Check Out Intriguing Games #10-6: Catch Part 1
5. Week 8 (October 26 – London, England): San Diego Chargers/New Orleans Saints – Everybody loves a high-scoring affair and this match-up between the West Coast’s finest and the squad from the Big Easy will not disappoint. Brees going up against his former team and Tomlinson vs. Bush will top the headlines, and you can expect this game to be much better than last season’s snoozefest of Giants/Dolphins (13-10) in London. Both teams will have “cakewalks” the week before (SD: @Buffalo, NO: @Carolina) and will be fresh, rested, and ready to go – so I look for this to be an exciting, back ‘n forth showdown that will have the folks in Great Britain out of their seats for the most of the game, and you should pumped up for this battle that will feature two of the hottest offenses in the NFL. Also throw in the fact that the Saints defense has improved and S.D. has a stingy defense that will match up well, giving N.O. a tough challenge, and you have the best 2008 AFC/NFC clash.
4. Week 17 (December 28): Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers – Not only is this one of the best rivalries in the game but you have to believe the winner of this one could determine the AFC North Champion. So combine the intensity of a rivalry with a playoff-like atmosphere that will decide a division winner, you have a battle that will come down to the wire and you can expect the some old-fashioned hard hitting football to be involved. Every other game will either have no playoff implications whatsoever, or the game will have star players resting (other than: Dallas @ Philly) for the Playoffs, where you will only see ’em for one quarter at the most. Both Pittsburgh and Cleveland will have ample time to think about each other also, with more than a 3-month span between the time they knock heads again (Sunday Nite Week 2 in Cleveland), so you better believe this game will have more than the usual stirred up emotions, as both these teams will be fired up. More than ever, it’s a winner move on loser go home type of game, so you can expect this to be the Sunday Nite contest (TBD). On top of that, the weather will be sloppy (Heinz Field), it will be a rough defensive battle, and one team will be seeking obvious revenge from Week 2 – so look out for some swinging and pre-game trash talking!
3. Week 16 (Thurs. December 18): Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars – NFL Network will have their hands full! Colts/Jaguars, unless the Tennessee Titans have a say, will be neck and neck positioning for the AFC South crown in ’08 and this game may preview the title on the line, for whoever wins captures the AFC South. It will have the feel of a 1-game elimination and Jacksonville feels it’s their time and they are the better team, ready to take over the Colts. Indy on the other hand, will have to go on the road to possibly win the AFC South and stop the always improving, revamped Jaguars. Expect this contest to be even better than the previous games in past years between these two because we know, Indy knows, and Jacksonville does – this is their best year to take over Indy, and it’s now or never, and being at home will give them a legitimate chance to win the Division against Manning and Co. Indy’s speedy defense against the potent 1-2 punch of Jones-Drew/Taylor will be loads of fun to watch and this a can’t-miss game! I feel Jacksonville getting closer challenging Indy’s reign at top and they have the weapons on offense to get the job done but will the Colts offense be too much for the Jags on defense once again…? Just thinking of this divisional match-up is great but wait for the game and see if the new sheriffs in town are ready to unseat the defending champs who have been in control since Tony Dungy took over the headset!
2. Week 6 – New England Patriots @ San Diego Chargers/ Week 9 – New England Patriots @ Indianapolis Colts – Ya know I had to include these two mega match-ups! Thrilling, super-sized showdowns that you rate at the top of any schedule for a list of the best games in ’08 – but which one is better? I couldn’t decide so I combined both at put ’em at #2. Which one do you think is the most “intriguing” game? I’d have to say still Colts/Patriots because when you have Belichick/Dungy at the helm that’s the ultimate chess match and Brady vs. Manning has probably become the best all-time QB match-up ever. Though you could make a case for the Chargers and say they beat the Colts and are getting better, as now maybe they are the ones challenging N.E’s supremacy atop the AFC. Anyways, what excites me about Chargers/Patriots is how well the defenses play against each other and how it comes down to who executes better in the 2nd half and who flinches first, making a mistake at the most vital, key moment of the game. With the game usually providing a slower-paced tempo, it turns into an all-out battle at the end to see who will win (ex. ’06 Divisional Playoffs) and I love how SD hits NE in the mouth first and just to see how the Pats respond and continue to win and go at it against the most talented team in the NFL is great because it shows you that the team with the most talent does not always win. Colts/Patriots – where do you start? Colts play Pats a little different nowadays as their defense has stepped it up a notch, and that makes the Indy defense the key, as the opposing defenses are always the difference (ex. Giants DL/Front 7) in the game when you go up against Brady and his great OL. You need to get pressure to beat NE and I love how the Colts run the ball more (still need to do some more of that…) and bring it to NE’s wideouts with physical, aggressive secondary play. Can we see another 8-0 Colts/ 8-0 Patriots mid-season Super Bowl…? Colts are at home again and Joseph Addai is the X-factor and if Indy feeds him the rock more they will see better results – but until now, everyone’s gunning for Brady, Belichick, and the hated Pats and it always makes for a close contest – and by the way – both games are on Sunday Nite! Can you already feel the excitement!?!
1. Week 15 (December 14): New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys – The best Playoff game last season! New York/Green Bay is a close second… But who would of thought that N.Y. could go into Big D and take it to the powerful Cowboys offense, shutting ’em completely down in the 2nd half after losing both games in the regular season to ’em (76 points allowed)? I mean that game just made the Playoffs for me (sorry Dallas fans) and it goes to show the regular season means nothing… Well not exactly because I see this Week 15 showdown determining the NFC East Division Winner (why not?) and Dallas will be ready to treat N.Y. with a loss, looking to avenge last season’s debacle, trying to take out the Champs, as the Giants come back to where they ended the ‘Boys dream season in ’07 and where they catapulted their dream season! Giants are going to be running the football all day long with Jacobs/Bradshaw and they will definitely bring the defensive pressure/heat at Romo and it will be a blast to watch and see what Dallas does and if they can re-gain their “swagger” against the Super Bowl Champions! NY defense vs. Dallas offense match-up last season was brilliant to watch as a football fan and I expect a big-time rivalry game in Week 14. Giants have the bulls eye set on ’em and Dallas wants to prove they are not a fluke! Manning vs. Romo, NY DL vs. Dallas OL (Ultimate Match-up), with emotions and intensity running throughout – this is my most “Intriguing” game of 2008!
New York Giants 24 Dallas Cowboys 19