Last Week’s Record: 10-4
Overall Season Record: 72-48
Panthers @ Bears
The Chicago Bears will play against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football without Justin Fields. While Tyson Bagent has played well given his circumstances, Chicago has missed Fields’ playmaking ability. Fields can scramble outside the pocket and create plays that most other quarterbacks cannot. However, Bagent has proven that he can also be effective while scrambling. It won’t take much for Bagent to lead the Bears over the Panthers, however, he will need to limit his turnovers. Last week, Bagent had four turnovers (three interceptions, one fumble) that proved costly in a one-score game. While Chicago has struggled to limit turnovers with 18 (last in the NFL), Carolina has also struggled to keep the ball lately. Bryce Young threw three interceptions last week against the Cots. This game will likely come down to which rookie quarterback can keep their composure better. The home-field advantage should help the Bears win this week.
Bears 24, Panthers 13
Colts @ Patriots
The Indianapolis Colts play against the New England Patriots in the final international game this NFL season. While neither of these teams' offenses are elite, the Colts’ defense should help them win this game. Indianapolis forced three turnovers last week, scoring two pick-sixes. The Colts are tied for seventh in takeaways this season with 14, and the Patriots are tied for seventh in giveaways with 14. This game will likely come down to the turnover battle, which the Patriots have struggled with this season. Mac Jones has struggled this season, tying for the most interceptions thrown this season. However, New England can prevent turnovers by running the ball more. Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott have combined for only one lost fumble this season. While neither back has averaged over 3.8 yards per carry, the Patriots’ best option is to feed the two backs. Indianapolis should win this game fairly easily if they can stop the run.
Colts 31, Patriots 14
Texans @ Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals are arguably the hottest team in football, winning their last four games. In this streak, Joe Burrow averaged 283 passing yards and 2.5 touchdowns per game. The most impressive part of this streak is their level of play in comparison to the level of teams they played. Burrow played well against the Seahawks, 49ers, and Bills. These defenses are much better than Houston’s, and Burrow should be able to continue his success. However, C.J. Stroud proved last week he can play at an elite level to carry his team to victory. While this game probably won’t be close, a Burrow vs Stroud rivalry could begin this week.
Bengals 31, Texans 20
Saints @ Vikings
After not practicing with the team in the week following his trade, Joshua Dobbs led the Vikings to a win against the Falcons. While last week’s win was very impressive, it will be more difficult for Dobbs to lead Minnesota to a win this week. Dobbs is 2-7 on the season as a starter and the Saints’ defense is elite. New Orleans is top 10 in total yards allowed per game, points allowed per game, and has a league-high 18 takeaways this season. While the Vikings performed well given their circumstances last week, the season-long struggles of Joshua Dobbs and their lack of a run game will hurt them against the Saints.
Saints 24, Vikings 17
Packers @ Steelers
Both the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers have struggled offensively this season. While Aaron Jones seems to be fully healthy, the Packers don’t have much else offensively to help him. The Steelers’ defense has played well this season, and will likely be the main factor as to why they win this game. While Kenny Pickett has struggled this season, Pittsburgh’s defense has been able to lift them to five wins. With a win this week, the Steelers should put themselves in a great position in the AFC playoff race.
Steelers 21, Packers 17
Titans @ Buccaneers
Both the Tennessee Titans and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have struggled to win games this season. Tennessee has been within one score in all but one of their losses. With Will Levis being named as the full-time starter, the Titans’ offense has produced more big plays. Tennessee could thrive going against the Buccaneers’ defense that allowed 31.5 points per game in their last two games. While Tampa Bay’s offense played well last week, their defense couldn’t get stops late, as they allowed 29 points in the second half. Levis and DeAndre Hopkins should continue to lead this offense and defeat the Buccaneers.
Titans 24, Buccaneers 21
49ers @ Jaguars
This week’s matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Jacksonville Jaguars is one of the more intriguing games this week. The 49ers are on a three-game losing streak, while the Jaguars have won five straight. Before the season it would seem unlikely that San Francisco would go on a four-game losing streak. However, Jacksonville has looked dominant recently. Trevor Lawrence has spread the ball to Evan Engram, Christian Kirk, and Calvin Ridley at an almost even rate, making it hard for the defense to game plan against. Travis Etienne has also come into form, scoring seven touchdowns in the last four games. While the return of Deebo Samuel could prove to help the 49ers offense, he may not be enough to lift them over the Jaguars in Week 10. However, if San Francisco does win, it will be on the backs of Christian McCaffrey and their defense.
Jaguars 24, 49ers 21
Browns @ Ravens
The Cleveland Browns have struggled offensively since Nick Chubb’s knee injury. However, in two of their last three games, they have scored 27 or more points. While Cleveland’s offense has improved as of late, the Baltimore Ravens' defense has been elite this season. The two teams are near the top of the league in almost every major defensive statistic, making this game a defensive matchup. However, the Ravens have played well offensively this season, scoring 24 or more points in each of their seven wins. While Baltimore may not reach that mark this week, they should score enough to defeat the Browns.
