NCAA DirecTV ESPN GamePlan Free Picks: Week 10

West Virginia Mountaineers @ Connecticut Huskies (+4): Tough call, I want to go with the Mountaineers, here hoping that they caught their stride and are ready to ride Pat White to numerous victories down the stretch, taking the Big East title as they go. The Public seems to think this, at least against UCONN this week anyway. I know the Huskies have quarterback questions heading into this game, but at home as a 4 point dog against a mediocre WV team that can definitely play up and down based on their opponent, I’ll take the Huskies. 

Miami Hurricanes @ Virginia Cavaliers (-2): This game is another tough one for me. I’d like to think that Miami’s athletes alone would give Virginia trouble, not in the same boat but maybe in the same ocean as USC earlier this season. But my gut has me going with the Cavs here. They do lots of things well and most importantly have been finding ways to win in the ACC. Aside from USC, the Cavaliers haven’t lost at home. Miami can play really well and really poor, you never quite know what you’re going to get with them. I know the Cavs will come to play here. 

Auburn Tigers @ Mississippi Rebels (-6): The Rebels have only lost to good teams. The Tigers aren’t good. I’ll take them by a touchdown over a lost Auburn team. 

Kentucky Wildcats @ Mississippi State Bulldogs (-2):  I like the Kentucky team that played close with Alabama, losing by three, and played another tight game with South Carolina the week after Bama. Since then the Wildcats have key players out for the year, some more out for this game, and numerous other’s that are questionable and or and playing hurt. I’ll take the Bulldogs against half of Kentucky’s squad. 

Florida State Seminoles (+2.5) @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: I took the Seminoles, but I seem to be the only one doing so – there’s my warning. 8 “Covers Experts” are siding with the Yellow Jackets in this one, but I see a Seminole team, that despite the injuries has found a way to win over the last few weeks. I guess I rate that will higher than others do – we’ll see. 

Iowa State Cyclones (+30.5) @ Oklahoma State Cowboys: I don’t know. I see that Oklahoma State is nearly unbeatable, and if it weren’t for a Heismann front runner from Texas they’d probably be undefeated headed into this game with a pretty bad Iowa State group. But the Cyclones are known for playing good teams tough, and 30+ underdogs here look good to me. 

North Texas Mean Green (+17) @ Western Kentucky Hilltoppers: North Texas has yet to win and has lost only one game by less than 20 points. But I like the Mean Green to cover here. Despite losses and points and all that business, North Texas and Western Kentucky are pretty similar in talent and ability. This game should be closer than 17. 

Tulane @ Louisiana State (-26.5): LSU put up 38 on Georgia. Tulane has been beat by 27+ in two of the last three weeks, Rice and Army. Tulane has been battling injuries the last few weeks. On the other hand, most “experts” are taking Tulane in this one. I like a 31-0 shutout or something of that sort. On the other hand, LSU has only two wins by more than 26.5 all season long, North Texas and sub division stud App. State. Interesting. I’ll still take LSU.

Five for Friday

You have the feeling? 

Is it a gut feeling or a stupid feeling? Maybe both?

Well, if you need some help starting or choosing a starter between two guys, I’m the one to help you out. This week I have 5 examples of reader emails that ask who would I rather start – these are my answers. 

1. Matt Schaub or Jay Cutler: Wow, that’s a tough one there but I’m going with Schaub. I don’t think the Broncos will have to score as much to win their game, and with Ryan Torrain in the game (or so I am fooled to believe he’ll be starting) I think Cutler will throw less. That being said, they are both great options with great physical receivers, can’t really lose here. 

2. Matt Forte or Chris Johnson: PPR this is an easy Matt Forte answer, even without PPR to help me out with 5 catches for Matt, I think I’m rocking Forte against the Lions. Clinton Portis put up a ton of yards against Detroit last week and he didn’t even play the whole time. Forte is the Bears rushing attack, and while Chris Johnson has a nice match-up against a suddenly porous Packer defense, he also has LenDale White thieving carries – Forte is all by himself in Detroit. 

3. Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall (I can start 2): I’m going with Andre and Brandon because they play mediocre to bad secondaries and they have studs throwing them the ball. Dan Orlovsky isn’t my favorite QB to be throwing the ball to my WR. That being said, I like Calvin this week too. 

4. Julius Jones, Cedric Benson, Jerious Norwood: Norwood and it isn’t really that close. PPR of course. If not, I guess I’d roll with Benson, though I wouldn’t like it. I think Norwood gets at least 4 catches and 6-10 carries against the Raiders – here breaks on and he’s well worth your time, even as a guaranteed back-up plan. 

5. Steve Slaton or Jamal Lewis: Jamal has been pretty good against the Ravens and Slaton is going to be busting his ace for 4 yards a carry against the Vikings defense. That being said I still think Slaton attacks the Vikings in the air a bit, and he’s pretty quick so he might do alright on the ground. I don’t see Jamal having much of a day against this particular Baltimore defense. 

Good luck penguins!

theRUNDOWN: Week 9

For those of you new to theRUNDOWN this is what I do. I pick my best team of the week, some nice plays with a few reasons to back up my picks. After that I list a couple sleepers, either decent guys that I expect to have good weeks, or relatively unused guys I like to do well. Then, at the end I list a few usually solid guys that I would leave on the bench. Just in case you didn’t catch it, this is my RUNDOWN for Week 8…

QB: Matt Schaub vs. Minnesota: Maybe I’m a little edgy for taking Schaub (and his Texans) to do good work on the road against a team coming off a bye. My guess, Minnesota didn’t fix their terrible secondary over a bye week. 

RB: Matt Forte vs. Detroit: Clinton Portis killed the Lions in limited action – I expect Detroit to be a little better, but Matt is a big time focus of the Lions offense – I can’t imagine him getting less than 20 fantasy points this week. 

