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Week 15

Week 15
Saturday Sunday, 4:00 PM EST
PIT at NYG - AD NO at TB - AD
WAS at SF - AD STL at ARI - AD
CAR at ATL - CB JAX at GB - CB
Sunday - 1:00 PM EST TEN at OAK - CB
HOU at CHI - CB  
MIN at DET - CB  
SD at CLE - CB Sunday - 8:30 PM EST
BUF at CIN - AD Monday - 9:00 PM EST
DAL at PHI - AD NE at MIA - AD
DEN at KC - AD  

Last Week's Projections
(13-3) Straight Up - 81.2%
(9-7) Against The Spread - 56.2%

For The Season
(129-79) Straight Up - 62.0%
(116-88-4) Against The Spread - 56.8%

Pittsburgh (-11) at N.Y. Giants, 1:30 p.m
For Pittsburgh, this game is merely a tune-up for next week versus Baltimore, a team that will be trying to hang on to a playoff spot for dear life by Christmas. For the Giants, it's an exercise in futility, as they probably won't grab one of the two wild card spots.

The Steelers need to stick to their game plan to keep winning, and the Giants offer a trap possibility. Since QB Ben Roethlisberger is not a fantasy option, that means playing WR Hines Ward, RB Jerome Bettis and calling it a day. On defense, LB James Farrior is the man, with DB Troy Polamalu emerging in 2004 as another solid IDP option.

The Giants might get Tiki Barber lots of action in a last-ditch effort to get him MVP. But unfortunately, that dog stopped hunting about four weeks ago. I always recommend Shockey, because he's one of those tight ends that gets involved regardless, but don't play QB Eli Manning, and look out for Amani Toomer putting up a goose egg. On defense, there's been confusion all year, so check the injury reports with whomever you plan on playing. Both DB Brent Alexander and DL Osi Umenyiora had good games Sunday, LB Carlos Emmons has been okay, and LB Kevin Lewis has produced all year.

Final Score: Steelers 23, Giants 13

Washington (-4) at San Francisco, 5:00 p.m.
Saturday afternoon boredom reaches a whole new level with this game, which is guaranteed to put you to sleep faster than a Nyquil-Rufinol cocktail.

The Redskins managed to beat the spread Sunday night against Philadelphia, the greatest accomplishment in the nation's capital since the Clinton administration redefined sexual intercourse to the delight of guilty husbands everywhere. I like Patrick Ramsey this week, along with Clinton Portis, Laveranues Coles and Rod Gardner. As bad as San Francisco is, the defense might not be on the field too long, so be careful about IDP and stick with LBs Antonio Pierce and Marcus Washington.

The 49ers don't have much going for them against Washington, or anybody else for that matter. Dennis Erickson is looking to go back to college and no one's stopping him. If there's anybody to play, it's TE Eric Johnson and WR Cedrick Wilson. IDP options include DB Tony Parrish, LB Jamie Winborn and LB Derek Smith.

Final Score: Redskins 24, 49ers 17

Carolina (+3.5) at Atlanta, 8:30 p.m.
The Carolina Panthers were a joke two months ago, in danger of becoming the answer to a trivia question as the biggest bust following a Super Bowl season. Carolina has now won 5 straight and are now tied with the Rams for the final NFC wild Card berth. This right after a six game losing streak. Against the Rams they had a franchise record six interceptions and really harassed Chris Chandler all day. Goings had another great game with 108 yards rushing and a TD. Hand it to this team. They have had at least 10 players out with injuries from the starting 22 and still find ways to win. Mushin Muhammad continues to destroy defenses with another fine game. Going for 98 yards and a TD. It is a tough defense in the Falcons but it would be hard not to start Goings are Muhammad.

Hot-Lanta. I really thought the Raiders were turning the corner and could hold serve-getting 7.5 but I was obviously not thinking. As the Bucs embarrassed the Falcons the week before and really were pumped up for this one. They won the NFC South, which is really not a big deal, but I suppose for Falcons fans it might be. Duckett set a team record with four rushing touchdowns but is hurt for at least two weeks with knee surgery. Griffith is also out and that is even bigger news. That leaves everything up to Vick and Dunn. I think Dunn will have some issues running on this defense without a blocking fullback. This defense is tough though. They held the Raiders without a TD until Crockett's garbage score at the end. They also forced three Raider turnovers. Start Vick but Dunn is a no-go. I think I will go with the Panthers and the points.

