Photo credit: Keith Allison
Author: Joey Carr
Not many could’ve predicted the utter chaos that has been the 2015 NFL season. There have been countless different story lines to follow and so many surprises thus far. The Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals are undefeated. The Denver Broncos have the 26th ranked offense. Chacandrick West and Knile Davis lead the Kansas City backfield. The Seahawks are 2-3. The Miami Dolphins have a new head coach. Chris Johnson is second in the league in rushing yards. At this point in the season, it’s virtually impossible to accurately predict who will emerge victorious in each game, but it’s always worth a go.
Bengals vs. Bills, 1:00 P.M.
This is possibly the Bengals first real, difficult challenge. Yes, they did play and beat the defending NFC Champion Seahawks last week, but that was at home and against a depleted Seattle team. This week, they’re facing a highly energetic atmosphere in Buffalo and are playing an unpredictable Bills squad. Rex Ryan’s team has shown glimpses of potential but has so far been inconsistent. This matchup could go either way, but the Bengals seem to have more talent overall and are playing on a hot streak.
Prediction: Bengals 27 Bills 17,
Broncos vs. Browns, 1:00 P.M.
If I had to pick an upset game for the week, this would be the game. The Broncos offense has been below average at best. Their run game is nonexistent and Peyton Manning is a middle of the pack quarterback this year. Their defense is elite however, but will be tested when they face Josh McCown, who just last week threw for over 450 yards. This Cleveland team is hungry, they’re at home, and will definitely put up a fight when Denver comes to town Sunday.
Prediction: Broncos 17 Cleveland 16
Bears vs. Lions, 1:00 P.M.
Before the season started, no one would’ve dreamed that the Detroit Lions would be the last winless team in the NFL. But, that’s where we are, and the Lions are simply a mess; Matthew Stafford has thrown 8 interceptions and Calvin Johnson hasn’t eclipsed 100 yards receiving yet. The defense could make Tom Brady look like a good running back and the pass defense isn’t a lot better. The Bears, on the other hand, have looked much more improved since Jay Cutler returned form injury and have one of the best backs in the game in Matt Forte, which should be a major issue all day long for the Lions.
Prediction: Bears 31 Lions 20
Texans vs. Jaguars, 1:00 P.M.
Unless you’re a Texan or Jaguar fan, you probably won’t be watching this game. Both of these teams are peddling in mediocrity this year, and a change doesn’t appear to be on the horizon. Brian Hoyer has overtaken the quarterback position for Houston and has looked sharp in his last
two outings and DeAndre Hopkins leads the league in receiving yards. However, for some reason, the Texans seem to commit a turnover at the worst possible time, which usually loses them the game. This game will ultimately come down to which team commits less turnovers.
Prediction: Jaguars 23 Texans 21
Chiefs vs. Vikings, 1:00 P.M.
The Vikings are coming off a bye and facing a Jamaal Charles-less Chiefs team. Minnesota has performed admirably so far this season, and should be able to continue playing well against an underachieving KC defense. Look for Adrian Peterson to have a big day on the ground and keep an eye on the Chiefs backfield, which now consists of Chacandrick West and Knile Davis.
Prediction: Vikings 28 Chiefs 20
Dolphins vs. Titans, 1:00 P.M.
Miami has vastly under cut expectations this season and will try to get back on track when they visit the Titans this Sunday. They’ll have problems, however, when Marcus Mariota and company try to overcome back-to-back losses. Mariota presents numerous matchup problems for the Dolphins defense and he should be able to exploit those problems come Sunday. If the Dolphins want any chance at winning though, they’ll need Ryan Tannehill to step up and be the quarterback they expected him to be.
Prediction: Titans 27 Dolphins 22
Redskins vs. Jets, 1:00 P.M.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the season, the New York Jets sit at 3-1 and look poised to go 4-1. They’re playing an average Redskins team at home, and will cause tons of problems for Kirk Cousins. However, the Jet offense will need to take it up a notch in order to get past the stingy Washington defense that yielded just 19 points to the Falcons high-powered offense last week.
Prediction: Jets 24 Redskins 19
Cardinals vs. Steelers, 1:00 P.M.
By far the best 1:00 o’clock game this week, this Arizona, Pittsburgh matchup should be a shootout. Last week on Monday Night, the Steelers showed the world they don’t need Big Ben to win football games, as they have Le’Veon Bell leading the offensive charge. However, their defense could be tested heavily when the Cardinals come to Heinz Field. The Cards have a surprisingly strong run game with Chris Johnson as the feature back, and Carson Palmer looks as impressive as ever. Look for this game to come down to the fourth quarter.
Prediction: Cardinals 27 Steelers 24
Panthers vs. Seahawks, 4:05 P.M.
It’s a rematch of last year’s NFC Divisional matchup, but you would think this year’s records for both of these teams are swapped. The Panthers stand at 4-0 and the Seahawks at 2-3, but these records are a little skewed. Carolina has yet to play an above .500 team, and the Seahawks have played nothing but above average teams. The Panthers will be feeling the pressure on Sunday when they enter the home of the 12th Man, and will more than likely be undefeated no longer.
Prediction: Seahawks 26 Panthers 14
Ravens vs. 49ers, 4:25 P.M.
In a rematch of Super Bowl 47, a win could benefit both these teams greatly. The Ravens have disappointed, to say the least. They’re 1-4, at the bottom of the AFC North, and are basically fighting for their lives at this point. In order for them to have any shot this season, they need to secure a W against a 49er team that has been extremely inconsistent. If Baltimore can contain Carlos Hyde and limit the damage that Kaepernick can cause, they should be able to walk out of Santa Clara with a much needed win.
Prediction: Ravens 20 49ers 13
Chargers vs. Packers
Definitely the marquee matchup of the afternoon, the Bolts will try to slow down Aaron Rodgers and the Pack at Lambeau, which isn’t an easy task to accomplish. Rodgers has been near impossible to stop at home but the Chargers will be up to the test. This game should be close throughout but the Packers always seem to find a way to win at home. However, don’t be surprised if San Diego gives Green Bay their first loss of the season.
Prediction: Packers 30 Chargers 27
Patriots vs. Colts, 8:30 P.M.
This is the game we’ve all been waiting for. The Revenge Game. It was nine months ago that the Patriots crushed the Colts in the AFC Championship Game, thus beginning the saga known as Deflategate. You couldn’t ask for a better story line going into a game, and New England looks ready to pay back Jim Irsay and the Colts for telling the NFL about supposedly deflated footballs. Tom Brady is playing some of the best football of his career and always performs at a high level when he plays Indy. Andrew Luck on the other hand, seems to play his worst football when he matches up against the Pats. Expect New England to pass the ball with efficiency but also expect a high-powered running attack that has succeeded in the past against Indy.
Prediction: Patriots 37 Colts 21
Giants vs. Eagles, 8:30 P.M. (Monday Night)
An NFC East rivalry is renewed this Monday when the Giants travel to Philly to take on the Eagles. Both teams could really use a win, as they are both battling for the wide-open NFC East division. Eli Manning and the Giants have been on a hot streak as of late, winning three games in a row after dropping their first two. However, the Eagles might finally have something going
offensively, after DeMarco Murray broke out for 83 yards rushing and Sam Bradford passed for over 300 yards yet again. This game should be a thriller, and is anyone’s game at this point. However, New York could be in trouble in if receivers Odell Beckham and Reuben Randle can’t play.
Prediction: Eagles 30 Giants 27
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