RB: Earnest Graham vs. Kansas City: Thomas Jones was the guy hurt most by the Jets willingness to throw interceptions last week, well, I think Earnest Graham does work against the Chiefs in Week 9. Warrick Dunn is likely out for this contest, leaving Graham to snag all the carries. 

FLEX: Brandon Marshall vs. Miami: The Dolphins are solid run stuffers, and their secondary is porous. Marshall hasn’t gone off in a while now, and I expect that to change in a hurry. 

WR: Larry Fitzgerald vs. St. Louis: Anquan Boldin has been catching all the touchdowns, but I get a feeling that Fitz will be the high scorer for the Cards this week. 

WR: Andre Johnson vs. Minnesota: Honestly, I’d take Johnson against any defense in the league. That being said, I get a little smile when I see MInnesota on the schedule. All Andre needs to do is score, he has only two on the season. 

TE: Zach Miller vs. Atlanta: A big sure handed TE is a quarterback’s best friend. In PPR leagues I think Miller has a really nice day against the Falcons secondary. 

K: Matt Prater vs. Miami: IN Denver against a defense that isn’t good enough to shut down the Broncos, but isn’t bad enough to allow touchdowns on every drive, I think Prater gets his leg going. 

D: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Seattle: The Eagles can really get after the quarterback, they have 3 talented corners, (very talented), and they have playmaking safeties. They should eat up the Seagulls. 


David Garrad: This time Garrard gets Cincinnati and I think he has a decent day, he’s not my favorite sleeper, but he’s worth a shot. 

Chad Pennington: I know it’s a bye week happy stat, but just one quarterback over the past 4 weeks has thrown for more yards than Pennington (Brees I think) – I know that sounds crazy, but Chad has been putting up close to 300 or more every week. This week is Denver sans Champ Bailey – yhatzee!!!

Maurice Jones Drew: Big week for MJD. 

Justin Fargas: Not only has Fargas been the best back in Oakland, but this week he’ll likely go at the Atlanta Falcons without Darren McFadden stealing his touches. I like my chances on picking up Fargas and starting him. 

Donnie Avery: This may be a duh call, but Avery goes up against a Cardinals secondary that can really give up the deep ball – he’s bee good lately, and Arizona can stop the run enough to force the pass – and force it the Rams will.

Chad Johnson: It’s been a tough year when Chad Johnson has been relegated to Sleeper status. However, Ryan Fitzpatrick has to be getting a little more comfortable and Chad could always have a huge day. He’s no sure thing, but against a mediocre Jags secondary, I think Chad has a solid day. 80 yards and a score for his best day of the year?

Greg Olsen: Greg goes up against the Lions. He’s talented and a tough match-up for a slow secondary. Seems like a good play to me. 

New England Patriots: This may be a long shot, but the Colts have no running attack, that allows Coach Bill to scheme against one thing, the pass. They may be hurting, but I like the Pats to get to Manning and produce a few turnovers. 

Papa’S Week 6 Splinter-Butts (bench him, son)

Big Ben Roethlisberger: This guy is bound to get hurt with the way teams hit him – he’s a questionable play the rest of the season in my mind – I think Washington gets to him a few times here. 

Ryan Grant: Those who know me know I dig Ryan Grant, but the cat has been struggling with lots of carries and minimal yards against pretty pathetic defenses. These are the Titans, and in greek mythology the Titans were even greater than the gods… 

Edgerrin James: For eternity folks, bench him that long. I’ve been one of his biggest fans, but there’s a time when you have to let go, when he’s still a strong bench him candidate against the Rams, now’s that time. 

Terrell Owens: TO has the ability to go off anytime – he historically eats up the Giants – all that means little to me right now because I’m benching TO this week. 

Three for Thursday

Okay, in just a second I have three teams (with player sets) that you might want to trade off or stay away from because of their tough schedules moving forward. But first, here this… 

I forgot the Broncos yesterday – they have one decent secondary for the rest of the season (Carolina in Week 16) – aside from the Panthers, Denver plays Cleveland, Atlanta, Oakland, the Jets, Kansas City, Buffalo, and San Diego. Not that Brandon Marshall wasn’t a great option before, but how does he look now? With Tony Scheffler coming back and Eddie Royal completely healthy, and a possible starting option at running back (Ryan Torrain) coming into the mix, I think the Broncos passing attack looks scary as ever. Scheffler and Torrain might be on waivers right now, if that’s the case, rock out and pick them up. 

Okay, now for some tough schedules you may want to avoid…

Cincinnati Bengals: As if the situation in Cinci could get any worse, they have a brutal schedule moving forward. Talk about tough, after this week against Jacksonville, the Bengals have a bye. Then it’s a place where two star receivers go to die – that’s right, they play the Eagles, Steelers, Ravens, and Colts – all top ranked pass defenses. Redskins, Browns, and Chiefs, to finish the season, but it gets a heck of a lot worse before it gets better. If there’s any value out there for Housh, Chad Johnson, or (well that’s it I guess) – I would make good and see them off. 

The Browns are in the same division as the Bengals, and it looks like their schedule has some big time tough ones as well. Lucky for you guys, the Browns also play the Broncos, Texans, Colts (Jamal Lewis owners anyway), and Bengals. Who else do they play? Well it starts this weekend against the Ravens, and the Bills, and the Titans, and the Eagles, and they end the season with the Steelers. This years’ Saints could end up looking a lot like last years’ Saints, without all those late season offensive numbers – yeah, uh oh. 

The 49ers also have a little bit of an interesting go. Aside from the Rams twice, San Francisco doesn’t have another great match-up for Frank Gore owners. The Cardinals, Cowboys, Bills, Jets, Dolphins, and Redskins are all solid if not very good run defenses. I know Frank Gore can do good work against anyone (except the Giants – 11 rushes for 11 yards, also 3 grabs for 50) – but his first half was riddled with Seahawks (twice), Lions, Saints, Patriots – he’s got some tough ones down the stretch. Still, I’d keep him unless you get good value for him, which you probably can considering the goods he’s put up so far this season.

