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- What to watch in week 12 and staff picks

Ian Hetherington November 25, 2007
Ian Hetherington
NFL Columnist

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Watch out for...

Turkey Day has been and gone with Indy having got their expected win over the Falcons last night while Dallas and Green Bay both won to set up a heavyweight NFC clash as the hype for the latest "Game of the Year" gets under way. But what can we expect from the games that remain? Your guess is as good as mine, but I'm going to have a stab at making a few predictions for the remaining games.

Watch the Houston passing game: With a shaky running situation in Dallas, Houston are going to be trying to weaken the Brown's resolve by spreading the ball around and peppering them with passes where they can take them. Given the Browns' shoddy passing defense they should achieve this and the Texans have proven themselves capable of gaining big yards. Given the nature of the game the Browns will leave players on and Andre Johnson is liable to make huge plays and punish Cleveland for big gains AND touchdowns.

Westbrook is McNabb’s best protection: The Patriots are not kind at all to quarterbacks. The amount of times they sack and pick off the passer it’s tantamount to victimization which is bad enough if you’re having a good season. Donovan McNabb’s season has been patchy and while has the tools to keep the ball in his team’s hands he’s going to need Brian Westbrook to be at his best to take the heat off him a little.

Jared Allen is set for a big game: Allen missed the first couple of games but he’s made up for lost time in this season’s sack race, and given Oakland hardly provide a water-tight defense against pass rushers Allen should have a fine game that involves him looking down at a flattened quarterback. A lot.

Denver can stop Devin Hester: It’s a dangerous claim because if you kick the ball to him Hester is always capable of achieving the spectacular. Denver have the kickers to cause him problems though, either putting him in a situation where he needs to just take a knee or not giving him enough time to find the open field. The Broncos haven’t seemed susceptible to letting kick returners to take it all the way and with Hester you must be vigilant, but I don’t anticipate him having a great day.

Speaking of kick returners… Assuming the Texans do indeed put a decent number of points on the board, Joshua Cribbs will be ready and waiting to catch the kick and if his form this year is anything to go by he’ll be setting up the Browns with great field position or more most of the time.

PFC Staff Fantasy Picks

If you’ve been following this column, you’ll have read the fantasy football game between a few of the PFC staff we’re running for a bit of fun and maybe a few fantasy football pointers. Now, there were no picks last week and I’ve decided that can serve as our Fantasy Bye Week (I’m clutching at straws, go with it!) but we’re back for now. We decided to give us more time to exclude the Thanksgiving games from the picks this week as there were a lot of big names waiting for fitness updates in the rest of the week. So, without further a do here’s the week 10 roundup:

Kevin Figg went for Drew Brees, Willis McGahee, Terrell Owens and Tony Gonzalez. For these he got 15 ½, 7 ½, 16 and 0 respectively, giving Kevin a healthier than previous total of 39 for the week.

Chris Pokorny opted for Brett Favre, Joseph Addai, Braylon Edwards and Jason Witten. Favre led the way by roasting he Vikings for 25 of our fantasy points, supported by 2, 6 and 0 from the others to give Chris a sum of 33 for week 10.

And lastly I selected Ben Roethlisberger, Marshawn Lynch, Marques Colston and Kellen Winslow to help me get closer to Chris’ score. These four earned me 16, 8, 4 and 6 points, giving me a grand total of 34 for the week.

A really close one this week with Kevin getting the most of us all by a slim margin. So after those scores our standings look like this:

Chris Pokorny - 345 ½
Ian Hetherington - 329 ½
Kevin Figg - 268 ½

So while Kevin took the victory for week 10 he didn’t do so by as much as he’d have hoped as he’s starting to run out of weeks to close that big gap on us.

Well, onwards and upwards to week 12 selections where Kevin and myself will be hoping for big scores to boost us closer to Chris again.

Kevin Figg
QB: Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers) vs. Dolphins - Look for Big Ben to bounce back after a forgettable game against the Jets last week.

RB: Reggie Bush (Saints) vs. Panthers - Bush has been bottled up the last few weeks. He'll break out against his NFC South division foes.

WR: Plaxico Burress (Giants) vs. Minnesota Vikings - The Vikings pass defense has been suspect all season, and Plax looks to be finally realizing his potential.

TE: Kellen Winslow (Browns) vs. Texans - Jr. has had a great season to this point, and it will continue this weekend against the struggling Texans.

Chris Pokorny
QB: Matt Hasselbeck (Seahawks) vs. Rams - The Seahawks know how they are meant to win football games his year, and it's not via the ground. The Rams' offense is catching fire and if they put up points quickly, Hasselbeck will have to throw more aggressively than usual for production, netting in greater fantasy results.

RB: Jamal Lewis (Browns) vs. Texans - Sure, Derek Anderson will throw the ball often against the Texans. However, against two tough run defenses, the Browns kept the running game in their offense even though they had to be patient with it when Lewis would get stuffed. Lewis will have more holes against a less talented Texans defense and could find the end zone twice.

WR: Andre Johnson (Texans) vs. Browns - It's hard to bet against a guy who has led his team to a 3-0 record when he plays due to being available for the big play down the field. The Browns have played back though, which will allow Johnson to pile up yards on more catch and run plays by the sideline.

TE: Ben Watson (Patriots) vs. Eagles - Not wanting to allow Randy Moss to beat them the same way Terrell Owens did earlier this season, the consequence will be a couple of passes towards the direction of Watson, including the nice six-pointer in the end zone.

Ian Hetherington
QB: Eli Manning (Giants) vs. Vikings - Eli’s had his ups and downs but against a poor Vikings passing defense he should enjoy a good day.

RB: Willie Parker (Steelers) vs. Dolphins – The Steelers are doing well in all facets of their offense this year meaning the Dolphins can’t just focus on stopping their traditionally good running game. As Roethlisberger starts to open up on Miami Parker will find the space to break out some big runs.

WR: Marques Colston (Saints) vs. Panthers – Colston and Brees have been hooking up well to drive the Saints down the field, this week he can cap it off with a touchdown or two.

TE: Antonio Gates (Chargers) vs. Ravens – Phillip Rivers isn’t going to get the breathing room he so desperately needs against Baltimore, so his biggest comfort blanket, Gates, should come to the fore once again.

Quarterbacks: Touchdown = 6 points; 50 yards passing = 1 point; interception or fumble (lost) = -½ point

Running back: Touchdown = 6 points; 50 rushing/receiving yards = 2 points; fumble (lost) = -½ point

Wide receiver: Touchdown = 6 points; 50 receiving yards = 2 points; fumble (recovered by defense) = -½ point

Tight end: Touchdown = 6 points; 50 receiving yards = 2 points; fumble (recovered by defense) = -½ point

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