What is overweight, gray and has a great memory? If you answered Bill Belichick (or Beli-cheat), then you’d be close. But think more about the elephant in the room if this column, much to my chagrin, doesn’t cover the greatest matchup of undefeated teams in the history and future of the NFL.
First of all, I’m glad the Colts vs. Patriots game will be played in the RCA Dome because it will now at least be fair. Marvin Harrison should be back this week and with him, the Indianapolis Colts’ offense will shred an overrated New England defense. Indianapolis’ defense is quick, has two great safeties and is playing at a much higher level this year. Will it be enough to take on the “greatest offense ever dreamed of?” Tony Dungy’s famous “bend-but-don’t-break” Tampa 2 defense will give up points but comes up big when it needs to.
For all the attention given to the matchup of the two greatest offenses in the game, Indianapolis safety Bob Sanders will be the guy to decide this tilt. He is playing like a man on a mission this year.
As for the fantasy football outlook of this, I’m not going to bother rehashing this below because everyone already knows all the offensive weapons will be big this week – just remember to leave the defenses on the bench.
But before we get into this week’s stuff, here are my thoughts for the week:
1. Brett Favre’s bombs to James Jones and Greg Jennings were a thing of beauty to behold Monday night. It was vintage Favre and classic football. Beating Champ Bailey and Dre’ Bly, respectively, only made the effort that much more remarkable to watch.
2. Does anyone else think it’s odd the Washington Redskins did not have communication from the coordinator’s box for nearly the entire first half when they played the Cheaters in New England? Under league rule, Beli-cheat and the rest of his coaching staff should have taken off their communication equipment while the Redskins did without. As one has come to expect, they didn’t and had an unnecessary, unfair advantage against a weaker team.
And now the main event, this week’s top three waiver wire adds and the matchups to keep an eye on.
Waiver Wire Adds:
Ryan Grant (RB-GB): Not the first Green Bay running back to be listed as an add in this column, but I do believe Grant could bring an end to the perpetual state of uncertainty Green Bay’s running game has been in. He is built and is quick with a solid “one cut and get up field” style. He is the unquestioned starter now that Deshawn Wynn is on injured reserve. Although Vernand Morency will see some play time in his place, Grant has displayed instinct and running ability far superior to anyone else on the roster. Pick him up for the stretch run.
David Patten (WR-NO): Drew Brees has finally hit his stride now that he has found a receiver who can actually bring in the ball once it hits his hands. Due largely to Devery Henderson’s inconsistencies, Patten has had a career resurgence by catching the deep ball and racking up more than 100 yards in two of the last three games. With the Saints looking to get back in the hunt and a defense that gives up big plays every game, Patten should see a good amount of work the rest of the season.
Jeff King (TE-CAR): Carolina’s No. 1 tight end has seen much more action than he is used to because of his “safety blanket” status with the injuries at quarterback. The situation isn’t going to change much the rest of the season, so King will see many more check down passes coming his way in the upcoming weeks.
Week 9 Matchups:
Dallas at Philadelphia: This will be a pivotal game for both teams. Dallas needs a win to keep a firm grasp on the division going into the game against the Giants next weekend and Philadelphia just needs to stay alive. Terrell Owens’ return to Philly isn’t receiving anywhere near its accustomed amount of press because of the scheduling conflict with the greatest game the NFL has ever seen. But rest assured, the Cowboys will let everyone in the NFC know the conference is still theirs. Tony Romo should light up a soft Eagles pass defense even with the return of a rusty Brian Dawkins. As for the Eagles, Donovan McNabb looks uncomfortable when rushed, and with Dallas bringing its blitz-heavy scheme to town, it doesn’t look pretty.
San Diego at Minnesota: This game might have been a fight earlier in the season, but now that San Diego has regained form – and reloaded its receiving corps – it doesn’t look like the declining Vikings will be able to hold up. Chris Chambers, Antonio Gates, Philip Rivers and LT are all a go for the Chargers, but for the Vikings, the only guy worth starting is again Adrian Peterson. With that being said, even Peterson is a rough play, mostly because of how his coach uses him – or doesn’t use him.
Houston at Oakland: With the exception of being a good defensive team, the Raiders don’t do anything very well, although it looks like Justin Fargas is beginning to distance himself from the other rushers on the team. As for Houston, it looks like the extremely hit-or-miss Sage Rosenfels will be starting this weekend against a very good Oakland pass defense that has only allowed an average of 178.7 yards through the air and six passing touchdowns. Andre Johnson may play this week, but he’ll be very limited.
Jacksonville at New Orleans: The usual suspects will be in play for the Saints with the addition of Patten, who should be able to get past Jaguars’ third corner Aaron Glenn, who always seems to give up a big play or three. Jacksonville’s offense is where the picks get interesting. Quinn Gray manages the game well and faces a very helpful pass defense. The lead wide receiver seems to shift every week, but last week in Gray’s only start it was Matt Jones. The other wide-out to look for will be John Broussard, whose speed should make him a good option against a weak New Orleans’ pass defense. Jacksonville will try to run, but with Fred Taylor getting the start and the carries, Maurice Jones-Drew having the big play ability and LaBrandon Toefield receiving the short yardage opportunities, which one will be big in this game? The only option is Jones-Drew, who gets involved in the pass game and can shred the sluggish defense.
Baltimore at Pittsburgh: The Ravens trail the Steelers by a game in the AFC North. The difference is that the Ravens have lost close games to good teams, while the Steelers have lost bad games they were expected to win. Both teams have strong running games, stout defenses and manageable quarterbacks. Mike Tomlin has done a great job mixing the pass and running plays. Brian Billick, on the other hand, has tried too hard to let people know he is calling the plays. Ray Lewis called him out on his decision to run three passing plays to get the short yardage needed for the first down instead of running with the back they traded for this off-season. Willis McGahee is the only safe bet, but getting Todd Heap back is good for his owners, as well as Derrick Mason. Willie Parker, Hines Ward and Heath Miller are the names you already know you need for Pittsburgh’s side this Sunday.