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Games to Watch – Week 11

Hello fellow Sharks! From now right up through 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 Fantasy PRE-Wind
podcast), and our “Sine Lines” sport-toon (every Mon, Wed, Fri), 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:

Atlanta

@ New York Giants – Sunday 11/22,

1:00pm

Picture
this: it’s last Saturday and the agreement is to have a ‘work weekend’ at
Dolfi’s place in order to put the finishing touches on his ‘Man Cave’. He’s got the 60” HD, he’s got
the wet bar, he’s got the stadium seating. It just needs a little ceiling work
from all the wires we’ve been running. Anyway, four friends show up to pitch in
and Chris says “throw something on the TV while we are working”. The TV gets
turned on and the FoodNetwork has some all day Thanksgiving special on. Fast
forward 20 minutes. Instead of five men
working, you have five men drinking beers at 10:30am, drooling over Turkey Tettrazinni
(as well as Giada De Laurentiis to be quite frank). It went on like that for
hours. The bottom line: we all showed up, but nothing seemed to be getting done.
Take that same notion and transfer it to this game – you have something very
similar; both teams keep showing up, but when it comes to playoff hopes or
signs of life, not a whole lot is happening. Well on Sunday, something IS going
to *have* to happen, if these two teams (both of whom have playoff hopes) want
to keep hope alive, there are only 6 games left in the regular season. A sense
of urgency and some passion might be the things missing, and while that might
not be an easy pill to swallow for either of these teams, it’s needed like
Giada’s Foccaccia Sausage stuffing.

About a
month ago the Giants were mentioned with the league elite: Indy, New Orleans, Minnesota. But after a four game skid and a
bye week, fans and critics alike are clamoring to see the Giants that were
showing up for the first few games of the season. QB

Eli Manning (2070yd/15TD/8int) had a stellar first month finding WRs

Steve Smith (719yd/61rec/5TD) and

Mario Manningham (491yd/34rec/4TD) in
the end zone more than just a few times. The tandem of RBs

Brandon Jacobs (617yd/2TD) and

Ahmad
Bradshaw
(515yd/4TD) has a history of racking up yards, and although they
have not had luck as of late, history could repeat itself Sunday as Atlanta’s
26th ranked rushing defense might not put up much resistance. The best way to
describe the defense is slightly lopsided. It’s rare to have the 21st ranked
team in points allowed, and at the same time have a defense that leads the
entire NFL in fewest yards allowed per game. That being said, DE

Osi Umenyiora (19tkl/5sack/3forced fum)
and company look to strut their stuff and prove naysayers wrong as Atlanta
comes to town, and the G-men (hopefully) climb back in the hunt to win the NFC
East.

Aside
from player/coach sideline scuffles, the Falcons have had a much more subdued
season this year as compared to last. After a fast start, QB

Matt Ryan (2008yd/14TD/12int) has
struggled in keeping the Falcons’ offense moving. In his last five games, he is
completing just 54.9 percent of his passes with 7 TDs and 10 interceptions.
Last year’s incredible season for

Roddy
White
(668yd/47rec/6TD) has cooled off a little bit this year, but partly because
of the Falcons acquiring future Hall of Fame TE

Tony Gonzalez (501yd/44rec/4TD). And now with RB

Michael Turner (831yd/10TD) hobbled by
an ankle injury last game against the Panthers, many wonder just where this Atlanta offense can go. Defensively, Atlanta lacks consistency and gives up
far too many yards. However, 2nd year standout LB

Curtis Lofton (90tkl/2forced fum) and the rest of the defense hope at
least one past statistic holds true; the road team has won every meeting in
this series since 1979 (a span of a dozen games).

We’re
going to try the “work weekend” thing again this weekend, but this time we vow
not to turn on the TV. And while deep
frying a turkey is certainly going to be in the cards (after all, the
FoodNetwork did give us some great ideas for a Thanksgiving spread that should
help all of us gain a dozen pounds next week), just because we’re talking
turkey here don’t think for a second that this game is going to lay an egg.

Indianapolis

@

Baltimore

– Sunday 11/22,

1:00pm

Lately, it
feels like the world is spinning out of control. Sometimes the problems start small, like a
single circuit board shorting out in the FAA computers this past Thursday, and
mushroom into an air-traffic nightmare with over 2,000 flights being
delayed. Sometimes a single problem can
be meaningless to some people, but can spell the end of an era to others, like
Oprah announcing that her network TV show will cease in 2011. And sometimes anticipated problems turn out to
be nothing more than the media making a story out of nothing, like wondering if
Sarah Palin will be inviting her daughter’s baby-daddy to Thanksgiving
dinner. With all of the craziness going
on around us, sometimes it’s nice to have a ‘sure thing’ to fall back on… like
the love of your beloved family dog, Mom’s pot roast, or a good old fashioned
slugfest between a couple of AFC playoff stalwarts, Indianapolis and Baltimore.

Even if they
had to weather some close-calls, the Indianapolis Colts are one of the NFL’s
only two undefeated squads through their first nine games.

