NFL Week 7: Norv Turner’s Future, Vince Young's Knee and 25 Top Questions

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistOctober 19, 2010

NFL Week 7: Norv Turner’s Future, Vince Young's Knee and 25 Top Questions

0 of 25

    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Seven weeks into the year, and here we are starting straight down the barrel of yet another intense week in the NFL.

    Previously in Week 6, Roger Goodell's schedule lived up to expectations.  With high-flying games coming from left, right and center, every NFL fan had the right to stay home on Sunday and Monday night to experience two of the most exciting days in the 2010 season.

    Heading into Week 7, some may say that it will be hard to top Week 6's affairs.  However, if the past is any indication, we can expect many more heart-stopping games in a week that is meaningful from all angles for many NFL teams.

    As it stands the key games include Minnesota at Green Bay, New York at Dallas, and of course the AFC-deadlock games that continue to wage on following Tennessee's victory in Jacksonville on Monday night.

    But in regards to the most important things to consider, here we go again with another weekly prediction.  So to kick it off while it's still fresh, let this top 25 list act as your own personal map for the upcoming weekend, and hopefully this time next week we'll all be exhausted from another blockbuster two days.

25. Can The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Be Labeled As Pretenders?

1 of 25

    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Tampa Bay kicked off their 2010 campaign in style. 

    With wins over teams such as Cleveland, Carolina and Cincinnati, the Buccaneers notably looked refreshed and replenished from their disappointing 2009 season. Last year saw Tampa Bay only record three total wins in their efforts.

    Entering the game against the New Orleans Saints this past Sunday a lot more was on the line than just bragging rights.  With the NFC South still being tightly contested, Tampa Bay had to make the most of their home-field advantage, and knock off the Saints to remain in stride with the Atlanta Falcons.

    Unfortunately for Tampa Bay though, this scenario wasn't to be.  Although the very same team Tampa Bay was looking to keep pace with fell embarrassingly to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Buccaneers efforts against New Orleans weren't all that desirable either.

    At the end of the day, Tampa Bay recorded a 31-6 loss, an outing that would best be forgotten.  But to keep the unfortunate trend going, can we now consider Tampa Bay as pretenders in the NFL?

    I hate to say it, but it really does seem that way.

    To highlight the issues with this opinion, Tampa Bay really hasn't beaten any quality teams this season.  Although a win over Cincinnati was huge, Cleveland and Carolina aren't exactly the pick of the crop in 2010.

    Therefore, until the Bucs beat someone that we can all stand up and applaud, the title "NFC pretenders" will most likely linger with this franchise. 

    With a 3-2 record and a ton of talent, the Bucs deserve some credit, but not enough to label them as a standout team just yet.

24. Will Max Hall Add To His Win Streak with a Victory Over Seattle?

2 of 25

    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Some may say that Max Hall doesn't deserve to have the words "win streak" associated with him just yet. But there's no denying the rookie quarterback's efforts in Week 5. when Arizona beat New Orleans in front of a sold-out home-field crowd.

    What struck most people as odd during the game was Max Hall's astounding composure for a player that failed to be drafted back in April. 

    Max Hall, who threw for 168 yards and one interception against the Saints, failed to post any points on the board. But he did manage to deliver accurate passes all game long in Arizona's 30-20 rout of New Orleans.

    Entering Week 7, Max Hall and the Cardinals are fresh off a bye week.  Although Arizona was one of the few teams that really needed a rest, the Cardinals now step off the plane and into Qwest Field on Sunday. There they will take on the Seattle Seahawks, a team fresh off a big-time win over the Chicago Bears.

    To preview the game a little, this matchup will prove to be costly for the loser.  Both teams sit at 3-2 in the NFC West. Both sides have looked a little inconsistent in past weeks, as it appears that on one occasion they are great, while the next they struggle immensely.

    Honestly, it is very tough to predict how this game will turn out.  However, if there is one thing to rely on, rookie quarterbacks feed off team confidence, and as we all know, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is booming with just that right now.

