We are back for the Divisional Round matchups after going 2-2 in my picks last week. Interestingly enough, I correctly predicted the two toss-up games (Ravens, Packers), while missing on the games I felt comfortable about (Saints, Colts). We have four rematches this week, and I am intrigued to see what kind of adjustments will be made.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Not a whole lot needs to be said about this matchup since we’ve seen these teams play each other so often in recent years. Both teams can run the ball well when they choose to, but the Steelers tend to rely on throwing it more because they believe Ben Roethlisberger is their best player. That should continue in this game because of Baltimore’s exploitable secondary. The Chiefs didn’t do much against them last week, but as we know, Dwayne Bowe is their only legit receiver. Pittsburgh goes three deep at WR with Hines Ward, Emmanuel Sanders, and Mike Wallace, who is the only player I feel somewhat confident about from a fantasy perspective in this matchup. We know about the Steeler OL issues, but Baltimore’s OL also has had trouble in pass protection meaning both QBs could be under [...]
We have made it to the playoffs, and outside of the Patriots, there does not appear to be a clear-cut favorite, which should make for some great games. Things get started with the Wild Card Round on Saturday and I wanted to share my thoughts on those matchups.
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks
Even with Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory on the shelf, you have to like the Saints this one pretty easily. New Orleans will take and complete the shots downfield that the Rams couldn’t last week. Drew Brees should be able to pick apart the Seattle secondary with ease, especially since he receiving corps hold significant advantages in the size and athleticism department. Now, the Qwest Field advantage could come into play if the Seahawks are able to put some points on the board early, but if they fall behind, forget about it. The Saints shouldn’t have a problem this week, but you have to wonder if they can go much further without a consistent running game unless you believe in Julius Jones. I sure don’t.
Prediction: Saints 30 Seahawks 14
New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts
The rematch of the last season’s AFC Championship is a bit more even considering the [...]
If you are playing your championship this week, I would have to call you crazy. However, I am still here to help you get through these crazy times. Without further ado, it is time to look at the final regular season games.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
The loss to the Saints on Monday Night Football means this game actually means something to the Falcons and that’s good news for any one who owns their big-name players. Michael Turner had a big game the last time these two teams played and I’d expect more of the same in this one. Matt Ryan is worthy of a starting spot in your lineup, but I wouldn’t let your expectations get too high since I don’t think he’ll have to do too much in this one. As usual, Jonathan Stewart is the only one worth even considering for the Panthers, who might cut their entire offense as soon as this game is over.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
The Patriots will apparently start their usual guys, but the question is more about how much they’ll play. I’d steer clear of their RBs since they have about 293 they could use and I’d be fine with [...]
Happy Holidays to all! Hopefully you have made it to your championship game and are looking for some last minute tips and thoughts to help you make those tough decisions. The blog will be a little condensed today since I still have a little shopping to get to, but I am going to stop wasting time and get to the games.
Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals
If you trusted Tim Hightower last week, you probably never will again. As I’ve said, Larry Fitzgerald will be fine because he’s the only player John Skelton should be targeting on a regular basis, especially against this shaky Cowboy secondary. Dallas’ offense has been running very efficiently and that’s because Jon Kitna does exactly what he’s asked and doesn’t make mistakes. He’s pretty much the anti-Tony Romo. The one issue I have with Dallas is the insistence in getting Marion Barber back in the mix. I know Jason Garrett said he will use all three backs, but we’ve seen how well this team has run the ball with Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, so why mess with a good thing?
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
New England’s defense got a lot of well-deserved praise, but as [...]
Congrats to those of you still alive and congrats to those of you who started Vincent Jackson and/or Philip Rivers against the bad 49er secondary. A good start helps, but we still have 15 more games to go and plenty of tough decisions to make.
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
I’m no Donovan McNabb fan, but Rex Grossman is not the answer. My crazy theory is that Mike Shanahan realized he made a giant mistake taking this job and is now openly trying to get fired. The move pretty much takes any Redskin off the table for fantasy purposes outside of Chris Cooley and maybe Ryan Torain. I’d be thrilled to have Miles Austin in my lineup going against that very beatable Redskin secondary and could live with Jon Kitna as my QB this weekend. The Cowboy defense should be a nice reach play as well.
New Orleans Saints at Baltimore Ravens
To borrow a phrase from Greg Cosell, “This is an intriguing matchup.” Baltimore’s offense is about as Jekyll-and-Hydish as it gets with last week’s game against the Texans being a perfect example. In the 1st half, they took advantage of all the mistakes Houston made, but in the 2nd half, [...]
