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Staff Picks: Ravens and Giants

Chris Liss

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

Last week, three of us with identical picks went 3-1, while Stopa and DDD (who deviated from the pack) went 2-2. This week, it's more of the same with Jeff, DDD and I all with the same picks, and Pianow and Stopa diverging on one or two. The Ravens and Giants are consensus picks.

Enjoy the games.

Writer Erickson Pianowski Liss Stopa Del Don
Saints -3.5 at 49ers 49ers Saints 49ers Saints 49ers
Broncos +13.5 at Patriots Patriots Broncos Patriots Patriots Patriots
Texans +7.5 at Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens
Giants +8 at Packers Giants Giants Giants Giants Giants
Best Bet Patriots Ravens 49ers Saints Giants
Last Week's Record 3-1 3-1 3-1 2-2 2-2
Playoff Best Bet Record 1-0 1-0 0-1 1-0 0-1
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 Ravens and Giants. We went 1-1 last week on consensus picks and were 30-24-1 during the regular season. We went 32-21-1 on consensus picks in 2010.


EricksonI get that underdogs typically do better in rematches, but I like how the Pats' offense is clicking right now - even when they fall behind early, they don't panic. It could change in the playoffs, I suppose, like it did last year, but I think the story ends here for the Broncos, badly... The toughest game for me was the Giants-Packers. The narrative team right now, at least in the circles I'm around, is the Giants, and I like to position myself against the narrative team more often than not. But I'm a believer in the Giants' pass rush at least giving Rodgers some trouble. Getting the half-point hook might end up being important here... In Baltimore, I think T.J. Yates will crumble under the Ravens' pass rush. Arian Foster will do better this time than he did previously, but it won't be enough... How many times have we pointed out that the Saints are a different team on the road, especially when it's outdoors? I'll take the points, though a small part of me is worried about what the Cowboys did against the Niners way back in Week 2. The blueprint to beat them, is to get them into a shootout. Even then, when the Niners lost, it was on an overtime field goal.
PianowskiIt's critical that the Texans keep the game close and keep T.J. Yates ahead of the down. If they're forced to put him into must-throw situations, that's where mistakes happen and where the Ravens run away with the game... I'd be shocked if Denver won this weekend, but that's a monstrous number.
LissThe Saints were just 5-3 on the road, and struggled on the slower turf in Tampa Bay and Tennessee. Moreover, the Saints defense isn't good, and Alex Smith has played well all year. This game should be closer to a pick 'em, and the 13-3 Niners are getting more than a FG at home. The Patriots-Broncos was the toughest game to handicap.
StopaLiss can talk up the 49ers defense and home field all he wants, but check out what the top QBs have done against the 49ers this year. Vick, Eli, Romo and Stafford combined for 8 TDs, just 3 INTs, and more than 300 yards/game. Basically, they all posted stats like they usually do. Sure, SF held down Ben, but he was clearly hurt, and the rest of their games/stats were against subpar QBs. Brees will get 325-350 yards, and the Saints will score 30-plus, so taking the 49ers +3.5 means you trust Alex Smith and that offense to keep pace. No, thanks. Saints 31-19... The Broncos enjoyed a victory-lap celebration after the Steelers win, then Tebow's midweek comments showed he's in awe of Brady. In other words, Denver had its Super Bowl, and it knows it's now in over its head. Pats 42-17... A young QB on the road in the divisional round ... history doesn't bode well for the Texans. Remember, this is still the same team that lost to the Colts and Panthers down the stretch. Ravens 26-13... My man-crush on Aaron Rodgers is well-documented, but there are legitimate concerns here. The Packers defense is getting no pass rush, and despite big names in the secondary, opposing offenses can move the ball up and down the field. Rodgers has masked those flaws all year, but if there were ever a game where he'd play a B- or C+ game, it's against a team like the Giants, whose front four can get pressure. I'm not ready to pick the Giants outright, but I wouldn't be surprised, so I'll gladly take more than a TD. Packers 31-28.
Del DonThe 49ers must be the first No. 2 seed that are underdogs by more than a field goal in the divisional round. I'm backing SF, but I wouldn't be surprised if New Orleans won handily... 13.5 points in an awful lot in a playoff game, but ultimately I see New England pulling away with too much firepower... The Ravens are too tough at home... I see the case that people are forgetting just how good this 15-1 Packers team is, but the Giants could also easily win this game outright.

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.