RotoAction Computer Picks


Here are the computer predictioins for this week based on our NFL Stat Power Index, which ranks all the teams.

Week 17 is a drag. You can’t factor in motivation. These predictions assume everyone is playing it straight. So, adjust accordingly in line with your guess as to how teams who are locked in or out will perform.

Remember, the lines are good. Team performance deviates too far from average every week for past performance to be a reliable indicator. But based only how teams have played thus far in 2006, not factoring momentum or injuries or anything else, only the stats and three points for home field, here’s how the Computer sees NFL thsi week.

NFL power rankings: The 5 most impressive teams in Week 7

Giants by 2.5 over Redskins

Saints by 11 over Panthers

Texans by 4.5 over Browns

Cowboys by 11.5 over Lions

Jaguars by 2 at Chiefs

Patriots by 9 at Tennessee (the Index obviously can’t adjust for Vince Young’s “intangibles”)

Jets by 11.5 over Raiders

Bengals by 4.5 over Steelers

Seahawks by 2 at Bucs

Vikings by 2.5 over Rams

Eagles by 11 over Falcons

Ravens by 10 over Bills

Colts by 10.5 over Dolphins

Chargers by 12.5 over Cardinals

Broncos by 9 over Niners

Bears by 9.5 over Packers

Counting to Six in the AFC

pianowski_scottsmFrom: “scott pianowski” <>
Date: December 20, 2006 5:40:08 AM EST
To: “Michael Salfino” <>
Subject: counting to six in the AFC

Meadowlands Head Cold, meet Michigan Migraine. My forehead and eyeballs were rattling around earlier in the week; I felt like I ran the Baltimore scout team without a helmet. If I misspell every fourth word and start to let the jabberwocky fly, clean it up, amigo? I’m almost dizzy enough to put DeAngelo Hall and John Lynch in the Pro Bowl and snub Terence Newman and Kerry Rhodes. (I know it’s meaningless, but botches like that annoy me, anyway.)
The way the NFC contenders are playing, might as well call off their playoffs, expand the AFC Tournament to 12 teams and leave it at that. Chicago’s pass defense just got embarrassed by Tim Rattay, and Tommie Harris is a monumental loss. The Dallas offense is nothing to spit at, but the Pokes haven’t stopped anyone in two weeks. I was stunned the Saints couldn’t throw the ball on the Redskins, a defense that can’t cover, can’t take the ball away, and can’t rush the quarterback. I’ll give Drew Brees a mulligan – I wish I could slide him back to the Chargers – but the Saints defense is slow and can’t get off the field on third down and eventually that won’t fly.

No one in the NFC West is bowl eligible, so let’s just skip that lot for now. You feeling frisky for the Eagles? Do the Giants have any lifelines left? For 78 cents can the Panthers just skip the final two games?

Okay, I can’t fake it either – as Mark Ratner said, all the action’s on the other side of the mall. I’m normally not a Jaguars apologist but I’m not going to hammer them for the misstep in Tennessee. This wasn’t laying an egg at Houston or Washington, but rather one of those rare games where you dominate the majority of the day and lose because the opponent makes 2-3 monumental, game-changing plays (or you wrap up 2-3 gifts). I know a fluke when I see it. The Patriots still have name-brand appeal but Jacksonville’s deeper on both sides of the ball. Unless Garrard throws up on himself while Brady unlocks the hidden upside of his replacement receivers, this looks like an easy bounce-back spot for the Jags.

You nailed it on Cincinnati – the cat got baited by the string. With all due respect to Rudi Johnson, a solid back, he’s working behind a makeshift line and 3.8 yards a carry isn’t even the league average. The Bengals came into Naptown with a sizzling QB and an offense with teeth, and they left with 16 crummy points against a weak defense there for the taking. Okay, Willie Anderson went down and Dwight Freeney roamed free all night, got it. But the Bengals lost this one on the overhead. Balance is one thing, but having Carson Palmer throw just eight passes in the first half is asking to lose.

