There are just 4 games left of the NFL season so the intensity and the meaning of every single game is ramping up as we head towards the playoffs. So does Madden think the games will improve this week?
The game now has a record of 68-50 after going 9-5 last week.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Buffalo Bills
This game has huge ramifications on the AFC Playoff picture as both teams have to win to keep their seasons alive. So who does Madden think will come out on top?
This game featured a heavy dose of both star running backs. Le’Veon Bell got 28 carries and LeSean McCoy got 26 carries. Both running backs made the most of those carries too. Bell had 130 yards and a pair of touchdowns while McCoy had 173 yards and 2 touchdowns. Those extra yards on McCoy’s part proved critical as they gave Dan Carpenter one extra shot at a field goal as the two teams matched each other on all other possessions.
Bills 27 – Steelers 24
San Diego Chargers @ Carolina Panthers
Both of teams are as good as done and out of the playoffs, so in a game that is largely for pride who has the edge in Madden’s eyes?
The Chargers. Melvin Gordon and Philip Rivers both played very well, as they accounted for 4 touchdowns between them and Josh Lambo added two field goals. Meanwhile the Panthers struggled against a sneaky effective Chargers defense. Newton turned the ball over twice and Stewart couldn’t get going.
Chargers 34 – Panthers 17
Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns
This AFC North tilt doesn’t really have that many playoff implications but the Battle of Ohio doesn’t normally disappoint, so does Madden think the Browns can finally win a game?
No. But it wasn’t awful. With RG3 back in the lineup the Browns offense had a decent game, moving the ball fairly well against the Bengals defense. However they struggled to turn the yards into touchdowns and that proved crucial when the Bengals had a lot more joy in the redzone. Jeremy Hill finally had a good game and he powered the Bengals to a victory.
Bengals 24 – Browns 12
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions
A battle in the north that has implications on both the race for the playoffs and the number 1 pick. Surely this will be a blowout?
Though this wasn’t a blowout it finished with the Lions on top which really isn’t a surprise. Stafford shredded the beleaguered Bears defense, hitting his receivers all over the field. What’s more, the Lions defense had no troubles containing Matt Barkley and the Bears offense.
Lions 28 – Bears 13
Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts
Another crucial game in the AFC playoff picture and the race for the AFC South title. Who gets the edge according to Madden?
The Colts offense apparently picked up where they left off last week against the Jets as the rolled through the Texans defense. The Texans offense just didn’t get anything going and Osweiler couldn’t match Andrew Luck as the Colts won this game to go top of the conference.
Colts 33 – Texans 20
Minnesota Vikings @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The scoreline that Madden predicts looks a lot more like the score we would have predicted had this game been played during the Vikings 5-game win streak.
The Vikings defense completely manhandled the Jags offense as it sacked Bortles 6 times, got two interceptions and another two recovered fumbles. They turned one of those turnovers into a score, Xavier Rhodes returning an interception for a touchdown. The Vikings offense, though not being explosive, had a solid day and put 2 more touchdowns on the board with a few field goals to go with it.
Vikings 27 – Jags 10
Arizona Cardinals @ Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins are coming off a very bad loss to the Ravens while the Cardinals are coming off a good win over the Redskins. Does Madden see those results affecting this matchup?
Both Jay Ajayi and David Johnson had very good games, racking up over 115 yards and each finding the endzone twice. The difference came from the QB’s, which is this game was Ryan Tannehill. Palmer was under pressure all game, getting sacked 5 times, fumbling twice, while Tannehill was sacked just once and picked apart the Cardinals with quick passes to Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills.
Dolphins 28 – Cardinals 20
Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles
Another must-win game for both teams as the Eagles look to claw their way back to the NFC Wildcard spot as the Redskins look to do the same.
As you may expect, the Redskins offense struggled a little against the Eagles defense. They punted a lot as they struggled to get more than 6 plays in one drive. When they did, they struggled to punch it in the endzone, in fact they only found it once. The Eagles didn’t do much better though, turning the ball over twice and struggling to find the endzone. IT was a sloppy game that saw the Redskins leave victorious.
