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Advanced Sports Logic

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Welcome my fantasy brethren to another edition of The Prognosticator, may it lay waste to all that oppose you. Another fun week in fantasy land as everything that was upside down is now inverted and we have quite an unpredictable mess on our hands. Kansas City is 3-0? You just can't make that stuff up. That's some funny shiznit right there. Enjoy week 4, some great games on the card with the Ravens and Steelers and of course Donovan McNabb going back to Philadelphia. For those that are able, tune into the Browns/Bengals game, it will be a surprisingly great football game, worth a long watch. Monday Night will be a treat too, the Patriots and Dolphins will end up being a heck of a football game, watch if you can. Till next week.

Passing        Rushing
Team Score Team Score
GB228HOU117
SD213KC115
IND213NYJ115
NO212PIT111
NYG201OAK104
NE198NYG100
PHI190TEN98
DET189NE98
DAL184PHI97
KC184MIA96
BUF184CHI95
CHI183MIN94
TB182SD92
HOU181DAL92
NYJ180JAX91
PIT178BAL90
BAL176CAR89
WAS176SF87
ATL173ATL87
MIN171IND82
SF167GB82
TEN164BUF81
OAK164WAS79
MIA155DET79
JAX144NO76
CAR143TB76


How to read the table: The table shows how a team will do Passing and Rushing in the upcoming week of the NFL. Red is HOT, Yellow is WARM, White is NORMAL, Light Blue is COLD and Dark Blue is FREEZING COLD. Play players from teams that are Red and Yellow, avoid players from teams that are Light or Dark Blue and expect average days from teams that are White.

All times are Eastern

New York Giants at Washington Redskins - Thursday 8:25pm

This game will have some unexpected surprises, in particular, how many points are scored and how well the Steelers will run the ball on the Ravens. According to the odds makers, this will be the lowest scoring game of the week but there'll be a surprise as both teams are capable of moving the ball and combined, the score will be well over the 34 points that the odds makers currently have it set at. Ray Rice is dinged but will likely play. That ding however will slow down the Ravens running game against an already strong Steelers defense. The Ravens have a good to great defensive unit but the Steelers are and will be great and will be the better defense on the field. The Ravens will need to throw the ball to win and Joe Flacco hasn't exactly turned on the jets, though Anquan Boldin should be started in all leagues until further notice.

Rashard Mendenhall is going to surprise against a Ravens defense that can be tough. The Ravens played the Browns last week and you should already know my stance on the Browns -- they're one of the best rushing teams in the league. Total, the Browns slashed the Ravens for 173 yards on the ground. Just think about that for a second. Either the Browns are the best running team in all of football, the Ravens aren't as good as maybe some have thought or a combination of the two. My money is on the combination play. The Ravens actually can be had on the ground and the Brownies validated that I am indeed, the superior being I always knew I could be!

CategoryAdvantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers
Favorite: Even
Prediction: New York Giants 23 - Washington Redskins 21

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts - Sunday 1:00pm

The Rams are going to throw the ball -- a lot. The Seahawks are going to win with balance. Worry about Steven Jackson here as it may take a week to heal and the Rams signed Chauncey Washington from the Jets practice squad this week -- that's not a good sign. I wouldn't go rushing out to pickup Ken Darby by the way, the Rams won't feature him as it will be a large time share while Steven Jackson is out. The Rams will still put points up similar to last week. Expect them to use a variety of receivers, rendering most fantasy useless but as a team they will do well up top.

The Seahawks will also spread the ball around a lot as they're so fond of doing. They'll put up points on the Rams but no Seahawk makes a strong play in week 4. Matt Hasselbeck is worthy of a start as he'll have the best chance to have a strong day if some of his dump off passes to the RB's break for good gains. Some are going to be tempted to start the Seahawks defense vs. the Rams offense but be warned, it's a trap.

CategoryAdvantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers
Favorite: Even
Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 27 - Tennessee Titans 23

Detroit Lions at New York Jets - Sunday 1:00pm

The 49'ers are firing coaches, it's a mess, and the season is just getting started. I tore apart the 49'ers this week, studied up hard on all their personnel, reviewed all their play selections, stared at the stats for all positions at nauseum. First, as it turns out, firing the offensive coordinator may end up being a stroke of genius, if, and that's a big if, they know how to fix what's broke. After some study, ultimately, I think this debacle rests squarely at Mike Singletary's feet.

The 49'ers have the personnel, they're just being misused on both sides of the ball. Alex Smith is actually a capable NFL QB but behind a below average NFL offensive line, he will struggle, as will their running game. Alex Smith holds the ball a little too long because his receivers are a little too covered and his offensive line lets defenders through a little too easily. It all adds up to disaster. Defensively, this was projected to be one of the better units in the league and in a soft division to boot. The harsh reality is that they have been run on, thrown on, beat on, seemingly at will. But when you watch them play, they look like a real talented bunch. So what gives?

