Cincinnati Bengals @ Minnesota Vikings
1:00 pm EST, CBS
The Bengals, who currently sport a wealth of talent on the latest injury list, face an NFC North team for the second consecutive week, this time with former defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer coaching the opposition (very well, by most reports). The Bengals will have to depend on a depleted defensive lineup at all levels to stop the Vikings, who operate offensively off the strength of the offensive line. A good pass rush is imperative if the Bengals expect a win, and as we’ve seen lately, motivation is hard to come by in Cincinnati this season. Best of luck to (finally) embattled head coach Marvin Lewis.
Bengals – WR A.J. Green, DE Carlos Dunlap, CB William Jackson III
Vikings – HB Latavius Murray, WR Stephon Diggs, CB Trae Waynes
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns
1:00 pm EST, CBS
For those Ravens fans that see this game as some sort of guaranteed win, I suggest you avoid all coverage of the 2007 season. It CAN happen, folks – just ask last year’s Chargers. Regardless, look for the Browns to play loose, as there’s little to play for except a guarantee of the first overall pick in the 2018 draft. The Ravens, conversely, have to win to keep their wavering playoff hopes alive, and will most likely employ RB Alex Collins to extend drives and speed up the clock.
Ravens – Collins, QB QB Joe Flacco, LB C.J. Mosley
Browns – RB Isaiah Crowell, WR Ricardo Louis, LB Jamie Collins Sr.
New England Patriots @ Pittsburgh Steelers
4:25 pm EST, CBS
There’s never a good time to face the Patriots, but to face them coming off a divisional loss is far, far from an ideal scenario. The Steelers will attack a depleted Patriots defense with both the run and pass, and will undoubtedly spread the ball around a bit to keep the Patriots from focusing on all-world wideout Antonio Brown. The Patriots will have tight end Rob Gronkowski back this week, which, given the absence of Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, could cause significant problems to a coverage-challenged linebacker corp.
Patriots – Gronkowski, RB Dion Lewis, S Patrick Chung
Steelers – RB Le’Veon Bell, DE Stephon Tuitt, S Sean Davis