Tuesday, November 10, 2015

NFL 2015-16 Week 10 Preview & Chicago/San Diego MNF Review

Wow! What happened to the San Diego Chargers? Many were speculating that they were good enough to be a playoff team, and some felt that they were a threat to win the AFC West, and possible be a serious contender deep into the playoffs.

Instead, they have not won a game since early October, and are one of the biggest disappointments of the season thus far. For all intents and purposes, they have no chance at qualifying for the playoffs, or even of mounting a serious run to make the playoffs, even if they improbably run the tables and win out all of their remaining games the rest of the way. The best that they can do mathematically is 9-7, and being 5 1/2 games behind the division leading Broncos, they have no chance at the division. In the wildcard race, they trail the serious contenders by a good three games, and it would take a miracle for them to qualify for the playoffs even if they won out their remaining games. Plus, they hardly look like they are about to do it, now, do they?

The last time that the Chargers were on Monday Night Football, they were on the verge of beating the Pittsburgh Steelers, only to lose on the final play, allowing an improbable touchdown to lose it.

Now last night, the Chargers looked like they had the Bears beaten, only to allow Chicago to get a late touchdown, plus the two-point conversion, to pull off a miracle comeback win. The Bears solidified that miracle when their defense absolutely shut down San Diego's offense, and the Chargers were handed their fifth straight loss.

(Thurs.) Buffalo at NY Jets - The Jets and Bills have both been rather streaky this year, although they are both coming off solid wins last weekend. I wonder if this is going to be a grudge match, with Rex Ryan wanting revenge on his former team. Should be a good one, but I think that home field advantage should help the Jets carry this one.

Cleveland at Pittsburgh - The Steelers are coming on, and that offense looks dangerous. The Browns have lost some bad games. Had they maybe won a few of those games where they instead had tough losses, the Browns might still be in the running. As it is, they are frustrated, and going into Pittsburgh, having to face that offense? Too much. Steelers win.

Detroit at Green Bay - The Packers looked angry last weekend, losing a tough game to Carolina that they had put themselves into position to steal, only to fall just short. They have lost consecutive games with Rodgers as quarterback for the first time since 2010. It will not happen this week, as they should roll over the hapless Lions.

Miami at Philadelphia - An intriguing game, although the Dolphins are reeling and just about out of the playoff picture by now, while the Eagles still have everything to fight for. Miami has shown improvement, but not enough to beat a suddenly charged Eagles squad in Philadelphia.

Jacksonville at Baltimore - The Ravens finally stopped the bleeding a little bit with a home victory against San Diego, and now have another vulnerable team coming to town. The Ravens should win this contest against a Jaguars team that will be overmatched. Not sure that the Ravens can actually mount a comeback to get back into the playoff picture, although they should have more than enough to win this contest.

Chicago at St. Louis - The Bears pulled off a miracle win at San Diego, but going to St. Louis to play the Rams is a different ball of wax. I like the Rams to wear Chicago down and earn a solid victory to stay very much in the NFC West race.

Dallas at Tampa Bay - These are two struggling teams, and it is probably fair to say that the loser of this game is unofficially out of the playoff race for sure. The Cowboys have played fairly well in their last few contests, but just have not managed to pull off a win. Tampa Bay has also gotten used to playing some close contests, although again, they too are usually on the wrong side of the score. But the Bucs have been playing sharp, and have home field advantage. I like Tampa Bay to beat the 'Boys in this one.

New Orleans at Washington - Both teams lost bad games this past weekend, although the Saints were the ones who were expected to win, only to lose a heartbreaker, a stunner. They are the better team, however, and should be able to hold Washington off, although this is going to be a tough contest, and it really could go either way. Still, I suspect the Saints win simply because they are the better team.

Carolina at Tennessee - The Titans had an incredible road victory last week, the second of the season for them. But the Panthers are a far better team. Also, for whatever the reason, the Titans have not shown an ability (yet) to win at home. Carolina is a strong, methodical team, and they should be able to wear the Titans down  to earn a solid win here in this contest.

Kansas City at Denver - The Chiefs are alive again now, while the Broncos are coming off a hugely disappointing loss, their first of the year. Kansas City is coming off a bye, although the Broncos have home field advantage, and want to erase the bad taste from last week's loss at Indianapolis. I like the Broncos at Mile High to score the victory.

New England at NY Giants - Man, these two teams have played some unbelievable games in the last eight or so years! Two Super Bowl match-ups, and two other very memorable regular season contests. The Giants won the last three of those contests, while New England won that very memorable classic at the end of the 2007 season to complete their perfect regular season. Every one of those games were hard fought contests that went down to the final minutes, and were very entertaining to watch. Here, the Giants are in first place, and have a lot at stake, while the Patriots are undefeated and looking to stay that way. Surely, New England is looking for a bit of revenge here, even if they do not admit it.  They certainly are playing lights out, and finally got over the hump of not winning any Super Bowls in a decade by winning last year's title. Still, the Giants still possess that wild card quality. You never know when they are going to come alive, and against whom. In 2011, I remember many people criticizing the Giants for not being able to beat the winning teams, with the one notable exception of the Patriots. But then the Giants won out in their final six games, including the four postseason games, beating the Falcons at home, then the Packers and the 49ers on the road, before knocking off the Patriots in the Super Bowl. This game is a toss-up, hard to call. I want to say my Giants are going to win, so that is what I'll go with, although by so doing, they probably will now lose. This should be a great game!

Minnesota at Oakland - The Vikings are hot! They have a strong winning streak, and look every bit the part of a serious contender this year. The Raiders are a vastly improved team themselves, and home field advantage here should help. I think it will be enough for the Raiders to take this contest and hand the Vikings a rare loss.

(SNF) - Arizona at Seattle - The Cardinals would need to win this game to show that they are for real. Yes, even after two straight winning seasons prior to this one, and even with the two game lead in the NFC West that they currently enjoy, because remember that they enjoyed a three game lead last year, only to lose to Seattle. But there is a reason why they keep losing to the Seahawks, and despite a tumultuous season thus far, the Seahawks are still in excellent position to take the NFC West. I like Seattle at home in this one.

(MNF) Houston at Cincinnati - The Bengals are 8-0, although the one knock on them is that they have not won a playoff game since the 1990-91 season. A few years ago, the Houston Texans were their tormentors, beating them in two consecutive playoffs. I think that left a bad taste that the Bengals still have not overcome, and should help to motivate the Bengals to win this and reach 9-0.

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