Last week: 5-6-3

Overall: 32-37-5


Six-pack: 14-14-2

Six-pack: Bengals, Eagles, Seahawks, Giants, Chargers, Steelers

Bengals at Buccaneers

The difference: Did you see this Chris Simms story? Apparently, he turned down a long-term contract in the offseason that would have paid him $10 million in guaranteed money. Since then, he tossed seven interceptions in the first three games of 2006 and then had a splenectomy. I wonder if he regrets that decision. And more importantly, I wonder what it's like to turn down that much money. Alfonso Soriano just said no to 70 million dollars. 70 million dollars! Anyway, Tampa Bay is going to play hard for Jon Gruden, but I expect Cincinnati to get hot coming off its bye week.

Fantasy nugget: The natural tendency when seeing a new quarterback is to assume he stinks. For instance, you look at this game and think Bruce freaking Gradkowski? But the truth is the guy was drafted for a reason, and he threw for 225 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his first NFL start. I'm going to start giving new QBs a shot before ripping them. Even if their middle name is freaking.

The pick: Cincinnati (-5.5)

Titans at Redskins

The difference: After managing just three points against the Giants last weekend, I see the Redskins bouncing back against the 30th-ranked defense in the NFL. Of course, the Colts didn't exactly look great against that same defense last week.

Fantasy nugget: Have you checked out Tennessee's running back situation recently? Chris Brown was a healthy scratch last week, and Travis Henry ran for 123 yards. Meanwhile, Vince Young went 10-for-21 for 63 yards last week vs. Indianapolis, causing fantasy owners to proclaim, "He's no Bruce Gradkowski."

The pick: Washington (-10)

Texans at Cowboys

The difference: After last week's loss to the Eagles, I thought T.O. might not talk to the media because he was frustrated. Then I remembered he was T.O. I loved his comments too. Basically, he said, "I don't want to point fingers, but the quarterback did a bad job of getting me the ball, and the offensive line did a terrible job in pass protection." I thought he didn't want to point any fingers? I took a look at the Cowboys schedule, and the drama is definitely not over. Dallas has tough matchups in four of the next five weeks. If T.O. is still on an NFL roster by the time we're sitting down for Thanksgiving, I'd be surprised.

Fantasy nugget: What quarterback leads the league in passer rating? Give up? David Carr. This week, he goes up against a Dallas defense that is touted as one of the league's best, but the Cowboys were lit up by Donovan McNabb for 354 yards last week. Don't be afraid to start Carr. The Texans should be playing from behind for much of this one.

The pick: Dallas (-13)


Bills at Lions

The difference: You can count on the Lions to keep games close but eventually lose. They have been outscored 47-13 in the final quarter this season. I'm going with the flawed reasoning here that they have to win a game some time. I'll probably regret this pick.

Fantasy nugget: Roy Williams was listed as probable on the injury report for Detroit, but a newspaper report earlier this week said he was doubtful. Monitor this situation up until game time. If Williams doesn't play, Mike Furrey and Az-Zahir Hakim wouldn't be bad starts with six teams having byes this week.

The pick: Detroit (+1)

Seahawks at Rams

The difference: I LOVE this game. Ok, so maybe that doesn't mean much from a guy who hasn't had a winning week yet this season. But this is a game where Seattle shows it still owns the NFC West, and St. Louis comes back to earth after a 4-1 start. Plus, Seattle is coming off a bye and has had time to recover from the pounding it received from the Bears.

Fantasy nugget: Tight end Jerramy Stevens is expected to see his first action this season against St. Louis. While he might not be a great fantasy option this week because he'll be in for a limited number of plays, Stevens isn't a bad pickup if you're desperate for a tight end. He had 554 yards and five touchdowns last year.

The pick: Seattle (-3)

Giants at Falcons

The difference: Try figuring out the Giants. Go ahead. I dare you. They started out the season with a solid outing against the Colts. Then they were terrible for three quarters against the Eagles, but played great in the fourth. The next week they got pounded by the Seahawks, and then they delivered a pounding on the Redskins. Hmm...

