I Will Survive
After reading the headline, Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" is surely playing on a loop through your mind. Once your brain gets past the glorious disco era, you will process which team is best to pick this week for your Survivor League.
1. New Orleans Saints @ St. Louis Rams- I hate to put a road team as the top survivor lock, but they're playing the hapless Rams who not only haven't won a game but they really haven't been all that competitive this year. The Saints won't score 62 points again, but they should win this game comfortably.
2. Baltimore Ravens vs. Arizona Cardinals- Ray Lewis and gang are coming off an embarrassing loss to Jacksonville and the Ravens return home to take on a Cardinals team that can't get out of their own way. Usually home teams go in the top spot but the Ravens do have Joe Flacco at quarterback.
3. New York Giants vs. Miami Dolphins- I know the Giants dropped a stupid home game a few weeks ago to the Seattle Seahawks that probably buried many of your survivor pools. Tom Coughlin is a fantastic coach and that won't happen again, especially with two weeks to prepare for a Dolphins team which benefits the most from losing every week.
4. San Francisco 49ers vs. Cleveland Browns- It's difficult to show complete confidence in an Alex Smith led team but these 49ers play great defense and do their best to make Smith's deficiencies. Cleveland may be the worst 3-3 team in football and Colt McCoy will have a tough time throwing through the San Francisco wind.
5. Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars- As much as you can't really trust the Texans, how can you believe in the Jaguars on a short week after an emotional win? Jacksonville averages 12 points per game and the Texans will have more than that in the first quarter.
Fantasy Sleepers and Not So Sleepers
You surely know if you have Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Michael Vick, Cam Newton and Matt Stafford you should start those guys regardless of matchups. This week Aaron Rodgers is on a bye and you may need to pick up a QB off waivers. Eli Manning has a solid matchup against Miami, and Matt Hasselbeck takes on the Colts with a gimpy Pat Angerer. If you're in a deep league, John Beck might be a solid play against Buffalo. I'd avoid Tim Tebow against Detroit, Andy Dalton against an underrated Seahawks defense and Ryan Fitzpatrick as the Redskins are due for a solid defensive performance.
You know who your studs are at running back but if you need to add someone I like DeMarco Murray against the 27th ranked Philly defense against the run (ypc). If you're getting screwed by owning Peyton Hillis, his backup (now starter) Montario Hardesty could be a solid pickup. Look for Brandon Jacobs and Mike Tolbert to each vulture touchdowns this week.
At wide receiver, Emmanuel Sanders could be a nice sleeper with Hines Ward banged up against a lax Patriots secondary. Look for Giants wideout Victor Cruz to do a touchdown dance and since Darren Sproles and Marques Colston did all the scoring last week, it may be Robert Meachem's turn on Sunday. Love the matchup of Eric Decker against the Lions secondary, but Tim Tebow nullifies his usefulness.
At tight end, Houston's Owen Daniels should be in for a big day, especially if Andre Johnson misses Sunday's game against Jacksonville. Brandon Pettigrew has a nice matchup against the Broncos, Fred Davis should find the end zone, as should Carolina's Greg Olsen and New Orleans' Jimmy Graham.
A good defense is any that is playing the Rams, Colts, Seahawks, Cardinals or Jaguars, so this week New Orleans, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Houston are all fine plays.
Gambling Lock of the Week
We pick each of the games against the spread on Saturday and Sunday and the last two weeks we are 16-7-3. Detroit -3 @ Denver looks like a solid investment as does Houston -10 vs. Jacksonville.
Crazy Stat of the Week
The AFC North features the Top Four statistical defenses in football with the Baltimore Ravens taking the top spot, followed by the Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns.
Bonus stats: The top rushing offense in the league is the Philadelphia Eagles who will host the top rushing defense, the Dallas Cowboys. Also the top passing offense is New England who will travel to face the top pass defense in Pittsburgh.
Sad But True Quotes
The Miami Dolphins who are in the middle of "Sucking for Andrew Luck", have taken shots at each other for their own self-scouting (or self-criticism).
After Sunday's Tebow-riffic loss to God's team, former lover of Kim Kardashian, Reggie Bush declared, "We stink."
Dolphins safety Jeremiah Bell took exception to the former collegiate grifter's comments. "He stinks," Bell told the Miami Examiner. "That shouldn't be said around this locker room. We know that we're 0-6 and we're not playing the best but at the same time there's no need for that."
Reggie Bush refused to back down from his statements.
"I do stink," Bush told the Palm Beach Post today. "We all stink. When it comes to 0-6, everybody stinks. We've all, in some way, shape or form have not been good enough, and that's what I meant with those comments. I don't care if it's the front-desk secretary - she ain't doing a good enough job. Everybody's in this thing together.
"I still stand by it," Bush continued, "because there's nothing fun about being 0-6. There's no room for sensitivity in this league. This is a man's game and we all signed on the dotted line."
They're both right. Everyone stinks.
Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie