AFC week 7
Sports Analyst Tim CarrollTim is a freelance Sports Reporter with previous work in the Daily Vidette at Illinois State University.
Sunday 25 October, 2015
Buffalo Bills (3-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5)
Every few years, the Bills get off to a fairly good start. Going 2-1 or 3-1, making fans and analysts alike believe this is the year they get back to the postseason for the first time since 1999. But usually, they end up faltering mid-season and end up going between 6-10 and 8-8. This appears to be another one of those years. Injuries to every offensive weapon appear to be the biggest factor in that derailment this year. Meanwhile, the Jaguars are a dismal 1-5, but have some exciting pieces for the future in Blake Bortles and TJ Yeldon. Sadly, this is always the case surrounding Jacksonville, it seems. Jacksonville has some winnable games coming up, with EJ Manuel at QB for Buffalo this week, a Jets team no one is certain are for real next week, and the 1-5 Ravens after that. Perhaps the Jags get it going. Rumor has it the Bills’ defense doesn’t like the strategy of Rex Ryan. A match that once looked to be made in heaven is already beginning to show signs of decay, especially after 34 points being put up by Cincinnati this past week.
Prediction: Jacksonville 24, Buffalo 20.
Atlanta Falcons (5-1) at Tennessee Titans (1-4)
The Falcons were handed their first loss of the season against a Saints team looking to save their season. The Titans meanwhile, have all but forgotten they’ve won a game, losing four in a row following that blowout at the beginning of the year against fellow rookie-led Tampa Bay. The Falcons may have lost, but Roddy White has made it known he wants this team more focused. Following a 3 fumble performance, the offense will look to hold onto the ball to make the most of every opportunity against a Titans defense that gives up big plays. If Matt Ryan can find Julio Jones for a big play or two, this game may be over early, but Mariota and company will look to take them out with their home-field advantage.
Prediction: Atlanta 31, Tennessee 21.
New Orleans Saints (2-4) at Indianapolis Colts (3-3)
The Saints head into Indy after their first win of the season over a team with their starters mostly intact. The Colts, meanwhile, followed three straight victories with a semi-inspired performance against New England. I say semi-inspired after that terrible fake-punt play that was perhaps the most inept display of play-calling and execution in NFL history. I’d like to think Andrew Luck carries this team to a victory at home, but he’s only got one of the Colts three wins this season to his name. And that victory was a narrow escape/comeback over Tennessee. The Saints may have one last week, but it was on the strength of the 3 Atlanta fumbles. Does anybody think Indy is going to cough up the football when it looks like all you may need to do is hold onto the ball? It’s unlikely that happens again.
Prediction: Indianapolis 26, New Orleans 21.
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-5)
The Steelers looked impressive last week, behind Landry Jones hot second half, they were able to take out a very talented Cardinals team. Yes, many of Jones’ 168 passing yards came on one 88 yards touchdown to seal the win, but even without that, his 7-11 and 80 yards before that left you wondering why Vick was the backup after Ben went down in the first place. And lucky for Jones, he hands the ball off to Le’Veon Bell and throw against a Chiefs defense that has given up a 14-4 TD-to-INT ratio. Meanwhile the Chiefs offense hasn’t exactly scored many points lately. Their point total has been on decline in the past four games. Nothing about this Chiefs team says they’re losing fluky games this season, as appear to be the case last season.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 28, Kansas City 18.
Houston Texans (2-4) at Miami Dolphins (2-3)
Both of these teams are coming off of runaway victories over bad teams, but only one is thrilled with a newly named interim head coach. The Dolphins were a sexy pick to make the playoffs before the season, but coach Philbin really appeared to be out to prove the experts wrong… The Texans also have some good talent, but does anyone believe Brian Hoyer has finally gotten it together? They may win a few games, ,but usually he’s going to turn the ball over just as much as he puts together good drives. Meanwhile, Ryan Tannehill and the defensive talent looked inspired. JJ Watt is still the most physical presence in the game, but he’s missing something out there so far this season.
Prediction: Miami 30, Houston 20.
New York Jets (4-1) at New England Patriots (5-0)
There have been plenty of shots fired this week leading up to this game. The two best teams in the AFC East square-off in an all-too familiar battle. The Jets have surprised everyone this year, with Ryan Fitzpatrick - while slightly turnover prone – making plays and moving the ball well. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker comprise a really good duo in the receiving game, while Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell form a good tandem out of the backfield. Ivory is getting 115 rushing yards per game so far this year, while Powell is third on the team in receptions as the third-down back. The Patriots have been doing what the Patriots do, winning. But that doesn’t mean they won’t throw out a few stinkers like they usually do. However, with this Jets game at home, it’s unlikely to be this week.
Prediction: New England 28, New York 20.
( Editors Pick: New York 35 New England 24)- JD
Oakland Raiders (2-3) at San Diego Chargers (2-4)
Two teams who may one day soon play in the same city and building (Los Angeles, in case you don’t follow those things) square off this weekend in SoCal. Both teams are coming off of back-to-back losses, hoping to put it all behind them. The Raiders looked promising before blowing a game against the Bears, then facing arguably the best defense in the league right now in the Broncos. The Chargers losses are also fairly forgiving, with a loss to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers and the Steelers. But they let the Steelers game get away from them. They were set to win before a few miscues. This game seems like it could go either way. The Raiders are hungry, and may be refreshed after their bye, while the Chargers may be running out of steam as a core. Either way, this game is likely to remain undecided until late in the game.
Prediction: Oakland 30, San Diego 26.
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