Last week’s selections for Top 3 Match-Ups were all worthy of making the cut, each game being well contested and close until the final ticks. Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 33-yard field goal in overtime to give the Raiders a key victory against the division rival Kansas City Chiefs. Michael Vick outdueled Peyton Manning as the Eagles held off the Colts by a score of 26-24. Lastly, the Atlanta Falcons seized control of the NFL South by holding off a late rally by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Highlighting this week’s selections is a collision between two AFC powerhouses in Pittsburgh.
New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Five of the last nine Super Bowls have been won by either the New England Patriots or Pittsburgh Steelers. These two storied franchises will meet in Pittsburgh on Sunday night for what is sure to be an epic clash. Both teams, each sitting at 6-2, need a win to keep pace with division leaders New York and Baltimore. This game may also have some playoff seeding implications later in the season.
The defense of the Patriots and offense of the Steelers have both been inconsistent throughout the season. This game may very well come down to which team can shore up their weakness the best. Tom Brady is an impressive 5-1 against the Steelers in his career, including playoff match-ups. Can Troy Polamalu and the Steelers defense reverse that trend?
Baltimore Ravens vs. Atlanta Falcons
Tonight, we get a possible Super Bowl XLV preview when the Baltimore Ravens travel to Atlanta where the Falcons are waiting. Both teams come into the game with identical records, and are led by quarterbacks who have put up virtually identical numbers. Matt Ryan has only lost once at home in his career, and the Ravens are only a modest 2-2 on the road this season. The Falcons will feature their top 5 electric offense against the vaunted Ravens defense. However, the Ravens’ new and improved offense can put points on the board too, and will look to exploit the inconsistent Falcons defense. Remember this game kicks off tonight on the NFL Network.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins
Round 2 of McNabb vs. Philadelphia takes place on Monday Night Football. This time, we’re hoping Michael Vick sticks around long enough to make the game as special as we hoped the first one would be. Monday will mark the first game for Donovan McNabb since he was controversially benched by Coach Mike Shanahan for not having the cardiovascular endurance to lead a two-minute drill. Will McNabb be on the field to upstage his former team…or his coach?
On top of the endless amount of storylines that surround this game, both teams need a win. The Eagles have played well, but a loss would drop them into a tie for second place in the NFC East with the Skins. The Redskins, who are actually undefeated against the NFC East, need a win to change the recent atmosphere around the organization and avoid falling below .500.
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