Tony Romo, Jamaal Charles/Arian Foster/Le’Veon Bell/Dion Lewis Jordy Nelson, Kelvin Benjamin, Niles Paul. The 2015 All Injury Reserve Team would be better than the 2007 New England Patriots.
This week’s slab of Primetime games includes a highly anticipated matchup, and some trash teams meeting on Monday. Here are the previews of New England vs. Denver and Baltimore vs. Cleveland.
Sunday Night Preview: Brady vs. Osweiller, Part 1?
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning going head to head has always been must see TV. So what happened here? Manning has been terrible (and unhealthy) this season, finally giving Brock Osweiller the chance to start.
Osweiller’s debut against the Bears was effective but unspectacular, yet somehow he won the AFC Offensive Player of the Week over DeAndre Hopkins. This is why I don’t pay attention to those awards.
If Manning were healthy, he’d finally get to face NE at home. The last time NE met here, DEN won in the 2013 AFC Championship, one of Manning’s best postseason performances. That NE team was not healthy at the time, and they certainly aren’t now either. Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman, and Danny Amendola have been knocked out, and what are the odds Gronk would be the healthiest of the bunch?
But that’s been the case. Tom Brady has taken advantage of blown defensive coverages as per usual, but now he’s facing his toughest test. New Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has done a terrific job with this defense, and Von Miller, Chris Harris Jr, Aqib Talib, etc have excelled under his scheme. NE replaces players amazingly, but even Brady’s been struggling without his top playmakers.
The key to DEN stopping the offense is to contain the short passing bgame. Too many times it seems defenses play prevent against the Patriots offense, allowing Gronk, the toughest weapon to bring down, to get YAC. Force NE, a weak downfield team, to beat you there.
NE has been great this season, but they’ve had their share of luck. Last week they escaped with a win despite the controversial ending, they escaped the Giants despite Brady throwing a dropped INT that would have given NYG the win, they faced Dallas without Tony Romo, and witnessed the Colts melt down on themselves. This is a team you can’t give second chances to, and Denver’s offense has to step up with the Ronnie Hillman special.
I expect a slopfest on both sides, and another close Patriots victory. If Manning was still good (and active), this would be an easy Broncos victory. Sad isn’t it? He finally gets a great defense in the twilight of his career.
Typical Peyton Manning luck.
Monday Night Preview: Old Cleveland Vs. New Cleveland
A primetime game in Cleveland? What is this, 2008?
As a fan of the Browns, it’s been a long season for me. The defense isn’t performing anywhere near the usual standards, and the limited use of talented rookie Duke Johnson has frustrated me. Don’t even get me started on the QB situation.
What was supposed to be a game between Joe Flacco and Johnny Manziel is now Matt Schaub and Josh McCown after Flacco’s season ending tear in his ACL/MCL and Manziel’s off field issues. Baltimore is now without Flacco, Forsett, and Steve Smith, in addition to Terrell Suggs previously. I haven’t been big on Flacco this season, but he at least gave the Ravens several chances to win games this season. Schaub used to be a good quarterback until 2013 came out of nowhere. Combined with the Marc Trestman offense and it’s just a disaster.
The Browns have the chance to get their first sweep of the Ravens since 2007, the last time they truly had a good offense. Josh McCown should get started with Gary Barnidge and Travis Benjamin, who he’s had chemistry with this season, and I’d love to see Duke Johnson handled better, as he has been great as a receiving back.
Javorious Allen, the rookie, should be the focal point of Baltimore’s offense. The Ravens are known for excessive play action, and Schaub should also utilize the short game while also managing it behind Allen, or so I hope (Fantasy points). The Browns rush defense has been awful this season, so I expect big numbers.
Regardless, this will be a close, yet awful game that doesn’t really matter, and I (somehow) have the Browns winning this one. Naturally, they’ll give up 30 points or something like that to a depleted offense.
I will say it’s nice to have a home primetime game for once.