Indianapolis @ Carolina
Indianapolis is a veteran team that will not be looking past Carolina to next week’s showdown with New England. The Colts are a very balanced team now on offense, which is perfect for opposing teams IDP. Expect a strong game from the Carolina LB Corps, especially Jon Beason.
Carolina looks to be going back to QB David Carr this week, over the veteran Vinny Testaverde. Carr is a better option for opposing defenses, as he doesn’t make good decisions, and holds onto the ball too long. Expect Carolina to get WR Steve Smith involved early, as well as establish a running game, to keep the Indy O on the sidelines. Colts DB Bob Sanders is a big play this week.
Cleveland @ St Louis
Cleveland is returning from bye week, with 2 weeks to prepare for the feeble Rams offense. Good news from St Louis is RB Steven Jackson should return to action this week, though he will probably be limited. Jackson’s return benefits the Browns LB’s as the Rams are more likely to stay with the run, as long as the game is close, if Jackson is running rather than Leonard.
Cleveland has a very nice passing attack, and the Rams secondary isn’t very good, so expect this to be exploited all afternoon. Cleveland can run the ball, and RB Jamal Lewis should play, but as long as the pass is working, Cleveland will get its yards in chunks. Best plays this week should be the Rams secondary, and their DE’s.
NY Giants @ Miami
The Giants are on fire right now, and their defense is one of the best for fantasy producers. Miami lost starting running back Ronnie Brown last week, but has a capable backup to keep drives going in the passing game in Jesse Chatman. All the Giants DE’s are strong plays again this week, as they get to the QB repeatedly.
Miami may be without all everything LB Zach Thomas, as he has yet to practice with the team as a result of a minor car accident after last week’s game. If Zach doesn’t play, LB Channing Crowder will again move inside and get the lion’s share of tackle opportunities this week.
Philadelphia @ Minnesota
Philadelphia is as unpredictable as any team in the NFL. One week McNabb will throw it around all day, the next week he can’t hit the broad side of a barn. But this game hinges on his play. If McNabb is good, expect it to be a long day for Minnesota’s defense. If his play is poor, the Minnesota D could score in this contest. Expect the Vikings secondary to be the best play for Minnesota.
Minnesota doesn’t know if it has a QB yet, as Tavaris Jackson simply hasn’t played well. But he does have a built in excuse in the Viking wide receivers, not helping him in the least bit. Bottom line, Minnesota has to run Adrian Peterson and play strong defense to win games, and that is a formula for the Philly DE and Lbs to be productive.
Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati
Pittsburgh is a well balanced offense and to the surprise of many, RB Willie Parker has only 1 offensive touchdown to date. Expect Pittsburgh to get Parker going to keep the Cincinnati offense off the field. LB Landon Johnson should benefit. Also expect DE Justin Smith to be active stopping the run.
Cincinnati will be without RB Rudi Johnson again this week, though his backup, Kenny Watson was spectacular in Johnson’s absence. Watson had 3 short touchdown runs, and a 130 yards on 31 carries. This running game has been a missing ingredient in the Bengals offense all season. If this continues this week, expect DB Troy Polamalu to have another productive game.
Detroit @ Chicago
The last time these teams meet in week 4, this game was a shoot out, with Detroit winning 37-27. In that game the Lions scored on defense and special teams, and Kitna threw for 247 yards and no picks. Expect Detroit to push the tempo, as they have the better offense, and continue to get RB Kevin Jones involved in the passing game. Start the dynamic duo at LB for Chicago, Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs
Chicago wasn’t as fortunate in that contest, with Brian Griese throwing 3 key interceptions. The interesting thing to this game was RB Cedric Benson couldn’t move the ball on the ground vs the Lions front 7, gaining only 50 yards on 15 carries, a 3.3 average. Chicago wants to run the ball, and Lions LB’s Paris Lenon and Ernie Sims will be waiting.
Oakland @ Tennessee
Oakland is in the cellar of the AFC West, at 2-4, and their biggest problem is their inability to run the ball. Sure they will attempt to get RB Lamont Jordan involved, but he was ineffective with only 29 yards on 11 attempts a week ago. Tennessee’s defense will be licking its chops in this match up, running rough shot over the Oakland offense. Expect DE Kyle Vanden Bosch to have an explosive game.
