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The Profit

Welcome to wacky Week 9. If you haven't checked the lines on the games, you may be surprised to hear that there are only four home favorites this week. That's right, there are a whopping TEN road favorites. Of course, that makes sense since the Magnificent Seven (New Orleans, Minnesota, Baltimore, San Francisco, Green Bay, New York Jets, and Arizona) are all playing home. We're about to learn just how much home field advantage means to any of these teams.

So the difficulty in this week revolves around weighing the quality of a team versus home field advantage. Some will possibly be scared off by taking so many road dogs. Don't be. I know, there's that whole thing about me being mediocre this year and no one wanting to take my advice. But I'm telling you. At this point in the season, the quality of the team is infinitely more important than where the game is being played. Use this quirky week to your advantage and lay points all over the joint. If anything, it's a benefit because you don't need to lay as many points because the good teams are away. I'm going with eleven favorites this week, with two of my underdogs being last year's Super Bowl representatives. It's conservative based on selecting so many favorites. On the other hand, it's quite a tricky limb with most of those favorites being away from home. In other words, it's wacky Week 9.

Now, if you don't mind…I'm going to continue thinking up new clever ways to avoid discussing my 6-8 record last week, thank you very much.

On to the picks…

Source: Yahoo.com

ATLANTA (-2.5) at MIAMI
I've officially been worried about the Atlanta defense for about three weeks now, and haven't seen many signs lately that they'll turn things around. Still, a lot of people fail to realize just how good this team is. They've won five of seven. Two of their losses are to likely division winners (New England and Seattle). The point differential in those two losses is six points. They've hung right in there every game, and have beaten up on inferior opponents for the most part (save for a tough win against the hapless Saints). I think Atlanta can go on the road and do some damage in Miami against an overmatched opponent. The Dolphins have had some trouble stopping the run to this point, and we know for sure that running is one thing Atlanta does better than just about anyone. PICK: Falcons

CHICAGO (-3) at NEW ORLEANS
If you're betting on this game, don't do it with the same logic I'm using. That is, that the Saints are just about dead and buried and ready to be counted out, so they'll probably come up with a big win. It's stupid logic, but logic that has helped in the past. PICK: Saints

CLEVELAND (-3) vs. TENNESSEE
Well, it doesn't get much worse than being the first victim of the Texans. Of course, getting crushed by a Raider team with no defense is nothing to write home about, either. So it's pretty simple to say that these two had a bit of a rough week this past week. What does that mean for this Sunday? Probably nothing. I'd pick them both to lose if I could. However, since I cannot, I'll go with the team coming off the worse loss. Not saying the Browns are any good, but I don't think they'll come up small for a second straight week. Romeo's a better coach than that. PICK: Browns

DETROIT (-1.5) at MINNESOTA
Now that Chicago took care of the Lions last week, this officially becomes the "Who Cares" Bowl. Basically, I look at this game as one thing: a chance to see if Kevin Jones can start producing some *&%*$& points in this &#$&*^ season! PICK: Lions, even though no one cares

JACKSONVILLE (-13.5) vs. HOUSTON
By far, the toughest call of the week for me. Between this and the Giants/Niners game, I may as well flip a coin for my pick. I mean, who the heck wants to lay 13.5 with a road team anyway? Then when you factor in that that team is the colossally disappointing Jaguars, and it makes it that much tougher. Then on the other hand, you've got the hideous Texans, who won last week (leading one to believe that they won't contend a full two weeks in a row). I'd advise against laying any kind of real money on this, and if you're in a pool try and find out who the majority is going with and side with them. As for me, I'm going to go with the better team but not feel confident doing it. PICK: Jaguars

KANSAS CITY (-4.5) vs. OAKLAND
The Chiefs found the passing game last week, and in the process their big playmaker in the passing game, Tony Gonzalez. The Raiders have found these past few weeks that Kerry Collins can make plays even without Randy Moss at his regular disposal. However, stats and styles aren't going to come into play quite as much in this game. The Chiefs/Raiders tilts often come down to home field advantage, and I wouldn't expect this week to be any different. In one of the rare home favorites of the week, I can't see picking the Raiders to cover. Of course, I would have expected a decent Chiefs team to be favored by more than 4.5 at home against one of the league's doormats, so it's a bit of a concern. And I wouldn't be shocked to see Oakland go in and give KC a game. But I can't go out and predict that to happen, not with the history telling me otherwise. PICK: Chiefs

NEW YORK GIANTS (-10) at SAN FRANCISCO
The Giants are clicking right now and have convinced many non-believers (me) that they are legit. Until this past week, I didn't quite know what to make of New York. After crushing a good Washington team, I'm now of the belief that they are a good team themselves.

(Side note: I picked Washington to cover last week, and within hours I had read all the quotes from Giant players about how badly they wanted to win for Wellington Mara. Not just "win one for the old man" type stuff, either. I'm talking full-on love for the guy. I realized within hours that I had doomed myself to a loss in that game. But I digress.)

