Sample weekly matchup notes (2006)
ALL UPDATED THROUGHOUT THE WEEK
Baltimore at Tennessee 1:00 p.m.
Steve McNair-210 yards, 1 TD
Musa Smith-20 yards
Vince Young -150 passing, 50 rushing
Drew Bennett-60 yards
David Givens -35 yards
Bo Scaife-10 yards
Sometimes McNair plays with a veteran’s savvy and sometimes he struggles. He played well overall lately, partly due to improved blocking along the o-line. He had plenty of time to throw last week and wasn't sacked. Lewis has been running harder and will be featured again.
The Ravens are much tougher against the run than the pass and usually generate a decent pass rush. A good quarterback can find the holes in the secondary as they continue to give up big plays but Young will be under a lot of pressure here.
The Titans will attempt to establish the run with a young QB at the helm. Young could be worth more as the season progresses and his confidence builds. He will run more as well but also expect a lot of rookie mistakes.
The Tennessee defense is one of the worst in the league as their run defense is coughing up 165 yards a game. The secondary has showed improvement the last three games but is now missing a key starter.
Buffalo at Indianapolis 1:00 p.m.
J.P. Losman-220 yards, 1 TD
Roscoe Parrish-25 yards
Robert Royal-20 yards
Peyton Manning-210 yards, 1 TD
Joseph Addai- 90 total yards
Dallas Clark-40 yards
Last week was the first time the Bills scored more than 20 points in any game this year. Losman, after two good games in a row, has struggled, partly because of his offensive line.
Buffalo has been struggling against the run (147 yards and 5 yards a carry last week vs. Green Bay). The pass defense is better but the safeties are rookies and the pass rush inconsistent. The corners can be beat as well.
Manning, Harrison and Wayne are coming off another big game, this time against a tough NE unit. They should roll here.
The Colts run defense has been poor. Tennessee rushed for 214 yards against them two weeks ago. Denver rushed 36 times for 227 yards and three touchdowns. But the patched-up secondary is holding it’s own so far even though Plummer was efficient against them.
Cleveland at Atlanta 1:00 p.m.
Charlie Frye-170 yards, 1 TD
Joe Jurevicius-55 yards
Dennis Northcutt -25 yards
Phil Dawson- Rest
Michael Vick- 230 passing, 60 rushing
Michael Jenkins -65 yards
Roddy White -35 yards
Alge Crumpler-65 yards, 1 TD
Frye has been keeping the team in all the games usually making Jurevicius, Winslow and Edwards decent plays, but every game he is running for his life.
Cleveland has allowed 100+ rushing yards in 11 of its past 13 games and its secondary has been hurt by injuries but they shut down the Jets and played SD tough until the fourth quarter last week.
Vick, who is on pace for his best season – a dangerous combination of speed, agility and rocket arm – struggled a bit last week with turnovers and dropped passes. "The only way you have a chance to stop him is for everyone to go all out on every play," cornerback Dré Bly said. But he should rebound here against a porous run defense.
Frye will be blitzed like crazy but the secondary can still be beaten deep if he gets any kind of time. "Teams are just starting to pick us apart," cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "They are starting to dissect our defense." The unit has allowed three 300+ passing performances this year.
Green Bay at Minnesota 1:00 p.m.
Brett Favre-220 yards, 2 TD
Bubba Franks-30 yards
David Martin -45 yards
Brad Johnson-200 yards, 1 TD
Jermaine Wiggins-40 yards
Favre, Green and Driver look good, as does Martin who is getting downfield the last two games. Green had his third-straight 100-yard rushing day last week.
Green Bay is better against the run but the secondary has been burnt almost every game. Communication has often been the problem but at least the team is pressuring the quarterback. But Buffalo was able to run on them so well last week that they only threw 15 passes.
The Minnesota offense went without a touchdown for the fourth time last week. Johnson has been shut down two weeks in a row and is having trouble throwing deep. The Patriots played their secondary up close and dared him to throw long. He couldn’t.
After being run into the ground by New England, the Vikes got back on track last week. They held San Francisco to eight first downs and 133 total yards even though they lost the game.
Houston at Jacksonville 1:00 p.m.
David Carr-200 yards, 1 TD
Wali Lundy-55 yards
Andre Johnson-85 yards, 1 TD
Owen Daniels -35 yards
David Garrard -215 yards, 1 TD
Ernest Wilford-50 yards
Houston’s offense has struggled of late but at least Carr produced a passer rating of 84.9 last week. But it gets a lot tougher here.
The Texans defense struggled badly the first three weeks but has improved a lot in recent games. Las week they allowed just 14 points and 285 yards to the Giants.
Jacksonville might have the best defensive team in the AFC when healthy. The swarming unit, with star secondary play, limited the Eagles offense to just 227 total yards and shut the Titans down last week.
