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Love the dynamics of a losing team off a nationally televised win vs a team with a winning record off a loss on the road to one of the AFC’s top teams. Prior to NE the Colts had not only won 4 straight but outgained those foes by 73 ypg while Buffalo has only totaled 281 yards in their 19-14 win vs MIA which is the same team that IND gained 516 yards against. Since everything Luck does is compared to Peyton let’s mention that he’s exceeded Manning’s numbers off a loss already going 3-0 including pulling 2 upsets. It’s never a positive sign when your defense is ranked #31 allowing 147 ypg (4.9) rushing on the road and 63% completions. It gets even tougher when your offense averages only 339 ypg away from home. Let’s sum it up in 6 words: better offense, better defense and hungry.
PHIL’S FORECAST: INDIANAPOLIS 30 BUFFALO 23
Both of these teams were 1-2 to start the season. There’s been a “slight” change in direction since with DEN going 6-1, +109 ypg/32 ppg and KC going winless, -41 ypg/12 ppg. Last week’s win over SD makes the Broncos 3 clear in the AFC West but as their attention turns towards playoff seedings they also know that they’ve already dropped head-to-head matchups with a pair of division leaders. The Chiefs D has been clearly overachieving allowing only 312 ypg at home vs SD, BAL & OAK but last week I saw it start to struggle being on the field for an overextended period of time as they allowed a season high 22 FD’s and a ssn high at home of 409 yds vs CIN’s #17 off. While I often look at QBR’s for a player, one stat that jumps out is that KC’s team QBR is dead last on offense and #31 on defense (18-6 ratio) which should make Manning’s (310 ypg, 69%, 21-4 ratio the last 8 weeks) Thanksgiving feast come a few days late. Denver takes this one by 2 td’s.
PHIL’S FORECAST: DENVER 24 KANSAS CITY 10
Jaguars have held RB Johnson to 44 yds rushing (3.6) in the last 3. Johnson has avg’d 130 ypg rush (6.7) the last 5 games prior to the bye though, and JAX’s #29 rush def has allowed over 123 yds rushing in 8 of 10 games this year. The Jaguars have been outgained by 191 ypg at home this year while being outscored 31-9. They have been held to 15 or less in 16 of their last 27 games with Gabbert only having 2 games this year with 2 td’s. The Jags talked about how their season opening loss to Minnesota in OT inflicted a 2 game hangover so how will they react to blowing a 14 point 4Q lead to Houston last week. TEN rebounded from the CHI debacle by thumping a better MIA defense in Locker’s return. While the Titans #30 defense has been vulnerable vs the pass this year (71%, 20-9 ratio) the Jaguars lack a big time weapon (Shorts is a slot WR, Blackmon rookie struggles despite last week) to exploit it and I’ll call for the road team to get the win here.
PHIL’S FORECAST: TENNESSEE 27 JACKSONVILLE 17