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Games to Watch – Week 6

Hello 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 Fantasy PRE-Wind
podcast), and our “Side 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:

New York

Giants @

New Orleans

– Sunday 10/18,

1:00pm

Recently,
Braun entered a home brew contest. His “magical elixir of dreams” was awesome,
at least to our pallets. It had a great body, sweet aroma, and full white head
(yes… we’re talking about a beer – get your mind out of the gutter). Anyway,
he thought for sure he had a winner – but after the verdict was handed, he
didn’t take 1st or even 2nd, he took 3rd place. Don’t get us wrong, it’s always nice to be
named among the front-runners, but Braun learned a valuable lesson; you can be
totally convinced that you are the best, but when the judging hits and the game
is all said and done, there can only be one “#1”. It’s a lesson that one of these two teams is
going to find out this week in the NFL. As a well rested 4-0 New Orleans team faces another undefeated powerhouse
in the NFC, the New York Giants.

New Orleans was rolling prior to its bye
week. The passing game led the way in the first two weeks under

Drew Brees (1031yd/9TD/2int), while the
rushing attack and defense carried the day in weeks three and four. New Orleans presents problems for every
defense in the league, simply because they have so many offensive weapons to
throw at you every week – and you never seem to know who will be the heavy
hitter week to week. WRs

Marques Colston
(228yd/17rec/3TD) and

Devery Henderson
(235yd/14rec/1TD) assist Brees in racking up the passing yardage, and RBs

Mike Bell (229yd/1TD) and

Pierre Thomas (212yd/3TD) lead the
charge on the ground. With the glut of talent the Saints have on the offensive
side of the ball, it’s no wonder they lead the NFL in points per game
(36ppg). But to everyone’s surprise is
how well the defense is playing – giving up only 16.5 points a game so far (7th
best in the NFL). The biggest difference on defense between last year and this
year is easy to pinpoint – newly acquired S

Darren Sharper (15tkl/5int/2DTD).
This team is rolling along, firing on all cylinders – and with solid
play on both sides of the ball, they give a potent argument why they could be
undefeated at the end of this week.

The last time
the Giants met up with the Saints,

Reggie
Bush
rushed for a career-high and led the Saints past the Giants 30-7 in
2006. We wouldn’t expect that kind of score
or the accompanying lack of offense from the Giants this time around. Although
playing a little gimpy as of late, QB

Eli
Manning
(1212yd/10TD/2int) has proven to the league that a hurt Eli Manning
is still more efficient a passer than the majority of the quarterbacks in the
league. Many thought the lack of

Plaxico
Burress
would make Manning’s stats suffer, but young Giants vet WR

Steve Smith (481yd/37rec/4TD) is
leading the league in both receiving yards and receptions. And with Smith, 2nd year pro

Mario Manningham (342yd/20rec/3TD) and
Giants’ draft pick

Hakeem Nicks
(121yd/7rec/2TD) willingly accepting the passes once destined for Burress,
Manning has the best trio of WRs that have ever graced the field since he’s been
with the Gi’nts. What used to be 3 RB’s sharing the load last year has been
whittled down to two with the loss of Derrick Ward to Tampa.
It’s not Earth, Wind and Fire for the Giants – it’s now just Earth and
Fire (or is it Earth and Wind?). But that seems to be just fine as RBs

Brandon Jacobs (355yd/1TD) and

Ahmad Bradshaw (375yd/2TD) keep the
rock rolling. On the opposite side of the ball, DEs

Justin Tuck (3.5sack) and

Osi
Umenyiora
(3sack) lead one of the NFL’s most feared D-lines. Ranked 1st
in the NFL in yards allowed per game (210.6ypg) and tied for 2nd in
scoring D (14ppg), the Giants are going to give the NFL’s best offense
everything they can handle.

