Bengals Sliding, Steelers Surging in AFC North
Fikkle Fame’s NFL Predictions for October 13th-17th, 2016
Sometimes coaching changes during the season are good. After staring out 0-2, the Buffalo Bills fired offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Buffalo has since won three straight games in convincing fashion. After losing to Washington 16-10 last Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens decided to try the same thing, firing offensive coordinator Marc Trestman and replacing him with Marty Mornhinweg. The Ravens are 3-2, but are only averaging 18.8 points per game, 22nd in the league. The offense should be more wide open with Mornhinweg calling the shots.
Game of Thursday October 13th
Denver (4-1) at San Diego (1-4). Broncos favored by 3 ½. Last Sunday the Chargers botched the snap for a potential tying field goal in their 34-31 loss to the Raiders. That’s how it’s gone for San Diego this season, and the Chargers’ bad luck will continue this week. Broncos 31 Chargers 24.
Games of Sunday October 16th
San Francisco (1-4) at Buffalo (3-2). Bills favored by 8. The 49ers will start Colin Kaepernick at quarterback this week instead of Blaine Gabbert but it won’t make much difference against the red hot Bills. Bills 27 49ers 13.
Philadelphia (3-1) at Washington (3-2). Eagles favored by 3. Washington has won three in a row after an 0-2 start, while Philadelphia is coming off a one point loss at Detroit. The Eagles were penalized 14 times for 111 yards, and rookie QB Carson Wentz threw a late interception, his first of the year. It’s not likely the Eagles will commit so many penalties this time. Eagles 27 Redskins 20.
Cleveland (0-5) at Tennessee (2-3). Titans favored by 7 ½. Cleveland sports fans will probably be more focused on the Indians in the ALCS this weekend for obvious reasons. Titans 34 Browns 21.
Baltimore (3-2) at New York Giants (2-3). Giants favored by 3. Baltimore is transitioning to new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who no doubt saw that the Giants had trouble putting pressure on Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers in New York’s 23-9 loss to the Packers last Sunday. We’re guessing he’ll be calling a lot of pass plays for QB Joe Flacco. Ravens 24 Giants 20.
Carolina (1-4) at New Orleans (1-3). Panthers favored by 3. Cam Newton returned to practice, which is good news for Carolina, but the Panthers have been reeling all season. The Saints are at home, and well rested after their bye week while Carolina has a short week following their loss to Tampa Bay on Monday Night Football. Saints 24 Panthers 20.
Jacksonville (1-3) at Chicago (1-4). Bears favored by 3. The Bears should win this home game against another struggling team. Bears 24 Jaguars 16.
Los Angeles (3-2) at Detroit (2-3). Lions favored by 3. A fairly even matchup between two fair to middling teams, the Lions are coming off an upset of Philadelphia and should win at home. Lions 20 Rams 17.
Pittsburgh (4-1) at Miami (1-4). Steelers favored by 8. Pittsburgh has played very well the last two weeks following its loss to Philadelphia and will roll over the Dolphins who are again having a disappointing season. Steelers 38 Dolphins 20.
Cincinnati (2-3) at New England (4-1). Patriots favored by 9. The Bengals, who haven’t been able to beat good teams this season will fall further behind Pittsburgh in the AFC North standings this weekend. They get a break next week when they host the Browns. Patriots 34 Bengals 23.
Kansas City (2-2) at Oakland (4-1). Raiders favored by 1 ½. One of the better AFC rivalries, the improved Raiders should edge out the Chiefs at Oakland Coliseum. The rematch in Kansas City is December 8th. Raiders 23 Chiefs 20.
Atlanta (4-1) at Seattle (3-1). Seattle favored by 6. The Falcons went into Denver and beat the Broncos and their vaunted defense last week, no easy task. But Denver also started rookie QB Paxton Lynch (1st career start) who did not play particularly well. The Falcons now face another tough defense on the road in Seattle, but Atlanta will also have to deal with a much better quarterback in Russell Wilson. Seahawks 27 Falcons 20.
Dallas (4-1) at Green Bay (3-1). Green Bay favored by 4. Dallas QB Tony Romo continues his rehab and may be ready to return in early November. However, Dak Prescott has been outstanding in relief. Prescott has said he’s just filling in until Romo gets back, but it would be hard to take him out considering how well he has played, including not throwing an interception in 155 passing attempts. On Sirius/XM NFL Radio this week, Brett Favre suggested that Romo keep himself out of the starting lineup until Prescott’s hot streak cools. It may cool a little this week. Lambeau Field is a tough venue for opponents, even more so for rookies. The other Dallas rookie having a great season is running back Ezekiel Elliot, who leads the NFL in rushing yards with 546. He will face a Green Bay rushing defense that has allowed an average of just 42.8 yards per game this season, far and away the best in the league. Green Bay 26 Dallas 21.
Indianapolis (2-3) at Houston (3-2). Texans favored by 3. Every team in the mediocre AFC South has allowed more points than they have scored. The Colts have scored a lot more points than their division rivals, so we’ll pick them in an upset. Colts 38 Texans 34.
Game of Monday October 17th
New York Jets (1-4) at Arizona (2-3). Cardinals favored by 7 1/2. Arizona QB Carson Palmer is back (though backup Drew Stanton led the team in last week’s win over the 49ers), and the Jets are playing like the Jets, disappointing their fans. Cardinals 31 Jets 20.
Bye week: Minnesota and Tampa Bay.