Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 11/2/13
The NFL is known by many coaches, players, and fans, as “The Not For Long league”. The NFL is the most unpredictable and exciting league in the world.  Fans and media will often make snap judgments on players and teams each week. As a fan of the NFL for 20 years, I want to give fans some insight on the best matchups each week of the NFL season.This article will highlight, preview, and predict, key player matchups and must see NFL games.Fans who read this article will gain insight on the big games and matchups that affect the NFL, as well as fantasy football.Matchup No. 4 - QB Philip Rivers vs. Washington Redskins’ defense: This offseason the Chargers hired a new head coach, Mike McCoy, and many thought it would be a major rebuilding year for the Chargers. Rivers’ performance has far exceeded my expectations coming into this season.Former standout tight end Antonio Gates looked finished and former No. 1 wide receiver Vincent Jackson is long gone to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.Currently the Chargers are 4-3 and very much in the playoff hunt thanks in large part to Rivers. He leads the NFL in completion percentage and is top 10 in passing yards, touchdowns, and QB rating. Rivers is doing a great job with the hurry up offense and is utilizing all of his teammates.Gates is first in receptions and Danny Woodhead has caught 89 percent of passes thrown his way. Eddie Royal is leading the team in touchdowns while Keenan Allen is coming on strong and emerging as Rivers' No. 1 receiver.This season the Washington Redskins' defense is really bad. They have allowed over 30 points in 5 of their 7 games. The Redskins are allowing the second most points at 32.7 points per game.Washington’s defense is ranked 28th against the pass and 30th against the run. Even though the Redskins have some talent, often times the defensive players miss tackles and blow assignments. This leads to big plays and points for the opponent. I see Rivers continuing his excellent performance and positioning the Chargers for a playoff run.Matchup No. 3 - RB Fred Jackson vs. the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs: Even though Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles has performed better so far this season, Jackson will be the key to this game. The Chiefs also seem to have the advantage in their quarterback and head coach.Quarterback Alex Smith is a great fit and leader, head coach Andy Reid may be this season’s coach of the year. The Chiefs' defense is outstanding as they lead the NFL in sacks while allowing the fewest points per game.Backup undrafted free agent quarterback Thad Lewis is hurting and likely out. With Lewis out, Buffalo will have to turn to rookie Jeff Tuel for his 1st career start. The Bills only do one thing well and that is run the ball.The Bills rank 7th overall in rushing and Jackson is leading the team in carries, yards and touchdowns. The Bills will need a big performance from Jackson to keep them in this game.Buffalo is at home this week and is a very dangerous opponent at home. The Bills have fought hard in every home game; losing to the Patriots by only two points, the Bengals by three points, and with wins over the Panthers and Ravens.The Chiefs' defense is a tough challenge for any offense. Most likely the Chiefs will sell out to stop the run. With Jackson and C.J. Spiller likely back, I believe they can keep the Bills offense on schedule. As I mentioned earlier the Bills play really well at home. The Chiefs lack an explosive offense so don’t be surprised if this matchup goes down to the wire.Matchup No. 2 - TE Rob Gronkowski vs. Pittsburgh Steelers' defense: All-Pro star tight end Rob Gronkowski is back and trying to take over the league again. In Gronkowski’s first three full years he led the NFL with 38 receiving touchdowns. I wonder how many people actually knew that? This season he has only played in two games and has no touchdowns. He has been oh so close to scoring a touchdown and I believe he is due this week.Brady is currently in a mini funk as he struggles to find a consistent reliable option in the passing game. Gronkowski by far has the most experience with the Patriots. He is 6’6” and 265 pounds with good speed, great athleticism and power and a pair of oven mitts for hands.  I see two “Gronk spikes” this Sunday as the Patriots' offense gets back on track.Matchup No. 1 – RB Eddie Lacy vs. Chicago Bears' run defense. The Packers are coming off a dominating offensive performance as they beat the Minnesota Vikings 44-31. The Packers never punted once and piled up 467 total yards on offense.In the Packers' last four games Eddie Lacy has carried at least 20 times and Green Bay have won every game, coincidence, I think not! Interestingly the Packers are ranked 5th overall in passing yards and 3rd in rushing yards.Head coach Mike McCarthy has shown much more commitment to the run which will make the offense even more dangerous.Lacy is a very physical runner with good quickness who can wear defenses down. Aaron Rodgers is an outstanding quarterback and combined with Lacy allows the Packers to keep defenses guessing. With this balanced attack the Packers' play-action passing becomes more viable and even more deadly.The Chicago Bears' defense by almost any measure is not very good this season. They are 25th against the rush and 27th against the pass. They have allowed at least 20 points in every game this season. The Bears are allowing on average 29.4 points per game. In this matchup, I give the Bears defense almost no chance to shut down the Packers' offense.The Bears have only one saving grace which is their ability to force turnovers. Currently the 18 turnovers they have forced is No. 5 overall in the NFL. The Bears defense must contain Lacy and put Rodgers in 3rd and long. They need to force fumbles and interceptions to stop the Packers this week.A defensive X factor for the Bears could be cornerback Tim Jennings. This season Jennings has forced two fumbles, three interceptions and has two defensive touchdowns. If the Bears force a couple of turnovers they can win, without it, watch Green Bay put up another 30 points against the Bears.
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