Arses Five Favorites: Week 17 NFL Predictions

Well, I got back on the winning track in Week 16, and while it wasn’t a fantastic four win week like I’m always hoping for, 3-2 brings me to 17-13 during my six week run of free picks. The Falcons, Packers, and Patriots won and covered easily while the Dolphins just failed outright and the Eagles needed a late field goal to win by three. This week seems pretty easy to me. But I’m staying away from those meaningless games that some other people think are gimmies – listen, I know you play hard when you have everything to lose and if the Saints sit all their starters, it should be an easier game for Carolina – but it doesn’t always work out like that, and I’ll pick some games where I’m not relying on a good team to play back-ups. Final regular season week, and here we go, go, go…

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Chicago (-3) @ Detroit: The Bears are an easy pick, so easy that it makes my stomach lurch a little bit – but hey, Vegas can’t be right all the time, right? Right. The Bears need this game, really. They are the only crappy team in the NFL that actually needs wins. Their 1st round pick isn’t theirs, see, they need this one.

The 49ers (-7) @ St. Louis: The Rams are beat up bad, and they aren’t good when healthy. I doubt Steven Jackson gets thrown out there against Patrick Willis and that Niner run D, and without him the Rams are hornless.

Pittsburgh (-3) @ Miami: The Steelers are the better team, and they don’t need magic and religion to get into the playoffs – they need help, don’t get me wrong, but unlike Miami, they don’t need every single team in the NFL to lose on the same day. I see the Steelers, definitely a team that rides ups and downs, flying to their third straight win – but missing the playoffs anyway.

Ravens (-11) @ Oakland Raiders: The Raiders are brutal, and even the Ravens aging secondary should take advantage of that turnover prone passing attack. All the Raiders can do is run, and they can’t stop the run – that’s a bad combo when Baltimore walks into town.

Titans (-5) @ Seattle Seahawks: I can’t wait to see Chris Johnson out-gain the Seahawks on Sunday. The kid is going to go for 400 yards. There will be 12-15 Seahawks playing defense at one time, and he’ll still get his. The Titans should win easily, and Jim Mora should resign due to coaching how to quit.

Five for Friday

I missed Three for Thursday, but what can you do? Heck, I missed this one too, but figured there was enough important business that went down that I should throw up 5 big ones for you to ponder before your picks and fantasy starts this Sunday. Here goes something. 

1. Ryan Fitzpatrick is starting for a Bengals team that I was looking at as a possible upset this weekend. Unfortunately that hope is squashed. There’s no way Brett Favre lets Ryan Fitzpatrick beat his Jets this weekend. That said, I think Thomas Jones becomes an even better bet as a start in Week 6. He’ll get over 20 carries for sure, as the Jets will go more to a “don’t lose” way of offense. With Fitz starting I still think Housh and Chad Johnson are decent starts. I expect them to be behind and throwing more often than not. A bad turnover day through the air can still be quite beneficial for starting receivers on that team. 

2. Matt Hasselbeck is out this week. He’s a real penguin clubber. But don’t be crushed quite yet – Julius Jones owners get ready for another 20 carries, and Seneca Wallace is a solid starting option in this league, so that opens up some doors for owners looking at a bye week fix randomly. But I wouldn’t be betting on the Hawks here. Leave them alone as a -2.5 bet please. They’ll play better defensively and they’ll keep going on offense. I like the Pack! 

3. With Brian Westbrook out for the Eagles I actually really like Correll Buckhalter. San Francisco has played better defensively this season but they aren’t a top notch group yet, and while I will never like the Eagles’ rushing schemes, CB runs hard and should be good for close to 80 yards against the Niners. Eagle receivers are a better bet too. I like LJ Smith as a guy you can likely pick up off waivers and DeSean Jackson and Hank Baskett both look like they can be counted on for some fantasy points. 

