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FOOTBALL FREAK: Second half of NFL season should be exciting

['John Turner']
['John Turner']

Teams built for playoff runs

The NFL season is already at the halfway point, and there are a number of teams in both the AFC and NFC that appear ready to make a deep run in the playoffs for the Super Bowl in Atlanta.
In the NFC, the Rams look like the team to beat, but the Saints, Vikings, Panthers and Packers are good enough to make a run. If you fancy good defensive teams, then you have to think the Bears, Redskins and Seahawks have an outside chance as well.  
In the AFC, of course, you have the Patriots and Chiefs leading the way, with the Texans, Chargers, Steelers and Ravens having a legitimate chance if they can play more consistent football moving forward. With so many teams in the hunt, it will be an exciting second half of the NFL season!

Sure thing
The Bears usually hibernate in the cold weather of Buffalo, but the Chicago Bears will be licking their chops when they play the Bills. Buffalo is starting quarterback Nate Peterman, and he’s a lock to throw at least two picks. Chicago wins on the road.
The Browns’ offence was terrible before they fired their head coach and offensive co-ordinator this week. Now rookie Baker Mayfield has to try this on his own. The Chiefs are going to score at least 28 points in this one, and the Browns’ offence can’t compete with this. KC looks impressive on the road.
Carolina just goes about their business every week under the radar, which is just fine with them. Tampa comes to town in disarray at the quarterback position, and a team that can’t stop anyone after spending and trading for defensive help in the off-season. Ryan Fitzpatrick is once again the starter, and is usually good for a game or two. Carolina will protect against the “Fitzmagic” deep ball, and send the Bucs back to Florida with another loss.
Dallas is coming off a bye, supposedly has a new No. 1 receiver in Amari Cooper and is at home. Sounds like a recipe for success against a Titans’ team that can’t get out of its own way on offence. Take Big D

Don’t mortgage the house
The Texans have won five straight and are on the road in Denver. Houston is starting to play complementary football, and they even picked up former Bronco wide receiver Demaryius Thomas at the trade deadline. Awkwardly, he will play his former team on Sunday. The Freak can assure you he will be telling JJ Watt and the defence the Broncos’ offensive plays. Houston wins.
Detroit seems to have given up on the season by trading Golden Tate. Minnesota needs a win after losing a tough one at home to the Saints. This will be a tough divisional game, but the Lions have no answer for Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. It’s a home win for the Vikings.

Flip a coin
The Freak has never liked Atlanta, whether they were a good or bad team, playing outdoors in cold weather. It won’t be warm in Washington. Atlanta losses another cold-weather road game.
The Rams head to New Orleans in a huge game that might decide home-field advantage come playoff time. Both teams like playing indoors on the turf, which can only mean one thing – a shootout in the Bayou! The Saints and Rams are both all in for the Super Bowl, making roster moves before the trade deadline. This may be the game of the season to date. Love Drew Brees at home, and the Saints march down Bourbon Street after the game with a win.
Miami is home to the Jets. It’s a big game for Miami to stay in the playoff race. Fish wins.
Old-style Seahawks’ football might be back. Run the ball 35 times a game, play good defence and Russ Wilson plays action deep shots. The Chargers are coming off a bye, and are in the playoff hunt in the AFC. The Seahawks love playing at home, especially with this type of team they now have. The Seahawks beat the Chargers.
Pittsburgh at Baltimore is always a physical war, and usually comes down to a late field goal. The Steelers are playing much better while the Ravens have been struggling of late. Take the hot team, Steelers win.

Upset special

It’s only the second time that No. 12 will be playing No. 12 – Rodgers vs Brady.  
The last time they played in Lambeau Rodgers can out on the winning side. This time it’s in Foxboro, but for the Packers this is a must game for them if they want to stay in the NFC North playoff race.  
A desperate Rodgers is scary, and he plays better than Brady in this one. The Packers upset the Patriots.

John Turner is a Summerside school teacher and coaches youth football. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to ssidespartansfootball@yahoo.ca.

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