VOTED #1 FANTASY FOOTBALL SITE
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 & 2002
PRIORITY NEWS   MESSAGE BOARDS JOIN   
HOME ARTICLES STATISTICS WEEKLY FEATURES TEAM LINKS NFL RESOURCES  
Crossing the Line - Week 14
By Todd Gray and Fritz Schlottman
December 4, 2003
 
Detroit vs. San Diego

Detroit Offense

Sacked/G=.83

Rush TDs/G=.33

Rush Avg.=3.5

San Diego Defense

Sacks/G=2.00

Rush TDs Against/G=.83

Rush Avg. Against=4.4

Detroit Defense

Sacks/G=2.00

Rush TDs Against/G=.83

Rush Avg. Against=4.0

San Diego Offense

Sacked/G=1.83

Rush TDs/G=1.00

Rush Avg.= 5.3

When the Chargers have the ball - The Chargers rallied in the third quarter against the Chiefs, thanks largely to QB Doug Flutie. They also faltered in the end, thanks largely to Flutie's two fourth-quarter turnovers.

RB Ladainian Tomlinson rushed for 106 yards despite getting fewer than 20 carries (19) for the eighth time this year. Despite the gaudy totals, Tomlinson's yards were hard-earned as he was met in the backfield on a number of plays. The offensive line struggled after losing C Jason Ball (ankle) and LT Damion McIntosh (ankle). Ball is questionable against the Lions.

For the Lions, playing against Brett Favre and his broken right thumb may have been sound preparation for whichever QB the Chargers throw to them. Tomlinson may be San Diego's greatest hope, but Detroit has shown the ability to bring big-time backs down to Earth as was evidenced in the defensive line's disruption of the Packers' vaunted rushing attack on Thanksgiving. The 52 net yards rushing by Green Bay is even more impressive when considering that it was 121.5 yards below the Packers' season average. The Packers helped, for some unknown reason they abandoned the rush entirely in the second have and finished with only 15 rushing attempts for the game.

The Lions also sacked Favre four times, pressured him into three interceptions and recovered his only fumble, continuing a positive trend for Detroit.

When the Lions have the ball - Joey Harrington was sacked more than once for the first time this season, and has been facing more pressure of late. Even so, Harrington completed 12 of 14 passes in the first half, the same half in which he endured his sacks.

The Lions' running game actually helped their cause, which says a lot for the league's worst running team. One hundred yards on 33 carries were enough to keep Green Bay honest. FB Cory Schlesinger converted a pair of third-down plays with short runs, and RB Shawn Bryson's six-yard touchdown run was the only offensive touchdown of the game and the Lions' fourth rushing score this year.

Detroit's running game has a good chance for continued improvement against San Diego. Kansas City RB Priest Holmes ran roughshod over the Chargers, and the Chiefs piled up 194 yards rushing. It is a continuing trend of worsening play for San Diego's defensive line, although poor gap control was a problem for the linebacking unit, as well.

Green Bay vs. Chicago

Green Bay Offense

Sacked/G=1.33

Rush TDs/G=1.08

Rush Avg.=5.3

Chicago Defense

Sacks/G=1.17

Rush TDs Against/G=.75

Rush Avg. Against=4.5

Green Bay Defense

Sacks/G=2.08

Rush TDs Against/G=.75

Rush Avg. Against=4.3

Chicago Offense

Sacked/G=2.75

Rush TDs/G=.92

Rush Avg.=4.0

When the Packers have the ball - So much for the Packers' unstoppable running game, although the Bears have probably managed to contain their excitement. Green Bay's offensive line appeared merely mortal as the Packers mustered a meager 52 yards rushing against the Lions.

It is a good bet that RBs Ahman Green and Najeh Davenport will rebound against the Bears; to what extent will likely make the difference. Brett Favre continues to fight the good fight with his broken right thumb, but it's clear that Green Bay will have trouble winning without its running game being in overdrive.

Green, who had averaged 148 yards per game in his previous four games, rushed for only 57 yards on a season-low 13 carries. Green Bay ran only seven times in the second half.

Chicago didn't have much luck with Green (176 yards) the first time these teams met on Sept. 29, but the Bears' defense is vastly improved since that meeting. Chicago has held two of its past four opponents without a touchdown, a trend not likely to continue against a Green Bay offensive line playing at home that suddenly has a chip on its shoulder.

When the Bears have the ball - The Bears actually looked pretty good on offense, but against a team that is falling apart. Still, they didn't make many mistakes (one turnover), had great success on the ground led by rookie RB Brock Forsey's 134 yards rushing and featured an exceptionally well-rounded passing game by Kordell Stewart standards.

