Thursday featured the Carolina Panthers against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. I figured it was going to be a close match-up, I was wrong. The Steelers blew out the Panthers 21-52. Pittsburgh scored 31 points in the first half and had the highest scoring game of any team this season with 52. Ben Roethlisberger had a perfect passer rating with 158.3. He has more touchdowns than incompletions at 22-25, 328 yards and 5 TD’s. Look out AFC there is a new player in town.
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday
NFL Sunday starts off with an NFC North match-up, where the Lions take on the division leading Bears at Soldier Field. The Lions have won 9 of the last 10 games between these two teams but the Bears defense is not your typical D with K. Mack returning this week to the line. “The New Kids on the Block”, as far as Power Ranks, Saints take on the Bengals to try to stretch out their 6 game winning streak.
The Atlanta Falcons at 4-4 travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns 2-6-1. The Falcons are on a 3 game winning streak after starting the season 1-4. The Jaguars and the Colts are both at 3-5 on the season. Andrew Luck QB for the Colts looks to improve on his 6-2 record against the Jags. The Cardinals at 2-6 take on the high powered offense of the Chiefs in Kansas City 8-1.
The Jets have won 3 out of the last 4 match-ups vs the Buffalo Bills. They will look to make it 4 out of 5 this week in East Rutherford NJ. Historically, the Redskins and Bucs have had some close match-ups 6 of 8 being decided by 3 points or fewer. We will see if they continue with one of their close battles on Sunday in another one of the early games on the docket.
The Patriots 7-2 take on the Titans 4-4 in Tennessee. The Pats offense takes on the rough and tumble defense of the Titans in the last of the early games this Sunday. In the first of the late games the Chargers face off against the Raiders in Oakland. The Chargers are off to their best start since 2006. The Dolphins take on a much better than their record shows, Green Bay Packers team in Green Bay. The Dolphins are 5-3 while the Packers 3-4-1 look to do battle in the not so frozen, but very chilly 35 degree weather of Lambeau Field.
The Seahawks 4-4 take on the Rams 8-1 in the Los Angles Memorial Coliseum. The Rams look to get back to their winning ways after the loss to the Saints last week. Divisional rivals Cowboys, 3-5 face the Eagles 4-4 in a wide open division that is still wide open and looking for a leader. On Monday night the Giants travel west to face the 49ers in San Francisco. The Giants 1-7 take on a 2-7 49ers team and a new QB in Nick Mullens.
First prediction of the week is the Saints vs. the Bengals. The Saints are the new number one team after they beat the Rams last week. This week they face the Bengals at home. The Cats have a high scoring offense of their own and with the help of the home field advantage will pull off the victory over the Saints 37-31.
With another week under the new management system the Browns will beat the Falcons in Cleveland. Mayfield and his offensive coordinator Kitchens will work out the kinks this week with 32-27 win over the birds.
The Bucs 3-5, with Fitzmagic back at the helm once again, will defeat the Redskins 5-3 in DC. The Buccaneers will win over the Skins by a score of 27-21.
This week we will get to see a defense step-up and out class a Patriots offense. The Tennessee Titans will sack Brady 5 times and beat the Pats 17-24.
Last prediction this week is the Chargers at the Raiders. I predict the Raiders will beat the Chargers in an offensive frenzy by both teams. I know the Raiders have struggled in past weeks, but this week they get it together and beat the Chargers 37-35.
Most leagues have only two weeks left till the trade cut off. If you are looking at a trade it is best to trade with someone that you will not have to face during the last few weeks before the playoffs. There is nothing more demoralizing then getting beat by the player you traded away to another team and getting knocked out of the playoffs.
Other trades to consider are the ones that the NFL teams do. Look for players that have a better potential for success by being on a different team. Beware of the players that are acquired to be a decoy. Teams may have 2 good receivers already and look to add a third to give the QB more options. It may sound good because the QB has to throw a lot due to lack of a running game. However, if you think about it what is the ratio of passes your guy is going to get? He is now in a pool of no less than three WR and maybe a TE or two. Not all trades work out in your’s or a player’s favor.
I want to remind everyone that weather is a big factor, look at ESPN scoring for weather outlooks for each game. Also ESPN has an O/U score. This is an Over/Under for the combined points total between the two teams. Vegas is pretty good at guessing what the scores could be between the teams. The higher the number the more potential it is that the team your guy is on is going to score more points.
One thing I am not sure I have touched on in the past is don’t beat yourself. I say this because this last Thursday I did just what I try not to do on one of my leagues. I put my QB in, but did not pay attention to what DEF I was playing. Well I played Roethlisberger which was great he got me 35 points, but my defense was the Panthers. The Panthers got me -9 which brought me to a still very respectable 26 total. Any other starting defense could have been a gain of 5-6 points giving me 40 between the two starting positions. A 14 point swing on a mistake is a big deal so pay attention to details. Have a great fantasy weekend and good luck to all.