AFL W2W4, R14: Which teams can overcome the post-bye curse?

We're into the last of the bye weeks, with six games spread across four days in Round 14, and while there's been plenty of recent talk about dud scheduling on the part of the AFL, this week's Friday night match between Port Adelaide and Melbourne is one to savour.

Meanwhile Sunday's clash between Collingwood and Carlton might not look like a cracking afternoon at the MCG or in front of the telly, but it does show some signs of being a danger match for the Pies.

Oh, and it's also worth pointing out that teams coming off the bye this year have been largely ineffective off the back of a week away, so keep a close eye on the Bombers, Demons, Kangaroos and Pies this week.

Here's What To Watch For in Round 14.

Will the post-bye curse continue?

Such is the regimented world of AFL footy, it appears players are at a loss when their routines are thrown out of whack, even if they are enjoying a well-earned break.

How else can we explain the post-bye lethargy that has affected all but one team so far this year?

Since clubs first started to put their feet up for a rest in Round 10, only Hawthorn has managed to win on their return to action.

Gold Coast, Port Adelaide, Carlton, West Coast and the Western Bulldogs all suffered defeats coming from their byes, before Hawthorn rolled a weakened and wobbly Adelaide at the MCG on Saturday night.

We always hear about players screaming about the benefits of the bye -- refer to the AFLPA fighting tooth and nail for a second bye during the most recent collective bargaining agreement negotiations -- but it seems most are all at sea immediately after a week's rest.

It's a trend that Essendon (against West Coast at Optus Stadium on Thursday night), Melbourne (Port, Adelaide Oval on Friday night), North Melbourne (Western Bulldogs, Etihad Stadium on Saturday) and Collingwood (Carlton, MCG on Sunday) will have to find a solution for if they're to prevail this weekend.

However, at least one team will escape the post-bye curse: Brisbane hosts GWS on Saturday afternoon, with both coming off a break.

Will the real contender please stand up

There's no sugar-coating it: there's been a fair few dud Friday night games so far this year, but the Port Adelaide-Melbourne clash at Adelaide Oval is a mouth-watering prospect.

And as the battle for the top eight and the positions within it heats up, this one could have enormous ramifications come the end of August.

As it stands, Port and Melbourne are locked 32 points apiece, separated by percentage. The Power will be desperate to win their third on the trot, while the Dees will be fighting to rebound from their disappointing Queen's Birthday loss to Collingwood prior to their bye.

A key difference between the two teams is the fact Port has claimed some big scalps this year, including Sydney and Richmond, while the Demons have come up well short in their sternest tests. It's something coach Simon Goodwin didn't shy away from during the week.

"We're not oblivious ... the noise is that we can't play in these types of games, so it's another opportunity for us to grow," Goodwin said.

And grow they must against a Power outfit that appears to be hitting its straps.

When playing on their terms, both sides are able to produce scintillating, free-flowing football but make no mistake, their games are based on the tough stuff, with the Power and Demons both ranked highly in tackles, contested possessions and clearances.

It might be too simple to say whichever midfield group that prevails on the night will ensure victory for their side, but the battle between Ryder, Wines, Wingard, Powell-Pepper and Co. against Gawn, Oliver, Jones, Viney, Brayshaw et all will be worth the price of admission alone.

Could complacency sink the Pies?

On first glance, this match doesn't command too much attention given Collingwood's strong form and Carlton's continued struggles.

But take a closer look and there are some danger signs for for the Magpies going into Sunday's clash with their arch rival.

As it always is for matches involving these teams, ladder positions don't seem to matter, while Carlton's recent head-to-head against the Pies is surprising considering the state of their rebuild; since Brendon Bolton took over down at Princes Park, the Blues have won two and lost two against Pies.

And as quirky as it seems, it has been the away team which has won every clash in the Buckley-Bolton era, and it's the Pies who host the Blues on Sunday. Quirkier still, the Blues and Pies have alternated wins for their past five matches, and it was Collingwood that got the job done earlier this year.

In fact, for the Blues, there is no better time to bounce back after being savaged in the media than against the old enemy, and Carlton have a habit of beating their big rival on big occasions -- just ask Eddie McGuire about the Pies' 125th and 100th-year celebration games.

But it might not matter if the Blues turn up how they did against Fremantle having not put the time into some of Collingwood's prime movers, such as Scott Pendlebury, Will Hoskin-Elliott and Adam Treloar.

For Carlton to stand a chance, Bolton must find a way to negate the Pies' stars instead of letting them do as they wish -- which happened last week when Freo superstars Nat Fyfe and Lachie Neale waltzed down the Etihad Stadium corridor untouched and unpressured.