and will strongly benefit the Falcons run game as they face a very tough Vikings defense that ranks 2nd against in rush yards per game allowed (75.5). The run game must excel in this game because this Vikings defense is a top 5 unit and will force Matt Ryan under fire all day.
Bold Prediction: Both defense force a combined 6 turnovers and limit each offense to less than 300 yards of offense.
Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans; 1:00pm
1. Marcus Mariota Vs Texans Defense
Mariota is coming off another game in which he threw at least 2 interceptions and really needs to stop turning the ball over in order to maintain some sort of momentum against the Texans. He’ll be facing a Houston defense that ranks 24th in passing yards per game allowed (243.9). Mariota could have a big game if he doesn’t give the ball away or else this game could be much closer than expected.
2. Tom Savage and DeAndre Hopkins Connection
Expect Savage to look for Hopkins early and often against the Titans. A week ago, Hopkins caught 7 passes for 125 yards against a solid Ravens secondary. This week, these two will be facing a Titans defense that ranks 20th in passing yards per game allowed (234.3). Hopkins could have another big game if the Titans don’t double cover him or at least bracket him.
3. Titans Run Game
The Titans run game last week struggled against the Colts last week until the 4th quarter of the game. This week the run game will be facing Houston defense that ranks 7th in rush yards per game allowed (96.3). It looks more and more like the Titans won’t be running the ball well on Sunday and Mariota will be throwing the ball a lot as well.
Bold Prediction: Marcus Mariota throws 3 TDs, rushes for a TD, and runs for the most yards on either team.
Detroit Lions @ Baltimore Ravens; 1:00pm
1. Matt Stafford Vs Baltimore Secondary
Lucky for the Lions, Stafford will be playing after his ankle got caught under one of his lineman against the Vikings a week ago. However, this matchup isn’t very favorable for him as he faces a Ravens secondary that ranks 2nd in passing yards per game allowed (189.9). Since the Lions don’t run the ball well, Stafford will need to carry the offense on his back which will be a tough task for him this Sunday.
2. Joe Flacco
Flacco didn’t play as badly as some thought he would but he only threw for 141 yards against the Texans on Monday Night Football but could have a better performance against a Lions defense that ranks 23rd in passing yards per game allowed (243.2). If Flacco doesn’t perform well, a benching could be very likely not just for this game, but also for the rest of the season.
3. Both Teams Running Games
Both teams have both suffered injuries to their starting running backs. Alex Collins of the Ravens may not be available in this game as he has been injured in practice with a calf injury while Ameer Abdullah has been limited in practice with a neck injury. This means the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th string running backs for both teams will be playing and the running game for both teams simply haven’t been good at running the ball this season.
Bold Prediction: Matt Stafford and Joe Flacco throw for a combined 550 yards 4 TDs and 3 interceptions.
Kansas City Chiefs @ New York Jets; 1:00pm
1. Alex Smith
Smith has looked downright awful in these last six games. He hasn’t had any sort of momentum and is starting to check the back down more than usual. He may be doing more of the same against a Jets defense that ranks 15th in pass yards per game allowed (222.2). If Smith doesn’t pull off a victory against the Jets, a benching could be looming for him as well.
2. Josh McCown and Robbie Anderson Connection
As I have said for the past few weeks, McCown has been great for the Jets this season. Robbie Anderson has also been looking great as he has had 6 receiving touchdowns in his last 5 games. That’s 5 straight games with a TD! This wek, this duo will be facing a Chiefs defense that ranks 28th in pass yards per game allowed (245.6). It’ll be interesting to see if Anderson scores another TD this Sunday.
3. Darrelle Revis’ Return to MetLife
Rebis will finally be playing in a game this season after being cut by the Jets back in the early stages of free agency. He will be returning to the place where his career began at MetLife, but this time he’ll be wearing a Chiefs uniform instead of the Jets dark green jersey. It’ll be exciting to see if he improves from his horrid season last year or if Father Time has really gotten the best of him.
