The big three NFL matchups

New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley, centre, runs for a third quarter first down as...

New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley, centre, runs for a third quarter first down as Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, left, and teammate Chris Harris try to bring him down in their NFL football game in Denver December 18, 2011. (REUTERS/Rick Wilking)

John Kryk, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:11 PM ET

STEVAN RIDLEY vs WILLIE McGAHEE

Everyone’s talking about Peyton Manning vs Tom Brady in the Broncos at Patriots game. And they’re right to do so. But it’s quite possible the team that wins this game is the one that runs the best. Only two backs in the league have more than 20 rushing first downs: New England’s Stevan Ridley (28) and Denver’s Willis McGahee (22).

 

DREW BREES vs. HIS OLD TEAM

If someone had told you in August that one of these teams would 3-1 and the other 0-4 when they met in New Orleans, well, this is Selection B. If Brees can’t beat his old team, the San Diego Chargers, then the Saints fall to 0-5 and officially can start pining for Sean Payton’s return next year. Speaking of the suspended head coach, the NFL is allowing him to watch from the stands.

 

BLAINE GABBERT vs SURVIVAL INSTINCTS

Only five NFL quarterbacks have been sacked more than the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Blaine Gabbert (12 times). Even the presence of one of the league’s best running backs (Maurice Jones-Drew) hasn’t been able to help Gabbert much, in this his second season. Worse news: only Cincinnati and Arizona have sacked the QB more than Jacksonville’s opponent, Chicago (15). Duck, Blaine.

 


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