By Joseph Fazio
New England Patriots (6-2) at Denver Broncos (3-5) (NBC, 7:30 P.M., Sunday)
Sunday Night football features a classic between two old rivals. The Patriots are coming off of a much needed bye week and are hoping to extend their four-game winning streak. Quarterback Tom Brady still ranks first in passing yards with 2,541. It is unknown whether wide receiver Chris Hogan will play, as he is listed doubtful and may miss the next few week with a shoulder injury. The Patriots’ defense has greatly improved since the start of the season. In their last five games, the defense has allowed only 12.75 points per game. With an extra week to practice, the defense will shine against Denver’s offense.
Bringing in quarterback Brock Osweiler was the right thing to do for the Broncos. Unfortunately, Osweiler’s first game back was against the Eagles. Osweiler threw for 208 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. Linebacker Brandon Marshall was stellar on defense, recording seven tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. Marshall will be a key player this week when going up against New England’s high-powered offense.
Prediction: New England 36, Denver 24
New Orleans Saints (6-2) at Buffalo Bills (5-3) (FOX, 12 P.M., Sunday)
The Saints may be the hottest team in the NFL after extending their win streak to six with a win against the Buccaneers. The team is one win away from tying last year’s record. Quarterback Drew Brees is having a great year. He ranks fourth in passing yards per game with 276.8. Running back Alvin Kamara is becoming a great dual-threat player with 152 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns last week. Going up against a defense like the Bills, Brees will have to play his best game of the season.
The New York Jets damaged the Buffalo Bills’ ego Monday night, beating them 34-21. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor had a great game, throwing for 285 yards and two touchdowns. After wide receiver Sammy Watkins was traded to the Rams, the Bills’ receiving core has been on the brink of collapse. Running back LeSean McCoy is the team’s leading receiver. Going up against the Saints, wide receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Jordan Matthews will need to step up.
Prediction: New Orleans 21, Buffalo 13
New York Giants (1-8) at San Francisco 49ers (0-9)
The New York Giants can get out their dump this week with a win against the last place 49ers. The team has been plagued with injuries, which is a main reason for their down turn. Quarterback Eli Manning has been desperately trying to keep this team together. At 36, Manning is coming down to the last years of his career. Manning may look for an early retirement with how the Giants have played. The defense has been the greatest struggle. The Giants’ defense allows more than 391 total yards per game, not to mention allowing 23 points per game. Defense will be the name of the game this week if the Giants want to come out on top.
There’s really nothing to talk about the 49ers season other than it has been a total train wreck. The one thing the 49ers have done right was trading for Jimmy Garoppolo. He can be the franchise quarterback the team has been looking for. Unfortunately, he will continue to be C.J. Beathard’s backup. Running back Carlos Hyde has been the heart and soul of the team. Hyde has rushed almost 500 yards and ranks sixth in rushing touchdowns with four. Like the Giants, the 49ers need some serious work on defense if they want to win games. Ranking sixth in total yards allowed, this week against the Giants will likely be high scoring.
Prediction: New York 40, San Francisco 37