Payton
Manning
(2872yd/20TD/7int) is having one of his best seasons ever in terms
of efficiency, and has been masterful in directing the Colts offense this
year. WR

Reggie Wayne (879yd/69rec/8TD) and TE

Dallas Clark (768yd/64rec/3TD) are the prime beneficiaries of
Manning’s prowess, but

Joseph Addai
(440yd/6TD) has been a bit of a surprise to many fantasy pundits, especially
when the Colts were bringing in

Donald Brown
(226yd/2TD) to help an ailing rushing attack.
If Manning is the biggest reason the Colts are 9-0, then the Indy D runs
a close second. Ranked 1st in
scoring defense and 4th in take-away/give-away, the Colts D has become one of
the NFLs finest units this season. DE

Dwight Freeney (9.5sack/1forced fum)
isn’t just a Madden favorite – he’s the heart and soul of a D that may propel
Indy to a Super Bowl this year.

Baltimore was anything but its standard image at the start of this
year; the offense was scoring in bunches and leading them to wins, and the
defense looked like a shadow of its former self. But while the rest of the world is spinning
out of control, the Ravens are back in control – of their own fate. QB

Joe
Flacco
(2199yd/12TD/7int) needs to avoid turnovers and simply make two or
three efficient drives a game for Baltimore to be successful. RBs

Ray
Rice
(662yd/6TD) and

Willis McGahee (236yd/5TD)
really carry the offensive load on their broad shoulders, with a little help
from guys like WR

Derrick Mason (530yd/36rec/4TD)
tossed in for good measure. The Baltimore
D has regained their standing as one of the NFL’s finest, with LB

Ray Lewis (75tkl/2sack/1forced fum) and
his leadership helping the Ravens to their current spot as a top seven ranked
defense in almost every defensive category of note.

Sure, the world
around us is changing at an alarming rate, and not always for the better – like
the Post Office putting the kibosh on the volunteer program of responding to
letters addressed to Santa at the North Pole that started all the way back in
1954. But it’s nice to know we still
have NFL match-ups like Indy / Baltimore to show us that even though things
always change and evolve, at the core they are exactly what we grew up with –
great offense, great defense, and hard-hitting NFL action.

San Diego

@

Denver

– Sunday 11/22,

4:15pm

Many of you
have never met Braun (consider yourself lucky), but the reason we bring it up
today is that he has a really unhealthy habit. No – not smoking; and he can go
weeks without any alcohol. His unhealthy habit is binge eating. Now usually it
involves chicken wings, crab legs, or even scrapple, and Braun gains 15 pounds
in a month. Then he goes and eats a head of lettuce with croutons each day for
a week and drops the weight right off. Unhealthy – yes. The weird part is that
you wouldn’t even recognize him when he packs the weight on; he gains it all in
his neck like Bill Bixby turning into the Hulk (Braun’s no Lou Ferrigno – more
like Chris Farley in Tommy Boy). You get the point though; he’s thin one week, a
balloon the next. The same thing goes for the two teams in this ‘Game to
Watch’. In their first meeting, a white-hot Denver team beat up on a slumping San Diego. One month later, the roles are
reversed, and suddenly a division that was dominated by one of them has these
two teams matched up with the winner taking the AFC West lead.

Riding a 4
game win streak, QB

Phillip Rivers
(2476yd/16TD/6int) has had a two wins over NFC east teams, and has orchestrated
a mid-season comeback after starting the season 2-3. And while the backfield has
struggled, with

LaDainian Tomlinson
(385yd) and

Darren Sproles (184yd/1TD)
splitting the workload, the receiving game has picked up the slack with this
turning into a career year for WR

Vincent
Jackson
(732yd/43rec/7TD) and another solid season for sure-handed TE

Antonio Gates (668yd/49rec/2TD). But the
one group who has come alive during the four game win-streak is on the opposite
side of the ball. Defensively, the Bolts rank in the middle of the NFL with a
so-so 326 yards per game allowed, but

Shaun
Phillips
(42tkl/5sack/4forced fum) and

Shawne
Merriman
(29tkl/4 sacks) have made the entire unit come alive the past four
contests and, as mentioned earlier, know they are the key to a successful run
into the post season.

A gimpy

Kyle Orton (2031yd/11TD/4int)
temporarily might spell trouble for the Broncos, but fortunately they do have
some other things they can rely on. Although slowed as of late, the tandem of RBs

Knowshon Moreno (520yd/2TD) and

Correll Buckhalter (364yd/1TD) have had
flashes of brilliance, and WR

Brandon
Marshal
(602yd/6TD) is performing at team MVP form – regardless of how
rocky his training camp was. Denver’s defense has struggled to stop
the run in its three losses, but the defense on the season does rank in the top
six in both points allowed and yards against. Make no mistake; even though the
Broncs have lost their last three, DE

Elvis
Dumervil
(31tkl/12 sack/2forced fum) and the Bronco’s D are very
formidable. They aren’t going to be a walk in the park for any team that faces them
– especially not a division rival.

These teams
seem to be headed in different directions. One is binging; the other is
fasting. The Broncos have lost three in a row after a 6-0 start, while the Chargers
have won four straight. The Chargers could deliver a knockout blow in this game
from which the Broncos may not recover.
The Broncos can regain their early-season momentum in one fell swoop,
but besting their division rivals. We
live for games like this one – and you aren’t going to want to miss it either. And just 3 hours or so after kickoff, we’ll
have a much clearer picture of what team in the AFC West will be fattening up
on a divisional offering en-route to the playoffs and which team will be
dieting on a very unsatisfying slice of humble pie.

About Fantasy Sharks

FantasySharks.com began in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is, or has been, home to some of the most talented and best known fantasy writers on the planet. Owned and operated by Tony Holm (5 time Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall-of-Fame nominee,) Tony started writing fantasy content in 1993 for the only three fantasy football web sites in existence at the time.