Saturday - Aug 17, 2019

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Games to Watch – Week 7

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:

So this past week we’re sitting in our cubicles, which incidentally are back to back at the FantasySharks offices. Now that’s a positive for two reasons. First, if they were facing one another we’d be playing “paper football” ¾ of the time. Second, we can see when anyone strolls down the hall and instantly decide whether we need to pretend we are working or can just chat around the water cooler. So who comes strolling along, but Vinnie (without the paper bag on his head, he’s actually a handsome guy – or so Margaret the cleaning lady tells us)… Anyway, he wants to lay odds that none of the games we write about this week will turn out to be a great “Game to Watch”, noting that the schedule has no glaring, fantastic, awesome, top-tier games this week. So right before Vinnie has to dash off to a meeting with his probation officer (shout out to Officer Frank Stahl), we tell him it’s a bet.

Now, we love to win a bet, and we aren’t above getting creative within the rules to ensure we win. So we figure why write about just three games this week and chance having to pay off a man who thinks lunch bags are couture fashion, when we can just write about

ALL the games. This way, we not only ensure that *something* we write will be a great game, but we even get to throw fans of the some of the NFL’s less-than-best teams a bone and talk about their favorite team for a change. (Trust us Detroit fans… this might be the only time you hear us talk about the Lions all season.)

So take a deep breath and settle into that rear end shaped depression in your couch – here are your “Games to Watch” for this weekend. (Vinnie, please leave our money in a sack on one of our desks. Feel free to use the one from your head – money is money, even if it’s got some Brylcreem on it.)

San Diego

@

Buffalo

– Sunday 10/19,

1:00pm

The last time these two teams played, LaDanian Tomlinson had 178 yds rushing and 2 TD’s. Ahhh history. This game poses some interesting questions. Has the real San Diego finally showed up? And are the Chargers going to ride Phillip Rivers’ (1489yds / 14TDs / 4int – #1 in QB efficiency in the league) arm all year instead of LT’s back? Is Buffalo the real deal and are they going to dethrone the Patriots from the top of the AFC East? How badly was Trent Edwards (948yd / 4TD / 2int) banged up? And last but not least, does anyone actually know that San Diego is ranked 1st in the entire NFL on average points per game (29.7ppg)?

New Orleans

@

Carolina

– Sunday 10/19,

1:00pm

Like a NY Strip steak served with a side of bean sprouts, half of this game is going to be great; the half that involves the high scoring Saints offense and the highly touted (#3 ranked) Panthers defense. The other half is going to be sloppy. Division games are always interesting – especially in a division that is rivaling the NFC East for competitiveness. New Orleans gave a nice “shellacking” to a weak Oakland team last week, and QB Drew Brees (1993yd / 12TD / 6int) has been money all season long and RB Reggie Bush has been electric on both offense and special teams. Carolina counters with RBs DeAngelo Williams (348yd / 2TD) and Jonathan Stewart (284yd / 4TD). Too bad Panthers fans never know which team will show up (the one against Tampa last week, or the one that schooled the Falcons).

Minnesota

@

Chicago

– Sunday 10/19,

1:00pm

Great history between these teams, even if this game doesn’t have the luster that some of the other 93 meetings between the two (yes – these two have seen each other almost as much as Entertainment Tonight watchers have seen celebrity rehab stories). Both teams are 3-3, and both could win this division or fold like a house of cards. One thing we are sure of is that you’ll see two of the NFL’s top-five running backs play in the Bears’ Matt Forte (459yds / 3TD) and the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson 563yd / 3TD). And two defenses bent on stopping the run. Smash mouth football at its best.

Pittsburgh

@

Cincinnati

– Sunday 10/19,

1:00pm

Well, Cincy’s offense has to turn it on at some point, right? So why not today? We’ll tell you; injuries at QB (Carson Palmer) and K (Shayne Graham), a rushing game still waiting to get off the ground, and a defense that is couldn’t stop Lyle Lovett in a game of Red Rover let alone opposing NFL running backs. Pittsburgh on the other hand is suiting up anyone who’s willing to play RB with Willie Parker (263yd / 3TD) having an injury flare up in practice this week. Look for a low scoring game, with not a lot of flash. Heck, even Bengals’ fans don’t want these tickets, and they’re against a divisional opponent.

