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  Rushing Matchups  

Week 13 Passing Matchups

[ARI] [ATL] [BAL] [BUF] [CAR] [CHI] [CIN] [CLE] [DAL] [DEN] [DET] [GB] [HOU] [IND] [JAX] [KC] [MIA] [MIN] [NE] [NO] [NYG] [NYJ] [OAK] [PHI] [PIT] [SD] [SEA] [SF] [STL] [TB] [TEN] [WAS]


PLEASE NOTE: This does NOT replace the Cheatsheet ranking. The Cheatsheet rankings are the final say on where we see a player for that week. The Matchup Breakdowns are simply one more tool in the box when it comes to helping choose your lineup.

Also note, just because a player has a "bad" matchup, it does NOT mean he's not a starter in your league. If Peyton Manning is playing the toughest pass defense in the league, that just means he's got a tough matchup that week. He's also your starter unless you're loaded at QB. In the same way, if the worst QB on your roster has a "great" matchup that week, it doesn't necessarily mean he's your starter. It means we think he'll fare better than normal that week.

Bottom line is that the cheatsheets are the final say.


Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Josh McCown was the Cardinals' starter back in week 4 (in Mexico City) - the recent history of this divisional matchup vs. San Francisco won't tell us much about this matchup, as Kurt Warner is back in charge for Arizona now. Warner has been a fantasy owners' delight the last few weeks, with 85/130 for 959 yards, 6 TDs and 1 interception to his credit (6th best fantasy QB in the land during that span), including last week's totals of 29/46 for 315 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception. He's really hot right now. So are Anquan Boldin (27 targets for 18/220/1 over the last 3 weeks) and Larry Fitzgerald (30 targets for 22/286/3), who snagged 10/115/0 and 4/41/1 last week, respectively (Bryant Johnson got in on the act with 5/77/0 last week).

San Francisco's pass D is dead last in the NFL this season, averaging 281.1 yards allowed per contest in this phase, and they are tied for next-to-last with 21 passing scores given away to date. They have generated only 1 sack and 2 interceptions during the last 3 weeks, while averaging 212.6 passing yards allowed per contest, including last week's totals of 23/41 for 343 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception (their 3-week average is skewed downwards by the Chicago game, when the high winds at Soldier Field held Orton to 67 yards passing). Nobody is afraid to throw the ball against the 49ers.

This is a great matchup for Warner and company.

Weather: The forecast for Monster Park calls for a high of 57F with a low of 44F and a 10% chance for rain - a very nice day is on tap for this matchup.

ARI Injuries: none
SF Injuries: none


Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Kurt Warner has posted 3 multiple-TD games in a row (with 7 TDs and 3 interceptions over his last 3 contests), and exploded for 34/48 for 484 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions vs. the 49ers last week. He's one of the hottest QBs in the NFL entering week 13. As usual, Larry Fitzgerald was Warner's #1 target last week, with 15 balls converted to 9/156/2. Bryant Johnson (5/80/0), Sean Morey (4/79/0) and Anquan Boldin (6/76/0) were all tied for second on the team last week with 7 targets during the contest. Tim "All I Do Is Throw Short TDs" Rattay (the last 3 times he's thrown a pass it's been for a short TD around the goal line) also connected for another score last week (1/1 for 2 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions) hitting TE Ben Patrick for his score (Patrick handled 2/19/1 last week). Right now, the Cardinals' passing attack is firing on all cylinders.

The Browns pass defense is worst in the league in TDs allowed (with 25 handed over in 11 games), and they are 30th in the NFL with an average of 266.5 passing yards allowed per game. They are tied for 24th in the NFL with only 19 sacks so far, but have managed 12 interceptions (in an 11-way tie for 10th in the NFL). Last week, the Browns stayed close to form, giving up less than their usual yardage (22/36 for 237 net passing yards), but coughing up 2 pass TDs to Matt Schaub (along with 2 interceptions). Over the past 3 weeks, the Browns have handed over 242, 240, and 237 net passing yards to opposing QBs - they have slowed down the bleeding a bit heading into week 13.

Warner is one of the hotter QBs in the NFL right now, while the Browns are sub-par on their best days (and usually worse than that). The home-team Cardinals have a big edge on their visitors this week.

Weather: The forecast for Monster Park calls for a high of 57F with a low of 44F and a 10% chance for rain - a very nice day is on tap for this matchup.

ARI Injuries: none
SF Injuries: none


Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Carson// Palmer has thrown two TDs per game for four straight contests, and over the last two games he's avoided throwing any interceptions (8 TDs and just two interceptions total during the four game span). Two weeks ago he threw 30/42 for 419 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions, while last week he put up 26/37 for 314 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions - with the running backs also finding the end zone regularly of late, it's fair to say that the Arizona offense has turned the corner in the second half of the season and they are now one of the more consistent and powerful attacks in the league. Over the past two games, Larry Fitzgerald has caught three of the four TDs thrown (20 targets for 11/113/3); Michael Floyd has gained the most ground with 18 targets for 13/297/1; and Rob Housler has helped move the chains with 14 targets for 10/121/0. It's all good for the Cardinals' passing attack entering Week 13.

The Eagles' pass D is the most generous in the NFL when it comes to passing yards allowed, averaging 300.1 net yards allowed per game, with 17 TDs handed out vs. 13 interceptions (tied for eighth in the NFL) and 24 sacks (tied-24th) generated to date. Robert Griffin III managed 17/35 for 236 yards, two TDs and one interception vs. Philadelphia two weeks ago, while the Packers put up 29/44 for 297 yards passing, one TD and two interceptions the week they lost Seneca Wallace to a groin injury and had to call upon their third-stringer Scott Tolzien.

This is a great matchup for Palmer and company.

Weather: The forecast for Monster Park calls for a high of 57F with a low of 44F and a 10% chance for rain - a very nice day is on tap for this matchup.

ARI Injuries: none
SF Injuries: none


Atlanta Falcons Passing Offense at Carolina Panthers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

The Falcons punched in 5 rushing TDs last week, so Matt Ryan didn't need to throw in the red zone - he still went over 250 yards passing, though - 17/27 for 259 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions was the final tally. Harry Douglas took up 6 targets last week (4/92/0 receiving to lead the team), while Roddy White had 9 chances (4/70/0) and Michael Jenkins had 6 looks (4/48/0). Over the past 3 weeks, Ryan has tossed 53/83 for 757 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception to land at #18 among all fantasy QBs in points per game during that span of time.

How porous is the San Diego secondary? Well, when cornerback Quentin Jammer intercepted Peyton Manning in the game on Sunday, it was the Chargers' first takeaway in five games (over a span of 185 passes thrown against San Diego). The Chargers, who have allowed more 1st downs than any other team during 2008, fell to new lows vs. the Colts. Indianapolis converted 10 out of 17 3rd-down attempts, and they were also 2-for-2 on 4th down, including the critical 14-yard pass completion to Marvin Harrison on 4th down during the final minute of the game - that one set up the Colts' game-winning field goal. Manning posted 32/44 for 250 net yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception against the Chargers' 32nd-ranked pass D last week, which averages 265.5 net yards allowed per game, with 19 passing TDs surrendered vs. just 7 interceptions and 23 sacks generated this year.

Ryan and company have a great matchup to work with in the temperate Southern California conditions on Sunday - as long as the rain doesn't pour down, look for solid production from the Falcons.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium calls for a high of 66F and a low of 37F with a 40% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling may be larger issues than usual for both teams.

