Oakland Raiders (1-3) @ Atlanta Falcons (5-0)
The Raiders are coming off their bye week and they will have needed that extra week to try to figure out how they are going to stop this Falcons offense. The Raiders are giving up over 400 yards a game and the Falcons are averaging 375 yards of offense per game so it looks like being, a very tough task for the Raiders. The Raiders are the worst team in the league at running the ball, averaging just 61 yards per game. The Falcons biggest weakness is stopping the run. They are giving up 143 yards per game on the ground. The Falcons are the 7th best pass defense in the league so it looks like the Raiders are going to have to find a way of getting their running game going. If the Raiders get the run going, they will be keeping the high powered Falcons offense off the field but it's a task that is easier said than done.
Prediction - Oakland's only chance of winning is getting the running game going. It hasn't happened in the first 4 games and I don't see it changing today. The Falcon offense will score at will and send the Falcons to 6-0.
Cincinnati Bengals (3-2) @ Cleveland Browns (0-5)
The Bengals had a bad game last week and their offense struggled against a tough Miami defense. This week it's a trip to Cleveland to face the 0-5, Browns and it's a great game for the Bengals to get their offense back on track. The Browns have lost their last 11 games but there has been some signs in recent weeks, that they aren't too far from picking up a few wins. They have rookies in key positions. Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson have suffered from inconsistencies but certainly in the case of Richardson, there is a very good NFL player in the making. I've made no secret of the fact that I am a big fan of the Andy Dalton and AJ Green combination and I am looking forward to seeing how they do against Joe Haden who is back after a suspension for using PED's.
Prediction - I'd like to see the Bengals win this one but I have a suspicion that this is the weekend the Browns get it right and they win their first game of the season.
St Louis Rams (3-2) @ Miami Dolphins (2-3)
The Rams are 3-2 after a big win over the Cardinals last week and now travel to Miami, hoping to keep pace with the 49ers and Cardinals who lead the way in the NFC West. The Rams are struggling on offense and are averaging just 278 yards of total offense per game. Quarterback, Sam Bradford has 6 touchdown passes and 5 interceptions and if the Rams are to push for the playoffs then that statistic will have to improve. Another quarterback struggling with interceptions is the Miami Dolphins rookie, Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill has been picked off 6 times and thrown just 2 touchdown passes. I think the Dolphins have a chance in this game but they need to keep the ball away from Tannehill. Give the ball to Reggie Bush and let him win the game.
Prediction - Reggie Bush to get it done and lead the Dolphins to victory.
Indianapolis Colts (2-2) @ New York Jets (2-3)
With RG3 picking up all the attention, Andrew Luck is quietly having a good season. He had a great game against the Packers and the Colts currently rank 6th in the NFL, in passing yards per game. Luck hasn't ran the ball as much as Griffin but he is averaging 6.5 yards per carry. The Colts are struggling against the run and rank 26th in the NFL in run defense. This would be a good day for Rex Ryan to increase Tim Tebow's workload. I've made no secret of the fact that I don't think Mark Sanchez is a good quarterback. His career numbers are unimpressive and he actually looks worse this year. The Jets have done well on defense against the pass but are really struggling against the run and only the New Orleans Saints rank lower. This would have been a day for the Colts to put the ball in the hands of Donald Brown and let him win the game for them but he is out injured. Vick Ballard looks likely to start but I'm not sure if he'd be a good fantasy pick. He has only had 21 carries in the NFL and has picked up just 42 yards so it will be interesting to see how he performs when given a starting role.
Prediction - As bad as the Jets are I think they will get the win today. The Colts need a big day on the ground and when their starter is averaging 2 yards per game, it's hard to put faith in him.
Detroit Lions (1-3) @ Philadelphia Eagles (3-2)
The Lions come off their bye week, bottom of the NFC North. The Lions will have had high hopes heading into this season but things haven't worked out for them so far. They are putting up decent scores but their giving up a lot of points too and it has led to a losing record. Philadelphia are really struggling on offense and have only scored 80 points in their 5 games. Turnovers and general poor play from Michael Vick are killing the team and it's hard to put much faith in them at the moment. I find myself on edge, on every offensive series, waiting for the next turnover. This is the second week in a row, the Eagles face a team coming off a bye and it will be a tough game.
Prediction - I think this game turns into a shootout and the Eagles offense are struggling to get points on the board, Lions win.
Kansas City Chiefs (1-4) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3)
It's hard to get excited about this game, especially as Brady Quinn looks set to start for the Chiefs due to Matt Cassell's injury. If ever an NFL game looked like it could finish 0-0, this is it. The Bucs have been terrible on offense, averaging just 276 yards of total offense per game. Their defense are good against the run, ranking 4th in the league but their pass defense is 32nd. The Chiefs are 2nd in rushing so we will see one of the best rushing attacks, go against one of the best run defenses. The way to beat the Bucs is to pass the ball but it would take a very gutsy coach to put the ball in the hands of a backup quarterback. The Chiefs are struggling with turnovers so far and although they aren't a terribly bad side, they are killing themselves with errors.
Prediction - The Chiefs will run the ball and the Bucs defense will stop them. The Chiefs will cough the ball up a few times and the Bucs will win the game on the back of a good display from kicker, Connor Barth.
Dallas Cowboys (2-2) @ Baltimore Ravens (4-1)
In my eyes, this is a battle between two teams who, on their day, can beat any team in the NFL but ultimately won't be good enough if they make the playoffs. The Cowboys are doing well on the passing side of the game, both on offense and defense. They rank 4th in pass offense and 1st in pass defense. Tony Romo had a bad game, throwing 5 interceptions, against the Bears but other than that, he hasn't had a bad season. His pass completion rate is 66.9% for the season and as long as he keeps up that accuracy, the Cowboys will always be a threat. The Ravens are still struggling on defense and are giving up almost 400 yards per game. Their offense is averaging 399 yards a game but up against the best pass defense in the league, they will have to rely on Ray Rice. Rice is only 9th in the league in yards per game but of the 8 above him, 7 have had at least 15 more carries than Rice. I can't really understand why Rice is being used so little. If you have an elite running-back, give him the ball.
Prediction - Baltimore have won their last 13 regular season home games and I think they make that 14 today.
Buffalo Bills (2-3) @ Arizona Cardinals (4-1)
The Bills have hit a terrible run in their last 6 quarters of football, after a second half drubbing at the hands of the Patriots and then last week's heavy defeat in San Francisco. The biggest positive is Arizona aren't exactly known for their offensive prowess but then again, either were the 49ers. The Bills rank 30th against the run but the Cardinals have lost their leading rushers to injury. The Bills aren't much better on pass defense, ranking 24th. If the Cards can keep Kevin Kolb upright, then he should be able to play the passes to beat this Bills defense.
Prediction - The Cardinals to get back to winning ways.
New England Patriots (3-2) @ Seattle Seahawks (3-2)
This will be one of the most intriguing games of the weekend as one of the leagues best offenses go up against one of the leagues best defenses. The Pats biggest weakness is in pass defense but there is absolutely no way that the Seahawks are going to try to beat them by letting Russell Wilson throw the ball. The Seahawks are 7th, running the ball and the Pats are 8th against the run. It looks as though there will be a lot of tight battles in this game and ultimately the game will be decided by a good unit, stepping up to being a great unit.
Prediction - The Seahawks defense are good but the Patriots offense have too many options if Plan A doesn't work. I can't see the Seahawks offense causing too many problems and think the Pats will end up getting some good field positions to start from and take advantage to win the game.
New York Giants (3-2) @ San Francisco 49ers (4-1)
A repeat of last years NFC Championship game and from what I've saw so far, I'd not be one bit surprised if it was this years Championship game as well. The 49ers offense exploded into life last week, putting up over 600 yards against the Bills. The Giants had a good game offensively too, with Ahmed Bradshaw running for 200 yards. I think this game will be incredibly tight and will most likely, be decided by one play. There will be a late field goal, turnover or missed field goal that will decide this game, either way. I think this game comes down to the final possession and I think it will be a tough battle between two of the better teams in the league.
Prediction - Another game that could be decided by the flip of a coin. I'll go with a reversal of last years title game, 49ers win.
Minnesota Vikings (4-1) @ Washington Redskins (2-3)
The NFL's surprise package, the Minnesota VIkings, head to Washington looking to go 5-1 for the season. I gave them no chance before the season began but they have been excellent and fully deserve to be 4-1. The Redskins will hope quarterback, Robert Griffin III makes it back from a concussion that ended his game in the 3rd quarter last week. Either way I think that concussion will reduce the threat he possesses, as the Redskins will be unlikely to call as many running plays for him. This will play into the Vikings hands and with Christian Ponder surprising everyone and Adrian Peterson appearing to be back at full speed after a bad injury, this should be a good game.
Prediction - I just can't see RG3 being at full strength. Most players miss a game after a concussion and I think it will effect his performance and the Vikings will take advantage of it.
Green Bay Packers (2-3) @ Houston Texans (5-0)
This game looks like being an absolute cracker. The Packers simply cannot afford to drop to 2-4 and the Houston Texans look almost unbeatable. The Packers have looked poor this year. Aaron Rodgers is struggling too, as his offensive line are not doing a good job of protecting him. After today the Packers have 10 games left and 6 of those are against teams that are currently on pace for a playoff place. With a tough schedule to come, 2-4 would be unthinkable. The Packers will need to play very well though, as it is hard to find any weaknesses in this Texans side.
Prediction - I just can't see the Texans losing this one and they will send the Packers to 2-4.