Tampa Bay @ New England
Tampa Bay walked into Carolina and doubled up the Panthers 20-10. The Bucs defense was stout holding the Panthers high powered rushing attack to 82 yards, while holding QB Jake Delhomme to 220 passing yards. The Patriots dominated the Bills 35-7, holding them to 14 rushing yards and QB JP Losman to 181 passing yard. The 194 total yards were the lowest the Patriots have held any team all season.
Tampa Bay RB Carnell Williams is coming off another 100+ yard performance and the Patriots should expect a heavy dose of the running game this weekend. New England wants to run the ball, but needs to pass to be able to do so. Brady will throw 35+ times in this contest and DB Ronde Barber will force him into a mistake. The Patriots at home are too much for Tampa, but this game will be tight enough the Bucs continue to pound the run at the Pats Lbs for 3 and a half quarters.
Best Bets – Tampa Bay - LB Derrick Brooks - New England - LB Tedy Bruschi
Solid plays – Tampa Bay - DB Ronde Barber - New England - LB Mike Vrabel
Others to Consider – Tampa Bay - LB Shelton Quarles - New England - DL Richard Seymour
Kansas City @ NY Giants
Kansas City coming off a 31-28 loss at Dallas is in a must win situation, if they have any shot at postseason play. The loss was a blow to the Chiefs Defense who had been playing better as of late. New York was forced to OT last week vs. Philly before finally prevailing 26-23. The Giants allowed backup RB Ryan Moats 114 yards on only 11 carries, and 2 touchdowns.
Kansas City vs. New York figures to be a shootout, and the team with the ball last could very well win the game. Kansas City will run, run, and then run some more, while The Giants will feature a more balanced attack. Both secondary’s will be tested and the Giants will be without the soul of their defense MLB Antonio Pierce which could give Kansas City an advantage in this game. Expect a very nice game for Nick Greisen filling in at MLB for the injured Pierce.
Best Bets – Kansas City – DB Greg Wesley - NY Giants – DB Gibril Wilson
Solid plays – Kansas City – LB Kawika Mitchell - NY Giants – LB Nick Greisen
Others to Consider – Kansas City – DL Jared Allen - NY Giants – DL Osi Umenyiora, DLMichael Strahan
Denver @ Buffalo
Denver struggled with the Ravens only scoring 12 points and rushing for under 100 yards on 32 carries. The Broncos defense intercepted Ravens Qb Kyle Boller twice and forced 3 fumbles recovering two of those. Denver was able to stop the running game, allowing only 72 yards on 23 carries. Buffalo was outclassed by New England and the final score didn’t even tell the whole story. The Bills gave up over 500 yards of offense and allowed the Patriots to hold the ball for 42 minutes.
On paper this looks like a mismatch, Denver needs a win to stay pace for a home field advantage and a bye in round 1 of the playoffs, while Buffalo doesn’t know if RB Willis Magahee is healthy enough to play, or if WR Eric Moulds will be suspended. Denver on the other hand looks to get back on track with its running game, and hopes to control the clock the way the Pats were able to vs. the Bills just a week ago.
Best Bets – Denver – LB Ian Gold - Buffalo - LB London Fletcher
Solid plays – Denver – LB Al Wilson - Buffalo - DB Lawyer Milloy
Others to Consider – Denver – DB Domonique Foxworth - Buffalo - DL Aaron Schobel
Seattle @ Tennessee
Seattle is quietly having a monster season coming off last weeks 41-3 victory over the 49ers. Seattle is now 11-2 and have a 2 game lead over the next team for home field advantage in the NFC. Tennessee had a solid game from its D, especially Tank Williams with his 8 tackles and 2 assists. DB Pac Man Jones also had another solid day with 6 tackles, 2 assists and a punt return for a touchdown.
Seattle travels to Tennessee and shouldn’t be looking past the Titans for next weekends possible Super Bowl preview the Colts vs. the Seahawks. Even if the Hawks are preparing for week 16, the Titans aren’t likely strong enough to capitalize on it. Seattle will pound Alexander until the game is well out of reach, and that poses well for the interior defensive players, including SS Tank Williams crowding the line of scrimmage in run support.
