I really like DeAngelo Williams, especially against Miami tonight

I really hope that I’m not the only person out there right now who thinks that having Thursday Night games before Thanksgiving is as morally wrong as Christmas commercials on TV before Thanksgiving.  It’s just too much and it means I have to make my picks in the next 90 minutes before the Miami-Carolina game starts.  So here we go with my Week 11 picks.  By the way, last week we survived an 0-5 start and managed an 8-7 record to inch the record up to 73-68-1 (.518).

Thursday Night
Dolphins at Panthers (-3): Considering the way both of these teams like to play on offense, this game might not last for its 3-hour time slot.  The big difference in this one? Ronnie Brown is on the IR for the Fish now, which makes that Wildcat a lot more predictable.  Look for Julius Peppers to make the night a long one for Ricky Williams, who makes his first start in about a year.

Sunday
Redskins (+11)
at Cowboys: I know what you’re thinking right now and, trust me, I agree with you that Washington is not a good football team.  However, this is and NFC East rivalry game, and its one that the ‘Skins will get up for.  They won’t win the game, but they’ll make Tony Romo and the rest of the Cowboys earn the W.

Browns (+4) at Lions: This might be the Pillow Fight of the Year between two teams that just can’t seem to do anything right.  I’m taking the Browns solely because both of these teams are so inept offensively that I can’t see either team winning by more than a field goal.  Either way, whoever put this game on the 2009 NFL schedule deserves to be looking for a new job.

49ers (+7) at Packers: I’m not ready to give up on the San Francisco 49ers this season yet.  There is a lot of young talent on that team and I personally think that the Packers are a team moving in the wrong direction.  Frank Gore should be able to have a very productive day, and if the San Fran pass rush can disrupt Aaron Rodgers the way they threw off Jay Cutler last week, the Niners should win.

Steelers (-10) at Chiefs: At first I saw this game and was intrigued by the Chiefs.  Then Dwayne Bowe was suspended for PEDs and I woke up.  KC remains one of the most lost franchises in the NFL, it’s just that their hidden by the Oakland Raiders, who ironically play in the same division.  If the Steelers can’t beat the Chiefs by 2 touchdowns, then they really don’t deserve to make the playoffs.

Seahawks at Vikings (-11): Minnesota has yet to lose at home this year and bring in a Seahawks team that is reeling from its loss to the Cardinals last week after looking pretty good early in that one.  As always, Adrian Peterson will do what he does and the Vikes’ D should be able to win the battle up front to put pressure on a fragile Matt Hasselbeck.

Falcons (+7) at Giants:  Atlanta is only 1-4 on the road this year, but the Giants have looked just awful in their last four games.  It’s a big concern that the Falcons don’t have Michael Turner, but I think the combination of backup RBs will do okay against a Giants’ D that has been very suspect as of late.  Keep an eye on how sharp Eli Manning looks, too.  I suspect he’s more injured than he and the G-Men have led us to believe.

Saints (-11) at Buccaneers: Drew Brees hasn’t had a huge game since Week 2 and has turned the ball over a little too much lately.  Still, the Saints are 9-0.  Going up against lowly Tampa Bay shouldn’t be too difficult.  This is also another chance for the New Orleans D to prove itself by shutting down a weak offense as it should.

Bills at Jaguars (-9): The Bills have no run defense against one of the league’s best rushers in Maurice Jones-Drew, no offense to counter with, and just fired Dick Jauron (probably a good thing, actually). There’s no way they will compete with Jacksonville, who now sits only one game behind Houston in the AFC South.

Colts (+2) at Ravens: So how exactly are the 9-0, Peyton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts the underdog against the Ravens this week? Sometimes, I wonder who makes these lines.

Cardinals (+9) at Rams: St. Louis showed a lot of fight last week against the Saints…but still lost.  Arizona has an opportunity to extend its NFC West lead to three games this week if San Fran loses in Lambeau.  Kurt Warner and Co will not let that opportunity go to waste.

Chargers (pick ’em) at Broncos: Two words should tell you why San Diego will handle Denver and take over the AFC West on Sunday: Chris Simms.  If you watched any of him during the second half of the Broncos’ loss in DC, you saw a guy who looked completely lost out there.  Finally, justice has arrived for Denver, and it comes in the form of a fourth straight loss.

