Bye Weeks: Denver, Miami, Oakland,
Last Week's Projections
(5-9) Straight Up - 35.7%
(5-9) Against The Spread - 35.7%
For The Season
(74-56) Straight Up - 56.9%
(71-57-2) Against The Spread - 54.6%
Baltimore (-2) at N.Y. Jets,
Man oh man did that defense lay the whupping on the Browns
last week. That is what great defenses do. When the game is on the
line they come at you with everything and make plays. That was the
name of the game Sunday night when the Ravens held the Browns to
230 yards of total offense. They rendered Garcia helpless and stopped
the Browns running game cold. The Raven offense was largely ineffective
however they only turned the ball over once which is key to success.
This week they will feast upon QCAR and the rust since he has not
taken a meaningful snap since last December. Jamal Lewis should
have a big day.
The Jets took two really big hits on Sunday. First the Bills on
the road manhandled them. It really was not that shocking considering
the Bills have been playing good ball. But the big issue was that
Pennington would be out for 2-4 weeks. That is some terrible news
against the top-rated Ravens D. It looks like QCAR will start and
try to get into his grove against the Ravens D. Q can run, and he
will need to against this pass rush. The Jets will try and control
the game with running Curtis Martin like a thoroughbred but that
is a tall order this week. I think they will have major problems
scoring and should be punting from their own end on several occasions.
I think any Jets player would be a tough one to start this week.
If you have other options, take them.
Final Score: Ravens 17, Jets
Chicago (no line) at Tennessee,
Maybe the upset of the week had to be the Bears over the
Giants. I watched a little of this game and it looked like the G-Men
had it well in hand through the first quarter up 14-0. However Lovie
Smith is proving he can motivate these guys even when they seemingly
have all the odds stacked against them. There was an A-Train sighting
this weekend as the Wolverine rushed for 110 yards and 2 scores.
His college teammate David Terrell finally backed up his mouth by
catching some balls this week for 70 yards. But this game was more
about the Giants mistakes than the Bears offense. The defense played
great as they forced three fumbles and two interceptions. But let
me tell you 8/21 and 144 is not going to cut it against the Titans.
They won't make the same mistakes. Thomas would be an ok start,
no Krenzel and no Terrell as he is too inconsistent.
Tennessee was on a bye last week. They were celebrating their outstanding
victory vs. the Bungals the week before. Chris Brown is proving
he is a monster as he is fifth in the league in rushing yardage.
He also has five TDS. The Titan offense rank at the middle of the
pack and the defense is rolling along at about 13th. Where they
will exploit the Bears is the fact they are one-dimensional. With
no passing game on the road it usually spells trouble. The passing
defense is where the Titans struggle and the Bears will not be able
to take advantage of that. Both teams are 3-5 and badly need a win.
Volek would be an ok start if McNair is not ready. Brown of course,
Final Score: Titans 27, Bears
Detroit (+3) at Jacksonville,
Weird game to call with Leftwich sitting this one out. I have
seen Garrard play in the past and he has some skills. He is quick
on his feet and can throw the rock. But this is a different team
without Byron. I think they will depend on the running game to
bail him out a little. But that was mostly ineffective against
the Texans the week before as they failed to reach the 50 total
rushing yard barrier with Leftwich in for most of the game. Garrard
will eventually be ok but you can't help but think he will struggle
when the Lions bring the kitchen sink. Don't forget the Lions
are very opportunistic on defense and rank 6th in the league in
takeaways (17). Look for all the main offensive players for the
Jags suffer in production until Leftwich returns. I would probably
start Taylor and J Smith and pray for the best.
As we mentioned before nobody is better than the Lions as they
are number #1 in the league in giveaway/takeaway ratio at +11.
They protect the ball very well as they are #1 at least turnovers
with 6. That all being said they had a really disappointing loss
against eh Skins last week at home. Two things that led to their
demise was the lack of a running game and the inability to stop
Portis. Kevin Jones was really bad as he only rushed for 20 yards
on 12 carries. Granted this is a good defense but that is not
the output you would expect from a first round draft pick. Az-Hakim
had a great game torching the Skin secondary with 120 yards. Roy
Williams was silent as the Skins had Springs on him all day. But
I think the Lions will bounce back and move the ball enough to
beat the Jaguars. They will cause some turnovers and work from
a short field.
Final Score: Lions 20, Jags
Houston at Indianapolis
(-9.5), 1:00 pm
Indianapolis won the battle of the great QB's Monday night although
one QB was without perhaps the greatest weapon in football. Even
though Manning had four TDs the Colts won the game with the Edge
on the ground. He beat up the pavement and controlled the clock
all night. Keeping the Pepper on the bench for most of the first
half. He ran for 123 tough yards. Manning is on pace to crack
the 50 TD barrier as he had another fine game against perhaps
the weakest secondary next the Colts. I still see some chinks
in the armor when I watch this Colts defense. They simply cannot
put away good offensive teams because they have no secondary.