Tennessee

@

Kansas City

– Sunday 10/19,

1:00pm

Johnson & Johnson should be a major sponsor to this game – mainly because the majority of the offense on both squads has that for a last name. The revolving door at QB for the Chiefs does not help things for the Arrowhead faithful, and allows defenses to key in on once-fantasy-stud RB Larry Johnson (417yd / 3TD). Maybe the return of QB Brodie Croyle will help things. The Titans’ 1-2 punch at running back (Chris Johnson and LenDale White) against the worst ranked defense in the NFL might keep QB Kerry Collins (740yd / 3TD / 3int) from throwing the ball over

200

175 150 yards. Regardless, Collins and the Titans should remain the only undefeated team in the NFL when the dust clears.

Baltimore

@

Miami

– Sunday 10/19,

1:00pm

Baltimore comes to sunny South Florida on a major three game losing streak, although holding rank as the team with the defense that allows the least amount of yards per game. Miami, even though it lost in the last minute to Houston last week, seems to be on an upswing and have taken two out of their last three. The problem with both of these squads is that they need more; Baltimore needs more than just RB Le’Ron McClain (264yd / 4TD) to contribute on offense; Miami needs more than just RB Ronnie Brown (336yd / 7TD); and they both need more wins if either hopes to have a shot in their respective divisions. This one isn’t gonna’ be pretty, but neither is Sarah Jessica Parker and plenty of people tune in to watch her on TV, too.

San Francisco

@ New York Giants – Sunday 10/19,

1:00pm

San Fran is caught in a web that it desperately needs to climb out of – a 3 game losing streak. Fantasy owners and 49ers faithful alike want to see RB Frank Gore (524yd / 4TD / 2fum) get the ball more. In fact, when Gore gets the ball 20+ times a game the Niners are 12-2. The Giants and QB Eli Manning (1228yd / 7TD / 4int) were tripped up in Cleveland, and look to bounce back after the short week of rest. Although on the outside, many are picking the Giants to win this one, we’ll see if they can stay focused for this game and not become the fly in games with spiders Pittsburgh, Dallas, and Philly over the next 3 weeks.

Dallas

@ Rams – Sunday 10/19,

1:00pm

Honestly – it isn’t easy being a Cowboy. Other teams tend to treat playing the Cowboys like playing in a Super Bowl each week. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy being a Ram, either – just ask QB Mark Bulger (655yd / 2TD / 2int) who plays behind a shaky offensive front that has allowed 15 sacks this season. The Rams are trying to turn their season around, and most likely had this date circled for awhile (like Arizona did last week). The Rams catch the cowboys when they’re down, but not out – especially with the likes of offensive talent like RB Marion Barber, WR Terrell Owens, and the recently acquired WR Roy Williams – even if QB Tony Romo is sidelined due to a broken pinky. But let’s be honest, the Rams haven’t shown us anything this season that leads us to believe they can match the Cardinals’ feat last week. Look for replacement Dallas QB Brad Johnson to hand the ball off a lot, to control the clock and churn out a time-consuming short yardage game that the Rams can never respond to.

Detroit

@

Houston

– Sunday 10/19,

4:05pm

As opposed to the 93 times the Bears and the Vikings have met, this is only the second meeting between these two teams – but it’s never to late to start a rivalry, right? Houston enters the game with QB Matt Schaub (1076yd / 5TD / 7int) coming off a great game last week, while Detroit has little spark besides WR Calvin Johnson (23rec / 377yd / 3TD) these days. With only one win between the two teams this year, it might be a very hard game to watch unless you are a die hard fan. There is good news for both teams though. The Lions, even without any wins, have only two more losses than the division leader. For the Texans, the schedule for the next four weeks has them playing teams that currently only have 5 wins (yes, you read that right – just F-I-V-E wins among all four teams they are going to play; Detriot, Cincy, Minesota, and Baltimore). The saddest thing about this game might not be Detroit’s defense or offensive line – it’s that one of these two teams will walk away with a win, regardless of how they play.

Indianapolis

@

Green Bay

– Sunday 10/19,

4:15pm

One of the bright spots on this week’s lack-luster schedule is this match-up. And we still aren’t sure what will happen here – it’s a lot like that old 11th grade US History teacher you had; your day was determined by which personality was going to show up. Will it be QB Payton Manning (1302yd / 8TD / 5int) and the Indy O which dismantled the Ravens? Or will it be the offense that Jacksonville and Chicago manhandled? The same thing can be said for Green Bay – are we going to see the team that couldn’t beat Atlanta at home, or the one that has WR Greg Jennings going for another 160+ yard day and QB Aaron Rodgers (1482yd / 11TD / 4int) looking like a clone of Brett Favre that the Green Bay Packers Foundation commissioned to be grown in a secret lab under Lambeau Field? We’re hoping both teams show up and this is a great game – but just like that teacher you used to have, don’t be surprised if things don’t go as planned. Whoever wins could end up going the head of the class; whoever loses will be writing “We aren’t as good as we’re supposed to be”, two-hundred times on the blackboard.

