Justin Verlander will be on the mound tonight for the Detroit Tigers when they take on the San Francisco Giants in game 1 of the World Series. Verlander is the best pitcher in baseball. He is the guy you would want to take the mound with the season on the line. The WWT was thinking today, who is the football equivalent?
It has to be a quarterback. Like a pitcher, the quarterback has the ball in his hands on each snap and has the ability to change the game in a way that a wide receiver or a linebacker doesn’t. Right away a few names come to mind, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers fly off the page. All four of those players could take the ball for my team anytime, but with everything on the line the WWT wants to hand the ball to Eli Manning.
Manning has already lead two game winning Super Bowl drives, dominates the fourth quarter, and when the game is on the line he has the same look on his face as he does when he takes out the sailboat.
Do you want to make a case for another quarterback? Email Me and we will include the best responses in the column next week.
Each Wednesday, readers of this column will sit in and enjoy exactly what you read the week before. The idea of the column is to present the information in sections that will run each week. It might sound a little confusing, but you will catch on. Let’s do this…
Without any further ado, let’t start the Wednesday Walk Through…
5 Things I wont Forget about Week 7
- Malcolm Jenkins made a play that fans dream a player on their team will make. With the Saints ahead 28-21, and the Buccaneers pinned back at their own 4 yard line, Josh Freeman connected with Vincent Jackson for what appeared to be a 96 yard touchdown pass. Jenkins trailed Jackson by a significant amount when Jackson caught the ball but he never gave up on the play and tripped Jackson at the 1 yard line. The Saints defense stopped the Buccaneers four times on the goal line and took the ball back still leading by 7. 90 yards and 5 minutes later Pierre Thomas rushed for a 5 yard touchdown to give the Saints a 14 point lead. If the Saints turn their season around and make the playoffs, Saints fans will look back at Malcolm Jenkins hustle as a big reason why.
- What has happened to the Detroit Lions. If not for two fourth quarter miracles, the Lions would be 0-6. On Monday, the Bears dismantled the Lions holding them to only a late touchdown that served only to ruin the Bear’s shutout bid. Calvin Johnson was held without a catch until midway though the second half. Matt Stafford was slammed so hard by Julius Peppers that he had a mouth full of grass in his face mask so big it could have fed Haiti for a week. In the end 13-7 doesn’t look like a dismantling, but the WWT is here to tell you that the game felt more like a 30-0 game. Never once did it seem like the Lions would win the game. For most of the night, it seemed certain that the Lions would’t score a point. The Lions fumbled three times and Stafford was intercepted once. Joique Bell fumbled near the end zone when he tried to stretch the ball passed the goal line. Unfortunately for Bell, not even Andre the Giant had arms long enough to get the ball into the end zone from the spot where Bell tried to extend the ball. The Lions are a mess and five of their next six games are against opponents with a combined record of 18-9. The Lions will be underdogs in all of those games and could be 3-8 heading into December. The Lions made the playoffs last year, but their playoff chances for this season are fading fast.
- When two teams from the NFC East are playing football fans should be watching. It doesn’t matter if the Eagles are playing the Cowboys or the Giants are playing the Redskins, these games always seem to find a way to be decided in the last couple of plays. On Sunday, the Giants and Redskins played and it lived up to the billing. Robert Griffin III played at Met Life Stadium for the first time in his NFL career and he put on a show worthy of Broadway. Late in the fourth quarter, Griffin danced around in the pocket and dropped a rainbow into the hands of Santana Moss to give the Redskins a three point lead with just over a minute remaining. Two plays later, Manning found Victor Cruz behind the Redskins defense. Manning had pressure in his face but still threw a strike to Cruz for a 77 yard touchdown pass that put the Giants ahead for good. The Redskins defense must be sick for letting Cruz beat them over the top so late in the game. Despite being off to a great start, the Giants were 0-2 in division games. After beating the Redskins, the Giants play the Cowboys this week and could even there record against NFC East teams. With each passing week, the Giants look more and more like a team that could seriously contend for a second straight Super Bowl championship.
- 8-17, 58 yards passing, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. That is not usually the stat line of a winning quarterback, but Adrian Peterson and the Viking’s defense picked up a struggling Christian Ponder and defeated the Arizona Cardinals 21-14. Peterson rushed for 153 yards and scored a touchdown. Harrison Smith led the defense with an interception of a John Skelton pass that he returned 31 yards for a touchdown. The Vikings ability to win a game with their young quarterback struggling to complete a pass makes this a scary team. Peterson gets healthier and stronger with each passing week and Percy Harvin is an MVP candidate. It’s important that the Vikings stock pile as many victories as possible before their week 11 bye because their schedule is very difficult after the bye. The Vikings will play the Bears twice, the Packers twice, the AFC leading Houston Texans, and the St. Louis Rams. If the Vikings can head into the bye with an 8-2 record and split the last six games they will finish the season 11-5 and make the playoffs.
