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The Profit

On to the picks…

Source: Yahoo.com

ATLANTA (-6) at TAMPA BAY
I really don't know what to make of this game. Atlanta has been my default "best team in the NFC" for quite some time now, but even though I sort of saw it coming I'm still a bothered by their loss to Green Bay last week. What's more, Tampa is coming off a huge victory thanks to the conversion at the end. Who knows if they'll suffer a letdown game, or if they'll ride that game to future victories? I have a feeling it lies somewhere in between. It's not that I don't believe in Atlanta, and it's not that I think very highly of Tampa (as evidenced by my Power Rankings each week). I just think the Tampa defense is good enough to at least contain Vick but not necessarily slow the team. I think the Tampa offense will do enough against a suddenly-porous Atlanta defense to hang around. I'm not going to say the Bucs win, but I think it's a tight game that gets settled by a field goal or so. PICK: Bucs

CLEVELAND (-2.5) vs. MIAMI
This is one of those games I've just got a "feeling" about. It's not necessarily statistics-based or anything, and it's not that the Dolphins are underrated either. I just think when looking at these teams, Miami should beat them nine times out of ten regardless of the venue. Don't you feel that way? I mean, close your eyes and try to picture the Browns winning this week. Can you? I can't. PICK: Dolphins

DENVER (-13) vs. NEW YORK JETS
I was a bit late to the Denver bandwagon trip, and wasn't a full believer in them until several weeks into the season. And I stuck around the party with New York a bit too long as well. So long, in fact, that I was cleaning Kelly green vomit off the bathroom wall until Week 6. So some people may accuse me of still not giving Denver enough credit here. What's really at work is this: Denver isn't really the type of team that will blow you out of the water (except Philly). I'm not saying the Jets are anywhere near decent, and this game should, SHOULD, be a final of about 35-3. But I just don't feel right laying 13 points against a team that (although awful) has actually played some defense lately. The Jets will lose the game, but I think they find a way to cover. PICK: Jets

INDIANAPOLIS (-5.5) at CINCINNATI
Don't get me wrong here. Indianapolis is a great team, and have played exceptionally well just about all season long. And sure, the Bengals have suffered some tough late-season stretches the past couple of years. But I'm having a tough time making a 7-2 team a home dog this late in the season. Even if you want to give the Colts the "favorite" tag at a point or two, that's even understandable. But just think: five and a half points. Teams like the Texans and Raiders are getting that many points this week. The Bengals don't belong in that group, especially at home. PICK: Bengals

JACKSONVILLE (-4) at TENNESSEE
So OK, the Jaguars are coming off a performance where they beat up on one of the league's dregs? Check. They proved they can move the ball offensively without Fred Taylor? Check. The Titans are one of the very worst teams in the league? Check. The Jags have played very well to this point, dropping some tough games for their only losses? Check. So why is the line only four points? I know it's in Tennessee, but when a team like Houston is getting 6.5 to the Chiefs, why is it that the Titans are only getting 4 against a much better opponent? I'm scared by this one, and for that reason I'm going against logic. PICK: Titans

KANSAS CITY (-6.5) at HOUSTON
The Chiefs are coming off a game where Trent Green did just about everything in his power to play as badly as he ever has, and it showed up on the scoreboard. Well, Kansas City could throw Trent Reznor at QB this week, and still come away with a big win. They won't have two awful offensive performances in a row, right? PICK: Chiefs

NEW ENGLAND (-9.5) vs. NEW ORLEANS
I know the Patriots have underachieved, and I know the Saints are well-rested and coming off a bye. But I also know that no self-respecting Patriots player would ever, EVER, lose (or come close to losing) to a team like the Saints. PICK: Patriots

NEW YORK GIANTS (-7.5) vs. PHILADELPHIA
The past two weeks, a lot of people bet with Philly, thinking a big comeback game was on the horizon. It seemed that a team with this much talent wouldn't just see their season slip away without a fight. And in truth, they were right there at the end last week about to climb back into the NFC East race. But as they say: You live by the out route, you'll die by the out route. The image of Donovan McNabb crawling across the turf should be the poster shot for every team that finds itself struggling the year after losing the Super Bowl. Additionally, had the Giants not suffered an awful loss last week, I could see them having a letdown this week. But now that they got that one really crushing defeat out of the way, I think they'll come back strong this week and put up a big performance. Plus, do you want to risk your hard-earned paycheck on Mike McMahon? Didn't think so. PICK: Giants