    A vital game lays on the line for both teams, so we'll soon find out if Max Hall can add to his win collection on Sunday.  Hall has yet to throw a touchdown pass, but it is likely that the young starter will expose the 21st-ranked pass defense on more than once occasion.

23. How Much Confidence Is Left in the New Orleans Saints' Tank?

3 of 25

    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    At 3-2 on the year isn't exactly where the New Orleans Saints saw themselves at this point in time three months ago. But here we are seven weeks into the year, and the Saints have at times struggled to maintain balance and consistency in all areas of the game.

    This past weekend, it wasn't unlike Sean Payton to have his team riled up ahead of the Saints clash against Tampa Bay.  As the scoreline clearly indicates, New Orleans hammered the Buccaneers in every way possible, and now sit tied for first with the Atlanta Falcons atop the NFC South.

    But as great a win as Sunday was for New Orleans, something seems a little off about the Saints right now, considering that this is the team who won the Super Bowl earlier in February.

    Statistically speaking, the Saints aren't looking all that bad.  Drew Brees is still solid and the team ranks eighth in offensive yards in the league, a stat that is reflective of the Saints' talent.

    So what has upset the Saints recently, that sees them a little off track midway through the year?

    The most realistic answer here is change.  The Saints are perhaps now feeling like the Atlanta Falcons were a year ago, as New Orleans hasn't had the cakewalk to the top of the division like they were accustomed to in 2009.

    Better yet, the Saints have also seen a new addition to the run game.  With Reggie Bush still out injured, rookie running back Chris Ivory has looked stellar in the past week, rushing for 158 yards against Tampa Bay.

    As for confidence, the Saints do have enough to go around.  Sean Payton has ironed out the kinks that were still outstanding following New Orleans' loss to Arizona two weeks ago, and the reigning world champions are on the straight and narrow to capture the top seed down South.

    Yes, the change has been quite a shock for New Orleans, but they've handled it well.  Now the Saints need to ride the wave as much as they can, and outdo the Atlanta Falcons as soon as possible.

22. What Does Vince Young’s Left Knee Injury Mean for the Titans?

4 of 25

    J. Meric/Getty Images

    It's always tough for a team to see their quarterback go down injured. But on Monday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Tennessee Titans saw their season flash before their eyes, when Vince Young struggled to make his feet.

    After being rocked by a heavy pass rush, Vince Young hit the turf hard, and struggled to get up.  Sooner or later No. 10 arose, only to show severe pain in his left knee, an obvious concern for any Titans fan.

    To put it quite simply, this type of injury isn't what the Titans were hoping for.  After contributing to the three-way tie in the AFC South on Monday night, the Titans win was dampened immensely by this upsetting injury, especially considering how dynamic Young has been as of late.

    Right now Vince Young's status is still unclear.  A good sign was seen when Vince Young at least walked off the field on Monday night. But as we all know with these type of strains, it can take weeks to heal.

    No doubt we will hear more about this as the days pass. But for now, Tennessee is obviously concerned for their starting quarterback, who already has 745 yards and seven touchdowns on the season. 

    It could be said with no Young, the Titans will struggle.  We won't jump to conclusions just yet, but let's hope it all turns out for the better.

21. Are the Pittsburgh Steelers the Best Team in Football?

5 of 25

    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    The New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots have good reason to debate this argument, but following the Pittsburgh Steelers' highly commendable start to the year, already speculation has surrounded the Steel City.

    Similar to recent years as of late, the Steelers are now being considered as the best team in football.  With or without Ben Roethlisberger, it seems that the Steelers really know how to win this season, and have pushed any thoughts of the teams disappointing 2009 year to the back of their mind.

    On the topic of Ben Roethlisberger though, No. 7 returned in Week 6, and capped off a typical win over the Cleveland Browns in his usual ways.

    With 257 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in the Steelers 28-10 victory at Heinz Field, Ben Roethlisberger more importantly sent Pittsburgh to 4-1 on the season, along with placing the Steelers at the top of the AFC North.

    So when it's all said and done, are the Steelers the best team in football?

    Considering how well rounded this team has looked, the answer here is yes.  The Steelers aren't exactly flowing statistically. But the team has stepped up in every way possible, and are now looking extremely dangerous with their starting quarterback returning to action.