Bold Prediction: Darrelle Revis picks off Josh McCown twice and notches a pick-6.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Green Bay Packers; 1:00pm
1. Jameis Winston’s Return From Injury
Jameis will be returning as the starter after suffering a shoulder injury that has kept him out for a few weeks now and will look to pick apart this Packers defense that ranks 25th in pass yards per game allowed (244.1). A big game may be in store for Jameis especially if his shoulder doesn’t flare up again.
2. Brett Hundley and Davante Adams Connection
This connection has been very fun to watch over the course of the season and Adams is coming off a game where he caught 5 passes for 82 yards and a TD. Adams could have another huge game along with Hundley as they face a Bucs defense that ranks dead last in pass yards per game allowed (284.6). This Bucs will have their hands full in this game.
3. Packers Run Game
The Packers run game racked up only 80 yards against the Steelers last week and will most likely be without Aaron Jones in this game. This run game is in need of some help and will be taking on a Bucs defense that ranks 14th in rush yards per game allowed (110.9). Though it wouldn’t necessarily be a horrible thing if the Packers don’t run the ball because the Bucs are the worst defense against the pass.
Bold Prediction: Brett Hundley throws 3 TDs and at least 300 yards.
New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills; 1:00pm
1. Tom Brady and Gronk Connection
Brady is coming off an impressive 4 TD performance against the Miami Dolphins where 2 of the TDs he threw were for Gronk. Gronk has been a thorn in the Bills side for years and now these two will be facing a Bills defense that ranks 22nd in pass yards per game allowed (240.9). Unfortunately for this Bills team, they have to deal with other playmaking receivers in Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, and others.
2. Tyrod Taylor
After getting benched two weeks ago, Taylor did just enough to come away with a victory against the Chiefs last week. Now he’ll be facing a Patriots defense that ranks 31st in pass yards per game allowed (270.4). Taylor could be in line for a big game and knows that this is a must win game for him and the Bills if they want any shot at the playoffs.
3. LeSean McCoy Vs Patriots Defense
Shady McCoy will need to produce big against the Patriots and is joint off a game in which he ran for only 49 yards on 22 carries. Now he faces a defense that ranks 22nd in rush yards per game allowed (115.1) and could pose as a big problem for the Pats if they can’t keep him in check. We’ll see how this pans out Sunday.
Bold Prediction: Shady McCoy runs for 100 yards and racks up 50 receiving yards and a TD.
Denver Broncos @ Miami Dolphins; 1:00pm
1. Trevor Siemian’s Return to the Starting Lineup
Siemian nearly brought the Broncos back from being 21 points down against the Raiders last week and will get another shot at keeping the starting job for the rest of the season. It’ll be interesting to see how he performs against a Miami defense that ranks 17th in pass yards per game allowed (228.5). Who knows what to expect from him as he has been very inconsistent all season long.
2. Jay Cutler’s Return From Injury
Cutler will be playing agains after suffering a concussion nearly two weeks ago but will face a very tough challenge in the Broncos defense that ranks 4th in passing yards per game allowed (201.9). Since Cutler has been very inconsistent all season, expect Cutler to struggle all game long.
3. Both Run Games
Goodness, these teams are not good at running the ball. The Broncos offensive line struggles to get any sort of push or create any big holes for the running backs to run through while the Dolphins are on the same boat. Don’t expect the run game to suddenly explode on Sunday and expect a very messy game from both quarterbacks.
Bold Prediction: Both quarterbacks throw for a combined 400 yards and throw a combined 4 interceptions.
Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars; 1:00pm
1. Jacoby Brissett and T.Y. Hilton Connection
Brissett loves throwing the ball to T.Y., but last week he was a non-factor in their loss to the Titans catching 2 balls for 15 yards. Now the challenge will be much more difficult as Brissett takes on a Jags defense that ranks first in pass yards per game allowed (168.7). The last time the two teams played each other, Brissett was sacked 10 times and could be in for another beating this time around.
2. Jaguars Defense Vs Colts D-Line
Sacksonville absolutely demolished the Colts offensive line in their first game racking up 10 sacks and allowed 0 points to be scored against them. The Jaguars defense ranks 1st in total sacks (41.0) while the Colts allow the most sacks in the NFL (47.0). This could be another blowout win and another double-digit sack performance the offensive line doesn’t play well.
