NGSC Sports

NFL Match-Up Mania: Week 6

By @TheSoTG

I’m taking this opportunity now to apologize to any NFL fans who live in Texas. Despite defending Dallas QB Tony Romo and my fascination with Houston Defensive lineman JJ Watt, I had virtually zero belief in either the Houston Texans or the Dallas Cowboys for 2014. Both teams, as of now, have impressive records where on September 1st I thought an 8-8 listing would be considered overachievement. They have beaten weaker teams that I said they’d struggle with. They are competing in divisions where I said they would be pointless. How wrong I may be precisely in my preseason predictions will be evaluated in the Week 6 edition of the Student of the Game’s Match-Up Mania.

Colts v. Texans

“The Colts defense isn’t very good.” I put this in quotes because it’s a concept I have been professing through the 2014 editions of the MuM. Defensive End Robert Mathis is out for the year, and arguably their best defensive player beyond him, LaRon Landry is suspended 4 weeks as well. It’s an opportunity for a signal caller of low caliber like Houton’s Ryan Fitzpatrick to put up points on the board vs. Indy’s Andrew Luck.

[airesizeimg src=”$-300×200$.jpg” alt=”Houston Texans defensive weapon J.J. Watt” class=”alignnone size-medium wp-image-6536″ ]

But what do the Texans have that might slow them down. OK . . . if you don’t know this, it’s time for me to pull you out from whatever rock you crawled under and tell you — JJ Watt. This D-line threat has Hall of Fame potential all over him already in his 4th year as a player — I don’t exactly know what the Colts O-Line can do up front to stop him.

Luck won’t go down without a fight and the Colts are my pick to win the game, but with this game happening in Houston, I see upset potential here.

Cowboys v. Seahawks

So finally we have the real test of the stampeding Cowboys. 4-1 and surprising the football world doing it. After being dominated in Week 1 by San Francisco, the revamped offensive line had revived running back DeMarco Murray and protected field general Tony Romo even from the likes of JJ Watt in Week 5’s OT win over the Texans. But JJ Watt is one of a few of elite defensive threats on Houston’s squad while the entire Seahawks’ crew is spotted with stars.

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This young O-line will need to account for Bruce Irvin, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Bobby Wagner, and Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith in the pass push. And that’s before we even mention their world famous secondary.

Moreover, while the Seattle offense has slumped at times in 2014, they don’t tend to do that at Century Link field in front of their crowd dubbed “the 12th Man”.

While Dallas’ defense is improved, they gave up 157 yards to Arian Foster. What can they do to stop Marshawn Lynch in Beast Mode? Or Percy Harvin as a utility threat? Or Russel Wilson as a guy who doesn’t turnover the football. Sure, I think Dallas will lose. . . But it answers the questions of whether they might have a shot to win in January.

Honorable Mention

Giants v. Eagles

The NFC (L)East is a division I have written off early in the season. Yet I still respect the Cowboys are doing better than expected, the Giants are showing sign of life and the Eagles are doing pretty much we thought they would. (Yes, I am leaving out the Redskins. . .) . This match represents a division match up with playoff implications, but I am more curious to see if the Giants resurgence is legit.

[airesizeimg src=”$-214×300$.jpg” alt=”2012_Packers_vs_Giants_-_Eli_Manning_3″ class=”alignnone size-medium wp-image-6131″ ]

Granted, what the Giants will do next is as much a mystery as some of the plot twists on hit TV shows like the X-Files or Lost.   If you are able to predict when the Giants will play to their potential and when they will come out flat, consider playing the lottery as well. One concept that is hardly an enigma is New York’s passing success is directly related to whether quarterback Eli Manning has received solid running support from Rashad Jennings and company. With the Eagles so bad against the run on defense (again), I would not be shocked that this becomes a shootout of Eli vs. Philadelphia’s Nick Foles.

This means that the Giants defense will have to show up simultaneously with their offense if they wish to beat Eagles’ coach Chip Kelly’s system. This has the potential to be a game the Giants can win, but they need to show up to do it. I’m picking the Eagles to earn the “W”, but I do warn fans of the city of brotherly love to keep the antacids close by just in case.

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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.

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