- Speaking of the Texans, just one week after being blown off the field by the Green Bay Packers, the Texans blew the Baltimore Ravens off the field with a 43-13 win. The Ravens were playing their first game without Ray Lewis, but the Texans are the story. The Texans are 6-1 in a conference that has only two other teams with a winning record. The two other teams are the Ravens and the Patriots. We have already seen what the Texans did to the Ravens and the Patriots are struggling to hold onto leads. The WWT talked to Kerry J. Byrne from Cold Hard Football Facts this week and the topic of the Texans came up. Byrne seems to think that the Texans have an open road to the Super Bowl. If you want to listen to Kerry’s comments about the Texans, the AFC, and why the Falcons might be overrated you can click here.
Raking the Rookie QB’s
They say that this is a quarterback league and five team’s are playing with a rookie behind center this year. Each week, the WWT will rank the progress of the five rookie starters to see who develops quickest this season and who might be a draft day miss.
- Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins) (Last Week: 1) Robert Griffin III dazzled the New York/New Jersey crowd with his spectacular play on Sunday. Michael Wilbon went on the record this week saying that Griffin is the best player in the NFL right now. I am not sure about that but Griffin has definitely proved that he belongs on the top of this list.
- Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts) (LW: 2) Luck did his best Griffin impression on Sunday rushing for two touchdowns. Luck only passed for 186 yards but he didn’t make any mistakes and lead the Colts to their third victory of the season. The Colts only won two games all year in 2011 and Colts fans have to be thrilled with the poise that Luck has showed through the tragedy of Coach Pagano’s illness.
- Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks) (LW:3) Wilson struggled against the 49ers on Thursday Night Football but it’s hard to kill him for that. The 49ers defense is first against the pass and Aaron Rodgers is the only quarterback to pass for more that 300 yards against them this season. The Seahawks play a struggling Lion’s team this week and they will be hungry for a victory. Wilson is going to have to play better this week if he wants to stay ahead of Tannehill and Weeden.
- Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins) (LW:4) Tannehill had his first bye week as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Tannehill and the Dolphins have four straight winnable games against the Jets, Titans, Colts, and Bills. Could you imagine talking about a 7-3 Dolphins team around Thanksgiving dinner? That might be a pipe dream, but it would make a lot of Dolphins fans very thankful.
- Brandon Weeden (Cleveland Browns) (LW:5) Weeden played well in his first head to head matchup with Andrew Luck throwing for 264 yards and two touchdowns. The fact remains that the Browns are 1-6 and might be the worst team in the NFL. Trent Richardson has been banged up all season and hasn’t taken the pressure off Weeden as much as the Browns staff would like. One other thing to mention about Weeden and the Browns. Weeden is already 28 years old and the man responsible for drafting him, Mike Holmgren, walked out the door this week. If the Browns have the first pick in April, their new owner and team president might consider investing in their own guy (Geno Smith, Matt Barkley or Landry Jones). Is it possible that the rest of the season is an audition for Weeden’s future in Cleveland?
Week 7 Playoff Projections
Instead of power rankings, each week in the WWT we will look at what the playoff situation would look like in each conference if the season ended today. It will be interesting to see this list evolve from week-to-week.
East- New York Giants
North- Chicago Bears
South- Atlanta Falcons
West- San Francisco 49ers
Wild Card 1- Minnesota Vikings
Wild Cars 2- Green Bay Packers
East- New England Patriots
North- Baltimore Ravens
South- Houston Texans
West- Denver Broncos
Wild Card 1- San Diego Chargers
Wild Card 2- Miami Dolphins
Must See TV- Week 8 Edition
Each week, the WWT will get you ready for the upcoming week of action in the NFL by ranking the five games every NFL fan must watch.
1. New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, October 28 at 4:25 on Fox
In a rematch of the first regular season game played this season the Giants will try and pay the Cowboys back for ruining banner night. Since opening night, the Cowboys and Giants have taken separate paths to the rematch. The Giants have only lost one other game and have built momentum with each passing week. At times, the Giants have looked like the best team in the league and they will have a chance to be in New Orleans this February. The Cowboys have struggled since opening night being blow out by the Seahawks and the Bears. If the Cowboys lose to the Giants this week they will be 3-4 with road games against the Falcons and the Eagles ahead of them. Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver will be at the game but Joe Buck will be M.I.A handling his duties at the World Series. Fox hasn’t made anything official yet, but the WWT’s best guess is that Kenny Albert will fill in for Buck.
