I’m sorry Purple Faithful, but this game looks hopeless. Atlanta’s awesome aerial attack versus a weak Minnesota secondary combined with Adrian Peterson’s absence spells doom for the Vikings today. Falcons QB Matt Ryan tops 300 yards as his team cruises to its seventh win of the season.
BENGALS 17, browns 10
It will be a battle of field position today at Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium. Bengals QB Andy Dalton will miss his stellar rookie connection with A.J. Green, but RB Cedric Benson plows his way past the Browns in pacing the home team to victory.
bucs 24, TITANS 20
At 5-5, Tennessee desperately needs a win to keep its playoff hopes alive. Tampa Bay has underwhelmed this year and has lost its last four games. Today, however, the Buccaneers harness their talent and earn a road upset over the Titans.
Oh how the Colts continue to miss Peyton Manning. Could Indianapolis go from perennial playoff contenders to joining the 2008 Lions as the only teams in NFL history to go 0-16? At this point, the answer is “yes.” After a deflating loss in Detroit last week, Cam Newton gears up for a paltry Colts pass defense as the Panthers surpass its win total from last season.
RAMS 20, cards 17 (in OT)
Two very mediocre teams meet in St. Louis today as the Rams host the Cardinals. Okay, maybe mediocre is too nice. In a game of little relevance, Steven Jackson gives those diehard Rams faithful who attend the game at the Edward Jones Dome something to cheer about. St. Louis tops Arizona as the teams even their records at 3-7.
JETS 17, bills 13
Rex Ryan may have a big mouth, but its Mark Sanchez who may be the scapegoat for the Jets falling well short of reaching its third consecutive conference title game this season. New York’s playoff hopes are in jeopardy, but the team’s sixth-ranked defense tames slumping Buffalo as the Jets squeak by the Bills today.
texans 17, JAGS 10
The 7-3 Texans look to put a huge stake toward its first division championship today in Jacksonville. The Jaguars (3-7) have struggled, but its defense poses a daunting task. Moreover, Houston starting QB Matt Schaub was put on season-ending IR after suffering a torn ligament against Tampa Bay two weeks ago. Back-up Matt Leinhart has yet to throw a pass this season, but he does have the NFL’s top defense, the AFC’s top running game and the return of star WR Andre Johnson on his side. Leinhart manages the game clock, limits his mistakes and hands off to Arian Foster as the Texans pick up the win.
SUNDAY (LATE GAMES)
RAIDERS 24, bears 17
Chicago picked up a big win last week against the Chargers. But the team also lost its quarterback. With Jay Cutler gone for the season and no prominent back-up plan, the Bears struggle in Oakland today. Unlikely heroes Carson Palmer and Michael Bush continue leading the Raiders toward the playoffs. Oakland beats the Bears.
HAWKS 23, skins 17
This game almost has the allure of today’s Rams-Cardinals game. The Seahawks scrape by the Skins on a ho-hum day in Seattle.
pats 27, EAGLES 17
Vince Young impressed in New York last week against the Giants. Not so much today. Building off its Monday Night blowout of the Chiefs, Tom Brady and his arsenal of passing weapons lead the Patriots past the Eagles in Philadelphia this afternoon.
Denver’s defense has been very strong in recent weeks and Tim Tebow simply continues to win games. San Diego has underachieved and finds itself in the midst of a miserable five week losing streak. It’s hard to pick against the fortuitous Tebow, but Philip Rivers is due for a breakout game. The Chargers win at home.
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
steel 23, CHIEFS 16
Pittsburgh is definitely the better team in the Sunday Night matchup this week. But the Chiefs can be very tough to beat at home. In a closely fought battle, Pittsburgh pulls away at the end and improves to 8-3.
SAINTS 34, giants 20
The Saints return from its bye week revived and ready to make a serious playoff run. Drew Brees rifles through the Giants secondary in leading New Orleans to a comfortable win at home in the Superdome tomorrow night.