Wild Weekend, Road Favorites & Fantasy Football

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The odds makers would have us believe that the Saints, Eagles, Ravens and Colts will win this weekend. The Saints and Ravens have to do it on the road, while the Eagles and Colts are each 2.5-point favorites at home.

It’s an intriguing spread on the Saints/Seahawks game. The Saints are favored by 10-14.5 points depending upon the book. I say it’s “interesting,” for a few reasons: (1) the 11-5 Saints have to travel to Seattle to take on the lowly 7-9 Seahawks, (2) the Saints just put their 2 best RBs of the year on IR earlier this week, (3) having photographed a game in Seattle a few years back, I can tell you the crowd noise isn’t just fierce, it’s game-changing, (4) the Saints lost at home to Tampa Bay (23-13) in week 17, while the Seahawks were beating the resurgent Rams (16-6) in a must-win game for their playoff spot, and (5) it is likely the only wildcard game where weather is likely to be a factor, and the Saints prefer a humidity-controlled dome.

Am I saying the Seahawks actually win this game? No. But the Saints don’t care about the spread, either. They just need a win, and they don’t care if it’s by 2 points or 22. The Saints defense allowed 307 points this season, while the Seahawks allowed their opponents 407. That’s a 100-point difference over 16 games! Meanwhile, the Saints scored 384 points to the ‘Hawks 310 and the Super Bowl champs played a brutal schedule.

Advantage: Saints


The other game played in a particularly-rowdy environment is Baltimore at Kansas City. The 12-4 Ravens are favored by 3 points, even though the 10-6 Chiefs are 7-1 at home this season. Each team has their own version of the “triplets.” Baltimore comes to town with Flacco, Rice and Boldin while the Kansas City counters with Cassel, Charles and Bowe.

Flacco and Cassel have QB ratings within decimal points of each other, and depending upon your scoring system, might have exactly the same number of fantasy points this season. Charles is the real deal and Rice isn’t far behind. Bowe exploded for 1162 yards and 15 TDs this season, while Boldin struggled at times and managed just 837/7.

But when I look at all 44 starters in this one, I think the edge belongs to the Ravens. If I’m playing in a week-17-only contest, I’d use Rice against the Chiefs D not Charles against the Ravens D, and I’d use Flacco over Cassel. I’d probably not use Bowe or trust Boldin this week. The Ravens allowed 270 points this season, third-fewest in the NFL (Steelers 232, Packers 240). The Chiefs only managed to score 366, which almost qualifies them for a berth in the NFC West.

Advantage: Ravens (easily covering the spread)


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