Alright everyone, so I didn’t have the chance to post a breakdown for the week’s Thursday night game, but I did post my prediction for the world to see on my Twitter(you should go see it, I post football opinions and takes daily). I was a little overzealous and gave Tampa Bay the nod 41-24 and it wound up being closer, but it’s still a win so I’ll take it and my record to this point is 57-24. Anyways, this week is our first week with bye weeks and we have some really strong matchups this week. I’m sure we all saw the email fiasco with Gruden and the league, the back n forth between Hollywood Brown and Bart Scott(shame on you btw Bart), and even the trade of Ertz to the Cardinals. Let’s not waste anymore time with the drama and jump straight to the pickems.
DOLPHINS @ JAGUARS
This is an interesting game to say the least. Usually you’d think the NFL would want to send over a matchup between two strong, premium teams to broaden and expand the fan base in London. Well, this isn’t what I had in mind for a premium matchup. The Dolphins did look solid last season, but this year they’ve been anything but solid. The Dolphins struggled with Tua and they struggled even more without him. The Dolphins haven’t looked nearly as good as the 10-6 team we saw last season. This season, the Dolphins have the 31st ranked offense and the 30th ranked defense. They could look a little better with Tua under center again, but who knows how he will look after a 4 week absence. Their opponent is Jacksonville, so if they were gonna have a ease in game against anyone, this may be their best bet. The Jags were bad the first few weeks, but are slowly putting the pieces together and getting better production out of the Jaguars. The Jags are still many pieces away from being legit, but they’re slightly better than Miami right now in terms of numbers, and they have a nice fan base in London. I think Lawrence does just enough to get his first win.
JAX 20 MIA 17
BENGALS @ LIONS
Cincy has had a lot of close, stressful games to start the season off. Four of their first 5 games were decided by 3 points each. They have all come down to the wire and been very close and stressful. The Bengals havent played anyone that was very good before Green Bay last week and they proved they could hang. As Burrow and the team figure things out and build on their early success, they get a chance to bolster their record against the mediocre Lions team. The Bengals and Lions have similar rankings on offense, but it’s the defense that really stands out. The Lions have the 20th ranked defense and are 25th in scoring defense, while the Bengals are 10th in total defense and 7th in scoring defense. The Bengals aren’t proven to be real, but Joe Burrow certainly is. He had a bad game this season against the Bears, but aside from that he looks very strong and confident. Goof on the other hand relies heavily on the running game and the scheme to create looks for him. I wanna give the Lions their first win this season, but I can’t count Burrow out against a weaker defense.
CIN 24 DET 16
CHIEFS @ FOOTBALL TEAM
Don’t be fooled by this game, the Chiefs are fallible this season and the Football Team is more than capable of making this a shootout. Heinicke has jumped in on short notice and proven that he’s capable of leading this team and utilizing the weapons they have. Scary Terry and Curtis Samuel have great potential as a duo and Heinicke is capable of finding them on the field. Both teams are 31st and 32nd in scoring defense and they’re also in the bottom 10 of the league in total yards allowed. These defenses are pretty porous and the offense tends to have to make up for what the defense lacks. KC has the stronger weapons with Mahommes, Hill, Kelce, and others being very dangerous and capable of blowing the game open in just minutes. Even with the 4th ranked offense in the league, they have made mistakes and failed to secure wins like the team we saw last season. Washington is fully capable of bringing pressure as they do have good talent up front. They’ve generated a lot of pressure, but have only gotten to the QB 9 times. They also don’t allow many sacks or turn the ball over. The Chiefs don’t allow a lot of sacks, but nobody has turned the ball over more than they have. I like Washington to frazzle the Chiefs and make this a heck of a shoot out, but Mahommes isn’t about to go down to 2-4 on the season. I’m giving KC the win, but it’ll be a stressful win.
KC 31 WAS 27
TEXANS @ COLTS
The Colts are coming off of a very tough loss. They built up a very strong lead against the Ravens and sat pretty as they worked the clock and tried to manage their way to a win. On the other sideline, Lamar was busy locking in and started a stellar 19 point comeback win to beat the Colts in OT. It’s a heartbreaking loss for a team that can’t catch a break. They’ve started 1-4 after being predicted by many to win the division. They’re also staring down losing a high draft pick to the Eagles in the Wentz deal. The Colts have a decent offense and are beginning to find their identity while the Texans are still a measly 29th in the league. Davis Mills looked putrid against Buffalo. He barely finished above 50% completion percentage and had 4 interceptions to 0 touchdowns. His first start was a bad one to say the least, but he followed that up by throwing for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. They didn’t win, but he looked like an all new QB out there. The Texans are 24th in total defense and 26th against the run. I think Mills may play decent, but this Colts team is better on offense and have a decent defense that forces turnovers. I’m giving this one to the Colts.
IND 27 HOU 17
RAMS @ GIANTS
I don’t think this game will be much of a contest. Barkley and Golladay are both out so their presence missing from the offense will hurt them. The Giants have made games competitive and Jones is still finding his stride in New York. They have also proven they can string wins together with Barkley out. He’s definitely a game changer, but they can survive with his backups. Toney managed to burst onto the scene last week with an absolutely stellar performance. With Golladay out, I think Toney will get some extra attention from the defense. I think The Gaints’ 28th ranked defense and their 13th ranked offense can still make somwhat of an impact against the average team. They’re not playing the average team this week as they are matched up against the 10th ranked offense boasted by the 4-1 Rams. Stafford has injected some firepower and deadliness into this Rams offense. They have been downright deadly and have only looked human against the Cardinals. They’re averaging 28 points a game and allowing 23 points per game. I don’t think this will be a blowout, but I do see the Rams winning comfortably.
LAR 34 NYG 24
CHARGERS @ RAVENS
This is the game of the week, the one everyone is talking about. The young, deadly, pocket passer vs the dual threat phenom. Herbert has been exceptional and seems to put together 300 yard game after 300 yard game. They have been a very strong team that excels on both sides of the ball. They have beaten the Chiefs and the Browns in exciting and overpowering fashion. The offense has looked like the best in the league, while still having a pretty decent defense. They have a lot of different weapons on offense that are capable of blowing a game wide open and can still string together some key stops with their defense. On the other sideline, we have the red hot Ravens. They too have key wins including 3 game winning drives. The only other team to have that many game winning drives is their opponent. Lamar put up a historic game last week, and it was through the air. He’s proving early that he’s a very strong passer and is the best dual threat in the league and possibly of all time. Both offenses are tops in scoring and yards, as well as avoiding turning the ball over much. Both defenses are rough, The Chargers struggling against the run, the Ravens struggling against the pass. The strength of their opponents just so happens to be the weaknesses of their opponents’ defense. I think this game will be high scoring and exciting. In a close, fun game, I think we’ve all learned not to bet against Lamar. I have to give them the edge in a shootout.
BAL 41 LAC 38
PACKERS @ BEARS
Many people are going to lean pretty easily in favor of Rodgers and the Pack against the lowly Bears. The Bears may be pretty rough on offense, but don’t let that fool you. The Bears have been putrid on offense, even after inserting Fields in to reinvigorate the offense. They don’t do anything impressive, as a matter of fact, they’re the worst offense in the league in terms of yardage. They struggle to move the ball and aren’t explosive in the slightest. The Bears are still 3-2. How can a team with such a poor offense be 3-2? For the Bears their team leans entirely on their top 10 defense. They don’t allow teams to get comfortable or score, and they’re number one in sacks. Unluckily for the Bears, not many if anybody are better under pressure than Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is certainly a top 10 QB in NFL history, this year they have found their stride and have been really stacking wins together. They are a top 15 offense and Rodgers is proving he still has plenty left in the tank. The Packers defense is actually just a solid as the Bears as they have a very similar ranking with the Bears defense. I think the Bears defense will test Rodgers and the Packer’s offense, but it won’t be enough to win.
