In last week's post I was 7-7. I guess i was looking for upsets in all the wrong places. But this week I look to improve from a lowly 7-7 and hope to give you guys some more tips on who to start in your fantasy leagues and who to maybe pick in Pigskin Pick Em' on ESPN.
The Rams are coming off a very upsetting 20-23 overtime loss to the Jaguars while the undefeated Colts aee coming off a bye week feeling fresh and ready for football.
The Colts will undoubtedly be just about impossible to stop on offense as they're the #5 scoring offense and going up against the 30th scoring defense. The most disheartening stat, #1 pass offense versus 26th. pass defense. Wayne and Manning will be a lot harder to disrupt than Garrard and Mike Sims-Walker. Don't expect that Rams D to get 2 picks this week like it did last week. Unless the Rams can manage to get a ton of pressure on Peyton, this offense is going to be too tough for the Rams to handle.
As if things weren't bad enough, the Rams offense will be facing the #2 scoring defense and 7th. overall defense. Once again, if the Rams want any hope of winning, it's going to have be in the form of Steven Jackson and the running game, ranked a surprisingly low 20th. They shouldn't try to pass at all until they get that running game established because that 8th. ranked Colts pass D is dangerous, especially with the pass rush they'll be bringing on a still young Rams offensive line.
With Colts all rested up and the Rams reeling, expect a Titan-style blowout this week.
Two teams that are so very alike in their styles of play will be facing off in one of Sunday's marquee matchups. The Steelers have reclaimed their first place spot in the division and will look to hold on to it, while the Vikings appear to be starting to run away with their division.
Pittsburgh's offense had troubles with fumbles last week against lowly Cleveland, but once again the passing game came alive. After an embarrassing performance by Minnesota's pass defense last week, expect that 3rd ranked Steelers passing game to get rolling early and often. If I'm Pittsburgh, I see no reason to run on the 9th. ranked Vikings run D when I can pass on their 23rd ranked pass defense.
When Minnesota has the ball, look for them to play the same football that's got them 6-0. Run the ball as early and as often as possible. Doesn't matter if they're facing the 2nd best run defense, that won't stop them from pounding it with AP and Chester Taylor. However, look for the pass attempt number to keep steadily increasing for Minnesota. Brett Favre is finally looking like he no longer just manages the Minnesota offense, he gives them balance. A deep ball to Berrian or Harvin is a possibility on any given play, and creates a constant never-ending fear of a deep play-action pass on defense. I don't think the Pittsburgh corners or pass rush will fare well against this Minnesota team, which means the run D might in turn struggle more.
This is no doubt the game of the week. Both teams' defenses will be struggling with the incredible balance of the opposing offenses, but I think Minnesota brings more balance on offense and that pass rush incredibly tough for this struggling Pittsburgh O-Line to handle.
After a record-breaking victory last week, New England will be looking to post big numbers once more on a crumbling Bucs team.
For all the credit that Brady and Moss get on a week-to-week basis, this New England running game is lacking some much-deserved credit. For a team so hellbent on passing, their running game is a profound 16th and has looked better and better each week. Though their stable is banged up with Taylor and Morris still injured, Maroney and Faulk are still dynamic in their own right. Though their primary concern is New England's 5th. ranked pass offense, the Bucs can't simply drop everybody back or else Maroney or Faulk could get some huge yardage. Especially with the Bucs being 30th in run D.
While New England will most likely be passing like crazy on the bucs surprisingly good 9th. pass D, the Bucs won't be passing much at all. This 23rd ranked pass offense won't be getting much yardage on the Pats 5th. ranked pass D. Though those numbers might be a bit inflated due to an atrociously drop-heavy game by the Titans last week. If tampa is to have any hope, they must consume clock and run the ball on this 18th. ranked New England run D.From there, you might be able to set up play action if New England's blitzes don't throw off Josh Johnson.
New England is very balanced on both sides of the ball, while Tampa is one-dimensional in both. New England should pick up an easy win.
Winner: New England
San Francisco looks like it could be a great team this year, but Houston upset a great team last week in Cincy, and could very well do it again.
Houston finally got the running game going, sorta, but it'll be much harder to do that this week with the 7th. ranked run D and Pat Willis coming to town. Though they don't want to become one-dimensional, the Texans will want to pass early and often as their 4th. ranked pass offense should fare incredibly well on the Niners 19th. ranked pass D. Especially Owen Daniels. Daniels is officially one of the premiere tight ends of the league and will be playing a slower LB unit and a group of very below average safeties. Look for a monstrous day out of Schaub and Daniels.
While Houston might find themselves having a great day on offense, there could be mixed results for the Niners. Houston has their moments on defense, as do the niners on offense. 19th. rush offense versus 22nd run D, 29th. pass offense versus 18th. pass D. But it's tough to gauge how San Francisco's offense will be with Crabtree starting and with the triumphant return of an elite running back in Frank Gore. My guess, Gore will bring back a great running attack which will open up the play action and passing game. Meaning, this offense will look much better than it has the past couple weeks.
Houston would be my pick, IF it wasn't for the return of Gore and the possibility that Crabtree might actually be pretty good.
Two of the league's worst will square off in what should actually be a pretty good game.
Fred Jackson is slowly becoming one of my favorite running backs in the league. He doesn't have elite speed, elusiveness, toughness, etc. But he does everything well. He's got power to him, but he's also elusive and has some burst to him. He's a also a great pass catcher and blocker. Blocking is what the Bills will need as their O-Line is still giving up pressure. Can't say I like their odds versus Peppers on the outside. But Jackson and this 6th. ranked rushing offense should have no trouble against Carolina's lowly 29th. rush D. Jackson and Lynch will both have great games this week because Carolina doesn't dare stack the run with Owens and Evans on the outside.
