4 more Sundays of regular season football and the playoff hunt is heating up more than ever before. The 6-6 Oakland Raiders take on the 6-6 Kansas City Chiefs in a pivotal AFC West where the losing will most likely not make the postseason. These teams are also looking to keep their playoff hopes alive; the Lions take on the Bucs, the Cowboys play the Giants, the Packers play the Browns, and the Chargers take on the Redskins. A few teams can clinch their divisions starting with an Eagles win over the Rams, a Steelers win over the Ravens, and a Patriots win over the Dolphins. Now let’s get into these matchups to watch!
Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs; 1:00pm
1. Marshawn Lynch
Beast Mode is coming off his best game of the season rushing for 101 yards on 17 carries and a TD. He’ll be looking to continue this against a Chiefs defense that ranks 30th in rush yards per game allowed (129.4). The Chiefs defense has been a hot mess this season and could be in for another rough outing if they can’t bring down Beast Mode.
2. Derek Carr
Carr is coming off a great performance against the Giants last week without two starting recievers and will now be facing the Kansas City Chiefs without Amari Cooper yet again. Last time the two teams met, Carr threw for 417 yards and 3 TDs. Currently the Chiefs defense ranks 27th in passing yards per game allowed (252.8) and allowed Josh McCown to throw for over 300 last week so the Chiefs will be looking to stifle Derek Carr and co.
3. Alex Smith
Alex Smith will look to have a similar performance against the Raiders like in their first game where he threw for 342 yards and 3 TDs. This Raiders defense is still not good and ranks 23rd in pass yards per game allowed (241.1) and has recorded just one interception all season. The Raiders will need to prevent Smith from dissecting them or else things could get ugly for them come Sunday.
Bold Prediction: Derek Carr and Alex Smith throw for 7 TDs and 650 yards combined.
Detroit Lions @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 1:00pm
1. Matt Stafford’s Performance
Matthew Stafford suffered a hand injury last week and has been covering his hand when in front of reporters all week long. It remains to be seen if he’ll play Sunday but if he does, his hand will hinder his performance in one way or another. He faces a Bucs defense that ranks 31st in pass yards per game allowed (267.3) which means that he could have a big performance if he actually suits up on Sunday. If Stafford doesn’t play, the Lions could see their playoff hopes end against the Bucs.
2. Jameis Winston Vs Detroit Defense
Jameis Winston looked solid last week against the Packers as he threw for 270 yards and 2 TDs. This week, he has a much more favorable matchup as he faces a Detroit defense that ranks 27th in pass yards per game allowed (245.3) which could mean a big day for Jameis. Hopefully, Jameis will target Mike Evans more often as he only caught 2 passes for 33 yards. Intriguing matchup to watch on both sides of the ball.
3. Both Teams Run Games
The Lions must run the ball against the against a Bucs defense that ranks 23rd in rush yards per game allowed (118.3) and must also take pressure off of Stafford especially since he suffered a hand injury just a week ago. As for Jameis and the Bucs, they’ll be looking to try and run the ball to set a tempo and rhythm to prevent Jameis from throwing the ball 40 times. It could be that neither run game ends up playing a factor while, which could result in a shootout for the QBs.
Bold Prediction: Matt Stafford throws for 400 yards and 3 TDs even after suffering a hand injury.
San Francisco 49ers @ Houston Texans; 1:00pm
1. Tom Savage/DeAndre Hopkins Connection
Savage has a solid outing against the Titans last week throwing for 330 yards and a TD as did Hopkins as he caught 8 passes for 80 yards. These two could have another solid performance against a 49ers defense that ranks 19th in passing yards per game allowed (231.3). The Niners know they must have double-coverage or a safety over Hopkins if they want to limit his production.
2. Jimmy Garropolo
Jimmy G looked great in his start against the Bears last week and will look to carry that performance into this game as he faces a Texans defense that ranks 22nd in passing yards per game allowed (235.8). Garropolo has looked every bit like a quarterback for the future for the Niners and if he wins this game, the Niners will be even more sure of that statement and he will be 4-0 in career starts.
3. Both Teams Run Game
The 49ers and Texans will be looking to keep pounding the rock to take pressure off their quarterbacks but the matchup looks more favorable for the Texans as the Niners rank 29th in rush yards per game allowed (123.9) which could mean a big game for Lamar Miller. Either way, should both run games fail to provide any help, expect a very intriguing matchup between Jimmy G and Tom Savage.
Bold Prediction: Lamar Miller racks up 150 scrimmage yards and 2 TDs.
Minnesota Vikings @ Carolina Panthers; 1:00pm
1. Case Keenum
Case Keenum did just enough last week against the Falcons to win the game as he put on a clinic completing 25 of 30 passes (completed every pass in the 2nd half) and throwing for 227 yards and 2 TDs. He’ll be facing a much tougher opponent in the Carolina Panthers as they rank 7th in pass yards per game allowed (209.0) and knows how to get to the QB. This will be a very fun matchup to watch come Sunday.
