Miami @ Houston
Miami Running back Ronnie Brown has been spectacular as of late, and will give the Houston defense fits. The Dolphins passing attack is less than impressive, and this is where the Texans will leave there mark on this game. Expect DE Mario Williams to have a huge game. Multiple sacks are not out of the question. LB Morlon Greenwood should also be solid vs. the run.
Houston is still missing WR Andre Johnson, but QB Matt Schaub has other weapons to throw the ball too. WR Andre Davis isn’t a household name, but you won’t know it Sunday when the coverage is slanted his way. Miami hopes to welcome back LB Zach Thomas this week, which moves Channing Crowder back to the weak side. Donovan Darius is also a strong play for the Miami secondary.
Atlanta @ Tennessee
Atlanta earned its first win of the season in week 4, and did so by playing impressive defense vs. the Texans. Tennessee is a completely different animal with the playmaking ability of QB Vince Young. Atlanta needs to get John Abraham involved early, which will free up DE Jammal Anderson to get one on one blocking in front of him. Michael Boley is currently the highest scoring LB on the Falcons roster.
Tennessee is coming of their bye week, having 2 weeks to prepare for the Falcons. Atlanta isn’t a juggernaut on offense, so the Titans defense should have their way with the Falcons offense. Expect DE Kyle Vanden Bosch to be productive this week, and LB Keith Bulluck to start to get back on track as well.
Jacksonville @ Kansas City
Jacksonville is also coming off a bye week, but did have an impressive victory in week 3, that may jump start this team. Jacksonville poses many problems for the KC defense. First of all, David Garrard is elusive in the open field as a runner, and the Jags have an excellent 1-2 punch at RB. Jared Allen had a huge week 3, but was ordinary in week 4. DE Tamba Hali didn’t record a stat in week 4. Both should be solid in week 5.
Kansas City got its first win of the season last week, and RB Larry Johnson is starting to get things going again. Johnson is still looking for his first rushing touchdown of the season, and should get it this week vs. the Jags. Jacksonville was thought of as a solid run stopping team, until Tennessee ran all over them in week 1. Expect their LB’s as well as DT to have productive outings.
NY Giants @ NY Jets
The Giants offense has been very impressive, even with the loss of starting RB Brandon Jacobs. QB Eli Manning and the Giants passing game has been the main reason for the Giant success. Manning will attempt to pick on the Jets rookie CB Darrelle Revis, who should have a big game as a result. Also, LB Jonathon Vilma has shown signs of life again, with 7 solo tackles a week ago.
The Jets are not an impressive offense, and will have their hands full with the Giants pass rush. DE Osi Umenyiora recorded 6 sacks against Donovan McNabb and the Eagles a week ago. DE Justin Tuck has also been very productive the last 2 weeks, rotating with Michael Strahan. As always, S Gibril Wilson is a must start this week.
Carolina @ New Orleans
Carolina has struggled considerably with the loss of QB Jake Delhomme. WR Steve Smith has been shut down 2 weeks in a row, with Carr in the game. Expect that to change this week, as the New Orleans biggest weakness on defense is their secondary play. Though poor secondary play, can lead to productive starts for cornerbacks being picked on.
New Orleans is coming off a bye week, and had to stew at 0-3 for 2 full weeks. Expect HC Sean Payton to have his offense rolling right off the bat vs. Carolina. Dan Morgan still isn’t a full strength and may sit again, leading the way for LB’s Jon Beason and James Anderson to be very productive this week. Also expect CB Richard Marshall to be thrown at quite a bit, which will lead to a nice statistical afternoon for him
Arizona @ St. Louis
Arizona shocked the world last week, well maybe not the world, but certainly Pittsburgh. The Cardinals are using a 2 QB system, that works fairly well, when Kurt Warner is in the game. WR Anquan Boldin may return to the lineup, though this day may very well be about Edge James running the ball 30 times. Rams LB Brandon Chillar and S Corey Chavous are solid plays.
St Louis is starting backup QB Gus Frerotte behind a pourus offensive line. Also playing without RB Steven Jackson is a recipe for disaster once again. St Louis will be forced to pass, which is great news for the Arizona defensive line, as well as the secondary. DL Darnell Dockett is coming off a monster 3 sack performance in week 4. Start him if you own him this week.
Cleveland @ New England
A month ago this match up looked like a serious miss match. It still may be, but the Cleveland offense has been impressive the past few weeks, even against Baltimore in week 4. New England makes teams one dimensional when they jump out to a big lead. If this happens, the Pats secondary is a solid play. Also SS Rodney Harrison is returning from suspension after a positive HGH test this past off season.
Thus far New England has dissected every defense it’s played against, and this isn’t about to change this week. Cleveland is one of the worst defenses in the league, as they do not put much pressure on the QB, are a bad tackling team at the LB position, and the secondary is a liability in coverage. Expect most of the Browns top point producers to have big games this week, as the Cleveland defense should be on the field 40+ minutes.