Hey, we could
be looking at an early picture of the NFC championship game (although, we’re
sure the Vikes, San Fran, Philly, and Hot-lanta all might have something to say
about that). Just like they said in the Movie “Highlander” – there can be only
one. And after the dust settles in this
contest, someone will emerge the victor sporting an undefeated record, while
the other team gains some valuable insight as to what they’ll need to do come
playoff time to avenge their loss. And while we’re pretty sure you won’t see a
giant lightning bolt impart the loser’s power to the victors, we honestly can’t
be sure. What we *are* sure about is
this game being one of the best match-ups all year, between two teams who are
the class of the NFC this year.

Minnesota

@

Baltimore

– Sunday 10/18,

1:00pm

Sometimes we
pick a game not because of how attractive it is on the outside, but because we
know that game will tell us a little bit more of what’s under the covers of the
two teams in question – this is one of those games. Are the Baltimore Ravens really a team around the
.500 mark, or does their improved offense and steady defense mean that deep
down they are an AFC playoff contender?
Is Brett Favre really as good as he appears right now, posting his best
ever QB rating by far, or will he start trying to make too many things happen if
his team faces stiff competition, forcing him into costly turnovers? Well, much
like the streetwalkers Eddie Murphy and Danny Bonaduce picked up, outward
appearances are one thing, but a more in-depth look at the goods might reveal
the hard truth. (It’s a transvestite
joke, people… try and keep up with us here.)*

*[Editor’s
Note: I would like to thank Chris and Tom for the two hour phone conference
between myself, the FantasySharks legal team, and the Transgender Foundation of
America representatives who were hell bent on educating us on their plight and how we
can be more sensitive to their unique challenges. I hope you don’t mind I gave
them your home phone numbers. Enjoy.]

The
Minnesota Vikings are finally living up to the hype. Sitting at 5-0 atop the NFC Central and
boasting one of the NFL’s few remaining undefeated records, the Vikings look to
be the real deal. RB

Adrian Peterson (481yd/7TD) is still
the focal point of this offense, no matter how much the EPSN guys fawning over
Favre would have us believe otherwise.
Not that

Brett Favre
(1069yd/9TD/2int) hasn’t been playing well – he’s been uncharacteristically
good so far this year, boasting the 4th best QB rating so far this
season (104.1) – but one has to wonder if he can keep it up, considering he’s
averaged twenty points lower on his rating for his career, and never before
finished above 100. WRs

Percy Harvin (233yd/18rec/2TD),

Sidney Rice (233yd/17rec/2TD), and

Bernard Berrian (216yd/19rec/1TD) have
almost identical stat lines, as Minnesota finally have a QB capable of
distributing the ball (sorry Tarvaris, but you aren’t qualified to sling Sloppy
Joes at middle school-er’s trays, let alone NFL passes). On the surface, the Vikes D is merely decent,
ranking around the middle of the league in total yardage allowed and points
allowed. However, when you dig a little
deeper, you find that the Vikings are successful on D because they are forcing
turnovers. The 12 turnovers they have
generated this season are giving their offense short fields to work with. And don’t forget that they are tops in the
NFL in sacks right now, thanks to DE

Jarred
Allen
(6.5sack) and company.

Baltimore started out 3-0 in 2009, but
after two tough losses to AFC rivals New England and Cincinnati, they are reeling a bit. QB

Joe
Flacco
(1289yd/9TD/5int) has been much improved this year, in the top ten
in both yardage and TD passes. What’s
even more impressive is that he’s doing it with a motley crew of receivers like

Mark Clayton (213yd/17rec/1TD),

Kelley Washington (219/17rec/1TD), and
even

Derrick Mason (284yd/19rec/2TD),
who actually retired and then was talked into coming back to play one more
season. When we look closer at Flacco’s
improvement, we notice it’s less about his actual play and more about the
fantastic play of his potent running game, which keeps opposing defenses
honest. The duo of

Ray Rice (364yd/1TD) and

Willis
McGahee
(199yd/5TD) is the two-headed monster that leads the Ravens 6th
ranked run offense. Oh, did we mention
those two guys have also been a great help in the passing game, amassing 31
receptions and 3 receiving TDs to go along with their rushing stats? RB

Ray
Lewis
(45tkl/1forced fum) is playing like it’s only his 4th year
in the league, instead of his 14th – this guy is far from over the
hill. While the Ravens D is one of the best
in the league in total offense allowed, points allowed, and rushing yards
allowed, when we look a little bit harder, we find that the Baltimore secondary
is giving up a whopping 238 yards per game through the air – which might
explain the Pats and Bengals ability to find the big play against the Ravens
and send them back to the locker room losers for two weeks in a row.

