Yahoo Sports NFL senior writers Terez Paylor, Kimberley A. Martin and Charles Robinson select games this week that will leave us buzzing heading into Monday.
Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs
What’s not to love?
Behind their rookie quarterback Jackson, Baltimore (7-5) has won three straight and remains firmly in the playoff hunt. The Ravens’ top-ranked defense has been outstanding, but the unit faces an incredibly tough challenge — trying to contain Mahomes and the Chiefs’ high-powered offense. The Ravens are surrendering a league-low 17.8 points per game. Compare that to the league-high 37 Kansas City posts each week.
The Chiefs are so good, Ravens defensive coordinator “Wink” Martindale couldn’t help but wax poetic this week about K.C.’s “lethal offense” and its young quarterback.
“I think Mahomes is [Joe] Montana. I’m talking about the San Francisco Montana, not the Kansas City Montana.”
Los Angeles Rams at Chicago Bears
The Rams’ offense looked disjointed in last week’s win over the Detroit Lions, but you can count on coach Sean McVay bringing out the grade-A plays on Sunday against the Bears, who boast one of the league’s top defenses.
The Bears dropped to 8-4 with a disappointing loss to the New York Giants on Sunday. Part of the reason for that was the absence of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who is on track to return from injury this week.
Trubisky has some growth to do as a quarterback, but he has a good arm, mobility and, when healthy, has found a way to make enough plays for his team to win more often than not. The Bears need him to pose a threat to the NFC-leading Rams, who enter with an 11-1 record.
This will be a game determined by how the Rams’ elite offense fares against the Bears’ elite defense, which will tell us a lot about the overall strength of both. It could also serve as a nice playoff preview, especially if these two teams meet in the divisional round.
Rams at Bears
You can tune in for the offenses or quarterbacks and be just fine. But to me, this is a chance to sit down and watch arguably the two best defensive players in the NFL – the Rams’ Aaron Donald and the Bears’ Khalil Mack – try to one-up each other all night long.
With four games left, Donald has a shot at the league’s single-season sack record. That is insane for an interior lineman and recalls the peak of Warren Sapp’s dominance years ago. Conversely, Mack has been embarrassing offensive linemen all season and should still be among the Defensive Player of the Year finalists despite missing games. You don’t often get two elite pass disruptors in the same game at the very peak of their careers. That alone makes this a can’t-miss game.
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