(2-8) Oakland Raiders v (5-5) Baltimore Ravens
The next few games can do a lot for building for the future. In this NFL we have seen teams, like the Rams, go from worse to first in a matter of a season or two. With this season being done for both teams, these games are great for character building to see who to keep around going forward. For both coaches, especially Jon Gruden, this is where you find the key veterans to build your locker room around, and players to cut loose. Veterans that don’t buy in will be a cancer that will tear down the foundation a team is trying to build. And this is a game where a team will see who want to be around and who doesn’t, especially for the Raiders.
(3-7) Jacksonville Jaguars v (3-7) Buffalo Bills
Speaking of building a locker room, there are several players on the Jaguars that are looking to build their resume for free agency. One player I suspect will be on his way will be Jalen Ramsey, as the Jaguars will go down as one of the most disappointing teams of the season (along with the Eagles).
The Bills, wow, it’s hard to believe that these two teams played in last year’s wild card game. Both teams are trying to fight through this disappointing year and end the season on a strong note.
(5-5) Seattle Seahawks v (6-4) Carolina Panthers
This has to feel like a must win game for Carolina. After a series of losses the past few weeks, the Panthers find themselves fighting for survival. And that fight will not be easy against Russell Wilson, who have the ability to extend plays like Cam. This Carolina defense will have their work cut out for them, as Seattle is not going to just lay down. Seattle’s last few games resulted in either a win or a close loss.
Seahawks (when I pick the Panthers they lose so I am trying the opposite).
(3-6-1) Cleveland Browns v (5-5) Cincinnati Bengals
In this division rivalry, the Bengals (mathematically) still have something to play for. If the Bengals could win out, and get a little help, they could find themselves a wild card contender. And if you are a contender, you have a chance. So for the Bengals, the playoffs start now. They must win this game. A game against the same Browns team that played spoiler for the Falcons a few weeks ago.
(7-3) New England Patriots v (3-7) New York Jets
I miss Rex Ryan, he made this rivalry interesting. I understand why the Jets cut bait with him, they weren’t getting the job done. But post Rex Ryan, this rivalry just hasn’t had the same flare. This come down to the Jets needing to get back to winning football.
The Patriots have problems of their own surrounding the health of their star players. With Gronk not able to stay healthy, and concerns about the health of Tom Brady, you can bet all the attention will be on Brady to see if the rumors about his health are true.
(3-7) New York Giants v (4-6) Philadelphia Eagles
The Giants are not having a good year, but Giants fans will be filled with joy if they could play spoiler to the Eagles. The Eagles are still mathematically in the hunt, but if the Giants lay one on them, they will surely be watching the playoffs from the couch.
(2-8) San Francisco 49ers v (3-7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I just want to see my Niners build upon the next season. I have been encouraged by the continued fight that the team has shown in the past few weeks. This season is an obvious disappointment for this team, as they were predicted to be possible playoff contenders. I feel we are a play maker or two away from being where we need to be. Hopefully we are able to pick up a talented young defensive back to help our secondary (maybe a Jalen Ramsey). I am expecting my Niners to play hard and continue to remain competitive.
“Faithful Now, Faithful Then”.
No Prediction (Faithful Now, Faithful Then)
(2-8) Arizona Cardinals v (7-3) San Diego Chargers
“Show me your lightning bolt”.
With the Chiefs practically in position to win the West, the Chargers are the top wild card contender. But with the Chiefs losing to the Rams last Monday night, the Chargers still have a chance to take the division. It’s not going to be an easy path, so a win against the (2-8) Cardinals will be crucial.
(5-5) Miami Dolphins v (5-5) Indianapolis Colts
The Colts have been on a bit of a streak, talk about a turnaround season. One of the factors behind their success lately has been protecting Andrew Luck. Keep Luck off of the ground, and he is able to stay healthy to win some football games. The Colts are in a great position to be able to earn a playoff spot. With their next few games against opponents who are “28-32“, and the Texans being the only team with a winning record, they could not ask for a better path to the playoffs.
(7-2-1) Pittsburgh Steelers v (4-6) Denver Broncos
The Steelers came off a heart pounding victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Having almost succumbed to the upset, the Steelers are going to have to get focused to avoid another possible setback. And it will not be easy as these Broncos delivered an upset to the Chargers last week. I look for the Steelers defense to be the key in this game.
Sunday Night Football: (4-5-1) Green Bay Packers v (5-4-1) Minnesota Vikings
When a team win everything is kosher, but when they lose all of their dirty laundry gets aired. And the latest out of the Green Bay camp is the butting of heads between star quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, and the head coach. With complaints that Aaron Rodgers have not been in agreement with the play calling of Mike McCarthy, rumors were swirling this week that the team may part ways with Mike McCarthy. This has been overshadowed by the feud between Aaron Rodgers and his brother, Jordan Rodgers.
Right now the Packers are in need of a win, and they are playing a Vikings team who just lost the division lead to the Bears. Both teams have a lot to play for, with the division still being within reach.
For the Vikings, if they could win out this will set up for a crucial match up with the Bears to potentially take back the North.
Monday Night Football: (5-5) Tennessee Titans v (7-3) Houston Texans
This will be a lit Monday night game, as I expect a lot of respects to be paid to Texans founder Bob McNair. Having past away a few days ago, the Texans will be looking to put up a good showing in honor of him (especially with the game being at home).
The inconsistent Titans represent their current record to the “t”. This team , like the Lions, can either be dominant, or disappointing. I joked back in week 5 that when I picked against the Titans, they won. Since then they went 2-4, and find themselves scrapping the rest of the way to stay in contention. If the Titans that beat the Patriots show up, I see them winning this game. But that is a big “if”.