Cleat Geeks

Cover 3: Week 17


We have come to the final week in the NFL regular season which means this will be the final “Cover 3” until next September! This final “Cover 3” happens to be NFC filled, with four of the six NFC teams playing in one of three games: the Fantasy Jackpot, the “Bad Blood” Game, and this week’s Must-Watch Showdown.


Fantasy Jackpot Game of the Week—New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons


The fantasy jackpot this week will be between two NFC South rivals who are looking to end their seasons on a high note. The Saints enter the game at 6-9 and average the second-most yards in the league with 404.7. Fortunately for the 8-7 Falcons, the Saints also give up the second-most yards at 413.4. They have also given up 43 passing touchdowns which is a new NFL record. Julio Jones will look to do some damage against this poor secondary and add on to that embarrassing total.

There have been some rumors going around about the future of Drew Brees in New Orleans, so you never know, this could be his last game in black and gold. I’m sure he would love to end the season with a bang either way. Even though the Falcons have played good defense in the past two weeks by giving up only one passing touchdown, Brees will find ways to get it done. In their previous meeting, Brees finished with 312 yards and a touchdown.

Mark Ingram ended up getting the other two short touchdowns for them. With Ingram out, Hightower will continue to see the bulk of the touches out of the backfield and find success. He should finish with around 100 total yards and a score or two. Brees will look to have success throwing to Cooks, Snead, and Watson. Cooks has been on fire scoring eight touchdowns in the past eight weeks. He has a great opportunity to do it again since Brees loves to look his way often (7+ targets in all but three games this season). The Saints’ second receiver is rookie Willie Snead who has put together a fantastic first season. He has 75+ yards in the past three games, but he struggles to score. He only has three touchdowns on the year, and the last time he scored was the week eight shootout with the Giants where he found the end zone twice. Ben Watson has been asked to fill in the giant hole Jimmy Graham left when he was traded to the Seahawks. Watson has performed remarkably well! He has 68 catches for 766 yards and five touchdowns this season. His breakout game actually came against the Falcons earlier in the season when he exploded for 127 yards and a touchdown on ten catches. Look for him to be active again in this game since the Falcons have struggled to contain tight ends.


The Falcons are coming off an emotional, hard-fought victory over the Panthers last week. This kind of victory can motivate a team and help them play even better than before. A win like this can also emotionally drain them leaving them lethargic. Luckily for them, they will be going against the worst defense in the league. I already talked about how bad their pass defense is, but they also give up 132 rushing yards per game. Freeman should be able to do plenty of damage both on the ground and through the air on Sunday. Matt Ryan has not been great this season, but he will look good against the Saints in this game. Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Jacob Tamme can also all be started this week. Julio will have over 100 yards and a score, Roddy will be around 40-60 yards, and Tamme should have at least 4-5 targets. The Saints give up the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends, so the upside for Tamme is huge.


“Bad Blood” Game of the Week—Minnesota Vikings vs Green Bay Packers


The “Bad Blood” between these two NFC North teams is very real. The Vikings and the Packers will square-off at Lambeau Field for the divisional title. Both teams know how important it is to have a home game in the playoffs. It is even more important when your home field is outside in the cold. This game is just too good to be grouped with the rest of them this week, so the NFL decided that this is the game that would be played on Sunday Night Football.


These two teams had very different games last week. The Packers went to Arizona only to be embarrassed by the Cardinals who won 38-8. Rodgers was sacked a total of eight times which led to Packer fans wondering what the heck happened to this offensive line! They were lucky enough to keep the guys up front healthy last season, but that is not the case this year. All five of the guys are dealing with injuries right now, but the one who is most questionable to play this Sunday is left tackle Bakhtiari who is dealing with an ankle injury. Since the wide receivers are already struggling to create separation, the offensive line injuries have been even harder on the offense since Rodgers is forced to get rid of the ball quickly. With the quarterback being rushed and the nobody open to throw to, you can see why this offense has been a struggle all season.


While the Packers were blown-out last week, the Vikings were on the other side of that situation. They played at home against a Giants team who was missing Odell Beckham Jr. Success was easy to find for the Vikings, and they won the game by scoring a season-high 49 points while the Giants only put up 17. Much of the success for the Vikings’ offense this year obviously has to do with the NFL’s leading rusher Adrian Peterson. AP has ran for 1,418 yards so far, which many feel like has been a bit of a disappointment. He is 64 yards ahead of the #2 rusher Doug Martin. After him, there is nobody even close to the amount of yards those two have. Teddy Bridgewater’s role for this Vikings team has also grown over the past few weeks. He hasn’t thrown an interception in three weeks, and he even threw for 335 yards against the same Cardinals team the shut down the Packers’ offense last week.

This will be a cold, nasty, hard-fought game in Green Bay on Sunday night. It will be interesting to see if these two teams continue to play the way they have been lately or if it completely changes when all of America is watching. Even though this game is in the “Bad Blood” section of this article, it is also a must-watch game if you are a football fan.


Must-Watch Showdown—Seattle Seahawks vs Arizona Cardinals


This game is not for the division’s title, but this NFC West match-up is one that many believe could be a preview for the NFC Championship.

Even though the Seahawks lost to the Rams last week, this team has been playing some fantastic football. The one problem for them lately is the abandoning of the running game. This has been the identity for this team when it has been successful, so that is something they well look to go back to on Sunday. The reason for them getting away from running the ball has been injuries. Lynch has been out hurt for awhile, but they had rookie Thomas Rawls taking care of business. Rawls is out now, and they turn to Christine Michael and Bryce Brown to carry the rock. Even though these two guys were just signed to the team, they have talent, and the Seahawks need to find a way to use that talent to get back to being a ground-and-pound team. The Seahawks kept their previous meeting with the Cardinals competitive, but they still lost 39-32. Even though they are already locked into the wild card position, this will be an important game for them to get some type of confidence and momentum heading into the first round of the playoffs.


The Cardinals are one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl and rightfully so. If they come away with a win and the Panthers lose, the Cardinals will have home field advantage. If they continue their winning ways, they will make it to Super Bowl 50, which will be played at Levi’s Stadium where the Cardinals have already played this season, so that will be a familiar field to them. They are currently on a nine-game winning streak, and they haven’t shown any sign of slowing down. Many teams tend to rest some of their best players in the last game of the season if they have Super Bowl aspirations, but not the Cardinals.

“I don’t think you get anything out of resting guys, especially playing a team that’s in our division and we haven’t beaten them at home in a couple of years,” Arizona coach Bruce Arians said to the media this week. Look for Carson Palmer to continue his MVP-like performance he has put on this season against a once feared Seattle defense. The Seahawks have played well, but it is not like years past. This Cardinals team is also not like years past. They have dangerous weapons at every position. If you take one away, they will use three others to beat and embarrass you.


What did you think of this week’s Cover 3? Who do you think will win between the Seahawks and the Cardinals? You can post your questions, answers, and comments down below, or talk to me over on Twitter @FantasyFlurry. If you mention that you read the “Cover 3” article, I’ll be sure to give you a shout-out!

Thank you so much for continuing to read this article throughout the year. I would appreciate you sharing this final “Cover 3” of the 2015 season! Any feedback I get is greatly appreciated, and it could impact what this article looks like next season!

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