Photo Credit: Blogging The Boys
Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans (Sat, 1/5, 4:35 PM)
This game could go either way especially because Houston is at home, but I like Colts coming out of this one. Andrew Luck is playing MVP football and they have protected him by beefing up the O-line and surrounding him with assets while saving money for the offseason. The Colts are in a good spot. Eric Ebron has saved his career in Indy and T.Y. Hilton is playing great as usual. Marlon Mack has also been a great find at RB being dangerously effective when healthy. I like the Texans and took them as one of my dark horses this year, but their win streak is a little more deceiving than people think. The only two great teams they beat during that 9 game win streak were the Colts and Cowboys, which both went to OT. The Colts beat Houston in Week 14 ending their win streak and the Cowboys were having a lot of dysfunction when they lost to Houston early in the season. Houston has a nice roster but I think they have received more credit than they actually deserve this season.
Colts 24 Texans 17
Seattle Seahawks @ Dallas Cowboys (Sat, 1/5, 8:15 PM)
I also took the Seattle Seahawks as one of my dark horses this year, but I like the Cowboys winning this one. The Seahawks defense has rebounded better than most expected after the demolition of the Legion of Boom, but the Cowboys have a top 3 suffocating defense. Byron Jones made the Pro Bowl without an interception, which is highly impressive and almost never happens. The Cowboys have only lost once at home this year and when the run game is working for them, they are extremely hard to slow down. Zeke will be coming off a week rest and has led the league in rushing 2 of his only 3 seasons. That has only happened twice since 1994 while playing under 16 games. The Seahawks haven’t beaten anyone relevant away and this game will come down to Dak Prescott’s ability to compliment his defense and run game. If Russell Wilson can continue to be clutch it will be close.
Seahawks 20 Cowboys 23
Los Angeles Chargers @ Baltimore Ravens (Sun, 1/6, 1:05 PM)
Another great matchup between two teams across the country and another team I chose as one of my dark horses. The Los Angeles Chargers are having a tremendous year due to Philip Rivers playing at a level we have not seen before from him, Melvin Gordon and the supporting cast on offense, and their underrated defense. Joey Bosa is comfortable back in the lineup and Derwin James is making the Pro Bowl as a rookie at strong safety. The Ravens, on the other hand, are winning close games and have turned the Joe Flacco injury into their new young franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson. With rookie Jackson under center, they are 6-1, plus their veteran defense reigns #1 in the NFL. This should be a matchup to look forward to, it’ll be interesting to see how the California team reacts in Baltimore. I think this is the Chargers year to make a deep playoff run, the key for them is to get ahead early, as the Ravens tend to make closing gaps hard when they go up.
Chargers 28 Ravens 20
Philadelphia Eagles @ Chicago Bears (Sun, 1/6, 4:40 PM)
When Khalil Mack got traded to the Bears, Kanye West tweeted “Jordan Howard gotta new nickname for the work that he’s doing in the city J-How Jordan helping others win and we just got Khalil Mack. We going to the Super Bowl this year”. Even Though he spelled his name wrong, he was onto something. The Bears are having what seems like a magical year. Their defense is deeper than just Khalil Mack and the offense is clicking on all cylinders. I am not sold completely on Mitch Trubisky, but they have the pieces to beat an average Eagles team. That being said, Nick Foles is back and ready for action. He has been playing lights out at a perfect time as Wentz has been shut down for the season for the second straight year. Will Cain said that this could tear the Eagles fanbase apart and I think he is absolutely right. If Foles leads Philly deep into the playoffs, things will begin to get interesting at the quarterback position. I just don’t think they have enough to overcome the Bears on offense or defense, especially because the Eagles have dealt with injuries all year losing Jay Ajayi, Ronald Darby, and Mike Wallace. That isn’t even the complete list. The Bears will most likely win this one with ease.
Eagles 12 Bears 27