NFL Week Eight: Real Football in Europe and a Super Bowl Preview in Pittsburgh
I’m looking forward to another great week of NFL football, as long as I don’t accidentally switch the TV to the Cincinnati-Houston game...
It’s That Time of Year Again
The time of year when two NFL teams, this time two teams presumably in contention for playoff spots, have to fly to England to play an NFL football game in front of a bunch of soccer fans.
I understand the need to spread the NFL brand outside of the United States, I just don’t like the idea that spreading the brand could potentially impact playoff races.
It’s far worse for the Saints than it is for the Chargers. The Saints are losing a home game. The Chargers are losing sleep.
The Saints are in an unexpectedly competitive race for the NFC South. As I type this, they’ll currently sitting alone in last place. They can’t afford to lose a home game. The fact that the NFL has taken one away could end up being the deciding factor in the NFC South.
Of course, the fact that Tampa Bay and Carolina are both better teams right now could also go a long way towards deciding the NFC South.
The Saints need this game, but it’s not going to be easy.
Reggie Bush is hurt. They looked absolutely terrible last week. And the Chargers will be out for blood after suffering a letdown game against the Bills.
The Saints plan to ride Deuce McAllister this week, which is like planning to take the 10-year-old station wagon on a 200-mile drive. Sure, it might make it. But nobody’s going to be surprised when you’re seen pushing the thing towards the nearest gas station about half way to your destination.
Let’s just say I’m far less enthusiastic about the Saints’ chances than I was when I picked them to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
Game of the Week, Part One: Colts vs. Titans
It’s amazing how mediocre the Colts have been this season. They’re 3-3 right now, which in today’s NFL is actually pretty good. But they’re a Houston collapse and a super-human Peyton Manning performance against the Vikings away from a 1-5 record.
The Titans, on the other hand, have just beat up everyone and everything in their path this season. They’ve been far and away the best team in the AFC and are arguably the best team in the NFL. They’re the last remaining undefeated team, and they’re pretty confident that they’ll stay that way Monday night.
I’m not sure what’s going on with the Colts. They have injury issues, especially on offense. Their running game is non-existent. Their defense is terrible.
They’ve morphed, defensively anyway, back into the 2003 Colts team—the one you could push around and score on at will. Only the 2008 offense isn’t close to what the 2003 Colts’ offense was.
Peyton Manning needs to get his mojo back, and for that to happen, the rest of the team needs to start pulling its weight.
But it isn’t going to happen this week. Chris Johnson and LenDale White against the Colts’ defense? Thank you, and may I have another?
Game of the Week, Part Two: Buccaneers at Cowboys
Do the Cowboys rally around their head coach? Do the Cowboys completely self-destruct?
Part of the reason this game is so intriguing is because of what’s going on off the field in Dallas. The Cowboys are a mess. Their head coach is a bumbling fool who has completely lost control of his team. Their owner is an ego-maniacal maniac who doesn’t believe any of this is his own fault. Their quarterback has a hurt finger and a really, really dumb girlfriend. Their star cornerback/kick returner is in an alcohol treatment facility somewhere.
They may not be a great football team, but they’d make a heck of a soap opera.
The Bucs, on the other hand, just quietly keep winning.
You have to wonder if watching his former quarterback, the one he inferred was gay, lead an inferior team to victory over his vaunted Cowboys will finally be the thing that throws T.O. completely over the edge.
Game of the Week, Part 3: Giants at Steelers
I’m looking forward to this one. Not because I’m wondering how they’ll react to adversity, or whether either team has given up on its coach, or because I’m curious whether the quarterback’s girlfriend will remember not to look straight up if it starts raining.
I’m looking forward to this game because these are two pretty damn good football teams that match up extremely well against each other.
They both love to pound the ball, but the Giants are probably a little better at it. They both love getting big plays out of the passing game, but the Steelers are probably better at it. They both love to get after to quarterback, but the Giants are probably a little better at it. They both pride themselves in stopping the run, but the Steelers are probably a little better at it.
You get the point.
To me, when you have two evenly-matched teams like the Steelers and the Giants, it typically comes down to the quarterback. I’ll take Big Ben over Little Brother Eli any day of the week, and twice this Sunday.
And probably again in the Super Bowl…
Sean Crowe is a Senior Writer and an NFL Community Leader at Bleacher Report. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His archive can be found here. You can find everything he writes, including articles for other publications, here.
Crowe is also the New England Patriots Examiner at Examiner.com. Check it out for all the latest on the New England Patriots.
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