Wednesday, October 28, 2009

NFC Prime Time Games

This past week ended with two much anticipated primetime games. On Sunday night, the Arizona Cardinals took on the New York Giants, and on Monday night, the Philadelphia Eagles took on the Washington Redskins. A lot was expected of both games, and both of them delivered.

As for the Sunday night game, a lot of people had their eye on the New York Giants, seeing if they could rebound from their embarrassing week six blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints by taking on another formidable offense in the Cardinals. The Cardinals came in at 3-2, seemingly having to prove to people that last season wasn't a fluke. The Giants, at 5-1, had to show why they were considered one of the top teams in the NFC as well. I expected quite a high scoring affair, but I would be disappointed. Instead of a high-flying performance by many young wide receiver superstars, it was the running games and defenses that showed up. Both Beanie Wells and Brandon Jacobs showed good vision and power as they both had decent nights on the ground, but neither one of them was utilized as much as I thought they should have been, especially when they got off to such great starts. Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin combined for nine catches and 158 yards, which is a decent night combined, but not quite the show that we wanted to see. And for the Giants, the ball was distributed quite evenly, with Hakeem Nicks being their top receiver, hauling in a touchdown where the ball got tipped by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie but ended up in Nicks' hands.

Both quarterbacks threw the ball a lot, with Eli Manning getting the short end of the stick by getting picked off three times. His final interception came with 1:08 left in the game, which put a stop to any last minute comeback that the Giants were hoping for. Arizona's defense showed that they can be a force to be reckoned with, and if the offense continues to get in rhythm, they could be a tough team down the stretch.

As for the Monday night game, it was a chance for one of two teams to rebound after coming off of embarrassing losses to sub-par teams. The Eagles had just lost to the Oakland Raiders, who seem like the laughing stock of the league this season, and the Redskins gave yet another team their first win of the season by loosing to the Kansas City Chiefs in week six. This game went about as expected as the Eagles prevailed in a somewhat boring game. Thank God for DeSean Jackson who provided some excitement by scoring two times, once on a 67-yard run and another on a 57-yard catch from Donavan McNabb. He also added some decent kickoff returns. Besides Jackson, the Eagles offense looked rather flat, and if it weren't for the Eagles' defense picking off Jason Campbell for another touchdown, the Redskins might have been able to steal the victory. But the Eagles were able to hold on and win. However, they may have lost at the same time as Brian Westbrook got injured, looking rather shook up as he was helped off of the field in the first half. Hopefully LeSean McCoy can fill his shoes. McCoy has done a decent job this season, but we'll see when the Eagles take in the Giants this upcoming Sunday.

After these two NFC Prime Time games, it still remains to be seen if any of these teams are in the elite class of the NFC. Obviously, the Giants and Cardinals are almost there, but you still have to like the Minnesota Vikings (who barely lost to the Steelers) and the New Orleans Saints (who had to come back late to beat the Dolphins) as the favorites to make it to the NFC Championship game. But as I have said before, it is early still, and the NFL season is a long and grueling one. A lot can happen between now and January, so a lot of things are going to shake out in the next few weeks.

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