Plenty of playoff implications in the first week of Novembers, this is the time to get excited.
- Green Bay Packers@ Carolina Panthers- Most expected that this game would be the battle of two undefeated teams but the Broncos decided against that plan. The Packers are coming off of one the toughest losses of the season while the Panthers are playing on a short weeks rest. The Panthers will have the momentum going into this game after narrowly avoiding defeat in an overtime thriller on Monday night. Aaron Rodgers has shown that he has trouble with stout defenses and the Panthers D is one of the best in the NFL. Cam Newton on the other hand has had trouble getting the ball down the field the last few weeks and the Packers defense is no slouch either. This could very well be a matchup preview of what we can expect come January.
- Louis Rams@ Minnesota Vikings- On paper, these teams are so similar it is hard to choose which one is better. Both have top tier defenses, both of hot speedy running backs, and both have underwhelming quarterbacks. This is a clash of the middle of the pack. Only separated by a game, it is impossible to tell who will come away with a victory here. Minnesota has been able to win a couple of sloppy games by simple being the least bad team on the field. The Rams victories have all been impressive team victories from start to finish. But when the Rams falter, they really falter. This all comes down to which Rams team shows up. If it is sloppy, the Vikings have the edge, but if the Rams can pick up from where they left off the last couple of weeks and fire on all cylinders, The Rams will be holding onto a playoff spot that is theirs to lose.
- Oakland Raiders@ Pittsburgh Steelers- I personally love this match up for the sole reason being the Raiders bounced the Steelers from my top ten power rankings this week. They don’t know it but this game will decide who gets put back in the top ten next week. I’ve spoken many times about the Raiders offense so I’ll shorten it for you here-Hot QB, elusive RB, great WR. All the pieces you need to score points. The Steelers will need a large output from DeAngelo Williams now that he has taken over as starting running back. Ben Roethlisberger will also need to shake off a rusty game where he threw three interceptions. One team is on the rise, one team is on the fall. This may be the turning point in the league, but the Raiders have to win to start the turn.
- Denver Broncos@ Indianapolis Colts- Both Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck began to turn things around last week but Manning is the one who came away with the win. Just because the Colts lost in overtime does not take away the momentum they had to get there. If the Broncos aren’t careful, they may fall into a similar trap the Packers fell into last week. They seem to be a clear favorite here but if the Colts have flipped a switch, this is going to be a hotly contested game. With all the talk of old man Manning, he may have something to say about the changing of the guard.
- Philadelphia Eagles@ Dallas Cowboys- I think this just goes to show how much being in a large market plays into getting a primetime game. Neither of these teams are especially fun to watch and both have losing records. but the NFC East is still wide open. The Giants lead the division with only four wins, a record the Eagles can match by topping the Cowboys Sunday night. The Cowboys are still looking to just get by enough until Tony Romo can come back but so far, have yet to win a game after his injury. And I don’t even know where to begin with the Eagles. How they have won three games is besides me. They are a group of good individual players who have not been able to click as a team and that is important in a game like football. Chip Kelly is not a suitable head coach yet. Just because you can grab some of the best free agents doesn’t mean you have a winning team. Who knew that going into week 9, two losing teams would still be playing each other with the division on the line, but then again, the NFC East is anything but normal this year.
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