Saturday, November 23, 2013
Manning v Brady
This is Brett Dykes' take on the matchups this week for all you Fantasy Footballers. Two people in my family should make plans to watch this game in different sports bars. Good luck!
Steven Senne/Associated Press
Of the 13 games Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have faced each other, Brady has won nine times, and Manning has thrown for more yards, touchdowns and interceptions.
By BRETT MICHAEL DYKES
Published: November 22, 2013
8:30 p.m. Sunday Line: Broncos by 3
This game’s alternative title is “Manning vs. Brady XIV.”
It’s sort of astounding that this is the 14th time Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will square off. Of the 13 games that have been played, Brady has emerged as the victorious quarterback nine times, and Manning has thrown for more yards, touchdowns and interceptions. Those statistics serve as sort of a microcosm for their respective careers, no?
This game comes with a little subplot: Wes Welker’s return to New England and whether he will be healthy enough to play for Denver after sustaining a concussion against Kansas City in Week 11. Although speculation has been abundant, the quarterback who doubles as a spokesman for Uggs has little doubt that his former favorite target who doubles as spokesman for Old Spice will play.
“I’ve been around him long enough to know what he’s all about,” Brady said of Welker in a radio interview. “He loves playing football, and if there’s a chance for him to play, especially coming back here, he’s definitely going to be out there. I’ve got no question about that.”
Jaguars (1-9) at Texans (2-8)
1 p.m. Sunday Line: Texans by 10
How is it possible that pitiful Houston, which has lost eight straight games, is favored by double digits. It speaks to the respect some people apparently still have for a team that was viewed as a Super Bowl contender before the season.
Why anyone still respects the Texans is beyond reason, as their resemblance to a Dumpster fire seems to enhance with each passing day. Against Oakland in Week 11, Coach Gary Kubiak pulled Case Keenum in favor of Matt Schaub, who probably should have been ushered out of Houston in the dead of night weeks ago for his personal safety. Then Kubiak told reporters that he had “total confidence” in Keenum. Um, yeah, sure.
Jacksonville is bad. But not that bad.
Colts (7-3) at Cardinals (6-4)
4:05 p.m. Sunday Line: Cardinals by 3
It’s hard to figure out what to make of Indianapolis. On one hand, the Colts have beaten Denver, Seattle and San Francisco decisively. On the other hand, they have looked awful in losses to Miami, San Diego and St. Louis, not one of which has a winning record.
Being a Colts fan in 2013 must be like dating someone who is great at your parents’ house during the holidays but who spills pasta and red wine all over your furniture when you stay in on a Friday night to snuggle and watch rom-coms.
But Arizona is 6-4. Wait, the Cardinals are 6-4? How the heck did that happen?
Cowboys (5-5) at Giants (4-6)
4:25 p.m. Sunday Line: Giants by 3
Matchups between Dallas and the Giants are almost always entertaining, but just a few weeks ago it looked as though this particular matchup would be about as meaningful as a romantic relationship with Warren Beatty from 1956 to 1991. The Cowboys looked like a lock to win the division and the Giants appeared to be competing for the top pick in next year’s draft after starting 0-6.
But alas, they play in the N.F.C. East, where nothing apparently is too ridiculous or improbable. And so it is that this Giants-Cowboys matchup actually means something in the grand scheme of things, something the players are keenly aware of.
“Games like this, you can throw the records out,” Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said. “I can honestly say that we don’t like each other, and it shows up on the football field, so I think it’s going to be another one of those drag-out type of games where you get in for four quarters and try to find a way to win it.”
Buccaneers (2-8) at Lions (6-4)
1 p.m. Sunday Line: Lions by 10
After starting the season 0-8, Tampa Bay has suddenly won two in a row, including a 41-28 thrashing of Atlanta in Week 11. And in the Buccaneers’ last loss, they forced overtime against Seattle, probably the N.F.C.’s best squad. So perhaps the team that looked to be imploding like the N.F.L.’s version of Mayor Rob Ford has turned a corner.
Detroit has the N.F.C. North title within easy reach, with Chicago’s Jay Cutler and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers plagued by injuries. But the Lions seem either unwilling or incapable of claiming their first division title in 20 years.
Steelers (4-6) at Browns (4-6)
1 p.m. Sunday Line: Browns by 1
A recent thread on Reddit.com asked, “Have you unfortunate encounters with Ben Roethlisberger?” Many of the responses revolved around his treatment of women. The Reddit user SnipeyMcSnipe wrote that Roethlisberger “jumped really high into the air, formed a pencil shape with his body, and dove into the ground...disappearing. The next week he was playing football.”