They rank dead last in pass defense and next to last in total
defense. I see no championship in their future unless that is
Houston…Houston means that I am one day closer to you. I don't
know the significance to that song and this column I just like
the line. Houston disappointed me in not showing up against the
Broncos. I really thought this team was ready to make the corner
and beat a quality team on the road. I suppose I was wrong. Letting
Plummer throw for 4 TDs and not forcing him to toss a pick or
two, which he likes to do, was their undoing. They let the grocery
store clerk Droughns run for 120 yards and keep the Bronco masses
praising Shanny's name. (As you can see I love tempting Bronco
fans to e-mail me. They are loud when they win but obviously quiet
when they lose. I am sure this week they think they are Super
Bowl bound. We will see what the Chargers have to say about the
division title) Anyway, on to the Texans. Carr, Davis, and Johnson
will have big days. However they will lose this track meet in
the RCA dome.
Final Score: Colts 30, Texans
Kansas City (-4.5) at
New Orleans, 1:00 pm
Both teams come off tough losses that all but knock them from
the playoff hunt. The ironic part is that San Diego - who Kansas
City is chasing in the AFC West - beat New Orleans, while Tampa
Bay - now tied with the Saints in the NFC South - beat the Chiefs.
The Chiefs have gotten good performances recently from QB Trent
Green, who has averaged well over 300 passing yards per game in
his last four games, with 8 TDs to show for it. Since the Saints
are pretty horrible against the pass, he's a lock. Couple that
with the fact that RB Priest Holmes is questionable, and you've
got a lock at QB. A great way to deal with Holmes' injury would
be to pick up RB Derrick Blaylock - if he's available. The only
trouble is that Blaylock, too is injured. If you're lucky enough
to have him already, and even luckier to get an OK from team doctors,
here's your chance. The only other option is RB Larry Johnson,
who Dick Vermeil is not that high on. Stay tuned right up until
gametime and play accordingly. At WR, both Eddie Kennison and
Johnnie Morton look like great plays. TE Tony Gonzalez is putting
up good numbers and is also a must-play. On defense, keep it simple
this week with DB Greg Wesley and LB Scott Fujita.
The Saints also have a few solid plays this week, including QB
Aaron Brooks, RB Deuce McAllister and WR Joe Horn, who is almost
always a lock for 100 yards and a score. WR Jerome Pathon is also
an option, with WR Donte Stallworth both injured and useless.
I still like TE Boo Williams, even though he's been inconsistent
this year. IDP options include DL Charles Grant and DBs Jay Bellamy
and Fred Thomas.
Final Score: Chiefs 30, Saints
Pittsburgh (-4) at Cleveland,
This game looks more like a trap than a coiled piece of metal
smeared with a piece of cheese. Sure, Pittsburgh is hot, but Cleveland
always plays these guys tough. If the Browns run defense can shut
down Duce and the Bus, Big Ben might have some trouble opening
up the passing lanes.
The Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has been steady as a fantasy
QB, but he might not be able to keep it together for long. There's
something about this matchup I don't like, and it has a lot to
do with all the hype the Steelers have gotten. I'd be wary on
playing Ben, Duce Staley and Jerome Bettis, but I'll give the
okay to WR Hines Ward and WR Plaxico Burress, who can't be left
out of fantasy lineups. On defense, I like DB Troy Polamalu, DL
Aaron Smith and LB Joey Porter.
The Browns might be able to crack the tough Pittsburgh defense
with two-headed running attack of Lee Suggs and William Green,
although picking who will emerge as the better start is a tough
call. Since Suggs catches more passes, I'd go with him. WR Andre
Davis is a little dinged up, and with inconsistency riddling the
rest of the Browns receiving corps, I'd keep away. On defense,
the smart plays are DB Anthony Henry, LB Andra Davis and DL Kenard
Final Score: Browns 23, Steelers
Seattle (Pick) at St.
Louis, 1:00 pm
I'd like to see both these offenses in full form, and since neither
team has been playing that well on defense, we might see just
The Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck, RB Shaun Alexander and WR Koren
Robinson are all excellent plays this week against the Rams. Watch
the availability of WR Bobby Engram and WR Darrell Jackson, who
might also be good plays if healthy. TE Jerramy Stevens might
get a few catches, but I'd look elsewhere since he's been inconsistent.
On defense, LB Anthony Simmons has returned and should be a good
start along with DB Ken Hamlin (with DB Ken Lucas questionable)
and DL Chike Okeafor.
The Rams have lots of good fantasy options this week - like always
- including QB Marc Bulger, RB Marshall Faulk, WR Isaac Bruce,
WR Torry Holt and even WR Shaun McDonald and RB Steven Jackson.
