Indianapolis Colts (6-5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5)
In his 17th year of NFL service, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck certainly doesn’t look like a 40 year old. It appears as if the quarterback has discovered the fountain of youth. Hasselbeck is 4-0 in games that he’s started this season for the Colts, throwing for 1,023 yards, seven touchdowns, and only two interceptions. While he has been in top form, the rest of the Colts offense hasn’t. In last week’s 25-12 win over Tampa Bay, the Colts offense rushed for only 27 yards. Even two weeks ago in their 24-21 win over the Falcons, they only ran for 74 yards.
Despite multiple injuries this season, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is still playing at pro-bowl level. Although the Steelers lost 39-30 to the Seahawks in Week 12, Roethlisberger passed for 456 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. The reason for the loss can easily be credited to the Steelers secondary, which allowed 345 yards of passing from Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson and five touchdowns. Roethlisberger didn’t finish last Sunday’s game after removing himself in the fourth quarter after taking a hit from defensive end Michael Bennett. After sitting out of practice earlier this week, Roethlisberger returned Wednesday and looks like he’ll be cleared to play this weekend. It’ll be an interesting matchup between two veterans with a lot of back-and-forth scoring.
Colts 28 Steelers 38
Denver Broncos (9-2) at San Diego Chargers (3-8)
When the Broncos first announced that Brock Osweiler would replace Peyton Manning as the starting quarterback, many doubted the Broncos’ ability to remain in the Super Bowl hunt. Osweiler won his first two career starts against the Bears and previously undefeated Patriots. Though Osweiler threw for 270 yards and one touchdown, most of the Broncos offense came from running backs C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman, both of whom have struggled this season. The duo combined for three touchdowns on 29 carries for 172 yards. Anderson’s 113 yards marked his best performance this season.
Hosting the Broncos are the struggling Chargers. San Diego lost six games in a row before defeating the Jaguars 31-25 last weekend. Despite the disappointing season, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has been playing extremely well. Last weekend, he threw for four touchdowns and 300 yards. Last week aside, Rivers has still thrown for 19 touchdowns, eight interceptions, and is averaging over 300 passing yards per game. At this pace, he is projected to have near career highs in both touchdowns and passing yards. Though many are counting the Chargers out this weekend (as they should be), I actually think the Chargers will give the Broncos a run for their money and could come away with a win.
Broncos 27 Chargers 28
New York Jets (6-5) at New York Giants (5-6)
Probably the most interesting matchup of the weekend is the Jets-Giants game over New York bragging rights. Neither team has played with any sort of week-to-week consistency or shown any indication that a deep playoff run is in the future. Nonetheless, whenever the Jets play the Giants, tension and tenacity both are at peak levels. The Giants are coming off of a 20-14 loss to the Redskins that doesn’t accurately describe the game. The Giants couldn’t generate any offense, or score, until the fourth quarter when Eli Manning led two, very short timed but very long yardage, drives for scores. Unfortunately, it was too little too late.
The Jets are coming off their most productive game of the season; a 38-20 victory over the Dolphins. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for four touchdowns and 277 yards while running back Chris Ivory scored one touchdown on 21 carries for 87 yards. Three years ago, the Jets would’ve had the perfect tool to defend Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Now, they’re in a position where they can’t leave All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis alone in one-on-one coverage. In short yardage situations, Revis should matchup extremely well with Beckham Jr. but in situations where the Giants send Beckham Jr. deep, Revis’ age will show as it did two weeks ago in Houston. This game could really go in any direction imaginable but as a Jets fan, I can’t, in good faith, pick the Giants.
Jets 27 Giants 23
Last Week’s Record: 2-0
Season Record: 26-17