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Top 10 Must Watch NFL Match-ups, Weeks 9-12

Top 10 Must Watch NFL Match-ups, Weeks 9-12

Third Quarter Storylines:

Where will Randy Moss sign?

How will Vick bouce back from injury?

Will the return of Sidney Rice help the Vikings?

How bad will it get in Dallas?

TOCHO vs. the Jets on Thanksgiving

Can the Rams get over .500 for the first time since the end of the ’06 season?

Which quarterback will the Giants knock out next?

Can the Tampa Bay Bucs keep pace with Atlanta? or vice versa

Will McNabb get “in shape”?

Those are just a few things to keep an eye on over the next four weeks. Have your own storylines? Share them below!

Top 10 Must Watch NFL Match-ups, Weeks 9-12

Week 9: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders

Apparently handing the San Francisco 49ers its first win of the season was the kind of motivation the Raiders needed to turn the season. Since the 17-9 loss in week 6, the Raiders are 2-0 and have outscored opponents 92-17.

This game is uber-important for the Chiefs. After barely beating the winless Buffalo Bills in the last minute of overtime, a loss to the upstart Raiders is the last thing they need. Yes–the Chiefs have five wins, but they’ve looked very shaky at times.

No better way to kick off the second half of the season than a HUGE game with a division rival.

Week 9: Indianapolis Colts Vs. Philadelphia Eagles

It seems like the football gods don’t want the Philadelphia Eagles to do well this season.

First Kevin Kolb, then Michael Vick, and DeSean Jackson! Somehow the Eagles have managed to stay above .500 with a 4-3 record, despite the injury bug that doesn’t seem to want to stop biting.

When the Colts and Eagles square off, it will mark the first time since week 4 that Michael Vick will see game action. Jackson has said he plans to play against the Colts.

The injury bug must get around because it’s in Indianapolis too. Joseph Addai, Donald Brown, Dallas Clark(IR), Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon and Blair White have all missed time due to various injuries.

Peyton Manning has the least amount of talent he has ever had on offense yet his numbers look the same.

Vick and Manning have only met once. Way back on December 14, 2003 the Colts dominated the Vick led Falcons 38-7.

I expect a much different outcome this time around.

Week 10: Baltimore Ravens vs. Atlanta Falcons

Through two quarters, both the Ravens and the Falcons are division leaders.

This matchup will kick off Thursday Night Football on the NFL Network.

Matt Ryan is 16-1 at home in his career. The Falcons had the offense rolling on all cylinders with Michael Turner and Roddy White leading the way.

It’s definitely too soon to tell for sure, but I think the Falcons are the class of the NFC.

Both of Baltimore’s losses have come on the road. However, the two losses were by a combined eight points.

The health of the Baltimore secondary will make the difference in this one.

Week 10: Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

The only reason this game makes the list is because the Jags are playing! It’s either or with the Jags, either really really good, or really really awful.

Plus it’s a division game in quite possibly the hottest division race in football.

Houston has been extremely inconsistent as well. Just not on the level of the Jags.

I wouldn’t be shocked if 60 points were scored in this one

Week 10: New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

I think this is a preview of the AFC Championship game. An absolute must watch.

Pittsburgh lost a tough one in New Orleans on Halloween. They can’t afford a home loss to a team they may have to play sometime in the playoffs.

This game kicks off a brutal four game stretch for the Patriots.

@Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, @Detroit, New York Jets

If Randy Moss clears waivers, and signs back with New England, this would likely be the first game he suits up.

You can be sure Bill Belichick will have his team ready to throw the kitchen sink at Big Ben after what the Saints did to him.

Week 11: Atlanta Falcons vs. St. Louis Rams

Two questions loom large for me in this one.

1. Can Atlanta win on the road?

The Falcons have proved they can win at home. As I said before, the Falcons are 16-1 at home with Matt Ryan under center. But they are a very pedestrian 9-11 on the road.

After eight weeks the Rams are 4-1 at home.

2. Will the Rams be able to win games down the stretch.

The bye week may have come at just the right time for the young St. Louis Rams. Young teams tend to hit the wall late in the season. Sam Bradford never played more than 14 games in any one season at Oklahoma. You get my drift? This will be the first tough test for the Rams coming off the bye.

I can’t wait to see Sam Bradford line up against Atlanta’s defense. Who will the Rams chose to stop? Matt Ryan? or Michael Turner?

Going to be a great game.

Week 11: Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots

Is there a match-up we look forward to more than this one?

Peyton Manning and Tom Brady always provide great story lines when they face off.

Will Brady has Moss back? Will running back will come out of the injury stable for Indy? Who’s going to mismanage the clock at the end of the game?

No doubt it will be a good one.

