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Games to Watch – Week 17

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), our new “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:

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, seasons greetings… all that jazz. If you are still reading our column, you haven’t yet realized that the fantasy season is over (or you just can’t let it go) and you’d rather not address that pile of work that slowly has grown since early September on the corner of your cubical desk. By the way, you better get cooking – in this economy your job might be cut back. Speaking of cut backs… here at we were told in order to cut costs and increase the company’s bottom line, they’ve just rented out our office space until July to a group who wants to create a pyramid scheme to make some quick money – so we have just under half an hour to write this column before we have to put our belongings in a shoebox and vacate the premises. So, in the spirit of Christmas (while we make sure no illegal tax receipts are lying in our desks), we’re throwing ALL the games in as “Games to Watch” as a Christmas present to all of you; but to beat our 30 minute deadline for clearing out, we’re going to have to be ultra efficient and give you the exactly 50 words synopsis version of each game. Why 50 words? Well, two main reasons: first, 100 seemed like we would spend too much time writing the column to get it in under our tight deadline, and Tony Holm said 5 wasn’t acceptable; second, the Sin City BetBot 6000 bet us that we couldn’t give you a reason to watch every game this week in EXACTLY 50 words, and still be creative and fun for all of you. So this is our Christmas gift to you, and a way to make that cheap bucket of bolts pay up at least once in his life. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!! (Hey, that stapler was ours, Vinnie!!)

St. Louis

@ Atlanta – Sunday 9/28, 1:00pm

Congrats to the Falcons on the playoffs. Rams fans, you are in our Christmas prayers. With nothing to play for, at least watch what’s left of the greatest show on turf before it’s overhauled – or as penance for liking St. Louis. Rams’ faithful might get the gift of a win.

New England @ Buffalo

– Sunday 9/28, 1:00pm

Pats look to get into the playoffs once again. See if Matt Cassell stays hot and can help the team get there with the help of a Dolphin’s loss. Buffalo can redeem their under-achieving season by bouncing Belichick’s boys. All Randy Moss wants for Christmas is Brady back in 2009.

Kansas City

@ Cincinnati

– Sunday 9/28, 1:00pm

If you find yourself in the ‘Queen City’ this weekend, our guess is that you can find tickets to this one – a buck should get you not only a ticket, but a cup of coffee. Watch this game to see “Ocho Sinco” in a Bengals uniform for the last time.


@ Green Bay

– Sunday 9/28, 1:00pm

They say history repeats itself – well… kind of. Last year we saw a 16-0 team in the Pats. This year, we might see something that has never happened before, a 0-16 team in the Detroit Lions. After Sunday, plan on hearing the Aaron Rodgers / Brett Favre argument rage on.


@ Indianapolis

– Sunday 9/28, 1:00pm

Neither have a ton to play for with both already in the playoffs. Both teams know one another well, but might be holding back knowing they could see one another again in the next few weeks. A preview of the playoffs is what is on tap – so drink it in.

New York

Giants @ Minnesota

– Sunday 9/28, 1:00pm

The Vikes took the hard route to win the division by losing last week. Now they face the Giants, who might be resting, but aren’t just going to hand over the win. Look for the Giants starters to sit at some point; tune in early to see Manning or Jacobs.


@ New Orleans

– Sunday 9/28, 1:00pm

Someone somewhere hand-picked this game when they made the schedule last spring thinking this game might have playoff implications. The only thing being stirred up in New Orleans are the Hurricanes on Burbon Street. Carolina hasn’t won the division; they can still lose to Atlanta – but don’t count on it.


@ Pittsburgh

– Sunday 9/28, 1:00pm

Another division rivalry with zero playoff implications… -sigh-. Watch to see if Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin shows mercy on Willie Parker and doesn’t allow him, or Ben Roethlisberger for that matter, to take a beating by an offensive line that can be streaky. So long Romeo – it was nice knowing you.


@ Tampa Bay

– Sunday 9/28, 1:00pm

An out of conference matchup that has fans from Philadelphia, Dallas, Minnesota, Chicago AND Tampa watching. Tampa needs a win (badly) to avoid missing the playoffs. See if Al Davis fires his coach and hires a fan to lead the Raiders at halftime (be honest, you could see it happening).


@ Houston

– Sunday 9/28, 1:00pm

Chicago can actually win the division (believe it or not), but surging Houston has won 4 of their last 5. Texans’ coach Gary Kubiak was said to be under the gun, but the late resurgence of this team may save his job, and also keep “da Bears” from the playoffs.


@ Baltimore

– Sunday 9/28, 4:15pm

The Ravens can clinch a playoff spot with a win. They will play hard and make it happen. The Jags were a disappointment this year, and their sub-standard O-Line doesn’t help matters very much. Watch for the angry Ravens’ defense show what they do best – besides get indicted for murder.


@ San Francisco

– Sunday 9/28, 4:15pm

Great matchup (in the late 80’s) – things are far from that now. If Mike Singletary has a good showing, it may lead to a permanent head coaching position somewhere in the NFL next year. A Washington win could make them 9-7 and still finish last in the NFC East.


@ New York Jets

– Sunday 9/28, 4:15pm

The Jets are still fighting for the division crown. But Miami’s comeback is impressive, after its one win season in 2007. Isn’t it fitting that Pennington can be the nail in the coffin to the team that let him go? Arguably, a choice for a #1 game of the week.


@ Philadelphia

– Sunday 9/28, 4:15pm

Two teams that hate one another, and will leave it all on the field; both need a win for any chance of playoff glory. Flip back between this and the Dolphins/Jets game to watch some of the best football all season as all these teams have “do or die” situations.


@ Arizona

– Sunday 9/28, 4:15pm

The only reasons to watch this pitiful matchup are to see Mike Holmgren coach his final game (in Seattle that is), and to see if the Cards can lose this game and finish 8-8, since they have already clinched the division crown in the weakest division in pro football. Yuck.


@ San Diego

– Sunday 9/28, 8:15pm

If you win – you’re in; gotta’ love watching that. The Chargers limped through most of the season, but can still clinch the division. Denver started strong, but faded. Rivers is having a monster December; does it continue or does Cutler in week 17 look like Cutler in week 2?

Ok, that’s a wrap for Chris Dolfi, Tom Braun, and the “Games to Watch” research staff for the 2008 “Games to Watch”. There is no need to write about the playoff games, because unless you are incarcerated in a Thai jail facing several felony counts and a caning, there is absolutely NO reason to miss even a second of post-season football – no matter who is playing. We’ll be back in 2009, provided Tony Holm doesn’t replace us with that “Cooking for Game-day” column he’s been contemplating, or that “What Not to Wear – NFL Attire” web-cast he’s been trying to get started. 😉

Have a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

–Chris Dolfi and Tom Braun

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