Wednesday - Jun 19, 2019

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Fair Weathered Friend

The autumn leaves are turning color and falling to the ground. Most folks see this as a sign of the seasons changing. I see it as a time of increased yard work and some Thursday night football that helps break up the monotonous week.

Weather can dominate an NFL contest like the nothing else. Being a playoff-caliber team and challenging for your title means that you must check the weather reports to ensure that your starts are the right ones. A defense in a monsoon- or mud-covered field can be your best friend, while a receiver in the same game can be a disastrous mistake.

Some things to consider are precipitation, temperature and wind speed. Swirling winds can cause an accurate kicker to look like Mike Cofer, who Niner fans used to refer to as O-Fer. The joke was that he tried to hang himself in the offseason but he couldn’t kick the chair from beneath him.

Don’t make the mistake of not checking the weather as evidenced by the Steelers and Chargers game this past Sunday. The final score was 11-10, leaving most owners with a need for a Kaopectate cocktail.

I’m willing to play musical kicker for dome matchups this time of year. Another idea is to take a kicker who is used to playing in poor conditions like Mason Crosby of

Green Bay. I picked him off the wire three weeks ago. I have confidence in him despite the matchup because he plays in frozen conditions in

Green Bay.

Let’s examine the games being played in five stable-weathered domes this week:

1.

Buccaneers @ Lions

The Lions have a tough challenge ahead of him this week as they host the Bucs. Kevin Smith has looked like a first round pick to date and although the UCF product was benched in favor of Rudi Johnson, he still should be considered the No. 1 back in Motown. Other players who should be owned on the Lions are Daunte Culpepper, Calvin Johnson and Jason Hanson.

For

Tampa, I like Jeff Garcia, Warrick Dunn and Antonio Bryant. Alex Smith is the wild card and should he be able to play, expect a TD.

2. Packers @ Saints

Green Bay and

New Orleans play in the lights of prime time this Monday night. This game may have the points that owners are looking for. This game will be in the Superdome and should be a good old-fashioned ball game. The Packers are explosive on offense, but expect them to try and limit Drew Brees‘ on field time by controlling the clock with Ryan Grant.

I expect that we will see a score for score effort with the Packers on top in the end. The hopes that Reggie Bush will play are dwindling every day that he misses practice. Expect that if he doesn’t get a full practice in by Friday that he will be a late scratch like this week. All Packer receivers have some value but the elite Greg Jennings will have a monster game. I also like James Jones and Donald Driver. Tight end Donald Lee, who had a nice year last year, is emerging in the red zone as the No. 2 threat behind

Jennings.

Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Lance Moore and Devery Henderson should also do well here. The Packers defense is usually a solid play, but I would find another matchup this week.

3.

Bears @ Rams

The Bears were punching bags for the Packers last week. I expect that they will come out guns blazing after being embarrassed. They are at a disadvantage in that they will have to travel to

St. Louis to play on turf. The Rams will be without the anchors to their line, Orlando Pace and Richie Incognito. Expect the Bears to put pressure on Marc Bulger like the Jets did two weeks ago.

This game is a signature game for Matt Forte who will run wild. I also like Kyle Orton and Greg Olsen in this game. Put a fork in your Rams players. They are done. Steven Jackson is not going to help them if he does play.

Josh Brown and Robbie Gould are solid plays in the Edward Jones Dome this week.

4.

49ers @ Cowboys

San Francisco travels to

Dallas this week. I like Terrell Owens, Jason Witten, Roy Williams and Tony Romo in this one. Check the status of Felix Jones as well. Jones will get his opportunities and make the most of them. Marion Barber will play a lesser role if Jones is back, but should he be a scratch then look for Barber to get a ton of work in the fourth quarter.

I like Frank Gore, Joe Nedney and Vernon Davis in that order. Expect the Cowboys to focus on the passing game while the Niners feature the ground attack. The 49ers are crafty but they won’t be able to stop the Cowboys passing game. It appears that

Dallas is starting to click offensively.

5.

Panthers @ Falcons

Carolina travels to

Atlanta this week to face a much improved Falcon offense. I expect this to be the highest scoring game of the week. Roddy White will have a big game this week as Matt Ryan‘s No. 1 target. Expect Michael Turner to have a decent week, but the Panthers will focus all efforts on stopping him and making Ryan beat them with his arm. I also like Jason Elam who is my favorite play at kicker this week.

For the Panthers, I like Steve Smith who has been too quiet the last two weeks. I expect two scores and 100+ yards. Jake Delhomme will have a nice rebound game after struggling for two weeks as well. Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams both are solid plays and are the foundation for the play action passes deep to Smith.

I’ve given you a look at the stable weather games, and hopefully you are considering the checking the conditions of the other games before hanging your playoff hopes on a player in the next mud bowl or snowstorm. Check the games, ride your horses as much as you can and remember your fair-weathered friend told you so. I hope you all win this week! (unless you play in my league of course.)

Send your comments, questions, or concerns to michaelfsarmento@hotmail.com

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