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Is it me, or are the Bears my new favorite NFC team to watch? The coaching staff has figured out that they should run an offense that focuses on the strengths of their best players. Who would have known that something so simple would make such a difference? Justin Fields looks a lot more comfortable at quarterback, and he’s making plays with his athleticism. The Falcons were unable to take advantage of their NFC South first-place ranking when they lost last week to the Panthers. In a game that can really go both ways, I am going to take the team with more ways to score.
Fields electrifies, beats the spread, and wins the upset on the road.
What can I say about Lamar Jackson that hasn’t already been said? He is a great man on and off the field, and he is leading his team right back to another division title as long as he stays healthy. As usual, there have been multiple injuries to his receivers and running backs. But he has found a way to keep the team in position to win games. And the Panthers just aren’t that good. They will run the ball effectively like they seem to do every week, but they just don’t have much from their offense outside of that. I like P.J. Walker, but if we are honest, they don’t have a good quarterback on the roster.
Carolina isn’t good enough to beat Jackson, but they aren’t getting beat by 13 points. They beat the spread while losing in Baltimore.
Cleveland’s defense lacks in every major statistical category. The Bills have struggled against the run in recent weeks, but have also established a pretty decent run game of their own. Devin Singletary led the charge with two touchdowns last week against the Vikings, but the Bills opted to shy away from the run and go heavy pass in the second half. Josh Allen made some mistakes that ultimately cost the Bills the game.
Allen is on a mission to improve on his mistakes over the last three games. The Bills cover this one easily and beat the Browns.
The Commanders are excited and back in the mix of the NFC East after beating Philadelphia last week on Monday Night Football. Taylor Heinicke is just a winner. There is no other explanation. He doesn’t look like a franchise quarterback, but he seems to motivate his teammates and wins games that they’re usually counted out for. The Texans have been active adding players via the waiver wire. Eno Benjamin is a nice addition at running back after he was cut from Arizona, but that takes snaps away from their impressive rookie runner, Dameon Pierce. I’m personally looking forward to the offseason for the Texans. They believe in quarterback Davis Mills, but they haven’t yet provided enough weapons to have an honest assessment of who he is as a player.
Washington is still riding the wave from last week’s MNF victory. They beat Houston convincingly, and give Commanders fans another reason to want to keep Carson Wentz on the bench.
The Colts pulled out a victory for first-time coach Jeff Saturday. Maybe everything Jim Irsay said about him being a motivator of men is true. Maybe Saturday will be a good coach in the league. But I don’t see him repeating that success this week against an Eagles team that is probably upset that they allowed themselves to lose at home in prime time to Washington.
The Colts beat the spread, but Philly will get back on their feet after that disappointing loss to the less-talented Commanders.
This is all emotional: I need both teams to lose. The Patriots are somehow still relevant in the division and have a chance here to make things really interesting. If the playoffs started this week, all four AFC East teams would be in the tournament. The Jets have been the most surprising team in the division, in my opinion. Their defense has been exceptional, and offensively they have done enough to win games—even after their star rookie running back, Breece Hall, was placed on IR with an ACL tear.
But since I have to pick, the Patriots help the Bills out this weekend and make the Jets fall a game in the division. Patriots cover the spread as well.
The Rams will be without receiver Cooper Kupp for the foreseeable future, and their offense doesn’t really move the ball well without him. The Saints, on the other hand, seem to do just fine offensively, but still find ways to lose games. Injuries have really derailed their season and their hopes to contend in the division. But running back Alvin Kamara is still a star, and the defense is a lot better than their record would have you believe.
Saints cover and win at home.
This is when the Giants luck starts to run out. I love Brian Daboll as much as the next Buffalonian, but when watching the Giants games, there’s a level of luck that is just rare to see last until the end of the season. The Lions record would have you think they are terrible, and that might be close to the truth. But they also have a talented running backs room and a defense that plays hard for their coaching staff. If they can find a way to contain Saquon Barkely, I think the Lions can make this game into a classic trap game for the Giants.
The Lions will run their way to the upset and win in New Jersey.
This game has “snoozefest” written all over it. But I am going to watch regardless. The Raiders just can’t seem to figure out their offense consistently enough to take advantage of the weapons they have, and now Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow are both on IR. But the Broncos look even worse. Every week I expect quarterback Russell Wilson to figure it out, but now reports are that the offense has been confused because he’s been using audibles from Seattle’s playbook. What a mess.
The Raiders offense will run through Josh Jacobs, and Denver is upset at home.
Injuries this season haven’t been kind to most teams around the NFL, but the Bengals especially wish they could have their No. 1 wide receiver, Ja’Marr Chase, healthy for a game like this. They are still having difficulty protecting Joe Burrow, and unless they can establish the run game with Joe Mixon, it might be a long night with T.J. Watt back in the mix on defense for the Steelers.
Pittsburgh more than likely won’t make the playoffs, but they can still make things interesting in their division. They will win the upset at home and beat the defending AFC champions.
Dallas is looking to rebound after losing in disappointing fashion Green Bay last week. Their defense is really good, and Dak Prescott is looking better every week since he’s come back from his hand injury. But the Vikings have Justin Jefferson, and they seem to know how to keep games close in the fourth quarter. They have five come-from-behind victories this year, and Kirk Cousins looks like he deserves some more money from the organization.
Minnesota is a good team. It is not a fluke. They beat the Cowboys at home and stop the disrespect in Vegas.
There’s nothing like a divisional matchup on prime time television. This week’s Sunday Night Football game puts the bright lights on two of my favorite quarterbacks in the NFL. Justin Herbert has struggled with a rib injury this year, but he is slowly regaining his confidence and his play is improving. Patrick Mahomes is showing exactly how good he is, even without Tyreek Hill.
I’d like for the Chargers to win, but I just can’t make that call. The Chiefs will cover the spread and win on the road.