San Diego @ Green Bay
Green Bay is 2-0 and Brett Favre looks like a kid having fun again. But this was against inferior defenses, nothing like what San Diego is bringing to town. LB Shawne Merriman should have a very nice game with at least a sack and several tackles. Also, LB Stephen Cooper is a best bet this week.
Is the San Diego offensive troubles for real, or was it the opposing defense’s in the first 2 weeks. Probably a little bit of both. Green Bay has been solid thus far vs the run, though I’m sure the Bolts on the road are going to run LT until his wheels fall off. Start your Packers LB’s and DE’s, and throw a bone to Nick Collins in the GB secondary.
Minnesota @ Kansas City
Kansas City is going to attempt to pound the ball, and not let the opportunistic Viking defense make a play to win the game. Expect LJ to have 30 carries as long as the game is close. The Viking LB’s and safeties should be highly productive, yet the cornerbacks probably won’t have the opportunities they had a week ago, vs. the Lions.
Kansas City welcomes back DE Jared Allen from suspension, and he was lights out this preseason, and should be the freshest man on the field this week. Allen should be a top 5 DL this week, and his return will open up lanes for DE Tamba Hali to be productive again. The Vikings will run Adrian Peterson all day, and this should net LB Napoleon Harris another huge afternoon.
St. Louis @ Tampa Bay
Tampa LB Barret Ruud is one of the biggest surprises to date, and it doesn’t look like he is going to be slowing down anytime soon. LB Derrick Brooks has also been a monster for the rejuvenated Bucs defense. S Jermaine Phillips and CB Ronde Barber are also must starts this week vs. the Rams offense.
Rams MLB Will Witherspoon has been somewhat disappointing considering his team is 0-2 and played 2 solid rushing attacks already. One would expect more than 3 solo tackles from the MLB position, with 28 rushing attempts by the 49ers last week. DE James Hall has been very impressive to date, and expect that to continue this week vs. Tampa Bay.
Detroit @ Philadelphia
Detroit brings its high powered offense to Philly this week. If DB Brian Dawkins doesn’t play, this should be a long day for the Eagles secondary. DE Trent Cole is probably the only solid option this week, as the Eagles LB corps is probably looking at a light day in terms of production.
Philly is 0-2, and its offense, is the reason why. McNabb is missing targets all over the field, and doesn’t look healthy yet. The Lions will force him out of the pocket, hoping he makes bad decisions on the run. LB Ernie Sims and LB Paris Lenon are solid plays. But if you are in a pinch at DB, CB Fernando Bryant may also be a solid option.
Indianapolis @ Houston
Indianapolis looks impressive thus far on defense, and gets LB Gary Brackett back this week. Houston will be without wide out Andre Johnson, so expect the Colts D to force Schaub to throw short passes the way it did QB Drew Brees in week 1. Both Colt cornerbacks are solid plays this week, and LB Brackett, if he plays.
The Houston defense is one of the most improved units from a year ago, and they were built to slow down the Colts offense. From the pass rushers, to the secondary, and the linebackers in between, this unit is playing as well as any defense in the league. Start the usual suspects, and keep an eye on DB Von Hutchins.
Miami @ NY Jets
Miami has been an embarrassment on offense, and the Jets haven’t exactly played well on defense, so this could be a low scoring, boring game. But it should also be a game where a few players are very productive. For the Jets, keep an eye on DB David Barrett. LB Jonathon Vilma could also be a factor in this game.
The Jets offense has yet to get RB Thomas Jones going, but this may be the week he finally gets on track. To date, LB Zach Thomas is being tested for a concussion, and his status is very much up in the air right now. Keep an eye on this situation. LB Channing Crowder has the most to gain if Thomas sits.
Arizona @ Baltimore
In order for Arizona to come into Baltimore and leave with a W, they will need to get their passing game going. Thus far, WR’s Fitzgerald and Boldin have been nothing more than decoys for the Cardinals running game. But against the Ravens, this strategy will not work. Arizona will certainly run the ball as long as the game is close. Start your usual Ravens.
Baltimore hasn’t looked impressive thus far on offense, and will likely attempt to run the ball as well to keep mistakes to a minimum. Its unknown which Ravens QB will start, but neither is going to light up the score board. Expect LB Karlos Dansby to get back on track this week, as well as DB Adrian Wilson to be a factor in the outcome of this game.
Buffalo @ New England
Buffalo started the season off with a brutal schedule. In week 1, they played Denver, only to travel to Pittsburgh, before heading to New England in week 3. But its still a surprise that WR Lee Evans has been a complete no factor to date. The weakness of the Patriots defense is their secondary, if the Buffalo OL can give QB Losman time to find Evans.
New England on the other hand should have a field day with the Buffalo defense. Early on expect New England to build a big lead through the air, only to pound RB Maroney most of the second half. The Bills LB’s as well as their secondary should both be productive. This may be a week to bench DL Aaron Schobel.
San Francisco @ Pittsburgh
San Francisco is a surprising 2-0, considering how bad their offense has looked the first 2 weeks. Heading to Pittsburgh is no easy task anytime, but especially with as many problems the 49ers offense has shown thus far. The Steelers ILB should be extremely productive in this one, as well, as cornerback Ike Taylor.
