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’s playing.
All times Eastern:
Indianapolis @ New England – Monday 11/7, 9:00pm
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
Can Manning finally win a meaningful game versus the Pats? Will the Colts defense be able to handle the multi-faceted Patriots offense? Which Patriot is next to get hurt?
This is one of the marquee match-ups for the whole season. Despite the fact that the Patriots have been battling injuries all year, they are in the thick of the AFC race. The Colts come into this game undefeated, and winning in ways unimagined in Indianapolis since the start of the Manning era – with defense. Make no mistake, the Pats have been battling injuries, but as long as Tom Brady is healthy, the Pats can win any game.
The Pats have the 24th ranked rush defense, look for the Colts to let James do most of the damage, with Manning picking his spots with play action passes. The Colts have a mediocre rush defense, rated 14th overall. Corey Dillon is a hot and cold player this year, but before the bright lights and a national audience, Dillon will have to play almost every snap because of injuries to the Pats offensive backfield. If Dillon can’t play, it could be a very long night for Brady and company, as the Pats have no proven backup healthy enough to go for them.
Oakland @ Kansas City – Sunday 11/6, 1:00pm
Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Now this should be a fun game to watch. I expect a lot of scoring, and a lot of fun. The Raiders and Chiefs don’t like each other, and this divisional match up could mean a lot to both teams as they hunt for a playoff spot. The Broncos have tight control over the division itself, but both of these teams could make a run for a wild card spot.
Both QBs should have a very good day, as neither secondary instills much fear around the league. Kerry Collins should have a field day, whether or not the Raiders win or lose. The Chiefs do have the 8th ranked rush defense, so Lamont Jordan may have to do most of his damage through receiving, as opposed to rushing. For the Chiefs, both Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson should gobble up a ton of yards, as this match up looks to be a track meet.
If the Raiders lose, their record falls to 3-5, and would need to get a couple wins over the following 3 weeks to stay in the AFC Wild Card race. A win gets them back to .500. A win for the Chiefs makes their record 5-3, and nicely positioned for a play off spot heading into the second half of the season. A loss puts them at 4-4, with 2 losses in a row.
Carolina @ Tampa Bay – Sunday 11/6, 1:00pm
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Carolina was a pre-season favorite to run to the Super Bowl representing the NFC, Tampa Bay was never really mentioned put side of the Tampa-St. Pete area. They head into this game both 5-2 and tied with the Falcons in record. In a very mediocre NFC, with the conference wide open, both these teams will be in the running for a play off spot all year long.
Unlike the Raiders/Chiefs game, expect a defensive slugfest (see…that’s what we write-types call a defensive game -a ‘slugfest’ as opposed to a ‘track meet’…). The Buccaneers have allowed only 87 points so far this year. The Panthers have allowed much more (149) but the Buccaneers’ Chris Simms has struggled in his limited time playing this year. He had a mediocre game against the lowly Niners last week, he did pass for over 250 years, but had 2 INTs.
One thing to keep in mind when looking at the NFC South, Atlanta has played 7 games, 4 of which were at home. So, in their remaining schedule, only 4 of 9 are at home. I can’t think of a more Jeckyll/Hyde team in the NFL when it comes to home and away games. Don’t be surprised if Carolina (4 home games left also) or Tampa Bay (5 Home games left) passes Atlanta in the standings over the next month.
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