I tread water with a 3-3 week last week and 6 came very close to turning the tables on me if Atlanta had not kicked a late field goal to beat the most inept late-in-the-game team in the league. There are some pretty bad match-ups this week, but there still were some interesting lines. There are no easy weeks here at W&L.
Denver (-3.5) @ Carolina
RG: This one is not as simple as taking taking the MVP candidate Peyton Manning on the road. Manning has 20 touchdowns and just six interceptions. I knew he was playing well, but that it crazy-insanible. But there is just one thing; Carolina isn't that bad. Besides the Giants debacle, they have lost by 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6. So, this is the classic "opposite" pick. Just watch Cam score late to lose 30-27. PICK: Carolina
MK: Last week I called Peyton Manning the MVP of the first half. In spite of a few strange interceptions, Manning put together another win with an impressive bottom line: a fifth straight week with a quarterback rating of 100 or better, with a completion rate of at least 70%, and with three passing touchdowns. Denver has scored thirty or more in four of their last five--the four that they've won--and Carolina hasn't score 30 since they played New Orleans. PICK: Denver
San Diego @ Tampa Bay (-2.5)
So, this line looks Vegas fishy. San Diego hasn't beaten anybody good this year and the Bucs have been the best fantasy team in the league during the last month with huge games from Freeman and Martin almost every week. Well, the Chargers can play some defense and can stop the run pretty well. The problem is that I am out on Philip Rivers and Ryan Matthews until they prove me wrong. PICK: Tampa Bay
MK: So, Doug Martin is pretty good. I still don't think Josh Freeman is that great, but Vincent Jackson and Martin sure are helping to cover up that 55% completion rate. Still, I haven't seen anything from San Diego since September--or, really, all season. Their wins are against the Chiefs (twice!), the Raiders, and the Titans. PICK: Tampa Bay
Detroit (-1) @ Minnesota
I have to show the stat from the picks column again. Christian Ponder net passing yards in weeks 7 and 9 combined: 87. Matt Stafford passing yards in the second quarter last week: 113. Ponder is regressing and there is nothing that wrong with the Lion offense. They will figure it out. I have taken one home dog all year and lost with Cincinnati. Then I took the Panthers earlier in the column. I won't do it twice in one week. PICK: Detroit
MK: This is an odd game, because I love to ride home dogs when I think the teams are comparable and I picked Minnesota for the Council this week. I have changed my mind. You can see a pretty dramatic shift in the last few weeks for the Vikings. In their first five games, their defense gave up 78.5 yards rushing per game, but in the last four weeks it has skyrocketed to 165.75 in their last four games. Adrian Peterson will keep the game close, but Detroit finally seems to have found a running game too. PICK: Detroit
New York A @ Seattle (-6)
Russell Wilson has nine touchdowns and no interceptions at home. The Seattle Seahawks have only lost once at home this season and that was against the Packers. Wait, what? Oh, nevermind. I don't trust Mark Sanchez on the road. I do trust the Seattle defense. I trust Beast Mode and do not trust Shonn Greene. Seriously, I think I don't like Greene because he couldn't go with Shuan or Sean or Shawn; he had to go with Shonn. Just a Shurmur-esque handling of his name. PICK: Seattle
MK: This is a pretty significant spread for a 4-4 team. Still, since we're making Cleveland sports references, trusting the Jets--even ATS--is kind of like trying to fix your leftfield/power/right-handed hitting situation by going after 34-year old whose power numbers have fallen off a cliff the last three years and whose name rhymes with Bason Jay. It might work, but I'm glad it's not my money. PICK: Seattle
Houston @ Chicago (-1)
No reverse-jinx in this one. This pick is real. I just hate this match-up for the Bears because of what the Texans do well. They don't turn the ball over. They rush the passer and have a good front seven in total on defense. They have a play-action game to take advantage of over-pursuit. The Bears have to play an almost perfect game or bust a punt return TD. Close game, tough game. PICK: Houston
MK: Most of these spreads have been so tight that it would be almost impossible to win and not cover. Especially in this game, even though it feels like a toss-up, it doesn't make much sense to just take the points. Chicago has turned the ball over 12 times this season and still
has a margin of +16? Wow. Nothing sophisticated here, I'm taking the home team. I expect the favorites do well this week, so maybe giving them a clean--unintentional--sweep will improve my chances. Pick: Chicago
Dallas @ Philadelphia O/U 44.5
Both offense can't keep the ball long enough to actually score. A modern NFL team (Philadelphia) visited the red zone four times in New Orleans and netted themselves -1 point after the extra point from the pick-six. PICK: Under
MK: When you're talking O/U, though, those four red zone trips actually net you 13 points. *That's still not enough. *Here's the last six, regular season meetings in the Dallas-Philadelphia series: 7-20; 7-34; 14-13; 27-30; 24-0; 20-16. *For bonus points, I would bet Dallas, but... Pick: Under
MK: Everyone here knows how to make a burger, but I'm always looking for new takes on a classic. Here's a simple way to dress up a cheeseburger just a little differently. All ratios are 1:1 for 1 lbs. beef, so if you try this out and you need more, just multiply it by however many pounds of burgers you're producing. A pound should produce four burgers at 4 oz. each.
You'll need: 80/20 ground beef (1 lbs.), 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tsp onion powder or dried chopped onion, .5 tsp garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Optional: for a bit of kick, consider adding chipotle chili powder.
Method: mix it all together, forming 4 oz. patties. The best way to serve these, I've found, is with caramelized onion, sauteed mushrooms, melted Gruyere (or Swiss, if you're being budget-conscious for this tailgate), and smear of brown mustard and mayo on your bun. Add a pickle for a little bit of crunch with this burger, which has always turned out juicy and a flavor that reminds you just a bit of French Onion Soup.
RG: Goose Island's 312
MK: I'm not crazy about wheat beer, urban or otherwise, but Goose Island makes a great product
LAST WEEK: 3-3
FP NATION: 10-20