NGSC Sports

NFL Match-Up Mania: Week 3

It’s not often that I brag, but while I’m doing a bad job of picking winners of games in weekly previews, I’m quite proud of the job I’m doing picking features worth watching for the Student of the Game’s Match-Up Mania. Sure, I’m wrong about the victor, but I still feel like I’ve won planning my week (and hopefully helping you plan yours) around the games listed here. Now if anyone can tell me how to better predict performance of quarterbacks not named Peyton Manning, maybe I’d be better in my pick ’em segment during the week. (Although with the controversy surrounding Monday’s outcome with the Colts and Eagles, maybe not . . .)  In any case, on to Week 3.

Broncos v. Seahawks

It’s chiseled in the wall of cave somewhere in stone. “If there is to be a Super Bowl rematch early in the NFL season immediately following, then thou shalt feature it in the Match-Up Mania”. (I was just as surprised as the archaeologists that found this scripture to see a mention of the Match-Up Mania thousands of years before its existence.) The author of said commandment is unknown, but this person has made selecting this game an essential rule to media hype.

None the less, I don’t blame the non-believers out there who might be less excited about this contest. The previous clash in the last year’s championship wasn’t competitive as the Seahawks defense swarmed about bucking and breaking the Broncos in a 48-6 smackdown that left a mark while also being completely forgettable. It reasonably begs the question for the upcoming pairing: What would be different this time when these squads collide?

The major additions to the roster at Mile High feature Demarcus Ware at defensive end, cornerback Aqib Talib, and TJ Ward as an upgrade at safety. All moves that improve the team, but do nothing to improve the ability to move the football.

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On offense, Peyton Manning can pass the ball to his new receiver Emanuel Sanders as a change, but that doesn’t do a thing to stop the jail break the took place in the Bronco backfield on virtually every snap in 2014’s Super Bowl that led to a defensive player, LB Malcolm Smith, to the game’s MVP honors. That’s also while playing without Wes Welker who was out due to concussion concerns from the preseason in 2014.

The only thing that will be different that may directly impact holding the ‘Hawks back as harbingers of haunting memories for Denver is the return of offensive left tackle, Ryan Clady. That being said, it is my belief that he will improve the chances of last season’s AFC Champions, but only enough to keep Seattle’s win to closer score than a 42 point differential..

Niners v Cardinals

Countless predictions for the NFC West had the 49ers and Seahawks at the top of the NFL’s best defensive division. But after the both teams lost this past Sunday fell to 1-1, the 2-0 Cardinals now have an opportunity to put San Francisco in a compromised position and pull to an early lead in the division.

Arizona isn’t a surprise as a good team, but beating the Niners in a divisional game is a first step in the season long campaign to dethrone Seattle as the defending NFC West champs and mount a charge to go a couple of rounds deep into post season play and completely shocking the football public.

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After a mistake-fest against the Bears where everyone looked sloppy (even the officials), the 49ers would be in a difficult spot to overcome a 1-2 record and try to get to the post season should they repeat that performance.

If the Cardinals protect back up signal caller Drew Stanton and he completes passes to receivers Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd or Pittsburgh State rookie John Brown on offense while stopping San Francisco’s Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde on the ground, 3-0 may be a possibility. However, if Niner quarterback Colin Kaepernick has a bounce back Week 3, he’s enough of an X-factor to get the Red and Gold get back on track at 2-1.

Honorable Mention

Chargers v. Bills

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Who had the Bills at 2-0 back in August looking at the schedule? . . . Now put your hand down because the answer is NO ONE! With Buffalo playing against a San Diego team fresh of off beating the defending Super Bowl Champion Seahawks, the Chargers represent the first real chance to prove the Bills are a legitimate AFC threat. Granted, stopping field general Philip Rivers and the San Diego offense renders quite a challenge, but I’m anxious to see if EJ Manual can compete in a pass happy shootout against Rivers . . . or at least make it interesting.

Author Profile

Kyle NashThe Student of the Game
Host of the Student of The Game Podcast Monday @ 7:30pm EST
Writer for NGSC Sports
Narrator of Sport Symposium on NGSC Sports YouTube Channel. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLSMS502kM7IMxFj7jf5ih5mTbFS_-9HJL

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