Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Best of NFL Week 8

October 31, 2009

Denver Broncos (6-0) @ Baltimore Ravens (3-3)

It is unknown what is more surprising this season: Denver's success on defense or Baltimore's poor defensive efforts. The Broncos are ranked first in the league in points allowed, only giving up about 11 points each week. On the other hand, the Ravens are ranked 21st in points allowed, relinquishing 21 points to opponents. Despite those facts, the Ravens have a legitimate shot at handing Denver their first loss of the season.

QB Joe Flacco has a 93.8 QB rating for the season, couple with a 64.4 completion percentage. It's the Ravens offense behind Flacco's arm that has made up for their defensive woes. And with LB Ray Lewis and DB Ed Reed still on the roster, it cannot be predicted when the Ravens break out on defense.

The Broncos have had a hidden gem of their own in QB Kyle Orton. Orton has recorded a 100.1 QB rating thus far along with a 63.9 completion percentage. That tops Flacco's stats as well as his record. There is no telling what this underrated QB out of Purdue can do for the Broncos. Not to mention, Denver has a fervent defensive leader of their own in Brian Dawkins.

This will be an exciting match-up for fans of good defense and solid QBs.

Prediction: Ravens 24 - Broncos 23

Minnesota Vikings (6-1) @ Green Bay Packers (4-2)

The match-up that was hyped by the media and the drama behind the Brett Favre saga has now reached D-Day. Packers fans will see their former QB wearing the colors of their enemy and be forced to either cheer in appreciation or boo in disappointment. The stadium ambiance will be one that will go down in NFL history - mixed with tension, excitement and a top-notch football rivalry.

QB Brett Favre has performed will throughout most of 2009, recording 12 TDs and only 3 INTs. The combination of Favre's throwing ability and RB Adrian Peterson's running prowess have made Minnesota a team to reckon with. And that's not even counting their decent defense, led by DE Jaren Allen and CB Antonie Winfield.

The Packers have not lived up to their expectations early in the season, but have time to recuperate, especially with a win on Sunday against the Vikings. QB Aaron Rodgers has put up similar numbers to Favre, with 11 TDs and 2 INTs this season. Rodgers will need to show poise and leadership under the immense pressure of proving that he deserved to be Favre's heir. Fortunately, he can expect some help on defense as Green Bay ranks 3rd overall in the NFL - Minnesota ranks 17th overall.

Prediction: Packers 27 - Vikings 17

New York Giants (5-2) @ Philadelphia Eagles (4-2)

If a rivalry between New York and Philadelphia could not get any stronger, it just did. The World Series is underway as the Yankees and Phillies move to Philadelphia, but the focus on Sunday will include the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.

The Giants have lost two games in a row after starting the season 5-0, but have a chance to rebound against a struggling Eagles team. If New York reverts to their downhill running, smashmouth defense game plan then they will have a shot at dominating on Sunday. Wide receivers Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, Domenik Hixon and Hakeem Nicks make-up a young core or receivers that can perform on any given week. If they minimize mistakes, such as dropping passes, they can create problems for the Eagles' secondary.

Then again, the Eagles are ranked 9th in pass yards allowed. Defense will be on display on both sides and will determine the winner on Sunday. Philadelphia must rely on a low scoring game as QB Donovan McNabb and RB Brian Westbrook are both partially injured. Look out for RB LeSean McCoy to take up the running back responsibilities and showcase his skills - if he fares well he could open up passing lanes for the Eagles.

Prediction: Giants 21 - Eagles 17

Honorable Mention:
  • Miami Dolphins (2-4) @ New York Jets (4-3): This heated AFC East rivalry will build off of the exciting Monday Night Football match-up two weeks ago as the Jets seek revenge and Miami seeks a season sweep of New York. The week 5 match-up between these two was turnover free, but don't expect the same come Sunday. Fumbles and interceptions are bound to occur at the Meadowlands. Prediction: Dolphins 24 - Jets 21
  • Atlanta Falcons (4-2) @ New Orleans Saints (6-0): The Saints are favored to win this game, but never count out an equally dangerous offense in the Atlanta Falcons. QB Matt Ryan has TE Tony Gonzalez, WR Roddy White and RB Michael Turner at his disposal. Do not be surprised if Atlanta becomes a worthy adversary for New Orleans and goes toe-to-toe on offense. It is the Saints defense that will decide this game, in particular DB Darren Sharper, as he looks to continue his success in '09. Prediction: Saints 38 - Falcons 28

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