Here we go again!
It's Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady as the Denver Broncos travel to face the New England Patriots this Sunday afternoon in what should be yet another epic battle between the two AFC powerhouse teams.
The Patriots roared back from a big deficit last season to defeat the Broncos, 34-31 in overtime as Brady and company stunned Manning and the Broncos in the regular season match up. However, it was the Broncos getting the last laugh as they toppled the Patriots, 26-16 in the AFC Championship Game to advance to Super Bowl 48 last January in Denver.
Both Brady and Manning are coming huge months as their teams have both won four consecutive games, so something has to give when they kick it off in Foxborough on Sunday afternoon. The Broncos (6-1) took over first place from San Diego last week, beating the Chargers 35-21 in Denver while the Pats completely dominated the Chicago Bears, 51-23 in a home win to improve to 6-2 for the season.
The other huge game will be the Baltimore Ravens traveling to play the surging Pittsburgh Steelers in the "prime time" Sunday Night Football Game.
The Ravens squashed Pittsburgh in Week Two as their defense dominated Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the offense in a 26-6 beat down in Baltimore.
But that was then and this is now and the Steelers are coming off their best offensive showing in years after blasting the Indianapolis Colts, 51-34 last Sunday in the Steel City. Roethlisberger passed for 522 yards and SIX touchdowns in the rout.
Meanwhile, the Ravens let one get away in Cincinnati, losing 27-24 in somewhat controversial fashion. Wide receiver Steve Smith was flagged for offensive pass interference when he was cuaght pushing off the defender to make a catch for an apparent late touchdown that would have given the Ravens the lead with just seconds remaining.
All in all, it looks to be shaping up to be another great weekend around the NFL as the season gets into the second half of the season.
The following capsule style previews offer a look at what one may expect to see this week around the league and the Heftyinfo predictions (10-5 once again last week) follow up.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-6) at Cleveland Browns (4-3) - Browns better be ready because the Bucs are already in the position of just playing out the string of games remaining on their schedule.
Arizona Cardinals (6-1) at Dallas Cowboys (6-2) - The Cards are the NFL's pleasant surprise again this season. Dallas may be without QB Tony Romo... flip a coin in this one.
Philadelphia Eagles (5-2) at Houston Texans (4-4) - The Eagles lost a heart breaker last weekend. The Texans have been up and down all season long.
New York Jets (1-7) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-3) - This game could be a "trap game" for the Chiefs, so they have to be ready against a desperate team.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-2-1) - Bengals roll!
San Diego Chargers (5-3) at Miami Dolphins (4-3) - Interesting game here ... the loser just might find themselves on the outside looking in at the playoffs come January.
Washington Redskins (3-5) at Minnesota Vikings (3-5) - RG3 is back! But the Redskins have been on a roll with Colt McCoy at quarterback.
St. Louis Rams (2-5) at San Francisco 49ers (4-3) - The 'Niners should win this one, but the Rams always seem to give them fits.
Denver Broncos (6-1) at New England Patriots (6-2) - The Game of the Week! Enjoy these two future Hall-of-Fame QBs in Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
Oakland Raiders (0-7) at Seattle Seahawks (4-3) - If the Seahawks lose this game, they might as well just pack it in for this season.
Baltimore Ravens (5-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) - Another great game on tap as the Steelers look to continue their roll. Ravens beat Pittsburgh up two months ago. Should be a close one.
Indianapolis Colts (5-3) at New York Giants (3-4) - The Colts got a huge slice of humble pie last week, so they will be looking to rebound against a team coming off the bye week.
The Heftyinfo picks for Week Nine . . . (Home teams are listed in BOLD type and Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)
New Orleans over Carolina
Cleveland over Tampa Bay
Dallas over Arizona
Philadelphia over Houston
Kansas City over NY Jets
Cincinnati over Jacksonville
San Diego over Miami
Minnesota over Washington
San Francisco over St. Louis
Denver over New England
SEATTLE over Oakland
Pittsburgh over Baltimore
NY Giants over Indianapolis
Last Week's Record: 10-5
SEASON RECORD: 80-40-1
Lock of the Week Record: 6-2