East Coast Offense
By Christopher Liss
RotoWire Managing Editor
Strange Week 1
I can't remember an opening week as strange as this one. The league MVP is out for the year, virtually assuring that the league's preseason favorite is finished as a contender. The second, third and fourth best teams from the AFC (the league's stronger conference) all lost, the first two at home to NFC teams that had losing records in 2007. And one of them, the Panthers, was playing without its best player, who was suspended.
What else? Two other starting quarterbacks went down, one of which (Vince Young) went AWOL on Monday night. One of the league's top defensive players (Shawne Merriman) played with two torn ligaments, seemed fine after the game and then promptly went on injured reserve. Jay Cutler torched what we thought was one of the league's top secondaries, even though his best receiver was suspended, and preseason phenom Ray Rice got the start but was outplayed by a 260-pound fullback (Le'Ron Mclain) that few of us had ever heard of. Another preseason phenom, Robert Meachem, was a healthy scratch. Finally, the Seahawks lost yet another receiver (Nate Burleson) to injury, leaving them with Courtney Taylor, Logan Payne and Billy McMullen atop their depth chart.
Things to Take Away
Week 2 Thoughts
Antonio Gates is banged up, Shawne Merriman's out for the season, and LaDainian Tomlinson's got a minor turf toe inury. And after losing to Carolina at home, they go to Denver this week and then host the Jets in Week 3. These looked like three easily winnable games two months ago, and they're 0-1 and likely facing two tough opponents. In Week 4, they get the Raiders, however.
Why the huge discrepancy - are the Giants considered that much better than the Packers? Or are the Rams considered that much worse than the Lions? It would seems the Giants and Packers are close, and so are the Lions and Rams. It makes you want to bet the Packers and Rams, though logic isn't always the best tool for beating Vegas.
Beating the Book
We're off to a better start than last year as the Titans not only covered but won outright, putting us at 1-0.
Falcons +8 at Buccaneers
The Bucs played an essentially even game in New Orleans last week, while the Falcons blew out the Lions at home. Our feeling is that the Falcons probably get too much credit for that, and Matt Ryan will have a far tougher time againt a real defense. Back Tampa at home.
Buccaneers 27 - 13
We were 6-10 in this forum last year, but 127-120 on the season overall. Over, the last 10 years, we're 1184-1018 (53.8%, not including ties).
Article first appeared 9/10/08
Surviving Week 2
As nail-biting as last week's Patriots win was, it was really a perfect pick for two reasons: (1) because all the fools who saved New England for later saved them for naught, and (2) because a good suvivor pick is one where the worst possible thing can happen in a game, and it still has a chance to win.
This week, we're preliminarily going with the Giants (we reserve the right to change our minds in the full article). The Giants are well designed to beat up on lesser teams because they run the ball and play good defense. But playing on the road is always tough, and St. Louis is going to be motivated after a terrible Week 1 loss and has most of its key players healthy. Other possibilities include Tampa Bay, Seattle and Dallas. We give the Giants a 75 percent chance to win.
The full article comes out on Thursday morning.
Article first appeared 9/10/08