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 Pick 'Em games:
Baltimore Ravens (5-2) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2)
New York Giants (5-2) @ New England Patriots (5-2)
New York Jets (4-2) @ Buffalo Bills (3-3)
Stuart Pace’s Game Picks:
Pittsburgh, New England, New York Jets
Pittsburgh Steelers over Baltimore Ravens -- Well, Baltimore spanked the Men of Steel in Week 1. But Baltimore is a bipolar team this year. They barely beat a crappy Cardinals team on Sunday, but Pittsburgh is losing players on the defensive side. Still a coin toss, and I am going to take the home team Steelers to win by 1.
New England Patriots over New York Giants – I literally don’t care who wins. Giants looked like crap against my beloved Miami Dullfins, and Brady just lost a game. If Giants couldn’t pressure Matt Moore until the last two minutes, Brady will be up by 24 by then in this game. Manning could be solid, and New England’s D is weak, but Brady can light up this D at home. Belichick will be so buried in his hoodie devising plays in the dirt that the Giants won’t have a prayer.
New York Jets over Buffalo Bills -- Hmm. Which team is decidedly different than last year’s version? I’d say both. Fred Jackson running, catching, doing it all for the Bills. The Jets, limping along and coming off a bye where they have not been successful under Coach Chris Christie..Oops Rex Ryan. BUT, I don’t think Buffalo is that good. I just don’t. So, I am taking the team whose fans need to chant-spell their name to remind them who they are rooting for.
Upset of the Week
Tampa Bay Buccaneers over New Orleans Saints -- Why is Tampa an 8 point dog to Nawlins? One of those lines that just pops out and makes no sense to me. I think Brees has a hard time against this Bucs D and, maybe on a defensive TD, Tampa wins a close one.
Nate Washington, WR (TEN), Sleeper of the Week – Hasselblecch should be able to find Nate often as they meet up with an overachieving Bengals D. I expect Nate to catch 5 for 100 with a TD.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB (BUF), Bust of the Week -- I don’t know why, I just think the Jets DBs have a field day. Gut feeling, nothing else.
Steve Brown’s Picks:
Baltimore, New England, Buffalo
Baltimore Ravens over Pittsburgh Steelers -- This has become far and away the best rivalry game going in the NFL. After two weeks of dry toast and oatmeal games, it is nice to see this sizzling fajita platter and frosty mug of Negra Modelo being brought to my table.
The Ravens pimp-slapped the Steelers in Week 1, but have not played to that level consistently this season. The Steelers seemed to wake up after that and have been playing better, including a dominant win over the Patriots last week. The Steelers throw first and ask questions later. Their offense works well when Big Ben can sit back there with his hard hat, survey the equipment and scan for receivers, but I don’t think that will happen with the Ravens swooping in like Alfred Hitchcock seagulls.
I’m betting on the Ravens flying in, making a lot of noise, and crapping all over the Steelers plans this week.
New England Patriots over New York Giants – Every year I underestimate the Giants. Every year I look at them and think "Too old, too slow, lost too many good players," and every year I’m wrong.
So why would I change now? The Patriots defense is a white-hot mess but I don’t see Tom & Bill losing two in a row. I reserve the right to amend this pick if Jason Pierre-Paul backflips over Matt Light and rips Tom Brady’s head off then throws it into the upper deck, once and for all proving that he is an inhumanly,insanely, vampirically-skilled athlete.
Check out the YouTube video of him doing consecutive backflips if you doubt my premise.
Buffalo Bills over New York Jets -- Mark Sanchez, Golden Boy QB from football factory, USC Vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick, genius QB from bookworm factory, Harvard? Super Bowl heroes and swaggering bad boys Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes Vs. Guys you went to 3rd grade with named Stevie Johnson and Scott Chandler? LaDainian & Shonn Vs. Fred? Brash Super Bowl-predicting, foot enthusiast Rex Ryan Vs. the quietly dignified ghost of Marv Levy?
Give me the regular guy Bills to take down the Kardashian-like Jets and let the cries for Rex’s head begin to ring from Hoboken to Hohokus.
