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The Profit

On to the picks…

Source: Yahoo.com

CAROLINA (-5.5) vs. TAMPA BAY
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Eight wins or not, the Bucs are playing over their heads. In the process, I've no doubt infuriated Bucs owners across the country but continuing to discredit them time and time again. They have wins over exactly two quality opponents, with one of those quality opponents being a mediocre Redskins team. That said, the Panthers aren't exactly blowing anyone out of the water, either. In fact, do you realize how easily they could have eight losses? Granted, they didn't lose those games - but as is usually the case in today's NFL, a play here, a break there - that can spell the difference between 11-5 and 5-11. That's what makes this week's game so difficult to call. The Panthers are favored by 5.5, so there can't be a tie (though I wish I could predict Carolina to win the game 20-14 ½). At times such as this, I usually stick with the better QB and the team I actually think will win. With a line of less than a touchdown, it backs me into a corner to predict Carolina to win but Tampa to cover. And since I don't see Tampa winning the game outright, it makes my process of elimination pick just a bit easier. PICK: Panthers

DALLAS (-3) vs. KANSAS CITY
Kansas City has the record, but they don't have the substance, of an 8-4 team. Dallas has been made to endure one of the toughest seasons a team has faced in quite some time with some of their outcomes. Of course, one could also make the argument that going into the season with Drew Bledsoe leading you isn't the wisest decision in the world, either. It's like asking Steve-O from Jackass to babysit your kids. I mean sure, there's a chance that nothing will happen to them. But wouldn't you rather go with just about anyone else, just to be on the safe side? If nothing else, at least you wouldn't have to admit that you left your kids with Steve-O, right? The Chiefs are sky-high off their huge win against Denver last week while Dallas is reeling after a tough loss to New York in which they played very sloppy football - but I don't think those issues will weight as heavily as these - the fact that KC is on the road and Dallas is desperate for a win, means I'm picking the Cowboys. PICK: Cowboys

DENVER (-14) vs. BALTIMORE
Here's something you probably never thought you'd see. "Jake Plummer made several costly mistakes, threw the ball into traffic, and did not play well at all. It was NOTHING like him out there." Now I'm not about to write off the Broncos after one poor performance in one of the toughest road atmospheres in all of sports. But it has got me a bit concerned about Denver longer-term. Trusting Jake Plummer this long into the season has served Denver well. Almost too well. It's almost as if he's Billy Loomis from the first Scream movie (humor me, I just got digital cable last week and that movie's been on pretty much every day). Anyway, Neve Campbell (in this case, Mike Shanahan) hand-picked Loomis (Plummer). Despite reasonable doubt otherwise, Shanahan and Campbell basically convinced themselves into thinking they had found their man. This was the one that would lead them to great things. Now everything is humming along smoothly without a hitch, but in the back of your mind every once in awhile Ploomis (yeah I just combined them. I can do whatever I want, I'm the writer here) does or says something that makes you question if this is the right call. All the while, the outsiders (moviegoers and Bronco fans) have a feeling that this isn't going to work out in the end, but they convince themselves otherwise. Why? Because it's the most obvious and most logical conclusion, so that can't be the truth. Sticking by his man Ploomis to the very end, here's hoping Mike Shanahan doesn't have to put a bullet in Jake's head before the season is all said and done. Oh, almost forgot. PICK: Broncos

GREEN BAY (-6) vs. DETROIT
A lot of people are calling out for Brett Favre retire. I'm not one of those people. Do you know why? Because who gives a crap about his late-career legacy? I've spoken on this issue before, with regards to Eddie George over the summer. If a player wants to keep on going and has love for the game, why should they retire? Why should a player feel the need to stop going out and doing what he loves just because of some selfish desire for us to want to remember everyone "as they were"? What kind of garbage is that? Sure, I've mocked Favre on several occasions this year. But it doesn't mean he's not one of my favorite players of all-time. It doesn't mean I'm going to remember him only as he played these last few seasons! Is Joe Namath remembered for his Rams days? Is Johnny Unitas' legacy that of a journeyman in San Diego? Does anyone care that Emmitt Smith played out his last few seasons in Arizona, or that O.J. Simpson…well, OK some people care about his eventual legacy. But you get the point. If Favre wants to keep on playing and can deal with the jabs being hurled his way, then why not? He's an extremely entertaining player, and the league is much better off WITH guys like Favre than WITHOUT. I, for one, don't hold players up to such a standard that they must remain in their prime forever. And then when they aren't in their prime they should just go away. Bah humbug on that! I think Favre is a proud, proud player. I think he is truly embarrassed at how he has played this season, specifically in recent weeks. I think he would like, if this is the end of the line, to go out with a bang over his last few games. Know what I also think? I think I would really hate being a Detroit defender this week. PICK: Packers

