Welcome to the weekly Patch NFL Pick 'Em, where Fair Lawn residents and wannabe NFL prognosticators Stuart Pace, Steve Brown and Zak Koeske offer up their picks for three games each week, and dish out a little fantasy football advice to boot.
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This week's Pick 'Em games:
Cincinnati Bengals (6-3) @ Baltimore Ravens (6-3)
Tennessee Titans (5-4) @ Atlanta Falcons (5-4)
San Diego Chargers (4-5) @ Chicago Bears (6-3)
Stuart Pace’s Game Picks:
Baltimore, Tennessee, Chicago
Baltimore Ravens over Cincinnati Bengals -- Gosh, could the Bengals be in a worse spot than facing the Ravens after they suffered an extremely embarrassing loss to Pete Carroll's Seattle Suicides? “Hi. My name is Andy Dalton and here is my insurance card “ Nurse-“Why are you here, Mr. Dalton?” Andy –“I will tell you after you reconnect my head to the rest of my body.” Ravens.
Tennessee Titans over Atlanta Falcons -- It’s 4th and 2 on their own 30, and the Dirty Birds run it straight up the middle against the Saints to lose the game? CRIKEY! That’s a bad call. Not the going for it, just the call itself. Something tells me that the Titans win this one. I think Hassellblecch is getting more comfortable in the offense and the Titans D might be able to handle the Falcons O. This would have been my upset of the week.
Chicago Bears over San Diego Chargers– Philip Rivers is not an elite QB. I wish everyone would stop saying he is. The Bears dismantled the Lions and will do the same thing to the Bolts at Soldier Field for the second week in a row. Now watch Cutler do his usual awful performance after I pick them to crush the powder blue Bolts.
Upset of the Week
Cleveland Browns over Jacksonville Jaguars -- Only a one point dog, but the rest of the games are blowouts—ecch what a horrible week of matchups. I’ll just guess that the Dawg Pound will shake up Blaine Gabbert and the Browns D puts up a bit of a fight. Just taking the home team because, well…..I love the name “Colt”. Why didn’t Indy pick him?
Matt Leinart, QB (HOU), Sleeper of the Week – Well, I don’t have one. So I will say start Matt Leinart for the love of pete. I mean, with this offense, it would take someone like Zak Koeske to screw up the Texans. Heck, if you throw the ball 7 feet in the air, you have a good chance of completing it to Andre Johnson. So theres my pick. The consistently terrible Matt Leinart. I MEAN I AM SELECTING MATT LEINART! Come on, what am I? Nuts?
Tim Tebow, QB (DEN), Bust of the Week -- Really? Two passes completed last Sunday and he is going to face the very pissed off Sexy Rexys. Thursday's game could possibly be the most lopsided win of the year and I don’t see how, without divine intervention, the Broncos even compete. Moreno out, Tebow in, yikes. The fans have to be a mile “high” to even go to this clunker.
Steve Brown’s Picks:
Baltimore, Tennessee, Chicago
Baltimore Ravens over Cincinnati Bengals -- The Bengals remind me of a guy who studies boxing in his basement from a video tape, and he beats up on the heavy bag, and he starts to think, "Man I’m pretty tough. Let me walk down to the Dutch House and see if anyone wants to mess with me." Then spends the night bumping into little guys like the Browns, Bills, Jags, Colts, Seahawks and Titans.
He pushes them, talks some trash and they all walk away thinking what’s that guy's problem. So he then sidles up to the guy with the bent nose, cauliflower ears and Hell’s Angels jacket and says, “What’s your problem, pal?” Then wakes up in traction. Yeah, the Ravens just lost to the Seahawks and have been a bit schizophrenic this year, but their victories over the Steelers and Jets convince me they will beat the Bengals.
Tennessee Titans over Atlanta Falcons -- The Battle for Mediocrity commences. Both of these teams seem destined for middle of the pack records though I’d have to say the Falcons have been by far the more disappointing of the two. Expectations are being met by the Titans for this season but the same can’t be said for the Falcons whose ability to come up small in big games has been on display this season. Matt "Hasselblah" doesn’t inspire a whole lot of praise and may not even be in better shape than his sister-in-law Elisabeth, upon whose stomach you can grate cheese. But he will get the job done in this clash of the average. Titans swat the Falcons in a snoozefest.
Chicago Bears over San Diego Chargers – The Bears aren’t as bad as you think they are and the Chargers aren’t as good. This may be an uninformed opinion, but I believe the Chargers are doomed to underwhelm under Norv Turner. I think he is one of those coaches that gets chosen as a safe choice and you get safe results. When he has little talent you will be close to .500 and when the team is stacked with great players you will be close to .500.
His lifetime 103 and 110 win-loss record, the flameouts of the uber-talented teams of 2007 and 2009 in the playoffs and a 13-12 record since 2010 should tell you what you’ll get if you stick with Norv much longer. Jay Cutler throws fewer picks than Philip Rivers. Matt Forte produces more yards from scrimmage than Ryan Mathews. Bears win and can continue to hang close enough to the Packers to eat their dust a while longer.
Upset of the Week
Carolina Panthers over Detroit Lions -- Though he has cooled off, Cam Newton is having a tremendous rookie season, one that really should be generating a lot more hype than it has to this point. I’d venture to guess that no other rookie QB has accounted for more total yards or a higher percentage of his team’s offense than Cam Newton has to this point.
The Lions started out the gate roaring but have dropped 3 of their last 4. They’re starting to be exposed as a team with one true offensive weapon, Calvin Johnson, and not much else on that side of the ball. The defense is developing a reputation for cheap shots and trash talk as personified by No. 90 Ndamukong Suh, but he won’t be chasing a slow-footed 210 pounder this week. My money is on Newton carrying the Panthers past Detroit’s new bad boys.
