The college football regular season is over, and that means NFL football will dominate the TV networks this weekend. After a game on Thursday night, there will be two Saturday games, the regular large Sunday slate, and the typical Monday night game. There should be many close matchups throughout the weekend, including some crucial divisional rivalry games. Last week, I went 8-8 in picks to bring my overall record to 127-80-1 (128-80-1 including TNF). I’m hoping to beat that this week. Keep reading to find out who I think will win all the big games this weekend, and comment with your thoughts.
Lock of the Week
QB Josh Allen has taken the next step this year, and QB Drew Lock hasn’t. It’s as simple as that. Allen should easily outperform Lock in this game, leading the Bills to a blowout victory. Denver has a good run defense that can stop Buffalo’s duo of Devin Singletary and Zack Moss. I think Allen will use his arm to defeat the Broncos, relying on trustworthy WRs Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley. Lock will struggle under pressure from a strong Bills D and he’ll be unable to even make this close.
Upset of the Week
Head coach Brian Flores has had a lot of success transforming Miami’s defense. However, Flores worked for many years under Bill Belichick. Belichick knows every trick Flores has up his sleeve and can coach his offense to work around it. I expect QB Cam Newton and the Pats offense to win this game through a successful run game. QB Tua Tagovailoa has looked good, but he’ll be unable to put up many points against Belichick’s defense considering his banged up surroundings. RB Myles Gaskin, WR DeVante Parker, and TE Mike Gesicki could all miss the game. That’s bad news for Tua against a defense that normally dominates young QBs and did so against Justin Herbert just two weeks ago. The Pats should win this in a defense heavy game, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a pick six in this one.
The Other Games
|TNF (Posted on Instagram Thursday)||Vegas has struggled of late due to lackluster defense. I expect the same against an underrated Chargers offense. They may be eliminated from the playoffs, but QB Justin Herbert and his offense have played well all year long. LA’s flaws come in the form of a banged up defense and a struggling special teams unit. I’m expecting a high scoring game here and have the Chargers winning in the end as Herbert performs slightly better than Raiders QB Derek Carr.|
|Saturday||After a Bills blowout in the early window on Saturday, I’m expecting an exciting evening game between these two teams. The Packers have the far better record, but this Carolina offense has looked flashy all year and could give the Packers D a headache. The Packers may have star CB Jaire Alexander, but he can only cover one guy and the Panthers have three capable receivers. I do think Green Bay wins in the end. The Panthers will be unable to keep up with the combo of star QB Aaron Rodgers and a strong Packers run game led by Aaron Jones.|
|The Ravens are missing several of their receivers due to COVID. This Jaguars offense could put up a fight against a banged up Ravens squad, but I think Baltimore wins in the end. They will dominate Jacksonville’s defense on two fronts: by running the ball well and by relying on standout TE Mark Andrews. I think Andrews will catch multiple TDs. Meanwhile, the combo of mobile QB Lamar Jackson and RBs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards will be too much for the Jaguars D to handle.|
|RB Derrick Henry just dominated the Jaguars and I’m expecting an encore against a struggling Lions run defense. The Lions offense should put up some points with QB Matthew Stafford and RB D’Andre Swift healthy, but it won’t be that close. Swift is good, but he’s no Derrick Henry.|
|There was a point when I thought this Colts team was overrated. Over the last few weeks they have proved me wrong. QB Deshaun Watson is better than Philip Rivers, but the Colts beat the Texans when they were much healthier two weeks ago. Now, this banged up Texans offense will be no match for the Indy D and that will allow for a Colts victory.|
|Unless TE George Kittle returns, this will be a historic day for the Cowboys: their first win with less than 30 points in almost 2 years. Most receivers dominate this Cowboys secondary, and WR Brandon Aiyuk will still have a big game I think. However, the 49ers have one of the weakest receiving corps in the NFL. That will allow the Cowboys D to focus in on San Fran’s run game and impress. Meanwhile, the Cowboys offense will put up enough points for a victory, and for once, a non-shootout victory.|
|Sure, the Seahawks may have played the Jets last week, but their dominant win should give them momentum headed into this game. Despite facing a strong Washington secondary, I think QB Russell Wilson will connect well with WRs D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett here. The Washington offense will be unable to keep up, especially considering the fact that QB Alex Smith and RB Antonio Gibson will have to miss the game.|
|Even though the Bears D should limit them, I think the Vikings offense will still post a strong game. I do expect WR Allen Robinson to dominate and allow the Bears to get in this game. However, I think the Vikings will complete the season sweep with a close victory.|
|This Falcons offense has done fairly well. They are still no match for the Tampa Bay D, especially without WR Julio Jones. I’m also expecting a big game from QB Tom Brady and his strong offense against a flawed Atlanta D. Without Julio playing, this won’t even be close.|
|Annihilating the Jets has almost become a confirmation of whether a team is good. Teams like the Raiders who have let the Jets come close have been exposed as flawed teams. Teams like the Rams should win comfortably here. I think QB Jared Goff and his receivers will perform better than usual here, and I also expect RB Cam Akers to build on his success against the Patriots. QB Sam Darnold might lead a couple scoring drives against this Rams D, but he still won’t make this very close.|
|I’m impressed by QB Jalen Hurts after he led Philly to upset the Saints last week, and I think the Cardinals win this one but Hurts could give them a good challenge in Arizona. Hurts has been relying on RB Miles Sanders and the TE duo of Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz, which has worked. QB Kyler Murray doesn’t have good TEs, but he does have a strong run game around him as well as star WR DeAndre Hopkins. He’ll rely on those things to edge out the victory here.|
|The Saints have already looked pretty good without QB Drew Brees. Now, Brees is cleared to play, and we could have one of the most exciting matchups of the year on our hands. QB Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs have seemed unstoppable this year, but I think the Saints D will be able to slow down the Kansas City run game and limit Mahomes. Meanwhile, Brees and the Saints offense will post a strong enough game to pull off the upset and hand Kansas City their second loss of the year.|
|I was thinking the Giants might have a chance here considering their improved defense. However, star CB James Bradberry is out, so I’m expecting another big game from this Browns offense. I think QB Baker Mayfield throws multiple TDs while also relying on his RB duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Freddie Kitchens, the Browns former head coach, will be calling offensive plays for the Giants, so I think New York will impress against the Browns D. It still won’t be enough to keep up with Mayfield’s stacked offense in prime time.|
|This was probably put on Monday night because of the impression that it would be QB Joe Burrow taking on Pittsburgh. Instead, Burrow’s season is over, and it’ll be Brandon Allen under center for Cincy. QB Ben Roethlisberger is far better, and this won’t be a competitive game.|
That’s all for my picks this week. The playoffs are getting closer, and after this week multiple teams will either clinch or be eliminated. It only gets crazier next week.