Colts at Patriots
Why you should watch:
For years, this was the game that everyone looked for when schedules were released. Brady vs. Manning. This year, though, it will be Tom Brady against a new Colts #1 overall pick, Andrew Luck.
As the 6-3 Indianapolis Colts head to Foxboro to take on the 6-3 Patriots, all eyes will once again be on the quarterback matchup. Luck has led the Colts to four straight wins and put them in the driver seat for an AFC wild card spot, while Brady and the Patriots have won three in a row and sit atop the AFC East.
With two defenses that have struggled mightily at times when it comes to giving up points, this could turn out to be a shootout between Brady and the rookie Luck.
What to watch for:
Luck vs. Patriots defense. This matchup is probably going to be the biggest factor as to whether or not this game is close, or a blowout. The Patriots have been as consistent as it comes as far as putting up points goes (30+ points in 6 out of 9 games), so it’s safe to say the Colts are more than likely going to need to score and score often to keep the game close.
Now, Luck and the Colts have proven they are more than capable of doing such (aka Packers week 5). Add that to the fact that the Patriots defense is 29th in the league against the pass and it makes it seem like that is going to be the case. With that being said, Luck is going to have to take better care of the football against an opportunistic Patriots defense. Despite their struggles giving up yards, the Pats defense has managed to force 17 fumbles and 10 interceptions. While Luck has had his share of turnover issues himself, with 13 turnovers in 9 games and only 2 games without a turnover.
Taking care of the football and not giving Brady and Co. a short field will be crucial for this young Colts team.
It’s always hard to predict how a rookie quarterback is going to play in a hostile, road environment. Given how the Bills dominated the Patriots defense last week in Foxboro though, I think that Luck and the Colts will put up their share of points and keep it close for a while. In the end though, I think the Patriots defense manages to make a big play or two and the offense continues to roll. Patriots by 8.
Jets at Rams
Why you should watch:
Let’s be honest, both teams are looking up at a LOT of teams in the playoff picture and the chances of either one making a serious playoff push this year are slim to none (Yes Tebow lovers, even if Tebow were to take over). That leaves one big reason why this game is worth watching; to see what happens in the Tebow/Sanchez soap opera.
Yup, love him or hate him, it’s undeniable that anytime Tim Tebow’s team is playing, deep down, it’s impossible not to want to watch at least a little. Whether you’re rooting for him to fail and cement your argument as to how he’ll never win (I should add “again” because the guy HAS won), or rooting for him to perform yet another miracle to continue to grow your obsession, the attraction is there.
I mean, Tebow hasn’t even played the equivalent of a full game this year and he is still the focus of conversation in the Big Apple and across the NFL. As frustrating as fans may find all the coverage, it doesn’t stop anyone from wanting to see what is going to happen next.
What to watch for:
Now, back to players who will actually be on the field when the game starts: Steven Jackson vs. the Jets run defense. Jackson is coming off what was his best game of the season against a very stout SF defense. This week he downgrades to the 3rd worst run defense in all of football (Jets have given up 145 yards per game). It has become pretty obvious that the Jets struggle to move the football, so if Jackson has another big day and keeps the Jets defense on the field for extended drives, it could result in a very tired and (even more) vulnerable Jets defense late in the game.
As far as the Jets offense goes….just keep watching…maybe something, someone, somewhere will step up.
Unless the Jets offense underwent some miraculous procedure and has figured out how to get the ball in the end zone (1 touchdown last 8 quarters), this game will belong to the Rams. They have the run game to give the Jets defense fits and the pass rush to disrupt (26 sacks in 9 games), an already mentally disrupt, Mark Sanchez. Rams by a touchdown.
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