NCAA Free Picks: Week 10

I’ve got twelve big ones for Week 10 – I hope you enjoy. Just to let you know, my favorites are Minnesota, Oregon, and Iowa – but I like them all enough to throw a bet down. Here’s to hoping home field advantage doesn’t rear it’s ugly head this weekend – 10 out of my 12 are road warriors – just five road favorites though – ha, that’s good for me. Enjoy, and as always, good luck. 

Wisconsin Badgers (+5) @ Michigan State Spartans: Lots of bad football from the Badgers this year, but I tend to think these two teams are just about even, and Michigan State isn’t some freakishly tough place to play by any means. I think Wisconsin runs the ball well and likely upsets the Spartans, as MSU starts their normal late season slide. 

Northwestern Wildcats @ Minnesota Golden Gophers (-6): The Gophers are ranked just one spot behind the Wildcats, and favored in this game by 6 – why? Well, that’s because it is becoming more and more likely that C.J. Bacher won’t be under center in this one for Northwestern and the fact that Minnesota is actually the better team, oh, and Tyrell Sutton (damn good running back) is out for the game too. Rankings are stupid. Write that down. Take Minnesota here.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane (-7) @ Arkansas Razorbacks: Maybe it’s my hatred for Bobby Patrino, or maybe I like the Hurricane as one of the tougher outs in the Nations – I don’t know. I do know this, Arkansas has been destroyed by good teams, and the Hurricane are good. It’s a tough out of conference game, maybe, but Tulsa has shown me that they can play ball and boy can they take advantage of a bad defense. They score like Texas Tech – and coming off yet another close loss, I think the Razorbacks are in line for an old fashioned butt kicking. But let me make this clear, Tulsa hasn’t beaten anyone, and taking this line means you are buying into their undefeated crap schedule hype. I am taking this game, yes, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Ha. I’m making a “small” bet on this one. 

Arkansas State Indians (+23.5) @ Alabama Crimson Tide: The Tide are one of the Nation’s best teams, I’m not arguing that – but they still aren’t a “kill you” team. Arkansas State can run the ball well, they throw the ball well enough, and they do alright defensively. I think ‘Bama takes this one by two touchdowns, maybe even three, but then again, that still makes me a winner.

Oregon Ducks (+3) @ California Bears: I think Oregon hammers the Bears. There, I said it. There are lots of reasons I believe this, but I’m confident in just saying they’re going to kill them, on the road, conference rival, big game for both teams – Ducks by three touchdowns. 

Florida State Seminoles (+2.5) @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: The quarterbacking troubles continue for Georgia Tech – and I don’t think their running game is good enough to beat the Seminoles all by it’s lonesome. Favored by just under a field goal, that’s almost like being a dog. The Yellow Jackets are ranked in the Top 25, a few spots higher than the Noles – but I still think FSU is the better team. Too many athletes for GT in this game. 

Iowa Hawkeyes (+3) @ Illinois Fighting Illini: I think Iowa runs all over Illinois, and not even Juice Williams can put up enough points to win this game for the home team. Iowa has one of the better runners in the nation, and they will showcase him in this one. 

Stanford Cardinal (-29) @ Washington State Cougars: Because I have to, it’s part of my religion now. 

San Jose State Spartans (-16.5) @ Idaho Vandals: I know Idaho won last week, but taht’s all the better reason to think they lose by 30 to the Spartans here. San Jose state showed me a solid football team last week against Boise State, despite the tough loss. San Jose at anything less than minus three touchdowns seems like a deal in this one. 

Washington Huskies @ USC Trojans (-43): Because not only do I have to, but it feels good when I do it. 

Boise State Broncos (-20) @ New Mexico Lobos: I know this probably isn’t a good way to go about this, so I’m basically advising you to only wager a small bet on this one, but the freaking Lobos lost to the freaking Vandals. Ewwww… Boise State brings the ruckus night in and night out. I think they can score three more touchdowns than a Lobos team that is losers of back to back games against San Jose State and Idaho. I also really like the fact that two starting offensive linemen are out for New Mexico (well I don’t like it, I’m not saying yahoo for injuries, I’m just liking my bet more. 

TCU Horned Frogs (-13.5) @ UNLV Running Rebels: The Horned Frogs are this good folks, it’s not a joke. They’ve lost one game to Oklahoma and pretty much handled everyone else. I don’t think that stops with the Running Rebels, even though UNLV has played tough the last couple weeks. They’re in for a down week against a great opponent.

One for Wednesday

I got lost in a maze and couldn’t write “10 for Tuesday” so I’ll just give you this one piece of free fantasy advice and hope it will suffice. I do love my readers though, so it should be a nice little tidbit of information. 

There are some teams that have tough endings to the season, and now is the time to prepare yourself for a big finish and maybe even playoff match-ups. That’s right folks, teams like New England, who started the season with the Chiefs, Jets, Dolphins, 49ers, Chargers, Broncos, and Rams – now have to play the Bills twice, teh Dolphins D, the Steelers, and Cardinals as well. Even the Jets have a tough run defense. If you are holding on to Sammy Morris hoping for solid days, I would just about try to get any value for him as soon as now, or if he has one good game. But tough schedules aren’t what I’m here to talk to you about, I’m here to give you three players that have underachieved (aka they can be had for CHEAP) that have happy go lucky match-ups for the rest of the season (or most of the season). Here goes nothing.

Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown: Alright, Ronnie has really struggled the last couple weeks, and his value might be down right as low as it’s going to get. The thing is, this Dolphin team has a runner’s dream schedule going down the line. Broncos this week, then Seahawks, Raiders, Patriots, Rams, (Bills are tough), 49ers, Chiefs, and (Jets are tough in week 17, but nobody rocks Week 17). Also, Ricky is supposed to get a few more touches, which might make him a nice waiver wire addition. Big playoff bonus for Ronnie, and maybe Ricky too, the 49ers and Chiefs during playoff time when they’ll still be trying to win games – you have to like that.

