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:
Alright boys and ghouls (Ok – we know you’ve heard that one before, but just be glad it isn’t Fleet Week or we’d have gone with ‘buoys and girls’…), it’s time for our annual ‘Games to Witch Spooktacular’!! We’re conjuring up a weekend of spine-tingling action with three games you will be spellbound by. So beware as we whip up a cauldron of spite with a 3 AFC v NFC games – including Mysterious Mannings, Frightening Favre’s, and Terrifying Taylor’s (who hopes to have another return for a TD this week). So turn down the light, lock the door, and whatever you do, don’t let your wife hear you scream… because this week’s ‘Games to Witch’ will scare the Hester out of you!
– Sunday 10/28,
Everyone keeps foolishly (or maybe ghoulishly) looking towards next week’s game with Indy and New England’s battle royale`. (Hey, give us a break – our comedy writers we’re out of town leaving us on our own to work some Halloween puns in this article.) Call this a “(death) trap game” or whatever you want, the road for Indy to take on
makes a pit stop against
… and this should be sinfully good!
Indy made a statement last week when they hung an impressive 29 points on the staunch Jags defense. With QB
Payton “Mysterious” Manning at the helm, the team offense is ranked 3rd in average points and yards per game. Now that
Joseph (Jack) “O’ Lantern” Addai is healed up, and the Colts have a choice of WRs
Marvin “Horrible” Harrison and
Reggie “The Warlock” Wayne to throw the ball to, the Colts are a threat to crush any team they come in contact with – sort of like Godzilla through post-industrial Tokyo. But don’t think that the Colts well-documented offensive prowess is the only thing that their opposition is afraid of these days. Their defense is dreadfully devastating to opponents – ranking 3rd in overall D, 6th in scoring D (just 15.8ppg), and a daunting #1 ranked pass defense. This speedy defensive unit is a threat in so many ways… just ask the Jaguars who faced them this past week. The Colts
knocked Jacksonville QB
David “Guillotine” Garrard out of the game last Monday and forced three turnovers while holding the spotted cats to 226 total yards. That’s dominant.
has reached the top of the NFC South in much quieter fashion, though, seemingly flying under the radar of most NFL pundits. Even with questions at the quarterback position and the loss of
Jake “Deadly” Delhomme, the Panthers have managed to win games behind
David “The Hitchhiker” Carr and
Vinnie “The Skeleton” Testeverde. Of course it never hurts to have WR
Steve “Slasher” Smith on your ball club, either. Even in a year where the Panthers aerial attack has had its problems, Smith is still in the top 20 in receiving yards, and his 6 receiving TDs ties him for 5th best.
’s strength is in its running game, behind the two headed monster of
DeShaun “Ptomaine” Foster (Get it? He’s currently not practicing because off his big toe… ptomaine? Ah, shaddup – you get what you pay for.) and
DeAngelo “The Devil” Williams. Foster only has a single TD this season, but he’s on pace to have at least 1,000 yards. Williams is the change-of-pace guy in this scheme, but his 5.5 yard a carry average (7th best in the NFL) shows he can get things done when given the rock.
If history is the dictator, the Panthers should win outright (the Colts have NEVER beaten the Panthers believe it or not). On the flip side, the Panthers have two losses total this season, both of them at home; and Indy is… well… Indy. Look for Indy to take an undefeated 8-0 into their clash with
next week, but
should keep things interesting for sure.
) – Sunday 10/28,
The people of
are quoting the little blonde girl from Poltergeist, “They’re Heeerrreee!” – the NFL that is, to a sold out Wembley Stadium in
. Seems like a fair trade to us;
got David Beckham (and Sporty Spice) and
gets to root for the “home” team, the Miami Dolphins. We haven’t seen an exchange this bad since the Dutch got
for a purse full of beads. (The Dutch got robbed!)