Eric Decker, WR (DEN), Sleeper of the Week – In one of the strangest box scores of all time, Tim Tebow was 2 of 8 for 69 yards and his team won. Let me repeat that, an NFL team won a game when they completed only two passes! So why the hell would I again pick Eric Decker as my sleeper? Well, he caught one of those passes for 56 yards and a TD, which is reason No. 1. Reason No. 2 is the Jets would be stone-cold crazy not to stack the line with 9 or 10, or even 11 in the box and dare Tim to put it in the air. If it goes in the air in Denver it goes to Decker or it goes wobbling off into the turf. My bet is that Decker, who has somehow managed to grab 7 TDs so far this season, gets number 8 somehow, some way Thursday night.
Dwayne Bowe, WR (KC), Bust of the Week -- The loss of Matt Cassel, the insertion of Tyler Palko, the big stage on Monday night and a New England team that needs a win badly all add up to a frustrating night for Dwayne Bowe. Sure it is tempting to start him against the feeble Patriots pass defense, but I’d look for other options playing on Sunday than wait for Monday to see if Palko has the right stuff or just gets stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey.
Zak Koeske's Picks:
Cincinnati, Atlanta and Chicago
Cincinnati Bengals over Baltimore Ravens - This one projects to be a defensive struggle, as neither team has a potent offense. Against my better judgment, I'm taking the Bungles on the road. They may not have victories against any worldbeaters, but they have knocked off all three of the teams that beat the Ravens (Tennessee, Jacksonville and Seattle). Dalton's young but he's been better at protecting the ball than Flacco this year. In a game that'll be decided by a big defensive play or two, I'll put my money on Cincy.
Atlanta Falcons over Tennessee Titans - I have some reservations picking against Chris Johnson coming off his best game of the year (130 yards rushing, 44 yards receiving and 1 score), but it was against the Panthers after all. The Falcons have one of the stoutest run defenses in the NFL, and I don't think CJ can repeat.
Atlanta is not as good as many thought they would be, but they have won the games they were supposed to, and they're supposed to win this one. Even though I'd be more confident if I knew Julio Jones was going to play, I'm still going with the Dirty Birds.
Chicago Bears over San Diego Chargers-- The Bears have run off four wins in a row in impressive fashion, while the Chargers have dropped their last four. I expect Matt Forte to have a field day against the lackluster Bolts run D that let Michael Bush scamper for 157 yards on the ground last week (not to mention another 85 through the air). Thankfully, with Forte controlling the ground game, Cutler won't have to do much else -- which is good because I don't think he can. I think this game stays close because the Chargers can put up points, but Rivers has been too sloppy with the ball that I'm betting once again that much of his yardage comes during a feverish comeback attempt that ultimately falls short.
Upset of the Week
Miami Dolphins over Buffalo Bills -- I won with 'em last week, so let's try it again. They couldn't be facing an opponent in more of a freefall than the Bills and they're at home. Let's make it three in a row for the Fins. And yes, I know they're technically the favorite, but get real here. The Dolphins started the year 0-7 and the Bills still have a winning record...for one more week.
Marshawn Lynch, (SEA), Sleeper of the Week – Beast Mode hung a hundo on the Ravens last week and 135 against Dallas the week before that. Not an easy feat against two top 10 run defenses. This week he's up against the Rams, owners of the worst run defense in the NFL, which gives up more than 150 yards every game. So, if I had to guess, I'd say he's gonna go all Tecmo Super Bowl on them, kind like in last year's playoff game against the Saints.
Ray Rice, RB (BAL), Bust of the Week -- It's been four weeks since Ray Rice gained more than 63 yards rushing in a game. Last week he only got five carries. FIVE. He had more receptions (8). Things won't get any easier for Rice this week against the Bengals who sport one of the top run defenses in the NFL. Rice will have to hope he gets involved in the passing attack Sunday, because he won't be going anywhere on the ground -- be it for lack of touches or lack of space.
Wayne Robbins' Picks:
Baltimore, Atlanta, Chicago
Baltimore Ravens over Cincinnati Bengals -- Both have the same record, Ravens at home will take the W.
Atlanta Falcons over Tennessee Titans -- Matt Ryan will have a good game, Falcons with the W.
Chicago Bears over San Diego Chargers – Bears are tough at home, and with Earl Bennett's magic showing, Bears get the W
Upset of the Week
Washington Redskins over Dallas Cowboys -- Romo will have too many INTs, and Washington is playing at home. Time for them to win another game.
About Stuart Pace:
Stu has been played fantasy football for more than 15 years and also spent a number of years hosting a Fair Lawn TV show called "Electric Football" with Steve Brown. He's currently in four leagues. A die-hard Miami Dolphins fan ("The Dolphins make me cry"), Stu has a Miami Dolphins tattoo and a Dolphins cause bracelet ("The lost cause").
About Steve Brown:
Steve was co-host of "Electric Football", the highest-rated NFL-related YouTube video series shot in Fair Lawn that we are aware of. When he's not producing that cult favorite, he spends way too much time crying quietly in the closet after Viking's losses. Steve has come in second place in more Fantasy Leagues than anyone he knows of since he started playing in 1992, and is still famous among his friends for the ill-fated KiJana Carter No. 2 overall pick.
About Zak Koeske:
Zak's a 9-year fantasy football veteran who has made a tradition of producing pre-season Power Rankings and crafting league write-ups for his personal league the past few years. This season he took part in his first auction-style draft, and is still trying to recover from the damage of spending all of his money on his first four picks.