The 2014 NFL Schedule is moving along nicely at this point, & we are past the halfway point of the season. The Thursday Night Football package changes at this point, where the games are no longer on CBS & NFL Network, but all move to the NFL Network exclusively. Which means instead of NFL Football on Thursday nights, we get Two & a Half Men & 2 Broke Girls. Hmmm.
Ok, now that we have had our fill of beauiful women, let’s get back to football, & the games that we will be looking at for Week 9.
New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers – Thursday Night Football – 8:30, CBS
This game is interesting for distinct reasons. The Saints offense will be tested against a tough division foe & the two teams that will probably be in the fight to win the NFC South championship will be facing off on this Thursday Night game.
The two things that I care about seeing in this game are
1) How the New Orleans Saints offense takes on a Panthers defense that is solid across the board & one of the statistically best in the NFL in 2013 &
2) How good will Cam Newton be when his receivers are no better than the Three Stooges or guys from the XFL?
The XFL Million Dollar Championship Game
Ok, ok, back to the NFL now. For real this time.
St. Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers – 4:05, FOX
This has become one of the better budding rivalries in the NFL over the last few years because of the excellent defensive intensity & skill that both teams bring to the game as well as the fact that both games last year ended in either a tie or a close win for the 49ers, who went on to the NFC Championship against another team that has a gripe with both teams, the Seattle Seahawks.
The big matchup will be the young Rams defense against a 49ers offense that is absolutely loaded with the addition of former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson to a team that features Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree & Vernon Davis able to catch passes & go the distance on any play. With the throwing & running ability of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the Rams will have to be very disciplined against a 49ers team which is focused on getting back to the SuperBowl.
Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots – 4:25, CBS
It’s absolutely amazing how no matter what happens in the NFL schedule, Tom Brady & Peyton Manning end up facing each other at some point in the schedule each year, whether its playoffs or regular season.
This game should be no different, the last time the Patriots hosted the Broncos, the Broncos choked away a three touchdown lead in the second half for the Patriots to win. However, later in the season, the Broncos hosted the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, & the Broncos got the best of the fighting Bill Belichicks.
Both of these teams have some of the same type of talent, just playing in the opposite uniforms. Wes Welker & Aqib Talib are both with the Broncos after stints in New England. Manning should have the advantage in terms of overall talent across the board, especialy on offense, but the Patriots, in the cold, in primetime, could mean some magic.
The only I can hope is that the Patriots can come into this game as healthy as possible with many of the star players ready to go. In the last couple of meetings, the Pats always had a key player injured so we couldn’t see the Pats/Broncos with everyone at full strength. Now, new season, new challenges, let’s hope for another great classic. May not be the only time we see this matchup in 2014.