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The Prognosticator: Week 7

 

Week 7


Welcome my fantasy brethren to another edition of The Prognosticator.  May the Red Sox win game Seven!  Cubs/Marlins seven games?  Red Sox/Yankees seven games?  Coincidence?  I wonder.  

The Progno has admittedly had a couple of tough weeks.  Believe me, I pride myself on what this article offers and part of what this article offers is accuracy.  Yes I know it is impossible to predict the future but over the years I’ve done pretty well at this endeavor and that is one reason why I’m still here.  I don’t take this article lightly.  I never have and I never will.  Just like a big league hitter we go through slumps and there are days when we just can’t buy a hit.  We have some tough outings, then we follow it up with a 4-4 night, the important thing is over the course of a season, how did we turn out?  It’s that record I’ve been proud of over the years and the ability for this column to pick the upsets.  We take some chances yes, but they’re justified because the numbers support them. 

To satisfy myself I spent Tuesday night ripping apart the formulas, delving into the stats and making sure everything is still glued together properly.  My hunch was that something had crept into the numbers that wasn’t right.  My hunch was wrong.  The glue that’s made us successful over the years was still tight and in the right places.  What I did notice though was one area where improvement could be made in turnovers given vs. turnovers caused.  The turnover calculations were scaled more toward the end of the season and I figured out a better way to make them scalable over a season.  So I’ve made this one tweak and we’ll go forward with this new algorithm which has a surprising effect on the predictions and would have produced better results over the past few weeks.  Let’s roll.

Team

Rush

Pass

Opponent

ATL

109

188

NO

BAL

160

138

CIN

BUF

80

206

WAS

CAR

128

185

TEN

CHI

120

166

SEA

CIN

89

206

BAL

CLE

120

208

SD

DAL

132

235

DET

DEN

122

216

MIN

DET

80

194

DAL

GB

122

195

STL

HOU

107

259

NYJ

KC

149

209

OAK

MIA

110

206

NE

MIN

123

197

DEN

NE

95

214

MIA

NO

130

223

ATL

NYG

82

250

PHI

NYJ

88

240

HOU

OAK

111

212

KC

PHI

117

189

NYG

SD

120

190

CLE

SEA

131

208

CHI

SF

112

192

TB

STL

103

262

GB

TB

97

228

SF

TEN

89

259

CAR

WAS

114

197

BUF

Red – Great Play!

Yellow – Good Play.

White – Average Play.

Grey – Run Away!!


All times are Eastern

Wagers
Initial Bankroll: $500 Geoffrey Dollars.
Current Bankroll: $430 Geoffrey Dollars
Last Week: Lost $55 on the Colts -5.

We’re jumping all over the Seahawks this week as 10 points is nothing for the Seahawks at home against the struggling Bears.  The Bears still haven’t decided who will be starting the game for them at QB (this may have been decided when this is published).  I’m not sure 20 points is enough.  

This Week: Seahawks $165 to win $150 -10.


Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions – Sunday 1:00pm

I think most people think the Cowboys should handle the Lions with ease as the Cowboys are getting some of the most press in the NFL right now.  Be careful here.  The Lions are tough at home, coming off a bye and it is a little bit of a let down game for the Cowboys.  Taking the Lions would be a little foolish however.  Look for the Cowboys to emphasize their running game with Troy Hambrick having what should be a career rushing day for him.  Quincy Carter will get in on the action as the Cowboys also have a very nice day in the air.  Look for Joey Galloway or possibly even Antonio Bryant to get some exercise.  

The Lions are never going to be quite out of this game.  They’ll scrap some yards and make some things happen here and there but nothing reliable enough for you to play anyone from their team.  In fact, don’t.  Look for TE Mikhael Ricks to start stepping it up though and is a decent play every week in a TE required league with WR Charles Rogers out of commission.

Cowboys have been playing lights out on both sides of the ball and that’ll be too much for the Lions to handle.  Look for a conservative game plan this week from Bill Parcells.

