Divisional woes: NFL hits meat and potatoes of schedule

10/12/14 by Matthew S. Vandriak

A couple of key division matchups in each conference, two big inter conference clashes, and a battle of two of the top NFC teams highlight Week 6 in the NFL. Lets take a look at this weeks top games.
New England at Buffalo: Rebound was the key word for both of these 3 and 2 teams last week. The Bills broke a 2 game losing streak with a come from behind 17 to 14 win over Detroit. The Patriots rebounded from a Monday Night drubbing by Kansas City two weeks ago with a blowout win over previously undefeated Cincinnati last week. It was the quarterbacks who led the way, as Tom Brady had his best game of 2014 throwing for 292 yards and 2 TD's. For Buffalo it was Kyle Orton, who passed for 308 yards and a score in his first start for the Bills. While Orton is scheduled to make is his second straight start, Brady's status is questionable. An ankle injury has limited him in practice this week, and if Brady cant go, rookie Jimmy Garappolo will make his first career start. Orton will have a tough task going against the Patriots, who have the NFL's third best passing defense, which gives up an average of 196 yards per game. Buffalo has been tough against the run this season, boasting the NFL's 2nd best rushing defense, giving up an average of just 71 yards per game. This game also features the leagues top two field goal kickers. Buffalo's Dan Carpenter and New England's Stephen Gostkowski both have kicked 13 field goals so far this season. New England has dominated this series, winning five straight against the Bills and 19 of the last 20 But there's a lot of extra excitement in Buffalo this week, and not just because the Bills are off to their best start since 2011. Terry Pegula was named as the new owner of the franchise. There was concern about the Bills moving, but Pegula, who also owns the NHL's Sabres, plans to keep the Bills in Buffalo.

Carolina at Cincinnati: The 3 and 1 Bengals head back home after Sunday Night's thrashing at the hands of New England. Carolina broke a two game losing streak and improved to 3 and 2 with last weeks win over Chicago. For Carolina, injuries have plagued them, especially in the running game, which ranks 30th in the NFL. It will be the same story for the Panthers this week, as DeAngelo Williams will miss his second straight game with an ankle injury, while Jonathan Stewart remains questionable. Steward missed the past two games with a knee injury. The Bengals offense will feel the effects of injury as well this week, as A.J. Green is expected to miss the game with a toe injury. The Bengals get good news on the other side of the ball, as LB Vontaze Burfict returns after missing the last two games due to a concussion. Cincinnati will be looking for it's 12th straight win at "The Jungle", and have won the past two meetings with Carolina.

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Green Bay at Miami: The Dolphins look to be coming out of their bye week a lot healthier. Center Mike Pouncey has recovered from hip surgery and is expected to make his first start of the season. RB Knowshon Moreno is expected back as well after being sidelined the since Week 2 with an elbow injury. Safety Reshad Jones will be back for Miami as well after serving a four game suspension for violating the NFL's PED policy. The key to this game will be can the Packers run defense matchup against the Dolphins running game. Green Bay has the NFL's worst run defense, giving up an average of 163 yards per game. Miami averages 142 yards per game on the ground, which is 5th best in the league. Both teams have scored over 30 points in all of their wins, but have scored a combined 48 points in their four losses. Green Bay comes in on a two game winning streak where they outscored their past two opponents (Chicago and Minnesota), 80 to 27. RB Eddie Lacy comes in off of his best game of the season as well, rushing for 105 yards and 2 TD's in last weeks win over the Vikings, while Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill also comes in off his best game, passing for 278 yards and 2 TD's in Week 4's win over Oakland.
NY Giants at Philadelphia: After starting the season with two losses, the Giants have been on a roll. The Giants have averaged 35 points per game while winning their past three games. With Eli Manning and the offense getting hot, that could be a problem for the Eagles defense. Philadelphia ranks 25th in rushing and 29th in passing, but the Eagles defense and special teams have scored 7 TD's so far in 2014. New York will be without RB Rashad Jennings, who is the NFL's fourth leading rusher. Jennings sustained an MCL injury in last weeks win over Atlanta. The Eagles will be hoping LeShon McCoy gets back to last seasons form. McCoy led the NFL in rushing in 2013, but is averaging only 54.6 yards per game this season and has only scored one rushing TD. The Eagles have won all three of their home games this year, but the Giants have won 2 of the past 3 games in Philadelphia.

Dallas at Seattle: This weeks marquee matchup is between two of the top teams in the NFC. The 4 and 1 Cowboys are tied with Philadelphia for first place in the NFC East, while the 3 and 1 Seahawks are tied with Arizona for tops in the NFC West. This game will also pit the NFL's top rushing defense against the leagues leading rusher. The Seahawks give up just 62 yards per game on the ground, while the Cowboys DeMarco Murray leads the NFL with 670 yards. Murray has rushed for over 100 yards in all 5 of the Cowboys games this season. But the Cowboys aren't the top rushing team in the league, they're second to Seattle, who averages 167 yards per game. That could be a problem for Dallas, as their run defense gives up an average of 122 yards per game and ranks 20th in the league. If Dallas gets the lead, that could be a problem for Seattle, as the Seahawks rank 30th in the NFL in passing yards per game. But QB Russell Wilson has been dominant at home, with a 19 and 1 career record at CenturyLink Field. Dallas has won 3 of the past 4 games in this series, but the Seahawks have won the past 5 games played in Seattle.

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