Week 5 of the 2008 NFL season will be one where borderline teams will try to make a case that they’re serious contenders.
The Titans and Ravens are unexpectedly powerful squads. An undefeated Tennessee team boasts one of the best defenses in the game while Baltimore are all about physical play.
Look for a clash of defenses and a game of attrition on offense. For either team to score 21 points would be astounding.
The Chiefs had an improbable upset of Denver that was as much about the Broncos messing around as it was about Larry Johnson running them to pieces.
The Panthers pride themselves on defense and their ability to stop the run will be put to the test against Kansas City.
The Bears got another improbable win due to a staunch goal-line defense. Chicago are not a threat on offense but they can shut down any run game.
However Detroit are all about passing. Kitna will throw until his senses are sacked out of him and it’ll be interesting if he can torch the Bears secondary.
The Packers were simply overwhelmed by a swarming Tampa Bay defense. Rodgers did okay but wilted when it mattered.
The Falcons may not have that kind of defense but they shouldn’t be overlooked. Ryan hasn’t won a road game but he’s been playing well. The difference will be whether Ryan can be the better quarterback through four quarters.
Indianapolis are eager to get a winning record again. The offense has been shaky and Peyton is still getting off the rust.
Houston have a solid quarterback in Schaub who simply needs more protection to get more points.
Look for the Colts to prove their defense is greater than injured Bob Sanders as they tackle a Texan team eager for a win.
San Diego have had a rough go of it over the first few weeks. But they looked to be running on all cylinders as they dominated the New York Jets.
They will need that form against an energized Miami squad. The Dolphins would love to take down another AFC power and have the defense to do it.
The Seahawks are a rested but demoralised group. They’re down in the NFC West and have issues on offense.
The Giants are also rested, which bodes well for a stretched defense. Look for a good match-up between the Giants D and Seattle’s Hasselbeck.
The NFC East is four teams deep and it’s going to be a thrill when those sides face off against each other.
Expect no different when the Redskins tangle with the Eagles. Defense will be crucial of course but watch out for offenses that can turn the game into a shoot-out in a heartbeat.
The Broncos and Buccaneers are two of the league’s most surprising teams. Both have done well in different ways.
Look for the Broncos and a talented Cutler to have a heck of a time with Derrick Brooks and a vaunted Tampa Bay D.
One of the NFL’s biggest surprises has been the 4-0 Buffalo Bills. Their defense has been stellar and Trent Edwards looks to be a serious playmaker.
Much of that will be put to the test by the Cardinals. Even without Anquan Boldin, Arizona have plenty of firepower.
Cincinnati are in a world of hurt. The defense is a mess, the offense lacks Carson Palmer and with their schedule they’ll be lucky to get a win soon.
The Cowboys are eager to avenge a tough loss to Washington last week. The offense should be full-steam ahead as usual but expect an extra effort by the linebacker core.
The Niners have two wins already and want to prove they’re a serious contender in the NFC West.
However they’ll need a better showing than they gave against the Saints. Frank Gore will need to bring his A game against a hurting Patriots squad.
The Steelers made a statement on Monday night with an overtime thriller against Baltimore.
However they lost a running back and a guard in the process. Their sputtering offense is going to have to work hard against the Jaguars defense.
Monday night’s match-up may not have the same kind of fervour as the Ravens-Steelers game but both squads need a win desperately.
Minnesota were knocked around by a very physical Tennessee defense and should be a handful for a Saints defense that still has much to prove.
Even the teams with byes deserve attention. The Jets will welcome the rest after thrashing the Cards and Favre looks to be the threat everyone expected.
Meanwhile Cleveland will need to reload from a disappointing showing against Cincinnati. Anderson looks anything but a sure bet at quarterback.
The Raiders and Rams are broiling in controversy at head coach. Both are going to have to find a way to press on no matter who is calling the plays.
Ultimately, the season is just a quarter of the way through. The games have had plenty of intrigue this far and should continue to do so in the weeks to come.