Join Mark Thompson of Mark and Brian radio fame and Times NFL columnist Sam Farmer at 10 a.m. Friday for another expansive video chat on what’s going on in the NFL.
Expect Farmer to discuss how the top five teams in the league still have room to grow because they’ve each got at least one major player who’s not having the kind of season he’s capable of. The 49ers, for instance, haven’t gotten the most out of tight end Vernon Davis, who was the focal point of their offense last season. At times this year he’s disappeared.
Some of the other big-name players who have had very uneven seasons for good teams: Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler, Houston linebacker Connor Barwin, Giants cornerback Corey Webster and Atlanta running back Michael Turner.
Another point Farmer will address: Heading into Week 9, the Dolphins and Colts -- both led by rookie quarterbacks -- are hanging tough at 4-3 and in sole possession of second place in their respective divisions.
This very easily could have been a situation in which one or both of these teams were still looking for their first victory. Instead, each is relevant and coming off an impressive road victory within the division, with the Dolphins winning at the New York Jets on Sunday, and the Colts winning at Tennessee.
Two reunions to watch are Buffalo defensive end Mario Williams returning to Houston to face his former team, the Texans, and Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice playing Minnesota.
Williams, who has had a disappointing season to this point, is six days removed from arthroscopic surgery on his sprained wrist. The league’s highest paid defensive player thinks that will make the difference.
Keep your eyes on what happens with a couple of struggling big-name quarterbacks in the NFC East -- Dallas’ Tony Romo and Philadelphia’s Michael Vick.
Romo, coming off a four-interception performance in a 29-24 home loss to the Giants, plays Sunday at the undefeated Falcons.
In Philadelphia, there were rumblings that Coach Andy Reid would bench Vick in favor of rookie third-round pick Nick Foles. Vick said as much after Sunday’s home loss to Atlanta.
The Eagles play at New Orleans on Monday night, and Vick probably gives them the best chance to win. Still, the picture will come into clearer focus this week.