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Games to Watch – Week 2

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 Week in Review 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.
times Eastern:

Week Two
of the 2009 NFL season has us thinking not just about football, but planning
the perfect tailgate for our team’s home opener. First, someone has to be the organizer; it
just wouldn’t do for all eight guys to show up with nothing but hot dog
buns. Next, you need someone to step up
and take care of the refreshments; a cold beer on an even colder fall day
really hits the spot, and starts the tailgate off right. Then, you need a head chef; someone has to
man that grill all day and make sure the hot sausage isn’t burning and the
burgers don’t come out like hockey pucks.
And finally, you need someone to step up and take care of the
entertainment for your pre-game festivities; some guys watch TV, some play
poker, some toss around the pigskin or play a little two-hand touch.

When you
do it right, it all comes together leaving you satisfied and ready for all the
football games. Hey, come to think of it
– that’s exactly what we do here for you every week in the ‘Games to Watch’
column. We organize your viewing for the
weekend, start you off with a refreshing taste of the football to come, cook up
some stats and commentary, and top it all off with a little bit of
entertainment. Heck, our jobs might
almost seem noble and impressive if we didn’t know how many of you print off a
copy of this article at work to read while you’re in the john. :)

New England

@ New York Jets – Sunday 9/20,


Blood’s a
boiling… and it’s only week two. Go to NYC or Beantown and you have people
jazzed up about their sports and the rivalries with their opponents in the
Northeast Corridor. It doesn’t matter if it’s football, hockey, baseball, or
basketball (wait – scratch that last one, even New Yorkers have a hard time
rooting for the hapless Nicks these days) – rivalries go deep between those two
cities. Week two on the NFL schedule is certainly no exception, as the Patriots
travel south to the Meadowlands, where Bill Belichick faces some smack talk
from Rex Ryan who says he’s not “going to kiss Belichick’s rings”. Tom Brady
says, “Talk is Cheap!” and that this game certainly is going to be an intense
one. Call this one the “Mayhem at the Meadowlands” or the “Slaughter in
Secaucus”…but no matter what fancy name you come up with, it’s going to be a
‘Game to Watch’.

fans dodged heartbreak last week as “Captain Comeback”

Tom Brady and company converted a turnover for a win late in the
game against division rival Buffalo. This week, it’s divisional all
over again as Brady (378yd/2TD/1int) and his favorite two targets, WRs

Wes Welker (93yd/12rec) and

Randy Moss (141yd/12rec), infiltrate
the confines of the Meadowlands. Not to
mention a great first game by TE

(96yd / 2TD), who snagged as many TDs last week as he did all last
SEASON without pretty-boy Brady under center. Make no mistake, while the Pats
can put on an aerial display that rivals the Blue Angels, they take what is
given to them, and if that involves RB

(32yd / 0TD), they’ll be happy to eat up chucks of yards and clock
on the ground. Defensively, the line-backing corps is a bit exposed with the
loss of

Jerod Mayo (knee injury),
and showed signs of confusion dealing with a Bills team that by all rights
should have been dominated considering they fired their offensive coordinator
just a week before. The Pats still have
talent in the likes of S


Merriweather (8 tackles), S

Shawn Springs
(6 tackles), and LB

Adalius Thomas
(5 tackles/1 sack) – and they should look sharper with a week of play under
their belt.

It’s only been
one week, but the Jets’

Mark Sanchez
(272yd/1TD/1int) fans are already springing up out of the marshes in East Rutherford. It’s way to early to tell if

Dustin Keller (94yd /4rec),

Jerricho Cotchery (90yd/6rec), or

Chansi Stuckey (64yd/4rec/1TD) is going
to be the go-to-guy when the game is on the line for Sanchez, but it might be
moot as long as the Jets keep up the production of the ground game with the
one-two punch of RBs

Thomas Jones
(107yd/2TD) and

Leon Washington
(60yd). Sanchez just simply needs to avoid the big mistakes, and let the Jets
other weapons and solid defense take care of winning the game. Speaking of the
Jets’ D, they find themselves 2nd in the league in yards allowed (183 total yd)
and gave up just 7 points in week one. If they continue to play as stingy as a
Jonas Brother with a ‘purity ring’, this team could see some post-season
action. If LB

David Harris (11 tackles/1 sack) and company can hold the Brady-led
Pats down, they’ll make believers out of us for sure.