The Jags offense has improved. Garrard fired three scores last week and was sacked only twice. Taylor and Jones-Drew are a dangerous combination and the o-line is blocking well for them. The Titans can’t stop the run so the pair looks good here.
Kansas City at Miami 1:00 p.m.
Damon Huard-220 yards, 1 TD
Joey Harrington -180 yards, 1 TD
Wesley Welker-40 yards
There could be some scoring here.
KC has an improved pass defense, but it still has some holes as exposed the last three games. Coverage and QB pressure has been inconsistent. The run defense is worse.
The offense continues work well with Huard leading the team and Johnson rumbling. Gonzalez should be the main target once again.
Brown (157 yards) and Harrington (3 TDs) took advantage of a tired Chicago defense last week and could continue their good fortunes here. But Harrington is not this good as he also threw a pair of picks and misfired several times.
Miami is an improving defense with talent but has some holes. The secondary has been up and down but forced Grossman into several mistakes last week.
N.Y. Jets at New England 1:00 p.m.
Chad Pennington-235 yards, 2 TD
Leon Washington -75 yards
Tom Brady-200 yards, 1 TD
Doug Gabriel - 75 yards
Ben Watson-55 yards, 1 TD
Coming off a big game the previous week, Brady threw four picks against the Colts and Dillon lost a fumble. Part of the problem has been the inconsistent play calling. But at least they were able to run for 148 yards. They’ll bounce back here against a struggling defense.
New England’s aggressive defense had allowed just 36 points in the previous four games but Rodney Harrison got hurt last week and Manning consistently burned them after that.
After compiling a season-high 398 yards total offense, a season-best 211 yards rushing, 27 first downs and just two penalties against Detroit, the Jets totally collapsed against Cleveland prior to the bye. The o-line had been playing well so a rebound should be expected although Pennington had his worst game of the year.
Defensively, the Jets remain a work in progress and cannot stop the run. They place little pressure on the quarterback as well. The Browns dominated the game until the Jets finally decided to be aggressive and blitz. They need to do that for the rest of the season.
San Diego at Cincinnati 1:00 p.m.
Philip Rivers -220 yards, 1 TD
Michael Turner-25 yards
Carson Palmer -230 yards, 2 TD
Chris Henry-55 yards
Reggie Kelly-25 yards
The strength of SD’s offense remains the running game but Rivers is having a pretty good season so far. The o-line has struggled a bit but played well last week and it will again be the LT show in this game.
The Chargers are tough against the run with a dominant front seven. The makeshift linebacking crew played well last week but the soft secondary coverage hurt them, as it will again here.
Cincy is not the offensive powerhouse it was last year but if Palmer has time to throw, he can pick a defense apart. With key starters out in center Rich Braham and left tackle Levi Jones, Palmer has been sacked 23 times, compared with just 21 last year.
The Bengals' defense, coming off two good games, struggled against Atlanta and Baltimore the last two weeks. It also is struggling against the run in nearly every game.
San Francisco at Detroit 1:00 p.m.
Alex Smith-200 yards, 1 TD
Eric Johnson-35 yards
Jon Kitna-235 yards, 2 TD
San Francisco’s offense has cooled. Smith threw for only 105 yards last week and Gore was held to 41 yards.
The Niners completely shut down the Vikings last week. But normally, secondary breakdowns allow teams to generate big plays while the run defense has been up and down.
Kitna and Williams are having great seasons and Jones is coming off back-to-back 100-yard games. They all look like great plays here.
The Detroit front seven has struggled most of the year so far, which is a big disappointment. But they played well last week despite missing Shaun Rogers, Shaun Cody and James Hall. They were able to pressure Vick (something new) but the secondary continues to give up big plays with their smallish cornerbacks. The unit is second-last in points allowed.
Washington at Philadelphia 1:00 p.m.
Mark Brunell-215 yards, 1 TD
Chris Cooley-65 yards
Donovan McNabb -230 yards, 2 TD
The Washington defense has been inconsistent so far and can be beaten. The line is getting healthy after a few injuries and should improve but has been struggling terribly against the run. The banged-up secondary is also getting healthy but has been vulnerable to deep passes – particularly over the middle.
The play of the once stout defensive line has become a concern for Philly because of injuries and slumps. During the three-game losing streak, they have recorded just three sacks with little pressure. The run defense has struggled the last two games as well. Healthy corners should improve the pass coverage down the stretch although strong safety is still a big concern.
Denver at Oakland 4:05 p.m.
Andrew Walter-200 yards, 1 TD
Justin Fargas-35 yards
Ronald Curry -25 yards
Courtney Anderson-35 yards
Jake Plummer-180 yards, 1 TD
Mike Bell-35 yards
Could be a low-scoring game.
