There are three contests this week that are must see games between teams who have super bowl potential.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens:
The Steelers start to their season was anything but ideal, but after three straight wins and losses by their divisional competitors Pittsburgh finds themselves controlling their own destiny in week nine.
The Steelers now rank first in their division at 4-2-1 and have the opportunity to pull away with a win in Baltimore this week.
The Ravens have already beaten Pittsburgh this season 26-14 in a game where the Steelers disappeared after half time. Joe Flacco threw all over the Pittsburgh secondary with 300 yards in the air and two scores, while Rothlisberger struggled in the second half by throwing under 200 yards and an interception.
The Steeler ground game also failed to amount to anything in the run game, and with LeVeon Bell still a no show at the Steelers facility the Baltimore defense won’t be scared of any run plays this Sunday.
Since that game however, backup James Connor has rushed for over 100 yards in each of the last three games for the Steelers and has found the end zone six times. Connors recent emergence out of the backfield relieves the pressure on Big Ben to carry the offense down field.
The Steelers also haven’t forgotten what Joe Flacco commented after winning their last matchup in Pittsburgh. In a post press conference Flacco told reporters, ” It’s not like today was the toughest Pittsburgh Steelers game I’ve ever played.”
In addition to a Steeler offense thats back on track, the Ravens will have to prepare for a Pittsburgh defense eager to make Flacco eat his words for essentially calling them soft. A top five defense for Baltimore may not be enough to support another poor offensive performance by Joe Flacco in this matchup.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 31 – Baltimore 24
Los Angelas Rams at New Orleans Saints:
The NFL’s last unbeaten may go down this week against a New Orleans team who has just as much firepower on both sides of the ball.
The L.A. Rams have achieved what few have done before, hold an undefeated record after the trade deadline. Now they will attempt to do what even fewer have accomplished, keep that record for the whole season.
The Rams have managed to stay undefeated for so long behind the impressive output from their offense and quarterback Jared Goff. The L.A. offense has only scored less than 30 points in two of their eight wins so far this season.
But heres the catch, the Saints have not only scored less than 30 points in only two games but they have also scored more than 40 points in three of their games, something the Rams have yet to accomplish.
There is no edge to either team when measuring offenses, challenging each defense to step up and make stops when they can in order to give their team the edge.
The Saints and Rams ranks 13th and 15th in the league in total defense, with L.A. giving up slightly less points than New Orleans.
These teams are incredibly evenly matched, and erasing a mistake against Tampa Bay in week one would’ve made this game a battle of the unbeatens. If you are looking for a shootout to watch during the second set of games on Sunday, tune into this one early to watch all the scores.
Prediction: New Orleans 41 – L.A. 38
Green Bay Packers at New England Patriots: Sunday Night Football
A classic matchup between Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers is always a must see game, but on Sunday night it will be more than just the quarterbacks who will decide the fate of their teams.
The Patriots are back to being the Patriots. They control the ball offensively, bend but don’t break on the defensive end, and take care of the ball on special teams. Julian Edelman is back, Gronk is healthy, and Josh Gordon has earned the trust of his coach and quarterback, making this team arguably as dangerous as the Randy Moss era Patriots.
The Green Bay Packers haven’t quite gotten back to being the team they used to be, but they are close. The Packers have beaten the teams they are supposed to beat, but failed to challenge any of the teams who are equal or above them…until last week.
The Packers lost a hard fought game against the L.A. Rams last week, losing 29-27. The Rams came in heavy favorites before the Packer defense essentially punched the Rams in the mouth early on. However, Green Bay could not sustain their energy fro four quarters and subsequently lost.
Perhaps the problem for the Packers last week was the age difference in teams. The Packers are older than the Rams all around, led offensively by 30+ quarterback and defensively by a 30+ linebacker.
Now Green Bay matches up with the Patriots, who are arguably equally as dangerous as the Rams. But the Patriots have a 40+ year old quarterback and a defense led by Donte Hightower who is as close to 30 as you can get.
For Green Bay this is a must win, for New England every game is a must win to prove Tom Brady can still win a Super Bowl. This game might not be the highest scoring of the day, but a shootout is the expectation in New England.
Prediction: New England 34 – Green Bay 28
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