New Orleans Saints vs Green Bay Packers Free Pick Prediction Point Spread Odds Line Week 4 09/30/2012
Kick-off is 4:25 pm ET on regional FOX stations.
NFL Picks have the Packers as 8-point favorites. The moneyline odds have Green Bay as a -330 favorite and the Saints as a +270 underdog. The over/under total is at 54.
The teams are both 3-3 straight up and against the spread in the past six meetings. Green Bay won 42-34 when the teams last met last season, cashing as a 4.5-point home favorite. The total has gone over in 5 of the last five meetings.
The Saints lost their third straight game to start the season when they were beat 27-24 by the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday. They failed to cover as an 8-point home favorite and the score stayed under the total of 52.
Green Bay lost 14-12 to the Seattle Seahawks on a controversial last-second touchdown on Monday Night Football. The Packers failed to cash as a 3-point road favorite, while the score was under the total.
New Orleans is 0-3 SU and 0-3 ATS and Green Bay is 1-2 SU and 1-2 ATS.
NFL Betting trends show New Orleans is 14-6 SU in its last 20 games overall, and Green Bay is 15-2 SU in its last 17 games at home.
The best tiered rankings in the fantasy world are back for season number 4 – and I can only imagine they are better than ever. Each position will be tiered out so you can best assess the level of each position left on the board during your draft.
Many a fantasy drafter shows up on draft day with a list a mile long, positions be damned, and they do their best to follow that list as a guide to see who they are taking next. It took me a few seasons, but I’ve found that tiered rankings for each position is the best way to go. As long time fantasy footballers know, each draft is different, and position scarcity often plays a big role in draft-day value. Finding the best value is what fantasy drafts are all about, and tiered rankings are the best tool for the job.
Here’s the Quarterback tiered rankings for 2012.
Tier 1 – Rodgers is all by himself. The greatest thing about Aaron is that there are no questions, which separates him from the rest of the field. Best WRs? Check. Throw it first, second, and third offense? Yep. Lights up his division? You betcha. It’s close, but if we’re tiering (and we are) he’s all by himself.
Tier 2 – This is so close. Both are amazing and right on Aaron’s heels. But, I’d rather have the Packers’ star. And when it comes to these two, the questions surrounding Drew Brees (or mostly the Saints offseason/coaching change) and the loss of Meachem, move him down a notch. The addition of Brandon Lloyd (whom I think will be great for Tom) and less security at RB with the loss of BJGE will increase Tom’s totals. So, Tom gets the nod in this tier.
Tier 3 – Stafford was great last year. Newton was amazing in his rookie campaign. But Michael Vick is still a fantasy hero when he’s healthy and on his game. I like the Eagles more this year, expect more from them. I think Newton has half the rushing touchdowns he had last year, and I think Stafford hangs out right about the same level as he was. I’m and upside guy, and Vick gets the nod in this group.
Tier 4 – Rivers had a solid finish, but he still scares me with not many proven targets, Mathews hurting, and some INTs – still, I’d be happy to have him as a starter for me. He still falls behind the Mannings (yes, I still like older brother over Eli) and think that Tony Romo has his best season ever and finishes atop this tier of solid QBs. I think Peyton has a slow start but ends up impressing with some flashy weapons in Denver. I think Eli takes a step back this year, but is still a solid starter.
Tier 5 – Anyone in this tier could jump to Tier 4, but there’s a lot of risk to expect that. With Matt Ryan (the least risky of the bunch) I just don’t think he takes enough chances to go ballistic in fantasy realms – but his WRs are really good, and he’s a no-risk/solid-reward guy. Big Ben is always hurt, but he’ll huck the ball around and he has 3 very good WR options and should be throwing it more early in the season. Jay Cutler could trump the other two, but his high INT totals and just blah play over the last couple seasons makes him a low floor candidate. You could hit big with Jay, however.
Tier 6 – Schaub’s all by himself, but I’m not crazy about him. They have one hell of a rushing attack in Houston, not always the best thing for fantasy QB totals. Still, he has a very good WR in Johnson and has a history of doing good things.