The Raiders offense has potential as Walter has improved a bit, as has Moss’s production, even though they both struggled last week. The running game is also improving but Jordan needs to prove his back is 100% again.
Defensively, the young Raiders lead the league in pass defense but still have issues against the run.
After a poor start, Plummer was efficient against the Colts and Steelers the last two weeks going a combined 29-of-48 for 401 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions and a 115.0 quarterback rating.
After a big first half of the season, the Denver defense has now allowed considerable yardage in two straight weeks to Indianapolis and Pittsburgh. "We buckled down when we had to," safety John Lynch said.
Dallas at Arizona 4:15 p.m.
Tony Romo-220 yards, 2 TD
Matt Leinart-225 yards, 1 TD
Bryant Johnson- 65 yards
Romo has been productive in his two starts so far and a look comfortable with Owens despite the latter’s three drops in the last two games.
The Dallas defense can be tough but has been inconsistent.
Coming off the big game against the Bears, they let the Raiders and Packers do whatever they wanted.
New Orleans at Pittsburgh 4:15 p.m.
Drew Brees-225 yards, 1 TD
yards, 1 TD
Nate Washington-45 yards
Cedric Wilson-15 yards
N.O. is tougher on the deeper throws in the Cover-2 so underneath throws work best. Their run defense is below average and Tampa likes to run so this looks like a pretty good matchup for Williams.
But the Saints have been hot on offense and have to be considered every week regardless of the opponent.
The Steelers have more turnovers in half a season (24) than they did all last year (23). Roethlisberger has a league-leading 14 interceptions with the o-line was partly to blame.
The vaunted Pittsburgh defenses remains tough against the run (they have not allowed a 100-yard rusher this season) but are getting beaten deep and not applying pressure on the QB. "The Steelers are definitely a team that focuses on stopping the run, but that's one reason why we were able to do so good with the passing game,” Mike Bell said.
St. Louis at Seattle 4:15 p.m.
Marc Bulger-220 yards, 2 TD
Seneca Wallace -185 yards
Maurice Morris-65 yards
Deion Branch -50 yards
Bulger has now logged five straight 100+ passer ratings but Holt has cooled a little.
The St. Louis defense is still giving up big plays because they can’t get a consistent pass rush going. Still need improvement vs. run as well. It is a quick but undersized unit that has so far kept the team in games. They’ve had a fairly easy schedule so far though. They rank 21st or worse in almost every category on defense except takeaways.
The Seattle defense has good speed but they’ve allowed a lot of points. They need to place more pressure on the opposing quarterback.
With Alexander and Hasselbeck out, the Seahawks’ offense have struggled. The strength of the unit is the receivers, but Wallace did not work with them full time until last week. "I want to strive for balance, but at the same time I've got to move the football somehow, someway," Holmgren said. "So to do that, we have to become more effective in our rushing.
Chicago at N.Y. Giants 8:15 p.m.
Rex Grossman-210 yards, 2 TD
Cedric Benson -30 yards
Eli Manning-220 yards, 1 TD
Plaxico Burress (?)-80 yards, 1 TD
Amani Toomer-45 yards
Could be low-scoring.
With this game, Chicago is entering a tough three-game road stretch, so the easy schedule they’ve had until now is over. Of their first eight opponents, only Seattle has a winning record so this will be the first true test of how really good this team is.
Grossman has had two bad games out of the last three and is now missing Bernard Berrian. And the team is rotating its running backs just enough to where neither has been able to find a groove.
The Bears entered last week as the NFL's No. 4 rush defense and in sacks per pass play. The Dolphins gained 161 yards on 35 carries though and the Bears are hurting with a couple of key injuries.
NY could be the new NFC Super Bowl favorite if they win this game.
The Giants offense has been sluggish the last two weeks, first in windy conditions and then without Burress. But they should be at full strength here.
New York’s defense has improved quite a bit of late after shutting the Texans, Bucs and Skins down and they also played Atlanta and Dallas tough. The revamped secondary has improved also but they currently have some injuries on the line.
Tampa Bay at Carolina 8:30 p.m.
Bruce Gradkowski -175 yards
Alex Smith-50 yards
Jake Delhomme-235 yards, 2 TD
Steve Smith -75 yards, 1 TD
Tampa has become too conservative with their passing offense for fantasy purposes. Gradkowski has gone 130 consecutive attempts without an interception, but that is because he is not throwing the ball downfield or throwing it away.
The Bucs defense (ranked No. 1 last year) started slow and then had four good games before slipping against the Saints. They stopped the run last week but they do not pressure the QB and give up too many big passing plays.
After a slow start, Carolina’s defense got back on track but they have struggled in the last two games.
Lots of drops on offense the week before the bye. Foster and Williams will split carries again if Williams is healthy.