Thanks to John Kasay's missed field-goal there wasn't a whole lot of damage this week. A few people might have gone down with the Broncos, but otherwise everyone got through. Let's take a look at this week's numbers:
|Team ||Opponent ||% Picked ||Vegas ML* ||Vegas Odds
|Eagles ||Texans ||43.9% ||360 ||78.3%
|Chargers ||Raiders ||21.9% ||525 ||84%
|Seahawks ||Panthers ||11.2% ||230 ||69.7%
|Packers ||49ers ||7.9% ||400 ||80%
|Bears ||Lions ||4.0% ||190 ||65.5%
|Chiefs ||Broncos ||3.3% ||400 ||80%
|Vikings ||Bills ||2.4% ||210 ||67.7%
|Giants ||Redskins ||1.9% ||290 ||74.4%
|Dolphins ||Browns ||0.9% ||200 ||66.7%
|Colts ||Cowboys ||0.7% ||210 ||67.7%
|Saints ||Bengals ||0.7% ||250 ||71.4%
|Rams ||Cardinals ||0.6% ||165 ||62.3%
|Other ||N/A ||0.6% ||N/A ||N/A
*average of the two money lines
A couple things to keep in mind: (1) This late in the season the percentage of people taking a team is going to be highly dependent upon what teams people have used up in your pools. The above numbers account for that generally, but your pool might differ, and could differ greatly if you're down to the last few people (with a smaller sample, there's more variance). So you'll definitely want to look at your opponents' pick history to better estimate how many people are on each team; and (2) I'm ranking the Eagles low assuming nearly half your pool is on them. If you're a "win this week, and don't worry about the payout" player, then I'd rank them higher - see their win percentage below.
1. San Diego Chargers
They're easily the biggest favorite on the board, and with less than 22 percent of pools on them, that also makes them the best value. The Raiders beat them earlier this year, but that was in Oakland, and the game started off with two blocked punts for nine points. That's not likely to happen this week. I give the Chargers an 84 percent chance to win this game.
2. Green Bay Packers
Maybe the Niners are starting to turn a corner, having gone 4-2 in their last six games, but those wins were over Oakland and St. Louis at home, Denver on a neutral field and Arizona on the road. Now they're missing Frank Gore
and traveling to Green Bay. I give the Packers an 80 percent chance to win this game.
3. Kansas City Chiefs
The Broncos beat up on the Chiefs the first time around, but Kansas City's been the far better team all year, and this game's at Arrowhead. It's possible Denver simply matches up well against Kansas City, but it's more likely the blowout win in Denver was just a fluke. I give the Chiefs a 77 percent chance to win this game.
4. New York Giants
The Giants are still missing their two best receivers, and the offensive line is banged up, too. But the Redskins defense has been poor against the pass, and the offense has been inconsistent and lacks playmakers. I give the Giants a 73 percent chance to win this game.
5. Philadelphia Eagles
I'd avoid the Eagles if I could because of the poor payoff, but I wouldn't take a team below 69 percent to do it, and according to Vegas, only Seattle and New Orleans qualify among the remaining teams. Because I think the number should be lower in both games, the Eagles are my No. 5 pick. Houston's a dangerous team on offense, but Philly should pick apart their abysmal pass defense. I give the Eagles a 79 percent chance to win this game. (Note that makes them No. 3 if you're a one-week player).
6. Indianapolis Colts
They've got some problems on both sides of the ball, but San Diego can make almost anyone look bad, and Peyton Manning
will keep the offense focused this week. I give the Colts a 68 percent chance to win this game.
7. Miami Dolphins
The Browns own some good wins this year, but none of them came with Jake Delhomme
under center. He's a major liability, and I expect a couple turnovers in Miami. I give the Dolphins a 68 percent chance to win this game.
New Orleans Saints:
The Bengals have been in most of their recent games, and I don't like an indoor finesse team traveling into an outdoor cold-weather venue in December.
The Seahawks are a below-average team, and the Panthers showed signs of turning the corner in Cleveland last week.
The Bills had the Ravens, Chiefs and Steelers on the ropes, and the Vikings - even with their new coach - are not better than those teams, especially with Adrian Peterson
The Lions actually beat them in Chicago but for a technicality, and this has the makings of a letdown game after the big win over Philly.
St. Louis Rams:
I realize Arizona's terrible, but coming off the embarrassing Monday night loss, they'll be a wounded animal, and I don't trust the Rams on the road.