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.
Carolina (at Atlanta) – Carolina continues its quest for a perfect season by traveling to Atlanta, who ranks in the bottom third of the NFL for both offense and defense. Atlanta looks scary on paper with Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman, but that hasn’t helped all year. Atlanta has yet to beat a team with a winning record.
Houston (at Tennessee) – Houston is the second of two intra-division “top picks.” The defense is ranked in the top 10 and will be the difference maker this Sunday. Losing Marcus Mariota is a bigger blow to Tennessee than most expect, meaning Zach Mettenberger will have his hands full this weekend.
Buffalo (vs. Dallas) – Buffalo’s defense ranks seventh in the NFL and Dallas will be starting Kellen Moore at quarterback. Both of these teams are out of the playoffs, but the matchup of Buffalo coach Rex Ryan against a quarterback making his first NFL start is always enticing.
Detroit (vs. San Francisco) – Detroit is the third-most popular pick this week after outgunning New Orleans on Monday night. Neither of these teams are anything special, both ranking in the bottom half for both offense and defense.