Looking over the NFL schedule for this week we can see some big games, games that could determine who goes on a run and who gets left behind.
In the AFC East look no further than the contest between the Buffalo Bills and the defending AFC East Champion New England Patriots. The Bills got off to a 5-1 start and looked like they could easily win the division in 2008. But dropping their last two games, against the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets respectively, puts Buffalo in a position of having to win against New England on the road. For the Bills it could make the difference in a season that began with real promise. A victory would validate their legitimacy. For the Patriots it’s another step along the road without Tom Brady. While not the end of the world, a loss by either team could put the New York Jets in the drivers seat.
Over in the NFC South the New Orleans Saints go on the road to the Atlanta Falcons roost where the Falcons are in the thick of things. This s a surrising Atlanta team, one that has rallied around rookie quarterback Matt Ryan. The Saints meanwhile, have struggled on the road, faced major injuries, and still face the possibility of losing four starters to league sanctions. For New Orleans this is a must win in the division. Falling behind anymore could spell the loss of their season. For the Falcons a win would put them in good position for upcoming games against the rest of the division.
The NFC North features another war between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings. Both teams trail Chicago by a single game. More importantly, the bad blood flowing over the Brett Favre fiasco is still not healed. The Vikings haven’t lived up to their pre-season hype and I’m not sure the Green Bay faithful have clasped Aaron Rodgers to their bosom quite yet. Green Bay is 2-2 on the road and the Vikings have gotten better under quarterback Gus Frerrote but defensively still have a long way to go. Expect a scoring frenzy.
Ah, the NFC East, the root of so many epic NFL battles. This week showcases the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles. The East is not done yet by any means. The Redskins have the week off so this is a chance for Philly to catch up. Unfortunately they’ll have to try and do it against a dominant New York pass rush that should harrass McNabb without mercy.