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Week 9

Week 9
Sunday - 1:00 PM EST Sunday, 4:00 PM EST
DAL at CIN - CB NO at SD - AD
KC at TB - CB SEA at SF - AD
OAK at CAR - AD NE at STL - CB
PHI at PIT - AD Sunday - 8:30 PM EST
  Monday - 9:00 PM EST
  MIN at IND - AD

Bye Weeks:

Last Week's Projections
(8-6) Straight Up - 57.1%
(9-5) Against The Spread - 64.3%

For The Season
(69-47) Straight Up - 59.5%
(66-48-2) Against The Spread - 56.8%

Arizona (+3) at Miami, 1:00 p.m
I don't real know what the line's people were thinking when they made Miami a three point favorite. They got torched Monday night but Pennington and the running game of the Jets. They showed zero heart and zero effort from a once highly touted defense. It looks as though they have given up the dream again with emotional leader Junior Seau out for the year. I have to say that I called it last week that the Jets would put up some points against this team. The Dolphins defense fell to 29th in the league (148.6 YPG) after giving up an incredible 275 rushing yards to the Jets. These guys are simply small up front and fall victim to a downhill running game. The passing offense looked better as Randy McMichael continues to be the man with 87 yards and a score. He is 2nd in the league behind Antonio Gates with 535 yards receiving. He is really the only player worth starting on this team and I think they will get run over by the improving and big offensive line of the Cardinals.

Arizona was disappointing last week against a streaking Buffalo Bills team. The Cardinals have some young talent but raw right now. They play much better at home it seems but I think they will find the Dolphins to be much more giving than the Bills. The old man Emmitt Smith keeps putting up respectable numbers and may end up with close to 1000 yards this year. Boldin is back however it will take him a little bit of time to get going again. I think they should play well in this game against a defense that can't stop the run. That will open up some things downfield for McCown. All and all this will not be a game to Tivo.

Final Score: Cardinals 17, Fins 13

Dallas (-1 ˝) at Cincinnati, 1:00 p.m.
Well how bout that?? The Cowboys do have a running game. Pound the ball. Pound the ball. If Parcells will just 86 this run and shoot crap he has asked his 75 year old QB to do. And the dreaded running back by committee that everyone hates and never works that might win some games. They really came through against a pretty good Lions team when the chips were down at one point. Eddie didn't have a sweet average but he did his thing..beating people up. Jason Witten is another guy that keeps improving. He had 84 yards and a score. The concerns are still there though. Especially on defense where they continue to give up passing yards and the offense continues to give up the ball. These things will haunt them if not corrected. But I think they have plenty to handle Cincinnati.

After their inspired performance last week the Bengals went back to what made them 1-4 to begin the season. Ineffective running game, turnovers, and letting people run up and down the field on them. Two things you have to do in NFL, run the ball and stop the run and the Bengals can do neither. There comes a time when you have to ask the question about Palmer as a leader. This team simply is not responding to him the way they did Kitna last year. Can't tell you why it is just plain to see when you watch them. Chad Johnson has been a non-factor this season and some folks spent a high draft pick for this bum. There are about four TE that have more receiving yards. I think they will fold again because Dallas is solid enough on defense to hold them down and a changed philosophy on offense will keep the chains moving.

Final Score: Cowboys 24, Bungals 21

Kansas City (-3) at Tampa Bay, 1:00 p.m.
I know it is the Bucs D and all of that but Holmes is out of his mind right now. Seven TDS in two games. He has established himself again as the best back in football playing behind the best line in football. You know what pisses me off? Was it not four weeks ago we were hearing of how Thomas Jones was the new Holmes?? I get tired of sports writers getting their jeans steaming over some flash in the pan guy how happens to start off fast. Goes to show you that you stick with the horses and ride them to they are dead. If there is one thing I leaned playing FF is that wholesale changes usually equal wholesale losses. Stick with your draft for the most part. Trade because of injury not because you had a bad week. Holmes is #1 in yards, #1 in TDS again and Green has been on fire as of late. He had 389 yards and 3 scores dishing assists to Gonzalez all day. Gonzalez had his first monster game of the year with 125 yards and 2 scores. Tampa has the best overall defense in the league by yards but they can be run on. They give up 117 ypg. That is why I think the Chiefs are on a roll and will win.