Tier 7 – High upside guys (Griffin III, Palmer, Freeman, and Flacco – yes Flacco) are in Tier 7 – while most of these guys also have a solid floor. I expect good solid numbers out of these guys with a couple breakout performances. Carson Palmer, in my opinion, could be a great buy-late candidate. Look at his fantasy numbers after taking the entire camp and first 7 weeks off – project those over the year – could be good.
Robert Griffin III
Tier 8 – I’ve always liked Bradford, think Flynn could be consistent and solid for a competitive Seattle team (with underrated offensive weapons all around), and maybe even San-Chez will find his potential and gain some confidence (though I certainly worry about the Tebow-effect on the former USC signal caller). All have low floors and limited upside, but if you are waiting this late, these guys are better than the next.
Tier 9 – I don’t want any of these guys, in all honesty, but if I had to grab one or two of them I’d put them in this order (though watching Cassel is a painful process).
New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers NFC Divisional Playoff Free Pick: This game should be fun. I feel like both defenses will be better this time around. The Packers should be ready and healthy after a two week (3 weeks for some of their key players) off. I guess there’s a chance they’ll be rusty, but that chance is very small. In the NFL giving guys that have been through 1000 on the field car-wrecks a couple weeks off can only do wonders for their physical well-being. The Packers have done this before, remember, won big games in the post-season – I think they know what they’re dealing with.
The Giants have been very good of late, riding a late season hot streak into the playoffs. It showed when they absolutely dismantled the Atlanta Falcons in the wild-card round. I think Atlanta’s safe game plan had something to do with that outcome, but the Giants’ defense has certainly stepped up down the stretch, and they probably come in to Green Bay as healthy and strong as they’ve been all year. So yes, like I said, both defenses should be better in this one.
Eli Manning has been downright impressive this season, and the only reason you haven’t heard a ton about his amazing year is because of the seasons Aaron Rodgers, Brees, and Brady put on the board. Oh, and because Tebow gets a little attention. The bottom line is, the Packers’ defense isn’t what it was last year – for some reason – and Eli will get the ball in the end zone a few times.
But I just don’t think the Giants are consistent enough. They weren’t very strong early against Atlanta, scoring just 7 first half points despite running and passing with success. They just don’t have that consistency. The Packers have it. I can see the Packers winning by a couple scores.
That being said, the Giants just have some magic that keeps games close. Eli is really good taking big chances late, and his receivers are very solid. I think he gets the job done, and by done, I mean I think the Giants cover – if just by a hair.
Oakland Raiders @ Green Bay Packers NFL Free Pick: The Packers are undefeated and that’s one reason to go with the Raiders in this one. Another reason is that Green Bay really doesn’t shut anybody down defensively (ahem, that will be the end of them in the playoffs unless Aaron Rodgers continues to play like a superhero). But Carson Palmer has struggled under pressure, and the Packers can certainly bring that. I can’t buy into Oakland because they are terrible in the area of discipline. This team just can’t seem to stay onside, even in big obvious snap count situations (3rd or 4th and short), it’s brutal.
The Raiders have a nice rushing attack, even with McFadden on the shelf, but they haven’t shown the smarts to stick with it. Hue Jackson just loves the throw the rock. Without Denarius Moore or Jacoby Ford, the Raiders just don’t have enough to make me believe.
I have a feeling that Aaron Rodgers will be torching the Raiders defense over and over and over come Sunday. Eleven seems like an awful lot going up against a team fighting at the top of their own divisional race, but the Packers are just that much better.
It’s very interesting that the Packers basically have no rushing attack for opponents to respect yet Aaron Rodgers comes out and throws the ball all over the field anyway. It’s very similar to the Patriots, but the Packers never run. At least the Pats keep the ball on the ground from time to time.
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers Monday Night Football Pick: It’s a lot of points, and last time these two went head to head, it was a heck of a lot closer than people expected. Aaron Rodgers can’t be perfect for an entire season, and since I just traded him in my fantasy league, I’m lifting the curse of greatness from Aaron’s shoulder pads! You are free Aaron, have a stinker if you feel so inclined!