    In Week 7 the Steelers take on the Miami Dolphins, a game that is always fun to watch.  Win or lose, the Steelers are still a force not to be reckoned with, and even though the Jets, Ravens and Patriots could claim this title, the Steelers rightfully own it midway into the season.

    We've seen it before from Pittsburgh, and everybody who is anybody realizes that when the Steelers get a full head of steam, they are tough to stop.  A long time remains in the season, but  for now though, this is the best team in the NFL.

20. Will Ryan Fitzpatrick Test the Ravens, Like He Did The Patriots?

6 of 25

    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Now off a well-needed bye week, the 0-5 Buffalo Bills head to Baltimore, to take on Joe Flacco and the determined Ravens.

    Looking at the Bills on paper, not much stands out.  Talent is few and far between, and although running back CJ Spiller has shown signs of life recently, he is perhaps one of the only players worthy of mentioning in terms of skill.

    Yet with this in mind, the Bills do have many players who are up-and-coming, one of whom is new starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

    In Week 3 against the New England Patriots, Ryan Fitzpatrick tested Bill Belichick's tough and persistent defense, managing to rally his team to a close 38-30 loss.

    Fitzpatrick also passed for 247 yards and two touchdowns, impressive stats for a player that has been thrown in the deep end in Buffalo.

    This weekend upcoming, another tough test awaits the Bills as a franchise.  In recent times Buffalo has struggled against most AFC opponents, and Baltimore has been no real exception.

    While I'm no fortune teller, this game may be closer than some fans expect.  Buffalo would be hard fought for a win, but that isn't to say that the Bills can't give the Ravens a dose of reality, and head to M&T Bank Stadium to test John Harbaugh's crew.

    Of course, much of this will come from Ryan Fitzpatrick's fingertips, however, as No. 14 proved against New England, he does have talent within him.  Don't be surprised to see Fitzpatrick rally the Bills in this game, and maybe have a decent day if all things go according to plan.

19. Have the New England Patriots Now Found Their Winning Gene?

7 of 25

    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    It was far from a major upset in Week 6, but when the New England Patriots defeated the Baltimore Ravens in Foxboro, most people realized that Bill Belichick's team still had the right mojo to compete with the league's best.

    To start the 2010 season, New England was a major question.  No run game was existent, and although Tom Brady is always an added bonus, tough times lay on defense for the Patriots, after their shocking exit in the 2009 AFC Wild Card game.

    Seven weeks into the year though, the Patriots have already succeeded.  After beating Cincinnati in Week 1, and Miami several weeks later, the Patriots have definitely found that winning gene, that has obviously granted them so many Super Bowl victories in the past 10 years.

    The most telltale stat for New England, is the fact that they sit first in points scored.  Many people originally stated that with the loss of Randy Moss, New England would struggle, but somehow the Patriots offense has withheld so far.

    Big tests lay in front of the Patriots, but boy, confidence is high in New England.  You don't just beat Baltimore and not make the playoffs. Therefore, the Patriots are once again one of the teams to beat in the AFC.

    Key games ahead include at San Diego and against Minnesota.  Can the Patriots continue their winning trend?  It looks like it, and after Deion Branch's highlight reel performance in Week 6, it may be easier said than done.

18. Can the Second-Ranked New York Giants Defense Overcome the Cowboys in Texas?

8 of 25

    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    The New York Giants fell from the top spot in the NFL's defensive rankings this past week, even though Big Blue managed to sack Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler nine times three weeks ago.

    In Week 6 against Detroit, the Giants suffered quite a scare.  Although New York was leading heavily for most of the game, in usual Detroit fashion, the Lions came back strong and drew the game back to 28-20.

    Luckily for New York fans, this is as far as Detroit got.  However, what was yet again impressive from the Giants standpoint was New York's defense. That unit limited Lions quarterback Shaun Hill to only 91 yards on the day.

    Heading into Week 7, Tom Coughlin and his team take on NFC East rivals the Dallas Cowboys.  Not only is this game set to be an instant classic, major bragging rights remain on the line as New York looks to send the Cowboys to 1-5 and continue along their own impressive path.