Not bad for a team with an offense that ranks last overall in the NFL and second-to-last in passing. Stewart finished 22 of 37 for 284 yards and two TDs. Those numbers and his 26 rushing yards and rushing TD reminded everyone of why he is almost a viable NFL starter.

RB Anthony Thomas may return against the Packers, but the right side of Chicago's offensive line is hurting. G Chris Villarial (ribs) and Aaron Gibson (knee) may both miss Sunday's game.

The Lions ran reasonably well against the Packers, and Chicago will try to exploit this same weakness. Teams have had moderate success running the ball against Green Bay this season, and with a potential compliment to Thomas in Forsey and with the threat posed by Stewart's legs, the Bears may chew up enough yards to keep this one close.

Green Bay did little to disrupt the Lions' passing game until it blitzed more in the second half. Still, Detroit burned the Packers with a few big plays, something one would hardly anticipate from the Lions.

Pittsburgh vs. Oakland

Pittsburgh Offense

Sacked/G=2.92

Rush TDs/G=.58

Rush Avg.=3.3

Oakland Defense

Sacks/G=1.50

Rush TDs Against/G=1.33

Rush Avg. Against=4.5

Pittsburgh Defense

Sacks/G=2.25

Rush TDs Against/G=.83

Rush Avg. Against=3.6

Oakland Offense

Sacked/G=2.42

Rush TDs/G=1.00

Rush Avg.=4.3

When the Steelers have the ball - It's not often that a Steelers/Raiders game raises so few eyebrows. Pittsburgh actually had a chance to salvage its season on Sunday, but a mediocre rushing performance and a pair of turnovers put an end to all but the most fanciful hopes anyone may have of this team making the playoffs.

Pittsburgh's battered offensive line struggled badly in the first half as it adjusted to life without Marvel Smith and with Jeff Hartings hurting. Steelers QBs were sacked six times and RB Jerome Bettis fought for only 62 yards on 20 carries (3.1-yard average). The line made some good adjustments and fared better in the second half.

Oakland doesn't strike fear into the hearts of opposing QBs, but the Raiders frustrated Jake Plummer into a lackluster day and sacked him three times against an often-steady Denver line. Pittsburgh has struggled mightily with or without a healthy Marvel Smith and will try diligently to get Bettis and/or RB Amos Zereoue untracked early against the Raiders' generous run defense (league-worst 150.8 yards per game allowed).

When the Raiders have the ball - It was both good and bad for many of the Raiders on Sunday, and in the end that wasn't good enough. A decent blocking performance by the offensive line was dampened by the unit's four penalties (may have led to that "dumbest team in the league" quote). RB Tyrone Wheatley averaged 10.6 yards on eight carries but fumbled once and QB Rick Mirer, while not bad, failed to completed many passes on key downs and did little to help the Raiders win.

It was the Pittsburgh D's game to lose against Cincinnati, and they lost it with a bang when the Bengals moved the ball 52 yards and into the end zone in the game's final minute. The Steelers also collapsed on Cincinnati's last drive of the first half, a 16-play, 82-yard march into the end zone that included a pair of huge third-down conversions.

So the Steelers' D looked bad against Cincinnati, but it should look better against Oakland (Who would have believed that three months ago?). Opening holes for Wheatley and Charlie Garner against Pittsburgh's steady defensive line will likely be the Raiders' top priority.

Jacksonville vs. Houston

Jacksonville Offense

Sacked/G=2.00

Rush TDs/G=.75

Rush Avg.=4.0

Houston Defense

Sacks/G=1.42

Rush TDs Against/G=.92

Rush Avg. Against=4.3

Jacksonville Defense

Sacks/G=1.42

Rush TDs Against/G=.83

Rush Avg. Against=3.2

Houston Offense

Sacked/G=2.25

Rush TDs/G=.92

Rush Avg.=3.9

When the Jaguars have the ball - Jacksonville confidently punched the ball down the Bucs' throats and will try to do more of the same against the Texans. RB Fred Taylor (29 carries, 118 yards) will be asked to carry a heavy load against a Houston defense that gives up more than 130 rushing yards per game.

Taylor has carried 61 times the past two games, worth noting as he's historically not been a back who holds up well under a heavy workload.

The Jags' offensive line gave solid protection to rookie QB Byron Leftwich, who had enough time to complete 20 of 34 passes for 224 yards, two TDs and, most importantly, to not make outcome-shifting mistakes.

Houston's defensive line and linebacking unit came up big and slowed an opponent's running game for the first time in more than a month.

