New Orleans Saints (6-2) at Buffalo Bills (5-3)
I doubt that back in August there were many people thought this matchup would share 11 wins between the two, but that’s why they play the games.
It’s an interesting test for the Saints and their high-flying offense. At 6-2, they’re atop the NFC South. A road win today would be a huge boost with a very difficult schedule left over the rest of the season including the Week 12 visit to play the Los Angeles Rams.
Meanwhile, the Bills are shockingly within striking distance of the New England Patriots in the AFC East. Today’s a bit of a must-win for them at home with a two-game road trip coming up followed by a divisional clash with those very Pats.
Green Bay Packers (4-4) at Chicago Bears (3-6)
Obviously with QB Aaron Rodgers out, this one lacks some of the punch it might otherwise have. Still, it’s Packers-Bears.
Green Bay is reeling in the post-Rodgers stretch. They’re on a three-game losing streak in his absence. A loss today would likely immediately push them into that group of teams already using this season to prepare for 2018.
Chicago, perhaps already in that group, is just trying to figure out how to align things between their rookie franchise quarterback and head coach. QB Mitchell Trubisky certainly isn’t taking the league by storm. Last week, he threw for a career high 164 yards against the Saints, but it took him 32 passes to do so. The week prior, he was just 4/7 in the Bears’ win over the Carolina Panthers. That lackluster output has many wondering if Bears HC John Fox will even be around in 2018 when Bears fans’ demands of Trubisky are sure to be higher.
Cleveland Browns (0-8) at Detroit Lions (4-4)
Hard to believe the odds on this one have the Lions as just 10 point favorites, but alas.
Not even sure what to say about Cleveland, to be honest. It’s just a mess of a franchise at this point. Since 1990, they have just three winning seasons. This year, they’re 31st in points scored, 27th in yards gained and 28th in points allowed.
The Lions killed off their three-game losing streak by beating the Packers last week. They need to get this W today and get ready for a road trip to Chicago next week if they’re going to stick with the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North.
Cincinnati Bengals (3-6) at Tennessee Titans (5-3)
Is this a must-win for Cincy? Depends on what they must achieve in 2017. Does Head Coach Marvin Lewis get fired if they miss the playoffs? If not, then I don’t see why it is. Given that Bengals fans are looking for replacements though...
As for Tennessee, the AFC South looks to be split either between them or the Jacksonville Jaguars. After the Bengals, four of their next five games are on the road before their Week 16 return home to take on the Rams.
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) at Indianapolis Colts (3-6)
Assuming the Steelers get the road win today, they’ll be well out in front of the AFC North.
As for the Colts...well, QB Andrew Luck is back in 2018. So yeah.
New York Jets (4-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6)
Is anyone doing more with less than Jets HC Todd Bowles? Not sure how this team has four wins.
Meanwhile, Tampa looks lost. And with QB Jameis Winston sidelined with a shoulder injury, it’s not looking great for Bucs fans.
Minnesota Vikings (6-2) at Washington Team (4-4)
Perhaps the best game of the early slate, this is a good test for Minnesota on the road. Their stellar defense (3rd in points allowed, 4th in yards allowed) is carrying the team toward the playoffs with QB Teddy Bridgewater set to make a headlining return. Could he be the main story next Sunday when the Rams head to Minneapolis in Week 11?
As for Washington, there’s always drama in D.C. After last week’s dramatic win over the Seattle Seahawks, they’re looking to keep pace in the wild card race with the 8-1 Philadelphia Eagles having all but locked up the divisional crown.
Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3)
The Chargers’ early schedule simply did them no favors in their #FightforLA effort. Having gotten to November, they need to stack up wins immediately if they’re going to remain in the AFC wild card race. Otherwise, that fight for LA isn’t going to be any kind of fight in 2017 given how entertaining the Rams have been.
As for the Jags, it’s all about that divisional race between them and the Titans. Hard to see that race being decided before late December at this point. With both at home today, they’ll both be expected to hold home field. Any aberration to as much could derail the race in a big way.