Tom Brady Vs. Peyton Manning (Again) & Other Things To Know About NFL Week 9
Several interesting matchups highlight the schedule for Week 9 of the 2014 NFL season. Here's what you need to know this week:
Thursday, Oct. 30
The NFC South Is Full Of Losers
New Orleans at Carolina | Bank of America Stadium; 8:25 p.m. (ET) on NFL Network
No team in the NFC South has played winning football in 2014. None. Carolina (3-4-1) has come the closest, limping to a near .500 winning percentage with an ineffective offense in front of Cam Newton and inconsistent defense. The Panthers turned a sure victory against the Seahawks last Sunday into a defeat in the closing minutes, yet still lead the division. That's ugly.
New Orleans (3-4) is undefeated…at home. Unfortunately for the Saints, this Thursday night's battle for the lead of the NFL's most mediocre division is scheduled for Charlotte. Maybe the nighttime start will help Drew Brees think he's in the Superdome.
Sunday, Nov. 2
Brandon Weeden > Tony Romo
Arizona at Dallas | AT&T Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Reserve quarterback Brandon Weeden nearly rallied Dallas (6-2) to a win against Washington on Monday night, but starter Tony Romo returned from injury just in time to stall the Cowboys' offense. Head coach Jason Garrett and owner Jerry Jones sabotaged their own chances by sending the gimpy Romo back out to NOT lead his team on a game-winning drive and NOT score in overtime.
Due to his injured back, Romo may not be able to play this week against Arizona (6-1). Maybe that's a good thing: the Cardinals have the best record in the NFC, even though they have the NFL's worst pass defense. Weirdly enough, Weeden could very well throw for 300 yards...and lose.
Michael Vick Is Starting, And Andy Reid Is Coaching. What Year Is This?
N.Y. Jets at Kansas City | Arrowhead Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
The Geno Smith Era may not be over in New York, but the Jets (1-7) had to do something different. Coach Rex Ryan's team has exactly zero wins against teams who aren't the terrible Raiders this season.
New York will start backup QB Michael Vick against Kansas City (4-3) and head coach Andy Reid, the man who gave Vick a second chance in Philadelphia when he was released from prison in 2009 after serving time on dog-fighting charges. Vick will add veteran presence and mobility, but it probably won't matter if Joe Namath starts for the Jets on Sunday; they'll lose.
Tom Brady Vs. Peyton Manning, Part 16
Denver at New England | Gillette Stadium; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Does the Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning chatter ever get old? By now, both the discussion and the quarterbacks themselves are in the twilight of their careers, but what a spectacular sunset!
Manning has led Denver (6-1) to the AFC's best record while continuing to rewrite NFL career passing records. Brady is on a tear, throwing for 1,268 yards, 14 touchdowns and no interceptions in his last four games for New England (6-2).
Brady and the Patriots lead the series over Manning, 10-5, but Peyton won when it counted last year: the AFC Championship Game. We won't be surprised to see these guys there again in January. TV producers are probably already making B-roll for the same dialogue you'll hear on Sunday.
The Steelers & Ravens Still Don't Like Each Other
Baltimore at Pittsburgh | Heinz Field; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on NBC
The NFL needs more real rivalries like the Steelers and the Ravens. Baltimore (5-3) and Pittsburgh (5-3) are tied for second in the AFC North, just a half-game behind the Bengals. The truth is it wouldn't matter if both teams were 0-8; they'd still want to hit each other hard.
The Ravens crushed the Steelers, 26-6, in Baltimore in Week 2, but Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been very good since then, throwing 15 touchdowns and just one interception. Will the Ravens try to take him out of the game? Always.
Sunday, Nov. 2
Tampa Bay at Cleveland | FirstEnergy Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Philadelphia at Houston | NRG Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Jacksonville at Cincinnati | Paul Brown Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
San Diego at Miami | Sun Life Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Washington at Minnesota | TCF Bank Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
St. Louis at San Francisco | Levi's Stadium; 4:05 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Oakland at Seattle | CenturyLink Field; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Monday, Nov. 2
Indianapolis at N.Y. Giants | MetLife Stadium; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
Bye: Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Tennessee