This is the week that has been circled on the calendars of many NFL fans since August. Sure, there are plenty of games this weekend, but one in particular will grab the spotlight. Brett Favre comes back to Lambeau Field in an NFL regular season game that may rival the World Series in Sunday ratings.
There were many questions about Brett Favre returning to the NFL and playing for the Minnesota Vikings. The number one question surrounded him was his health. Favre left the NFL last season injured and broken down. According to Favre, all of his injuries had not healed coming into the season. The showdown with the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field was a great story in August, but many fans wondered if Favre would make it to Week 8. Favre has not only made it, he has turned out to be one of the biggest success stories of the 2009 NFL season.
The Vikings come into Lambeau at a very interesting time. The Vikings suffered their first loss of the season last week to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Vikings let the game get away from them due to turnovers and mistakes. Brett Favre picked up right where he left off last season and looked erratic and cost his team on a pick-six. Percy Harvin was a bright spot, but the Vikings definitely showed some problems covering the long ball. The Packers could either be getting the Vikings at a great time or a terrible time depending upon how the Vikes bounce back from the loss.
The Green Bay Packers are a very interesting team. At 4-2, the Packers desperately need this win this game to have any chance at winning the North. They have rolled over the teams they should have beaten, yet really struggled with mediocre-great teams. The Vikings are obviously a great team, maybe the most complete in the NFC. I don’t expect the crazy shootout like we saw on Monday Night Football. I expect a lower scoring, lots of Donald Lee for the Packers, and another tremendous effort out of the Vikings defense.
As for Aaron Rogers, he better play his butt off on Sunday. I wouldn’t want the pressure that this guy has on his shoulders for anything. Universally Rogers was praised for his MNF performance, but I disagreed with the analysts. Rogers held on to the ball at times for way too long and looked confused on occasion. I know he had a lot of yards, but that didn’t mean anything on the scoreboard. Rogers needs to do a better job of dumping off the ball before Jared Allen nails him and keep the Vikings honest with some deep balls. Anything less than a stellar effort from Rogers will have the cheese heads wanting his head on Monday morning.
Another great rivalry will steal some headlines this Sunday. The NFC East comes to the forefront as the Philadelphia Eagles host the New York Giants. The Giants are coming off of two very disappointing losses as the Eagles are coming off of a Monday night win against the Washington Redskins. While a loss won’t put anyone out of the playoff hunt, a win would put the winner in the NFC driver’s seat.
For the Eagles, they are playing the Giants at the right time. Injuries have decimated the usual stellar New York defense and turned them from a Super Bowl team to very ordinary team. Kurt Warner and Drew Brees sliced and diced the defense the last two weeks. For someone like Andy Reid who likes to pass, the Eagles could have a big day in the air. The Eagles could give the Giants nightmares if they attack Antonio Pierce via the Wildcat with LeShon McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, or Brian Westbrook. If the Eagles can get any of these guys matched up against Pierce, they are bound to get some big plays.
It is simple for the New York Giants. The Giants need to get a pass rush on Donovan McNabb. The Eagles offensive line did a much better job against the Redskins than they did in Oakland of protecting the quarterback. It is imperative that the Eagles run the ball to keep the Giants honest on defense. The Giants will rush guys all day if they aren’t threatened by the run. At the same time, this rush could bite the Giants bigtime if McNabb gets some guys open. McNabb could make them pay dearly if he gets enough time to hit Jeremy Maclin or DeSean Jackson with some long balls.
I know what the Giants are. The Giants are a team that will beat bad-good teams and struggle against elite teams with a passing game. I don’t know what the Eagles are yet. The Eagles have played both up and down to their competition. The Eagles have yet to beat a good team this season, although they can only play who is on their schedule. I think the Eagles have some real opportunities with or without Westbrook. I would love to predict an Eagles win but I just can’t envision the Giants losing three straight. Also, as an Eagles fan I am used to seeing this team choke whenever they have a chance to move ahead early or in mid-season. I predict a low scoring game, close at times, but a definitive Giants win with the birds getting one back in New Jersey.
The other rivalry game this weekend pits the Miami Dolphins against the New York Jets. It seems like it was just last week that the Ronnie Brown scored a last second touchdown and broke the hearts of Jets fans all over New York City. Quite honestly, Mark Sanchez hasn’t been the same since that game. This game features the two top rushing teams in the NFL and two very young quarterbacks who will try and do as little as possible to lose the game.
I got caught up early on in the Mark Sanchez hype. I bought into it and thought the Jets would be unstoppable. However, Sanchez has come back down to earth and has looked at times like a rookie quarterback who probably should have stayed an extra year in college. I never liked Chad Henne in college and I don’t see much improvement in his pro game. Henne went winless in the Ohio State University-Michigan series for the Wolverines proving to me that he isn’t a big game quarterback. This is a big game, so I certainly won’t count on him for the win.
