• Brian L. Barefield


Carolina Panthers (5-3) vs Green Bay Packers (7-2)

This is a very good game to watch as it may be a preview of a playoff matchup later on in the postseason. The Packers are looking to bounce back after a loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, where quarterback Aaron Rodgers said some of his teammates seemed to, “Lack Focus.” Rodgers needs to “Focus” a little more himself this week as his numbers were very dismal in that game.

The defense must also find a way to stop the run as they were gashed for a combined 159 yards rushing last week. That task will get even harder against the Panthers.

Carolina is a team that goes as running back Christian McCaffery goes. The MVP candidate has amassed 1,244 total yards from scrimmage with 13 touchdowns to match. For the Panthers to be successful they have to find more ways to get the ball into his hands.

Backup quarterback Kyle Allen was giving the nod as the starter for the rest of the year with the news of Cam Newton being placed on injured reserve to deal with the foot problem that has kept him out since the beginning of the season. Allen has been an effective game manager for the Panthers but may need to step it up if they plan on making a strong push towards the playoffs.

Packers 27 – Panthers 20

Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) vs Tennessee Titans (4-5)

Some of the Kansas City players have felt that the rest of the league and media is disrespecting them by not having them as one of the top five teams in the NFL. I will admit. I don’t have them there right now either.

But that all changes today as they get their leader and reigning NFL MVP, Patrick Mahomes back. Mahomes has been out three weeks from a dislocated kneecap and is looking to put the Chiefs right back into Super Bowl contention. They must continue to win as the Oakland Raiders are right there ready to take that top spot.

The Titans are a team in disarray right now. They have struggled to establish an offensive identity. One minute they want to be a running team with a bruising running back Derrick Henry scorching defenses for 644 yards rushing and six touchdowns. The next minute they want to be a team that throws the ball all over the field. Neither has worked as they have vastly underachieved in an AFC South division that was wide open until the Colts and Texans pulled away.

Turmoil has run rampant throughout their franchise as their number one pick in the 2015 NFL Draft has been benched. Quarterback Marcus Mariota has been replaced by offseason free agent Ryan Tannehill who has done nothing to jump start the offense the coaching staff said Mariota stalled. Although he is 2-1 as a starter, I don’t see anything changing from the past.

Chiefs 35 – Titans 21

Minnesota Vikings (6-3) vs Dallas Cowboys (5-3)

We finally have our first “Must Win” game in the 2019 season. Yes. This is a must win game for the Dallas Cowboys to prove to the naysayers that they can beat a team with a record better than .500. The only victory they can boast about is a blowout win over the Eagles this season. With the number one total offense in the NFL (436.8 yards per game) led by Dak Prescott, Dallas must show the rest of the NFC that they are serious contenders for a Super Bowl run. Prescott has led the Cowboys to a two-game winning streak and has posted back-to-back games of 37 points. Running back Zeke Elliott (741yards rushing- 6 touchdowns) must touch the ball early and often to keep an aggressive defense off balance.

One team that mirrors the Cowboys in a lot of ways is their opponent the Minnesota Vikings. NFL leading rusher, Dalvin Cook (894 yards) has put up Elliot type numbers this season by rushing for over 100 yards in five out of the nine games he has played this season. Kirk Cousins has been very efficient since being called out by his wide receivers a couple of weeks ago for not getting them the ball. Cousins has bounced back from a poor September showing where his record was 2-2 with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Since the loss to the Chicago Bears he has a 4-1 record with 13 touchdowns and one interception.

Cowboys 34 – Vikings 28


San Francisco 49ers (8-0) vs Seattle Seahawks (7-2)

It has been a very long time since the Niners has played in a game that had early season playoff implications. We would have to go back to the years when the team was led by quarterback Colin Kaepernick and coached by Jim Harbaugh. With a victory in Monday night’s game against the Seahawks, San Francisco will still be the only undefeated team in the NFL, keep the overall number one seed in the NFC over the Saints, and would hold a commanding lead over Seattle in the NFC West.

The Niners have the stingiest defense in the NFL led by a ferocious front seven. They only allow 241 total yards and 12.8 ppg. to opponents and have sacked the quarterback 30 times this season. The defense applies pressure up front and gives up nothing on the back end as they have former all-pro and Super Bowl Champion, Richard Sherman commanding the defensive backfield. It will be interesting to see what role he plays against his former team.

Consistency will take you far in the NFL and one person who knows that all too well is Seahawks quarterback, Russell Wilson. The lead candidate for MVP this season, “Mr. Consistency” is having another stellar season with 2,505 yards passing, 22 touchdowns, and only one interception. No other quarterback in the league this season has total command of an offense like Wilson. He is getting help from some names that are not big in households throughout the country. Wide receiver, Tyler Lockett is having an outstanding season. He has become Wilson’s go-to- target with 767 yards receiving and six touchdowns.

One other guy who doesn’t pop-up on any radars except fantasy football owners is running back, Chris Carson. The sixth leading rusher in the NFL with 764 yards takes a lot of pressure off of Wilson and keeps the defense guessing on what’s coming next.

Seahawks 24 – Niners 21


Browns vs Bills

This game is sink or swim for a Browns team that is in constant turmoil every week.

Cardinals vs Buccaneers

Normally a game that has two teams with a combined win total of five games doesn’t catch my attention but this one does. I am interested in seeing the progress of Cardinals quarterback, Kyler Murray as he quiets the critics every week by getting better and better.

Giants vs Jets

I only want to see the picture of Giants running back Saquan Barkley’s dad wearing a Jets jersey. Yes. I am very petty like that.

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