2. Cam Newton
Cam will look to rack up more yardage than last week as he threw for 183 yards on 17 completions and 2 TDs against the Saints. However, it’ll be much more difficult to throw against the Vikings as they rank 10th in pass yards per game allowed (207.8) and also knows how to get to the quarterback.
3. Both Teams Run Game
The Panthers run game must take pressure off of Cam Newton because the Vikings front seven is very very disruptive and disciplined. The Vikings run defense ranks 2nd in the league against the run (77.7) The Vikings run game will also need to perform well because the Panthers defense is also a very disruptive group and ranks 4th in rush yards per game allowed (88.6). Shutting down the run will be the priority of both defenses which will lead to a low-scoring affair.
Bold Prediction: Case Keenum throws 3 TDs while Cam runs for 2 TDs.
Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants; 1:00pm
1. Eli Manning’s Return to Starting Lineup
What a weird sequence of events for the Giants. First, Eli Manning was benched for Geno Smith, who fumbled as many times as Eli Manning has Super Bowls in the 2nd quarter (2 fumbles for Geno/2 Super Bowls For Manning) and has their head coach and GM fried the day after they lost that game. Now Manning will look to continue where he left off against a Cowboys defense that ranks 21st in passing yards per game allowed (234.8) and will have Sean Lee back for the first time 4 weeks.
2. Dak Prescott
Dak Prescott didn’t have to do much last week against the Redskins as he only threw for a poultry 102 yards and 2 TDs against the Redskins on Thursday Night Football. He’ll certainly have a better game against a Giants defense that ranks 30th in passing yards per games allowed (260.2). It’s likely however, that the Cowboys will lean on the run game more than the pass game like they did against the Redskins last week.
3. Cowboys Run Game
The Cowboys run game will look to perform as well as it did last week, racking up 182 rushing yards against a banged up Redskins defense. It could be a blowout if the Giants don’t stop the run as they rank dead last in rush yards per game allowed (130.7). It should be a priority for the Giants defense to stop the run even though the Cowboys don’t have Zeke.
Bold Prediction: Cowboys rack up 200 rushing yards and 3 TDs.
Indianapolis Colts @ Buffalo Bills; 1:00pm
1. Jacoby Brissett/T.Y. Hilton Connection
The magic number is 100 for T.Y Hilton be sure whenever he has reached 100 yards, the Colts have won (3-0). Whenever he hasn’t, they have lost every game (0-9). He could eclipse 100 yards and make it 4-0 against a Bills defense that ranks 24th in passing yards per game allowed (241.2). Brissett will need to target Hilton much more because he is the Colts’ playmaker and also only caught 3 passes for 51 yards. That simplicity will not cut it this Sunday.
2. Tyrod Taylor/Nathan Peterman
All eyes will be on the starting quarterback of the Bills one way or another; If Tyrod Taylor plays, his mobility will almost certainly be very limited and will be forced to throw from the pocket, but if Nathan Peterman starts, everyone will be mindful of his first start where he threw 5 interceptions against the Chargers. Either way, this game could result in a solid performance from either of these quarterbacks as the Colts rank dead last in passing yards per game allowed (267.3). We’ll see Sunday how this game ends up.
3. Both Teams Run Games
The run game for the Colts priority on defense will be stopping the run especially since Nathan Peterman may be the one starting in the place of Tyrod Taylor, who suffered a knee injury last week. On offense, the Colts will look to run the ball early and often against a Bills defense that ranks 25th in rush yards per game allowed (120.4). It’ll be interesting to see if the run game can carry the Colts to a much needed victory.
Bold Prediction: Frank Gore and Marlon Mack combine for 200 yards on the ground.
Chicago Bears @ Cincinnati Bengals; 1:00pm
1. Mitch Trubisky and the Offense
This offense has struggled a ton over the past 2 weeks as they have struggled to reach 250 yards of total offense in those 2 games. Trubisky only threw for 102 yards last week and less than 150 yards against the Eagles 2 weeks ago. Now he faces a Bengals defense that ranks 8th in pass yards per game allowed (210.3) but the defense has been decimated by injuries this season. It seems like Trubisky and the offense will be stalling out again this week.
2. Bengals Injuries
The Bengals have been decimated by injuries especially after their last game Steelers where Joe Mixon suffered a concussion, Vontaze Burfict suffered a head injury, and Adam Jones and another player suffered lower-body injuries. This game has the makings of a disaster for the Bengals if the players who are filling in don’t step up ans could lead to a devastating loss.