    Unfortunately for the Giants, standing in their way this weekend will be Mark Colombo and Leonard Davis on the Cowboys offensive line.  These two players are tough to overcome, but if Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck can take care of them, the sacks will most likely flow.

    Last but not least, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has been sack-prone as of late.  On the weekend against Minnesota, Romo stood up nicely, but a week prior against Tennessee, Romo hit the turf six times.

    Cowboys Stadium is no easy place for a visiting team, and trust me, the Giants know that.  But New York has that edge about them right now, and when the freight train begins to roll, it becomes nearly unstoppable.

17. Has Arian Foster Set The Bar High Enough To Withstand Chris Johnson?

9 of 25

    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Let's face it. Houston Texans running back Arian Foster has been brilliant this season.  Already with 635 yards and six touchdowns on the year, Arian Foster is fast becoming a candidate for the Offensive Player of the Year Award if he keeps this streak up.

    Like every big-time award in the NFL though, some competition stands in Arian Foster's way, and to be quite frank, Foster himself knew sooner or later that this day would come.

    Yes, finally, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson broke away for a very long touchdown on Monday Night against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and now sits second behind Arian Foster in total yards on the season.

    From Foster's standpoint, Chris Johnson is the last guy you want directly behind you.  As much time as there is left in the season, Johnson isn't only fast on Madden 11'. He also has a pair of racing boots in real life that will accumulate yards in just about every game.

    In terms of how Chris Johnson feels about all of this though, it is far from concerning.  No. 28 is a notably relaxed guy, and although he would love to take home the honors, Chris Johnson will realize that it isn't the most important thing right now.

    For the fans, look at this as a game of limbo.  Instead of the bar being raised lower and lower, these two will continue to set it higher and higher, until one fails to reach the mark.

    Arian Foster may have the upper hand now, but Johnson is hot on his tails and preparing to drive right past him.

16. Will Laron Landry Light Up Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears?

10 of 25

    Larry French/Getty Images

    To keep the statistical trend going, we now take a look at the NFL's leading tackle specialist, Laron Landry, who has already placed 63 players on the ground this season.

    By saying that Laron Landry has been one of the Redskins most impressive players would be an understatement. 

    As great as Donovan McNabb and Chris Cooley have been, Laron Landry has been one of the more underrated reasons for the Redskins winning ways, and has managed to help the Redskins out many times this season when the chips are down.

    On Sunday in Chicago, Laron Landry will step into one of the most famous defensive stadiums, and take on the Bears in a crucial NFC conference game.

    Speaking of when the chips are down, the Redskins now return from a loss to the Indianapolis Colts at home on Sunday night, and look to beat another team who also lost in disappointing fashion to the Seattle Seahawks—the Chicago Bears.

    For either side, defense will of course be the key.  Yet at the same time, Laron Landry is an obvious playmaker to keep an eye on, if Julius Peppers doesn't wreak havoc on the opposite end.

    A record of 63 tackles on the year is very impressive, and Laron Landry is now working his way toward a possible Pro Bowl appearance.  If he can light Jay Cutler up like many teams easily have in the past weeks, Landry will contribute to a big-time win that Washington needs.

15. Can Kyle Orton’s Explosiveness Finally Lead Denver To a Win Over Oakland?

11 of 25

    Larry French/Getty Images

    Behind Philip Rivers, Kyle Orton sits as the second-best passer in the NFL, to many people's surprise this season.

    To think that, last year, Orton was one of the most criticized quarterbacks in the league now seems like a distant memory.  However, unfortunately for Orton and his team, the Denver Broncos have fallen to a disappointing 2-4 and sit at the bottom of the AFC West.

    In terms of how impressive Orton has been, much credit is due to his new go to target Brandon Lloyd.  But as for Orton himself, No. 8 has thrown for 1,942 yards this season, and continues to light up defenses, despite his team's poor ways.

    Week 7 brings forward yet another challenge for Denver, as the Broncos take on the Oakland Raiders.  Sure, Oakland may not be the toughest of opponents, but with a close loss in hand against San Francisco last week, the Raiders are hungry for a big-time win.

