New England Patriots (6-6) @ Los Angeles Rams (8-4) @ 8:20pm (TNF): Both teams are coming off wins that improved their playoff chances, as the Pats made a convincing win shutting out Justin Herbert and the Rams getting a divisional win to reclaim the tiebreaking-lead for first in the NFC West with the Seahawks loss. Cam Newton plays at SoFi Stadium for the second week in a row similar to the 49ers playing at MetLife Stadium against the Jets and Giants in Week 2 and 3 this season. It will be a question of who overall is better on both offense and defense, and with Aaron Donald leading the way defensively and Jared Goff getting everyone on offense involved, the Rams may etch out a win over Cam that could dampen the Patriots’ playoff chances, along with their 11-straight defending AFC East titles.
PREDICTION: Rams win 28-21
Houston Texans (4-8) @ Chicago Bears (5-7) @ 1pm: Houston and Chicago’s playoff chances are declining as they face each other to stave off elimination for another week. Both teams are coming off losses where fumbles within the last two minutes of the 4th quarter cost them both the game, and they will look to improve on both sides of the field to get back into the win column. Despite a productive offense, Khalil Mack was unable to help the defense contain a team that just fired their head coach, and it may not be pretty again against Deshaun Watson next week. The Texans may win, but don’t expect them to stay in the playoff race for long.
PREDICTION: Texans win 31-21
Arizona Cardinals (6-6) @ New York Giants (5-7) @ 1pm: The Giants are starting to surge despite their record with a 4-game winning streak and an upset win over the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field. They will face off against the NFC West for the second week in a row, which will be Kyler Murray and Arizona, who are coming off a home divisional loss to the Rams. Giants lost by 6 at home to Murray last season, but with an improved defense that has apparently carried the team this season and a running game that has stayed strong despite no Saquon Barkley, the Giants control their playoff destiny and a win keeps them ahead despite Washington currently having the same record as them.
PREDICTION: Giants win 27-20
Kansas City Chiefs (11-1) @ Miami Dolphins (8-4) @ 1pm: The Chiefs have just secured a playoff spot, again! No surprise, and they are one more win or Raiders loss away from their 5th-straight AFC West title. Mahomes returns to the site of his first Super Bowl win against a Dolphins team that is still hot in the AFC East race with Buffalo, making this a promising matchup that could be seen again in the playoffs. Tua’s return from injury was good enough to get Miami one step closer to the playoffs, and despite their defense, they will have their hands full against a potential MVP candidate despite the offense possibly keeping them in the game for a bit.
PREDICTION: Chiefs win 31-26
Minnesota Vikings (6-6) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5) @ 1pm: This game has huge playoff implications as both teams continue to work towards getting over a hump they currently have. Brady and the Bucs come back from their bye week looking to secure a wild-card spot as their NFC South chances are a loss or Saints win away from ending, ending Brady’s 11-year division-title streak. Vikings held on to an OT win over the Jaguars, and facing a tougher offense in Brady and company, Tampa Bay can see a win despite some key injuries to keep their playoff hopes alive.
PREDICTION: Buccaneers win 31-28
Denver Broncos (4-8) @ Carolina Panthers (4-8) @ 1pm: Both teams are a loss and few other games during the week away from playoff elimination. The Panthers need Christian McCaffrey to come back to get back into the groove while the Broncos nearly scared Mahomes in Arrowhead on Sunday night. An offense will be big for both teams to have to find a win. If McCaffrey comes back, Bridgewater can give him and Robby Anderson a huge game like how they nearly upset KC weeks ago.
PREDICTION: Panthers win 24-17
Dallas Cowboys (3-9) @ Cincinnati Bengals (2-9-1) @ 1pm: The Bengals are out, but Dallas is mathematically not, but their loss to the Ravens that got back Lamar Jackson continues to devastate their playoff chances, especially in the NFC East. Dallas continues to have weapons on both sides of the field, but is still trying to create chemistry to make the team look elite, which they are obviously not. Playing at Cincinnati could be huge with Burrow out for the rest of the season, Mixon still injured, and the Bengals’ defense banged up.
PREDICTION: Cowboys win 27-17
Tennessee Titans (8-4) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-11) @ 1pm: The Titans nearly made a comeback against the surging Browns, but ultimately ended up short. Had there have been a defense, the Titans would still have sole possession of first place in the division, but a huge win to split the series with the Colts and their upcoming game against the struggling Jaguars keeps them in contention for a decent playoff spot and working hard for the AFC South title.
PREDICTION: Titans win 33-20
Indianapolis Colts (8-4) @ Las Vegas Raiders (7-5) @ 4:05pm: Raiders should be 6-6, but the Jets are the Jets. They return home to face an AFC South-tied Colts team that is working hard with Phillip Rivers under center. Raiders still have confidence thanks to their win last week, and with a decent defense, the Raiders could barely out should Josh Jacobs return for Vegas and outrun Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines.
PREDICTION: Raiders win 27-24
New York Jets (0-12) @ Seattle Seahawks (8-4) @ 4:05pm: After Seattle’s loss at home against the Giants last week, this game could be closer than people think, but Jamal Adams is still focusing on revenge for being traded by the Jets. The offensive line is causing problems for Russell Wilson trying to get to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett and getting Chris Carson involved. The Seahawks defense will work hard against Sam Darnold and can find a path to victory to stay tied at most with the Rams for first in the NFC West.
PREDICTION: Seahawks win 28-17
Green Bay Packers (9-3) @ Detroit Lions (5-7) @ 4:25pm: A Green Bay win and Bears and Vikings loss would give Aaron Rodgers his second-straight NFC North title. They play at Detroit who used a huge turnover to split the season with Chicago the same way Chicago won in Week 1 at Ford Field. Despite the Lions trying hard with who they have, playing a serious team is not in their favor, even at home. Packers are consistent with Davante Adams and Aaron Jones excelling at their position, and can roll over Stafford and the defense.
PREDICTION: Packers win 34-21
New Orleans Saints (10-2) @ Philadelphia Eagles (3-8-1) @ 4:25pm: The Saints clinch another playoff spot, and are a win or Tampa Bay loss away from another NFC South title. They play against an Eagles’ team that has just named Jalen Hurts their starting QB over Carson Wentz. Hurts had some good looks last week at Green Bay despite the loss, but if Drew Brees comes back, in which he is eligible to come off IR next week, it won’t be good for Hurts or the Eagles as they continue to have the toughest remaining schedule out of every one else in the NFC East.
PREDICTION: Saints win 30-23
Atlanta Falcons (4-8) @ Los Angeles Chargers (3-9) @ 4:25pm: The Chargers have been shutout by Newton, and therefore eliminated from the playoffs, leaving a question of when Anthony Lynn will be let go. They will try to use their pride to eliminate Atlanta from the playoffs by bringing back Herbert’s offense that was missing at home last week. Both teams, who are known for blowing leads in recent years, come together at SoFi Stadium. With the Chargers looking to rebound, they’ll barely take a win and season away from Matt Ryan and the Falcons.
PREDICTION: Chargers win 31-24
Washington Football Team (5-7) @ San Francisco 49ers (5-7) @ 4:25pm: Washington and New York are in competition with each other for the NFC East title, a scenario that little people would’ve thought at the beginning of the season. Alex Smith has started to compete with Big Ben for Comeback Player of the Year as he heads to Glendale to face the 49ers. They’re coming off a hard loss to Josh Allen and the Bills, as they look to use the weapons they have to stay in the playoff race. 49ers have great weapons on offense, and with Antonio Gibson out with turf toe, Mullens can give San Francisco another chance to stay alive for another week.
PREDICTION: 49ers win 27-20
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-1) @ Buffalo Bills (9-3) @ 8:20pm (SNF): A huge prime-time game in upstate New York with huge playoff implications. Even if the Steelers win, they have to wait to see if Baltimore wins at Cleveland. For Buffalo, they continue trending upward with Allen staying in the MVP race after another hot performance against the 49ers. The Steelers lost their first game of the season at home against Washington, and see that James Connor has just returned from COVID-19. Even with him back, a tough Bills’ defense and Allen’s hard-working offense is en route for another prime-time win vs. Pittsburgh and another playoff berth.
PREDICTION: Bills win 31-27
Baltimore Ravens (7-5) @ Cleveland Browns (9-3) @ 8:15pm (MNF): Both teams are feeling good as Jackson’s return from IR gave Baltimore a huge win over Dallas and the Browns continues to trend up following a statement win at Tennessee. When the Ravens hosted the Browns to begin the season, Baltimore dominated them. However, the Browns have improved since then and can be better this time by giving the Ravens another hard time in Cleveland, this time by winning.
PREDICTION: Browns win 30-27