by Dave Mest Jr.
Week 9 Preview
Welcome back to the NFL Depot! I’m your host Dave Mest! Week 9, wow already! Anyway, let’s start off with my top game of the week. As always, we will take a trip over to Tarn’s corner for his top 5 plays of the week. Then to wrap up, as always, we get Bay’s fantasy pick up/play of the week! So let’s not play around and……..Let’s get to it!
I come back at you with a full column this week, after taking a bit of a “bye” week, last week. I’ve taken a match up, with intrigue, and possible playoff ramifications of either in, or out. So, let’s take a closer look at this game.
Top Game Of the week:
Pittsburgh vs. New York Giants (4:25): Before I get into the game, I would like to pass a long my thought’s, and prayers, to the people, and states, effected by Hurricane Sandy, this past week.
With that said, let’s talk a little football.
I look at this game, as a possible playoff breaker for either team, but more for Pittsburgh at this point. The Giants seem to have a strangle hold, on the top spot, above the NFC East. Pittsburgh needs the win, to keep pace in a tight AFC North, especially with the hardest part of their schedule to come.
Both teams had strong wins last week, the Giants win turned into more of a “nail bitter”, then what it should have been.
The Giants blew a 23 point lead to the Cowboys, only to hold off a last second comeback attempt by Dallas, and escape Cowboys stadium, with the win. The Steelers came out strong, and took care of the Redskins in convincing fashion, and their most convincing win of the season.
The Giants are playing very strong football, right now. Eli Manning is setting a strong pace, throwing for 2301 yards, and 12 TD’s, but has a very high 8 ints, with a mild passer rating of 89.1. Eli’s play has some room for improvement, but his leadership is what is most important, right now. The offense has struggled, and slowed a bit, with Hakeem Nicks in and out of the lineup, but should only grow stronger, as Nick’s gains health. But, in the meantime, Victor Cruz and, Ahmad Bradshaw, when healthy, have picked up the slack nicely. Cruz has nice numbers 52 catches, for 650 yards, and 7 TD’s. While Bradshaw’s numbers aren’t bad either, 570 rushing yards, with a 4.5 yard a carry average, and 4 TD’s.
The Giants defense has also come alive, as of late. After a very slow start, and some bad play, they seemed to have found somewhat of a stride. But, they still have room for improvement, especially after last week’s melt down in Dallas. The defensive line has played up to snuff, while the secondary has had its ups and downs, but has gotten better as of late. But, the line backing corps has taken a major hit; Chase Blackburn is out with a hamstring injury. So it’s a wait and see game, to see how much the injury effects the Giants defense, from here on out.
After a slow start of ups and downs, the Steelers have seen to catch somewhat of solid footing. Big Ben is having a great year, the best of his carrier thus far. He has thrown for 1987 yards, 14 TD’s, with only 3 ints, and very impressive 101.4 passer rating.
The way the Steelers run game has gone, this year, they’ve needed every bit of big Ben’s solid play. One of the biggest things that has set Ben’s play apart, this year, compared to years in the past, has been his ability to spread around the ball, hitting between 8 to 10 different receivers a game. Ben’s top three targets of; Wallace, Brown, and Miller’s numbers are evidence, of Ben’s distribution of the Ball. Brown, 40 catches, 480 yards, 1 TD. Wallace, 36 catches, 459 yards, 4 TD’s. Miller, 35 catches, 336 yards, 6 TD’s.
The Steelers defense, looks like it is finally coming together. The Steelers were the first team to contain RG3. The Steelers held Washington to 255 yards, and RG3, to 177 yards passing, and a stunning 8 yards on the ground. Alfred Morris, didn’t fare well either. Morris only gained 59 yards, on 13 carries, a season low.
The Giants aren’t the only team dealing with a key injury, on defense. The Steelers are missing Troy Polamalu, once again. Polamalu’s absence will be a factor. This means the Steelers will have to use either Will Allen, or Ryan Mundy. Neither player has Polamalu’s skill set, so this limits some of the things the Steelers will be able to do on defense.
Top Two Keys to Victory: 1. The Steelers have to find the run game early. They have to keep the Giants defensive line off balance, keep them guessing. If the Giants shut down the run, and can pin their ears back, and can pass rush, things could get ugly, in the Steelers back field. The Steelers also need to give rookie tackle, Mike Adams, help on passing downs. They need to either, bring a running back over for a “chip” block, or use an extra tight end, to double team the Giants strong DE’s, most likely will be Justin Tuck.
2. The Giant’s offense needs to exploit the hole left by Troy Polamalu, in the Steelers secondary. Force the hurry up offense; push the ball down the field. The Giants have to keep the Steelers guessing, don’t let them gain momentum; keep their defense on the field, and the Steelers offense off the field.
Dave’s Take: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it a million times again, I’m a Steelers fan! So my end view may be a little jaded. But, I see this as a hard fought, tough battle to the end. One of those games, that whoever has the ball last wins. I don’t see this game as a high scorer, but I do see both teams putting up a good amount of points. This game is going to come down to turn overs, and which defense can prevail. Ball control, is the keyword here, both teams preach it, and practice it. So who will want it more? Like I said before I’m a Steelers fan! So I can never go against them, never will. But, when you look at the game, and the teams, it’s kind of hard to go against the Super Bowl Champs. Teams have flaws, both teams can be had, but, I’m going to say it. I like the Giants to win. But, I’ll never go against the Steelers! 24-23 Giants
Now onto the rest of my pick em’ games. I had another good week, going 10-3, last week, 64-48, overall. A solid 16 games over .500. So, here’s to another good week!
All games are 1:00 pm starts
Denver vs. Cincinnati 28-20 Broncos
Baltimore vs. Cleveland 26-17 Ravens
Arizona vs. Green Bay 28-16 Packers
Chicago vs. Tennessee 30-20 Bears
Miami vs. Indianapolis 23-20 Dolphins
Carolina vs. Washington 20-17 Redskins
Detroit vs. Jacksonville 31-20 Lions
Buffalo vs. Houston 35-20 Texans
All games start after 4:00 pm
Tampa Bay vs. Oakland 27-17 Bucs
Minnesota vs. Seattle 17-14 Seahawks
Sunday night game 8:20 pm start
Dallas vs. Atlanta 27-20 Falcons
Monday night game 8:30 pm start
Philadelphia vs. New Orleans 28-20 Saints
Now it’s time to take our weekly trip over to Tarn’s corner. Tarn went 2-2-1 last week, with his picks. His year to date totals sit at 19-20-3. One game under .500, he’s hoping to break through, and go above .500 this week. So let’s take a look at Tarn’s top 5 plays of the week.
Arizona @ Green Bay the Packers are a 10.5 favorite Tarn’s Play: Take the Packers, giving up the points.
Buffalo @ Houston Over/Under 47.5 Tarn’s Play: Take the over.
Carolina @ Washington Over/Under 47 Tarn’s Play: Take the over.
Tampa Bay @ Oakland Over/Under 46 Tarn’s Play: Take the over.
Dallas @ Atlanta Over/Under 47 Tarn’s Play: Take the over.
One last stop, Time to pick up Bay’s fantasy pick up/play of the week. Bay says pick up/play Browns QB Brandon Weeden
Well that’s a wrap, here at the Depot. As we put another week to rest…..till next week……See ya!
I can be reached on Facebook David Mest Jr or on Twitter @blitzburg6