Best Bets – Seattle – LB Lofa Tatupu - Tennessee – LB Keith Bullock
Solid plays – Seattle – DB Marquand Manuel - Tennessee – DL Kyle Vanden Bosch
Others to Consider – Seattle – LB Marcus Trufant - Tennessee – DB Tank Williams
San Diego @ Indianapolis
San Diego lost a must win game at Miami last week 23-21, and unless they can knock off the undefeated Colts this week, they will be on the outside looking in, in the AFC playoff race. The Chargers Defense was suspect a week ago, especially LB Donnie Edwards who posted one of his worst games of the season with 4 solo tackles. Indianapolis flirted with disaster in the 4 th quarter vs. the resurgent Jags, but were able to hold on for a 26-18 win.
The Colts D will likely be without LB Cato June again this week, and that doesn’t bode well for the Colts trying to stop LT. The Chargers are very balanced and pose problems for the Colts on defense, but the question is, can their defense slow the Colts enough to give their offense a chance to win the game. Expect a bounce back game from Donnie Edwards, and Terrance Kiel returned to the first full game action in several weeks. He looks like a strong play this week. Indy DL Robert Mathis is also doubtful for this weeks game.
Best Bets – San Diego – LB Donnie Edwards - Indianapolis – LB Gary Brackett
Solid plays – San Diego – DB Terrance Kiel - Indianapolis – DB Bob Sanders
Others to Consider – San Diego – LB Randall Godfrey - Indianapolis – LB David Thornton
Philadelphia @ St. Louis
Philadelphia gave the Giants all they could handle for 4 quarters and into OT, before falling 26-23. The Eagles defense kept them in the game, as they held the Giants to 2 Field goals in the second half, before OT. Michael Lewis was especially strong with 10 solo tackles and 2 assists as well as an interception. St. Louis is clearly playing for next season, and were beat up by the Vikings a week ago. The top Rams scoring defensive player was Pisa Tinoisamoa again.
Philadelphia HC Andy Reid is evaluating talent for next year, and its unclear what direction the Rams are heading going into the off season. What is known is the Eagles have some fight left and should be able to stop Steven Jackson but may have problems with the Rams Wrs. The key to this game for the Rams is to establish Holt and Bruce early, to force the safeties back in coverage to give the running game a chance to be productive. DB Adam Archuleta returned from injury a week ago and was the 2 nd highest scoring player on the Rams D, last week.
Philadelphia – Best Bets – DB Michael Lewis - St. Louis – LB Pisa Tinoisamoa
Philadelphia – Solid plays – DB Brian Dawkins - St. Louis – DB Adam Archuletta
Others to Consider – Philadelphia – LB Jeremiah Trotter - St. Louis – DL Leonard Little
NY Jets @ Miami
New York showed some fight last week beating up on the Raiders 26-10, tied for the most points they have scored all season, this time in a winning effort as opposed to week 6 when they lost 31-26. Miami shocked the high powered Chargers 23-21, but gave up huge chunks of yards and points late in the game which skewed the dominating performance it put up for 3 quarters. Zach Thomas was back and better than ever, with 9 solo tackles, 2 assists and an interception for the Dolphins.
Its good to see the Jets have not completely given up and are playing for the top pick in the draft. As the Dolphins still have a very slim chance to win the weakest division in football, if it can win out and get some help against the Patriots in the final 3 weeks. New York will pound the rock with rookie RB Cedric Houston, which is good news for Lb Thomas and Crowder owners.
Best Bets – NY Jets – LB Jonathon Vilma - Miami – LB Zach Thomas
Solid plays – NY Jets – DL John Abraham - Miami – LB Channing Crowder
Others to Consider – NY Jets – DB Eric Coleman - Miami – DL Jason Taylor
Pittsburgh @ Minnesota
Pittsburgh ended its losing streak at 3 games, and went back to typical Steelers football pounding Rbs Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker for 190 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Steelers defense was brilliant holding the Bears to 3 Field goals and 290 total yards. Minnesota picked off Rams Qb Ryan Fitzpatrick 5 times and forced 2 fumbles in their 27-13 victory. Antoine Winfield was again huge in this game with 10 tackles, 2 assists and one of those interceptions.
