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October 17, 2008
by Jeff Briggs
The confusion in the NFL this year will not end. Last week, the powerhouse NFC East went 1-3, including losses to the lowly Rams and Browns. Several teams look completely different from week to week (Jaguars, Broncos, Patriots, Chargers, Vikings, and Bears, to name a few). All that is known in the NFL is that the Lions are awful; almost everything else is in disarray.
But the confusion in the NFL has carried beyond the field and into the realm of fantasy. Is nothing a certainty anymore? Look at the top-five players as pre-ranked by Yahoo! for this season: LT, Peterson, S. Jackson, Westbrook, and Addai. So far, looking at total fantasy points, under a traditional scoring format, they rank 24th, 27th, 41st, 35th, and 75th respectively. I know that bye weeks and injuries play a role in some of these diminished numbers, but aren’t the top picks supposed to be locks? If one or two of the top five were under performing, fine, that’s to be expected, but all five? Playing fantasy football has become less and less a measure of one’s knowledge of football and players, and more of a crap shoot every year. Look at the current top-25 in fantasy points scored. Only four of the predicted top-10 are in the top-25 (Portis, Gore, Barber, and LT); meanwhile, seven of the current 25 best had a Yahoo! preseason ranking below 100. Needless to say, my fantasy teams are struggling.
Last weeks’ games were crazy. Up was down, black was white, hats were worn on feet, and hamburgers ate people. The Rams were winning and the Lions should have won; all I can hope is that some order is restored to the universe this week.
Last week: 6-8
Lock of the week: 3-3
Titans (-8) over CHIEFS
With the Rams winning last week, the Chiefs again have a strong case for worst team in Missouri, and all of the NFL. To add to their existing ineptitude, the Chiefs will be playing without Larry Johnson this week. Everything is going great for the Titans on the field, but I feel the Vince Young saga is not going to end well. Vince is “a great guy” even “a great humble guy,” at least, that’s what he tells us.
Chargers (-1) over BILLS
This Chargers team is likely going to end up just like last year. Start slow, heat up, and win the AFC West going away. The Bills, on the other hand, are good, but not 4-1 good. They have played the Rams, Raiders, and Seahawks, after all.
Steelers (-9.5) over BENGALS
More Ryan Fitzpatrick! The Bengals really want to be included in the discussion of worst team in the NFL. In Week 2, I said the Chiefs, Rams, Lions, and Raiders were the four worst teams in the NFL and should combine to make one average team. The Bengals have shown that they may need to replace the Raiders in the Chamionders to become the Chamiongals.
DOLPHINS (-3) over Ravens
This “Wildcat” offense keeps working. It doesn’t make any sense to me.
Cowboys (-7) over Rams
The Cowboys are in complete disarray; fortunately, for them, there is no way the Rams are going to win two games in a row.
BEARS (-3) over Vikings
The winner of this game is probably in the driver’s seat for the NFC North. Ugh.
GIANTS (-10.5) over 49ers
I hope the Giants we saw on Monday are a preview of the Giants we will see for the remainder of the season. Even if that is the case, I don't see them dropping two straight games to inferior opponents right before they enter the meat of their schedule. I see a big Giants’ win as they end the JV section of their schedule and get set to move onto the real competition.
TEXANS (-9) over Lions
You know you are a bad team when you are getting 9 points against a team that didn’t get their first win until Week 6. You know you are an awful team when the smart pick is the 1-4 team that is giving up the points.
Jets (-3) over RAIDERS
What are the Raiders doing to get this low of a line? Were they particularly impressive in their 34-3 loss last week? Just because the Bengals have dropped and graduated the Raiders out of the worst four teams in the league by default, that doesn’t mean Oakland is suddenly good, or average, or anywhere in the vicinity of “not horrible.”
REDSKINS (-7.5) over Browns
The Browns played like the offense that everyone hyped up all preseason last week. The Redskins had three more turnovers last week than they have all season. I don’t expect either of these things to happen again.
Colts (-1.5) over PACKERS
The Packers have beaten the Seahawks, Lions, and a Tavaris Jackson-led Vikings. The Colts, after early signs of being old and washed up, appear to have been resuscitated. LOCK OF THE WEEK.
BUCCANEERS (-10.5) over Seahawks
This Bucs team wins games. They are not good, but they win games. For betting purposes, I’ll stay away from them until the playoffs, where they will once again fold, and lose in the first game they play. This Seahawks team has completely fallen apart and needs to be blown up and restarted, Falcons style.
PATRIOTS (-3) over Broncos
I think I finally know where this Pats team stands. They beat bad teams, because they are well coached, but they lose to good teams, because they don’t have a good QB. What’s really puzzling is their defense. The last three games, they have let up an average of 29.67 points per game. Unfortunately, I don’t know if Denver is a good team or a bad team, either. After a hot opening they have cooled off, and I expect their decline to continue with a loss in New England.