Closing in on the halfway point of the NFL season does not seem possible, but it is here. There have been some major QB changes around the league and unsurprisingly, the Browns are still without a win. They had a chance agains the Jets last week but could not finish with a win. Here’s a look at the game predictions for this week.
The Falcons found a way to avoid a third straight loss and rallied to edge Green Bay last week. The offense continues to put up points, but the Atlanta defense is a mess. It’s the same defense that gave up 31 to the Bucs in a Week 1 loss. Now, the Falcons will face Tampa Bay on the road. The Bucs lost in overtime to the Raiders last week and have yet to win a game at home. It won’t happen this week either… Atlanta 34, Tampa Bay 28.
This AFC North rivalry will depend upon who starts at quarterback for Pittsburgh. If Ben Roethlisberger can go for the Steelers and be at least 75 percent, Pittsburgh stands a good chance of not losing its fourth in a row to the Ravens. Head coach Mike Tomlin and the Steelers have not won at M&T Bank Stadium since 2012. Both teams had a bye last week and should be well rested. Home team gets the advantage… Baltimore 17, Pittsburgh 14.
The Browns held a 20-7 halftime lead over the Jets at halftime last week. They lost 31-28. It doesn’t get any easier for Cleveland as now they take on the Cowboys who are 6-1 after beating Philadelphia last Sunday night. Dallas did have to rally in overtime to win and RB Ezekiel Elliott did not rush for 100 yards for the fourth consecutive game (he had 96). Elliott will have a field day against the Browns… Dallas 35, Cleveland 17.
Jags head coach Gus Bradley is going to be fired. It’s just a matter of when. Jacksonville got smoked by Tennessee last Thursday on national TV. The Chiefs beat up on the Colts and did so with their backup quarterback, Nick Foles. Foles replaced Alex Smith who suffered a concussion and calmly went 16-of-22 for 223 yards and two touchdowns. It won’t matter who the Chiefs start at quarterback in this one… Kansas City 27, Jacksonville 13.
The Jets picked up a rare win but only because they happened to play the Browns. The Jets face a Miami team that they have beaten in three consecutive games. The Dolphins are coming off of a bye and a two-game winning streak. If RB Jay Ajayi continues his streak (consecutive 200-yard rushing games), the Miami offense will rule the day. Miami is averaging 29 points per game over its past two games… Miami 28, NY Jets 21.
The Eagles and the Giants are both 4-3 and will have to fight to capture a wild card in the NFC. Dallas is clearly the cream of the NFC East and the rest of the division is left to fend for themselves. The Eagles dropped a division game to the Cowboys last week while the Giants enjoyed a bye. Philadelphia is just 1-3 on the road this season… NY Giants 24, Philadelphia 17.
The Lions saw their three-game winning streak end last week when they traveled away from Ford Field and had to play in Houston. On the road again in Minnesota, don’t expect a miracle from Detroit. Head coach Jim Caldwell’s team is just 1-3 on the road this year. Plus, the Vikings need to make a statement to the rest of the league that they are indeed for real… Minnesota 20, Detroit 13.
The Panthers came out of their funk to beat Arizona 30-20 last week, but the big news is Cam Newton’s reaction to what he feels is officiating that does not protect the Carolina QB. He will face pressure once again from a pretty good Rams defense. Los Angeles is in desperate need of a win after dropping three straight to fall to 3-4. They are coming off a bye too… Los Angeles 27, Carolina 24.
If the Saints could ever be consistent, they might stand a chance at being a playoff team. They got 102 yards from RB Tim Hightower last week in a 25-20 upset of Seattle. The Saints have actually won three of their last four games and face a 49ers team that is just 1-6. San Francisco had last week off to try and figure out what is going on. The 49ers are dead last in the NFL in scoring defense giving up 31.3 points per game… New Orleans 33, San Francisco 24.
The Chargers couldn’t pull off another win over Denver last week, but they do get to play at home where they are 2-1 on the season. Tennessee is coming off a win over Jacksonville and is one of the more intriguing NFL teams heading into the season’s second half. The Titans have a top ten offense and defense. That needs to translate into wins… Tennessee 28, San Diego 24.
The Colts are a model of inconsistency. They have traded wins and losses for six weeks. Last week, they dropped a 30-14 decision to Kansas City. Now, it’s on to Green Bay and the Packers. Green Bay let one slip away against Atlanta last week, but the Packers are hard to beat at home (3-1 this season). Indianapolis is just 1-3 on the road this year… Green Bay 37, Indianapolis 27.
It’s an AFC West showdown as rivals Denver and Oakland battle for control of the division. Both teams are 6-2 and the leader will have the upper hand in the division race. The two teams meet in the season finale as well. Both teams are coming off wins last week. More importantly, Denver won eight in a row in the series between the two teams until last December’s meeting when DE Khalil Mack recorded five sacks in a 15-12 Raiders win. This will be the first Raiders win at home over Denver since 2010… Oakland 24, Denver 19.
