Buffalo Bills (+7) @ Carolina Panthers: I like how the world is waiting on Trent Edwards to see if they’re going to bet on the Bills, or even more, the books are waiting to post lines until that information comes out. Here’s a piece of advice for you, if you like the Bills, like I do here, wait until the news comes out that Trent will not be playing Sunday. If and when that happens, you’re likely to see this line jump up a little in Buffalo’s favor, and +7.5 is just that much sweeter than +7. That being said, I don’t see what the Panthers have done to be a touchdown favorite against anybody in the NFL. Was it last week’s win over Tampa where they barely pulled it off? Or was it the week before that when Washington had Carolina on the ropes 17-2 midway through the 3rd quarter? Or could it be when Carolina got beaten in ever single other game they’ve played this year? Listen, Buffalo doesn’t stop the run really well, but they do play close football games. Despite their poor record, 2-4, they’ve been in every single game they’ve played late, besides when Miami dominated them. If Carolina has yet to win by more than a touchdown and Buffalo has played just about everyone tough, how can you call Carolina -7 value? It’s not, not at all. Anything can happen, but the Bills have proven to me that they can keep it close. Carolina can’t put up a bunch of points fast, Buffalo covers in Carolina.
My buddy Josh had this great idea, take some of our best comments to each other from Sunday’s action, the group’s best and worst textual masterpieces, and put them together in one article for all to see. Sometimes our day-time observations can be priceless, other times hilarious, and every once in a while even useful. You need to know, I have Sunday ticket, Josh is braving the darkness of Alaska and whichever games they show up there, Papa never leaves his dungeon, and Red Red Ryan couldn’t take part in this week’s texting session because his red hair (and female partner) wouldn’t allow him to do so. The bottom line is, we all watch football in different places, so we keep our texting handy to pretend we’re watching the games together. So, Red was out this week but still, Papa, Josh, and I sent texts to and fro. Here’s the Top 15, compiled by yours truly…
1. Percy Harvin is a speed guy that loves to hit people… Watch him block from the slot and it’s easy to see why the Vikings love him.
2. Ray Rice’s game reminds me of MJD…. He and Flacco have a chance to be special for a long time.
3. John Fox makes coaching look hard… Here’s a tip, Foxy: D-Will, D-Will, J-Stew, D-Will, J-Stew, J-Stew, D-Will… Somebody get this guy a Tecmo Bowl playbook.
4. There is nobody in the NFL I enjoy watching lose more than Jay Cutler… Except maybe Al Davis… Here’s hoping Culter winds up with the Raiders at some point.
5. No team is more bi-polar than the Seattle Seahawks… Their two wins were shutouts (28-0 and 41-0) and their four losses have been by an average margin of 15 points. Which one will it be coming off their bye?
1. Rummaging through the games I think I’ve watched five offensive plays by the Bills, and I’m pretty damn sure Terrell Owens has three drops. If the average team has 60 offensive plays, TO is on pace to drop 36 balls based on my numbers – that has to be a record.
2. Joshua Cribbs is unreal, but unless he returns 5 kickoffs and punts for touchdowns, the Browns aren’t going to have a chance to win this game.
3. How do nine football games manage to all be on commercial at the same time, and not one has reached half time? On the bright side, the Tampa game is showing their cheerleaders, and I’m pretty sure they are only wearing jerseys – there might be black panties under there, but I’m not sure.
4. The Jaguars must really stink, because Maurice Jones Drew is really freaking good and they still suck.
5. I hate watching Jake Delhomme, he’s like a Ben Stiller movie, I feel embarrassed for the guy. He tries so hard but he just keeps zipping his junk up in his zipper. The guy can dig himself a hole with the best of them.
1. I hope Jim Zorn realizes that it’s not the quarterback, it’s him. Jason Campbell is better than Todd Collins, that’s why he’s started over the past 2 seasons. It’s the play calling, the dead end coaching spot, and the general broke down feeling of the Skins franchise.
2. I feel bad for Todd Haley, his offense plays like the last 3 eight grade teams I coached. They jump off-sides like it’s their job, they miss assignments all day long, and they do just enough to give you a glimmer of hope before they rip it away with a holding penalty and two jumps off-sides on back2back2back plays.
