Tank TV –
Week Four Games to Watch
Last week we witnessed an offensive explosion of epic proportions. The Tank TV Whale of a Game between Indianapolis and Green Bay could easily have ended in the first quarter as Peyton Manning and Brett Favre duked it out in this battle royale. Instead it was only the beginning as the fireworks continued all night, delighting fantasy fans and network executives alike.
The tale of the tape –
Manning – 393 yards, 5 TD’s
Brett Favre – 358 yards, 4 TD’s
Javon Walker – 11 catches, 200 yards, 3 TD’s
Reggie Wayne – 11 catches, 184 yards, 1 TD
Brandon Stokely – 8 catches, 110 yards, 2 TD’s
The game could easily have featured two of the top backs in the league in Ahman Green and Edgerrin James, but they were almost an after thought as both teams went up top most of the game.
Great White Game of the Week – Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday October 3rd @ 1pm on CBS
The Colts are again one of the top games to watch this week as they travel to Jacksonville to take on the surprising 3-0 Jaguars. The big surprise is that the Jacksonville offense has done little to merit their record, having scored a measly 35 points in its first three games. Had I told you that would be the case at the beginning of the season you’d have sworn they’d be 0-3.
On the surface it looks like Jacksonville is doing it with defense, but the numbers tell a different tale. Jacksonville has given up a league worst 34:05 minutes in Time of Possession. While Chris Brown became the first back in 17 games to gain 100 yards against them, the defense isn’t shutting people down like Seattle and Washington are. They rank 8th in total yards allowed, and one of the teams ahead of them is 0-3 Miami. Their run defense is a very average 15th, and the passing defense, rated 9th, has only delivered 4 sacks for total of 19 yards lost.
What may surprise you is that in two of the games, it was the anemic offense that put the game away. In the season opener against Buffalo, Byron Leftwich, in a coma for the majority of the game (11-23 for 75 yards and 2 INT’s) snapped out of it in the last two minutes of the game, completing 7 of 13 passes for 72 yards, including a 7 yard floater to rookie wide receiver Ernest Wilford on 4th and goal from the 7 with four seconds remaining. A Quentin Griffin fumble at the Jaguar 23 yard line with 30 seconds remaining salvaged a 7-6 win against the Broncos in game two, while the third win was secured with a one yard Fred Taylor plunge with just a few seconds remaining after the Jaguars put together an uncharacteristic 5 and a half minute drive to close the game out.
The Colts will push Jacksonville’s D to the limit, and if the offense doesn’t come alive a little sooner than the last drive of the game, it could be a very long night for the Jaguars. The Colts bring an impressive array of weapons that will challenge the Jaguars for a full 60 minutes.
Shark Sighting – Your guess is as good as mine who will step up for the Colts this week. Reggie Wayne has so far overshadowed All-Pro Marvin Harrison, but I have a feeling the Manning to Harrison Express will be alive and well this Sunday.
Whale Shark Game of the Week – Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers
Sunday October 3rd at 4:05 pm on Fox
Michael Vick and the Atlanta Falcons are another 3-0 team that is surprising people with their defense. While the Falcons are giving up almost 70% pass completions to opposing teams, they are making the quarterbacks pay, leading the league in sack yards lost with 114 while tied at 14 sacks with the Eagles.
Jim Mora Jr. has brought a new attitude to Atlanta and it shows. The first order of business was to scrap the 3-4 and go to a more traditional 4-3. Ed Donatell came over from the Packers with an attacking defensive philosophy and so far it has paid dividends. DE’s Patrick Kerney and Brady Smith have combined for 23 tackles and 8 sacks so far this season.
Mora, a defensive coach for the 49’ers last year before being tapped to lead the dirty birds, also brought the West Coast offense with him. TJ Duckett owners haven’t been happy with the results as Warrick Dunn has emerged as a fantasy stud in what many thought might deteriorate into an RBBC offense.
Carolina isn’t laying down a welcome mat for Atlanta though. Coming off an early bye and without studs Stephen Davis and Steve Smith, the Panthers will turn to DeShaun Foster to carry the rock and the load. Wide Receiver Muhsin Muhammad needs to step up and provide Jake Delhomme someone to throw to as Carolina entertains their NFC South division rivals. At stake is an early lead in the battle for the division crown and home field advantage.
Expect possession receiver Ricky Proehl to get much more involved as Delhomme looks for targets to spread the ball around. He’ll be an interesting sleeper candidate this weekend.
Chumming the Waters – New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Sunday October 3rd @ 4:15 pm on CBS
After three weeks it looks like the damage done in Florida goes well beyond the four hurricanes that swept the peninsula state. The Jaguars to date have managed to dodge all the bullets, but both Miami and Tampa Bay are reeling after 0-3 starts.
Looking at the Jets-Dolphins game at the beginning of the season, you would’ve figured it to be an early battle with playoff implications. Unfortunately the only team this may have any significance to at this point is the Jets, who come in with a chip on their shoulder after ending the 2003 season with an ignominious 23-21 loss in Miami. Instead it looks more like the school yard bully getting ready to smack the nerd over his head with a picnic table as the Dolphins flounder about for an offense. Jay Fielder, benched in favor of AJ Feeley in the first game, is back at the helm. Instead of Ricky Williams, Chris Chambers and David Boston he’ll try to jump start the ‘Phins with Leonard Henry, Randy McMichael and Derrius Thompson. Williams is somewhere smoking reefer and wondering how many footballs he’ll need to sign to come up with 8.6 million dollars while Boston is out for the season and Chambers is questionable with a previously undisclosed knee injury.
Miami’s defense has played respectably but has not received any cooperation from the offense. Chad Pennington and the Jets wide receivers may find the going tough against one of the top defensive backfields in the league, but with leading tackler Zach Thomas out of the lineup Miami will have its hands full with the resurgent Curtis Martin, who leads the league with a little over 157 yards per game rushing.
Shark Sighting – The Jets have had this game marked on their calendar since last years loss. With the Dolphins limping on offense expect the Jets to try to pour it on in this game.