3. Andy Dalton/A.J. Green Connection
Andy Dalton had a good performance against the Steelers last week as he threw for 234 yards and 2 TDs that were both to A.J. Green, who also played well racking up 7 catches for 77 yards. This week they’ll be looking to keep that connection going against a Bears defense that ranks 12th in passing yards per game allowed (221.0). The focus should be on these two because they are really starting to heat up.
Bold Prediction: A.J. Green racks up 150 receiving yards and 2 TDs.
Green Bay Packers @ Cleveland Browns; 1:00pm
1. Brett Hundley
Brett Hundley will have another week to fill in for Aaron Rodgers and will look to try and perform better than last week as he only threw for 84 yards last week against the Bucs. He’ll be facing a Browns defense that ranks 17th in passing yards per game allowed (230.3). He may have to rely on the run game again but the Browns will be sure to shut that down to force Hundley into several mistakes.
2. Packers Run Game
The Packers will be looking to run for 199 yards again as they take on the Cleveland Browns. Aaron Jones scored the game-winning touchdown while Jamal Williams ran for 113 yards and a TD. They will be facing a tough run defense in the Browns who rank 6th against the run allowing 96.9 yards per game. The Browns know they need to shut the run down in order to pull of an upset win against the Packers.
3. DeShone Kizer
Kizer played ok in the game against the Chargers last week as he threw for 215 yards, a TD, and an interception. This week he has a chance to pull out a win for the Browns, which would be their first of the season. He faces a Packers defense that ranks 26th in passing yards per game allowed (242.9). It’ll be great to watch how this game unfolds for the Browns.
Bold Prediction: Brett Hundley throws 3 TDs ans no interceptions for 300+ yards
New York Jets @ Denver Broncos; 4:05pm
1. Josh McCown Vs “Yes Fly Zone”
Josh McCown has been playing some of his best football of his career and will look to light up the Broncos secondary like he did last week against the Chiefs, throwing for 300+ yards and a TD and rushing for 2 as well. He faces a Denver defense that ranks 4th in passing yards per game allowed (203.6). This game will most likely be a low-scoring affair but don’t be surprised of McCown finds a way to win this game.
2. Trevor Siemian’s Performance
Trevor Siemian looked as bad as he did before he got benched last week against the Dolphins throwing 3 interceptions and completing less than 50% of his passes. He mow faces a Jets team that ranks 20th in passing yards per game allowed (233.8). If Siemian performs like this again, he’ll be watching from the bench again and may not be in the team’s plans going forward.
3. Both Run Games
The Broncos will simply be looking to run the ball because they struggle mightily just to do that with their porous offensive line while the Jets will be looking to rack up more than 100 rushing yards like they did last week against the Chiefs. However, the Broncos defense ranks 5th in rush yards per game allowed (92.0) so the Jets will have a much harder time running the ball against Denver.
Bold Prediction: Josh McCown throws for 300 yards and 3 TDs while Siemian throws 3 INTs and get benched.
Washington Redskins @ Los Angeles Chargers; 4:05pm
1. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram Vs Redskins Injury-Plagued O-line
Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram have now combined for 20 sacks this season and will be looking to take advantage of a Redskins O-line that saw Morgan Moses roll his ankle last week against the Cowboys and has has to deal with Trent Williams playing through a knee injury while the rest of the offensive line has been banged up as well. The Redskins could see a horrible offensive performance if the O-line ends up giving in to their injuries. This spells disaster for the Redskins but Kirk Cousins somehow always manages to keep games relatively close.
2. Philip Rivers/Keenan Allen Connection
Rivers and Allen have been red hot over the past three games as Rivers has thrown for over 300 yards in the last 3 contests while Keenan Allen has caught a TD passes and reached 100 yards in 3 straight games which is an NFL record. These two will face a Redskins defense that ranks 13th in passing yards per game allowed (222.4) which means these two could cool off in this game. Or maybe they’ll prove everyone wrong and eclipse 100 yards and notch a receiving TD.
3. Kirk Cousins
Kirk Cousins has been beat up and battered and is coming off his worst performance of the season against the Cowboys throwing 2 TDs ans 2 back-breaking interceptions. The offensive line gives him no help be Aussie they have been decimated by injuries and will face a Chargers defense that ranks 5th in passing yards per game allowed (205.7). The pass rushing duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram could wreck the game for Kirk Cousin which spells disaster for him and the offense.
Bold Prediction: Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram combine for 5 sacks.
Tennessee Titans @ Arizona Cardinals; 4:05pm
1. DeMarco Murray/Derrick Henry
Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray combined for 175 rushing yards but a big chunk of that yardage came off a 70+ yard Henry TD and happened in the last few minutes of the game. The Titans will need to run the ball much more efficiently when it actually matters. They face a Cardinals defense that ranks 9th in rush yards per game allowed (99.5) and may struggle to run the ball again.
