Nagy, Bears partying like it’s 2010
NFL Coach of the Year candidate Matt Nagy and the Bears (5-3) host the reeling Lions (3-5) with a chance to reach six wins through nine games for the first time since 2012. Chicago hasn’t been in a playoff game since Jan. 2, 2011. Khalil Mack is expected to return just in time to face a Lions team that allowed Matthew Stafford to be sacked 10 times in last week’s 24-9 road loss to the Vikings.
Brees’ MVP push heads to Cincinnati
A week after taking down the unbeaten Rams in a wild shootout at the Superdome, the Saints (7-1) and Drew Brees head to Cincinnati to face a 5-3 Bengals team that’s coming off a bye week. Unfortunately for the Bengals, they also rank last in the league in pass defense and third-down defense. Opponents are averaging 319.4 yards passing while converting 55.9 percent of their third downs.
Pats’ consistency meets Titans’ turbulence
Once again, Bill Belichick has everyone settled down with a six-game winning streak that has New England two games up in the AFC East. Meanwhile, his former linebacker, Mike Vrabel, has the Titans (4-4) bungee jumping through his rookie year as head coach. They lost one, won three, lost three and won one. They beat the Eagles one week and lost to Buffalo the next. The Patriots are favored by 6½ points on the road.
How will Rams react to first loss?
The Rams (8-1) return from New Orleans after their 45-35 loss to the Saints. Expect another high-scoring game against a 4-4 Seattle team the Rams beat 33-31 at Seattle on Oct. 7. In that game, Todd Gurley had three rushing touchdowns while Jared Goff was intercepted twice. Seattle ran for 190 yards and a 5.9-yard average while Russell Wilson threw for three touchdowns and posted a 132.5 passer rating.
Super Bowl champs back in action vs. Dallas
The pressure is on both teams as the slumping Cowboys (3-5) travel to Philadelphia to play a 4-4 Eagles team devoid of last year’s Super Bowl-winning magic. The Eagles are coming off their bye week and have lost two straight at home, to the Vikings and Panthers. After six straight weeks of losses followed by wins, the Cowboys have lost two straight to put coach Jason Garrett back on his all-too-familiar hot seat.
PREDICTION OF THE WEEK
Well, well. Whaddaya know. A POTW came true when last week’s stab in the dark, er, educated guess, was the Rams losing for the first time this season, at New Orleans. You knew that was coming the moment the Rams’ trade for Dante Fowler Jr. was met with the headline, “Are the Rams now unstoppable?” This week’s bold guess: The Falcons’ three-game winning streak and remaining Super Bowl aspirations will be snuffed out in Cleveland.