Fantasy nugget: The Falcons have only allowed one touchdown all year, but don't let that scare you if you own Eli Manning, Tiki Barber or Plaxico Burress. All three players are must-starts every week and should put up big numbers against Atlanta.

The pick: New York (+3)

Eagles at Saints

The difference: Forget the let-down game. The Eagles got their wake-up call when they collapsed in the fourth quarter against the Giants. Donovan McNabb is playing as well as he ever has, and the defense is putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks and creating turnovers.

Fantasy nugget: Go easy on Reggie Bush. In most formats, fantasy owners don't get credit when their player scores on special teams. But still, Bush leads the league with 34 catches and will continue to get better as the season goes on. While he hasn't been a great fantasy player, the exciting rookie is opening things up for everyone else on the Saints' offense.

The pick: Philadelphia (-3)

Panthers at Ravens

The difference: Carolina has not been impressive this season, but I think they are about to start clicking. Combine that with the fact that the Ravens' offense looked terrible Monday night and Baltimore had a short week to prepare, and I see a close Panthers win.

Fantasy nugget: Deshaun Foster has run for over 100 yards in back-to-back weeks. He will get all the carries in this one as DeAngelo Williams is out with an injury. Don't expect Foster to match Tatum Bell's 92-yard performance from last week, but he looks like he will be rebound after a slow start this season.

The pick: Carolina (+3)


Dolphins at Jets

The difference: Never believe a word out of Daunte Culpepper's mouth ever again. Here's what he had to say after getting benched (partly because of injury) in favor of Joey Harrington: "I have to say 'thank you' to coach Saban because in this situation he's really protecting me and doing what's best for the team and that's how we're moving along.'' Thank you? Didn't I just see a report about Culpepper and Saban getting into a heated argument? Ahh, I love professional athletes.

Fantasy nugget: Chad Pennington has certainly slowed down, huh? After putting up back-to-back 300-yard games to open the season, the Jets quarterback has tossed four interceptions and one touchdown in his last two games. He won last week's award for the ugliest line of the weekend: 10-for-17 for 71 yards, three interceptions and zero touchdowns.

The pick: New York (-3)

Chargers at 49ers

The difference: Marty Schottenheimer let Philip Rivers make plays last week, and he performed splendidly. This week, he faces the 25th-ranked pass defense in the NFL. San Diego is looking like a legitimate Super Bowl threat right now.

Fantasy nugget: Frank Gore has been a top-three fantasy bask so far. He rushed for 134 yards last week against the Raiders, but hasn't scored since in his last three games. Gore is a must-start every week, but he faces a tough Chargers defense that is allowing 66.5 yards per game on the ground.

The pick: San Diego (-10)

Chiefs at Steelers

The difference: My streak for picking Steelers games wrong continued last week when Pittsburgh was pounded by the Chargers. To me this is a point of no return game for the Steelers. If they drop to 1-4, their season is over, with matchups against the Ravens (twice), Bengals, Falcons, Broncos and Panthers still on the schedule.

Fantasy nugget: The last time Ben Roethlisberger threw a touchdown pass, Joe Torre was still managing the Yankees. Ok, bad example. But the Steelers quarterback is struggling mightily this season, having tossed no touchdowns and seven interceptions. Kansas City's pass defense is ranked fourth in the league, allowing 147.8 yards per game through the air.

The pick: Pittsburgh (-6.5)

Raiders at Broncos

The difference: Did you hear ESPN report last week that Denver coach Mike Shanahan gave an article to his players where a reporter called the Broncos' defense soft? It turns out that article was from our very own Ravens Central blog by Mike Preston. Very entertaining stuff.

Fantasy nugget: I'll admit when I'm wrong. I thought Tatum Bell would be a bust this season because he wouldn't get enough carries. Even though he hasn't scored a touchdown, Bell is seventh in the league in rushing and was impressive last week with 92 yards against Baltimore.

The pick: Denver (-15)