GB 23 CHI 13
VIKINGS @ PANTHERS
I actually really like the matchup in this game as well. Last week the Vikings were without Cook and still managed to shine. As long as they have Cousins, Thielen, and Jefferson carrying the torch, they always stand a chance. Cook is back this week and I think they have a chance to make a real statement. Both teams managed to be dominant for most of the game last week. They both choked in the last quarter, except the Vikings managed to save themselves with a last second field goal. Both teams have average offenses and can move the ball pretty well when they found their groove. The Panthers even looked strong before last week’s game. It’s tough to say which offense will show up strong and ready to go, but I do know what team has shown up pretty consistently on defense. The Panthers have the second best defense in the league and manage to generate more pressure on the opposing QB than any other team. They tend to make the QB force the ball or take the sacks. They have been pretty stout all season, aside from their game against the Cowboys. Granted, the Vikings are second in QB pressures, but they don’t stop teams nearly as well as the Panthers. I think defense will make the difference in this one. Give the win to the Panthers in a bounce back game.
CAR 20 MIN 14
CARDINALS @ BROWNS
This is another game that could be a really exciting shootout. The Cardinals are 5-0 and are looking like the best team in the league. They have beaten some solid teams, including a whooping of the explosive Rams. Murray is one of the candidates for MVP and has this offense looking very deadly. The Cardinals offense sits at 7th in overall offense and are 4th in scoring offense. This team moves the ball and puts points on the board in a hurry. The defense sits at 12th in total offense and are 10th in sacks. They’re also 3rd in forcing turnovers. They do a great job making stops, getting to the QB, and forcing mistakes. This team can really do it all and make some noise on both sides of the ball. Their opponent is coming off a close loss in the most explosive and exciting game of the season. The Browns defense finds themselves at 11th in scoring defense and are the 4th best overall defense. They’re also 4th in sacks. This defense gets a lot of pressure and keeps the ball from moving, unless you’re the Chargers. The Browns are also pretty strong on offense. They have the 4th best overall offense and they’re the top team at running the ball. They’re also top 6 in scoring. This game won’t be as high scoring as LA and Baltimore, but it will be a close game. I’m giving this one to the underdogs to end the dream of an undefeated season for the Cardinals.
CLE 27 ARI 23
RAIDERS @ BRONCOS
This game features two teams that were riding high after week 3, but have been mediocre since. The Broncos looked very strong after the first 3 games, but those games were against teams that were a combined 0-9 up to that point. They then faced Baltimore and Pittsburgh and were humbled to say the least. The Raiders looked like one of the league’s best teams after the first 3 weeks. It all looked to be a veil and smoke and mirrors as they have looked pretty pedestrian the last 2 weeks against the Bears and Chargers. They ran into some very strong defenses and it flattened their offense pretty convincingly. Both teams are now in the bottom half of the rankings in scoring offense and are middle of the pack in total offense. The Raiders are 4th best in offensive turnovers and the Broncos are 3rd best. These teams are pretty even on offense and manage the game pretty decently. Their defenses are actually pretty even too. They both generate pressure, but the Raiders get to the QB more frequently. The Broncos keep the opposing offenses from moving down field much and keep the opponent out of the end zone more. I think it will be a pretty close game, but I have to give this game to the better defense. As much as I like Carr, The Gruden drama will be too much of a distraction to overcome.