We told you we’d scare you with some of our picks this week, but let’s be honest, even you didn’t expect to see anything as frightening as the Miami Dolphins this weekend – and that includes some of those British smiles. (Quick brain teaser: Who makes less money per year, a Wal-Mart greeter or a British dentist?) Anyway, we’re going to be honest and say that one of our main reasons for choosing this game is to see how the Brits like American football – as well as how much fun we can poke at them during the game. Just try and keep the Austin Powers references to fewer than 17 for the game, please. And let’s just hope that the ‘Fins can scare up some talent for this game. (Incidentally, this is probably the ONLY way you’ll see the Dolphins involved in the ‘Games to Watch’ this year, unless we use them in a future joke.)
The Giants clearly are on the prowl in the NFC East. After a 0-2 start, they’ve wrangled a tie for the top spot in the division with 5 straight wins – not to mention scoring over 30 points in each of their last three games. Consistency is what seems to be the key for this team that has lacked it in the past. The Giants are led by QB
“Evil” Eli Manning, whose 1525 yards put him right behind big bro Payton, and his 13 TDs even put him ahead of his older sibling. (Too bad he has thrown three times as many interceptions; but who’s counting?) While Manning has been putting up decent fantasy numbers this year, his #20 ranking in efficiency shows that he isn’t as close to filling his brother’s (or father’s) shoes as the NFL media machine seems to like to tell us almost endlessly every weekend.
But Eli certainly isn’t the only thing the Giants have going for them. Their offense has been threatening on the ground with both Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward proving it doesn’t matter which of them starts, the job gets done; the Giants are tied for 10th in rushing offense. The G-man aren’t slouches through the air, either – especially with WR
Plaxico “Axe-ico” Burress, who happens to have 8 of Manning’s 13 TD passes (behind only NE’s Randy Moss in TDs), as well as racking up enough yards (550) to put him #6 in the NFL in receiving. And after a shaky start in 2007, the defense is fast becoming one to be feared in the NFL. Their league-leading 27 sacks as a team give fans plenty to cheer about, led by DE
Osi “The Unspeakable” Umenyiora (8 sacks) rather than perennial pro-bowler
Michael “Sinister” Strahan. Heck, Strahan isn’t even in 2nd place on the Giants sack list with DE
Justin “Nip” Tuck being only one sack behind Umenyiora.
As far as the Dolphins are concerned, let’s look at a very scary quote from
Jason “Tell-Tale Heart”
made earlier this week: “We can’t win in
, maybe we can win overseas.” Umm… well, we guess anything is possible… Let’s look at what the Dolphins are missing, and see if they can overcome the horror of this season. The ‘Fins may have gotten their most serious blow last week, when their #1 RB
Ronnie “Banshee” Brown (who was leading the entire NFL in rushing) went down with a torn ACL sidelining him for the year. Their starting QB
Trent “Ghastly” Green is gone for the season, too, after his latest concussion might not have just ended his season, but his career. Even their #1 WR is gone, with
Chris “Ball and” Chambers traded to
. So what DO they have going for them you might ask?
Well, let’s look at some positives. Their offensive scheme is putting up points. They’re ranked 12th out of 32 teams in average points per game (and yes we realize some of the guys who contributed are gone now…but just go with us for a minute…). Their pass defense is actually ranked equal with the Giants. Further, the Dolphins’ rushing game has had some success ARB (after Ronnie Brown) with
Jesse “Chilling” Chatman and
Patrick “Cursed” Cobbs each picking up a TD.
Read Vinnie’s Picks and Passes column and he might even tell you the over under on this is going to be based upon how many points the Giants can score and just count the Dolphins out. But maybe, just maybe, the dead will rise on more than just Halloween.
– Monday 10/29,
So we come to our final tale of terror for this weekend. This one takes place in the rarefied air one mile up, and pits two evil scientists against each other in a battle to see which one can create the most frightening creation. Both Mikes (
Shanahan) have constructed formidable monsters bent on destroying their division opponents.
McCarthy has been more successful in that endeavor this season, with his Packers sitting atop the NFC North at 5-1. What’s more amazing is that they are doing it by breaking down the dimensional barriers of traditional NFL physics – relying on a completely one-dimensional offense right now to emerge as one of the NFC’s top squads. The Packers’ running game is practically non-existent, as they rank dead last in the league in yards-per-game (an abysmal 65.7). What’s more, they don’t even TRY and run the ball, as evidenced by their average of only 20 rushing attempts per game. RBs
Vernand “Macabre” Morency,
Brandon “Beastly” Jackson, and
DeShawn “Deadly” Wynn aren’t getting much of a chance to put up big numbers with each of them getting banged up this season, but run-blocking isn’t the O-line’s strong suit, anyway.
