Last Week's Projections
(8-6) Straight Up - 57.1%
(7-7) Against The Spread - 50.0%
Atlanta (-5) at New Orleans
This one is like taking candy from a baby. Are you kidding
me? The Saints without Deuce is like a hot dog without a bun. A
plate of lips and …well…you know. Anyway the Saints
were drubbed last week by the fine works of Favre and Co. You can’t
say enough bad things about this team. They consistently whine about
not playing at home (what home??). I mean what did they expect?
This has never happened before so the NFL is doing the best they
can. In any event they have obviously given up and chose the “poor
The Falcons had a chance last week and blew it by giving Adam
a chance to seal it yet again. Just when you thought this team
had the Pats right where they wanted them they the reigning champs
pulled a gut check win out. At the end of the day the Falcons
are still in great shape. They have a good back-up in Schaub but
he won’t be there next year. I think this game should be
a “river” walk in the park. Play Vick or Schaub, Dunn,
Finneran looks to be ok as well.
Final Score: Falcons 28, Saints
Carolina (+1) at Detroit
A tale of two teams that can’t figure out if they are
good or not. Carolina eked one out in the desert last week in the
latest Cardinal choke job. They played good enough o win but had
trouble running the ball again. They have to learn to stop the pass
at some point but luckily they face a Lions team that doesn’t
know how to pass the ball. I would play Delhomme, and Smith.
Pretty good win by the Lions at home. Give them credit they moved
the ball against a supposedly good defense. However that defense
doesn’t look quite as good right now. Understand that the
Ravens game them this game they didn’t win it. Harrington
just is no good and at some point must go. He will have a tough
time, as the Panthers will bring the heat. I don’t know
but I see bad things for the Lions this week.
Final Score: Panthers 20, Lions
Cincinnati at Tennessee
(+3) 1:00 p.m.
Was it me or did I just see a team exposed a little last week?
The Jags handled the Bengals for the better part of the game.
But the Bengals made a run late and lost by 3. That defense looked
awfully leaky against the run as they let F Taylor scorch them
the entire afternoon. I think they really need to shore some things
up this week or McNair and fellas are completely capable of putting
up some points. I think it will be high scoring from a fantasy
point of view so play most of their starters
The Titans beat the lights out of a fading Houston team. McNair
was really efficient, as he had no turnovers, 220 yards and Tds.
It will take another one of those to beat the Bengals. I think
they will have to win a shoot-out because they will not be able
to stop the Bengal offense. But at home with the 3 points I am
going with Tenn. I think they can hang and will shock the world.
Final Score: Titans 35, Bengals
Cleveland at Baltimore
(-5.5) 1:00 p.m.
Oh boy did the Ravens have some issues last week. They did get
jobbed on some calls but that is no reason to lose your head like
that. Hitting refs and getting thrown out. That is a team out
of control and the coach has the reign them back in. Where was
Ray-Ray in all of this? He should have been able to get everyone
to keep their composure as the Ravens were in that game up until
that point. Some calls don’t go your way but you have to
be able to play through it and not lose yourself. But I say they
put it together this week and I feel sorry for Dilfer.
Dil pickle and the Browns come off a week in where they played
a good Bears team (defensively) and moved the ball well. Dilfer
made a couple of mistakes but threw most of his passes on target
with 218 yards and 2 TDs. Of course the Bears have a horrible
passing offense and the Ravens are not much better. I think of
this game as retribution. The Ravens will just simply impose their
will on these guys and scare the crap out of them. That is what
happens when thugs get together and form a team.
Final Score: Ravens 20, Browns
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh
(no line) 1:00 p.m.
At press time this game had no line waiting on confirmation of
the Steeler QB situation. If I were a betting man I would say
that Ben misses this game but is back next week. So taking that
into consideration I would have to get the Jags the edge. Batch
and Maddoux are good fellas and all but they just won’t
have time to get this offense past this defense. They will try
to run the ball and give the Jags a slow death but without a passing
game that will be hard to do.
Yes the Jags mentioned above pulled off the defeat. Beating the
Bengals in fine fashion and trying to solidify themselves as playoff
caliber. I don’t quite know about that yet but we will see.
That Leftwich is a pretty good player and will be counted on to
make it happen this week. That Steeler D will be mighty tough
to score on but look at what the Chargers did. They moved the
ball. They might have trouble running it but I think they will
have more chances with the QB situation. I reserve the right to
change my opinion if Ben can play. Play Taylor, Jimmy in this
Final Score: Jags 24, Steelers
Miami (+4.5) at Tampa
Bay 1:00 p.m.
To celebrate the return of Ricky Williams this week,
the Dolphins will ride to Tampa Bay in a Volkswagen
bus featuring psychedelic colors and clam-baked
windows. The bus will arrive 20 minutes late because
the team will stop for munchies and the pot-mobile
should undoubtedly be followed by a cloud. The Dolphins have a
couple viable options here, but
not many. Start Chambers and McMichael without
prejudice, but be wary of Ronnie Brown and/or Rick the
Stick. He’s not yet up to his ideal playing weight,
and won’t go nuts until he’s the definite starter.
Frerotte might be okay, but I’m sure most of you have
better QBs to go this week.
The Bucs should respond to last week’s loss to the Jets
with a ruthless running attack featuring both Pittman & Cadillac.
Hey, that rhymed! Galloway’s good, and go ahead with Griese,
but if you start Michael Clayton, you’ll be feeling quite
Final Score: Bucs 23, Dolphins
Minnesota (+2.5) at Chicago
If the 1-3 Vikings play the 1-3 Bears in a meaningless
NFC North battle, do they make a sound? The Vikings
offense might finally make some noise against a Bears
defense that’s played above its head all year. Look
for Culpepper, Marcus Robinson and Mewelde Moore to
play well this week despite the Bears D’s success. I’m
not buying it, renting it or leasing it.
The Bears Kyle Orton couldn’t score if he was a
one-armed hooker trolling around at an amputee
convention, but I think he might have a decent game
this week. If T. Jones goes, he’ll be the man, but
watch out for Cedric Benson this week and go with
Muhsin Muhammed and Desmond Clark.
Final Score: Vikings 30, Bears
N.Y. Giants (+3.5) at
Dallas 1:00 p.m.
As a Dallas fan living in New York and surrounded by
Giants fans, nothing makes me happier than watching
the Gay Blue Brigade take on the Cowboys. The main
reason is that I’m guaranteed the game will be
broadcast on TV — a benefit I realized mostly before
the advent of Direct TV’s NFL package. The Giants have
also become much more familiar. I’ve seen the Giants
players out on the town in Albany quite a bit over the
past few years since they moved training camp to the
state capital, and it’s interesting to see how those
guys behave in clubs and bars. They are actually
pretty low-key and well-behaved.
The Giants look like a team on a mission, and they
will undoubtedly bring their A game to Dallas. Eli
Manning, Tiki Barber, Burress and Shockey are
obviously no-brainers, but even Toomer may throw in a
decent performance as he’s been okay versus the
The Cowboys played to their potential for three
quarters on Sunday, much to the delight of Bill
Parcells. The dispute between Bledsoe and Keyshawn
shouldn’t be taken too seriously, as both players are
hot-headed and they really wanted to finish off the
Eagles before another win slipped away. The Boys won
not just because they shut down Terrell Owens and
limited all the Eagles to moderate gains and few first
downs, but because they refused to get burned by the
big play. The secondary seems to have finally learned
to bend but not break, a coaching philosophy that
Belichick — a Parcells disciple and defensive wizard —
has mastered. Look for Bledsoe, Keyshawn, Glenn and
Witten to exploit the Giants vulnerable secondary, but
don’t count on another 150-170 yard total from the
Cowboys running game, which has blistered the Giants
in its last two. Julius Jones is nursing an ankle and
the other options are Irving native Tyson Thompson
(who might get the start in Jones’s place) and Chicago
castoff Anthony “A-Train” Thomas. If you’re
lucky, try them out, but you can’t rely on my column,
or the insights of anyone else, to give you a sure
Final Score: Cowboys 30, Giants
Washington (+6) at Kansas
City 1:00 p.m.
Hail to the Redskins! Actually, don’t, and start the
countdown, because the collapse is commencing.
The Redskins lost last week and should continue to
lose, despite facing one of the league’s worst
defenses this week. Start Portis, Chris Cooley and
Santana Moss, but steer clear of Brunell, Patten and
anybody else in a headdress this week.
The Chiefs should get solid performances from Trent
Green, Priest, Gonzalez and maybe even Eddie Kennison,
depending on your desperation level.
Final Score: Chiefs 27, Redskins
Jets (+3) at Buffalo 4:15 p.m.