4. I like me some Jason Campbell against the Rams. I think St. Louis will do everything they can to make Jason be the one beating them this weekend, and I think he’ll do exactly that. Santana Moss should have a big game and I actually like Randel El to have his highest yardage output of the season. As far as the Rams??? Your guess is as good as mine. I like Tory Holt to have a nice day, but that’s about it. 

5. Off of fantasy football for a second, I have a couple fantasy basketball sleepers for you lovely readers. Give me some Al Thornton, David Lee, Carlos Vilenueva, Jose Calderon and I’ll go win me a championship. All four of those guys will vastly outproduce their draft slot and should have huge years. David Lee is my favorite of that bunch, but Calderon is going to be special with full starter’s minutes. Dream big!

Three for Thursday: Week 2

What Would I do for a Klondike Bar? How about a healthy offensive line!: More than a couple quarterbacks are pondering that exact question this week, and that should make you worry too. That’s right, the Jaguars, Seahawks, Vikings, and Colts are all down at least one key guy on their respective offensive lines. The Jags, Hawks, and Colts look to be really hurting, while it’s just Tarvaris Jackson’s blind-side hurting in Minnesota. This week, the Jags play the Bills, a tough defensive front, and their offensive fantasy players should all be downgraded because of it. The Vikings play the Colts, so play them at will. The Colts, in turn, play the Vikes, that can’t be a good match-up for Joseph Addai, and Peyton might have to throw a little quicker, but he’s still a nice play. The Hawks go up against the 49ers, and if there was ever a good time to play Julius Jones, it’s probably now, but he, by no means, is a safe bet – even against that defensive line in San Fran. I’m just saying, the health of the big guys (or lack there of) is a big reason for success (or lack there of). Keep that in mind when setting your lineups.

What a Year for Rookies? Or what a first week?: It has often been said that rookies can’t be trusted unless they are running backs put into a great situation. Some have beaten that advice (Larry Fitz, even more so Anquan Boldin, Michael Clayton, Dwayne Bowe had a solid year, and a couple others for sure) but for the most part, there are more rookies with nice weeks than nice innagural seasons. Still, I can’t help but recognize the difference makers throughout this rookie class – and you should take notice as well. Guys not picked in the first round, players like Eddie Royal, DeSean Jackson, Kevin Smith, Matt Forte, John Carlson – and then 1st rounders like Stewart, Mendenhall, Chris Johnson, Darren McFadden, Felix Jones, Matt Ryan – these guys all seem pretty legit. Was week 1 just a coming out part for the rooks, and week 2 will be a blast of reality? It’s tough to say, but right now I’m going with the greatness of this class that was supposed to be void of solid receivers and high on super talents that hadn’t figured it out yet. Eddie Royal and DeSean Jackson, among others, figured out how to rock week 1 like a champ.

The Great Wall of… CINCINNATI?: Don’t bet on it. The Titans look to be a team destined to have two 100+ yard rushers in the same week for the first time this year. Kerry Collins has the deep arm to keep the Bengals secondary honest, and even then, it’s not as if they can tackle. Good luck catching Chris Johnson, and even better luck trying to bring down the bulk that is LenDale White. This box score is going to look like a Navy football game – run, run, and then run some more. Maybe a better question is what are the Bengals going to do to fix their offense? Sign Shaunna Alexander… Oh great, that’s going to work wonders! Sigh.

NFL Free Picks: Pre-Season Week 3

So, there’s some more thought that goes into Week 3 pre-season football. At first I’m doing my best to hunt for camp competitions and general rules for pre-season action, but now, aside from a couple instances, my pre-season picks are based on where I’d go during the regular season. With starters playing an entire half, and possibly into the 3rd quarter, I have to expect the best teams to pull out of hte first half with an early lead. I’m not ignoring 2nd teamers, but they are getting less consideration this week. Here’s my Top 5 bets this week.


