One-fifth of the league is on BYE this week (Falcons, Bills, Bears, Lions, Packers, Titans) so quite a few fans out there will be on the prowl for other interesting match-ups to follow in week 9.
Here are three you really shouldn’t miss:
1. Broncos @ Patriots – Stay up all night if you have to because the rematch from last year’s AFC Championship is going to be a doozy.
New England started the season out on shaky knees but have now won four straight games and boast the NFL’s third-highest scoring offense (29.8 points). Brady and Belichick have squashed all rumors concerning the end of their AFC East dynasty and are proving to be a Super Bowl favorite regardless of their lack of big-name talent aside from Brady and Gronk.
Of course, #3 in points is still two slots below Denver at numero uno (32.0).
But both high-powered offenses could be forced to change game-plans should several inches of snow dump down on Gillette Field.
— CSNNE.com (@CSNNE) October 27, 2014
Don’t be surprised if this isn’t the last time these two teams meet in 2014.
2. Saints @ Panthers – New Orleans is coming off a huge blowout win over the Green Bay Packers and despite their winning record they’ll take over first place in the NFC South should they win in Carolina.
The NFC South is easily the league’s most disappointing division from top to bottom. All four teams have combined for just nine wins and everyone but the Saints is riding a two-plus game losing streak.
But the division champ will still qualify for the post-season, making this game an interesting match-up that is sure to be a battle.
The Panthers were only able to muster three field goals last week at home against a struggling Seahawks defense. They’ll need to get into the end zone if they hope to outscore Brees and the Saints.
I love my team. We will continue to improve and wins will come.
— Drew Brees (@drewbrees) October 20, 2014
3. Cardinals @ Cowboys – Last week Dallas had their six-game win streak snapped against the lowly Redskins. This Sunday they’ll have their hands full if they want to avoid dropping two straight.
Arizona (6-1) is arguably the best team in the NFC and is ranked third in the NFL against the run, allowing just 77.9 rushing yards per game.
DeMarco Murray has rushed for 100+ yards in every single game this season. It will be interesting to see how Romo (if he’s able to go) and Dez Bryant respond should their workhouse back finally meet his match.