When did Buffalo get such a horrible run defense? I missed that
situation developing and can only think that they should step
it up against a Jets team that still can’t get Curtis Martin’s
yardage totals going. The Jets will be forced to take it to the
air more this week, as the Bills will concentrate on the run more
and be somewhat successful stopping Martin. Vinny Testaverde will
improve his totals from last week, but don’t count on anything
more than 200 and 2 TDs. He’s also bound to throw a couple
picks. Martin will probably grab 65 and a score on about 20 carries,
but again, he will mostly be held in check. While Laveranues Coles
has a tough matchup this week against Nate Clements, he’ll
still be the go-to guy. Doug Jolley could also be a decent surprise
start at TE, as he’s emerged as a decent target for Testaverde.
The Bills did a good thing replacing J.P. Loser with Kelly Holcomb,
and the perennial backup has always done well given the opportunity
in big games. With both teams trying to get to 3-3, this should
be a wild one. Go with Holcomb, McGahee, Moulds and Lee Evans,
as the Bills might open it up this week despite a tough Jets pass
Final Score: Bills 24, Jets
England (+3) at Denver 4:15 p.m.
The game of the week, period. I don’t think it’s time
to abandon the Pats just yet, and while listening to
Woody Paige every morning raving about the Broncos has
me confused by the time I get to work, I think I’m
still ready to render a verdict.
The Pats are a team that’s almost impossible to
analyze from week to week because they are so dynamic.
While the team has enough potential to go all the way
each season, the Pats sometimes play no better than
the sum of their parts, which is only slightly better
than average, especially this season. I believe they
should open it up a bit this week and attack the
Broncos secondary early and often. Start Brady,
Dillon, Branch and Givens. Graham might add a score,
but don’t count on too much.
The Broncos are once again my least favorite team, as
last week I bailed on Bell, and he blew up. At least I
recommended you folks think about playing him. I can’t
figure out Shanahan’s game plan, which is probably the
way he wants it. This week, the anti-fantasy continues
with another confounding matchup against New England.
Maybe the way to do it is to play the RB situation is
to use both Bell and Anderson, whomever you have, and
pray Shanahan features your boy. I’m not too sure, but
I think Rod Smith turns 65 this weekend.
Final Score: Pats 27, Broncos
San Diego (-2) at Oakland
This will be my game of the week. I will sit down it take this
one in as these two teams will light it up Sunday afternoon. The
Chargers really earned that victory but you have to stop somebody
and two drives in a row they let the Steelers run right past them.
You just can’t do that in this league. You have to be able
to put people away. Brees looked good as well as LT. Look for
Brees, Gates, McCardell, and the incomparable one LT to have great
games this week.
The Raiders come back from a much needed by week and really need
this game. They will have the usual cast of characters with Collins,
Jordan, Moss and the gang all scoring a lot of points which is
good from a fantasy perspective but not from a winning perspective.
They have to be able to stop someone and I don’t think they
can. The Chargers offense is just that good and they have NOBODY
that can match up with Gates. LT could possible rush for 200 in
this one. Boy it will be fun though.
Final Score: Chargers 38, Raiders
at Seattle (-9.5) 8:30 p.m.
I won’t be staying up to watch this snooze fest. The Seahawks
are better than anticipated and have a chance to win the West.
As a matter of fact with Martz out they are in the drivers seat.
Hasselbeck made due with Jackson out with an injury. Jurevicius
made a good impression as he had 137 yards and a TD. That defense
still lets the Rams throw the ball everywhere but they came away
with an important win and that is the reason why we play them.
They will crush this team, as they will have defense to stop them.
Final Score: Seahawks 30, Texans
St. Louis (+14) at Indianapolis
With the Colts playing excellent football, the Rams
will definitely be playing from behind. The spread is
a bit of a sucker, and I think St. Louis should cover.
The Rams will get good totals from Bulger, Holt and
Kevin Curtis, but Steven Jackson’s effectiveness may
be limited to receiving yardage out of the backfield.
The Colts should get some of their best offensive
totals this week against a defense that is easy to
shred. Start Peyton Manning, Edge James, Marvin
Harrison, Reggie Wayne and maybe even Brandon Stokley
and Dallas Clark. If the Indy O is ever going to
return to 2004 form, this will be the game. Play ‘em
if you got ‘em and hope I’m right.
Final Score: Colts 37, Rams