Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati
The Steelers coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Jacksonville Jags get their starting QB back this week to face the division leading Bengals. Pittsburgh played well on defense, but Tommy Maddox threw three interceptions and that eventually did Pittsburgh in. Cincinnati rebounded nicely from its 1 st loss of the season in Week 5, with a 31-23 victory over the Titans.
Pittsburgh hopes to run the ball with Bettis and Parker and force Cincinnati to put 8 men in the box to open things up down the field. Bengals safety Madieu Williams was average in his first game back from injury. The Steelers you can bet want to test him deep. Cincinnati will try and get DB Troy Polamalu in single coverage on Rudi out of the backfield or the slot WR and attempt to burn the Steelers deep.
Best Bets – Pittsburgh – LB James Farrior - Cincinnati – LB Odell Thurman
Solid plays – Pittsburgh – DB Troy Polamalu -Cincinnati – DB Madieu Williams.
Others to Consider – Pittsburgh – LB Larry Foote- Cincinnati – DB Kevin Kaesviharn
Detroit @ Cleveland
Do the Lions miss Jeff Garcia or what. Its almost certain if Garcia hadn’t have been injured Joey Harrington would have been sent to the bench weeks ago. Harrington outside of an 86 yard catch and run to Marcus Pollard was brutal to watch. The Lions defense held the panthers in check for most of the afternoon, but then Steve Smith turned a 20 yard pass play into an 80 yard td reception. Cleveland is tinkering with the idea of benching Dilfer, which isn’t good new for their defense. Watch this situation closely.
Detroit DB Kennoy Kennedy was brilliant again and has turned into a stud since leaving Denver this past off season. Cleveland has its own rising stars in LB’s Andra Davis and Ben Taylor. Detroit looks like a different defense with Boss Bailey on the field. If he is available, you might want to pick him up, or try and get him cheap before he puts up huge numbers.
Best Bets – Detroit – DB Kenoy Kennedy - Cleveland – LB Andra Davis
Solid plays – Detroit – LB Earl Holmes - Cleveland - DB Daylon McCutcheon
Others to Consider – Detroit – LB Boss Bailey - Cleveland – LB Ben Taylor
New Orleans @ St. Louis
New Orleans looks line an undisciplined football team, and their head coach always seems to be surprised when they lose games. The Saints have too much talent not to become a winning team once Haslett is shown the door. Its hard to recall when a coach has done less with more for this length of time. St. Louis lost starting QB Marc Bulger for probably 3 weeks with a shoulder injury and this is not good news for their defense. Reserve QB Jamie Martin was impressive early but as the Colts figured him out, they forced 3 turnovers and took RB’s Steven Jackson and Marshall Faulk out of the game.
This game features two of the worst coached, poorly prepared and underutilized talent in the NFL. Both of these teams on paper should be playoff bound on a regular basis. The winner of this game will be which defense steps up, and doesn’t make a mental mistake. Expect the Saints defensive line to get to the Jamie Martin regularly and try and win the game themselves. I’ve listed three of there DL's as solid plays this week.
Best Bets – New Orleans - DL Charles Grant - St. Louis – DB Adam Archuletta
Solid plays – New Orleans - DL Will Smith - St. Louis – LB Pisa Tinoisamoa
Others to Consider – New Orleans - DL Darren Howard - St. Louis – DL Anthony Hargrove, DL Leonard Little
Kansas City @ Miami
Kansas City held the Washington running game in check, but had no answer for Mark Brunell and the Redskins passing attack. Luckily for them, they were able to play keep away in the fourth quarter after getting the lead and close out the game. Miami on the other hand gave up 180 yard on the ground at an average of 5.3 a clip, to the victorious Tampa Bay Bucs. This trend better end soon, or Kansas City will run Miami out of the building.
This game figures to be a run until someone has to pass game, with the Chiefs holding the edge with RB Priest Holmes vs. the gimpy Jason Taylor. Miami will run out the two headed tandem of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams and will attempt to run down the KC defense. Dolphins LB Zach Thomas is averaging 7 tackles and 6 assists a game, which is simply an amazing stat. As always start Zach Thomas.
Best Bets – Kansas City – LB Derrick Johnson - Miami – LB Zach Thomas
Solid plays – Kansas City – LB Kawika Mitchell - Miami – LB Channing Crowder
Others to Consider – Kansas City – DB Greg Wesley - Miami – DL Jason Taylor - (questionable)
Green Bay @ Minnesota
Green Bay is coming off their bye week. Minnesota played like they were on a bye week last Sunday. The hapless Bears put up 28 points on the Vikings D, on 2 Thomas Jones TD runs and 2 TD receptions by TE Desmond Clark.
Green Bay can not run the ball, even against the Vikings so it will be up to Brett Favre and the Packers suspect D to take out the Vikings. Minnesota is getting stand out WR Nate Burleson back this week, as he could have played in week 6, but missed too much practice, according to head coach Mike Tice. This game has the makings of a shoot out with both defenses getting burned deep regularly.
Best Bets – Green Bay – LB Nick Barnet - MinnesotaLB Sam Cowart
Solid plays – Green Bay – DB Nick Collins - MinnesotaDL Kevin Williams
Others to Consider – Green BayLB Robert Thomas - MinnesotaDL Pat Williams
San Diego @ Philadelphia
San Diego is playing great ball right now. Even when Antonio Gates is held in check, teams can’t stop LT. The Charger defense was exceptional last week, holding the high powered Raider offense to 14 pts and only 39 rushing yards. Philadelphia was on bye in week 6, but had 2 weeks to prepare for San Diego.
For Philadelphia to have any shot in this game, they will have to slow down Chargers RB Ladainian Tomlinson, which has been a rare feat thus far this season. The Eagles defense has been awful their past two games giving up 24 pts in the first half to the Chiefs and the 27 to the Cowboys in a humiliating loss in Big D. Philadelphia is lacking the size up front to control the line of scrimmage on defense and allow MLB Jeremiah Trotter to roam free to the ball carrier. Philadelphia on the other hand will put pressure on the Charger defense with its passing game, and LB Donnie Edwards will have to sack McNabb to have a big statistical game, as the Eagles don’t run the ball enough for his usual tackle numbers.
Best Bets – San Diego –LB Donnie Edwards - Philadelphia – LB Jeremiah Trotter
Solid plays – San Diego –DB Terrance Kiel - Philadelphia – DB Michael Lewis
Others to Consider – San Diego –LB Randall Godfrey - Philadelphia – DB Brian Dawkins
San Francisco @ Washington
San Francisco traded opening day starting QB Tim Rattay to the Tampa Bay Bucs and look to completely hand the reigns of its franchise, to rookie QB Alex Smith. San Francisco was on their bye in week 6. Washington lost a heartbreaker to Kansas City even with a solid performance from its defense. The Washington loss is its 2 nd in as many weeks, and could be the beginning of the end of their season.
San Francisco QB Alex Smith turned the ball over 5 times in week 5, and must improve or the 49ers defense is going to wear out before the season ends. The 49ers already have an aging DL, and gimpy LB's. If you continue to leave them out on the field its only a matter of time before their spirit is broken. Washington is much more efficient on offense at this stage of the season, and look equally impressive on defense.
Best Bets – San Francisco – LB Derek Smith - Washington – LB Marcus Washington
Solid plays – San Francisco – LB Julian Peterson - Washington – DL Cornelius Griffin
Others to Consider – San Francisco – DB Tony Parrish - Washington – LB Lemar Marshall
Indianapolis @ Houston
Indianapolis came storming back from a 17-0 deficit after knocking Rams QB Marc Bulger out of the game, to win going away. The Colts defense gave up almost twice as many points in this game, as it did the first 5 games combined. Houston is winless, and they look like they have given up. The Texans gave up 4 rushing TD’s, 3 to Shaun Alexander and 1 to Maurice Morris in their demoralizing loss, 42-10. Houston LB Morlon Greenwood had a breakout game with 9 solo tackles and 3 assists with the departure of fellow LB Kaliee Wong to IR.
Indianapolis has a bye next week, right before their Monday night match up with the Patriots. Don’t expect the Colts to be looking past this game with that game 2 weeks away. The Colts top scoring LB's Cato June and Gary Brackett are both questionable this week, and neither have practiced thus far. Watch this situation closely. IF either are out, LB Gilbert Gardner could be a solid pickup for this week.
Best Bets – Indianapolis– DB Bob Sanders - Houston – LB Morlon Greenwood
Solid plays – Indianapolis– DL Dwight Freeney - Houston – DB CC Brown
Others to Consider – Indianapolis– LB Gary Brackett & LB Cato June (questionable) - Houston – DB Dunta Robinson
Dallas @ Seattle
Dallas is coming off a lackluster performance vs. the Giants, head coach Bill Parcells states they are lucky to have won. They played incredible on defense holding the high powered Giants out of the end zone until the final 19 seconds of the game even with repeated turnovers by their offense setting NY up in Cowboy territory. Seattle completely blew out the Texans on Sunday night, and will have a much more difficult time in week 7.
Cowboys LB Dat Nguyen is probable this week, but has still not returned to practice. The Cowboys may again be without starting RB Julius Jones who put on a clinic last season in Seattle. The Cowboys also lost starting LT Flozell Adams and 3 rd WR Patrick Crayton. Seattle didn’t suffer a key loss in the game, but starting FS Ken Hamlin was involved in an altercation outside a Seattle nightclub, where he spent the night in intensive care, with a fractured skull and fist. Seattle LB Jamie Sharper finally had a respectable game and this could be a breakout game for him this season.
Best Bets – Dallas – LB Bradie James - Seattle – LB Lofa Tatupu
Solid plays – Dallas – DB Roy Williams - Seattle – LB Jamie Sharper
Others to Consider – Dallas – LB Demarcus Ware - Seattle – DB Kelly Herndon
Baltimore @ Chicago
Baltimore still can’t get RB Jamal Lewis going, but RB Chester Taylor was explosive in his 8 carries for 92 yards last week vs. the Browns. HC Brian Billick says Lewis is still his starter, but one would wonder if that changes if the Bears shut Lewis down and Taylor has success early on. Chicago RB Thomas Jones is fighting for his starting RB life, trying to hold off unimpressive rookie Cedric Benson. Benson is clearly the Bears future, as they used the 4 th pick in the draft on him, but Jones is out playing him each week.
Baltimore S Ed Reed is doubtful this week, and could miss 2-3 weeks because of an ankle injury. He is not listed in the Best bets below for this reason. Baltimore LB Ray Lewis looks to get back on track from a 5 tackle performance vs. the Bears rushing attack this week. The Bears LB's will also be active trying to stop the Ravens rushing attack. Neither team wants to rely on their inexperienced QB to win them the game, and this one should be close for 4 quarters. Expect DB Will Demps to be even more active with Ed Reed out of the lineup.
Best Bets – Baltimore – LB Ray Lewis - Chicago – LB Brian Urlacher
Solid plays – Baltimore –DB Will Demps- Chicago – DB Mike Brown
Others to Consider – Baltimore– DL Terrell Suggs - Chicago – LB Lance Briggs
Buffalo @ Oakland
Buffalo looks like a completely different team with Kelly Holcomb behind center, and the Bills WR’s are starting to produce. Buffalo ran Willis McGahee 29 times for 143 yards and a touchdown, and Holcomb added 2 more touchdowns via the passing game to even its record at 3-3. Oakland looks even more out of sync than usual without star wide out Randy Moss who left the game in the first quarter because of bruised ribs, and a pulled groin. Moss did not return and is very questionable again this week.
The Oakland defense is playing respectable but had no answer for Ladainian Tomlinson last week, and could have its work cut out for them trying to stop Willis McGahee this week. Buffalo should handle the Raiders running game, and play 2 deep zone to stop Porter and Doug Gabriel deep in the passing game. Expect a big game for LB's Kirk Morrison and Danny Clark as they meet McGahee early and often.
Best Bets – Buffalo - LB London Fletcher - OaklandLB Kirk Morrison
Solid plays – Buffalo - DB Terrance McGee -OaklandLB Danny Clark
Others to Consider – Buffalo - LB Angelo Crowell - Oakland DBDerrick Gibson
Denver @ NY Giants
Denver continues to get strong play from WR Rod Smith and finally got WR Ashley Lelie involved in the offense. QB Jake Plummer has perfected the boot leg runs and passes to keep his offense on the field, to keep the Broncos defense rested. New York was given 4 turnovers and could only sputter 6 pts off those turnovers, two of which were deep in Dallas territory. The Giants offense also turned the ball over 4 times to even the turnover margin, but the Cowboys got the ball first in overtime and went right down the field and kicked the game winning FG.
Denver almost blew a 25 pt lead to the Patriots last week, and you can bet their head coach is letting them know about that this week. The Giants gave up huge chunks of yards to the Cowboys last week, but held them to 13 points in regulation. Both defenses look to improve this week against each other, as both high powered offenses will have to capitalize gift turnovers into points. NY Giants DB Gibril Wilson had his second stellar game in as many weeks with 11 tackles and a forced fumble.
Best Bets – Denver – LB Al Wilson - NY Giants – LB Antonio Pierce
Solid plays – Denver – LB Ian Gold - NY Giants – DB Gibril Wilson (questionable)
Others to Consider – Denver – DB Darrent Williams - NY Giants – DLMichael Strahan
Tennessee @ Arizona
Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher is earning his paycheck keeping the Titans competitive through salary cap hell in 2005, and actually led 20-17 in the 4 th quarter vs. the Bengals in week 6. Tennessee on defense was led by standout LB Keith Bullock with 10 total tackles, and safety Tank Williams with 8 total tackles. Arizona was on their bye in week 6.
Tennessee is getting stellar play from DL Kyle Vanden Bosch who leads the team in sacks and is finally living up to his potential. The Titans D lacks depth at LB and in the secondary, but have kept their team in games all season despite a 2-4 record. The Cardinals defense is shaky at best, giving up multiple big plays each game, but have a playmaker at every level, and all are solid plays this week.
Best Bets – Tennessee – LB Keith Bullock - Arizona – LB Karlos Dansby
Solid plays – Tennessee – DL Kyle Vanden Bosch - Arizona – DB Adrian Wilson
Others to Consider – Tennessee – DB Tank Williams - Arizona – DL Bertrand Berry
NY Jets @ Atlanta
New York showed why they brought back Vinny Testaverde last week, as he brings credibility to the most important position on the field, and the threat of his arm opens up the running game for RB Curtis Martin. Atlanta rebounded from a defeat in week 5, to steal a game in week 6 vs. the New Orleans Saints 34-31.
Both teams will try and establish the running game and both teams have stout defenses even though Atlanta did give up 450 yards to the Saints a week ago. Most likely this will be a quick game, with few clock stoppages for incompletions and a low scoring affair, that will feature both teams LB corps . Start your studs in this game, as in a ground game, tackles should be in high demand.
Best Bets – NY Jets – LB Jonathon Vilma - Atlanta – LB Keith Brooking.
Solid plays – NY Jets – DL Shaun Ellis - Atlanta – LB Demorrio Williams
Others to Consider – NY Jets – DL John Abraham - Atlanta – DB Deangelo Hall
Open Date: Carolina, Jacksonville, New England, Tampa Bay