The first of this weeks live games sees the Minnesota Vikings host the Tampa Bay Bucaneers.
This should be an interesting match up with both sides looking to rebound from opening day lossess. The Vikings put up a strong showing last week on the road against a San Diego Chargers side that have genuine Superbowl ambitions. The Bucaneers on the other hand were beaten at home by the up and coming Detriot Lions but a loss to Detroit is no longer the shameful result it once was. The Lions looked impressive all ,last season and big things are expected in Detroit now they finally have a side worthy of supporting and with a genuine chance to reach the post season. I expect this to be a pretty straight forward assignment for Donovan McNabb and the Vikings. McNabb looks hungry already this season and is no doubt capable of replacing the eventually retired Brett Farve and provide some leadership and stability that was sorely lacking last year. I expect him to control this one from the start and utilise what is essentially a team put together with a view to winning a superbowl to somewhere near it’s full potential. Adrian Peterson should have a big game and if he can run hard at Tampa Bay from the start it should open things up for McNabb to air it out to his favourite weapons Wide Out’s Harvin and Jenkins.
The second game on Sky Sports looks to be the game of the week. The Patriots play host to the San Diego Chargers in what could possibly be a superbowl preview this early in the season. Both sides got off to the perfect start last week and will be looking to lay down a marker that should provide the foundations for playoff qualification for the winners. The Patriots were stunning last week away in Miami and against a seriously under-rated Dolphins side. Tom Brady turned in a stunning performance and threw for a carer high of 500 yards plus. They looked like they were going to score on every offensive posession with Welker running riot as usual and Brady executing perfectly almost every single play. The one worry about the Patriots remains their inexperienced and suspect pass defence. The Chargers are a team with the fire power needed to expose that glaring weakness and in Philip Rivers they have the perfect weapon to go up against the Patriots. I can’t see this going any other way other than being a complete shoot out because while the San Diego defence is good i don’t think any defence can stop the Pats offence when in the form they were in last week. The only question is whether Philip Rivers can step up and go toe to toe with Brady for the entire game. He has yet to prove he is worthy of being considered an elite QB in the Brady, Manning, Brees category and here is another chance for him to do so. The Patriots to outscore San Diego is what should be a thriller.
The late game on Channel 4 is another mouth watering proposition and has a myriad of sub plots lingering in the back ground. The Falcons welcome Michael Vick back to Atlanta as the Eagles look to cement and build on their ‘dream team’ status. The hype around this Phiily side is already ratcheting up and tonight should be fascinating considering it was the Falcons who first drafted Michael Vick when he came to the league. He was worshipped as a God during his time in Atlanta and brought some brashness and bravado that in some way laid the foundations for this franchise to take itself and its ambitions seriously. The fact that the media are suggesting that the home crowd could actually be pulling for their returning hero despite the fact he is leading the Eagles and not the Falcons seems ridiculous but cannot be ruled out. THe Falcons sufferred a surprise hammering last week at the hands of the Bears and the crowd could get on their backs early if Atlanta start slowly and Vick dazzles as only Vick can. The fact remains though that the Falcons simply do not loose at home since Quarter Back Matt Ryan took the helm and I expect him to have a huge game tonight in what is undoubtedly the biggest test of his carrer. The Falcons to soar highest and give the dream team a serious wake up call.
Monday Night football on ESPN is a bit of an anti-climax after the stellar weekend match ups. New York’s second best and somewhat forgotten team, The Giants welcome St. Louis led by exciting prospect Sam Bradford to the big apple. Bradford looked set for big things in the NFL after a stellar sollege career for the currently Number 1 ranked Oklahoma Sooners. The experts predicted that he would be much better suited to the pro game than his over hyped rival Tim Tebow who played with the Florida Gators and that has certainly proved to be a good call. New York suffered a horrible week one loss to the distinctly average Washington Redskins while the Rams were not disgraced even though they were blown away by an irresistable Philadelphia side with Michael Vick taking them apart. They will travel to New York with confidence and in many ways I would love to see them shake up a Giants team that has become very predictable over the last few seasons. I still think it is a big ask for a young side to travel to the Meadowlands and get a result on the road against an experienced but limited New York team. I see New York running it right up the gut time after time to soften up the defence that should allow Eli Manning the time and space to close it out relatively effortlessly.