Commentary

Engel: Wrapping up the season

Updated: December 28, 2007, 3:20 PM ET
By Scott Engel | ESPN.com

For the final week of the NFL regular season, I share my personal selections and picks in ESPN.com's minigames. I'll explain the reasoning behind many of my choices, in an effort to assist you in making your own decisions or to explain why certain picks may seem risky or unusual.

Gridiron Challenge

QB1: Tom Brady (Value: Locked at 7.8)
QB2: Kurt Warner (Locked at 6.7)
RB1: Brian Westbrook (7.5)
RB2: Kenny Watson (4.5)
WR1: Braylon Edwards (Locked at 6.2)
WR2: Randy Moss (Locked at 7.2)
TE: Brent Celek (3.0)
K: Jeff Wilkins (3.3)
D/ST: Houston Texans (3.7)
Total Team Value: (49.9)
Engel's Angles: New England will not sit back and take it easy against the Giants, as Tom Brady has already openly admitted he wants to see his team go 16-0. In the process, he and Moss can shatter a pair of significant NFL records, so they anchor my lineup once again. Brady can break Peyton Manning's record of 48 touchdown passes in a season, set in 2004, with two scoring passes. Moss can break Jerry Rice's 1987 record of 22 touchdown receptions with a pair of TD catches. So I'm expecting the Brady/Moss hookup to lock up first place for good in my group. I continue to hold the lead after 16 weeks with 1,915 points and a percentage of 97.8. Warner does have some notable injuries on the offensive line, but he has thrown three TD passes in each of the past three games and I believe he will simply adjust and get rid of the ball quicker or trust his receivers to gain yards after the catch while he makes shorter completions. Warner is too hot to release. Westbrook is a safe pick as he and the Eagles finish strong, and Watson will likely start again. He is coming off his second 130-rushing yard outing of 2007, and Miami allows 158.6 rushing yards per game, worst in the NFL. Edwards has caught five TD passes in his past five games and will be a key factor as the Browns look to finish well after Week 16's disappointing loss to Cincinnati. With L.J. Smith likely out again, I will take the shot on the promising Celek in the season finale. He's a good gamble for at least decent numbers, even if Matt Schobel plays. Celek has established himself as a quality pass-catcher recently and might start for Philadelphia in 2008. Wilkins should be busy in what will be a high-scoring game between Arizona and St. Louis. The Texans could see a lot of Jacksonville backup quarterback Quinn Gray, which makes Houston a good gamble. The Jaguars may give their starters significant rest, so the Texans are a solid value selection for the matchup.

Eliminator

Pick: Cleveland Browns (versus San Francisco)
Engel's Angles: The Cardinals delivered in overtime for me in Week 16, so I head into the final week with 15 correct selections. With not too much left to choose from, I have to go with Cleveland, which is coming off a critical loss to Cincinnati. No matter what the Browns do in this game, they won't find out their postseason fate until Sunday night, when Tennessee plays Indianapolis. Still, it would be significant for the Browns to earn 10 wins for the first time since they re-entered the league in 1999, and to finish the season with positive momentum if they do make the playoffs. The 49ers have won two straight games to move out of the NFC West basement, but quarterback Shaun Hill, who has spearheaded the recent "resurgence," is dealing with back spasms and that could mean a start for Chris Weinke. Cleveland has a weak run defense, but can key more on Frank Gore if Weinke is running the Niners' passing game. San Francisco allows 115 rushing yards per game and linebacker Patrick Willis cannot take on Jamal Lewis and the Cleveland blockers all by himself. The San Francisco secondary is respectable, but cornerback Nate Clements will be challenged by Braylon Edwards and the 49ers will not have an answer for tight end Kellen Winslow. The Browns are not known for their defense, but they will certainly outgun the Niners if Hill's status is still an issue by Sunday. The Browns could be prompted to rest some starters, but not until they have the game clearly decided.

