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Staff Picks: Backing the Bears

Chris Liss

Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.

Last week we all went 2-2, except DDD who went 1-3. This week, we all like the Bears, and four out of five like the Patriots and Packers. The only 3-2 split was on the Steelers-Ravens, but both Pianowski and I like the Ravens as our best bets.

Enjoy the games.

Erickson Pianowski Liss Stopa Del Don
Ravens +3 at Steelers Steelers Ravens Ravens Ravens Steelers
Packers +2.5 at Falcons Packers Falcons Packers Packers Packers
Seahawks +10 at Bears Bears Bears Bears Bears Bears
Jets +9 at Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Jets
Best Bet Packers Ravens Ravens Packers Bears
Last Week's Record 2-2 2-2 2-2 2-2 1-3
Playoff Best Bet Record 0-1 0-1 1-0 1-0 0-1
2010 Record 129-122-5 134-117-5 126-125-5 136-115-5 134-117-5
Best Bet Record 7-9-1 9-7-1 9-8 10-6-1 11-5-1
Consensus Pick Record 31-21-1
2009 Playoff Record 5-6 4-7 1-10 6-5 5-6
2008 Playoff Record 6-5 5-6 5-6 8-3 4-7
2007 Playoff Record 8-3 3-8 6-5 N/A 2-9
2006 Playoff Record 7-4 N/A 4-7 N/A N/A
2005 Playoff Record 5-6 N/A 3-8 N/A N/A
2004 Playoff Record 6-5 N/A 4-7 N/A N/A
2003 Playoff Record 6-5 N/A 4-7 N/A N/A
2002 Playoff Record 6-5 7-4 5-6 N/A N/A
2001 Playoff Record 6-4-1 7-3-1 4-6-1 N/A N/A
2000 Playoff Record 6-5 7-4 6-5 N/A N/A
2009 Record 123-130-3 132-121-3 131-122-3 130-123-3 126-127-3
2008 Record 132-114-10 128-118-10 124-122-10 125-121-10 130-116-10
2007 Record 127-120 118-129 127-120 N/A 130-117
2006 Record 118-129 N/A 139-108 N/A N/A
2005 Record 121-126 N/A 127-120 N/A N/A
2004 Record 124-124 N/A 130-118 N/A N/A
2003 Record 121-126 118-129 124-123 N/A N/A
2002 Record 113-136 123-126 141-108 N/A N/A
2001 Record 124-113 117-120 118-119 N/A N/A
2000 Record 123-117 134-106 141-99 N/A N/A

Consensus Picks

This week we have one consenus pick: the Bears.

Last week we had no consensus picks, keeping us at 31-21-1 on the year. We finished 2009 at 19-23-1 on consensus picks, and were 24-19-2 on them in 2008.


EricksonSteelers-Ravens was my toughest pick. Basically, I went with the mindset that whichever team I thought would win would be who I would pick for that game, with a three-point line or less. Even then, it wasn't an easy pull... Mike McCarthy worries me, but I think that the Packers have the better talent than the Falcons... Even though the Seahawks won in Chicago earlier, that was when the Bears were in disarray. They're not now, and I think Seattle reverts back to being a road patsy... Yes, the previous blowout between the Pats and Jets overstates the difference between the two teams, but I'm still a buyer when it comes to the Pats' dominance.
PianowskiThe Steelers and Ravens will present the best argument possible against the 18-game schedule. Grab a bunch of elite athletes and mix passion and dislike; the result will be the most violent game of the year.
LissI see the Steelers/Ravens game as 50/50, and the three points are a gift.
StopaIn recent years, the road team has won more frequently in the divisional round of the playoffs than in years past, but make no mistake - inferior teams get crushed in the divisional round. It's one thing to upset a wild card team; it's quite another to go on the road and beat a dominant team coming off a bye. Last year, for instance, the average margin of victory in the divisional round was 20.5 points. I guess what I'm saying is this - the Seahawks and the Jets - they have no chance. Yes, they beat the Saints and Colts, respectively, but both of those teams were injury-riddled. The Bears and Patriots have no such problems. The Bears defense is arguably the best in the NFL (6.6 YPA, 21 INTs, just 14 passing TDs allowed), and Jay Cutler and Matt Forte have had sneaky-good seasons. The Seahawks will prove this week why all nine of their losses were by 15 or more - they can't play from behind. Bears 31-10. The Jets defense is overrated, and here's the best illustration how - Pats have 25 INTs, Jets just 12. Patriots 34-13... The Steelers are better than the Ravens because of the disparity at the QB position. Flacco was fine last week, but can he carry the offense against an exceptional defense, particularly against the run (3.0 YPC, nobody else under 3.5)? I say no. In a game that should come down to a QB making a play in the fourth quarter, I trust Ben. That said, in a close-to-the-vest divisional rivalry, it wouldn't surprise me to see the Ravens win, and three points matters a lot in what should be a low-scoring game. I have to take the points. Steelers 16-14. My best bet is Green Bay. I don't care that the sharps seem to be on the Falcons - what difference does it make if the line is -1 or -2.5? I trust my eyes and my instincts, and both tell me the Packers are the better team, especially on defense. Packers 27-17.
Del DonI expect Chicago to roll, but I had a hard time picking the Jets/Pats game. I could easily see another blowout, but it's pretty crazy how much this line changed from when these two teams met just six weeks ago.

The players:

Jeff Erickson: RotoWire Senior editor, 2001, 2008 Staff Picks Champ. Writes the Value Meter. Covers and roots for the Bengals.

Scott Pianowski: Fantasy expert for Yahoo! Sports, and also contributes to 2009 Staff Picks Champ. Roots for the Patriots.

Chris Liss: RotoWire Managing Editor, 2000, 2002, 2006 Staff Picks Champ, 2003, 2004 co-champ. Writes Beating the Book and Surviving the Week in addition to Staff Picks. Covers and roots for the Giants.

Mark Stopa: Staff Writer, Writes Working the Wire. 2010 Staff Picks Champ. Roots for the Bills.

Dalton Del Don: RotoWire Senior Staff Writer. 2007 Staff Picks Champ. Writes the Game Capsules and the Barometer. Covers the Eagles and roots for the 49ers.