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:
Week 1 was PACKED with great games. Week 2… not so much. With more than a few lopsided matches, we’re hard pressed to pick the 3 gems outta’ this bunch… but, hey, we’re professionals, right? 😉 Listen, even on the worst NFL weekend there are games worth watching, and this week is no exception. So let us run down this weekend’s three games you just don’t wanna’ miss – or at least turn the dial to when the other blowout game yer’ watching gets too out of hand to hold your interest….
— Sunday 9/16,
Very rarely we pick a game of two run-of-the-mill performing teams. But this game is interesting due to the fact that several media outlets picked these two teams to win their division, and based on each of their week 1 performances, there are plenty of question marks on both these teams. Neither looks like the division winner at this point, but both have given us enough flashes of their potential to wonder if they *could* be.
Let’s face it – neither of these two teams were awesome last week. Neither had a QB that had a better passer rating than 53 (ouch!), and neither team had a rusher better than 59 yards – this from two backs who were probably top 5 picks in your draft, mind you. But does anyone out there doubt the potential that
Frank Gore and
Steven Jackson bring to the table? We doubt it. Both of these guys should (and will) get better performances in the weeks to come. And does anyone think that
Marc Bulger and
Alex Smith aren’t going to put up decent numbers this year? Not based on their ability we don’t. Both of the signal-callers will post much better games this year, too.
So let’s focus on the positives for these two teams…
The good news for
: The 49rs gave up 161 yards on the ground last week. It could be a great week to showcase
Steven Jackson. And while San Fran only gave up 100 receiving yards in week 1, they were certainly not one of the better pass defenses last year (ranking 26th against the pass), which means this might be a good week for
Bulger to put up some good numbers as well – especially with the Rams receiving talent like
McMichael. They may even get some additional help from
Drew Bennett if he’s able to go this weekend.
The good news for San Francisco: In recent history, the ‘Niners seem to know how to get the Rams number – last year they won one game, and only fell a few points shy in the other contest. The Rams rushing defense was one of the worst in the NFL last year, giving up over 145 yards a game on the ground – something that San Fran can really exploit with a back like
Gore in their backfield. And even if their week 1 win was over the Cards, any momentum is good momentum for the improving ‘Niners.
The bad news for both of these teams is the same – neither can really afford to lose this game if they want to win the NFC West. Both of these teams have weaknesses – and the other team has some of the very weapons that should be able to capitalize on those weaknesses.
If you like offense and high scores (and, really… who doesn’t?), then this could be a fun match-up to watch.
– Sunday 9/16,
Knowledge is everything in the NFL – just ask coaches who like to try to steal signals. 😉 (Note: Let’s not act totally holier-than-thou though… we’re pretty sure EVERY team tries to do this. One coach just didn’t hire a smart enough underling to carry out the mission without getting caught… twice.) In any case, hours and hours are spent watching films, studying tendencies – in short, trying to anticipate what your opponent is going to do and counter their moves effectively.
Enter the Cowboys v Dolphins game in week 2.
Wade Phillips v
Cam Cameron. ‘Boys v ‘Fins.
Although many might see this game as one-sided (in favor of
), it really could be a better game than you might think at first glance. Both of these men have something in common besides a love for sunny southern
and being new head coaches for their teams this year – they both were “coach-mates” on the Chargers the previous three years.
You would figure that by now, they both have an idea what the other’s tendencies are – especially the offensive mind of
Cameron, and the defensive mind of
Phillips. And while
Cameron certainly did great things with the Bolts, the
offense isn’t the same level of talent he had to work with in the past – leaving his new offense as a work in progress. But
Phillips is in much the same boat, with people expecting the Cowboys defense to be stellar, especially building on the decent defense they had last year – but giving up a fat 35 points to a Giants team that most don’t consider an offensive powerhouse didn’t make a great impression on NFL experts or the unwashed masses.
In fact, in week 1 these two guys pretty much reversed what most of us thought would be their roles this year, with the defensive-minded
Phillips’ team giving a great offensive performance and the offensive-minded
Cameron’s squad bending but not breaking in their tussle with
in week 1. (The ‘Fins did give up a lot of yards on offense, allowing 400 combined, but did manage to hold them to16 points last week.)
What will come this Sunday? Even though
is the favorite in Vegas,
might give a good show. And both coaches will look to improve the portions of their team where each of them has shown an ability to excel. And while
Wade certainly has the easier task ahead of him, we aren’t quite ready to count
out of it yet. It might all just come down to which coach can guess the other team’s strategy the best in this contest – and these two guys are certainly qualified in that regard.
So sit back, watch the chess match unfold, and see if both these teams head coaches put more of their own personal stamp on their team this week and their own personal stomp on the opposition.
– Sunday 9/16,
This game promises to be a lot like your last summer trip to the amusement park. Oh sure, the Ferris Wheel is OK for a spin with your significant-other or your kids. The Tilt-a-Whirl can be fun, assuming you didn’t just down three chili dogs, boardwalk fries, and a cotton candy. Heck, even the bumper cars can be good for a chuckle when you pin your buddy in a corner and treat him like Rodney King at an L.A. Police Convention. But the real thrills come from riding the Roller Coaster. And that’s exactly what watching this game is going to feel like.
Just like that first big hill the coaster climbs building your anticipation; you’re going to have to sit through all of the lackluster Sunday games until finally you top out at the Sunday Night game. And with 2 of the best teams in the NFL facing off, you’re bound to have your insides tied up in knots watching the twists and turns of this game.
You have one of the NFL’s top QBs,
Tom Brady, leading a squad with a ton of quality weapons –
Randy Moss (183 yards and a TD in week 1),
Laurence Maroney, and
Wes Welker to name a few. Heck, even the backups are house-hold names on this team, like
certainly isn’t lacking in the offensive department, led by one of the best RBs to ever play the game,
LaDainian Tomlinson. Sure he struggled a little bit in week 1, but he still kept thing exciting by passing for a TD as well as scoring one. Don’t forget about the NFL’s #1 TE
Antonio Gates or QB
Phillip Rivers who can put up big games, too. Rivers struggled in week 1, but as his #8 overall QB rating of last year shows, he can and will improve.
It’s not just two top notch offenses that keep this ride moving, both teams have very solid defenses. Both
’s D has been a model of consistency over the past few years.
Watching every hard hit of this game will remind you of how fun every jolt of a roller coaster can be, and with each team equally capable on both sides of the ball it wouldn’t surprise us to see the score go back and forth a few times – and no matter which of these 2 you are rooting for, when they score, you’ll feel your excitement build, and when the other team scores it’ll feel just like the ride bottomed-out, leaving your heart in your throat and your stomach feeling a little queasy.
Whichever of these two powerhouses wins certainly has to be one of the AFC early favorites, but no matter which one it is you are in for one heck of a ride.