We are winding down in the season and fantasy football playoffs are just around the corner. It’s put up or shut up time, and I know a few teams who need to do the former. Home teams in CAPS
Jets (-3.5) over BILLS
Neither team nor their quarterback is great, but two things separate the Jets from the Bills. The Bills have the 19th ranked run defense while the Jets have the second best. Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene have been great this year, and Leon Washington was until he was placed on the injured reserve. The Jets also put a whole lot more pressure on the opposing offense than the lackluster Bills’ D. The usual home field advantage for the Bills won’t be there since they will be in Toronto, which doesn’t deserve to host an NFL game.
Eagles (-4.5) over FALCONS
Michael Vick comes back to the city that drafted him number one overall eight years ago. But without Matt Ryan in this game, it won’t be too close. Asante Samuel will be able to shut down Roddy White and the blitzing schemes of the Eagles will be able to shut down the not fully healthy Michael Turner. This is the Lock of the Week.
BEARS (-8.5) over Rams
In a recent SportsNation poll on ESPN.com, there was a question asked that was what has been the biggest problem for the Bears: Their quarterback, runningback, O-Line, Defense, or Coaching. Everywhere except Illinois, it was the QB, but they picked offensive line. They know. Jay Cutler is good, but he just doesn’t have a great supporting cast, especially with Matt Forte not showing up this year and depending on rookie Johnny Knox and return man Devin Hester as your go-to receivers. Beating up on the Rams defense should be no problem.
BENGALS (-13.5) over Lions
The Bengals are great and the Lions aren’t there isn’t much more to this.
Colts (-6.5) over TITANS
Amazingly enough, after losing their first six games, Chris Johnson and Vince Young have turned around the season for Tennessee’s season. They think that they can win ten straight and make the playoffs. Peyton Manning doesn’t think so, and he’ll have something to say about it.
Broncos (-6.5) over CHIEFS
Yet again, the Broncos are getting no respect. But this time, they aren’t getting any respect against the Chiefs. I can understand no one believing in them when they play the Pats, Ravens, and Steelers, but this is the Chiefs! Jamaal Charles and Chris Chambers shouldn’t scare these guys! I’ll take the Broncos big here.
Saints (-8.5) over REDSKINS
The Saints are on a roll after destroying the Patriots, and the Redskins are down to their third runningback and just placed Chris Cooley on the IR. Not the formula for success, if you ask me. If New Orleans can beat the Patriots by two touchdowns, why couldn’t they beat the ‘Skins by 9?
PANTHERS (-6.5) over Buccaneers
Each game the Panthers lose, they are one step closer to Bill Cowher. But after a certain point, if you can’t beat the Bucs, why would Cowher want to coach there? The Panthers need to win this to prove they are relevant, even though they will surely miss the playoffs. Matt Moore gets his first start, and if he wins, he could be the starter for the rest of the year.
Texans (+.5) over JAGUARS
I know the Texans just blew a chance to wreck the Colts’ perfect season, but that doesn’t put them below the Jags. Even without Owen Daniels, the Texans’ pass attack is too prolific to be stopped by the lowly Jacksonville defense, especially if All-Pro Rashean Mathis is out.
STEELERS (-11.5) over Raiders
Back in 2007, Dennis Dixon was a front runner to win the Heisman until he hurt his knee and was out for the year. He then fell to the fifth round of the 2008 draft, when the Steelers snatched him up with the 156th pick. Dixon has speed, size, athleticism, accuracy, and a decent arm. The only thing wrong with him was that he had to heal from his knee injury. Even with only one pro start under his belt, Dixon is way better than Bruce Gradkowski, JaMarcus Russel, Charlie Frye, or whoever is starting in Oakland.
Patriots (-6.5) over DOLPHINS
The Pats lost four losses this year have come to teams with a combined record of 34-10. The Dolphins just lost to the 4-7 Bills by 17. The Patriots aren’t getting near the respect they deserve here. This will be a blowout.
Chargers (-12.5) over BROWNS
Every year, the Chargers start slow, then pick up the pace and finish the year strong. This would be the end of the year, and Philip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson, Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates look great. Maybe not so much for LT, but he will in Cleveland.
49ers (+.5) over SEAHAWKS
The Niners are a deep sleeper for the final Wild Card spot this season, and the Seahawks aren’t. If Frank Gore is on his A Game, San Fran is hard to beat. Alex Smith looks a bit like the player the 49ers drafted number one, and they are on the way up.
Cowboys (-1.5) over GIANTS
In case anyone has been under a rock since November 27th, 2008, Plaxico Burress is in jail with a bullet in his leg and his former team is no longer any good. Their losses this year have come by an average score of over two touchdowns. Even though the Cowboys are historically bad during December, that will start after they run over the ‘Boys.
Vikings (-3.5) over CARDINALS
The Cardinals are getting better, but the Vikings, at least to me, are the best team in the NFC. They have the MVP-to-be in Brett Favre who has 24 TDs and 3 Ints, Adrian Peterson, Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian, Visanthe Shiancoe, Jared Allen, The Williams Wall, Antoine Winfield, and Chad Greenway. With Kurt Warner not 100%, gimme the Vikes.
Ravens (+3.5) over PACKERS
Just because the Ravens haven’t looked dominating as of late doesn’t mean they’re worse than the Packers. They need this game to make the playoffs, so I won’t put my money on the team across the line from Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
Last Week: 9-7
Lock of the Week: 5-6