Prove it !
As the league steps out of the halfway mark and into the most crucial eight weeks of football, it’s prove it season to a handful of teams looking to make a run into the playoff picture. So without further introduction, here’s a list of games for a handful of teams that I believe have something to prove today.
Saints at Bills:
The Saints need to PROVE that they can go on the road and into the tundra and come out with a win in order to keep riding their six game win streak against a Bills team that is undefeated at home.
The Bills need to PROVE that they can remain unbeaten at home against a viable playoff Saints team as all their wins at home (4) have come against teams all below .500.
Bengals at Titans:
Either the Bengals start their second half of the season strong and find a way to sneak into the playoff mix late as they typically do, or Mariota and the Titans win a statement game at home in which they are 3-1.
The Bengals need to PROVE…well, nothing. The Bengals are sitting at 3 – 5, third in the AFC north and 2 – 9 in their last 11 road games and are potentially playing to remove head coach Marvin Lewis from the hot seat. Just another game for Cincy.
The Titans need to PROVE that their offense can live up to its potential hype in both the run game and pass game and although they have won their last three games, they haven’t been the prettiest or most convincing wins of their season…not to mention, they’re tied for first in the AFC south (5-3) with Jacksonville, so this game could be pivotal in the divisional race.
Vikings at Redskins:
The Vikings need to PROVE that A. they can go on the road and hold their composure on offense and keep their physical play on defense rolling and B. win a surprisingly close game on the road as they have only faced two teams this season above .500.
The Redskins who are .500 in wins (4 – 4) and at home (2 – 2) need to PROVE that despite having said the No. 1 hardest schedule this season, they can A. win some meaningful games the second stretch of the season to become relevant in the NFC east and B. support their win in Seattle (which they did with only ONE starting O-lineman) by beating yet another divisional leader in the Vikings.
Cowboys at Falcons:
I like this matchup here as the Falcons and the Cowboys rank 8 and 9 in total offense, and 10 and 11 in total defense. A true matchup of resume, versus reputation.
The Cowboys to me are the biggest prove it team headed into not just today’s game, but the following six games as they are going into the second half of the season without their number one guy, Ezekiel Elliot. The Cowboys need to PROVE that Dak is all that he’s advertised to be. Truth of the matter is, for six weeks, there is no in-depth focus on the run game, all eyes and emphasis will be on Dak, and it will be up to him to determine the fate of this year’s Cowboys team.
The Falcons need to PROVE that their offense, although in a new system, can be as explosive as it has in years past and get back to exposing defenses with the deep ball and physical run game. The Falcons lack the identity they had a season ago, and what a great way to reestablish it by getting a win over a what seems like now a one dimensional Cowboys team at home.