NFL Survivor Pool Advice - Week 3
by Drew Mangione - 09/20/2007
I should have known better. I know better than to pick road favorites in divisional games, but the Browns seemed so bad, and the Bengals so good in week one. I knew it was a risk. With 6:18 to go in the third, I still had hope that Marvin's not-so-Marvelous D could help Carson & Co. overcome a three-point deficit. Alas, they couldn't and the points racked up faster than hits to that Youtube video with the effeminate whiner defending Britney.
I only had one losing pick, but if I lose one each week I'll be eliminated before the trading deadline and no one wants that. Besides, doing well doesn't mean it wasn't stressful. The Jaguars squeaked by, the Bears looked mediocre, and as for the Denver game, my friends witnessed the greatest living room celebration of a timeout since dorm rooms at Chapel Hill in 1993.
Despite the close games, the most painful moment came at halftime Monday night. Tony Kornheiser is the NFL's advertisement for mute buttons. Did anyone else catch him pardoning Osama Bin Laden, Jeffrey Dahmer, Saddam Hussein, Dubya and other reprehensibly famous characters by declaring O.J. Simpson the "most notorious person of our generation"? Perhaps, I'll find my way to the top of that list after I slam him on the ground like a moldy pumpkin left out too long after Halloween.
With that said, it's on to Week 3, which promises to be a doozy. Here are the biggest NFL spreads and the games I'm considering:
Arizona Cardinals at Baltimore Ravens (-9) (1 p.m. Sunday): The so-called offensive "guru" that guided the Minnesota Vikings to a record 556 points in 1998 has yet to put together an offense remotely as dynamic while head coach of the Ravens. Brian Billick couldn't score points against the Bengals, so that does not bode well. The Cardinals are ranked No. 8 in total defense and have some legitimate studs. I don't think there will be enough points scored to justify a nine-point spread, let alone feel comfortable with a straight-up Ravens win.
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-16.5) (1 p.m. Sunday): Don't think, just act. If the Pats are available to you, take them. The Bills are awful and until the Pats show a single weakness, expect spreads like this.
Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles (-6) (1 p.m. Sunday): How often will you find a 2-0 team as nearly a touchdown underdog to an 0-2 squad? The Lions are the No. 5-ranked offense, but the defense is ranked 22. If the Eagles are to right their ship, which is being sunk by a 20th ranked offense, this is their chance. The Eagles D is solid and since the Lions lack a running threat, this spread makes a lot of sense. Donovan may be right that his microscope is of a higher magnitude, but if he wants to prove himself, then lifting up the scrubs in his receiving corps would go a long way.
Indianapolis Colts (-6) at Houston Texans (1 p.m. Sunday): The Texans defense will really be tested this week. The line and linebackers have proven they can stop the run, having stuffed Larry Johnson in Week 1 and the Panthers in week 2. However, the secondary struggled against Jake Delhomme, who went for 316 yards, and Steve Smith, who caught 153 of those yards. Even though Gary Kubiak's squad knocked off the eventual champions last December, his offense may lack WR Andre Johnson and the Colts own this series with nine straight wins versus the fledgling franchise.
San Diego Chargers (-4.5) at Green Bay Packers (1 p.m. Sunday): The NFC east was a gift to the Packers, but now they have the AFC West's powerhouse on the schedule. If the Bears are the class of the Central Division and the Chargers dispatched the Bears, this will be a good test for Old Man Favre's tundra of misfit boys. LT might find his stride, considering Brian Westbrook gained 4.25 yards per carry and Derrick Ward followed that performance with six ypc.
San Francisco 49ers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-9) (1 p.m. Sunday): The 49ers squeaked by divisional rivals to rack up a pair of wins, while the Steelers did the same by devouring a pair of league bottom feeders. There's a reason Vegas has more money than I do, but a spread this large between two storied franchises rising once again seems odd. San Fran did allow 161 yards to the Cardinals and the Steelers' former offensive coordinator, but then kept Stephen Jackson to just 60 yards.
Tennessee Titans at New Orleans Saints (-4.5) (8:30 p.m. Monday): Neither of these teams is reliable. I suspect the Saints will win, but until they right their ship, Vince Young is an awfully dangerous weapon in low scoring games.
Pool 1 pick 1 (35 participants): Seahawks, Bears, Patriots
Pool 1 pick 2 (35 participants): Steelers, Jaguars, Chargers
Pool 2 (22 participants): Eagles (L)
Pool 3 (18 participants): Lions, Bengals (L)
Pool 4 (10 participants): Cowboys, Broncos, Steelers