Last week, I didn’t exactly hit homeruns with my selections for the Week 8 Top 3 Match-Ups. While the Steelers and Saints played a pretty entertaining defensive game, the other two contests weren’t as competitive as we would have liked them to be. The Colts blew by the division rival Houston Texans with relative ease, and the Patriots really had no problem putting away Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings. I’m hoping to have a little more success with this week’s choices, and I believe I’ve locked in the top 3 must-see NFL games for the weekend.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders
As a lifelong Denver Broncos fan, I’m stunned to be calling this a must-see game nine weeks into the season. However, that’s exactly what it is. The division leading Chiefs travel to Oakland to play a Raider team that has outscored its opponents 92-17 in the last two weeks. With the Broncos poised to finish last and the Chargers not playing their best football, the AFC West is wide open, and the two teams who have served as divisional doormats for the last three seasons are looking to make a statement.
The Chiefs come into this game having won in their last 7 trips to Oakland, a trend that they’d like to see continue on Sunday. They also feature the league’s best ground attack, going against a Raider defense that has given up the 4th most rushing yards on the season. On the other hand, Oakland fields the league’s second best rushing attack, led by Darren McFadden’s 111 yards per game average. For his career, McFadden has averaged 5.1 yards per carry against the Chiefs. Oakland will need similar numbers from their star running back to pick up a win on Sunday.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons
Once again, who would have thought we’d be featuring this game in our Top 3 in Week 9? While many expected the Saints to repeat as AFC South Champions heading into the season, it’s the Buccaneers and Falcons who will actually play for the division lead this Sunday. Quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman have gotten off to great starts this year. The same can be said for receivers Roddy White and rookie Mike Williams. However, this game may come down to the run. The Atlanta Falcons feature a top 5 run offense in the NFL, and the Buccaneers are uncharacteristically surrendering a ton of rushing yards. Can they make the necessary adjustments to stop this hot Atlanta offense?
Indianapolis Colts vs. Philadelphia Eagles
While the Colts are making adjustments to account for injuries to Dallas Clark and Austin Collie, the Philadelphia Eagles are starting to find themselves healthy once again. Returning to the starting lineup this week is quarterback Michael Vick and wide receiver DeSean Jackson. While the Colts are a quality team (commonplace in the Manning era), they field a relatively mediocre defense. Sunday’s game marks an opportunity for Vick and the Eagles to showcase all of their offensive weapons and pick up a win against a good team to keep pace with the division-leading Giants.
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