Carolina is finally getting their run game rolling as they're now ranked 9th. Expect that number to go up as they face the 32nd ranked run defense this week. Stewart and Williams will both be getting nice numbers for sure. Though ranked 11th. in pass D, they can't bring anybody extra up to the line either with Smith and Muhammed out there at wide receiver for Carolina.
Don't start either of these defenses on your fantasy league, but make sure to start any of the four primary running backs. This will be a run fest. Whichever team's running game proves more dominant will be the victor. With superior backs, I have to pick Carolina.
The Raiders are coming off a major upset over the Eagles, but the Jets are looking to stay in th playoff battle after dropping 2 straight.
Oakland did a great job disrupting the 12th. ranked Eagles pass D, and if they stick with this new-look scheme, they should do the same against the shaky rookie Sanchez. But the real issue for the Raider D, is this #2 ranked Jets ground game. Not good for the 28th. ranked run D. Oakland's got to shut down the Jets ground game from the get-go and force the Jets to pass against a dangerous pass rush and opportunistic secondary. Easier said than done.
After finally getting their ground game going again, Oakland will look to follow the same gameplan this week against the Kris Jenkins-less Jets. Already a disappointing 19th. against the run, the Jets will be struggling more-so against the run without their dominant DT, who pretty much made the D-Line great. Bart Scott is majorly underachieving and the rest of the Jets D is suited to be pass rushers than run stoppers. From there, expect lots of passing to Gary Russell and Zach Miller on underneath play-action plays to possibly open things up for the healthy Schilens. But with guys like Kerry Rhodes and Darrelle Revis on this Jets 8th. ranked pass D, expect some struggles.
If Oakland wins, it'll be because of great defense once again. But I think the Jets running game will be too much for Oakland to handle, though an upset may be in the works.
Falcons vs. Cowboys
The Falcons struggled to pull one out versus Chicago last week, and will be facing another brick wall in the form of Dallas this week.
The Bears brought pressure to Matt Ryan frequently last week, so expect Dallas to do the same. After a pretty slow start to their pass rush, Dallas now posts 10 sacks and DeMarcus Ware has started to really get going. But the with their 28th. pass defense going up against a Falcons passing game loaded with weapons, this doesn't appear to be a favorable matchup. The Falcons have struggled to get a run game going though, but Dallas won't give them many problems with a very average 16th. ranked run D. Ryan should have a good game against a very weak Cowboys secondary.
While the Falcons will be passing, the Cowboys will be running as their 3rd. ranked rushing attack with Marion Barber and Felix Jones goes up against the 21st Falcons run D. Though they can just as easily pass the ball with their 10th. ranked passing game facing a lowly 21st. Falcons pass defense which won't be bringing and pressure whatsoever. The Cowboys should be bringing a very balanced offense which can fall back on a strong running game if need-be.
This should be a high-scoring game where whoever's D manages to force a turnover or two will be the victor. With a very weak defense, I can't see the Falcons doing this. I'm picking an upset here by the Cowboys.
Bears vs. Bengals
Both teams are trying to get back into their respective division races, as the Bears and Bengals face-off in an important game for both teams.
If the Bears want any chance, they have to establish the run, something they still have yet to do all year. Not even against the lowly Falcons run D. It won't be easier by any means this week with the 11th. ranked rush D up against them. Though they'd much rather not, Chicago's going to have to rely on their passing game to win. Not necessarily a bad idea. A 17th. passing offense with some big play threats going up against the 28th. pass D. If the Bears can keep the Bengals pass rush off Cutler, their passing game might be able to open up the run game.
The Bengals, however, should not try to make their main focus the passing game. Chicago did a nice job against Matt Ryan and the Falcons, who are much better than this 20th. ranked Bengals pass offense unit. With crafty blitzes and an opportunistic secondary, the Bears are going to be a very tough unit to face. The Bengals need to establish the running game, much easier said than done when facing the 6th. ranked run defense. Cincy is going to be struggling to move the ball, but they seem to be able to make big plays when it counts. They'll have to hope that trend continues against this monstrous Bears defense.
Neither team should expect to light up the scoreboard, but Cincy's defense is weaker and their offense is running right into a brick wall. Chicago stays relevant.
Saints vs. Miami
Miami is trying to get back into the division race while New Orleans is looking to put away the division very early on.
I'm not lying when I say this Saints offense might be better than the 07 Patriots. Most teams' primary focus is Drew Brees and the passing game, but this Saints running game is ranked 4th. You can't stack the run either because Brees, Colston, and Shockey will be making big plays. I don't really know what kind of defense would be able to stop this team. But if Miami and their 3rd ranked run D can neutralize the run, they might have a chance with Joey Porter coming on blitzes. I thought the Giants could do the same, but notice how that turned out.
Things aren't much better for Miami on offense either. Though their 1st. ranked rushing offense is the equivalent to a many teams' passing attacks, they'll be facing stiff opposition in the form of the 5th. ranked Saints run D. Though it is the 26th. pass offense versus the 13th. ranked pass D, I advise Miami to come out passing. They have to loosen up this Saints D is they want any hope of their running game to get rolling. It's the only way that I see them winning is to play a very balanced game.
I honestly think the Saints are better this year than the Patriots of 07 were. They're just so perfect at every single aspect of football. Look for that to continue this week.
Unfortunately I find myself at a time constraint and will not be previewing the Giants-Cardinals game or the Philly-Washington game. I apologize, but i did pick both.
Giants versus Cardinals Winner: Giants
Eagles versus Redskins Winner: Eagles