Texans at Chiefs: Sunday 10.13 1PM ET.
The Texans look like the class of the AFC South, and the Colts just handled the Chiefs at Arrowhead. Can Patrick Mahomes and company right the ship against a Texans team that’s looking to make a statement? Or did the Colts expose a weakness?
What to watch for: The injury report… Specifically, the Kansas City injury report. We know Mahomes reaggravated an ankle injury last week. We also know he’ll go. The question is: can he perform without his receiving corps intact? Tyreek Hill isn’t likely to go, and Sammy Watkins is still on the report with a hamstring. Byron Pringle was effective in their place, but is it enough against a Texans team that just hung a 50-spot on the Falcons? Last weeks debacle against the Colts was the fewest points that the Chiefs have scored in the last 26 games.
Eagles at Vikings: Sunday 10.13 1pm ET.
The Eagles are tied atop the NFC East at 3-2. The Vikings are still in the mix in the NFC North at 3-2 despite two divisional losses. Why does it feel like a must win game for both of these teams?
What to watch for: If the Eagles want to return to the playoffs, they need to win games like this. On the other side, Minnesota is starting to buckle under the pressure of Kirk Cousins’ massive contract and some trade rumors swirling around Stefon Diggs. That Vikings defense has allowed the fourth-fewest yards per game and fifth-fewest points per game. They’ll need to contain a Carson Wentz offense that doesn’t rack up yardage but does score over 29 PPG. Something has to give in this one, and the loser is likely going to be scrambling for a wildcard spot down the stretch.
Saints at Jaguars, Sunday 10.13 1pm ET.
No Drew Brees? No problem, thus far, for the Saints who haven’t lost a game with Tedy Bridgewater under center. Has he been breathtaking? No. But he’s been enough to keep that train rolling towards an NFC South title and a home playoff game. Gardner Minshew lost last week’s battle of the backups…let’s see if he can pull off an upset in this one.
What to watch for: The battle of the backs…not the backups. Last week, Carolina’s dual threat back Christian McCaffrey absolutely shredded the Jacksonville defense for three TDs and well over 200 yards from scrimmage. The Saints Alvin Kamara is probably better than he is…For the Jags it will be Leonard Fournette, who rounded into form nicely last week trying to grind down the Saints front.
49ers at Rams, Sunday 10.13 4:05 pm ET.
If you only catch one game this week, this should be it. The last undefeated team in the NFC goes on the road in a divisional matchup against the reigning NFC Champs.
What to watch for: On offense, who can establish the run? The team that finds its feet first is likely to have an advantage. Todd Gurley vs. Matt Breida might not sound like a marquis billing, but check out Breida’s first carry from last week…those types of plays will help keep pass rushers from both sides in their slots, so it will be crucial. On defense, who can create more havoc, Aaron Donald, or Nick Bosa? These are two dudes that are out to dominate offensive linemen and change the tempo of the opposing offense, so it might be a matter of which team can keep their QB upright for long enough to make plays. I predict that the Rams won’t have an answer for SF’s biggest weapon, TE George Kittle, and that will be the difference in the game.