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With fall upon us, Halloween happens during this slate of games. What better week to point out games hiding in the shadows as being sneaky good? Your top-tier teams (Kansas City, Philadelphia, and Buffalo) may not make the list. There may be a shock that a pairing featuring Josh Allen and Aaron Rodgers may not make the cut (Why look at an aging Rodgers when there are teams rising who were left for dead in the preseason?). I am one to believe the audience at large enjoys zombie movies more than historical biographies and it is with that in mind that we launch Week 8 of The Student of the Game’s Matchup Mania.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Speaking of historical biographies, Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, who many allege to be the greatest of all time, certainly hasn’t looked it of late on the field, nor has Tampa looked like the squad that won a Super Bowl two short years ago. Even with all the leads that the Ravens have blown earlier in the season, this is Baltimore’s chance to pick up a win on a team with a new-generation quarterback in one Lamar Jackson.
Granted, while Brady’s lack of mobility may not necessarily be the downfall of his team, Jackson’s will certainly drive the success of his. But should the Ravens fail to tell the Bucs “never score”, their fans will have nightmares of missed playoffs in their future.
New England Patriots vs. New York Jets
New England’s head coach Bill Belichick faces a ghost of Christmas past against a team of which he was almost the coach. (What? the department stores break out their holiday decorations way too early as well — and at least it mentions “ghosts”). However, the Jets of the present (and possibly the future under the current head coach Robert Saleh) currently have a winning record and may bring forth a grim reaper to escort the Pats to the basement of the AFC South.
That being said, should Belichick emerge from the contest victorious, it will feel like an episode of the Twilight Zone for Jets fans.
New York Giants vs. Seattle Seahawks
This game looks like a horror film worthy of the great actor Vincent Price if you saw it on the schedule in the preseason. But seeing it on the docket now featuring Saquon Barkley and Geno Smith, it looks like a Thriller worthy of choreography by Michael Jackson (yet somehow still narrated by Vincent Price). Expect this game as a battle of two different styles – kinda like if Frankenstein’s monster had a fight with Count Dracula.
The Giants’ will attempt to pound the Seahawks with running on offense and smash them with their defense like Frankenstein would an angry villager, while with Seahawks will gracefully mesmerize their opponents with elegant passing as they bite to drain the life out of their opponent. Either way, as treats go, this game will be better than candy corn for sure.