    Better yet, this is also a great rivalry game to watch.  It may not be as intense as the Vikings vs. the Packers, but both fanbases sure get behind it.

    If the past proves noteworthy, Kyle Orton is in for another big game, and hopefully for Mile High supporters, a much-needed win.

14. Which Team Will Emerge Atop the AFC South in Week 7?

12 of 25

    Scott Boehm/Getty Images

    It was spoken about heavily last week and, once again, we have a three-way tie in the AFC South, even though the Jacksonville Jaguars dropped out of the hunt this past Monday night.

    For all purposes, each of these three teams has the potential to capture the division.  While we are on the topic though, it is important to realize that, like the New England Patriots, the Indianapolis Colts once again look good following a big-time win in Washington on Sunday.

    On the unlucky side of things, the Houston Texans have endured a few hiccups recently.  After falling to New York in Week 5, the Kansas City Chiefs hung tight with Gary Kubiak and his team, and Matt Cassel's brilliance alone was nearly enough to seal the deal.

    To focus on the positive, as already mentioned, the Indianapolis Colts look great.  However, the Tennessee Titans are also worthy of a mention, considering that Vince Young and his high-powered offense easily outplayed the Jaguars down south in Jacksonville.

    After Week 7, we may see no change to this story.  The Colts and Texans have the week off, and the Tennessee Titans take on the Philadelphia Eagles in a tough home fixture. 

    As for Jacksonville, they too are still in the hunt, taking on Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium.

    Prior to Monday night, this was the only division league wide to have all teams above .500, and that says a lot.  A three-way tie is a storyline to keep an eye on, and one that should be extremely interesting come playoff time.

13. Will The Cowboys Begin To Dig Out Of Their 1-4 Hole?

13 of 25

    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    If you'd told any NFL fan that the Dallas Cowboys would be 1-4 seven weeks into the season, chances are they would have laughed at you—hard.

    Ah, the Cowboys, where to start?

    On the weekend against Minnesota, the Cowboys looked to have the goods to topple the Vikings, but somehow fell short in the long run, losing 24-21. 

    What was more disappointing though was the hole the Cowboys continued to dig for themselves, even though Minnesota was a hostile environment to notch a win in this past Sunday.

    Moving on forward, Dallas takes on the New York Giants on Monday Night Football.  Most of us know how great these NFC East rivalry games are, and with the Giants defense lighting it up still, it is fair to say that the Cowboys could fall to 1-5 if they aren't careful.

    If that record is attained, it will be just about bye-bye for the boys in blue.  It's a tough sight to witness, but it's a must-watch game in Week 7.

12. Is Colt McCoy The Right Man For The Job in Cleveland?

14 of 25

    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    The photo just about says it all.  The appreciation for Colt McCoy in Cleveland on Sunday was immense, and it now appears that Browns fans have found their quarterback, even if it turns out to be only temporary.

    From Colt McCoy's Texas Longhorn days up until now, he has always been known for his passing abilities.  For the most part, even though the Browns did lose to the Steelers at Heinz Field, Colt McCoy had a great outing for Cleveland.

    With 281 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, Colt McCoy did make a few mistakes. But none were significant enough to rob him of his credit.

    More importantly, the Browns have now found their man.  Jake Delhomme has turned out to be a bust, and with Seneca Wallace still injured, Mack Brown's former star is the new go-to guy in the Dawg Pound right now.

    Cleveland takes on the Saints in New Orleans this weekend, a game that isn't looking favorable for the Browns.  Still, Colt McCoy can make wonders happen, and after all, rookie Max Hall beat the Saints, right?

11. Can Kevin Kolb Continue To Wow Fans Against Tennessee?

15 of 25

    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Andy Reid originally had a problem on his hands in Philadelphia. Now he has a dilemma that most coaches could only dream of.

    Since Michael Vick's injury at the hands of the Washington Redskins, first-year starting quarterback Kevin Kolb has been a standout on the Eagles offense. 