This is the
100th meeting of the two teams; the series stands at 49-49-1. And while we can’t guarantee much here at, we’re pretty damn sure it’s not going to be 49-49-2; so
somebody is not going to take over the AFC East lead with a win this week, but
the overall record between these two divisional foes. Don’t miss what promises to be a great battle
between two teams with less than a little love for each other!

(Bonus fun: We
also get to see if Tom Brady blows off sideline reporter Suzy Kolber again this




– Sunday 9/20,


The last
time the Steelers and Bears met, “RUN IT!” by Chris Brown was the number one
song, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie hadn’t adopted any children yet (or were
even together – well, at least as far as Jennifer Aniston knew), and the swine
flu was something the average American thought was a pork allergy. The Steelers ended up knocking off the Bears
with a 100-yard game by

Jerome Bettis
with a 21-9 score. And while these teams
might have new faces, their heart is exactly the same underneath – kind of like

Jerry Jones, but with a less black
heart and a less plastic face.*

Note: -sigh- Couldn’t you guys wait until later in the season before getting us
in another ‘defamation of character’ lawsuit?]

After a
dismal first outing, Bears’ QB

(277yd/1TD/4int) bares (pun intended) the brunt of the blame for
last week’s loss at Green Bay – but he VOWS that he won’t be chucking up four
picks in any more games this season. Cutler felt the team (along with the city
of Chicago) has too much talent to keep
losing. Trying to share some of that blame was RB

Matt Forte (55yd total) who felt the first game is not a reflection
of the team that Chicago has. Trust us, those two weren’t
the only ones to blame. WR

Devon Hester (90yd/4rec/1TD) put up
decent numbers, but needs to hang onto the tough passes more than he has; TE

Greg Olsen (8yd/1rec) is too talented
to not be a bigger part of the game plan.
It’s obvious to many that Chicago has too much raw ability to be in
this rough of a spot so early in the season (potentially going 0-2). Chicago will need its strong defense,
minus leader

Brian Urlacher (out for
year with wrist injury), to hold back the Steelers’ offense. And while this reads
a bit “doom and gloom”-ish for Chi-town fans, there are some spots (like Devin
Hester’s TD catch and

Earl Bennett’s
7 catches) where the Midwest sun is starting to peek through the Chicago clouds.

Pittsburgh had a tough first game against a
strong Tennessee team, and while it was hard fought, they by no means blew
away the Titans. They showed how QB

(363yd/1TD/2int) is veteran leader who would be coveted by
any team – not so much for his numbers, but for the confidence he shows in the
tough game-winning situations. The Steeltown boys have transformed themselves
into a primary passing team – spotlighting WRs

Santonio Holmes (131yd/9rec/1TD) and

Hines Ward (103yd/8rec) as one of the best receiving duos in the
entire league. They also showed that their defense (232 total ypg allowed in
2008) is still one of the best in the league. Just as with the Bears though,
the Steelers have their share of issues. Their RBBC

Willie Parker,

Mewelde Moore,

Rashard Mendenhall managed a
pitiful 33 yards between all THREE of them; and an offensive line that was
suspect a year ago, seems to have gotten even worse, looking completely
ineffective run-blocking and alternating between giving Big Ben 6 full seconds
of protection on one or two plays to giving up one of the 4 sacks they allowed
on the day. With their emotional leader S


Polamalu out (knee injury), the ‘Stillers’
will need to play with even more heart than their gutsy performance against the
Titans last week.

So come this
Sunday, the number one song will likely be “I Gotta Feeling!” by The Black Eyed
Peas; Pitt and Jolie are running around Ethiopia somewhere with an undisclosed
amount of children dragging behind; and in Chi-town, two teams with the same
warrior heart and mentality meet up after a long absence – to give all of us a
true ‘Game to Watch’.

