Bryan Altman, CBS Local Sports
Rejoice America, the weekend is almost here, which of course means that it’s almost time for Sunday football. Our weekend of football got off to a solid start on Thursday night with a tightly contested game between the Colts and the Texans. Sure, it was pretty poorly played, and yeah, Ryan Mallett sure seemed like he was hoping his team wouldn’t complete the comeback in the end as Brian Hoyer lead them down the field, but on the whole it was an entertaining game.
I wouldn’t say this weekend has the sexiest matchups of all of the weekends of football, but there are definitely some sneaky good games on the docket for Sunday. Let’s take a look at the five best games you’ll want to make sure to catch this weekend.
1. Seahawks (2-2) @ Bengals (4-0) – Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET
Regardless of how you feel about the way things ended on Monday night (note: here’s how I feel about it), the Seahawks have life at 2-2. They almost, and arguably should have lost to the Lions at home, but that’s not the way it went down and now Seattle has the chance to really make a statement against the Bengals, who have probably been the most impressive team in the AFC thus far.
This is also a big statement game for the Bengals, who have been sensational offensively thanks largely to Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. But the Bengals haven’t seen a defense like Seattle’s this season and it could be tough sledding for Dalton and Co. against the Seahawks’ scary secondary.
Either way, this is your prototypical unstoppable force vs. immovable object game. Great offense vs. great defense – who wins? I’m leaning Seahawks, but can’t wait to find out.
2. Rams (2-2) @ Packers (4-0) – Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET
Pardon the obligatory self-congratulations here, but I had a feeling St. Louis would give Arizona a run for their money last week, and we all know how that turned out. I’m not as optimistic about the Rams’ chances of springing another huge upset on the road, but I wouldn’t be shocked either. The Rams are good, and this is another chance for them to prove just how good they are.
Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers is just a freak. And at Lambeau field, the man is practically unbeatable, which makes sense considering he hasn’t thrown an interception at home since dinosaurs roamed the Earth, or something along those lines.
One key matchup to watch here will be Todd Gurley against the Packers’ suspect run defense. The Packers rank 30th in rushing yards per attempt on defense, so if Gurley can gash them it’ll not only lead to points, but to Rodgers languishing on the bench. If the Rams can do that, anything can happen.
3. Broncos (4-0) @ Raiders (2-2) – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
The Raiders are still a bit of an enigma, but then again, so is the 39 year old edition of Peyton Manning. Derek Carr and his newest weapon, rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper, have been a match made in silver and black heaven, but their 2-2 record could be deceiving. Wins over the Ravens and the Browns in back-to-back weeks look less impressive coming off a bad loss to the Chicago Bears, but beating the Broncos would be a truly massive statement to the AFC West and the AFC as well.
Even though the Raiders have been scoring points, they’ll definitely be hard to come by against a Broncos defense that might be the best in the league and is averaging over four sacks per game.
On the flip side, the Raiders defense has been solid against the run but are susceptible to the pass. The question, which I can’t believe we actually have to ask, is whether or not Manning can take advantage. Something tells me the Raiders are primed to spring the upset in this one.
4. Patriots (3-0) @ Cowboys (2-2) – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
Right now, things are looking bad for the Cowboys on multiple levels. Greg Hardy is not a great person, Jerry Jones isn’t helping the cause at all, and the Cowboys are coming off a bad loss to the then-winless New Orleans Saints. Oh yeah, and they’re still without Dez Bryant and Tony Romo.
Then you have the New England Patriots, who have looked like world beaters the first three weeks of the season and are coming off a bye week. There is definitely potential for this one to get ugly very quickly.
However, the Cowboys do have the benefit of being home and maybe the Pats will be a bit sluggish coming off the bye.
On the other hand, maybe Tom Brady actually did take Hardy’s comments personally and has added him to his list of people that he’s going to stick it to this season. In case you were wondering, the other name on the list would be Roger Goodell’s.
5. Saints (1-3) @ Eagles (1-3) – Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET
The 2015 Chip Kelly lead Eagles are the most entertaining team in the league. Everything they do and every game they play is a must watch event and this game is no different. Maybe the most interesting thing about the Eagles is that a substantial amount of knowledgeable people are still kind of waiting/expecting them to wake up. Somehow there’s still a belief that this team will shake off the cobwebs, win their division and be the team everyone thought they would be at the beginning of the year.
Alternatively, the Saints, who have the same record as the Eagles, have pretty much been written off by everyone even after beating the Cowboys last Sunday night.
Matchup wise, it’s almost a crapshoot to decipher who has the edge in this one because both teams have been so inconsistent. I don’t have faith in either of these teams, or the slightest clue as to who might win, but I think that’s what makes this game so exciting. Both of these teams could be good. They have talent and have good coaches, so which one gets it done on Sunday? Only one way to find out.
Bryan Altman is, for some reason, an unabashed fan of the Rangers, Jets and Mets. If he absolutely had to pick a basketball team it would be the Knicks, but he’d gladly trade them for just one championship for either of his other three teams.