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Games to Watch – Week 15

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:




– Thursday 12/17,


One of
the shows we love to listen to most is SIRIUS NFL Radio, channel 124; we just
cannot get enough of it. With guys like Randy Cross and Shannon Sharpe the
insightfulness is something that is second to none in media coverage across the
NFL. Now, when the commercials come on we do find ourselves switching over to
Howard Stern, but mainly it is just to see who or what would happen next on the
show. What’s the next “Phony Phone-Call” that Sal and Richard are going to
make? Who is Howard going to lambaste next? Who’s the next on the interview
couch (and in what state of undress)? So every day we get solid NFL talent,
punctuated by those little bits of uncertainty that make life exciting. That same feeling is what we take going into
week 15 – this game specifically. Will Indy go for 16-0 in a rout, squeeze by
in another nail-biter, or finally join the ranks of the beaten? Will Jones-Drew
break off some big numbers and propel the Jags to the playoffs? The first
meeting between these two this year came down to the last two minutes of the
game, and when the final gun sounded, the scoreboard showed a difference of
only 2 points. There might be more of
the same as this game goes Prime Time for rematch.

Colts, as usual, seem to be firing on all cylinders offensively. Hall of Fame
bound Payton Manning (3905yd/29TD/14int) always has options with Reggie Wayne
(1078yd/87rec/9TD) and Dallas Clark (902yd/82rec/8TD), who are the mainstays of
a steady offensive aerial attack that leads the league in passing yardage. Toss in a steady performance every week by RB
Joseph Addai (729yd/9TD) toting the rock, and you can see why this is one of
the NFL’s most consistent offenses. There is a saying though that we all have
heard: “offense wins games, but defense win championships”. Well, with the 3rd
ranked defense in points given up, DEs Dwight Freeny (22tkl/11.5sack/1forced
fum) and Robert Mathis (37tkl/9.5sack/5forced fum) look to keep up the pressure
as this team gets set for a deep playoff run.

Jaguars are one of those teams that are harder to read than a Cosmo
relationship quiz. One week, they’ll
score 37 points and then follow it up the next by getting shut out (see weeks four
& five). But through virtue of some good play mixed with a little luck,
they are still in the thick of the hunt for the playoffs – and if the
postseason started today, they’d be one of the teams playing for all the
marbles. QB David Garrard (2987yd/10TD/6int) will be a key for a playoff run, as
well as the feature back, Maurice Jones-Drew (1136yd/14TD). WRs Mike Sims-Walker (758yd/53rec/6TD) and
Torry Holt (661yd/46rec) will need to step up big against the tough Colts D if the
Jags hope to pull this one out.
Defensively, Jacksonville has reeled in a total of 13
interceptions, led by bawl hawk Rashean Mathis (26tkl/3int).

Part of
any great show (be it radio, TV, or even puppet) is not having a stale
storyline. With both of these teams, we don’t know who we are going to see,
what is going to happen, or even if both or just one of these squads will make
the playoffs. At about 11:30pm Thursday EST, we’ll find out – but just like our
radio listening preferences, we know the answers will contain some solid NFL
action, mixed in with those little bits of uncertainty that is going to keep
this game interesting until the fat lady sings.
(Apologies to Aretha Franklin; no dis-R-E-S-P-E-C-T from us, we love
you, ‘Retha no matter how much you weigh!)



New Orleans

– Saturday 12/19,


You know
us; we love to mix in a little pop culture with our NFL musings, and this week
we have a special treat for those of you who enough a good laugh. There is a reality TC show out right now that
is one of the funniest comedies we’ve ever had the good fortune to watch,
“Steven Segal: Lawman”. Sure, you all
know who Steven Segal is, he plays the ex-military/CIA guy who uses incredibly
slow karate moves to take down enemies threatening America in his movie… well,
in *all* of his movies. But “Steven
Segal: Lawman” follows the real-life adventures of Mr. Segal, who (in his spare
time between movies and eating gumbo) serves as a Deputy Sheriff in Louisiana.
The majority of the show’s humor comes from Segal showing us that not
only is he a third-rate actor, but his overweight frame can huff and puff after
juvenile delinquents, too! Toss in the
scenes where he shows you he is an un-accomplished blues musician and the
scenes where he teaches members of his police force to shoot better using his
special take on how Zen masters fire handguns, and you’ve got yourself one heck
of a laugh riot. But we don’t bring up
“Steven Segal: Lawman” because this game is going to be a laugher… we bring it
up because these two teams might just be as versatile as Segal imagines he is…

Dallas Cowboys have long fancied themselves the law of the NFL, but their Zen
seems to go right out the window come December every year. QB Tony Romo (3574yd/22TD/7int) takes the bad
rap for not being able to win in the 12th month, but the Cowboys
deserves as much of that blame as anything else. Romo has been hitting quality targets like
Jason Witten (793yd/77rec/1TD) and Miles Austin (999yd/58rec/10TD) for plenty
of receptions – with even the overrated malcontent Roy Williams (578yd/36rec/6TD)
playing well as of late. Mix in a
running game with guys like Marion Barber (716yd/4TD) and the recently returned
Felix Jones (478yd/2TD) and these guys have enough offensive talent to get
things done. And while the Cowboys D
certainly already cost them one December game, with studs like Demarcus Ware (51tkl/9sack/3forced
fum) (still questionable for this game after last week’s scary collision) and
Keith Brooking (92tkl/3sack) the Cowboys have the talent to turn around their
end-of-the-year skid and post a couple of wins to vault them to a Wildcard
berth, and maybe even the NFC East title if they can beat Philly in week 17.