INDIANAPOLIS (-7.5) at JACKSONVILLE
Idiot? Sure, I've been called that. Moron? Yep, that too. Pee-drinking crapface? Yes, this kid who used to be the catcher on my little league team once referred to me in that regard. But timid? No, never. I've never once been accused of not laying it all on the line…going for broke…balls to the walls (which sounds extremely painful but is apparently heroic). With that being said, I am predicting that the Colts' streak ends this week. Ever since the Colts became good, Jacksonville has been the one team that has always played well against them. In 2002, Indy was 10-6 while Jacksonville was 6-10. The Colts did beat the hapless Jags twice, but only by a combined ten points. In 2003, the teams split their matchups despite the fact that Jacksonville was a 5-11 outfit. In 2004, the teams again split their two matchups against one another. Enter 2005: In Week 2, Jacksonville held the Colts to a mere 10 points. Of course, they only mustered 3 of their own and again lost the game - but the point is, they can hang with these guys. In fact, the Jags were 22 yards away from tying the game on their final drive in that game back in Week 2. Now you may say, "But the Colts are better than they've ever been." That may be true. It also may be true about Jacksonville. Greg Jones is much more adept at moving the pile than Fred Taylor ever was. The stable of receivers in Jacksonville that has emerged during the season has been extremely impressive. The Jaguars are a much better team than they were at the beginning of the season, and are peaking at precisely the right time. I will grant you that they often play down to their opponents. Hell, I've been saying that for weeks. But they also play up to their opponents when called upon. I see that happening this week.

Now, let's say for a moment that the Jaguars don't win this week. Should a 9-3 team that has hung with Indianapolis time and time again for the past few years be more than a touchdown underdog in its own stadium? Whether you want to buy into the hype of mine that the Jags will win or not is irrelevant - they at LEAST should cover. PICK: Jaguars

MINNESOTA (-7) vs. SAINT LOUIS
If you bet any of your real, hard-earned money on this game….well, my friend I'll just come out and admit it. Yours are much bigger than mine. PICK: A heart attack for anyone who wagers money in this game. And since I have to, PICK: Rams

OAKLAND (-3) at NEW YORK JETS
Count me among those who don't think Marques Tuiasosopo is going to be the Raiders' answer at QB, neither now nor in the future. Granted, it's difficult to make any real assessment on him because of his limited experience, but isn't that fact enough to give one pause? The guy hasn't played meaningfully in about five years, and now he's a road favorite in his first start? I know the Jets are bad. They're worse than Aeon Flux, I know. But don't you get the feeling that they have a game in them? And wouldn't this be just the most perfect time for that game to happen? At home, against the hated Raiders? A cold Meadowlands afternoon, inexperienced signal-caller under center…I can see it. Of course, it's almost 4:00 in the morning as I write this, so I'm also seeing leprechauns and unicorns fighting over a bag of Oreos, so it's entirely possible that I'm just hallucinating. PICK: Jets

SAN DIEGO (-13.5) vs. MIAMI
If I'm guilty of anything with regards to San Diego, it's that I've continued to underestimate them despite the incredible season they're having. Once again, I didn't bank on them bludgeoning the Raiders last week…and once again, they did. I have to admit, it was pretty sweet seeing all 17 Charger fans at Qualcomm Stadium get on the rest of the Raider fans during the game. I obviously have learned from the error of my ways, and will be taking the Chargers and laying whatever I need to until further notice. The Dolphins had to fly out west, then fly back across the country to Miami, and now have to fly back west to play San Diego…all the while coming off an emotional comeback victory against a division rival that took just about every ounce of energy they had. Oh, and if that's not enough, how about this one? Nick Saban, as you may have heard, has opted to start Gus Frerotte this week. Yep, he's benching the one QB that has shown signs of life this year for Miami. Baffling. This game might be 28-0 by the time Rosenfels gets another shot. PICK: Chargers

SEATTLE (-16) vs. SAN FRANCISCO
Sometimes, I think the only things capable of stopping Shaun Alexander are bullets. Lots and lots of bullets. But then I realize Walter Jones would probably just be able to block those, too. Not that Alexander isn't great on his own, but man - I think Glen Quagmire could pretty much giggity across the field for 150 and a touch on a weekly basis. The Niners, meanwhile, don't have to worry about messing up 2006 with a win this week. Ain't gonna happen. So will Seattle cover, that's the main question of course. Well let's see, they beat the Eagles by 42 and Philly actually uses human beings to play football. Word is, the Niners are made out of paper mache. PICK: Seahawks

TENNESSEE (-7) vs. HOUSTON
I know the Titans are bad, but I don't see Houston putting up anything remotely resembling a game until maybe Week 17. Until then, Houston will play football about as well as Doctor Phil grows his hair. PICK: Titans

