Atlanta @ Detroit
Atlanta coming off a 30-27 loss to Tampa Bay is now on the outside looking in, at postseason play. The Falcons have dropped 2 straight games at home, and need to rebound this week at Detroit to keep any playoff hopes alive. Detroit has lost 3 of its last 4 games and looks to be without its best linebacker Earl Holmes for this weeks contest.
The Atlanta pass rush has to get pressure on the Detroit QB‘s, and allow their linebackers to stop the run. If the Atlanta front 4 can not generate a pass rush, the Lions Wr’s will expose the small Falcon corners. Detroit LB Donte Curry had a nice day replacing Earl Holmes with 9 solo tackles and 1 assist. Playing on Thursday creates a short week for both teams, but Detroit is at home, meaning 1 more day of practice, instead of travel, which could be an advantage for the Detroit defense.
Best Bets – Atlanta – LB Demorrio Williams - Detroit – LB Donte Curry
Solid plays – Atlanta – LB Keith Brooking - Detroit – DB Kennoy Kennedy
Others to Consider – Atlanta – DB DeAngelo Hall - Detroit – DL Shaun Rogers
Denver @ Dallas
Denver is the best team no one is talking about. IF the season ended today the Bronco’s would have the #2 seed in the AFC and a first round bye. Denver is getting it done with a strong running game and a very talented defense. Denver may very well have the fasted trio of Lbs in the NFL. Dallas is starting to get some buzz as one of the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. The Cowboys defense continues to get better and better each and every week.
Denver like Atlanta has to travel, which again is 1 less day of practice on the short week. But the Bronco’s comes into Texas Stadium with a swagger they can run on anyone and feel they can stop anyone running the ball. Denver will blitz its Safeties and use its Lbs to stuff the run, which will leave them vulnerable to the deep ball. Dallas will also blitz, but instead with a LB and will creep SS Roy Williams into the box to help in run support.
Best Bets – Denver – LB Al Wilson - Dallas – LB Bradie James
Solid plays – Denver – LB Ian Gold - Dallas – DB Roy Williams
Others to Consider – Denver – DB Darrent Williams - Dallas – LB Dat Nguyen
Carolina @ Buffalo
Carolina QB Jake Delhomme’s 2 costly interceptions led to a Panthers defeat at the hands of the surprising Chicago Bears. Panthers middle linebacker Dan Morgan left the game in the first quarter with a sprained ankle and is currently listed as doubtful this week. Former Atlanta LB Chris Draft looks to start in place of Morgan this week. Buffalo was on the wrong end of a 48-10 thrashing at the hands of the San Diego Chargers. The Buffalo defense was led again by standout LB London Fletcher.
Both teams are coming off big loses, and both teams need to rebound immediately if they are to make any run at the playoffs. Buffalo will have to catch New England in the division to have any chance, and with the loses on defense and the erratic play of QB JP Losman, that seems unlikely. Buffalo Lbs Fletcher and Crowell should have outstanding days stopping the Carolina rushing attack.
Best Bets – Carolina - DL Julius Peppers - Buffalo - LBLondon Fletcher
Solid plays – Carolina – LB Will Witherspoon - Buffalo - LBAngelo Crowell
Others to Consider – Carolina - DB Marlon McCree -Buffalo - DL Aaron Schobel
Baltimore @ Cincinnati
Baltimore has played Pittsburgh tough in both games and actually won the second contest 20-17 in week 11. Ravens backup middle linebacker Bart Scott had 8 tackles, an assist, and 2 sacks filling in for injured LB Ray Lewis. Cincinnati didn’t have enough defense to slow down the undefeated Colts and eventually ran out of time in a 45-37 loss. As well as the Bengal’s defense has played, last week is proof they still have a long way to go to be an elite defense.
Baltimore is again without starting LB Ray Lewis and DB Ed Reed for week 12, as both are already listed as out. But LB Scott and DB Will Demps figure to again carry the load on defense statistically. Cincinnati needs better play out of its defensive backs, and needs to get more pressure on the QB. Expect that to happen this week with Justin Smith getting to Baltimore QB Kyle Boller at least once.
Best Bets – Baltimore – LB Bart Scott - Cincinnati – LB Odell Thurman
Solid plays – Baltimore – DB Will Demps - Cincinnati – DB Kevin Kaesviharn
Others to Consider – Baltimore– LB Tommy Polley - Cincinnati – DL Justin Smith
San Francisco @ Tennessee
San Francisco gave Seattle all it could handle and was a 2 pt conversion away from taking the Seahawks into overtime. San Francisco DB Mike Adams has played admirably since the injury to DB Tony Parrish, and is giving the secondary an identity. Tennessee also played well last week in defeat to the Jacksonville Jags. Tennessee LB Keith Bullock and DL Kyle Vanden Bosch were both very impressive vs. the Jacksonville offense. .
This game is for bragging rights and draft position and little else. Both teams are 2-8 and heading no where this season, and are evaluating talent for their future. San Francisco LB Derek Smith expects to be busy attempting to contain Titans RB Chris Brown, while Kyle Vanden Bosch should increase his sack totals this Sunday.
Best Bets – San Francisco – LB Derek Smith - Tennessee – LB Keith Bullock
Solid plays – San Francisco – DB Mike Adams - Tennessee – DL Kyle Vanden Bosch
Others to Consider – San Francisco – LB Shawne Spencer - Tennessee – DB Pacman Jones
New England @ Kansas City
It wasn’t pretty, but New England held off the surging Saints and went onto win the game 20-17. New Orleans shredded the Patriots pass D for 343 yards passing and 2 touchdowns. However, the Pats D was improved stopping the run. Kansas City ran all over the Texans last week, 45-17. In the contest Larry Johnson rushed for a Chiefs record 211 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Kansas City defense held the Texans to 68 yards on the ground and 250 total yards.
New England leads the weak AFC East by a commanding 2 games and will have its hands full with the Chiefs rushing attack. But since the addition of LB Tedy Bruschi, fellow Lb Mike Vrabel has been stellar on defense. Look for this trend to continue as the Pats Lbs will be on the field for an extended period of time, trying to slow down the Larry Johnson express.
Best Bets – New England - LB Mike Vrabel - Kansas City – DB Greg Wesley
Solid plays – New England - LB Tedy Bruschi - Kansas City – DB Eric Warfield
Others to Consider – New England - DB Eugene Wilson - Kansas City – LB Derrick Johnson
Cleveland @ Minnesota
Cleveland put a whooping on Miami last week to the tune of 22-0, but the game was not even that close. Cleveland held the Dolphins to 206 total yards, while rushing for 181 themselves and passing for 198 more. Minnesota left Green Bay with a 20-17 victory with the help of another defensive score. Devonte Edwards picked off Brett Favre just before halftime and returned it 51 yards for a Viking touchdown. Minnesota was shaky in the first half, giving up 2 touchdowns, the final one with 26 seconds left in the half.
Minnesota has a total of 4 defensive and special teams TD’s in the last 2 weeks, which has essentially turned their season around. Since losing starting QB Daunte Culpepper t injury, backup Brad Johnson has led the Vikings to three straight wins. Cleveland has been hot and cold at various times on the season, but LB Andra Davis is as consistent as any defensive performer this season.
Best Bets – Cleveland – LB Andra Davis - Minnesota - DB Antoine Winfield
Solid plays – Cleveland – DB Chris Crocker - Minnesota - E.J. Henderson
Others to Consider – Cleveland – LB Ben Taylor - Minnesota - DB Darren Sharper
Chicago @ Tampa Bay
Chicago is playing lights out football on defense and currently leads the NFC north division by 2 full games over the surging Vikings. Chicago continues to struggle on offense, but Mike Brown and the rest of the Bears secondary simply make plays when the team needs them most. Tampa Bay won again, with the help of rookie RB Cadillac Williams who finally looks healthy since early season injuries
Chicago is having a Cinderella season under 2 nd yr coach Lovie Smith who has got the defense to buy into his philosophy and its paying big dividends. DL Alex Brown is starting his second half run, so if you have him start him this week. Tampa is getting it done with multiple players on defense, but DB Jermaine Phillips is starting to produce again for the Tampa secondary.
Best Bets – Chicago – LB Brian Urlacher -Tampa Bay - LB Derrick Brooks
Solid plays – Chicago – DB Mike Brown - Tampa Bay - LB Shelton Quarles
Others to Consider – Chicago – DL Alex Brown - Tampa Bay - DB Jermaine Phillips
San Diego @ Washington
San Diego is finally reaching the weaker part of its schedule after starting the season with an unbearable road to climb. The Chargers buried the Bills early, scoring 48 points at will, before finally pulling back on the reigns in the 4 th quarter. Washington who started so strong at 3-0, has shown its true colors the last 4 or so weeks and is now sporting a 5-5 record and a long shot to make the playoffs unless they turn this season around quickly.
San Diego may be without all pro TE Antonio Gates after suffering a foot injury in week 11. This injury helps the Redskins defense stop the Chargers rushing attack. Gates is the catalyst that keeps opposing defenses honest, instead of loading 8 and 9 men in the box to stop running back LT. Without Gates, the Skins defense will pin its ears back on QB Drew Brees and run blitz to attempt to stop LT in the backfield just as the Philadelphia Eagles were able to do several weeks back.
Best Bets – San Diego – LB Donnie Edwards - Washington – LB Lemar Marshall
Solid plays – San Diego – LB Shawne Merriman - Washington – LB Marcus Washington
Others to Consider – San Diego – DB Terrance Kiel - Washington – LB LaVar Arringon
St. Louis @ Houston
The Rams lost more than just a home game to the Arizona Cardinals but possibly their starting QB Marc Bulger for the season with a second shoulder injury. This injury is significant for the Rams defense as backup QB Jamie Martin will not be able to sustain drives the way Bulger did, meaning they will be on the field a bit more than when Bulger was healthy. Houston is now 1-9 after the Texans were whipped at home 45-17 by the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Rams lost all pro safety Adam Archuletta in week 11 to a concussion, and will be without his services in week 12. DB Jerome Carter is expected to take his place in the starting lineup. Houston LB’s Dashon Polk and Morlon Greenwood each had 9 solo tackles in week 11, and could equal that total with a heavier dose of Rams RB Steven Jackson.
Best Bets – St. Louis – LB Pisa Tinoisamoa - Houston – LB DaShon Polk
Solid plays – St. Louis – DB Mike Furrey - Houston – LB Morlon Greenwood
Others to Consider – St. Louis – DL Anthony Hargrove - Houston – DB Dunta Robinson
Miami @ Oakland
Miami lost to Cleveland 22-0, but its biggest loss was that of LB Zach Thomas to a shoulder injury that will sideline the all pro for at least the next 2 weeks and possibly the rest of the season. Oakland is having its way with NFC East opponents this season already beating the Cowboys and last week the Redskins for just its 4 th win of the season.
Miami rookie LB Channing Crowder who has been starting at WLB, will move into Zach Thomas’s spot in the middle, this week. While Crowder doesn’t have the experience Thomas has, he is just as active. Miami is getting terrible QB play as of late, and that is a recipe to run the ball even more. Expect the Oakland LB core to have an active day early, until Miami has to start chunking the ball to stay in the game.
Best Bets – Miami – LB Channing Crowder - Oakland - LB Danny Clark
Solid plays – Miami – DBLance Schulters - Oakland - LB Kirk Morrison
Others to Consider – Miami – DL Jason Taylor - Oakland - DB Stuart Schweigert
Jacksonville @ Arizona
Jacksonville continues to play to the level of its competition. The Jags let the Tennessee Titans stay in the ball game until the forth quarter and had to hang on to secure the victory. What is more disturbing is the 21 points the Jags defense gave up to the Titans. The Titans also scored on an interception return for touchdown in the 3rd quarter. Arizona was impressive on defense last week, as Adrian Wilson was very active, and even knocked Rams QB Marc Bulger out of the game.
Jacksonville needs to get pressure on Warner, or the Jags could be in for a long day. Arizona QB Kurt Warner will simply play pitch and catch with WR’s Boldin and Fitzgerald if he isn’t pressured. Arizona looks to be without LB Karlos Dansby again this week, as he is questionable with a groin injury and did not practice today. Dansby will be a dreaded game time decision, so if you have another alternative, its best to go in that direction.
Best Bets – Jacksonville – LB Mike Peterson - Arizona – DB Adrian Wilson
Solid plays – Jacksonville – DL John Henderson - Arizona – DL Chike Okeafor
Others to Consider – Jacksonville – LB Daryl Smith - Arizona – LB Darryl Blackstock
Green Bay @ Philadelphia
Green Bay played well in the first half, but Minnesota played keep away in the second half of Monday nights ball game. The Packers were on defense virtually the whole second half and Favre could not sustain drives when he was given the ball. Philly officially lost QB Donovan McNabb for the season today, and WR Terrell Owens lost his appeal as well. The Eagles offense is a shell of its former self from as early as a month ago. The Eagles D will be on the field even more without McNabb and Owens.
Green Bay DL Aaron Kampman showed everyone last Monday night what he was all about. Playing opposite KGB is a positive as KGB is likely to get the double team, but Kampman showed he too is a force rushing the passer. Philly also has a promising pass rusher in rookie Trent Cole, who has been on a tear the last 2 weeks. If he is available in your Dynasty leagues, you may want to find room for him on your roster.
Best Bets – Green Bay – LB Nick Barnett - Philadelphia – LB Jeremiah Trotter
Solid plays – Green Bay – DB Mark Roman - Philadelphia – DB Brian Dawkins
Others to Consider – Green BayDL Aaron Kampman - Philadelphia – DB Michael Lewis, DL Trent Cole
NY Giants @ Seattle
The Giants beat up on the out manned Philadelphia Eagles to stay par with the division leading Dallas Cowboys. Giants SS Gibril Wilson lead the defense with 8 solo tackles and an assist and is having a pro bowl type season. Seattle continues to run the ball and play just enough defense to win games. Last week the inspired 49ers were just a 2 pt conversion in the final minute away from tying the ball game.
Giants QB Eli Manning has won exactly 1 game outside of New York, and with the team traveling to the west coast, this trend looks to continue. Seattle will run the ball, and the Giants may be without DL Michael Strahan who has a stiff neck. Strahan did have an MRI today and it was negative, but any shot to that neck could end his afternoon early.
Best Bets – NY Giants – LB Antonio Pierce - Seattle – LB Lofa Tatupu
Solid plays – NY Giants – DB Gibril Wilson - Seattle – DB Marquand Manuel
Others to Consider – NY Giants – DL Osi Umenyiora - Seattle – DB Michael Boulware
New Orleans @ NY Jets
New Orleans played the World Champs tough last week, but again fell to defeat. Saints MLB Ronald McKinnon had another impressive day as this ageless wonder continues to put up solid stats when he plays. The Jets were dominated 27-0 last week in Denver, but that does not take away from the fine afternoon by LB Jonathon Vilma, who had 12 solo tackles and 2 assists.
The Saints have tremendous talent on its DL, but Charles, Smith and Howard are extremely inconsistent. The Jets are beat up on defense without WLB Eric Barton, and as good as Vilma is, he cant play 11 positions at once. Start your Jet’s studs and hope to get lucky with any Saints you may have.
Best Bets – New Orleans - LB Colby Bockwoldt - NY Jets – LB Jonathon Vilma
Solid plays – New Orleans - LB Ronald McKinnon - NY Jets – DL John Abraham
Others to Consider – New Orleans - DLCharles Grant - NY Jets – DB Kerry Rhodes
Pittsburgh @ Indianapolis
Pittsburgh was embarrassed by the Ravens last week without LB Ray Lewis and DB Ed Reed on defense. In their defense they Steelers were without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and LB James Farrior. Indianapolis just continues to roll, and may be on the brink of history with the first undefeated 16 game season. The Colts defense started the season giving up 6 pts a game after their first 5 games, and since have given up an average of 25 per game. HC Tony Dungy hopes his team can revert back to early season success, starting this week.
This was suppose to be another test for the Colts, but with the Steelers having to travel to Indianapolis, and play on the turf, this game could be over by halftime. Big Ben is expected to play for the Steelers, and MLB James Farrior did practice, but he expects to be a game time decision. LB Larry Foote and DB Ike Taylor have been pleasant surprises thus far this season for Pittsburgh, and there is no reason that production doesn’t continue this week.
Best Bets – Pittsburgh – LB Larry Foote - Indianapolis – LB Gary Brackett
Solid plays – Pittsburgh – DB Troy Polamalu - Indianapolis – LB Cato June, DL Dwight Freeney
Others to Consider – Pittsburgh – DB Ike Taylor - Indianapolis – DB Bob Sanders