    Against San Francisco, Kolb was amazing, and this past weekend against the red-hot Atlanta Falcons, Kolb managed to silence Atlanta in every way possible by simply piling on points at any given opportunity.

    Now the situation is simple.  Michael Vick still isn't back, and therefore Kevin Kolb can continue to dazzle us all with his passing display.

    And can Kevin Kolb do just that?

    Looking at the past two weeks, it really does seem that way.  In Week 6, Kevin Kolb passed for 326 yards and three touchdowns, and was stellar in just about every attempt he threw.

    The Eagles travel to Tennessee now to take on the Tennessee Titans, a team that is also boiling over with confidence.  On one hand, if Vince Young is out, all the better, but if Young is in, Kevin Kolb gets more of a test.

    Either way you look at it, Kevin Kolb has produced the goods lately, and he is a player to keep a solid eye on when watching this match up.

10. Which Bye Team Benefits The Most From a Week’s Rest?

16 of 25

    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Once again four teams are lucky enough to take the week off, and after Chad Ochocinco's vow to increase his trash talk, hopefully this week's resting teams won't be so controversial.

    In Week 7, the Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets will take the week off. 

    Not only does this mean a solid chunk of talent will be missing from the AFC's best and brightest, it also means that Week 7 may be a little unexciting, especially with no Peyton Manning or Mark Sanchez to look forward to.

    So who benefits the most from some time off?

    It's a tough call, and the most probable answer would be the Detroit Lions.  However, at second glance, the Houston Texans benefit the most, considering that they have stumbled recently in several key games.

    For you see, the Colts now have confidence swinging their way, and have tied it all up with Houston atop the AFC South.  Although the Texans did overcome the Kansas City Chiefs, some issues have popped up for Gary Kubiak that need to be sorted during a bye week.

    We saw in Week 1 when the Texans start out fresh, that they can really be dominant.  Once again, the Texans will take on the Colts in Week 8, and travel to Lucas Oil Stadium to pull off a potential win.

    Talent-wise the Texans look great, and their record is still favorable.  But a week off will look after this team a little, and provide them with some time to sort out their issues, and focus on what's important.

9. How Does Ed Reed’s Potential Start Impact the Baltimore Ravens?

17 of 25

    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    For those who haven't heard, star Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed has a chance to start this weekend against the Buffalo Bills, as it is expected that Reed will practice for the first time since hip surgery that placed him on the PUP list.

    In terms of timing, this news couldn't have come at a better time for the Ravens.  Baltimore suffered a tough loss at the hands of the New England Patriots on the weekend, and now look to annihilate the Buffalo Bills to make up for any inconsistencies.

    For Ed Reed though, it is important that he doesn't rush his return.  The Ravens may love to have him back, but realistically the team has been fine without him, and could survive another week without him.

    Ed Reed now enters his ninth season in the NFL and is always a star on the field.  It's been tough to see the Ravens without him. But if the six-time Pro Bowler does return, some serious versatility will be added to this already booming defense.

8. Will the Oakland Raiders Start Kyle Boller?

18 of 25

    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    We haven't seen much of Kyle Boller in 2010, and even though he is a player of much experience, his starting opportunity in Oakland is reasonably questionable right about now.

    Unfortunately for the Oakland Raiders, they don't have much of a choice though.  Jason Campbell looked immensely flat last weekend against San Francisco, and Bruce Gradkowski still seems to be a no-go when it comes to coaching decisions.

    So now the Raiders have reached the bottom of the barrel.  With Donovan McNabb working out in Washington, Jason Campbell has failed in Oakland, and looks to be a certain backup in the future if he can't redeem himself soon.

    The Raiders ultimate decision on Kyle Boller isn't finalized just yet, but we should know soon enough.  Oakland hasn't looked all bad on the season, and somehow sit in the second spot in the AFC West, despite a 2-4 record.

    Kyle Boller may be the answer or he may not.  Like everything the Raiders do, we'll find out in due time, or perhaps this week.

7. Young Vs. Old: Aaron Rodgers or Brett Favre?

19 of 25

    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    It's that time of year again football fans. It is the once-a-year occasion that Brett Favre returns to his original home of Lambeau Field, to take on his former team, the Green Bay Packers.

