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Week 12

Week 12
Thursday Sunday, 4:00 PM EST
IND at DET - AD BAL at NE - CB
Sunday - 1:00 PM EST NO at ATL - AD
CLE at CIN - AD MIA at SF - AD
PHI at NYG - AD Sunday - 8:30 PM EST
SD at KC - CB OAK at DEN - AD
TB at CAR - CB Monday - 9:00 PM EST
TEN at HOU - CB STL at GB - CB
WAS at PIT - CB  

Last Week's Projections
(12-4) Straight Up - 75.0%
(8-7-1) Against The Spread - 53.3%

For The Season
(95-65) Straight Up - 59.3%
(88-69-3) Against The Spread - 56.0%

Indianapolis (-9.5) at Detroit, 12:37 p.m.
If Detroit fans become a little sleepy from the trypophan, I'm sure Peyton Manning's aerial attack will wake them up.

The Colts get a chance this Thanksgiving to show the entire country what Indianapolis area viewers already know: It's fun to watch Manning throw touchdowns. Stop picking at the turkey skin and play Manning, RB Edgerrin James, WRs Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Brandon Stokley as well as TEs Marcus Pollard and Dallas Clark. Sure, somebody might get left out - but your chances are good for a touchdown and 75 or more yards in offense at each of these skill positions. Defensively, the standouts in the secondary are different from week to week depending on injuries, but LB Cato June and DL Robert Mathis are pretty consistent in the front seven. Also start DB Mike Doss, who is back this week.

The Lions have their work cut out for them keeping up with the Colts juggernaut, but their fantasy performance should benefit from the shootout atmosphere the Indy matchup propagates. Go with QB Joey Harrington, WR Roy Williams and RB Kevin Jones. IDP options include DBs Brock Marion and Dre Bly, LB Earl Holmes and DL James Hall.

Final Score: Colts 37, Lions 24

Cleveland (+6) at Cincinnati, 1:00 p.m.
Butch Davis and Cleveland's coming
The Bengals are on their own
This Sunday I hear the drumming
The battle in Ohio...

Gotta get down to it
Holcomb is gunning us down
Should have been a starter long ago
What if you owned him and
Had him dead on the bench?
Now you can prove that you know.

The Browns, with Garcia injured, will probably turn over the once-capable offense to proverbial backup Kelly Holcomb, who plays as efficiently as the average NFL starter but can't get the clipboard out of his hand to save his bacon. With RB Lee Suggs injured - again - the Browns turn to William "Blood" Green. I think this will be a good week for the Cleveland offense, which will likely be pretty loose with such low expectations. I'm smelling a big upset, but that could just be the turkey cooking. WR Antonio Bryant might catch a few deep balls this week and TE Aaron Shea will continue to be a good play. On defense, it's DL Kenard Lang, LB Andra Davis and DB Robert Griffith.

The Bengals offense might have a tough time cracking the Browns, who are underrated and have improved throughout the year. Stay away from Palmer, but go with Rudi Johnson and Chad Johnson, just because you have to. IDP options include DL Duane Clemons, DL Justin Smith, LB Landon Johnson and DB Madieu Williams.

Final Score: Browns 31, Bengals 17

Jacksonville (+6) at Minnesota, 1:00 p.m.
With my opponent sporting Daunte Culpepper and most of the Vikings offense, I'm somewhat enthusiastic about Minnesota turning the ball over six or seven times. And if I didn't know any better, I'd keep my hunches to myself. But I think the Jaguars are bound to play inspired ball coming off a tough loss to Tennessee and facing against one of their toughest opponents yet.

The Jaguars have some uncertainty at QB, but either Byron Leftwich or David Garrard will be good plays this week at Minnesota, which is a breeding ground for fantasy points. RB Fred Taylor are WR Jimmy Smith are also wise plays with a big win on the line for Jacksonville. IDP options include DL Greg Favors, LB Mike Peterson and LB Akin Ayodele.

The Vikings may get Randy Moss back this week, but beware the false sense of security the Randy Ratio can bring. Even with two or three touchdowns as a guarantee, I'd be surprised if Culpepper didn't turn the ball over multiple times as well. Although the Jags have a good run defense, RB Onterrio Smith will likely get some catches and a score. Don't forget to start WR Nate Burleson and TE Jermaine Wiggins. On defense, DL Lance Johnstone comes off a huge game, so start him, LB E.J. Henderson and DB Antoine Winfield, who has boatloads of tackles and a few picks this year.