Redskins 19 – Eagles 10
Denver Broncos @ Tennessee Titans
This game may, on the surface, look like a one sided game, but recent form and Madden suggest that it won’t be.
Both of the offenses in this game struggled. The Titans got a lot of pressure on the Broncos QB, as did the Broncos. The difference came down to the ground games. The Titans were a lot more successful moving the ball on the ground with Murray, Henry and Mariota totalling 187 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Titans 20 – Broncos 17
New York Jets @ San Francisco 49ers
I know that I won’t be in a hurry to watch this game this weekend but does Madden think it will be worthwhile?
Not really. Though the scoreline suggests it may have been close and tense it wasn’t, it was just a case of two teams lumbering around the field. Kaepernick struggled again, as did Bryce Petty, meaning both offenses managed no real drives. The defenses weren’t particularly great, the offenses were just that bad.
49ers 17 – Jets 13
Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers
This is a huge game in the NFC Playoff picture. A Seahawks win puts them in a great spot to wrap up, at worst, the number 3 seed, while the Packers have to win to preserve their chance to win the NFC North, especially considering the Lions win earlier in the day.
This game, unlike the 49ers – Jets game, was close but was exciting and competitive. The Seahawks defense, without Earl Thomas, was a little easier to move the ball on for Aaron Rodgers who is finding his form. Meanwhile the Seahawks found quite a bit of joy against a pretty poor Packers defense. This was a great game and Seahawks fans will have a great trip home after a hard-fought win.
Seahawks 31 – Packers 26
Atlanta Falcons @ Los Angeles Rams
The Falcons were in a great spot to run away with the NFC South just a few weeks ago but they have blown it and are now tied with the Bucs and fighting for a playoff spot. Can the right the ship against the struggling Rams?
This game was a lot closer than people may expect. Jared Goff and Todd Gurley had reasonably good games against the Falcons defense who struggled once again. The Falcons offense struggled a little bit too, failing to come through on many 3rd downs. Ultimately though, the talent on the Falcons offense proved critical as Vic Beasley came through with a crucial sack and Matt Ryan came through with some crucial first downs to seal the game.
Falcons 24 – Rams 21
New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Saints are not completely done in the playoff race and the Buccaneers are tied atop the NFC South, so who can strengthen their playoff push in what could be a shootout?
The Buccaneers came out firing as the Saints came out very slowly. Winston and Evans hooked up multiple times to move the ball down the field and stuff it in the endzone with Doug Martin, while Brees struggled against a defense that has only improved as the season has gone on. The second half was a little different though as the Saints picked it up and slowed down the Bucs a little, but it wasn’t enough as Winston and Evans padded their score a little with a touchdown with just 5 minute left in the 4th quarter.
Bucs 34 – Saints 24
Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants
Can the Cowboys overcome the one team to get the better of them so far this year?
Yes. Emphatically. Apparently Madden doesn’t care that the Giants have improved of late as the Cowboys dominated the Giants in pretty much every way. Ezekiel Elliot got over 100 yards again, Prescott had 294 yards and three touchdowns with an additional 30 yards on the ground. Dez Bryant found the endzone twice and the defense handled all of the Giants offensive pieces, barring Beckham who accounted for 123 of the Giants 224 total yards.
Cowboys 38 – Giants 10
Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots
If this game was played three or four weeks ago it would’ve been a no-contest, but not the Ravens are hot and have risen in Madden rating over the past few weeks. So how does Madden see this AFC heavyweight fight going down?
This game is going to be great if Madden’s prediction is even close. The Ravens defense gave the Patriots offense some seriously difficult battles across the board and the Ravens offense was, as a result, able to match the Patriots output. Ultimately though the Patriots quick passing game and Brady/Belichick factor came through for the home team and the Pats went ahead with a late field goal to secure the victory.
Patriots 23 – Ravens 19