Upset of the Week
Chicago Bears over Philadelphia Eagles-- Philly roared last week against Dallas, performing up to pre-season hype levels for the first time. I expect them to fall flat on their faces against a still-tough Chicago defense on Monday night. I expect the Bears to neutralize the home field advantage by grinding out first downs against a mushy Philly LB corps, and for a frustrated Mike Vick to try to do too much on his own. Give me the Briggs-Urlacher-led Bears to make enough plays on D to steal this one.
Scott Chandler, TE (BUF), Sleeper of the Week – Chandler of the Bills has only 15 catches but a stunning six of them have been for touchdowns. Were I hurting for a Tight End and hoping for a TD, I would turn to Mr. Chandler against the Jets this week.
Phillip Rivers, QB (SD), Bust of the Week -- The implosion of Philip Rivers will continue unabated as he is forced into a shootout with the Green Bay Packers. Rivers has a hurting group of WR’s, seems to miss little Darren Sproles as a reliable safety valve and has a his own injury -- Severely Bruised Ego -- to overcome. My money says he throws at least two picks.
Zak Koeske's Picks:
Pittsburgh, New England and Buffalo
Pittsburgh Steelers over Baltimore Ravens -- Last week, I picked against the Steelers and paid for it. That won't happen again. Especially at home in a game that Ravens LB Terrell Suggs said the world would stop for. In games with stakes that large, the Steelers have a knack for coming through.
The game's outcome rests on the shoulders of Joe Flacco, who has been miserable for more than a month now (I know because he's singlehandedly killed my fantasy team). Flacco has thrown only one touchdown pass since September 25. And yes, he's played in every game during that time span, as hard as that is to believe. Things won't get easier Sunday against a Steelers pass defense that is ranked first in the NFL and just held Tom Brady under 200 yards.
The Ravens needed a franchise-record 24-point comeback to beat the lowly Arizona Cardinals last week. If Flacco's poor play allows the Steelers to jump to a lead even half that size, the Black and Gold won't relinquish it.
New England Patriots over New York Giants - This should be a fun one with a whole lot of scoring. But as much as I'd like to see Eli Manning (my Week 9 QB replacement for Joe Flacco) carry the G-Men to victory against the Evil Empire, I know it will never be. The Patriots aren't going to lose two in a row. Not at home this week. Brady will find a way to win.
Buffalo Bills over New York Jets -- I'm still really not sure what to make of the Bills, but there no longer seems any doubt that Fred Jackson is the best running back in the AFC. FJax is averaging 150 total yards PER GAME. That would be outstanding for a single performance, let alone his standard output. The Jets' run defense has been a sieve this year, so regardless of Ryan Fitzpatrick's performance, I'm anticipating another 150 from Mr. Jackson and another win for Buffalo.
Upset of the Week
Denver Broncos over Oakland Raiders -- Tim Tebow has taken a ton of flak the past week after his performance against the Lions and the subsequent insults hurled his way by their players. In my opinion, all the negative media hubbub is just being concocted as a setup so that when Tebow beats the depleted Raiders this week, his "resurrection" will only add to the Tebow=Jesus storyline. I'm not looking forward to hearing about it all week, but I think he can do it, especially if Willis McGahee returns. The Raiders are banged up and I'm just not sold on Carson Palmer being an NFL QB at this point.
Malcom Floyd, WR (SD), Sleeper of the Week – I'm convinced one of the Chargers' receivers is going to have a huge game on Sunday. Green Bay doesn't defend the pass well and the Chargers should be playing from behind all game. Floyd looked impressive last week, so I'll pencil him in for more of the same.
Chris Johnson, RB (TEN), Bust of the Week -- As recently as last season Johnson was considered by some to be the best RB in the NFL. But after holding out during training camp and the preseason, he's been a bust this season. Initially the O-Line was blamed, but now people are pointing the finger at Johnson. After backup Javon Ringer's solid performance in Week 8, Johnson's starting job is in question. This is not the week he wants to face a strong Bengals defense.
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.