Will Doug Martin be able to run away against another AFC West team on Sunday? Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE
The Steelers take the national stage on Monday night against the KC Chiefs. So, that means this Sunday is an entire day of catching other games going on around the league. I’ve got three that are circled on my lineup sheet that I will be sure to watch or check in on with my Sunday Ticket.
Falcons vs Saints
Divisional games are always great to watch, especially when they’ve grown to be a bit of a rival. This will be the first of two games where the Falcons and Saints to head to head. Prior to Bountygate, this would have been very high on my matchup list. But, the Saints are struggling without Peyton in as head coach and the defense at times looks as if it couldn’t stop a high school team. However, you always have to respect the offense when Drew Brees is under center. He still has a vast array of offensive weapons, and the offense still scores almost 28 points per game (8th best in the league). Matt Ryan and the Falcons are only .3 points better in scoring average. Both defenses give up quite a bit of yardage during the game, but it is the Falcons D that becomes stingy on the scoreboard – which helps get you to 8-0. This should be a good game and will either be a barn burner til the end or will be a blow out by the Falcons. It all depends on what type of Saints defense show up that afternoon. Should be a good one to watch, and it will certainly begin to solidify the Falcons playoff and home field advantage push.
Chargers v Bucs
Two 4-4 teams as a key matchup? You’re crazy. Well you may be right, but I see this game as one that is key to both – one is desperation to keep pace with the playoff hunt in the NFC and one is desperation to keep his job. A lot of criticism has fallen on Chargers coach, Norv Turner, for numerous seasons. The criticism has now come to a head, and the coaching situation is about to burst into an ugly puss of firings from the Chargers higher ups. The Chargers are only a game back from the Broncos in the AFC West and currently have the best divisional record at 3-1, but until they can stack wins and refrain from being embarrassed from time to time, it’s shaky ground out in San Diego. The Bucs will look to continue feeding off the momentum of their rookie running back, Doug Martin. This kid is hella exciting to watch, and he has certainly entered the MVP discussion. Will he be able to keep the wheels a churnin’ when he faces the #4 rushing defense in the league? I’m excited to find out and hope to catch this game. Both these teams are still in the playoff hunt and have much to play for tomorrow – it could be the turning point for the better or worse.
Texans v Bears
Ahhh yes, this is the big matchup of the week for me. Both teams are 7-1, and have really dominated their respective sides of the ball. The Texans have superstar back Arian Foster. Foster is not having quite the fantasy year that most hoped he would, but he still has over 700 yards and 10 TD’s thus far this season. He is always a threat. The Bears have the NFL’s stingiest defenses and most explosive one at that. They are a turnover causing machine. Don’t be fooled – the Bears may rank 3rd in points scored, but that’s mainly from their defense either running back INT’s for 6 points or giving the offense such a short field. We all know that Cutler isn’t to thank for the success of the team, but he seems to be screwing up less, which is helpful. This should be a great game to watch as one of the league’s best defenses matchup against one of the league’s best offenses. Will the Bears be able to figure out Arian Foster the way the Packers were in the Texans’ only defeat? I think they might have a few things figured out, and this will be quite a game to watch on Sunday night.
Steeler Nation, what games are key for your TV this weekend?