We’re now over halfway through the NFL season and that is straight up scary; the season is going too fast. What this does mean though is that we’re getting to the most exciting portion of the season as the playoff picture gets clearer and the games get tighter.
To help us foresee what is to come I’ve been using Madden NFL 17 to predict every game from the weekend’s slate of games. The game is currently 33-32 after having an awful week last week, going 3-9.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Carolina Panthers
This figures to be somewhat of a defensive battle but Madden has shown a tendency to defy expectations.
The Panthers offensive line continued to struggle as Dee Ford extended his hot streak with another two sack performance to go along with the other four sacks of Cam Newton. However, the Panthers did find joy in the run game and broke off multiple big plays. That wasn’t enough though, as some sacks in key spots cost the Panthers this game as their season now seems virtually over.
Chiefs 23 – Panthers 17
Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars
In what could be a key AFC South matchup, Madden sees a dominant performance coming which could have big effects on the AFC Playoff picture.
Is DeAndre Hopkins back? Hopkins exploded in this game with 8 catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns as he dominated the Jags defense. Lamar Miller had a good game, Osweiler actually played well and the Texans defense took advantage of the Jags’ offensive shortcomings to secure their spot atop the AFC South, and in position to go after the #2 seed in the AFC.
Texans 31 – Jaguars 14
Denver Broncos @ New Orleans Saints
The Broncos need to get back on track but it won’t be easy against a hot New Orleans Saints team in the Superdome, and Madden foresees a nail-biter.
When playing at home, the Saints offense is a joy to watch as they typically put up a lot of yards and a lot of points, and though the Broncos did limit that, the Saints offense played well. DrewBrees had another 300-yard game, as if that is a surprise, and found the endzone twice, but the Broncos found joy on offense against the shoddy Saints defense. That wasn’t enough, however, and the Saints’ D came up with the game clinching play in the dying moments of the fourth quarter.
Saints 30 – Broncos 27
Los Angeles Rams @ New York Jets
This game doesn’t look like it’s going to be the best game of the weekend, and apparently Madden agrees.
Both offenses struggled to move the ball on the ground and in the air, but that didn’t make it an exciting defensive game. Johnny Hekker played well for the Rams and that may have proved to be key in this game, as the Rams managed to eke out a win.
Rams 9 – Jets 3
Atlanta Falcons @ Philadelphia Eagles
This game has the potential to be one of the games of the week, as Matt Ryan’s stellar offense meets the Eagles’ stingy D, and Wentz and the lowly Eagles offense meets the Falcons leaky D in what could be a game for them to get back on track.
That is exactly what happened. Wentz had the type of game that he was having through the first three weeks of the season, going 28/39 for 309 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. However, as we should’ve guessed, the Falcons offense moved the ball with relative ease and Ryan was once again great, as was Julio Jones, who grabbed another two touchdowns.
Falcons 31 – Eagles 28
Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This game may not seem like the best game of the week, but it has the potential to be quite exciting. What does Madden think?
Both of these teams have been bad this season but the Bears are coming off an upset win over the Vikings and seem to be improving. Well, that continued as Jay Cutler had another strong game against the Bucs’ struggling defense, passing for 260 yards and a pair of TDs, while Jordan Howard had yet another great game. Jameis Winston, Mike Evans and Doug Martin all had good games but the Bears came up with a stop on fourth down to help seal the game in the fourth quarter.
Bears 24 – Buccaneers 17
Green Bay Packers @ Tennessee Titans
In years past, if you had to pick a game to be a blowout this would be it, but the Titans look better this year and the Packers a little worse, so anything could happen, right?
The old status quo is restored. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers bounced back from a bad loss against the Colts last week with a dominating win over the Titans this week. Rodgers picked apart the Titans defense with all of his weapons making some pretty big plays. Defensively, the Packers shut down DeMarco Murray and Marcus Mariota on the ground, keeping the Titans receivers in check, completely nullifying down the Titans offense.
Packers 38 – Titans 10
Minnesota Vikings @ Washington Redskins
The Vikings have to get back on track soon before this seemingly promising season is wasted, but the Redskins are trending towards making a wild card push. This game could be significant for the NFC playoff race.
Luckily for the Vikings and Sam Bradford, the Redskins defense is not amazing, and they found a little more joy this week than they have for the last three. However, Bradford still got hit a little too much and it certainly slowed down their offense. On the other side of the ball the Vikings defense did limit Kirk Cousins and co, despite still not playing at the level they were in the first five weeks, and they made this game very close late, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Vikings from continuing to slide.
Redskins 20 – Vikings 17
Miami Dolphins @ San Diego Chargers
The battle of second year running backs could actually end up being one of the better games of the week as Melvin Gordon and Jay Ajayi go head to head.
Both teams played pretty much the same game: a heavy dose of their featured running back. Gordon and Ajayi each carried the ball 20+ times and both had over 100 yards, but Gordon’s two touchdowns to Ajayi’s one was crucial. Rivers added a passing touchdown, as did Tannehill who had one of his better games of the year to make this game close, but Rivers put together a drive to hit a field goal to effectively seal the game with just a few minutes left.
Chargers 24 – Dolphins 14
San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals
This one could be messy. The Cardinals have one of the best running backs in the game and the 49ers have allowed over 100 yards rushing in pretty much every game this season, and Madden thinks that streak will go to 8.
David Johnson had yet another great game as the Cardinals bulldozed their way to a crucial victory to keep their season from slipping away. Johnson amassed 180 total yards, 140 on the ground, and three total touchdowns and the Cardinals defense feasted on Kaepernick as they did last time he was in Arizona. This game was ugly for the 49ers.
Cardinals 42 – 49ers 7
Dallas Cowboys @ Pittsburgh Steelers
I am very excited for this game, and Madden’s prediction suggests everyone else should be too.
With more and more pressure on Dak Prescott to perform, he thrived. With the help of another great game from Ezekiel Elliott, Prescott picked apart the Steelers’ secondary as Dez Bryant had his best game of the season, catching seven passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. The Steelers offense came to play, too, as their stellar trio had a great game. Thanks to the NFL’s overtime rules, it came down to which offense had the ball first, and it was Dallas who don’t appear to be slowing down.
Cowboys 37 – Steelers 31
Seattle Seahawks @ New England Patriots
Super Bowl 49 rematch. Game of the week. Brady vs. LOB. Belichick vs. Carroll. What more could you want on Sunday Night Football?
The last time these two teams played Madden predicted the result weirdly accurately, so I hope that’s the case this time too. Brady has another great game but he does commit his first turnover of the season. The real story though is how good the Seahawks offense was. Wilson had a great game and the Seahawks move the ball very well, but once again Brady brought them back to win.
Patriots 34 – Seahawks 31
Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Giants
Monday Night Football sees two of the best receivers in the league face off as the Bengals look to capitalise on the Steelers’ loss, while the Giants try to keep up with the Cowboys in the NFC East.
The Giants offense came out hot but levelled out in the second half, scoring just three more points. Odell Beckham still had a good game, as did Eli Manning, but Andy Dalton, AJ Green and Tyler Eifert stole the show in another Week 11 shootout. Dalton had his best game of the year so far (passing for 300+ yards and three touchdowns), Green had another 100 yard game with a touchdown to boost, and Eifert added his second touchdown of the season.
Bengals 28 – Giants 24
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