words_Brandon Richard

In our Week 5 Top 3 NFL Match-Ups, Jordan was spot on, selecting three games that were highly competitive until the final whistle. Brett Favre threw a late-game interception to end a Vikings rally, Redskins kicker Graham Cano kicked a game-winning field goal in overtime to complete a comeback against the Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs gave Indianapolis all that they could handle before the Colts pulled away in the 4th quarter.

In this week’s Top 3 Match-Ups, I’ve selected two playoff rematches and a clash between two surprising division leaders.

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

New England begins the post-Moss era by hosting the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore’s third ranked defense will look to stifle a New England offense searching for an identity without the down-field play making ability that Moss possesses. To help cushion the blow, the Patriots looked to a blast from the past, re-acquiring wide receiver Deion Branch from the Seattle Seahawks on Monday. New England Head Coach Bill Belichick will look to have continued success with his “team-over-individual” philosophy.

Aside from the obvious storyline, you have a great match-up between two teams that have realistic chances to play in the big game in February. Last season, these same teams squared off twice. The Patriots held off a late-game Ravens surge to win the Week 4 contest. In January, the two sides were reacquainted for a playoff meeting in Foxborough. The game was dominated by the Ravens from the start, as the team outscored the Patriots 24-0 in the first quarter en route to a 33-14 win. Do you think the Patriots have revenge on the mind? Did the little piggy cry wee wee wee all the way home? (Those Geico commecials are infectious, right?)

Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings

One of the more intriguing games between one-win teams you’ll ever see. Both Dallas and Minnesota (along with New Orleans an Green Bay) were projected to amongst the favorites to emerge from the NFC. However, disappointing early-season play by these two teams leave them at a crossroads. That crossroads is this week’s match-up. The team who comes up short on Sunday will fall to 1-4 and have an uphill battle to find themselves near playoff contention. The victor picks up a much needed win heading into a Week 7 division rivalry game (New York for Dallas, Green Bay for Minnesota). The last time these two teams took the field together, Favre shredded the Cowboys with 4 touchdown passes in the playoffs. Will the addition of Randy Moss help him duplicate that feat?

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans

The uncertainty regarding Michael Vick’s playing status allows this sleeper game to crawl its way on to the list. Actually, I shouldn’t call it a sleeper because Kansas City made the cut last week. Who would have thought? In this match-up, you have two surprising first place teams who look to get back on track after suffering disappointing losses last week.

If you’re one for moral victories, you credit Kansas City for shutting down Peyton Manning and looking like the real deal against the Colts. Knowing that, the Texans will be looking to defeat the Chiefs in a more impressive and convincing fashion than their division rivals did last week. They can’t look too far ahead though, because the Chiefs are game, and will look to exploit the porous Texans defense.