New York

Giants @


– Sunday 9/20,


time we think about a Giants / Cowboys game, we can’t help but think about the
X-Men movies… specifically, Dr. Xavier and Magneto. Xavier and Magneto had so many things in
common, and even respected each other, but approached things so differently it
made them enemies. Both extremely
powerful, although in very different ways, Xavier and Magneto waged an epic
battle for mutants everywhere – with neither one being able to claim victory
for very long. The Cowboys and the
Giants are the same way. They both have
many things in common; they come from the same NFL division, they have both won
multiple Super Bowls, they are both two of the better teams in the NFC this
season, and they both recently ditched a problem WR (and neither one seems to
be missing T.O. or Plaxico all that much so far). And if week one is any
indication, they are both approaching the 2009 season very differently, but
ultimately with the same goal – dominating the NFC East en-route to another
Super Bowl.

Giants approach this season knowing that one of their most dangerous weapons,

Plaxico Burress, isn’t going to be able
to help them out with timely redzone leaps.
But that doesn’t worry the Giants overly much. QB

(256yd/1TD/1int) doesn’t need to be flashy in this offense, he just
needs to play solidly and avoid the big turnovers. The Giants offense is built around
controlling the clock with two solid RBs in

Brandon Jacobs and

– who not only rushed for 106 yards combined, but also hauled in 5
catches between them for another 28 yards.
The WR corps are young, but show exciting promise. 3rd year
man Steve Smith (80yd/6rec) is the defacto #1 WR now, but with other young
talent like

Hakim Nicks (out with an
injury this week) and

Mario Manningham’s
impressive TD grab, the Giants have plenty of talent to groom for the
future. And TE Kevin Boss (62ys/3rec)
looks like he could have a breakout year as well, especially against the NFC
East who doesn’t do a particularly good job against TEs (with Philly being the
worst offender and Washington not far behind).
But the Giants biggest offensive weapon might be their defense. This Giants defensive line is one of the best
in the NFL right now. In week one, they
put constant pressure on the ‘Skins, even if they did only come up with 3
sacks. The Giant D even managed to score
when DE

Osi Umenyiora stripped the
ball, recovered the fumble, and then took it on for the TD. The Giants D was one of the best in the
league last year, and was 6th in sacks – and that was WITHOUT
Omeyiora who was lost for the season due to injury. Imagine how scary this D can be this year
with him back in the lineup.

Cowboys, just as dangerous and powerful as the Giants, are very different in
their strengths. The Dallas offense rules the roost here,
with QB

Tony Romo (353yd/3TD/0int)
still near the top of the NFL QB heap. (Side note: Is it just us, or does Tony
Romo look like he went on a beer and Twinkie binge after breaking up with
Jessica Simpson?) You might think the loss
of a premier WR like Terrell Owens hurts the ‘Boys, but this is clearly a case
of addition by subtraction. Without the
distractions of T.O. on a weekly basis, Romo can spread the ball around to the
likes of WRs

Roy Williams
(86yd/3rec/1TD) and

Patrick Crayton
(135yd/4rec/1TD), not to mention stud TE

(71yd/5rec) – all without fear of how T.O. would react. Toss in some explosive RBs like

Marion Barber (79yd/1TD) and

Felix Jones (22yd) and you have
yourself one of the more well-rounded offenses in the league. Too bad the same can’t be said for the Dallas
D. The one bright spot is LB

Keith Brooking who Dallas gets from
Atlanta – Brooking averaged 121.5 tackles a YEAR since 2001, and he is off to a
another great start in 2009 with 9 in week one. Don’t get us wrong, the Cowboys
were a top 10 defense last year (even if that did rank them at the bottom of
their own division) and they did top the league in sacks in 2008 (59
sacks). But if week one is any
indication, it could be a long year for the Dallas defenders. Against a Tampa Bay team that doesn’t sport the most
explosive offense, they gave up a whopping 450 total yards, including a
staggering 176 yards allowed on the ground. Did we mention not a single sack or
pick? Ouch!

Two very
powerful opponents, both with their own unique abilities, but who approach the
game in very different ways – striving for the same ultimate goal – the NFC
East Championship, a week one playoff bye, and eventually the Super Bowl. And when two incredibly powerful opponents
match up, you just have to sit back, grab a beer and some wings, and see who
comes out on top when the dust settles.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the marquee NFL match-up of the weekend, or
another X-Men movie. It’s hard to tear
your eyes off either one. (Though to be
honest, Famke Jannsen is so hot as Jean Grey, we’d watch the X-Men movies if
all they did was dust around the X-mansion.) Enjoy!

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