Manning, Giants hope bye week helps them against Pack
By JOHN KRYK, QMI Agency
|New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) looks to pass while playing against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter of their NFL football game in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 30, 2012. (REUTERS/Tim Shaffer)
THE FOUR BIG GAMES ON SUNDAY:
1. Green Bay Packers (7-3) at New York Giants (6-4)
This primetime matchup of the last two Super Bowl champions has several intriguing storylines. For Green Bay, revenge has to be a big motivator. Coming off their 15-1 regular season, the Packers were embarrassed by the Giants at Lambeau Field in the playoffs. Eli Manning and the Giants offence are hoping a restful bye week will help them rediscover rhythm and effectiveness.
2. San Francisco 49ers (7-2-1) at New Orleans Saints (5-5)
A month ago this was setting up to be a 49ers blowout of epic proportions. It still might be, unless the bad Saints defence can somehow slow down Frank Gore and the mean-ass 49ers rushing attack. Frisco QB Colin Kaepernick probably will shine, if he indeed starts ahead of a healthy Alex Smith. Saints QB Drew Brees is rolling, but so is the 49ers pass rush.
3. Minnesota Vikings (6-4) at Chicago Bears (7-3)
In the span of 15 days, the Bears could drop from being one of the best two or three teams in the NFL to third place in the NFC North. Bears QB Jason Campbell, temping for the concussed Jay Cutler, has to show a lot more. Completing passes downfield would help. The Bears D must rough up wildly inconsistent Vikings QB Christian Ponder, because Adrian Peterson is the best – and hottest – running back in the NFL and will get his yards.
4. Atlanta Falcons (9-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4)
It’s no fluke what the Bucs are doing under rookie head coach Greg Schiano. They run the ball effectively with rookie Doug Martin and QB Josh Freeman has been solid most of the time – a killer in the clutch. The Bucs have won four straight, and what better way for them to show everyone they’re for real than by beating their NFC South nemesis?
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4)
Should the Steelers fall to 6-5 heading into their grudge match in Baltimore next Sunday, they might well find themselves three games behind the Ravens. And then even if they beat the Ravens, they’d still be two games behind Baltimore in the AFC North with only four games to go. Thus, the Steelers must win in Cleveland, behind QB Charlie Batch.
MONDAY NIGHT MATCHUP
Carolina Panthers (2-8) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-7)
Playoff matchups aren’t exactly hanging on the result of this one. Nick Foles is expected to get career start No. 2 for the Eagles. If he again cannot muster much offence, hooboy, the boobirds in Philly are gonna get sore throats early. Cam Newton needs to shine to erase the stink of his last primetime performance, against the Giants in September.