Jacksonville Jaguars vs Chicago Bears – Losers of five of the last six contests, the feeling is that this could well be an interesting off-season in Jacksonville at all levels. It’s no secret that owner Wayne Weaver would (for the right price) seriously consider moving the club he has owned since his inception and Jack Del Rio may have worn out his welcome after quietly looking at a number of jobs in the off-season. The team has played poorly, but more importantly I believe Del Rio has lost this football team.
The Bears have lost three of four including two very important divisional games, but still trail the Vikings by just one game in the NFC North division. Although they have made some progress over the past two seasons, the truth be known, the Bears still lack the overall personnel to factor. Look for a low scoring game with the home team Bears’ ability to run the ball and effective run blitz schemes to be the difference in this one.
Bears 20 – Jaguars 17
Minnesota Vikings vs Detroit Lions – The Vikings are on a roll, winning four of five. Even playing on the road, with the Williams boys possibly facing a four-game suspension and inexperienced back-up Guion nursing an ankle injury, look for Vikings to roll over the hapless Lions.
The Lions have surrended an amazing 114 points in the last three games and with the exception of their close battle with the Vikings in week number three (12 to 10), the Lions defense has given up 25 points or better in every game this past season. Enough said.
Vikings 34 – Lions 14
Houston Texans vs Green Bay Packers – With both clubs sporting five and seven records on the season, it’s quite obvious that neither club is going anywhere. The Texans have won two straight including a rare road victory over the Browns. The Packers, meanwhile, have lost three home games on the season. Everything points to another Texans victory, but I look for the Packers to rebound on the strength of their potent offense and officially end the Texans playoff chances.
Packers 31 – Texans 21
Cincinnati Bengals vs Indianapolis Colts – The Colts appear to be doing it with mirrors at this stage of the season. Say what you want about their inconsistencies on both sides of the football, this club has won five straight games and with he Bengals, Lions and Jaguars remaining on the schedule appear poised to be one of the two AFC wildcard representatives. The problem I see with the Colts is the inability to keep key personnel on the field. Gary Brackett’s season-ending injury suffered against the Browns could be devastating for a club already beset with numerous injuries. The Bengals have played slightly better ball as of late, but at 1-10-1, it’s hard to find a silver lining in the Queen City.
Colts 26 – Bengals 16
Atlanta Falcons vs New Orleans Saints – The Atlanta Falcons, the NFL Cinderella club of the 2008 season picked up their biggest win of the season last week in San Diego and should be primed for this week’s divisional battle versus the Saints.
Quarterback Drew Brees always gives his club a chance, but with three top player’s possibility facing four game suspensions and a very tough home loss last week to the Titans, I don’t like their chances.
Saints 27 – Falcons 24
Philadelphia Eagles vs New York Giants – Opponents keep lining up and the Giants just keep knocking them off. Like most people, I gave them little chance in last year’s Super Bowl, but from about week two of the season, it has become obvious that this club is for real and appear to have an excellent chance of making a return trip to pro football’s most coveted event. The Eagles played their best football game of the season on Thanksgiving versus the NFC West leading Cardinals in Philadelphia, but these are the Giants and this isn’t the city of brotherly love.
Giants 24 – Eagles 17
Cleveland Browns vs Tennessee Titans – It’s hard for me to believe that either the coaching staff or front office personnel can survive this disastrous 2008 season in Cleveland. This week, the beleaguered Browns visit the 11-1 Titans minus both their number one and number two quarterbacks and Kellen Winslow. I didn’t like Ken Dorsey at the U of Miami, with the 49ers and now with Browns. Given the Titans consistency on the defensive side of the football, I really see the Browns having a difficult time scoring; let alone winning this football club. This one should be an absolute cakewalk.
Titans 27 – Browns 3