Seattle Seahawks @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs are actually 1-4 at home this season, so they don’t really have a home-field advantage. Let’s give Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston some credit. He’s really played some good football this season. He is the reason why the Buccaneers are in the playoff race. The Seahawks have actually won three straight and are 28-6 in second half games under Russell Wilson, as the Seahawks have finally hit their stride. Look, the Buccaneers have played pretty well this season, but have really struggled against elite defenses, and the Seahawks own the ninth best defense in the league. Prediction: Seahawks 24-16.
New England Patriots @ New York Jets: Rivalry games always seem to be a tad closer than normal games, but this one is simple. The Patriots are the best team in the AFC and have a quarterback who has a 16-1 touchdown to interception ratio. To put that into perspective, the Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has a 8-13 ratio and has already been benched in favor of second year man Bryce Petty. So while Fitzpatrick has struggled mightily this season he has been better of late and should help the Jets not get blown out. Prediction: Patriots 31-23.
Carolina Panthers @ Oakland Raiders: I have said it so many times now, but I’m going to say it again: Cam Newton is not elite. Do not tell me he is elite because he happened to have one very good season. Derek Carr is nearing an elite status, but I have to see him lead the Raiders to the playoffs and win in the postseason. Even though the Panthers are very close to being eliminated from playoff contention, I still do not see them winning this one. Oakland has won their last four and have improved significantly defensively. Prediction: Oakland 27-24.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos: Since getting injured against the Buccaneers, Trevor Siemian has a 77.92 passer rating compared to 105.37 before getting injured. I don’t think that injury has lingered over, but it’s possible that it has disrupted his rhythm with his receivers. Siemian seems like a timing guy to me. He heavily relies on good routes ran by his receivers because he doesn’t have a cannon arm or unbelievable mobility. I think the Chiefs have to feel like they can beat any team in the NFL. With a secondary that has intercepted thirteen passes and held opponents to an impressive 83.9 passer rating, the Chiefs own one of the bests defenses in the NFL. The Chiefs offense have been without dynamic running back Jamaal Charles for virtually the entire season, but give them credit for making it look like they don’t miss him. Spencer Ware has really impressed me with his athleticism. He isn’t really a big guy and doesn’t have top end speed, but he is shifty and has enough speed to break runs loose. This one is going to be tight, as there are two really good defenses facing each other. I have the Chiefs winning this one mainly because of their balance on the offensive side and secondary. Prediction: Chiefs 20-17.
Don’t worry, I will preview tomorrow night game between the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles. Just check back on this page tomorrow night.