ATL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: none


Atlanta Falcons Passing Offense at Carolina Panthers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Back in week 10, New Orleans handed Atlanta their first loss of the season, 31-27 at Atlanta. Matt Ryan had a monster game during the loss, with 34/52 for 411 yards passing, three TDs and one interception, with just one sack taken for -3 yards. Tony Gonzalez (15 targets for 12/122/2 receiving) led the team that day, while Roddy White posted 13 targets for 7/114/0 receiving). Julio Jones saw five targets for 4/75/0 during the game - Ryan was red hot in New Orleans. Since then, Ryan has been up and down, with a disastrous five-interception performance two weeks ago (28/46 for 301 yards passing, zero TDs), and then 26/32 for 353 yards passing, one TD and one interception at Tampa this week. As is usual, Jones (nine targets for 6/147/1), White (seven for 5/57/0) and Gonzalez (five for 5/62/0) led the team in receiving during the narrow 24-23 win at Tampa.

The Saints' defense is terrible - they rank dead last in rush defense (averaging 156.5 rushing yards allowed per game) and 30th in the league in pass D (averaging 298.3 net passing yards allowed per game - with 10 rushing TDs and 22 passing TDs allowed so far this year. Most recently, San Francisco put up 16/25 for 231 yards passing, one TD and one interception at New Orleans - Carson Palmer threw 22/40 for 312 yards, two TDs and two interceptions vs New Orleans two weeks ago.

Over 300 yards passing vs. New Orleans is to be expected, and Ryan will enjoy home field advantage on Thursday night - advantage, Atlanta.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium calls for a high of 66F and a low of 37F with a 40% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling may be larger issues than usual for both teams.

ATL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: none


Buffalo Bills Passing Offense at Miami Dolphins Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Trent Edwards snapped out of his interception-prone funk last week, posting 24/32 for 273 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions, with an additional 2 rushing TDs to his credit (6/38/2). Lee Evans wasn't ignored (5/110/0 receiving to lead the team); Josh Reed (5/50/1) and TE Derek Schouman (3/25/1) snagged the TDs. We'll see if Edwards can keep the momentum going vs. the visiting 49ers this week.

Speaking of San Francisco, they are the 29th ranked pass D in the land, averaging 243.9 net passing yards allowed per game, with 18 pass TDs given away to date, vs. 10 interceptions and 19 sacks generated so far. They have coughed up 942 passing yards in the last 3 weeks (314 per game on average), with 2 interceptions and 5 sacks to their credit during that time span. 23/39 for 334 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions was the tally posted by Tony Romo against the 49ers last week.

Edwards got his team moving in the right direction again last week - and he's got a great matchup to work with this week. Advantage, Buffalo.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 80F with a low of 66F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play and watch a football game.

BUF Injuries: none
MIA Injuries: none


Buffalo Bills Passing Offense at Miami Dolphins Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Ryan Fitzpatrick had a so-so outing at Indianapolis last week, pitching 17/33 for 180 yards, one TD and one interception during the 13-20 loss. It was his second game below 200 yards passing, with 17/27 for 168 yards, zero TDs or interceptions to his credit two weeks ago at Miami - right now, Fitzpatrick is in a slump. At Indianapolis, Steve Johnson saw 15 targets for 6/106/0 receiving, while Scott Chandler (three for 2/26/0) and T.J. Graham (three for 2/24/0) were the next-most-productive receivers in the game. Unless Steve Johnson is on your roster, the Bills' attack has been a letdown in recent weeks.

The Jaguars' pass D ranks 28th in the NFL averaging 274.5 net passing yards allowed per game, with 15 pass TDs given away vs. nine interceptions (tied for 17th in the NFL) and 13 sacks (tied for last in the NFL) generated to date. Jake Locker managed 23/40 for 250 yards, one TD and two interceptions at Jacksonville last week; Matt Schaub shelled this group for 43/55 yielding 504 net yards, five TDs and two interceptions two weeks ago. The Jaguars are not too good at pass D, friends.

Advantage, Buffalo.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 80F with a low of 66F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play and watch a football game.

BUF Injuries: none
MIA Injuries: none


Buffalo Bills Passing Offense at Miami Dolphins Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

E.J. Manuel was effective against the Jets two weeks ago (20/28 for 245 yards passing, with two TDs and zero interceptions thrown) - Marquise Goodwin posted nine targets for 6/81/1 receiving, T.J. Graham saw four for 2/74/1 while Stevie Johnson sat out of the game to rest and rehabilitate his injured groin. Johnson is expected back for this contest against Atlanta - 'I'll definitely be suited up,' Johnson stated on November 19. 'I think I'll be much better than what I was this past week.' If Johnson doesn't suffer a setback, Manuel will have a wide array of targets to throw at when Atlanta arrives in town.

Speaking of the Falcons, they currently average 251.2 net passing yards allowed per game (24th in the NFL), while coughing up 23 pass TDs to date vs. a mere six interceptions generated (27th in the NFL) and only 22 sacks to their credit (28th). Drew Brees hit them for 23/33 yielding 271 net passing yards, two TDs and zero interceptions last week; Tampa Bay collectively threw 20/25 for 224 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions thrown. Atlanta's secondary is more of a speed bump than a barrier as of the final month of the season.

Advantage, Buffalo.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 80F with a low of 66F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play and watch a football game.

BUF Injuries: none
MIA Injuries: none


Carolina Panthers Passing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

This is the first game in the annual home-and-away duels between the Buccaneers and the Panthers - while neither team has a good record this year expect a high level of intensity from both sides in this NFC South grudge match.

Cam Newton has more TDs as a runner (three) than as a passer (one) over the last three weeks, tossing 65/105 for 700 yards, one TD and five interceptions, with 23/145/3 rushing during that time span (the three rushing scores came over the last two games, at Indianapolis and at Detroit). Steve Smith handled the lone TD catch in recent weeks, with 25 targets for 13/142/1 receiving over the three game span, while Greg Olsen (23 for 10/92/0) and Legedu Naanee (18 for 14/133/0) are the other top targets. Jonathan Stewart is very involved from the RB position, with 17 for 13/121/0 over the last three games, and Brandon LaFell has seen a steady diet of targets with 13 for 9/115/0 receiving over that same time span. Newton is doing a good job spreading the ball around during November, but that is making his receivers pretty 'blah' from a fantasy standpoint.

The Buccaneers' pass D is among the league's worst, with an average of 254.9 net yards allowed per game, and 19 passing scores given up vs. 11 intercepitons and 17 sacks generated so far (tied for 15th- and 30th- ranked in the NFL, respectively). Tennessee struggled in this phase last week, though, with just 19/34 for 150 net yards (two sacks taken) one TD and two interceptions, but Green Bay destroyed the Buccaneers with 23/34 for 287 yards, three TDs and one interception two weeks ago. Most of the time, teams are closer to Green Bay's numbers than Tennessee's when Tampa is in town.

Newton has a great matchup to work with here, but the Buccaneers are also weak at run D, which may limit the number of balls that Newton puts into the air - though good things should happen when he slings the football.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium calls for a high of 66F and a low of 37F with a 40% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling may be larger issues than usual for both teams.

