This week in the 2014 NFL schedule is kinda boring this week, as there are only two games that we will actually be looking at this week. Now, even though this late in the season & some teams could pop up later on as great, as of right now, there are two games this week were the teams look like they could be in a real playoff fight.
San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints – 1:00 p.m., FOX
This will be a great match up of great offense in the New Orleans Saints against an elite defense in the 49ers. The question here will be can the 49ers, with their dominant defensive skills, possibly without all-pro linebacker Navarro Bowman depending on whether he is able to come back by that point from his ACL injury, can hold down the high strike offense of quarterback Drew Brees, receivers Marques Colston & Jimmy Graham & the rest of that dominant offensive unit.
The key to this matchup will be seeing the 49ers get pressure on Brees & somehow take advantage of Brees’ height in terms of getting hands up to bat down Brees passes while getting pressure on him from the front seven. Without having Darren Sproles in the backfield, Brees will have needed to have found a dependable running back by this point, & for his sake, it needs to be Mark Ingram. Ingram is a big body who can pick up blitzes well for Brees, giving him extra time against the pass rush.
As per usual, Brees will typically throw for about 350 yards on about 35 attempts, but if the pressure is constantly in his face & not leading to touchdowns instead of field goals, those yards will be empty.
For the 49ers on offense, this offensive unit will be able to take advantage of an improved Saints defense under Rob Ryan, but not strong enough to keep up with Colin Kaepernick as well as Anquan Boldin, Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis & Stevie Johnson. The Saints secondary will be under pressure all day to make plays, but if they are able to do so, they will be able to stay in the game for a long period of time & keep it relatively close.
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers – Sunday Night Football – 8:30, NBC
The last time the Bears met the Packers at Lambeau Field, quarterback Aaron Rodgers was injured that night & wasn’t the same the rest of the season.
Hopefully, this time around, both quarterbacks – Rodgers & Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler will be healthy & ready to take care of business on Sunday Night Football. This will be interesting especially with Julius Peppers taking on his old team.
The Bears & the Packers have the oldest rivalry in the NFL & this game, at this point in the season, will undoubtedly have NFC North division championship ramifications on the line. Both teams have strong offenses, average defenses & a healthy hatred for each other. This should be a game that can get into the 40s or higher in terms of each team scoring points.