Beating the Book
By Christopher Liss
RotoWire Managing Editor
We went 8-6 last week, and we're happy with that, especially considering two teams we picked (Seattle and Cincinnati) lost their starting quarterbacks unpredictably later in the week.
This week, we went against the grain in almost every case, taking teams we don't think much of and going against ones that seem to be on a roll. Maybe the league will settle into a predictable phase now that we're seven weeks in - what could be more shocking at this point than logic and order? But we're going to ride the trend of no-trend until that happens. The trend is your friend. (Not the imaginary micro ones we mistakenly grab hold of in search of meaning, but the macro ones that are based on a larger sample).
Chargers pick 'em at Bills
I really wanted to take the Chargers here. They just seem like the better team. And we want to be able to rely on someone to be good this season. But if I'm thinking that way, it's likely that most people are, and so the Bills are the right call. Back Buffalo.
Bills 23 - 19
Saints +3 at Panthers
The Saints just pasted the Raiders, while the Panthers got blown out in Tampa. Seems like a good time to buy Carolina low at home as people are climbing aboard the New Orleans bandwagon. Back the Panthers.
Panthers 24 - 20
Vikings +3.5 at Bears
I despise the Vikings, who were lucky to win against the Saints two weeks ago and also against the Lions last week. And Brad Childress might be the worst coach in the league. But Adrian Peterson likes running against the Bears, and Damon and I felt Minnesota was a good contrarian play. Back the Vikings.
Vikings 27 - 20
Steelers -10 at Bengals
For some reason most people were on the Bengals despite Carson Palmer not playing. Still, ten points is a lot to lay on the road against a division rival, and to Marvin Lewis' credit, the Bengals haven't yet quit. Back Cincy.
Steelers 20 - 13
Titans -8.5 at Chiefs
At 5-0, the Titans have to be feeling pretty good about themselves, and it's just human nature not to take the Chiefs all that seriously. Kansas City, on the other hand, just got beat 34-0 by the Panthers, and needs to salvage some dignity at home. Expect the Chiefs to play hard and keep this one close.
Titans 19 - 16
Ravens +3 at Dolphins
We went back and forth on this one, but in the end, gave the Dolphins the edge due to the home field and the more polished quarterback. Plus, they seem like a young, upbeat team that just doesn't give a s*** about how scary the Ravens defense is. Back the Dolphins.
Dolphins 20 - 10
49ers +11 at Giants
I was leaning San Francisco here, as the Giants might need more than six days to put it back together after getting destroyed in Cleveland. But I'm also the idiot who switched the Giants pick to Seattle at the last minute two weeks ago, so I delegated this pick to Damon. He thinks the G-Men bounce back.
Giants 27 - 13
Cowboys -7 at Rams
Like last week, we have a Cowboys bounce-back feeling, but we'll override it until they show a spine. Right now this team is less than the sum of its parts - and it just lost a few key parts (Terence Newman, Tony Romo, Felix Jones, Pacman Jones). Back the Rams who we have zero faith in after one lucky win.
Cowboys 20 - 17
Lions +9.5 at Texans
Another game we went back and forth on. Initially I liked the Texans to take their early-season frustrations out on the Lions, but Damon thought nine and a half was a lot for a mediocre team to part with. I pointed out that the Texans had the Colts beat easily before falling apart and that they also took Jacksonville to overtime. He relented, but I started thinking the Lions were in fact the right play - no one thinks anything of them, and they played hard last week in Minnesota. In the end, Damon came around - go ugly and don't look back. Back Detroit still desperate for its first win.
Texans 24 - 23
Colts -1.5 at Packers
After seeing the Colts crush the Ravens so easily last week, it's hard not to think: "They're back." And this line is so small, the game's essentially a pick 'em. So of course we have to pick the Colts merely to win outright here, don't we? I mean Green Bay's terrible, their win at Seattle without Matt Hasselbeck notwithstanding. But everyone's got to be thinking that, too, so Green Bay's the play. Back the Packers at home.
Packers 30 - 27
Jets -3 at Raiders
The Raiders are a good buy low here after getting crushed in New Orleans last week. The Jets haven't shown themselves to be anything special, and we could see Brett Favre throwing a couple picks to the Oakland corners and/or linebackers. Back the Raiders.
Raiders 20 - 19
Browns +7.5 at Redskins
The Browns killed the Giants last week, and they're getting more than a touchdown against the Redskins who just lost at home to the Rams. But Cleveland's probably not as good as they played on Monday night, and Washington's far better than they played on Sunday. Cut against the grain and take Washington.
Redskins 27 - 19
Seahawks +11 at Buccaneers
We seem to take the Bucs every week, and they cover more often than not. It's hard to understand why - the team has no one I'd particularly want on my fantasy team, and even the defense is a mix of aging vets and young guys who haven't yet made huge names for themselves. But in football the whole is not necessarily equal to the sum of its parts. By the time Jon Gruden is Bill Belichick's age, he might be regarded more highly. Back the Bucs.
Buccaneers 23 - 10
Broncos +3 at Patriots
We like the way this sets up for the Pats coming off a bad road loss in front of national audience. Now they get a chance to regroup at home on Monday night. But Denver's also regrouping after getting beaten at home by Jacksonville, and Mike Shanahan is 5-1 in his last six games against Bill Belichick, a span during which the Patriots were often the far better team. Back the Broncos.
Broncos 27 - 21
We were 8-6 in Week 6, to put us at 50-35-3 on the season. We were 127-120-9 last season. From 1999-2007, we were 1184-1018 - not including ties - (53.8 percent).
Article first appeared 10/15/08