    In 2009 Brett Favre showed the Packers who was boss.  Green Bay did keep the game respectable, but the end result was a loss for Green Bay, and yet another confidence booster for Brett Favre and his team that would later go on to win the NFC North.

    But this time around, the tides have changed.

    Neither team is on top in the North, and Brett Favre is having his worst-ever season under center.

    On the opposite side of the ball, Aaron Rodgers is also struggling a little, and as precise and strong as No. 12 has looked, Rodgers now sees his team sitting at 3-3 following a tough loss to Miami on Sunday afternoon.

    So who will win this classic showdown of young vs. old?

    Something tells me, that the Packers are good for it this time around.  Green Bay has been far from stellar, but the Packers are set to regain Al Harris and Atari Bigby from the PUP list this week, a major asset to have when taking on Randy Moss and Percy Harvin.

    Most people this season have predicted the Packers to win at home, and the Vikings to win at home.  That remains to be seen just yet, but Aaron Rodgers' determination and sheer will to win will add up to a winning equation, if the rest of the team plays to the best of their ability.

6. Will the Real Jay Cutler Stand Up Against The Washington Redskins?

20 of 25

    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Six sacks against Seattle and already Jay Cutler is showing his true colors in the NFL.

    To begin the season, Jay Cutler looked reasonably solid for the Bears.  His passing was accurate, and better yet he was putting together winning drives that boosted the Bears to 4-0 with big-time wins over the Cowboys and Packers.

    But following the Bears loss to the New York Giants, things seem to be spiraling rapidly, and Jay Cutler now finds himself in a hole the size of the Grand Canyon seven weeks into the season.

    For a quarterback of Cutler's ability, this sack issue is a real shame.  Chicago wasn't known for offensive line woes up until now, and even though Cutler could be blamed for some of his turf hits, the o-line has contributed a bundle to this problem.

    Therefore, it now appears that with each week, a new problem arises.  Which Jay Cutler will show up?  And will he be able to withstand pressure?

    No one knows for sure.

    What is well known though is that the Redskins are a new and improved team. With Laron Landry leading the league in tackles, Jay Cutler had better have a Plan B if he wants to avoid sacks on home turf, and more importantly gain a win while a key divisional game is being played in Green Bay.

5. Are the San Francisco 49ers Set to Capture Their Second Win Over Carolina?

21 of 25

    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    It took a while, but finally the 49ers winless drought was broken on Sunday when San Francisco knocked off the Oakland Raiders in a close-but-steady 17-9 victory.

    To say that this one win has relieved all of the pressures on the 49ers, would be ridiculous.  At Candlestick Park this past weekend, Alex Smith yet again heard boos from the hometown faithful, and was rattled at the quarterback position with a number of inaccurate passes.

    Still, a win is a win. We will now find out if San Francisco can keep the ball rolling when they travel to Carolina to take on the winless Panthers, a game that may be as mistake-riddled as last weekend's affair.

    For the time being it appears that Alex Smith will start the game, but who knows how that will turn out.  Keep in mind David Carr is ready though, and at least the 49ers offense managed to muster up some points against Oakland and provide a small ounce of promise for the future.

    The 49ers now enter an easy patch in their schedule, which allows them to notch a few wins and build up some confidence.  The road is still long and torturous, but it is doable if they post wins and stable play.

4. Will Atari Bigby and Al Harris Restore Green Bay’s Struggling 3-4 Defense?

22 of 25

    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Just like the Baltimore Ravens, the Green Bay Packers now see two big-time players potentially return from the PUP list, as head coach Mike McCarthy states that Al Harris and Atari Bigby are fit and ready for action.

    Again, just like Baltimore, these two additions couldn't have come at a better time.  Against Miami on the weekend the Packer linebacker corps notably struggled on the run game, and was unable to withhold Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.

    So how will this help the Packers out?

    If Green Bay is to gain Bigby and Harris back, they will secure wide receivers a lot easier.  Although Charles Woodson is a standout cornerback, the Defensive Player of the Year last season has struggled lately to keep an eye on big-time wide receivers like Brandon Marshall, and has also been known to give away some pointless penalties.