You just can’t believe everything you read on the Internet.
Vikings (2-8) at Packers (5-5)
1 p.m. Sunday Line: Packers by 5
Can Green Bay essentially tread water while starting little-known humans at quarterback until Aaron Rodgers returns and still hope to backdoor its way into the playoffs? Yes!
But a team can’t effectively tread water in the N.F.L. without winning a game here and there, and the Packers have lost three straight, their longest losing streak since losing five straight in 2008. Winning this game at home would obviously help in their effort to stay afloat.
Chargers (4-6) at Chiefs (9-1)
1 p.m. Sunday Line: Chiefs by 4
Has there ever been a regular N.F.L. starting quarterback who has led more consistently boring offenses than Alex Smith? If ever Smith were going to air it out and light up the scoreboard a little, it was last Sunday against the Broncos, but instead he and the Chiefs stuck to their plodding, methodical offense mannerisms in losing, 27-17. Watching Smith play quarterback is about as entertaining as watching a tollbooth operator work for three straight hours.
That said, Kansas City looks like a team that could have trouble whenever the opponent is capable of building a lead of more than a touchdown. San Diego is such an opponent, but the raucous home crowd should propel the Chiefs to victory.
Panthers (7-3) at Dolphins (5-5)
1 p.m. Sunday Line: Panthers by 5
With Miami’s offensive line in shambles, just about any other team would probably give Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill fits. But Carolina, with its brutish and relentlessly aggressive defense, could present a nightmarish challenge.
Toss in a grinding running attack coupled with Cam Newton’s clicking through the air with Steve Smith and Greg Olsen. and the Dolphins, well, they better “ice up.” Look for the Panthers to continue breathing heavily down the Saints’ necks in the N.F.C. South.
Bears (6-4) at Rams (4-6)
1 p.m. Sunday Line: Rams by 1
Josh McCown is the only quarterback selected in the 2002 draft to take a snap this season. He has performed so well filling in for the injured Jay Cutler that a mild quarterback controversy is brewing in Chicago.
McCown’s coach during his first two N.F.L. seasons with Arizona was Dave McGinnis, the current St. Louis assistant head coach. In an interview with The Chicago Tribune, McGinnis beamed with pride over McCown’s perseverance.
“I love Josh and really respect what he has done,” McGinnis said, “so it’s not surprising to me that people are finding out the depth of his football character. He has had it since he stepped into the league.”
Jets (5-5) at Ravens (4-6)
1 p.m. Sunday Line: Ravens by 4
When the Texans played in Baltimore this season, Ed Reed saw limited action after coming off an injury. Reed had a quiet game, registering three tackles and making none of the spectacular ball-hawking plays he has become famous for. He probably never guessed he would have the chance to play against his former team in their home stadium again. But Reed was released by Houston and signed with the Jets, and he will back in Baltimore on Sunday. He should see significant playing time; in his first game with the Jets in Week 11, Reed was on the field for 61 of the 69 defensive snaps, so look for him to make an impact in this game.
Still, the Jets have been downright abysmal on the road this season, outscored by 165-76 in five games. Expect that trend to continue.
Titans (4-6) at Raiders (4-6)
4:05 p.m. Sunday Line: Titans by 1
A few weeks ago, Terrelle Pryor was the trendy quarterback pickup on the fantasy football waiver wire. Now Oakland has benched him in favor of the undrafted rookie Matt McGloin. This sort of situation is why fantasy football is bad for one’s mental health.
49ers (6-4) at Redskins (3-7)
8:40 p.m. Monday Line: 49ers by 6
Remember last season, when the read-option quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III were ripping apart defenses every week? Now, the struggles of Kaepernick and Griffin have prompted many questions. Griffin’s completion percentage is down and he has thrown 10 interceptions, twice the number he had as a rookie last season. The situation in Washington is so bad that the former Redskins greats Darrell Green and Sonny Jurgensen have recently questioned Griffin’s leadership and whether he should be benched in favor of Kirk Cousins. Some of Griffin’s teammates have also spoken critically of him to reporters.
In San Francisco, Kaepernick doesn’t have quite the firestorm brewing around him that Griffin does, but he is competing just 56.2 percent of his passes and has tossed four more picks than he did all of last season. The 49ers’ offense has struggled to move the ball at times.
Maybe the victorious quarterback in this game can win a pony or something to make it all better.