Jaguars (0-6): at Washington
Raiders (0-5): vs. Cardinals
MUST WATCH GAMES
Jets at Patriots
Last week's Colts at Texans game on Thursday Night was the closest game that aired this season. This will probably not be close.
Must like last Sunday's game between the Broncos and Jets this game contrasts the difference between having a good quarterback and in the Jets case, bad quarterbacks.
The Jets won on opening day against the Raiders and that is all they have done so far. The Patriots have won back-to-back games and are looking to continue their winning ways.
The Broncos and Jets turned out to be entertaining. These are division rivals so it could be a good game.
Falcons at Ravens
This is the second meeting between the two quarterbacks taken in first round of the 2008 NFL draft.
Matt Ryan, selected third overall by the Falcons, made an instant impact for the franchise.
Ryan has started all but two games in his time with the Falcons, led the team to winning seasons every season except in 2013, and the Falcons have made the playoffs in four of the last six seasons.
Joe Flacco was selected with the 18th overall pick by the Baltimore Ravens. In 2008, the Ravens made a deep playoff run that ended with their loss to eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship Game.
Flacco led the Ravens to the playoffs for five consecutive seasons from 2008 to 2012. The 2012 season culminated with Flacco and the Ravens making a deep playoff run to the franchise's second Super Bowl championship. Flacco in that postseason threw for 11 touchdowns and no interceptions and captured the Super Bowl MVP award.
So who has had the better career?
Ryan has good regular season stats and is a viable option for a fantasy draft, but in the playoffs he has only led the Falcons to one playoff win (Seahawks at home in January 2013) and in the 2010 playoffs the Packers embarrassed the 1-seeded Falcons 48-21.
Flacco has the ability to put up the numbers as he showed last week in Baltimore's win over the Buccaneers in Tampa. Flacco threw for 5 touchdowns in the 48-17 win that was declared over at halftime. I think what gives Flacco the edge is his performance in the playoffs. He has an 9-4 playoff record, led the Ravens to three AFC Title Game appearances, and mentioned above has a Super Bowl ring.
I think the edge has to go to Flacco because of what he has accomplished in Baltimore so far, but the debate will continue on.
Bengals at Colts
The Colts are one of the hottest teams in the league right now. After an 0-2 start, they have won 4 straight games against the Jaguars, Titans, Ravens, and Texans. All those teams did not make the playoffs last year, but the Ravens and Texans did give them some adequate competition.
Meanwhile the opposite could be said about the Bengals.
The Bengals despite putting up 37 points on the Panthers at home and running back Giovani Bernard running for 137 yards, 89 of which came on a touchdown run, they couldn't come up with the victory.
They didn't lose the game either.
The Panthers and Bengals tied last Sunday.
Mike Nugent missed what was assumed to be a game winning field goal at the end of overtime. This is the third season with a tie game (2012, 2013, 2014). The last time there was a tie game in at least three consecutive seasons was from 1986-89 and before that 1980-84.
Since starting 3-0, Cincinnati is 0-1-1.
Saints at Lions/Panthers at Packers
Detroit is 4-2 and is 1st in the NFL in fewest points given up. New Orleans is 2-3 and has given up 30 or more points in three games (1-2 in those games) and allowed 100 or more rushing yards in their three losses.
Despite these records, this has the feeling of an elimination game of sorts. Yes, Detroit leads their division and hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Packers. Whoever loses this game could have a difficult time making the playoffs.
Speaking of the Packers, they host the Panthers. Last season the Packers tied a game and it did help them win the division outright finishing half a game ahead of Chicago. If the Packers had lost to the Vikings, Green Bay still would have won the NFC North because of tiebreakers. They split the season series with Chicago so the next tiebreaker is division which Green Bay went 3-3 vs. Chicago going 2-4. The Packers are currently on a three game winning streak since starting the season 1-2.
The Panthers tied the Bengals on Sunday and like the Packers it could help or hinder their playoff chances. Right now Carolina is in the middle of a five game stretch where they play 2013 playoff teams and so far it has resulted in their first game ending in a tie. There are four games remaining and it could be telling if this Panthers team makes a repeat appearance in the 2014 playoffs. Like the Saints at Lions, the Panthers at Packers game has a playoff elimination game feeling.
Giants at Cowboys
The Cowboys are 5-1.
At the beginning of the season, I was a TAD critical of the Cowboys 2014 prospects at the beginning of the season.
Behind the offensive line and leading NFL rusher DeMarco Murray MAYBE this Cowboys team could be a playoff team.
After Murray scored the touchdown that put Dallas up for good with 3:23 left in the game, I think I saw a bit of Emmitt Smith and that offensive line that led the Cowboys to those Super Bowls in the 1990s.
If DeMarco Murray was his own team, he would be 5th in the NFL in team rushing.
This was also another game where the entire load was not put on quarterback Tony Romo. Romo was 21-32 for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns including this pass to Terrance Williams that kept a drive alive.
The Dallas defense held Russell Wilson to 126 yards passing, 12 yards rushing and a touchdown, and intercepted him on Seattle's final possession.
The Giants were expected to compete for the NFC East crown but have stumbled to .500 after 6 games. The Eagles gutted the Giants in a nationally televised game. To add further insult to injury, the Giants lost wide receiver Victor Cruz for the season due to a knee injury.
There is some hope for the Giants coming into this game and that is they have had some success at Jerry World. Since its opening in 2009, the Giants have a 4-1 record in that stadium.
Chiefs at Chargers
Currently the Chargers are in first place in the AFC West while the Chiefs are 2-3. The Chargers faced a scare from a revitalized Raiders team who were playing their first game under interim coach Tony Sparano, but San Diego survived to win at Oakland 31-28.
Before discounting the Chiefs it should be noted that Andy Reid's teams are 13-2 after the bye week. After this game their schedule does ease up a bit. They play three teams that did not make the 2013 playoffs so the Chiefs could be in the mix of the AFC Wild Card race before their home November matchup against the Seahawks.
When these two teams faced each other in the 2013 season finale in San Diego, the Chiefs did not play most of their starters which allowed the Chargers to sneak into the playoffs as the AFC 6-seed. This time both teams will be at full strength.
49ers at Broncos
It would not surprise me if both teams end up meeting in Phoenix at the end of the season. Right now the 49ers are the second Wild Card team and trailing the division leading Cardinals by a half-game overall and losing the head-to-head tiebreaker. They don't face Arizona until the last game of the season so it is important that they try to keep pace with them.
History could be made in Denver on Sunday Night as Peyton Manning tries to break the career passing touchdown record. Currently the record holder is Brett Favre who passed for 508 touchdowns. Manning needs three passing touchdowns to break the record.
Denver will be in the national spotlight for the next couple of games. After this game against the 49ers, they host the Chargers in an AFC West showdown on Thursday Night followed by traveling east to play the Patriots in another matchup between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady and then two games on the road against the Raiders and Rams.
And now the picks.
Kickoff times are mountain time, games airing in Denver are noted by (DEN), and picks are in BOLD.
THURSDAY NIGHT, CBS/NFL 6:15 PM
Jets at Patriots
Panthers at Packers (DEN)
Falcons at Ravens
Seahawks at Rams
Saints at Lions
Vikings at Bills
Bengals at Colts
Dolphins at Bears
Titans at Washington
Browns at Jaguars
Giants at Cowboys (DEN)
Cardinals at Raiders
Chiefs at Chargers (DEN)
SUNDAY NIGHT, NBC 6:15 PM
49ers at Broncos
MONDAY NIGHT, ESPN 6:15 PM
Texans at Steelers