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Games to Watch – Week 7

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 “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





– Sunday 10/25,


If you
grew up in the 70’s, these two franchises squaring off meant that were going to
get to see two playoff teams squaring off, while two NFL Super Bowl
quarterbacks lead potent offenses, bolstered by the hard-nosed play of two of
the NFL’s best defenses. But, that was
three decades ago – and it’s now the 21st century. So in 2009, when these two teams meet in week
7, we get to see… well… actually… the EXACT same thing. Hmm – it looks like the old adage about the
more things change, the more they stay the same is true. Well, at least about football anyway – if
you’re talking about Brittney Spears attractiveness, all bets are off.

Minnesota is off to a blistering 6-0 start,
and much of the praise is being heaped upon the shoulders of one of the NFL’s
most recognizable faces, QB

Brett Favre
(1347yd/12TD/2int). Favre has excelled
in the Vikings offense, on pace to throw a career low number of interceptions
and a career high in QB rating. His play
has raised the stats of many of his offensive cohorts, spreading the ball
around to WRs

Sidney Rice

Percy Harvin
(243yd/20rec/2TD), and

Bernard Berrian
(234yd/22rec/2TD). That’s not to say the
Vikes still don’t have one of the NFL’s best weapons in RB

Adrian Peterson (618yd/7TD), but they don’t have to rely solely on
him to carry the offensive load. The
Vikings D has slipped slightly from being one of the NFL’s better squads, but they
still boast on the NFL’s best run-stopping units. DE

(27tkl/7.5sack/3fum) is one of the NFL’s most dominant defensive
players, and LB

E.J. Henderson (47tkl/1sack)
is a force to be reckoned with.

Pittsburgh dropped two of their first three
games, but since finding their running game, has rebounded to a 4-2 record and
a tie for the AFC North. QB

Ben Roethlisberger (1887yd/10TD/6int)
is on pace to match his outstanding 2007 season, and his efficiency is helping
open up the running game that the Steelers were lacking in their first three
outings. WRs

Hines Ward (599yd/41rec/2TD) and

Santonio Holmes (438yd/28rec/1TD) have put together a great season
so far, and TE

Heath Miller
(315yd/34rec/4TD) has been seeing more action than a saloon girl in the old
west. RB

Rashard Mendenhall (349yd/4TD) is finally living up to some of his
promise, and is easily Steeltown’s most explosive runner. The Steeler D took a big hit when S


Polamalu (10tkl/2int) was lost for a few
games to injury, but he’s back now, instantly doubling the number of
interceptions this unit has had all year.

James Harrison
(34tkl/6sack) may not have the commercial appeal of Polamalu and his hair, but
he does lead the NFL’s #2 rushing D, and a defense ranked 12th or
better in all major categories.

So, while
this game won’t quite have the luster of Super Bowl IX, the talent will be no
less abundant than that classic, and the score will be considerably higher than
that 16-6 Pittsburgh victory in 1974.
It wouldn’t be a shock to see either of these squads in the Super Bowl
this year, and the playoffs seem to be in both teams’ futures. The 2009 versions of these teams are no less
impressive than their 70’s counterparts, except for the lack of porn-inspired
mustaches. So sit back, grab yourself an
Iron City or Cold Spring, and enjoy a match-up where the only
things more black and purple than the uniforms will be the bruises from this
clash of two of the NFL’s best.




– Sunday 10/25,


On a week when
it seems there are many mismatched games in the NFL, we throw one at you that
has two teams with very similar looks – almost mirror images of their
strengths, weaknesses, and where they are looking to be. Both are chasing a
strong frontrunner in their division, both have young quarterbacks looking to
prove (or re-prove) themselves, and both have virtually injury free teams. Atlanta at Dallas might look very similar on paper,
but at the end of this game, one team will look into the mirror and be smiling.
And Jerry Jones doesn’t count… his face is stretched so tight he can’t help but

Over the past
few games, Atlanta brushed off a shaky start to put
together a strong showing. After their bye week, they dominated San Francisco
with outstanding play from their big three: sophomore QB

Matt Ryan (1162yd/9TD/4int), stud RB

Michael Turner (353yd/6TD) and WR

Roddy White (385yd/27rec/4TD), who had a huge 210 yard performance. Of course, the newly acquired TE

Tony Gonzalez (267yd/23rec/3TD) has
also been a huge addition to the Falcons offensive weaponry. In their second
game after the bye week, it was the defense’s time to shine, as the likes of
Falcons DT

Jonathan Babineaux forced
a crucial fumble at the goal line that was recovered by teammate

Coy Wire. Notable is how through 6
weeks in the NFL, this is a defense that has allowed only 15ppg, ranking them
4th in the NFL.

