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NFL: Buy or Sell

   by ASA - 12/12/2008

BUY – San Francisco 49ers

Mike Singletary made the news for “dropping his drawersâ€쳌 in a post-game tirade after his initial game as Niner head coach back on October 26th. However, what should be making the news is the fact that despite their 5-8 overall record, Singletary has this team playing hard and actually winning games. For those of you not paying attention, San Fran has now won three of their last four games out right and covered four of their last five. They are off a 10-point win over a good Jets team last Sunday. They held Favre and company to just 182 total yards in that win.

Singletary is really making a strong case to take over full time next year and the players seem to be buying in. “Football is fun again, it really is,â€쳌 stated SF starting center Eric Heitmann. “We’re all playing together, offense, defense and special teams.â€쳌 This team has definitely not quit on their coach. In fact, it looks like they want him around for good so expect a solid effort from here on out.

Don’t look now but QB Shaun Hill is actually playing solid football for the 49ers. He is now 5-2 as a starter for San Francisco dating back to last season. In his last four games Hill has completed 78 of his 115 passes (68%) for 962 yards. He has seven TD passes and only two interceptions during that stretch. In last week’s win over New York, Hill completed passes to ten different receivers. One thing to keep an eye on for the Niner offense is the health of RB Frank Gore who sprained his ankle last Sunday.

While I am “buyingâ€쳌 this team, I’m not so sure about this weekend’s game. They travel across the country to Miami where the Fins are a terrible 12-32-1 ATS their last 45 home games. However the four most western teams (San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle and Arizona) are only 1-15 straight up on the east coast this season. However, after that, it’s a winnable trip to St. Louis before closing out at home vs. a struggling Washington team. The 49ers goal is to win out and get to 8-8 and it is definitely doable.

SELL – Washington Redskins

So much for Jim Zorn’s new offense improving as the season goes on. Zorn stated early in the season that there are a number of early struggles and problems when implementing his new offensive schemes. It takes awhile to learn and perfect. He expected that once the season progressed the Skins offensive unit would really start clicking and put up some big numbers. Well, we’re waiting.

Washington has now scored 10 points or less in four of their last five games. They currently rank 29th in the NFL in points scored and have topped 20 points just once since October 5th. Since November 1st, the only team Washington has beaten was a poor Seattle squad and that was only by a field goal. They have fallen to last place in the NFC East and their playoff hopes have been pretty much dashed.

This team thrives on running the ball and must do so to win. However, they have now been out gained on the ground in four of their last five games. Clinton Portis is starting to show the wear and tear of his 266 carries as he has been battling injuries for a few weeks now. He has logged very little practice time as of late and because of that Zorn has kept him on the bench more than Portis would like. Now Portis has publicly called out his head coach on how he has handled the situation sarcastically calling him “the geniusâ€쳌. This train is heading down hill and fast.

I’m not necessarily noting you play against Washington this weekend as they travel to a 1-11-1 Cincinnati team. With QB Carson Palmer on the shelf, the Bengals are even worst on offense logging just 29 total points in their last four games. However, after that, Washington faces Philadelphia who owns fourth best defense in the NFL. Then they make the long trip to the west coast to face San Francisco in what might be a meaningless game for the Skins. I’m “sellingâ€쳌 a team that fully expected to make the playoffs just a month ago and now is fading fast.

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