New York

Jets @ Oakland – Sunday 10/19,

4:15pm

The Raiders have about as much chance of manhandling the Jets this weekend as Oakland owner Al Davis has of giving any Oakland coach a gold-plated watch for 10-years uninterrupted service. QB Brett Favre (1124yd / 13TD / 6int) and his WR corps should have no problem rolling over the Raiders 25th ranked pass D. And even though the Jets secondary has become laughable, do we really expect to see QB JaMarcus Russell (827yd / 4TD / 2int) tear them to shreds? But the biggest difference in these two squads is in their big names. The Jets have five players with 2TDs or more. The Raiders don’t have a single player with more than 1TD. Stranger things have happened than if the Raiders somehow upset the Jets this weekend, but just because something could happen, doesn’t mean it will. Just ask the California Angles fans who were reserving hotel rooms for the World Series.

Cleveland

@

Washington

– Sunday 10/19,

4:15pm

The Brownies came up huge against the Giants in a Monday Night Football upset special, but one good game doesn’t convince any of us that Cleveland is back to their old selves. QB Derek Anderson (853yd / 5TD / 6int) has struggled, but WR Braylon Edwards is probably the biggest disappointment on this squad – 16 catches for 249yd and 2TDs doesn’t look awful, but it’s embarrassingly poor when you consider he was targeted 36 times. Washington looked unstoppable after a tough week 1 loss to the Giants, but they slipped back into their week 1 ways last week against the hapless Rams. RB Clinton Portis (643yd / 6TDs) is the workhorse for this offense, but improved play by QB Jason Campbell has them more dangerous this year than in previous years. The bottom line here is simple: Cleveland is likely to suffer a bit of a letdown after an emotional upset and a short week, while the Redskins are likely to make the opposition pay for their embarrassing loss last weekend. That just means it’s more likely that the ‘Skins win this game than the Browns. The only thing we can be *absolutely* sure of is that Brayon Edwards will drop at least one pass.

Seattle

@

Tampa

Bay

– Sunday 10/19,

8:15pm

Remember in any one of a half-dozen Star Trek reruns when you saw Captain Kirk and his evil twin from another dimension doing battle? You weren’t exactly sure which one you were dealing with until you actually saw them in action. That’s exactly what the comparison of these two WR corps is like. When the season started Seattle was thought to have a strong group of WRs and a good QB (Matt Hasselbeck). Tampa Bay was expected to have a weaker group of WRs that wouldn’t factor into the team’s success. When after 6 weeks of seeing them in action, we know is really who. Seattle’s rash of receiver injuries has them without a single 200-yarder in the bunch, and only two even crack the 100-yard mark. Only a single receiver even has double digit catches this year (TE John Carlson). Conversely, Tampa Bay is the real deal; SIX players with double digit receptions and those same SIX players over 100-yards in receiving (lead by WRs Antonio Bryant and Ike Hilliard). These two teams are heading in opposite directions, and we’ve had more than enough time to figure out which is the ‘bad’ one and which is the ‘good’ one. Watch this game if you want to see for yourself.

Denver

@

New England

– Monday 10/20,

8:30pm

They say beauty is only skin deep. (And even less so in the case of Roseann Barr.) Well, we saw just how good looking a team New England is without Tom Brady. Brady was like an self-perpetuating facelift for the Patriots. Their RBs were suspect, their run blocking less than pretty, and their defense was aging year after year. Not many really noticed though, because Brady was soooo good he got the Pats up by 3 TDs early in contests, forcing teams to have to throw deep in order to keep pace. With Brady gone, the glaring weaknesses of New England are suddenly trust into the light, especially that aging defense. Denver is just the team to take advantage of those weaknesses. QB Jay Cutler (1694yd / 12TD / 5int) has been much improved, and WR Brandon Marshall (43rec / 521yd / 3TD) has been just SICK. The Pats have little offensive spark except for their tough WR duo of Randy Moss (20rec / 300yd / 2TD) and Wes Welker (36rec / 324yd / 0TD) – but even they have been relatively quiet. Welker hasn’t had a game over 73 yards so far, and Moss got over two-thirds of his yardage in just 2 games this season. The only thing that helps the Pats here is that Denver’s D is one of the league’s worst right now. If the Pats can pull this one out, they will show us that they aren’t ready to relinquish their stranglehold on the AFC East just yet. And if Denver wins, they are serving notice that the old-guard in the AFC is changing, and Denver is one of the teams to beat.

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