When the Texans have the ball - Houston's run-blocking returned against the Falcon's, as most teams' do. After two so-so performances, the offensive line sprung rookie RB Domanick Davis for 101 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.

The O-line had less luck in pass protection, allowing four sacks and good pressure on QBs Tony Banks and David Carr. Houston stuck with the run for most of the game, necessitated by Banks' broken hand and by Carr's re-aggravated shoulder injury.

Atlanta's rush defense may have provided an opportunity for Houston's line to gell, but the Jaguars feature the league's No. 2 defense against the run and the league's No. 6 defense overall. Jacksonville stifled drive after drive against the Bucs and forced Tampa Bay into passing the ball twice as much as it ran the ball (38-19). If Davis runs well, it will be the first time an RB has done so against the Jags in well over a month and he will be give the opportunity to do so in order to prevent a gimpy Carr from having to do too much.

New York Giants vs. Washington

New York Offense

Sacked/G=2.33

Rush TDs/G=.42

Rush Avg.=4.0

Washington Defense

Sacks/G=1.33

Rush TDs Against/G=1.25

Rush Avg. Against=4.3

New York Defense

Sacks/G=2.83

Rush TDs Against/G=1.00

Rush Avg. Against=4.0

Washington Offense

Sacked/G=2.83

Rush TDs/G=.58

Rush Avg.=4.1

When the Giants have the ball - QB Kerry Collins spent a lot of time looking up against the Bills (6 sacks), and New York could muster only 24 rushing yards as things finally hit rock bottom for the offensive line.

The five linemen that finished the Giants' loss to Buffalo included an undrafted rookie (LT Jeff Roehl), a first-year starter who had never played guard before (Scott Peters), a rookie fifth-round draft pick (David Diehl) and a first-year starter at RT (Ian Allen) who lost his job early in the season. Injuries to LT Luke Petitgout (back) and LG Wayne Lucier (knee) crippled any chance the line had of rebounding from a string of poor play.

If Petitgout is unable to play against the Redskins, second year T Jeff Hatch could get his first career start.

Good news for the Giants: it doesn't take All-Pro blocking to keep the Redskins at bay. Tiki Barber (12 carries, 20 yards) should find more room to move against Washington than he did against run-tough Buffalo. New York abandoned its running game in the second half against the Bills when Barber carried three times for a single yard. Washington still doesn't bring much of a rush (zero sacks against New Orleans) despite making subtle progress on defense of late.

When the Redskins have the ball - The Redskins may have strayed from their running game prematurely against a New Orleans' unit ranked near the bottom of the league in rushing defense. It wasn't as if Washington was struggling on the ground. RB Trung Canidate ran for 14 and 38 yards the first two times he touched the ball and finished with the 'Skins first 100-yard game of the season, although six of his 16 carries resulted in gains of one or two yards.

QB Tim Hasselbeck was inaccurate at times and suffered from a handful of drops.

LT Chris Samuels could return against the Giants, although backup Brandon Winey has played well in his stead. C Larry Moore (foot) is expected to return to practice but may not get the nod over backup Lennie Friedman, who has played well in four straight games.

The question isn't how Washington will move the ball against the Giants, but how far. New York has been getting singed through the air and is also giving up almost two touchdowns per game on the ground over the past month.

Tennessee vs. Indianapolis

Tennessee Offense

Sacked/G=1.50

Rush TDs/G=.75

Rush Avg.=3.1

Indianapolis Defense

Sacks/G=2.17

Rush TDs Against/G=1.00

Rush Avg. Against=4.5

Tennessee Defense

Sacks/G=2.33

Rush TDs Against/G=.50

Rush Avg. Against=3.7

Indianapolis Offense

Sacked/G=1.00

Rush TDs/G=1.00

Rush Avg.=3.4

When the Titans have the ball - Tennessee did little to take advantage of the Jets'

bottom-dwelling run defense despite QB Steve McNair's calf injury. McNair's lack of mobility didn't help matters as he ran only once for minus-1 yard, and he was clearly rusty with his throws for much of the game despite finishing 21-of-35 for 272 yards. Not vintage McNair.

RB Eddie George did gain 73 yards on 18 carries, nice totals that are somewhat diminished by the fact that the Jets allow 154.5 yards on the ground per game.

It goes without saying that McNair's return to form will largely dictate the Titans' tactics against a Colts' defense that seems to get exploited one way or another nearly every week of late. Against the Pats, Indy began the game asleep and kept hitting snooze until a late-game rally. Tennessee will try to keep the chains moving featuring a game plan that involves a heavy dose of George.

