Minnesota @ Chicago
Minnesota is 1-3 coming off its bye week. The only legitimate offensive weapon the Vikings have is rookie RB Adrian Peterson, so he will be used again and again. Expect the Bears to load the box with their safeties, and force the Vikings to throw to beat them. Chicago LB Lance Briggs is in for another stellar game.
Chicago saved their season a week ago, beating the undefeated Green Bay Packers. This week, they have a chance to make up more ground on the division leader, with the Vikings coming to town. Chicago will run to set up the pass, which is exactly the formula to attack the vaunted Viking run defense. Minnesota LB’s and secondary should have an excellent week.
Miami @ Cleveland
Miami is an awful team right now, and to make matters worse they get an upstart Cleveland offense this week. Miami will run Ronnie Brown and throw to him out of the back field, but will be without QB Trent Green, which could limit Browns IDP effectiveness. Expect Cleveland LB Leon Williams to continue to see more playing time.
Cleveland’s offense has caught fire since week 1, though last week was definitely a slip in the road vs New England. Cleveland will turn the ball over, and that is a positive sign for the Miami D, but will over come its mistakes. Expect the Browns to run out the clock in the 4th quarter of this one, and LB Zach Thomas to have a big game.
Washington @ Green Bay
Washington is starting to look like one of the elite teams in the NFC. Their offense is very balanced, which will give all levels of the Green Bay defense opportunities to score. DB Atari Bigby has been a pleasant surprise at the safety position, and looks to be in for another huge game this week.
Green Bay is coming off its first loss of the season, and should be fired up this week, to not make it 2 in a row. The Packers running game is anemic, but they have #4 in their backfield, and Favre will throw it early and often against Washington. Start your Redskins secondary and Linebackers
Cincinnati @ Kansas City
Cincinnati has a chance to rebound in a big way this week. Their offense has sputtered in recent weeks, but Kansas City is the perfect remedy for their ailment. The Chiefs have playmakers on their defense, but don’t play as a unit. Jared Allen is one of the best DL in the game, and Donnie Edwards is lights out at the LB position. But this team seems out of position somewhere on virtually every play.
Kansas City hopes to finally get LJ on track, and who would have thought that it would take this long to do so. Cincinnati’s defense is full of 2nd and 3rd string players, because of injuries. As long as Kansas City can keep the score close, they have a chance to run LJ.
Philadelphia @ NY Jets
Philadelphia had 2 weeks to think about the beat down the Giants put on them before their bye week. With that kind of preparation for one of the worst offenses in the NFL, the Eagles defense should be impressive this week. Expect DE Trent Cole to have a monster game.
The Jets have a lot of holes on offense, but their defense may be even worse. LB Jonathon Vilma is hit or miss on any given week. DB Kerry Rhodes is a far cry from the player he was a week ago. And both corner backs are two of their best IDP options every week. Play the secondary, and DE, and sit the rest.
Tennessee @ Tampa Bay
Tennessee is becoming an elite team, and many point to Vince Young as the reason. Sure he has a part in this, but their defense has been the difference between this year’s team and years past. Tampa Bay has playmakers at every level, and their 2 studs LB’s as well as their secondary should be solid plays again this week.
Tampa Bay has versatility at the QB position, and this could create a problem for the Tennessee D. Tennessee is a pressure defense, but if the QB isn’t a sitting duck, they will have problems forcing turnovers. Expect the Titans DE and LB’s to score well in this match up
Houston @ Jacksonville
Houston had to live with the embarrassment of losing to Atlanta for 2 weeks. Expect a much better effort this week, though the Texans will still be without star wideout Andre Johnson. The Jacksonville secondary should be a solid play, as will their middle linebacker Mike Peterson.
Jacksonville is a borderline playoff team in the AFC, and for them to get there, they have to take care of teams like Houston at home. Expect the Jags to run their RBBC Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor right at the Houston D.
St. Louis @ Baltimore
The Rams are a fragile bunch at the moment. Their QB is hurt, but could play, if they could protect him. As a result backup QB Gus Frerotte has taken over and moved the offense. The Rams lost again, but at least they may be able to sustain drives, which could make the Ravens IDP players decent plays this week.
Baltimore is a 9 point favorite this week, but I’m not sure this offense can score 9 points. Maybe the Ravens D will cover that spread by returning an INT or fumble back for a TD. Either way, the Rams defense may be inspired this week to get a much needed first victory.
Carolina @ Arizona
Carolina is without starting QB Jake Delhomme and may be without backup David Carr, forcing them to use recently signed Vinny Testaverde this week. The Panthers will run the ball, and keep the pressure of which ever QB they use. Expect the Arizona LB’s and pass rushers to have strong games.
Arizona got better by subtraction, with the loss of QB Matt Leinart, as Kurt Warner has had more success running the offense. Arizona will have success
New England @ Dallas
New England is touted as the best team in the NFL, and this week they get their first test to see if that is the case. The pats bring a balanced offense, which will test the Boys defense, like no other team they have faced to date. Dallas safeties will have to play big in this game, as well as the Dallas pass rush to have a chance to win.
Dallas is coming off an emotional win, where it turned the ball over 6 times, and still managed to escape Buffalo with a W. Anything similar to that performance this week, and Dallas gets blown out. Expect Dallas to use TE J Witten down middle, and force the Pats to roll coverage his way, to free up TO. The Pats secondary should score well this week.
Oakland @ San Diego
Oakland currently leads the AFC West, but that all changes after this week’s matchup. The Raiders may have their temporary fix at QB for this yr, Daunte Culpepper, but even he won’t be able to avoid the rush and blitz the Chargers throw his way. LB Shawne Merriman and the San Diego pass rush will have a field day in this contest.
San Diego ran LT more last week, but many fantasy owners didn’t benefit, as the score got out of hand so quickly that RB Michael Turner enjoyed the benefit of the carries when the opposing defense was gassed. Expect more of the same this week, with San Diego running it 40 plus times, and the Oakland LB’s gassing out after huge games.
New Orleans @ Seattle
This year is the polar opposite of last years fine run by the Saints. This years team can not get out of its own way, and last seasons MVP candidate QB Drew Brees has no protection, which will be a welcome sight for a Seahawks pass rush, that needs a little pick me up.
Seattle was shut out 21-0 last week vs Pittsburgh and that opened a lot of eyes, as many thought they were one of the elite teams in the NFC. Losing WR Deion Branch will hurt the Hawks offense, but they still have Shawn Alexander in the back field and they will run their horse. As a result the Saints LB’s should have a nice statistical game.
NY Giants @ Atlanta
The Giants are starting to hit their stride on defense, with the stellar play of their DL’s Justin Tuck, and Osi Umenyiora. Expect more of the same vs the anemic Atlanta offense. The Giants LB’s will have a tough time scoring well, as Atlanta will have to throw virtually every down.
Atlanta DL John Abraham has been up and down all season, mostly down. His play hasn’t allowed opposite DE Jammal Anderson to get off, like last years rookie Tamba Hali was able to do with stud DL Jared Allen opposite him. LB Keith Brooking has also been a disappointment this year, but should turn it around this week against the Giants run game.
Bye – Buffalo, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, San Francisco