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Week 14

Week 14
Sunday - 1:00 PM EST Sunday, 4:00 PM EST
NO at DAL - CB SF at ARI - AD
OAK at ATL - CB TB at SD - AD
CIN at NE - AD DET at GB - CB
CLE at BUF - AD Sunday - 8:30 PM EST
  Monday - 9:00 PM EST
  KC at TEN - CB

Last Week's Projections
(10-6) Straight Up - 62.5%
(9-6-1) Against The Spread - 60.0%

For The Season
(116-76) Straight Up - 60.4%
(107-81-4) Against The Spread - 56.9%

New Orleans at Dallas (-6.5), 1:00 pm
The Saints played some horrible defense against the Panthers in route to their 32-21 beating they suffered. They allowed Muhammad to catch 10 balls for 179 yards. Secondly they let Delhomme throw for 294 and a score. This may have been the last ride for Haslett. The rumor is that he will be let go at year's end. Good riddance I say. The team is just not responding to his bully mentality anymore. Time to get some new blood in the door. Oh yeah, not to mention the fact they were run over by Goings as he had 122 yards and a score. New Orleans is in for a big beating this week against Dallas. They just can't stop anybody. However they will put up some points. Go with Brooks, McAllister, and Horn.

Dallas won a barnburner against the Seahawks last week. There is a new Jones in town and it is not Jerry's long lost cousin. It is Julius Jones. What a game by this guy. He rushed 30 times for 198 yards and two scores. He basically put the team on his back in the 4th and won the game by himself. Stephen Jackson who?? I guess this should put to rest the so-called "experts" that said the Cowboys should have went for Kevin Jones or Jackson. They not only got one the more electrifying runners I have seen this year they received an extra first round pick out of it. The Cowboys are still in the hunt for a playoff spot but need to cut down on the turnovers to be a contender. Vinny threw two more in this game and nearly gave it away. They need better game management out of him to get in the playoffs. Start Vinny, Jones, Johnson, and Whitten.

Final Score: Boys 30, Saints 22

N.Y. Giants at Baltimore (-10), 1:00 p.m.
The Giants just looked awful against the Redskins last week. How bad was that? This is a bad start for the rookie. He certainly doesn't look much like his brother. I keep hearing the "experts" saying he will be ok he does things that make you think he will be great one day. What is that exactly?? I haven't seen him do anything besides be Peyton's brother that tells me jack about Eli. Until he starts making some big throws and winning games I reserve judgment. Going 12/25 for 113 yards don't do much for me. How do you think the folks that paid $2000 to watch Coughlin mail in the season feel about now? Not very good I would expect. Barber did nothing as well. Not to take anything away from the Skins defense. They are good. Play nobody from this team this week. The Ravens will kill them before halftime.

The Ravens laid a surprise egg at home against the Bengals. It is true that the Bengals are playing better but gosh I thought that the Ravens could handle that offense enough to pull out a victory. Having a bad day is one thing but giving up 382 yards and 3 TDs is something else. They gave up 100-yards receiving to two receivers for the first time since I can remember. Chalk this one up as a one-time occurrence kind of like an eclipse. They will kill Manning and that horrible offensive line. I have a feeling Manning may not make it through this one. They may sack this guy 15 times. They should run the ball well in this one so start Taylor. I wouldn't look for much from the Ravens passing game.

Final Score: Ravens 23, Giants 10

Oakland (+7 1/2) at Atlanta, 1:00 pm
Oakland lost the track meet in Southern California on Sunday. Those of you that have had the unfortunate luck to have played against Collins the last couple of weeks I feel sorry for you. I mean he had another 343 yards and 3 TDS vs. the Chiefs. The Raiders had zero for a rushing game however they really didn't need any. The passing yards were piling up like logs for a campfire. Ronald Curry had 141 yards and 2 TDS. However it looks as though it is curtains for him as he is out for the rest of the year. They will have some trouble against the Falcons defense but I think they will have enough to stay within a TD. They will have to try and contain Vick. Which is easier said than done however there are not many QBS out there playing as well as Collins. Play Collins and Porter.