Week 11: New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles

The Giants pass rush has been ridiculous this season. Opposing quarterbacks are dropping like flies. Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Jon Kitna, Vince Young.

Michael Vick had better have quick feet in this one. This game could get ugly with the division race on the line.

If Philly doesn’t play a “quick” game on offense, they will struggle mightily. They have the firepower to do it–Maclin, Jackson, McCoy, Vick.

Week 12: New England Patriots vs. Detroit Lions

I’m going to say this now. I love the Detroit Lions. They are a fun team to watch. I should hate them since I’m a Bears fan, but how do you not love watching Matt Stafford throw to Calvin Johnson?

The Lions have been the laughingstock of the NFL the past few seasons. Not anymore my friends. I am predicting an upset in this one.

You won’t be able to get away from this one. I guarentee it.

Week 12: New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys

This game makes the list for two reasons.

1. It’s on Thanksgiving day. No better day for football–ever!

2. We must watch to see how many points the Saints will put up in BIG D. If David Garrard can score five touchdowns on his own, Drew Brees will have the greatest fantasy football performance of all time.

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Hello!!! Thanks for stopping by, I'm Bear Heiser, St. Louis Rams Featured Columnist. Please feel free to comment on anything I write. You can find me on Twitter @ramsreport and @bearconsults. My Rams coverage doesn't stop here. I can also be found covering the Rams on the blog blitz over at Still want more Rams???? Rams Featured Columnist at Love University of Illinois football? I got you covered. Go to , where you'll find me breaking down the Illini, week in and week out. Want more? My personal blog is You can find me covering, Lakers, entertainment and music for ALL CBS Radio websites in Los Angeles. I have been told my passion for sports is an addiction. Now I get paid to be addicted to something I love. Cool right?

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In response to “Top 10 Must Watch NFL Match-ups, Weeks 9-12”

  1. Christopher Rowe Nov 2 20104:39 pm


    Some good stuff here. A couple of points…

    New England vs. Pittsburgh is an AFC Championship preview? Have you not heard of the Baltimor Ravens? No way the Steelers get out of that division – especially if you’ve seen them play recently! Ravens have better passing game,better running game, better pass rush, better secondary, better linebackers and better special teams. What’s left for the Steelers? Best uniforms?

    Comparing performance from 2003 of Vick vs. Manning to 2010 is like comparing apples to a 1957 Chevy! Are you suggesting that Vick is in 2003 form or that Manning without his usual weapons is ineffective? You’re wrong on both points. Manning could be successful with whoever fits into a uniform much like John Elway. Vick 2010 is much more mature than 2003 Vick. Sure he was faster in 2003 and perhaps his TEAM was more successful in making the playoffs… but Vick is now a QB who CAN run rather than a running QB. Of course the Eagles are not a good team, so if Manning can’t carve them up, then there is a chance for upset.

    1. Bear Heiser Nov 2 20104:48 pm


      I have heard of the Ravens. They just haven’t impressed me lately. I know they started the season hot with wins at Pitt, NYJ, but since they have been just ok. Barely escaped the Bills at home and, in my opinion, blew the game against the Patriots.
      Flacco is not better than Roethlisberger
      2009 Rice is better than 2009 Mendenhall
      2010 Rick IS NOT better than 2010 Mendenhall Look at the numbers, Ask any Ravens fan how disappointed they are with Ray Rice
      They don’t have a better secondary than the Steelers. Equal pass rush. Ray Lewis is the best linebacker possibly ever, no arguments there.

      I’m a little confused about your Eagles-Colts points. I never made any comparison btw 03 Vick and 10 Manning. I am not sure what you are talking about. The only thing that was said is that they haven’t met since ’03. Not really making headlines there. I think Manning is the most impressive he has ever been because of the lack of talent he is working with. Vick is much better now than he was in ’03. Never said he wasn’t.

      If you care to clarify, please do.

      1. Adrian Fedkiw Nov 2 20106:03 pm


        I think there’s like 4-5 teams in the AFC on an equal playing field. Colts, Patriots, Steelers, Ravens, Titans.

        I still wouldn’t discount San Diego

        The NFC is a mess. I like either Atlanta, Green Bay or New Orleans.

        If I were to pick between Baltimore and Pittsburgh I would take Baltimore, but by a slim margin. They finally got over that hump by beating Pittsburgh at Heinz Field. You bring up Buffalo, they won the game didn’t they. They fell into the trap, but got out of it. The Bills have been playing better with Fitzpatrick at QB.

        Rice and Mendenhall are just about equal, I don’t care about the numbers. Numbers are for fantasy football.

        I don’t think people realize how good Flacco is. He’s not better than Big Ben, but he’s vastly underrated.

        Another thing that hasn’t been mentioned, Ed Reed is coming back. He changes the whole complexion of that Ravens defense.

        If I had to pick an AFC Championship Game I’d go Indianapolis and Baltimore, but anything can happen Home field is going to be important in the AFC.

        The Colts are kind of flying under the radar, similar to their 2006 Super Bowl year.

        1. Christopher Rowe Nov 2 20109:53 pm


          Agreed Adrian helps illustrate my point. AFC is clearly where the best teams reside and it is some combination of AFC East Patriots, AFC South Colts, AFC North Ravens, AFC West Chargers, then possible wildcards being NYJets, Titans, Steelers or Chiefs or Dolphins. Ravens have beaten Pittsburgh, Patriots have beaten Baltimore.

          Without divisions, AFC should look something like this
          1. New England Patriots
          2. Baltimore Ravens
          3. Kansas City Chiefs
          4. Indianapolis Colts
          5. New York Jets
          6. Pittsburgh Steelers

          I’ve asked Ravens fans and Baltimore’s running game is better than Pitt. Ray Rice is compentent and not havig as good a season as 2009 but Rice, McGahee, right on down the line. Mendenhall is ranked higher alone but there is no depth and stats are for fantasy purposes. Flacco is much better than given credit for across the league as both a game manager and on individual plays. Big Ben is… many things…but overall if general talent levels are even, I’ll take the Ravens offense over Pitt and Ravens defense beats the Steelers – head to head or by comparison.

        2. Bear Heiser Nov 3 201012:08 pm


          I think the Titans are done. You can only win with two different quarterbacks for so long. The loss of Kenny Britt is huge.
          Agree on the Chargers
          The NFC is a mess. Watch out for the Giants. Defense wins in January and February.
          I’m not on the Baltimore bandwagon because I don’t believe in Joe Flacco. Maybe I should–but I don’t.
          Mendenhall is better than Rice is right now.
          I’ll realize how good Flacco is when the Ravens win a playoff game. Doesn’t matter how many games you win in the regular season.
          Ed Reed is back. He had two pics in the last game before the bye. You never know with Reed though, he may be injured again. Guy can’t get out of the shower without hurting himself.
          Thanks for the support.

          1. Christopher Rowe Nov 3 201012:44 pm

            Flacco HAS won playoff games! Reference last 2 years. Ed Reed is back and is a force to be reckoned with. Injuries are part of football on every play!

            NFC is indeed a swampy mire of 4-3 teams. The good news is that there are just as many playoff spots available as there would be if you had four 12-4 teams. The bad news is that somone has to come out of the NFC to play against the best of the AFC. See AFC Championship game for best game of the season.

            Maybe the NFL should take a lesson from the MLS and NCAA Basketball? Their “wildcard” teams are truly “wildcards” – meaning they are not beholden to either conference. Ergo, you have 4 division winners from each conference and then you have 4 total wildcard teams that can come from either conference. This way you ensure that the best teams get into the postseason rather than have 8-8 wildcards from the NFC.

          2. Bear Heiser Nov 3 201012:55 pm

            I guess I should have explained my thoughts on Flacco more clearly. He still makes too many mistakes. Still too inconsistent. For the most part he’s had a great year. But in games where he hasn’t been at his best.–he’s been awful.

            Can you really disagree with that?

          3. Adrian Fedkiw Nov 3 20109:18 pm

            And Eli doesn’t make mistakes?

          4. Bear Heiser Nov 4 201012:13 pm

            No Eli does make mistakes. But he also brings greater reward. Listen–I’m not a Giants homer or anything. I just enamored with their front four. Honestly, when is the last time you’ve seen a team rush the passer with such ease?
            Defense will win out in the end. Could be the Ravens-Giants. Who knows. The top AFC teams have some brutal matchups ahead, questions will be answered.

          5. Adrian Fedkiw Nov 3 20109:24 pm

            I do disagree, I thought the only game he’s been AWFUL was Cincinnati.

          6. Christopher Rowe Nov 3 201011:28 pm

            Defense still wins championships. Look at the Super Bowl winners of the past 20 years… Hell the past 44 years if you like… How many had top-ranked defenses? 80%. You can’t win without defense but you can win with Trent Dilfer at the helm or one lucky catch by David Tyree can beat an undefeated – and superior team…or the Greatest Show on Turf can beat an inferior team because the receiver falls one yard short of a score due to a great tackle.. Look at the 1985 Bears who spanked the Patsies by crushing them on defense and then dancing in their end zone. Look at the SF 49ers of the 1980 who had fantastic offense AND defense… Why did the Denver Broncos never win the big one in three Super Bowls? No defense. Steelers and Cowboys of the 1970s. Stifling, kick in the crotch defense.Why did the Saints surprise last year? Better defense! Hell yeah! Defense wins championships.

          7. Adrian Fedkiw Nov 4 201012:20 am

            This is how I used to feel, but I feel like the game is changing.

            The Saints had a better defense, but let’s not kid ourselves, when the offense is playing with the lead it makes it easier to attack defensively. That offense set the tone defensively.

            You don’t see teams like the 85 Bears anymore, or hell even the 2000 Ravens.

            Defense USUALLY wins championships, but I feel like moving forward, the offenses are becoming the staple. At least in this era. The times of smash mouth football are gone, at least for the time being.

            Even when you look at college, look who’s on top. Oregon and Auburn.

          8. Adrian Fedkiw Nov 4 201012:22 am

            And don’t hate on my man Trent Dilfer, haha. He’s not as bad as everyone makes him out to be. He was basically this era’s Kyle Orton.

          9. Bear Heiser Nov 4 201012:18 pm

            Come on–let’s not kid ourselves. Dilfer was nowhere near the pocket passer Orton is. No way. Just wait a few more years. I watched him fail miserable in Chicago for years before I saw him excel in Denver. He’s just now figuring it all out. May be a late bloomer.

          10. Christopher Rowe Nov 4 20101:11 pm

            You can win with mediocre offense but you can’t win without defense. Yes the NFL has become offense-heavy and pass-happy… but find me a team that won the Super Bowl with a terrible defense. When’s the last time you saw an Arena Football-style Super Bowl? Even look at the regular season… you have ugly baseball score games like 9-0 or 6-3. Is that because the offenses are that bad? No it’s because the defenses are that GOOD!

          11. Adrian Fedkiw Nov 6 201012:14 am

            Maybe I just don’t respect the Saints defense. They won last year because they got a lot of turnovers. I never thought their defense was that good. This year, they’re not getting the turnovers and they’re getting shredded.

            The offenses right now are making the defenses think instead of reacting. I think for the next couple of years we’re going to see offense heavy teams winning Super Bowls. That is the point of my argument.

            As for Arena Style Super Bowls, the last two have been shootouts. last year’s was a shootout. Super Bowl XLIII between Pittsburgh and Arizona turned into a shootout.

            The defenses are trying to catch up right now. Look how small and fast the linebackers are right now in the NFL.

            Like you said, 80% of the teams win with great defenses, but right now we’re in that 20% percentile.

          12. Adrian Fedkiw Nov 3 20109:16 pm

            Flacco got his team to the AFC Championship as a rookie as a 6 seed, and to the AFC Divisional Playoff last year. What else do you want from the guy. The Ravens are a team on the rise.

            He’s only in his third year. Quarterbacks earn their money on third downs, he’s one of the best in the NFL when it comes to that aspect.

            I guess you just don’t like Baltimore, that’s fine. It’s kind of like my feelings of the Giants. I know they have a Super Bowl, but I’m not a Eli fan at all. You can play good defense, but when he’s turning the ball over it doesn’t matter.

            I don’t know if that “Defense Wins Championships” works AS MUCH these days in this age of football. We had Indianapolis and New Orleans (two ok AT BEST defenses) in the Super Bowl last year. Arizona got in two years ago.

            It’s about spreading it out and finding the best one-on-one matchups and exploiting it. It used to be all about physicality and controlling the line of scrimmage, now it’s about speed and finesse. There are just so many different offensive formations these days.

            I hope my “defense” argument made sense.

            Yes, you still see good defenses, but it’s not like it used to be. Right now, the offenses are ahead of the defenses.

            When its all said and done we’ll probably get a Giants/Ravens Super Bowl haha.

  2. Jim Mulligan Nov 2 20109:21 pm


    Please NO!!!! NO RANDY MOSS in New England. I think Belichick was smart enough to get rid of him before he blew up the locker room.

    Since he left, the Patriots are scoring better than when they had him.

    Oh but he stretches the defense….big deal. How did the Vikings do with him against the Pats? They scored 18 points and still lost by 10. I hope someone claims him on waivers so it doesn’t come down to the chance of New England getting him

    1. Bear Heiser Nov 3 201012:03 pm


      They actually aren’t scoring more w/o MOSS.
      w/: 36.2 PPG
      w/o: 24.6 PPG
      Just saying

      I’m not sure what offense you come from but stretching the defense is fairly important. Stretching the defense opens up the run game. Forces secondary to stay out of the box, which sets up the run. Moves defenders around, and possibly out of position.
      Ask the Bears, Rams, 49ers, Jaguars, Redskins, Seahawks, Buccaneers…………………… if stretching the defense is important to the success of an offense.

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