By Danny Cox
There is no mistaking the history of CBS Sports’ NFL analyst Dan Fouts during his time with the San Diego Chargers, which was his entire NFL career from 1973 to 1987. A six-time Pro Bowler, league MVP, and a member of the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team, Dan Fouts is one of the greatest to ever play the game and he’s over-qualified to talk about any team, any player, any game.
Fouts took some time to speak with me about three big games coming up this week and the major impact they could have on the season going forward.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans – CBS, Oct. 8 at 8:25p EST
Can the Indianapolis Colts keep on winning without Andrew Luck if he has to sit out another game or two?
Dan Fouts: “I think they can. Matt Hasselbeck is capable; an obvious drop-off from Andrew Luck, but he can help them win. You’ve got to have a healthy quarterback. Luck has been beat up the first couple of games and we don’t know the full extent of his injury. Hasselbeck is a veteran and the Colts are in a position to stay in the race.”
What can the Colts possibly do to stop J.J. Watt and protect whomever is in at quarterback?
DF: “First, identify where he is lined up as he’s going to line-up in different positions. Then double-team him, run away from him, or run right at him. There are different schools of thought with great players like J.J. Watt. Due to his pursuit, it may honestly be better to run right at him and double-team him head on. The Colts are familiar with him and will certainly have a plan for Watt.”
St. Louis Rams vs. Green Bay Packers – CBS, Oct. 11 at 1p EST
Are the Packers currently looking like the NFC favorite for this year’s Super Bowl?
DF: “Aaron Rodgers is playing at a tremendously high level and he’s such a leader. Defensively, they are playing better than they have in a long time. They really are looking like the best team in the NFC. Their defense is literally harassing opposing quarterbacks and they are just playing great all-around.”
With St. Louis picking up big victories over divisional foes, are they real contenders in the NFC West?
DF: “The NFC West is a really good division, don’t count out San Francisco who has a great defense. The NFC West is very competitive from top to bottom and they’re going to be very fun to watch as the season unfolds. You’ve got great defenses in San Francisco and St. Louis, creative offenses in Seattle and Arizona. It’s going to be a fun season.”
With a strong Rams’ defense and strong Packers’ offense, who has the edge?
DF: “The edge goes to the Packers here. That’s simply due to Aaron Rodger’s high level of play and that it’s even higher for him at home.”
New England Patriots vs. Dallas Cowboys – CBS, Oct. 11 at 4:25p EST
Where do the Cowboys go at quarterback until Tony Romo returns from injury?
DF: “They picked up Matt Cassel, so that’s always an option, but against the Patriots? Neither Cassel or Brandon Weeden are very good options.”
Without much of a running game, can the Patriots rely on Tom Brady and the passing game for a full season and into the postseason?
DF: “They have in the past and I wouldn’t count out the Patriots and Tom Brady at any time. They have a short passing game which supplements the lack of a running attack, they’ve been able to do that with much success.”
As injuries pile up, will the Cowboys even have a chance at stopping the Patriots’ offense?
DF: “There’s always a chance, but no-one has been able to do it yet though. Greg Hardy will be back for the Cowboys and he’s fresh and motivated, but he’s just one guy. Those injuries piling up have truly hurt the Cowboys and even at full strength, it’s never going to be easy to stop the Patriots.”
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.