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The Profit

Your intro for this week consists of my bragging about - finally - hitting my lock of the week. The recently putrid run I've been on was like the plot to Ocean's Twelve. It's supposed to be good, you keep waiting for it to be good, you can't understand why it's NOT good. And just like that, it's sucky. That's been my first six weeks, for the most part. A 7-7 week is nothing to write home about, but 3-1 on the best bets and hitting the lock at least gives me some semblance of a spark.

On to the picks…

Source: Yahoo.com

ARIZONA (-3) vs. TENNESSEE
Denny Green apparently feels the need to be cute with his QB situation this weekend and is declining to answer any and all questions related to who will be suiting up. (And no, there aren't many opportunities for Green to be cute, so I'll give him a pass on this one.) Still, it makes little difference as far as the game is concerned. I don't see any reason why Josh McCown shouldn't be in the lineup, but I feel either QB would get the job done against the Titans' sorry excuse for a defense. That's not to say Arizona has been any better (they've actually been a bit worse), but at least the Cardinals have dynamic playmakers on offense. What do the Titans have? Still - only Jeff Fisher's mustache. PICK: Cardinals

CHICAGO (-1) vs. BALTIMORE
After seeing the Ravens come to life a bit last week against an overmatched but game Cleveland squad, I can't help but think the same thing will happen this week. Let's face it. This game is going to be one of the most boring games in the history of the NFL, at least from a scoring perspective. It'll be a defensive battle; not just because the defenses are so good, but also because the offenses are an abomination. With that, only one of the two teams has guys like Derrick Mason, Jamal Lewis, and Todd Heap. I think Baltimore will be able to put up a couple more points and win this game 10-4. PICK: Ravens

CINCINNATI (-1) vs. PITTSBURGH
With the way Cincinnati has jumped out of the gates, and my already-enormous expectations for them this year, that I'd be all over them to cover this game. Yet I'm not. It's not for fear about the Bengals offense, which I feel can consistently move the ball on just about anyone in the league. It's just that that Bengal defense still scares me at times. They looked pretty horrid at times against the Titans last week, and the offense really bailed the defense out by controlling the ball for so much of the game against a shoddy Titans D. Now like I said, I think the Bengal offense can move the ball on just about anyone, but I don't think they're going to be dominating the Steeler defense anytime soon. I expect both offenses to move the ball fairly well, with Pittsburgh doing it a bit better. As much as I like Cincy straight up, I think this week they take a slight tumble. Nothing that they can't get up from, mind you - just a character-building loss. PICK: Steelers

MIAMI (-1.5) vs. KANSAS CITY
This was a bit surprising, in that I actually expected the Chiefs to be about a 1-point favorite in Miami. I was really down on the Dolphins to open the year, hopped on board after it became apparent that they weren't going to roll over and die like last year, but have since gotten back off the train following a few sloppily-played games. And as bad as Priest Holmes looked last week, I don't anticipate a repeat performance against a defense like Miami's, which can be run on. The Chiefs will have more than enough offensive firepower to get the job done in this one. PICK: Chiefs

MINNESOTA (Off) vs. GREEN BAY
Favre in the dome. I hate to base my entire pick on that, but it's been fairly reliable. I do think Ahman Green will have a huge week, so if you're looking to add him then you best do it prior to Sunday. Additionally, I like teams coming off the bye week, as Green Bay is. Still, I'd rather be wrong about 'Favre in a dome' than all the rest, because at least there's a track record to it. PICK: Vikings

OAKLAND (-3) vs. BUFFALO
A quick look at the stats tells you that Buffalo has been the best team in the league at defending the pass so far. A closer look reveals that these are the QBs they have faced: David Carr, Brian Griese, Michael Vick, Aaron Brooks, Gus Frerotte, and Vinny Testaverde. Those men are to quarterbacking what Ellen Degeneres and Camryn Manheim are to beauty pageants. That is to say, the Bills haven't faced anyone elite yet. Now, it's tough to call Kerry Collins elite, I know. And it's even tougher when he's not heaving the ball up to Randy Moss. But Oakland still has playmakers. While I don't think they are leaps and bounds more talented than the Bills, being at home neutralizes a lot of their deficiencies. I'm not in love with this pick, but I don't see a Kelly Holcomb-led team going into the black hole and emerging unscathed. PICK: Raiders

SEATTLE (-3) vs. DALLAS
I'm doing a complete reversal on the Seahawks. Ready for this one? Until they let me down (probably this week), I'm going to take Seattle to cover no matter what. Foolish? Perhaps. Ok, probably. But still, here's my logic. When Seattle is home, they can play with anyone and dominate, right? Right. And when they're on the road, they can't do a thing, right? Wrong. Everyone is now so familiar with their home/road splits that from this point forward, I expect them to be continually underrated as a road team. Now bear with me, because I know this is sort of a bizarro theory. I just think that Seattle is a better team than we've given them credit for, and I think we can start using the home/road thing to our advantage. People will be so conditioned to expect them to fail miserably on the road that they will get more points than they probably should, based on the quality of the team. Of course, you don't care about that this week. For this week at least, they're home and we all expect them to cover. We'll take this week-by-week, because I know how difficult it is to trust me on anything right now. PICK: Seahawks