3. If you got paid a million dollars to get knocked out, and you got to pick one guy to make sure the job got done right, which player in the league would you choose to rock your world? I got Ray Lewis. (Josh replies, Brian Dawkins) (Lucky replies, Aaron Curry)
4. Hahahaha… The Rams are going to win, the Rams are going to win! Leonard Little, pick 6, the worst team in the league won’t tie the Lions for the worst record ever!
5. The Rams lose. Figures. If the Rams and Bucs gave all their best players to fight for a singular cause, they’d still get beat 12 times a year.
Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets (-9): It’s very rare that when you look at tales of the tape and one side wins at every statistic – welcome to the Bills and Jets tale of the tape. Points, Yards Gained, Yards Allowed, Red Zone Efficiency, Time of Possession, Kicking, Penalties, Turnovers, hot wives, confidence – I mean shoot, the only thing these two teams are even close in is New receivers that were consistent problems for their former teams, and that’s a freaking tie, no winner there. The Bills have a solid rushing attack, and usually that would give them a shot in the dark, running clock, keeping it close, keeping their defense off the field – but not these Bills, no way, they run the hurry up. The hurry up was never designed to hurry up and get your defense back on the field. Only, that’s the only kind of hurry up Buffalo runs. I don’t see the Jets losing three straight. I do see the Jets running the ball 60% of the time. With three good running backs, New York will finally realize their strength and stick to it. The Bills will fall, again.
Week 4 wasn’t historic, these were my best picks? Damn! Well, it’s what I got. Brett Favre and Laveranues Coles would have been a nice combo, they went for 81 fantasy points together. My outing went like this… And 116 points ain’t too shabby.
QB: Aaron Rodgers vs. Bucs: Rodgers had some injury woes, but his 165 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions got me a whopping 12 points – to make matters worse I too a hit on that game as well, as the Packers didn’t stand a chance with no running game to speak of and all those turnovers.
RB: Frank Gore vs. New Orleans: The 49ers were down, so Gore only rushed the ball 16 times – or was it because Mike Martz is a freak? Option two. Either way, Gore’s 82 rushing yards and 31 receiving yards got him 15 fantasy points, good for 13th amongst running backs.
RB: Marshawn Lynch vs. Car Ram-Rod: Yet another week where Lynch was outscored (in PPR leagues) by Fred Jackson. Jackson almost had as many yards *47-59, on 12 less carries (7-19) and he caught one more ball for 15 more yards than Lynch as well. Marshawn was 18th overall with 11 fantasy points.
WR: Brandon Marshall vs. Chiefs: Marshall continued his onslaught of NFL defenses, having a down day and still grabbing 7 balls for 77 yards and a touchdown – his fumble brought his total down to 18. Still, 16th overall on the day wasn’t great.
WR: Steve Smith vs. Atlanta: 6 catches, 96 yards and a touchdown for 21 points. Steve is back and he looks to benefit from Mushin’s presence along the outside.
TE: Tony Gonzalez vs. Denver: 3 grabs for 47 yards and a score, nice day for a TE, but how can I not go with Witten? He was 5th overall with 13 points.
K: Rian Lindell vs. Ram-Rod: 5th overall with 13 points, that’s like hitting the lottery! I’m off the snide!
D: Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore: 8th overall with 13 fantasy points, not the shutdown performance I was expecting, maybe I didn’t give their injuries enough thought.
PAPA’S Week 1 SLEEPERS
Kerry Collins: Collins had 199 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions – he did throw a lot, 35 times, but only completing 18 passes is never a good percentage. Collins, though he was a stretch, only got me 6 fantasy points. F
Trent Edwards: Trent was 12th overall making him a low end starting option on Sunday. His 200 yards 1 touchdown 1 pick performance gave him 13 points on the week. I’ll take a B for that one.
Carson Palmer: Didn’t start, didn’t play. He’s a write off.