DeAngelo Williams: I love Jonathan Stewart’s game, but it looks like Williams is going to be the main man in Carolina, and he’s been playing like a former first round pick, so why shouldn’t he? That being said, look at the Panther’s schedule and get even more excited for this easy pick-up. Williams has been pretty solid and he still doesn’t hold much value. But like I said, he plays the Raiders, Lions, Falcons, and Packers coming off Week 9’s bye. That should give him plenty of solid numbers, and being that he’s in a bye this week there’s likely no better time to get him. He has two tough games left on the schedule, but also plays Denver in Week 15, and you all know what running backs do to Denver.

Colts: Nobody can argue with me here, the Colts have their lowest value in years – but there’s an answer to those slow numbers on the way. Indy has New England this week, then Pittsburgh – but they it looks like an offensive explosion after that. Houston, San Diego, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, Jacksonville – and Week 17 Tennessee, but the Titans are probably done playing starters before that and Week 17 rarely matters anyway. It might be a good time to grab Peyton, Wayne, Addai, and maybe even Anthony Gonzalez (I like him more than Marvin heading forward) – those guys should all have brighter fantasy dreams in the 2nd half.  

Lastly, let me say this, go for the Cardinals if you can. I know they’ve all played pretty well, but if you can still get Kurt Warner or Boldin or Fitz, or if someone is trying to get them from you, laugh a sinister cackle, because the Cardinals play two tough secondary’s the rest of the way (Eagles and Giants) and after that they have favorable match-ups. Go Captain Kurt!

NCAA Free Picks REVIEW: Week 9

Well, it wasn’t well worth your time, I know, but I came out 1 game over .500 at 10-9 on the week. If you headed my advice and didn’t bet much on my two “maybe you should stay away” games, then you did a little better than me. All that said, here’s my review of this weekend’s games. 

Boston College Eagles @ North Carolina Tar Heels (-3): (WINNER) “You know my love affair with unranked favorites over ranked opponents – lets do it again this week. I know the Heels are without their starting quarterback and their stud receiver, but I like them against a weak Boston College team.” And like them I shall. North Carolina hammered the Eagles. 

Kentucky Wildcats (+26) @ Florida Gators: (LOSS) Apparently the injuries were worse than I thought. Either that or Florida is awesome. Maybe both? Kentucky got embarrassed by the Gators on Saturday. In turn, I got embarrassed. 

Penn State Nittany Lions (-2) @ Ohio State Buckeyes: (WINNER) “I know the history here. I know the Nittany Lions haven’t won at Ohio State in my lifetime (does that date me?) – but I’m not so sure that means jack right now.” And that didn’t mean jack. The Lions were the better football team and I wasn’t the only person to see that. Despite a very tough football game and losing their starting quarterback late, the Lions pressed on and took out OSU on the road.  

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-10) @ Washington Huskies: (WINNER) Notre Dame did everything and anything they wanted. UW did get two sacks on the day, making that 5 for the entire season. On Monday Ty Willingham announced that he will be stepping down at the end of the season. It’s too bad, I like the guy, but it was something that needed to happen. 

Oklahoma Sooners (+18.5) @ Kansas State Wildcats: (WINNER) It may have been tight, and maybe the Wildcats should have covered in this one, but I didn’t need that last field goal to cover, as 20 points would have been just fine for me. The Sooners are that much better than the Wildcats, conference game or not. 

Wyoming Cowboys @ TCU Horned Frogs (-30): (WINNER) I was thinking about 40-3 in this one and it ended up 54-7. TCU’s 30-0 2nd half helped pull to covers over Wyoming’s unsuspecting heads. This one was done in the 3rd – gotta love that. 

South Florida Bulls (-3) @ Louisville Cardinals: (LOSS) And Louisville wins at home against their conference rival. A game they almost surely should lose. The Big East can really get you in the guts. 

Texas Tech Red Raiders @ Kansas Jayhawks (-1): (LOSS) “Maybe I’m crazy but I like the Jayhawks here because they are at home and promise a more balanced attack and defensive game plan than the Raiders. That being said, this is a TT game and anything can happen. This is my smallest play of the week, but a play nonetheless.” Go ahead, mark it down, I was crazy when I made this pick. Texas Tech is legit, they will give Texas troubles next Saturday. Kansas just didn’t have it. After a 14-14 1st quarter, Tech outscored Kansas 49-7. You betcha. I hope your play was small like mine. 

Cincinnati Bearcats @ Connecticut Huskies (+2.5): (WINNER) A nice outright win by the Huskies? Try 40-16. After being down at the half, UCONN came out and put up 30 second half points, limiting the Bearcats to just one field goal. This was a nice cover for me. 

Central Michigan Chippewas (-4) @ Toledo: (LOSS) The Chipps needed a 4th quarter touchdown to finally pull ahead of a fighting Toledo squad, and I couldn’t get that extra field goal I needed to push. It’s alright, I freaking hate pushing. Well I guess getting your money back is better than losing it. Who knew?

Fresno State Bulldogs (-14) @ Utah State Aggies: (LOSS) “I’ll warn you that somewhere over 70% of the public is on the Bulldogs here and the lines are still moving up and away. Maybe it’s not as easy as I see,” I hope you listened to the advice I couldn’t listen to myself. I hate when I do that, but as long as you folks are doing alright I’ll call it even. 

Oklahoma State Cowboys (+12.5) @ Texas Longhorns: (WINNER) Oklahoma came out fighting and almost ended the Longhorn’s perfect season. Tough game for sure, one of the better battles in football this season. The Longhorns won 28-24, and I covered this pick easily. 

UCLA Bruins (+18) @ California Golden Bears: (LOSS) This was a TERRIBLE BEAT, let me tell you that. Cal scored 24 fourth quarter points on way to covering the spread by 3. I capped this game right on the money, expcept the money slipped out from under my hands and went straight down the gutter when freakish points started going on the board in the 4th. Oh well, that’s sports. 

