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Staff Picks: Lions and Giants

Chris Liss

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

Congratulations to Scott Pianowski for winning the Staff Picks for the second time in three years. He essentially went wire to wire and finished a very solid 19 games over .500.

Oddly enough, this week everyone has the exact same picks save for two: Stopa took the Bengals and DDD took the Steelers. Surprisingly, we still have five different best bets.

Enjoy the games.

Erickson Pianowski Liss Stopa Del Don
Bengals +3 at Texans Texans Texans Texans Bengals Texans
Lions +11 at Saints Lions Lions Lions Lions Lions
Falcons +3 at Giants Giants Giants Giants Giants Giants
Steelers -8.5 at Broncos Broncos Broncos Broncos Broncos Steelers
Best Bet Broncos Texans Lions Giants Steelers
Last Week's Record 7-8-1 9-6-1 9-6-1 7-8-1 6-9-1
2011 Record 121-128-7 134-115-7 124-125-7 123-126-7 127-122-7
Best Bet Record 7-9-1 8-8-1 10-7 10-7 7-9-1
Consensus Pick Record 30-24-2
2010 Playoff Record 6-5 5-6 5-6 7-4 8-3
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
2010 Record 129-122-5 134-117-5 126-125-5 136-115-5 134-117-5
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 two consensus picks: the Lions and Giants. We went 2-1-1 on consensus picks in Week 17 to go 30-24-2 on the year. We went 32-21-1 on consensus picks in 2010.


EricksonThis is less of a best bet and more a case of the least uncertain pick. But the combination of Roethlisberger still being a little gimpy and Ryan Clark not playing encourages me to take the points here... I switched my Giants-Falcons pick three-to-four times, at the end of the day the improved pass rush from Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora swayed me... Again, the Texans' defense is the deciding factor for me in the early game. Andy Dalton has really slowed down recently, and the Texans totally shut down the Bengals in the second half when they played earlier... I'm going with the Lions merely because I think they'll put up a high number on offense. I'm aware of the Saints' track record at home against the number, but that's not really a predictive stat. The line is the line, and they're not playing against that. I just don't rely on historical ATS track records.
PianowskiCincinnati went 9-0 against non-playoff teams and 0-7 against playoff teams. Houston is a playoff team, and only spotting three at home. Let's not overthink this one. Andre Johnson should be healthy enough, finally, to make a play or two, and the Texans defense has been stout most of the year... I really hate taking the Lions, because I can't see how they'll stop the Saints from their normal offensive output. But the Detroit offense is dangerous, too, and while the Lions won't stop many teams, they will punch you in the mouth. New Orleans wins, Detroit covers.
LissI think the Saints are a bit cocky, breezing through the schedule at home and trying to set records in their last couple games. I could see a letdown against the Lions. The Steelers-Broncos is the most interesting game to handicap, but probably will be the least interesting to watch.
StopaI get that the Saints are really good at home, but Matthew Stafford just threw for 5,036 yards and 41 TDs (the greatest season in NFL history that nobody is talking about), so the Lions can keep pace. In fact, I give Detroit a fighting chance to win outright. They'll score at least 28, so one or two bounces (or Ndamukong Suh to stomp on Drew Brees' head) is all they'll need. Saints 31-28... I don't see how the Broncos will score, as defenses have the blueprint to stop them (have the linebackers crowd the line, protect the edges, play tight man to man and dare Tebow and his crummy WRs to beat man coverage). But Ben is less than 100 percent, the Steelers have struggled to score points in recent weeks (four of their past six games they've been under 14), and I want to buy Denver low. Eight points is a huge line for the road team where the over/under is just 34, so one TD may be all the Broncos need to cover. Steelers 17-10... The Falcons defense is terrible, whereas the Giants front seven is healthy at the right time. Plus, the Falcons have been far worse on the road with Matt Ryan. Giants 30-20... The Bengals are 0-7 against playoff teams (and 9-0 versus non-playoff teams), and that scares me, but I think they're better than Houston. Plus, a Bengals win sets up another Ravens/Steelers matchup next week, and the football gods couldn't let the playoffs pass without that. Bengals 23-16... As for over/unders, I like over 47 points in the Meadowlands - a moderate total despite two bad secondaries. It's worth noting that the O/U in NO is 59, the highest in NFL playoff history. The sharp money would be on the under, if you can stomach it.
Del Don I'm positive I'm on the sucker side with Pittsburgh, but I just can't help myself.

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 and 2011 Staff Picks Champ. Roots for the Patriots.

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

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