Tampa was on a bye last week but I don't think anyone noticed. Well let's see. Where to start? They are 23rd in total offense, 19th in passing, 27th in rushing. Although the offense has looked better with Griese and Pittman in the line-up. Not that much better, but better. I don't think even with their kill-them-all defense they have a prayer against the Chiefs. They are just too hot right now. It comes down to the offense lines, as usual, and the Chiefs are better. Although don't think it will be a blowout. Playing at home and with that defense will certainly keep them in it.

Final Score: Chiefs 23, Bucs 17

N.Y. Jets (-3) at Buffalo, 1:00 p.m.
Although Buffalo proved they could surprise everyone with beating the Cardinals last week don't expect a repeat performance. The Bills have found their power running game with the man McGahee. If you own Travis Henry you can go ahead and mark him up. Barring injury to Willis Henry will not see anything but the bench. He will probably sign with another team in the off-season, as this is McGahee's team now. Bledsoe was horrible again but that had to do with the weather in Buffalo more than his overall performance. Don't expect much from Moulds in this either, as the weather will only get worse. Look for a decent game from McGahee

There were a few non-believers when I said the Jets would put up over 21 on the Fins last week. Believe in The Show because I again went 6 for 7 against the spread last week. The Jets are back running on all cylinders. They went off for over 250 yards against the Fins and will probably do the same against the Bills. With the weather and killer winds in Buffalo I would not expect a huge game from Pennington. Maybe a lot like last week 180 yards and couple of TD passes. Martin should have a good game against a Buffalo D that is not that bad. They are 2nd in the league in yards against. But Martin is too hot to sit. This will be close do to weather.

Final Score: Jets 17, Bills 13

Oakland (+7) at Carolina, 1:00 p.m.
I'm pretty sure Al Davis and the Raiders are a cursed organization since January 1984, the last time they won a Super Bowl. While the Raider curse may have a lot to do with Commissioner Paul Tagliabue - the NFL attorney who dealt with all the lawsuits Davis filed during the Rozelle era - it's the injury curse that has befallen the Panthers, who have compiled more trips to the doctor than the National Hypochondriacs Association.

The Raiders, as I've said before, are a team without an identity. They should establish their identity as the team that never gave up on Tyrone Wheatley, but with the Michigan alumnus approaching the last few years of his career, his time's running out. I don't like Kerry Collins, Amos Zereoue, Jerry Porter, Doug Gabriel or even Ronald Curry, but I like Wheatley. Play him, TE Doug Jolley and these defensive players: LB Danny Clark, DL Tyler Brayton and DB Ray Buchanan.

The Panthers will start winning games as soon as they have Stephen Davis healthy - it's just that simple. With Charles Woodson doubtful for Oakland, Jake Delhomme will definitely be looking for Keary Colbert and Muhsin Muhammed, and all three guys are good plays. If Davis is healthy, I would (and will) play him too. But if he can't go, I'd stay away from Brad Hoover and/or Joey Harris. TE Kris Mangum may also be an option. On defense, Dan Morgan is concussed, leaving more pressure on the performance of DL Julius Peppers the bulk of tackles for the likes of LB Will Witherspoon and DB Mike Minter.

Final Score: Panthers 23, Raiders 17

Philadelphia (-1) at Pittsburgh, 1:00 p.m.
How about a round of applause for our man Cliff? He called the Pats-Steelers game last week and my hat goes off to him. As much as I'd like to see the Steelers embarrass the Eagles and Terrell Owens in this Pennsylvania battle, they will definitely have their hands full.

