ISIS (6-5) vs. SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTERS
I will admit that while under the surface I was still fairly confident about my roster this year, when the ISIS were 3-5, I had been almost assuming I was going to miss the playoffs and spend the entire summer stewing about inferior owners having superior seasons.
But over the past 3 weeks, the AFFL has begun to round into a more proper shape, starting, of course, with the ISIS winning 3 straight games. And although I've been on a very steady pace - 90+ points in 5 of the last 6 weeks - I've yet to have to that truly explosive game. CBS wants me to score like 109 points a week, and I've let them down all season. Until this week.
Kaepernick, who I admittedly have a soft spot for, is going to have one of those weeks that makes it so, so difficult to move on from him when he tortures Washington. Lacy, who any of you could've traded for in the middle of season, will be great again, and Denard Robinson should have a surprising amount of points against the Colts.
The ISIS is so stacked as we head down the stretch that my only concern this week is actually Calvin Johnson. Early speculation is that the Pats will put Revis on Golden Tate and double Calvin, but that's easy enough to change mid-game, so who cares about that. I've actually given some thought to benching Calvin in favor of Hopkins this week, but I'm not quite ready to count on Ryan Mallett fully. Plus, you don't bench your stars.
By the way, Tim could've traded for Calvin weeks ago, and was going to, but then he walked away when Calvin hurt his ankle. So now Tim walks into this game facing Calvin, and starting Larry Fitzgerald, who has an MCL sprain and might end up missing this game. If Fitz ends up missing the game, Tim's only available roster option is Benny Cunningham, which is amazing and hilarious. And even if Fitz does play, he is again, with a gimpy knee, and facing the Seattle secondary in Seattle. Oh, and don't forget that Drew Stanton throws to everybody but Fitz for some reason.
The only interesting part of this game, really, is that I have 6 guys playing the 1pm game Sunday, and Tim only has one. So the scoreboard by 3:50 is going to be something funny like 88 - 1 before the rest of Tim's roster gets going in the afternoon games. And those guys will not catch up to the total I post in the early games. The Bills DST, having been moved to Monday night, are just going to run up the score and cover the spread.
THE PICK: ISIS 109 - SIGMUND & THE SEA MONSTERS 67
RIGGINS' RIGGS (4-7) vs. LOTHBROK (6-5)
The good teams in the league should be extremely worried about Riggins' Riggs potentially going on a run, winning an extremely weak division, and getting into the playoffs. Everybody will be much better off with this team on the outside looking in.
Gary has the advantage at the QB spot, and probably at the DST spot, but that's about where it ends. I'm not quite ready to believe that Josh Gordon is going to score 21 points this week, but I'm definitely not ready to believe that Gary has any chance in this game.
I like to try and give each matchup equal shrift, or at least a similar word count, but there's not really not too much more that can be said here.
Oh! Did you know that Darren McFadden has not rushed for a single first down all season? That sure is something!
THE PICK: RIGGINS' RIGGS 91 - LOTHBROK 64
THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS (3-8) vs. LITTLE BABY JESUS (8-3)
Larry also played in the pickup hockey game I'm in on Thursday nights - which is why we didn't go to TJ O'Dirt's to watch the game with AFFL folks - and the game is on the outdoor, Olympic-sized rink at North Park. It was about 21 degrees last night, and Larry had just spent the week in Arizona for work, business expensing beers for 3 days. His respiratory capacity was certainly not at its peak last night.
The first 3 weeks of the season were Arizona for Larry. The last 8 weeks were last night. Rough. As. Hell. I wish I could say that this week is going to be any different. Romo should be fine against the Giants defense, but Vereen will have a tough time against the Lions rushing defense, assuming he even gets the carries. Carlos Hyde definitely doesn't get the carries, Julio Jones will go against Joe Haden (who shut down AJ a couple of weeks ago), and Colston and Donnell will continue to do nothing.
The week is not great for Jesus on paper, but it's probably enough. Rodgers, Gronk, and Evans are the only ones who will really do anything, which will be just fine. Maybe DeSean will catch a long, meaningless touchdown just to run up the score a bit.
THE PICK: LITTLE BABY JESUS 88 - THE WHITECHAPEL RIPPERS 61
HGAC (7-4) vs. IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (5-6)
Well, since I said in Tuesday's mini playoff preview that Runny would have a shocking upset over HGAC, I guess I need to back myself into that prediction somehow. This is some real cart before the horse stuff here, folks. I guess the simplest way would be to pick apart HGAC first.
Antonio Gates said last week that Rivers is dealing with a pretty tough rib injury. The Chargers all denied it pretty quickly, but it would explain the sharp drop in Rivers' points in the last two games. I went outside and made some test throws in the name of science, and it is confirmed that you need your torso to throw a ball. If the Rams front four can get to Rivers like they got to Manning last week, Rivers will be lucky to have 12 points.
Golden Tate, as we mentioned, may be shadowed by Revis, and he has 10.9 and 4.9 points since Calvin returned. And the Dolphins defense has to go on the road, in the cold, against a Broncos team looking to avenge last week's loss. Although Brent Grimes might be able to hold Demaryius down just a touch. Then you look at DeMarco Murray, who has 13 and 9 points in his last two games, and you know the Giants are going to upset the Cowboys because they're a home dog in a night game, and things really aren't looking great for HGAC this week.