Ravens 20, Browns 10
Falcons @ Cardinals
Kyler Murray will return from a torn ACL on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. While his return should help Arizona a few more games this season, expectations should be lowered for his first game back. The Cardinals will likely limit his rushing in his first few games back to ensure he is fully healthy and confident in his knee. The Falcons should excel offensively this week, as Arizona’s defense has not been great this season. While they allowed Joshua Dobbs to defeat them without any practice last week, Atlanta should be able to defeat the Cardinals fairly easily this week.
Falcons 27, Cardinals 17
Game of the Week: Lions @ Chargers
This week’s game of the week is between the Detroit Lions and the Los Angeles Chargers. The Lions are currently second in the NFC playoff standings and are looking to make a push for the one seed. Detroit finally unleashed the 12th overall pick Jahmyr Gibbs in their past few games without David Montgomery. Gibbs has proven to be one of the most electric backs in the league. The big-play ability of Gibbs and the short-yardage back in Montgomery make for one of the best backfields in football. The Lions’ pass game is also on fire with Amon-Ra St. Brown and Sam LaPorta. This offense going against the offense of the Chargers should be exciting. Los Angeles’ offense should also thrive this week behind Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler. While their offense did not play as well last week as they had in the previous weeks, an 87-yard punt return touchdown from Derius Davis propelled them to victory. This game should be high-scoring, as the Chargers allow the most passing yards per game (286). However, the Lions' defense has improved this season, giving them the edge over Los Angeles in Week 10.
Lions 34, Chargers 30
Giants @ Cowboys
The best predictor for future success is past success. With the Dallas Cowboys facing off against the New York Giants again this season, the easiest way to predict what will happen this week is to see what happened when the two teams played in Week 1. The 40-point shutout win for the Cowboys should be a good indicator of what will happen this week. Tommy DeVito will be New York’s starting quarterback this week due to Daniel Jones’ torn ACL. Hopefully, the Giants can perform better than they did in Week 1, but Dallas will still beat them by at least a double-digit margin.
Cowboys 34, Giants 6
Commanders @ Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks could become first in the NFC West with a win this week against the Washington Commanders. The Seahawks have gone away from Kenneth Walker III and let their second-round draft pick Zach Charbonnet play at an almost equal rate in the last two weeks. While giving Walker more rest so he can make more explosive plays could help Seattle later in the season, Walker has been the better back. If Walker’s workload comes back to what it was earlier in the season, he should thrive against the Commanders' defensive line that traded away their two stars Montez Sweat and Chase Young at the trade deadline. Washington has been able to move the ball well this season, as Sam Howell is second in the NFL in total passing yards, and Brian Robinson is top 20 in rushing yards. However, Sam Howell is tied for the most interceptions thrown this season and he has taken 44 sacks, 13 more than Zach Wilson who is second in sacks taken. The reason why the Commanders have struggled this season has been due to Howell’s decision-making when it comes to when to throw the ball away. If he throws the ball away instead of forcing the ball down the field or taking a sack, Washington could win this game. However, no evidence from this season would prove that to be reasonable.
Seahawks 27, Commanders 13
Jets @ Raiders
The New York Jets and Las Vegas Raiders play this Sunday night. While this matchup could have been more entertaining with Aaron Rodgers playing against his former teammate Davante Adams, this game no longer has that same draw. The Jets’ offense struggled last week, as they failed to score a touchdown against the Chargers. New York will probably rely on Breece Hall to carry the load offensively this week. Hall has played well this season, but he may not be enough to lift the Jets over the Raiders. After firing Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas played arguably their best game of the season, defeating the Giants by 24. The key to victory for the Raiders this week will be to give Josh Jacobs over 20 carries. While he hasn’t been as great as last season, Jacobs is still the best-performing player on this offense. Davante Adams’ stats will likely stay as low as they have been in recent weeks as Aidan O’Connell has struggled to produce as the starting quarterback this season. As long as Jacobs gets the ball frequently this game, the Raiders should improve to 5-5 on the season.
Raiders 21, Jets 13
Broncos @ Bills
The Buffalo Bills have struggled recently, losing three of their last five games. In last week’s game, the Bills only scored three points in 47 minutes between the first and fourth quarters. These offensive lows have led them to their 5-4 record. However, Monday night should be a bounce-back game for Josh Allen and co. as they play the Denver Broncos. While the Broncos are on a two-game winning streak, these two wins came from disappointing performances from their opponents. If Buffalo wants to continue their journey to a deep playoff run, this game is a must-win.
Bills 27, Broncos 20