San Francisco 49ers @ Chicago Bears (-3): Here’s the deal; the 49ers put up loads of points last time out and they just aren’t that good offensively. I’m sure Frank Gore will get minimal action and he is the teams best player. J.T. O’Sullivan is starting again for the 49ers and he is expected to play into the 3rd quarter and basically has the starting job on lockdown. He’s been decent as a fighter but has never been “the guy” before now, so I’m not sure how he’ll handle it. Also, the 49ers are terrible. The Bears defense can put up points, and with Kyle Orton playing most of the game, Chicago’s mistakes won’t be there as much. I’m not a huge fan of Orton, but he does do enough to win football games or at least not lose them. Devin Hester is ready to go off in this game, and I can’t wait to see Matt Forte make some good plays for the Bears. In the 2nd half, I like Chicago as well. Say what you want about Rex Grossman, but he’s probably better than anything the 49ers have right now. He’ll be trying to prove himself late, and thus the Bears get the nod on Thursday.


Tennessee Titans (+3) @ Atlanta Falcons: The Titans are obviously the much better team here, and their biggest strength will stall the Falcons best offensive weapon, Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood. Tennessee hasn’t gotten on track in the air yet, but Vince Young and Kerry Collins are solid options as 1 and 2 quarterbacks in this league, so I expect them to be on target in this contest. I like the receiver battle for playing time in Tennessee and the Titans are always full of young defensive weapons. Matt Ryan is starting and playing in this game into the 2nd half, and that’s probably not a good thing for Atlanta. He’s a good young leader and looks to be a fine prospect, but the last defensive line I want to go up against is one where Javon Kearse is the worst player. Yikes. I like Tennesse’s 1st and 2nd team more than either of Atlanta’s, and the Titans offense should come out with a little umph.

Philadelphia Eagles (+1.5) @ New England Patriots: The Eagles will win this game for a couple reasons. It’s amazing but even Andy Reid cares more about winning in the pre-season than Bill Belichick. Tom Brady is unlikely to play, and with so many aging vets on the squad, so are many other key players. The Eagles have an improved defense and you can bet that Asante Samuel is excited to prove himself against his old club. Donovan McNabb was a little off-target in last week’s pre-season match-up, so expect his on and off pre-season to go up this week. I like the foursome of running backs in Philly, and after Kevin Curtis it still looks like 5 Eagle receivers are competing for playing time. I would definitely take the Pats during the pre-season, but their exhibition season history has me once again going against them. Back to the well one time too many? We’ll see.


Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3): I have to like the Bucs to win this one. They are a team that does the little things right, takes nothing for granted, and generally plays mistake free football. Jeff Garcia hasn’t even played yet and this team is still 2-0 in the pre-season with some impressive play. Even if Jeff stays out for one more game, I like Brian Griese, Luke McCown, Chirs Simms, and rookie Josh Johnson as pre-season hurlers. The Bucs also have a pretty talented back-field duo in Earnest Graham and Michael Bennett – either will do a fine job on Saturday. Antonio Bryant is playing well, as he’s trying to get back in the swing of game speed, and Ike Hilliard, Maurice Stovall, and Warrick Dunn are all becoming threats as receivers. I like the Jags, and they are surely a tough squad, but I don’t expect their offensive stars to play much more than a quarter and defensively they just aren’t as tough in the pre-season.

New Orleans Saints (-1) @ Cincinnati Bengals: Boy oh boy the Bengals have looked bad. And it’s not just their running game, Carson Palmer has been inconsistent and timid in the pocket. I know I love the big red head and have always thought that his upside exudes that of the best quarterbacks in the league, but right now he looks lost. Chad is out for this game, so is TJ Houshmandzadeh, and with his two favorite targets out of the game I’m not sure Carson will even play that long. On the other hand, Drew Brees is on fire. He’s the most accurate quarterback in the league right now, and he’s a pre-season monster. Reggie Bush is trying to find himself, but I really like the receiver battle in New Orleans. Robert Meachem, David Patten, Lance Moore – these are all guys trying to grab the #2 job away from Devery Henderson, and honestly, I love it. I think the Saints will dominate this game against a confused Bengals club.