To understand football, you have to understand rivalries. There are natural geographic rivalries for example the Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings will always be a big game because of their relatively close proximity. But then there are conference rivalries that tend to matter a whole lot more as they determine how teams will be ranked going into the playoff season. To see the conference breakdown visit: www.nfl.com/teams
This year the NY Football Giants are considered to be the top ranked team in football. They are the defending Superbowl Champions and their opponent in the Superbowl, the New England Patriots has lost their starting quarterback for the Season.
After the Giants, critics would say that the Dallas Cowboys have the best chance to make a Superbowl appearance this year. They have the talent and depth on their team to be the Champions. However they just lost to the Washington Redskins who face the Philadelphia Eagles this week (all NFC East Teams). This is an excellent example of conference rivalries! This game is HUGE this weekend.
Week 5 of the Regular Season:
4 teams have byes: Browns, Jets, Raiders, & Rams – they will not have games this week.
Big games or close match ups:
Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens: Both of these teams are a bit of an unknown this year. The Ravens had a horrible season last year and the Titans weren’t much better. Both have had close games so far this season. The verdict is still out on these two teams.
Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers: This should be a good game. Green Bay is likely to win, especially if their quarterback Aaron Rodgers is fully healthy. (He had a sprained shoulder). The Atlanta quarterback is a rookie and has been doing a good job so far, but he still hasn’t proved he can win on the road.
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans: Both are AFC South teams making this a bigger game and the fact that the Colts have been rocky so far this season. Peyton Manning (Colts quarterback) has not been playing as well as he can this season. The Colts were able to rest with a bye last week, so they should win this game. The Colts need to win this game and reassure their fan base that they still have what it takes.
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles: Big Game of the Day! (Disclaimer: I am a diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan) I want Philly to win this game. The odds are good if they have running back Brian Westbrook healthy and back in the game. The Eagles should be able to win if all the pieces fall into place. Eagles rookie DeSean Jackson has a lot of talent but made two big mistakes last week leading to a loss to the Chicago Bears. Hopefully these mistakes didn’t shake him up too badly and he can perform and continue to prove himself this week. The advantage should go to Philadelphia because they are the home team and have had an incredible year of physical defense so far.
However, the Redskins have proven that they can’t be overlooked. They have done a tremendous job of causing turnovers and quarterback Jason Campbell hasn't thrown an interception yet this year. The Redskings walked into Texas Stadium last week and taught the Cowboys and T.O. a lesson. This game is extra big because Redskins’ first time Head Coach Jim Zorn still needs to prove that he knows how to win and the Eagles need this game to still be contenders in the Beast of the NFC East (meaning all 4 teams in the NFC East are strong this year). The Redskins’ weakness may be: the absence of defensive end Jason Taylor do to a calf injury two weeks ago (compartment syndrome) & too much excitement getting to their head after the Dallas win. Go Eagles!
Buffalo Bills at Arizona Cardinals: Currently Buffalo is undefeated. This makes them the team to beat. The Bills are in the same conference as the Jets and traditional powerhouse NE Patriots. This may be their year to have a strong season (maybe).
New England Patriots at San Francisco 49ers: The Patriots need to prove they can win without quarterback Tom Brady. They might be a bit sluggish from flying across the country.
Sunday Night: Pittsburg Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars: The Steelers have gotten physically beaten up the last two games against the Ravens and the Eagles. They have a lot of injured players but they are the better team. The Steelers should win, but this will be an interesting game.
Monday Night: Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints: I am actually not sure why these teams get a prime time Monday night football spot. Neither team has a very exciting offense.
Please let me know if you have any questions about this post or topics you would like included in future Football 101 posts!