Maurice Jones Drew: How can you go about life giving this kid 7 carries? I’m convinced the Jaguars are stupid. But hey, he had 6 fantasy points. Ugh. F
DeAngelo Williams: Williams had 7 fantasy points getting half the team’s carries. Jon Stewart is the better option. D
Selvin Young: If the Broncos gave him a chance he’d be solid. Denver was down all day to the Chiefs though, so Young only got 11 looks, he did gain 49 yards with those chances though. Silly Splinter. F
Bernard Berrian: 5 catches for 78 yards, no score, but this was a good day for Berrian owners – if you snuck him off the waiver wire, you are about to get a good return on that investment. B+
Jerry Porter: 1 catch 6 yards – full health? What were the Jaguars up to this week? F
Eddie Royal and DeSean Jackson: Royal grabbed 9 balls for 104 yards (and a fumble) for 17 points – Jackson snagged 5 balls for 71 yards and a touchdown for 19 fantasy points – there were 14th and 19th overall respectively. A
Owen Daniels: Daniels had 7 catches for 87 yards to lead the Texans in receiving – he was 4th amongst TE’s. A
Buffalo: 3rd overall with 17 fantasy points, good day for the Bills, and they pulled out a win. There were bound to score a defensive touchdown against St. Louis, right? It was meant to be.
Papa’S Week 4 Splinter-Butts (bench him, son)
LenDale White: 11 carries 13 yards, but the touchdown made him noteworthy i guess – still this was a good sit. Your welcome.
Ryan Grant: 15 carries for 20 yards. Your welcome.
Clinton Portis: Clinton carried the Redskins past the Cowboys, getting a couple huge first downs to put the game away and rolling for 121 yards on 21 carries. He managed 15 points on the day and was a solid option (13th overall). My bad.
Brandon Lloyd: 2 catches for 33 yards – your welcome.
Well, the ever-so-popular sleeper pick Brownies are 0-3, so are the Bengals. Get this, one of them is guaranteed to be 0-4. Which will it be? Is it possible that Cleveland starts the ’08 season just like the Saints started the ’07 season? Did either team make me forget what I thought about them before their Week 3 game? Anything is possible. Check out which other teams I see being winless when Week 4 is over…
Denver Broncos (-9) @ Kansas City Chiefs:
When one team will just put up too many points for another to stay close: The Broncos – Chiefs saga. Unless this game was a 2 touchdown spread, I just can’t buy the Chiefs hanging around. They couldn’t do it with the Falcons, and they were ousted by the Raiders – the Broncos should blow another division foe right out of the water. The only question is how will the Broncos do it? I feel like Splinter Shannahan has taken on the Patriots persona from last year – put up as many points as you can as fast as possible and make teams uncomfortable early and often. The two point conversion. Passing late in the game against the Saints. I think they’ll put up 50 on the Chiefs just to try and piss some people off.
Cleveland Browns (+4) @ Cincinnati Bengals:
As much as I hate betting on the Browns right now, there’s just no way I can justify taking the Bengals as a favorite. You know why? Because they shouldn’t be favored to do anything but lose. I realize that Cleveland has played terrible thus far, and I also know that the Bengals were a couple Eli Manning passes away from a big upset over the Giants – but which team is better suited to win here? I’m thinking the Browns, honestly. Jamal Lewis will run easily on the Bengals, and Cincinnati isn’t consistent enough to pull too far ahead. I like the dogs here – as much as I can like a Brown anyway.
Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-7.5):
I would take the Texans if they didn’t play such horrible football away from home. Jacksonville is a tough place to play, mainly because they have a defense that halts drives and an offense that pounds defenses into submission. This game should be close early, but I would think a late score puts the Jaguars up by two touchdowns and that’s how the game ends. Again, I like the Texans – in Texas – but when they get mailed a couple states away they just aren’t the same team. If this game gets to +10, then I like then I would advise bettors to steer clear – but you can get 7.5 now, so go for the gusto!
Green Bay Packers (+1.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
The Packers were handled pretty well by the Cowboys, but Tamps isn’t Dallas, and even though this game is on the road, I don’t see Green Bay losing two in a row. They’ll come back after a mediocre performance against Dallas and handle the Bucs easily. Tampa Bay won’t be able to do to Green Bay what they did to Chicago, 400+ passing yards is out of the question. Expect less scoring and a nice road win against a solid defense for the Packers.