The New
Orleans Saints were the team that everyone always remembers fans wearing paper
bags over their heads, due to their shame about the ‘Aints. But these aren’t your father’s Saints – this
is a team lead by Drew Brees (3832yd/32TD/10int), who is a major reason why
this squad is not only among the best NFL offenses this year, but maybe *ever*
when the final numbers are tallied.
Brees has an arsenal of weapons around him, with Marques Colston (908yd/56rec/9TD)
and Robert Meachem (601yd/33rec/8TD) topping his list of favorites. But just like Segal, the Saints don’t stop at
talent in one area – they sport the NFL’s 5th best rushing attack, which isn’t
surprising with guys like Pierre Thomas (713yd/5TD), Mike Bell (598yd/4TD), and
Reggie Bush (310yd/5TD) combining for 14 TDs on the ground. Their talents don’t stop on the offensive
side of the ball, though – with guys like Will Smith (37tkl/10sack/3forced fum)
(not “the Fresh Prince” – the one who has double digit sacks) and Jonathan
Vilma (90tkl/1sack) this team easily sports as many hidden talents as Steven
Segal himself. The Cowboys are their
biggest hurdle left in achieving the ever-elusive perfect 16-0 record ever team

If the
Saints can escape Dallas gunning for them, a perfect
regular season looks like it could be a lock.
That’s reason enough to watch this match-up, even if it wasn’t such a
critical game for Dallas to not only try and turn around
their December curse, but make a real run at the playoffs this year. And don’t forget to check out an episode of
“Steven Segal: Lawman” if at all possible; we guarantee you’ll laugh harder at
it than any of the network comedies out this year. But try and catch this Saturday night contest
if at all possible, because it has all of the hidden talents on both sides of
the ball that Steven Segal only gets through creative editing and smug



San Diego

– Sunday 12/20,


it’s the fact that we love to clog up our arteries with some tasty trans-fat, but
we find ourselves loving shows like “Man vs. Food”, “No Reservations”, and “Diners,
Drive-Ins and Dives”. Those are definitely our kinds of place to grab a bite. No
matter what diner or greasy spoon we end up at, we find ourselves skipping the
basics and asking for whatever the house specialty is – pastrami and eggs
topped with French fries, smothered and covered hash browns, chili that could
strip paint of your furniture, whatever. We simply love it. Sure, fine dining
is good for a special occasion, but bring on the food that fuels the working
class – that’s for us. That leads us to our final “Game to Watch” this week,
featuring two teams that don’t dine on the high end of society, but have been grinding
it out to get to the playoffs – playing every game like it could be their last.
But just because they aren’t a couple of the NFL’s pretty-boy franchises,
doesn’t mean the ingredients of these two teams don’t combine to make one heck
of a treat for football fans.

Riding an
outstanding eight-game win streak, the Chargers have found a rhythm on offense
that rivals any team out there. QB Phillip Rivers (3583yd/22TD/7int) is having
an MVP-caliber season finding his favorite targets, TE Antonio Gates (1038yd/71rec/5TD)
and WR Vincent Jackson (989yd/58rec/7TD). During the Bolts long win streak, the
reemergence of LaDanian Tomlinson (611yd/10TD) as a running threat has pleased
the San
Diego faithful and Fantasy owners nationwide. On the opposite side of the
ball, although not flashy, players like Shaun Phillips (56tkl/7sacks/6forced fum)
and Antonio Cromartie (28tkl/3int) have put the pieces together to hold
opposing offenses to fewer than 20 points per game.

Bengals haven’t been surprising anyone since the beginning of the year with
their superior offensive sparks. Carson Palmer (2641yd/17TD/10int) has had one
of his best seasons leading the likes of Chad Ochocinco (937yd/65rec/7TD) to
more opportunities for NFL fines with TD celebrations. RB Cedric Benson
(1065yd/6TD) was cast off by Chicago and many NFL scouts alike, but
has emerged as a vital part of this offense that ranks 6th in rushing for the
entire NFL. Probably the biggest surprise is the play by the 2nd (yes, we said
second) best NFL defense out there in points allowed per game. Jonathan Joseph
(53tkl/1forced fum/5int/1TD) and Leon Hall (56tkl/2forced fum/5int), both with
5 interceptions apiece, have a nose for the ball and could cause problems for
Phillip Rivers if he isn’t every bit as sharp as advertised.

There you
have it – two teams whose ingredients might not be as ritzy as some of the
other playoff contenders, but when blended together just right and left to
simmer becomes one heck of a dish. The
last time these too met it was a shootout with the Chargers winning 49 – 41. And
while we might not see a 90-point total this time around, the potential is
certainly there and the only thing we can tell you for sure is that this is
going to be one heck of a “Game to Watch” and quite possibly an AFC playoff preview. And just think – you get to enjoy this tasty
treat of an NFL contest without even raising your cholesterol, which certainly
ought to keep your significant other, and your insurance company, very, very

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