Pigskin Pick 'Em vs. The Spread

My selections in CAPS
NEW ENGLAND -14 at New York Giants
ATLANTA -2 vs. Seattle
CLEVELAND -9 vs. San Francisco
New Orleans 2 1/2 at CHICAGO
Cincinnati -2 at MIAMI
PHILADELPHIA -7 vs. Buffalo
CAROLINA 2 at Tampa Bay
GREEN BAY 3 vs. Detroit
Houston 6 1/2 vs. JACKSONVILLE
Pittsburgh 5 at BALTIMORE
WASHINGTON 8 vs. Dallas
Arizona 6 vs. ST. LOUIS
MINNESOTA 2 at Denver
SAN DIEGO 6 at Oakland
New York Jets 5 1/2 vs. KANSAS CITY
TENNESSEE 6 at Indianapolis
Engel's Angles: The Patriots will impose their will on the Giants, even if the guys from Jersey are serious about impeding the march to history. The Falcons should have enough to dispatch a Seattle team making a long trip across the country for a meaningless game. Adverse weather conditions can once again give the Bears an edge at home. The Dolphins will finish the season with two consecutive wins at home, taking something positive from the end of a very bad year. With Tampa Bay expected to rest many top starters, the Panthers are a safe selection. The Packers have nothing to play for, but Detroit will still self-destruct. The Texans will win, but even against Jacksonville's second-stringers for much of the day, they won't make it look easy. The Ravens will end a nine-game losing streak in the season finale, as Pittsburgh is looking ahead to the postseason. The Redskins will dominate the Dallas backups in a must-win game. The Vikings need help to make the playoffs, but will at least do their part and win while hoping for optimum results. The Jets will win the "Herm Edwards Bowl", but won't blow the Chiefs out. The Titans will take care of business as the Colts rest their starters extensively.

Pigskin Pick 'Em: No Spread

Home team in CAPS
New England over NEW YORK GIANTS
ATLANTA over Seattle
CLEVELAND over San Francisco
CHICAGO over New Orleans
MIAMI over Cincinnati
PHILADELPHIA over Buffalo
Carolina over TAMPA BAY
GREEN BAY over Detroit
HOUSTON over Jacksonville
BALTIMORE over Pittsburgh
WASHINGTON over Dallas
St. Louis over ARIZONA
Minnesota over DENVER
San Diego over OAKLAND
NEW YORK JETS over Kansas City
TENNESSEE over Indianapolis
Engel's Angles: The Falcons weren't able to complete a near-victory in Week 16, but will show some more heart in their win over the Seahawks. The Bears will continue to ride the momentum of last week's win over the Packers. After beating the Browns, the Bengals will look mediocre again. The Eagles will finish the season strong with a decisive home win. The Steelers are expected to start Charlie Batch in their season finale, and while he is a solid backup, Pittsburgh will lose as it rests/limits many starters. Batch won't be regularly successful throwing to reserve pass-catchers. The Chargers will quickly establish a comfortable lead to wrap up the No. 3 seed in the AFC before sitting their starters. The Jets get a team they can beat, but it will still take a late score to finish the season with a victory.

Experts League Recap

It wasn't meant to be for me in the Krause Publications Experts League II, as I lost in the championship game to Krause Editor/Kingpin Greg Ambroisus, 136-112. Despite three TD passes from Ben Roethlisberger, 111 yards and a score from Fred Taylor, and a 48-yard TD reception by Jabar Gaffney, I lost Willie Parker early and Ambrosius had too much for me to overcome. He received outstanding performances from Donovan McNabb, Dwayne Bowe (eight catches for 97 yards and a touchdown in a points-per-receptions league), Tony Gonzalez and the Seattle defense. Congratulations to Greg, a longtime friend. I was able to win a Super Bowl in one of my personal leagues on ESPN.com. I won my second championship in three years, with this lineup: Roethlisberger, Westbrook, Adrian Peterson (MIN), Wes Welker, Anthony Gonzalez/Larry Fitzgerald, Vernon Davis, Shane Suisham/Mason Crosby, Seahawks/Vikings D/ST. The team I defeated in the Super Bowl went 12-0 before losing to me in the regular season finale and then lost to me in the Super Bowl.

Scott Engel covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com. You can contact Scott here.

Scott Engel | email

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Scott Engel covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com.