Both teams need this game, and it will be a playoff atmosphere in Minnesota this week, but the Steelers are too tough on the ground and will wear out the Vikings front seven in the final period. Minnesota also has made an effort to run the ball more even when its not there under the Brad Johnson watch at QB. LB James Farrior as well as Larry Foote should also have nice days.
Best Bets – Pittsburgh – LB James Farrior - Minnesota - DB Antoine Winfield
Solid plays – Pittsburgh – DB Ike Taylor - Minnesota - LB Sam Cowart
Others to Consider – Pittsburgh – LB Larry Foote - Minnesota - DB Darren Sharper
Carolina @ New Orleans
Carolina lost to Tampa Bay 20-10, and surprise, surprise, they lost MLB Dan Morgan due to a concussion in that game. Morgan has proved to be fragile in his time in the NFL, and this season is no different. He is questionable this week, but did practice today, so he is likely to give it a go. New Orleans top player on defense last week was Terrence Melton, who is Terrance Melton you say, your guess is as good as mine. Melton is a 2 nd yr pro from Rice University outside of Houston.
Carolina needs this game, and New Orleans is benching turnover machine QB Aaron Brooks for journeyman Todd Bouman. If last week was any indication when the Raiders benched Collins for Tui, the Carolina defense could be a huge play this week. Hew Orleans Lbs and safeties should have a nice match up vs. the Carolina rushing attack.
Best Bets – Carolina – LB Will Witherspoon - New Orleans - LB Ronald McKinnon
Solid plays – Carolina – DB Marlon McCree - New Orleans - DB Josh Bullocks
Others to Consider – Carolina - DB Ken Lucas - New Orleans - DL Will Smith
San Francisco @ Jacksonville
San Francisco was dismantled 41-3, and rookie Qb Alex Smith had a total of 97 rushing and passing yards in this game. The 49ers have been terrible as of late, outside of the play of LB’s Derek Smith and Brandon Moore. Jacksonville was outplayed by the Colts for 55 minutes, then made a valiant come back, but came up just a TD short of tying the game late.
Jacksonville is on a mission to make the playoffs, and they win this game easily. The 49ers are playing its young players trying to build for next year. Jacksonville runs the ball 35+ plus times and the 49ers LB once again put up nice numbers. Jacksonville DB Rashean Mathis was burnt deep by Wr Marvin Harrison, but that is unlikely to happen this week to this set of Wrs.
Best Bets – San Francisco – LB Derek Smith - Jacksonville – LB Mike Peterson
Solid plays – San Francisco – LB Brandon Moore - Jacksonville – DB Rashean Mathis
Others to Consider – San Francisco – LB Shawne Spencer - Jacksonville – DL John Henderson
Arizona @ Houston
Arizona was defeated 17-13 by the Washington Redskins. The Cardinals defense held the Skins running game to 109 yards on 34 carries which is an average of 3.2 per rush. Houston just can not seem to put a team away in the final minutes after once again surrendering the lead in the final 10s econds of regulation. This is a sure sign of a worse than average defense outside a hand full of decent players
Arizona’s passing attack alone is enough to sink the Texans. Houston will rely on Dominick Davis in both the running and passing game to keep the Texans in the game early on, but the Cards offense will put up enough points via the air to put this game away early in the second half. Expect both strong safeties and sets of Lbs to have the best games on Sunday.
Best Bets – Arizona – DB Adrian Wilson - Houston – LB Morlon Greenwood
Solid plays – Arizona – LB James Darling - Houston – DB Dunta Robinson
Others to Consider – Arizona – LB Karlos Dansby - Houston – LB DaShon Polk
Cincinnati @ Detroit
Cincinnati is coming off a 23-20 victory over the Cleveland Browns in what was a very close ball game. Cincinnati’s defense kept them alive long enough for the Bengal’s offence to put a FG on the board for the victory. The Bengal’s held the Browns to under 250 total yards. Detroit has given up on this season, and RB Kevin Jones is out according to the injury report.
Cincinnati should put 40 points on this defense and win this game rather easily. The Lions Lbs could score well in mop up time after the game is well decided. Detroit LB’s Wali Rainer and Earl Homes could each have nice games..
