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 other articles, the Betbot, or the Last Row, or our myriad posts in the Tank. We’re just like you, though. We love a good football game, no matter who is playing. All times Eastern:
Kansas City @ Buffalo – Sunday 11/13, 1:00pm
Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo, NY
Kansas City rolls into blustery Buffalo for a late-lunch showdown with the Bills, who are struggling to make their mark in the AFC East. I expect to see quite a bit of offense in this game and a look at some real talents at their position, Willis McGahee and Larry Johnson. With Priest Holmes out for the season, Johnson gets to show the Chiefs why they won’t be worried about their rushing attack, even if Priest retires.
The Bills will like this match-up with McGahee getting to go up against a KC defense that is 8th against the run, but only because their pass defense is so poor that teams can’t resist going aerial against them. But The Bills know where their best chance of winning lies, and that’s with McGahee running the ball. So run he will, and while he might not eclipse the 100-yard mark, he won’t be far off. Toss in a TD or two, and fans in Buffalo will be cheering.
But wait – not so fast Baffalonians… (I don’t know if that’s the actual term, but if not they should change it to that) Sure Priest Holmes is out, but Larry Johnson is more than capable of becoming the Chief’s main offensive weapon. And with the Bills D giving up over 150 yards a game on the ground (2nd worst in the league), Johnson will have a big, big game this weekend. Count on him for at least 2 scores and a bunch of yards – the Chiefs certainly will. Coach Dick Vermeil knows that the Chief’s success this year comes from running it between the tackles and a more controlled pass offense this year. You’ll see plenty of that strategy in this game with Johnson pounding the ball and Tony Gonzalez heating up as Vermeil gets the under-performing Trent Green to throw to Gonzo on short, controlled routes.
At 5-3, Kansas City needs the win to try and catch the AFC-West leading Broncos (6-2), and to stay ahead of the San Diego Chargers (5-4 and they should be ashamed of this record with a stud like LT racking up points for them). But the game is just as important to Buffalo and their 3-5 record. Sure, 3-5 at the midpoint usually means you aren’t going anywhere this season, but the Bills are part of the craptastic AFC East, where the division leader is the defending Super Bowl champs at 4-4. Both teams will be playing hard, and both teams will be scoring points. There is absolutely NO question this will be a fun game to watch – the only question is whether Dick Vermeil will be weeping tears of joy or sorrow when it’s all over.
St. Louis @ Seattle – Sunday 11/13, 4:15pm
Qwest Field, Seattle, WA
St. Louis = offense. Seattle vs. NFL’s 2nd worst scoring D = offense. Mark Bulger’s expected return = offense. A game with RBs like Shawn Alexander and Steven Jackson = offense. About the only thing that’s more offensive than this game is going to be is that mustache on Mike Holmgren’s face.
It’s an NFC West shootout when the division leading Seahawks (6-2) host the #2 team in the division, the Rams (4-4). The Rams really need this game to try and climb into striking distance of the division lead. The Seahawks can put themselves firmly into the divisional driver’s seat if they can win this one at home.
Both teams face defenses that manage to give up over 200 yards a game in the air and over 100 yards on the ground, so there will be plenty of room on the stat sheet for all your fantasy favorites here. You also get to see a showdown between Alexander and Jackson, two of the NFL’s best RBs. Bulger is expected to return, and he faces Matt Hasslebeck – both QBs are sharp, and have passer ratings above 90, putting them at #10 and #11 in the league.
Listen – I could write several more paragraphs about all the offensive weapons in this game, but we all can see the writing on the wall here folks – this one is gonna’ be fun to watch and should make lots of fantasy owners happy. For anyone who just wants to watch an entertaining game, this is one of your best bets. So turn on the game, kick back with an icy cold beverage, and make bets with your buddies on whether Mike Holmgren looks more like Craig Stadler, or Stadler looks more like Holmgren. That is, when you aren’t watching Alexander make the Rams defense look silly.
Dallas @ Philadelphia – Monday 11/14, 9:00pm
Lincoln Financial Field (“The Linc”), Philadelphia, PA
Ok, ok – I’m a Philly fan, so the pick of this game as a “Game to Watch” might be suspect, but I don’t think so and I’ll tell ya’ why…
You’ve all suffered through a full week of Terrell Owens drama, and you say you don’t want to hear another word about the guy. But then you find yourself at the office water-cooler going off on a 10-minute rant about what’s wrong with players in sports today. C’mon – admit it. It’s the first step in getting over Tee-oh-itis. We know the broadcast will be riddled with commentary about T.O., conjecture about T.O., rumors about T.O., and interviews asking players and coaches about T.O. And even though you say you don’t want to watch any more of that garbage, it’s like a train-wreck (or watching Tom Cruise profess his undying love for Katie Holmes) – it’s horrible beyond belief, and you can’t believe what you are seeing, but you simply can’t tear your eyes away.
You aren’t the only one who is getting tired of all the T.O. nonsense though. The Eagles, Donovan McNabb, Andy Reid, and all of Gang Green can’t stand it anymore either. And this game is their chance to take a big step in putting some of the T.O. unpleasantness to rest. It’s easy to say they don’t need T.O. on the field, but last week’s poor showing in Washington has some people thinking otherwise. At 4-4, the Eagles simply can’t afford to lose another game to a division foe. And in what is shaping up to be the NFL’s toughest division this year, a loss to the 5-3 Cowboys would put the Eagles at least 2 games back in the division (and likely 3 games back with the Giants playing the Vi-queens).
But Dallas needs this game, too. They need to capitalize on a team who isn’t playing well and put them away. To be sure, Parcells’ boys are much improved this year, especially behind the performances of some aged veterans like Drew Bledsoe, Terry Glenn and Me-Shawn Johnson (he almost has to be related to T.O. doesn’t he?). The Cowboys trail the division leading Giants by a game, and a win on the road against the Eagles lets them not only keep pace with the Gi’nts, but to sweep the Eagles, who have owned Dallas in recent years. A morale booster for Dallas, and a tough division win.
This game isn’t going to be pretty. I don’t expect the Eagles to suddenly be able to run a two-minute offense, to manage the clock, or even keep Brian Westbrook in on crucial downs. I don’t expect the Cowboys to dominate the Birds like they did earlier this year in Dallas. Heck, I don’t even expect good solid football for 60 minutes from both teams. But this isn’t a “Game to Watch” because of any amazing football I think you might see. It’s one to watch because you just CAN’T resist being part of that water-cooler conversation about whether the Eagles are better off with or without T.O. on Tuesday morning – no matter what the outcome of the game.
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