Although Miami (5-7) is only one game ahead of New York (4-7) in this matchup, there’s a big difference between these two teams. Miami has won four straight and looks to make a late playoff push as the Giants looked primed to miss yet another postseason, likely at the bottom of the NFC East. The Dolphins defense has allowed a mere 11.5 PPG since Week 9 and the offense has success with QB Tua Tagovailoa who has a 100+ passer rating in 3 straight games (longest streak of career, longest active streak in NFL).
Both the Chargers and Bengals are in the midst of a tightly-packed AFC playoff race with a pivotal head-to-head matchup on the line this Sunday. A win for Cincinnati would be big as the team has the 4th-toughest remaining strength of schedule in the AFC (each of 6 remaining opponents has .500+ win pct).
Fortunately, the team seems to be back on track with a 24.3 PPG average margin of victory in their last 4 wins compared to a mere 6.7 PPG avg margin in the first 3 wins this season. It’s no secret that Joe Burrow and the Bengals’ offense have been the driving force for this AFC North squad but this week they take on Justin Herbert and a Chargers offense that is just as capable of going nuclear.
Both Burrow and Herbert are pivotal in the success of their respective teams, however, the Chargers may be a bit more affected by their signal-callers performance. Los Angeles is 5-0 when Herbert has a 100+ passer rating this season (1-5 with sub-100 rating). Turnovers have also been an issue for the Oregon product who has a mere two interceptions in 6 wins but eight in the team’s five losses. The reality of this game is that the Bengals’ defense has the ability to slow Herbert and his offense down.
Burrow should see a more favorable matchup as he takes on a Chargers’ defense that has allowed 24+ points and 300+ total yards in 7 straight games. Cinci should take this at home.
Indianapolis is due for a bounce-back game after last week’s heartbreaking loss to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. Colts RB Jonathan Taylor leads the NFL with 1,205 rush yards this season and Houston has allowed 135.6 rush YPG (2nd-most in NFL). It’s a lopsided matchup made in heaven, that should keep Indy alive in the playoff race.
The Vikings are coming off a tough road loss to the 49ers but should have no issues bouncing back this week against the winless Lions. Kirk Cousins is 31-15-1 in his career vs teams that have entered the game under .500 and interestingly enough he is 7-0 vs Lions since joining the Vikings in 2018. The Lions have scored fewer than 20 points in 10 straight games, but their defense has looked respectable lately allowing a mere 16 points or fewer in 3 straight games. We may see a closer game than expected, but expect Minnesota to pull away late in the fourth quarter and get an insurance score.
The Eagles are staying put in Metlife Stadium for the second consecutive week after last week’s loss to the Giants. This week they take on the Jets in what looks to be a far more favorable matchup. Philadelphia has won their last game before the bye in each of the last 5 seasons, and they just happen to have a 11-0 record against the Jets all-time. For scoring purposes, it’s worth noting that New York has allowed 17.2 PPG in the first half this season, so expect the Eagles’ offense to bounce back quickly, even under Garnder Minshew.
The Cardinals are coming off a much-needed bye week to get Qb Kyler Murray and WR DeAndre Hopkins ready for the final stretch of the regular season. This week the NFC’s No. 1 seed is on the road which is exactly the kind of games that Arizona thrives in.
The Cardinals are 6-0 on the road this season, winning each of those contests by 10+ points. Meanwhile, the Bears have lost 5 of their last 6 games and will be without starting QB Justin Fields and WR Allen Robinson which doesn’t bode well for an offense that has scored 16 points or fewer in 6 games this season. Despite the Cardinals’ dominance on the road, the team happens to be a perfect 8-0 in games when allowing 20 points or fewer this season. Arizona looks primed to be the first team to reach 10 wins this season.
If you are looking for the blowout of the week it comes in Atlanta. Tom Brady and Matt Ryan square off once again in a divisional tilt. Brady is 9-0 against the Falcons in his career and 3-0 since joining Tampa Bay averaging 41.0 PPG in those three contests. The Buccaneers have this game and the NFC South on lock.