Some terrific match-ups this week on the NFL schedule, including the streaking Los Angeles Chargers, facing perhaps the NFL’s best team, the New England Patriots. An additional intriguing match-up features the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Detroit Lions.
Here is a complete preview of the action:
Houston Texans (3-3) at Seattle Seahawks (4-2)
The Texans travel to Seattle a distracted team after a statement their owner made in a private meeting was leaked.
“You can’t let the inmates run the prison,” Bob McNair said in a private NFL meeting a couple of weeks ago about anthem-kneelers, and it was leaked to ESPN. A lot of things from that meeting were leaked to ESPN. Expect an investigation.
The Seahawks’ defense has allowed the fewest points in the NFL.
Houston starts a rookie QB, and the Seahawks are 4-0 at home against rookie quarterbacks since 2011.
Seattle should win this game.
San Francisco 49ers (0-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (6-1)
The winless 49ers are a dysfunctional mess who seem to be more focused on political activism than winning.
The 49ers defense, ranked 28th, is really struggling, and that shouldn’t change against the Eagles red-hot QB Carson Wentz.
The Eagles should prevail in the game, but perhaps the 49ers will prevail on K Street.
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) at Detroit Lions (3-3)
The Lions are coming a bye-week which helped their franchise quarterback, Matt Stafford, heal from an ankle injury.
Stafford’s going to have a big challenge this week facing the NFL’s top-ranked pass defense.
Historically, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, has played well in domed stadiums.
This game could go either way.
Atlanta Falcons (3-3) at New York Jets (3-4)
One of these weeks Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan is going to have a break-out game.
The Falcons’ star QB has just seven touchdown passes in six games.
He should be able get right this week playing against a Jets pass defense that imploded in the fourth quarter against Miami last week, blowing a 14-point lead.
Atlanta should win this game.
Minnesota Vikings (5-2) at Cleveland Browns (0-7)
Vikings and their #4-ranked defense travel to London to face struggling Cleveland rookie QB DeShone Kizer.
The Browns’ defense is playing fairly well, and if they could just get more from the quarterback position, they’d probably have some wins. They lost 12-9 in overtime to Tennessee last week.
The Browns will be without two of their best players – left tackle Joe Thomas and defensive end Myles Garrett.
The Vikings should prevail.
Oakland Raiders (3-4) at Buffalo Bills (4-2)
The Raiders’ talented passing offense travels to Buffalo to face the Bills, which might be without two starters in their secondary – cornerback E.J. Gaines and safety Jordan Poyer.
The Bills’ pass defense hasn’t been good in recent games, ranked 26th in the league. According to ESPN, the Bills secondary have given up NFL-high 350 yards passing per game since Week Five.
This game is a toss-up.
Los Angeles Chargers (3-4) at New England Patriots (5-2)
The Patriots’ defensive injuries continue to pile up. They will be without two key defensive starters – defensive tackle Malcom Brown and linebacker Don’ta Hightower.
After an 0-4 start, the Chargers have won three in a row led by their outstanding pass rushing tandem of Joey Bosa and Mel Ingram, who should make Tom Brady uncomfortable in the pocket.
The Chargers play well on the road, perhaps because all their games are essentially road games since people in Los Angeles have no allegiance to them.
Normally, the Patriots are an easy pick at home, but this game could go either way.
Chicago Bears (3-4) at New Orleans Saints (4-3)
Can the Bears #31 passing offense keep up on the scoreboard against QB Drew Brees and the NFL’s #3 passing attack? It’s hard to see that with a rookie quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, who was completed just four passes last week against Carolina.
The Bears’ defense has improved the last two weeks with six takeaways and three defensive takeaways, but the two quarterbacks they faced aren’t nearly as good as Brees.
The Saints should win this game.
Carolina Panthers (4-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers struggling defense (ranked 30th) will be without three cornerbacks – Brent Grimes, Robert McClain and Josh Robinson.
They also can’t stop the run, giving up 144 and 134 yards in the last two games.
The Panthers’ offense was awful last week, scoring just three points in Chicago. QB Cam Newton stormed out of his weekly press conference when pressed on what is wrong.
This game is a toss-up.
Indianapolis Colts (2-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-4)
Two teams headed in the wrong direction with head coaches on the hot-seat.
It doesn’t look like the Colts franchise QB Andrew Luck is coming back anytime soon from a shoulder injury.
Replacement QB Jacoby Brissett is playing okay, but the team’s 31st-ranked defense is so bad, it’s forcing Brissett into shoot-outs, which are hard for him to win at this point.
The Bengals’ defensive is playing on a high level, and should lead the Bengals to a win over Brissett and the Colts.
Dallas Cowboys (3-3) at Washington Redskins (3-3)
Dallas’s 2nd-ranked rushing attack keeps rolling thanks to the all-powerful American judiciary.
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was suspended six games by the NFL for domestic violence, but judges keep overturning the suspensions, just like they overturn executive orders.
The Redskins might be the most banged-up team with four of their starting five offensive linemen hurt.
Dallas should win this game.