Jason’s Top Five: What NFL games to watch, including: the Patriots playing across the pond

By Jason Bryden
Elm Senior Writer

New England (4-3) vs. St. Louis (3-4) at London (1 p.m. – Chs. 13 and 16)
The annual London contest happens this week as the Patriots and Rams travel across the pond to play at Wembley Stadium in London as the Rams will be the home team for this contest.

New England downed the New York Jets in overtime last week 29-26 clinching it on a sack by linebackers Jermaine Cunningham and Rob Ninkovich and fumble recovery by Ninkovich after they had let a 10-point fourth quarter lead slip away. The Patriots won their first game by seven points or less this year after losing the first three. Will this be the week New England gets to two games over .500 for the first time this season?

The Rams lost their second straight game, 30-20, to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in St. Louis for their first loss at home this season. The Rams allowed 342 yards passing to Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers and will face another elite quarterback this Sunday in New England signalcaller, Tom Brady. The Rams will need to fare better against Brady than they did against Rodgers in order to win.

The two teams have split 10 regular season meetings, but the Patriots won the only playoff encounter in Super Bowl XXXVI by a 20-17 score for New England’s first championship on a 48-yard field goal by kicker Adam Vinatieri on the last play of the game.

Washington (3-4) at Pittsburgh (3-3) (1 p.m. – Chs. 5 and 10)
Two teams separated by about 250 miles meet up in an interconference game as the Redskins head to the Steel City to play the Steelers.

Washington took a 23-20 lead last week at the New York Giants with 1:32 to play when quarterback Robert Griffin III hit wide receiver Santana Moss for the go ahead touchdown, but lost the lead 19 seconds later on a 77-yard touchdown pass. The Redskins last chance ended on a Moss fumble with under a minute to go and lost 27-23. The Redskins had four turnovers last week in the loss, three in Giants territory, and are hoping not to repeat that performance in Washington.

Pittsburgh continued its mastery of the Cincinnati Bengals with a 24-17 win on Sunday Night in Cincinnati. The Steelers got 122 yards rushing from reserve running back Jonathan Dwyer and the Steelers defense held the Bengals to just three points in the second half. Pittsburgh will be without safety Troy Polamalu again as he has missed the past two games. The Steelers look to stay perfect at home after winning their first two at Heinz Field.

The Redskins lead the all-time series 42-31-3, but have only played nine times since 1970 when Pittsburgh moved to the AFC from the NFL following the merger. The Steelers are 6-3 in the series since 1970.

Atlanta (6-0) at Philadelphia (3-3) (1 p.m.)
The NFL’s lone undefeated team puts its perfect 6-0 mark on the line as Atlanta travels to the City of Brotherly Love to play the Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Falcons improved to 6-0 with a 23-20 win over the Oakland Raiders in Week 6 on a 55-yard field goal by kicker Matt Bryant with one second left. Atlanta currently leads the NFC South by four games over the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Atlanta will look to keep its undefeated record going, while ending a streak of Philadelphia’s.

The Eagles had a bye last week and are a perfect 13-0 in games following their bye under head coach Andy Reid. Will Philadelphia keep this streak alive or will it come to an end? Philadelphia lost its second straight game in Week 6, 26-23, in overtime to the Detroit Lions after blowing a 10-point lead in the final five minutes.

The Eagles lead the regular season series 15-11-1 and have won two of the three playoff meetings. The Falcons won the NFC’s first-ever Wild Card game in 1978 over the Eagles, 14-13.

New York Giants (5-2) at Dallas (3-3) (4:25 p.m. Chs. 5 and 10)
This bitter NFC East rivalry heats up again this Sunday down in Texas as the Giants seek to avenge a 24-17 loss to the Cowboys in Week 1 at MetLife Stadium, while the Cowboys seek their first sweep of the Giants since 2007.

New York won its third straight game with a 27-23 comeback win over the visiting Washington Redskins. The Giants’ winning score came on a 77-yard pass from quarterback Eli Manning to wide receiver Victory Cruz where Cruz got behind the Redskins’ secondary. A win by the Giants not only avenges a Week 1 loss, but gets them to 2-2 in the NFC East.

The Cowboys ended their two game losing streak with a 19-14 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in Charlotte. Dallas kicked two late field goals by kicker Dan Bailey to turn around a 14-13 deficit. However the win came at a huge price as linebacker Sean Lee was lost for the season with torn ligaments in his toe, the most severe case of turf toe. A win by Dallas ties New York in the loss column and gives them the tiebreaker.

The Cowboys lead the regular season series 57-41-2, but the Giants won the one playoff meeting, 21-17, following the 2007 regular season.

San Francisco (5-2) at Arizona (4-3) (8:30 p.m. Monday- Ch. 31 ESPN)
A critical NFC West game takes place on the national stage in suburban Phoenix as the 49ers travel to the desert to play the Cardinals on Monday Night Football.

San Francisco won a defensive battle, 13-6, over the visiting Seattle Seahawks last Thursday at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defense held the Seahawks to just 251 yards of total offense, while running back Delanie Walker scored the one touchdown in the game on a 12-yard pass from quarterback Alex Smith. The 49ers seek their sixth win the in past seven against the Cardinals.

After starting 4-0, the Cardinals lost their third straight game at Minnesota by a 21-14 score to the Vikings. Arizona got 104 yards rushing by running back LaRod Stephens-Howling on the ground and 103 yards receiving by Andre Roberts and both scored a touchdown, but it was not enough. Arizona outgained Minnesota 356-209 in the loss. Can the Cardinals end their losing streak and pull even with the 49ers at 5-3 and own the breaker?

San Francisco owns the all-time series lead 24-17 and are 12-8 since they became NFC West rivals in 2002.

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