The Showdown at the Ralph Game: NYJ @ BUF
You have to go all the way back to 1999 to find the last time the Bills had a regular season game that meant this much to them. A win by the Bills would give them a 6-2 record and two wins in their division. On Wednesday the NFL decided to credit the Bills with one more sack of John Beck, giving them a grand total of 10.
The Bills go into the game leading the NFL with 14 interceptions. Riding a two-game winning streak, the Jets are now attempting to win their first road game this season. It goes without saying that Ryan Fitzpatrick will be looking to see who Darrelle Revis is covering before every snap of the ball. Revis is hands down the best cover corner in the NFL and Fitzpatrick will need to do everything possible to avoid throwing his way.
For obvious reasons the Jets go into the game with a game plan built around stopping Fred Jackson. The Bills running back has been a terror this season and if the Jets can’t stop Jackson they have little chance of winning the game. There’s also the little matter of the “white out” planned Sunday in Buffalo. For the first time since October of 1986 the Bills will be wearing their road whites at home. The Bills have also asked fans to come to the game wearing white. So when Mark Sanchez drops back to pass he will be staring at 68,000 white shirts. Rex Ryan has to be thrilled that Pro Bowl centre Nick Mangold is healthy again. The battle in the trenches between Mangold and Bills nose tackle Marcell Dareus will be one to keep an eye on throughout the game.
The Revenge Game: BAL @ PIT
The Steelers have been thinking about this game for a long time. Since being embarrassed by the Ravens in Week 1, the Steelers won six of their next seven games to take over first place in the AFC North. This is will be a tough challenge for the Steelers as they will be missing both LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison. The injury to Woodley really hurts as he was enjoying an incredible season. Unlike Steelers teams of years gone by, this year’s version loves to throw the football. Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Wallace are part of the second best passing attack in the AFC.
The Ravens are tough to figure out. Two weeks ago they lost to the Jaguars and last week they needed a miracle comeback to beat the Cardinals. There’s a raging debate across the NFL whether or not Joe Flacco is the kind of quarterback that will take the Ravens to the Promised Land. Both John Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin are skilled motivators. Both teams hate each other. No quarter will be asked for and none will be given.
The Battle of the Running Backs Game: CHI @ PHI
The way the NFC is shaping up, it is doubtful if both of these teams will make the playoffs. That just puts added pressure on both teams to come up with a win.
This game is a showdown with two of the best all-purpose running backs in the NFL, the Bears’ Matt Forte and the Eagles’ LeSean McCoy. What most people don’t realize is that the Eagles have the best running attack in the NFL, averaging 5.8 yards every time they touch the ball. Michael Vick is a big part of that success, but “Shady” McCoy is in the midst of a tremendous season. That means Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs will have to be extremely disciplined in their run defense. Assuming his offensive line can give Jay Cutler some protection, the Bears should be able to score some points. Whether or not the Bears defence can stop McCoy and Vick will determine who wins the game.
The David Tyree Game: NYG @ NE
Until the end of time, Patriots fans will always cringe at the mere mention of Tyree and his miracle catch in Super Bowl XLII. Despite all of the Giants critics, they have exactly the same record as the Patriots, 5-2. Despite all of Eli Manning’s critics, he is quietly putting together an excellent season.
Manning is third in the NFL in quarterback ratings and has only tossed five interceptions. With the worse pass defence in the NFL, the Patriots can expect Manning to test their secondary early and often with the likes of Victor Cruz. Here’s something else that Tom Brady and the Patriots should be concerned of; the Giants lead the NFL with 26 sacks.
The Battle in the Bayou Game: TB @ NO
Coming off of a shocking loss to the Rams, the Saints will try to regroup when they host the Bucs. After watching the film of what Steven Jackson did last week, you can be sure that Raheem Morris will try to exploit a Saints run defence that is allowing over five yards per carry. To that end, Morris will have a healthy LeGarrette Blount to feed the ball to on Sunday.
Morris told the media this week that the best is yet to come for his young team “By no means are we are a finished product. Hopefully when we become a finished product penalties will disappear, self inflicted wounds will disappear.” The Bucs are coming hard, they beat the Saints in six and they know what a win Sunday would do for their playoff chances in the NFC South. Expect a few turnovers in this game, Drew Brees and Josh Freeman have each thrown 10 interceptions so far this season.
The Journey of the Undefeated Game: GB @ SD
Coming off of their bye week, the 7-0 Packers will try to keep their perfect season intact when they take on the Chargers. Philip Rivers and the Chargers fumbled away a victory over the Chiefs in the Monday night game. Now they get to play the best team in the NFL. Rivers leads the NFL with 11 interceptions and has struggled to regain his Pro Bowl form.
Meanwhile the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers is the highest rated quarterback in the NFL and is putting together an MVP-caliber season. Rodgers has carried over the success from the Super Bowl into the regular season and is making a strong case that he’s the best quarterback in the NFL. Someway, somehow the Chargers need to get some pressure on Rodgers. If they don’t, he will pick them apart. The Chargers are also coming off of a short week and have a number of key injuries they’re dealing with.
The survivor pool tip of the week: Needless to say there were a lot of people knocked out of their respective survivor pools when the Rams upset the Saints. If you’re still alive in your pool I do like the 49ers chances against the Redskins.