The Eagles are 7-0 and have won a few of them by the skin of their cheese steaks. Even against a tough Pittsburgh defense, both QB Donovan McNabb and Owens are good plays, but not anybody else except K David Akers (and who cares about kickers?). On defense, I'm expecting big games from DL Jevon Kearse, LB Mark Simoneau, DB Brian Dawkins and DB Michael Lewis.

The Steelers won't get great numbers from Ben Roethlisberger, but Big Ben looked more like Tom Brady than Brady himself last week. Ben doesn't ever really disappoint, however, so play him if you have no other viable options in the top 10. I think Duce Staley will have a good game versus his old team, but would sit Bettis this week. At WR, Plaxico Burress is surpassing Hines Ward as the go-to guy near the end zone, but they are both solid plays every week from here on out. On defense, Joey Porter finally appeared and you should ride him while he's hot. Obviously, DBs Troy Polamalu and Deshea Townsend have been the most consistent performers.

Final Score: Eagles 24, Steelers 20

Washington (+3.5) at Detroit, 1:00 pm
These teams are headed in opposite directions, although without WR Roy Williams, the Detroit offense resembles something out of a George Romero film.

The Redskins seem to have one (maybe two) solid fantasy performer(s) each week. Last week, it was WR "Roid" (as in hemorrhoid) Gardner, while it is usually Clinton Portis. WR Laveranues Coles has yet to find the end zone, and he's had three serviceable games out of seven. I have a feeling he'll make it four out of eight. Don't play Brunell, but Portis, Gardner and Coles should be okay. Defensively, you'd be hard pressed to find two better fill-in linebackers than Antonio Pierce and Marcus Washington. DBs Shawn Springs and Fred Smoot have also had some good games.

The Lions will have trouble getting their offense going against the Redskins, who are almost strictly classified as a "defensive team" these days. If Roy Williams is healthy, he's a good play, but other than him and possibly Az-Zahir Hakim, there's not a lot to go with. The Redskins have the #1 run defense in football, so RB Kevin Jones might struggle. On defense, I like DL James Hall, LB Earl Holmes and DB Dre Bly.

Final Score: Lions 13, Redskins 10

Chicago (+9) at N.Y. Giants, 4:05 p.m.
Are the Giants really 5-2? Could this be considered a trap game? Is Craig Krenzel related to Santa Claus? The answers to those questions and more this week on "60 minutes of diuretic old people who can't stop wetting themselves and complaining."

The Bears have no real offensive weapons other than Thomas Jones and Anthony Thomas. I know that David Terrell has potential, but peep this. In 44 career games, Terrell has 1-3 catches in 33 of them. The other 11? 5-0-9-0 (2004), 7-0-4-5-7-5 (2003), and 7 (2001). So 75 percent of the time, he catches one, two or three balls. Since the start of 2003, he's got one touchdown reception, and none this year. If you are in a five deep receiver league, he might be a mediocre backup. So my advice is to watch the injury report, and play Jones or Thomas, whomever is the starter. Other than that, there's not too much to talk about on offense. IDP options include LB Brian Urlacher, LB Lance Briggs, DB Mike Green and DL Alex Brown.

The Giants have an MVP candidate in Tiki Barber, who has carried the football like it's a Fabergé egg this season. He fumbled just one time and the Giants recovered it. This week, you'll have success with Kurt Warner, Barber and Jeremy Shockey. Stay away Ike Hilliard, who's been almost nonexistent this season, and Amani Toomer until he's 100 percent. On defense, the main guys are DL Michael Strahan, LB Kevin Lewis and rookie DB Gibril Wilson. DBs Will #1 and Will #2 might also get some picks against Cris Kringle.

Final Score: Giants 20, Bears 10

New Orleans (+6.5) at San Diego, 4:05 p.m.
With New Orleans getting all those points, they are very tempting. But so were the Sirens.

