Last week I finished with a 9-6 record (did not pick the Chiefs vs Redskins game.
Thursday Night Football, Chargers vs. Broncos
Most analysts are not really giving the Chargers much of a chance. Philip Rivers has been orchestrating the offense pretty well all season. San Diego’s defense is among the leagues worst, so Rivers will have to keep up with Peyton Manning and the explosive Denver offense. Denver’s defense is coming together late in the season, but their secondary is still ranks in the bottom half of the league. Expect points to be scored. Rivers and the Chargers are fighting for their playoff lives and will have to score touchdowns not field goals to keep up with Manning.
It may be a hard turnaround to play four days later in the Denver weather conditions. Thursday Night Football home teams are actually only 6-6 this season. Peyton Manning may be too much to overcome. If Chargers are going to win this game its going to be close.
Chargers 31 Broncos 28
Washington vs. Atlanta
After proclaiming Robert Griffin III to be inactive for the remaining three weeks, Mike Shanahan is in a whirl of trouble and controversy. Personally, you have to let the kid play so he can continue to grow and get experience. You cannot focus on the what-ifs of an injury. That should be the risk for any player at any given time.
With all that said, I see quarterback Kirk Cousins to have a manageable performance. He has shown his potential off in past starts. Atlanta is having an extremely unexpected season as the once thought Super Bowl contenders are now 2-11. Matt Ryan should play well with Roddy White healthy, but I can still see the weak Atlanta defense cave to the Redskins offense. Matt Ryan’s experience should bring enough to the table to seal a win. Perhaps Shanahan’s plan is to get the best draft pick he can.
Redskins 16 Falcons 24
New England vs. Miami
Tom Brady and the Patriots offense had another game winning drive verse the Browns scoring two touchdowns in the finals 61 seconds of the game. The Patriots are still in contention for the first seed in the AFC and Home-Field throughout the playoffs. I do not see them slowing down in the late parts of the season. They will have to do a better job of scoring earlier in the game. Tom Brady has a history of game winning drives, but you cannot always lean on that.
The Dolphins should also be giving it all, playing tough at home. They are neck and neck for the 6th Wild Card Spot against the Ravens. Winning out the season for the Dolphins is probably the only way they make the playoffs with that Wild Card spot. Still, the Patriots are on a mission and will handle the Dolphins and their defense in Miami.
Patriots 31 Dolphins 20
Green Bay @ Dallas
This is an intriguing game as the Green Bay Packers (6-6-1) still have a shot at making the playoffs, only down a half game to the Bears and Lions who are both 7-6. Aaron Rodgers’ status is questionable coming off of his broken collarbone. He stated that he would start if he practiced in full on Friday. He remained limited Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboy (7-6) are coming off a Monday Night loss to Josh McCown and the Jay Cutler-less Chicago Bears. The Cowboys are also fighting for their playoff lives as they are a game back to the Eagles (8-5) in the NFC East. If Aaron Roders does not play, than it will be hard to pick against the Cowboys. Whether Rodgers is active or not, Tony Romo needs to play an efficient turnover-free game. The Cowboys defense is among the worst in NFL history, so they will need a lot of help from the offense.
Packers 27 Cowboys 34
Baltimore @ Detroit
Although an inter-conference game, it has major playoff implications. The Ravens lead multiple teams for the 6th Seed Wild Card spot in the AFC, and need to keep winning to hold on. The Ravens are coming off a thriller against Minnesota scoring twice in the closing minutes including a game winning 9-yard touchdown pass to Marlon Brown with 4 seconds remaining in the game. Joe Flacco has not been very consistent this season, but still has a knack for making big plays.
The Lions are trying to hold onto their half-game lead to the Bears and Packers for the NFC North crown. The Lions are pretty solid on both offense and defense, but have been inconsistent at times. After blowing the game verse the Eagles in the Snow Bowl, the Lions are set to warm up a bit at home in a dome.
Baltimore 17 Detroit 31
49ers @ Bucs = 49ers, Seahawks @ NYG = Seattle, Eagles @ Vikings = Eagles, Bills @ Jags = Jaguars, Texans @ Colts = Colts, Bears @ Browns = Bears, Chiefs @ Raiders = Chiefs, Jets @ Panthers = Panthers, Cardinals @ Titans = Cardinals, Saints @ Rams = Saints, Bengals @ Steelers = Bengals.