Tennessee @ Cincinnati
Tennessee QB Vince Young returned to form for at least a week, though he did turn it over twice late in last weeks game, to seal the deal for Denver. Against the Bengal’s D, expect Vince and RB Lendale White to each have big games on the ground, and Vince to throw just enough to keep the Bengal’s D honest. LB Landon Johnson is a huge play for Cincinnati.
Cincinnati QB Carson Palmer is forcing throws to Chad Johnson, and those throws are resulting in negative plays for the Bengal’s offense. Johnson needs to understand his QB will throw him the ball when he is open, and should keep his trap shut for the sake of the team. This being said, Cincinnati isn’t likely to do much on the ground against one of the top run defenses in the league, so expect an aerial display, and the Titan defenders and pass rushers to be strong plays.
Houston @ Cleveland
Houston clearly missed WR Andre Johnson the past 2 months, as last week, AJ showed exactly what he was capable of. The Texan’s WR has solid chemistry with starting QB Matt Schaub, and the two were in sync, even after the long layoff. This game should be a shoot out, so the Browns secondary are the best options this week.
Cleveland has a high powered offense, and a poor defense, so as stated above, this game has all the makings of a shoot out. Though the Browns have tried to establish RB Jamal Lewis lately. If Lewis is successful on the ground, this should open up ample opportunities for LB DeMeco Ryans. But as usual against Cleveland, the secondary play for their opponent is the best options, most weeks.
Oakland @ Kansas City
Oakland is back to starting Daunte Culpepper at QB, and he should be solid vs the KC defense. RB Justin Fargas only averaged 2.7 yards a carry last week, but that was vs the stingy Minnesota D. Expect more emphasis on the run this week, and Kansas City LB’s Donnie Edwards and Derrick Johnson will be waiting.
Kansas City is now down to 3rd string RB Kolby Smith, as Priest Holmes was forced to retire this week, due to another neck injury. Its unknown if Smith is capable of carrying the load, but he will be force fed the ball regardless. Oakland LB’s Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard are strong plays as a result. Also expect the Raiders secondary to have a better than expected day against WR Dwayne Bowe and TE Tony Gonzales.
Seattle @ St Louis
Seattle needs a win in a bad way to keep its lead in the NFC West. The Arizona Cardinals are only 1 game back, and have a cake walk game this week vs San Francisco. Seattle is without RB Shawn Alexander again this week, though the Hawks have leaned more on the passing game as of late, and have had much success. The Rams DB’s should have a solid test this week.
St. Louis is getting healthy but it’s too late for them to turn around their season, but they can play spoiler down the stretch. RB Steven Jackson will be used more and more as the weeks go by, as he gets closer to 100%. The Hawks secondary will have to contain WR Tory Holt, and Seattle LB Julian Peterson will be used to blitz and harass the Rams QB.
Minnesota @ NY Giants
Minnesota is again going to be without RB Adrian Peterson, so its going to be once again the Chester Taylor show. But this time the test will be greater than it was a week ago vs Oakland. The Giants rush defense is improving, and Taylor isn’t the type of back that gives this defense fits. Expect the Giants MLB to be active, as well as the Giants pass rush on the erratic Viking QB.
The Giants offense could be limited to the passing game, if RB Brandon Jacobs misses this game. But the Vikings D is so solid, it’s a moot point to try and establish the running game, especially when the Vikings secondary is the clear weakness of their defense. But that weakness is fantasy owner’s gain, as the more the Giants throw, the more active the secondary will be.
Washington @ Tampa Bay
Washington played a scrappy game a week ago, but wasn’t able to come away with a win at Texas Stadium against the Cowboys. This week, that same effort wins them a ball game on the road. The Bucs defense hopes to get Barrett Ruud back on track, and needs another strong performance from LB Derrick Brooks.
Tampa Bay is now a vertical passing game, with a sprinkle of Earnest Graham catching balls out of the backfield. Both of these options play into the hands of the Skins defense, as the strength is the secondary and LB’s. Start your usual suspects in this weeks match up.
New Orleans @ Carolina
New Orleans is an enigma this year. Games you think they should win, they lose, and vice versa. The one thing that is for sure, is QB Drew Brees has come alive the last month, and opponents secondary have been lit up like Christmas Trees in December. This week should be no different as once again the weakness of the Panthers is easily exposed by the strength of the Saints offense.
