NFL Week 5: Most Intriguing Matchups
Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots
The 13th edition of Manning vs. Brady takes on a new look this time around as Peyton Manning suits up in a Denver Broncos uniform. Other than that, don’t expect much to change. Coming into this week 5 matchup, the two first ballot Hall of Famers have almost matching stats. Tom Brady’s QB Rating sits at 102.4 with 7 TDs and 1 INT. Manning on the other hand owns a QB Rating of 96.9 with 8 TDs and 3 INTs.
New England manhandled a much different Denver Broncos team last January 45-10 to send the Patriots to the AFC Championship game. However, in addition to the Manning signing, the Broncos made a slew of offseason pickups including CB Tracy Porter, S Mike Adams, TE Jacob Tamme, and WR Brandon Stokley.
Tom Brady owns the better head to head record at 8-4, but Manning has won 4 of the last 6. The much improved Broncos secondary (and defense in general) should give Tom Brady a much bigger headache than it did last season and make for one heck of a game.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Michael Vick’s Philadelphia Eagles will stay within friendly confines of Pennsylvania this weekend when they travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers. The Steelers are a surprising 1-2 and will look to rebound coming off the bye week. Even though Ben Rothlisberger is completing almost 70% of his passes so far this season, he will take all the help he can get trying to find holes in the stingy Philadelphia defense. The return of Rashard Mendenhall may be just what he needs. With Mendenall out, the Steelers have ranked 31st in the NFL in rushing—look for that to change.
The Eagles turned the ball over 12 times in their first four games, but have somehow managed to get to 3-1. Last week’s defeat of the New York Giants was their most impressive outing yet and Andy Reid will look to carry the momentum over to Pittsburgh. Michael Vick hasn’t exactly been lights out so far this season, tallying 6 INTs and just 4 TDs, but they’ve put it together when it matters. Pittsburgh doesn’t lose at home very often, and to the Eagles even less. That being said, the Steelers defense is banged up and Michael Vick may be able to sneak out of the pocket for a couple of lengthy scampers.
The Steelers have won 9 of their last 10 at home, but if Philly can get to Big Ben early and often, look for the Eagles defense to set the tone for the game. This game should play out in traditional Steelers/Eagles fashion and go down to the wire.
San Diego vs. New Orleans
The New Orleans Saints will look to avoid going 0-5 (yes, you read that right) when they play host to the AFC West leading San Diego Chargers Sunday night. After dominating the Chiefs last week, the Chargers will try and pick up some steam against a vulnerable Saints defense. And by vulnerable, I mean atrocious, dreadful and embarrassing. The Saints are allowing a league worst 463 yards per game—that’s 40 more than the 31st ranked Tennessee Titans. The key to the Charger’s success has to be their running game, which is really coming into its own as of late. A balanced attack from San Diego could keep the Saints on their heels again.
Drew Brees and his offense appeared to get on the same page last week against Green Bay, but they have yet to close out a game the way they did under Sean Payton. Brees can break Johnny Unitas’ record this week with a TD pass in 48 straight games, but rest assured Brees is much more worried about a different record and that is getting to 1-4. The league is allowing Sean Payton to attend the game amidst a one-year suspension and I’m sure he would love nothing more than to watch the Saints gain some traction.