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Games to Watch – Week 4

Last week, I talked about the high-powered shootouts of Week 2 and said Week 3 promised more of the same with plenty of division matchups to choose from.  I gave the Bills-Dolphins game Top Shelf billing and spouted off about the Bills scoring 69 points in the first two weeks.  What did their offense do in this game?  Goose egg.  If it weren’t for Nate Clements’ interception return, they would’ve been blanked.  Let’s see, what else… Tampa Bay versus Atlanta… I said Warrick Dunn would be the key to Atlanta pulling out a W.  What did he do?  9 carries for 7 yards.  Hope you didn’t start him.  And last but not least, Oakland-Denver on MNF.  Who could ask for anything more?  ABC certainly thought they had something special.  After spotting Denver 31 points, Zach Crockett finally crossed the line with 5:00 to go in the 3rd.  I was beginning to think Sebastian Janikowski might as well have spent the night in the clink.  I’m not saying this one wasn’t fun to watch… hell, I had a blast watching the frustration come pouring out of Rich Gannon.  It just wasn’t what I expected.  Let’s see if we can figure out who’s going to blow up this week…


Top Shelf


Kansas City at Baltimore                           Sun. September 28 @ 4:05pm ET on CBS


Summary:  Two of the best runners in the game today strut their stuff.


Hot Tip:  While everyone’s watching Jamal Lewis get stuffed, look for Baltimore’s best receiver TE Todd Heap in the end zone.


It’s not difficult to see where the interest lies in this game.  Priest Holmes vs. Jamal Lewis.  But don’t make the mistake of stopping there.  Isn’t Baltimore known for its defense?  Well, it’s a new day and KC’s got a defense of their own now.  It won’t be a cake walk for either RB and they’ll need help from above.  Isn’t it interesting that the best receiver on both of these teams is the TE?


Also on Tap


Tennessee at Pittsburgh                            Sun. September 28 @ 1:00pm ET on CBS


Summary:  For all intents and purposes, a division rivalry that goes back 33 years.


Hot Tip: In week 2, I touted Drew Bennett as the one to watch.  He didn’t catch a ball.  Instead, he waited until last week to come out of his shell (8 rec, 105 yds, 1TD).  Watch him again this week.


These two teams certainly know each other well.  When Joe Nedney kicked that overtime field goal (on the 3rd attempt) in last year’s playoffs, the Steelers immediately turned their calendars ahead to wait for this rematch (after making their tee times, of course).  Both of these teams have the capability to put a lot of points on the board but expect this one to be a well played game won by defense.


San Francisco at Minnesota                      Sun. September 28 @ 1:00pm ET on Fox


Summary:  Two teams that have done complete 180’s from last year.


Hot Tip: Hey Moe!  Williams, that is.  He’s one of the biggest surprises of the year with 387 total yards through week 3.


Last year, Minnesota finished a disappointing 6-10 while San Fran won the West at 10-6.  Fast forward to, well, today, and we find Minnesota undefeated (3-0) and San Fran a disappointing 1-2.  Don’t be fooled by the records though.  These teams are a lot more even than that.  For starters, this is Minnesota’s first game outside the friendly confines of the NFC North.  Speaking of starters, they might be without Daunte Culpepper.  Starting to get the picture?  San Fran lost a tough one to Cleveland last week.  Look for a tough, hard-fought game on both sides of the ball in this one.


PS.  As a general rule, I try to include at least one nationally televised game each week.  I’ll just list them all here…


Cowboys vs. Jets (Tuna returns to the Meadowlands…again) Sunday at 4:15pm on Fox.

Colts vs. Saints (Peyton returns home to New Orleans…again) Sunday at 8:30pm on ESPN

Packers vs. Bears (The Bears open Soldier Field…again) Monday at 9:00pm on ABC


On paper, none of these games deserve to be in this column (nothing personal), but you know you’re going to watch them anyhow.  Let’s hope I’m wrong and eat crow in next week’s column.  Enjoy.

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