Atlanta had a tough day against the Bucs. Folks like myself were wondering why the Falcons were 2-point dogs in this one. I suppose we found out. I don't know if we overrated the Falcons or underrated the Bucs. Either way the Falcons simply don't get it done against the Bucs. They really have Vick's number, as his stats are remarkably worse against them. But losing 27-0 was much worse than I could have imagined. Turnovers were the problem this day. They had three INTS and 2 lost fumbles. You just can't do that and expect to stay in it against the Bucs. You have to get a lead and maintain. They should be fired up for this one but I saw holes in this team and I think Oakland can hang with them. I think I would only start Vick and Crumpler this week.

Final Score: Falcons 24, Raiders 20

Seattle at Minnesota (-5 1/2), 1:00 p.m.
I was a little disappointed in Minnesota last week. They really just couldn't get over the hump against the Bears. The three picks that Culpepper threw didn't help. Two of those were in the red zone. Moss was back however I heard afterwards his hamstrings tightened up on him a little and he only ended up with 31 yards receiving and a lost fumble. Smith had a good game with 79 yards rushing however I heard that he got injured as well but it won't keep him out of this one. Seattle's pass defense is horrible and the Vikings have got to have this one to stay in the division race and the wild card race is getting tighter. I expect big games from Culpepper, Moss, Robinson, and Smith.

As we spoke about above Seattle lost a heart breaker at home against the Boys. They were up 10 points with 1:48 on the clock. Then came the choke job just like the Rams game. They let the Cowboys march down the field and score on a questionable touchdown catch by Key that got the Cowboys within 3. They looked horrible on a on-side kick and let Whitten just pick the ball out of the air without so much as a tussle for the ball. Then gave up 20 yards of Jones's 197 on a touchdown run that sealed their fate. They will have a terrible time trying to hold down the Viking's offense. They have got have battered ego's right now. Not good going into this game with one of the best offenses in the game.

Final Score: Vikings 35, Seahawks 24

Chicago (+7.5) at Jacksonville, 1:00 p.m.
Chicago Bears QB Chad Hutchinson faces a tougher defense this week in Jacksonville, a team that desperately needs a win to stay above .500 and remain in the playoff hunt. This one should stay pretty close, as all Jaguars games do, but the cream should rise to the top.

The Bears have some viable fantasy options, although it's nearly impossible to decide who they will be from week to week. RBs Anthony Thomas (15-55) and Thomas Jones (15-49) split carries for a decent combined performance. They should put both their heads on the same pair of legs (kind of like that bad 1970s movie with Rosey Grier and Ray Milland wearing a big turtleneck) and have one fantasy player named Anthony T. Jones. WR David Terrell and TE Desmond Clark had good games with a touchdown a piece, but that probably won't occur versus Jacksonville. Play it smart and bench everybody unless you have no other choice. On defense, LB Brian Urlacher is back from injury and appropriately omnipresent, so go with him, DE Alex Brown, and DB Jerry Azumah.

The Jags play tougher than just about every other team in the league and have a 6-6 record to show for it. Head Coach Jack Del Rio is going to get burned out if they keep this up for the next few years, which they might. I'd definitely start Byron Leftwich, who is overdue for a big day, along with RB Fred Taylor, WR Jimmy Smith (seriously overdue for a TD) and LBs Mike Peterson and Akin Ayodele on defense.

Final Score: Jags 23, Bears 20

Cincinnati (+11) at New England, 1:00 pm
It seems that Carson Palmer is settling in to his role as franchise player very nicely, but with the World Champion New England Patriots on the docket this week, Carson's efficacy will be tested. And I can't help shaking the idea that he belongs jockeying videos on TRL and interviewing Jude Law after Conan.

The Bengals are coming off a HUGE win against the Ravens that was so big you can drop the "H" and pronounce it "YOOGE". Alas, the Ravens really have no offense, a predicament that does not plague the defending Super Bowl Champs. Be careful how crazy you get this week with Bengals starters, since someone is bound to poop all over the sheets and muddy up your fantasy lineup. Starting Palmer and Chad Johnson seem to be almost no-brainers at this point, but I would be most wary about Rudi Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh (is that right?). Defensively, it looks like LB Brian Simmons and DB Madieu Williams are the best two, but strong safety Kim Herring should gets lots of work this weak with the Patriots in town.