WASHINGTON (-3.5) at ARIZONA
The Cardinals (and Kurt Warner in particular) have played well enough in recent weeks to not have to be home dogs against a marginal team like Washington. The Redskins aren't scaring anyone lately, and Warner and co. shouldn't be, either. Offensively, the Cardinals are now able to move the ball against just about anyone - that includes Washington. And since the Redskins' offense is not exactly a juggernaut (and Arizona's defense is a bit better than some people think), I can see the Cards coming up big for once. PICK: Cardinals

ATLANTA (-10.5) vs. NEW ORLEANS
One of these weeks, the Saints are going to show up for a game. It may not be this week. It may not be next week. It may not even be the week after that. If it is none of those weeks, then it will DEFINITELY be the week after that because there are no more weeks after that. But I'm telling you - one of these weeks, it'll all come together. The Saints will dominate some team by tossing the ball all over the yard…Jim Haslett will out-coach his opponent…Antowain Smith will break off moves reminiscent of Emmitt Smith…the defense will rise up as a wall of tacklers…and Aaron Brooks? Well, Aaron Brooks will be seen sobbing after the game. He'll be beating himself up over the game he just played and taking full responsibility for the outcome - I mean, I assume everything will be the reverse of what happens following a Saints loss, right? Yes folks, it is here. This is the week it all comes together. Or not. PICK: Saints

BEST BETS

CINCINNATI (-12.5) vs. CLEVELAND
Take it to the bank, the market, a brothel, wherever you see fit. The Bengals will win by multiple touchdowns. PICK: Bengals

NEW ENGLAND (-3.5) at BUFFALO
So the Giants (who lead the NFC East) are 8-point favorites in Philadelphia…yet the Patriots (who lead the AFC East) are only 3.5 point favorites in Buffalo. I'm not sold on the differences here. Sure, the Giants are a bit better than New England so they should be laying a couple more. But the Patriots, even though they aren't the same Patriots we remember, are still far better than the Bills. They will definitely win this week, because Belichik and Brady are too close to a division title to let it slip through their fingers. They will want this thing closed out, and closed out as soon as possible. PICK: Patriots

NEW YORK GIANTS (-8) at PHILADELPHIA
Man, how times have changed in Philadelphia! Eight point dogs at home? The line is probably about right, but it just looks so shocking. The Eagles have followed the blueprint for how to respond following a Super Bowl loss, though. They've gone from an offensive juggernaut to collection of quitters. Their once-dominant defense, which used to pride itself on its ability to get to the quarterback, now couldn't penetrate Paris Hilton. The Giants, of course, are flying high after last week's win. But I don't see any lag in them. I don't see them going into Philadelphia and not showing up. Perhaps some past Giants teams. Hey, even this one to a certain extent when they lost against Minnesota. But that's all out of the way. From here on, it should be smooth sailing to the Eastern division title. And make no mistake, this game is still huge. It's not so much a statement game, because New York is supposed to win. It's more of a "we finally got you" win. The Giants, and everyone else in the east for that matter, have played second fiddle to the Eagles for quite some time now. This game, New York is out for a little payback. They can't possibly have the Eagles on the ropes and not absolutely bludgeon them. They simply can't. PICK: Giants

PITTSBURGH (-6) vs. CHICAGO
I'm more than a bit surprised by this. The line on this game opened at 4 (already generous, considering the Bears are in the midst of an 8-game winning streak). Yet since then, the line has now gone UP! Oh dear, has America still not gotten on board with the Bears? Let me put it to you this way. Um, the Bears are really, really good. Now of course, not many could see this coming (including yours truly). I was very hesitant to give them much credit until I saw them beat a quality opponent. But tell me, what is so very different about this year's Bears and the 2000 Ravens? Or the 2001 Bucs? You know, the other teams who gradually got much better as the year went on…who also had marginal quarterbacks but who could get the job done…who also had head coaches that were new to the team/city, but reputations for being tireless workers…and who also had defenses that hit people as if they hadn't been fed all week. Enter Exhibit B: The Steelers. Coming off a 15-1 season, the Steelers are in grave danger of not making the playoffs. The thing is, normally I get behind teams who are desperate and have their season on the line. But that was the case with Pittsburgh last week too, and they didn't seem to mind it all that much then. The Bears are absolutely on fire right now, and it's about time people started believing they are legit. A win in Steel City should just about do that. PICK: Bears

LOCK OF THE WEEK: New England Patriots


LAST WEEK

  • OVERALL: : 10-6
  • BEST BETS: 3-1
  • LOCK OF WEEK: 1-0

SEASON TOTALS

  • OVERALL: 96-92-4 (51.1%)
  • BEST BETS: 28-23-1 (54.9%)
  • LOCK OF WEEK: 5-8 (38.5%)
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