Saturday, October 08, 2005

BREAKING DOWN THE GAMES; WEEK 5 OF THE NFL!

Baltimore at Detroit: A battle of the offensively feeble. Although Balty' brings a hard hitting D to Motown... QB Anthony Wright has done little, and RB Jamal Lewis has done marginally more. KJ and Roy Williams will do just enuff' to keep the Lions competitive in the sad and sorry NFC North.

Chicago at Cleveland: Another barn burner of a game. Bear QB Kyle Orton tossed 5 picks last week... and RB Thomas Jones can't be expected to shoulder the load of an entire O. Incidentally, the smack is that rook' Cedric Benson will receive double-diggy' touches Sunday. Flip a coin... play rock, paper, scissor... fling "the odd finger." This game is a near pick 'em. Keep an eye on Brownie backup back Lee Suggs. A solid performance might neccessitate a Waiver Wire pickup for those of you desperate for a "Flex" or 3 Back.

Miami at Buffalo: Buff', desperate for a W, is benching Losman and trotting the incomparable Kelly Holcomb out. Good news for Eric Moulds and Lee Evans, as both receivers have pulled vanishing acts. If the 'Phins can contain RB Willis McGahee... the game should be in hand... or fin... or whatever.

New England at Atlanta: Yes, the Patriots were able to surmount numerous injuries last season... but this season is another story. The loss of Rodney Harrison is H-U-G-E, as is the loss of Matt Light. The thoroughly impressive Hot-Lanta run machine will knock the Pats back on their buns... making Vick's meager receiving corps better than it actually is. TE Alge Crumpler IS a talent, he and RB Warrick Dunn (his home rushing stats are outstanding) are both rock-solid starts; Patrick Kerney and Rod Coleman are fine IDP plays this week.

New Orleans at Green Bay: Not an easy pick by ANY stretch. New 'Awlins has begun to gel and they've begun to put some things together on both sides of the ball. However, Favre and the Pack are cornered and desperate to avoid an 0-5 start... desperation wins the day. *NOTE: A terrible tackling G-Bay Secondary render WRs Joe Horn (check his status, he may have aggravated a hammy pull) and Donte Stallworth (his stock soars if Horn is out of action) fine fantasy plays. Likewise, look for RB Deuce McAllister to receive close to 30 touches, eclipse 125 combined yards, and score a time or 2.

Seattle at St. Louis: The Rams are defensively challenged... but Seattle will be without it's top 2 receivers. Both factors make this game a tough, tough pick. Look for the Rams to receive a steady diet of RB Shaun Alexander... could be a fine time to play TE Jerramy Stevens, too. A hi-powered Ram passing game should be able to score on the 'Hawks, and take Alexander out of the game.

Tampa Bay at N.Y. Jets: Due to a bum wheel, "Cadillac" Williams may be "up on blocks" this weekend. But even with the Rookie of the Year candidate out of the way, brutish Buc' backup Michael Pittman is a powerful runner and a stud receiver; did'ja catch his 40+ yard TD catch Sunday? Pittman was as smooth as satin! QB Brian Griese has been fair, but the receiving corps has been hindered by WR Michael Clayton's seperated shoulder. Even so, Clayton has STILL commanded double coverage. Tampa's O will get by, bolstered by a solid, savvy, playmaking D. The Jet run game, however, has yet to take flight. Curtis, averaging a paltry 2.8 YPC, hasn't scored a TD this season AND has yet to crack 75 yards rushing in a game. C-Mart is nursing an injury himself, and unable to practice this week he's a poor fantasy play (especially against this unit). This is precisely the scenario Jet fans feared when LaMont Jordan was allowed to leave. As for the still-ill Jet air attack, backup to the backup Brooks Bollinger was never expected to serve as franchise saviour... and as expected, graybeard Vinny Testaverde was inked to a 1 year deal and will steward the O Sunday. Although a team that harbored SuperBowl hopes barely a month ago could still surprise... more likely NY fans, not. Although many in the NY media crowed about the foolishness of the following notion... it may WELL be that the Jets DO end up in the Matt Leinart Sweepstakes. Not to be confused with "Publishers Clearinghouse," Leinart is far and away the best QB prospect in college, he would have been the 1st overall pick last draft, and Gang-Green MUST secure a durable, legit' franchise QB.