The Saints are perhaps the most underachieving team in the league, but they still have a good shot at the playoffs if they can string together some wins and beat Atlanta. I really like Aaron Brooks, Deuce McAllister, Joe Horn and Boo Williams (if he plays) this week. The Chargers defense is porous at best and these teams will probably have a shoot-out. IDP options include DL Charles Grant, LB Orlando Ruff and DB Jay Bellamy.

The Chargers are 5-3 and looking strong, but with RB LaDainian Tomlinson nursing injuries, he's not the stud he once was. Still, I like QB Drew Brees, LT, WRs Eric Parker and Keenan McCardell against a weak, debilitated Saints secondary. Defensively, the best performers have been LBs Donnie Edwards and Steve Foley and DB Terrence Kiel.

Final Score: Saints 31, Chargers 30

Seattle (-7) at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.
Other than watching injuries, preparing for this one will be pretty straight forward for fantasy owners. Sure, anything can happen on gameday, but the numbers usually don't lie in matchups like this.

The Seahawks have two sure thing starts this week in QB Matt Hasselbeck and RB Shaun Alexander. What did I say last week about Alexander? "The Seahawks can expect a huge day from Shaun Alexander, who might get 200 yards and three touchdowns this week. I just think a huge day from him is long overdue." Oh, okay. How about 195 rushing 13 receiving and two scores? This week, I'd play Koren Robinson (unless he's suspended) and go with Jerry Rice against his old team. I know Rice laid an egg last week and was pork-fried into submission against the Panthers, but the 49ers have almost no starters left in the secondary and little chance of stopping a legend. Try again with TE Jerramy Stevens, and on defense, go with DL Chike Okeafor, finally healthy LB Anthony Simmons and DB Ken Lucas.

The 49ers don't have much going for them anymore, with Tim Rattay and Brandon Lloyd hurt and inconsistency from almost all offensive positions. TE Eric Johnson is probably the best play this week, with Kevan Barlow a remote possibility along with WRs Curtis Conway and Cedrick Wilson, who might get some garbage yards when the Niners fall behind. On defense, I'd play DL Bryant Young, LBs Derek Smith and Jamie Winborn and DB Tony Parrish.

Final Score: Seahawks 30, Niners 17

Houston (+6) at Denver, 4:15 p.m
It is weird to see the hot Houston Texans this much of a dog against a team that is in a big-time slump. But this is football. This is the NFL. Maybe it is me? I hate to say this because the Bronco fans seem to read this column religiously but is Shanahan a little overrated as a coach? I see so many shows that just worship the ground the guy walks on. His has two rings don't get me wrong but his post-Elway years have been ok but with being a superior coach as everyone makes him out to be you would think his record would be better. Just a thought I could be wrong but more than likely not. What about the great Droughns?? I saw this guy on every talk show in America last week. He should have been getting ready for the next game before the clock turns midnight on this guy and he turns back into the pumpkin. He had 49 yards being that he finally went up against a quality run defensive unit. But I think that hat more to do with them being so far behind. He will still do well in that system until everyone figures him out. Plummer 400 yards, 4TDS, 3 picks and those picks were costly. Typical Plummer game. Just for the record that block last week against the Bengals was not illegal but cheap as hell and should be illegal. They can cry all they want about other teams but there is no other team that puts lineman out of commission like the Broncos.

Houston has been laying the hammer down in a big way. That win vs. the Jags may be the biggest in their short history. A good win against a quality opponent. David Carr is growing into a great QB. He is looking more comfortable and making fewer mistakes. He had 276 yards passing and a TD against the Jags. For them to be successful on the road they must establish a better-run game. Davis has got to show more than his 56 he put up last week. The Broncos defense was embarrassed against the Falcons and is looking to re-establish themselves. IT will be a tough test. I would go with Carr and Johnson. Davis is risky in this one.