Bengals (-10) at Raiders: Cincy is the talk of the league after its big win over the Steelers last week.  Now they basically get a bye week against the Raiders, who have decided to bench JaMarcus Russell for former Bucs QB Bruce Gradkowski…and that might be an improvement, which is really scary.

Jets at Patriots (-11): The Pats have yet to lose at home, almost never lose back-to-back games, and are still mad about what happened in Indy last week.  Plus, they’re facing a team that Bill Belichick, if given the opportunity, will beat by as much as possible.  The Jets are basically floating around like a dead fish after losing at home to the Jaguars, and would need nothing short of a miracle to beat New England in Gillette on Sunday.  Before you say anything, yes I’m serious, and yes, I am a Jets fan.

Eagles (-3) at Bears:  The Eagles are coming off of tough back-to-back losses to Dallas and San Diego.  Although Chicago isn’t exactly a gimme for the Iggles, I still think they have a lot more to play for than the Bears. That and Jay Cutler is guaranteed to throw at least a pick or two.

Monday Night
Titans (+5)
at Texans:  Houston couldn’t beat the bad version of the Titans by 5 points in Week 2, as they held on for a 34-31 win. Now the Texans have to beat the new and improved version of Tennessee, led by, of all people, Vince Young, who has looked sharp in his first three starts.  This is a golden opportunity for the Titans to ruin Houston’s season, and I think there’s a decent chance they’ll do just that.

I don't know who could use a good week more in Week 8, me or these guys?

Maybe it’s the fact that I am stuck in a deathbed for football this year in Washington, or maybe I just am missing something, but the last two weeks have not gone according to plan.  After what looked like a promising start with four easy wins, the Texans forgot how to play offense and failed to cover against San Fran after nearly blowing a 21-0 halftime lead and Brett Favre decided to throw one of his patented late-game picks for a Pittsburgh TD.  The rest of they day went the same, pretty much, with my only win coming thanks to the Saints’ 2nd half rally past Miami.  The Eagles’ easy win over the ‘Skins salvaged a 6-6-1 week and moved the season record to 53-47-1 (.530).  Here’s the picks for Week 8:

Dolphins (+4) at Jets: The Jets lost to the Dolphins three weeks ago when they were completely healthy and still had Kris Jenkins in the middle to plug up holes in the run defense.  Now he, along with RB Leon Washington and potentially WR Braylon Edwards will not be available against a Miami rushing attack that had a field day against the Jets on Monday night.  The Jets will need to limit Ronnie Brown to under 100 yards and get a good game out of a struggling Mark Sanchez to win this one. I don’t see either of those things happening.

Giants at Eagles (-1): In the first game of what will be a wild Sunday in Philadelphia, I expect the Eagles to play a very strong and sound game and beat the New York Giants in a close one at the Link.  The G-Men haven’t gotten the production they need out of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw the last couple of games, and the Eagles’ defense might be the best out of the last three teams they’ve faced.  Also, the Eagles seem to have found the right offensive formula and are being driven by their youthful skill players in DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and LeSean McCoy.

Broncos (+3) at Ravens: Going into Baltimore and winning is still a very tough task, but the way things have been going for the Denver Broncos, it wouldn’t surprise me to see it happen at all.  If Elvis Dumervil can get the better of his matchup on the line, I expect it’ll be a long day for Joe Flacco.  If this happens, the Broncos’ D can load up the box for Ray Rice and could make this ugly.  I also expect to see Denver spread the ball out offensively to anyone and everyone in order to buy Kyle Orton more time in the pocket and open things up for both Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter.

Texans (-4) at Bills: This is a matchup of two teams that shouldn’t be where they currently are.  The Texans are better than their 4-3 record would lead you to believe and they are just starting to click into gear, which is huge considering how well they play in the second half.  The combination of Matt Schaub, Steve Slaton, and Andre Johnson should prove to be too much for a 3-4 Bills team that has really been the beneficiary of playing well against some weaker opponents so far this year.  Plus, I don’t see Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing for less than 150 yards and Buffalo beating Houston.

