Will the Madness Stop on Thursday Night and Sunday Games to Watch

OK, so I’m glad I don’t make any predictions here because last week I only got 5 of 16 outcomes right in my private pick ‘em league, including faceplanting on the Bills and Vikings upsets, like, you know, 90% of people making such predictions. So, if this insanity keeps up, the Dolphins will find a way to upset the Bengals at home, right? I mean, it’s the logical conclusion.

Somehow, I doubt it. If the Bengals go to 1-3, they would have some panic begin to set in as the Ravens are off to a 3-0 start, implausibly, and the Steelers are still expected to contend for the division, even though they looked awful in all three phases of the game last Sunday against the Eagles. If the Bengals do continue to slide and miss the playoffs this year, the Marvin Lewis deathwatch will have to start heating up.

My favorite match up in the one o’clock games is the Panthers travelling to Atlanta. These are still early season games, of course, but this one most feels like it could be critical. The Panthers have already lost more games in 3 contests this year than they did in 16 last season and the Falcons could take control of the NFC South with a victory at home. The Falcons are running the ball well with a platoon of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, plus the Dan Quinn plan to reform the Falcons defense at least seems to be making progress. Whatever is wrong in Carolina needs to be fixed soon. If they do and win this one, that division goes back to shrugs.

Similarly the 4:25 duel between the Cardinals and Rams has freakout potential if the Cardinals lose at home. The Rams defense was expected to be rude, and so far it’s living up to the hype, but the team wasn’t supposed to be leading this division, even if it is only after 3 games. Arizona is loaded with talent and the Rams QB, Case Keenum, was only supposed to be a placeholder for Jared Goff. So much for all that.. There’s a good chance this is where the Cards right the ship, but if they blow this game, who knows?

Finally the Sunday night game is a gut-check for the Steelers. Few prognosticators thought that the Carson Wentz hype train would continue to roll against a veteran Steelers team that made short work of usually fierce division rivals the Bengals. But, roll it did. The Steelers got absolutely pounded by a team in Philly that is showing off a defense that looks like it’s in the conversation with Denver as the league’s best and a rookie QB who seems to have absolutely no awareness of the fact he’s not supposed to be able to jump from FCS football to Sundays without missing a beat. The Steelers get Le’Veon bell back from his drug test related mischief and the Chiefs are banged up, so most are still predicting Pittsburgh to win, but this could be yet another supposed lock for the playoffs on the ropes if Ben and company don’t get it in gear.

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