Second week in a row where I'll be out of town for the week's action, although maybe I'll be able to catch like 5 minutes of what may or may not qualify as an Eagles game on Sunday night. However, unlike with my week-in-review WD4T post, the fact that I won't see the games has absolutely no bearing on my ability to discuss them before they happen. It's this whole "time is linear" thing, I don't want to get too much into it.
This is the week where the men get separated from the boys. 27 out of 32 teams in the league are either 2-1 or 1-2, and you would have won a few bushels of apples if you had bet preseason that the Cardinals would be 3-0 and the Saints would be 0-3. Can the Saints get off the schneid?
WHAT? New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers
WHY? See what I did there? I know, it's another betting comment, but what do you think the over/under on total team wins for these two going into this game would have been? 3.5? More? Well they have one combined. This game is all about whether the Packers offense (which has gained 100 fewer yards per game this year than last) can get well against the abysmal Saints D, or whether the Saints can right the defensive ship after giving up a league-worst 477 yards per game against the Panthers, Redskins, and Chiefs, not exactly the cream of the crop offensively.
WHO? This may be a bit obvious, but for a guy who was unanimous MVP last year without playing in Week 17 and was the first overall pick in many fantasy drafts, being on pace for fewer than 4000 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions don't impress me much. What is clear, though, is that it really isn't Rodgers' fault. He's completing passes at only a slightly lower rate than last season on more attempts per game, but the horrific offensive line play (as was extraordinarily apparent in their Monday Night "loss" to the Seahawks) is likely at fault for the drop of nearly 3 yards per attempt in 2012.
HOW? OK, this is a bit outlandish, but let's just say you have a time machine. And one of those dream entry machines from Inception. Go back to sometime in early January and induce someone into a dream about the Super Bowl. Chances are you'll be watching this game. Just, you know, with naked women riding flying centaurs.
WHAT? Miami Dolphins at Arizona Cardinals
WHY? So I guess we'd better buy the new-look Cards, huh? After dismantling Eliminator pools in Week 2 by beating the Pats (YES, I'M STILL TALKING ABOUT IT!) and destroying the Eagles in Week 3, I wonder what they'll have for an encore against a below-average team. The Dolphins are actually 12th in the league in total yards offensively, but they're only 20th in scoring, and are facing an Arizona defense that is 2nd in scoring defense. With all of the attention this Cardinals team has gotten in the last two weeks, I could easily see a letdown game against a much more vanilla offense and a good defense in its own right.
WHO? It will be interesting to see what hyped second-year back Ryan Williams will be able to do with a full workload after Beanie Wells was put on that new mini-Injured-Reserve list (he can come back in two months). The Dolphins are third in the league in defending the run despite facing three run-favoring teams in the Texans, Raiders, and Jets, and the Redbirds are a sad 27th in rush offense. However, a lot of expectations are being placed on Williams by fantasy owners, who are hoping for the guy who rushed for 1655 yards and 21 TD on 5.6 yards per carry in his one full season in college.
HOW? I'm guessing nobody cares that Karlos Dansby played for both of these teams? So I guess nobody will care if I offer to have you sit with his mom, huh. Oh, fine, just make sure you pick up an ice pack before you head over to the Wells household.
WHAT? San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
WHY? In a division that was decided by one game between first and last place last season, every division game is crucial. Every team in the AFC West was 3-3 within the division last year, so one game going a different way could have really impacted the playoff race. The Chargers have a real opportunity to bury the pesky Chiefs, who were 0-4 against the Bolts in '08/'09, but are 2-2 against them since, with three of those games being decided by a touchdown or less.
WHO? I'm pretty sure I wrote about him last week, but now we have evidence that Jamaal Charles is, in fact, Jamaal Charles. Granted, gaining 90 yards on 22 carries is nothing to sneeze at, but with no touchdowns and an apparent reaggravation of his surgically repaired knee, there was concern. Well how does 288 yards and a touchdown grab you? Now everyone can calm down. However, I'm interested to see how he follows this up, because aside from a 91-yard touchdown run, he gained a relatively pedestrian 144 yards on 32 carries against a putrid Saints defense. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Charles had fewer than 39 total touches (the amount he had against New Orleans) in the next two games combined, and we'll see how efficient those touches will be.
HOW? You might want to take a satchel of some sort to this game, at least one big enough to take home the pieces of Antonio Gates that are likely to fall off sometime soon.