theRUNDOWN: Week 5

QB: Drew Brees vs. Minnesota: He’ll have to throw at least as much as Kerry Collins did last week, but when Drew throws 35 times he completes at least 25 of those passes. Against Minnesota’s leaky secondary I like his chances for a big day.

RB: Marion Barber vs. Cincinnati: Is there a worse match-up for the Bengals? A really tough running back that refuses to go down against a defense that refuses to commit to tackling. Hmm….

RB: Matt Forte vs. Lions: Matt Millen just wanted to leave before a rookie put up 200 yards on his defense – I don’t blame him.

FLEX: Earnest Graham: I think Graham will go off against the most friend rush defense in the league. These guys in Denver are huggers for sure.

WR: Larry Fitzgerald vs. Buffalo: I know the Bills have been solid defensively, but with Boldin out I see a lot of targets for Larry, and I don’t think Buffalo can stop him even if they know it’s coming. They don’t have that kind of corner talent.

WR: Reggie Wayne vs. Houston: This is basically a free 7 catches for 100+ yards and a score -that’s how I see it.

TE: Jason Witten vs. Cincinnati: This guy is great. I’ll start him 16 times this year in my league I own him in, maybe even on his bye, who knows?

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: Chicago Bears vs. Detroit: Jon Kitna is a sitting turnover, and I don’t think Rudi Johnson will be going off for 80+ rushing yards this week – I’ll go with my Bears.


Phillip Rivers: Shhh…. Phillip is slowly becoming a must start. Don’t look now but Rivers is second to only Brett Favre with 10 touchdowns on the season. Yes, Rivers has more touchdowns than everyone’s favorite Cutler.

Trent Edwards: Trent will be throwing a lot as Arizona’s front 7 is stout against the run. I also see Denver being down in this one and Arizona putting up enough points to put Buffalo is shootout mode. He coudl have his best passing day of his career – yards wise anyway.

Gus Frerotte: I’d start him this week – he’s a nice option against the Aint’s secondary.

Steve Slaton: Slaton has watched his stock rise way up the charts with his ability to do it on the ground and through the air. He might be the tool Houston needs to upset the Colts.

Jonathan Stewart: If I didn’t have a sure thing starting option this week, or if my guys Jamal Lewis or Steven Jackson were on bye, I’d feel good starting Jonathan Stewart -but when will the Panthers get him going in the receiving game? He’s got great hands.

Brandon Jackson: He’s a big chance, for sure, but the Packers might have to give him 14-16 carries right? With Grant struggling and Rodgers on the pine, I think Jackson is a big sleeper this week against the Falcons front 7.

Bernard Berrian: I like Berrian for a second straight week. He’ll be more consistent from here on out – he’s a nice player.

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: I’d keep playing these kids. I know that rookie receivers are supposed to struggle, but Royal has too much speed and quickness for the old man corners in Tampa Bay, and you know Denver will be throwing. DeSean is going up against an injury depleted secondary from Washington. Both are nice starts.

Kevin Boss: I think Boss is a good bye week, stop-gap player this week. Burress is supsended so he’ll get more targets. The Hawks defense is solid, but they still give up passing yards.

Carolina Panthers: The Chiefs don’t do work two weeks in a row do they? I’m thinking sacks and just a couple points allowed for a big Carolina day.

Papa’S Week 4 Splinter-Butts (bench him, son)

Jason Campbell: Despite his Top 10 start, I don’t like him in Philly this week. Even with the Eagles clogging up the ground game, I have a feeling Jason’s day will be mistake prone.

Julius Jones: He’s the Hawks #1 – 25 carry guy this week if the game’s close. But he won’t do a whole lot with all those touches. I’d just pretend he’s on bye again this week.

Clinton Portis: Portis got me last week with a nice performance against Dallas – not this week against an Eagle team that just lost. Philly plays the run better than anyone else right now.

Santana Moss: I don’t think he does it this week. I figure I have to start him in my leagues, but if he’s ready to have a bad game it’s this week against Philly – one thing on his side is the Redskins will have to throw the ball around a little.

NFL Pre-Season Free Picks: Week 4

It’s the final week of the pre-season and the real stuff can’t come soon enough. Injuries are ruining more than a few seasons, including the super-bowl champs… This week we get a Super Bowl re-match, but don’t get ahead of yourself, it’s just the pre-season. A couple teams have been good and a few have been bad, lets see if I can’t pick the winners and shed the losers in my last week of pre-season picks…. As it seems I’m rootin’ hard for the underdog in 4 of 5 contests. Go dogs!