CAR Injuries: none
ATL Injuries: none


Chicago Bears Passing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Rex Grossman battled through 2 interceptions (one returned for a TD by Antoine Winfield) the last time he faced the Vikings, and ended the day with 23/41 for 278 yards, and 1 TD in addition to the interceptions. Since then, he's been an up-and-down QB, with some solid-to-outstanding games and several sub-par outings. Last week, he was sub-par with 15/34 for 176 yards, 0 TDs and 3 interceptions vs. the Patriots - he's tossed 44/86 for 541 yards, 4 TDs and 4 interceptions over the past 3 weeks to rank 26th among all fantasy QBs in points per game during that span. Over that time frame, Muhsin Muhammad has been his #1 target, with 22 for 12/189/1; Bernard Berrian is 2nd with 13 for 5/104/0; and Mark Bradley has been productive in his 12 chances, with 9/174/2.

The Vikings pass D is 31st in the NFL, allowing an average of 242.5 passing yards per game, with 12 scores allowed to date. Part of the reason for their low ranking in yards per game is that many teams simply can't run the ball against the Vikes and go to a full-scale aerial assault instead. Over the past 3 weeks, the Vikings have allowed an average of 332 passing yards per game, including last week's totals of 31/51 for 405 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions handed over to Matt Leinart. This is the most vulnerable portion of the Vikings defense, as you can see.

Grossman has been yo-yoing the past few weeks, but he has a great matchup to work with this week.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high of 34F with a low of 23F and a 20% chance of precipitation. The wind conditions at this venue during the winter can be hard on passers and kickers - it would be a good idea to check a forecast closer to game time if you are considering starting Favre, Orton or their team-mates.

CHI Injuries: none
GB Injuries: none


Chicago Bears Passing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Jay Cutler was the Bears' starter back in Week two - unfortunately, it appears that his high ankle sprain won't allow him to go for this divisional game (Cutler is targeting a Week 14 return). Josh McCown has done well in his time on the field in relief of Cutler this season, with 97/148 for 1,106 yards passing, seven TDs and just one interception thrown so far. Last week, he threw 36/47 for 352 yards, two TDs and one interception at St. Louis, relying on Brandon Marshall (12 for 10/117/1), Martellus Bennett (five for 4/62/1), Earl Bennett (eight for 8/58/0) and Alshon Jeffery (eight for 4/42/0) the most during the contest. The Bears' passing attack is going strong as of Week 13.

The Vikings' pass defense sits at 29th in the NFL averaging 281.7 net yards allowed per game, with a whopping 24 pass TDs given out vs. only eight interceptions and just 24 sacks generated to date (tied for 22nd and 24th in the NFL, respectively). Green Bay's duo of quarterbacks tossed 28/53 for 298 net yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions last week - Seattle's duo threw 14/21 for 230 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions vs. Minnesota two weeks ago.

This is a great week to be invested in the Chicago offense.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high of 34F with a low of 23F and a 20% chance of precipitation. The wind conditions at this venue during the winter can be hard on passers and kickers - it would be a good idea to check a forecast closer to game time if you are considering starting Favre, Orton or their team-mates.

CHI Injuries: none
GB Injuries: none


Cincinnati Bengals Passing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

The Bengals piled up 210 yards rushing vs. the Browns, which made the passing game secondary last week (Carson Palmer attempted 24 passes vs. 45 rushing attempts during the game) - in the end, Palmer had 13/24 for 110 yards, one TD and zero interceptions when the book closed on the 17-6 win over Cleveland. Actually, Palmer has been pretty pedestrian over the past four weeks, with just two TDs thrown (65/109 for 719 yards, two TDs and one interception thrown, with 14/30/2 rushing to help out his points-starved owners). He lands at 26th in points per game among all fantasy QBs during that time frame. Unsurprisingly, Laveranues Coles (15/224/0 receiving, 51st fantasy WR in points per game over the last four weeks) and Chad Ochocinco (14/200/0 receiving, 58th fantasy WR) have been laggards for their fantasy owners during the third quarter of the season.

However, Cincinnati owenrs need not give up hope - the league's worst pass D, the Detroit Lions, is coming calling on Sunday. The Lions average 281.4 net passing yards allowed per game. They've given up a league-worst 27 passing TDs, and have a league-worst six interceptions to balance those TDs. The Lions are 27th in the NFL with 19 sacks this year. Over the last four weeks, the Lions have allowed a league-worst 1332 passing yards, and a league-worst 130 total points from scrimmage. Aaron Rodgers took home 28/39 for 342 net yards, three TDs and zero interceptions from the 34-12 defeat of the Lions on Thanksgiving Day.

This is a great week for Palmer and company to wake up and work off some energy taking advantage of the Lions' secondary.

Weather: Heinz Field should see a high of 42F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - a nice, crisp day to play football is on tap for this matchup.

CIN Injuries: none
PIT Injuries: none


Cincinnati Bengals Passing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Quarterback Andy Dalton observed after the game on Sunday 'For most of the game, they tried to put two guys over A.J. [Green] and tried to take him out of it. It opened up the running game. We were able to drive down and make some big plays in the run game. That's what we have to do in those situations.' Green had his string of nine consecutive games with a TD snapped by the Raiders, but still handled 3/111/0 receiving out of nine targets. Jermaine Gresham (four for 4/31/1) and Mohamed Sanu (nine for 5/29/2) hauled in Dalton's TDs last week (Dalton threw 16/30 for 210 yards passing, three TDs and zero interceptions on the day). Sanu has caught at least one TD in each of the last three games - he's coming on strong during the second half of the 2012 season.

The Chargers are fading fast this year, having lost four out of their last five games and three straight - last week, San Diego gave up 30/51 for 316 net yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions to Joe Flacco (five sacks taken for -39 yards), while Peyton Manning hit them for 25/42 yielding 253 net yards, three TDs and one interception (with three sacks taken for -17 yards) two weeks ago. To date, the Chargers are 20th in the NFL averaging 243.3 net passing yards allowed per game, with the third-most pass TDs given up (20), vs. just nine interceptions (tied for 17th in the NFL) and 22 sacks (tied for 24th in the NFL) generated to date. This is not a good pass D, folks.

Dalton and company have a great matchup ahead during week 13. Also, the Chargers' rush D is pretty strong, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see Dalton flinging the ball early and often in this one.

Weather: Heinz Field should see a high of 42F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - a nice, crisp day to play football is on tap for this matchup.

CIN Injuries: none
PIT Injuries: none


Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense at New York Giants Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

The last time these teams met, Drew Bledsoe was the starter (7/12 for 111 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception, with 1/1/1 rushing), but Tony Romo finished the game as Bledsoe was benched (permanently, it turns out). Romo tossed 14/25 for 227 yards, 2 TDs and 3 interceptions (with 1/9/0 rushing) in his chance, and hasn't looked back. Over the past 3 weeks, Romo has thrown for 61/81 for 840 yards, 7 TDs and 1 interception. Terrell Owens has twice as many targets as anyone else during that span, 26, for 17/273/2, while Patrick Crayton (13 for 11/181/1) and Terry Glenn (13 for 10/167/2) have been very efficient when the ball comes their way. Marion Barber has been very involved in the red zone, with 3 for 3/11/2 during the previous 3 weeks. TE Jason Witten isn't forgotten (12 for 11/113/0), but he hasn't put the ball in the end-zone lately.