    But at the end of the day, it is also the leadership that these two bring back to the team. 

    It feels like an eternity since we've seen Al Harris in action, and his rodeo-like tackles on receivers have been sorely missed.

    Mike McCarthy now has Packer fans' hopes up, and rightfully so.  These two acquisitions would be huge, and they will also come in at the right time, considering that Adrian Peterson and Randy Moss visit in Week 7.

3. Can Sam The Ram Lead St. Louis To a Win Over Tampa Bay?

23 of 25

    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Bradford threw for 198 yards and one touchdown last week against San Diego, and the Rams now sit at 3-3 on the season.

    Back in April when the Rams originally drafted Bradford, everybody just about knew that No. 8 would be a star in the making.

    What people didn't expect to see was a player who would develop in such a short space of time, and manage to turn the Rams around in more ways possible than most folks had imagined this time last year.

    To say the very least, Sam Bradford has been a fan favorite.  His skills have been on display constantly, and although he was criticized in Week 1 for his high attempt rate, Bradford's eagerness for the game is portrayed through his passes on the field.

    Like the New Orleans Saints, the Rams now travel down south to Raymond James Stadium to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Sam Bradford hasn't been exactly stellar in away games, but he has managed to keep his balance, and at least provide for his team.

    The thought of the Rams at 4-3 may be too much to bear for some teams, so I suggest you don't put all your eggs in one basket.  However, if you are optimistic, Sam the Ram is the man capable of fulfilling that dream.

2. Is Norv Turner To Blame For the San Deigo Chargers' Poor Record This Season?

24 of 25

    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Recently, San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner announced that he was to blame for his team's woes, and that he was to take the bullet for the Chargers' 2-4 record on the season.

    To split the argument down the middle, some folks may or may not agree with Turner's statement. 

    First and foremost, Norv Turner has done a lot for this team.  Consecutive playoff berths and talent as far as the eye can see, and although no trophy hangs in the cabinet, Turner has brought a lot of good to this franchise.

    But secondly, the Chargers play as of late doesn't demonstrate that of a struggling team.  Currently, San Diego ranks first in offense and first in defense, so why is it that the Chargers simply can't seem to win?

    Well this is where Norv Turner comes into play.

    Whether it is due to indecision or poor coaching, Norv Turner clearly isn't doing something right.  Turner himself has said that the Chargers recent ways are all on him, and that he "is held accountable."

    In the past, the Chargers have started poorly, but not quite to this extent.  Norv Turner says he is trying to turn it all around, but the hot seat is now beneath the head coach, and  it isn't being overly friendly right now.

    If the Chargers do manage to fall to the New England Patriots at home this weekend, expect some criticism and stick to follow. A 2-5 record on the season, for a team of this caliber, is far from exceptional.

1. How Will The Cincinnati Bengals Bounce Back From a Week 6 Bye?

25 of 25

    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Speaking of coaches on a hot seat, Marvin Lewis' team currently sits at 2-3 on the year, yet another record that isn't commendable for a team of the Bengals' caliber.

    Unlike the Chargers, the Bengals have had the benefit of an early bye week.  Some players on the Bengals roster chose to brush up on their trash talk, while others chose to focus on what is truly important: team chemistry.

    To be perfectly fair to Marvin Lewis, he can only do so much with the players at hand.  But considering that Carson Palmer has been so poor as of late, some emphasis and strain has been placed on the head coach's shoulders.

    The Bengals will now continue their 2010 campaign, and hopefully start winning.  At the beginning of the year, the Bengals were poised as a potential Super Bowl contender after acquiring Terrell Owens, only to fall in a heap midway through the year.

    Cincinnati travels to Atlanta in the first game of Week 7.  The Georgia Dome is as tough as a $2 steak at times, so don't expect any wonders to unfold.

    With this in mind, one week off can do wonders for a struggling team. Who knows? This time next week the orange and black may look better than ever if they can knock off the determined and talented Atlanta Falcons at home.