SAN DIEGO (-10.5) vs. BUFFALO
I know, it's a great big bundle of points to lay with a 5-4 team. That just goes to emphasize how San Diego is one of the best 5-4 teams we've ever seen. They have been a team that has obliterated the weaker teams and struggled somewhat against the better ones. Last week's victory notwithstanding, the Bills are nowhere near one of the league's "better" teams. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if last week was the highlight of their season. I just don't see J.P. Losman putting up the same sorts of stats against a defensive front like San Diego's, and without much help from the running game it could be a long afternoon. That's not to mention San Diego's offense. I watched the Chiefs consistently move the football last week, only to have Trent Green throw it away. Drew Brees won't do that. He'll put up points. PICK: Chargers

SEATTLE (-12.5) at SAN FRANCISCO
I don't want to do it, but I said I was taking Seattle every week until they didn't cover. Even though this is the week I think they'll come up short, I will stick to my guns and pick them anyway. (See what I did there? I covered myself in either event, so I can come across looking smart no matter what happens…BRILLIANT!). PICK: Seahawks

SAINT LOUIS (-9.5) vs. ARIZONA
Are the Rams healthy for the most part? Are the Cardinals still the Cardinals? Good. PICK: Rams

WASHINGTON (-6) vs. OAKLAND
The Redskins are this close to freefall mode. Sure, they just beat Philly two weeks ago. But suffering two disastrous losses (shutout by the Giants and the two-point conversion against Tampa) have a way of sucking the life out of a team. What's more, after this week they've got San Diego visiting, travel to Saint Louis, and have late-season matchups against Dallas, New York, and Philly the last three weeks. Normally, I'd go with the team desperate for a win, but I'm not sure Washington has even recovered from the loss last week. On the other side, we have a Raider team that is unlike most Raiders teams in recent years. This one actually seems to genuinely care about losing. (ZING!). I say Oakland comes to play, and even if they don't win, they at least won't be blown out by the Skins. PICK: Raiders

BEST BETS

(In a bit of an oddity, I have a real good feeling on the Rams, Pats, Chiefs, and Dolphins as well as the teams below - since I limit the best bets to four, here are my 4 BEST. In any other week, though, the previous four games would be up there also.)

DALLAS (-8) vs. DETROIT
What, are we supposed to believe in the Lions now just because they beat the Cardinals? Come on! Detroit needs to be double-digit dogs against Dallas in big D. The Cowboys are clicking, and have gotten very little from Julius Jones for the season. The Lions haven't been able to perform consistently on offense really all year. Not to mention, I think the great game by Roy Williams will turn out to be a bit of a fluke, thanks in large part to the defensive presence of Roy Williams. PICK: Cowboys

BALTIMORE (Off) vs. PITTSBURGH
Hey, guess what? Take the Steelers. No matter who plays QB or the line on the game, I like Pittsburgh to destroy the Ravens. Kyle Boller may be the only NFL QB who makes Tommy Maddox look like an NFL QB, and Brian Billick hasn't come around yet to the idea that Jamal Lewis (at least right now) stinks. The Steelers barely got by Baltimore the last time these teams hooked up, and I can see them wanting to take out a lot of frustration over that on such a hated rival. PICK: Steelers

CAROLINA (-3) at CHICAGO
Though the overall stats don't show it, Carolina has a defense that can go just about toe-to-toe with the Bears. In fact, the Carolina run defense is even better than Chicago's. What's that? Chicago's offensive strength is running the football? Well, perhaps not this week at least. I can easily see a situation where both defenses come to play, but only the one with the explosive offense shows up on the scoreboard with any type of regularity. PICK: Panthers

GREEN BAY (-3.5) vs. MINNESOTA
The Packers are a much better team than they have looked like to this point. The Vikings have played over their heads the past two weeks and are about due for a big letdown. The fact that they beat a quality team last week should serve as notice that they are scheduled for a mail it in type of game. Green Bay, however, seems primed for a late-season playoff push that will eventually come up short in the end. Chicago just has too big of a lead at this point, but you can be sure that the Packers won't just roll over and die on the season. I think they take it to the Vikings this week in a big way, and roll to victory. PICK: Packers

LOCK OF THE WEEK: Green Bay Packers

(Don't let me ever hear anyone say I'm conservative)


LAST WEEK

  • OVERALL: : 10-4 (71.4%)
  • BEST BETS: 2-2 (50%)
  • LOCK OF WEEK: 0-1 (0%)

SEASON TOTALS

  • OVERALL: 72-69-3 (51.1%)
  • BEST BETS: 20-19-1 (51.3%)
  • PICK OF WEEK: 3-7 (30%)
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