Nov 10, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) against the Dallas Cowboys during the fourth quarter of a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Cowboys 49-17. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
New York Jets 23 Buffalo 17
Despite being the “butt” of many jokes around the NFL, the Jets have played well through the first nine games here in 2013. Their defense is once again a top unit, and the offense has taken positive steps ever since Geno Smith took over. The Bills ability to run the football will keep this game close, but the Jets are a better overall team, and they will come out of Ralph Wilson Stadium with a win.
Baltimore 24 Chicago 13
If Jay Cutler were healthy and playing in this game, then I think that Chicago would come out victorious in this one. But unfortunately, Cutler will be sidelined with an ankle injury, leaving Josh McCown in at quarterback for the Bears. Baltimore will key in on this, making McCown uncomfortable all day, leading to a big Ravens win.
Cleveland 20 Cincinnati 17
This matchup pits two top five defenses going at it, which will provide few flashy highlights, but one hell of a game. Cincinnati suffered a crushing defeat in overtime last week, at the hands of their division rival Baltimore Ravens. I think that the Bengals come into this game with a bit of a hangover from last week’s thriller, which will be the difference in a close defensive struggle.
Philadelphia 28 Washington 24
Nick Foles is possibly the hottest quarterback in the league, and he will now have the pleasure of going up against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL. Foles will have a big day, as the Eagles continue their improbable climb to the top of the NFC East.
Detroit 31 Pittsburgh 21
The Steelers got a much needed win last week against the Bills, but I don’t think a defense that gave up 55 points to the Patriots two weeks ago, is going to slow down the Lions offensive group. Calvin Johnson and company do enough to outscore Pittsburgh, and Detroit begins to gain some separation atop the NFC North.
Atlanta 27 Tampa Bay 20
This is a matchup of two struggling teams, as their combined record is a pitiful 3-15. I would love nothing more than to see the Bucs get a second consecutive victory, because of their horrible start, but I just don’t see it. The Falcons have a huge advantage in the quarterback department, which is the ultimate trump card in today’s NFL. This is enough to get Atlanta the tough win.
Arizona 24 Jacksonville 14
The Cardinals are in one of the best divisions in the NFL, which boasts three tremendous defenses in the 49ers, Seahawks, and Rams. However this overshadows a solid defensive group down in Arizona, where they are quietly putting together a solid 2013 campaign. They are 13th in total defense, they are tied for 10th in points allowed, and only two teams are better at stopping the run. Defense is what will propel them in this game, doing just enough to beat the lowly Jaguars.
Houston 21 Oakland 17
The Raiders will be without their starting quarterback in this game, which instantly makes this matchup against the league’s top defense very tough. Terrelle Pryor is a guy that can burn you not only through the air, but on the ground as well. Matt McGloin does not bring this to the table, and I honestly fear for him, as he attempts to take on this ferocious Texans defense.
San Diego 28 Miami 17
The Dolphins are in disarray right now, with the controversy surrounding Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin. They didn’t play well last week in Tampa, and I don’t think they will play well at all this week at home versus the Chargers. Phillip Rivers has a big day, en route to a win that will snap a two game losing streak for San Diego.
New Orleans 27 San Francisco 24
If it weren’t for Denver-Kansas City on Sunday Night Football, this game would easily be the “game of the week”. We get the classic offense versus defense matchup in this one, as the Saints rank second in total offense, while the Niners come in sixth in total defense. But the difference in this one will be the surprisingly good Saints defense, who have been severely underrated coming into this game. They are top ten in total defense, and takeaways, and this unit will give the Saints a huge conference win.
Green Bay 23 New York Giants 20
The Packers are still dealing with all-star quarterback Aaron Rodgers being out, which will make this game a close contest. The Giants are slowly recovering from their disastrous 0-6 start, but I don’t think that they have improved enough to take down the Pack, even though they will be without their top signal-caller. A few Eli Manning interceptions will ultimately kill the Giants, making Patriots fans happy across the nation.
Seattle 27 Minnesota 7
This tilt is more about the return of Percy Harvin, than the actual result of the game. Seattle has struggled on the offensive side of the ball, in the passing game. Harvin should improve their 24th ranked aerial assault, and the struggling Vikings will be the first team that will have to endure the new and improved Seattle offense.
Kansas City 24 Denver 21
Other than “Brady vs. Peyton”, this is probably the biggest game of the year. These two have a combined record of 17-1, which makes for terrific football. Peyton Manning and the Broncos boast the top offense in football, while Tampa Hali leads an electric Chiefs defense. There will be plenty of yards to be found in this game, because one does not simply “shut down” Peyton Manning. But the Chiefs will come up with more than one turnover, which will be the difference late in the game. Kansas City comes out of this with a two game lead over the Broncos, and move closer to that coveted number one seed in the AFC.