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Games to Watch – Week 16

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:

Let us
paint the picture for you here at Fantasysharks HQ. The employee lounge has
empty bottles of Captain Morgan in the recycling bin, there are 2 day old
sandwich trays in the fridge with only turkey and some slightly greenish egg salad
left, and all of three people still around for the holidays – Dolfi and Braun,
and an intern working for Vinnie, who somehow convinced the local community
college that FantasySharks was a viable learning opportunity. In any case,
we’re not stupid; we just came in today to do our column and get started on our
own holiday. The problem is, with so many teams out of playoff contention one
might think there isn’t much to watch this holiday weekend. In fact, the intern
said he overheard Vinnie tell him picking three would be hard because there
were barely three worth watching, but we couldn’t disagree more. There are a full dozen games worth watching
for one reason or another! Ladies and
gentlemen, we proudly present to you ‘The Twelve Games of Christmas’ (in song
order, not NFL schedule order):

1st game
of Christmas:

New York

Jets @ Indianapolis – Sunday 12/27,


The New
York Jets started out with high hopes, but with rookie Mark Sanchez under center,
they faltered and won’t be seeing any postseason play this season. But that hardly means they don’t have
anything to play for; Indianapolis is the NFL’s only undefeated
squad after New Orleans faltered this past weekend – and
with Buffalo up in week 17, the Jets are the best chance at taking the
shine off the Colts potential perfect season. When Rex Ryan and his team come
to Indy, they’ll either be giving Indy just wanted they wanted for Christmas
this year, a 15th win, or a stocking full of coal. Now if only Rex Ryan would agree to wear that
Santa suit we mailed to him…

2nd game
of Christmas:




– Sunday 12/27,


Oh, you
didn’t realize there was a bowl game on this Sunday? The “Disappoint Your Fans
Greatly” Bowl might not be recognized as an official bowl game, but fans of
these two teams are getting all too used to them playing in it every year. How
many more years will fans of these teams have their high hopes dashed against a
.500 record? Both of these teams are
always competitive, but lack the killer instinct to make a playoff run. Ok, we admit it might not look like a shiny
package under the tree here folks, but if you hold the package just right, it will
have moments of sparkle – mainly from Ricky Williams (and his 11 TDs) and Andre
Johnson (1433 yards, 90 receptions, and 8 TDs), both of these guys are living
highlight reels.

3rd game
of Christmas:




New Orleans

– Sunday 12/27,


OK, this
game *should* be a walk in the park for NO. But what we want to see here is how
Drew Brees and company respond to their first loss. Do they come back and light
it up or has Dallas drawn up the blueprint on how to
defeat the offensive machine in the Big Easy?
Drew Brees has been picked off a few times as of late, but even so he
still averages THREE times as many TDs as interceptions, totaling a whopping 33
TD passes to just 11 miscues. And don’t
expect that ratio to get any worse playing a woeful Tampa team that looks about as ready to
face the Saints as Tiger Woods was to face the press.

4th game
of Christmas:




– Sunday 12/27,


fourth game doesn’t feature ‘four calling birds’ – just one bird that has
already clinched a playoff spot, but would love to win the division and get a
home playoff game. Denver hasn’t been the same team since
week six, but Coach Josh McDaniels and company do know what is at stake here.
Factor in the emotional return of Brian Dawkins to the team that made him what
he is, this game has more subplots than an episode of Fantasy Island.
Now if Andy Reid and his coaching staff can avoid their all-too-frequent
time management gaffs, they might be able to keep up their winning ways in

5th game
of Christmas:




– Sunday 12/27,


The song usually
talks about ‘five golden rings’… but maybe they forgot that Pittsburgh now has six Superbowl rings. Sure, the Steelers have faltered and lost to
some bad teams their season. Sure,
things are looking very bleak for them to even get an opportunity to defend
their Superbowl win from last season. But with both the Steelers and the Ravens
still in the AFC playoff picture, this game shapes up to be one of the best
games of the weekend – not only pitting divisional foes against each other, but
both of these two need to win out the season to even have a shot at playoff
football. Trust us – not only the uniforms will be black and purple when the
dust settles on this one.

6th game
of Christmas:



Green Bay

– Sunday 12/27,


Most QBs
who throw for 383 yards and 3 touchdowns usually win their game (Aaron Rodgers,
we’e looking in your direction), but it didn’t happen last week. Over the last four games, Rogers has
orchestrated 118 points in this GB offense – he won’t win the MVP this year,
but he honestly might be the most valuable player on any NFL team (where would
Green Bay be *without* this guy?). Rodgers has thrown 28 TDs this season, but
what’s more amazing is that Donald Driver leads all Packers in receiving TDs
with just *SIX*. The Packers are hot,
but they need to get past a scrappy Seahawks team to make sure they see
post-season play, instead of working on their golf game in two weeks.