Tennessee at Houston: Houston fought the Begals tooth and nail last week... and still lost. The Cincy' D was taking team photos atop QB David Carr, and RB Domanick Davis (188 total rushing yards, 1 TD... and that was a pass!) has been largely ineffective. Speaking of whom, look for "Double-D Davis" to play a far larger offensive role in upcoming games, as Houston's passing attack has been a bold-faced lie. Anyway, the Titans are the youngest team in the league. Going through some growing pains... look for Tennessee to put a solid all-around effort together against a Texan team that is going in the opposite direction. Even though Houston "held" Bengal RB Rudi Johnson to 88 yards last week, RB Chris Brown, another fantasy disappointment, could be a sneaky-good start Sunday.

Indianapolis at San Francisco: "No-no-no! Uh-uh, just ain't going to happen. I have a stomach-ache, ahhh-ahhh-Choo! Oh man, I have the Flu! I'm seeing double! Did I mention that I suffer from migraines? Grandma?... is that you?" If I'm Niner' rook' Alex Smith... that's what I'm sayin' 'bout suiting up and starting Sunday. Without WR Arnaz Battle (still injured), without TE Eric Johnson, without LT Jonas Jennings to protect his blind-side... the side Dwight Freeney's going to come roaring in like a freight-train from, and without a real run game (although rookie Frank Gore has flashed some skillz', he's running behind a college-quality line)... what is Smith expected to do? I understand the whole "the kid's gotta take his lumps sometime" thing... but such a school of thought could get the franchise's 1st overall draft pick killed! Look for San Francisco's "Monster Park" to become "Peyton's Place" Sunday. If Cardinal QB Josh McCown can hang almost 300 yards and a pair of scores on Frisco... than the prolific Indy' Signal Caller could easily hang a fistful of 6's against the terrible pass defense! In turn, RB Edgerrin James is a fine start in his own right. Those of you who drafted WR Brandon Stokely or TE Dallas Clark... if EVER there was a game for them to come offa' the schneide', it's this one! Dwight Freeney may never have a more favorable IDP matchup.

Carolina at Arizona: Card' QB Kurt Warner may not get his job back if Josh McCown (385 yards and 2 TDs) continues his fine play. That being said, the Panthers won't be the human turnstiles that the San Francisco Forty-Niners were. Coming off a good game, RB Stephen Davis is a VERY good start... and Jake Delhomme should continue his steady-eddie QB play. Arizona, a one-time dark-horse SuperBowl candidate... is about ready for another kind of bowl.

Philadelphia at Dallas: A possible "trap" game for the Eags', Andy Reid won't allow his troops to take Dallas lightly. The 'Pokes have received some iffy play from RB Julius Jones, and this isn't the week to look for a breakthrough game; Eagle LB Jeremiah Trotter is a terrific run stopper. The Dallas pass defense, an alleged strength entering the season, has repeatedly let coach Parcells down. Both Jones and his passing D have the legendary coach gnashing his teeth. Philly WR Terrell Owens should continue his fine play, as will TE L.J Smith. Look for RB Brian Westbrook, coming off of a too-quiet KC game, to hang good all-around numbers.

Washington at Denver: It all depends; whattya' make of the 'Skins? Are they for real... or are they paper tigers? I think the Redskins have benefitted from a soft schedule. An aggressive Bronco D should contain RB Clinton Portis, and with DL Trevor Pryce as healthy and disruptive as he's EVER been... look for 'Skin QB Mark Brunell to struggle. The Broncos have gave RB Tatum Bell double-diggy' touches last week... expect that trend to continue; Bell's made the most of his opportunities.

Cincinnati at Jacksonville: Another "trap" game... only, Jacksonville is no patty-cake squad. The pass defense has been tight, and the run D has been equally stout. In what should be a tight game... look for Cincy' to out-point Jacksonville. It's really a numbers game... the Jags won't be able to contain all of the Bengal skill po' players. Now.... I don't believe for a minute that Cincy' will record an undefeated season as their D is just too porous. I do think, though, that after pulling a tough game against Houston out last week... the Bengals showed some grit and moxie, and they grew up a bit.

Pittsburgh at San Diego: If the Steelers were at home... I'd be going with them. Look for leviathan TE Antonio Gates to give the Steeler Secondary fits, and NO one has yet been able to stop RB LaDainian Tomlinson. Like the IRS and age, LT maintains a steady, inexorable pace. I DO think that Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger will pick a poor 'Bolt Secondary apart, however. With stud WR Hines Ward operating at considerably less than 100%, liquid-quik Antwaan Randle El will play a much larger offensive role this week. Likewise, look for RB "Fast Willie" Parker to be effective between the 10's... (although the Chargers field a pretty tight run D) but surrender his G-Line totes to ol' reliable, Jerome Bettis. In the end, though, the Charger fans and RB LT will make the difference, allowing the home team to pull out a W in what should be one of the finest Monday Nighters' we've seen in some time.

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