Peyton Manning quieted the critics with his superb performance against the Titans on Thursday night, but we still have fifteen more games to go this week and we will look at those right now.
Cleveland Browns at Buffalo Bills
So Peyton Hillis finally had a disappointing performance against the Dolphins, but I full expect him to bounce back against the worst run defense in the league this week. I have trouble trusting Jake Delhomme, but with a very short list of reliable TEs, Ben Watson is a guy I’d have no problem rolling with this week, especially since he’s a favorite red-zone target of Delhomme. No one on the Bills performed well against the Vikings, and I’d be a little worried about Ryan Fitzpatrick going against this Buffalo defense, which gave Chad Henne some problems, although Steve Johnson should be able to make some plays against this improved, yet still beatable Cleveland secondary.
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
Although the Falcons are sitting with the league’s best record at 10-2, I’m not ready to throw a ton of praise at Matt Ryan just yet. While he’s played more consistently this season, he’s still a bit too uneven for me and it’s not like [...]
There are a lot of terrible games on the schedule this week, but it also means a lot of beatable matchups are out there to make things interesting as we get into fantasy crunch time.
New Orleans Saints at Cincinnati Bengals
Talk about two teams going in different directions. The Saints got off to a slow start, and took some time to right the ship, but it looks like they have done so as they get healthy and rolling down the stretch. The Bengals are just the opposite. Their secondary is banged up, they can’t stop the run, and the passing game is one of the most frustrating in the league. I know Reggie Bush is back, but that doesn’t mean Chris Ivory is going anywhere. He’s a nice play this week, especially with weather possibly being an issue. If you saw “Sound FX” on NFL Network last Saturday, they presented the Bengals/Jets Thanksgiving game, and Chad Ochocinco’s issues with route running were highlighted. We’ve been talking about that being a problem all season, but it was interesting to see the coaching staff’s reaction to it.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
It looks like we have to take the Bears seriously after what [...]
Hope you all enjoyed the holiday football, but there are still 13 more games to be played, so let us take a look at them.
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
The Packers are flying under the radar after a lot of Super Bowl talk in the preseason, but I think they’re probably the best team right now with their offense rolling and defense playing at a high level. The Falcons have obviously put together a nice little run and QB Matt Ryan is finally playing some consistent football. The big two differences I see in these teams are the rushing attacks and secondaries. Atlanta obviously holds the edge with Michael Turner in their backfield, but I think his numbers have masked the fact that they’ve struggled to run the ball consistently, and might have that problem again this week. While Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams are playing as well as any CB combo right now, I can’t say the same for the Falcons. Dunta Robinson is solid, but not spectacular and Brent Grimes seems to be targeted every week. This could be the difference in this game. Roddy White is definitely the best WR on either team, but the Packers are [...]
It would appear that you all enjoyed the first installment of this blog, so I will continue with the things I am looking for in the Week Eleven games. Also, thanks to those of you who submitted names for this blog. I have decided to go with “The Weekly MATTchups” based on that being the most common suggestion and most logical one. Anyway, on to this week’s games…
Baltimore Ravens at Carolina Panthers
I’m not saying Tony Pike is any good, but to sign and then to start Brian St. Pierre, who was a stay-at-home dad just a week ago is insane. The Baltimore secondary has been terrible, but this will be like a week off for them. While this looks like a totally lopsided game, I don’t think the Ravens will blow the Panthers out of the water. Carolina’s defense, specifically their secondary, is pretty good, but they’ve been flying under the radar because the offense always hangs them out to dry. Joe Flacco has been very steady, throwing 10 TDs to 1 INT in his last four games. I’m interested to see if Donte Stallworth is a little more involved this week since he’s the only explosive receiver they have.
Now that we have taken an extensive look at the games, I figured I would share what I am watching for this week.
Detroit Lions at Buffalo Bills
Can Jahvid Best get going against the Bills 32nd ranked run defense? His turf toe issue is getting better and the Lions might want to lean on him a little more since QB Shaun Hill is back, but isn’t quite 100% over his broken forearm. I think he may have his first big game since he went off on the Eagles in Week Two. Also, with WR Roscoe Parrish out for the season, I’ll be interested to see if the Bills use their RBs more in the passing game, specifically rookie C.J. Spiller.
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
If you’ve held on to Sidney Rice or picked him up off waivers, this could be the week you finally get to see him on the field. I’m not expecting him to play more than half the snaps, even if Percy Harvin is banged up, but it only takes one fade pass from Brett Favre to put Rice back on the map. You can beat this Chicago secondary down the field, but it’ll be interesting to see [...]