Welcome to the weekly Patch NFL Pick 'Em, where Fair Lawn residents and wannabe NFL prognosticators , Steve Brown and 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 , Patch blogger and frequent imposer of the Ronnie Lott curse.
This week's Pick 'Em games:
Detroit Lions (7-4) @ New Orleans Saints (8-3)
Atlants Falcons (7-4) @ Houston Texans (8-3)
Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3)
Stuart Pace’s Game Picks:
New Orleans, Atlanta and Cincinnati
New Orleans Saints over Detroit Lions -- Saints at home versus the wannabe Lions. The Lions have shown they are not a playoff quality team and the loss of Octomom Suh by suspension for his “Stompin Grapes with Lucy,” act places the Lions in an even more precarious position against Cool Brees at home. Brees picked apart the G-Men at home and I can see that rerun this week.
Atlanta Falcons over Houston Texans -- These are two teams I hate picking, and now they are playing each other?? Curse you, Patch Gods!!!!! But seriously, T.J. Yates? Sounds like a '60s folk singer, not an NFL QB. Personally, I think the Falcons stink, but I think they are better than a Yates-led Texans team. I am picking Atlanta, so put your money on Houston.
Cincinnati Bengals over Pittsburgh Steelers -– Possibly the best matchup of the week. A resurgent Bengals defense has been the key for them this year and Big Ben's broken finger barely beat the great googly mooglies in Missouri. Pitt is tough at home, but I want Steve and Zak to feel they have a chance to beat me so I am taking Andy Dalton and the Bengals in a nail biter.
Upset of the Week
New York Giants over Green Bay Packers -- The Indianap…..LOL Just kidding. They gave up seven games ago. Nope, my upset special are the spoilers from the Meadowlands, the NJ (not a typo) Giants. This is the type of game where I say “there is NO WAY” the Giants prevail, and then they start catching passes with their helmets. No reason other than the Giants have a way of coming up big when you least expect them to. This is that week.
Go Big Blue -- Luv, the '72 Dolphins.
Caleb Hanie, QB (CHI), Sleeper of the Week – Alas, he didn’t look half bad last week and he is home against the Chiefs in what should be the battle of the unknown QBs.
Joe Flacco, QB (BAL), Bust of the Week -- Tough call for me, but Joe Flacco has been uninspiring this year and he faces a halfway decent Browns pass defense. I think Ray Rice runs all over them, and Flacco doesn’t need to throw as often as usual to stay in the game.
Steve Brown’s Picks:
New Orleans, Atlanta and Pittsburgh
New Orleans over Detroit Lions -- Didn't the Romans used to feed saints to the lions? Well I fully expect the opposite to happen here. The De-riot (no Typo) defensive players have unleashed mayhem in the Motor City. Ndamukong Suh needs to consult with some presidential candidates for tips on how to lie better about his past actions. Me, I would've said I didn't stomp on that guy, I was falling asleep and my leg started to twitch. Happens all the time.
In their last two games the Saints have beaten the Falcons and clobbered the Giants, while the Lions needed a comeback to beat Carolina and lost to the Packers. My feeling is the Saints will use a net and trident to defeat the Lions in their home coliseum down on the bayou.
Atlanta Falcons over Houston Texans -- All empty souls tend toward extreme opinions -- William Butler Yeats
Which might explain why I so firmly believe the Falcons will murderize T.J. Yates and the Texans. Yes, I understand the Texans are built to overcome the loss of one QB and maybe even two QBs because of their strong running game and tough defense. And they will have home field advantage to boot. Doesn't matter a bit. The Matt Ryan over T.J. Yates advantage tilts an otherwise pretty even matchup in favor of the Dirty Birds.
Pittsburgh Steelers over Cincinnati Bengals – What's to like about the Bengals in this matchup? They already lost to the Steelers at home, they squeaked by the Browns and lost to the Ravens in there last two games. The game couldn't mean more to the Steelers since they've been swept by the Ravens and need to pass them to win the division. I expect Andy boy to have a tough go of it and the Steelers to do just enough on offense to put this one in the important wins section of their 2011 resume.
Upset of the Week
Jacksonville Jaguars over San Diego Chargers -- I have no idea what the line is but give me the Jags to win the lowest-rated Monday Night game ever over the San Diego Sleepwalkers. If you look at the talent on these two teams it is a huge mistake to go with the Jags, but the San Diego Creepers look like a team that has quit. Norv Turner hasn't been able to rub two sticks together and light a fire under these guys and I think last week's demoralizing OT loss to Saint Tebow was the wind that blew out the last spark the San Diego Quitters might have hoped would get them going.
Toby Gerhart, RB (MIN), Sleeper of the Week – This might be wishful thinking from a Vikings fan because the kid doesn't have a great average, any dazzling long runs to point to, or a whole lot of TDs in his career (2). But he did get one last week, he will be the workhorse helping take pressure off Christian Ponder, he does run hard every time he touches the ball and Denver allows 120 rushing yards per game. So here is a vote of confidence for the kid from Stanford.........the college with the dumbest mascot of all time.
Arian Foster, RB (HOU), Bust of the Week -- Arian Foster averaged 3 yards a carry against Jacksonville and 3.4 yards on pass catches. If Atlanta doesn't stack the box and key on Foster every down they should fire their defensive coordinator and come to Fair Lawn to woo one of us Patch boys to run the show. Seriously, I would play the 10-1 defense with 10 defensive linemen and one safety on the field, and I would line the DL's up from sideline to sideline and have them yell, "Throw it T.J. Throw it," before every snap.