Browns at Bears (-14): Normally I would see Chicago with this big of a spread and run away from them.  This time, though, Da Bears are in desperate need of a win and Jay Cutler & Co. have one of the more porous defenses in the league to go up against.  I think the most interesting thing that will happen during the course of this game will be whether or not Cleveland switches between Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn yet again.

Seahawks at Cowboys (-10): It took them six games to do it, but the Cowboys showed me something last week to make me think that they could be a serious factor in the NFC this year.  The emergence of the Tony Romo-Miles Austin connection, having Marion Barber and Felix Jones healthy, and the improvement of the pass rush has turned things around in Big D.  More than this, though, might be that the last time I saw Seattle, they got shellacked by Jacksonville, 41-0.  The Seahawks have some serious issues right now and are going to need some serious help to win this one.

Rams at Lions (pick ’em): Two reasons for picking the Detroit Lions this week:
1. They’re at home
2. At least when they’ve lost this year they’ve managed to be somewhat competitive.
This game merits no further conversation because of these teams’ combined 1-12 record.

49ers at Colts (-13): Indianapolis has just rolled through all of its opponents so far this year, and San Fran’s fairly suspect pass defense was exposed by the Texans last week. Peyton Manning to Reggie Wayne is certainly not going to be easy for the Niners to contain, not to mention the rest of the cast from a Colts offense that once again is amongst the best in the NFL.

Jaguars (+3) at Titans: I want to meet the individual who made this line and ask him if he’s watched the Titans this season.  I also want to ask him if he made this line before or after he heard Vince Young might get the start, or if he just thought that Jeff Fisher wearing the Peyton Manning jersey was inspiration for his team.  So long as Tennessee plays the way they have thus far, they will not win on Sunday.

Raiders (+17) at Chargers: The Raiders and Chargers met at the beginning of the year on Monday Night and Oakland actually managed to play what might have been its best game so far this year, falling on a late TD drive engineered by Philip Rivers.  The Raiders still stink, but they seem to know something about San Diego that keeps them in the game.  Chargers will win, but it’ll be closer than you think.

Panthers at Cardinals (-11): The Cardinals seem to have finally shook off whatever was affecting them at the beginning of the year, as was obvious with their big win on Sunday Night over the Giants.  Kurt Warner is finding Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin again, and the defense is making stops when it needs to.  This is very bad news for the Carolina Panthers, who desperately need to re-commit themselves to their running game as long as Jake Delhomme is under center.

Vikings (+3) at Packers: If Favre vs. Green Bay goes anything like Round 1 did, then the Vikings will definitely win this game.  Jared Allen and the Vikes’ D is going to be gunning for Aaron Rodgers early and often in this one and I expect Adrian Peterson to have a bounce back week after being pretty quiet in Pittsburgh.  The Vikings might be the class of the NFC this year and will continue to make their case on Sunday night.

Falcons at Saints (-10): I said it last week and I’ll say it again this week, until some team gives me a reason to not pick New Orleans, I am taking the Saints every week for the rest of the season.  Drew Brees should be able to cut down on his mistakes and take advantage of playing against an Atlanta defense that seems to have some growing issues in the secondary.  Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense just doesn’t have the firepower to keep up with the Saints in a high-scoring game.

The big one is the game on Monday Night, with Brett Favre going up against his old mates from Green Bay.

The big one is the game on Monday Night, with Brett Favre going up against his old mates from Green Bay.

Week 4 of the NFL Season is just about 36 hours away now and I almost forgot to make my pick for this week…oops.  Last week was another solid one, going 10-6 to push the overall record for the year to 29-19 through the first three weeks.  Let’s see if I can give all of those 10 games over .500 back in one week. (Picks in Bold, Home Team listed 2nd):

Ravens (+2) at Patriots: It’s not very often I pick against the Pats at home, but I really think that this Ravens team is the best in the AFC right now.  Their offense is drastically improved from a year ago, Joe Flacco is a star in the making, and their defense is still formidable enough to allow the Ravens to win close games.  Baltimore wins it, 31-28.

Bucs at Redskins (+8): Two of the worst teams is the league battling in FedEx Field, with most ‘Skins fans preferring to see an encore presentation of U2 instead.  The ‘Skins offense should be able to take advantage of a non-existent Tampa secondary and shouldn’t give up more than 10 points against Josh Johnson and the worst offense in the NFL.  Expect Santana Moss to have a big day in this one.

