The Saints offensive players will be wearing custom made noise reduction earpieces tonight against the Seahawks in an effort to neutralize the noise made by the Seattle fans. While the devices may help neutralize the noise they will do nothing to neutralize Russell Wilson and the stout Seahawk defense. Unless Sean Payton can find a way to accomplish that feat the Saints return to the Big Easy with another loss under their belts.
Week 4 presents a number of intriguing match-ups as the 2013 NFL season heads into the first turn. Among the interesting match-ups are:
1. New York Giants (0-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)
Can Eli and the Giants really start 0-4? I know that the G-Men are notoriously slow starters but 0 and 4? Really? Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium is one of the NFL’s toughest road environments and Andy Reid has his team hitting on all cylinders right now.
2. Seattle Seahawks (3-0) at Houston Texans (2-1)
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks look really, really strong right now. The Texans, on the other hand, is a team that many believed would make a Super Bowl push behind Defensive star J.J. Watt. This might be the best game of the week and reminiscent of the O.K. Corral.
3. Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-2)
Round 1 of the Battle of Ohio will take place on the shores of Lake Erie. The Bengals are clearly the better team but the Browns announced last week that they were going to play with reckless abandon. A team with nothing to lose is always dangerous.
4. Miami Dolphins (3-0) at New Orleans Saints (3-0)
A battle of unexpected unbeaten teams. Are the Dolphins for real? Will Drew Brees be Drew Brees? There is no bigger stage than Monday Night Football and the world will be watching to see if Miami will shrink from the moment.
What is the only thing scarier for a Bengals fan than playing the Steelers on Monday Night Football? Playing the Steelers on Monday Night Football after the Steelers were embarrassed the previous week. In week one of the new NFL season the Steelers were manhandled by the Tennessee Titans and lost 16-9 at home. Trust me, that’s not how the Steelers roll. Even though they have been decimated by injuries the Bengals should expect a gut-check performance from the Steelers. It’s just what they do.
The Bengals do have a few things in thier favor this week. First, the game is played in Cincinnati and a home crowd is always a boost. Don’t be surprised though to see plenty of yellow “terrible towels” waving in the night sky. Pittsburgh fans travel like no other fans. I remember games at Riverfront Stadium when more yellow was visible than orange. Secondly, and much more interestingly, James Harrison plays for the Bengals now. The former Steeler, and perhaps, the most frightening defender in the NFL is wearing orange and black instead of the old Steeler uniform. Add to that, he’s not real happy with his former employer. James Harrison knows how to impact a football game – just ask Colt McCoy.
Statistically, since 1990, any team opening the season at 0-2 has only a 12% shot at making the play-offs. With that said, Cincinnati desperately needs to win this game. They gave one away last week to the Chicago Bears and championship teams just don’t give games away that they lead in the fourth quarter. Monday night will go a long way in helping Bengal fans know if their team really does have the goods to deliver on a play-off season or if this is just another mirage in the desert of NFL wishful thinking.