Sometimes there are weeks in the NFL where the games overall don’t have a standout pairing — especially after we were spoiled with Buffalo and Kansas City However, football and The Student of the Game‘s Matchup Mania roll on. In the interest of public service, we will provide games that may not be the most entertaining, but will offer a showcase for candidates of midseason awards that should be approaching in the next couple of weeks.
New York Giants vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
I don’t think there is a clearer pair of Coach of the Year candidates in the early portion of this season (not named Nick Sirianni). To show any flash of success for either the Giants or Jaguars franchises after the complete mess they’ve been last year (or beyond) is an accomplishment in itself. But for Jacksonville’s Doug Pederson to beat the Chargers in Los Angeles and Brian Daboll to upset two-time defending MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in London, that’s worthy of notice and praise.
But while the Jags have tapered off, the Giants are going strong after knocking off quarterback sensation Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. Expect Daboll’s strategy of “give it to Saquon Barkley” to viciously battle with Pederson’s “don’t turn the ball over, Trevor Lawrence”.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Going into this season, Justin Herbert was the focus leading the Chargers’ offense and the biggest headline for Seattle was the parting quarterback rather than Geno Smith who is currently starting. After spending a number of years on NFL benches throughout the league, Smith now finds himself a Comeback Player of the Year candidate. However, Los Angeles’ defense features defensive end Joey Bosa and safety Derwin James – a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
Expect Smith or James to advance their campaigns for their respective NFL superlatives by doing battle in the contest. Regardless of what help DK Metcalf and Joey Bosa may provide, respectively.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers
In a game that will put an MVP candidate against one of the NFL’s best pass-rushing units, Patrick Mahomes will have his chance to shine and try and bounce back in the MVP race after losing to Josh Allen. While no one will be impressed by Mahomes putting up more points than Jimmy Garoppolo and San Francisco in a Super Bowl LIV rematch, it will be interesting if he can do it without Tyreek Hill, who was in the lineup when these squads battled for the Lombardi Trophy.
With the Niners anemic offense, if they win it might be the upset of the year…that’s the only award I could think of for Kyle Shanahan’s team despite his best efforts.