Four Games to Watch In Week 14

Minnesota Vikings @ Carolina Panthers – 12 CT

The Vikings are one win away from sweeping the NFC South, the best division in football. Getting the victory won’t be easy, but based on previous matchups, the Vikings should have the upper hand. The Vikings and Panthers have faced off twice in the past three seasons, and the Vikings won fairly easily both times. Last season, the Vikings sacked Cam Newton eight times and came away with three interceptions. Getting pressure on Newton will be the key to a Vikings victory. The Panthers have a record of 8-4 and still have a shot at the NFC South division crown. The Panthers could be a division winner, or fail to make the playoffs due to how competitive the NFC is this season. This is an important game for both teams. Vegas has the Vikings as 2.5 point favorites, and while I think that’s a lot on the road against a good team, I’ll still take them to cover.

Seattle Seahawks @ Jacksonville Jaguars – 3:25 CT

Lets take a moment to give the Jaguars some props. No one believed in them heading into the season, yet here they are at 8-4, just a half a game back from leading the AFC South. The Jaguars might have the best defense in the entire NFL, and that defense should give trouble to every single team. The question is if they can get enough offense being lead by Blake Bortles. On the other sideline, the Seahawks are coming off of a huge win against the Eagles. The Seahawks still have a shot at the NFC West, and last week they played their best game of the year. Russell Wilson is a legitimate MVP candidate, and looking like one of the five best QBs in the league. The Jaguars are favored by 2.5, and I really think this game is a toss up. Just because I don’t think either team deserves to be favored in this one, I’ll take the Seahawks.

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Philadelphia Eagles @ Los Angeles Rams – 3:25 CT

After suffering their first loss since week 2, the Eagles are facing another test this week as they square off against the Rams. In an unusual move, the Eagles stayed on the West Coast for the week and practiced in Anaheim. Meanwhile, the Rams are preparing for this game like it is an away game. Coach Sean McVay said that the Rams are working on the silent count because they anticipate that the Eagles fans will outnumber Rams fans. This is the most exciting game of the week, but one I’m very unsure about. How will the Eagles respond after their loss to the Seahawks? Will Jared Goff make the necessary plays to beat a good Eagles defense? Will the Rams feel like their playing a road game while at home? The Rams are favored by 2, but my gut tells me the Eagles win this one.

Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers – 7:30 CT

One of the best rivalries in the NFL on Sunday night? Between two potential playoff teams? Sign me up. The Ravens have won three straight and are in position to get a wildcard spot in the playoffs. They just dismantled a solid Lions team 44-20, and the team as a whole seems to be trending in the right direction. For the Steelers, first thing that needs to be mentioned is Ryan Shazier, who suffered a spinal injury on Monday Night Football. There hasn’t been much in the way of updates on Shazier’s condition, but hopefully the injury he suffered is not too devastating. Back to the game, The Steelers are one of the best teams in the league, and they have won seven straight. Those wins haven’t always been pretty (they beat each of the Colts, Packers, and Bengals by just three points), but the Steelers are tied for best record in the league. The Steelers are 4.5 point favorites in Vegas, and I’ll take them to cover.

Three Games to Watch In Week 13

Minnesota Vikings @ Atlanta Falcons – 12 CT

This is a battle between two teams that will probably make the playoffs. The Vikings have a commanding three game lead in the NFC North, and the Falcons are fighting with the Saints and Panthers to come out on top of the NFC South. The NFC South appears to be the best division in the NFL, with the Falcons, Saints, and Panthers all positioned to make the playoffs. This isn’t a must win game for the Falcons, but they have a brutal schedule coming up: Vikings,  Saints, at Buccaneers, at Saints, and Panthers. That’s rough. The Falcons need to win at least two of those games to have a shot at the playoffs, three wins and they are probably a lock. So, how do they matchup with the Vikings? Well, Vikings corner Xavier Rhodes has held Julio Jones to under 100 total yards in the last two games these teams have played each other in. The Falcons also have top cornerback Desmond Trufant out. If Rhodes can keep Jones under control, and Case Keenum and Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs can exploit Atlanta’s banged up secondary, it should be a victory for the Vikings. Atlanta is favored by two in what should be a really close game. I’ll take the Vikings to win this one.

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Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints – 3:25 CT

Speaking of the NFC South, here’s a game between the two top teams in the division. The Saints lost to the Rams last week, meaning their eight game winning streak came to an end. Can they rebound at home against a tough Panthers team? Rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who is probably going to wind up winning Defensive Rookie of the Year, might play in this game but he is dealing with an ankle injury. For the Panthers, Greg Olsen is expected to miss the game with an injury. Olsen just recently came off of IR, but he reaggravated the injury in his first game back. The Saints are favored by 5 points, and while I think they eek out a victory, I think they fail to cover.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Seattle Seahawks – 7:25 CT

The Eagles are rolling right now, and Carson Wentz is looking like the MVP, but lets take a closer look at their schedule. Here is a list of the wins the Eagles have so far: the Redskins (twice), Giants, Chargers, Cardinals, Panthers, 49ers, Broncos, Cowboys, Bears. Besides the win over the Panthers, are any of them really that impressive? All of those teams (besides the Panthers) are at .500 or lower. The Eagles are one of the best teams in the NFL, no doubt about it, but it will be interesting to see how well they play against other really good teams. Even though the Seahawks are hampered by injuries, Seattle is a tough place to play. The Eagles will be tested on both sides of the ball this game. Vegas has the Eagles favored by 3.5 in this one, a line that started out at 6 in favor of the Eagles. I think this is a relatively close game, but the Eagles still cover on the road.