Final Score: Falcons 27, Panthers 26

Houston (+1) at Chicago, 1:00 p.m.
IHouston really held their own against the Colts. They really just did not have enough talent to turn the game their way. Give them this they kept Manning from breaking Marino's record. But they couldn't keep him from his consecutive two+ TD streak. They were down 14-0 at one point but game back and outscored the Colts 14-9 the rest of the way. Dominick Davis finally had a good game. Going for 167 yards and a TD. Along with catching another 73 yards worth of balls. I see Carr, Davis, and Johnson having decent games.

Chicago finally hit a good defense and slowed down a little. Hutchinson came back to earth with a bad game. Completing only 17/33 passes for 212 yards and two turnovers. At some point bad QB play was going to catch up with the Bears. Leftwich had three TD passes, as that defense is a little suspect. I have a feeling you will see more of the same this week. This is a game of one team that can score and another team that has the most overrated player in sports. Again that same player will not be playing in this one. Might have something to do with that article. That made me laugh a little. Start Jones if you are desperate.

Final Score: Texans 23, Bears 13

Minnesota (-3) at Detroit, 1:00 p.m.
Minnesota continues to disappoint and may find themselves out of the playoffs if they are not careful. Losing at home mainly because of a leaky defense and one of the worst calls this year. That pass play from Moss on 1st and 19 from the 20 was just play stupid. Regardless of what happens the rest of the way Tice will pay for that call with his job. What was encouraging was the play of Moss as he put a move in the end zone that was criminal. Someone still has a jock strap in the end zone right now. If the Vikings have any heart whatsoever they will roll over the Lions who have a opportunistic defense but not a very good one. As usual go with Culpepper and Moss.

I have to say I was slightly impressed by the Lions play in Lambeau. What was weird is the Packers only led for 2 seconds in this game but boy was that an important 2 seconds. They led 13-0 at halftime. Harrington is just plain horrible and proved it again with only 47 yards passing. I do realize the conditions were less than satisfactory but this kid has got to start showing something or he may become another Tim Couch. Kevin Jones had another good game with 156 yards rushing and a TD. The second half is the problem for the Lions. They have not scored an offensive TD in the 2nd half in five weeks. That ain't good. If Harrington doesn't grow a sack this week they will get throttled in this one. Start Jones and Williams.

Final Score: Vikings 30, Lions 21

San Diego (-10) at Cleveland, 1:00 p.m
Who saw this coming at the first of the year? San Diego being favored by double digits to anyone. The Chargers keep finding ways to win. Tampa Bay was no easy task. They completed took Gates out of the game as he only had one catch for 17 yards. However the T-train showed up 131 yards and a TD. Donnie Edwards had two interceptions including the last one that sealed the game. They are closer to their first playoff birth in nine seasons. Brees is looking a little shaky as he had a couple of picks in this game but threw for 2 TDS. Eric Parker had a great game with 118 yards and a TD. But you simply can't run on this defense. Pittman who has had a rebirth of sorts only had 42 yards. Play Brees, Tomlinson, and Gates.

I didn't want to but the editor says I have to waste column space on the Browns. The Bills defense just smothered them and McCown was just awful. I mean this team only had a total of 96 yards total offense. That is ridiculous. Suggs is out and Green is not effective. The Charger defense is as good if not better than the Bills and they will have a field day with this offense. They may shut them out. I would start nobody from this team and get ready for Tomlinson to run for 200 yards. Batten down the hatches.

Final Score: Chargers 35, Browns 7

Seattle at N.Y. Jets (-6), 1:00 p.m.
Hey don't get too excited about the Seahawks. However for a week they looked like a good team. Hasselbeck carved up the Vikings defense for 334 yards and 2 TDS. With his father passing away Darrell Jackson put up a great performance with 10 catches and 135 yards with no drops and 1 TD. Owners need to see more of that in the next few weeks. Alexander is another fellow in fine form as he rushed for 112 yards. They will find the sledding to be a little different this week as the Jets have much more to offer from a defensive perspective. Without Winstrom who is out until the playoffs they will have a tough time maintaining Curtis Martin. But start Hasselbeck, Alexander, and Jackson.

The Steelers were just too much team for the Jets. Pennington had a horrible game with only 189 yards and three interceptions. Martin is slowing a little with only 72 yards rushing and no TDS. It may be time to give the C-Mart a blow. He has held up nicely this year and had another great season. But they need to give Gordon some carries to help him out a little. I think they will be able to move the ball effectively against an overmatched Seahawks defense but Pennington has got to but more efficient if they are going to go anywhere in the playoffs. This defense is SuperBowl quality. Play Pennington, Martin, and McCareins.

Final Score: Jets 20, Seahawks 13

Buffalo (Pick) at Cincinnati, 1:00 p.m.
The hottest defense in football, Buffalo also has an offense that has clicked in the past few weeks, a recipe for success in Cincy.

