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Games to Watch – Week 13

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:

Tennessee

@

Indianapolis

– Sunday 12/6,

1:00pm

Ok, ok –
we know that you didn’t look at this game and immediately think “Game to
Watch”, but hear us out. Think back to
the original Karate Kid movie. Ralph
Maccio starts out the movie as a punching bag for the local bullies, much like Tennessee did with their 0-6 start. Then after some simple car waxing and fence
painting (or in the Titans’ case, a bye week), he becomes a force to be reckoned
with – much like the 5-0 post-bye Titans.
And while the good-guy-image Colts aren’t exactly the NFL’s version of
the Cobra Khan, this year Indy has been giving the rest of the NFL the
proverbial leg-sweep, amassing a perfect 11-0 record through the first twelve
weeks. So while you might have first
looked at this match-up as an easy Colts victory in the “All Valley Karate
Tournament” of the NFL (read “AFC South Grudge Match”), the Titans would like
nothing more than to win the All Valley trophy (and improve their chances at a
wildcard berth) by upsetting the Cobras… err… Colts this Sunday.

The
Titans started out this season looking like a shadow of their old selves, but
who needs the “old” when you can have the

Vince
Young
(1010yd/4TD/2int) instead?
Young has led the Titans on a 5-0 win streak, but don’t think he isn’t
getting some major help. The Tennessee run game staring

Chris Johnson (1396yd/9TD) is doing
most of the damage for the Titans, while Vince Young just has to keep the
turn-overs to a minimum. Kicker

Rob Bironas (18FG/23PAT) has shown that
if the Titans can move the ball with any kind of rhythm, he’s capable of
putting the points they need to win on the board. The much-maligned D of the Titans has turned
over a new leaf as well – they allowed five of their first six opponents to
score more than 24 points on them, but in their last five games they have only
allowed more than 24 points a single time.
Guys like LB

Keith Bulluck
(86tkl/1int) and CB

Cortland Finnegan
(44tkl/3int/1TD) are starting to make the Titans defense look pretty decent – a
big accomplishment from starting out the season as one of the NFL’s worst in
almost every major category through the early part of this season.

Indianapolis
is one of the NFL’s only two remaining undefeated teams, sporting a league best
11-0 record – but they haven’t been cruising over teams like the loss-less
Saints have. The Colts have been
grinding out close game after close game, but every time doing exactly what
needs to be done to pull out a victory each week. Whether it’s late-game heroics by

Payton Manning (3415yd/24TD/11int)
throwing to guys like

Reggie Wayne
(987yd/79rec/9TD) and

Dallas Clark
(834yd/74rec/5TD), or

Joseph Addai (583yd/7TD)
grinding out tough yardage on the ground to salt away games. (Note: Addai’s ypc
increases every quarter on the average this year – a testament to his
conditioning and the Colts O-line.) Even
the Colt Defense has been the catalyst for several wins, but with guys like LB

Clint Session (81tkl/2int) and DE

Dwight Freeney (9.5sack) is that a
surprise to anyone? (Note: As of post time for this article, things look pretty
good for Freeney returning to the lineup after missing last week with an
abdominal injury, but don’t be surprised if his playing time is limited this
week – they are going to need his presence when the playoffs roll around.) The Colts had one of their biggest wins
against the Titans in week five with a 31-9 whooping of the boys from
Tennessee, but they have seen the same turnaround we have in the Titans, so
don’t expect them to take them lightly this time around.

So before
you dismiss this match-up as a blowout, oh ye of little faith, give this game a
chance. The Titans are one of the NFL’s
hottest teams right now, and so are the Colts.
Mix in a little division rivalry and the Titans looking for revenge and while
you might not see any paint-the-fence and wax-on in this contest, you’re
definitely going to see more than a few whacks taken by both teams in what
promises to be a hard-fought AFC South slugfest. Mr. Miyagi would be proud – and he’ll
probably be watching the game himself, with a cold brew (or maybe a warm saki).

Minnesota

@

Arizona

– Sunday 12/6,

8:20pm

We hate
to mention it, but both of us (Chris and Tom) got in a bit of an altercation
late last Friday Night (and it wasn’t over a Madden game on Playstation 3). As
crazy as it sounds, it was about food. Chris seems to think that the “Royal Red
Robin Burger” is the best there is, hands down. Tom scoffed at that and said
anyone making a blanket statement like that is about as dumb as Paul McCartney
not getting Heather Mills to sign a ‘pre-nup’. Tom favored Johnny Rockets’
“Smoke House Double”. Well, from there Chris decided that he was going to go all
Hacksaw Jim Duggan on Tom, and a 2×4 would be the ultimate judge. Tom wisely didn’t
argue from there. After a few Dogfish Ales, the boys were settled and agreed
that when comparing two powerhouse hamburgers, they could see the argument both
ways – much like the football game in Arizona this weekend as two powerhouse
offenses square off against each other.