When the Colts have the ball - When the Colts needed their running game the most, it was nowhere to be found. Trailing by four points and on New England's two-yard-line with a first-and-two, Indy gained 1, zero, zero and -1 yards on their final three plays, including three Edgerrin James' runs. James finished with 88 yards on 25 carries.

The way Peyton Manning has been playing, shutting down the Colts' running game can have unfortunate consequences. Indianapolis pounded the Titans in the teams' first meeting, with a lot of carries and yardage coming in the second half as the Colts ran simply ran down the clock.

Baltimore vs. Cincinnati

Baltimore Offense

Sacked/G=2.67

Rush TDs/G=.92

Rush Avg.=4.7

Cincinnati Defense

Sacks/G=2.17

Rush TDs Against/G=.75

Rush Avg. Against=4.5

Baltimore Defense

Sacks/G=2.58

Rush TDs Against/G=.42

Rush Avg. Against=3.5

Cincinnati Offense

Sacked/G=2.00

Rush TDs/G=.67

Rush Avg.=3.9

When the Ravens have the ball - RB Jamal Lewis was held under 100 yards for only the fourth time all season, but he gained his big yards on the Ravens' first touchdown drive. Lewis finished with 78 yards on 19 carries (4.1-yard average) and wasn't needed much as Baltimore grabbed an early lead and never looked back.

Despite heavy blitzing by the 49ers, QB Anthony Wright benefited enough from good pass protection to hang in the pocket and make good decisions.

Lewis has made a habit of having big days against Cincinnati, and this affair in Baltimore should result in more of the same - even those these aren't the same old Bungles. Cincinnati pushed around Baltimore's defense somewhat in the teams' first meeting this season, although accomplishing that feat in Cincinnati is a lot different than doing the same in Baltimore even though the Bengals have been better against the run of late. The key may turn out to be whether Wright and re-discovered WR Marcus Robinson can pick on the Bengals like Maddox and his receivers did last week.

Baltimore has averaged 34.5 points in its past four home games, all wins.

When the Bengals have the ball - The Bengals proved again on Sunday that when QB Jon Kitna is given time to work, he has more than enough weapons to make this offense go. The offensive line - arguably the team's most improved unit this season - gave Kitna all the time he needed against the Steelers.

Baltimore's defense has been its usual dominating self minus the aberration against Seattle two weeks ago, and the Ravens disrupted San Francisco's passing attack without recording a single sack. Baltimore is difficult to run on anywhere, but especially in its own nest, and should be able to slow down RBs Corey Dillon and Rudi Johnson. Kitna is a threat to rally Cincy through the air, but scoring points against the Ravens is no longer a guarantee for victory.

Baltimore DE Anthony Weaver (neck) will most likely return to the starting lineup and should give a lift to the team's run defense and pass rush.

Philadelphia vs. Dallas

Philadelphia Offense

Sacked/G=2.92

Rush TDs/G=1.33

Rush Avg.=4.7

Dallas Defense

Sacks/G=1.92

Rush TDs Against/G=.50

Rush Avg. Against=3.3

Philadelphia Defense

Sacks/G=2.17

Rush TDs Against/G=.67

Rush Avg. Against=4.3

Dallas Offense

Sacked/G=2.08

Rush TDs/G=.75

Rush Avg.=3.8

When the Eagles have the ball - The Eagles once again used their three-back attack to great effect with RBs Brian Westbrook, Duce Staley and Correll Buckhalter combining for 118 yards on 26 carries. The offensive line gave Donovan McNabb enough protection to complete 18 of 26 passes for 182 yards and a TD, including a handful of big third-down throws.

The OL may regain the services of LG John Welbourn against the Cowboys. Welbourn has missed the last two games following surgery on his knee.

Dallas remains the league's best defense on paper, but the Cowboys have proven otherwise on the field of late. Miami QB Jay Fiedler basically did his own bidding against Dallas with a remarkably efficient game, and RB Ricky Williams plowed his way to 104 yards on 31 carries including a succession of steady carries as the Dolphins burned the clock in the second half.

The Eagles scored twice on the ground the last time these teams met in Week 6, and that was without a passing game. Philadelphia is the more confident team these days and will continue to spread the ball around as much as possible while ideally creating a nice blend of runs, screens and passes over the middle while choosing carefully its opportunities to pick on the Cowboys' secondary.

When the Cowboys have the ball - The Cowboys got away with placing the game on QB Quincy Carter's back in Week 12, but couldn't do the same last week against the Dolphins. Dallas has won this season when it has run at least reasonably well, yet running reasonably well has become a festering challenge.

Carter completed 24 of 40 passes for 288 yards, two TDs and three interceptions, and he was also the Cowboys' leading rusher with 42 yards on four carries.