Virginia Tech Hokies (+5.5) @ Florida State Seminoles: (LOSS) The Seminoles won by 10, which means I don’t cover anything. The 3rd quarter got me, and Virginia Tech looked a little out of sorts on Saturday. It’s tough when the team you’re betting on loses their most athletic player, and starting quarterback, before he throws one single pass. Oh, and then they lose their 2nd string guy later in the game. I lost, but you see where I’m coming from here? Lady Luck peed on my salad in this game. 

Bowling Green Falcons @ Northern Illinois Huskies (-7.5): (LOSS) NIU pulled this one out, but a field goal win is a loss for me. Damned Huskies. 

New Mexico State Aggies (-12.5) @ Idaho Vandals: (LOSS) I’m officially taking Idaho out of my “always bet against Washington Schools” motto. They pulled a huge upset on the Aggies this week. I was sure Idaho wouldn’t be winning again this year. The MAC is killing me! 

Mississippi Bulldogs @ Arkansas Razorbacks (+6.5): (WINNER) The Bulldogs won, which makes me happy, and hte Razorbacks covered, which makes me even happier. I needed some 4th quarter heroics to get this one in, and Arkansas put up two touchdowns to Mississippi’s 10 points. That’ll do, that’ll do. 

Florida Atlantic @ Louisiana Monroe (+2.5): (WINNER) “In conference home dog – I’ll take it. I like UL’s signal caller, that’s enough for me to lean on the home dogs here.” Well, Monroe didn’t win, but when you are a dog you get points, and when you get points and lose by 1, you win. That’s right, I got a little luck with this small school battle. I’ll take it.  

Nevada Wolfpacks @ Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (+3.5): (WINNER) “Hawaii is at home against a Nevada team that has 4 unimpressive wins over unimpressive opponents. I’ll take Hawaii. They look to be getting it together a little behind their new coach.” Hawaii in Hawaii is tough. I thought the Warriors should have been favored by a field goal in this one and they played like it. This was a battle down to the last drive, but Hawaii pulled it out, winning by 7.

Free NFL Picks: Week 9

Week 8 gave me one of my few losing records of the year, but there were some crazy things that went down to get me in the gotcha. This week there are some games I fancy, and some I am just barely leaning one way or the other. Like always, I’ll let you know. 

New York Jets (+6) @ Buffalo Bills: This is an interesting one. The Bills haven’t won a game against a good run defense yet this year. Seriously, Arizona and Miami are both solid run defenses – the Bills have two losses, one loss in Miami, one loss in Arizona. They are undefeated at home this season, against the spread as well. The Jets gave the ball to the Chiefs numerous times and still came out on top last week, but they were playing the Chiefs. I understand that the only road win New York has this year was in Miami in Week 1, and they got beat by Oakland last time they went traveling (gag reflex there). All that being said, I like that the Jets can stop the run (4th in the league with just over 80 yards given up per game) – and I like how that corilates with the trouble Buffalo has had with defenses that make running tough sledding. So, I’ll take the Jets and all 6 of those points in this divisional “HUGE” game. 

Detroit Lions (+14) @ Chicago Bears: The Lions have played better on the road than at home, they are getting 14 points at 5 Dimes. Orlovsky has proven to be a decent option, and Calvin Johnson is borderline unguardable. I like the Bears to win this game, and bring the Lions to 0-8 during the first half of the season (probably not winning 10 games like Jon Kitna says, just my observation, but who knows). However, I do like Detroit to play better than a two touchdown dog to a Bears team that definitely has flaws on either side of the ball. The Bears should no be favored by two scores against anyone in the league. 

Jacksonville Jaguars (-7.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals: Ryan Fitzpatrick complete’s just about 60% of his passes, he has 2 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, he is heading up a team that doesn’t believe in him, and it’s basically crushing news every time he comes onto the field because it’s a reminder that Carson is still out with an arm ouchy. Sounds like a recipe for success. On the other hand, the Jags just lost to the freaking Browns, at home, in a game that they needed to win. They are now 3-4, tied with the Colts and Texans and 4 games back of the Titans in their own division. They need to get things straight right away. Jacksonville has beaten the Bengals in 9 out of the 10 times these two teams have played since 1998. The Jags are 7-2-1 ATS over that time period. I’m not one for history calling the shots, but there’s lots of things working against the Bengals here, not to mention the Jags just lost a big game at home, and they are 2-1 on the road this season with wins in Denver and Indianapolis. Yeah, I like the Jaguars by 10 in this one for a small wager. 

Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns (PK): I don’t know what to think about Cleveland except I think they are just about as good as the Ravens, they are at home, they will likely be a .500 team this year, and this game would split the season series with Baltimore. I like all those things working in my favor here, and I see both teams being 4-4 after Week 9’s action. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8) @ Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs can’t run and they only put up a reasonable fight if teams hand them turnovers like free cans of spam at the light house mission. Jeff Garcia won’t be doing that this week in KC, especially not after getting beat by a hapless Dallas team. I expect a lot of running game action this time around, and that’s not coming from KC. Tyler Thigpen’s chances of building off last week’s big game look really bad, as the Bucs will key in on the young quarterback. Tampa is a lot better than they were last week and the Chiefs are a lot worse – in that match-up I’ll always take the Bucs side. 

Houston Texans (+5) @ Minnesota Vikings: Hmmm… Really good passing offense versus a really bad secondary. Vikings are coming off a bye week going head to head at home against the Texans team that is winners of three straight… But all home games. The Texans are Ofer on the road this season, and that’s not abnormal for the, they are historically a brutal road team. Minnesota hasn’t been playing well at all. They beat the Lions because of a TERRIBLE pass interference call. They beat the New Orleans Saints some how some way, I watched that game and I still can’t figure it out. It seemed like the Saints hammered the Vikes. They gave up 48 points (a lot via the secondary and such) to the Bears and lost that game. They’ve basically played like poo in their last four games are are 2-2 in those contests – so that’s one thing they have going for themselves. In the end, I think it’s Dunta Robinson’s recent return that pays dividends for the Texans in their first road win of the year, a big upset. With another corner that can lock down defenders, the Texans can use their safeties to help against the run, and that should be just enough for them to cover. 

Arizona Cardinals (-2.5) @ St. Louis Rams: The Cardinals are a bad road team. They have been for a long time, and that trend doesn’t seem to be changing much this season in terms of their win/loss record (1-3). However, you have to consider their competition and how they’ve played on the road as well, because close losses to good teams need to look better than close wins against bad teams (at least to the bettor). The Cardinals lost road games to Washington, the Jets, and the Carolina Panthers last week. Except for the offensive blow-up by Brett Favre and the Jets (6 TDs for the old man), the Cards have played tight with their solid opponents, losing by a touchdown in Washington and by just 4 in Carolina (covering the spread last week). The Rams, on the other hand, have to be considered a new team since Jim Haslet took over because they’ve played much different. They ousted the Redskins in Washington, then slapped around a injury decimated Cowboys team two weeks ago at home. Last week they lost in New England, but without Steven Jackson, and the game was tight late (they covered). Still, I think the Cardinals are that much better than the Rams, and while Arizona is used to losing and falling apart when it matters most, I have to believe that they win this week in St. Louis. At -2.5, a field goal win still gets me a W, and thus I’ll be making a small play on the favored road Cardinals here. 

Green Bay Packers (+5.5) @ Tennessee Titans: I would stay away from this line. That’s my suggestion. That being said, I like the Titans by 3 in this one. Their defense is too good, but Aaron Rodgers has one heck of a cannon, and that will test the Titans secondary. Green Bay hasn’t been able to run all year, their yards per carry is gross, and the Titans won’t help that stat improve. Kerry Collins doesn’t do enough to test the Packers secondary woes, but Green Bay’s run defense is basically piss this season. The Titans run with passion and efficiency. And they are absolutely committed to the run as well. The Packers are coming off a bye, and a first hand look at how the Titans secondary can be attacked, as Manning did a nice job in the first half last last Monday Night. There’s lots of things working every which way in this one, and the fact that Tennessee is 7-0 doesn’t help their cause in my book either. Nobody goes undefeated, remember that. The Titans are coming off a little bit of a short week, they are heavily favored, and they have yet to lose. Am I saying Green Bay pulls the upset? No, but there’s a chance. This is just a tough one for me, for the obvious reasons that I listed. Despite the records (4-3 to 7-0) I think these teams are fairly close in ability. I’m taking the Packers here, but you have my advice on betting this game. 

Miami Dolphins (+3.5) @ Denver Broncos: The Denver secondary was bad with Champ Bailey locking down one side, I can’t imagine how pathetic they’ll be without him for the next 6 weeks. They can’t put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, can’t even get close to stopping the run, and their offense relies almost solely on the passing game – which always puts a team at risk. MIami has played decent on the road, sans one bad loss to Arizona. They were up on Houston, and if it weren’t for some last minute heroics by Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub, they would have won there. They smoked New England in Week 3. Three of their losses came to great run defenses, Arizona, the Jets, and Baltimore – and believe me when I say that Denver doesn’t belong in that group. I think Denver will put up points, and it’s possible that they jump up early and leave the Dolphins trying to do too much, but I have a feeling that Miami’s run-based attack and precision passing should keep the time of possession in their favor. That might be just enough for a big upset on Sunday. 

Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants (-8): Too much defensive pressure by the Giants will absolutely make Brad Johnson a sitting duck. The Giants are too tough against the run to allow Marion Barber much room to explode. Dallas played better defensively last week, but honestly, their offense didn’t play well enough for them to win. Dallas got some really bad calls falling in their favor, and that got them over the hump. I don’t like the Giants all that much, and unlike a lot of big names out there I don’t think they are underrated, quite the opposite. I just think that Dallas got beat last week and won the game – I never like that. I also don’t like the Cowboys offense at all right now. New York should win this one in the 24-10 range. 

Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) @ Oakland Raiders: Looking at it from way up here I see a Falcons team that is 1-3 on the road (though their tough road losses came against Philly, Carolina, and Tampa Bay – all solid squads). I see a Raider team that plays pretty well at home, beating the Jets two weeks ago, and playing really tight with San Diego before a late score put the Chargers up 10. The Falcons are 4-3, and they’ve beat some solid teams (Green Bay in Wisconsin) and Chicago two weeks ago at home, by 3 and 2 points respectively. The Raiders don’t stop the run well and don’t create many turnovers on defense. The Falcons only seem to get in trouble when their youth gets the best of them. I also like the Falcons more than the Raiders. This is a very tough one for me, but I’ll have to lean toward Atlanta. They’ve been solid when they can run, and the Raiders will let Mike Turner run. Oakland is not physical up front, and I think Matt Ryan can be effective enough to douse the Raider secondary. I’d stay away from this game, but with all things considered, it looks like Atlanta by a field goal. 

Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5) @ Seattle Seahawks: I know it doesn’t look like the “sharp” bet here, as just about 75% of the public is taking the Eagles, but I can’t see another side. The Seahawks got two 50 yard touchdown catches from Leonard Weaver of all people. Those were Seneca Wallace’s only touchdown passes and almost half of his total passing yardage. Seattle’s defense still doesn’t do enough to disrupt a good offense, and the Eagles (with Brian Westbrook) have one of the most efficient and mistake free units in the league. The Hawks may be without Lofa Tatupu, and that would be a huge hit. The Hawks may have killed a disfunctional 49er team last week, and no win is easy in the NFL, but I see things coming a lot tougher for the Hawks in this one. The Hawks have 2 wins, to the great 49ers last week (after losing to them once already) and to the tough and gritty St. Louis Rams prior to Haslet taking over. They’ve been destroyed by “good” teams that they’ve played. Buffalo beat them by 24, the Giants ran over them by 38, the Packers only won by 10 – but it wasn’t that close – trust me, the Bucs also won by 10 – but that also wasn’t even close. I hate going with 75% of the public, but 6.5 looks nice from my pedestal. 