The Bills should be able to crack the Bengals lackluster defensive unit and get good performances from their main guys, including Drew Bledsoe, Eric Moulds, Lee Evans and, of course, RB Willis McGahee. IDP options include LBs London Fletcher and Takeo Spikes, DBs Troy Vincent and Terrence McGee and DL Aaron Schobel.

The Bengals offensive stars are up against it with Buffalo on the docket, but could conceivably get some late garbage. I'd stay away from Carson Palmer and Rudi J., but T.J. Housh... and Chad Johnson might grab a touchdown or two between them en route to a blistering loss. The best IDP guys are LB Brian Simmons, DB Madieu Williams and DL Justin Smith, who should rebound from some bad weeks.

Final Score: Bills 27, Bengals 17

Dallas (+12.5) at Philadelphia, 1:00 p.m.
I heard through the grapevine that Bill Parcells is building a house up in Saratoga. I guess he's just about done (once again) with his coaching career and is looking to waste away the last few years of his life watching thoroughbreds he never got a chance to work with in Dallas.

The Cowboys won't necessarily be throwing it in at Philly, but they won't have much to play for, either. The only guys worth playing will be QB Vinny Testaverde (garbage factor) TE Jason Witten (who blew up against the Eagles in Dallas) and Julius Jones (gotta keep playing him at this point). On defense, there's always DB Roy Williams, LB Dat Nguyen and DL Greg Ellis.

The Eagles will have their big three ready to pounce just like they did the last time around. Play Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens and Brian Westbrook, and expect another something out of TE L.J. Smith this week. IDP options include DBs Brian Dawkins, Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown, along with LB Jeremiah Trotter.

Final Score: Eagles 34, Cowboys 17

Denver (+1) at Kansas City, 1:00 p.m.
We can't expect the madness that was Monday Night Football again for the Chiefs with Denver on the schedule, but that doesn't mean they won't score at all. Somebody's going to find paydirt, just not to the tune of a 49-38 final.

The Chiefs have injury issues, which makes watching the report crucial to determine the playability of RB Derrick Blaylock vs. RB Larry Johnson, everyone's favorite infant. Johnson had such a good opportunity to retort Vermeil's diaper comment with "He needs to stop crying like a baby," but alas, he did not. Go with Trent Green, Eddie Kennison, Blaylock or Johnson and TE Tony Gonzalez. IDP options include LB Quinton Caver and whatever DBs are healthy this week.

The Broncos got complacent and have struggled through the second half of the season, but can expect big performances from QB Jake Plummer, WRs Ashley Lelie and Rod Smith and TE Jeb Putzier, but have injuries and fumblers at RB that need close attention until Sunday. Watch and see if Droughns is still the starter and if he is, play him. IDP options include LB Al Wilson, DBs John Lynch and Kenoi Kennedy.

Final Score: Broncos 31, Chiefs 27

New Orleans (+8) at Tampa Bay, 4:05 p.m.
While both of these teams are still looking for a .500 record, one won't be able to get one after this week.

The Saints looked sharp in Dallas, establishing a solid running game and winning by 14. I like RB Deuce McAllister again this week, and would also recommend playing WR Joe Horn. On defense, there's not a lot to go with, but DL Charles Grant has been solid, LB Courtney Watson is back in the lineup and DB Jay Bellamy is the best in the secondary.

The Bucs are scoring points but can't escape the horrible start that doomed their playoffs hopes even before they hit the horizon. In this game, I'd play QB Brian Griese, RB Michael Pittman and WR Joey Galloway. On defense, LB Derrick Brooks is due for a big game and DB Ronde Barber is still okay.

Final Score: Bucs 27, Saints 24

St. Louis (-1.5) at Arizona, 4:05 p.m.
It's pretty sickening when the Rams are only giving 1.5 points to the Cardinals, but I guess that's what you get when you lose your starting QB and have to play Chris Chandler. I'd say the Cards should take this easy, but with the loss to SF, anything's possible.

The Rams should still have Chandler behind center on Sunday, which is good news only for the Cards and Rams WR Torry Holt. Play Holt, Chandler, and Bruce, but beware of the running game, which has suffered greatly since both RB Marshall Faulk and backup Stephen Jackson went down. If Faulk or Jackson is healthy enough to play, they could warrant a fantasy start against the Cards, who are bad against the run, but don't bother with Arlen Harris, who only mustered about 3 yards a carry in Carolina. IDP options include DL Leonard Little, DB Jerametrius Butler and LB Robert Thomas, who had 8 tackles (5 solo) in Carolina.