Prediction: Cowboys 24 – Lions 20  (Cowboys -3)


Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals – Sunday 1:00pm

*** RB of the Week Award: Jamal Lewis ***

The Ravens do two things well.  Run the ball and play defense.  Expect a whole pile of that this weekend.  Remember how I was harping on Coach Billick for his numb skull move of making Chris Redman his #2?  Look at Travis Taylor’s numbers, look at Todd Heap’s numbers, enough said.  If Redman was their QB they potentially had a Carolina Panthers story in the making.  He’s not, so they barely win games and their receiving is horrendous.  Brian Billick is now fabled for his awful decisions at QB.  Good coach with a good nose for the game but he has demonstrated time and again that he can ruin a team with his QB decisions.  

The Bengals will of course emphasize their passing game.  It remains to be seen whether they’ll be able to do much with the Ravens, though Chad Johnson will be very involved and is always starting for you.  Corey Dillon is back this week, not sure that makes much of a difference?  I wonder what the number of losses before we bring in Carson Palmer number the Bengals management have in their head is?  I’m going to say Week 12 is when we see Palmer get a series or two.  Not that Jon Kitna has done much to lose his starting job and he will make a fine backup QB for most of the teams in the league.  There should be a mad scramble for his services.

Prediction: Ravens 17 – Bengals 14  (Ravens -2)


Philadelphia Eagles at NY Giants – Sunday 1:00pm

*** Low Score of the Week Award ***

This is where the rubber meets the road.  The low-flying Eagles vs. the pathetic G-Men.  Oh what joy, what a rip-snorter this is going to be.  McNabb rolls right, looking for someone open, find’s nothing and OHHH!  That look like it hurt!  Hand off to Westbrook, Westbrook tries the left side, nothing doing.  3rd down coming up.  McNabb is in the shotgun.  Hard count, the snap, McNabb checks off his receivers, one, two, three, four, McNabb is running.  He gets clobbered by Barrow!  Ouch!  And the Eagles are forced to punt here in this scoreless game.  

Giants take the field with some swagger.  The New York press have been all over the Giants this week.  Thankfully for them the Yankees have been taking a lot of the pressure and attention away from them.  Collins hands off to Tiki Barber to start this series, Tiki on a draw play follow the tackle up into the .. FUMBLE!  Eagles recover on the Giants 23 yard line.  

Duce Staley in the backfield.  McNabb is set.  It’s a sweep to Staley who zigs and zags his way past .. FUMBLE!

You get the picture yet?    

Prediction: Eagles 12 – Giants 9  (Giants -2.5)


Washington Redskins at Buffalo Bills – Sunday 1:00pm

The Redskins came out firing on all cylinders but have slowed the past few weeks.  They’re still a very dangerous team, capable of an explosion at any given time against any given team.  They’ve started to work Rod Gardner in more, as teams are trying to take away Laveranues Coles.  Patrick Ramsey has responded by moving off his favorite receiver and taking what he’s being given.  A mark of a veteran and this kid is looking all of it though there was a little snafu last week as Steve Spurrier gave Rob Johnson a little play time where he thew for 35 yards.  Not anything to worry about, I think!  It sounds like Trung Canidate may not be active for this one but check that.  This will open up Ladell Betts as a decent play this weekend just because of his touches and you probably drafted him very late.  This would be a good week to start Betts if you’re looking for a #3 RB.  Ramsey will have an above average game and have some nice plays mixed in.  The Bills D was looking to be one of the best in the league earlier on but they’ve cooled significantly.  

The Bills just haven’t been able to get their running game going and it makes you wonder if Willis McGahee will see the light of day a little early.  Not earlier than when the doctor’s say but earlier than when the coaching staff was planning on getting a look at him in pads, at NFL speed, in a real time situation.  Remember that McGahee before his injury was projected to be one of those special backs that Travis Henry may not be.  The next three weeks or so will be very telling for Travis Henry as he will be on the hook this week to deliver, and he’ll have a tough time doing that with this mediocre run blocking unit.

Bills in Orchard Park however, and that can be a tough place to play this time of year if you don’t know the territory.

Prediction: Bills 23 – Redskins 20  (Bills -2.5)


New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons – Sunday 1:00pm

The Saints stink right?  Well, yes, they do.  But don’t you just get the feeling that an offense with Aaron Brooks, Deuce McAllister, Joe Horn and Donte Stallworth are just itching to break out against a poor team?  I do.  Guess who’s up on the card?  Two dome teams battle it out in a dome.  I don’t expect a lot of scoring from the Saints as they’re bad enough to mess up a free lunch but they’ll move the ball well and put themselves in a position to score quite frequently.  I wouldn’t be afraid to start your Saints this week.  Play them all and you’ll be happy fantasy wise.  

