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Games to Watch – Week 3

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:

 

Indianapolis

@

Houston

– Sunday 9/23,

1:00pm

 

What do the US Women’s Soccer Team, Owen Wilson movies, this article, and the Indy /

Houston

match-up this weekend all have in common? One word… “Potential”.

 

US Women’s Soccer has the potential to win the Women’s World Cup. Owen Wilson movies always have the potential to be funny. This article has the potential to be worth your time… well, at least we tell our editor that. (Heck, if enough of you agree with us, maybe we score a raise this year.)

 

Which bring us to the final item on our list with potential… the Colts / Texans game this Sunday. Sure, at first blush you’d think that Indy is the clear winner in any tussle between these two squads, but don’t be fooled – this game has the potential to be a repeat of last week’s Indy / Tennessee game that went down to the wire.

 

Listen, we’re not big Indy fans (maybe it’s the over-saturation of the ad market with

Peyton Manning endorsements), and to be honest you’d be hard-pressed to find more than a handful of Texan fans outside a 300-mile radius of

Houston

. Oh, we’re sure they exist, but let’s just say you’d probably find as many Texan fanatics in our town as there are men willing to order a Zima at a biker bar. But even that isn’t enough to dampen our enthusiasm for the potential of this match-up.

 

For the Colts, this is the second of two big divisional match-ups in a row. Last week, Indy struggled against the Titans, who’s run D has been sharp through the first 2 weeks (#7 rushing D in the NFL). But things don’t get any when they face a Texan team that is even better – allowing only 69 rushing yards per game (3rd best in the NFL). That being said, Indy has one of the most proven offenses in the NFL. If they cannot get it done on the ground with

Joseph Addai, then

Manning /

Harrison /

Wayne can usually get thing moving through the air – a good bet against the Texans #19 pass D.

 

For

Houston

, they have some great momentum with a 2 and 0 start, even if those two wins were against opponents who some would consider suspect this season. However,

Matt Schaub’s presence has ignited something in the Texans offense. Schaub is 5th overall in the NFL in QB rating, and while his passing yardage is middle-of0the-raod as far as starting QBs go, he’s made it a priority to play mistake-free ball and do what he needs to do to lead the Texans to victories.   Of course it doesn’t hurt to have a receiver like

Andre Johnson (#4 WR in yardage, tied for 9th in receptions) to throw to, either.

 

All in all, we wouldn’t be shocked if Indy came out and smoked the Texans like they did

New Orleans

in the first week of the season. We think more than likely though, you’ll see two teams come out swinging, and a tight battle for the early AFC South lead – with all the potential to be one of the week’s best.

 

 

San Francisco

@

Pittsburgh

– Sunday 9/23,

1:00pm

 

Ok – let’s be honest. This is the weakest of the 3 games to watch this week. But that doesn’t mean this game isn’t worth a good, long look this Sunday. You can bet that when these two undefeated squads pair up in Week 3, they’ll be holding up their own mirrors to take their own good, long looks at what each of them brings to the table this season.

 

Funny thing about mirrors, though… at first glance, we see an identical duplicate staring back at us – but upon further scrutiny, we realize that it’s a complete mirror image of ourselves; opposite in every respect.

 

When we take a quick glance at these two teams, we might think we are looking at identical duplicates. Both teams started out 2-0. Both are in sole possession of their division lead.   Both are un-defeated in division and conference play. Neither expected to be ahead of one or more of their division rivals, but here they both are, nonetheless. Heck, they both even have one of fantasy football’s more desired RBs;

Willie Parker in

Pittsburgh

and

Frank Gore in

San Francisco

. Like we said – pretty much identical twins, right? But once you dig a little deeper, you realize nothing could be farther from the truth.

 

Pittsburgh is 2-0 by virtue of dominating their opponents thus far, outscoring their competition 60-10 over the opening two weeks, while San Fran is undefeated by the thinnest of margins, just barely squeaking by in their games by a 37-33 margin. It doesn’t stop there, though. The differences become even more glaring when we look at the defenses.  