7th game
of Christmas:

Kansas City



– Sunday 12/25,


The air
show that Carson Palmer can put up when he is hot rivals the Blue Angels. And
against a team that is ranked 31st in the league in both yards and points
allowed, we’re pretty sure you’re going to see the Cincy offense on full display.
Just the thing the Bengals need after dropping two straight, and looking a
little shaky going into the playoffs.
But it’s not just Palmer that will be putting on a show, Cedric Benson
is one of the biggest reasons the boys from Cincy are in the playoffs, with his
ranking as the 7th best rusher in the NFL. Heck maybe we even get treated to Chad
Ochosinco performing an abbreviated version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas
Carol” in the end zone this week.

8th game
of Christmas:



New England

– Sunday 12/27,


Jones-Drew and Tom Brady on the same field would normally make some fantasy
owners drool, even if these two teams didn’t have much to play for. But Jacksonville desperately needs to notch an
upset over the Pats to keep their playoff hopes alive, and New England is close to locking up yet
another AFC East title with the rest of their division faltering in recent
weeks. The Jags will certainly put up a
fight and make this an interesting game, but it will all come down to Wes Welker
tacking on even more receptions to his league-leading 109 (16 more than his
closest competitor; he’s averaging about eight catches a game, people) and
Randy Moss improving upon his 10 receiving TDs.
And neither feat seems too far fetched against the Jacksonville 27th ranked pass

9th game
of Christmas:

San Diego



– Friday 12/25,


What a
wild run if you are a Titans fan! Tennessee opened the season with six
straight losses and bounce back with five straight wins – and right now they
sit at an even 7-7. While the season has
been disappointing to Titans fans who thought Coach Jeff Fisher would lead them
to another playoff berth, you have to admire the moxy they’ve shown in climbing
back into the AFC race, even if they do fall short. But this weekend they have to face a Chargers
team that has won NINE in a row, and that just isn’t going to be easy. For
those of you who don’t have much to open Christmas morning, a nightcap of
Phillip Rivers showing why he might be named MVP this year is your gift.

10th game
of Christmas:




– Sunday 12/27,


Cookie Recipe: 2 cups of “Tony Romo” flour, huge helping of “Flozell Adams”
sugar, 2 eggs (err… head coaches… at the same time in Washington), 1 run-stick “Washington D”  butter
(from the 5th ranked team on defense).
Bake at 820 Sunday evening for 60 minutes. Serve with playoff
implications for the Cowboys and you have an award winning dish (even if the
sorry ‘Skins have a full ten losses on the season). But no matter how good the recipe is, this
game is sure to leave a bitter taste in one of these two teams’ mouths. (But it
just *has* to taste better than the slop the Skins served up against the Giants on Monday,
right? RIGHT?)

11th game
of Christmas:




– Monday 12/28,


benching Favre talk. As much as we hate to admit it, the Vikings would NOT have
won 11 games this year without Favre playing the way he has. Now, some Monday night games bring out the
best in teams (like SF two weeks ago), while others fall a little short of the
mark (earlier this week in Washington).
But this contest has all the makings of a great game with both teams
having something to prove. Chicago (specifically Jay Cutler) wants to prove they
are still a threat. And even though they are out of the NFC playoff picture,
they would certainly love to give Minnesota one last thumb in the eye before
the playoffs. Minnesota won’t catch the Saints for home
field, but if they aren’t careful in these last two games, they could lose the
#2 seed to a surging Eagles squad. It
all comes back to Favre though – if he plays the way he did the majority of the
season, avoiding costly interceptions, the Vikings have a great chance at
putting win #12 in the books this Monday night.

12 game
of Christmas:


@ New York Giants – Sunday 12/27,


wouldn’t think that Carolina was out of anything with the way
Matt Moore and Julius Peppers played on Monday. Do they keep it going against
the Giants, whose offense looks nothing short of incredible their last two games?
The Giants NEED this game, but Carolina seems to enjoy the role of spoiler
– which isn’t surprising with a guy like Jack Del Rio at the helm. Eli Manning might have been worried that he
wasn’t going to have Plaxico Burress as his ‘go to’ guy down the stretch this
year, but Steve Smith has really stepped up.
With 90 catches so far (more than double anyone else on the team), and a
very solid 12 yard per catch average, maybe THIS Steve Smith will become ‘Steve
Smith’, and that guy from Carolina will become the ‘Other Steve Smith’.

Ok, we’ve
done all the leg work for you, and spelled out the ‘Twelve Games of Christmas’;
you just get to do the easy part and enjoy all the games this holiday
weekend. Now, come on everyone! Join in
for the last chorus!

yards per Smith catch,

Vikings victories,

Redskins losses,

Nine game
Charger win-streak,

Welker receptions,

best NFL rusher,

Driver touchdowns,

SuperBowl… rings (plus one!),

clock management issues,

Three to
one TD ratios,

highlight reel players,

And an un-de-feated
Co-o-olts team!!


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