Solving their problems on offense may have to wait another week. The Eagles' run defense is poor, but it did prove superior to Dallas' rushing offense the first time these teams met in an ugly Cowboys' win at Dallas.

Philadelphia allowed more than 100 yards to an opposing back for the fourth straight week in its loss to Carolina, yet managed to keep RB Stephen Davis out of the end zone and stuffed him on a crucial fourth-and-one while holding him to only 27 yards rushing in the second half.

Minnesota vs. Seattle

Minnesota Offense

Sacked/G=3.00

Rush TDs/G=.92

Rush Avg.=4.7

Seattle Defense

Sacks/G=2.25

Rush TDs Against/G=.67

Rush Avg. Against=4.0

Minnesota Defense

Sacks/G=2.08

Rush TDs Against/G=1.42

Rush Avg. Against=5.1

Seattle Offense

Sacked/G=2.92

Rush TDs/G=1.00

Rush Avg.=4.5

When the Vikings have the ball - Someone call a doctor - we have one very sick patient in the NFC North. Hard to believe the first-place team in a division that includes the Lions and the Bears would be dead last if the season had started in Week 6.

This one wasn't even close. Daunte Culpepper was sacked a career-high eight times and the Vikings committed six false start penalties, including three by RT Mike Rosenthal. Despite the abuse, Culpepper managed to throw for 330 yards and a touchdown and rushed four times for 70 yards.

Minnesota rushed for 141 yards on 25 carries for a 5.6-yard average, but Viking ballhandlers fumbled three times and did little on the ground minus Culpepper's scrambling and a couple of long gains.

Seattle brings to town a defense that's been making life miserable for opposing QBs of late, registering 10 sacks the past two games including a disproportionate number of those from blitzing secondary players. Reggie Tongue, out with a concussion in Week 12, returned against the Browns to force two fumbles and get a sack.

There's little doubt the Vikings will move the ball against a Seahawks' defense that saves its worst for the road. The question is, will 35 or so points be enough?

When the Seahawks have the ball - Seattle's game against the Vikings will be its best chance to put its road woes behind it. The Seahawks have won only once on the road this season while going 7-0 at home. Nearly all facets of Seattle's offense are clicking, although Matt Hasselbeck could use a bit more protection from his line.

Hasselbeck had another outstanding game, hitting 26 of 35 passes for 328 yards, three TDs and only one interception. RB Shaun Alexander had 127 yards and a TD, and the Seahawks converted 11-of-15 third-down attempts and lead the NFL in third-down conversions at 48.1 percent.

All this adds up to big things for Seattle's offense. Remember Alexander's five-touchdown game last season? It happened against the Vikings, who have been giving up both yardage and points in droves. The only way Hasselbeck won't throw for big yards and 2-3 scores is if the Seahawks have the game in hand early.

Minnesota had only one sack and a meager one hurry against the Rams and the front seven was quiet throughout most of the game. Marshall Faulk looked like a kid again as he ran for 108 yards on only 17 carries. OLB Chris Claiborne (heel) is expected to return on Sunday, which may be a bit of a boost but likely not enough.

New Orleans vs. Tampa Bay

New Orleans Offense

Sacked/G=2.08

Rush TDs/G=.92

Rush Avg.=4.8

Tampa Bay Defense

Sacks/G=2.00

Rush TDs Against/G=.50

Rush Avg. Against=4.0

New Orleans Defense

Sacks/G=2.00

Rush TDs Against/G=.92

Rush Avg. Against=4.7

Tampa Bay Offense

Sacked/G=1.67

Rush TDs/G=.33

Rush Avg.=3.9

When the Saints have the ball - Slowing down Deuce McAllister may be one of the most difficult things to do in the NFL these days. McAllister used another strong performance by his offensive line to run for 165 yards on 30 carries. Though slowed by the Redskins in the second half, McAllister converted a pair of huge third-down conversions.

QB Aaron Brooks had one of his worst days of the season, but he stayed away from big mistakes and didn't get sacked. Brooks made the most of his 14 completions and didn't try to force things.

McAllister should be in for another big day against the Bucs, a team he's run well against in the past. Tampa Bay has struggled against the run all year, but lately they've been struggling with everything related to defense. Rookie QB Byron Leftwich played like an All-Pro against the Bucs last week and finished the game with a 98.2 rating.

When the Buccaneers have the ball - Tampa Bay's offensive line continued to deteriorate against the Jaguars. QB Brad Johnson has been pressure a lot lately, and Sunday was no exception. Johnson completed 21-of-38 passes, but for only 156 yards and one interception. He was also sacked twice and met the ground several others.