Final Score: Jags 27, Vikings 24

Philadelphia (-7) at N.Y. Giants, 1:00 p.m.
I knew the Giants would wake up and smell New Jersey sooner or later.

The Eagles have several excellent fantasy options this week, including all of the stars from Week One: QB Donovan McNabb, RB Brian Westbrook, WR Terrell Owens and TE L.J. Smith. On defense, it's a little more complicated, but I'd go with LB Jeremiah Trotter and DBs Lito Sheppard, Brian Dawkins and Sheldon Brown.

The Giants will play better than in the season opener, but I still can't recommend starting rookie QB Eli Manning. RB Tiki Barber and TE Jeremy Shockey should be safe, but stay away from wide receivers Amani Toomer and Ike Hiliard. On defense, DB Gibril Wilson, LB Kevin Lewis and LB Nick Greisen are all good plays if healthy come gametime.

Final Score: Eagles 30, Giants 19

Chicago at Dallas (-3), 4:35 p.m
Thanksgiving day in Big D. It is a yearly tradition that we all love. The Cowboys especially as they have won over 70% of Turkey Day games over the years. Many teams have wanted to share the national spotlight on this day but the NFL won't let it happen. The Julius Jones and Drew Henson era has begun officially this week. Speaking of official the Cowboys got officially thumped by the Ravens last week. They lost 30-10 and made Kyle Boller look like a superstar. This defense is pitiful and badly in need of an overhaul. It doesn't help your cause when your QB continues to put the defense in bad positions with interceptions. Testaverde has thrown 8 over his last thre games. Parcells is loyal to a fault however it is time to break in the new kid while there is season left to play. I think they will come out fired up and the defense will not have to be great to stop this offense. Henson has more tools than Testaverde and Jones should have a big day and take some pressure off the kid.

The Bears were not expected to do much last week against the Colts and that is what they did. Nothing. Getting the crap kicked out of them by 31 and letting the Edge steamroll them for 200 yards. That is pathetic. However pick your poison with that team. If you concentrate on the run Manning will let the cannons fire on you. If you go Vice Versa and try to stop the pass then the Edge has alot of running lanes. What are you going to do? The Bears decided not to stop anything last week and let Manning roll up 211 yards and 4 TDS. The Bears just decided to let this game go and wait for Thursday, as the opponent will be more to their liking. Krenzel will still be behind center and that is not good. I have never seen anyone do less as a QB and be 3-1. But that is today's NFL. Thomas Jones is back but is really going to be keyed on this game. I wouldn't start anyone really.

Final Score: Cowboys 21, Bears 17

San Diego (+3) at Kansas City, 1:00 p.m
Curious line this week on this game. The Chargers are the leagues hottest team yet they are 3-point underdogs? Against a depleted Chiefs team that is still looking for a pass interference call on Tony Gonzalez. Weird but true. The Chiefs tried their damndest to beat the defending champs last week but didn't have the slightest bit of defense to do it. They just couldn't stop Brady and he carved them up like turkey on Thanksgiving. Looks like Holmes will be out again this week and Blaylock gets the start. The difference is that the Chargers have a good defense. Great against the run as they have not allowed a 100-yard rusher all year. So Blaylock will not be a good start in this one. Go with Green, Gonzo, and maybe Morton. Green had a fabulous game last week by the way. It just looks to be a too little too late.

We knew at the first of the year that one of these teams would be looking for the division crown at this point. We just didn't think it would be the Bolts. Marty has got to be coach of the year if this keeps up. I mean gosh some people thought they might not win a game. Picking up McCardell has been a genius move and they have just been rolling ever since. They are tied with the Broncs for the lead and should not be looking forward to that game until they get through this one. Tomlinson finally had a breakout game last week rushing for 164 yards on a man sized 37 carries. That is what owners envisioned at the first of the year. He is looking healthy and ready for the stretch run. But the big story in Chargers-vile is the play of Antonio Gates. I usually don't compare folks to the great Gonzalez but this guy may be the next coming. He leads the AFC in TDs with 9 just behind Owens for the league lead. That is incredible for a guy who didn't play college football at Kent State. He is the #1 TE in football in my opinion. Start Brees, Tomlinson, Gates, and McCardell.