Are you starting to feel bad for Peyton Manning, like I am? His level of play has climbed so high that no one bats an eyelash when he tosses up 29-36-282-4-0 in a critical Monday nighter. No turnovers, one lousy sack (for no yards). This was one of those practice sessions where the ball never hits the ground. The short TD passes don’t look like much in the boxscore, but the execution was beyond flawless and is worth a second look. Except it’s Manning, of course, so everyone just blows it off (heck, it wasn’t even his best game of the year – the Mile High masterpiece remains the gold standard.)

I’m rehashing earlier table themes but I’m wondering if the Colts can find a way to steal everything and rip up conventional wisdom in the process. Go ahead, win a title without stopping the run. Go ahead, win a title with Dominic Rhodes handing the ball a lot. It’s a cute story and it’s tempting to run with it – they just need a healthy Bob Sanders and someone else to beat the Chargers, right? If San Diego and Indy do meet up, forget we had this talk; it’s hard to ignore how hellish that matchup is for the Colts.
Bills vs. Jets | Week 10 Highlights | NFL

The harder January game for the Chargers might be the first one: off the break, the first playoff experience for Philip Rivers (who’s been high-sugar cereal the last few weeks.) It’s a shame Cincinnati or Pittsburgh can’t get the game as an at-large bid, but right now I don’t see either in the playoffs. The Jaguars aren’t a bad fit but they’d have to win a road game first. The Patriots are ticklish for the Belichick element, but would Tom Brady be able to walk out of Qualcomm Stadium? New England still toys with the junior high kids, but I don’t trust the Pats offensive line against any solid defense (New York and Miami beat the tar out of the poor QB).

I’m still running some tape, and I need to get my midweek 3-hour sleep at some point Wednesday. Consider this just an appetizer, and we’ll implement the game plan a little later today. I’ll have six AFC slots ready to go before dark, but don’t wait for me – if you’re feeling ready, have at the buffet first.

And oh yeah, congrats to the Jets for landing their punter (and three other chaps) on “Sesame Street.” The smart money says Mangini wouldn’t name his starters until the first take.

Complete Christmas Breakfast

mikesalfinosmFrom: Michael Salfino <>
Date: December 19, 2006 12:40:34 PM EST
To: scott pianowski <>
Subject: Christmas Breakfast

The Breakfast Table

It’s a good thing I was sidelined with a dastardly (and still lingering) head cold last week because everything I thought I knew heading into Sunday turned out to be very wrong. I blame that on the Mucinex (works fine when one part of the syrup is mixed with five parts Vodka).
Okay, I knew Seattle stunk and Dallas rebounded offensively at least and Philly played up to their stat profile against the Giants. But I thought New Orleans had turned the corner and that Washington’s pass defense was terrible. I figured Chicago’s defense would get its mojo back in the blustery conditions against the inept Bucs. Oops.

But that’s enough talk about the NFL’s version of the JV. The AFC plays real football, relatively speaking (32-9 vs. NFC since Week 7 with a 350-point advantage). Of course, had I thought about that before the Jets-Vikings game, I would have changed my pick and risked seeming like a Homer. Doh!


I thought Jacksonville was right there with the Chargers and told you via e-mail last week that I sort of liked Garrard. Then he hands the Titans a game unlike any QB maybe ever has in the history of the sport. I also thought Cincinnati had turned the corner and would at least hotly contest the Monday nighter, but they laid an egg and got suckered into running. I also figured that the Broncos were toast and that Jay Cutler was a 2007 project. Oops, I did it again. (Lamest Table reference ever, I know, but I’m still in a fog and claim the Richard Thompson cover version that I think has real soul despite my wife’s mocking contempt for it.)
Cardinals vs. Seahawks | Week 10 Highlights | NFL

You seem like you have a direct channel to the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster in your ability to handicap the action. I hope you’re benefiting from that in ways that go far beyond our staff picks. Who holds the winning Wild Card hands now? Is the NFC even worth following, now or in January? Has Indy righted the ship? Is San Diego as unstoppable as LaDainian Tomlinson or was Philip Rivers’ hiccup last week a harbinger of an impending Bolts power outage?

You’ve got the ball, bro’. Do with it what you will (just don’t give it to Joey Harrington). Week 16 Breakfast is served.