In arguably my most accurate prediction ever, Dincher won in blowout fashion last week by a score of 137.2 to 87.5. That was my blowout of the week, and I said Dincher would win 137-81. You have to admit, that’s pretty impressive. In the upset of the week, I said Jahvid Best, DeAngelo Williams, and Brett Favre would suck, and that Randy Moss, Philip Rivers, Jamaal Charles, and Devin Aromshodu would do well. If I hadn’t thrown in that 2nd X-Factor about Devin, I would’ve pretty much nailed all of those calls, and I definitely nailed the upset considering O’Neill won by 74 points. There may have been several things I was wrong about in the “Game of the Week,” but I wasn’t wrong about the final result, so I was 3-0 in my games of the week picks, and you’ll see in a second how my Eliminator picks were. All in all, my predictions last week were pretty stellar. I’ll do my best to keep up the good work. It’s just a shame it didn’t result in a win for my fantasy team.

On my Eliminator picks last week, I was either 5-0 or 4-1 last week depending on whether you believe I was actually ranking the Redskins as my #5 most confident pick or if you think I just used that spot to do my best to dissuade you from picking them. I’ll split the difference and take both the blame and the credit, meaning I’ll accept the 4-1 record, but I’ll also take credit for making sure none of you picked the Redskins. Thus far, you guys have made me proud. We suffered a couple of casualties in Week 1 and one last night because Montgomery forgot to pick a Sunday game, but over 71% of our league is still alive after 3 weeks, while it would appear just over 40% of America remains flawless. Good work team. And yes, I know that (most of us) have money on the Eliminator line this year, but if I end up losing $10 in the process of finally seeing one of us survive the whole season, it will be a Hamilton well spent.

However, the bye weeks are now upon us, and this is where it starts to get difficult. There are 2 games this week which are just smack-you-in-the-face obvious picks, but for those of us who have already used teams like the Titans, Packers, and Ravens, we have to decide whether we’re going to do whatever it takes to survive another week or maybe go off the board a little bit to save great teams until later. Personally, I don’t see the point in going down in flames with teams like the Saints or Colts still in your back pocket. Great teams in the Eliminator Challenge are like timeouts at the end of the first half: you can’t take them with you, so you might as well use them while you can. I would also like to point out that I’ve never made it beyond week 8 or 9 because I end up having to pick teams like the (profanity-laced adjectives edited) Redskins or Seahawks.

Of the 14 games this week, here are the teams that I like the most:

#5. Indianapolis over Jacksonville.

If there’s ever a situation in which I might be okay with you picking a road team in a divisional game, this is the one. Peyton Manning, currently #1 in the NFL in passer rating, comes to town to face the secondary that is allowing the most passing yards per attempt, most touchdowns, and the 4th highest opposing QB rating so far this season. Indy’s run defense is pretty bad, so Jones-Drew should have a good game, and we’ve already seen Arian Foster single-handedly win a game against this team. However, I think that was a result of worrying about Matt Schaub, whereas there’s nothing to fear in the form of David Garrard. The Colts should have no difficulty going on the road to win this game, but I’m still not picking it, just because it breaks two of the three Laws of Eliminator.

#4. Atlanta over San Francisco.


Here’s a recap of the West Coast teams who have traveled east to play a 1:00 game thus far this season:

Denver lost to Jacksonville 24-17
Oakland lost to Tennessee 38-13
Arizona lost to Atlanta 41-7
San Francisco lost to Kansas City 31-10

It’s the best known secret in the NFL that West Coast teams always come out flat in 1:00 games. So, you may think that the 49ers are bound to win this game just because everyone predicted them to win the NFC West and they can’t possibly start the season 0-3, but you would be wrong. Atlanta is easily one of the 5 best teams in the NFC right now along with Philadelphia, Green Bay, Chicago, and New Orleans. I would even argue they’re the best team in the conference. San Francisco on the other hand is abysmal. They can’t score and they can’t keep anyone from scoring against them. The spread in this game will probably end up being Atlanta by 8.5, and I’m still taking the Falcons in a heartbeat.

#3. San Diego over Arizona.