The Falcons are going to go against my wishes and try to get their running game established with TJ Duckett.  They’re going to spend quite a bit of time trying to run up the gut on the Saints.  This team can’t wait for Michael Vick but I wouldn’t rest my team on his return.  I said it early on that Michael Vick has probably the biggest potential at his position but never will fully realize that potential due to a career riddled with injuries.  Just because his leg will be fine when he returns, doesn’t mean he won’t crack a wrist two weeks after.   Peerless Price caught 2 out of the 10 or 12 balls that were thrown to him.  I can’t check any facts as we have no power and I’m running on batteries right now – missing the Cubs/Marlins Game seven I might add!!  It was 5-3 Cubbies when the lights went out after Alou hit a two run shot.  Sammy Sosa’s bat speed is just amazing when you realize he also hits for power.  

Prediction: Falcons 17 – Saints 15  (Saints -1.5)


New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins – Sunday 1:00pm

I know the Dolphins are good but has anyone noticed that all the Patriots do is win?  How?  I really don’t know.  The Belicheck house of smoke and mirrors is my only guess.  This is an intra-divisional rivalry and both teams know how to play each other.  5 1/2 points seems high.  Since the Patriots do employ the smoke and mirror tactic there isn’t a good start among them as that is the key to their current success.  Just throw everyone and the kitchen sink into the game which doesn’t help us fantasy players.  

The Dolphins have had some trouble on offense lately and there’s nothing I’ve seen that says they’re out of their offensive slump.  Their D has played better as of late, but they still need to get their offense going.  It wouldn’t surprise me if we start seeing Brian Griese in to try and provide a spark.

Prediction: Dolphins 28 – Patriots 27  (Dolphins -5.5)


Tennessee Titans at Carolina Panthers – Sunday 1:00pm

Tennessee passes the ball at the expense of their running game and the Panthers run the ball at the expense of their passing game.  Look for the Titans to continue their success in the air as Steve McNair has a tremendous day.  Look for the Titans to also start to work in RB alternatives like Robert Holcombe as it’s fairly obvious that Eddie George is not getting it done.  

I guess DeShaun Foster is healthy again.  Nice showing by him as the Panthers get a glimpse of how powerful their offense could be with the one-two punch of Stephen Davis and DeShaun Foster.  Wait a minute, has the next RBBC just reared it’s ugly head?  Not again.  RBBC is RUINING fantasy football.  Please stop.  If your league awards points for handoffs, start Jake Delhomme.

Panthers proved me wrong last week.  Going against them again, but keep in mind, the Panthers are still going to win a lot of games this year.  Every once and a while they’re going to come up against a team that gives them match up difficulties.  The Colts were one of those teams and they handled them, let’s see if they can handle the Titans as well.

Prediction: Titans 27 – Panthers 23  (Panthers -1.5)


Denver Broncos at Minnesota Vikings – Sunday 1:00pm

*** High Score of the Week Award ***

Both teams are going to work their running game and build the pass off that.  Steve Beurlein is in for the Broncos and Jake Plummer is out.  Look for Rod Smith to be the main beneficiary because of the switch and have a nice day.  Clinton Portis is of course, the man.  

The Vikes are going to want to feature their own running game and coming off a bye are well prepared for the Broncos.  It’ll be a shoot out but the Vikings have Daunte Culpepper back and that adds an element that the Broncos will have to defend against as he’s a mobile QB.  The Vikings have arguably, the second best offense in football right now and they’ll give the Broncos D a lot of trouble.

Prediction: Vikings 42 – Broncos 27  (No Line)


San Diego Chargers at Cleveland Browns – Sunday 1:00pm

Power just came back and I’m staring at the 9th inning, Marlins up 9-6.  Whatever.  If this is a Marlins/Yankees series, I won’t be watching.  The Chargers aren’t going to have an offensive outpouring.  You probably start LT and David Boston as he has been the target of just about everything lately.  The rest of this team is pretty bad.

