NFL Survivor Pool Advice - Week 5
by Drew Mangione - 10/04/2007
I was on the road in Asheville, North Carolina for a wedding last weekend, so football had to take a back seat. Never before had I been so willing to pass up football-it was the first time I'd seen my girlfriend in two months. Still, when she wanted to subject me to ear candles, not only did I find a chance to reverse what I thought was the beginning of hearing loss, but as I lay on my side with a conical candle flaming just inches away from my head, I found new life in my suicide-eliminator-survivor pools over just 30 minutes.
Sure, I was pleased to see the Cowboys trounced the Rams, but tuning in to a one-point Indy lead with Marvin Harrison out was a bit unsettling. Thankfully, Jay Cutler proved himself to be the over-hyped pseudo prospect I believe him to be and the Colts pulled away much faster than the four-inch long pencil thick tube of wax escaping my ear. What's better is all the upsets that surrounded the Dallas and Indy wins. I told you the Ravens, Jets and Chargers were risky picks and I didn't even consider picking the Steelers. Not everyone listened.
The pools are dwindling and I'm still alive, which is more than most pool participants and dogs in Surry County, Virginia can say. Low blow? Maybe so, but I needed a segue to bring up Vick's class on "Developing Empathy for Animals" administered by PETA. Seriously? They gave him a written exam at the end, which he supposedly aced. Apparently he was blown away by how much the Bible says about animals. What's next: a course on non-violence and resisting greed for President Bush, administered by MoveOn.org? I'm sure he'd also be blown away by all the stuff in there about turning the other cheek and camels going through a needle's eye.
But I'll get off my high horse. Here's my advice for Week 5:
Arizona Cardinals (-3.5) at St. Louis Rams (1 p.m. Sunday): When Gus Frerotte isn't slamming his head into hard objects to celebrate infrequent touchdowns, he's not exactly lighting up scoreboards, though St. Louis backups have been magical of late. The Rams offense is falling apart and Stephen Jackson heads an injury list beyond Marc Bulger that seems to get longer every day. This matchup has gone back and forth since 2004, with the Cards winning the second game last year. But this is a road favorite in a divisional game, so my mind is weary, while my gut says they are who we think they are.
Atlanta Falcons at Tennessee Titans (-9) (1 p.m. Sunday): The Falcons are sad, even if they won last week, but it's hard to get excited about the Titans as a big favorite. Vince Young is 13-3 overall against the spread as a starter, but just 1-1 as a favorite. Still, with two solid two defensive tackles out again this week, it will be harder for the Falcons D to stop Chris Brown and LenDale White while the linebackers spy Young, than it was to hold Ron Dayne in check without fearing Matt Schaub's feet.
Cleveland Browns at New England (-16.5) (1 p.m. Sunday): Please. Once again, if you've got them available…flaunt it.
Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans (-5.5) (1 p.m. Sunday): Bettors seem to like Houston giving the 5.5 at home, so this seems like a good play for a team you may not want to pick in other weeks. The Dolphin's biggest weakness is run defense (199 yards per game), but Houston isn't exactly a great running team (89 ypg). If Ahman Green plays or Ron Dayne can perform remotely as well as Justin Fargas, this could get ugly quick, considering Houston has held its opponents to just 80 ypg on the ground.
Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5) (1 p.m. Sunday): A good friend and consultant on matters of football importance is a huge Seahawks fan, but despite his girth and fanaticism, he said he'd pick the Steelers and their physical defense. I'm not sold. I don't like big spreads between good teams. It's too risky for me.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts (-10) (4:05 p.m. Sunday): I told you in Week 1 that Tampa Bay would be a solid team this year, so don't be surprised to see an upset here. If Marvin Harrison and Joseph Addai miss this one, the Bucs might just shock the world.
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-3) (8:15 p.m. Sunday): The Bears defense is beat up. So much so that I've heard of Fantasy owners dropping the pre-season's highest ranked D. It's tempting to rely on the resurgent Brett Favre, but he's thrown just one TD and nine interceptions in his last four games against Urlacher's D. In the four games before that he had seven TDs to six interceptions. He looks like the Favre of old, but this game will let us know for sure.
Dallas Cowboys (-10) at Buffalo Bills (8:30 p.m. Monday): The Pats and Cowboys play next week. I expect it to be a battle of unbeatens.
Pool 1 pick 1 (35 participants): Seahawks, Bears, Patriots, Cowboys, Tennessee
Pool 1 pick 2 (35 participants): Steelers, Jaguars, Chargers (L)
Pool 2 (22 participants): Eagles (L)
Pool 3 (18 participants): Lions, Bengals (L)
Pool 4 (10 participants): Cowboys, Broncos, Steelers, Colts, Patriots