Seattle @ Pittsburgh
Seattle gets its opportunity to avenge their Super Bowl loss a few years back. Though they will have to do so in Pittsburgh, against a team coming off its first loss of the season. Seattle will pound the rock with Shaun Alexander, as well as show patience in the passing game. Pittsburgh will have to play containment defense to not give up the big play.
Pittsburgh on the other hand needs to figure out a way to get Willie Parker going again, as well as hold off the Seattle LB trio, Lofa Tatupu, Leroy Hill, and the man child, Julian Peterson. These three can all be productive in the same game, as they get their points in different ways. Lofa stops the run, Peterson is a sack master, and Leroy Hill makes plays side line to side line, stopping both the pass and the run.
Detroit @ Washington
Detroit has already reached its win total of last year, in the first 4 weeks. Most of their success is QB Jon Kitna throwing the ball on virtually every play, and putting up touchdowns instead of settling for field goals. Washington brings a physical defense as well as playmakers in its secondary to the table in this match up. Expect rookie SS Laron Landry to continue to get better each and every week.
Washington lost in week 3, and had to think about that for 2 weeks, having a bye last week. Washington is hurting a bit on offense, as Jason Campbell is going through some growing pains. Throw in the brittle RB Clinton Portis hurting again, and this could be a big day for the power running game of Ladell Betts. This attack will allow the Detroit linebackers to be very productive in week 5.
Tampa Bay @ Indianapolis
Tampa Bay is a surprising 3-1 and leading the NFC South division. They will not be sneaking up on the Colts this weekend. Jeff Garcia brings mobility to the QB position for the Bucs, but on the turf in Indy, he won’t stand a chance unless he gets rid of the ball early. Indy could be without S Bob Sanders, and will be without LB Rob Morris. LB Gary Brackett and DB Marlin Jackson will have to pick up the slack on defense.
Indianapolis currently has 2 banged up playmakers on offense. WR Marvin Harrison has a bruised knee and RB Joseph Addai has a banged up shoulder. But don’t let that fool you into not starting your Bucs LB’s. Addai will likely play, and LB’s Barrett Ruud and Derrick Brooks are in for huge games. Also start your Bucs secondary.
San Diego @ Denver
San Diego now has more loses than all of last year. To make matters worse, they only ran LT 6 times in the 2nd half last week, with the lead. Expect that to change in a big way this week. LT should get no fewer than 25 carries and 6 receptions. Denver LB’s will be highly productive as well as their DL, trying to stop LT at the line of scrimmage.
Denver was winning with smoke and mirrors the first few weeks, but last week that caught up with them. . Denver doesn’t stop the run as well as in the past, and certainly has holes in its secondary outside of Champ Bailey. San Diego LB Shawne Merriman should have another big game, as predicted last week. LB Stephen Cooper’s stats are dropping. Watch this situation closely.
Baltimore @ San Francisco
Baltimore QB Steve McNair appears to be injured. His passes are sailing on him, which is usually a sign he is favoring one of his legs, while throwing. As a result, Baltimore has uncharacteristically turned the ball over in bunches this season. Expect the SF D to put pressure on McNair, and force him to throw into the teeth of their defense. Also, LB Patrick Willis should get at least a sack, and 6+ solo tackles.
San Francisco will be without starting QB Alex Smith for an extended period of time. Trent Dilfer will start in his place, and will be a sitting duck. Expect the Ravens pass rush to get to him repeatedly, as well as stuff Frank Gore and the running game. This should be an ugly low scoring game, but could be a gem for several IDP players.
Chicago @ Green Bay
Chicago is reeling again, and this time you can’t blame Rex Grossman. QB Brian Griese was very rusty in his first start of the season. Expect him to get more comfortable with each start, and for the Bears to use their backs to carry more of the load. Green Bay LB Nick Barnett is returning to 2005 form, and looks to be once again one of the elite middle linebackers in the league. His success has come at the expense of fellow LB AJ Hawk.
Green Bay is a surprising 4-0 and their success oddly enough is Brett Favre not turning over the ball. Favre this season has made better decisions, and doesn’t look like he is trying to win the game by himself, as he did a year ago. The Bears are without stars at every level again this week. DT Tommie Harris and DB Charles Tillman are both out, and LB Lance Briggs is very questionable again this week. Expect DB Adam Archuleta to carry the secondary, and LB Brian Urlacher to once again be the top scoring IDP for Chicago.
Dallas @ Buffalo
The Dallas offense is firing on all cylinders, and creates mismatches for opposing defenses. QB Tony Romo is an MVP candidate after the first month, and he brings a swagger to the position, the Cowboys haven’t had since Troy Aikman. Buffalo hopes to welcome back LB Keith Ellison this week, which could be bad news for last weeks waiver wire wonder, LB John DiGiorgio.
Buffalo got its first win of the season last week. Oddly enough with a rookie QB making his first start. Most wouldn’t expect that kind of success this week vs. the improving Dallas defense. Buffalo will attempt to pound the ball, and keep the rookie QB from making many decisions. By doing so, SS Roy Williams as well as both inside LBs for the Cowboys, should have nice games.
Bye – Cincinnati, Oakland, Minnesota, Philadelphia