Colts at Titans
The following stat has nothing to do with this game, but...
- Andrew Luck's first 10 NFL starts: 12 TD, 12 INT.
- Nick Foles' first 10 starts, plus some relief appearances: 22 TD, 5 INT.
That should not be received as me saying that Nick Foles is better than Andrew Luck, but that is an interesting fact nevertheless.
Both of these teams are coming off awful losses. The Colts got blown out by the Rams 38-8, and the Titans lost to the awful Jaguars.
The Colts are impossible to figure out. They're 3-0 against winning teams, and the three teams they beat (Seahawks, 49ers, and Broncos) have a combined record of 22-5. If you take away their losses to the Colts themselves, those three teams have a combined record of 22-2.
Meanwhile, the Colts are just 3-3 against losing teams, and two of those wins were narrow ones.
The Colts beat the good teams and struggle with the bad ones, but it's hard to justify taking the Titans here.
Jets at Bills
The Bills have a 2-3 record at home this year, but that's a little misleading, as they've played very well in Buffalo:
- Week 1: Lost to the Pats on a last second FG.
- Week 2: Beat a very good Panthers teams, and put up more points against them than any other team this season.
- Week 4: Beat the Ravens.
- Week 6: Lost in OT to a very good Bengals team.
- Week 9: Lost to the Chiefs because they had to start 3rd string QB Jeff Tuel. Did not give up an offensive TD to KC.
I like the Bills to beat their easiest home opponent of the season so far.
Ravens at Bears
Josh McCown has made me somewhat of a believer. I'm serious. Look at his numbers this year in relief of Jay Cutler. Had the Bears played McCown last week instead of a banged up Cutler, they probably would have beaten the Lions.
The Bears have had trouble stopping the run this season, as they're 2nd worst in the NFL, allowing 129.4 rushing yards per game. That won't matter against the Ravens, who run for 2.8 yards per carry, which is worst in the NFL.
Browns at Bengals
Over the last 2 games, Andy Dalton has thrown 6 INTs and was sacked in the end zone for a walk-off safety against the Dolphins. The Bengals are such a good team, but ultimately, they're only going as far as their QB will take them, as it is with every other team in the NFL.
It won't get any easier against the Browns for Dalton. The Browns give up just 6 yards per pass attempt, which is tied with the Seahawks for best in the NFL. They have also given up the fewest completions of over 40 yards (1), and are tied for 5th in the NFL with 31 sacks.
I am very tempted to take the Browns, until I'm reminded that the Browns don't have a QB either.
Still, if you're the gambling type, I looooooove the Browns at +6.
Washington team at Eagles
You have to at least be competent in all 3 phases, and Washington is awful in 2 of them. Their bad defense has been publicized to death by now, but just as a reminder, they're in the bottom 5 in the NFL in the following defensive categories:
- Points per game allowed
- Yards per play allowed
- First downs per game allowed
- TD passes allowed
- Yards per pass attempt allowed
- Passing first downs allowed
- Passing first down %
- 20+ yard completions allowed
- Completion % allowed
A lesser known aspect of Washington's woes are their abysmal special teams, which were impressively outlined by Sports on Earth's Mike Tanier. An excerpt from Tanier's piece:
The Redskins special teams are awful. In fact, they are on pace to be the worst ever. That’s not internet hyperbole, it’s science: Football Outsiders ranks the Redskins special teams as the third worst of the last 20 years through the first half of a season. And they’re just a few punt return touchdowns or blocked field goals away from being historically terrible.
Folesmania rages on.
Lions at Steelers
The Lions have attempted the 2nd most passes in the NFL this year have allowed the fewest sacks (10). The Steelers are 28th in the NFL on defense with 16 sacks. This is not the Steelers defense that you remember. They don't pressure the QB, they don't force turnovers (last in the NFL with 7), and they aren't winning.
Falcons at Buccaneers
Who would have thought these two teams would have a combined record of 3-15 at this point in the season?
I'll take the slightly more competent of the two.
Cardinals at Jaguars
The Cardinals are the lock of the week by a now uber-famous local internet celebrity (NSFW). Who am I to disagree with EDP445?
Raiders at Texans
It's really hard for me to pick a Texans team that has lost 7 straight games and is down to their 3rd string QB. Then again, it's hard to pick a Raiders team that has lost 8 straight on the road dating back to last season. Something has to give.
I'll take the team with the best defensive player in the NFL.
Chargers at Dolphins
This is kind of a sneaky important game in the AFC playoff race. Neither of these teams is going to win their respective divisions, but the race for the 6 seed is wide open.
If the season ended today, the Jets would be in at 5-4. Behind them are 5 teams who are 4-5. They are the Browns, Ravens, Titans... and of course the Dolphins and Texans.
Miami has lost 5 of 6, including a loss to the winless Bucs, while the Chargers played the Broncos tough last week.
49ers at Saints
There are three premier games on the schedule this week. Chiefs-Broncos is getting all the attention, but 49ers-Saints is a great matchup in the NFC. And then there's an interesting AFC-NFC matchup between the Panthers and Pats.
The 49ers and Saints have wildly contrasting offensive styles.
- Saints: 2nd in the NFL
- 49ers: 32nd in the NFL
- 49ers: 4th in the NFL
- Saints: 23rd in the NFL
Rob Ryan has done a nice job in New Orleans, but clearly, the 49ers have the far superior defense. The Saints' boot stomping of the Cowboys will stick out in people's minds, but don't forget their complete inability to block the Jets the previous week.
Packers at Giants
The Giants’ wins:
- They beat an awful Vikings team with a bad QB they signed off the street days before, and looked bad in doing so.
- They beat an Eagles team who was playing their 3rd string QB, and looked bad in doing so.
- They beat a Raiders team with an injured Terrelle Pryor, and looked bad in doing so.
In many of their losses, they got absolutely dominated. Among QBs with at least 140 pass attempts, Eli Manning has a better QB rating than Brandon Weeden and Josh Freeman. That's it.
And yet, somehow the Giants are favored BY SIX in this game! What?!?!? I get that the Packers are rolling in with their 3rd string QB, but has anyone actually watched the Giants play this year? It's a bottom 5-10 team.
I like the Packers in this one... outright.
Vikings at Seahawks
Chiefs at Broncos
Tambi Hali and Justin Houston will have a big advantage over the Broncos' pair of backup offensive tackles, which is certainly worth watching. But are the Chiefs really in the same class as the Broncos? In my opinion, no.
The Broncos have 44 offensive TDs this season. The Chiefs have 16. Obviously, the Chiefs have won with great defense, but here are the QBs they have faced this season, in order:
Blaine Gabbert, Tony Romo, Michael Vick, Eli Manning, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Terrelle Pryor, Case Keenum, Jason Campbell, and Jeff Tuel.
Credit the Chiefs for running the table so far, but it must be noted that they have played some horrible QBs.
The Broncos are going to get their points, no matter who they play. Can the Chiefs match them? I highly doubt it. On paper, this is a great game. I'm not so sure it will be on the field, even with a nicked up Peyton Manning.
Patriots at Panthers
I've been riding the Panther bandwagon all season, and I'm not going to stop now, even with a temporarily rejuvenated Pats offense.