Tennessee hopes to welcome back QB Vince Young, but in this contest it won’t matter much, unless Tennessee turns the ball over multiple times on offense. The Oakland defense isn’t as stout vs the run as a year ago, so RB Lendale White should be able to exploit this weakness. Expect a healthy game from LB Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard as well as DT Tommy Kelly.
Buffalo @ NY Jets
Buffalo had an impressive win two weeks back vs Baltimore, before going on bye this past week. The Buffalo offense hasn’t put up many points, but their defense is playing well, and RB Marshawn Lynch has been impressive running the ball as of late. The Jets safeties will be in the box to stop the run, which should make them both productive this week.
The Jets offense hasn’t been sharp, especially early in games. Expect more of the same thing week, with the Jets trying to get RB Thomas Jones going to take the pressure off of QB Chad Pennington. Buffalo has a trio of capable LB’s who can all have solid games at any time.
Jacksonville @ Tampa Bay
Jacksonville is without starting QB David Garrard this week, after injuring his ankle last Monday night vs the Colts. And the Jags backup QB Quinn Gray was terrible, throwing 2 costly picks, and sacked in the end zone for a safety. The Bucs D will send multiple blitz packages at the young QB, and their secondary will benefit as a result.
Tampa Bay QB Jeff Garcia is yet to throw an INT, but he gave up 2 fumbles last week to Detroit, and Jacksonville has a more imposing defense than the Lions. Expect this to be a tight, low scoring affair, with the team who makes the last mistake to lose. Play all of your regular Jags, and add DE Paul Spicer to the mix.
Houston @ San Diego
Houston almost made a miraculous come back a week ago, before losing in the final seconds to K Rob Bironas record setting 8th FG, as time expired. Houston rotated their QB’s, as starter Matt Schaub got nicked up on two separate occasions in that ball game. Schaub should play this week, though it won’t matter much, as LB Shawne Merriman will be a force in this game.
San Diego is dealing with tragedy at home, with the wild fires in southern California. They have been practicing in Arizona, though they plan to return home for this Sundays contest. The Chargers are also welcoming a new weapon on offense, WR Chris Chambers. But do not let that fool you, this is still the LT show, and Texans LB Demeco Ryans could be the highest scoring LB this week.
New Orleans @ San Francisco
New Orleans has reeled off back to back wins, after starting the season 0-4. The first one was surprising in Seattle, but few expected them to lose last week to Atlanta. This week they will have to play better on offense as San Francisco has been pretty impressive on defense, even when their offense puts them in bad situations with turnovers.
San Francisco is welcoming back starting QB Alex Smith this week, and the offense has been misfiring since he was lost early in the season. Don’t expect much from the young QB, in his return. But his presence should keep the New Orleans defense honest, and allow RB Frank Gore more room to run than he would have without Alex Smith in the game.
Washington @ New England
Washington escaped last week vs Arizona with a 21-19 win, because of a blocked PAT, and a failed 2 pt conversion attempt to tie the game late. Though the skins did give Neil Rackers a chance as time expired to win the game, he simply missed the long FG attempt. The Redskins passing game hasn’t been good as of late and that will seal their fate in this contest.
What else can you say about New England that hasn’t already been said. How bout a date with the Colts next week looms, and they could be looking past the Redskins to next week. Nah, but it does make a nice story line, even if it isn’t likely to happen. New England will attempt to establish a running game, as they will likely need it in 2 weeks, so the skins LB’s could be productive this week, where it may not have looked that way with the way the Pats have been passing thus far.
Green Bay @ Denver
Green Bay is pitiful trying to run the ball, thus QB Brett Favre is throwing as much as ever. Favre isn’t making the boneheaded throw this year, because he knows his defense can keep the game close, so the Packers can win it late. Expect solid stats from the Denver secondary.
Denver is hard to peg on offense. QB Jay Cutler shows flashes of greatness, but then he will throw the ill advised INT at the worst time. The Broncos’s will have to run the ball in this contest to have any chance. The Green Bay defense has a nice secondary, and DE Aaron Kampman will be waiting for Jay Cutler to drop back to pass.
Bye – Atlanta, Arizona, Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, Seattle