“Its my way or the Highway”
Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Jets
The Steelers are in a hole and are yet to record a win this season. Their offence is abysmal and their historical running game is nonexistent. For a proud and historical team in the league their fans are hurting. Coming off a bye things do not get easier. Their opponent the New York Jets were written off pre season as a team that may not record a win. So far they are 3-2 and their away win against the Falcons was as professional and structured as any victory is. Rookie Quarterback Geno Smith played with poise and although they might not go all the way to the playoffs their defensive unit makes them competitive and tough to beat. Steelers two time Superbowl winning quarterback “Big” Ben Roethlisberger has limited weapons around him however Pittsburgh always have a defensive strengths. Expect a slugfest – and expect another Steelers loss.
St Louis Rams at Houston Texans
The Texans are hampered at Quarterback. Matt Schuab has been solid getting the Texans to the playoffs in the last two seasons. This year though after a solid start he has fallen to pieces throwing more interceptions then touchdowns. Picked off 3 times against the 49ers last weekend he was replaced for the last quarter by back up T J Yates. – the ultimate of insults. One local Houston restaurant has a burger on its menu called the Schaub Pick 6 where you can pick 6 toppings to go in it! The Rams started off with a menacing defence, however this season may be a bridge too far to complete their rebuild under Coach Jeff Fisher. Their defence was breached easily by the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars (even though the Rams eventually won) which was seen as their strong point. They will want to pile on the misery again against Schaub and his team however Houston surely should be up for this and be able to get back on track here
Detroit Lions at Cleveland Browns
Since the Browns traded their star running back Trent Richardson to the Colts after game 3 they have won three straight. They have also had to resort to going back to their original starting quarterback, Brandon Weeden, after they had success with Brian Hoyer, who went down went down last week with a season ending ACL injury . The same cannot be said for the Lions. Struggling to regain their form from two seasons back and a dip in form from their star wide receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, they surprisingly sit atop the NFC North, however are really not on paper the best 3 win team in their division. Both teams sit in divisions whereby there in no clear leader of the pack however neither of their form suggests playoffs beckon. Close to call however the Lions may have an edge in wide out weapons to call upon.
Panthers at Vikings
Both the Panthers and Vikings had playoff expectations this season however at this stage neither look likely. Both teams have only one win to their name and the Vikings have resorted to signing released Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freemen to improve their situation. The Vikings reached the playoffs last season however were knocked out in the first game. Running back Adrian “All Day” Peterson has only crossed the line for one touchdown so far and is not been in his previous dominating form. The Panthers have mercurial Cam Newton at Quarterback who has never hit the straps he did in his rookie season. Coach Ron Rivera is a man under pressure and each game could be his last. A critical game for both teams the Vikings at home should have an edge. Their only win was in the annual match in London – hardly an edge toward strong home form
Indianapolis Colts at San Diego Chargers
The Indianapolis Colts travel west this week to take on the inconsistent San Diego Chargers. Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck is up there with the best in the NFL – in only his second year. Their last two wins have been against the 49ers at Candlestick and against the previously unbeaten Seattle Seahawks. Both signature wins. If they win here they will send out a statement. The Chargers lost acrimoniously to the Oakland Raiders last week – a divisional loss they can ill afford and Philip Rivers at quarterback is the master at throwing interceptions. If the Chargers get on a roll the can be unbeatable however inconstancy is their second name. A tough one to call however the Colts have the momentum and Luck has the smarts to take this out in a close one
Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Buccaneers
The Eagles take on another team with zero wins to their name. Tampa Bay seem, to have all sorts of off field issues that has definitely affected their performances on the field. Head coach Greg Schiano still has a college mentality which NFL players sometimes struggle to adapt to – or perhaps he should adapt to them. He never gelled with Quarterback Josh Freeman and the writing was on the wall before he was released last week. His career is on the line unless improvements are seen. Another College coach to take NFL reigns is Chip Kelly. His approach is a bit more laid back and has two wins to his name, both divisional, which helps. The NFC East is one of the weakest divisions and is wide open so a win here could help their cause come season end. Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is out so Nick Foles will take the reigns in this one.
Follow Hamish on Twitter