Titans (-3) at Jaguars: Tennessee can’t possibly start the year 0-4, can they? This is a competitive football team that’s run into some tough opponents to start the year, and Jacksonville might just be the break they needed.  If Chris Johnson can get going and the Titans neutralize Maurice Jones-Drew, then Tennessee should pick up its first win in ’09.

Raiders at Texans (-9): In a game that both teams need to win to prove something to their fans, Houston will finally find a way to win at home, mainly because of the erratic play of Oakland QB JaMarcus Russell, who is looking more and more like a big, 275-pound bust.  The Texans should have very little trouble moving the ball against Oakland’s front seven, too, which could make this one more lopsided than Oakland’s 23-3 loss last week to Denver.

Lions (+10) at Bears: After Detroit’s hex-breaking victory last week (that I said would happen, by the way.) over Washington, I expect the Lions to play a bit above their expectations for a little while.  Although I am confident the Bears will win this game, Chicago’s offense hasn’t done much to make me believe that they could win by more than a touchdown.

Bengals (-6) at Browns:  It’s not easy to pick a team that hasn’t scored a touchdown in the last two games, so I didn’t.  The Browns might be the worst team in the NFL this year and part of the problem is that the offense can determine who its leader is because of Eric Mangini’s nonsensical act of keeping the starting QB decision under wraps until the last minute.  Either way, neither Brady Quinn nor Derek Anderson have played well this year.  Going up against a surprisingly good Cincy squad doesn’t bode well for them.

Seahawks at Colts (-11): After seeing what the Colts did to the Cardinals in Arizona last Sunday night, I’d be a fool to pick them to go down against the Seneca Wallace-led Seattle Seahawks.  If the Colts play the way they should, then this one should be in the bag by halftime.

Giants (-9) at Chiefs: After seeing Kevin Kolb light up the Chiefs last weekend, it’s hard to imagine Eli Manning doing anything less than that.  Even worse for the Chiefs, the Giants have a more proficient power running game and might have a slightly better defense than the Eagles, too.  I expect another blowout in this one for the G-Men.

Jets at Saints (-7): At the beginning of this week when I saw this one, I was inclined to pick the Jets to, at the very least, cover.  However, with the injuries to both Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland, it’s hard to imagine the Jets’ secondary holding Drew Brees in check for the whole game.  I also think we’ll see Mark Sanchez, under the pressure to come up big yet again, finally struggle a bit in the Superdome.  I think it’ll be something like 27-13 in favor of the ‘Aints.

Bills at Dolphins (+1): I really don’t know what to make of either of these teams right now.  The Bills lost about half to their defense, with injuries to Donte Whitner, Leodis McKelvin, and Paul Posluszny (sp?) while the ‘Phins lost Chad Pennington for the year with yet another injury to his throwing shoulder (which I said might happen in my season preview.)  However, I think the Wildcat will prevail in this battle of struggling teams.  Miami in a low-scoring and ugly one, 17-13.

Cowboys (-3) at Broncos: It’s about time that the Denver Broncos had to play some decent teams, after winning over Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Oakland.  Dallas comes into this one coming off a tough win at home over the Panthers and desperately needs a statement win to show that they are going to compete in the NFC East this year.  For Denver, this is the start of a rough three game stretch.  After Dallas, it’s home to the Patriots and then to San Diego.

Rams at 49ers (-10): The Niners are without Frank Gore, which is very bad news for my fantasy team.  The Rams are without Marc Bulger, which is very bad for their real team.  St. Louis’ offense was awful with Bulger at the helm, so God only knows how much worse they could get with Ravens reject Kyle Boller.  The SF defense is going to be fired up, as well, after last week’s crushing last-second loss in Minnesota.

Chargers (+7) at Steelers:  Neither of these two teams has looked overly impressive in their first three games.  The difference is that San Diego is healthy and has a much more effective offense than do the Steelers.  I don’t know how the Chargers are being given 7 in this game, but I’ll gladly take it to the bank.

