Teams still have one week before the October 30th trade deadline, meaning: teams have one more chance to identify their weaknesses and fix them before the playoffs, or ditch dead weight and snag new talent for next season. Here are the games you shouldn’t miss on Sunday.
Houston Texans Vs Jacksonville Jaguars:
This AFC south divisional matchup has a prime spot on the schedule for fans to see where the two teams stand.
The Jaguars began their season 2-0, including a statement win over the Patriots, before losing to the Titans in week three. Jaguar offense fluctuated significantly this season, scoring over 30 points twice so far but under 10 points in just as many games.
Jacksonville was the favorite to take their division this season after finishing as AFC runner ups last season. However, Blake Bortles’ average quarterback performance and Leonard Fournette’s hamstring injury complications leaves fans with dwindling faith in the team.
A 3-3 record isn’t the end-all-be-all, but early losses turned easy games into must win matches for Jacksonville.
Houston started the season 0-3 with questions about quarterback Deshaun Watson’s health quickly filling the locker room.
The quarterback’s shaky play hasn’t improved and he is currently tied for third in the league for most interceptions thrown this season. However, Houston defense has improved, and star wideout DeAndre Hopkins carried his teams offense in a number of clutch situations.
Houston clawed its way back to 3-3, tying the Jaguars for first place in the division. The Texans haven’t beaten any team with a record above .500. Taking the division over rival Jacksonville will solidify their place among rising teams in the league.
Other than their win over New England, the Jaguars also haven’t beaten any team with a winning record. Neither team has proven themselves so far, making this Sunday’s game a must-win for both teams. Expect the signal callers to pull out every play in their bag of tricks in this one.
Prediction: Jacksonville 31 – Houston 24
L.A. Chargers Vs Tennessee Titans
This west vs east coast contest between two teams who already exceeded this season’s expectations could be a great one to watch.
Unfortunately, the Chargers haven’t been able to come out from under the shadow of the Kansas City Chiefs. L.A. sits just one game behind the Chiefs in the division and holds a respectable 4-2 record. Their schedule, however, indicates they might not be as good as advertised.
L.A. won four games, all against opponents who are last in their divisions. The Chargers’ two losses came against the two arguably best teams in the league, the Rams and the Chiefs.
Quarterback Phillip Rivers captained a steady Charger offense this season, putting up at least 23 points in every game, even the losses. Running back Melvin Gordon brought improved Charger run game to levels fans haven’t seen since the days of LaDainian Tomlinson. Gordon currently sits third in the league in rushing yards.
The Titans positioned themselves well with a 3-3 record after quarterback Marcus Mariota missed the first few games of the season for numbness in his throwing hand.
The Tennessee offense struggles offensively this season, most recently being shut out by the Baltimore defense. While the Titans aren’t experiencing turnover issues, they still can’t gain first downs consistently throughout games.
One reason for this is the absence of a run game. The Titans rusher is 31st in the league in rushing yards gained and has yet to find the end zone once on the ground this season.
When it comes to total defense however, Tennessee finds themselves in the middle of the pack, only giving up 17 points per game. It will be a challenge for the Titans to stop Rivers and the Charger offense, but with Houston and Jacksonville playing each other, the Titans must win to stay afloat in their division.
Prediction: Chargers 38 – Titans 24
New Orleans Saints Vs Baltimore Ravens
This game will set the scene for an offense that can’t be stopped against a defense ready to put an end to the Saints scoring streak.
The Saints are coming off a week of rest after Drew Brees broke the all time passing yards record two weeks ago. With loads of momentum, and the top spot in the NFC South, the Saints are looking to put up 40 points once again this week.
The Saints rank first in the NFL with 36 points scored per game. However, Baltimore ranks first in the NFL in total defense and only gives up an average of 12 points per game.
Baltimore defense is the sole reason why the Ravens managed to take second place in their division behind the Bengals. The Ravens have four wins, three of them against an offense that ranks at the bottom of the league. One of their two losses came against Cincinnati, whose offense doesn’t come close to what the Saints can put up.
In a win last week, Joe Flacco managed to throw under 40 pass attempts, allowing the offense to gain some ground and find the end zone twice. Properly managing the run and pass game for the Ravens is a big factor in the losses for the team this season.
Two unstoppable forces will collide on the field this week, both looking to put a stamp on their season so far. Whether this is a defensive or offensive league will be determined on Sunday in Baltimore.
Prediction: Saints 35 – Ravens 21
Cincinnati Bengals Vs Kansas City Chiefs: Sunday Night Football
Two offensive powerhouses are licking their wounds after losses to stiff competition last week. One will walk away with a win this Sunday, and it will be because of their defenses.
The Chiefs are unstoppable this season, and 40 points last week in New England shows the team is not slowing down. However, their defense once gain showed no backbone in granting 43 points to the Patriots.
The Chiefs flexed their muscles in the fourth quarter last week, tossing a game tying bomb to Tyreek Hill with three minutes left in the game. However, that proved to be a rookie mistake by the young quarterback of Kansas City, leaving three and a half minutes on the clock for Tom Brady to score — which he did.
I speak for every Patriots fan when I say, not one person was worried that New England would lose facing a sorry Chiefs defense with over three minutes on the clock.
The Kansas City offense scares everyone, but their defense puts fear in none, a big problem for the Chiefs.
One team that isn’t scared of the Chiefs defense is the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals put up 34 points on the number one defense in the league and scored over 30 no less than three times this season.
The Kansas City defense does not have the cornerbacks to match up with A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd of the Bengals. Not to mention, with a healthy Joe Mixon out of the backfield, Cincinnati has a serious shot at putting 40 points on the Chiefs two weeks in a row.
Bold Prediction: Bengals 38 – Chiefs 31
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