The schemes, the plays, the plans put in place for the team are what gives. Mike Singletary is a great motivator, a great leader, a man the players can relate to and I am a fan. But the 49'ers need to remove him from play-by-play operations and let an offensive and defensive guru run both units. The problem here is that a change like that would have to come directly from ownership and they can't do that without offending Mike Singletary in some way as publicly it would be a show of ill faith in their head coach. He's a good head coach and the 49'ers want to keep him and they certainly don't want to throw him under the bus. What they need to do is let Greg Manusky run his defense untampered with and allow newly promoted offensive coordinator Mike Johnson a chance to call his offense but change it in such a way that Mike Singletary doesn't look like the scapegoat when they take him out of it. In a broad stroke of genius, they tapped now ex-coordinator Jimmy Raye as the scapegoat, saved Mike Singletary's hide, and can now make operational and logistical adjustments in-house unfettered. With all that said, change won't happen overnight, it will take a few weeks for the 49'ers to respond, but you will see life out of their passing game as Alex Smith looks a little better, as does the play of Michael Crabtree, Josh Morgan and Vernon Davis. Not a heroic effort by any stretch, but a better statistical effort than what we've seen.

The Falcons are pretty much going to have their way with the 49'ers as the Mike Singletary decoupling from the defense will be next weeks priority for the 49'ers ownership, one coordinator at a time. There's talent in this defense, there's just a disagreement somewhere in the chain as to how to run it. Expect the Falcons to run well, Michael Turner is a must start. Roddy White too will have a solid day. The 49'ers will match up better with Tony Gonzalez this week since they run a 3-4 and have extra linebackers and can devote help to double cover Gonzalez with most of their defensive formations.

CategoryAdvantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers
Favorite: Even
Prediction: New York Jets 27 - Detroit Lions 17

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Pittsburgh Steelers - Sunday 1:00pm

There's really no other way to put this. Blow out. Packers run and throw well to everyone, get them all in. The Lions will fight hard for points, and will score some, but not with anyone you'd be starting. Calvin Johnson only because he'll catch one in the endzone but a down day in general for him and all the Lions. Run away.

CategoryAdvantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers
Favorite: Even
Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 27 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17

Miami Dolphins at Oakland Raiders - Sunday 1:00pm

This one is pretty cut and dry as to what the strengths are of these teams. Chris Johnson and the Titans defense vs. Kyle Orton and his receivers. I'll take what the Titans are offering. The Titans have been solid defensively but the Broncos will score some in the air as they'll find some decent mismatches.

The Broncos will have some tasty mismatches out of 3WR and even 4WR sets and will look there for opportunity. 6'2" Jabar Gaffney matches up with 5'9" Ryan Mouton is a big mismatch and one the Broncos will exploit all day long. The Broncos could also go 4-wide as they'll get 6'3" Bronco rookie Demaryius Thomas matched up with 5'10" rookie CB Alterraun Verner and Demaryius Thomas will not only blow by him, he'll steal his lunch money too. Cycling Damaryius Thomas into some WR3 packages will also pay dividends as that's a 6" height advantage he'll have on Ryan Mouton and that feels scary big.

CategoryAdvantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers
Favorite: Even
Prediction: Oakland Raiders 24 - Miami Dolphins 14

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears - Sunday 1:00pm

The Panthers have some real problems in their seconday and a team like the Saints is not what the doctor ordered. Expect Drew Brees and all his receivers to carve up the Panthers with some power running late from Pierre Thomas to seal the deal.

The Saints can be run on, they're an opportunistic defense in the secondary but can be out gunned down low. Expect another busy day for Saints LB Jonathan Vilma as the Panthers very solid power running game comes to town. Run with DeAngelo Williams.

CategoryAdvantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers
Favorite: Even
Prediction: Green Bay Packers 27 - Chicago Bears 24

Carolina Panthers at Baltimore Ravens - Sunday 1:00pm

Just a quick mention but the way the Jets handled the Braylon Edwards situation was criminal in itself. Rex Ryan wanted a one play suspension but management overruled and made it a one quarter benching. Lesson learned I guess. Way to send a message that a football game means more than a crime that takes tens of thousands of innocent lives every year.

The Jets won't need much to get by the Bills but the Bills do have a glimmer of hope. If the Bills can miraculously get ahead with a timely interception, some fluke play, something that forces Mark Sanchez to have to throw the ball, then they have a chance. If the Bills allow the Jets to do what they'll want to do which is run the ball with LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene and let their defense just do what it does, then it will be a long day at the office for the Bills. Play the odds, start LaDainian Tomlinson, he'll run very well here, ignore the rest. On the Bills side, Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the only one worth his salt but he makes a desperation play only. Just know he's not a bad desperation play this week.

CategoryAdvantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers
Favorite: Even
Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 24 - Carolina Panthers 13

Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans - Sunday 1:00pm

This is going to be a fairly surprising physical football game. You'd think a game like the Steelers and Ravens would be the physical game of the week but I'm going to say this one will have more big hits and a lot more laying out of opposing players. It'll also be a real "chippy" game as both sides will be quick to come to blows. This will be nothing more than running game on running game, you can forget the rest. Cedric Benson will run well even though the Bengals claim to want to reduce his load and uber stud Peyton Hillis will run it strong and well for the Browns. The game itself is really anyones ballgame but I'll lean Bengals just because they'll be a hair better offensively. Just a hair mind you.

CategoryAdvantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers
Favorite: Even
Prediction: Houston Texans 27 - Buffalo Bills 20

Jacksonville Jaguars at San Diego Chargers - Sunday 4:05pm

Da Raidas! This one is a little tough to read in the tea leaves because both sides have opportunities they can exploit for big gains and the unpredictability goes up with so many loose cannon opportunities. I'll go on record writing the Texans secondary is the worst in football right now. The absolute, bottom of the barrel, in last place worst. In steps Bruce Gradkowski with some receivers he may actually gel with and a running back in Darren McFadden that is also a capable pass catcher that could blow right through the Texans secondary in open space. Raiders fans have a glimmer of hope, something they haven't had in a very long time.

For as bad as the Texans are in their secondary, the Raiders match them in their ineptitide with their run stop defense. This week, a big, bruising, fantasy stud in Arian Foster is about to blow through them at will. A big day on tap for Foster and a reason why the Texans will stay in this game. Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub will be limited this week as it turns into Arian Foster vs. Bruce Gradkowski heads up with the Raiders riding the home field advantage to victory.

CategoryAdvantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers
Favorite: Even
Prediction: San Diego Chargers 27 - Jacksonville Jaguars 17

Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings - Sunday 4:25pm

I'll take Peyton Manning everytime against a team struggling like the Jaguars. Maurice Jones-Drew will carve up the Colts porous run defense but Peyton Manning to Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie and Dallas Clark is just too much fire power for the Jaguars to deal with. Stay away from the Colts ground game and the Jaguars passing game as both will struggle.

CategoryAdvantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers
Favorite: Even
Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 23 - Minnesota Vikings 20

Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers - Sunday 4:25pm

Philip Rivers is playing at an extremely high level and while he isn't mentioned in the same breath with guys like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, he and Peyton Manning will likely be competing for top dog honors in 2010. Antonio Gates has been solid and the Chargers wisely kept forcing Malcom Floyd to get involved and he's coming around. There's bits of talent in the Chargers receiving group, enough for a quality QB like Philip Rivers to make it all hum. It sounds like rookie RB Ryan Mathews will be back this week but Mike Tolbert has earned a few extra carries too. This will make the Chargers even more versatile and improve their offense that much more. Expect a Chargers outpouring of statistics on Sunday from everywhere in their depth chart.

Did you trade for Chris Wells when he was worth a bag of peanut M&M's? Remember the second half, he out played Tim Hightower last week and that will continue. It may be too late if you didn't follow le Progno's advice earlier in the season. Not much to expect out of the Cardinals against the Chargers. It will be a tough game for the Cardinals as they'll be able to run Chris Wells and Tim Hightower well enough, but when the scoreboard quickly starts lighting up in the Chargers column, the Cardinals are finished as soon as the ball is placed in Derek Anderson's hands.

CategoryAdvantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers
Favorite: Even
Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 24 - San Francisco 49ers 20

New Orleans Saints at Dallas Cowboys - Sunday 8:30pm

I had to walk away from this article when I got to this game. I was happily rolling along, typing up a storm, got to the Donovan McNabb game and froze. What to say? I do hope Eagles fans will treat him with respect, I think they will. He's a decent guy, he did a lot for the Eagles organization and the City of Philadelphia. He would have prefered to stay with the Eagles and for that, I think the Eagles fans will applaud one of their own. Donovan McNabb will play well, utilizing his two new best friends, Santana Moss and Chris Cooley. The Redskins running game hasn't been there and hopefully for Mike Shanahan, one of the many he's auditioning will make a good fit. The hunt is on. Clinton Portis owners, hold, but don't be afraid to move him either.

The problem for Washington and Donovan McNabb's homecoming is this Michael Vick character playing the best football of his life and this wee sprite of a thing, LeSean McCoy gashing through the Redskins front line. The Eagles offense will be on display. Behold it.

CategoryAdvantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers
Favorite: Even
Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 24 - New Orleans Saints 20

New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs - Monday 8:30pm

I guess I can see why the Giants would be favored in this. They're home and Eli Manning, Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham (though keep an eye, suffered a concussion in week 3) and the newly back to the team last week, TE Kevin Boss, all have an advantage over their opponent. You don't hear it enough but Kevin Boss is a very special player, if you're looking for a sleeper to be a Top 3 TE in the coming years, he'd be it. Anyway, as I wrote, I can see why the Giants would be favored. But here's the thing, the Bears bring balance, they can throw the ball effectively with Jay Cutler and Matt Forte is back as one of the better players in the NFL. The Bears always win the special teams battles and if you ask me, they're playing with more emotion than the Giants. It will be a close one, a good, good game of football worth watching as it will be a chess match like no other game this weekend.

CategoryAdvantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers
Favorite: Even
Prediction: New England Patriots 30 - Kansas City Chiefs 24

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