Getting ready for some football this weekend? Here are week 3’s top 5 match-ups for the NFL.
5 – CAROLINA (2-0) AT MINNESOTA (0-2)
Minnesota spent a bundle upgrading their defense in the off season. What they forgot was there’s an offensive side also. They finally made the right call in benching Tarvaris Jackson, in favor of Gus Frerotte. Steve Smith makes his season debut with the Panthers riding a two game win streak to open the season. Smith’s well documented two game suspension is now history, and we’ll finally see the Panthers offense at full strength.
4 – JACKSONVILLE (0-2) AT INDIANAPOLIS (1-1)
It’s an early season match-up for both these AFC South rivals. Both teams need this game to stay within distance of the streaking Tennessee Titans in the division. The Colts offense has looked out of sync most of the season. Peyton Manning needs to regain control of the offense and get back to being in rythym with his receivers Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison and also rising star Anthony Gonzalez. Where in the world has Joseph Addai gone? After 2 games he has rushed for only 64 yards on 27 carries and only 1 score. Playing top defenses like Chicago and Minnesota has virtually removed Addai from the high powered Colts offense.
For Jacksonville the big questions is which receiver is going to step up and help out David Garrard and can Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor run the ball efficiently vs the Colts defense. If MJD and Taylor can move the ball, it’s a win win situation for the Jags. On one hand it takes the pressure of Garrard in the passing game and on the other it keeps Manning right where you want him, standing on the sideline.
3 – MIAMI (0-2) AT NEW ENGLAND (2-0)
I’m loving this game right here. Not only is it an AFC East division game, but if New England wins it puts them 3-0 going into their bye week, and most likely tied for first with Buffalo (who has Oakland this week, easy win for Buffalo). It will also help quiet all the skeptics out there that have said “losing Tom Brady drops the Pats out of the playoff picture”. Miami comes into this meeting on the heels of a 31-10 drubbing at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals. Sorry Miami fans you have more questions and concerns about your team than I have answers for.
2 – PITTSBURGH (2-0) AT PHILADELPHIA (1-1)
Look out it’s the battle for trash talking rights in Pennsylvania. We have the potential for a great high scoring game here. We know the Eagles offense can turn it up when they want, but can the Steelers defense prove they still can get the job done. Sorry Steelers, it’s your first real test of the season, your not playing the Texans or Browns anymore. Donovan McNabb has proven so far, that he’s going to air it out even while missing the teams top two wide receivers (Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis). Look for two of the league’s top running backs to shake and bake this week. Willie Parker and Brian Westbrook both have to bring their A games, and force the defenses to make mistakes. Ben Roethlisberger and his injured right shoulder will need to show they can both take the hits this week. Look for Roethlisberger to hit his favorite target Hines Ward early and often. Not to be over looked is Big Ben’s deep threat Santonio Holmes and his safety valve Heath Miller.
1 – DALLAS (2-0) AT GREEN BAY (2-0)
Look what’s finally arrived the NFC Championship game from last January that never took place. It’s only eight months later but better late than never. Both offenses have already shown they can put the big numbers up. Can either defense stop the other’s offense? That’s the key to this game. If the Packs Ryan Grant misses this game due to his injured hamstring it could be to much for them to overcome. Tony Romo, Terrell Owens, Marion Barber and Jason Witten give Dallas one of the league’s best high powered offenses. If Romo plays mistake free it’s huge for Dallas, if the old Romo shows up (see end-zone play from Monday night) it could cost Dallas much more than just a win, just might be home field advantage down the road in the play-offs. Aaron Rodgers needs to use his weapons in the receiving core that he has. Greg Jennings, Donald Driver and the young combination of James Jones and Jordy Nelson. If Rodgers gets the victory Sunday night vs Dallas, he can finally put to rest all the Brett Favre talk once and for all.