I have a few rules, or guidelines really, that I take into account each week when making selections. I am not afraid to select a road team. Road teams win 40 percent of the time – that is about 100 wins per season that you are leaving on the table. Eliminating them as a selection puts you at a disadvantage from the start. I do, however, avoid divisional games at all costs. Now I know what you are thinking – “a team wins a divisional matchup 50 percent of the time. Eliminating them as a selection puts you at a disadvantage from the start.” I disagree. Divisional games are far too unpredictable. Lastly, I am not in the business of saving the strong teams for later in the season. You won’t have a chance to use them if you gamble with a loser early on.
Arizona (at San Francisco) – Another divisional game for this week! What has gotten into me? The Arizona Cardinals have a stranglehold on the NFC West and are bringing their top-5 ranked offense and defense to the bay area on Sunday. San Francisco, on the other hand, is sporting the 31st-ranked offense and defense. Blaine Gabbert is only a small step up from Colin Kaepernick, so not much will change in that offensive rank going forward.
Jacksonville (vs. San Diego) – Jacksonville has won three of its last four games, and San Diego has the third-worst defense in the league. Blake Bortles hasn’t been great in every outing, but has the ability to put up points as long as Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are in the game.
Detroit (vs. Philadelphia) – There aren’t a lot of stats to justify this pick, but Philadelphia is in shambles and is the road this Thursday. Detroit also just posted two wins against teams that are much better than Philadelphia.
Cleveland (vs. Baltimore) – Another divisional game, if you are truly desperate. The Baltimore Ravens are reeling with a core of Matt Schaub, Kamar Aiken and Buck Allen leading the offense. Josh McCown will start for Cleveland, and he threw for 457 yards and two touchdowns against the Ravens in Week 5.
Cincinnati (vs. St. Louis) – A must-win game for St. Louis. The defense has carried all year, and Cincinnati is banged up after Monday night’s game against Arizona. Whomever St. Louis’ quarterback will be has no impact on this game.