The midway point of the season is now upon us. Most teams are in their eighth game, while the Indianapolis Colts have yet to have their bye and are playing their ninth. This week there are 5 divisional games, and thought there are some stinkers, even those could have very real implications down the road.
One game in particular that has gained some momentum due to recent events is the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals. Jimmy Garoppolo who was traded to the 49ers – if he plays – will instantly give the game more credibility, and at least make it more interesting. Let’s face it, this game desperately needs more interest.
Just the opposite of a quarterback being added to a game, the Colts and the Houston Texans are both without their franchise signal callers as Andrew Luck was placed on IR and Deshaun Watson tore his ACL in practice earlier this week. A Jacoby Brissett and Tom Savage matchup isn’t exactly what the doctor ordered and may be one of the worst ‘on paper’ games of the week.
A game that does spark some interest, however, is the Jacksonville Jaguars hosting the Cincinnati Bengals. Did I just say that out loud? Look, in spite of the Bengals looking pathetic at times on offense this season, the potential is always there with their skill position players, and the Jaguars defense is for real. I’d probably watch this game if I wasn’t already scheduled to wash my hair.
Elsewhere, in the NFC South, the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers can always put together a great game and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trying to improve their outlook against the New Orleans Saints has similar possibilities as well. The Tennessee Titans hosting the Baltimore Ravens has the bare minimum of showing off two quality ground performances, but could just as easily be a snoozer.
The Philadelphia Eagles are always a good watch regardless of opponent, but the game of the week feels like the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys locking horns in the late afternoon game. This week – as you can tell by now – could go either way as it offers some potential for a fun weekend, but just as much for a disappointing one as well.
Nevertheless, we’re still going to pick the games and in the past three weeks our group staff picks are at 87.5% (35/40). And with that, let’s get it!
This week the following contributors voted on each game: Brett Mock, Matt Danely, Josh Hudgens, Stephen Reed, Faraz Majid, Chris Shepherd, Chris Blystone, Andrew Aziz, Jared Malott and Jake Arthur. Again, our group voted ‘winners’ which have been bolded, with the vote counts in parenthesis and unanimous predictions were noted by an asterisk (*). Also with 10 voters, ties go to the home squad.
Thus far the staff’s numbers are: Faraz Majid – 43/67 (64.2%) | Brett Mock – 69/111 (62.2%) | Chris Blystone – 63/111 (56.8%) | Matt Danely – 60/111 (54.1%) | Andrew Aziz – 66/111 (59.5%) | Jake Arthur – 57/96 (59.4%) | Jared Malott – 63/98 (64.3%) | Stephen Reed – 52/99 (52.5%) | Chris Shepherd – 45/85 (52.9%) | Josh Hudgens – 49/81 (60.5%) | Mark Lowry —21/43 (48.8%)
Sunday @ 1:00 ET
Bucs @ Saints*
Rams (8) @ Giants | Contrarians: Stephen Reed, Josh Hudgens
Bengals @ Jaguars (8) | Contrarians: Matt Danely, Stephen Reed
Colts @ Texans (5/5) | Contrarians: Jared Malott, Jake Arthur, Josh Hudgens, Danely, Reed
Falcons @ Panthers (6) | Contrarians: Brett Mock, Chris Blystone, Arthur, Hudgens
Ravens @ Titans (9) | Contrarian: Malott
Broncos @ Eagles*
Sunday @ 4:05 ET
Cardinals @ 49ers (6) | Contrarians: Malott, Mock, Arthur, Hudgens
Redskins @ Seahawks (9) | Contrarian: Chris Shepherd
Sunday @ 4:25 ET
Chiefs (6) @ Cowboys | Contrarians: Danely, Reed, Blystone, Arthur
Sunday @ 8:30
Raiders (9) @ Dolphins | Contrarian: Reed
Monday @ 8:30
Lions* @ Packers