SAINT LOUIS (-3) vs. NEW ORLEANS
The Rams are 30th in points allowed per game. The Saints? Oh, they're way better. All the way up at #30. I would actually like to predict that the organizers of this game will determine that no fan should be forced to sit through such a wretched defensive performance like this, but I suppose I have to actually make a pick here. There is no correct answer, and you'll never feel comfortable no matter who you take. Let's say you take the Rams and lay the points. Saint Louis could take a 24-point lead into the fourth quarter and you'd still be worried about New Orleans coming back. And vice versa. My advice would be if you play a weekly pool, flip a coin. If you bet individual games, stay far away from this one. No matter the outcome, if you put any money on this game you will literally take at least six weeks off your life. PICK: Heads…uh, I mean Rams

WASHINGTON (-12.5) vs. SAN FRANCISCO
The Redskins aren't a team that will blow out too many opponents. I realize they've played well in just about every game this season, and now take on one of the worst teams in the league. What's more, Washington has been absolutely rolling lately on offense, and the defense has been there all season long. Add to that that the Niners will go with the vaunted Smith-and-Barlow combo, and you've got all the makings of a Redskins rout. Which is why I'm so scared to take them. It all seems too perfect to be true. Honestly, I was shocked to see the Redskins favored by more than 10 points. Only the league's truly elite offenses should ever be giving more than 10 points, and sorry the Redskins are not quite amongst the elite yet. Would I be shocked if they did it? No, not at all. The Niners are colossally putrid. But no one should feel comfortable laying 12.5 points at the hands of Mark Brunell, no matter how well he's played. PICK: 49ers

ATLANTA (-7) vs. NEW YORK JETS
The Jets have been run all over this year, and the Falcons have run all over everyone. So why do I like the Jets to cover this game? For the very reason I just mentioned above. The combination of a team that likes to run and a team that cannot stop the run leads to one end result: a run-heavy game. That doesn't lend itself well to high-scoring games and/or blowouts. A 7-point victory would constitute a blowout win for Atlanta, and it's not as if their defense looked very efficient. Sure, injuries are to blame for much of the problem; but just use that to your advantage. Each team should be able to move the football relatively well against the other, with no team having a huge advantage. Seeing as how the game is in Atlanta, and I still think they are a quality team, I expect them to win - but not by more than a couple of points. PICK: Jets

BEST BETS

CLEVELAND (-3) vs. DETROIT
I expected around a 3 or a 3.5-point line in the game. That said, Detroit is a much better team than Cleveland. I've been upgrading the Browns the past few weeks, as they've played much better than I expected. But do not discount the Lions. Seeing as how they're in the NFC North, they've actually got a division title to play for. They should be getting Cory Schlesinger back, which will help the run game immensely, and they may also see the return of Jeff Garcia. Joe Bryant is right; Garcia isn't Steve Young. But he's also not Steve Stenstrom. He'd be an immediate upgrade, and the entire team would follow suit I believe. In any case, I think they have enough with either guy to win the game outright. PICK: Lions

INDIANAPOLIS (-16) at HOUSTON
I went against my own philosophy last week, and paid for it. I bet against the Colts, even against the putrid Rams. Now granted, the Rams may have covered had it not been for the Bulger injury, but that happens. I'm a bit scared off by last season's result, when the Colts went down to Houston carrying a 5-game winning streak and only squeaked out a 9-point victory. But let's remember something. This year's Texans team is historically bad. PICK: Colts

NEW YORK GIANTS (-2) vs. DENVER
Denver should be favored in this game. They've done enough to earn the respect of being a road favorite at this point. The Giants, for all the good that has come of the season, still have multiple holes. The Broncos don't really have any, and have been unbelievably efficient at exposing their opponents' weaknesses. Look for more of the same. PICK: Broncos

PHILADELPHIA (-4) vs. SAN DIEGO
The Chargers have played about as well as anyone in the league this season, yet have just a .500 record to show for it. After this week, they won't even have that. The Eagles are rested, and ready, for this game. San Diego is clicking right now offensively, and that likely won't change much against Philly. The big difference I see is that the Chargers defense won't have many answers for T.O. and company. That's been the big bugaboo for San Diego to this point, and it's got to be tough playing this many well-rested teams in a row. You've got to be on top of your game each and every week, which is a lot to ask of a team that is in the midst of one of the most brutal schedule stretches in league history. (And that's no exaggeration). Going to Philly is tough enough as it is; doing so against an Eagles team coming off the bye week makes it that much more difficult. PICK: Eagles

LOCK OF THE WEEK: Indianapolis Colts


LAST WEEK

  • OVERALL: 7-7
  • BEST BETS: 3-1
  • PICK OF WEEK: 1-0

SEASON TOTALS

  • OVERALL: 40-47-1 (45.9%)
  • BEST BETS: 10-13-1 (43.4%)
  • PICK OF WEEK: 2-4 (33.0%)
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