Pittsburgh

sports the #3 overall D, giving up only a combined 222 yards a game. The 49ers’ D is mediocre in comparison, giving up over 100 yards more a game, as their #17 ranking shows. And while San Fran’s 16.5 ppg allowed isn’t bad, it’s a far cry from the Steelers’ league-best 5ppg allowed.

 

The comparisons don’t get any better on the offensive side of the ball.   The Steelers are putting up almost 400 yards a game in combined offense, thanks in large part to

Willie Parker and his 235 yards so far. Not that

Frank Gore has been bad, but at almost 100 yards behind Parker with only 136 so far, the San Fran running game pales in comparison so far this season. And with a league WORST 190 yards per game combined on offense, San Fran is the direct opposite of a

Pittsburgh

team playing near the top of the offensive heap.

 

All those signs tell us the Steelers *should* win this one handily. But the ‘9ers have been finding ways to win early on this season, and that’s what makes us think this one will be an intriguing look at these two teams, and the outcome is likely to set the tone for the rest of each of their season.   And when the dust settles, the winner will see one of the few 3-0 teams in the league staring back at them in the mirror. Then maybe hold it near the mouth of the loser to see if they’re still breathing. 😉

 

 

Dallas

@

Chicago

– Sunday 9/23,

8:15pm

 

You ever hear the saying “the sum of the parts is greater than the whole”? It’s an old sports (and business) axiom, and we think it can appropriately be applied to our final game to watch this week. To get one whole great game, you’d think you need more than two ½ good and ½ not-so-good squads squaring off. But in this case when Dallas and Chicago tangle on Sunday night, a couple of half-and-half teams add up to the promise of one really great game – no foolin’.

 

First off, for those that were hoping to see the Cowboys newest acquisition in action,

Tank Johnson will NOT be playing. He’s still serving a suspension for another month and ½. (See how we stuck yet another “ ½ ” in there? It’s clever writing like that which we figure snags us a Pulitzer this year.)

 

Anyway, here’s why ½ the game will be great, and ½ may not be so great…

 

THE GOOD ½:

 

The Cowboys bring an offense that has more than one weapon on its gun-belt. You have to like an offense that can throw

Terrell Owens and

Jason Whitten at you (Owens is the #12 WR in yardage and already has 3 TDs in two games while Whitten is in the top-25 in receiving as a TE), follow it up with the two-headed rushing attack of

Marion Barber III and

Julius Jones (averaging a combined 125+ yards a game), and cap it off with

Tony Romo himself (#2 QB in efficiency and TDs, and #7 in passing yardage). Their offense has certainly proven it can score points (1st in the NFL through the first two weeks). In short, over the last few years, the Dallas Cowboys have transitioned from your typical grind-it-out NFC East type team to one that can dazzle you with the long pass, OR keep it between the tackles. Either way, they have the weapons to make any game a shootout.

 

Don’t forget about the Special Teams and Defense of Chicago. With the Bears only allowing 12 points a contest and less than 75 yards rushing a game,

Chicago

is the stingiest defense in the NFC – something we’ve come to expect of them.

Devin Hester continues to be an extreme threat on special teams, which will give the brain trust in

Dallas

a migraine every time he touches the ball.

 

THE BAD ½:

 

If you just focused on these parts of the game, you’d probably decide it was a good time to break away from the TV to prove to your wife you can indeed be pried away from the television on Sunday without the use of a crowbar.

 

And you could dwell on the negatives like the Cowboys’ atrocious secondary (31st in the league against the pass). Heh, so much for a defensive minded head coach – right? Try not to focus too hard on the Bears anemic offense, either. The Bears’ passing attack averages 31st in the league as well. (Coincidence? You be the judge…)

 

THE WHOLE:

When you take the bad with the good in this game, add it all up, and look at the whole, you’ll end up realizing exactly what we did; this promises to be one whole heck of an entertaining battle – and one you just aren’t going to want to miss.

 

 

So there ya’ have them, our games of the week for Week 3 in the NFL. And if we happen to miss the mark on one of these games, don’t worry – we offer a ½ back guarantee on exactly what you paid for this article. 😉

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