“we Chiefs are the real deal now ?”
Week 8 of the NFL and it’s half way through the season.
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Friday PM Live on ESPN
Carolina may be hitting form at the right time having won their last two and now have a three win three loss record. Quarterback Cam Newton may be coming to grips with the NFL, in his third season. It does take time. The Panthers also have built a menacing defence that can smash teams up. The Buccaneers meanwhile look odds on for the first or second pick of the draft next year, and more than likely a new coach sooner rather than later. Quarterback issues and rumours of player revolt have disestablished any chance of success this season despite trading expensively in the off season for big time players. A win here to Carolina could put them in good stead for a run at the playoffs.
Browns at Chiefs
Last season the Chiefs finished the worst in the NFL with a 2-14 record. This season they are currently the best with a perfect 7-0 record. Their defence is the real deal and Coach Andy Reid and Quarterback Alex Smith, the only new big names in the team this year, have both made all the difference. They probably won’t go through the season unbeaten, however will start as home favourites here versus the Cleveland Browns. The Browns can be competitive and provide the odd upset. Arrowhead stadium holds the NFL record for the loudest crowd and when a team is winning the crowds come. Both the decibels and Chiefs will be roaring in this match. Alex Smith needs to throw only one more touchdown to equal the total number which the Chiefs scored last season. That shows you how far they have come.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
The Patriots lost last week to rivals the Jets after building up a big lead. Quarterback Brady is struggling and last week they lost their first divisional games out of the last twelve played in the AFC East. Brady has also been sacked four times in a game for the third straight week now – something unheard of in previous seasons. Although Tight End weapon Rob Gronkowski is back, it will take some time for his match fitness to reappear. The Dolphins are struggling with inconsistency and have a three win three loss record. The Mike Wallace experiment at Wide Receiver for Miami is not working and Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is struggling with getting any protection from his offensive line. Seemingly stronger away from home they may get a Patriot backlash here however they may go closer then form predicts.
Washington Redskins at Denver Broncos
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s return to his old employers did not go well, going down to the Colts. Meanwhile Redskins Quarterback, RG3, looks as though he’s back to being the old RG3 from last season, after an off season in injury rehab. The Broncos were seen as unbeatable until last week and now Redskins coach Mike Shanahan returns to the place where he won two Superbowls, so he will be motivated. The Broncos pass defence is average and RG3 can both pass and run. Denver’s credentials are on the line here and a loss could see the start of a decline. At home, at altitude, the Broncos are tough to beat. It will depend on the ability to rebound though and Manning will have to be at his best. A high scoring game is on the cards.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings – Monday PM Live on ESPN
Last year these two divisional rivals were playing for playoff spots however things have changed significantly. Aaron Rogers, the Green Bay Quarterback, may not have the high profile of other current peers, however he knows how to run and manage a game. In recent seasons the Packers have been there or there about come end of the season. This season looks like that pattern will continue. At the opposite end of the scale the Vikings started their third different quarterback in four weeks when, recently released from the Buccaneers, Josh Freeman took the reins. He was ineffective in a loss to the then winless New York Giants. He is starting again this week, in a decision that Coach Frazier has already made, however the season has unravelled and looks to be on a downward spiral. The Packers should be able to exploit the situation here in what looks like a one sided rivalry at present.
Seahawks at Rams – Tuesday PM Live on ESPN
The Seahawks are probably the best team in the NFC and here they face divisional rivals the St Louis Rams. The Rams suffered a major setback last week in losing Quarterback Sam Bradford for the season. They are yet to make a decision on his replacement however the season may be over now. Still rebuilding they were already starting to wane after a solid start. The Seahawks face a divisional rival for the second week running after accounting for the Arizona Cardinals, and although divisional games provide some emotion and toughness, this now could be a season too far for the Rams. The Seahawks are definitely one of the top five teams in the NFL and it’s a given they will be there in the post season.
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