The Seahawks have had trouble in the desert, losing their season opener last year. In their second meeting in Seattle, the Seahawks humiliated the Cardinals 58-0. So the Cardinals will be angry birds in this one. The Seahawks are 5-1, and while Russell Wilson has gotten the headlines, it their defense that has been the reason for them becoming one of the top teams in the NFL. The Cardinals have a good defense too, but they do not have the offense to win this game, with QB Carson Palmer continuing his struggles.
At 1-4 no team has been a bigger disappointment than the Falcons. Finishing has been the big problem in Atlanta, as they have struggled in the redzone, being turned away at the goalline on 4th and 1 in each of their last two games. The Falcons have lost Julio Jones for the season and Roddy White has been hobbled. However, coming off a bye week they have a chance to get back on track facing a winless Tampa squad that has become so fractured in is impossible to call them a team.
Consistency that is the thing both teams are lacking. Each team is coming of a blowout win on the road, but each team has also looked lethargic during at times. The Panthers have to be pleased with the game Cam Newton had last week, throwing three touchdown passes and running another in. The Rams have to be pleased with their defense that scored twice last week in Houston. The Panthers defense has also played well and I believe is overall stronger. With a win, they can get into the playoff race and silence some of their critics all at the same time.
Both teams are 4-2 and looking to prove they are the team to beat in their respective divisions. The addition of Reggie Bush has been huge for the Lions who now have offensive balance which helped take pressure of QB Matthew Stafford. The Bengals come in with some question marks, as they have struggled on the road, while their secondary has at times allowed the big play, most notably last week when the Bills tied the game in the fourth quarter. The Lions who have been strong at Ford Field and have Calvin Johnson will exploit this hole and get the win.
At 3-3 no team defines topsy turvy like the San Diego Chargers. Two weeks ago they laid an egg, while losing on the road to the Raiders. Last week they turned it around and shut down the Colts at home on Monday Night. The Jaguars, meanwhile define awful; at 0-6 they have lost each game by double digits and actually counted a 16 point loss to the Broncos as a morale victory. Perhaps they can catch the Chargers on a bad week, with the early start, but they need talent to do that and that is as rare as an actual Jaguar walking around the streets of Jacksonville.
The Dolphins entered the season full of optimism and looked good while running off to a 3-0 start. However, after two straight losses they went limping into their bye week. The bye week may have come at the right time for the Dolphins, as it allows them to get some of their banged up players healthy. Cameron Wake the Dolphins leading pass rusher missed each of the last two games, is expected to return and that will be a big boost, as the Bills passing game is still rather unstable with EJ Manuel on the sideline and Matt Flynn being signed during the week.
Jets rookie Quarterback Geno Smith has been quite up and down this year, playing flawlessly during their win in Atlanta, but struggling badly last week against the Steelers. The Patriots had a glimpse at Smith in Week 2, and picked him off three times as the Patriots despite a shaky game themselves won by a Field Goal. The Pats leb by Tom Brady are coming off an emotional comeback win in the final seconds and have a history of stomping the Jets in the Meadowlands. This week that will continue as the Pats win easily.
At 3-3 these are the two teams that are leading the NFL misfit division that used be known as the NFC East. The Eagles offense has been sharp the last few weeks, with Nick Foles showing why he should become the starter over Michael Vick. The Cowboys offense has also been strong and the points can add up in this one. The Eagles must win the game if they are to have any hope, as the Cowboys are the better team, but come in with DeMarcus Ware and DeMarco Murray both likely to miss the game opening the dorr for the Eagles offense.
It can no longer be called rust; Redskins Quarterback Robert Griffin III is having a terrible sophomore season. The knee brace may be part of the problem, but the reigning rookie of the year has looked unsure in the pocket and is missing both his breakaway speed and zip on his passes. The Bears defense can create turnovers and are especially good at turning them into points. Meanwhile, the Redskins defense has been terrible all season against the pass, opening the door for a big game for Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler.
The Titans were in good shape just two weeks ago as they sat 3-1, but a hip injury to Quarterback Jake Locker has taken the steam out of their engines. The Titans played well in Seattle last week, but could not get their offense going. Their defense has been solid and physical all season, and can keep them in the game. However, unless Ryan Fitzpatrick is able to get it going it will end the same way, with the Titans suffering a loss. The 49ers offense still has yet to find its groove, but their defense should be able to get this win on the road.
Both teams have been bitten by the injury bug, with the Browns forced to bring back Quarterback Brandon Weeden while the Packers have gone to the bottom of the depth chart to find a receiver. The difference here is the loss of a receiver or two has not been much of a problem to Packers QB Aaron Rodgers who has shown the ability to find anyone open. While the Browns loss of Brian Hoyer showed just how big changing quarterbacks in the first place keyed their brief winning streak. Key stat Browns 3-0 with Hoyer starting, 0-3 with Weeden and Hoyer is not coming back this season.
When the season began it would not have surprised anyone if you said one team would be 6-0 and the other would be 2-4 when they met this weekend. However, it is the Chiefs who are soaring and the Texans whose wheels have come off. There is no logical reason to pick the Texans in Arrowhead, Quarterback Matt Schaub has been awful and is now hurt and T.J. Yates kept the Pick Six streak going at five in a row. The Chiefs defense has been solid and their offense has not made the big mistake. There is too much talent in Houston for them to fold this early, call it a gut feeling but I sense an upset.
No matter who wins the game will be decided by a Field Goal. Since 2009, these two bitter rivals have played nine times, with seven games being decided by exactly three points. In fact just one game was decided by more than seven points. These two teams genuinely hate each other and despite retirements of Ray Lewis and the Steelers not being that good anymore, that bitterness will not go away. Defense will ultimately decide this one and the Ravens will have the edge their as Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger continues to feel like a piñata.
The Colts have already said they will salute Peyton Manning before the game as he returns for the first time with his new team. Maybe if they brought in Jim Nabors to sing Back Home Again in Indiana, it will butter up Peyton Manning enough, that he gets too verklempt about his 14 years in Indianapolis that he is off his game. However, that is highly unlikely to happen. Part of Peyton Manning has to want to stick to his old team and despite the gratitude Manning shows he still is the best quarterback in the NFL, though Andrew Luck will also play well and make a game of it.
Monday Night Football turns into Monday Night Survivor at the Meadowlands as two teams barely on life support meet hoping to find a way to salvage their seasons. The Giants are 0-6 for the first time in 37 years as Eli Manning has thrown 15 interceptions, with their Big Blue defense coming up black and blue. The Vikings meanwhile at 1-4 are handing the starting reigns to Josh Freeman after just one week in camp. The Giants won a Super Bowl less than two years ago, it is hard to believe they are going to go down quietly. Freeman can’t go from struggling in Tampa to winning on a new team overnight, this is the Giants game to win or else things can really get ugly in New Jersey.