The thing with this game is that I can't in good conscience pick the Niners to cover two weeks in a row, especially not when they are coming off a win against a team with a good record already. I'm going to come back to this one at the end and make my pick then, because I've got a bad feeling I'll be wrong no matter who I pick. There's nothing that the stats can do to help out with the pick. It basically comes down to this: Would I rather lay ten points with the Giants as a road dog, or would I rather pick a historically bad team to cover two weeks in a row against playoff contenders? What it comes down to is this: This game is closely related to the Jags/Texans game, in that a decent but not great team is laying 10+ points on the road against a crappy opponent. I figure one of them has got to come through, and I already picked the Jaguars, so what the hell? PICK: Giants

PITTSBURGH (Off) at GREEN BAY
With Roethlisberger out for sure this week, the line on this game will likely be lower than what one might expect. That does not work to our collective advantage. I had wanted to pick Green Bay to at least cover this game, if for no other reason than the way last week ended for them. I thought they could put up a game. Now, they won't be getting nearly as many points as before, and I'd be concerned to go with them. I still believe the Steelers will win the game by about a touchdown, and you should feel comfortable laying that much. Anything over a touchdown, though, and I'm going with Green Bay. PICK: Steelers -7 or less, Packers +7.5 or more

WASHINGTON (-3) vs. PHILADELPHIA
Philadelphia is not, I repeat NOT, one of the "crappy" teams playing at home this week. Regardless of how poor they've looked, they aren't to be taken lightly. Now, with that in mind, the big news out of Philly is that star WR Terrell Owens may miss the next couple of games. The next couple includes this one. Removing Owens from the mix entirely, coupled with the Eagles' defensive deficiencies, combined with Donovan McNabb's obvious injuries, and you've got all the makings of a Washington win. All signs point to it. Mark Brunell has been great, the defense has been outstanding (save for last week against New York). Yes, everything looks like it's in favor of Washington. I know, I'm so predictable. Obviously I'm taking Philadelphia. Not simply because everything points to Washington, either. I just think that I may have overestimated the Skins a bit based on what I saw this past weekend. I realize the Giants played out of their minds, but you'd have thought Washington would have at least shown up. It's not like they have anything in-hand, you know? I may not have learned my lesson with the Eagles last week, but no one's ever told me I wasn't stubborn. PICK: Eagles

INDIANAPOLIS (-3) at NEW ENGLAND
If Bruschi hadn't returned last week, I would've picked the Colts. But seeing as how this is the most awe-inspiring, incredibly emotional event any of us will ever witness (including the birth of our children), I've got to take New England. After all, what Bruschi did will go down in history with the likes of all-time great Americans. And if you haven't picked up on the sarcasm by now, you may never.

Honestly, I'm picking this game for the Pats because of a pattern. And that pattern has been that Peyton Manning hasn't been able to beat New England in the big game. I know, Indianapolis has a defense now. And the Patriots have weaknesses that they haven't had in recent years. And everything tells you to pick the Colts and lay the points without looking back. But there are a few things. A) Until the Patriots become a league laughingstock, I'm not laying points at Foxboro with anyone outside of maybe the '85 Bears. B) I see the Pats dominance as similar to the Atlanta Braves in baseball. Sure, someday Manning will go into Foxboro and beat the Pats. And someday, the Braves will fail to win the National League East. But until that day comes, why bet against it? C) NEW ENGLAND IS GETTING POINTS AT HOME (yes, that's similar to reason "A", but it's so important that I felt I had to remind you). PICK: Patriots (and if the Colts DO win, they are the Super Bowl champs)

BEST BETS

CAROLINA (-1.5) at TAMPA BAY
Looks like Vegas agrees with me that the Bucs' bubble is about to burst. Both teams sit currently at 2-5, yet with the game being played in the city of Tampa, Carolina lays points. That's very telling to me. PICK: Panthers

CINCINNATI (-3) at BALTIMORE
This is the prototype game of the week. We've got a hot team with an explosive offense going up against a team that has dragged its feet basically for two years now. Yet the Bengals are only favored by three. The only reason this line isn't at least ten points is because of Baltimore's defensive reputation. Well, are you aware that the Bengals have only given up five more points than the Ravens, in one extra game? Are you also aware that the last time Carson Palmer faced the Ravens, his stat line looked something like this: 29-36, 382 yards, 3 TD/1 INT? PICK: Bengals

SAN DIEGO (-6.5) at NEW YORK JETS
I saw someone suggest on our forums the other day that if the Chargers don't win by at least three touchdowns, the entire coaching staff should be fired. Now the dilemma I have is this: do I want the win, or do I want Marty out? Hmmmm, decisions, decisions. Alright fine, I'll take the win (and I think this one could get ugly, in a good way). PICK: Chargers

SEATTLE (-4) at ARIZONA
Last I checked, I was still standing by my assertion that I will take Seattle under any and all circumstances pretty much the rest of the year. Will I be swayed the other way if they fail to cover this week? Yep, pretty much. PICK: Seahawks

LOCK OF THE WEEK: San Diego Chargers (good, I like to doom my own team)


LAST WEEK

  • OVERALL: 6-8 (69.2%)
  • BEST BETS: 2-2 (50%)
  • LOCK OF WEEK: 0-1 (0%)

SEASON TOTALS

  • OVERALL: 55-59-2 (48.2%)
  • BEST BETS: 15-16-1 (48.4%)
  • PICK OF WEEK: 3-5 (37.5%)
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