The Cards don't have to worry about keeping up with the Rams offense, which is now limited in its potency. Start RB Emmitt Smith, QB Josh McCown and WRs Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. On defense, I like DL Bert Berry, DB Adrian Wilson and LB Ronald McKinnon.

Final Score: Rams 23, Cards 20

Jacksonville (+3.5) at Green Bay, 4:15 p.m.
Green Bay won with another last minute performance from that Favre guy. Man is it over with him having the ball with less than a minute. It really makes you laugh sometimes. Again they didn't have the lead until the end but that is what matters. The defense continues to get run all over by a good run team. Giving up a bundle to Jones. Favre was horrible in the first half and greatness in the second. A blistering day a Lambeau. Ahman Green just doesn't look quite right to me. He may not be the same until next season. They will have to difficult time moving the ball against this defense but Favre may pull I out. I think they are due for a letdown though. Play Favre, Green, and Walker.

Leftwich is definitely coming into his own with a big time game when his team needed it. They pounded the Bears with good defense. Fred Taylor should do very well in this game. This defense couldn't stop my mother from running on them. I think this defense will show its mettle against Favre. It is always a challenge to go against the best. I see them causing a few turnovers and controlling the clock with a solid running game. Play Leftwich, Taylor, and Smith.

Final Score: Jags 24, Packers 17

Tennessee at Oakland (-2.5) , 4:15 p.m.
Oakland let me down last week. Again as I mentioned above I thought they were going to turn a corner and be able to handle the Falcons. I suppose I was wrong. I will go with them again even though they could only manage one TD in a game where they were never in it. The only reason I give them a chance is because Collins has played well at home and the Titans suck worse. But 166 yards from Collins is not going to cut it. Losing Curry couldn't have hurt him that much. His still has plenty of weapons to throw to. The main question is the status of Turner. I hear rumblings that the staff thinks he will be tossed on his ass at seasons end. It wouldn't surprise me. Norv is a great coordinator but a horrible coach. He didn't win in Washington and he won't sin in Oakland. Go with Collins and Porter.

The Tians a re following faster than my stock right now. They put up some numbers against the Chiefs but this team stops nobody. It probably doesn't help that the team has to deal with the distraction of McNair not possibly coming back. I suppose that is why they fought so hard to keep Volek. Speaking of Billy his numbers were ridiculous with 426 yards passing and 4 TDS. Chris Brown backed that up with 91 yards rushing and 1 TD. But the big story of this game was Drew Bennett. What a game from this kid. An incredible 12 catches for 233 yards and 3 TDS. I think both will have good games in this one but I think in the end the Raiders come back with a victory.

Final Score: Raiders 27, Titans 23

Baltimore (+7.5) at Indianapolis, 8:30 p.m.
The Ravens laid a pounding on young Manning as expected. They forced six turnovers and literally beat the hell out that offense. The only touchdown scored was garbage stuff at the end by Warner. Boller had a fine afternoon and battled with 4 TDS. Probably one the best games I have seen him play as a pro. Chester Taylor filled in nicely for Lewis as he rushed for 104 yards. Heap came back and looked great with 76 yards and 2 TDS. If you were ready for him to return you should be happy. Hopefully you are still in the playoffs and can use him. Boller looks more comfortable with Heap in the lineup. I think they will hang with the Colts because this will be a Challenge to the Ravens D. They always play well when challenged by the best. They do not want Peyton to get that record on their watch. Play Heap and Taylor.

The Colts were..well.. not the Colts Sunday. Not that the offense had a horrible day or anything but they started off strong and finished flat. They won the game and that is what is important. I have a feeling they will fell a little pushed around on Sunday. This defense will be fired up come Sunday and will try and intimidate the Colts. The key for the Colts will be to get James running because the Ravens have been suspect against the run. If they can establish that then that will open up things for Manning downfield. This should be fun to watch. Go with Manning, Harrison, James, and Stokely.

Final Score:

New England (-9.5) at Miami, 9:00 p.m
Miami played the Broncos tough, but there's a big difference between HC Mike Shanahan-QB Jake Plummer and HC Bill Belichick-QB Tom Brady.

The Patriots keep playing the type of game they need to get a win, and with Miami's tough defense up next, New England might be forced to mix it up. I like Brady, RB Corey Dillon and WR Deion Branch, along with WR David Patten and (warning: kicker alert) Adam Vinatieri. On defense, you can't do much better than DB Rodney Harrison and LB Tedy Bruschi.

The Dolphins might get decent games from WR Chris Chambers and TE Randy McMichael, but don't look for any other offensive performers as fantasy starters. IDP options include LB Derrick Pope, and DBs Sammy Knight and Patrick Surtain.

Final Score: Patriots 24, Dolphins 13