Cincinnati (6-2) at Miami (3-4)
The Bengals have won four in a row while the Dolphins have lost four in a row. Miami is the home team here, but it’s hard to imagine the tides turning in this one.
The Dolphins offensive play calling has been very conservative, despite bringing in the deep threat of Mike Wallace this off-season. The team let Reggie Bush go in the off-season and the running game has suffered, ranking 23rd in the league in rushing yards per game. Receiver Brandon Gibson has been placed on the IR.
Did you see the beat down the Bengals put on the Jets last week? That’s a convincing victory and right now Miami doesn’t look like a more challenging opponent.
Kansas City (8-0) at Buffalo (3-5)
The Bills are in a bad spot with injuries right now. Wide receiver Stevie Johnson and running back Fred Jackson both missed practice Wednesday; Jackson is listed as questionable. Thad Lewis, the team’s starting quarterback with E.J. Manuel injured, is said to be 50-50. C.J. Spiller is also listed as questionable.
Going up against an undefeated Chiefs team, the Bills just don’t seem to have enough in the tank to take down a top team right now.
Kansas City wins.
Minnesota (1-6) at Dallas (4-4)
The Cowboys are 3-1 at home and are in a good position to capitalize on a weak Vikings team.
Minnesota is 29th in the league in passing yards allowed per game while the Cowboys are eighth in the league in passing yards per game. Tony Romo has the fifth highest quarterback rating in the league and third in the touchdowns.
The Cowboys have the worst defense in passing yards allowed per game, but the Vikings quarterback situation is in a much worse place than Tony Romo in Dallas. The Vikings won’t be able to take advantage of the defense like the Cowboys will.
Tennessee (3-4) at St. Louis (3-5)
The Rams defense did well enough to keep the team in the game against the Seahawks last week but the offense was terrible, not scoring a single touchdown. Kellen Clemens had two interceptions and completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes.
The Titans are seventh in the league in passing yards allowed per game. They also are tied for second in the league in passing touchdowns allowed and are tenth in the league in points per game allowed.
New Orleans (6-1) at New York Jets (4-4)
The Jets were flat out embarrassed last weekend and it will be a tall task to make it better against the Saints.
While Geno Smith has shown flashes of potential, he still turns the ball over. He has 13 interceptions in eight games this season, including two pick-sixes last week. The Jets running game was so bad last week that backup quarterback Matt Simms was the team’s leading rusher with 35 yards. Granted you don’t do a lot of running when you’re down by 40 points, they still didn’t get much going.
The Saints will make it another tough outing for Smith. They are ninth in passing yards allowed per game, tied for tenth in interceptions, and eighth in sacks.
Oh yea, on the other side of the ball they have Drew Brees.
New Orleans wins.
San Diego (4-3) at Washington (2-5)
The Redskins defense continues to struggle this season. Granted, the Broncos have arguably the best offense in the league, but time and time again the Redskins have allowed their opponents offense to dominate them. Only once this season have they allowed fewer than 20 points.
The Chargers have put together a very good offense, ranking sixth in passing yards per game and 15th in rushing yards per game. Philip Rivers is sixth in the league in passing yards per game, and tied for sixth in the league in touchdowns. He’s having as good a season as anyone not named Peyton Manning and he should do well against the Redskins defense.
San Diego wins.
Atlanta (2-5) at Carolina (4-3)
The Panthers, surprisingly, have won three games in a row. Meanwhile, the Falcons are winless on the road this season.
The Falcons have been unable to run the ball this season, ranking 32nd in rushing yards per game. Meanwhile, Carolina is second in the league in rushing yards allowed per game. Conversely, the Panthers are eighth in the league in rushing yards per game while the Falcons are 22nd in the league in rushing yards allowed per game.
Despite Matt Ryan’s surprising success this season, he threw four interceptions last weekend. Not having wide receiver Julio Jones and Roddy White is not a help.
Philadelphia (3-5) at Oakland (3-4)
The Eagles are 3-1 on the road but they just played their second straight stinker of a game. Michael Vick is hurt again, and the Eagles were lucky to get a touchdown at the end of the fourth quarter to end a streak of seven consecutive quarters without a touchdown.
The Raiders are 3-1 at home. They beat the Steelers last week despite Terrelle Pryor throwing for only 88 yards and two interceptions. He did rush for 106 yards and a touchdown, though, and Darren McFadden ran for two touchdowns as well.
Tampa Bay (0-7) at Seattle (7-1)
The Buccaneers are winless on the season and 26th in the league in passing yards per game.
The Seahawks are dominant at home, have only one loss this season, and are dominant against the pass, ranking third in the league in yards allowed per game.
Baltimore (3-4) at Cleveland (3-5)
Once again, Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden was upstaged by the player replacing him. Jason Campbell was 22 of 36 for 293 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. The team fell short, but it was a good effort against the undefeated Chiefs.
The Browns are known to play the Ravens very tough and give them all they can handle. Baltimore hasn’t been a very impressive defending Super Bowl champion, either.
That being said, the Ravens haven’t lost to the Browns since November of 2007. The team has had an extra week to rest and prepare and its chances are good.
Pittsburgh (2-5) at New England (6-2)
The Patriots haven’t lost at home this season and the fans are going to be riled up as the Red Sox just won the World Series. Somehow, the Patriots have managed to get through the injuries, the inexperience and Tom Brady not being himself. They have six wins and lead their division.
Tom Brady hasn’t put up the numbers this season that he usually does, but the Steelers haven’t put up the wins they usually do. Pittsburgh is 1-3 on the road this season.
The Patriots are getting a good contribution from their running game, however, and are 12th in the league in rushing yards per game. The Steelers are 27th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game.
New England’s improved running game and secondary have helped this team weather a challenging season.
New England wins.
Indianapolis (5-2) at Houston (2-5)
At home and off a bye week you want to say that the Texans will win a game and at least appear to get back on track. That’s especially considering Case Keenum played decently in defeat in his first NFL game, going 15-25 for 271 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions (although he did lose on fumble).
Still, what’s going on with Houston’s running back situation? Both Arian Foster and Ben Tate finally returned to practice Thursday, but Tate was limited. Both are questionable and there hasn’t been any word on either’s status for Sunday’s game.
It’s likely at least one of them plays but how effective will either be? The Colts don’t have a great run defense but their pass defense is solid, so if they can force the Texans to make the rookie QB beat them, they could be in good shape.
The Colts are coming off a bye week as well and Houston’s biggest assets are their biggest question marks right now.
Chicago (4-3) at Green Bay (5-2)
The Packers have won their last 10 games at home and haven’t lost at home in November or later since 2009. They’ve won four games in a row this year.
The Bears have lost three of their past four games, are without starting quarterback Jay Cutler, and cornerback Charles Tillman is questionable with a knee injury that prevented him from participating in practice Thursday.
This just seems like a lopsided game waiting to happen.
Green Bay wins.
Bye Week: Denver, Detroit, New York Giants, Arizona, San Francisco, Jacksonville
Last Week: 10-3
Jake Locker: AP Photo/Wade Payne