With the growing popularity of Survivor Pools, FP911.com is here to help. Each week we will look at the key games. There will be a pick of the week, some safe bets, a few games to avoid, and a trap game.
Despite some very tight games, things went far more according to plan last week. If you have made it this far, congrats! Now let’s keep it rolling.
Pick of the Week (5-2, 1-0 last week)
Packers (vs. Jaguars) – While it is tough to see Charles Woodson out of the lineup, the Jaguars have shown virtually no ability to put the ball in the end zone. The loss of Maurice Jones-Drew as well as potentially having to play backup quarterback Chad Henne will certainly further limit what they can do with the ball. Being at home to boot, love the Packers here.
Safest Bets (22-6, 3-1 last week)
Bears (vs. Panthers) – What is there not to like about the Bears to this point? Matt Forte destroyed the Panthers in their last meeting to the tune of 205 yards on the ground. The Panthers cannot seem to find their identity on offense. With Cam Newton as well as two true feature backs, the Panthers are still in the bottom half of the league in rushing per game. The Bears will easily figure out how to exploit this defensively.
Vikings (vs. Buccaneers) – I know Josh Freeman is on a roll, but the Buccaneers have not been playing well on the road. While the run defense in Tampa is strong, they have been shredded through the air and Christian Ponder can throw the football. The Vikings take pride on holding down their opponent’s running game as well and their pass defense is nowhere near as bad as the one the Saints put out last weekend. I’ll take the Vikings here.
Chargers (@ Browns) – Cleveland has shown to be a better defense than many would have thought, but they have struggled against the run. As they could be struggling with their own running game thanks to a potentially limited Trent Richardson, it will push Brandon Weeden to need to do more through the air during this game as well. That is not the game the Browns want to get involved with. Cleveland has struggled against the Chargers, losing the last four meetings.
Patriots (vs. Rams in London) – I know the Patriots looked awful in a win against the Jets, but the offense is still far too powerful to be scared off by one rough game. The Rams will be able to throw on the Patriots because everyone else does, but their ability to stop them from scoring should certainly be in question given how New England has put points up this year.
Steelers (vs. Redskins) – While Pittsburgh is getting healthier, they are still in rough shape in the secondary. Add in the limited running attack thanks to a rash of injuries and this adds up to a potential problem. No doubt the Washington pass defense will be tested, but even in a high scoring game, the Redskins have a chance every time Robert Griffin III is on the field.
Saints (@ Broncos) – On the road, getting torched through the air, against Peyton Manning. While there will be an emotional lift in getting Joe Vitt back, the Saints have shown they cannot be trusted defensively. Personally, I don’t like the idea of betting against Manning when he has had a week to prepare for a team.
Giants (@ Cowboys) – Really this just falls into the category of division games being far too hard to call. When these teams get together, the outcome is always in doubt. They have split the last four contests and the Cowboys were able to get a win on the road against New York to start the season. Definitely avoid this one.
49ers (@ Cardinals) – Sticking with the division matchup theory here as well. Both teams have been incredibly tough on defense, holding opponents to less than 200 yards through the air. While the Cardinals are giving up about 110 yards per game on the ground, the issues have largely been in the last two games. The 49ers have won five of their last six meetings against the Cardinals but in a physical matchup like this it does not always help to look at the team history.
Falcons (@ Eagles) – This seems like it should be an easy win for the Falcons. On paper. There is turmoil in the ranks in Philadelphia as a new defensive coordinator is installed and there is plenty being talked about with regards to Michael Vick as well. Still, something about this seems like a time when things come together. Add in the fact that the Eagles are 13-0 under Andy Reid following a bye week and there is reason to be cautious with regards to the Falcons.