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Games to Watch – Week 1

Hello fellow Sharks! From now until Week 17, we’ll be giving our insight as to which games are the games to watch each week. This is a heavy burden, as we know a lot of you have Sunday Ticket, too much free time, and an addiction to premium brews like Natty Lite or Yuengling. A lot of you know us from our weekly podcast on this site (the Week in Review podcast), one of our columns, or maybe one of our posts in the Tank. We’re just like you, though. We love a good football game, no matter who’s playing.

All times Eastern:


You’ve hooked up your grill’s final propane tank of the summer, Labor Day has come and gone, and you’ve called DirectTV to get the HD package.


You know you’re ready for it… and we are too.


Welcome back to “Games to Watch”,

 2007 style !!!


This year starts off with a Week One LOADED with great games. In fact, we are upset that we can only name 3 (I guess we could name more, but we only have enough jokes to cover 3 games each week, and lets face it – sometimes we aren’t even that good). But we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least mention some of the other games this week. One that just missed the cut was the Jets v Pats game (although it would be nice to see buddies

Mangini and

Belichick go at it again). Another was the Cowboys v Giants (there are plenty of


Coughlin, and

Shockey lovers / haters out there… and someone in the NFC East will be mighty “unhappy” after week one). We certainly want to watch these games too… but if you don’t have the Tivo set up just yet, don’t worry – both those games will have a ‘round two’ coming up later this season.


So, without further adieu… here are our picks for Week 1:


New Orleans @ Indianapolis — Thusday 9/6, 8:30pm


We don’t know what you did in the off-season, but something tells us you did something more than watch “The Sopranos” finale, NFL ‘Europa’, or reruns of “The Office”. We on the other hand prepared for this upcoming football season… by home-brewing beer.


Hey… finding a beverage you like each week can get very expensive while watching NFL game – so we took matters into our own hands and started brewing our own (and we’d like to digress and congratulate ourselves on our 4th place finish for lagers in a recent Pennsylvania fair… we won’t share if that means there were only 5 people total competing, but at lease we were better than someone else… that and it is documented fact that the judge did not get sick after drinking our brew.)


This game made us think of the two batches we brewed this summer: one was an ‘old standby’, Midwestern- golden ale that we’ve made many times before, and another was a brand new Southern Stout recipe that everyone, everywhere we shared it with, seemed to love.


That good ‘old standby’ reminded us of Indianapolis. The last 4 years, no matter what, they always seem to be in the thick of things year after year after year. You can count on them to have a constantly producing offense (how’s this for consistency? #3 overall offense in 2003, #2 in 2004, #3 in 2005, #3 in 2006!), and have a coach who knows winning ways in

Tony Dungy (you have to give props to a guy who was the first one to defeat all 32 teams in the NFL). Indianapolis does not disappoint, and they seemed to have finally found the formula to winning it all last year… and like you on your third plate at all-you-can-eat wing night, we expect them to be in the thick of it once again.


Then there is the Southern Stout. Full-bodied, a new take on a tried and true recipe. Everyone we made take a sip of it just kept wanting more… much like the fever that swept over many Americans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and the resurgence of a Saints team last year that made believers out of those who thought the they were going to be no better than they were the year before when

Aaron Brooks was under center. The Saints offense has the threat of a double-edged sword in their running game (with

McAllister and

Bush), and a QB in

Drew Brees who can put up impressive numbers – he threw for more yards than any other QB last year, topping 4,400 by 18 yards, and his 26 passing TDs put him only behind

Manning (the good one) and



In short, opening night will bring about a GREAT opening game between N’awlens and Indy, and one heck of a buzz (not that we condone that kind of thing… but we are still celebrating our 4th place victory!)


Chicago @ San Diego – Sunday 9/9, 4:15pm


One of the best matchups of the week isn’t a divisional game… heck… it isn’t even a conference game. It’s this one. Let us make it simple for you with a brief list of Pro’s and Con’s about watching this game.



LT’s First game. Thank god all us fantasy owners can finally see

LT play. It is no secret that a guy who ran for 1800+ yards last season and 28 rushing TDs isn’t just a little bit fun to watch – he’s a lotta bit fun to watch. Even if you don’t root for the Chargers, you have to appreciate a guy who some say might end up as the best ever in the NFL.



Lovie Smith’s road back to the SB begins. What do you know about

Lovie Smith?… exactly. Let us enlighten you a little bit on this soft-spoken (at least in public) guy. Lovie gives money toward college tuition for impoverished children, he leaves 10 tickets to every home game for kids with diabetes, and oh yea, he put together a team that made it to the Super Bowl last season. You can’t help but root for a guy like this… or if you don’t, you must really, really hate the Bears.


Our list of pros could go on and on, but the neither the Chargers or Bears front office kicked us any of the free tickets we were fishing for, so we’ll stop. (Let that be a lesson to you other teams… send any and all free tickets to Dolf and Braun c/o



Chicago’s Defense. It’s funny…we’ve read quite a bit where many writers haven’t even mentioned ‘da Bears’ as a contender in the NFC Championship game. The truth is, this is a team where you

praise the defense, and

pray for the offense. This defense is still one of the best,

  and don’t let a certain players love for guns fool you… they might be minus a player or two, but their personnel and their schemes are still some of the best. (btw, the Chicago Defense is actually a pro, just one member was a ‘con’. Ouch – bad joke. We tried to stop ourselves, but we just couldn’t resist).


Face it, this game is a winner – a great match-up… and a whole lot of ‘pros’.



Baltimore @ Cincinnati – Monday 9/10, 7:00pm


How could we not pick one of the two opening weekend’s Monday night games for this week’s ‘Games to Watch’? Especially when it’s such a classic match-up of offense vs. defense…


On one side, we have the classic powerhouse offense in the Bengals.

  The orange striped Ohio-ans sport one of the NFL’s more feared offenses, sporting such studs as QB

Carson Palmer (#2 in passing TDs last year and #5 in passing yards, topping the 4K mark), WR

Chad Johnson (#1 in receiving yards with a very nice 1369 and 7 TDs for good measure), and RB

Rudi Johnson (#7 in rushing yards to go with his dozen TDs). Heck, even their number two WR

TJ Houshmandzadeh (say that three times fast with a mouth full of water) broke 1,000 yards receiving! This is an offense that opposing defenses would rather stear clear of, if the schedule allows them that luxury.


With Baltimore’s defense having to face Cincy twice each year, you’d think they would be worried – but they aren’t. The Ravens are the antithesis of Cincy – they are the devastating defense that makes opposing NFL players take preemptive strikes of Ibuprofen and Vicodin.

  Last year the Raven’s were #1 in yards against and #1 in points against – it simply doesn’t get much better than that.


Ray Lewis and

Bart Scott are some of the NFL’s most punishing Linebackers, and guys like DE

Trevor Pryce and his 13 sacks last year and CB

Chris McAlister with his 6 interceptions ensure that Baltimore’s D will remain amongst the NFL’s elite.


What a great match-up for us to end our column with this week! With Cincy and their high flying offense on one side of the coin, and Baltimore and their punishing D on the other side of the coin – we’ll just toss the coin to see who wins. The coin is up… we’ve caught it… flipped it on the back of our hand… and the winner is… … everyone who watches this game. (Aw – ya’ knew we wouldn’t spoil it for ya’!) 😉

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