The Brownies have to give Tim Couch his job back.  He has earned it and is currently playing at the level the Browns expected out of their #1 pick.  The Holcomb carrot worked and management are wearing ear to ear grins.  Not that they’d let on or anything that this was the plan all along.  I think we can officially label William Green a slow starter.  Be sure to pocket that info away somewhere and trade for him Week 3 next season.  

Prediction: Browns 20 – Chargers 14  (Browns -5.5)


NY Jets at Houston Texans – Sunday 4:05pm

The Jets just ran over the Bills last week and made it look easy.  I think the Jets have turned a small corner this season with their big win last week.  They got it out of their system, Herm Edwards substitutions and starter shuffling in a word, worked.  Look for the Jets to work the corners of the Texans and for Santana Moss to respond.  

The Texans and David Carr have quietly been very good.  They don’t win a ton but fantasy wise, David Carr has been running this offense very cleanly as he is getting his points from all over the field.  He has been prolific and a nice surprise at the QB position.  Corey Bradford the recipient last week.  Look for either he or Andre Johnson to be the man this week.  Domanick Davis wasn’t supposed to be big enough to do what he’s doing but he’s been doing it well.  I really enjoy it when I smell out talent, draft Davis out of college in a few dynasty leagues, then drop him when final roster cuts were due at the beginning of the season.  Really enjoy that.  

Prediction: Jets 27 – Texans 20  (Jets -3)


Green Bay Packers at Saint Louis Rams – Sunday 4:05pm

*** QB of the Week Award: Mark Bulger ***

The Packers success comes from Brett Favre and Ahman Green.  Favre knows this offense like he knows himself and he passes the ball around almost as a second thought.  There are a number of plays scripted for Donald Driver of course but the nucleus of Favre and Green are getting it done.  Look for the Packers to focus on their nucleus and do what they do best to get them through this game. 

They’re baaack. The Rams passing game is on fire and Torry Holt will destroy the Packers if they play zone.  They need to play some man on the Rams and play the receivers physical.  The Rams may be poised for a run at it when Marshall Faulk returns as they look to be firing right now and they have a light second half schedule.

Prediction: Packers 28 – Rams 27  (Rams -4)


Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49’ers – Sunday 4:15pm

Brad Johnson has been spectacular.  He passes for multiple TD’s a game, usually 3 or 4 and keeps leading this team to victory.  If you’re looking for QB help, he is turning into a very solid play this year.  The Bucs seem to have found a rhythm in their passing game and they’ll want to continue to work that, as the 49’ers are easier to handle in the air than on the ground.  Michael Pittman will once again be the benefactor of receiving yards and Key will be active. 

The 49’ers have some trouble.  They are capable of putting points on the board but their internal feuding is ripping this team apart.  Until we see a turnaround and the players on this team start to play as a team, proceed with caution.   

Prediction: Bucs 35 – 49’ers 30  (Bucs -3.5)


Chicago Bears at Seattle Seahawks – Sunday 4:15pm

Kordell had 10 completions last week.  Wow.  The Bears may make a switch at QB and Adrian Peterson gets the start at RB?  Good luck in Seattle boys.  

The Seahawks have been good but they haven’t clicked like some would have expected.  Time to get some giddy up against the NCAA Bears.  Look for Shaun Alexander to have a solid day on the ground for the Seahawks.  

Prediction: Seahawks 42 – Bears 10  (Seahawks -10)


Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders – Monday 9:00pm

The Chiefs are going to showcase, then flaunt, then parade, then strut Priest Holmes up and down the field.  Look for Tony Gonzalez to pitch in as he’s been surging lately.  

The Raiders are going to have an improved day.  It’s the Chiefs after all and the Raiders are at home.  Division rivalries like these run deep and guys find a way to elevate their play.  Elevating the Raiders play equates to an average day all around.  I think by now you’ve learned that there isn’t a reason to play a Raider yet.  

Listen to me now and hear me later.  Jerry Porter is on his way back and if you were a thinking owner, you’d make a trade for Porter now while his value is low.  Rich Gannon hasn’t lost a step, his receivers have.  If Porter comes back at 100% he will be used often and Gannon will find him anywhere he goes on the field.  

Prediction: Chiefs 37 – Raiders 30  (Chiefs -3.5)


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