Final Score: Chargers 30, Chiefs 21

Tampa Bay at Carolina (+2 1/2) , 1:00 p.m.
So much for the 49ers hanging with the Bucs for 8 1/2. What a slaughter that was. I mean I don't think the 49ers got passed the 20. Erickson needs to find another job. I would want to get out of there too. That team is horrible and doesn't look to be getting better anytime soon. Griese got in there and looked to do some things right but he had a few mistakes. Didn't hurt them though as the 49ers could not score all day. Pittman looked good with 106 yards and two TDs. I never understood why Gruden went and got Garner anyway. Pittman is younger and a better player for that matter. I know his off-field issues are alarming but concentrate on someone who isn't on the south side of 30 for a change. This game will be much different for the Bucs. They are away from home. They will be facing a much better offense. We will see how they respond.

Carolina broke out the offense and the defense against the Cardinals who were playing some decent ball before last week. However the defense forced three interceptions from King and one fumble recovery. Nick Goings rushed for 121 yards and three scores. It looks like Daivs may be done for his career and if he is still available you need to pick up Goings as he looks to be the man for the time being. I don't think there is a hotter receiver not named T.O. than Muhammad right now. They guy has had 3 100-yard games in his last four and 7 TDs in that same span including 5 in the last two weeks. He is putting up monster numbers right now and you have to ride the wave until it is gone. The Carolina defense would not be a bad play in this either. Start Delhomme, Goings, and Muhammad in this one.

Final Score: Panthers 24, Bucs 21

Tennessee at Houston (+1 1/2), 1:00 p.m
The Texans put on a great effort against the Packers last week. But as many teams have seen the greatness of Favre usually comes through. As my friend said last week as he Packers were starting their final drive. "They should just give him the ballgame now and avoid the embarrassment". A few minutes later Longwell is driving one down the middle, game over. Heartbreaking but a lesson to Carr on how a champion wins games. Carr had a decent game as he didn't turn the ball over but his numbers were not that great and he didn't make enough plays to win it. The defense kept Favre under wraps for most of the game with a zone blitz and confusing shifts. He got his yards but they had a bend don't break thing going on. They let Donald Driver go nuts and torch the hell out of them. Offensively the Texans were not at their best other than Johnson who had 100-yards receiving. Go with Carr, Davis, and Johnson in this one.

The Titans are an enigma to me. Every time I pick against them they win then every time I pick with them they lose. Maybe they won't me to pick against them every week. Well they got their wish this week. McNair was back last week against the Jags and looked ok. They played some consistent ball and won this game surprisingly. Smith had 95 yards rushing in Chris Brown's absence. There was not much offense in this one as the defenses ruled the day. I think however this week may be different. I like the Texans offense to make some big plays this week and the Titans offense to cough up the ball at least twice. McNair is bound to have a bad start in him trying to come back from injury and crowd will be on him in Houston. Start Smith.

Final Score: Texans 32, Titans 20

Washington at Pittsburgh (+10 1/2) , 1:00 p.m
The Steelers won the game last week but not convincingly. They were big favorites against the Bengals and almost let them pull out a victory. Roethlisberger finally had a game that he might want to forget as he made some mistakes. He missed several open receivers, fumbled the ball, and generally looked like a rookie in this one. I know everybody thinks he is the second coming of Joe Namath but give the kid some slack it will take him some time to get there. He is going to have many games like this before he reaches his full potential. He had a miserable 138 yards passing mostly on short routes as they kept the offense simple for him. At some point defenses are going to figure that out and take the Bus away and make Ben beat them. In the playoffs you will see that and don't be surprised if the kid falters. He has a lot of football in him so expectations are important. However the Skins will not pose a challenge. Start Bettis, Plax, and Ward.

Joe Gibbs probably wished he were still racing right now. You have to understand that this is a different NFL than what Gibbs is used to. His biggest mistake was Brunell because he has nothing left in the tank. Believe me when I say this situation is not going to get any better. The credit card bill will come due in about 2 years and all of these free agent pick-ups will weight this team down for years. See 49ers. Portis just had a horrendous game with only 37 yards rushing. Hope he isn't your start back. You are probably about 2-8 right now. He has only had two 100-yard games out of 10. In that same span he has been less than 70 yards 5 times. He has only 3 TDs. You can blame it on the offense, the line, whatever. But he hasn't done his job either. Right now you would have to say the Broncos are living the dream. I hate to say that because I hate the Broncos but I call it like I see it. Start nobody from this team, as the Steelers will put the finishing touches on this week.

