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.
If you'd like our opinion on fantasy roster moves, have a fantasy football question you'd like answered or would like to compete against us as a Guest Picker, email Patch NFL Pick 'Em at firstname.lastname@example.org
This week's guest picker is John Cosgrove, councilman-elect and Fair Lawn volunteer extraordinaire.
This week's Pick 'Em games:
Chicago Bears (6-4) @ Oakland Raiders (6-4)
San Francisco 49ers (9-1) @ Baltimore Ravens (7-3)
New York Giants (6-4) @ New Orleans Saints (7-3)
Stuart Pace’s Game Picks:
Oakland, Baltimore and New Orleans
Oakland Raiders over Chicago Bears -- I loved this game until Cutler went down with an injury. The Bears depth chart lists Caleb Hanie as their No. 2 QB. Last I looked Hanie was trying to sell Mr. Douglas a Grabwell Washer in Hooterville. Carl Palmer of ELP has become comfortable with the offense and I am guessing that the Raiders at home will win a close one.
Baltimore Ravens over San Francisco 49ers -- This game will tell us two things. Are the Ravens no longer an elite D, and are the 49ers the team that will be hot for years to come? Alex Smith faces what should be the best D he has faced so far, but that means the Ravens D has to show up. I think they will and they will send Alex Smith a message that the other Harbaugh on the home side of the field has the better hand and maybe they should fold.
New Orleans Saints over New York Giants -– The Giants looked horrendous against a bunch of stand-in Eagles. This game is in Nawlins on Monday night. Saints are fast, but I think this is a closer game than most would expect. Manning, when he isn’t fumbling away a game, can be downright lethal, but Brees and the boys will win this by 3.
Upset of the Week
Miami Dolphins over Dallas Cowboys -- Zak’s been taking my team as upsets (dude, they were favored both times) BUT I am finally taking the Miami Dolphins as the upset of the week. The Ghost of Leon Lett will hover over this one as a resurgent Miami D picks off Tony Romeo(you know he wrote several Partridge Family hits) and Matt Moore somehow continues this miracle run as the Fins QB. Watch for Davonne Bess this week. He’s been quiet.
Darren Sproles, RB (NO), Sleeper of the Week – This is the type of game that Sproles will take over on little screens, a punt return, or a draw that will catch the Giants sleeping. The G Men have been susceptible to special team’s plays and looks like Darren might be this week’s nemesis for NY.
Vince Young, QB (PHI), Bust of the Week -- The Pats D will confuse him so badly that he will be switching teams at halftime just so that he completes a pass to a guy with the right uniform on. I think Belichick outsmarts Young by putting little Mike Vick faces on the Pats defenders helmets and sending Young to the psych ward.
Steve Brown’s Picks:
Oakland, Baltimore and New Orleans
Oakland Raiders over Chicago Bears -- Carson Palmer will hand the ball off to Michael Bush and the Raiders will matriculate down the field steadily all day. If the Bears can't run the ball and jump out to an early lead they will have to look at their Hanie and hope they can pull something from there. Each time Hanie has to go back to pass he will be harassed by a surprisingly active Oakland D and throwing into the Black Hole. I believe Oakland will spend the entire day spanking that Hanie and he'll end the game comfortably numb after absorbing a bunch of big hits. My guess is you can kiss the Bear's Hanie goodbye in this one.
Baltimore Ravens over San Francisco 49ers -- I'm preparing to save my picking season by getting the Harbaugh Hysteria bowl right. These are two teams I have missed on all season, picking the Ravens when they misfire and refusing to pick the Niners because I still think of them as a finesse team and refuse to accept that they have morphed into a well-coached conservative ground and pound offense with a power defense. Well I'm going to simplify my approach and say that John gets the drumstick dripping with gravy and Jim has to eat the pea that fell on the floor. Fly on you crazy Ravens!
P.S. - Rich, the Vikings actually won the Jim Marshall wrong way run game and he had an awesome day otherwise....look it up.
New Orleans Saints over New York Giants – The late season demoralization of the Giants went off as planned with the parade's Grand Marshall Eli christening it with a fumble against the Eagles. Justin Tuck's "I suck" comment is a sure sign that the contagion has reached both sides of the ball.
While the Saints ain't what they used to be, they are still a dangerous team, especially at home. I think the Giants are spending a lot of time looking at the schedule and saying, "Here comes another swoon," and I think it is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Unless they surprise me by learning to fly, I expect another loss for the G Men this week, which will be another brick in the wall keeping them out of the playoffs.