Best Bets – Cincinnati – LB Odell Thurman - Detroit – DB Kennoy Kennedy
Solid plays – Cincinnati – DB Kevin Kaesviharn - Detroit – LB Earl Holmes
Others to Consider – Cincinnati – LB Landon Johnson - Detroit – LB Wali Rainer
Cleveland @ Oakland
Cleveland coach Romeo Crennell has got his players believing in what he is telling them. The Browns are coming off of a devastating loss they had a chance to win, but missed out late in the game. The Browns defense held the # rated QB in the NFL to under 100 yards passing. Oakland is a laughing stock after benching Collins for Tui, and now going back to Collins because Tui was so ineffective.
Cleveland is bringing a fighting mentality to the west coast to face San Diego. The Browns are all but out of contention for the playoffs, but you couldn’t tell that when they beat the Giants in OT, as well as last week vs. the Bengals. The Browns offene is starting to show more consistency since he was draft. Expect this to be a game about Lbs.
Best Bets – Cleveland – LB Andra Davis - Oakland - LB Kirk Morrison
Solid plays – Cleveland – LB Ben Taylor - Oakland - LB Danny Clark
Others to Consider – Cleveland – DL Orpheus Roye - Oakland - DB Stuart Schweigert
Dallas @ Washington
Dallas came from behind to stun the Kansas City Chiefs 31-28. In that game the Dallas defense let their offense down on repeated occasions. The Boys won this game about as much as the Chiefs lost it. Washington coming off a win vs the Bears were impressive on defense picking off Chicago B once and forcing 3 other fumbles they did not recover.
Dallas and Washington is a feud, that you do not have to know who is out, its going to be a dogfight for 4 quarters, Washington still has an outside chance of making the playoffs, but they would have to win out and get some help. Expect the playmakers for both sides to step up in this defensive game.
Best Bets – Dallas – DB Roy Williams - Washington – LB Lemar Marshall
Solid plays – Dallas – LB Bradie James - Washington – LB Marcus Washington
Others to Consider – Dallas – LB Scott Fujita - Washington – DB Carlos Rogers
Atlanta @ Chicago
Atlanta won again, but could have lost Vick next week due to a shot he took on his Ribs. The Saints pounded the QB repeatedly until they got him out of the game. Atlanta won the game, but if you look at the amount of players missing that game after halftime, was clearly of Irish decent.
Chicago DB Mike Brown was out last week, and is doubtful again this week with a calf injury The Bears impressive defense will be enough to hold down the Falcons. The Falcons will attempt to run the ball with Dunn and Duckett and will have early success, but that isn’t likely to contiue as the game moves forward. . The Bears defense better be ready for the top scoring defense in the NFL, and playmakers such as Brian Urlacher or Lance Briggs. .
Best Bets – Atlanta – LB Demorrio Williams - Chicago – LB Brian Urlacher
Solid plays – Atlanta – DB DeAngelo Hall - Chicago – LB Lance Briggs
Others to Consider – Atlanta – LB Keith Brooking - Chicago – DB Charles Tillman
Green Bay @ Baltimore
Green Bay having its worst season in the Brett Favre era, happened to win last Sunday night 16-13 over the Detroit Lions. The Packers defense has been below average at best this season, though they have had to deal with short fields because of the mistakes made by their offense. Baltimore got back to defense last week holding the Bronco’s to only 12 points, and 322 total yards. Though it wasn’t enough to get the win, the Ravens were without its Lewis boys Ray who is out for the season and Jamal who has been a huge bust this season.
This game has the makings of a preseason game. Both teams are playing guys who are not NFL caliber players, but because of injuries are forced to do so. The Ravens defense is starting to get its swagger back, and this could be another solid week for Lb Bart Scott who is filling in for Ray Ray. As always Barnett and the two safeties are the best plays for the Packers.
Best Bets – Green Bay – LB Nick Barnett - Baltimore – DB Ed Reed
Solid plays – Green Bay – DB Mark Roman - Baltimore – LB Tommy Polley
Others to Consider – Green Bay - DB Nick Collins - Baltimore – LB Bart Scott