No, but on a non-fantasy/real football note –this guy is playing as good as anyone I’ve ever seen. Tom Brady, when he’s on fire, is as good as it gets, but Aaron doesn’t have anybody to look up at. His team can’t run it, he is responsible for some of the most difficult throws in the game, and his completion percentage is ridiculous despite all that. The Packers are well coached and they game play awesomely.
But still, I like the Vikings. You know Minnesota thinks they can win and ruin the Packers undefeated start to the season. They were close last time and Ponder gets better and better the more time he plays. Harvin is healthy and explosive and Peterson looks to attack a defense that has given up a lot of yards, a lot of big plays.
I think Minnesota uses a powerful rushing attack to stick close to Green Bay. The Packers don’t have that same counter punch with the rushing attack, so no early lead is a sure thing. I like the points, that’s what I’ll take.
Green Bay Packers @ Atlanta Falcons Sunday Night Football Pick: NFL Sunday Night Football on NBC has yet another great game, once against trumping anything Monday Night Football has to offer (though the Lions and Bears is looking like a lot of fun right now, maybe close to what NBC is putting out on Sunday). In this week’s showdown, the Falcons host the best team in football when Aaron Rodgers comes to town to battle the Falcons. The Packers are defending champs, they’re undefeated, they’ve looked like they’re on another level during the first 4 games of the season. The Falcons, who many expected to contend with the Packers in the NFC, haven’t been nearly as sharp. They are 2-0, but they truly are a couple plays away from being 0-4. They were down big to the Eagles and needed a Mike Vick injury to help their comeback in that game, and needed an off-side penalty and a last second missed field goal to beat the Seattle Seahawks last week. The Seahawks. Yep. Those Seahawks.
Still, the Falcons have tons of talent, and the type of players that could give Green Bay a lot of trouble. The Packers have given up a ton of passing yards (though some of that is because teams are always behind against Green Bay, and thus they aren’t trying to run out the clock by running the football). Matt Ryan will need to find Roddy White and Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez against the Packer defense. It should be a good one.
In the end, I think Aaron Rodgers is just too good and the Packers are the better team. Rodgers has a ton of weapons, and he’ll take whichever one you give him. It’s tough to bet against the Packers, even with a 5.5 point value pick like Atlanta is at home.
Per usual I’m busting out my fantasy rankings a month before the season takes place – it’s still wild in NFL land, and while we have had a plethora of moves in the last week, there’s still decisions to be made. As so, the list might change a little bit here and there, but don’t expect anything drastic.
Overall, we’re pretty excited about our ranking system here at LuckyLester.com – a lot of discussion has gone down, and while we all don’t agree wholeheartedly, these tiered rankings are the consensus. I’ve always been a huge fan of tiered rankings as a draft tool, 10x better than a Top 300 or even positional rankings, because of their usefulness in any draft situation. If you’re unfamiliar with tiered rankings or have never used them as a cheat sheet for your fantasy drafts, check out my “How To Use Tiered Rankings” article. The main idea behind tiered rankings is that you want as many players from the higher tiers as you can get, and you don’t want to settle for low-tier players at any one position if you can help it.
Okay, over the next 2 days I’ll be publishing all 4 positional rankings – QB, RB, WR, TE, and Def – we never rank kickers because they fluctuate so much from year to year – our advice, take a kicker from a good offense – regardless of how good that kicker is – but if he kicks a high percentage, he’s even that much better.
QB Tier I
These two are the cream of the crop. We ranked Rodgers ahead of Vick because, as a group, we feel that Rodgers is the safer of the two – and his chances of staying healthy are greater. It’s tough to get more upside than Michael Vick, though, so we feel pretty comfortable taking either of these two guys as the #1 quarterback overall.
We’ve moved around a bit with these rankings as free agent signings and trades have piled in. We’re pretty high on Tony Romo, but it’s hard to rank him higher than the other six guys ahead of him on our big board. We just feel he’s definitely in this tier. Brady’s stock has gone up the most, while Manning continues to hang on despite a little worry over his health – he never misses games! All these guys are close, but you have to have one of them (or the guy sitting alone in our next tier) if you want an elite grade from us. There’s not a ton of certainty at the QB position, but these guys are 5 to bank on.
