Several of the members of the Aerys Offsides crew got together this week to discuss what we are looking forward to with this week’s slate of games. Here are our thoughts! Please comment below and tell us what you are looking forward to with this week’s slate of games too! Enjoy!
* Cleveland Browns vs. New York Giants
The Giants are coming off a heartbreaking Week 4 loss to their division rival Philadelphia Ealges and are hoping to pick up the pieces against the Browns. Head coach Tom Coughlin stated earlier in the week not to be misled by the Browns 0-4 record. The Browns may not have won a game yet, but their defense has given their opponents a very rough time, including their last game against the Baltimore Ravens where they barely squeezed by a victory by seven points. D’Qwell Jackson will be looking to get in Eli Manning’s face all day and a depleted Giants offensive line will need to work even harder to protect him. With a slowly improving Brandon Weeden at QB, the Giants defense cannot take him for granted. He and Trent Richardson will make them pay if they do.
* Houston Texans vs. New York Jets
The Texans are off to a rocking 4-0 start to the NFL season and it looks like they could easily be 5-0 after Monday night. Matt Schaub has been lights out as a quarterback, but it’s the Texans’ defense that’s making the biggest impact on the team. Defensive end JJ Watt so far has made a strong case for Defensive Player of the Year, and possibly be the first defensive player to be considered for MVP honors. He’s leading the league with 7.5 sacks, compared to just 5.5 his rookie season. The Jets are falling off the wagon faster than I think everyone expected. They are coming off an embarrassing 34-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers and have lost Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes for the rest of the season. If Mark Sanchez and the Jets think they’ve already faced the toughest defense in the league last week, they have another thing coming when the Texans are in town.
* San Diego Chargers vs. New Orleans Saints
Some expected the Saints to struggle this year after all of their offseason issues, but no one expected them to be entering Week 5 with an 0-4 record. It’s not like they’ve lost to incredibly tough opponents either. Aside from the Green Bay Packers, the Saints lost games to the Washington Redskins, Carolina Panthers, and Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs loss may have came at most heartbreaking due to the Saints having the lead, losing it, and then losing in overtime. They are back at home against the 3-1 San Diego Chargers Sunday night. Chargers QB Philip Rivers has kept his team rolling throwing for 897 yards, 6 touchdowns, and has a 91.9 rating. If the Saints come out the way they played against the Packers, this should be a good game to watch. I’m sure the Saints are tired of losing.
* Just how much will the ESPN Monday Night Football crew, specifically Jon Gruden, fawn over Tim Tebow as the Jets take on the Houston Texans. I believe the Tebow will finally get some significant playing time this week. Should be interesting … nauseating … whatever your Tebow preference … Interesting indeed! I recommend not making any drinking games out of Tebow talk on MNF, by the way. Your liver will thank me later!
* Denver vs. New England. Peyton Manning against Tom Brady again! Always a classic match up with two great competitors. Oh and the battle of Chris and Rob Gronkowski might be pretty darn intriguing too!
* Will New Orleans finally win? More importantly, is it possible for the Saints to win without Sean Payton? All this time we thought Drew Brees was the key! Perfect opportunity for Brees and the guys to prove something on Sunday Night Football.
* The Chiefs cannot possible play worse than they did last week (right??).
* It’s October!! That means pink accessories everywhere! Wouldn’t it be cool if they made the footballs pink?
* Sometimes I like to make game day predictions based on team mascots, and there are some great match-ups this week. Dolphins or Bengals? Is this a land or water battle? Titans or Vikings? Vikings clearly have better headwear, but the Titans are kind of immortal. I think the most evenly matched mascot battle this week has to be Bears vs. Jaguars. It’s anybody’s game.
* I fully expect the Texans to defeat my Jets on Monday Night Football, but there will still be plenty for me to watch for as I try to assess this team going forward. Can the Jets defense, who have prided themselves in their shut down secondary and run defense, step up and look like they are a fraction of the unit we were led to believe they would be? Can Mark Sanchez put together a few effective drives and keep his job (and will he even have a healthy receiver to throw to)? Will Tony Sparano’s super secret Tim Tebow Wildcat/option offense finally make an appearance or will it remain hidden in the playbook for a rainy day? There are a lot of questions and Monday night should provide some answers.
*The Minnesota Vikings are the early Cinderella story of the NFL, and they host the Tennessee Titans this Sunday at The Metrodome. The Titans rank near the bottom of the league on both offense and defense, and this could get ugly. I expect the Vikings to dominate the Titans, and show us they are who we think they are.
*Patriots vs. Broncos/Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning. The return of a classic quarterback rivalry? What’s not to like?
1. Seeing the Raiders not lose. Even a late SeaBass shank can’t cost the Silver & Bleak against Bye.
2. Seeing the Saints get off the schneid. The Chargers are a mysterious lot, winning by far less last week at Kansas City than the final score indicated and ripe for an “upset” loss on the road.
3. Seeing dominance by Houston (at NY Jets) and San Francisco (vs. Buffalo); a track meet between Atlanta and Washington; and one for the archives between Brady and Peyton.