Introduction: The NFL is known by many coaches, players, and fans, as “The not for long league”. The NFL is the most unpredictable and exciting sport in the world.
Fans and media will often make snap judgments on players and teams each week. As a fan of the NFL for 20 years, I want to give fans some insight on the best matchups each week of the NFL season.
This article will highlight, preview, and predict, key player matchups and must see NFL games.
Fans who read this article will gain insight on the big games and matchups that affect the NFL, as well as fantasy football.
Matchup No. 5 - Tom Brady vs. Asante Samuel: Former star teammates facing off always make for good TV.
Asante Samuel is a ball-hawking cornerback who was a teammate of Tom Brady from 2003 to 2007. Samuel is a smaller cornerback who relies on instincts and great ball skills to force quarterbacks into interceptions.
Tom Brady is established as one of this generation’s best quarterbacks and is excellent at protecting the football. Through the first three games, Brady has performed below his normally excellent standards.
The New England Patriots are currently relying on two rookie receivers, who at times have had problems catching passes and running proper routes. On a positive note, the Patriots could be welcoming back Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski this week.
Based on the fact Brady is struggling and has inexperienced receivers, don’t expect him to play up to his normal standards. Samuel’s familiarity of Brady provides him with the advantage, and he will make big plays for the Falcons' defense this Sunday Night.
Matchup No. 4 - Eddie Royal vs. the Dallas Cowboys' secondary: This season, Eddie Royal has come out of nowhere to lead the NFL in touchdowns with five. He scored a total of 5 touchdowns his rookie season, and has only amassed 5 touchdowns in the last four seasons since.
So far this season, Royal has caught 12 passes for 148 yards and 5 touchdowns. Last week he was shut down with only two catches and no touchdowns against the Tennessee Titans. Royal’s San Diego Chargers host the Dallas Cowboys this week. So far in 2013, Dallas has shown signs of becoming a top defense; although the secondary has had issues with the occasional breakdown.
Through three games the Cowboys' defense has been very stout against the run. They rank No. 2 in rushing yards allowed. The Cowboys are No. 22 in pass defense allowed, they allow on average 274 yards per game. They have also allowed at least two passing touchdowns in two of their three games this season. The numbers show that the Cowboys’ weakness this season is clearly their pass defense.
Currently San Diego is ranked No 12 in passing yards and No. 18 in rushing yards. They have scored nine offensive touchdowns this season. Their quarterback has thrown for 8 touchdowns and the team has only scored 1 rushing touchdown. These stats show that San Diego is much more effective passing the ball. Royal’s ability to move the chains and be a playmaker in the red zone is crucial to the Chargers' success against the Cowboys this week.
Matchup No. 3 - Calvin “Megatron” Johnson vs. Charles “Peanut” Tillman: This tale of the tape matchup is more like a championship heavyweight battle. Johnson and Tillman have a lot of history because they have faced-off twice each season since 2007.
Johnson broke the NFL record for receiving yards in a season last year with 1,964 yards, and has shown no signs of slowing down this year. Tillman has established himself as a multi-skilled cornerback. In four of the last five seasons, Tillman has forced at least one fumble, one interception, and one defensive touchdown.
The Lions are 2-1 this season while the Bears are leading the NFC North at 3-0. A win by the Bears could put Chicago into contender status.
Meanwhile, a Bears loss puts the Lions in the division lead. Tillman and the Bears have gotten the best of Johnson and the Lions recently. Since 2011, Chicago is 3-1 versus Detroit. Furthermore, they have been able to hold Johnson to only one touchdown and one 100 yard game, in those four meetings.
This battle will likely go the distance and the winner of this matchup will decide the outcome of the game.
Matchup No. 2 - Peyton Manning vs. Philadelphia Eagles: What happens when a well-oiled machine faces a team in need of an oil change, tune-up, and a new battery?
Manning’s Denver Broncos have been an absolute joy to watch this season. Coming into this season everyone knew Demaryius Thomas was an emerging star.
In the offseason, the team added Wes Welker who is one of the NFL’s best slot wide receivers.
Eric Decker, forgotten by some, actually led Denver in touchdowns last year. And if that’s not enough, out of nowhere Julius Thomas has established himself as an elite tight end.
Manning is playing football as if it were a game of chess. He is playing like a grandmaster that can see the entire board, and is always several moves ahead of the competition.
This Broncos team is on pace to break all kinds of NFL records including, points scored, passing yards, and passing touchdowns.
Did I mention the Eagles are 29th in passing yards? They are allowing 323 passing yards per game and nearly 28 points per game. It wouldn’t shock me at all to see Manning pass for 500 yards and 5 touchdowns this week! The Eagles are professionals so nothing is guaranteed, but football fans have to know that Manning is must see TV! Watching Denver do work on the opposition this season is priceless.
Matchup No. 1 - Jimmy Graham vs. all Miami Dolphin defenders: This has to be the No. 1 matchup this week. The New Orleans Saints host the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football In the only matchup between two undefeated teams.
Drew Brees is known for spreading the ball around to the open wide receiver. But this season he has zeroed in on Jimmy Graham. Graham leads the Saints in targets, catches, yards, first downs, and touchdowns. He also is top 5 overall in targets, catches, yards, first downs, and touchdowns. He is a true elite receiver.
Quite simply Graham is having an outstanding year and every Dolphin defender is going to have their hands full trying to contain him this week. Graham has rare physical gifts at 6’7” and 265 pounds.
He is far too big and powerful for cornerbacks and safeties. Graham also possesses great athleticism and speed, so linebackers and lineman have no chance on staying with Graham. The Dolphins' ability to contain Graham will be the deciding factor on the outcome of this football game.