So head
down to the beer store, grab a six of your favorite brew, and drive home
without stopping to pick up any “ladies” with big Adam’s Apples. Trust Eddie and Danny, you won’t like what’s
under their covers as much as you’ll appreciate finding out what’s under the
hoods of these two NFL machines. This
game tells us if Minny is for real or “Fre-rotten” (sorry Gus – we miss making
fun of you). It also tells us if Ray
Lewis and company will murder their competition, or spend the rest of the year
crying over spilt milk. Enjoy the game –
we know we will.

Chicago

@

Atlanta

– Sunday 10/18,

8:20pm

When NBC got
the schedule of what games they’d be covering this year, we’re sure there were
some games that they were ambivalent about, but some over which they salivated. We’re pretty sure their salivary glands were
working overtime with the promise of this match-up, however. Is it because they
get a major market like Chicago to tune in? Not really. Is it
because Atlanta is a hotbed of football passion? Sorry, try again. Is it
because last year, having only 6 seconds to work with, Falcon’s QB Matt Ryan
threw to Michael Jenkins on a 26-yard pass to set up a 48-yard field goal as
Atlanta shocked Chicago, 22-20? Hell yes.

In a word, how
would we define the Falcons offense? Potent. Last year, the Falcons showed the
league what a rookie could do under center in Atlanta. This year,

Matt Ryan (977yd/7TD) is showing no signs of a sophomore slump as
last years favorite target, WR

Roddy
White
(329yd/3TD), and the newest weapon in the arsenal, TE

Tony Gonzalez (215yd/2TD), have caught
42 passes combined. This is just what the team does to opposing offenses in the
air though. On the ground, RB

Michael
Turner
(323yd/5TD) is a dying breed – namely, a feature back in the NFL –
and after a slow start in week one, strung together three straight scoring
games, including an explosion of 3 TDs in week 5. The Falcons D gives up lots of yardage to
their opponents (ranking 20th in the NFL in yards allowed), but they
tighten up around the goal-line, sporting the NFL’s 4th best scoring
defense (15.8ppg) with guys like LB

Curtis
Lofton
(47tkl) lowering the boom on the opposition.

Chicago has its swagger back in 2009. For the first time in almost 40 years,
they’ve had a quarterback who had a rating over 100 for three straight games.

Jay Cutler (901yd/8TD/5int) has brought
some respect back to the air attack in Chi-Town using all the tools around him
like WR

Earl Bennett (200yd/15rec)
and talented rookie

Johnny Knox
(190yd/14rec/2TD). RB

Matt Forte
(271yd/1TD) has had a relatively quiet fantasy season so far, but (like Turner)
is one of the few feature backs in the league, as he gets virtually all the
work on the ground. TE

Greg Olsen
(94yd/10rec/2TD) was projected to have a breakout year, but he isn’t getting
the looks fantasy owners had hoped. Defensively,
the team took a blow with the loss of LB

Brian
Urlacher
, but players like DE

Adewale
Ogunleye
(4.5sack) have kept the Bears’ defense statistically in the upper
half of the league in all categories, but to have any hope of making the
playoffs, they’ll need to do better in forcing turnovers as the season
progresses.

So whether it
is unfinished business from last year or two teams each chasing their division
leaders by just a game, this one is a borderline “must win” for each club. NBC
knows it, and now you do, too. So start salivating like Pavlov’s dog, just like
the NBC execs are, from the sound of the opening bell to the final gun – this
one is going to be another great ‘Game to Watch’.

About Fantasy Sharks

FantasySharks.com began in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is, or has been, home to some of the most talented and best known fantasy writers on the planet. Owned and operated by Tony Holm (5 time Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall-of-Fame nominee,) Tony started writing fantasy content in 1993 for the only three fantasy football web sites in existence at the time.