This weeks NFL action features 2 likely playoff teams, 2 teams on the cusp of a wildcard position and a blockbuster battle between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning
San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs
When and Where: Monday November 25, Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Coverage: LIVE on Fox Sports 2 (via Foxtel), 5:00 AM AEST
Both teams in this matchup will be looking to bounce back from disappointing losses last week. The Chiefs loss to Denver is a major blow to their Super Bowl contentions, potentially loosing that No. 1 seed means giving up the advantage the very loud Arrowhead Stadium gives them. The Chargers meanwhile could not get it together against a team in trauma, the Miami Dolphins.
A win is very important for both teams. A loss for the Chargers will potentially rule them out of playoff contention and a loss for the Chiefs will distinguish any hopes of the No.1 seed. Despite their loss last week, the Chiefs still showed why they went undefeated for nine weeks. The defense should be able to get the quarterback this week as the Chargers O-Line has its weaknesses. Phillip Rivers, as good as he, will not be able to release the ball as fast as Peyton Manning did last week and thus Kansas should rack up some sacks.
To counter the Chiefs monster defense, the Chargers should utilize its best weapon and he currently stands at five foot eight - Danny Woodhead. Woodhead has an uncanny ability to make a defender miss and with some quick backfield passes - similar to what Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles do for New Orleans - should get plenty of yardage. The Chiefs do struggle in stopping the run, they are ranked 21st in the NFL in rush defense, and with so many injuries at receiver the Chargers should look to its two running backs to help win this key game.
Watch Out For: Tamba Hali. The explosive linebacker has recorded a sack in his last two games against the Chiefs and will be hungry for one after producing a bagel last week. Hali will put pressure on Rivers all game.
Final Word and Prediction: The Chiefs have not lost at home all year and will be roaring to go after that loss last week. Their defense should be too much for the Chargers and they will come up with yet another win.
Chiefs 31 - 14
Indianapolis Colts @ Arizona Cardinals
When and Where: Monday November 25, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
Coverage: LIVE on FoxSports 2 (via Foxtel), 8:30 AM AEST
The Colts will travel to former Head Coach Bruce Arians new home in what should be quite an interesting game. Arians knows all about Andrew Luck and the Colts offense from his time replacing Chuck Pagano during his Cancer treatment. Arizona are a surprising 6-4 and are in a playoff race for the sixth seed with San Francisco and Chicago.
The Arizona Cardinals defense is one of the best in the NFL especially against the run, they are ranked second in the NFL in rush defense, luckily for the Colts they cant run the football. After trying to run early with Trent Richardson and Donald Brown, the Colts will have to abandon the run and use their best asset, Andrew Luck. Luck should be able to throw on the Arizona secondary but just not to T.Y Hilton who will be covered by the ball hawking Patrick Peterson. Luck will have to get help from Coby Fleener and Darrius Heyward Bey who both have been inconsistent this season.
Arizona meanwhile have had their struggles offensively this season. Carson Palmer has been a fantastic upgrade at quarterback and Larry Fitzgerald has had some superb games. Their rushing attack has been below average, they only managed 0.6 yards a carry last week against the Jaguars. The Colts defense has been quietly okay this season compared to the Manning/Caldwell era. They have managed to shutdown Peyton Manning at times but then allowed Case Keenum to play lights out. Which Indianapolis defense shows up may determine who wins this game.
Watch Out For: CB Vontae Davis. Davis has the job of marking Larry Fitzgerald. Davis was superb against Demaryius Thomas but struggled against Andre Johnson. Davis will need to play like he did against Denver to shut down the all star receiver.
Final Word and Prediction: I expect this match to be a very close game. Arizona are no easy beats and the Colts have gotten off to very slow starts since the loss of Reggie Wayne. Tennessee and Houston are no Arizona though and a slow start against them reeks of a surprise loss. Arizona to win this one.
Arizona 24 - Colts 21