Two Games to Watch In Week 9

Yuck, what an ugly slate of NFL games we have for week 9. Usually, I write about four games to watch, but this selection of games is so awful I’m only writing about two of them. If you have errands you’ve been putting off, this Sunday would be a good one to finally get those done. Next week is looking better, but for now, here are two games to watch in week 9.

Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers – 12 CT

It’s been a tough few weeks to be a Falcons fan. After starting the season with three straight wins, the Falcons lost three in a row. Last week, they narrowly beat the Jets (who were leading the game entering the final quarter), and now the roof of the brand new Mercedes-Benz Arena has to be closed for the rest of the season due to leaks. Ouch. Meanwhile, things aren’t very rosy for the Panthers either. After a 4-1 start, the Panthers have dropped two of their last three. In addition to that, they just traded away Kelvin Benjamin (their best receiver) for draft picks, a move that shocked everyone. The Panthers offense hasn’t exactly been electric, and that was with Benjamin. Without him? Well, it’ll be interesting to see how the Panthers plan to adjust. Atlanta is favored in Carolina by a single point, which seems a bit strange to me. I’ll take the Panthers just because they are at home, but I worry about their ability to put points on the board after dumping Benjamin.

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Kansas City Chiefs @ Dallas Cowboys – 3:25 CT

Last week it looked like Ezekiel Elliott was set to play the rest of the season with the Cowboys. Now, the endless saga of appeals has come to an end and Zeke will be serving a six game suspension. The Cowboys are currently sitting at 4-3, second in the NFC East. Can Dak Prescott step up and take control of a Zeke-less offense and lead the Cowboys to the playoffs? If I had to wager, I’d say probably not. Without Elliott, this game has lost some luster. On the other hand, the Chiefs haven’t been looking as stellar as they were during their five game winning streak. Andy Reid has a tendency to get too cute with the offensive play calling at times (the Tyreek Hill pass in the red zone was terrible), but overall the Chiefs still look good. The game is a pick ’em in Vegas, and I’ll happily take the Chiefs.

Four Games to Watch In Week 5

Carolina Panthers @ Detroit Lions – 12 CT

Despite the big win over New England last week, the story surrounding the Panthers right now is focused on Cam Newton’s comments toward a female reporter. Last week’s victory was impressive, but I’m still having a hard time believing in this Panthers team. Newton had a rough start to the season, but maybe the Patriots game will be a turning point for him. For the Lions, they traveled to Minnesota and squeaked by with a mostly unimpressive victory. The Lions defense looked good, but Stafford and the offense looked out of sorts. The Lions are favored to win by 2.5. Expect the Lions offense to get back on track and beat the Panthers by 3+ points.

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Arizona Cardinals @ Philadelphia Eagles – 12 CT

The Eagles enter the week with a 3-1 record, and a lot of NFL analysts are loving the. I’m a Carson Wentz fan, but are we sure the Eagles are actually good? The Eagles win over the Redskins in week 1 was impressive, but since then they’ve lost to the Chiefs (excusable), and then beat both the 0-4 Giants and Chargers by a combined 5 points. That doesn’t impress me much. Hopefully the Eagles prove me wrong, I want to see Wentz make the playoffs in his sophomore season. The visiting Cardinals are a very strange team. Sometimes Carson Palmer looks like he isn’t capable of throwing a football more than five yards, and other times he slings it like Brett Favre. The Eagles are favored by 6.5. While I think the Eagles could and should win this game, I think they will play down to the Cardinals level and narrowly get the victory by less than 6.5.

Seattle Seahawks @ Los Angeles Rams – 3:05 CT

Two of the most mysterious teams in the league, hopefully we will be able to learn something from this game. The Rams shockingly have one of the best offenses in the league after four weeks, can they keep it up against a good Seahawks defense? Can the Seahawks offensive line give Russell Wilson time to get the ball downfield? These two teams are battling to win the NFC West, so this is a big game. In Vegas, the game is a pick ’em, which seems about right. I really don’t have a good feel on how this game is going to go, but I’ll say the Seahawks win in a very close game.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Houston Texans – 7:30 CT

The Chiefs are the NFL’s last undefeated team, but they certainly didn’t look unbeatable last week on Monday Night Football. I think this speaks to the fact that parity in the NFL might be at an all time high this year, it seems like almost any team can win any given week. That said, the Chiefs are definitely a good football team, Alex Smith and Kareem Hunt are carrying the offense, and the defense is good as well. On the other hand, the Texans seemed to have figured it out. After a close loss to New England in week 3, the Texans destroyed the Titans 57-14. The Houston defense looks back, and on offense, DeShaun Watson looks like a franchise QB. The Chiefs are favored by just 1 point in this one. Expect a close game, but expect the Chief to cover.