Carolina was without WR Steve Smith last week, though he should return this week. His loss hindered the Carolina passing attack, but did give the opportunity for Drew Carter to have a solid receiving day. The Panthers will try and establish the run to keep the high powered Saints offense on the sideline, while trying to score themselves. Expect LB Scott Fujita and S Josh Bullocks to be strong plays.
Buffalo @ Jacksonville
Jacksonville MLB Mike Peterson had surgery on a broken right hand, and looks to be out 4 or 5 weeks. In his absence look for LB Daryl Smith to step up and have a productive afternoon. Also, keep DB’s Reggie Nelson and Sammy Knight in your starting lineup again this week.
Buffalo will once again be without RB Marshawn Lynch, so the Bills passing game will have to be productive if they have any chance to win this week. The Bills defense has been playing pretty well against the run, and the Jags are certain to run the ball. Expect strong performances from LB’s John DiGiorgio and Angelo Crowell
San Francisco @ Arizona
San Francisco was no better a week ago, with Trent Dilfer at QB, than they were with Alex Smith. The 49ers have lost 8 straight games, and they have looked terrible on offense in that span. Not much is going to change against the stout Cardinal defense. Arizona DB Eric Green and LB Karlos Dansby are the strong plays for this unit this week.
Arizona is a balanced offense, and that will give the 49ers defense fits. But the Cardinals will have most of their success throwing to ball to the dynamic duo at WR. Expect a strong game from 49ers DB Nate Clements, as well as DL Marques Douglas and LB Patrick Willis.
Denver @ Chicago
Since a players only meeting a few weeks back, Denver has looked like a completely different team. The Bronco’s offense has become efficient and the D has played much better against the run. The Bronco’s will use its running game to set up play action fakes down the field. Thus once again the Bears LB’s and Secondary are great options this week.
Chicago needs a win to keep its playoff hopes alive. The Bears look no where near the team that went to the SB a year ago, and if they have any chance of even making the post season, this game is a must. QB Rex Grossman must manage the game, thus the running game will be used heavily this week. Cedric Benson has been surprisingly solid the last 2 weeks, and against a weak rush defense, this is the game play. As a result DJ Williams could be a top 5 scoring LB this week.
Baltimore @ San Diego
Baltimore surprisingly was able to move the ball a little on offense last week, though it was against the Cleveland Browns. Expect some success this week as well, with Kyle Boller as the Raven’s QB. San Diego has given up huge games on the ground before, so Willis Magahee will get a ton of carries in this one, to keep LT and Co, off the field. SD LB’s Matt Wilhelm, and Shawne Merriman are strong plays.
San Diego HC Norv Turner looks to be clueless. What other coach wouldn’t utilize LT on virtually every play, as long as the game is close. Yet, Turner insists on throwing even though QB Phillip Rivers looks awful doing it. Expect the HC to remedy past woes, by utilizing his TE and his all world RB. As a result, LB Ray Lewis should once again be a huge play.
Philadelphia @ New England
It’s looking more and more like Eagles starting QB, Donovan McNabb will miss this game. Already the point spread is 23.5 in favor of the Patriots. This line will likely increase on game day, if McNabb is inactive. What does this mean, well it means the Birds are unlikely to be competitive in this contest, and Brian Westbrook will be the only offensive weapon. Thus the Patriots D will attempt to take him out of the game. Expect solid contributions from LB Mike Vrabel and DB Rodney Harrison
New England is a well oiled machine right now on offense . Tom Brady is dissecting defense’s, and Randy Moss is toying with opposing DB’s. Not much should change this week. The Patriots do not even attempt to run the ball, until the reserves come in, late in the 4th quarter. Thus like most weeks, the opposing teams secondary is the strong play of the game.
Miami @ Pittsburgh
Miami is winless and starting a rookie QB, which explains why they would consider giving RB Ricky Williams a 3rd or 4th chance in the NFL. The Dolphins clearly need to manage the game on offense, which isn’t a likely task against the stout Steelers D. Expect LB James Harrison to have a huge game off the edge, sacking the QB, and few other solid contributors as Miami isn’t likely to sustain drives long enough for others to put up solid stats.
Pittsburgh is coming off a loss to a former 1-8 team, the NY Jets. Anyone think they are motivated to play this week? We do too. Pittsburgh is likely to take what the defense gives them, which should be long touchdown drives all day long. LB Zach Thomas is out again, so Channing Crowder will once again roam the middle of the Miami D.