3. Blake Bortles
The last time Bortles played against the Colts, he threw for 330 yards and a TD. He could post a similar stat line against a very banged up defense and a unit that ranks 30th in pass yards per game allowed (266.3). This game will be very one-sided if Bortles posts similar numbers but could be closer than people think given his inconsistent play throughout the season.
Bold Prediction: Jaguars defense racks up 8 sacks and forces 4 turnovers.
San Francisco 49ers @ Chicago Bears; 1:00pm
1. Jimmy Garropolo’s 1st Start
Garropolo will be starting his first game for the Niners but will see a reduced playbook to try and simplify the game for him. Coming into this game, Garropolo is 2-0 as a starter and will look to remain unbeaten as he takes on a Bears defense that ranks 12th in pass yards per game allowed (215.8). Must feel good to be a Niners fan now especially since they’ve been wanting to see Garropolo start since the day he got traded.
2. Mitch Trubisky
Trubisky will be starting once again and will be hoping he plays better than last week as he threw 2 interceptions and threw for less than 150 yards against Philly. He’ll certainly bounce back against a 49ers defense that ranks 26th in passing yards per game allowed (244.6). The only way he could struggle is if the running game is a non factor or if the offensive line struggles to block because of injuries suffered on that unit.
3. Both Run Games
Both of these teams have a nice duo of running backs with Carlos Hyde and Matt Breida on the Niners and Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen from the Bears. Odds are the Bears run offense plays a major role in a win for the Bears as they are one of the best teams to run the ball and have a much better defense that can defend the run. The 49ers run game will have a bit more trouble as the Bears rank 16th in rush yards per game allowed (112.4) so expect the Bears to have more success running it.
Bold Prediction: Jordan Howard and Carlos Hyde combine for 300 total scrimmage yards and 5 TDs.
Cleveland Browns @ Los Angeles Chargers; 4:05pm
1. Josh Gordon’s Return
Josh Gordon will be returning to the NFL after being suspended indefinitely after the 2014 season. Browns fans must be excited for his return as he caused defenses lots of problems before the suspension and it will be intriguing to watch how well he does in his first game back. All eyes will be on him for sure and we’ll find out what the end result brings once he steps onto the field.
2. Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen Connection
Philip Rivers is coming off a monster performance against the Dallas Cowboys where he threw for over 400 yards and 3 TDs while Keenan Allen caught 11 passes for 172 yards and a TD. It’s very likely that they won’t perform as well as last week as they faces a Browns defense that ranks 13th in passing yards per game allowed (220.8). The Browns will have a tough task ahead of them and will try to get their first win of the season on Sunday.
3. DeShone Kizer Vs Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram
Ingram and Bosa are an incredible passing rushing duo and currently they have combined for 19 sacks on the season. Kizer knows he’ll need to get rid of the ball much more quickly than he has in recent games as he ranks near the bottom of the league in snap to throw time. Of course, the offensive line will also need to do their part in preventing these two from wrecking the game.
Bold Prediction: Rivers throws for 400 more yards and 3 more TDs.
Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints; 4:25pm
1. Drew Brees
Brees will be looking to light up the Panthers secondary especially after his recent performance against the Rams where he threw for 246 yards and 1 TD while also lucky that he was not intercepted twice. He will be facing a Panthers defense that ranks 6th in passing yards per game allowed (205.1) but also hopes that he can throw 3 more TDs like their last encounter. Great matchup to watch this weekend.
2. Cam Newton
Super Cam will be aiming for better production after only completing 11 of 28 passes for 168 yards last week against the Jets. He’ll also be hoping he doesn’t perform as badly as he did in their first encounter when he threw 3 interceptions. Now he faces a Saints defense that ranks 14th in passing yards per game allowed (221.8) and theSaints secondary may be without Marshon Lattimore once again due to injury.
3. Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffery
It seems like these two running backs have finally started to hit their stride. Last week, Kamara had 87 rushing yards and 101 receiving yards and 2 TDs while McCaffery racked up 62 rushing yards and 35 receiving yards. These two will be a handful for the opposing defenses which could mean one or both running backs could have big performances come Sunday.