San Francisco 49ers (+6.5) @ New Orleans Saints :
This is a really tough one, so I’ll take the points. I don’t think the Niners are a good team quite yet, but neither are the Saints. New Orleans is getting points as if their best receiver (Colston) and their second best receiver (Shockey) aren’t out for a couple weeks with injuries. News flash, neither will play on Sunday. The 49ers have one of the best corners in the league in Nate Clements, he should shut down one side of the field for Drew Brees. With defensive speed and pass rushing prowess, I think the 49ers can pressure Drew into some mistakes. I’m sure Reggie Bush will find some room to thrive, and certainly New Orleans will rely on the run more in this one(Bush, Thomas, and McCallister), but that helps my case for taking the points. The 49ers look like the best value here.
Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers (-7):
I don’t know about this one. I don’t like the Panthers as a favorite, they are well known as heart breakers from that side of the betting spectrum, but I think Atlanta is getting a little bit too much credit here. They have a nice rushing attack, surely, but Carolina has a nice defense and a secondary that should be able to snag a couple arrant passes from Matt Ryan. I certainly like the Falcons future, but they are a 7-9 team at best. The Panthers are playoff caliber with a defense that is putting it all together. Coming off a loss last week in Minnesota, I think the Panthers come back strong against a Falcons defense that can’t chose one thing to stop. If the Panthers can run, and they can against Atlanta, they are a top notch football team. A touchdown seems like a lot, but I’d bet they cover.
Minnesota Vikings @ Tennessee Titans (-3):
I think the Titans are the better team here, they are playing in Tennessee, and their secondary isn’t as much of a question mark as the one in Minnesota. The Vikings will want to run, and with a stud like Adrian Peterson and a great back up like Chester Taylor, there is definitely something to like there. But they are going up against a Titans defense that is very good at taking the run away. I don’t think the Vikings can succeed without a rushing attack. I think the Titans do enough with their offense to take advantage of a weak secondary, and being at home I really like their chances to go 4-0 with a win in Week 4.
Buffalo Bills (-8) @ St. Louis Rams:
Not much about the Rams to like here. Sure, they could pull a Bengals and do well against the visiting Bills, but the chances of that happening aren’t great. I still don’t like giving 8 points to the Bills – they take too few chances to be a sure thing to win by a large margin, so I pick this game advising that you be a little bit careful – but right now there is absolutely no reason to like anything the Rams put out there. They lost to a Seahawk team that was down and out, and they didn’t even put up a fight. Steven Jackson is running a lot like Shawn Alexander did last year, Bulger is benched, and though Tory Holt is still always open, the offensive line can’t give a quarterback enough time to get him the ball. Take the Bills!
San Diego Chargers (-7.5) @ Oakland Raiders:
Is this the week that Kiffin gets the axe? It must be hard, as a player, to go week to week wondering that same question. Sure, they can look past it for the first week or two, but soon the realization that you are playing for a guy that is inevitably getting fired kicks in. That never helps a team. The Chargers are about to pull off maybe 5 or 6 straight wins, and right now a mediocre Raiders team is trying to play the part of speed bump. Take the Chargers here – it shouldn’t be much of a contest.
Philadelphia Eagles (-3) @ Chicago Bears:
I don’t buy the Bears as a playoff team. I’m buying the Eagles as a threat to be in the Super Bowl come February though. Chicago showed me last week, that if Philly wants to, they can throw the ball all over the Bears’ secondary. That’s not a good sign for Bears fans. McNabb isn’t 100% coming into this game, but I think he’ll play, and I think he’ll play well in his home state. Look for DeSean Jackson to shine as well – this should be a big win for the Eagles.
Washington Redskins (+11.5) @ Dallas Cowboys:
I do think the Cowboys are one of the best teams in football, but I don’t think they are a good value at +11.5 against the Redskins, even with the game being played in Dallas. Washington has a nice passing attack and a runner in Clinton Portis that poses enough of a threat to keep the Cowboys on their toes. The Redskins have fought back nicely after getting embarrased a little in their first game of the season. Jim Zorn isn’t as wet behind the ears as he seemed in week 1, and I like their chances to make a couple big plays that keep this game within 10.
Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-7):
The Steelers are a very good football team, especially at home. The Eagles shut them down a bit last week, but I don’t think the Steelers offense is that questionable. They didn’t look good against the Browns two weeks ago, but like I said, the Steelers are a different beast in Pittsburgh, and even with Willie Parker out, I still expect them to run on the Ravens a bit. Rashard Mendenhall, though he hasn’t done anything yet, is a very good back with the power and speed to do work against the best of defenses. I think that, without Willie, the Steelers will take more chances through the air, and that should mean good things for Santonio Holmes and the Steelers offense. As of right now the only line on this game is from a big casino, and I’m sure the books are waiting to see if Ben Roethlisberger is going to play. If he’s not playing, this line doesn’t exist, and I’ll try to get back on an make a proper pick. But for now, I’ll take the Steelers by more than a touchdown against a Ravens team that will find moving the ball next to impossible versus the Steel Show.
Okay, after a pretty mediocre Week 3, I’ve got out the big guns and am ready to use them for a huge week. This is where I keep the good stuff… Week 4’s runDOWN son!
QB: Aaron Rodgers vs. Bucs: I don’t think the Bucs secondary can keep up with Jennings, Jones, and Driver – maybe even Lee and Nelson get into the mix. Anyway, Brees threw all over the Bucs. So did Kyle Orton. I like my chances with Rodgers to do the same.
RB: Frank Gore vs. New Orleans: The yards per carry against the Saints defense is ridiculous. I know their secondary isn’t good either, but controlling the ball should be a point of emphasis for the Niners vs. the Rams in Week 4 – Gore is the man for that job.
RB: Marshawn Lynch vs. Car Ram-Rod: The Rams are brutal. Lynch and the Bills will out physical this pathetically weak Ram team. I like Lynch to rush for about 120 yards and score twice.
WR: Brandon Marshall vs. Chiefs: Because if there’s ever a team that can’t d-up Brandon Marshall, it’s the Kansas City Chiefs. The kid is a beast, and he will dominate the Chiefs.
WR: Steve Smith vs. Atlanta: It was premature to pick Steve as a top guy in his first week back – well, he should kill the Falcons secondary on way to a big home win this weekend.
TE: Tony Gonzalez vs. Denver: Gonzo should find lots of room against Denver – the Broncos have a weak secondary with their biggest problem area being safety, the same safeties guarding Gonzo on Sunday.
K: Rian Lindell vs. Ram-Rod: I’m sure I’ll look bad again here, but how can you not like the Bills kicker against this defense? (I know why, because I picked him to have a big day, that’s the best anti-pick you could have).
D: Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore: Pittsburgh should shut down the Ravens offense in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are dominant at home, and the Ravens won’t be able to run the ball. Pass? Interceptions. Thanks for playing.
PAPA’S Week 1 SLEEPERS
Kerry Collins: This is a big sleeper, but Collins will have to throw a lot, some dump downs to Chris Johnson, and some deep balls to keep the Vikings honest. He could very well go for 200+ yards and throw 2 touchdowns. He could be a great fill in for Week 4 if you happen to have the Manning brothers dancing around on your team as 1 and 2.
Trent Edwards: You bet! Trent should have a brilliant day against the worst team in football.
Carson Palmer: He’ll have another startable week against the Browns. After one decent week, I’m willing to bet the Bengals offense is back for good.
Maurice Jones Drew: After two bad weeks, JD was a sleeper pick last week. I think you should start him again.
DeAngelo Williams: I like D-Lo’s chances against the Falcons this week. I think he’ll get more carries to start with and make the most of them.
Selvin Young: I think Young gets his highest number of carries so far this season. He’ll also have his highest yardage total and most fantasy points of the year.
Bernard Berrian: A tough match-up? You bet, but Berrian will be the only offensive hope the Vikings have against the TItans. Those Titans don’t allow rushing yards – not many passing yards either, but that seems to be the only way to get them.