The Patriots have a great approach to football in the 21st century but can be very frustrating to fantasy owners. The key is playing a different receiver each week and crossing your fingers when you post your lineup or call it in. In a game that should be relatively easy pickings for Tom Brady, I'd play him with confidence and start Corey Dillon, Deion Branch and David Patten. Until David Givens is back with at least 6 catches AND 50 yards, I'd leave him on the bench. And if Daniel Graham is still your tight end, I'd recommend therapy and a motivational seminar on "Letting Go." I know, because I'm just now reaching closure on my brief, torrid Weeks 1-5 fantasy love affair with the guy. On defense, I'd play it safe with DB Rodney Harrison, LB Tedy Bruschi and DL Richard Seymour, who should get a sack against the Bengals.

Final Score: Pats 27, Bengals 17

Cleveland (No Line) at Buffalo, 1:00 p.m.
This Lake Erie battle should be dominated by the Bills, who have been rolling over opponents as of late and since Week 4 are 6-2, with the losses coming versus Baltimore and New England.

The Browns may need to rely on rookie QB Luke McCown with injuries to both Jeff Garcia and Kelly Holcomb, but don't let that convince you to use him in your fantasy lineup. Against the Bills at Buffalo in the freezing cold, the only useful fantasy starters will be on defense. In a pinch, you could play Antonio Bryant, who seems to be the number one target of McCown, but I'd stick with DL Kenard Lang, LB Warrick Holdman and DBs Robert Griffith and Anthony Henry.

The Bills will get good games from Drew Bledsoe, Willis McGahee and Eric Moulds. WR Lee Evans is another decent option after that big day in Miami. On defense, play DL Aaron Schobel, LB Takeo Spikes, LB London Fletcher, DB Nate Clements and DB Lawyer Milloy.

Final Score: Bills 31, Browns 10

Indianapolis (-10.5) at Houston, 1:00 p.m.
Could Peyton Manning have an easier matchup to break the NFL single season touchdown pass record? He lit these guys up a few weeks ago in the first half and then stopped torturing the secondary after taking a five-touchdown lead.

The Colts should continue their decimation against Houston and if you haven't noticed by now, the entire offense is worthy of a fantasy start. Play everybody and see if Peyton decides to break the record this week instead of just throwing four and waiting until he's at home versus Baltimore. On defense, the best options include LB Cato June and DBs Nick Harper, Mike Doss, Idrees Bashir and Joseph Jefferson.

The Texans will benefit from Indy's swift offense and stinky defense and see solid performances from David Carr, Andre Johnson and Domanick Davis. IDP options include LB Jamie Sharper, DB Dunta Robinson and LB Kailee Wong.

Final Score: Colts 41, Texans 20

San Francisco (+6.5) at Arizona, 4:15 p.m.
With Arizona playing as badly as they are, the 49ers have a decent shot at a win. I really have a hard time seeing any time going 1-15, so if another win is going to happen this year for the Niners, this is the week. Unfortunately, the Cardinals owned San Fran the last time around and this time they are at home.

The 49ers should get an okay start from RB Maurice Hicks, who will start in place of the concussed Kevan Barlow, but don't look for anything special from QB Ken Dorsey (starting in place of Tim Rattay) or any of the receivers. TE Eric Johnson is probably the best play and even he's been quiet as of late. IDP options include LB Jamie Winborn, DB Tony Parrish and LB Derek Smith.

The Cards face a poor defense with Josh McCown back as the starting QB and something to prove after a bad loss to Detroit. Go with McCown, RB Larry Croom, WR Anquan Boldin and WR Larry Fitzgerald. On defense, the Cardinals should get good games from DL Bert Berry, LB Ron McKinnon and DB Adrian Wilson.

Final Score: Cards 20, 49ers 13

St. Louis (+6.5) at Carolina, 4:15 p.m.
Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives and are missing key components of the offense. The Panthers have been missing their stars all season long but have triumphed over adversity to reach 5-7, while the Rams have underachieved their way to 6-6. This one will see some scoring, and Carolina should roll.

