At the Week 14 point of the 2014 NFL Schedule, the NFL season is gearing quickly towards the playoffs, & the NFL doesn’t disappoint with a strong schedule with a few games that have the potential to be flexed if the schedule & setup goes the way that everyone will think the teams will go. Here are the big games we are looking at in Week 14.
Dallas Cowboys @ Chicago Bears – 8:25 – Thursday Night Football – NFL Network
Two teams who are looking to get past the stigma of being mediocre. The Dallas Cowboys & the Chicago Bears have been teams that the fans of the NFL & of those two teams have expected much more from, & in many ways are very similar in terms of criticism.
Both teams have quarterbacks that have been scrutinized repeatedly in Jay Cutler from the Chicago Bears & Tony Romo from the Dallas Cowboys. Both teams have been expected to go to the NFL Playoffs & go deep into the playoffs in recent years.
This game is watchable not because of the personnel on the field, but because this is most likely going to be a game that will eliminate someone from the NFL playoff hunt because of the tough divisions both play in & their ability to have up & down weeks in the league.
Indianapolis Colts @ Cleveland Browns – 1:00, CBS
While the Browns & Colts could easily be a playoff matchup – yes America, the Cleveland Browns could very well be a playoff team – this will be a fun game because we will get to see Johnny Manziel going up against Andrew Luck in a game that will see the future of the NFL at the quarterback position take center stage.
Andrew Luck has already had strong playoff success, including the amazing NFL playoff comeback against the Kansas City Chiefs. Luck has had to make his niche right after Peyton Manning left the Indianapolis Colts for the Denver Broncos, & he has been succesful with it, quickly becoming one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
Johnny Manziel, by this point, will hopefully have proven himself as a quarterback who can stand the test of time & stand the test of the NFL & carrying the Cleveland Browns franchise on his back, similar to how Andrew Luck has had to do with the Indianapolis Colts. Manziel is going to be looked at as the future of the league, a bit of a hollywood player, but someone who will move tickets & merchandise. This game will be one of the most watched all season & if the Browns are even close to being in the position to make the playoffs, this could be a game we see at 4:25 or even on Sunday Night Football.
Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints – 1:00, FOX
The Carolina Panthers & New Orleans Saints have had a fun rivalry in the NFC South over the last few seasons, as its the only division in the NFL where each team has recently won the division. The Panthers will be leaning heavily on their defensive unit all season long, similar to how the 2006 Chicago Bears did, which led the Bears ultimately to the SuperBowl.
The Panthers have lost their top wide receiver in Steve Smith, the other receivers on the rosters are young & very inexperienced & this will be the first time when Cam Newton has to fully lead the team from an offensive standpoint. While the Saints defense is still growing under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, the team will be looking forward to honing their entire defensive attack on Newton.
The Saints offense is full of firepower as long as Drew Brees is at the helm. Brees is unquestionably the engine that makes the Saints move on a play to play basis. The New Orleans Saints will have to deal with a Panthers defense anchored by an emerging, yet dominant linebacker in Luke Kuechly. If the Saints can get through the Panthers defensive unit, the Saints should be in prime position to go through the Panthers & probably further solidify their position as a strong team in the NFC playoff picture & one of the leaders of the NFC South Division.