Arizona is easily the worst 2-1 team of this season, and probably of this decade. You shouldn’t be allowed to win games with 227 yards of total offense, more than 100 penalty yards, and three turnovers, but sometimes that’s what happens when you play the Raiders. Until Fitzgerald actually gets involved in that offense, not only am I not ever going to consider picking Arizona on the road, but I’m not going to even think about winning another game in our League either. On the flip side, San Diego is easily the best 1-2 team of the season. Yes, you heard me Dallas and Minnesota. In each of their losses, San Diego was in position for a game-tying touchdown at the end of the game, but just couldn’t get it done, and in both of those games, they just got crushed in special teams; Kansas City had a punt return TD and a couple of other nice returns, and Seattle had 2 kickoff return TDs. That’s not even fair. If you think San Diego is going to fall to 1-3 against a terrible Cardinals team, you’re out of your mind. This is probably the game I’ll end up picking, but if San Diego ends up 1-3 and 2.5 games behind Kansas City in the AFC West, I won’t be upset in the least.

#1b. New Orleans over Carolina.
#1a. Green Bay over Detroit.

In one order or the other, here are your two blatantly obvious picks in which the home team is going to be favored in Vegas by at least 13 points. In each game, the severe favorite is coming off of a loss resulting from a disappointing last second field goal and has a chip on its shoulder. In each game, the favorite was one of the three or four pre-season favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, and probably still are right up there, and those teams never lose back to back divisional games. Never. The New Orleans pick is just a severe gut call because of how bad Carolina has been thus far, and because I feel like New Orleans is due for one of those dominating wins that proves something. They haven’t looked great thus far in 3 difficult games, but they’re still the defending champions, they still have one of the most potent passing attacks in the NFL, and Carolina is still one of the worst teams in the NFL on both sides of the ball. You can’t lose by 13 points to each of the Giants, the Bucs, and the Bengals and possibly convince me there’s any shot you’re going to go into New Orleans and pull off an upset. And if you honestly think there’s any chance in hell that Green Bay suffers a devastating loss, let me throw some stats at you…

Detroit’s last road victory: October 2007.
Detroit’s last loss to Green Bay by less than 10 points: December 2006.
Detroit’s last win over Green Bay: September 2005.
Detroit’s last win @ Green Bay: Not sure. ESPN’s records only go back to 1993, and the Packers have beaten Detroit in Lambeau 18 consecutive times…possibly more.

Occasionally the historical head to head records are pointless, especially in college sports, but you can’t ignore nearly two decades worth of dominance in an instance in which the dominatrix is a Super Bowl contender and the whipping boy is 0-3.

The Commish’s NFL Upset of the Week:

Buffalo (+5) over New York Jets.

Last week, my pick was wrong, but my theory was right. Denver held Manning in check just enough to keep their offense in the game, but the offense continually shot itself in the foot by getting 6 points out of 5 trips to the red zone. Yikes.

Well, here’s my theory for this game: the Jets have played in 3 straight dog fights against teams all currently sitting at 2-1, and they’ve got a huge Monday night game against the Vikings looming next week, followed by a trip to Denver and a battle with Green Bay. It’s a classic sandwich game where they’re bound to come out flat against a team that, for all its faults, at least plays teams tough at home. I think the Bills have instilled a boat load of confidence in Ryan Fitzpatrick by cutting Edwards, and I think Sanchez is now overdue for a stinker after two straight solid performances. It won’t be pretty, but I think the Bills win a 17-16 kind of game.

And, here’s a new feature, effectively replacing that advice section that I was bored with…

The Commish’s 3 Team Teaser of the Week:

Pit -1.5, Atl -7, Indy -7.5

If you don’t know anything about spreads, just move along, but if you’re interested in my gambling tips, allow me to introduce you to the idea of a teaser. There are different types of teasers for varying amounts of teams and points, but for argument sake, I’ll be dealing with 3 team 10 point teasers (which pay out -120, just for the record). Here’s the idea: Pick 3 games, add 10 points in your favor to their spreads, bet money, hope for the best. So if we’re adding 10 to each of these picks, I’m left with:

Pit +8.5, Atl +3, Indy +2.5

I’ve already given my support to Atlanta and Indianapolis in the eliminator section, so I love getting points in their games. I was tempted to go with San Diego as my third team, but I’m already putting my Eliminator life on the line with them, so I can’t put them here too. With everyone in the nation dubbing them the best team in the NFL right now, do you think there’s any possibility that Pittsburgh loses by two possessions at home to a team that hasn’t scored more than 24 points in a game yet this season? Not a chance. If Flacco was shut down by the Jets and Bengals defense, you better bet the Steelers will shut him down. They might lose the game, but the last 5 regular season matchups in this series have been decided by less than a touchdown. I expect more of the same.

******Games of the Week******

~~~~~~~Blowout of the Week~~~~~~~

Duncan’s Packers (3-0) over Travelpiece’s 49ers (1-2)

You want to know how disgusting Duncan’s team is? His current line-up is projecting to get over 130 points, and that’s without his #1 QB or #1 WR…and he doesn’t even have a defense in there yet. There’s no way a QB-less team with a banged up Jahvid Best is even remotely competing in that match up.

Final score: GB 122-69.

~~~~~~~Upset of the Week~~~~~~~

Gideon’s Bears (1-2) over Garland’s Giants (2-1)

Gideon hates when I pick him to win, but in looking at the other potential matchups, this is definitely the one most likely to result in a victory for the team that’s lower in the standings.

5 reasons:

#1. Brandon Jackson vs. Detroit.

Everyone was all over Jackson’s johnson when Ryan Grant suffered his season ending injury, but now the experts are avoiding him like the plague. 6.7 points against the 32nd ranked rush defense? I don’t know if you know this, but there are only 32 teams in the NFL. I think that means they’re the worst. You mean to tell me a starting running back in the NFL can’t run for 70 yards against the worst rushing defense in the league? Get real. Dude is going to triple his projected output.

#2. Steven Jackson vs. Groin injury.

Even a 100% Steven was going to struggle against one of the surprisingly better rush defenses in Seattle. But then he went and tweaked something last week against Washington and didn’t see the field the entire second half. If you’re not healthy enough to help milk the clock in a victory for a team that won 2 games in the previous season, I find it hard to believe you’re going to come back at full health 7 days later.

#3. LeSean McCoy vs. Washington.

The Redskins’ defense is secretly horrible. Their points per game stat is almost respectable after inexplicably shutting down Dallas on opening weekend, but they’ve still allowed the most yards in the league at 423.7 YPG. Shady was surprisingly a non-factor this past week during the Michael Vick show in Jacksonville, but I think he gets much more involved this week for at least 100 yards and a TD or two.

#4. Garland’s quarterback situation.

I have no idea what happened with the trading that went on back and forth between Garland and Yelen, but in the end, Garland seemingly ended up getting Steven Jackson for a couple of mediocre wide receivers and a back-up running back. Wow. What’s weird is that I thought Yelen got the better end of each individual deal, so I don’t know who ended up winning. I don’t understand why Garland didn’t just hang on to Roethlisberger until the end of the suspension. Now he’s left with a mediocre Eli Manning and 2 miserable QBs. Cassel is on a bye, and I can’t possibly imagine he will play Shaun Hill against the Packers, so he’s stuck with Eli Manning against the Bears. Chi-Town gives up a lot of passing yards, but never in big chunks. The longest pass they’ve allowed is a 28 yarder which is the shortest longest pass in the NFL, so I don’t foresee Manning hooking up with Hakeem Nicks for any deep balls, BUT if he does, Nicks is on Gideon’s team. There isn’t much upside here.

#5. Chargers D vs. Arizona.

It’s not often that I expect a defense to play a predictably significant role in a match up, but I feel like Derek Anderson is going to get benched in this game for 3 interceptions and 2 black eyes from Larry Fitzgerald after being overthrown on 3 consecutive downs.

X-Factor: Jacoby Jones.

He’s shown brief flashes already this year, but this is his coming out party. Oakland has benefitted against the pass so far this season by facing teams with only one real threat, which Asomugha has been able to keep in check. Nnamdi will be on Andre Johnson, leaving Jacoby Jones and Kevin Walter to roam around the rest of a sub-par secondary, and I think for a change, Jacoby is the main benefactor of those two. Either way, he’ll definitely haul in enough receptions to out-produce his projected 6.1 points.

