Los Angeles seems to be getting their groove back, but it all tends to come down to the performance of QB Justin Herbert. The former first-round pick has tossed only two interceptions in 6 wins this season compared to six interceptions in four losses. This week he takes on a Broncos defense that has similarly been dominant in wins but ugly in losses. Denver is allowing a league-low 10.4 PPG in five wins this season compared to an abysmal 26.2 PPG in five losses.
As long as Herbert trusts his arm and relies on Austin Ekeler to thrive in both the run and pass game, there should be no reason why Los Angeles can’t take this one on the road. Perhaps targeting Mike Williams may help as the star wideout has averaged 86.0 rec YPG in 4 games vs Broncos since 2019 (70+ rec yards in 3 of 4 games). Big plays may be the difference-maker in this contest…
Arguably the game of the week takes us to Lambeau Field for a playoff rematch between two NFC powerhouse teams that both seem to be primed for yet another deep postseason run. Matthew Stafford remains a visitor to Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay but this time a member of the Rams instead of the divisional rival Lions. Rodgers is 12-4 (.750) vs Stafford in his career and 5-1 in his career vs Rams, incl. playoffs (3-0 at home).
Green Bay has been known to bounce back in dominant fashion following a loss under HC Matt LaFleur, but similarly, Rams’ Sean McVay gets his team prepared following the bye week like no other. Since McVay was hired in 2017, Los Angeles is 3-1 following a bye, averaging 29.0 PPG in such games (T-3rd most in NFL). It may be tough to imagine the Rams losing three straight, however, over those last two contests the team has averaged 13.0 PPG, allowed 29.5 PPG, with a -33 point diff, -3 turnover diff, and -3 sack diff.
To put the cherry on top, Stafford is 0-16 in his career vs teams that entered the game 5+ games over .500, the most such losses without a win among starting QBs since 1970. This Rams team may be cut out to bounce back on their home turf, but with the frigid temperatures in Green Bay, it’s exactly who Rodgers would want to welcome onto his home turf.
We are in for a good one in the Bay as the 49ers and Vikings both seek their third consecutive win in a tightly-packed race for a playoff spot in the NFC. This matchup starts and ends with the quarterbacks shining in more ways than one this season. 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo has a 100+ passer rating in 4 straight games (T-longest streak of career, longest active streak in NFL). Meanwhile, Vikings’ Kirk Cousins has a 79.4 comp pct and 148.2 passer rating on intermediate passes (10-19 air yds) this season. Both would be single-season records among qualified QBs in the NGS era (since 2016).
Cousins will most certainly continue airing it out although San Franciso’s defense has looked great off late allowing a mere 10 points or fewer in 2 straight games. But the lack of consistency is concerning and what could hurt this team. Minnesota has been great all year long, despite early-season losses, the team has won 4 of their last 6 games. Meanwhile, the 49ers find themselves at home in this matchup, a place where they have lost 12 of their last 15 games (all 3 home wins vs Rams).
The Baltimore Ravens are winning this football game. Cleveland has shown levels of inconsistency all year long and Baker Mayfield not being 100% healthy simply hurts this team more. Meanwhile, the Ravens were able to squeeze out a win last week without Lamar Jackson or Marquise Brown, who both should be back and ready to roll in the AFC North tilt. It’s worth noting that Jackson is 7-2 as a starter in his career after losing his last start and has averaged 188.9 pass YPG, 79.3 rush YPG, scoring 28.2 PPG in those games.
Meanwhile, Baker Mayfield is 2-4 in his career vs Ravens (lost 3 straight) tossing 1+ TD and 1+ INT in each game. On top of that, in four of Mayfield’s last five starts, the offense has scored a mere 14 points or fewer. Baltimore should have their way on both sides of the ball and stay atop the AFC North.
It’s weird when the Seattle Seahawks are one of the worst teams in the league. Their 3-7 record is their worst 10-game start in the Pete Carroll era (since 2010). A large part of that is because Russell Wilson’s midseason injury hurt them, winning only two games since the start of October. They find themselves in yet another lopsided matchup in primetime, this week against Washington. Unlike Wilson, Heinicke has been balling over the last two contests.
Meanwhile, Washington has won 2 straight games after their bye week this season (27+ points in each game), and weirdly enough, the team is 4-0 when scoring 25+ points this season (0-6 when scoring fewer than 25). If it comes down to how many points Washington would score against an abysmal Seahawk secondary, it’s tough to imagine not taking the over on 25 points, which in this case could translate to a win.