Zak Koeske's Picks:
New Orleans, Atlanta and Pittsburgh
New Orleans Saints over Detroit Lions - So much for that 5-0 start, Lions fans. You should have taken a cue from your former running back and quit while you were ahead.
Facing a high-octane Saints team at home with a perpetually injured QB at the helm and your top defensive player suspended is not exactly a formula for breaking out of a funk.
Drew Brees stays hot (14 TDs, 3 INTS in last five games) and the Saints soar.
Atlanta Falcons over Houston Texans - Picking a team to win when they're starting a third-string QB and facing one of the top run defenses in the NFL is impossible to justify. Regardless, I was extremely close to doing it anyways. That's how good Houston's defense has been this year.
I still think the Texans will win the AFC South and make their first playoff appearance in franchise history (mainly because the division is awful), but T.J. Yates is not going to be able to pull this one off.
After a shaky start, Matt Ryan has been coming on of late. And while I still don't trust Matty Ice, he has plenty of talent around him. This game is going to be ugly, but if the Falcons can manage 14 points they'll win.
Pittsburgh Steelers over Cincinnati Bengals-- The 'Lers (that's what us Pittsburghers call them) already beat the Bungles in Cincy. It should be another close contest for Pittsburgh, but I can't see them losing a huge divisional game at home. It still amazes me that Joe Flacco beat the Steelers twice this year. I refuse to accept Dick LeBeau allows them to drop a game to a rookie QB.
Upset of the Week
Cleveland Browns over Baltimore Ravens -- Maybe it's wishful thinking on the part of a Steelers fan, but I think the Ravens are due for a hiccough. The Browns' D has been stingy at home this season and Peyton Hillis returns to a full workload in this one. Hillis trampled the Ravens D the first time he faced them last year, so a repeat performance isn't out of the question if he's feeling fresh. Roll on, Brownies, Roll on.
Laurent Robinson, WR (DAL), Sleeper of the Week – It's hard to believe but Robinson, a Rams castoff, has scored in his last five games. Despite the recent outburst, he still remains firmly under the radar. I, for one, have been guilty of writing him off as a fluke up to this point. But 7 TDs in five games cannot be ignored. Especially not against another shaky pass defense this week. Robinson makes it six for six against the Cards.
Arian Foster, RB (HOU), Bust of the Week -- As if having to run behind an offense led by Matt Leinart wasn't bad enough for Arian Foster's numbers last week, when T.J. Yates took over for the Texans last week, it was truly curtains for Foster. The Texans managed just 47 yards of offense and two first downs in the entire second half with their third-string signal caller in the game.
On top of knowing that the QB can't hurt them, the Falcons are actually the second best team in the NFL when it comes to stopping the run. Say sayonara to Foster's fantasy chances in Week 13.
Rich Seibel's Picks:
New Orleans, Atlanta and Pittsburgh
New Orleans Saints over Detroit Lions -- Who Dat? Ndamukong Who? This one is The Big Easy. The Cowardly Lions will head back to Detroit with their tails between their legs after the Saints get through with them. The Saints are on a collision course with Green Bay for a trip to the Super Bowl. Thanks to the Giants, New Orleans' confidence is sky high. Both Detroit and the Giants will have losses to the 49ers as turning points to their seasons. Not even close. "Son of a Gun Gonna Have Big Fun on the Bayou."
Atlanta Falcons over Houston Texans -- This is actually a very dangerous game to pick as Jake Delhomme comes out of retirement to QB for the Texans. Will this be the Gunfight at the OK Corral or the Last Stand at the Alamo. Atlanta has a bad habit of playing down to their competition and letting them make a game of it. This game will show a lot about the quality of these two teams heading into the playoffs.
Pittsburgh Steelers over Cincinnati Bengals – Another big cat goes down. Polamalu is likely to play. Regardless, the Bengals have been playing over the heads all year long. This is the time of the year where the cream rises to the top and the Steelers at home are too tough a task for the Bengals. Besides, the 49ers beat Cincinnati in two Super Bowls.
Upset of the Week
Arizona Cardinals over Dallas Cowboys -- Here is how we pick the upsets. Check the opening line on Sunday and follow the changes. The game with the largest change in point spread so far is Cowboys vs Cardinals. The open was 6.5 points, Cowboys favored. On Wednesday it was down to 4.5 points. The money is going to the Cardinals at home vs the Cowboys. Go Cardinals!
Ted Ginn, WR/KR (SF), Sleeper of the Week - It is no secret that the 49ers have the best special teams in football. This game is a true test for the 49ers. They have had lots of time to think about the loss to the Ravens and now the arch-rival Rams come to the Stick. Will the rookie coach have them ready? Or will they fall flat? Regardless, Ted Ginn, Jr. breaks the game open early and often. Remember you heard it here first. Opening kickoff gets run back for a TD.
Matthew Stafford, QB (DET), Bust of the Week - He has been banged up since the physical 49ers put a hurt on him, and the Super Dome is not the kind of place to get healthy for opposing quarterbacks. The Lions once-promising season comes crashing down. These Lions get defanged on the Bayou. Lion Gumbo for Supper!
And a parting shot from Rich:
Zak, Steve and Stuart -- I will be holding seminars on handicapping sporting events in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. For you guys I will only charge double the typical fee for my insightful prognostications.
Dick's Picks signing off. Til next time. "On the ground or through the air, it's touchdown 49ers!"
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.