Final Score: Steelers 28, Skins 9

Baltimore at New England (+7), 4:15 p.m
New England at home. It is about as automatic as dying and taxes. Bet the farm on this one as the Pats are making their annual run through the bottom half of the schedule in fine fashion. They got back their leading receiver in Branch last week as if this offense needed any more firepower. When a guy like Troy Brown has to play defense just to get on the field then you know you have some receivers. This offense will not be stopped I can tell you. You are going to have to outscore them. The Chiefs tried last week but could not get it done. Brady had another fine day at the office with 315 yards and a score. Corey had has normal workman like day with 98 yards and 2 scores and the aforementioned Branch had 105 and a score. Looks like Patriot football to me. The Defense is still having problems with the fact they have no secondary right now. However they bent but did not break last week not allowing Gonzo to score to beat them. FYI though I have to go with the Chiefs on this one. Gonzo got mugged.

The Ravens pitched an almost shutout against the Cowboys. Defensively they had a field day. Harassing any QB that wanted to come under center. Forcing a fumble and two picks. Boller looked good against the Cowboys secondary (who doesn't) throwing for 232 yards and 2 scores. His favorite target being Travis Taylor who had 69 yards. Lewis got injured in the first quarter and does not look to be playing this week. Look for Taylor to get the start. Chester Taylor that is. However without Lewis they just don't have the firepower to stay with the Pats at home. Ray Lewis and his band of merry men will try to do their thing but the offense has to score and I don't think they will do that. Start nobody from this team as well.

Final Score: Pats 28, Ravens 10

Buffalo at Seattle (-5), 4:15 p.m
Hate picking against Buffalo. I didn't want to last week as I thought they might have chance against the Rams and they did. I just didn't have the balls to pull the trigger. But they are away from that purgatory they call a stadium and are in Seattle where the Seahawks do not lose (that often). Buffalo simply played an inspired half against the rams as they did what most teams that beat the Rams do. They were very physical and got into their heads. Martz team is not very good when it becomes a physical showdown. They like the frilly offensive showdowns. Why is it that Martz complains constantly when his team loses? It is always about cheap shots. Just take the loss, heal, and shut up. Anyway, Bledsoe came back strong and had 185 yards and 3 scores. Mr. McGahee broke the 100-yard barrier and had another 27 yards rushing. I like the fact that Buffalo will be able to score on this defense so start Bledsoe, Moulds, and Willis.

Seattle's receivers are laughable. It is getting ridiculous with all the drops. I watched Dilfer walk off the field on Sunday smiling to himself. It is like you are amazed when they do catch it. Jerry Rice was the leading receiver with 86 yards and a score. He knows how to catch a ball. He probably will be better at catching a ball than Darrell Jackson when he is 50. Shaun Alexander continued his torrid pace and had 96 yards and a score. His is bordering Top 3 territory. I think they will have a tough time moving the ball against Buffalo if Dilfer starts. They need Hasslebeck to move this offense and the receivers to catch the damn ball. Start Hasslebeck if he plays, Alexander, and Jackson.

Final Score: Seahawks 24, Bills 17

New Orleans (+9.5) at Atlanta, 4:05 p.m.
Atlanta has a four game lead on New Orleans and Tampa Bay in the NFC South, and there's nothing to lead me to believe that gap won't become larger.

The Saints have surrendered 288 points in ten games this year, second only to San Francisco in terms of defensive futility. Offensively, the outlook is much better, with the Saints somewhere in the middle of the pack. I would expect these guys to score a few less since Atlanta is one of the better defenses in the NFC, but you never know. QB Aaron Brooks is a good play only in deep 1QB leagues or as a #2 QB, but RB Deuce McAllister and WR Joe Horn are must starts each week. WR Donte Stallworth, coming off the best game of the season, might be a good #3 receiver, and TE Boo Williams is probably safe as well. On defense, start DB Jay Bellamy, LB Orlando Ruff and DL Charles Grant.

The Falcons have been the toughest team to call from week to week this season. Start QB Mike Vick at home against New Orleans and his cousin Brooks. In addition, RB Warrick Dunn and Alge Crumpler will have big games, but beware WR Peerless Price and RB T.J. Duckett, who have been anemic at times this season. IDP options include DL Patrick Kerney, DL Rod Coleman, LB Keith Brooking and DB Bryan Scott.