Final Score: Broncos 22, Texans 18

New England at St. Louis (+2 ˝), 4:15 p.m
Anyone want to get off the Patriot bandwagon now before it is too late? Injuries just are ravishing them and even the mighty Patriots may not be able to overcome them. I called the loss to the Steelers last week. I just thought the Steelers were on a roll and the Patriots just looked like there was loss coming. I didn't however se that the Steelers would dominate from start to finish. The Pats were never in this one. They gave up an incredible 210 yards rushing. They gave up three offense TDS and one defensive, as they were not playing Patriot ball with two fumbles and two interceptions. Big issue was no Corey Dillon. As of press time we are not sure of Dillon's status for this game but they will be needed. It also looks as though Ty Law will be out for 4-6 weeks, which severely hampers the defense. The coaching staff is good but it would take a miracle to stop the Rams with this patchwork defense.

The Rams were on a much-needed bye last week and have had time to heel and prepare for the Pats. The Rams are still smarting for their humiliating defeat to the Fins before the break in week 7. They will be looking to get that offense on track in the dome where they are 22 out of their last 27 and 10 out their last 11. They simply play better under the bright lights of the Edward George dome. They are 6th in the league in total offense however the defense is ranked 28th in the league and allows a big-time 360 total yards per game. So Brady should have a pretty good day but I think this will be a track meet and when it turns to that the Rams normally come out on top.

Final Score: Rams 35, Patriots 31

Cleveland at Baltimore (-6), 8:30 p.m
This will be a snoozer but an important game for both teams. As expected the Ravens got beat by the Eagles but they really stayed with them fro most of the game. I am sure Lewis did not like the impersonation by T.O. in the end zone. But as Deion says, if you don't like it then don't let him score. The Ravens will be fired up and ready to go, as they need this win to keep pace with the Steelers for control of the division. Jamal Lewis coming back and should have a good game in store for us. The Ravens should go back to their standard control game and should really control the Browns offense.

Cleveland was on a bye and looking to win one as they are only 3-4 and starting to fall back in the playoff race. They are middle of the road on defense and have a tendency to let teams throw on them a little but probably not this week. They will have stop Jamal Lewis to survive. The problem is that the Ravens are one of best bounce back teams there are. Especially since they got their manhood questioned by the Eagles last week. I think at home with crowd going wild and the revenge factor makes this a Raven win.

Final Score: Ravens 20, Browns 13

Minnesota (+6) at Indianapolis, 9:00 p.m.
Yikes, we might see a repeat of last week's KC-Indy festival with Minnesota heading into town.

The Vikings should get good numbers from Daunte Culpepper, who had his worst game of the season against the Giants last week. With Randy Moss injured, his numbers have dropped off. If Moss can play for more than a play or two with that hammy problem, he's a threat, but he's difficult to rely on with the past two weeks as an indicator and Marcus Robinson and Nate Burleson playing well in his stead. The running back situation is even more confusing, with four running backs trying to split carries. Given his injury, Mewelde Moore might get some needed rest, although you never know in this league. I think the best bet this week is Onterrio Smith, who is healthy and racked up yardage both rushing and receiving before serving his four-game suspension. The wild cards are Michael Bennett and Moe Wiliams, who might also get goal line carries and share the rushing load. I think Culpepper, Smith, Burleson and TE Jermaine Wiggins are the best plays this week, especially since both Moss and Robinson are hurt. On defense, look to the secondary, where Antoine Winfield, Corey Chavous, Brian Russell and Brian Williams should see lots of action.

The Colts are the best offensive team in football, with every skill position starter a contributor. With that said, do not hesitate to play Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Stokely and the TE of your choice (Marcus Pollard or Dallas Clark). IDP options include DL Dwight Freeney, LB David Thornton and LB Cato June. Normally, I'd have a slew of DBs here, but since the entire starting secondary is on the injury report as either doubtful or questionable, the situation doesn't look good. DBs Mike Doss and Idrees Bashir are the two best, but watch the report as it develops to see their availability.

Final Score: Colts 34, Vikes 31