Tier 3 is made up of Matt Schaub and, well, that’s all. WE couldn’t quite put him in the first two tiers because we’d easily rather have any of those Top 7 over Schaub, that feeling was universal. However, we all concurred that we’d rather have him over the rest of the field. Talent, Andre Johnson, and a strong running game behind Foster is what we like. Running the ball a lot more these days limits his consistency.
Tier 4 is where we absolutely draw the line. If you went for that extra stud receiver or running back, hoping that one of the elite 8 came back to you, and they didn’t – then don’t freakout, just hold your horses and take one of these cats when the value seems right. But don’t hold your breath until you pass out and end up with Mark Sanchez and David Garrard as your starting cavalry. We like Big Ben more than Cutler, but not enough to think you’re WAY better off with the former. These guys are all close, and they all have their worries. Big Ben was so very average last year (and most years – fantasy-wise) that we’re just not sold – but he’s safe and he will produce, more than you can be sure about with Stafford, Cassel, Cutler and even Manning (who is a roller coaster every year). Freeman was probably the most consistent guy last year, but we’re being careful with him this time around. We think Stafford has the highest upside, but with his health concerns, probably the riskiest in the bunch. We’re intrigued by Kolb in Arizona, enough to toss him in with the bunch.
Tier 5 is is only three deep, but I personally love Sam Bradford’s upside, especially if they get a proven WR to help him out a bit. Randy, Plax, here’s talking to you, fellas. Bradford has elite upside – I think he’s the best youngster in quite some time – I’m the only one on staff that thinks it, but I’d be happy with him as my starter this year. Okay, maybe not happy, but comfortable… Donovan is getting the benefit of the doubt here, but we certainly are worried. This is the best running game he’s had since Brian Westbrook we doing work for the Eagles, and McNabb has always been a good playaction guy. Sanchez has all the tools, and if he takes the proper steps forward this year – he’ll outperform this ranking.
The second to last tier is full of guys that have starting jobs (we think) and have some upside. But #2s or #3s at the most, here. I’m interested in what Tarvaris Jackson will do as a leader and a teacher of the offensive scheme he’s been learning in Minnesota – he’ll be one of the vets of this offense in Seattle. With Rice and Williams there’s two great targets that will help a QB out – I think he’ll be solid. Not solid enough to want on my fantasy team – ha – but in a pinch….
Tier 7 is borderline off-limits, but hey, Vince Young could be good when Vick is hurt for a few games. That’s why the Eagles got him – it might not be pretty, but he wins games. All these guys could get starts, but all could do very little. Don’t put much stock in them.
Green Bay Packers VS. Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl 45 Free Pick: It is tough to go away from the Steelers as an underdog in the Super Bowl, so tough I don’t think I can do it. At first I thought the Steelers were obviously the best value on the board, getting points in a Super Bowl – being as good as they are, there was no other way to go. Then I thought about it and realized, by making them the dogs, Vegas was begging people to bet on Pittsburgh, meaning they obviously think Green Bay is going to win this one.
But I’m not real in to going with Vegas just because, and there’s something to be said for having been there and done that. The Steelers have, and the Packers haven’t. Aaron Rodgers is a stud, and it looks like a good match-up for him against the Pittsburgh corners, but I still have to go with the Steelers here – if anything, they rarely get the wrong end of the refs. Also, Big Ben has not only plodded through to Super Bowl victories, he’s led last minute comebacks and even thrown a touchdown late in the game to get a ring and hold the trophy. He keeps plays alive, and that’s big with a press/blitzing team like Green Bay across the line of scrimmage.
These teams are very-very similar. The Packers score 25.2 points per game and give up 15.3. The Steelers score 23.9 and give up 15.3 – the Packers are 13-6, the Steelers are 14-4. Both teams have 12 wins against the spread – both teams are good at home, but Pittsburgh was 7-1 on the road this season – while the Packers are 6-5 counting 3 playoff wins on the road. So they were 3-5 away from Green Bay during the regular season.
