Man each week the NFL season draws closer to an end, and each week the depression kicks in a little more. Still, there are some great games on tap this weekend and I am going to try to enjoy them to the fullest. Let's take a look each game as I tell you how I see things unfolding and give you my picks.
BALTIMORE (12-5) at TENNESSEE (13-3) - Titans favored by 3
Outlook: The Titans won the Week 5 meeting 13-10 in Baltimore and this one promises to be another slugfest. Baltimore comes into the game off an impressive opening-round victory and seem to be clicking on all cylinders. In the Week 5 meeting the Ravens controlled the clock and limited Tennessee to 47 yards rushing. Tennessee will need more effective running the ball this time around. Ravens' QB Joe Flacco threw two picks in the first meeting, but hasn't been turning the ball over as much of late. The two teams are extremely similar statisically in PaYd per game, RuYd per game, points scored, points allowed, give-aways, and take-aways. The game could easily come down to which team can put points on the board with their defense of special teams.
My Pick: Ravens 20, Titans 16...The one underdog I like to win straight up this week.
Fantasy Clicks: PLAY - Chris Johnson, LeRon McClain, Derrick Mason, Bo Scaife, Rob Bironas, Matt Stover, Ravens DEF, Titans DEF; DON'T PLAY - Joe Flacco, Kerry Collins, LenDale White, Any Titans' WR, Todd Heap.
ARIZONA (10-7) at CAROLINA (12-4) - Panthers favored by 10
Outlook: Talk about two teams that are completely different, the Cardinals and Panthers have gotten to this point in completely different manners. The Panthers have a top-notched running game and an above average defense. The Cardinals boast the league's most prolific passing attack, but struggle to move the ball on the ground and has played inconsistent this year on defense. The game is in Carolina and that could be the difference. Arizona is just 3-5 away from the friendly confines of the desert and and the Panthers are a perfect 8-0 at Bank of America Stadium. Kurt Warner has passed for twice as many TD's as Jake Delhomme (30:15), but Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower collectively were nearly outproduced by the Panthers' No. 2 running back Jonathan Stewart on the ground (913 yards to 836 yards). DeAngelo Williams finished thrid in the NFL in rushing with 1515 yards.
My Pick: Carolina 31, Arizona 20...The Cards will have some success on offense, but will not be able to stop the run this week.
Fantasy Clicks: PLAY - Jake Delhomme, Kurt Warner, DeAngelo Williams, Edgerrin James, Jonathan Stewart, Steve Smith, Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, Anquan Boldin (game-time decision), Mushin Muhammad, John Kasay, Neil Rackers; DON'T PLAY - Tim Hightower, Stephen Spach, Donte Rosario, Panthers DEF, Cardinals DEF.
PHILADELPHIA (10-6-1) at NY GIANTS (13-3) - Giants favored by 4.5
Outlook: I am still trying to figure out the Eagles even got this point. It wasn't too long ago I went and watched them tie the Bengals. Much has happened since then and the Eagles have won 4 of their last 5 games to get to this point. The Giants are the defending champs and come into the game well rested. While the Eagles finished the season red hot, the Giants were a bit sluggish down the stretch as they dealt with problems on and off the field. The two teams split in their head-to-head match-ups with Philly, winning 20-14 in Week 14 at the Meadowlands. Eli Manning has looked rough down the stretch (only averaging 153 PaYd per game w/out Plaxico). The G-Men will enjoy a healthy return of Brandon Jacobs.
My Pick: Giants 20, Eagles 14...the rubber match should be a good one, but I still like the champs coming off two weeks of rest.
Fantasy Clicks: PLAY - Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward, DeSean Jackson, Kevin Curtis, Domenik Hixon, Kevin Boss, Brent Celek, Eagles DEF, David Akers, John Carney; DON'T PLAY - Eli Manning, Correll Buckhalter, Amani Toomer, Giants DEF.
SAN DIEGO (9-8) at PITTSBURGH (12-4) - Steelers favored by 6
Outlook: A little over a month ago I pegged the Chargers as the most overrated team and declared Norv Turner one of the worst coaches in the league. It's amazing what five straight wins can do for job somebody's job security. Behind the Pro Bowl caliber play of Phillip Rivers and the speedy Darren Sproles San Diego has caught a bolt of lightning. Pittsburgh's defense is as good as ever and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger continues to find ways to win. The Steelers' ground attack has been disappointing, but it hasn't matter much as they've continue to beat good team after good team. They have the best homefield advantage of any team in the playoffs and that could make the difference here. San Diego lost at Pittsburhg in Week 11 in the first 11-10 game in NFL history.
My Pick: Pittsburgh 21, Chargers 14...as much as I hate them the Steelers are my Super Bowl pick right now and I am sticking with it!
Fantasy Clicks: PLAY - Ben Roethlisberger, Willie Parker, Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates, Heath Miller, Steelers; DON'T PLAY - Phillip Rivers, Darren Sproles (fear the Steelers' D), LaDainian Tomlinson (hurt), Chris Chambers, Chargers DEF, Nate Kaeding, Jeff Reed.
Fantasy Football, NFL