BUT! It is entirely possible to have a bad week and still beat this gol' dang Runny team. The curse of RGIII still hangs heavy over this team. So we need to show they can have a good week and actually pull out a win here. A meaningless win, to be sure. Well...meaningless to them. They aren't making the playoffs. But I could win the division if Runny wins this week, which is important for good of the league.
(Note: Brian Barker has much too much integrity to intentionally skunk his roster and dump this game so I can't win the division. Well...that probably isn't true, but he probably is delusional enough to think he can still make the playoffs with a win. On we go.)
Barker has both quarterbacks in what will be a ferocious ARI / SEA game, and is wisely choosing Wilson over Stanton. Wilson will be running for his life on more than a few blitzes, so there are some good points. And every time the Cards actually sack Wilson, that's a point for Barker's DST.
Jackson and Gore are both very old and very slow and facing decent run defenses from what I read online, so they won't do much. Which...hmm. That isn't helping our case. What will be helping our case tremendously is Vincent Jackson. That's right. The man who hasn't posted double digits since Week 5. The man who only posted double digits once this year. He is going to make it happen against the Bears. And then Alshon Jeffery is going to make it happen back to the Bucs.
And It's Always Runny In Philadelphia is going to make it happen. Barely. Gary will be so, so excited watching the Sunday night game as Murray and Beckham try to bring back HGAC.
THE PICK: IT'S ALWAYS RUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA 81 - HGAC 78
TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS (7-4) vs. ANIMAL HOUSE (7-4)
News on Justin Blackmon! It seems that he has completed his rehab treatment, which is genuinely a good thing, and if he does not violate a 6-month probation or something, he might be able to be reinstated by the league. Assuming Roger Goodell feels like it, of course. Maybe if Blackmon supports the troops harder!
One of my favorite parts of last night's game (besides Oakland covering my +7 bet on them) was the announcers praising Dwayne Bowe for not complaining about what a pussy Alex Smith is. I mean, they said it differently. They talked about how Smith has 0 TDs to wide receivers even though IT'S WEEK 12, and how Bowe shows leadership by not complaining about never getting the ball more than 10 yards downfield. Alex Smith, folks! There is no way to compliment him that isn't backhanded.
So Bowe scored 4.2 points last night. Scott started Bowe, who plays for a team with 0 WR touchdowns, over Kendall Wright, who is Mettenberger's #1 target so far and is facing an Eagles team that has allowed something like 115 WR TDs. The Eagles secondary is so bad, Alex Smith could throw on them.
Kendall Wright's contract still has 2 years left on it.
Lynch could be bundled up a touch by the Cardinals, and unless he scores 40, Scott doesn't have a great week, so...
Meanwhile, Matt Asiata is concussed, so he won't steal 3 goal line carries from McKinnon. In fact, with Asiata out and Tate still too new, McKinnon could have a pretty nice game against a Packer defense that can be had. Especially since Packer games IN Minnesota have been more competitive that you might think. Julio is going to get Joe Haden, so Roddy White should score, Maclin will find the end zone again, and the Seahawks DST just might be able to get to Drew Stanton at home.
If Scott is honest with himself, genuine when it's just him and the mirror, real about life...he will begin to worry about missing the playoffs after this loss.
THE PICK: ANIMAL HOUSE 93 - TIMMY DOESN'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS 59
ASSTANNER (3-8) vs. THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL (5-6)
Oh, Bri. You know, when I wrote my whole playoff prediction about Bri winning this week and then winning the division at 8-6, I hadn't yet looked at his lineup for this week. And when I did look at this lineup, well...it was like I bought a foreclosed home. I drove past it once, looked charming from the outside, looked like it had some great potential. Then, after I got the keys and went inside, I found out the copper pipes had been stolen out of the walls, and most prominent feature of the master bedroom was a giant hole in the floor. An interior skylight. This roster sucks this week.
No Cam. No Brown. Too much of the other guys he has. Bridgewater might not post double digits against Green Bay, Gio will be splitting carries with Jeremy, and Alfred Morris is flying cross-country with a team that is falling apart faster than Bri's playoff hopes. Crabtree and Marshall (and maybe the Niner DST) are really going to need to step up in this one.
But hey, AFFL teams win with rosters that are basically wet garbage with coffee grinds on top all the time. Why can't Bri do that this week? It's not like Chris' team is so great. Although...Sanchez seems to like Jordan Matthews a lot. And T.Y. Hilton will certainly bounce back at home against the Jags.
By the way, Todd Gurley's blown ACL sure is pretty interesting since he's sitting on Chris' roster at the moment.
Look, I'm going to level with you. I have approximately zero faith that Bri is going to win this game. I think my chances of getting him to go on a 4-day dudes golf trip are better than his chances of winning this game. But I picked him to win the division on Tuesday, and while I love waffling, I don't want to eat waffles only 3 days later.
Congratulations, Shayne Graham! Your late field goal on Monday night wins this game after Percy Harvin gives the Asstanner a very slight lead.
Oh my God! Two nights in a row that Gary is going to be so excited!
THE PICK: THAT KANGAROO STOLE MY BALL 72 - ASSTANNER 70