Both teams beat some great teams on their way to the Super Bowl, but this is the NFL, that always happens. Green Bay took out Philadelphia, #1 seed Atlanta, and possibly the best defense in the NFC, Chicago. The Steelers outlasted the Ravens and Jets, two of the most physical teams in football.
The Packers have been playing “playoff football” since Week 16 when they had to beat the Giants to stay alive in the playoff race. Then Chicago in Week 17 was the same thing. And of course the three playoff rounds that got them to the Super Bowl – they’ve played 5 must-win games in a row, and they’ve won them, obviously. And while that’s impressive, there has to be a breaking point somewhere.
These teams are very-very even – in my opinion, and I see no chance of a blowout. In a close one, I’ll take the points, the experience, and the quarterback that’s led a game winning drive to take home the trophy.
Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears NFC Conference Championships: The Bears haven’t been my favorite team this season, but they look pretty impressive defensively. The Packers can have some blocking problems, and with Tommie Harris and Julian Peterson playing well up front, that could be dangerous for the Packers. I love the Packers, I really do – they looked great the last two weeks and Aaron Rodgers looked as good as any QB I’ve seen in a long time. But this game has been close both times these two have played. Green Bay won in Week 17 in Green Bay when the Bears played all their starters despite having nothing to play for. The Packers had to squeak out a 10-3 win in one heck of a battle. Earlier in the season the Bears won in Chicago by 3, and they played very well last week against the Seahawks. I don’t know who wins this game, but the value has to be on the home team dogs.
The “experts” are going with the Packers and so are those talented public bettors. In fact, despite getting more than a field goal at home, the Bears are taking in just 37% of the bets – making Green Bay the overwhelming favorite.
Listen, I know the Packers have completely shut down Jay Cutler (Just 199 passing yards in the first meeting, 117 in the 2nd) but despite that horrid play from the frumpy-faced often color-blind former Bronco, the Bears have stuck right with Green Bay.
As I said above, with playoffs on the line for Green Bay, and nothing but a week off ahead for the Bears, Week 17’s game between the Packers and Bears was a battle. It was a 3-3 tie going into the 4th quarter, and a 1-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Donald Lee was the only touchdown of the game.
This is going to be a battle, and while I love the Packers, I love getting a field goal plus with my home team in this one.
New York Jets @ New England Patriots AFC Divisional Playoffs Sunday: The Jets and the Patriots. Give me Tom’s team or give me nobody. Will the Patriots blow out the Jets again? History says, yes. I say, maybe… It’s very rare that a team blows another team out in the regular season then gets a good fight in the playoffs. I know the Jets won in Week 1, but after The Hoody had a chance to look at the Jets and game plan for them in game 2, New York was embarrassed. The Patriots have done a good job kicking the poop out of the Jets in New England over the past couple years, and the home team has won this match-up in 8 of the last 10 meetings. But those are just numbers, I think the Patriots will win this one with ease because they are the better team, and when the Jets start having to take chances to stay in the game, the Patriots will get the cover I’m looking for.
Aside from a little “whoops” in Cleveland 8 games ago, the Patriots have been the kings of football this season. They are 14-2, and kicking the crap out of squads lately. The Patriots have had one close game in their last 5, a 31-27 win over a Green Bay team that was playing without Aaron Rodgers, and they barely made out of that one alive. But they hammered the Jets 45-3, the Bears 36-7, the Bills 34-3, and the Dolphins 38-7. They also went into Pittsburgh a few games earlier and destroyed the Steelers. Defensively, they’ve been great late in the year, and I see no reason why they can’t stop the Jets in their tracks.
New York doesn’t have experience over the Patriots, they aren’t as good, and I don’t even know if their vaunted defense is much better than the no-names in New England. I know their coach says weird stuff in the press, and I know he’s taking this game personal. If I got kicked around 45-3 in an important game last time I played an opponent, I might take it personal too. But I don’t think that helps the Jets, and I’m taking the Pats.