words_Brandon Richard

Let’s be honest here. We all thought that Jets vs. Patriots games would be a knock-down-drag-out affair. Instead, it was New England who did all of the knocking down and dragging out, pummeling the Jets by a score of 45-3. However, the other two games selected last week lived up to expectations. In a typical Steelers/Ravens brawl, Pittsburgh rallied late to beat Baltimore 13-10. In Tampa Bay, it was once again the “Matty Ice” Show, as Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan led his sixth 4th quarter comeback of the season to give Atlanta a 28-24 victory over the Buccaneers. With each passing week, the NFL games become more important. Here are the three games you need to keep an eye on for Week 14.

Week 14 Top 3 NFL Match-Ups: Patriots vs. Bears

New England Patriots vs. Chicago Bears

If a team is looking to find out whether or not they’re “for real” or not, the best measuring stick in the league right now may be the New England Patriots. In recent weeks, the Patriots own wins over the ‘who’s who’ of the AFC. Now they’ll turn their attention to the NFC, where the North-leading Chicago Bears are waiting. Chicago’s defense has looked revamped in recent weeks, and quarterback Jay Cutler has been turnover free for the last two outings. The team’s most impressive win of the season came two weeks ago when they were able to slow down Michael Vick and the red-hot Eagles.

The Patriots come into this game playing their best football of the season. Quarterback and MVP front-runner Tom Brady has thrown 8 touchdown passes with no interceptions in his last two outings. The New England defense, which is supposed to be the team’s “weak link,” held the New York Jets to just 3 points on Monday night. New England is undefeated when Brady throws =at least 4 touchdown passes. Jay Cutler teams are 19-0 when he posts 100 or better passer rating. Will we see one of these trends hold up on Sunday?

Week 14 Top 3 NFL Match-ups: Chiefs vs. Chargers

Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers

The importance of this game is easy to state. If the Chiefs beat the Chargers, the Chargers are essentially eliminated from playoff contention. A loss would put San Diego three games behind the Chiefs with three left to play, and because of the head-to-head tiebreaker, would make it impossible for them to win the AFC West. While a win would make a division title likely for Kansas City, they would not clinch it just yet. The Oakland Raiders at 6-6 are just two games back and have a 4-0 division record.

Unfortunately for the Chiefs, they may take the field without starting quarterback Matt Cassel, who underwent an appendectomy yesterday. The procedure was described as successful, and while he’s expected to return to workouts this week, it’s uncertain whether or not he’ll be able to play. In that case, backup quarterback Brodie Croyle would lead the attempt to eliminate the division rival Chargers. The Chiefs won’t get any sympathy from San Diego, who has been battling with some injuries of their own. However, Coach Norv Turner is optimistic that Darren Sproles and Antonio Gates will be able to give it a go. As well as Phillip Rivers has played this season, he’ll need some of his weapons on the field to keep San Diego’s season alive.

Week 14 Top 3 NFL Match-Ups: Rams vs. Saints

St. Louis Rams vs. New Orleans Saints

One of these two teams is in position to host a playoff game. Hint: It’s not the New Orleans Saints. That’s right – the St. Louis Rams are out front in the NFC West with a 6-6 record. This weekend, however, may be ‘make or break’ for the Rams as they travel to New Orleans to battle the defending champion Saints. In a match-up between the old “Greatest Show on Turf” and the newer version, rookie quarterback Sam Bradford will attempt to upstage the elder Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees. Though the Rams have played surprisingly shocking football, this game may prove to be a little overwhelming for the young group.

Let’s not sell the Rams short though. They’re playing well and have managed to get it together much sooner than anybody anticipated. Bradford looks like the real deal and Steven Jackson is in the midst of another productive season. The defense is doing its job as well, ranking in the top half of the league after ranking 31st last season. The Saints have struggled to put away inferior teams this year, most recently needing comeback wins against the Cowboys and Bengals. They are getting healthier though, and doing so at the most important point of the season.

images via Yahoo