Vick's Ability as a Starter, Leader in Question

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It’s week nine in the football world, and with many predicted contenders beginning to play as expected, things are finally starting to make a little sense.  The Patriots blew out the lowly Rams in London 45-7, the 49ers crushed the Cardinals 24-3 on Monday Night Football, and the Broncos became the latest team to put a pounding on the Saints. Finally, some stability. But alas, it’s still the NFL, and things can turn around quickly in this league. That being said, here are a few things to look for this week in pro football:

1) Michael Vick to be replaced?

The four-time pro bowler and 2010 NFL Comeback Player of the Year has struggled all year with ball security, turning the ball over a total of 17 times. Nobody expected this type of play from Vick when the Eagles signed him to a six year, $100 million contract back in 2011, especially Andy Reid. With his job hanging in the balance, Reid is desperate to win, and rumors are circulating that Vick’s time as the Eagle’s quarterback is running out. Will he step his game up, or will we see Nick Foles under center for Philadelphia soon? Much of that depends on how Vick plays on Monday Night Football against the Saints.

2) Power Outage

The San Diego Chargers looked awful on Sunday, suffering an ugly 6-7 loss to the Cleveland Browns. The Bolts have now lost their last three games, and are faced with a short week as they play the Chiefs on Thursday Night Football. Though it’s still early and they’re only a game behind in the division, the Chargers have a history of losing streaks in the Norv Turner era that have cost them shots at the playoffs. They need a big win over an awful Chiefs team to get back on track and stay on the Broncos’ heels.

3) Marquee QB Matchup of the Future

When the Panthers and Redskins take the field in Landover, MD, on Sunday, the two teams will have combined for a 4-11 record so far this season. However, these teams share a common bond beyond their poor play this year: hope. Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III have already become arguably the most electrifying players since entering the league in the past two seasons, and are expected to do great things for their franchises. Though both quarterbacks have a ways to go, this matchup could be a preview of much greater games to come between the two.

4) Can the G-Men Keep Their Magic Going?

The New York Giants are 6-1 since losing their opener to the Cowboys, a span that includes several games that easily could have been losses. After stunning the Redskins a week ago, New York did it again on Sunday, squeezing out a 29-24 win in Dallas thanks to Dez Bryant’s massive hand grazing the back of the end zone on what would have been the game-winning catch. They face another tough test on Sunday, when Big Ben and the Steelers come to town in what should be a great game.

5) Boys-Falcons on National Television

Sunday Night Football’s matchup features two teams headed in opposite directions, with the Dallas Cowboys heading into the Georgia Dome to face the Atlanta Falcons. Although they’ve had some close games, the Falcons have looked dominant over the first half of the 2012 season, jumping out to a 7-0 record. The Cowboys, on the other hand, have looked inconsistent not only from game to game but also from half to half, nearly erasing a 23 point deficit on Sunday’s against the Giants after turning the ball over 4 times in the first 17 minutes. What makes this game interesting is that the Cowboys have a history of handing undefeated teams their first losses, beating the 9-0 Colts in 2006 and the 13-0 Saints in 2009. Can they do it again? Tune in on Sunday night to find out.