It’s becoming apparent that games on Thursday nights aren’t working out very well for the NFL this season. Before the regular season began, I thought it was going to be a great idea. More football is always a good thing, right? Doesn’t seem like it. Teams are tired, still fighting off injuries and not prepared to play two NFL games in five days. I know the Dolphins and the Bills aren’t exactly among the elite teams in the league but there’s clearly something when it takes until halfway through the third quarter for either of these teams to score a touchdown on offense. The Bills don’t have a good defense. In fact, i’d probably rank them among the five worst in the league but last night they looked like they belong with the Bears and the Texans defenses. Or how about I just admit that I was wrong and the Dolphins just aren’t that good. Either way, the Bills’ defense was able to pretty Miami the entire night to force turnovers and eventually take the victory 19-14. The Bills were able to force turnovers (one returned for a TD) and didn’t allow the Miami offense to get into any rhythm which is most likely going to turn into a success. The Dolphins actually has a chance for the lead twice in the 4th quarter but those two opportunities turned into easy interceptions for the Buffalo defense. While these two teams probably won’t be participating in the post seasons, both do have an outside shot of making some noise.
Here are a few things to keep your eyes on this Sunday as the games are going on:
Every single AFC division winner could be decided this weekend: The Patriots can take advantage of the Buffalo victory over Miami, beating a Colts team to be 3 games up in the division with a very favorable schedule. Consequently, if the Patriots do win, the Colts will have lost their 4th game. The Texans could very much take advantage of that while they face a bad Jaguars team in Houston. Out west, the Chargers and Broncos face off for what will essentially be the division title. The Chargers must win this if they plan on making the postseason. Up north the Ravens-Steelers slug fest will be going on but the Steelers are without their QB (their most important player) so the Ravens will definitely looking to take advantage of a depleted Pittsburgh team.
NFC teams trying to gain ground on the leader: The 49ers looked like they were going to run away with the west but all of a sudden they tie AND they’re missing their starting quarterback. Seattle is on their bye week but the 49ers have a very tough game on Sunday night against the Bears. Those same Chicago Bears are feeling the pressure of a red hot Packers team, particularly because Bears QB Jay Cutler is out of Monday’s game due to injury. Another team with a chance to gain some ground? That’s right, my Dallas Cowboys! After a big divisional win last weekend and the Giants on by this week, the Cowboys can take advantage of a bad Browns team in Cowboys Stadium but as most Cowboys fans know, nothing is for certain about this team.
This week my surprisingly close game pick will be the Raiders at home against the Saints (-5) mostly because I feel like people are a little too confident in the Saints now. Remember, their defense is still terrible and the Raiders offense has been looking better these past couple of weeks.