Final score: Chi 131-102.

~~~~~~~Game of the Week~~~~~~~

Miller’s Chiefs (1-2) vs. A’s Bengals (1-2)

There are more interesting games out there, especially our inter-conference game between Meyers and Dincher, but this is a borderline desperation game for both teams involved. The AFC in our little fantasy league is pretty weak, as I predicted in the pre-season. Three of the seven teams in this conference look really bad (and would all be 0-3 if they didn’t already play 2 games against each other), one of them looks really good, one of them is thankful as a mo-fo to have the Steelers defense on his team, and these are the other two teams. Most likely, the AFC will only end up getting 2 of the 6 playoff spots, and to finish in the top 2, it’ll take at least an 8-6 record…probably 9-5. Either way, it really wouldn’t be a good idea to start out 1-3, so this game is critical. Also, I’ve already written about both Dincher and Meyers in each of the previous 2 weeks, so they need to take a backseat to those of us who have gone un-mentioned thus far.

Break it down!

QB: Thus far this year, I’ve played the wrong QB in each and every week. The 10 point differential this week was nearly the reason I lost. Good thing Matt Forte sucked and it didn’t matter anyway? Neither of my quarterbacks makes for a good option this week, and yet somehow they’re projected to get 17.3 or 17.4 points. I’m definitely going to go with McNabb because there’s potential that he just lights it up in Philly, whereas there’s no chance Flacco gets 15 fantasy points against Pittsburgh. Speaking of no chance, there’s no chance both of my QBs combined even equal the output from A’s QB, Drew Brees, this week. Against a defense that allowed Eli Manning to score 21 points, Brees is inexplicably only projected to get 22.5 points. Really? Based on their projections for all players involved, ESPN apparently thinks New Orleans wins this game 27-17. Doesn’t Carolina @ New Orleans reek of 42-7 to anyone other than me? Drew Brees is only going to throw for 256 and 2 touchdowns? Is that a joke? It has to be. Huge edge: Kauffman

RB: Each owner is starting three running backs, which is always nice for head to head purposes. I’ll just compare them in the order in which I would rank them on each team.

Foster vs. Tomlinson. LDT is pretty clearly the #1 guy in the Jets backfield, and he gets to go up against one of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL. Thankfully, Arian Foster is in the same position in Houston, only he doesn’t have any competition for carries. ESPN and I seem to agree that both backs run for around 100 yards and a TD, so I think this part of the comparison is a wash.

Forte vs. Hightower. Hightower’s season is done. I’ve been saying since the pre-season that Beanie Wells is quite obviously the better running back, and that Tim Hightower’s only fantasy value is as a below-average running back who makes a few catches out of the backfield. Well, the Bean is back, and Timmy only had 7 receptions for 49 yards in his absence. I think he gets more than the 4.5 points he’s projected for, but I don’t foresee him scoring double digits against a good Chargers defense. Forte on the other hand should have a pretty good day against a defense that somehow allowed the Colts to run for 163 yards and a TD against them. Edge: Miller.

Forsett vs. Addai. These are the 3 running backs I was hoping to ride throughout the season, if for no other reason, so I could refer to them as the F-bombs in my backfield, and now Foster finally appears to be the #1 guy in Seattle, as he should be. The 13 points he’s supposed to get are a conservative estimate because he still hasn’t scored a touchdown and we still aren’t entirely sure Pete Carroll has any idea what he’s doing. I smell a breakout party, though. Forsett’s best game last season came in St. Louis to the tune of 130 yards and 2 TD. I’m not that optimistic, but I do think he’ll get more than 13 points. On the other side of the fence, I wish I could say Joseph Addai has been a disappointment, but that would imply I expected anything from him. I don’t understand why Indianapolis still insists that this guy is their #1 running back, and I really don’t understand why ESPN is projecting him to score 16.7 points. Give me a break. Edge: Miller.

WR: Here’s where I’m hoping I more than make up for the massive hole I’ll be in from the QB difference. Larry Fitzgerald is bound to have a great game, right? If he doesn’t, I’m going to be shopping him for about 25% of his pre-season value. But that’s how I consistently felt about Calvin Johnson right before he would randomly decide to have a great game. I have to believe he’s going to make us believe again. Someone please tell Larry that he’s currently behind Jabar Gaffney and Mario Manningham in the wide receiver ranks. That’s not what I paid $47 for. He’s due. End of story. And Santana Moss has been really solid for me thus far this season, so I have to assume he’ll keep that up. For Kauffman, Roddy White has been solid, and will continue to do so, but what is he going to do with that other receiving spot? Percy Harvin’s on a bye, and Steve Breastiston just had knee surgery and is out for two weeks. His only other option is Robert Meachem, which means his only other option is to play the waiver wire. So the question is: how much are you willing to pay for Brandon Lloyd to play against the best secondary in the NFL? If both of my guys do anything near what they’re expected to do, I should win this portion of the battle easily. Edge: Miller

TE/Def: The defenses are a wash, as both the Jets and the Packers could easily pitch shutouts this week against the Bills and Lions, respectively. Tony Gonzalez came alive last week for me, but Jermichael Finley has been alive and kicking for Kauffman all season. I think it’s more likely that the Packer puts up a solid number. Edge: Kauffman

Final: A lot can change between now and Sunday regarding that mystery roster spot on Kauffman’s roster, but between that and the significant edge I seem to have in the running game, I think I might just be able to absorb Drew Brees’ monster game. Score: KC 129-127.