The Bills will have to shake off a 41-25 drubbing at the hands of New England when they travel to Seattle on Monday night. The Seahawks gave up a 100-yard rusher (New Orleans Tim Hightower) last week and lost to the Saints. Both teams are good defensively and believe in running the football. The difference? Playing at CenturyLink Field… Seattle 13, Buffalo 6.
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2018 NFL Football Season
2015 NFL predictions
Cleveland @ Cincinnati
The battle of Ohio shouldn’t be much of a battle as the undefeated Bengals (7-0) entertain Cleveland (2-6) on Thursday night. Cincinnati is coming off a Sunday win over Pittsburgh, so the short week might give the Bengals some trouble, but hey, it’s Cleveland! The Browns are still trying to figure things out. Chalk up another loss… Cincinnati 27, Cleveland 19.
Green Bay @ Carolina
This is a huge game. The NFC North leader against the NFC South frontrunner. Green Bay is coming off a tough loss to Denver. It’s hard to see them losing two in a row. Carolina hasn’t lost at home and their defense, led by LB Luke Kuechly, is tough. Panthers in a tight one… Carolina 14, Green Bay 13.
Washington @ New England
The Redskins are up and down. They have played well in wins over Philadelphia and Tampa Bay and have even battled in losses to Atlanta and the Jets. In the end, though, Washington just doesn’t have what it takes to beat a team like New England. The Patriots are just up and will continue to be Sunday… New England 37, Washington 20.
Miami @ Buffalo
This game will have some implications in the AFC East. Both teams are 3-4. The Dolphins have yet to win a division game but have been playing much better since the firing of Joe Philbin. They did run into the Patriots last Thursday and they don’t play well in Buffalo. The Bills just can’t seem to put it together. Starting QB Tyrod Taylor may return from injury. The Bills lost to Jacksonville last week. Ugh, and they haven’t played well at home… Miami 31, Buffalo 28.
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St. Louis @ Minnesota
The hottest team in the NFL right now may be the Minnesota Vikings. Head coach Mike Zimmer’s defense is shutting people down and Adrian Peterson is running people over. Next up is St. Louis. At 4-3, the Rams are improved from last year. Rookie RB Todd Gurley is impressive. Can he rip up the Vikings defense? Not this time… Minnesota 23, St. Louis 17.
Oakland @ Pittsburgh
The old Steelers-Raiders rivalries of the 1970s and ‘80s are long gone. The two teams are now headed in different directions. The Raiders have won two in a row and feature a potent offense. The Steelers were supposed to feature a potent offense. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returned from a knee injury last week to guide Pittsburgh to a measly 10 points in a loss to Cincinnati. Still, the Steelers won’t lose two in a row at home… Pittsburgh 30, Oakland 24.
Atlanta @ San Francisco
After starting 5-0, the Falcons have lost two of their last three with both losses coming against NFC South Division opponents. The lone win in those three games was a 10-7 victory over lowly Tennessee. Atlanta is not playing well, but they face a 49ers team that hasn’t played well this year. San Francisco doesn’t throw the ball well. They are worst in the NFL in scoring (13.6 points a game) and they don’t play very good defense. Even if Atlanta struggles, the Falcons win… Atlanta 31, San Francisco 17.
Denver @ Indianapolis
Can anyone beat Denver? Well, it won’t be the Colts. Indianapolis is 3-4 and leads the AFC South Division. The Colts have wins over teams with a six victories. While Peyton Manning is not enjoying a stellar season, he is still Peyton Manning and the Denver defense is just dominating. They lead the NFL in points against… Denver 35, Indianapolis 14.
NY Giants @ Tampa Bay
The Giants are coming off a thrilling loss to New Orleans, while the Bucs claimed an overtime victory over Atlanta last week. The Giants offense, with QB Eli Manning and WR Odell Beckham Jr, is virtually unstoppable. Tampa Bay has been inconsistent and rookie QB Jameis Winston is improving. Still, the Giants need this win… NY Giants 33, Tampa Bay 28.
Philadelphia @ Dallas
The Sunday night game is a pivotal one in the NFC East. Dallas has yet to win a game without Tony Romo at quarterback. Romo won’t return until later this month and if the Cowboys can’t muster a few wins, their playoff hopes are done. The Eagles are in the same boat. They did beat New Orleans and the Giants in successive games but lost to a very good Carolina team in their last game. The Eagles did have a bye week to prepare… Philadelphia 24, Dallas 17.
Chicago @ San Diego
The 2-5 Bears against the 2-6 Chargers on Monday night. It could be a yawner. The Chargers, with the NFL’s top passing game, have dropped four straight because they just don’t play very good defense. The Bears have dropped two in a row by a total of six points. The Bears aren’t all that good on defense either, which might mean that a lot of points get put up… San Diego 37, Chicago 34.