DEN 20 LV 13
COWBOYS @ PATRIOTS
This game has all the makings of a potential trap game. The Pats are lead by a rookie QB in an offense that didn’t thrive through the first couple of weeks. Jones is beginning to look relatively solid and putting the pieces together on an offense with some average-at-best weapons. Their offense may rank towards the bottom of the league, but the numbers don’t quite speak for how well Jones has played the passed couple weeks. He hasn’t been putting up big numbers or really slinging it all over the field, but he’s managing well and making very smart plays. Plus this is a McDaniels offense coached by Bellichick so they’re always going to be competitive. It also helps that they have the 5th ranked overall offense and they’re ranked 8th in sacks. They manage well enough on offense and are pretty stout on defense. They’re not a contender yet, but they may be a few pieces away, as long as Jones continues to get better. They are unfortunate though that they’re matched up against the Cowboys. The story of the Cowboys is in the offense. They have the 3rd best overall offense and are 2nd in scoring. This team is stacked with weapons and a top 10 QB under center. They move the ball fast and put up points often. However, not many realize the defense deserves it’s share of credit. They may not stop teams from stacking up yards, but they do force the 2nd most turnovers. They currently have a frontrunner for the DPOY award at corner and give this dangerous offense the ball enough to win games. This one will be close, as I expect the Boys to underestimate the Pats, Belichick usually lives for games like this. However, I give the Cowboys the nod.
DAL 30 NE 23
SEAHAWKS @ STEELERS
I can admit, it’s easy to pick against the Steelers this season as the offense has been very rough to say the least, but their defense is the reason they’ve pieced together 2 wins. The Steelers stole a win against the Bills in week 1 while the Bills were still dusting off the rust of the offseason, and they did it on the back of their defense. The Steelers have a strong and imposing defense for sure. They may not be the best against the pass, but they are 9th in rushing defense. They also are 8th at generating pressure and this week couldn’t be a better matchup for that pressure ability to be key. Russell Wilson is one of the best QBs in the league when facing pressure and has the weapons to be dangerous. That should mean this is a pretty good matchup in favor of the Seahawks right? wrong, the Seahawks are missing both Carson and Russ this week. Geno Smith did well stepping in for Russ to finish the game last week. He looked solid and was accurate on some tougher routes. This is no ordinary defense, they’re known for frazzling even the toughest offenses and without Carson, this stout run defense will surely frustrate the Seahawks O-line and rushing attack. Without Russ and Carson to inject life into this offense I really think Pittsburgh suffocates them and finds some success against the worst ranked defense in the league.
PIT 24 SEA 10
BILLS @ TITANS
The interesting matchup in this one is surely King Henry facing the 3rd best rushing defense in the league. King Henry will surely be tested this week against a Bills defense that has put together 2 shutouts this season. There’s no doubt Henry is the best RB in the league as he is the definition of dominance. The Titans have the 3rd ranked rushing attack in the league and that’s pretty much entirely Henry’s doing. The Bills boast an offensive juggernaut of their own in Allen. Allen is putting together an MVP caliber performance this year. The Bills have the 9th best offense and they are tied for 2nd in turnovers. They move the ball well and put up plenty of points. Teams can’t rely on forcing mistakes against this offense so any defense is at their mercy. Both teams boast solid offenses lead by juggernauts at their respective positions, but the difference is the difference. The Bills have the top overall defense and force more turnovers than any other team in the league. They’re also number 1 in scoring defense and top 5 in sacks. This team is all around great and if any can slow down Henry, it should be these guys. I give the Bills a convincing win here.
BUF 34 TEN 16
Well there you have it, another week of pickems and breakdowns in the books. I’m beyond happy with my pickem record this season and am hoping to continue that streak this week. There’s plenty of good games, divisional battles, and potential drama on the cards this week. I’m excited to see how the week plays out as the playoff picture and award races become slightly more clear. I hope you all enjoy reading my article this week and please share it for other football fans, comment your opinions, and let me know what you think. Thank you all for reading and supporting and a special thanks to one of my biggest supporters, none other than Ms. Lacie DeCosta, wife of Ravens GM Eric DeCosta. She gave me a special shoutout on Twitter this week and it’s great to reach such wonderful people. Thank you Ms. DeCosta and I hope you like this week’s article. Everything you and Mr. DeCosta do to support fans all over is awesome. See you all next week and best of luck to your football teams and fantasy teams!