AFC week 10 preview
Sports Analyst Tim CarrollTim is a freelance Sports Reporter with previous work in the Daily Vidette at Illinois State University.
Thursday 12 November 2015
Buffalo Bills (4-4) at New York Jets (5-3)
(Football nerd alert) This week’s Thursday game will be the first this season to feature a color vs. color matchup, as the Bills will feature an all new “Color rush” red uniform, with the exception of their helmet. The Jets uniforms will also feature more green than their regular home uniform, but back to the field now. Both of these teams got back into the win column last week after 2 straight losses. The Jets stand at 5-3, good enough for the top wild-card spot, and the Bills are in seventh place in the AFC, half a game behind Pittsburgh at 5-4. The Bills are nearing healthy again, and the Jets found their defensive groove again last week, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens on the field. Oh, and I forgot to mention Rex Ryan returns to the Jets’ stadium for the first time since he was the coach. WHAT TREMENDOUS STORYLINES!!!
Prediction: Buffalo 24, New York 23.
Sunday 15 November 2105
Carolina Panthers (8-0) at Tennessee Titans (2-6)
This game could be much more interesting game than it looks like on paper. The Panthers are clearly the better team here, but at 8-0 and coming off of probably their best win of the season against the Packers, this game with the Titans has that college-like “trap-game” feel. Everybody talks about the Panthers defense, but they’ve given up more points in each of the past two games. Mariota will have his hands full, but this is the point in the season where even good teams can fall asleep, getting the kick in the butt they need before the playoff push truly begins. Cam Newton is fantastic, but his inefficient passing percentage could hurt the team this week if he’s not careful. I’m not saying the Titans are definitely going to win this game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if an upset takes place in Nashville on Sunday.
Prediction: Carolina 27, Tennessee 17.
Cleveland Browns (2-7) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4)
Pittsburgh has been so incredibly unlucky with injuries so far this year. Right when Bell came back from suspension, Big Ben went down. Martavis Bryant came back and Michael Vick got hurt. Landry Jones looked good, and so did Big Ben in his return, and he got hurt again. The Steelers will certainly have to claw and scratch their way into the postseason, hopefully getting healthy in time will result in being a 6th seed no one wants to play. With that being said, the Browns don’t give you much hope. It appears Johnny Manziel’s success is only available in short bursts. A solidly coached team will not find themselves down against his one-trick pony style of play. Landry Jones would worry some Steeler fans, but against that Cleveland defense, they’ll rest easy knowing they can lean on LeVeon Bell to keep Jones efficient.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 26, Cleveland 16.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) at Baltimore Ravens (2-6)
This game will likely only have your attention on your phone or tablet as you check in on your fantasy football team, and that’s only if you’re stuck playing someone from either of these teams. The Jaguars are trying so hard to build themselves into a winner. Honestly, with the exception of this season, they’d be wise to mimic everything the Ravens have done over the last seven or eight years. They’re a model of consistency in terms of being competitive, and that’s where good football teams begin. Bortles has talent, so does TJ Yeldon and the rest of the Jaguars core. And the thing is, being in the weak AFC South, the Jags are still alive for the division. If they can get hot down the stretch, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that an 8-8 or 7-9 record wins that division and gives them a home playoff game. I wouldn’t bet on it, especially if Andrew Luck gets the Colts rolling. But it’s absolutely possible.
Prediction: Jacksonville 30, Baltimore 24.
Minnesota Vikings (6-2) at Oakland Raiders (4-4)
For the first time in a long time, the Raiders are thinking playoffs. And they’ve got the head coach now who’s had success, and it seems as though their confidence is growing week after week, win or lose. Derek Carr has been a model of consistency, and even when’s he’s not playing great, he’s not making mistakes that hurt the team greatly. The defense has relied heavily on the ball-hawking skills of 39-year-old Charles Woodson, but they’ve definitely been giving their all as well. The Vikings are well-coached as well, as Mike Zimmer has made his team a model of consistency as well. Minnesota gutted out a tough win over St. Louis last week, and appears to be battle-tested now after two thrilling victories. Both teams are far from perfect, however, and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top in this one.
Prediction: Oakland 21, Minnesota 20.
Kansas City Chiefs (3-5) vs. Denver Broncos (7-1)
The Chiefs have been down on their luck this season, losing games in crazy, fluky ways. The Charles fumble against Denver, the miracle from Jay Cutler when the Bears came to town, and they were missing Jamaal Charles when they lost to the Vikings. They could very well be a 5-3 football team right now, and they’ve outscored opponents by 13 points. The Broncos, however, escaped with a victory against these Chiefs, and are lucky they didn’t lose that one. The Broncos doubters would’ve had huge evidence against them should that have happened. They are likely to be locked in on Sunday, hoping to avoid a close game and put the Chiefs down once and for all. Peyton Manning and Co. will have their hands full with the pass rush, but something tells me Peyton won’t get hit that often, even if he is rattled. Expect a closer game than the records indicate.
Predictions: Denver 26, Kansas City 23.
Monday 16 November 2105
Houston Texans (3-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (8-0)
Much like the Carolina/Tennessee game, this has the smell of “trap-game” as well. Houston may be 3-5, but have a chance in that dreadful AFC South division. Cincinnati is coming off of a blowout victory and is continually told how good it is now by the media. Andy Dalton has never won a playoff game, and while that’s not likely to truly rear its ugly head in the regular season, when Dalton is usually solid, but you could get a glimpse in this game if he’s not taking this seriously. With that being said, the undefeated team is at home in this case, which makes an upset much less likely. The Texans enjoy getting after the quarterbacks, as 7 sacks from the last game will indicate. If the Texans are clicking, and the Bengals aren’t it could be a nail-biter in Cincy.
Prediction: Cincinnati 31, Houston 24.
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