The Cards
are one of the NFL’s offenses that make defensive coordinators around the NFL
reach for an Alka-Seltzer. A big reason
for that is the play of QB

Kurt Warner
(2718yd/20TD/11int). While Warner is listed as “questionable”, but we can’t see
anything short of open-heart surgery keeping Warner out of this game – it’s
just too important. Of course, no matter
who is under center, there are two of the NFL’s top receivers to look for in the
passing game, WRs

Larry Fitzgerald
(826yd/75rec/9TD) and

Anquan Boldin
(665yd/56rec/2TD). On the ground, Arizona has taken on a RB-by-committee
approach and uses rookie

Beanie Wells
(489yd/4TD) and

Tim Hightower
(485yd/6TD) almost equally. On the other side of the ball, the Super Bowl
runner-up D allows less than 20ppg, and utilizes players like

Antrel Rolle (56tkl/1.5sack/4int) to
lead them back into contention.

This
Sunday,

Brett Favre (2874yd/24TD/3int)
will set the NFL record for an every-down player with his 283rd consecutive
game played. But Favre’s presence has lightened the load somewhat on another
star on the team, RB

Adrian Peterson
(1084yd/12TD), and the need to have him gain huge amounts of yardage. In the
air, WRs

Sidney Rice (964yd/56rec/4TD)
and “Rookie of the Year” candidate

Percy
Harvin
(602yd/42rec/5TD) seem to have Brett Favre’s eye. It’s no secret
that defensively, the Vikes hold opponents running games to well below 100ypg
(81.6) and with a D sporting players like DEs

Jared Allen (38tkl/12.5sack/3forced fum) and

Ray Edwards (40tkl/6.5sack), it figures to be a catalyst to get the
Vikings deep into the playoffs.

In the
end, Tom forgave Chris for chasing him with a 2×4; after all, Red Robin does
indeed make a good burger. And while you won’t see any 2×4’s this weekend in
the Arizona / Minnesota game, you will get to see two of
the NFC’s best take a few swings at each other to prove who is hungrier for the
playoffs – and Jarred Allen does kind of wear his hair like Hacksaw Jim
Duggan.

Baltimore

@

Green Bay

– Monday 12/7,

8:30pm

We were
sitting in Dolfi’s man cave recently and feeling a bit nostalgic about the past
year, so we made a bit of a “bucket list”. Braun still has hopes to win back
all of the money he lost betting on the Lions the last two years and Dolfi
learned sign language online, in the event he ever gets a chance to actually
get a chance at his lifelong dream to meet Koko the gorilla. (Note: Braun has
already sent a letter to the foundation that takes care of Koko in Woodside, CA warning of how a Dolfi / Koko summit
would set back years of scientific study.) Hey, it’s good to dream. And when
opportunities come, you have to seize them, right? Much like the game that is
taking place in Lambeau Field this Monday. The Ravens haven’t been there in
nearly a decade. In fact, several Packers fans weren’t sure if there actually
IS a Ravens team – or even a Baltimore for that matter. Well, both teams get
their chance to seize the day this weekend. And both are in the same
predicament; slim hopes of winning their division, yet both having good
arguments for grabbing a wildcard spot. Coincidentally, both also have met on
Monday Night Football before (their last meeting in fact). won 48-3… but trust us, this one
is going to be much closer this time.

Last
Thursday, Packers’ QB

Aaron Rodgers
(3136yd/22TD/5int) clubbed the Lions by throwing for 3TD’s. Speaking of the
number three, he led to team to its third straight win – putting them solidly
back in the wildcard race. 35-year-old WR

Donald Driver (845yd/53rec/5TD) has
been on the receiving end of a nice percentage of Rodgers throws. But when the ball isn’t flying through the
air, RB

Ryan Grant (890yd/5TD) gets
the nod and although hasn’t seen the end-zone a ton, he still gets efficient
ypc on the ground – even behind the poor Green Bay offensive line. Defensively,
what a difference a year makes… Would you believe that the Pack leads the NFL
in fewest yards allowed per game (282yds)?!? Great play from guys like

Charles Woodson (2sack/2int/2TD) and

Nick Barnett (71tkl/3sack) are a very big
reason for that statistic, and they will certainly be on Baltimore’s mind when they game plan this
week… and on Baltimore’s backs on Monday night.

The
Ravens have a 6-5 record and are still in the hunt for a wildcard spot in the
AFC. On paper, their schedule (minus another visit with the Steelers) looks
favorable for a playoff run. Sophomore QB

Joe
Flacco
(2744yd/13TD) has used recent un-retiree Derrick Mason (734yd/5TD)
nicely, but has used RB

Ray Rice in
passing (rec:582yd/61rec/1TD – he leads the team in receptions) as well as ball
control on the ground (run: 821yd/6TD). On the opposite side of the ball, the
Ravens are a force to be dealt with when having to score points. They only
allow 17ppg and less than 100 yards on the ground per game. S

Dawan

Landry (60tkl/4int/1TD) and LB

Jarret Johnson (41tkl/6sack), as well
as the ever-present

Ray Lewis
(92tkl/2sack/2forced fum), look to make their trip to Lambeau Field memorable
for the home team – and not in a good way.

Sure, this
is an out-of-conference game, but let us tell you this – it might be one of the
best out of conference game you see outside of the Super Bowl this year. Baltimore might only be a single game above
.500, but every game of theirs goes right down to the wire. And Aaron Rodgers is one of the NFL’s top
passers despite playing behind an offensive line that couldn’t protect him from
a pee-wee leaguer, let alone an angry NFL defensive end. So while just about anything *could* happen
during this game, one thing *will* happen – you’ll be treated to one heck of a
“Game to Watch”.

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.