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Handicapper Blog

Posted by Darin Zoccali on Saturday, September 08, 2012 1:00 PM

Welcome to Week 1 of Pigskin and Ponies. Here we will look at Week 1 of the NFL Action, giving some of our best plays along with some Fantasy Football Thoughts.  

PIGSKIN: (Home Team in CAPS)

Game 1: CHICAGO (-10) vs. Indianapolis

Play: Lay the 10 points with The Bears.  The offensive line still has some question marks, but Jay Cutler has a new weapon in the form of an old friend in Brandon Marshall.  Their running game will be one of the best in football with the combination of Matt Forte and the underrated Michael Bush.  Andrew Luck may point a few points on the board, but the Bears defense is a formidable challenge in his first NFL game.  The Bears should win by a couple of touchdowns.


Game 2: NEW YORK JETS (-3) vs. Buffalo

Buffalo is the play here. Remember the hot start they got off to last season, where QB Ryan Fitzpatrick could do nothing wrong. The rushing attack of Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller is a good one, and although the Jets Defense is prominent, I question the front four. The Bills defense is vastly underrated and the Jets will have a hard time scoring points. Shonn Greene and Santonio Holmes are just not the kind of weapons that beat up a good defense. The Jets will have a very hard time scoring.


Game 3: New England (-5) at TENNESSEE

While it scares me a little that this spread is only 5 points, I have to take the Patriots. Their defense is improve and Meyo finally gets linebacker help from a highly regarded rookie. The offense has added a weapon in Brandon Lloyd and Stevan Ridley is going to be an excellent running back for them going forward. Tennessee is improving and while I like Jake Locker, this is a lot to ask of him first time out of the box. Kenny Brit is out, serving a 1 game suspension so rookie wideout Kendall Wright will have to step up. In order for The Titans to have a chance in this game, Chris Johnson needs to come up big and don't think Bellichick doesn't know that.


Game 4: HOUSTON (-13) vs. Miami

Everyone who watched Hard Knocks knows this is going to be a long season for The Dolphins and Houston is a Super Bowl contender.  Even if Arian Foster (Q-Knee) doesn't play, Ben Tate is the best "backup" in football. Expect whoever rushes for Houston to carry the ball 25 times for over 125 yards. Schaub will pick this defense apart as they have no one to match-up with Andre Johnson. Houston also has one of the best defenses in football and Ryan Tannehill is in for a very long day. Expect Houston to make him very uncomfortable in the pocket, while focusing on taking away his best weapon, Reggie Bush.  The spread is large, but Houston should dominate this game.


FANTASY FOOTBALL:

Here we will provide you with some recommended starts that are not so obvious, looking for high upside players and potential sleepers as well.  Also, we will recommend some players you may want to consider sticking on the bench.

1. Jay Cutler (START)

Unless you are in a deeper league, you likely didn't draft Jay Cutler as your #1 QB. But unlesss you have Rodgers, Brees or Brady, he is worth a look as a starter this week. The Colts passing defense is below average, and newly acquired Vonte Davis will have his hands full with former teammate Brandon Marshall.  Look for Cutler to throw for close to 300 yards and a couple of touchdowns.

2. Pierre Garcon (START)

If the Saints have a weakness, it's their defense.  Even with the "bounty suspensions" being overturned, they don't have the greatest secondary.  While I don't expect the Redskins to win this game, I expect it to be a high scoring affair and I would be surprised if Griffin doesn't hit Garcon at least once for a big play downfield. He could go for 100 yards and a TD here.

3. Kyle Rudolph (START)

If you waited on tight-end and you were smart enough to stash this guy on your bench, give him a look this week. Jacksonville is one of the worst in the league defending tight ends and Rudolph has a high skill set. Young QB's often look the the Tight End and word out of camp is Ponder and Rudolph have established a nice connection. I dont expect a breakout game, but 60 yards and a TD is within reach.

4. Kevin Smith (START)

In case you forgot, the Rams were the worst in the league against the run last year. Just ask Demarco Murray. I don't know how long you will have Kevin Smith at your disposal, due to his knack for being injured. But this matchup cries out for a blowout and a big game at running back. Expect over 100 yards and a TD from the oft-injured back.

5. Desean Jackson (SIT)

He will be shadowed by one of the best in the game in cornerback Joe Haden which could make things awfully tough on the talented wideout. Jackson tends to get frustrated easily and I could see him throwing in the towel early in this one. Jeremy Maclin is the start of the Eagles Wide Receivers.

6. Donald Brown (SIT)

He moved up draft boards as draft season moved along, but this is not a good matchup. The Bears will score early and often on the Colts defense, minimizing Brown's opportunities which will be few and far between anyway considering The Bears stout Run Defense. Looks elsewhere at RB.

7. Alfred Morris/Roy Helu/Evan Royster (SIT)

There is no way to determine who will be the featured back, regardless of what the depth chart says. Shanahan will ride the hot hand and if The Redskins get in a hole early, they will have to abandon the run anyway. While it's possible one of the three can have a good game, there is just no way to predict who.



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