With the Titans on their bye week, let’s take a look at a few games around the league that have a large effect on the rest of the league.
Carolina @ Atlanta
Two teams from the NFC South that are struggling to win games despite playing tough in their losses. Both of the teams could make the wild card spot a close race in December, but not right now. Carolina QB Cam Newton has gotten a lot of attention for being the best rookie QB since Matt Ryan. Let’s see what Matt Ryan does to a depleted Carolina defense that should see a heavy dose of the Atlanta running game.
San Francisco @ Detriot
By now, you’re sure to have heard of how good the Lions keep playing, but have you heard about the 49ers? With a 4-1 record that most teams would love to have, especially considering how forcibly they beat the Buccaneers, the niners enter this week’s matchup against the Lions with a large amount of confidence. Can the niners slow down the Detriot passing game? Can the Lions LBers find a way to slow down San Fran TE Vernon Davis? What QB plays best? Both Matt Stafford and Alex Smith seem capable of putting their names in the MVP ballot so far. Yes, I thought about that last sentence before I typed it.
Philadelphia @ Washington
Can the Redskins prove that they are “in it to win it”? They seem to be, after a 3-1 start amidst the ongoing and widely publicized Eagles implosion. I’ve seen bits and pieces of the Eagles this season and it’s hard to argue with Frank Gore: they don’t seem to want it. I guess that means “Sexy Rexy” Grossman will get another chance to prove himself after not, well, starring against the Cowboys on prime time. The Redskin seem most likely to feature Ryan Torrain at running back, if you need a fantasy play. The Eagles absolutely cannot defend against the run. Look for Vick to turn the ball over, he has thrown 7 interception on the season and lost 3 fumbles.
Dallas @ New England
The Patriots look to continue their trend of looking absolutely dominant on offense. The defense, however, likely will allow a large amount of passing yardage as Dallas returns starting wideouts Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. Look for over 600 yards passing between the two teams combined, while the Patriot might grind the ball out at the end of the game as they did to close out a week 5 victory over the NY Jets. This has to be a statement game for the Patriots who are looking to put themselves in that upper tier of NFL teams, while the Cowboys want to prove that they’re not done, despite the way they look.
Minnesota @ Chicago
Honestly, there is not any playoff contention in this game, it will just be fun to watch the running backs. Bears running back Matt Forte currently has 785 yards of offense all to himself, while the Vikings Adrian Peterson has amassed 6 rushing touchdowns (compared to Forte’s 1) to along with almost 500 yards rushing through 5 games.
There are a few more good games this weekend, these are just the top few that stood out to me. New Orleans and Tampa Bay could be good, it’s divisional and it’s a big test for the Buccaneers to see if they bounce back after losing so bad to the niners last week.