Pittsburgh on the other hand has looked impressive both running the ball, and Big Ben throwing the ball. San Fran has a chance to make things more difficult on the Steelers offense, but in the end, Pitt will do enough to win, and win big. As a result, Patrick Willis should have a huge second half racking up tackles.
Jacksonville @ Denver
Jacksonville still does not have an identity on offense. A year ago, they were known as a great rushing team, but have yet to show much in that area this season. Denver is not the most likely opponent to get the running game back on track. Expect the Jags to attempt to pound Fred Taylor and MJD, which should lead to DJ Williams having a nice day. Other than Williams, it looks to be wise to sit the other Denver IDP players.
Denver has squeaked out 2 games, they could easily have lost. Barely beating Oakland and Buffalo proves Denver is not a good football team right now. Is Jacksonville the opponent where the Bronco’s have some breathing room with a lead late in the 4th quarter? Expect a heavy dose of RB Travis Henry, and for LB Mike Peterson and DB Sammy Knight to be solid contributors this week.
Cincinnati @ Seattle
Now we know week 1 was more how bad the Ravens offense was, than how solid the Bengal’s defense was. Cleveland exposed the Bengals pass defense, and expect Seattle to pick right up where the Browns left off. Start your Bengal secondary, and sit everyone else, but Justin Smith.
Seattle lost a heart breaker to Arizona a week ago, and lost the way the Cards usually lose, by giving the game away. This weeks game should be a shoot out, so definitely start the Hawks cornerbacks. LB’s Peterson and Tatupu are also solid plays, and the Bengal’s will run enough for them to be productive.
Cleveland @ Oakland
The Brown’s exploded for 51 points a week ago against the Bengal’s defense. One wouldn’t expect anything close to that number of points this week, but Cleveland does have some offensive weapons, and when they put it all together, they have a chance to be pretty good. Cleveland will have to spread out the Oakland D vertically to score. Expect the Oakland secondary to have a nice day, as well as the top 2 LB’s Thomas Howard and Kirk Morrison.
Oakland on the other hand will continue to run RB Lamont Jordan, if he is good to go this week. As a result, the Browns should be able to keep LB Andra Davis on the field more this week, than last. Davis was off the field in all nickel situations, which was almost every down in the 2nd half of last weeks game.
Carolina @ Atlanta
Carolina blew a great opportunity a week ago, but get the worst team in the NFL this week, to work out their kinks. Atlanta has been unable to throw very well at all, thus the Falcons signed QB Byron Leftwich. Lefty isn’t likely to play this week, as he doesn’t know the play book, so expect another week of Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood crashing into a brick wall, the Carolina front 7.
Carolina has been extremely productive on offense, but they haven’t been able to stop the big play on defense. Against the Falcon offense, Carolina should be able to pin its ears back and rush the passer, and this would be a great time to get DE Julius Peppers going. LB Jon Beason put up his first big game of his young career, with 8 solo tackles. Expect him to be productive again this week.
NY Giants @ Washington
The Giants defense has played poor the first 2 games of the season, and are a big reason Big Blue is 0-2. But Washington could be just the answer for this struggling defense. Washington will want to run the ball, as long as they can, and this plays right into the Giants LB’s hands. Expect LB Antonio Pierce to be busy as well as DB’s Gibril Wilson and James Butler.
Washington on the other hand has been extremely stingy on defense in its first 2 games, both wins. LB Rocky McIntosh has been a big reason for the Skins dominant play thus far. Rocky is making plays vs. the run, and has been solid in coverage as well. Couple this with the additions of London Fletcher via FA, and LaRon Landry via the draft, and this defense is on the rise.
Dallas @ Chicago
Dallas is averaging 41 points a game, with a balanced attack. QB Tony Romo has been impressive, but so has the Boys running attack, when RB Marion Barber is in the game. But against the Bears, things will be much tougher than they have been the first 2 weeks. Dallas will run the ball, and both LB’s Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher should have huge games. Also expect to see the Bears secondary get opportunities to be productive as well.
Chicago on the other hand has 1 offensive TD in 2 games, and doesn’t look like they could score on a JV football team, as long as Rex Grossman is the QB. But a year ago, Rex played extremely well at home, and the Boys could be without CB Terrence Newman again this week. If the Boys can’t get pressure on Grossman, the Dallas secondary will be tested.
Tennessee @ New Orleans
Tennessee gave Indy all it wanted a week ago, and almost pulled off the upset, but this week the Titans travel to New Orleans in the Saints first home game of the season. New Orleans has yet to get RB Reggie Bush involved in the offense, and the Saints have struggled as a result. Expect a heavy dose of the run, to keep Vince Young off the field.
The Titans will also want to run the ball, with RB’s Chris Brown, and Lendale White, as well as QB Vince Young. The Saints are vulnerable in the middle of their defense. So this is exactly where the Titans are likely to attack. As a result, expect a big game from the Saints LB’s as well as their safeties. I’d sit all the Saints cornerbacks in this contest.