Must Start: The Top 10
1. Trent Green v. CIN –
Well, SOMEbody’s gotta be #1, right? Nothing is normal come
Week 17 and that means you go with guys who are A) motivated,
B) definitely starting, and C) at least CAPABLE of putting up
big numbers. Check, check, and check for the somewhat disappointing
2. Drew Bledsoe v. STL –
Ditto for Bledsoe, though the ‘Boys will need some help
if they hope to be playing past Week 16. He’s failed to
throw a TD pass in only one game this season and, at this point,
those are pretty good credentials for a final week recommendation.
Give him the start against St. Louis’ horrendous defense
on Sunday night.
3. Tom Brady v. MIA –
Does anyone else get the feeling Indy’s gonna need another
win over New England to reach the Super Bowl? If so, I can’t
hardly wait for the matchup. Brady is solid as ever, Dillon appears
to be healthy, and the once-maligned defense is back to shutting
opponents down…completely. The Colts had better be ready.
4. Kelly Holcomb @ NYJ –
Word on the street is the Bills players want Holcomb to be given
a chance to beat out J.P. Losman next season when, presumably,
the kid will reassume the starting role. It’s a fair request,
if you ask me, especially since Holcomb has proven to be more
effective and is only in his sixth season. Yes, he’s eight
years older, but wins are wins and still the only measuring stick
that matters in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately NFL.
5. Jake Delhomme @ ATL –
Speaking of wins, the Panthers need one this week in the worst
way. They’re only gonna get it if Delhomme manages to overcome
the inconsistency and find his ultra-talented target, Steve Smith,
more than the one time he did last week. Expect anywhere from
200-250 yards and a score or two as Carolina barely sneaks into
the second season.
6. Josh McCown @ IND –
It’s hard to tell what the Colts will do but I’m betting
they sit most of their regulars for the meaningless contest at
RCA Dome. That means McCown has a better than even chance of posting
good numbers. Give him the sneaky start if you’ve been riding
someone else to this point. He could surprise once again.
7. Drew Brees v. DEN –
Coach Schottenheimer says the Botls will stick with Brees in Week
17, despite the fact they’ve been eliminated from playoff
contention. Believe it or not, he could post solid totals against
a Denver team with little or no motivation to win. He was awful
last week but bounces back in Week 17 as San Diego goes from eliminated
to eliminator (KC). Every good turn deserves another, after all.
8. Ben Roethlisberger v. DET –
You know the recipe in Curtain land: lots of running, lots of
defense, and just enough Ben. How much is “just enough?”
I’m guessing 175 yards and a score or two as the Steelers
wrap up the playoff berth.
9. Mark Brunell @ PHI –
Actually, it’s the same recipe Washington uses, with a little
more Brunell when the situation warrants. I’m not sure it
does this weekend but he was certainly awesome last week (two
TDs in just 11 attempts) and will rise to the occasion again if
he’s able to go. Just make sure he is as he looked pretty
iffy at the start of the week.
10. Eli Manning @ OAK –
Like Bledsoe, Kid Bro has only failed to throw a TD pass in one
game this season, proof that he’s well on his way to becoming
an elite signal-caller. The next step? More consistency and fewer
game-altering mistakes. Expect a solid effort in the season-concluder
as the G-Men play their way in.
Grab A Helmet:
Gus Frerotte @ NE – He’s
nothing special and will hafta fight to keep his job next year,
but Frerotte will definitely have more ammo at the bargaining
table thanks to a late five-game winning streak. He’s thrown
for five scores in his last three games and could tack on a couple
more if the Fish are able to solve a suddenly resurgent Pats D
this Sunday. Expect at least another hook-up with Chris Chambers
Jon Kitna @ KC – It’s
uncertain whether he’ll be the starter but if he isn’t,
he’ll certainly see the field at some point, probably earlier
rather than later. Though he’s only thrown five passes all
season, Kitna’s a seasoned vet who keeps his head in the
game. Expect a solid day and perhaps a great one if he gets the
Kyle Boller @ CLE – Just
couldn’t bring myself to put him in the Top 10 but he probably
belongs after two stellar performances. I’d be more convinced
he’s turned the corner if the two performances hadn’t
come against Green Bay and Minnesota, respectively. Not sure what
to expect against the Browns, but he wasn’t very good last
time (191 yards and two picks). Guess we’ll see, huh?
Grab A Clipboard:
Brett Favre v. SEA – His
last start in a Packer uniform? Don’t make me cry. Actually,
I’ve run out of tissues after the year he’s had (28
interceptions). If it’s indeed his last go in the green
and gold, let’s hope he makes it a good one. Just don’t
bet the farm on it, ‘kay?
David Carr @ SF – What’s
this? A pulse? Now??? He could have picked a better time to exhibit
the ability we know he possesses but it’s not too late for
Houston. A loss and Reggie Bush will be wearing the red and blue
next year. A win and…
Alex Smith v. HOU – …it
may just be garnet and gold for the Heisman winner. Too bad he
doesn’t play quarterback, huh?