The Pack relies on its biggest weapon – the arm of QB
Brett “Frightening” Favre. Favre’s production had dropped a bit in recent years, but he’s once again among the best in the league, his 1715 passing yards putting him 4th in the league (but it should be noted that two of the QBs ahead of him, Brady and Romo both have one more game in their totals than Favre due to the GB bye week). The Pack needs to find the end zone a little more often though, with only 9 passing TDs to go along with that massive yardage. What’s even more impressive is that Favre is doing it with just one WR in the top FORTY –
Donald “Dire” Driver. Driver’s 412 yards certainly help (as do his 2 TDs) and so does WR
Greg “Grim Reaper”
who has looked better in recent weeks after missing the first two games of this season. But Favre is doing an absolutely frighteningly good job of moving the ball around; the Pack have a total of SEVEN guys with double-digit catches this season, including 2 of the RBs (with Wynn not far behind with 9). Brett even gets a little help from his defense, whose run D (11th best in the NFL) and scoring D (also 11th with a very respectable 17.8ppg) are making up for a sometimes-suspect secondary (Al Harris, we’re looking at you). Let’s not forget about one last Pack weapon that was a pleasant surprise to the
Mason “Creepy” Crosby. For a rookie, the kid is doing outstanding, tied for 13th amongst kickers in scoring.
Shanahan doesn’t concede this battle of mad scientists to McCarthy just because he has Brett Favre, though. Shanahan has been busy building his very-own Favre clone, QB
Jay “The Butcher” Cutler, to lead his team. Obviously Cutler has a long way to go to be compared in the record books to Favre, but the similarities are obvious; strong arms, both can make big plays happen, and both can sometimes force the big play too much resulting in a turnover. Cutler has started off a bit slow this year, but has moved up to 15th in passing yardage. It hasn’t helped that his #1 target, WR Javon “Wicked” Walker has been out since week 3, but WR
Brandon “Menacing” Marshal has stepped up and started to become a real threat. Unlike Favre and the Packers, however, Cutler isn’t forced to do it all by himself. RB
Travis “Hideous” Henry is 6th in the NFL in rushing yardage (549yd) and while his 1 TD is a little disappointing to fantasy and Broncos fans alike, he certainly adds a second dimension that
lacks. Henry’s legal issues are certain a concern for fantasy enthusiasts, but in the short term in doesn’t seem to be having a major impact on his performance.
’s defense is an enigma. They have a stellar pass D (2nd in the NFL) anchored by the likes of CBs
Champ “Baleful” Bailey and
Dre “Captain” Bly, as well as S
John “He Already Has an Appropriate Halloween Name” Lynch. But their run defense is allowing a truly horrific 176.2 a contest. Heck, they might even make
’s running backs look good, and that’s seriously frightening considering how anemic they have been. Oh yeah, one more thing –
has a weapon in their kicker as well. K
, a perennial fantasy stud, has slacked a little in fantasy production this year – but you can’t argue with his value as a weapon for this team. All three of
’s wins have come on the foot of
– proving that he might be this team’s biggest weapon of all.
Both evil geniuses have created their monsters. Both have built up powerful offenses, even if one is more multi-dimensional. McCarthy has Favre, Shanahan has his Favre clone. Both monsters have powerful legs that can win a ball game. And just like the Frankenstein monster, both have some flaws that could lead to their undoing. A loss by either team has them moving in the wrong direction, and could signal their eventual downfall. A win by either team keeps them either atop their division, or in the thick of the fight.
Our advice is to turn the lights down low, break into that bag of mini-Snickers your wife bought for the Treak-or-Treaters, and hunker down on Monday night to watch this battle of the mad scientists and their monstrous creations. And don’t worry about that creak on your steps or that shadow in the corner of your eye. It’s probably nothing… Muhahaha!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN !!
— Chris “Undead” Dolfi and Tom “Bloody” Braun