Upset of the Week
Detroit Lions over Green Bay Packers -- Give me the Lions to feast on Thanksgiving. They are home. They had a massive comeback win last week spurred on by Matthew Stafford's 5 touchdown passes. The Packers struggled against Tampa Bay, and even though Aaron Rodgers has been Mr. SuperAwesomeStupendousman this year, I can see an jacked up Lions team ruining the Pack's perfect holiday plans.
Andy Dalton, QB (CIN), Sleeper of the Week – If the league would get rid of the so called "Calvin Johnson rule" which seems to be designed to disallow spectacular touchdown catches but encourage DBs to try to strip balls after a WR has caught it, gone out of bounds, gone back to the locker room and showered, and is on his way to his car, then Andy Dalton would have had a much better stat line against the Ravens. If he can do that to the Birds watch what he does to the Cleveland Brown Doormats.
Aaron Rodgers, QB (GB), Bust of the Week -- Bust being a relative term in this case, I expect Aaron Rodgers to have for him a subpar game. Would I bench him, hell no! I'm just saying instead of 400+ yards with 5 TDs with 0 INTs, you might see a slightly human stat line like 290 with 2 TDs and 1 INT.
Zak Koeske's Picks:
Chicago, San Francisco and New Orleans
Chicago Bears over Oakland Raiders - So Caleb Hanie is starting for the Bears. So what? It's not like Jay Cutler was a good quarterback. He did an adequate job of not turning the ball over, but he didn't throw for a lot of yardage and his completion percentage was one of the worst among QBs in the NFL.
The Bears are Matt Forte's team. And that bodes well against the Raiders who are a sieve against the run. If Hanie plays cautiously and is able to dink and dunk enough to keep the Raiders defense honest, I think he's capable of repeating Cutler's past performance.
San Francisco 49ers over Baltimore Ravens - This is a really tough call, but for the second straight week I'm picking against the Ravens. Baltimore has been too schizophrenic this season (although they're undefeated at home), but mainly I've just been impressed by the Niners. They're extremely consistent and they don't give up points. They're going to shut down Ray Rice, and Flacco isn't good enough to carry the Ravens without some help.
New Orleans Saints over New York Giants-- This should be a fun Monday Night game to watch with lots of downfield passing and hopefully, lots of scoring. In a matchup of top quarterbacks, Brees > Eli, so I'm picking the Saints.
Upset of the Week
Miami Dolphins over Dallas Cowboys -- I've picked the Dolphins as my upset team the last two weeks and they've served me well (even if they were actually favored). Why not ride it out and see if they can make it three. They've been surprisingly dominant lately.
Nate Burleson, (DET), Sleeper of the Week – I can't quite get myself to pick the Lions to upset the Packers, especially on Thanksgiving (when watching a terrible Lions team lose in a laugher has become almost as much of a tradition as eating turkey and stuffing), so I'll pick a sleeper from the Lions instead. Stafford is going to light up the Packers secondary. He spreads the ball around and someone other than Megatron is going to benefit. Might as well be Burleson. It has been the past two weeks.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB (JAC), Bust of the Week -- A few weeks ago MJD was stifled by the Texans strong defense, but managed a scored to save his fantasy day. This time around he won't be so fortunate. MJD is getting shut out.
John Cosgrove's Picks:
Oakland, Baltimore and New York Giants
Oakland Raiders over Chicago Bears -- Both teams come into this one with equal records at 6-4 and need to win to stay in the playoff hunt. The Bears will be without Cutler and Raiders defense should win the day. Looks like the silver and black are trying to get back to the days when they had a “Commitment to Excellence”
Baltimore Ravens over San Francisco 49ers -- Look for the 49er’s bubble to burst here! I think that the Ravens defense will stop Frank Gore and that Ray Rice and Joe Flacco will have big days for the Ravens. West Coast team coming east and the Ravens playing at home gives Baltimore the advantage!
New York Giants over New Orleans Saints – The Giants offense couldn’t have played any worse on Sunday night against the Eagles! However, I think Eli’s homecoming to the “Big Easy” may motivate he and the Giants to put some points on the board. New York’s defense will have to step up and stop Drew Brees especially on 3rd downs. I may be thinking with my heart and not my head, but I like the Giants this week. Can’t say that this is a must-win for the Giants, but a loss here really hurts their playoff chances.
Upset of the Week
New York Giants over New Orleans Saints -- Think that Eli will have a big day along with Nicks , Manningham and Cruz. It will be a close game, but the Giants defense will hold on for the win!!
Marc Sanchez, QB (NYJ), Sleeper of the Week - He's well over due!!
Tony Romo, QB (DAL), Bust of the Week
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.