New York Jets @ Philadelphia Eagles (-3) (8-28): I like the Eagles to take this one. The Jets first team has looked solid this pre-season, but after that it’s more of a free-for-all. The defense isn’t stellar and 2nd year QB Kevin Kolb is a nice player that should take advantage of the Jets secondary. Wide open spaces, no doubt. I also like Ryan Moats, Tony Hunt, and Correll Buckhalter to find some running room against Jets 2nd teamers. Take the Eagles in this one.

Detroit Lions (+3) @ Buffalo Bills (8-28): Dan Orlovsky is a solid back-up that should have plenty of room to throw it around while visiting Buffalo. The Lions have had the attitude of a winning team all pre-season, and I’m sure coach Rod Marinelli doesn’t want to lose that momentum in their last exhibition game. I like the Lions young defense to get some big turnovers early while the offense will capitalize. It doesn’t hurt that Trent Edwards will likely be out again for the Bills.

Atlanta Falcons (+3) @ Baltimore Ravens (8-28): Look for Matt Ryan to outshine Joe Flacco in this one. It should be interesting, both rookies could easily be starting during Week 1 for their respective teams, yet both will likely play into the second half. That’s rare in Week 4 of the pre-season. I’ve decided to like the Falcons more than most, and Ryan has impressed me. I also love Jerious Norwood, Harry Douglas, and Laurent Robinson – all young playmakers that will see time on Thursday. Look for the Falcons to pass it around on a suspect Ravens secondary.

Carolina Panthers (+3.5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (8-28): I expect the Steel-show to sit Big Ben for this entire game, and that leaves Byron Leftwich to get major playing time. I’ve always liked Byron, but he’s looked bad lately. Look for the Panthers to run the ball well against the Steelers – that will kill Pittsburgh and give the Panthers a nice 1st half lead. Carolina’s rushing attack has been very efficient this pre-season.

Minnesota Vikings (+3) @ Dallas Cowboys (8-28): The Cowboys 2nd team, offensively and defensively, is brutal. I like the Vikings – they have some nice youngsters that will get time in this one. Gus Frerotte is a good back-up that will get some meaningful snaps and Booty isn’t a bad option at #3. Dallas is the better team in this one, no doubt, but after a couple series it’s who has the better 2nd and 3rd team, and that’s surely the Vikings. Take Minnesota to beat the Boys.

Pre-Season Football: Week 2 Free Picks

After an undefeated 3-0-1 start to the pre-season, I’m feeling a little too confident in these late summer exhibition games – but since when is cocky bad in this business? This week I have a few winners that I really like and it all starts with Friday Night’s Raiders-Titans game.

Dallas Cowboys @ Denver Broncos (OVER 37) (8-16-08)

Like I said earlier, totals are a tough deal to dangle in the pre-season, but I have a feeling this one is a sure thing. The Cowboys 2nd and 3rd units can’t stop anyone and the Broncos don’t have a collective group that can be considered a defense – they are more like a slow down. Denver can’t stop the run or the pass and their special teams isn’t looking all that flattering either. Dallas has a lot of strengths, but I still see Denver putting up a couple touchdowns on Saturday. Believe it! This one is sailing over the spread.

New England Patriots @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1.5) (8-17-08)

The Patriots just don’t try to win these games. They won’t play most of their big names more than a couple series, and the Bucs have a solid all around team with some good young players looking for experience. They’ll have some good players putting in work, and with Garcia, Luke McCown, Chris Sims and more, they’ll have plenty of experienced quarterbacks to lead the way. I like the Bucs to win this home game easily.

Detroit Lions (+3.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals (8-17-08)

The Bengals didn’t look good when I watched their first pre-season contest. I like Chris Perry, but even the normally accurate Carson Palmer looked off. I’m sure Detroit’s defense will help him get back on track, but Detroit has a coach that plays to win, and in the pre-season, that’s a gamblers best friend. The Lions have decent back-up quarterbacks and Kitna is an accurate cat. Also, with 4-5 solid receivers and a couple running backs looking to make an impact – I like the Lions offense to put up some points in the zoo. A couple big plays could split this game wide open, but I like the Lions to be the guys making those plays.