Just about everybody still alive in a survivor pool was on the edge of their seat last week, as for the majority of the day it seemed that pretty much everyone, everywhere was going to be eliminated. The Rams, Dolphins and Cardinals all held huge leads against their heavily favored opponents, despite having a combined one win between them going into the week. Miraculously, the Ravens and Giants came back to win, but the Saints were not so lucky. This was good news for us, since we took the Ravens, and double good news if a lot of people in your pool took New Orleans, as they almost certainly did. Things are getting down to it now entering the second half of the season, and chances are if you’re still alive, you’re close to victory. Things also get a whole lot more difficult, as the majority of ‘safe’ teams have likely been used, and you’re left having to choose from less than desirable matchups, especially on heavy bye weeks. So, with all that said, let’s see who we can turn to this week:
The biggest spreads this week favor the Cowboys, Texans, Falcons, Eagles, Saints, Raiders and Patriots, in that order. Immediately we need to chop off a few of those names, as we have already used them in this space. So goodbye Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, and New England. That leaves us with Atlanta against Indy, Philly against Chicago, and Oakland against Denver. I am leery of Atlanta on the road, as Matt Ryan is two different quarterbacks home and away, although Indy is one of the bigger pushovers in the league. Philly looked amazing last week, but have been very inconsistent this season, and the Bears have looked good on occasion. In addition, that is a prime time game where we have already seen some odd things happen, such as Jacksonville stymieing Baltimore two weeks ago. Oakland against Denver has its merits. For one thing, I won’t be upset losing the Raiders as a potential pick down the line. They are also at home and facing a quarterback nowhere near the level of a pro. The downside is that Carson Palmer is still learning the playbook and shaking off the rust, and Darren McFadden is likely out of the game. There is also a hidden fourth option: The 49ers over the Redskins. Although they are only favored by 4.5, Washington has looked dreadful recently and San Fran is one of the strongest defensive teams in the game. All things being equal, I think a good argument could be made for and against any of the four games we have discussed. What I think it comes down to for me when that happens is to look at the smaller things, like home field, time of game, etc. That’s why Oakland gets the nod from me. Even without McFadden, the Raiders are a strong unit, and their defense should be able to manhandle Tim Tebow. I also would rather keep Philly as an option for me down the line should they continue their strong play, and they will have easier games than the Bears. The Falcons I think I’ll save for when they are at home, even if their opponent has to be slightly stronger. San Francisco is a very tempting play, but I like the Raiders by just a smidge more, as I probably trust San Fran more than Oakland down the line, and would like to keep them available.
So, this week I’m taking Oakland as all the “Tebowing” in the world won’t help Timmy turn into a capable quarterback overnight. Now that defenses have had time to prepare against him, it is clear that this is a failed experiment, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Brady Quinn in the line up by Week 10 or 11.
Pick: 1) Oakland 2) San Francisco 3) Atlanta
Already used: Houston, Pittsburgh, San Diego, New Orleans, New England, Green Bay, Dallas, Baltimore