Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Week Nine Picks

Posted by mizzou1028 on October 31, 2008

Obviously my predictions need to be taken with a grain of salt, since I once again managed to be woefully incorrect on the World Series.  I have to admit I really thought the two day layover in the middle of game five gave the Rays an advantage, but alas, the Phillies got the job done, and deserve all the credit for doing so.  From the looks of the awful TV ratings, it seems as though I was about the only one to watch anyway.  (The ratings numbers can’t have been helped by Saturday’s massive rain delay and accompanying 10 pm. eastern start time, or by the Barack Obama ad running on seemingly every channel opposite the conclusion of game five).  Incidentally, not shockingly to those who know me, my TV was on the game, not on politics.  I realize that’s not a choice people needed to make in most time zones where the game didn’t overlap, but it did where i live in the Mountain time zone.  My viewing choice would have been the same no matter what party was on the infomercial.  Sports just flat trumps politics in my household, that’s the way it works.  We all clear on this?  Excellent!  Now to the picks:

Last Week: 8-5 (.615)  Season: 71-44 (.617)

– Bills over Jets: Last week the Jets barely beat a Kansas City team that they were supposed to destroy.  Frankly, Kansas City had the upset pulled off if not for some ultra conservative play calling by Herm Edwards on the Chiefs’ last possession they had with the lead, which resulted in a three and out, and allowed Brett Favre a chance to drive the Jets for a go ahead touchdown.  The Jets have turned it over more times than their opponents in their past three games, and they’ve somehow managed to win two of them.  That is not a recipe for success if it keeps up for the Jets.  Buffalo meanwhile is coming off a surprising loss to Miami, and knows they must win this one to maintain their division lead with a Patriots showdown looming next weekend.  I expect a big rebound game from Trent Edwards and I expect the Bills defense to force Favre into a couple of turnovers he won’t be able to recover from.  Buffalo gets the win at home.  

– Broncos over Dolphins: I know I seem to always fall into the trap of picking my team to win, but this is one that the Broncos should be able to get regardless of badly they’ve played recently.  They are coming of a much needed bye week, they are getting injured players back (Tony Scheffler, Brandon Stokley, Selvin Young), and the running game will also get the added bonus of Ryan Torain’s much anticipated debut.  If he is still available in your fantasy league, claim him now, because it’s only a matter of time before Torain is the starter.  Torain was the talk of training camp before he got injured, and he should shine in Denver’s system.  In any case, the Broncos offense should be able to get back on track in this game against a Dolphins pass defense that is ranked 25th.  Miami did get the win last week against Buffalo, and should be able to run the ball with Ronnie Brown and the Wildcat formation, but they don’t have enough offense to keep up if Denver is clicking.  The Broncos get a narrow home win.

– Jaguars over Bengals: I simply refuse to give up on Jacksonville.  How this team is 3-4 is absolutely beyond me.  If they can’t win their next two games (this one and the Lions next week), then I suppose there really is no hope for them.  I still think the Jaguars will be a playoff team when everything is said and done, but they need Maurice Jones-Drew to be more dominant, and they need David Garrard to manage the game better.  Jacksonville let a home game slip away against Cleveland, and they know that urgency is starting to settle in with the AFC race so tight.  Going on to road to Cincinnati and all the empty seats that await is not intimidating, and the Jags’ defense shouldn’t have any trouble harassing Ryan Fitzpatrick or shutting down Cincinnati’s less than stellar running game.  The Bengals’ passing game doesn’t have much hope either after Chad Johnson (or Ocho Cinco or whatever) and T.J. Houshmanzadeh have now both disappeared for weeks.  Jacksonville wins in a laugher here.

– Browns over Ravens: This should be a very good, low scoring, defensive game.  Baltimore clobbered the Browns in Baltimore week three, but this is always an emotional game for the Cleveland fans since the old Browns left for Baltimore in 1995.  Cleveland is playing infinitely better since that week three meeting, and gave a very impressive performance in Jacksonville that made me wonder if I wrote them off a little too early after their 0-3 start.  The Ravens have been very impressive too, and would actually be in playoff position if the season ended today.  Joe Flacco had by far his best game as a pro against the Raiders last week, and Willis McGhaee finally looks healthy.  That being said, if Derek Anderson can avoid costly turnovers against the Ravens defense, Cleveland will sneak away with a win in this one.  

– Texans over Vikings: In a mini-upset pick, I think Houston will continue their winning ways in the Metrodome.  The Texans have now won three straight, and their offense has looked more and more impressive each week (I’m still kicking myself for stupidly cutting Matt Schaub in one of my fantasy leagues after week three).  Houston’s passing game will cause all kinds of problems for a Vikings secondary that gave up 48 points to a less than explosive Bears offense before the bye.  Minnesota has had a disappointing start and has certainly failed to meet the preseason hype, and they will be a desperate team playing in front of a raucous home crowd, but I just can’t see how they’ll be able to contain Houston’s offense.  Even a huge day for Adrian Peterson may not be enough to keep up, and on a hunch I say Houston wins a close one at the wire.  