Packers at Vikings (-4): Brett Favre says it’s not about revenge, but at least part of it might be.  He has the best weapon of vengeance that any NFL QB could possibly want, too, with Adrian Peterson carrying the football behind him.  Aaron Rodgers hasn’t really been tested to much, yet, and he didn’t look great in the loss to the Bengals in Week 2, either.  I expect the Vikes to win by a touchdown, 28-21.

    Wow, its been way too long since I’ve posted here and to make up for it, I am going to release my  NFL Preview over the next couple of days.  I know, ludicrous.  Let the insanity begin:

NFC Preview (teams are listed in predicted order of finish):

NFC East:  This is by far the toughest division in all of football with each of these teams capable of winning the Super Bowl or least getting there.  I see at three of these teams making the playoffs with all four of them finishing at or above .500

Dallas Cowboys (13-3):  The team with the most talent west of Foxboro got better in the offseason with the addition of Pacman Jones and Zach Thomas and the promotion of Marion Barber to starter.  Fantasy Pick:  While T.O. and Romo are givens, Jason Witten comes in as my top rated tight end because he is going to draw the double teams away from T.O. on the outside and destroy opponents down the middle of the field.  I expect a huge year.  Position of Concern: Wide Reciever, after releasing Terry Glenn, the Boys only have one reliable reciever and a bunch of unknowns.  Patrick Crayton was decent as a number 3 be does he have what it takes to be a number two?  After him you have even more questions.  Will the recievers lack of experience ground their vast air attack?  Final Outlook:  The Cowboys are obviosly the class of the NFC and have the talent and coaching to gather the number one seed.  However, Tony Romo’s history of choking in the playoffs will not be forgotten as the Cowboys lose another divisional playoff game.

New York Giants (11-5):  The defending Super Bowl Champs have seen a lot of players exit from their championship team.  With the addition of only rookies and role players, will this team take a step back?  Fantasy Pick: I really like Brandon Jacobs and always have.  If he stays healthy this year expect top-10 fantasy numbers from him (like 1800 total yards and 12 touchdowns).  He’s bigger than some defensive ends and will play to contact.  Gotta love that in a running back.  Impact Rookie:  First round pick Kenny Phillips has been flying around camp laying the smackdown.  Pencil him in as the Giants free safety for the next 5-10 years.  Final Outlook:  While they won’t win the division, I like them getting to the playoffs as the top wild card entry and fighting their way to the NFC Champsionship Game. 

Philadelphia Eagles (10-6):  The Eagles have the potential to win the Super Bowl this year or finish below .500.  It all depends on whether or not McNabb is healthy enough to lead this team.  Fantasy Pick:  Brian Westbrook led the league last year in yards and I see no reason he won’t do it again this year.  If i’m drafting in the 4 or 5 position in the first round, I’d think long and hard about grabbing him.  Free-Agent Bust?:  Asante Samuel came from a system that primarily used zone, which allowed Samuel to play an area and wait for the balls to come his way.  Now in Philly, hes going to be primarily a man corner and does he have the skills to justify that massive contract and locker room resentment that Lito Sheppard holds towards the organization?  I don’t think so.  Final Outlook:  This will be the final playoff team and will surprise a few teams when they get there.  I see them reaching the NFC Championship game and maybe something more.

Washington Redskins (8-8): New Coach Jim Zorn has a daunting task of replacing Redskins coaching icon Joe Gibbs.  However, this Quarterback Guru has been busy teaching his stable of quaterback to run his offense.  Fantasy Pick:  Chris Cooley is a guy that I would highly recommend.  He catches everything thrown to him and is always reliable for 800 yards and 6 touchdowns, which is easily attainable when your two best red zone options are rookie wide recievers.  He’s my 5 TE off the board so keep an eye on him.  Burning Question:  What will Jason Taylor’s impact be on the Defense?  The Taylor trade was important on two fronts: they found a great replacement for Philip Daniels and kept him away from the G-Men.  However, they are playing him out of his normal position of LE, but he will still have an impact, but not really add wins to this team.  Final Outlook:  This team just has too many questions and not enough answers to justify a finish better than 8-8.  Jason Campbell still hasn’t proven that he is a winner or can put up the numbers desired from a franchise QB.  Clinton Portis is hurt again and will he be ready for opening day?  Also, how will Zorn handle himself late in the season when his decisions are questioned by the media?  Give them one more year and then they’ll have something. 

