Matchup of the Week:
Eagles at Seahawks
Anyone who has followed the Seahawks season knows that it is the Russell Wilson show, which is pretty damn impressive considering the lack of any meaningful supporting cast. The Eagles defense has been outstanding, although being the number one rush defense doesn’t mean much against an all Russell Wilson run game. Carson Wentz should be able to handle Seattle’s injury-depleted secondary, but look to see if Seattle’s defensive front can disrupt the Eagles’ run game. If that happens, the pressure will once more fall on Russell Wilson to make plays. If it doesn’t, this potential shootout could easily become a blowout.
Vikings at Falcons
Similar to the game above, this game has major playoff implications. The Vikings defense has been impressive of late, but the Falcons plethora of offensive playmakers always offer a unique challenge. The key matchup here is Xavier Rhodes on Julio Jones, both of whom have been on a tear recently. I feel that Rhodes will be able to do enough to force Matt Ryan to look to his second and third options, however that may not be enough to stop the Falcons, especially with the return of Devonta Freeman. The Vikings offense will need to put up points, however that shouldn’t be a problem the way the Vikings offense has been playing.
Panthers at Saints
Surprisingly, the Saints and Panthers actually have the same record. With the Falcons only one game behind in a packed NFC South race, this game could determine playoff seeding and eligibility. As good as the Panthers’ linebacker centered defense has been this season, I really don’t see them being able to stop the Saints high powered rushing attack. Luke Kuechly is the best MLB in the league, but Kamara and Ingram are virtually unstoppable. With Marcus Williams out and Marshon Lattimore questionable, I expect a big day for the Cam Newton – Devin Funchess connection. These games have been high scoring in the past, and this one should be no different. For the Panthers to have a chance, Kuechly and Newton must make big plays when it counts.
Other Thing I’m Looking For:
Derrick Henry and Corey Davis are both looking for breakout games, and both could get them if Mariota doesn’t continue to squander their opportunities.
With Trevor Siemian back at starting quarterback for the Broncos, Demaryius Thomas is due for a huge game against a Dolphins secondary that fell apart last week.
After somehow losing to the Blaine Gabbert led Cardinals last week, the Jaguars are ready for a rebound game. The Jaguars should easily dominate, but look for Dede Westbrook to lead the passing attack.
Jameis Winston is finally healthy, which could be either a blessing or a curse for the Buccaneers. With how badly they have played this year, it doesn’t really make a difference.
The Packers offense should dominate against a weak Buccaneers defense, as Brett Hundley and Jamaal Williams both found their grooves last week.
Jimmy Garoppolo has arrived! I was never fully sold on the idea of Garoppolo as the 49ers savior, but coupled with Kyle Shanahan’s offensive genius, I’m expecting the offense to put up loads of points.
I’ve always been a fan of Deshone Kizer, and I believe he will have a big day now that his main targets are Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman.
I know everyone is already on the Cooper Kupp hype train, but I’m going to have to join in, even in a potential trap game.
The Steelers/Bengals game is the type of game that the Steelers tend to play down and lose. If they want to legitimize their Super Bowl aspirations, Big Ben can’t take this game off.