The run blocking was a little bit better, but that's not saying much. Tampa Bay ran for 77 yards on 19 carries for a 4.1 average. The Bucs attempted twice as many passes (38) as runs, which may be as much an indictment of the OL as any. RB Michael Pittman did have his moments with 60 yards on 10 carries, but that was about it.

The Bucs threw the ball well against the Saints in the teams' first meeting, but the passing game has regressed since then and New Orleans' is much improved against the pass. Tampa Bay could not run on the Saints in that game and still can't run the ball in general.

New Orleans did get shredded on the ground by the Redskins last week and let RB Trung Canidate become the first Washington RB to top the 100-yard mark this season. If Canidate can do it, Pittman and the Bucs definitely have a shot.

San Francisco vs. Arizona

San Francisco Offense

Sacked/G=1.75

Rush TDs/G=.75

Rush Avg.=4.4

Arizona Defense

Sacks/G=1.33

Rush TDs Against/G=.92

Rush Avg. Against=3.6

San Francisco Defense

Sacks/G=2.58

Rush TDs Against/G=.67

Rush Avg. Against=4.0

Arizona Offense

Sacked/G=1.67

Rush TDs/G=.25

Rush Avg.=3.9

When the 49ers have the ball - Offenses this boring are worth having only if a team is winning, not getting drubbed by 38 points. The offensive line was not good, but ineptitude found a home on almost every 49ers' unit.

RBs Garrison Hearst and Kevan Barlow combined for 95 yards on 23 carries, but did nothing on some crucial short-yardage plays. QB Jeff Garcia had a miserable game in which he threw a career-high four interceptions, including two that deflected off of his own receivers and two that deflected off Ravens.

San Francisco missed the services of RG Ron Stone (hamstring), who may be back in action against the Cardinals.

Among the few absolute truths in life is that Arizona will stink it up on the road. Garcia may not know what to do with the time he's given following his experience against the Ravens. Hearst and Barlow, too, will likely have more room to run against a defense that did its best to make Brock Forsey (134 yards) a household name.

When the Cardinals have the ball - The offensive line continues to regress and the running game has nearly ground to a halt. The Cardinals barely put up a fight and finished with 197 total yards, including only 46 on the ground.

QB Jeff Blake was 20-of-32 passing for 166 yards and two interceptions. Blake suffered only one sack, but it was a doozy. RG Leonard Davis let Bears' DE Phillip Daniels past him on a simple stunt for the 12-yard sack.

RB Michael Shipp ran for 34 yards on 14 carries. Shipp busted loose for 165 yards in the Cards' first game against the 49ers, but such totals would be wishful thinking for this contest. San Francisco stops the run well at home and must be thinking revenge against the team that exposed them to so many of their current problems.

Buffalo vs. New York Jets

Buffalo Offense

Sacked/G=3.00

Rush TDs/G=1.00

Rush Avg.=3.8

New York Defense

Sacks/G=2.42

Rush TDs Against/G=1.25

Rush Avg. Against=4.2

Buffalo Defense

Sacks/G=2.08

Rush TDs Against/G=.83

Rush Avg. Against=3.5

New York Offense

Sacked/G=1.33

Rush TDs/G=.33

Rush Avg.=4.0

When the Bills have the ball - The Bills offensive line gave up four sacks against one of the league's best pass-rushing teams and was guilty of a handful of penalties. But it would be difficult to question the line's overall success, which included 403 yards of offense and an 18-plus minute advantage in time of possession.

RB Travis Henry played his second game with a fractured fibula and ran for more than 100 yards for the fourth time in six games. Buffalo kept feeding Henry the ball despite a handful of early stops and it paid off. QB Drew Bledsoe avoided sacks and mistakes and finished with 252 yards passing, two touchdowns and a 115.9 QB rating.

New York held the Titans and a hobbling Steve McNair to 84 yards rushing, but things should get back to normal this week. The Jets have allowed an average of 148.6 yards rushing per game this year, worse than all but Oakland and Atlanta - not good company these days. The defensive line did have one of its better games against the Titans.

When the Jets have the ball - The Jets' offensive line did its job reasonably well against the Titans despite occasional breakdowns. RB Curtis Martin (15 carries, 79 yards) gained yards opportunely with five first downs among his 15 carries, but he also lost 12 yards on nine carries stopped at or behind the line against the league's No. 1-ranked run defense.

The Bills denied the Giants much of anything on the ground as Tiki Barber finished with 20 yards on 12 carries. Buffalo sacked Kerry Collins six times and held New York to a paltry 1.8 yards per carry. DL Aaron Schobel led steady pressure on Kerry Collins with three sacks.

The Jets thumped the Bills 30-3 the first time around, but 30 points is a lot to score in Buffalo. The Bills have allowed more than 17 points only once in six home games. This game is do-or-die for Jets, while Buffalo is already out of it.

New England vs. Miami

New England Offense

Sacked/G=2.08

Rush TDs/G=.67

Rush Avg.=3.4

Miami Defense

Sacks/G=2.50

Rush TDs Against/G=.58

Rush Avg. Against=3.3

New England Defense

Sacks/G=2.25

Rush TDs Against/G=.67

Rush Avg. Against=3.6

Miami Offense

Sacked/G=1.75

Rush TDs/G=.83

Rush Avg.=3.7

When the Patriots have the ball - The Patriots got away with having only a trace of a running game - or whatever you'd call 56 yards on 23 carries and four fumbles (one lost). New England was good in short yardage situations, but that was about it. The stat of the day was 4-6-2, representing RB Mike Cloud's four carries for six yards and two touchdowns.

QB Tom Brady was great in the first half, pretty bad in the second half, but effective overall. He completed passes to nine different receivers and helped the Patriots to three touchdowns in three trips to the red zone.

The Dolphins' defensive line outplayed Dallas' steady offensive line by a longshot. Miami was playing with a big lead much of the time and forcing the Cowboys to the air, but the Dolphins kept bringing the pressure.

It's not exactly a stretch to foresee Cloud and Kevin Faulk struggling against Miami's No. 4-ranked run defense. The Patriots best card is Brady, regardless, but this game has the makings of a Brady massacre if he's asked to beat the Dolphins' defense on his own.

When the Dolphins have the ball - Hard to believe only a couple of weeks ago the Dolphins' offensive line was in shambles. Miami has allowed three sacks total the past three games after allowing 10 sacks in the previous three games, and the Dolphins have averaged 139.3 yards rushing with three TDs in that span.

Miami finally lined up all five starters on the offensive line, although Gs Jamie Nails (ankle) and Todd Perry (elbow) played with discomfort. Rookie LT Wade Smith continues to shine after struggling for most of the first part of the season.

Ricky Williams has come on strong, as well, and became only the second back to hit 100 yards against the Cowboys. Williams dished out more than he took en route to 104 yards on 31 carries. He also caught four passes for 41 yards.

New England has improved its rushing defense with the emergence of T Richard Seymour and the recent return of T Ted Washington from a broken leg. In fact, the Patriots have been making crucial short-yardage stands left and right the past few weeks. The Patriots have been solid against the pass with the exception of Sunday's four-touchdown debacle against the Colts.

Denver vs. Kansas City

Denver Offense

Sacked/G=1.83

Rush TDs/G=.83

Rush Avg.=4.8

Kansas City Defense

Sacks/G=2.50

Rush TDs Against/G=.75

Rush Avg. Against=4.9

Denver Defense

Sacks/G=2.25

Rush TDs Against/G=.42

Rush Avg. Against=3.9

Kansas City Offense

Sacked/G=1.42

Rush TDs/G=1.67

Rush Avg.=4.5

When the Broncos have the ball - Denver's passing game continues to fade, although the sloppy conditions on Sunday were limiting, at best. The ground game suffered little from the same conditions and chalked up 193 net yards, with RB Clinton Portis leading the way with 34 carries for 170 yards and two touchdowns. Portis ran for minus-2 yards on his first three carries before both he and the line got it together.

QB Jake Plummer was 11-of-20 for105 yards, one interception and one touchdown in adverse weather. He was sacked twice and gained eight yards total the five times he ran the ball.

To win this game, it's imperative that the Broncos' passing game lives up to more than its No.-27 ranking. The Chiefs were able to disguise their mediocre run defense for most of the season, but the secret is out and Portis will likely spring at least a couple of big runs. Against San Diego, Kansas City allowed 159 rushing yards on 28 carries for a 5.7-yard average.

When the Chiefs have the ball - Priest Holmes put on another show with a strong push from the offensive line. Holmes has totaled 377 yards from scrimmage the past two games after gaining 162 yards rushing on 31 carries against the Chargers. It was his first 100-yard game in more than a month and, including four receptions, his busiest day as a Chief.

Denver has allowed one 100-yard rusher this season, and Holmes has a good shot to become No. 2. It is a misleading fact, as well, as RB Tyrone Wheatley averaged 10.6 yards per carry on eight carries against the Broncos last week.

Much hinges on QB Trent Green, who has played well even though he looked pretty average against San Diego. Despite getting decent protection, Green was 17-of-30 for 155 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. If he gets into any kind of groove with his receivers, it will likely be a long day from the Broncos' perspective.

Atlanta vs. Carolina

Atlanta Offense

Sacked/G=2.25

Rush TDs/G=1.08

Rush Avg.=4.4

Carolina Defense

Sacks/G=2.42

Rush TDs Against/G=.50

Rush Avg. Against=3.8

Atlanta Defense

Sacks/G=2.67

Rush TDs Against/G=1.58

Rush Avg. Against=4.6

Carolina Offense

Sacked/G=1.58

Rush TDs/G=.67

Rush Avg.=4.3

When the Falcons have the ball - It will be interesting to see what type of impact QB Michael Vick makes in his first start this season. Vick was in the game for the Falcons' final two possessions, completing 8 of 11 passes for 60 yards and leading Atlanta to a pair of field goals.

Atlanta still hasn't figured out how to survive without Warrick Dunn. Then again, the Falcons barely survived with him. Atlanta rushed for 69 yards on 24 carries for a 2.9-yard average. RB T.J. Duckett (12 carries, 31 yards) continued to struggle and even lost carries to FB Justin Griffith (six carries, 19 yards).

The Panthers allowed a combined 124 yards on 28 carries to three Philadelphia running backs, but that was something of an aberration for the season. Carolina has allowed only one 100-yard rusher (Deuce McAllister) all year.

Carolina is pretty good against the pass, but Vick was a monster against the Panthers last season while completing 35 of 46 passes for 450 yards and two touchdowns in the teams' two meetings. The Panthers held Donovan McNabb to six yards on two carries and sacked him three times - totals they aren't likely to match against Vick.

When the Panthers have the ball - The Panthers' offensive line improved on its poor play from a week earlier against Dallas, but QB Jake Delhomme still felt too much pressure. Delhomme was sacked twice and his fumble after being blindsided on a blitz led to an Eagles touchdown.

RB Stephen Davis fared better with 115 yards on 23 carries, but had only five carries after halftime. That shouldn't be an issue against the Falcons' No. 31-ranked run defense, which has allowed at least 119 rushing yards in every game this season.

Houston amassed 135 yards rushing against the Falcons at 4.4 yards a clip. RB Dominack Davis looked like a rookie sensation once again following two weeks of average results, running for 101 yards and two touchdowns.

Cleveland vs. St. Louis

Cleveland Offense

Sacked/G=2.33

Rush TDs/G=.42

Rush Avg.=3.6

St. Louis Defense

Sacks/G=2.58

Rush TDs Against/G=.58

Rush Avg. Against=4.8

Cleveland Defense

Sacks/G=1.92

Rush TDs Against/G=.58

Rush Avg. Against=4.5

St. Louis Offense

Sacked/G=2.83

Rush TDs/G=1.33

Rush Avg.=3.6

When the Browns have the ball - A little more than 2-1/2 weeks ago the Browns were sky-high following a 44-6 pasting of Arizona. Since then, Cleveland has lost to the Steelers and Seahawks by a combined score of 47-13, effectively ending the Browns' playoff hopes.

Injuries have hit the offensive line the hardest. Nine different players have started on the line for the Browns. G Chad Beasley became No. 9 when he started for Paul Zukauskas against the Seahawks. Zukauskas missed the game to be with his seriously ill mother.

QB Kelly Holcomb will get the nod for the Browns against the Rams even though Tim Couch's sprained left knee isn't as bad as originally feared. Couch should be available for the game and will serve as Holcomb's backup.

The Rams' defensive line teed off on Vikings' QB Daunte Culpepper and DE Leonard Little was the NFC's defensive player of the week after recording six tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles. Holcomb could be in for more of the same barring a true rise-to-the-occasion performance from his line, but one has to wonder how much gas the deflated Browns have left in their tank.

When the Rams have the ball - The Rams put on a run-blocking clinic against the Vikings and allowed only one sack. Marshall Faulk looked better than he has all year, albeit against a horrible Minnesota run defense. Faulk ran 17 times for 108 yards and three touchdowns and caught two passes for 35 yards.

St. Louis has scored at least 23 points in all but two games this season, closely mirrored by the Browns' ability to score 23 or more points only twice - not a stat that will breed confidence in Cleveland fans.

Against the Seahawks, the Browns made the dubious accomplishment of allowing a 300-yard passer (Matt Hasselbeck, 328 yards), a 100-yard rusher (Shaun Alexander, 127 yards) and not one but two 100-yard receivers (Koren Robinson and Darrell Jackson, 122 and 102 yards, respectively). Now here comes a team with some of the most gifted skill position players on the planet.