These teams had very different weeks last week. The Jets devoured the “playoff bound” Oakland Raiders and never took their foot off of the pedal. The Dolphins came within a quarter of pulling off the biggest upset of the season. However, if you read my blog here last week you probably weren’t surprised when the Dolphins went out to an early lead as that was exactly what I predicted. Yet, I was surprised that they allowed the Saints to score over 20 fourth-quarter points and come from behind to win the game. It will be really interesting to see where the mentality is of both teams coming into Sunday’s game.
The Dolphins confused the Jets defense with the Wildcat earlier this season. Rex Ryan took a lot of heat from the New York media for being unprepared for the attack and playing a soft defense at the end of the game. There is no other team in the NFL that runs the Wildcat like the Dolphins and that is because of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. As a fantasy football player, I seriously have man crushes on these two for what they have accomplished for the last two seasons. The Jets defense needs to play a much better game to win this thing. The Dolphins converted nine of 14 third-downs in their last meeting. The Jets defense can’t allow that. I think these teams are almost identical in a lot of ways with this being a very even matchup. Considering how even the teams are, I give the Jets a slight edge playing at home.
Quick Hits – The Ravens and Broncos will both be coming off a bye-week to play one another. The Ravens have lost some very close games, whereas the Broncos have won some very close games. Look for another tight one here between these two defensive units. Roddy White usually torches the New Orleans Saints. This year’s Saints defense may have an answer for the Falcon. If the Chicago Bears offense can’t get a jumpstart against the Cleveland Browns, than it may be time to start looking at a new coach. I am still not buying Buffalo’s turnaround. The Jags embarrassed the Titans earlier this season, yet I don’t expect another blowout. The number-one rated rushing defense will get their biggest test of the season this weekend thanks to DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart.
Fantasy Fix – Roddy White. Don’t be afraid to play Roddy White against the Saints defense. White had 164 yards in their previous meeting. He has put up no less than an average of 13 ff points in his last four games against the Saints. The Falcons aren’t going to beat the Saints on the ground. The Saints don’t give up many touchdowns in the air, yet they will give up yards. I love Roddy White this week and if you listened to me for the last two weeks you would have started Ricky Williams last week and Tony Scheffler the week before.
Jeremy Shockey. I hate to rave about a tight end so high, but I love his matchup. Shockeu could have a huge day this week so make sure you put him in your lineup. . The Atlanta Falcons are terrible against the tight end, and I expect a lot of scoring here. The Atlanta Falcons give up close to 60% more points to tight ends than the average NFL team. Play Shockey!
Donald Lee. I mentioned him earlier and I’ll mention him again. Chances are you may be able to grab Lee off waivers or free agency. The Minnesota Vikings give up more points to tight ends than anyone other than the Philadelphia Eagles this season. Jermichael Finley is out, thus Lee won’t be splitting time with anyone. In order for the Packers to win, Aaron Rodgers needs to dump off quick to his backs and tight end. Jermichael Finley had 128 yards and 1 touchdown in Week 4 against the Vikings. Plug Donald Lee in with confidence Sunday.
Mike Sims-Walker. Remember where you were the first time you heard his name? You heard his name in the Tennessee Titans game from Week 4. Sims-Walker burned the Titans for two touchdowns and 91 yards for a total of 20 ff points in one of my leagues. The once heralded Tennessee Titans defense has given up almost 90% more ff points to wide receivers as compared to the average numbers among teams. I don’t expect a lopsided blowout, but I do expect a high scoring game for the Jaguars. Plug him in and sit back and watch another double-digit game from the man with a double last name. The Titans also give up close to 80% more ff points to quarterbacks. David Garrard is available on waivers in most of my leagues. Grab him and start him!
T.J. Houshmanzadeh. Maybe it is wishful thinking since he is on one of my teams, but I really like him this week. It was a different team, but TJ scored two touchdowns and over 20 ff points last year against the Dallas Cowboys. The Seattle Seahawks are coming off a bye-week and a terrible loss. Matt Hasselbeck had a week of rest and the Seahawks are ready to go. I have a sneaky feeling that the Dallas Cowboys may get a little cute and look ahead to the Sunday night showdown with Philadelphia. Plug in TJ and let’s hope for another repeat performance against the Cowboys from the former Bengal.
CamelClutchBlog.com Fantasy Football Standings
Dusty’s RedBellySpot 5-2 (Eric Gargiulo)
Team We Own You 4-3 (Erik Espenberg)
Havertown Spoilers 3-3 (Bryan Reigel)
Team Nuetral Zone 3-3 (Brett Clendaniel)
Team Wheelhouse Radio! 2-5 (Jeff Peck)
Team The Nice Guys 6-1 (Jeff Porrini)
…Not You!!! 6-1 (John Yomtov)
1st Place 2-5 (Derek Sabato)
The Kings of Krista 2-5 (Josh Usher)
Team Rowland 1-6 (Justin Rowland)
NFL Week 8 Picks!
Houston Texans at Buffalo Bills
Cleveland Browns at Chicago Bears
Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys
St. Louis Rams at Detroit Lions
Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens
San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts
Miami Dolphins vs New York Jets
New York Giants vs Philadelphia Eagles
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Tennessee Titans
Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers
Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals
Minnesota Vikings vs Green Bay Packers
Atlanta Falcons vs New Orleans Saints
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