Daylight Savings Time starts right now, which gives us an extra hour to not watch the Lions-Chiefs game in London.
There’s really not much to say about these games, other than that Green Bay-Denver should be a hell of a lot better than Indianapolis-Carolina. So here come the previews.
Sunday Night Preview: 2 of the Game’s Greatest QBs Faceoff
Sunday Night’s matchup provides 2 undefeated teams facing off. Barring any ties (Save your Donovan McNabb jokes), 1 team will lose its first game this season.
To say Manning has played badly in 2015 is an understatement. Unlike (pretty much) his entire career, his team is winning in spite of him, not because of him. And by team, I mean defense. The arm strength has always been an issue in Denver, but PM got by it with his brain. That seems to be gone too, so we’re now stuck with a QB without much to provide for other than the occasional flash of brilliance.
Rodgers is playing really well (yet again), even with the loss of Jordy Nelson this season. This is very good in a time where many established QBs either suck (Joe Flacco, Andrew Luck) or are injured (Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger). His performance against the Rams is the only blemish in an otherwise great year.
So with all this said, why do I think Denver will win this game? Defense.
Denver’s defense has more takeaways than the IRS of tax evaders, and has been stellar against each team it’s faced. It helps that Green Bay is at Mile High this time around. Green Bay’s run game has lacked much juice this season, though with the way Manning’s been playing, I don’t expect them to abandon the run that soon.
This should be a close game, especially with how bad Denver’s offense has been. That said, I think the Broncos force uglier picks than Herm Edwards’ Super Bowl predictions. So I give Denver the win.
Monday Night Preview: Chuck Pagano’s Last Stand?
The AFC South is an enigma. The Colts, in danger of facing 3-5, should be nowhere near division leaders, yet they are because of how awful the rest of the teams are.
On Monday Night, they face the Panthers, at home on primetime for the 2nd consecutive week. Their 6-0 start is the first for an expansion team founded after 1976 in NFL history. Cam Newton’s getting MVP talk, with some of it deserved regarding the situation he’s in.
Andrew Luck has been playing terrible this year, and to make matters worse, the entire Colts team has been as well. Head Coach Chuck Pagano is getting closer and closer to getting fired, and it’s been reported that this idea is in heavy consideration in Indy’s front office.
Frank Gore is not Trent Richardson, but lots of runningbacks try not to be. He’s been effective, but nothing special thus far. Even so, he’s been better than Andre Johnson, who’s disappearing by the second. None of the pieces seem to be breaking out, and first round pick Phillip Dorsett is now missing some time as well with a fractured ankle.
The Panthers defense at home against a struggling offense is scary on paper. Indianapolis seems to enjoy playing from behind, and in all likelihood they’ll abandon the run, throw the ball up, and eventually this will lead to some ugly turnovers. Luck had been known as the comeback king during his first 2 seasons, though with his cast getting worse by the minute, that feels less likely. This is the most talented offense he’s been in, which makes this observation that more disturbing.
So is this the last stand for Chuck Pagano? I think they’ll wait until the end of the season to fire him, but yet another huge loss against a good team will make his seat even hotter, as The Colts are 2-7 in the regular season against playoff teams since 2012. See the chart below for further details.
Indianapolis has been 11-5 in each of Pagano’s first 3 seasons as coach, but his coaching and the drafting have held the Colts back from their full potential. The Panthers are a contender for the playoffs, and we could see them on this chart some day.
I see Jonathan Stewart putting up plenty of yards against the Colts’ rush attack. Newton’s day will depend on how his receivers do, so it won’t surprise me to see a few unlucky interceptions. Still, the Panthers should have zero problem getting this win.