The Rams are without QB Marc Bulger and will start backup Crystal Chandelier (AKA Chris Chandler). The perennial concussion king is a risky play at Carolina, where the defense has steadily improved and has been getting some rest since the offense found their groove. RB Stephen Jackson is questionable and RB Marshall Faulk should return this week from a knee injury. Faulk should have an okay game, and at least contribute with some receiving yardage even if he gets stopped on the ground. WRs Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce aren't quite as solid with Chandler at the helm. IDP options include DL Leonard Little, LB Tommy Polley and DB Adam Archuleta.

The Panthers have gotten some good games out of RB Nick Goings, and will probably see more excellent performances from QB Jake Delhomme and WRs Muhsin Muhammed (blowing up lately) and Keary Colbert. As always on defense, DL Julius Peppers, LB Will Witherspoon and DB Mike Minter are the best plays.

Final Score: Panthers 31, Rams 20

Tampa Bay (+5.5) at San Diego, 4:15 p.m.
An important game for both teams, this will be an interesting matchup of a steadily improving defense in Tampa Bay versus an offense in San Diego that has also gained a lot of momentum coming off a big win against Denver.

The Bucs looked magnificent shutting out the Falcons - who are a tough team to read - and making Mike Vick look human. Since San Diego's not great on defense, the Bucs should get good performances from QB Brian Griese, RB Michael Pittman, WR Joey Galloway and TE Ken Dilger. IDP options include LB Derrick Brooks, DL Simeon Rice and DB Ronde Barber.

The Chargers have three must starts every week, including QB Drew Brees, RB LaDainian Tomlinson and TE Antonio Gates, but I wouldn't start Eric Parker on Sunday. These guys might have some trouble cracking the TB defense, but they should get some scores late in the game. On defense, the best will be LB Donnie Edwards, DB Jerry Wilson and DB Terrence Kiel.

Final Score: Chargers 24, Bucs 17

Miami (+10.5) at Denver, 4:05 p.m
I tried to tell everyone all year about Plummer and the fact that the Broncos have been overrated all year. They lost again to the Chargers mainly because of mental mistakes at the QB position. They really had a good chance in this one. The defense did an excellent job against Gates. The Broncs have been one of the only teams to hold him in check. They also did a marvelous job on Brees as he was held to only 106 yards passing and no TDS. However the Tomlinson train came through with 113 yards and 2 TDS. The big story though was the play of Plummer who again choked in a big game. I know we have been on his ass all year but as a Denver fan you have to agree he just doesn't have the make-up to win big. He threw for 278 yards but had no TDS and 4 INTS. The Chargers also did a number on Droughns and made him their next victim holding him to only 38 yards rushing. The Dolphins D will do the same and will surprise some folks this week by keeping it close. Play Lelie and Smith. No Droughns this week.

The Dolphins played better again this week. You have to give it them they have not mailed it in quite yet. They stayed pretty close to the Bills all day. They were up 21-24 at halftime. Feeley in general moved the ball but his 5 INTS really hurt. He had 303 yards and 3 touchdowns. He completed passes to 10 different receivers. Travis Minor had a decent day at 82 yards and 1 TD. I think they have found a little momentum with the offense and the defense is still solid. Other than a couple of big plays to Lee Evans the defense kept them in it. I think you will see them hand in there against the Broncos and might be in it until the end. The will certainly keep it within the 10.5. I wouldn't start anyone but McMichael in this one however.

Final Score: Broncos 23, Dolphins 17

N.Y. Jets at Pittsburgh (-5 1/2), 4:05 p.m
The Jets shook off a slow start to beat the Texans 29-7. They were down 6-7 at halftime at home but started to run the ball effectively as Curtis Martin ended up with 134 yards rushing and a TD. Pennington didn't have a stellar day however he didn't need to as the running game and defense really controlled things. They forced Carr into two turnovers and they just didn't allow that high-powered offense to get going. They held D. Davis to 52 yards. I think they will have a chance in this one but will have to contain the running game. They have to make Big Ben beat them. Crowd the line of scrimmage and make him throw deep. I don't think anyone has tried that yet against him. It is easier to win games when you are handing it off 40 times and having success. Play Martin.

