@Chicago (-6.5) over Carolina
- I really want to take the Bears this week as my "lock of the week" for the ESPN Eliminator Challenge... but I just can't do it. This Offensive Line has too many issues, and Cam Newton has too much potential to be "unpredictably good" to put my faith in Chicago. That said, the Bears are a better team and win in a close game. Bears by 7.
Buffalo (-3) over @Cincinnati
- Another game I'd like to take as my lock would be Buffalo. After beating New England, you'd think that Cincinnati would be an easy matchup for the Bills; however, the Buffalo just isn't quite good enough on Defense for me to put my faith in them as my lock of the week. I actually like the Bengals' Defense; I think Cincinnati will slow down the hot offense of the Bills, but ultimately I think Buffalo wins a close one.
Tennessee over @Cleveland (1.5)
Straight up: Tennessee - This is a tough game to pick. Two former Fantasy Studs at RB are both in a cloudy situation; Peyton Hillis (illness) hasn't gained top form, but returns to the lineup for the Browns, while Chris Johnson (possible heavy pockets) has started slow to start 2011. I expect a little more CJ2K than Hillis in this one, and I think the Titans' good play on Defense will continue. TEN wins, ugly.
@Dallas (-1.5) over Detroit
- The Lions are definitely playing better, more consistent, football than the Cowboys right now. But I'm a Tony Romo believer, he's going to keep up his good play throughout this year. Jared Allen killed Detroit's Offensive Line last week, which isn't good with DeMarcus Ware on tap. The way to beat Detroit's Defense is through the air, which is a good thing for Dallas. Cowboys in a great game.
Minnesota (-1.5) over @Kansas City
- Neither team is playing very well right now. The Vikings continually do everything in their power to lose games, so I guess at least they're consistent. But the Chiefs are an absolute mess right now. There should be a sign on Toby Gerhart's back that says "Take me out, Put 28 back in" as a reminder to Leslie Frazier. Peterson goes off in this one, Vikings beat K.C. easily.
Washington (-1.5) over St.Louis
- This is yet another tough game to pick; the Rams have been largely disappointing following an Offseason in which many people picked St.Louis to win the NFC West. St.Louis's cornerbacks are absolutely awful right now, so Rex Grossman should be a good start for Fantasy this week. The Rams don't have enough on Offense to win right now, Redskins win.
@Philadelphia (-8.5) over San Francisco
- I think the 49ers have a good enough Defense to slow down the Philadelphia attack. With an uneasy Vick under Center, the Eagles will (or at least should) rely more on LeSean McCoy. If McCoy can shoulder the load for Philly, the Eagles win. If San Fran can shut him down, and Vick is unable to get rid of the ball and find open guys, an upset may be in order. I stick with the most likely scenario, Philadelphia wins by 10.
New Orleans (-7) over @Jacksonville
- The Jaguars are playing well on Defense. There. I started off with something positive about Jacksonville. The Saints are a better team than the Jags, their Offense will beat the Jags' Defense, and their Defense will easily handle Gabbert and the Jags' Offense. Enough said - Saints win easily.
@Houston (-4) over Pittsburgh
- This is an interesting game to me. I want to see the Texans take a step forward with a couple wins against good teams, and I think this may be a good time to do it. The Steelers' poor secondary may be exposed against Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, and the Houston air attack. If Williams & Watt (Should be an electric company) can beat PIT's line and put pressure on Ben, the Texans will win. I like the home team; HOU by a TD.
@Arizona over New York Giants (-1.5)
Straight up: Arizona - I'm not a huge fan of the Cardinals right now. That said, I'm still not on the Giants' bandwagon either. Eli Manning has silenced the doubters and started 2011 on a hot streak, and I think he'll continue his solid play against a shaky Arizona secondary. The Cardinals are going to be fired up for this one after a tough loss against Seattle. Arizona by a FG.
Atlanta (-4.5) over @Seattle
- This one looks easy on paper, but it smells a little like an upset. Following the Vick fiasco, the Falcons were able to return to being a relevant NFL team by utilizing a power run game behind the bowling ball known as Michael Turner. Suddenly, by drafting Julio Jones, Atlanta seems to think they should play like the pass-happy Green Bay Packers. While the Seattle Defense could shut down Atlanta, the Falcons are simply a much better football team. Falcons by 10.
@Green Bay (-12.5) over Denver
- This is the safest bet of the week. Elvis Dumervil may give the Packers some problems in this one; I think starting RT Bryan Bulaga will miss this game, so in that case, Marshall Newhouse would be making his 1st career start. TE Jermichael Finley had a breakout game (3 TD) last week, and he will follow that performance with another big game here. James Starks played poorly last week against the Bears, but I think he has multiple TDs in this one. Packers in a blowout.
New England (-4.5) over @Oakland
- Last week, the Raiders came through for me as my upset special by beating the Jets. Unfortunately for Oakland, they play against Tom Brady this week. Although he tossed 4 INTs last week in a loss to the Buffalo Bills, Brady rarely loses two game in a row. The Patriots will torch the Raiders' secondary; Oakland's elite running game won't be enough to keep up with the New England air attack. Patriots by 10.
@San Diego (-7) over Miami
- The Chargers are always an inconsistent team early in the season; they seem to play to their competition. One week San Diego plays neck-and-neck against New England, and the next week the Chargers almost lose one to the lowly Chiefs. Miami could pull this one off if they can finally put a full game together, but their Defense hasn't been able to stop anyone this season. Too much Rivers for Miami. Chargers 31, Dolphins 20.
New York Jets over @Baltimore (3.5)
Straight up: Baltimore - Rex is coming off a disappointing loss against Oakland, so he'll be fired up for this primetime game against his former team. I don't care how motivated a head coach may or may not be, Ray Lewis will have his squad ready to play come Sunday night. Ray Rice must be licking his chops when he watches the film of Darren McFadden run through gaping holes in New York's defense last week. Ravens solve Sanchez, Baltimore wins by 3.
Monday Night (4-0) :
@Tampa Bay (-10) over Indianapolis
I decided on the Bucs as my Eliminator Challenge "lock" this week. This will mark the 3rd time in 4 weeks that the team playing against the Colts will be my lock pick (Houston in week 1, Pittsburgh in week 3.) Josh Freeman has started slow, to the tune of only 2 TD and 4 INT through 3 games. However, I have enough faith in him this week to start him in Fantasy over red-hot Ryan Fitzpatrick. Freeman and struggling WR Mike Williams will both get back on track against Indy. Bucs 31, Colts 17.
Week 4 Lock: Tampa Bay over Indy.