This weeks games are: Vikings @ Eagles, Redskins @ Lions, Patriots @ Steelers, Raiders @ Jaguars, Texans @ Broncos.
Mike Emms (Sports Ramble contributor)
The Vikings are the better team. However, I am not as optimistic about this game as your average homer. Did the Vikings players spend there bye week listening to media telling them how good they are? Will they come out flat after playing with so much energy in the first five weeks of the season? Doesn't it seem like streaks are always unlikely?
The Vikings have won eight regular season games in a row, their defense has not given up more than 17 points in the last nine games (including last years playoff loss), and Sam Bradford hasn't thrown an interception since last year. But the Eagles are an above average team: are they really going to lose three straight?
I still pick the Vikings here, but my gut is telling me that Bradford throws his first pick of the season. The Eagles defense has to be aware of his tendencies, his cadence, and how he looks off defenders. If the Vikings go down 10 points, like they have on both of their other road games this year, it will be a hard one to pull out on the road.
Additionally, I am always skeptical after a bye week. Sometimes a bye offers too much time for coaches to think. This happened in 2010, when the Vikings made a knee jerk trade for Randy Moss and Brad Childress drew up a play that had him throw a pass to a gimpy and old Brett Favre. Granted, Zimmer is 1-1 after bye weeks and has been far superior to Brad Childress, but as a Vikings fan I always expect something stupid to happen eventually.
This actually has the makings of a very fun game, as both quarterbacks have a flair for the dramatic. I think these teams are very evenly matched and I, therefore, give the edge to the home team. Actually, this game could be extremely important for playoff seeding as they both could be vying for a wild card spot at the end of the year.
After further review, Matthew Stafford has been playing fantastic and the Lions may actually have a chance at the playoffs.
This would have been a good game if the Steelers didn't lose Ben Roethlisberger. However, with Rothlisberger gone, the Patriots will walk away from Heinz field with a pretty innocuous win.
The Raiders are the better team, but at home the Jaguars offense will be a problem for a mediocre Raiders defense. The challenge, however, will be for the Jaguars defense to hold their own against quarterback Derek Carr who is playing pretty well.
Brock Osweiler will go to Denver with a huge chip on his shoulder. But he will throw two or three interceptions to his former team, and everyone will see why John Elway did not want to sell the farm for a mediocre quarterback.
Mike Coenen (Co-host of the Sports Ramble Podcast)
It is going to be interesting to see how good the Vikings actually are. A Super Bowl caliber team would have no problem coming off a bye week and beating a good, but not great, team on the road. I don’t think the Vikings will get it done this week, however. Eagles in a tight, low scoring affair, 20-19.
The Lions will bring the Redskins four-game winning streak to an end this Sunday in a high scoring game, 38-35.
Big Ben is out and that spells trouble for the Steelers. The Patriots will win, but it will be closer as the rest of the Steelers pick up the slack. It won’t be enough, though. Patriots win 27-20.
The Jaguars are terrible, and will be terrible again this week against a resurgent Raider team coming off a bad loss last week to Kansas City. Raiders get back on track, 28-13.
Speaking of terrible, the Texans are playing pretty terrible as well. The Broncos are coming off two losses, and the defense will be out for blood on Monday night against their former quarterback. Broncos win easily, 27-6.
John Morton (Sports Ramble contributor and co-host of the Fully Alive podcast)
Vikings, Lions, Steelers, Jaguars, Broncos
Chip Matthews (Sports Ramble blog and podcast contributor)
Vikings, Lions, Patriots, Raiders, Broncos
Rico Lopez (Sports Ramble contributor)
Vikings, Redskins, Patriots, Raiders, Texans
Robert Swinehart (NEW Sports Ramble contributor)
Vikings, Lions, Patriots, Raiders, Texans
Marshall Nystrom (Sports Ramble contributor)
Vikings, Lions, Patriots, Raiders, Broncos
Evelyn Moreno (Sports Ramble contributor)
Vikings, Redskins, Patriots, Raiders, Broncos
Erik Ritland (Sports Ramble podcast host and contributor)
Eagles, Redskins, Patriots, Raiders, Broncos