NFL of the Week: Ready for primetime players – WFSB 3 Connecticut

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(RNN) – College football fans are sad. They’re kind of sad in general, but it’ll be worse this weekend.

The “I only watch college” fanatic will flip aimlessly through the channels Saturday, hoping against hope to find something to watch. Sure, some will try to find a reason to care about Army-Navy, but they’ll only end up in fetal positions, yelling “flexbone!” over and over.

But fear not, noble followers of the amateur (Ha!) athlete. The NFL will satiate your gridiron appetites. It’s a lot like the college game … only waaaay better.

You’ll marvel as passes don’t flutter in the air like drunken pigeons! You’ll stare in wonder as receivers aren’t so open they can check in on Facebook! You’ll be amazed as tacklers … make tackles.

Besides, it’s only a few weeks until the College Football Playoff, when the team that plays least poorly is crowned champion.

‘Proceed with Caution’ of the Week: Watching the NFL’s objective superiority may have serious repercussions on your enjoyment of college football. Disregard this warning when viewing the Browns – although they’d still beat Alabama.

Sunday Night Football: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants, 8:30 p.m. ET

With Giants-Cowboys and Ravens-Pats, on the heels of a Thursday Raiders-Chiefs matchup, fans are finally getting quality in primetime. As for next week … at least there’s a Saturday game.

A week ago, the Giants (8-4) were in great position to make the playoffs, with the second-best record in the NFC. Then they had an unimpressive showing against the Steelers, lost Jason Pierre-Paul for the season and now have a tough schedule ahead (Lions, at Eagles, at Washington).

There’s a chance they don’t win another game, giving Eli Manning ample opportunity to make some or all of these faces.

Coach Ben McAdoo may need to open the playbook to the “throw it deep” section and give Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. more chances for big plays. The team has leaned on its defense to win close games, but the loss of Pierre-Paul hurts New York’s pass rush and run D.

The potential return of offensive guard Justin Pugh from injury would help give Manning time to find receivers. He and running back Shane Vereen have been practicing this week, and they should give the G-Men options to improve a rushing attack that averages 3.5 yards per carry, 30th in the league.

The lone mark on an otherwise perfect season for the Cowboys (11-1) belongs to the Giants, who took the Week 1 matchup. A lot has changed since then, with Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliot becoming arguably the best rookie duo of all time, and a Dallas win clinches the NFC East.

The Cowboys’ best defense has been their offense, giving teams the least amount of time of possession in the NFL. Elliott hasn’t shown any sign of slowing down, but he’s 27 carries away from eclipsing the most carries he had in a college season.

Dez Bryant hasn’t shown any trouble getting used to his new QB, with five TD catches since returning from injury six weeks ago. He and Prescott will need to keep tabs on the Giants’ own star rookie, Landon Collins, when throwing over the middle; Collins has five interceptions and leads the team in tackles.

Monday Night Football: Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots, 8:30 p.m.

The Ravens (7-5) won’t go away. They went 3-0 to start, but that included wins over the Browns and Jags. They dropped four in a row but then shut down the Steelers. Then another Browns win, a respectable loss to the Cowboys and a win over Cincy.

All their success could be attributed to a great defense, which has covered for a pathetic offensive output. Then, Joe Flacco and Co. exploded for 38 points against a solid Dolphins squad – if the O comes around with the D that’s in place, there’s serious potential for a “getting hot at the right time” storyline.

They did it in their Super Bowl XLVII run, so it’s possible. This game should show if last week’s performance was an outlier or start of a trend.

In 2015, the Patriots looked like the best in the AFC before injuries took their toll.

In 2016, the Patriots (10-2) looked like the best in the AFC before injuries took their toll?

The loss of Gronk and nagging injuries to their other tight end, Martellus Bennett, could leave Tom Brady with a “height-people problem” in the red zone. Of the team’s top four wide receivers, only Chris Hogan is listed above six feet, at 6-1.

The development of rookie wideout Malcolm Mitchell and the return of pass-catching back Dion Lewis give the winningest QB in NFL history additional options.

‘Worst Commercial Ever’ of the Week: This ad has been around a little while, but it gets more mind-numbing with each view. If anyone wants to get Brady a gift to celebrate win No. 201, how about bedsheets?