NFL Games of the Week: Wentz leads Philly into Dallas

By Joseph Fazio

Sports Blogger

@JosephDFazio

 

Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) at Dallas Cowboys (5-4) (NBC, 7:30 P.M., Sunday)

(Keith Allison, Flickr)

The Carson Wentz-led Philadelphia Eagles continue to dominate opposing teams. After a bye week, the Eagles fly down to Dallas to take on the Cowboys. Wentz ranks first in passing touchdowns with 23, after a four-score game against the Broncos. Tight end Zach Ertz has become one of the league’s best tight end with a position-best six touchdown receptions. Unfortunately, Ertz is listed as questionable because of a hamstring injury. The offensive line continues to be solid as a rock. Going up against the Cowboys’ defense, the line will be a major factor.

Once again, running back Ezekiel Elliott has been suspended and as of right now, will not play. The injury plague that has hovered over the Cowboys’ head has struck again. Offensive tackle Tyron Smith is widely regarded as one of the best left tackles. Smith missed last week’s game with a groin injury. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn bullied his backup. Clayborn recorded a team-record six sacks for the Falcons. If Smith is once again out, defensive end Brandon Graham will walk over the offensive line.

Prediction: Philadelphia 45, Dallas 27

Tennessee Titans (6-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2) (NBC/Amazon Prime Video, 7:25 P.M., Thursday)

The Tennessee Titans have quietly slid themselves into first place in the AFC South after winning four straight games. Quarterback Marcus Mariota is having a slow season, throwing for seven touchdowns and six interceptions. Most of the games have come down to the wire. The main reason for the team’s success is because of the defense. The Titans’ defense is fast-paced and physical. Safety Kevin Byard leads the league with six interceptions. Going up against quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the high-powered Steelers’ receiving core, the defense will have to step up.

Roethlisberger is not the same player he used to be. Although he ranks seventh in passing yards, Roethlisberger has thrown 10 interceptions. The offense has become more reliant on running back Le’Veon Bell. Going up against Tennessee’s ball-hawking defense, Roethlisberger will have to play his heart out to stay tied for the best record in the AFC.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 20, Tennessee 17

Los Angeles Rams (7-2) at Minnesota Vikings (7-2) (FOX, 12:00 P.M., Sunday)

The Los Angeles Rams are having a zero to hero season behind quarterback Jared Goff. Last season, the Rams finished with a 4-12 record. The Rams are now on top of the NFC West at 7-2. The Rams’ offensive line has improved substantially since last season. Goff has been able to stay in the pocket longer, greatly improving his accuracy. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald has been a force, causing three fumbles. Both sides of the ball have been great, which will spell trouble for the Vikings.

Many fans were uncertain about Case Keenum as the Vikings’ quarterback. Keenum has been having the best year of his career. He has set personal records in touchdowns, completion percentage and passer rating. Wide receiver Adam Thielen has burst onto the scene ranking third in receiving. The Vikings’ defense has been tremendous this season because of the great run defense. The defense allows only 81.3 rushing yards allowed per game. Going up against a speedy running back like Todd Gurley, the defense will be tested.

Prediction: Los Angeles 30, Minnesota 24

ozone@ocolly.com

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