Getting annoyed with the NFL. Patriots-Giants game isn’t on Primetime. Thanks.
What we are stuck with, however, is Arizona vs. Seattle and Houston at Cincinnati. Considering the matchups in previous weeks, this should be a bit better.
Sunday Night Preview: Arizona’s Biggest Chance To Run Away With The NFC West
Sunday Night is a huge divisional showdown that could determine the winner of the NFC West.
The Arizona Cardinals have been one of the best stories in the NFL at 6-2. Carson Palmer has been excellent returning from a torn ACL the previous year, Chris Johnson has discovered the Fountain of Youth and has broken out once again after sustaining injuries from gunshot wounds in the offseason, and Larry Fitzgerald has bounced back from a decline in 2014. Add above average offensive lines and defense, and it’s easy to see why Arizona is where they are now.
The Seattle Seahawks, however, have been the polar opposite of a good story in 2015. The defense is nowhere near as we’ve come to expect, gifting games to Cincinnati, Green Bay, and Carolina. They’re coming off a 13-12 victory at Dallas, who’s dealt with an injury plagued team and Brandon Weeden/Matt Cassel filing in for the injured Tony Romo at QB. Richard Sherman hasn’t looked like his prime, for example, allowing big gains.
Are the Super Bowl injuries really affecting them? That’s an unknown.
But it’s not just the Legion of Boom struggling. Marshawn Lynch is battling injuries, so the undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls has been busy filling in. He’s done some good things, but his stats have been padded by a few long runs provided by huge holes. Jimmy Graham has finally gotten some targets, but the offensive line has been terrible as usual, and Russell Wilson has never looked more uncomfortable in the pocket.
Wilson has also gone 29 consecutive regular season games without throwing for at least 3 touchdown passes, a disturbing trend.
(This graph is from October 23rd. I haven’t been able to update it, but I will after this week).
Wilson does provide rushing touchdowns, but compared to the other franchise QBs, he’s way ahead of everyone in this drought. I can’t say it’s all on him, but he’s gonna have to put up points to compete with a really good Cardinals offense. Recovery water can’t save him now.
This is the biggest game Arizona’s been a part of in a long time. Seattle’s home field advantage looks exposed thanks to the Panthers. The offense is healthy (knock on wood) and the offensive line has been great. One might say the Cardinals out match the Seahawks for once. This is pretty much a must win for Seattle, as ARI could go to 7-3 and send SEA to 4-5. Burn anyone who vouches for a tie.
I think this will be close, but I have the Cardinals barely winning.
Monday Night Preview: Brian Hoyer Does Not Know The Secret To Beating Cincinnati
We’re being treated to the Cincinnati Bengals potentially going 9-0, up against the Houston Texans from a division that shouldn’t exist.
This Bengals offense might be the best ever seen in franchise history. The talent has increased even further, and Andy Dalton is playing better because of it. AJ Green and Giovanni Bernard have both been keys, but it’s Tyler Eifert taking all the attention. Finally healthy, he’s winning man-to-man matchups and keeps taking in touchdowns, bringing us the closest thing to Gronk.
The offensive line has been stellar, as has special teams and the defense. Really, the only worry for me is that Jeremy Hill has been bad this year.
The Texans are at 3-5, with a mess at QB and one of the league’s best receivers in DeAndre Hopkins. Jadeveon Clowney has made an impact on defense healthy, as has JJ Watt, again. The run game is without Arian Foster for the season, but I guess the Texans are ok because Brian Hoyer is undefeated against the Bengals.
Hoyer has indisputably been better than Ryan Mallett, but anyone could do that. He also hasn’t had to do much against Cincy, watching Dalton implode in the Thursday Night game last year while he was in Cleveland. 2013’s matchup at home still featured inaccurate passing to boot.
With Hopkins being a one man show, it’s hard to imagine the Texans keeping this one close. So the Bengals should have no problems winning this one at home, primetime or no primetime.