Jerry Porter: Porter should be back to full health, and the Jaguars seem to need him. He could be a nice start in his first game action with the Jags, especially against the Texans secondary.
Eddie Royal and DeSean Jackson: After a down week for both guys, they have decent match-ups. The Eagles will have to throw against the Bears, and Jackson can get lost in that secondary. The Broncos should be able to do whatever they want against the Chiefs, and Royal should benefit.
Owen Daniels: Daniels should find open spaces in Jacksonville’s secondary, and Matt Schaub will be looking to get his sure hands tight end the ball more.
Buffalo: I like Denver in Week 4, a bad secondary, yes, but they’ll be taking some chances against the Chiefs, and those quick corners can jump some routes.
Papa’S Week 4 Splinter-Butts (bench him, son)
LenDale White: He’ll get less carries than Chris Johnson this week – and the Vikings won’t be giving away yards like they’re free.
Ryan Grant: I really like Grant, and I’m sure he’ll be fine – but that will just have to wait until next week when they aren’t playing the Bucs.
Clinton Portis: Portis could be in for a rough one against the Cowboys. Dallas has a fine history of shutting down opposing backs. You probably don’t have a better option, but if you do, you might consider the switch.
Brandon Lloyd: The Eagles secondary is for real. Lloyd was a nice player last week, but don’t buy the hype, not this week anyway.
Here goes nothing…
- That whole thing about Calvin Johnson being a great receiver – yeah, it’s true. This kid is going to dominate yardage totals this season in the NFL. Brandon Marshall and his destructive ways are getting a lot of hype right now, and reasonably so, he caught about 20 balls in his first week of action. But this week Calvin Johnson goes up against the rickety 49ers defense and he’s going off. Nobody in the league can guard this beast of a receiver that has elite speed. Top 3 this year – and all of those guys that did risk it a little and reach for him – nice work.
- Steve Smith to pull a Brandon Marshall? It seems to perfect for Smith, right? Steve goes off against the Vikings in his past, and now, after punching his teammate in the face with a blind side shot, he comes back from a two game suspension and who does he see? Purple people eaters everywhere. I’ve been dying to get Smith in my lineup, and I have to believe that he’ll have a little something special for us in Week 3. Its not like they are running against the Vikes – that’s for sure.
- If you have a Bronco – start him. Okay, if you own Darrell Jackson, don’t start him, but the rest of these guys are fair game. That means Cutler, Royal, Young, Marshall, Scheffler, and maybe even Andre Hall. The Saints are a bad defense when healthy, and right now they look like the Seahawks receiving corps. Pretty soon they’ll be hiring ex-players that they kicked off their team years ago – aghem, Koren Robinson drop.
- Is it fair to say that I was wrong about Larry Johnson? I’m kind of interested as to why he isn’t getting touches for the pathetic Chiefs offense. I understand he had 10 carries for 22 yards last week, but really, who is a better option? And why would you take one of the best bruisers the league has and remove him from goal line packages? I’m beginning to think either LJ has lost his game (ala John Daily after the turn) or Herman Edwards and the Chiefs front office are just plain crazy. It’s hard not to start him if you got him, I mean he’s not really going up a defensive front that will scare you. Take one last chance on him, that’s my best advice.
- I’ve already used the Giants and Patriots (in reverse order) for my survival pool, and that’s why I’m going with the Bills this week. I know, they are the Bills, but this team has a little something. I’m trying to jinx myself here I guess, but I’ve never lost a survivor pool in my life. Mind that I’ve only played two seasons of no hit ball, but I am two for two. The Bills have a great match-up against a pretty soft Raiders group. That bodes well for them, especially in Buffalo. Both the Pats and Giants are solid options as well. What was my best survivor pick of all time you ask? (Or I want to tell you, either way) The Rams over the Saints last season. If you go back, you’ll see that the Rams were winless and playing a Saints team that had won a few in a row. The Rams win. I win. And even better, the two teams I beat picked the Saints. Nothing is better than winning a survivor pool taking a big underdog against the huge favorite your buddy just took.