New England Patriots (+5.5) @ Indianapolis Colts: Call me nuts, but both of these teams are up and down so much that I can’t quite figure them out. New England is 5-2 and the Colts are 3-4, but they are eerily similar. Indy actually played pretty well on Monday Night, flailing like lemmings in the 4th quarter, but solid for the first three frames. New England barely took out a bottom tier St. Louis Rams team that was playing without their best player, Steven Jackson. But I see an advantage for the Patriots in Indy. Weird. The Pats have done solid work against teams that don’t have strong rushing attacks. The Chiefs, Jets, 49ers (only because Mike Martz is a tool), and Denver. Those are all wins for the Pats, and all teams that can’t find a consistent rushing attack. Their losses came to San Diego (a team you must respect on the ground) and MIami (Ronnie Brown went nuts on the Pats). Indy doesn’t have Addai, and even when they have had him, their run game has been blah this season. If the Pats can focus on one aspect, the pass or run, their defense is stronger. You know what is also weird here? Matt Cassel and Peyton Manning have disturbingly similar numbers. Matt’s 66% completion percentage is better than Manning’s 61% – Cassel gets 6.84 yards per attempt while Manning has 6.62. Cassel has thrown just 7 touchdowns to Manning’s 10, but he only has 6 picks to Manning’s 9. Cassel has a 6 point QB Rating advantage as well. Anyway, I’m not saying they’re the same guy, I’m just saying you should lay off killing Matt for his shortcomings, the kid is throwing pretty well. 

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Washington Redskins (-1): This one is tough for me because Jason Taylor is out for sure, and the Redskins are just dealing with a lot of ailments. I actually really liked the Redskins in this one at full health. Against teams I would consider good, Dallas and Philly and maybe even Arizona and New Orleans (though I don’t consider the Saints good, but you might) the Redskins are 4-0. On the other hand, PIttsburgh’s lone good win came against, I don’t know, Jacksonville? Cincinnati, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Houston? I like the Texans but can hardly consider them to be “good”. The Steelers lost to both the Giants and Eagles, and the Redskins will look to make that three in a row from the NFC East. There’s lots of love on the Steeler’s side right now, but I am taking the other half in this one. Take the Skins at home.

NFL Free Picks REVIEW: Week 8

6-8 – but I’m telling you, if you watched the Tampa game or the Falcons game, you have to see where I was coming from – I still think I capped those games perfectly – but that’s the way the china shatters, and I ended up 2 games under .500 this week. Shame on me. On the bright side, my three best picks of the week were 2-1 (one loss was Tampa) – but overall I need to be better next week – here’s where things went wacko in Week 8.

Oakland Raiders (+7)Baltimore Ravens: (LOSS) Tough call for me, definitely. You all know what I think about the Raiders sans Lane Kiffin, but they played so well last week against the Jets. From what I see this game will be a defensive struggle, and I’m betting that 7 ends up being too much. I know the Ravens played a really good game against the Dolphins, and I don’t think either team is legit, but defense keeps this close.

Arizona Cardinals (+5)Carolina Panthers: (WINNER) This is why. I love the Panthers, but only if they can run the ball effectively. I think the Cardinals will prove a tough opponent against Carolina’s ground game, and when that is the case, the Panthers are just average. I expected the Panthers to win the West, but I didn’t think they’d start the season 5-2… Now it’s looking so. The Panthers lost to Tampa and Minnesota – the Cards aren’t that good against the run, but they are solid.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5)Dallas Cowboys: (LOSS) “Maybe the books know something I don’t.” Yeah, apparently they did, for example, there would be a handful of penalties that basically made it possible for the Cowboys to do anything worthwhile. I hate referees. Yeah, I may be complaining a bit much here, but that game was a joke – the Bucs didn’t come out attacking, and the Cowboys defense played well, but this one was won and lost by striped jerseys. Great.

Washington Redskins (-7) Detroit Lions: (WINNER) I’ll take that point. I needed it bad.

Buffalo BillsMiami Dolphins (+2): (WINNER) Key mistakes destroyed the Dolphins chances in Week 7. They didn’t play well overall, obviously a little frustrated by what happened in Week 6. I thin the Dolphins step back into the winners circle this week and the Bills go to 5-2. Miami has shown me that they are solid, and when they play mistake free football they can win tough games. Buffalo is a better match-up than Baltimore was, and I think they win this one at home.

St. Louis Rams (+8) New England Patriots: (WINNER) “I think the Rams are a tough match-up for New England. Matt Cassel is prone to mistakes, he gets sacked a lot, the Rams defense is a completely different group now that Little is back in action at defensive end. The Rams have their running game exploding back to life and the whole team seems to have more confidence now that Haslett is the head guy.” Ha. Even with Steven Jackson not playing at the last moment and Leonard Little going down with a bad hamstring in the 2nd quarter, the Rams still covered this one. I can only imagine what this game would have looked like had those two characters played.

San Diego Chargers (-3) New Orleans Saints: (LOSS) “These overseas games are always weird. Last year the Giants barely won in a gross game, and I don’t know what to expect this time around. I’d say go with the Chargers because of the injury woes attacking the Saints, and how Colston and Shockey obviously aren’t back to full health. Oh, and Bush is out. The Chargers will likely get back Chambers, and LT is getting healthier and healthier. Same with Antonio Gates. Vincent Jackson has been really good, and Phillip Rivers is having a great season for the Chargers. Then again, this game is in another country. I’d stay away, but if you’re looking for an edge, I’d take the Chargers – I think they are 6 points better than the Chargers on your normal day.” This game was weird. I think the Saints probably traveled a little better than the Chargers and that gave them the win. LT blew up and Rivers looked solid, but the Saints still came out victorious. This guy named Drew Brees, he can really do some work.

