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Circling the Wagons In November

Mill Woods

Posted on November 3, 2021 13:56

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The NFL season is barely half over, yet some teams are starting to pack up. The Lions, Texans, Eagles and Broncos are playing softball each week and trading away star players. Meanwhile, the division races have tightened, and key injuries have clouded the outlook for the next eight weeks.

As always, there is major drama in pro football. Mobile quarterbacks have taken a beating lately, and even tough guys like Derrick Henry (RB, Titans) are reminding us that no one is invincible. The final undefeated team (Cardinals) finally suffered a loss. Six of the NFL's eight division titles are now very much in play.

Without the league's top RB, I think that the 6-2 Titans will step down a notch in the AFC. The Titans will need to huddle around QB Ryan Tannehill and that tough Titan defense — and tough out some wins. But don't count out the 3-5 Colts, who have been a hair away from winning several key games. Even if Tennessee manages to win the AFC South title, they are now unlikely to earn the conference's top seed, in my view.  

I suspect that the 5-2 Bills now have the best shot at the conference's lone playoff bye. Despite a feisty showing by the Patriots lately, the Bills should cruise to the AFC East division title — and nab the top conference seed. 

In the AFC North, where all four teams are over .500, the very competitiveness makes it unlikely that any one of the teams will surpass the Bills.

What about the AFC West?  Despite their strong records, I simply don't think any of the four teams can top the conference, despite my continuing admiration for the 4-3 Chargers. I expect the Raiders, Broncos and Chiefs to stumble down the stretch.

In the NFC, the Cowboys, Saints, Packers and Bucs are girding for what could be a wild and wooly winter, while the Rams and Cardinals are eyeing a knock-down-drag-out brawl for the NFC West. Most other NFC teams will be lucky just to win half their games.

Now, we head into a very testy Week Nine. Key players are questionable in several matches, so the teams with the best backups will likely prevail. The biggest contests will pit the Browns against the Bengals, the Packers against the Chiefs, and the Titans against the Rams.  With QB Aaron Rodgers out, I am going with the Chiefs instead of the Packers.

Last week, I had my first sub-.500 outing of the season (7-8), and I hope to make it the last.

Here are this week's matches — and my picks:

Away                      Home                  My Pick

Jets                        Colts                    Colts

Falcons                    Saints                  Saints

Broncos                   Cowboys               Cowboys

Patriots                    Panthers              Patriots

Vikings                    Ravens                 Ravens

Browns                    Bengals                Bengals

Bills                         Jaguars                Bills

Texans                     Dolphins               Dolphins

Raiders                    Giants                  Raiders

Chargers                  Eagles                  Chargers

Packers                    Chiefs                   Chiefs

Cardinals                  49ers                   Cardinals

Titans                       Rams                   Rams

Bears                       Steelers                Steelers

 

Enjoy!

 

Mill Woods

Posted on November 3, 2021 13:56

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