Everybody get some. IDP options include DL Leonard Little, Adam
Archuleta and LB Tommy Polley, who has been solid in the last
Final Score: Rams 38, Seahawks
Tampa Bay (+3.5) at Atlanta,
With all the scoring these teams have done lately, I think both
coaching staffs will spend a lot of time this week figuring out
how to slow this game down. While fantasy owners will not be happy,
it's bound to happen.
The Bucs new QB Brian Griese played well against KC, but he'll
have his hands full with the Atlanta pass rush and secondary.
Stay away from Griese and all receivers. The best bet on this
offense is RB Michael Pittman, while defensive options include
LB Derrick Brooks, DB Ronde Barber and DL Greg Spires.
The Falcons have spent almost the entire season baffling prognosticators,
fantasy owners and opposing NFL coaches. QB Michael Vick is capable
of either feast or famine, and since he's not been successful
against the Bucs in his career, I'd predict a famine this week.
Both RBs - T.J. Duckett and Warrick Dunn - will also struggle,
with the edge going to Dunn for his ability to catch passes out
of the backfield and make things happen. WR Peerless Price has
been improving, so he's a decent start, but stay away from everybody
else except TE Alge Crumpler. On defense, the secondary is filled
with good performers, including DBs Bryan Scott and Kevin Mathis.
LB Keith Brooking and DL Patrick Kerney are also must-plays.
Final Score: Falcons 17, Bucs
Cincinnati (+3) at Washington,
Is it time to rejoice in D.C. now that the Redskins have won another
game against a weak conference opponent? What do you think Joe
Gibbs would say?
The Bengals are one of 11 - that's right, ELEVEN - 3-5 teams in
the NFL. Of those 3-5 teams, the Bengals and Cardinals are the
two to be most excited about. QB Carson Palmer has looked okay
recently, but Washington stands a good chance to pick up a few
INTs and sacks. I'd be careful how much faith to put in Palmer.
RB Rudi Johnson, even against a tough run defense, is still a
solid option, and WR Chad Johnson, for all that's been said about
him, always puts up decent numbers. Defensively, there's DB Madieu
Williams, LB Brian Williams and DL Justin Smith.
The Redskins are a team without a leader, since LB LaVar Arrington
has been injured almost all year. While preseason pundits might
have said to look no further than veteran QB Mark Brunell in that
role, he's been as useless as a eunuch at a whorehouse. RB Clinton
Portis and WR Laveranues Coles might have good games, with Portis
the obvious start and Coles falling into the #3 WR category. On
defense, you'd be smart to play LB Antonio Pierce, LB Marcus Washington,
DB Fred Smoot and DB Shawn Springs.
Final Score: Bengals 20, Redskins
(Pick) at San Francisco, 4:15 p.m.
Stephen Davis has made more misleading statements in the past
five weeks than Donald Rumsfeld has in the past five years, which
is saying something. In the meantime, my fantasy team resembles
the Golden Girls cast after a head-on collision with Designing
The Panthers are the worst returning NFC champions in history,
but it's not really their fault. You can't win games without your
#1 receiver, and #1 and #2 running backs. QB Jake Delhomme has
played well lately and will continue to put up numbers against
a weakened Niners secondary. Play him, Davis (if he's healthy),
WR Keary Colbert and WR Muhsin Muhammad. On defense, I recommend
(just like last week) DL Julius Peppers, LB Will Witherspoon and
DB Mike Minter.
The Niners have a couple decent fantasy options this week, but
quarterbacks and wide receivers are not among them. Stay away
from Rattay, Wilson and Conway, but play RB Kevan Barlow and TE
Eric Johnson. On defense, LB Jamie Winborn has been a beast, along
with LB Derek Smith and DB Tony Parrish.
Final Score: 49ers 24, Panthers
(+4) at Green Bay, 4:15 p.m
Minnesota tried to hold on and upset the Colts in Indy but that
didn't happen. Again because of a defense that leaks more than
my uncle's faucet. Culpepper didn't really get started until the
third quarter and tried to again be competitive without the greatest
weapon in football. Randy Moss. It just came out today that Moss
would be out for this game as well. Don't look for him to come
back for about another two weeks. They really should have gotten
him off the field and rehabbing earlier but it is tough to do.
When your offense really centers around one player it goes to
shambles a lot when that player is gone. In any event, look for
a logjam at RB with Moore coming back. There will be an odd man
out when you get Moore, Smith, and Bennett on the same field together.
I have no idea however I think Moore should see the most action.
Start Culpepper, Burleson, Robinson, and Wiggins.