Kansas City ChiefsNew York Jets (-12.5): (LOSS) “Shoot, the Jets as a big favorite is scary, but I don’t see them playing like garbage after losing an OT game to the freaking Raiders. They are better than that, if still a little overrated.” The again, maybe they aren’t. Who have the Jets beaten this year? New York needs to go back to pounding the run and stop making so many stupid throws… Ugh-hmm… Brett.

Atlanta Falcons (+10)Philadelphia Eagles: (LOSS) The Falcons should have covered this game. Brian Westbrook freakishly stayed in bounds on a last minute long touchdown run that didn’t matter at all. If you watched the game you know what I’m talking about, this was one of those games I capped right that ended on the wrong side. I had a couple of those this week. The game before this one (Jets) and the one after this (Jaguars) are not examples of that.

Cleveland Browns @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-7): (LOSS) “Cleveland hasn’t looked good enough (sans one single game) for me to take them here. I don’t like this line, but I just can’t take that ridiculous organization – not a huge play, but a slight lean here.” I hope you headed my advice to leave this game alone. If you didn’t, like myself, then you lost the game outright. I don’t know, but Cleveland’s run defense came to play. If they can beat the Ravens next week they move to 4-4 after their terrible start. Sound like anyone from last season? S A I N T S…

Cincinnati BengalsHouston Texans (-9.5): (WINNER) “The Bengals are winless, and that’s scary because they are more talented than that. However, they lost probably their best linebacker for the season. Carson Palmer is not playing this week. Houston can’t mess around, as they saw what happens when they allowed Detroit right back in the game last week. Still, Houston is solid and they should run all over the Bengals. Take them to run away with this one.” 35-6… Ah, that makes me feel a little better, you know, like I know what I’m doing.

New York GiantsPittsburgh Steelers (-2.5): (LOSS) I’m not even going to talk about this game. I turned it on just in time to see the Steelers DE/Linebacker snap the ball over the head of his punter to tie the game up. I knew things could only go up from there… Uh, I was wrong. Pittsburgh looked terrible in the 4th.

Seattle SeahawksSan Francisco 49ers (-4.5): (LOSS) The Niners were brutal, but the Hawks didn’t do good things to win this game. They took free turnovers that Mike Martz and that pathetic offense gave them. They couldn’t stop Frank Gore, but that’s okay, because Martz does that every single week for San Fran’s opponent. Seneca Wallace completed 2 long touchdown passes to his full back, Leonard Weaver. How often do you think that will ever happen again? Those two plays accounted for just about half of his passing yardage. The Niners sure sucked, and I got this one wrong.

Indianapolis ColtsTennessee Titans (-3.5): (WINNER) This was an interesting game. The Colts looked like there were ending the Titans perfect run, but it all came crashing down in the 4th quarter. The Titans didn’t do much well on Monday Night, but they did take advantage of some big Indy mistakes. Manning looks a little lopsided, or at least his passes do (his face is weird too). Anyway, the Titans got me a must cover on Monday Night, bringing me to 6-8 in a week that should have been 8-6 at least.

Ask Papa Weimer: Week 8

Here you go folks, a couple bright emails sent in from readers and answered by me… Just like that.

David from the Midwest writes, “I need to pick up some receivers but I can’t seem to grasp which one or two I should grab. How would you rank the following Galloway, Bryant, Avery, Morgan, and Walker. Give reasons for how you ranked them. I like Galloway,but Gruden has said Bryant will continue to start. Avery, Walker, and Morgan intrigue me. Let me know.”

Boy, Avery, Morgan, and Walker all kind of interest me too – and for much different reasons. Morgan probably is the biggest sure thing for numbers as he’s supposed to continue his starting ways for the season and Martz seems to love him and you know Mikey is going to throw the rock – but Galloway and Bryant are both good receivers that have proven legit options over the time of their careers. Tough call really. I would rank them like this… Galloway, Morgan, Bryant, Avery, Walker – but they are all very close in this ranking. The space that seperates 1-5 isn’t all that much. Galloway is old and has been injured a lot, plus there’s a chance he doesn’t even start when he gets back (which I think is crazy) – still, he’s shown his upside, and he’s one fast receiver even as old as he is. Morgan is very young and has just one decent game in his career, but I like him. Bryant was certainly a nice PPR option a few times, he was a top pick, but also a guy that’s warn out his welcome numerous times – but he has been the most productive this season. Then you have Walker – shooit, all the talent in the world but he’s been a head case has a tough team to play receiver for, and he faces Baltimore this week. Avery is lightning and has been getting open a few times a game, and Dallas hasn’t shown anything. Maybe I’d drop Galloway down, but it’s hard because he’s so proven. Tough call man – good luck in your choice.

Red Red Ryan writes, “Okay, I’ve paid my homage to the powers that be. I found an old set of Ninja Turtles and have them all looking up to a Mike Shannahan coaching football card. Warren Moon got a fan-mail from me recently, responded with a “thank you, this and that, this and that” and as for Shannon Sharp, I stopped by a farm recently and fed some horses grass. That should do it eh? That being said, who should I start this week? Brandon Jacobs or DeAngelo Williams? Oh, wait, Addai’s out, I’ll start them both… Ouch. Okay, who would you start at QB? Big Ben or Jake Delhomey? Thanks for the advice, I’ll need the good ju-ju this week.

Red Red Ryan – you probably still need to dye your hair, but you’ve done well young student. I’m going to keep this short, because I don’t think I can compete with your actual question/statement. You are quite the fantasy enthusiast, and while Big Ben will have to throw against the Giants, so will Jake against the Cardinals. I don’t see the Panthers running around well at home this week, but Jake should have nice numbers. With his full compliment of receivers, I like him the best this week. Good luck!