– Packers over Titans: MAJOR UPSET ALERT.  I’ve had a gut feeling on a couple of these this year (Cowboys-Rams being right at the top), and while I have by no means gotten them all right, I have a real gut feeling on this one.  Tennessee has no doubt been the league’s best team with their 7-0 start, and they’re coming off a real emotional Monday night win against the Colts, and that’s why I sense a letdown here.  The Titans have a day less preparation, while the Packers are coming off a bye and will be well rested and healthy.  Green Bay is also two weeks removed from their big win over the Colts, so they won’t have that lingering in the rear view mirror anymore the way it’s still fresh for the Titans.  The key for Green Bay is to avoid turnovers against Tennessee’s stout defense, but I think the Packers will be able to run with Ryan Grant.  If they can, Aaron Rodgers should have an opportunity to make some plays.  Tennessee is built to win a tight, low scoring game, but what if Rodgers has a big day?  Can the Titans offense keep up?  A hunch says Green Bay pulls the upset and knocks off the league’s last unbeaten team.  

– Buccaneers over Chiefs: Needless to say, I am not picking an upset here, although the Chiefs actually did show a surprise pulse last week.  They were actually able to run a little with Jamaal Charles, Tyler Thigpen gave a performance actually resembling an NFL quarterback, and the defense was able to force turnovers.  The problem for Kansas City is that they’re about to face a Tampa Bay team that is hopping mad after they felt they gave one away in Dallas.  The Buccaneers defense has been awesome all year, and Thigpen will find it much harder to move the offense against it than he did against the Jets.  The Buccaneers’ offense has been up and down this year, but it seems like the trend should be up against the Chiefs.  Jeff Garcia is a smart, veteran QB who will not be rattled by the Arrowhead noise, and the Bucs will be able to withstand the early Chiefs’ punch and have enough to pull away for a road win.  

– Falcons over Raiders: Atlanta was needless to say screwed last week in Philly.  Down by six with just over two minutes to go, and receiving a punt, this sequence ensued.  Despite the fact that Adam Jennings clearly didn’t touch the ball, the refs said he did, and gave the ball to Philadelphia.  Brian Westbrook sealed the Eagles’ win with a touchdown run two plays later, and the Falcons were robbed of a chance to potentially take the lead with plenty of time on the clock and roughly 60 yards to go.  Since there was over two minutes on the clock, replay couldn’t be initiated by the booth upstairs, and the Falcons couldn’t challenge because they used their three timeouts to conserve time on defense while the Eagles were trying to get a first down.  This is a ludicrous flaw in the challenge system: should the Falcons have been asked to save a timeout just in case of a blown call?  Of course not.  The challenge system does not take into account blown calls after all challenges have been used.  This is a rant better served for another column, but the point is the Falcons gave a very admirable performance on the road in a hostile road environment, and by all rights may have had the game stolen from them, and I say they will be highly motivated to make a statement against the Raiders.  Oakland looked awful in Baltimore (what else is new?), and it seems like the Raiders should already be trembling of the thought of a very angry, motivated Atlanta team.  Oh, and the Falcons just happen to have more talent.  Atlanta wins in the Black Hole, erasing the memory of a bad loss in Philadephia

– Giants over Cowboys: This NFC East rivalry always bears watching, particularly after New York’s playoff win in Big D last year.  Dallas is still without Tony Romo for one more game (he is expected back Nov. 16 after next week’s bye), so the Cowboys certainly face an uphill battle in the Meadowlands.  Dallas did sneak away with a much needed win against Tampa Bay, and could still find themselves 5-4 after the bye even with a loss here.  Still, the Cowboys are in flux for this one, with Brad Johnson looking over his shoulder at Brooks Bollinger if he has a bad start to the game.  The Giants continue to prove that their title last year was not a fluke, and that everyone who predicted them to miss the playoffs this year (and in many cases finish under .500) seriously missed the boat.  The Giants showed a lot of guts picking up a win in Pittsburgh in a physical game where a lot of teams would have folded up.  This one actually has the look of a blowout if the Giants continue to be able to run the ball effectively and pressure the quarterback they have all year.  The Giants continue to flex their dominance in this one.  Is a Mount TO eruption coming if he has another bad game?

