This week's lineup of games features some interesting storylines. Will the "Mile High Messiah" pull out another win against the Patriots? Will the Niners potentially lose their first-round bye? Will the Texans manage another incredible win while their in-state rivals suffer another incredible loss? Will the totally defeated and undefeated remain so? Will any of the recently promoted head coaches provide a spark? Stay tuned.
For Yahoo! fantasy leagues that utilize the confidence point system, my confidence rating is listed after the team names. For Sirius leagues with best bets, my 5 highest confidence choices are my best bets. Any time I pick the underdog to win, I call it an upset.
Season Total: 141 wins, 67 losses
Last Week: 14 wins, 2 losses
Average: 10 wins, 6 losses
Last Year: 157 wins, 99 losses
Best Year: 170 wins, 86 losses
Yahoo Rank: 1st out of 84
Sirius Rank: 98th out of 8,646
This Week's Picks
Eagles over Jets,1 - I'm going to go out on a limb here. Both teams looked impressive in their wins last week, but the Jets have been more consistent. New York's defense looks to have found their groove. Kansas City wasn't a great barometer, but the Chiefs only had four yards of offense in the first half. In theory, if you contain Michael Vick and force him to throw from the pocket, he'll make mistakes. I think the Jets will instead rush him off the edges and flush him out. Conversely, I think the Eagles pass rush will be the difference in this game. Maybe I don't like Fireman Ed and Mark Sanchez, and though I've heard great logic from a few experts suggesting otherwise, I'll take the Eagles with my gut.
Chargers over Ravens, 2 - Upset #1 - In my opinion, Baltimore is the most complete team in the AFC. I think the Chargers have found their offense, and I think the long trip takes a toll on the Ravens. Poe's team is playing for the top seed in the AFC, while the Chargers are playing with the slim chance of winning their division and sneaking into the postseason that way. All the analysis I could give points to a Baltimore win, especially considering San Diego's offensive line. I don't recommend this pick, but I'm going with the Chargers anyway.
Panthers over Texans, 3 - Upset #2 - Houston has the top defense in the NFL, yet the guy who calls the plays just had surgery and won't make the game. I think this has significant impact because so much of play calling and in-game adjustments takes the right "feel". The Panthers are used to playing this kind of game, and while Cam Newton may make a few rookie mistakes, I believe T.J. Yates will as well. Both teams have two very capable running backs to go along with a good tight end duo, but the Panthers have a dual threat QB and Steve Smith at wide receiver. Houston finally reached their goal of the playoffs, and I think that is the reason they will lose. Call it human nature, but the Texans got that monkey off their backs, and I think they feel like they accomplished something and will lose some urgency.
Lions over Raiders, 4 - Detroit is no longer a playoff team, even though they may squeak in. The Raiders look completely different than they did a month ago and I'm not sure they can overcome the mental roller-coaster ride they've been on. It doesn't look like Darren McFadden will play, and Carson Palmer just doesn't look good. Detroit gets Ndamukong Suh back, and it looks like Kevin Smith may play. These two teams can break the record for most penalties in an NFL game, but I'll take Detroit because I know they can throw it.
Steelers over 49ers, 5 - Upset #3 - Picking the Steelers here has nothing to do with my bias of hoping the Saints can get an opening-round bye in the postseason. I think the Burgh's defense is too much for Alex "game manager" Smith, and I think no matter who plays QB for the Steelers, they have the better WR group by far.
Giants over Redskins, 6 - I think this game will be very close. While the Giants have the edge at QB, the Redskins are getting great production from Roy Helu, and Rex Grossman can exploit the Giants secondary as easily as Tony Romo and Drew Brees did. I just think the Giants have more to play for.
Bills over Dolphins, 7 - If you ask me, the Dolphins were playing hard for their head coach after getting off to that horrible start. Who knows what to expect from Miami on Sunday? The game is in New York, and the Bills are desperate for a win. I think the Bills, despite being exposed by the Jets in their first meeting, know exactly how to beat Miami and will do so.
Cardinals over Browns, 8 - Mike Holmgren should have stayed retired. Arizona's defense is playing very well, along with Beanie Wells. I'll take the Cardinals rushing attack, Larry Fitzgerald, and their defense over anything Cleveland has to offer. I'll take Calais Campbell in the offseason to make up for not having a first-round draft choice as well.
Patriots over Broncos, 10 - Perhaps the worst pass defense helps the "Mile High Messiah" look like Tom Brady, but I bet not. I just can't see the Broncos keeping it close until Tim Tebow gets divine intervention in the fourth quarter.
Dallas over Tampa, 11 - This is EXACTLY the kind of game the Cowboys always seem to lose. However, I can't find one good reason to pick the Buccaneers, and as much as I'd love to see Jerry-World come crumbling down, I can't pick Tampa.
Bengals over Rams, 12 - Can someone explain to me again how the Saints lost to the Rams? I don't think this one will be as competitive(?) as the Rams/Seahawk game was. Cincinnati's defense is simply too good, and Andy Dalton is healthy, while Sam Bradford is clearly in pain. The Rams are still starting their 30th offensive tackle and 59th cornerback, and I don't see any reprieve in the near future. Simply put, they suck.
Seahawks over Bears, 13 - Upset #4 - I can't pick Caleb Hanie to win a game, though I could entertain the discussion of Chicago's defense and rushing attack carrying the day. Seattle is making a long trip, but they've had a few extra days of rest. I'll go with the better offensive coordinator who is already used to winning without a great QB. Seattle is building the right way, and they have an underrated defense. I still don't know what Pete was thinking at QB.
Titans over Colts, 14 - Can anyone pick the Colts at this point with a straight face? I can't. Especially not against a Titans defense that made Drew Brees earn every yard. Especially not against Chris Johnson considering teams have ran the ball against the Colts more than any other. I prefer Jake Locker.
Saints over Vikings, 15 - Adrian Peterson (if he plays) and the Vikings defensive line helps to keep this game from being a 62-7 blowout, but not by much. The Saints will win by 3 or more scores. Book it.
Packers over Chiefs, 16 - Romeo, Romeo, Where art thou Romeo? Can your defense please pick off Aaron Rodgers five times and keep that Arrowhead mystique going? I need for the Packers to lose so that the man who deserves the MVP - Drew Brees - doesn't get screwed out of the award for the 3rd time.