Prediction: Cowboys 27 Giants 24
2. New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos, Sunday, October 28 at 8:20 on NBC
NBC has called on Drew Brees and Peyton Manning to battle head to head against the World Series. The game is huge for the Saints who can’t afford to lose a game anytime soon. Manning has had great success against the team he grew up cheering for especially at night. In 2007, Manning lead the Colts to an opening night victory over the Saints 41-10 with Al Michaels and John Madden calling the action. Manning of course failed to beat the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV. Luckily for Manning, Tracy Porter is on his side this time. One more note on the NFL vs. the World Series, the NFL is going to crush baseball in the ratings. It might surprise you, but not even the World Series can compete with Sunday Night Football. The World Series usually doesn’t start to draw NFL like ratings until a 6 or 7 game series is guaranteed. The Saints have played on Sunday Night football opposite a World Series game before. Kyle Turley threw a helmet down the field and the Diamondbacks defeated the Yankees in game 7 of the 2001 World Series.
Prediction: Saints 42 Broncos 38
3. Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles, October 28 at 1:00 on FOX
Anytime Michael Vick plays against the Atlanta Falcons you get the sense that Arthur Blank and Matt Ryan try hard to prove that the franchise is better off without Vick. This year, the Falcons are 6-0 and the Eagles are 3-3 fresh off a bye and trying to stay competitive in the NFC East. If you read the WWT often you will know that we don’t think much of the Eagles and cheer hard each week for the Saints. Regardless of any bias the WWT might have, Falcons vs. Eagles is a big draw anytime it appears on the NFL schedule. Fox had to have been pleased it wasn’t plucked away by ESPN, NBC or the NFL Network.
Prediction: Falcons 24 Eagles 13
4. Washington Redskins at Pittsburgh Steelers, October 28 at 1:00 on FOX
The way RGIII is playing his game should be on the list every week. This week, RGIII and the Redskins travel to Pittsburgh to play the banged up Steelers. This game is hard to call. The Redskins did win in New Orleans on opening day and they aren’t the best team at home anyway. Still, Pittsburg is never an easy place for a rookie quarterback to play. Do the Steelers have enough healthy bodies to win? The Steelers were healthy enough last Sunday to defeat a fading Bengals team.
Prediction: Steelers 21 Redskins 17
5. San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals, Monday, October 29 at 8:30 on ESPN
The Cardinals started the season 4-0. Since, they have lost to the Rams, Bills, and Vikings. The first place 49ers wont be an easy task for the fading Cardinals. If the Cardinals want the respect of the WWT they will need to show up on Monday night. The Cardinals next three games are against the 49ers, Packers, and Falcons. Six straight loses after four straight wins isn’t a long shot for the Cardinals. The 49ers beat the Seahawks last week and if they beat the Cardinals this week they will head into their bye week with two straight victories against their closest competition in the NFC West and a 6-2 record. They will be the clear favorites to win the division and head back to the playoffs. Alex Smith has struggled the last few weeks but that doesn’t mean that John Skelton is going to challenge the 49ers defense.
Prediction: 49ers 21 Cardinals 3
Make Sure He is in your Lineup
Each week, the WWT will pick out a player that absolutely has to be in your fantasy lineup this week.
A knee injury slowed down our Felix Jones prediction last week. Fantasy owners were probably disappointed with the 88 yards from scrimmage that Jones provided them with and it was yet another failed opportunity for Jones to prove that he is a number one back in the NFL. That might have been his last chance.
Earlier in the year the WWT told you to put Randall Cobb in your lineup and it didn’t work out. Cobb had a great first week against the 49ers before stumbling against the Bears and the Seahawks. Since, Cobb has been one of the best players in fantasy football. In the last four games, Cobb has 26 receptions for 339 yards and three touchdowns. Don’t get caught with Cobb on your bench this week against the pitiful Jaguars. The Jaguars are 24th against the pass and it doesn’t seem like Greg Jennings will be healthy enough to play this week. If Jennings does play, the WWT thinks that James Jones will be the player to lose some of his targets not Cobb.
Projected Total: 10 receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown.
Must Win Game of the Week
Each week, the WWT will tell you what team absolutely positively needs to win their upcoming game.
There are a lot of teams that have must win games on their schedule this week. The Jets, Saints, Cowboys, and Eagles could all use wins against quality opponents. As mentioned above, the Cardinals are 4-3 after starting the season 4-0. The 49ers might be the class of the league and will be no easy task for the Cardinals. However, if the Cardinals want to be the playoff team that they looked like when they started the season 4-0 with victories against the Patriots and Eagles they need to come up with an upset victory this week at home. The Cardinals are fading fast and their schedule isn’t going to lighten up any time soon. If the Cardinals fall to .500 this week it won’t be long until they fall out of the playoff picture all together.
One Last Thing…
Do you have the Red Zone Channel? If you don’t and you love football you might want to check and see if your cable provider has made the Red Zone channel available to you. If you have DirecTV you will need to subscribe to the Sunday Ticket to access Red Zone. For more information on the Red Zone channel you can check their website.
What makes the Red Zone channel so great? First of all, you can sit on your couch at 1:00 and not watch a single commercial until the Red Zone signs off for the day just before Sunday Night Football. Red Zone jumps from game to game and shows you each big play, turnover, and every scoring play. If you haven’t had the chance to experience football the way the Red Zone produces it, don’t miss another week.