It's Sunday and it means football! Not the Baltimore Ravens granted, but for a lot of other teams in the league.
With the Baltimore Ravens currently at 1-4, they not only need to win a major number of games this season, but need a little help from some others in the league to even have a shot at a playoff spot. With the early games including division rivals Cleveland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, we'll create a little early game rooting guide.
Time and Channel: 1:00pm on FOX
Odds: Arizona: -4 / Pittsburgh: +4
Analysis: Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is still out with his knee injury and the Steelers defense is just not what it used to be. Meanwhile the Arizona Cardinals have been beating up on some bad teams this season, but look to have a high powered offense on their side. In a matchup of head coach Bruce Arians and the team where he was formerly an offensive coordinator, there are some ties here that make the game a little extra interesting.
Prediction: Arizona wins by 7 points as the Steelers just can't get consistent on offense and can't stop Arizona.
Time and Channel: 1:00pm on CBS
Odds: Denver: -3.5 / Cleveland: +3.5
Analysis: Cleveland just stole a win over Baltimore last week with quarterback Josh McCown going ham for nearly 500 yards through the air. This week, he should hit a stone wall in the name of the Denver Broncos defense, the polar opposite of the Ravens defense. Peyton Manning and Denver's offense hasn't looked like people were expecting, with them picking on some easier defenses and not putting up the type of points expected out of an offense led by a Hall of Fame quarterback and some serious firepower around him. Meanwhile Cleveland still looks like a mess at just about every level, but one that might be able to string together a few wins in 2015.
Prediction: The Denver Broncos might not be living up to what people expected them to be at the start of the season, but they are still undefeated for a reason. With Cleveland maybe having the upper hand when it comes to confidence this week due to their divisional win over the Baltimore Ravens, this will be the biggest test for their offense this season and one that I see coming back down to earth. Broncos win this by a field goal, but the game isn't nearly as close as the score seems.
Time and Channel: 1:00pm on CBS
Odds: Cincinnati: -3 / Buffalo: +3
Analysis: Out of all the AFC North divisional games this week, this one looks to be the most interesting. It's also the one that fans in Baltimore will be able to watch as it will be taking over the east coast in the early timeslot. Cincinnati is undefeated this season, which is something out of the Twilight Zone. Yet here we are with them facing off against a Rex Ryan led Buffalo Bills team that seems hit and miss and playing more off emotion than off the talent they actually have. The Bills have a phenomenal defense still and should test the Bengals offense that has seen quarterback Andy Dalton be in the conversation for the league MVP. For the Bengals, their offense is doing the work, but their defense is still giving up some points. With a Bills offense that seems to have found a renewal under quarterback Tyrod Taylor, that will be the matchup to watch in this game.
Prediction: As much as I would like to see the Bengals lose their first game of the season, the Bills are being led by E.J. Manuel this week instead of Taylor. The Bills have also been so hot and cold this season that I wonder if they will be able to put up enough points in this contest to keep up. Sadly, the Bengals win by a touchdown.