Favre has made a believer out of me. What a QB this guy is. I
think you can make a case that he has had trouble against the
great teams of his era. He couldn't win in Dallas. Had trouble
with San Francisco all in the 90's. But he has a bigger heart
than any QB of his time. This team had failure written out it
at the first of the year and has turned it around big-time. They
are currently on game out of first in the North Division and look
to tie it up this week. The defense is still suspect and ranks
on the south side of the league in yardage allowed. But the Vikings
are without the great Moss and have not played particularly well
on offense since his departure. At home, division on the line,
I think they have to be the favorite to win this one. Start Favre,
Green, Walker, and Driver. They should have fine games against
a suspect defense. However I think the Vikings will cover the
Final Score: Pack 30, Vikings
N.Y. Giants at Arizona
(+2), 4:15 p.m
Hear that?? Hear the footsteps?? Those are Eli Manning's feet
about to run up Warner's ass. If Warner can't play any better
than the pitiful performance he put on Sunday then he needs to
let the young kid take the rains. Two interceptions, two fumbles,
and one near coronary from Coughlin. Barber was the only bright
spot as he racked up 136 total yards and probably is the surprise
fantasy RB of the year so far. Other than that you don't have
much bright spots. Taking a beating for a 2-5 team doesn't do
much for your confidence. I think they will have problems blocking
Arizona's offense front. The Giants offensive line may be one
of the worst in football and with a lead-footed QB that spells
The Cardinals overcame a slow start to put the Dolphins and their
coach out of their misery. Down 12-3 at halftime they score 21
points in the second half and put it away with a Fitzgerald TD
with 9 seconds left. I think the Cardinals will exploit the Giants
weak offensive line and will harass Warner all day. With their
leader gone on defense the Giants will be shorthanded on the defensive
front as well and will get run on all day by the two-headed monster
of Hambrick and Smith. Which statistically speaking they are 50
yards better at home than on the road. Tell you a story? Look
for Fitzgerald, McCown, Smith, and maybe Hambrick to do ok in
this one. At home I think the Cardinals pull it off.
Final Score: Cardinals 21,
(+8.5) at New England, 8:30 p.m.
With Buffalo playing well lately, this might be more of a test
for Bill Belichick and the Patriots than the Rams were last week.
The Bills are now 3-5 and beat the Jets last Sunday with Willie
McCheeselegs and a solid defensive display. With Lawyer Milloy
back in the secondary, these guys are a different team. Unfortunately,
it going to take more than Milloy and momentum to beat one of
the top teams in football. I don't like Drew Bledsoe but this
week he's a decent option considering the status of the Pats secondary.
McGahee looks like an okay play, as do WR Eric Moulds and WR Lee
Evans. On defense, I like DL Aaron Schobel, LB London Fletcher
The Patriots QB Tom Brady is one of the most consistent fantasy
performers, and should be on track for a couple TD passes at the
very least against Buffalo. RB Corey Dillon might have some trouble
with the Bills defense, but is still a solid fantasy start when
healthy. With WR David Givens emerging as the go-to-guy, WR David
Patten has taken a back seat, but I like his chances this week
for a score. And don't get me started about TE Daniel Graham,
whom I've played in consecutive weeks over Dallas TE Jason Witten.
IDP options this week include DB Rodney Harrison (arguably the
best IDP performer in football) LB Tedy Bruschi and DL Richard
Seymour. LB Willie McGinest should also get some looks at Bledsoe,
who's about as good on his feet as a drunken narcoleptic.
Final Score: Pats 27, Bills
Philadelphia at Dallas,
You had to know that Philly was running into a buzz saw last week
in Pittsburgh. There is nobody playing better ball than the Steel
Men right now. McNabb looked his worst in the post-Owens era and
nobody else did much better. Check out these numbers, Westbrook-17
yards, Owens 53 yards and no scores. McNabb busted out an eye
boggling 109-0-1 pick. Geez were they beaten. Also it is being
played off but don't tell me T.O. wasn't giving to McNabb on the
sideline. T.O. is ALWAYS open as he says. I am sure that is what
the conversation was about on the sideline. We will chalk this
one up as just something said during the battle but keep an eye
on this situation. But there is one remedy to this situation…the
Speaking of the boy's secondary they have allowed (and this ain't
no joke) 8 passes of over 40 yards. That ranks third most in the
league. What does that tell you? The Cowboys give up the big play.
What are they faced with this week? Two guys that can snatch your
children with big plays. Another interesting fact, the Cowboys
have given up 16 passing TDs this season. That ranks 5th worse
in the league. Bottom line? Buckle up the kids because you have
a pissed off team coming in and will reap havoc on this fading
team. What did the Cowboys show you last week? That Vinny throws
more interceptions than Plummer. Had to throw the Bronco dig in
there. When Jason Whitten is your main weapon you can lock the
doors and go to bed. This team is done and needs a major facelift.
Final Score: Philly 30 Cowboys