A battle between NFC divisional leaders will take place Sunday on Fox. Aaron Rodgers and the 7-3 Packers will take on Matt Ryan and the 8-2 Falcons. Both teams have won four straight and our looking for a fifth. If the Packers want to beat the Falcons they will need to shut down star Falcons receiver Roddy White and slow down running back Michael Turner. The Falcons need to pressure Aaron Rodgers and keep the NFL sack leader, Clay Matthews, getting to Matt Ryan.
The Steelers take on the 2-8 Bills this week. The Bills are coming off of two straight wins while the Steelers are coming off of a huge win over the Raiders. Look for the Steelers to blitz and continue to put pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick forcing him to choose what to do with the ball earlier than he wants to which should cause bad passes and turnovers. I see Ben Roethliberger and the Steelers rolling onto a big win in Buffalo Sunday.
The Panthers, with the league’s worst record, take on the Browns in Cleveland Sunday. The Browns are led by Rookie quarterback Colt McCoy who has been playing very well in his first few starts and Peyton Hillis has just been running over defenders all season. Look for this to continue as they take on one of the league’s worst defenses in Carolina. Carolina will need a big game from Jonathan Stewart in order for the Panthers to pull off the upset.
Giants will look to rebound this weekend after losing two straight. The Giants will have some trouble thought as they face the AFC South leaders in the Jacksonville. Jacksonville has won three straight and their being lead by David Garrard and Mauice Jones-Drew. If Jacksonville wants to win their fourth straight they will need to protect David Garrard from the Giants pass rush and they will need to stop Ahmad Bradshaw and the Giants running game. For the Giants they will need to stop Maurice Jones-Drew and Eli Manning will need to hit his young receivers for some big plays.
The Vikings will take on the Redskins in their first game since the firing of Brad Childress. The Redskins are coming off of a big overtime win vs the Titans and are hoping to keep that momentum rolling while the Vikings are trying to keep alive their slim playoff hopes. The Redskins will need to put pressure on Favre and need to establish their running game to get the win this week. For the Vikings they will need Favre to not force throws and they need their D-line to step up big time.
The Titans will take on divisional rivals, the Texans, without quarterback Vince Young. The Texans are looking to bounce back from losing four straight while the Texans are trying to get back over .500 with a win. The Texans will need Mario Williams and the Texans defense to put loads of pressure on back-up quarterback Rusty Smith and they will need to stop Chris Johnson. For the Titans they will need their O-line to have a big game helping protect Rusty Smith and help block for Chris Johnson in the open field while their defense will need to stop Matt Schaub, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson.
Both the Dolphins and the Raiders will try to come back from terrible offensive performances last week. Miami was shutout and the Raiders only had three points. The Dolphins will need a big game from Chad Henne and will need their defense to step up and stop the Raiders running game. The Raiders will need to cover receiver Brandon Marshall and will Jason Campbell will need to make some clutch plays for them to get past the Dolphins.
Matt Hasselbeck and the Division leading Seahawks will take on the Chiefs who lead the AFC West. The Chiefs are coming off of a blowout win over the Cardinals while the Seahawks have lost three out of four. Seahawks need Justin Forsett and Marshawn Lynch to have a big day running the ball. The Chiefs need their defense to stop the running game and need Matt Cassell and Dwayne Bowe to hookup for some big plays several times in the game.
Mike Vick and the red hot Eagles head into Chicago to take on the Bears. Both teams have won three straight and are looking to stay atop the play-off race. Mike Vick has been stellar for the Eagles the past two weeks and they will need him to keep it up vs. Julius Peppers and the Bears defense. Jay Cutler and Matt Forte need to lead the Bears past the physical Eagles defense led by Trent Cole.
The Rams will try to stay alive in the NFC Divisional race as they take on the Broncos. The Broncos are coming off of a blowout loss to the Chargers on Monday night while the Rams have lost two straight. Steven Jackson will need to have big game on the ground for the Rams and their defense will need to keep Brandon Lloyd contained. For the Broncos they will need to hold Steven Jackson to a minimum on the ground and force rookie Sam Bradford to beat them with his arm.
The young Buccaneers will try to continue their great season as they take on the Ravens this week in Baltimore. The Buc’s are coming off of two wins over San Fran and Carolina while the Ravens come off of a blowout win over Carolina. The Ravens will need their defense once again to step up big time. They will need to pressure Josh Freemen and contain LeGarrette Blount on the ground. The Buc’s will need a lot of production from young quarterback Josh Freemen and the receivers will need to help him out by working to get open.
The Chargers head to Indianapolis to take on the Colts Sunday night. Peyton Manning looks to rebound from throwing three interceptions last week in a loss to the Patriots while Phillip Rivers and the Chargers have won two straight and are in playoff contention again. Peyton will need play with again with limited help as many of his top targets are injured again. The Colts defense will need to stop Phillips Rivers and the Chargers passing game if they want to win this one. The Chargers must force Peyton out of the pocket and force him to throw on the run. The Chargers running game will need to help open up the passing game for Rivers.
The Cardinals take on the 49ers on Monday night in Arizona. Both teams are lying at the bottom of the NFC West at 3-7 but are still in the playoff of picture because of the NFC West’s leaders sits at 5-5. Troy Smith will need to lead the 49ers to another win after an awful offensive performance vs. Tampa Bay last week. Frank Gore will also need to have a big game on the ground for the 49ers. Derek Andersen will need to hit star receiver Larry Fitzgerald several times in the game and the Arizona defense will need to contain dual threat Troy Smith.