9. Carolina Panthers (1-5) at Chicago Bears (5-1)
Why Watch: Cam Newton and the Panthers have been the worst NFC squad all year long and they have let a few games slip away from them. Whether you look at their losses to Atlanta or recently against Dallas, the Panthers have blown some critical games. Instead they will likely get a top 10 and perhaps even a top 5 pick in the April draft. They need some help at wide receiver and both backs have turned into mediocre performers at best. The defense is still solid, but losing Beason and Gamble just kills them. Chicago’s offense may be the worst among elite contenders, but they might just have the best defense/special teams among too.
Danny V’s Pick: Bears 23, Panthers 10
8. Seattle Seahawks (4-3) at Detroit Lions (2-4)
Why Watch: Detroit has looked awful this season and the offense seemingly can do nothing bo go backwards. Calvin Johnson (knee) is reminding us just what the Madden curse is all about and Matthew Stafford really cannot do anything correct these days. The offensive line is very suspect and Mikel Leshoure cannot carry them, but the defense isn’t exactly filled with a bunch of world beaters either. The secondary cannot stay healthy and they are not the most talented bunch to begin with, so the onus is put on the entire defensive front. If they cannot have any discipline and do anything productive, the losses will pile up and they will be a mortal lock to finish last in the NFC North. They have the talent to hang around .500 with ease, but they have some uphill battles to climb before that occurs. Seattle will have a fight on their hands, but that is exactly what they enjoy doing. They will punch you in the mouth with Marshawn Lynch toting the rock at will, and Russell Wilson has avoided the major meltdowns that we expect from most rookies. This is still a desperate Lions squad and despite Seattle possessing a top five defense, their offense is anything but.
Danny V’s Pick: Lions 17, Seahawks 13
7. Miami Dolphins (3-3) at New York Jets (3-4)
Why Watch: The Dolphins and Jets will battle in a crucial AFC East tilt with the Patriots having the slight edge over them. The Jets have a solid defense, but wait until you see Cameron Wake and Miami with their ability to obliterate opposing offensive lines. They have all the pieces to contend since Sean Smith is a top 5 corner in the NFL. Jeremy Kerley is playing Mountain West competition as if he is back at TCU, so this is the matchup to look forward to. Mark Sanchez and Ryan Tannehill may be considered a mediocre quarterback but we know their teams have won games despite of their mediocre play.
Danny V’s Pick: Dolphins 20, Jets 17
6. New England Patriots (4-3) at St. Louis Rams (3-4)
Why Watch: First off, this game is played in London and the Patriots offense will look to get back on track. They have struggled to run the ball effectively, but their stars are still far too talented to not open everything up. While they will be sharing the backfield, the likes of Welker, Gronk, Hernandez and Lloyd should go off against a Ram secondary that was exploited by Green Bay last week. Sam Bradford will be on his back a lot since the Patriots will load up the box to stop the running game. Brandon Gibson and Chris Givens are decent young receivers, but their opportunistic defense will thrive on this national stage.
Danny V’s Pick: Patriots 27, Rams 16