Dallas stays at home after their bye week, and despite their 3-2
record, they realize that they themselves come off of a shaky start –
especially when the three wins were against some of the NFL’s worst franchises
this year. The armchair critics see this team as an enigma (that’s a puzzle for
all of you out there that always wondered what that meant) – how can they come
within two points of beating the division leader who has only one loss under
their belt, yet also get pushed into overtime by a team with no wins? As with the Falcons, one week QB

Tony Romo (1341yd/6TD/4int), RB

Marion Barber (297yd/3TD) and TE

Jason Whitten (259yd/28rec/1TD) will be
the star of the show. Youngster WR

(331yd/15rec/3TD) impressed the Dallas coaching staff and the fantasy
football community alike with his 10 catch, 250 yard, 2 TD performance last
game and takes over a starting spot on the squad – keep your eye on this kid,
he looks like he could really be something special. And again like the Falcons,
if the offense falters, their defense has the ability to step it up and help
win games. The Cowboys D is led by the reemergence of LB

Demarcus Ware (22tkl/2sack/1fum) and a player who has his roots in Atlanta, LB

Keith Brooking (29tkl/1sack).

either of these teams explode and get 30 plus points? They are both more than
capable of that feat. Could both of these teams implode and pull a “Philly @
Oakland” (the new term for any team that does absolutely nothing correctly on
any given week)? You bet they could. This is one of those instances which make
this a great game to watch – not JUST because you have two good teams, but
there is potential to make this a newsworthy game come Monday. TO isn’t around
to say “Get your popcorn ready!”, but around the offices here at, we already have the Jiffy Pop ready for this Sunday. All
that’s left is to see which team’s offense explodes like the tinfoil top, and
which team is left picking up the pieces of a once promising season, much like
those burnt kernels left in the bottom of the pan.




– Sunday 10/25,


written this column for several years now, and while our memories might be
addled a bit by copious amounts of red meat, Buffalo wings, and home brew, we
can honestly say we have NEVER put these two together as a “Game to Watch”.
Hear us out, though – occasionally, we know what we’re talking about. After
all, it wasn’t natural to put Pomegranate in Vodka or ziti on a pizza… but
someone had the inspiration that it would make a good match, and after people
tried it, suddenly similar ideas popped up everywhere, spawned like rabbits on
Viagra. We guarantee this is going to be a good game – never mind that it lacks
division rivalry or a must win scenario.

you wouldn’t say an AFC team “hates” an NFC team – it would be odd for that to
happen since sometimes teams don’t meet for several years at a pop. There is
one player in particular who has an axe to grind with the Bears though, namely
the 3rd leading rusher in the league who plays for Cincinnati –

Cedric Benson. Benson (531yd/4TD) “insists” that the Bears
organization tried to blackball him this past year in Free Agency (questioning
his work ethic and attitude). He claims
this was the reason why he wasn’t picked up as a free agent earlier in the FA
market. Regardless if this is true or just a conspiracy theory dreamed up in
Benson’s mind, he would love a little payback, and with the help of a healthy QB

Carson Palmer (1375yd/ 8TD) and
Twittering, Trash-Talking WR

(455yd/ 3TD), there is a very good chance that the high powered
Cincy offense can indeed make that happen against a Bears Defense that has had difficult
with elite receivers this year. Granted, the loss of

Antwan Odom (8sack) will hurt this stout defense; Cincinnati is in the top 1/3 in the league
for rushing yards against and ppg against. But this is a team on the upswing,
and a chip on their shoulder to boot = and they’re loaded for bear. (Ok, we actually apologize for that joke.)

What do the Bears finally have that they haven’t for about 10+ years now? If
you said fresher rolls for the Brats at Soldier Field, you’re right! But if you
also said a “Star Quarterback” – you hit the nail on the head, too.

Jay Cutler (1201yd/10TD) has given Chicago the shot in the arm (pun
intended) it has craved for a very long time. It doesn’t hurt that receivers

Devin Hester (272yd/ 2TD) and
backs like

Matt Forte (294yd/ 1TD)
like to sponge opposing defenses attention. But Cutler has been the game
changer for this team; he offers good decision making, leadership and, (with
his recent contract extension) security for a team who hasn’t had that under center
for a very, very long time. It remains to be seen if Cutler and company can
take the next step, and be successful on a playoff level – and they need to win
games to get there, starting with this one. The Chicago D is still a solid
unit, ranking in the top half of the league overall, and 6th in run
defense. LB

Lance Briggs (33tkl/1int) is leading the team in tackles, and DE

Adewale Ogunleye (13tkl/4.5sack) is
always a threat to the opposition’s signal caller.

Make no
mistake, set aside the propaganda that division rivals always make the best
games. While that’s usually a good bet, when
your divisional match-up choices are San Diego v. KC or Philly v. Washington, a
re-run of M*A*S*H would be more entertaining, even one of the serious
ones… Thankfully we have this
interdivisional contest to fall back on.
So we can all sit back and watch Palmer and Cutler operate, in a
match-up that should prove to be every bit the classic we know it will be –
even if it isn’t on TV Land.

About Fantasy Sharks 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.