These are the games I will be watching ...
Cardinals at Packers 1:00 PM ET
I know, I know. I love the Packers. But here is the thing. The NFC is a much tougher conference than the AFC. The NFC North and the NFC West are the toughest of the tough, with steep competition within these divisions. Each of these teams are already in a fight for the playoffs. At first, it seemed the Vikings would take the lead in the NFC North, now it's the Bears. Where does that leave Green Bay? The 49ers look like they will win the NFC West, but where does that leave Seattle and Arizona? I'll tell you where, it leaves all of these teams battling to be in the playoffs any which way they can -- either as a divisional winner or a wildcard. That Seattle/Packers game is looking more and more important as the season goes on.
As for this game in particular, Arizona came out in the early season very strong, but they have been looking flat. As for the Packers, with a reasonable loss to the Niners, a history making loss to Seattle, but then a loss to the Colts? Then almost blowing it against the Jaguars last week? Packers need to win this game to hold onto their playoff run. The Packers schedule moving forward is ugly, ugly, ugly. Packers play Detroit, NYG, Minnesota, Detroit, Bears, Titans, and finally Minnesota. Save for the Titans, all of these teams are in the NFC, and except for the Giants after that, all the teams are in the NFC North. It's gonna be crazy.
Vikings at Seahawks Sunday 4:05 PM ET
The Vikings are 5-3 behind Chicago, who is at 6-1. The Vikings need this win to keep up with the Bears. As for Seattle, they are 4-4, tied with Arizona, who holds a record of 4-4. Both the Cardinals and the Seahawks are one game behind the 49ers, who have a bye this week. Very important games this Sunday.
Steelers at Giants Sunday 4:25 PM ET
Strictly speaking records, the 4-3 Steelers need this win to keep up with their division rivals, the 5-2 Baltimore Ravens. The Giants have a lot more room as they are 6-2.The Cowboys, Eagles, and Redskins all have records of only 3-4.
That being said, this will be a fun game to watch two elite quarterbacks, Eli and Ben, go head to head. The Giants just keep winning games, and the Steelers seem to have lost some of their luster of years past. The Steelers have the 10th best offense against the Giants 4th ranked offense. However, when it comes to defense, the Steelers are ranked 2nd and the Giants are ranked 24th. There has been a lot of articles written lately that the NFL has moved away from teams winning games based on defense to teams winning more with offense. I can't wait to find out what this game tells us.
Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Francisco. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook at madelinefresco.com.