Skip to main content

Entertainment factor high for Eagles-Dolphins despite records

I know we normally talk matchups here in the Viewer's Guide, but I would be remiss if I didn't begin with what has had me scratching my head all week long: How the heck do the Chiefs have five wins?

Matt Cassel was awful and now is out for the year. Tyler Palko might as well throw right-handed. They're 25th against the run. Yet they've beaten two 7-5 teams (Oakland and Chicago). Sure, it was Carson Palmer's first game and the Bears were without Matt Forte for most of it, but come on. This is a team that lost to Buffalo, Miami, New England and Detroit by a combined score of 154-16, and still has more wins than the Eagles. They scored their only TD last Sunday on a Hail Mary, and got Kyle Orton hurt on his first play with the team, a flea flicker. You can't call them boring or predictable! They'll lose to the Jets on Sunday, but probably not before they run the Statue of Liberty, and get Dexter McCluster injured in the process.

Now, I feel better. Onto the games.

THE GAME WE'LL BE TALKING ABOUT MONDAY: Giants-Cowboys. This has the feel of two favorites in a college basketball holiday tournament who get upset and wind up playing in the consolation game against one another. Yes, you expected the G-Men to lose to Green Bay, and you didn't expect Dallas to falter at Arizona, but believe it or not, I'm less concerned with the Cowboys loss. Timeout! What? That's right. Historically, they have trouble with Arizona, and the bottom line is they're more well-rounded than New York. Time out! What? The Giants continue to have that missing ingredient that stops them from greatness, and I think it's going to mean Tom Coughlin's job at the end of the season. Not because he's a bad coach, but because after so long your message gets stale. And New York has too much talent to be .500. The Giants are a car that when you fix the transmission, you get a flat tire. When you fix the flat, the battery dies. And so on. Tony Romo has been hot and with Miles Austin back this week, they score a lot of points. A typical game between these two NFC East rivals, but Dallas gets the win and takes a stranglehold of the division. The 'Boys will have it clinched before Week 17. Time out! What? OK, that joke has been beaten to death now.

Fantasy hero: Sure, Eli Manning will go for over 20 fantasy points, but a big day from Jason Witten is in the cards as well -- he's in double digits.

THE GAME THAT ANSWERS A LOT OF QUESTIONS: Texans-Bengals AND Saints-Titans. Yes, a special 2-for-1 deal here. It's Margarita Monday, Taco Tuesday, Wing Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday and Free Friday all rolled into one. We know the deal with the visiting teams. No matter who plays QB for the Texans, they've found a way. I can't tell you how impressed I was with their victory over the Falcons. More and more I'm thinking it'll be Houston-New England in the AFC title game. And the Saints are, well, the Saints. Plenty of points, plenty of wins. Ah, but the Bengals and the Titans are at high noon. A season of promise for Cincinnati is evaporating rapidly as the Bengals have looked awful the past few weeks. No one wants to believe in the Titans because even though CJ1K is back, they've been squeaking by. Fall to 7-6, and you're playing catch-up in the crowded AFC playoff race the rest of the season. So what happens? I think the Bengals live to fight another day by taking a close one over the Texans. Cincinnati's defense is too good to fall flat at home, and that unit carries the day. The Titans also play this one surprisingly close, but Drew Brees will put too many points on the board and the Saints will play opportunistic defense and make life miserable for Matt Hasselbeck.

Fantasy heroes: Cedric Benson and the Saints defense. Benson has a grind-it-out game and finds the end zone; he'll be near 15 fantasy points. The Saints get turnovers and a Defense/Special Teams TD.

THE GAME WE'LL SEE 75 POINTS SCORED: Raiders-Packers. I love Carson Palmer this week. I can't say that enough. I love him. I love that the only quarterback to not throw for at least 276 yards against Green Bay the past few weeks has been Christian Ponder. When I'm not going against Aaron Rodgers, I love him. I know how good Tom Brady was in 2007, but part of it was throwing it up to Randy Moss for incredibly athletic plays. Rodgers is in the zone more than any other QB I think I've ever seen -- and that includes Peyton Manning in his heyday. Rodgers' final, concise drive against the Giants on Sunday is as good a sample of quarterbacking as you'll see. I don't think New York was done celebrating the tying TD when Mason Crosby was lining up for the game-winner. The further beauty of this tilt is that neither team can play a lick of pass defense as a whole. Sit back and enjoy this one. Of course the Packers win. But it's 45-41.

Fantasy hero: You mean besides Rodgers and Palmer and their 300 fantasy points?

THE MOST FUN GAME BETWEEN 4-8 TEAMS IN NFL HISTORY: Eagles-Dolphins. With the energy Miami is playing with and the return of Michael Vick, I suggest ignoring anything involving the records of these two teams and just enjoy a game that's going to be filled with big plays. Vick wouldn't be back if he wasn't 100 percent healthy: the Eagles aren't taking a chance on their $100 million investment. The Dolphins (and Panthers) are in the category of Teams No One Wants To Play Down The Stretch. Hey, as a Jets fan, even I have to admit it's fun to watch them play. They're full of positive energy, going hard and making big plays, and Philadelphia is playing like it's the last day of school. However Vick is the great equalizer, and he will be the best player on the field. I think this is a game where he says, "I'll do this myself if I have to" and that re-invigorates the rest of the team (OK, besides DeSean Jackson) enough to win a close one. We'll get a glimpse of who the Eagles were supposed to be in 2011.

Fantasy hero: Michael Vick throws for 200, runs for nearly 100 and accounts for three TDs.

THE GAME WHERE WE KNOW THE ENDING: Bears-Broncos. Wait until you see how this one winds up. What, you don't believe me? I'm just going to write the first paragraph of the game recap ahead of time to give you a glimpse:

(AP) -- Comebacks and last-second wins are getting to be old hat for Tim Tebow, but Sunday's stunner was one even he had to be impressed with. Facing a fourth-and-18 from his own 2-yard line with less than a minute to play, Tebow scampered to mid-field before getting pushed out of bounds, running over Bears head coach Lovie Smith in the process. On his way back to the field Kristin Cavallari stepped in front of him and proposed marriage, which Tebow accepted as he untangled himself from the sideline chain. Two plays later, he converted a surprise 57-yard drop-kick on the final play of regulation to beat the Bears 11-8.

Fantasy hero: Willis McGahee. He vultures at least one TD from Tebow and runs for at least 75 yards.

See Jason Smith on "NFL Fantasy Live," airing Sundays at 11:30 a.m. ET on the NFL RedZone channel, and Tuesday-Friday on NFL Network at 2 p.m. ET and 12 a.m. ET/9 p.m. PT. He writes Fantasy and other NFL pith on daily. Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.