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NFL Match-Up Mania: Week 10

As NFL weeks go, it’s inevitable that at some point in every season that we get a schedule that appears slow or boring. Granted, for some of us hardcore fans, there is no such thing as a slow week — because football. But for the fan that needs to make maximum use of their precious weekend to see the best of the best, that’s why Match-Up Mania is here. This Week 10 edition of The Student of the Game’s Match-Up Mania continues its mission to remind you that there’s still plenty of awesome to observe.

Niners v. Saints

I’ve come to notice that when a game is decided by an official throwing the flag, the penalty assessed is thereafter known as a “controversial call” by the media and public. Truth is, sometimes the laundry in question is necessary. It is an effort to keep a team from stealing a victory due to an undeserving effort to score points or keep them off the board. When these teams met last year was, in fact, not one of those times.

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That game was decided by a controversial illegal contact penalty that was thrown when Niners linebacker Ahmad Brooks hit Saints quarterback in the shoulder on a sack. Something tells me that every member of the San Francisco defense is ready to exact revenge for this bitter memory.

However, stopping opponents from scoring has never been a problem for the 49ers. It’s losing 13-10 to the Rams in Week 9, for example, that seems to be the issue. The Guardians of the Golden Gate are one of the NFL’s worst teams at scoring in the Red Zone. As a result, their scoring relies entirely too much on kicker Phil Dawson.

On the other hand, New Orleans has multiple options to consistently find their way into the endzone. I’m picking the Saints to lose at home in the Superdome, but I won’t be surprised if they send the city of St Francis to a 4-5 record in Week 10 if they score more field goals than touchdowns.

Panthers v. Eagles

This game is intriguing for two reasons. For one, with his first NFL start in Philly’s shade of green, Mark Sanchez is stepping in as signal caller for the Nick Foles due to a broken collar bone. This will be a testimony to the offensive prowess of head coach Chip Kelly if the man known as “The Sanchize” for the New York Jets returns to form for Philadelphia. It will also be helpful to keep pace in the race for the NFC East with the Cowboys.

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The Panthers have had their own struggles in 2014. Seeming to have limped past the injury bug at 3-5-1, they still have a fighting chance to win the NFC South despite losing to New Orleans last Thursday, especially if they take advantage of the Eagles and the current first place Saints lose to the Niners.

The problem Carolina faces is that regardless of injury, their defense isn’t close to what it was in 2013. A troubling prospect when facing the Eagle offense. . . But maybe with back-up Sanchez in the game and their defensive captain, linebacker Demico Ryan’s out for the year, Cam Newton and the Panthers find a way to win.

Bears v. Packers

I give Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall credit for succinctly speaking the status of his squad’s performance in but a single word — “Unacceptable”. After showing out as obvious playoff picks to start the year, the Bears are more “bad news” than any team with Walter Matthau coaching (yet not quite as bad as a Billy Bob Thorton remake. . . for now). Yet somehow, I’m unable to just assume victory for the Packers.

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Don’t get it twisted, folks. I’m still one of these guys who thinks that Aaron Rodgers deserves to be just as famous as a quarterback as he is for being “pumped up” by Hans and Franz in State Farm Discount Double Check commercials. . . but within the league’s oldest rivalry, there are no guarantees. It wouldn’t be the first time a seemingly superior squad comes into to this game and gets upset.

Sure, I don’t see that happening. But the Bears better prove me wrong if Chicago wishes to avoid rowing their boat gently down the loser stream instead of a postseason sunset.

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.

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