Final Score: Falcons 23, Saints 17

Miami (No Line/Pick) at San Francisco, 4:15 p.m.
Are there two teams more pathetic than these two in the league? Considering the Colts have outscored BOTH Miami and San Fran COMBINED so far this season, it's hard to day there is.

The Dolphins have only two decent fantasy starters - WR Chris Chambers and TE Randy McMichael. Stay away from everybody else if you can. On defense, there's a few good IDP guys, including DL Jason Taylor and LB Zach Thomas. Watch and see if Thomas plays this week, and consider starting DB Patrick Surtain.

The 49ers have been so bad, it's hard to recommend starting anybody, but RB Kevan Barlow, WR Brandon Lloyd and TE Eric Johnson are still the best these guys have. On defense, stick with LB Jamie Winborn, LB Derek Smith and DB Tony Parrish.

Final Score: Dolphins 13, Niners 10

N.Y. Jets (-3) at Arizona, 4:15 p.m.
Despite a 3 point win over the Browns, I still wouldn't recommend taking a team led by Quincy Carter, who won't be happy with the multiple blitzes he sees from the Arizona defense this week.

The Jets have just one solid option this week - RB Curtis Martin - but might get some points from WRs Santana Moss and Justin McCareins. On defense, go with DL John Abraham, LB Eric Barton and LB Jonathan Vilma.

The Cardinals come off a bad showing in Carolina, where the Panthers dominated from the opening kickoff. RB Emmitt Smith is still this team's best fantasy performer, but WRs Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin deserve a chance against the Jets, who will get worn down by Arizona this week and are due to give up some big yardage. Defensive options include DB Adrian Wilson, LB Ronald McKinnon and DL Bert Berry, if he's active Sunday.

Final Score: Cards 24, Jets 20

Oakland (+11) at Denver, 8:30 p.m.
As much as Cliff and I have ripped Denver this year, they continue to get it done in a tough division - where everybody but Oakland is capable of scoring big points. Heck, even the Raiders have rattled the scoreboard a couple times this year.

The Raiders don't have much going for them right now, but if I had to pick somebody to play for me, it would be RB Tyrone Wheatley, who seems to thrive from Raider adversity. QB Kerry Collins, and the wide receivers are too inconsistent to play anymore, and they've been very bad against the Broncos. IDP options include DL Tyler Brayton and LB Danny Clark. Somebody from the secondary might have to step up as well, so consider DBs Charles Woodson and Philip Buchanon.

The Broncos have a slew of solid fantasy options this week, including QB Jake Plummer, RB Reuben Droughns, WRs Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie and TE Jeb Putzier. Look for Plummer to rock the Oakland defense all day long and put up a few scores. IDP options include LB Al Wilson, DL Reggie Hayward and DBs Champ Bailey and John Lynch.

Final Score: Broncos 27, Raiders 10

St. Louis at Green Bay (+6), 9:00 p.m
WAHHHHH...WAHHHH...WAHHH. You know what that is. Mike Martz after a loss. Pitiful loser mentality. That is why his team always cracks under pressure or a physical defense. They adopt the same mentality as the coach. They blame losses on cheap shots and officiating. Just get physical back, stand up for yourself and quit being pushed around the field. What a loser. In any event Martz will try and get his team ready to play an important game against the Packers. Because if my predictions are correct Martz will need this win to keep up with the Seahawks for the division lead. Unfortunately I don't think they will get it. Bulger had an ok game with 287 yards and two TDS. The three picks are what hurt this team. That and a running game that was non-existent. They are going to Green Bay were wins a scarce right now for opposing teams. Green Bay will try and do the same thing. Push them around and make them lose concentration. The Rams simply are not the same team indoors and on grass. Play Bulger, Faulk, Holt, and Bruce

The Packers were in rare Sunday night form. Got to love Favre right? What a competitor. It is almost unfair sometimes. You see it coming but you can't stop it. Green Bay squeezed out the win in regulation against the Texans. As mentioned above Favre played late night heroics and drove the length of the field to win the game. Sound familiar? People wonder what keeps him in it. I think so saw why on Sunday. Driver had a terrific game. Green got hurt earlier but game back and then left again. We really don't know his availability is this week. However the Pack know they need wins to keep up with the Vikes who might have Randy Moss this week against the Jags at home. Go with the Pack on this one. Start Favre, Driver, Walker, and Green if he plays.

Final Score: Packers 32, Rams 24