– Eagles over Seahawks: Seattle came out of nowhere and blew out the 49ers last week, although that may not be saying much.  (The Mike Singletary press conference video you’ve surely seen by now says it all about the state of things there).  Given that, we’re not giving Seattle much credit for that one.  Matt Hasselbeck is still out and so are most of his receivers, and that can’t be a good thing for Mike Holmgren’s club over the long haul.  The Eagles showed how their offense is really dangerous when Brian Westbrook is healthy, and that’s another uh oh for Seattle.  Even though the Seahawks are at home, that won’t be much help against the Eagles’ pressure defense, which is sure to have a field day against Seneca Wallace.  Philadelphia is one of the best teams in the league when healthy, and they frankly should have no problem rolling here.  

– Bears over Lions: This is my eliminator pick this week.  Sure, the Lions showed some fight at home against Washington, but they folded like a house of cards when it counted.  Chicago’s offense gave a complete performance against the Vikings before the bye, and the defense has been swarming.  Even though the Bears have given up more points than usual, they’ve made up for it by forcing turnovers at key times and even scoring touchdowns.  This is not good news for Dan Orlovsky, who has not yet shown he can handle pressure well.  Couple that with Detroit’s inability to consistently run the ball, and the Bears defense should be in for a feast.  Chicago is tied for the lead in the NFC North, and they know they need to win this one with a big game against Tennessee coming up.  Chicago should win this one easily.

– Cardinals over Rams: This should be an entertaining game that actually has a lot of subplots.  The former St. Louis Cardinals return to Missouri to play St. Louis’ current team, the Rams.  Dick Vermeil, the coach of the Rams’ 1999 Super Bowl Championship team, is back to be honored in a pregame ceremony.  Kurt Warner, the quarterback of that team, returns as a member of the Cardinals, and is having a great year to boot.  Not to mention, the Rams are slowly showing signs of making a play in the NFC West, where no one has really managed to take control.  The Rams gave great effort in New England last week and if nothing else showed they are not lumped with the dregs of the league.  Arizona is the current leader, and they can extend that with a road win here.  The Cardinals took a tough loss in Carolina last week even though they showed they could play with the Panthers on the road. (West coast teams are still winless when facing an early kick on the east coast this year).  A couple of quick second half turnovers doomed Arizona last week, but their high octane passing game should have a big day indoors on the carpet at the Dome.  The Cardinals continue to surprise with a hard fought win, and a happy homecoming for Warner.  

– Colts over Patriots: Upset alert.  The Sunday night game is one that for the past few years has easily been the league’s showcase game.  These two teams have always battled at the top of the AFC, and had three memorable playoff meetings this decade.  Some luster is taken off this year’s meeting with the absence of Tom Brady and the Colts’ struggles this year.  The Patriots have shown a lot of gusto starting 5-2 without the league’s top quarterback, and came from behind to beat the Rams last week.  As Matt Cassel feels more comfortable, big plays are starting to open up for Randy Moss and Wes Welker.  Indianapolis is coming off two tough losses, but returns home and gets reinforcements.  Top running back Joseph Addai and run stuffing safety Bob Sanders are both expected to be back Sunday night, and that will give the Colts a huge boost in a game they absolutely must win if they want any chance of staying in the AFC race.  The rivalry nature of this game, and the desperation the Colts are surely feeling will be the swing factors as they pull off the upset at home.  One thing is for sure, I know with absolute certainly that Peyton Manning will not allow himself three bad games in a row.  

– Steelers over Redskins: The Monday nighter should be a great one, and it’s not because of the halftime interviews of Barack Obama and John McCain (in fact that should be an excellent time for a bathroom break).  The Steelers lost a tough one to the Giants last week, and will be looking to rebound on a national stage.  Washington is coming off a win over Detroit, but lost Clinton Portis to an ankle injury late in the game.  He still rushed for 125 yards, and says he will be ready to go for the Steelers, but is he 100 percent?  The Redskins have been one of the league’s top surprises at 6-2, and should be fired up for a Monday night game at home, but they haven’t faced a defense as physical as Pittsburgh’s since their week one loss to the Giants.  Pittsburgh will have a fire in their belly as well, and will be able to run the ball with Willie Parker.  If Portis is indeed beat up, the Steelers defense will smell blood in the water and force Jason Campbell to beat them.  Campbell has played well, but a hunch says the Steelers D will be slightly better.  Pittsburgh wins what should prove to be one of the best Monday night games of the year.  I believe the Steelers and Redskins are both playoff caliber teams, and an interconference loss shouldn’t be crippling to either one.  Keep in mind Washington already has all three division road games out of the way, which will really help them down the stretch.

BYE: Chargers, Panthers, Saints, 49ers

NOTE: Those of you need to submit picks and/or fantasy lineups before first kickoff, keep in mind that starting NEXT WEEK NOV. 6 the Thursday night games begin.  Make sure any picks and lineups are turned in accordingly.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: