- While Trent Green has increased his production during the second half of the season, it’d be wise to weigh your alternatives at QB this week. The Cowboys defense has surrendered just one passing touchdown over the last four contests. Green will be lucky to finish this game with 200 yards and a score.
- This might be a good week to dust off Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck. Seattle will roll out the red carpet for the 32nd ranked pass defense of the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. And don’t forget, Hasselbeck will likely get his favorite passing target back because Darrell Jackson is expected to return from a knee injury. Count on the Seahawks QB to finish in the neighborhood of 225 yards passing with two touchdowns.
- Continue to ride the hot hand of Brad Johnson. He’s thrown for 463 yards and five touchdowns in his last two games and faces a St. Louis defense that’s horrible against the pass. The Rams have given up 24 passing touchdowns this season—second most in the entire NFL.
- In four career starts against the Saints, Michael Vick has averaged 66.5 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown per game. Add these solid ground stats to his decent passing production (5 touchdowns in 4 games) and you have historical data that points to Vick having a solid Week 14. Get him in your lineup and count on 200+ yards and two touchdowns.
This Week’s Sleepers: Matt Hasselbeck, Brad Johnson, and David Carr
- Trust Green Bay’s Samkon Gado against a reeling Lions team. Detroit ranks 25th in the NFL versus the run. In recent weeks, they’ve been pasted by the likes of Michael Bennett (89 yds. and 2 TDs), Warrick Dunn (116 yds.), T.J. Duckett (72 yds. and 1 TD), and Julius Jones (102 yds.). Gado has been rock solid since earning the starting role four weeks ago. He’s scored five touchdowns in five weeks and posted two 100+ yard games in that stretch.
- Domanick Davis has bloodied the Tennessee Titans in his two most recent tilts against them. In those two games, the Texans tailback averaged 177 all-purpose yards and scored a touchdown. Most impressively, he grabbed 15 receptions. Obviously get him in your lineup this week. He should have another outstanding game against the team he does his best work against.
- Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown will find that the Chargers run defense is considerably stouter than the Buffalo squad they faced last week. San Diego is best in the league at stopping the run; they’re the only team in the NFL that allows fewer than 80 yards per game on the ground. If you have other options, I’d recommend moving both players to the bench.
- Falcons RB Warrick Dunn should bounce back nicely after being held to just 80 yards rushing last week. New Orleans is giving up 136.4 rushing yards per game. Dunn has scored in his last two meetings with his division rival, posting 115 total yards and a score back on October 16.
This Week’s Sleepers: Samkon Gado, Maurice Morris, Chris Brown, and Kevin Faulk
- Father Time may have caught up with Joe Horn. The 33-year old receiver has just one 100-yard game and one touchdown in 2005. If you have decent alternatives on your bench, it might be wise to tap them in Week 13. While this week’s opponent, the Falcons, have been burned on the ground, they are reasonably tight against the pass. In fact, they’ve held opposing teams to fewer than 200 yards passing per game this season.
- Texans wideout Andre Johnson figures to be a big part of the Texans offensive gameplan this week against the Titans. Tennessee has allowed more passing touchdowns than any team in the NFL and their rookie cornerbacks can be beaten. Johnson, who has averaged 114.5 yards over the last two weeks, should grab 7-8 passes and finish with 110 yards and a touchdown.
- Randy Moss owners should be fearful of Oakland’s decision to bench QB Kerry Collins in favor of Marques Tuiasosopo. While Collins hasn’t been getting the ball to Moss with any degree of consistency, Tuiasosopo, a fifth-year QB, has a career passer rating of just 54.6. This includes three interceptions and zero touchdowns. Keep Moss in your lineup, but realize that your only hope may be a bomb that Moss steals away from a defender.
- With every passing week, Detroit’s receivers are looking more and more like a bunch of prima donnas. On paper they have all the talent in the world. In reality, they’re a temperamental crew that whines and loafs when things aren’t going right. I advise owners to keep Roy Williams, Charles Rogers, and Mike Williams on the bench this week against the #1-rated pass defense of the Green Bay Packers.
This Week’s Sleepers: Andre Johnson, Koren Robinson, Deion Branch, and Dennis Northcutt
- Back in Week 5, Ben Troupe had his best game of the season, catching eight passes for 67 yards and a touchdown against the Texans. Troupe will square off against Houston again this week and is a solid play. Considering the Titans depleted receiving unit, which includes regular starter Erron Kinney (knee), Troupe could be a huge part of the offense for the remainder of the season. Activate him this week and bank on at least 60 yards receiving.
- The Denver Broncos have given up a touchdown to tight ends in each of the last two weeks. Things won’t get any easier this week when the team welcomes Baltimore’s Todd Heap to the Mile High City. Heap has recovered nicely from a couple of injury-riddled seasons. He currently ranks sixth in the NFL in receptions among TEs and has scored a respectable four touchdowns. Start him this week and look for more of the same—around six catches for 50-60 yards with a possible score.
This Week’s Sleepers: Ben Troupe and Zach Hilton
- The San Francisco 49ers have been abused by kickers lately. They’ve given up nine field goals in their last three games. Josh Brown should be a lock for a double-digit effort this week, especially if goal-line fiend Shaun Alexander is yanked in the second half.
- If Sebastian Janikowski is your weekly starter at the kicker position, you should consider evaluating alternatives on the waiver wire like Nick Novack (ARZ), Paul Edinger (MIN), and Rob Bironas (TEN). Not only does Janikowski’s 72 percent field goal conversion rate rank 29th in the NFL, but there are a couple other factors that would seem to point to a poor game in Week 14. The Raiders will give QB Marques Tuiasosopo his first start since 2003. And the team will play a December game in a blustery Giants stadium this week against the Jets.
This Week’s Sleepers: Nick Novack, Paul Edinger, and Rob Bironas
- Start the Green Bay Packers defense against the Lions if you’re desperate for help. Detroit is averaging just 10 points per game over the last three weeks. With the offense struggling in both the running and passing games, Green Bay should have little trouble shutting this team down. The Lions never fare well at Lambeau. Since 1999, they have averaged just 10.4 points in games played in Green Bay.
- The Cincinnati Bengals will add to their NFL-leading 26 interceptions this week against the Browns. Cleveland head coach Romeo Crennel announced that he is starting rookie QB Charlie Frye. While Frye performed better than expected last week when he saw his first action, things will only get tougher as the season progresses, especially considering he’ll be without his top wideout Braylon Edwards. The Bengals have the top offense in the NFL and if they get ahead, Frye will be forced to throw a lot of passes. Count on at least three turnovers by the Bengals.
This Week’s Sleepers: Green Bay Packers and New York Jets
Last Week’s 6-Pack: McEwan’s Scotch Ale
Price Paid: $7.99
McEwan’s hails from Edinburgh, Scotland. Aside from the colorful label that’s adorned with a traditional Scottish plaid pattern, the first thing I noticed on the bottle was that this beer is 8.0% alcohol by volume. That’s even stronger than Chimay (7.0%), which was reviewed here a few weeks ago. I made a mental note to only taste two bottles of McEwan’s at a time for purposes of a coherent review. After I popped the cap, I noted that the beer smelled more than a bit like brandy. In addition, there were hints of sweetness and fruit. It poured to an impressive three-finger-thick head that was tan in color and frothy in texture. It lingered for a respectable period of time, but not the entire sampling. The color was deep brown with hints of ruby when held up to the light. Not 100% opaque, but perhaps 90%. My first taste of McEwan’s sent me back in my chair. This was unlike any beer I had previously tasted. It had some characteristics that reminded me of a doppelbock—a rich, warm taste that made me want to sip, sniff, and savor it. On the other hand, it was absent of hops and there was a sugary/fruity flavor swimming around in my mouth that I had difficulty pinpointing. It didn’t hurt my enjoyment of the beer, though a touch of hops would’ve been appreciated. One other note about McEwan’s is that the creaminess and complexity seem to mask the alcohol well. There was a little heat from the alcohol in my throat, but didn’t end up being much of a threat. All in all, this is an enjoyable beer that should almost be enjoyed one sip at a time from a brandy sniffer. I give it four stars out of five.
Next Week's 6-Pack : Molson Canadian Premium Lager