Bold Prediction: Kamara racks up 150 yards and 2 TDs while MCaffery racks up 100 yards and 1 TD.
New York Giants @ Oakland Raiders 4:25pm
1. Geno Smith’s 1st Start with Giants
It’s incredible how quickly a front office can turn against a player and Eli Manning is no exception. Head coach McAdoo decided to bench Eli Manning for Geno Smith and will hope his decisions proves to be the correct one against a Raiders defense that ranks 27th in pass yards per game allowed (244.8). Questions have already been asked and if Smith plays poorly, even more questions will be asked on McAdoo’s questionable decision.
2. Derek Carr Without Key Receivers
For the first time in the last two season, Derek Carr will be without his two star receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Crabtree was recently handed a suspension after the scuffle between him and Aqib Talib last week while Cooper will be sidelined with an ankle injury he suffered last week. The other receivers will need to step up if they want to take advantage of a poor Giants defense.
3. Marshawn Lynch
Beast Mode is coming off a performance in which he ran for 67 yards on 26 carries and scored a TD. He could be in for a monster game against a Giants defense that ranks 31st in rush yards per game (131.7). Also, since Derek Carr will be without Crabtree and Cooper he could have to hand the ball off a lot more than usual.
Bold Prediction: Marshawn Lynch runs for 100 yards and scores 3 TDs.
Los Angeles Rams @ Arizona Cardinals; 4:25pm
1. Jared Goff
Jared Goff had a great game against the Saints last week throwing for 354 yards and 2 TDs. This week he’ll be facing off against a Cardinals defense that ranks 18th in passing yards per game allowed (232.5). It’s not likely that Goff will put up similar numbers but he could based on how he has performed all season long.
2. Blaine Gabbert
Gabbert has surprised several people who watch him play and many will notice that he isn’t as bad originally thought. Last week he threw for 241 passing yards and 2 TDs against a very aggressive Jaguars defense. This week he faces a Rams defense that will be just a challenging as the Jaguars, ranking 9th in passing yards per game allowed (212.7). Gabbert will be looking to do just enough to come away with a victory in this game.
3. Todd Gurley and Adrian Peterson
Both of these running backs are coming off solid performances with Adrian Peterson running for 79 yards on 20 carries while Todd Gurley ran for 74 yards on 17 carries. Both running backs could be relied on heavily to try and take pressure off of their quarterbacks and this matchup could be favorable for Adrian Peterson since the Rams have a tough time defending the run allowing 123.3 yards per game which ranks 27th. Maybe neither team’s running game will do well since both defense know they’ll need to shut the run game down.
Bold Prediction: Both Adrian Peterson and Todd Gurley run for at least 100 yards and scored a combined 4 TDs.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Seattle Seahawks; 8:30pm
1. Carson Wentz Vs Legion of Boom
Wentz currently leads the league in TD passes with 28 abs will looking to take advantage of an injury-plagued Legion if Boom come Sunday Night. This Seahawks defense currently ranks 10th in passing yards per game allowed (213.4) and will look to prevent Carson Wentz from making them look silly. Wentz has already faced this defense once last year and knows what he has to do to get the job done.
2. Russell Wilson Vs Philly Defense
Russell Wilson is the ENTIRE Seahawks offense. The run game does exist and Wilson somehow manages to magically escape pressure. He’ll be taking on a hungry Eagles defense that ranks 16th in passing yards per game allowed (226.5). The Eagles defense meanwhile will be aiming to shut down the passing game just like they did against Trubisky last week. This is a pivotal matchup in Sunday Night’s game.
3. Eagles Run Game
The Eagles run game has been on fire lately as they have run for over 175 yards in the past 3 games and will look to continue this against the Seahawks on Sunday Night Football. They face a run defense that ranks 9th in rushing yards per game allowed (98.4). If the Seahawks can stop this run game, they’ll have a very good chance at pulling off an upset.
Bold Prediction: Carson Wentz and Russell Wilson combine for 700 passing yards and 6 TDs.