2. Marcus Mariota
Mariota finally didn’t throw an interception last week against the Texans but only threw for 150 yards on 15 completions. This week, he’ll be facing a much more aggressive defense in the Cardinals who rank 1708th in pass yards per game allowed (230.8). Mariota will have to not turn the ball over if the Titans want a shit at winning the AFC South.
3. Blaine Gabbert
Blaine Gabbert is coming off a shaky performance where he threw for 221 yards, a TD, and 2 interceptions (one resulted in a pick-6). He needs to play better this time around against a Titans defense that ranks 25th in passing yards per game allowed (242.3). It’ll be interesting to see if Gabbert rises to the occasion and pulls out a victory this Sunday.
Bold Prediction: D Murray and D Henry run wild for 200 yards.
Seattle Seahawks @ Jacksonville Jaguars; 4:25pm
1. Russell Wilson Vs Sacksonville
Russell Wilson is the MVP of the Seahawks and may be the MVP of the league after what he did against Philly this past Sunday. He scrambled and escaped the pocket easily, making something out of nothing. He faces the toughest defense to pass against in the Jaguars who rank 1st in pass yards per game allowed (167.1). The Jaguars know they have to prevent Wilson from buying time and will need to apply pressure at the same time which will be difficult to do.
2. Blake Bortles Vs Legion of Boom
Blake Bortles will be looking to have a similar performance as last week where he threw for 309 yards and 2 TD with no interceptions. He faces a Seahawks defense that ranks 14th in passing yards per game allowed (222.8). If Blake Bortles turns the ball over, he’ll have a tough time bringing his team back into the game especially since Russell Wilson and the offense know how to capitalize on turnovers.
3. Leonard Fournette
Fournette only managed to muster out 57 rush yards on 20 carries against the Colts last week and could see a similar stat line against a very solid Seahawks run defense that ranks 7th allowing 98.3 rush yards per game. The Seahawks defense knows they’ll have to shut down the run defense to force Bortles into throwing the ball 30 times and force him into mistakes to pull out a victory.
Bold Prediction: Jaguars defense forces 5 turnovers and sacks Wilson 5 times.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Los Angeles Rams; 4:25pm
1. Jared Goff
Jared Goff will be looking to have a slightly better performance compared to last week where he threw for 221 yards, 2 TDs, and an interception. If he can keep the back out of harms way the Rams could pull out a victory. He faces an Eagles defense that ranks 16th in passing yards per game allowed (225.1). This defense will look to get after Goff especially after they got picked apart by Russell Wilson last week.
2. Carson Wentz
Wentz will be looking to have a better game as well as he threw a silly interception and fumbled inside the 5 yard line that resulted in a touchback and essentially changed the complexion if the game. He faces a Rams defense that ranks 9th in passing yards per game allowed (211.2). This defense also knows how to get after quarterbacks which meant his game will be a grudge match.
3. Both Teams Run Game
The run game will play a big factor in the outcome of the game and the Eagles have this in their favor as the Rams struggle to stop the run allowing 122.8 rush yards per game which ranks 27th. The Rams meanwhile, have Todd Gurley who ranks 3rd in rushing yards on the season with 939 but will have a tough time running against the Eagles run defense that ranks 1st in rush defense. This will be intriguing to watch come Sunday.
Bold Prediction: The Eagles rack up 175 rushing yards while the Rams rack up less than 100.
Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers; 8:30pm
1. Ben Roethlisberger/Antonio Brown Connection
Big Ben and Antonio Brown will be looking to connect as much as they did last week where he threw 290 yards, 2 TD, and an interception. Antonio Brown caught 8 ballas for 101 receiving yards and a TD. Now they face a Ravens defense that ranks 3rd in passing yards per game allowed (198.6). These two may not have similar numbers but it should be enough to win the game.
2. Joe Flacco Vs Ryan Shazierless Defense
Joe Flacco will be hoping he plays the way he did last week against the Lions where he threw for 269 yards and 2 TDs with no interceptions. He’ll be facing a Steelers defense that will not have Shazier for the rest of the season after he suffered a spinal injury against the Bengals last week, but they still rank 2nd in passing yards per game allowed (195.8) so Flacco will have a tougher day against the Steelers.
3. Le’Veon Bell
Bell will be looking to keep gashing defenses and maintain his position as the league’s leading rusher with 1,057. He could have a big game against a Ravens defense that ranks 16th in rush yards per game allowed (112.7). Last time Bell faced the Ravens he bashed them for 144 rush yards and 2 TDs on 35 carries and will hope he gets similar numbers to keep the Steelers at the top of AFC.
Bold Prediction: Le’Veon Bell racks up 200 scrimmage yards and 3 TDs.