UnMuzzled: Three Games to Watch This Sunday
Ten. That was number of opening games in a row that the Patriots had won.
Twelve percent. That’s the percentage of teams that have made the playoffs after starting 0-2 since this current playoff format began in 1990. In other words, Sunday’s visit to Minnesota is a pretty important one for the Patriots.
After seeming to run out of steam in the sweltering Miami heat the Patriots will have more seasonal weather on Sunday, forecast of mid 60s with chance of showers. They’ll also benefit from Gronk having the opportunity to shake the rust off in week one. The Vikings will look to do just what Miami did, beat the Patriots on the ground.
It’s worth noting the last time the Patriots did lose on opening day it was 31-0 to the Bills, a team they would beat by the same score the final game of the regular season. It was also half the losses they had the entire season on route to a Super Bowl victory, so don’t freak out quite yet Pats fans. Final Score Prediction: Patriots 31 – Vikings 21
Two of the teams given the best chances to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this year face off as the Bears head west to take on the 49ers on Sunday night. San Francisco started the season by taking advantage of a pathetic performance by Tony Romo and Cowboys and capitalizing on great opportunities.
Chicago on the other hand was dealt a surprise when the Bills came to town and spoiled opening day in front of the windy city faithful. I’ve already mentioned how many 0-2 teams make the playoffs and the Bears play in what looks to be one of the toughest divisions in football this year.
It’s a must win game for them but it could be tricky with both Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall questionable for the game. If Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde can run the ball like the Bills did against the Bears last week than Chicago could be in for a look day. Final Score Prediction: 49ers 28 – Bears 17
One of the most interesting games to me this weekend is Detroit vs. Carolina. These are two teams people still aren’t positive how to feel about.
The Lions cruised on Monday night against a terrible Giant’s team and Carolina won a tough divisional game without Cam Newton. Derek Anderson started in place of Newton last week and actually had a very strong game throwing for 230 and two touchdowns with no turnovers. Rookie Kelvin Benjamin out of Florida State kicked off his career with a bang by bringing in six catches for 92 years with one catch being an incredible touchdown grab.
However his day was nothing compared to Lion’s receiver Calvin Johnson. Megatron torched New York for 164 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches. If it hadn’t been such a blowout he probably could’ve doubled that. Going into this game what we know is that Detroit’s offense and Carolina’s defense are both ultra-talented. What this game, and perhaps the season, will come down to for both teams will be how they play on the opposite sides of the ball. Final Score Prediction: Panthers 21 – Lions 20