The Steelers just didn't look quite right on Sunday. I watched a little of this game and saw the power running game just wasn't there without Bettis. If the Steelers were smart they would go with the horse that has been running the last couple of weeks and try and pound the ball with Bettis. I doubt that will happen as Cowher is a creature of habit and is too stubborn to change. No way Bettis sees significant playing time on Sunday. Staley's 17 carries for 51 yards is not going to get it done against the Jets. They will need more. This game hinges on the running game for the Steelers and the defense of the Jets. I say the Steelers put it away at home. Play Staley and Ward.

Final Score: Steelers 24, Jets 17

Detroit (+10) at Green Bay, 4:15 p.m
Just when you think the Packers are looking ready for prime time they put out a stinker like the one on Sunday. It just shows there are the Eagles in the NFC and then everyone else. The Packers said they were ready for them but it was obvious they weren't. Favre had nothing to give this week as he only had 131 yards and 2 picks. His consecutive game streak with a TD ended as well. Green was a non-factor with only 37 yards rushing. I think they will play better and win this week but 10 points is too much for me. They will still have a hangover effect from this beating it has to be discouraging. I would start Favre, Green, and Walker but the Lions defense is known for causing turnovers. We will see.

Detroit was busy knocking Cardinal QBS out of the game Sunday as Arizona' latest in Navarre was knocked out with a fracture thumb. I suppose they may be a reason for his 168 yards and 4 picks. Kevin Jones is emerging as big star as he had his first big game with 196 yards and a TD. That is what the Lions were looking for when they drafted this guy. Harrington has got to make some plays if the Lions are going to have a chance in this one. I don't think they have a big window here. They just need to play smart football and let that defense cause some turnovers. As evidence on Sunday and just about every Sunday the Packers defense will let you score in bunches you just want to do your best to keep #4 off the field. Here is saying the Lions can do it enough to stay within the 10.

Final Score: Packers 30, Lions 27

Philadelphia (-9.5) at Washington, 8:30 p.m.
Washington will get a nasty wake-up call when Philly comes to town.

The Eagles are 11-1 and are nearly unbeatable. Their 47-17 drubbing of the Packers showcased the finest of their fantasy performers - QB Donovan McNabb, RB Brian Westbrook and WR Terrell Owens - players that should see similar stats against the Redskins. Westbrook will get more carries this week, and the Eagles should win even bigger. IDP options include LB Jeremiah Trotter and DBs Brian Dawkins, Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown.

The Redskins certainly have their hands full, and will have a hard time getting started versus the Eagles. Despite his three TD passes versus the Giants, I would stay away from QB Patrick Ramsey and his receivers. TE Chris Cooley and WR Rod Gardner are probably the best of the corps, and RB Clinton Portis should also catch some passes and compile about 50 yards on the ground. He may even score, but it will be tough. On defense, I'd start LB Antonio Pierce, LB Marcus Washington and DB Sean Taylor.

Final Score: Eagles 38, Redskins 13

Kansas City at Tennessee, 9:00 p.m
The Chiefs hung around and won the scoring showdown with the Raiders. At early press time I have no idea if Holmes will be playing in this one. I doubt it. It looks more like it will be week 15. Larry Johnson had a great game finally and posted 118 yards and a TD. He may be the man this week against the Titans. I think they want to see what this kid has and make a decision at the end of the year. He also had 56 yards receiving and another TD. Great game by Green as well as he put up 340 yards and 3 TDS. The problem still with this team is defense. They just plain suck and are not getting any better. Collins lit them up for 343 and Volek will probably do the same. Here is saying that the Chiefs will be able to outscore them again. Play Green, Johnson, Kennison, and Gonzo.

Well another victim to the Manning express on Sunday. The Titans got to see up close and personal what that looks like. They allowed a ridiculous 425 yards passing and 3 TDS to Manning. They allowed James to rush for 105 yards and another 2 TDS. That is just horrible and really overshadowed a pretty good performance by Volek who threw for 269 yards and 2 TDS. He has to cut down on the turnovers. He had two picks in this game. I just don't think they have enough to hang with the Chiefs. Expect another high scoring affair in this one. Play Volek, Brown, Bennett, and Mason.s

Final Score: Chiefs 35, Titans 28