NFC North:  The “Drama Division” as I like to refer to it now, has seen the Packers hog all of the media attention while the other teams lurk in the shadows, waiting for all the distractions to destroy the team.  Watch out for Minnesota, if Tavaris Jackson can figure out how to play quarterback, they could be good.

Green Bay Packers (9-7):  I hate Brett Favre.  There I said it, now I can get on with my life.  If I didn’t know any better, I would be led to believe that the Packers are the only team in the NFL.  Fantasy Pick: Greg Jennings, the third year wide reciever is going to explode into stardom this year.  I expect at least 1100 yards recieving and 6-10 touchdowns.  I’d pencil him in as an elite No. 2 reciever/borderline number one.  Burning Question:  How is Aaron Rodgers going to respond this media circus that Brett Favre has created?  Is he the player that fell in the draft or the player who showed enough flashes of brilliance during the Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game to lead them to the promised land.  He’s sat enough and now is the time to let him prove it, no matter what number Four thinks.  Final Outlook:  This is still the best team in a week division and Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the division.  They also have a running game to complement Rodgers growth and a defense that features the best press corners in the NFL.  That alone guarantees them a spot in the playoffs. 

Minnesota Vikings (7-9):  While most experts are drooling over the Vikings because of Year Two of A-Pete and the addition of Jared Allen, I still see a team with a bad coach, bad recievers, and a bad quarterback.  Fantasy Pick:  There is nobody worth drafting on this team except Adrian Peterson and he is going to go a couple spots too high.  With all of the hype surrounding him, I see him as a sell high candidate who can give a pretty nice return in a two for one deal.  Free-Agent/Trade Bust:  While this trade was widely hailed throughout the the NFL, I feel like the Chiefs came out on top in the Jared Allen trade.  He is a player who went after his own stats (sacks) and sacrificed run stopping.  In a division that is short on QB prowess, will he live up to lofty standards…I don’t believe so.  Final Outlook:  This is the most overrated team in the league.  They have major holes at all of the offensive skill positions except for running back.  They have a coach that is overmatched and lost.  They will be a major dissapointment and will miss the playoffs.

Detroit Lions (7-9): The Lions dropped ego-maniac/offensive coordinator Mike Martz and his pass happy scheme in favor of something that suits bulldog coach Rod Marinelli.  Lets see if this is the answer to the prayers of Lions nation.  Fantasy Pick:  Roy Williams always has put of monster numbers and he will again this year.  He is the only thing certain on a roster full of questions.  Impact Rookie:  RB Kevin Smith was drafted with the idea that he would give the running game some stability.  Even though he led the nation in rushing last year and is coming into they same system that was run at UCF, he has a lot of wear and tear on him (450 carries last year, over 30 a game) and did not come out of a big time program.  I believe he wins the starting job but doesn’t set the world on fire.  Final Outlook:  The Lions will not be very good again, but they won’t be horrible.  There first priority is to find a franchise QB because Jon Kitna is just a stopgap option.  Two questions though: Will Rod Marinelli last the season and is this the year that Matt Millen finally loses his job?

Chicago Bears (5-11):  The Bears have all sorts of problems on offense, mainly a lack of playmakers.  The defense should rebound from a poor year but they can’t score for the team.  Fantasy Pick:  Chicago DEF/Brian Urlacher.  Urlacher should become a top-5 defense again now that (hopefully) everyone is healthy.  This is more a statement that I would stay away from everyone on this roster, even Devin Hester.  Quarterback Controversy:  Kyle Orton vs. Rex Grossman does not really inspire much confidence but I believe that Orton gives them a better chance to win right now.  He seems to better understand what needs to be done on offense in order to put his team in position to win the game.  Grossman has more talent but it just doesn’t translate on the field.  Final Outlook:  The Bears believe they will be back but I just don’t see it.  Too many holes on offense and top pick Chris Williams has not practiced with the first team offense yet and Matt Forte was a bit of a reach in the second round.  Will he be the answer at RB?  I don’t really think so.

Part Two of Four Coming Tomorrow