The Giants have been unable to slow anybody down of late, allowing a total of 88 points in their last 3 games, and coughing up 24/35 for 249 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions to Vince Young last week, with the lions' share coming during a monumental 4th-quarter collapse where a 21 point lead became a 24-21 loss. The G-men have 1 interception and 4 sacks over the past 3 weeks, while averaging 239.3 passing yards surrendered per game. Their banged up DL isn't consistently pressuring opposing passers, and the secondary is blowing coverages.

This is a great matchup for the energized Cowboys.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 45F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Fans and players should enjoy great football weather, as long as the forecast holds up.

DAL Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: none


Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense at New York Giants Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Terrell Owens had gone 13 games without a 100-yard performance, but he and Tony Romo ended that cold streak in resounding fashion vs. San Francisco - Owens snarfed up 7/213/1, and Romo threw for 23/39 for 341 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions vs. the 49ers. Patrick Crayton (2/16/1) and Martellus Bennett (1/1/1) handled the other scoring throws. Jason Witten is clearly still limited by his sore ribs, managing just 1/11/0 - he's not as central to the passing attack right now due to the injury.

The Seahawks have only 5 interceptions all year long despite ranking 9th in the NFL with 26 sacks (Dallas has allowed 18 sacks to date this year, in the middle of the NFL range from 7-41). They are 31st in the NFL averaging 259.2 net yards allowed per game, and have coughed up 16 passing TDs over 11 contests, with 787 net passing yards allowed in the last 3 weeks (262.3 per game on average). Jason Campbell was not quite that successful last week (20/33 for 199 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions), but he did enough to notch a "W".

Romo and company have regained their focus and momentum - the Seahawks are playing out the string at this point. Advantage, Dallas.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 45F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Fans and players should enjoy great football weather, as long as the forecast holds up.

DAL Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: none


Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense at New York Giants Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Dallas beat Philadelphia 38-23 three weeks ago, and Tony Romo had a solid outing with 19/26 for 209 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions thrown. Dez Bryant (five targets for 3/87/1 receiving) and Felix Jones (three for 3/22/1 receiving) handled the TDs for Romo, while Jason Witten led in targets (10 for 8/47/0) and Miles Austin chipped in 2/32/0 receiving out of four targets.

Since the big divisional win, Romo has thrown 72/112 for 754 yards passing, four TDs and two interceptions over the last two games, with 37/62 for 441 yards, three TDs and two interceptions on Thanksgiving vs. the Redskins. During that two week span, Dez Bryant (26 targets for 20/290/3) has led the team in targets, followed by Jason Witten (23 for 16/125/0), Miles Austin (14 for 6/58/0), Cole Beasley (14 for 8/76/0) and Dwayne Harris (10 for 7/91/0). Austin has a fresh hip injury to go along with his ongoing hamstring woes - his limitations have opened the door for Beasley and Harris to be more involved in the passing attack of late. Austin owners will want to monitor his practice participation later this week.

The Eagles gave up 18/28 for 289 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions to Cam Newton on Monday Night Football, and they looked confused and inept for much of the first half - Newton hit wide, wide, WIDE open receivers for the TDs in a shameful display of horrid defense that had what few fans came to the game in Philadelphia booing lustily. Two weeks ago Robert Griffin III had but a single incompletion vs. the Eagles' pass D, with 14/15 for 192 net yards, four TDs and zero interceptions. Frankly, this unit appears to be in a state of collapse entering week 13.

This is a great matchup for Romo and company.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 45F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Fans and players should enjoy great football weather, as long as the forecast holds up.

DAL Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: none


Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense at New York Giants Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Tony Romo threw 23/38 for 250 yards, two TDs and one interception (while taking four sacks for -30 yards) at the Giants' this past weekend, a huge improvement over the 128 yards with one TD thrown at New Orleans two weeks ago. Dez Bryant went over 100 yards receiving with 16 for 9/102/0, while Jason Witten caught the TD passes (seven targets for 4/37/2 receiving). The Cowboys' passing attack got back on track during Week 12, though Miles Austin remains ineffective (three targets for 1/17/0) after returning from his latest bout with sore hamstrings.

The Oakland pass D is awful, ranking 25th in the NFL averaging 258.1 net yards allowed per game, with a largish 21 passing scores given out balanced by an anemic seven interceptions generated to date (tied for 25th in the NFL). The Raiders have 29 sacks so far, tied for 15th in the league, but the pass rush pressure isn't enough to rescue the inept secondary. Most recently, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw 30/42 for 312 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions on the Raiders at the Black Hole. Enough said.

Advantage, Dallas.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 45F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Fans and players should enjoy great football weather, as long as the forecast holds up.

DAL Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: none


Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense at New York Giants Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Both Dallas and Philadelphia are standing at 8-3 coming into this matchup - the teams are in a two-way race for the NFC East crown with New York and Washington out of the picture at 3-8. This is the first game of the two scheduled regular-season meetings between the clubs, at AT&T Stadium where the Cowboys are 3-3 so far this season.

Dallas comes home after a successful two-game road trip - Tony Romo threw for 18/26 for 275 yards passing, four TDs and zero interceptions at New York last Sunday, and 20/27 for 246 yards passing, three TDs and zero interceptions 'at' Jacksonville in Week 10. During that time frame, only three Cowboys have seen more than five targets: Dez Bryant (17 targets for 13/244/4 receiving), Jason Witten (13 for 9/63/2), and DeMarco Murray (10 targets for 8/53/0). Cole Beasley seems to have supplanted Terrance Williams as the 'other' wideout in the mix with Bryant, with two targets for 2/66/1 at New York and one for 1/11/0 'at' Jacksonville - Williams saw two targets for 1/18/0 receiving at New York over the last two weeks. In fantasy terms, Bryant and Witten are the main receivers for Romo heading into this divisional showdown.

The Eagles' pass D is not strong, having allowed 20/39 for 299 net yards passing, two TDs and one interception to rookie Zach Mettenberger (with five sacks taken for -46 yards) and 24/38 for 365 net yards passing, three TDs and zero interceptions (one sack for -2 yards) to the Packers over the past two games. To date, the Eagles secondary averages 266.3 net passing yards allowed per game (30th in the NFL), with a hefty 24 passing scores given up over 11 games, vs. eight interceptions (tied for 20th in the NFL) and 38 sacks (second) generated so far. Dallas isn't particularly susceptible to allowing sacks, ranking 11th in the NFL with 21 sacks given up to date.

At home this week, Dallas has a great matchup in this phase of the game.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 45F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Fans and players should enjoy great football weather, as long as the forecast holds up.

DAL Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: none


Denver Broncos Passing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Both of these divisional rivals have been up and down over the past two weeks - they come into this first showdown with a 1-1 record during that time span. Kyle Orton returned his team to the 'W' column last week, with 18/28 for 245 yards, one TD and one interception vs. the Giants - Brandon Marshall (6/86/0 receiving), Tony Scheffler (4/53/0) and Jabar Gaffney (3/48/0 receiving) led the team last week, but Brandon Stokley caught the TD (1/17/1). Now that the Broncos have snapped their losing streak, we'll see if Orton can maintain the momentum - he's had a long interval in which to get his sore ankle healed up thanks to the early Thursday game last week.

The Chiefs' pass D is among the league's worst, averaging 258.4 net yards allowed per game, with 19 passing TDs handed over this year vs. just seven interceptions generated (next-to-last in the NFL in this defensive category). The team is also next-to-last in sacks, with a mere 14 to date. Most recently, the Chargers exploited K.C. for 22/29 yielding 332 net passing yards, two TDs and zero interceptions - there were zero sacks and only one hit on the Chargers' QBs by the Chiefs last week.

Orton and company have to travel to Arrowhead Stadium this week, but they shouldn't have too much trouble with the humble K.C. defense.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 38F with a low of 22F on Sunday, and a 30% chance for precipitation (that could mean rain, sleet, or snow - or a mix of all 3). Wind conditions in this stadium can be extreme at this time of year - owners of Broncos or Chiefs will want to check a short-term forecast near the end of the week before setting their lineups.

DEN Injuries: none
KC Injuries: none


Denver Broncos Passing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Kyle Orton torched the Chiefs back in week 10, leading his team to a 49-29 victory with 22/34 for 296 yards with four TDs and zero interceptions (the Broncos had 23/35 for 299 yards, five TDs and zero interceptions on the day - Tim Tebow threw his first NFL pass TD in the game vs. K.C. with 1/1 for 3 yards). Brandon Lloyd (6/90/2 receiving) and Jabar Gaffney (3/57/1) were the biggest headaches for the Chiefs during the blowout loss. Since that game, Orton has slung 48/79 for 564 yards, four TDs and one interception, favoring Brandon Lloyd (19 targets for 10/154/3), Knowshon Moreno (16 for 13/124/0), Eddie Royal (14 for 8/86/1) and Jabar Gaffney (13 for 6/92/0) most often over the past two weeks.

The Chiefs' pass D has coughed up 1,057 net passing yards over the past four weeks (264.25 per game on average), with 109 total points allowed. Seattle managed 268 net yards and two TDs with two interceptions last week; Derek Anderson threw 25/46 for 281 net yards, one TD and zero interceptions two weeks ago. K.C. has definitely missed Brandon Flowers in recent weeks.

The Broncos torched K.C. just a few weeks ago in this phase of the game, and nothing has happened since to make us think that they can't do it again on Sunday. Advantage, Denver.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 38F with a low of 22F on Sunday, and a 30% chance for precipitation (that could mean rain, sleet, or snow - or a mix of all 3). Wind conditions in this stadium can be extreme at this time of year - owners of Broncos or Chiefs will want to check a short-term forecast near the end of the week before setting their lineups.

DEN Injuries: none
KC Injuries: none


Denver Broncos Passing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Broncos QB Tim Tebow completed 50 percent of his passes in Week 12 (9/18 for 143 yards, one TD and zero interceptions), his most accurate outing in his six starts so far this year. 'He's getting more confident with himself and with his receivers, and I think that translates to throwing the ball better,' WR Eric Decker said on Monday. Decker has to be enjoying the ride with Tebow, as Decker has led the team in targets, yards, and TDs during November, with 19 targets for 7/168/3. Eddie Royal (who was in a walking boot on Monday after suffering a foot injury during the big win at San Diego) is second on the team during the last month with 13 targets for 5/40/1 receiving - Decker and Royal have handled all of Tebow's TDs over the last month, while Tebow has thrown four TDs and zero picks (30/67 for 440 yards passing, a 44.8% completion percentage (but four straight victories)).

As Tebow improves, the Vikings' secondary has been exposed in two of their last three games, with 25/32 for 266 net yards, four TDs and zero interceptions allowed at Green Bay three weeks ago; 17/23 for 139 net yards, one TD and zero interceptions vs. Oakland two weeks ago, and then 27/34 for 246 net yards, three TDs and zero interceptions allowed at Atlanta last week. With eight TDs given up over the last three games, it is no surprise to see the Vikings dead last in the NFL with 22 passing scores given up this year, vs. a second-worst total of six interceptions generated. Yes, the Vikings get a good push up front (eight sacks during the last three games, and 33 total this year, tied for third in the NFL), but they just don't translate the good pass rush into results elsewhere in this phase of the game. That's why they are 29th in the NFL averaging 258.2 net yards allowed per game despite their ferocious pass rush.

This is a great matchup for the mobile Tebow.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 38F with a low of 22F on Sunday, and a 30% chance for precipitation (that could mean rain, sleet, or snow - or a mix of all 3). Wind conditions in this stadium can be extreme at this time of year - owners of Broncos or Chiefs will want to check a short-term forecast near the end of the week before setting their lineups.

DEN Injuries: none
KC Injuries: none


Denver Broncos Passing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Peyton Manning should have a field day against the Buccaneers' last-rated pass D. Tampa averages 315.5 net yards allowed per game in this phase, with 18 passing TDs given up vs. 16 interceptions (third in the NFL) and 18 sacks (tied for 28th) generated to date. Last week, Matt Ryan threw 26/32 for 345 net yards, one TD and one interception at Tampa - it's not hard to throw the ball on this unit.

Manning has 26 TD passes this year vs. a mere eight interceptions - he's not prone to make mistakes with the football, so Tampa's ball-hawking ways shouldn't bother Manning unduly. Manning has thrown two or more TDs in four of his last five games - just start him and the main Denver receivers (Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Brandon Stokley, Jacob Tamme) and enjoy this great matchup.

This game looks like it'll be high-scoring for the Broncos - advantage, Denver.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 38F with a low of 22F on Sunday, and a 30% chance for precipitation (that could mean rain, sleet, or snow - or a mix of all 3). Wind conditions in this stadium can be extreme at this time of year - owners of Broncos or Chiefs will want to check a short-term forecast near the end of the week before setting their lineups.

DEN Injuries: none
KC Injuries: none


Detroit Lions Passing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Matthew Stafford has had a wild ride over the last three weeks, with 93/144 for 940 yards, seven TDs and nine interceptions throwing the football in the last three games (two losses). He fed three picks to the league-leading ball-hawks of Green Bay last week (32/45 for 276 yards, one TD and three interceptions) one week after blasting the Panthers for 28/36 yielding 335 yards, five TDs and two interceptions. The week before the five TD game was a four-interception disaster at Chicago (33/63 for 329 yards, one TD and the four picks). With 144 balls in the air over the last three games, there's been plenty of work to go around among the Lions' receivers. As usual, Calvin Johnson claims the lion's share of targets, with 36 for 16/219/1 receiving, but Nate Burleson has the most receptions during the last three games with 23 targets for 20/185/1 receiving (an astronomical 87% reception percentage). Brandon Pettigrew (22 for 13/102/1), Titus Young (16 for 10/101/1), Tony Scheffler (12 for 7/74/2) and Kevin Smith (nine for 9/92/1) have accounted for the other scoring throws during the past three games. Whew - like we said, it's been a wild ride for the Lions of late.

The Saints' pass D is among the leagues' most generous, with an average of 253.7 net yards allowed per game (27th in the NFL) and 18 passing scores given up so far, vs. just six interceptions (tied for 28th in the NFL) and 22 sacks (tied for 20th) generated to date. Eli Manning ripped this group up with 33/47 for 392 net yards, two TDs and one interception last week - Matt Ryan also had over 300 yards passing back on November 13th with 29/52 for 343 net yards, two TDs and one interception thrown.

Stafford and company can be explosive, and they have a great shot at big numbers this week down in the Big Easy. Also, injuries have depleted the running back corps (again), so Stafford will likely put the ball up a lot again this weekend.

Weather: Inside the dome at Ford Field, weather won't be a factor in this game.

DET Injuries: none
MIN Injuries: none


Detroit Lions Passing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Matthew Stafford lost another close game on Thanksgiving, notching 31/61 for a massive 441 yards passing, two TDs and zero interceptions thrown. Calvin Johnson (17 targets for 8/140/1 receiving) and Ryan Broyles (12 for 6/126/0) led the team in receiving vs. the Texans, while Brandon Pettigrew (15 for 8/74/0) and Tony Scheffler (six for 5/57/0) were also heavily involved from the tight end position. Mike Thomas (six for 2/17/1) handled the other TD for Stafford last week. The no-Titus-Young era is going just fine, thanks - he still hasn't rejoined the team at midweek in the wake of his week 12 suspension.

The Colt' pass D averages 233.8 net yards allowed per game (19th in the NFL) with a high total of 19 pass TDs given out this year, vs. just five interceptions (tied for last in the NFL) and 23 sacks (21st) generated to date. They gave up 17/33 for 169 net yards, one TD and one interception to Ryan Fitzpatrick last week, but a whopping 24/35 for 331 yards, three TDs and zero interceptions to Tom Brady two weeks ago.

Advantage, Detroit.

Weather: Inside the dome at Ford Field, weather won't be a factor in this game.

DET Injuries: none
MIN Injuries: none


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense at Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Aaron Rodgers and company are posting ridiculous numbers lately - during November, they combined for 89/123 yielding 1,103 yards, 13 TDs and one interception - and Rodgers averaged 5.0 yards per carry on the way to 20/100/0. Jordy Nelson has scored five TDs this last month - and is third in the NFL with nine receiving scores this season (44/782/9 receiving). Only 16 other receivers have more than five TD catches this year, folks. Greg Jennings is tied for fourth in the NFL - with the likes of Jimmy Graham - with eight recieving TDs this year (58/835/8). Any way you slice it, the Packers' passing attack is dominant. Start them if you've got them.

The Giants were disassembled by the other QB playing at Rodgers' level last week - Drew Brees - New York gave up 25/39 for 372 net yards, four TDs and zero interceptions to the Saints. In worse news, DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle) will not be available to play in Week 13 against the Green Bay Packers and will be 'out a while' with an ankle ailment according to local reports on Tuesday, November 29th. Justin Tuck had issues with his endurance at New Orleans - there just isn't much going on for the Giants' defense right now. Vince Young threw for 255 yards and two TDs (with three interceptions thrown) at New York two weeks ago. During the three-game losing streak that New York is on, they've given up 855 net yards passing (285 net yards per game on average).

The Giants' D is collapsing, while the Packers' passing attack continues on their NFL-record pace (Rodgers may have several all-time records at year's end). Advantage, Green Bay.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high of 34F with a low of 23F and a 20% chance of precipitation. The wind conditions at this venue during the winter can be hard on passers and kickers - it would be a good idea to check a forecast closer to game time if you are considering starting Favre, Orton or their team-mates.

GB Injuries: none
CHI Injuries: none


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense at Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Back on October sixth, the Lions and the Packers engaged in a duel of (mostly) field goals, with Detroit coming out a loser (9-22). Mason Crosby kicked five field goals while Aaron Rodgers threw 20/30 for 274 yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions. Unfortunately, Rodgers is still nursing his broken collarbone and all reports indicate that he is unlikely to play in this rematch.

Scott Tolzien ran in a TD last week but was benched for ineffective passing (7/17 for 98 yards), leading the Packers to return Matt Flynn to the field, where he once again displayed the game-day form that earned him millions of dollars in contracts from Seattle and Oakland. He threw 21/26 for 218 yards, one TD and zero interceptions and now the Packers have a mini-quarterback controversy on their hands. The coaching staff is being coy about who'll start, but Flynn took the first team reps in Tuesday's practice and looks like the guy who'll get the call on Thanksgiving. Regardless of who was under center, the top three receivers last week were James Jones (12 targets for 7/80/0 receiving), Jarrett Boykin (10 for 5/60/10) and Jordy Nelson (seven for 4/58/0).

The Lions' pass D is 28th in the NFL this year averaging 276.8 net yards allowed per game, with a hefty 21 passing scores given away compared to 11 interceptions (17th in the NFL) and 20 sacks (29th) generated to date. Mike Glennon was sacked four times for -40 yards last week and still managed 14/21 for 207 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions thrown, while Ben Roethlisberger bombed Detroit for 29/45 yielding 358 net yards, four TDs and zero interceptions two games ago.

Advantage, Green Bay. Also, note that Eddie Lacy has a tough matchup in the rushing phase, so if Green Bay is going to move the ball effectively they'll likely need to throw the ball early and often in this game.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high of 34F with a low of 23F and a 20% chance of precipitation. The wind conditions at this venue during the winter can be hard on passers and kickers - it would be a good idea to check a forecast closer to game time if you are considering starting Favre, Orton or their team-mates.

GB Injuries: none
CHI Injuries: none


Houston Texans Passing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

David Carr finally had a breakout performance last week - hey, it only took 12 weeks - 25/34 for 293 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception. It was his first game this year with multiple scoring throws, and by far his highest total of yardage. Andre Johnson finally looked like a featured WR, with 12/159/1, while Domanick Davis (3/42/1) and Corey Bradford (2/19/1) also found pay dirt. It wasn't the offenses' fault that the Texans lost the game.

The Ravens' secondary lost another DB to injury last week (Will Demps tore his ACL), and they have been doing without key S Ed Reed for many weeks. CB Chris McAlister was forced out of the game when he aggravated a hamstring injury - the cupboard is bare in the Ravens' secondary, and oldsters like Deion Sanders aren't filling the holes left gaping open. Witness Carson Palmers' totals of 22/30 for 302 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception vs. this group last week, or their tally of 719 net passing yards allowed during their past 3 games (239.6 per contest, on average). The Baltimore pass defense is in a shambles heading into the twilight of 2005.

The Texans' offense finally played up to their potential last week, and they have an excellent chance to build on that momentum this week against the shattered Ravens' secondary.

Weather: The weather service predicts a high of 49F with a low of 31F and a 20% chance for rain in the Baltimore area on Sunday. That sounds like great football weather to us.

HOU Injuries: none
BAL Injuries: none


Houston Texans Passing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Matt Schaub blasted the Jaguars for 26/35 for 300 yards passing, three TDs and one interception back in week three - since then, he's been a fantasy monster, with many multiple-TD games, including throwing two TDs in each of his last two games (25/39 for 305 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions vs. Tennessee, and 31/42 for 284 yards, two TDs and two interceptions last week vs. Indianapolis). The current three-game losing streak isn't Schaub's fault, folks. As usual, Kevin Walter (7/73/0 receiving vs. Indianapolis), Andre Johnson (5/67/0 last week), Steve Slaton (7/49/0) and Jacoby Jones (3/27/1 last week) are the main cogs in the Houston passing attack - FB Vonta Leach snagged a rare TD from the FB position last week (2/11/1).

The Jaguars' rush D has been stout of late, but their pass D leaves a good bit of room for improvement - Ryan Fitzpatrick lit up the secondary for 18/31 yielding 290 net yards, one TD and two interceptions two weeks ago, and then Alex Smith compiled 27/41 for 232 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions last week. Smith was not sacked at all - the Jaguars are dead last in the NFL with a mere 10 sacks to their credit through 11 games, while averaging 242.9 net passing yards allowed per game (26th in the NFL), with 19 passing TDs surrendered vs. just nine interceptions generated. These guys are pretty easy to pass on entering December.

Schaub and company have a great matchup ahead of them this week.

Weather: The weather service predicts a high of 49F with a low of 31F and a 20% chance for rain in the Baltimore area on Sunday. That sounds like great football weather to us.

HOU Injuries: none
BAL Injuries: none


Houston Texans Passing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Matt Schaub cruised to a 38-14 win over the Titans back in week four - he threw 20/28 for 202 yards passing, two TDs and zero interceptions during the rout. Owen Daniels had six targets for 6/72/1 receiving, while Andre Johnson was second on the team with six targets for 3/56/0 receiving. James Casey also snagged a TD pass, with five targets for 5/36/1 receiving.

Schaub has been outstanding during November, tossing 86/129 for 937 yards, seven TDs and five interceptions over the last three games while his team has won three out of three games. He came down a bit from his career-best 527 yards passing and five TDs vs. Jacksonville two weeks ago, but Schaub still threw 29/48 for 315 yards, one TD and one interception at Detroit last week. He's on a big tear entering week 13, as is Andre Johnson (43 targets for 27/496/1 receiving over the past three weeks). Garrett Graham (18 for 14/114/2), Owen Daniels (17 for 10/77/1) and Kevin Walter (17 for 10/104/0) have chipped in at various points during the hot streak.

The Titans sacked Chad Henne seven times for -40 yards last week and still lost 24-19, allowing 17/26 for 221 net yards, two TDs and one interception to the new Jacksonville starter. Ryan Tannehill stunk up the stadium back in week 10 with 23/39 for 201 net yards, zero TDs with three interceptions (two sacks for -16 yards taken). Tennessee has brought down the amount of passing yards allowed per game from earlier this year (they still average 262.1 net yards allowed per game, 27th in the NFL), but with the second-most TD passes allowed to date, 22, vs. 10 interceptions (tied for 14th in the NFL) and 23 sacks (tied for 21st) generated, they are far from good in this phase of the game. 1/3 of their sacks were generated last week.

Schaub is on a roll, while the Titans are suspect - advantage, Texans.

Weather: The weather service predicts a high of 49F with a low of 31F and a 20% chance for rain in the Baltimore area on Sunday. That sounds like great football weather to us.

HOU Injuries: none
BAL Injuries: none


Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Peyton Manning ripped apart the Titan's youthful secondary back in week 4, torching them for 20/27 for 264 yards, 4 TDs and 0 interceptions on the day. Marvin Harrison starred that day, with 9/109/2 (Reggie Wayne was second with 2/48/1 to his credit). He comes into this game off a 15/25 for 245 yards, 2 TD and 1 interception performance vs. Pittsburgh on Monday night (Marvin Harrison headlined last week, too, with 4/128/1, while Reggie Wayne (5/62/0) and TE Bryan Fletcher (3/28/1) chipped in). Manning has tossed 65/100 for 907 yards, 8 TDs and 2 interceptions during the last 3 weeks - he's on a huge roll.

Since the week 4 shellacking by Manning, the Titans have continued to struggle, leading the league with 22 passing scores given away (while ranking 20th in the NFL with 211.6 passing yards given up per contest on average). Over the past 3 weeks, they have averaged 216.5 passing yards given up per game (2 games), including last week's totals of 23/43 for 192 passing yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions handed over to Ken Dorsey and the 49er's.

The Colts are on a roll, and they want to notch another divisional win - meanwhile the Titans' pass D remains firmly in the league's basement. Indianapolis has a huge edge in this game.

Weather: Inside the RCA Dome, conditions should be perfect to play football.

IND Injuries: none
TEN Injuries: none


Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Peyton Manning had to rally the Colts past the Titans back in week 5, tossing 2 second-half TDs to erase a 10-0 deficit. He ended up with 20/31 for 166 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception on the day, hitting Marvin Harrison (3/29/1) and Reggie Wayne (3/24/1) for the scores. Last week, Manning had a low-pressure game as the running backs crammed over 200 yards and 4 rushing TDs down the Eagle's throats. Manning assisted with 14/20 for 183 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception during the game, hitting Reggie Wayne for the most yards and the TD (4/77/1). Marvin Harrison was unusually quiet with only 1/8/0, and Dallas Clark left the game with a sore right knee (bruised/sprained). Clark owners will want to monitor his practice participation later in the week.

The Titans' defense is not very good all around this year, ranking 24th in the NFL averaging 220.1 passing yards allowed per game, with 19 passing TDs handed over to date. They have a mere 15 sacks all year long (only 1 over the past 3 weeks), with 10 interceptions to their credit (5 of those during the past 3 weeks). Tennessee did stymie the injury-riddled Giants last week, holding them to 18/28 for 143 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions, but the "other" Manning's team is a far cry from Indianapolis as far as their respective passing attacks go.

This looks like a great matchup for Peyton Manning and the Colts.

Weather: Inside the RCA Dome, conditions should be perfect to play football.

IND Injuries: none
TEN Injuries: none


Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Peyton Manning is getting hot just as the playoff stretch run is ahead, with 32/44 for 255 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception last week and 83/130 for 815 yards, 7 TDs and 1 interception over the last 3 weeks. Marvin Harrison is seeing a lot of short dump-offs of late (28 targets for 18/158/1 over the past 3 weeks, a 8.8 yards per reception average), while Reggie Wayne stretches the field (25 for 15/238/1). Dallas Clark (24 for 14/98/1) and Joseph Addai (21 for 13/92/1) are also heavily involved, as is Anthony Gonzalez (18 for 12/156/1). Dominic Rhodes leads the team in TD receptions over the past 3 weeks, with 2 (10/71/2). As you can see, the Colts bring lots of weapons to the wars each week.

Cleveland's playoff hopes are DOA now, and their pass D isn't impressing anyone this year, averaging 223.7 net yards allowed per game (20th in the NFL), with 14 passing TDs given up vs. 15 interceptions and a mere 15 sacks generated to date. Last week, Sage Rosenfels hit this club for 24/32 for 271 net yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions - they simply aren't playing very well right now.

Manning is hot, the Browns are not - advantage, Indianapolis.

Weather: Inside the RCA Dome, conditions should be perfect to play football.

IND Injuries: none
TEN Injuries: none


Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Peyton Manning dissected the Titans' secondary back in week five, with 36/44 for 309 yards, three TDs and one interception to his credit en route to a 31-9 thrashing of their divisional rival. Austin Collie was a Titans' DB's worst nightmare that day, with 8/97/2 receiving to his credit, followed by the usual suspects Dallas Clark (9/77/0), Reggie Wayne (6/60/1) and Joseph Addai (10/53/0).

Manning and the Colts continue to win games (and generate oodles of fantasy points), but all is not 100% perfect in Indianapolis right now as Manning has had trouble protecting the ball of late. He's thrown 111/160 for 1,188 yards, nine TDs and seven interceptions to land at #5 among all fantasy QBs during the last four weeks. Last week, he led a come-from-behind victory over Houston, with 27/35 for 244 yards, three TDs and two interceptions - it was his third straight game with two interceptions thrown, which is uncharacteristic for Manning. Austin Collie led the team in receiving vs. Houston, with 4/70/0, followed by Dallas Clark (9/63/1), Pierre Garcon (5/63/1) and Reggie Wayne (3/19/1). The Colts' offense is going strong, overall, entering December, friends.

The Titans' pass D has been their Achilles' heel all year long, with a 31st-ranked average of 266.7 net yards allowed per game to date, and the enormous total of 25 passing TDs given away vs. 11 interceptions and 26 sacks generated. Over the past four weeks, Tennessee has allowed 957 yards passing over four contests (239.3 per game), with 25/39 for 283 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions handed over to Houston two weeks ago and 21/31 for 217 net yards, zero TDs and zero interceptions allowed to Arizona's backup QB Matt Leinart last week.

Manning vs. the 31st-ranked pass D in the land equals a huge edge for the Colts.

Weather: Inside the RCA Dome, conditions should be perfect to play football.

IND Injuries: none
TEN Injuries: none


Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Peyton Manning had a nightmare game vs. San Diego last week, with four interceptions thrown vs. 31/48 for 285 yards and two touchdowns generated - with only 13/24/0 rushing for the team, he couldn't beat Philip Rivers and the Chargers (who won 36-14). Jacob Tamme continued his dominance as a fantasy TE during the game, with 7/64/1 receiving (he's the number one TE over the past four weeks with 32/305/2 to his credit), while Pierre Garcon (5/72/0 receiving) led the team. Blair White caught the other TD (4/34/1), while Reggie Wayne dropped more passes than he caught (14 targets for 5/42/0). The Colts' passing attack doesn't look 'automatic' anymore, friends. Part of the problem was one sack and also five QB hits on Manning - he suffered a stinger in his throwing shoulder due to all the pounding last week. Indianapolis' offense is in a funk entering week 13.

Fortunately for the Colts, the Dallas pass D has been a tonic to most QBs this year, and especially over the past four weeks. The Cowboys have given away 1,246 passing yards in the last four contests (most in the NFL during that span), and also 114 total points. Drew Brees racked up 333 net yards, one TD and one interception last week; Shaun Hill had 263 net yards, two TDs and one interception vs. the Cowboys two weeks ago. Dallas has given away the second-most passing TDs this year (23), and rank 23rd in terms of average net yards allowed (244 per game on average) - they've been much worse than their season average indicates lately, too.

This is a great matchup for Manning and company - expect a big bounce-back game in week 13.

Weather: Inside the RCA Dome, conditions should be perfect to play football.

IND Injuries: none
TEN Injuries: none


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense at Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

David Garrard was injured during the game vs. Tennessee in week six (7/12 for 49 yards, zero TDs and one interception), and stood on the sidelines while Trent Edwards posted 14/24 for 140 yards, zero TDs and two interceptions during the rest of the 3-30 loss to Tennessee. Mike Thomas (8/88/0 receiving) and Marcedes Lewis (4/39/0) were the top receivers for the Jaguars during the losing effort.

Since week six, the Jaguars' offense has come alive in the second half of the season - Garrard has thrown for 81/121 yielding 1,018 yards, eight TDs and four interceptions from week seven onwards. Over the past four weeks (three games), he's tossed 64/100 for 758 yards, with four TDs and four interceptions, and rushed for 16/85/1 to land at 13th among all fantasy QBs in points per game. Mike Thomas (28 targets for 19/231/2 receiving over the last three games) and Marcedes Lewis (19 for 13/155/1) are his most relied-upon receivers, followed by Mike Sims-Walker (14 for 7/74/0) and Maurice Jones-Drew (10 for 9/119/0).

Meanwhile, the Titans' D is backsliding due to problems on the offense. With a faltering passing game and lopsided times-of-possession in favor of their opponents in the last two games (39:41 for the Texans last week; 40:09 for the Redskins two weeks ago), the Titans' D is simply being asked to do too much for too long. Matt Schaub hit them for 25/35 yielding 158 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions during a 0-20 loss to Houston last week; Donovan McNabb had 30/50 for 358 net yards, one TD and one interception two weeks ago.

Garrard and company are playing well right now, while the Titans team has multiple issues and are fading fast - advantage, Jacksonville.

Weather: Cleveland Browns stadium should see a high of 34F with a low of 29F and a 20% chance for rain on Sunday. Cold, but not arctic, conditions shouldn't adversely affect either team, unless a storm blows through.

JAX Injuries: none
CLE Injuries: none


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense vs Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Alex Smith threw 21/45 for 230 yards passing, two TDs and zero interceptions at Denver two weeks ago, leaning on Dwayne Bowe (14 targets for 4/57/1), Dexter McCluster (eight for 5/53/0), Sean McGrath (three for 2/40/0) and Anthony Fasano (four for 4/37/1) for the bulk of his passing yardage. Smith followed up with 26/38 for 294 yards passing, three TDs and one interception against the Chargers. Donnie Avery (five targets for 4/91/1 receiving) led the team in receiving last week, while Dwayne Bowe (six targets for 5/51/1) and Anthony Fasano (five for 4/21/1) handled the TDs for Smith last week, while Dexter McCluster (10 for 7/59/0) led the team in targets. The Chiefs' passing attack is becoming more explosive as we head into the stretch run into the playoffs.

The Broncos' pass D has been weak all year - currently ranking 30th in the league averaging 283.2 net passing yards allowed per game, 21 TDs given away and 13 interceptions with 32 sacks generated (tied for eighth and tied for 11th in the league, respectively). Tom Brady threw 34/50 for 324 yards, three TDs and zero interceptions against this group last week as Denver blew a 24-0 lead to lose 34-31 after a furious second-half comeback by the Patriots.

Smith and company have a great matchup here.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 38F with a low of 22F on Sunday, and a 30% chance for precipitation (that could mean rain, sleet, or snow - or a mix of all 3). Wind conditions in this stadium can be extreme at this time of year - owners of Broncos or Chiefs will want to check a short-term forecast near the end of the week before setting their lineups.

KC Injuries: none
DEN Injuries: none


Miami Dolphins Passing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

This renewal of an AFC East rivalry occurs in the shadow of the Patriots' 9-2 record, but Miami has a shot at a wild-card berth at 6-5 while the pitiful Jets are trying to be spoilers at 2-9.

The Jets' pass D is awful. They are dead last with 27 passing scores given up, and dead last with three interceptions generated to date. Kyle Orton just hit them for 24/32 yielding 220 yards passing, two TDs and zero interceptions with one sack taken for -10 yards en route to a 38-3 win over the Jets. While they don't give up huge amounts of passing yards (238.6 on average, 14th in the NFL), the Jets' secondary is extremely bad in other categories.

Ryan Tannehill has thrown for multiple TDs in three of his last four games, with 26/36 for 228 yards, three TDs and one interception thrown at Denver last week during a narrow 36-39 loss. Jarvis Landry (11 targets for 7/50/2 receiving), Brandon Gibson (six for 5/42/0), Mike Wallace (five for 4/35/1) and Dion Sims (five for 4/31/0) all played important roles for Tannehill in the spread-the-wealth Miami attack at Denver last week.

This is a great matchup for the Dolphins even though they are on the road. The Jets are just playing out the schedule at this point.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 80F with a low of 66F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play and watch a football game.

MIA Injuries: none
BUF Injuries: none


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense at Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Tarvaris Jackson tossed 17/33 for 166 yards, 0 TDs and 4 interceptions vs. the Lions in week 2. Since then, he's been in and out of the lineup due to a variety of injury problems/benching, but hasn't thrown for more than 1 interception in any game since week 2. Of course, he's only thrown 3 TDs during his 7 games, and has yet to generate more than 171 yards passing in any contest. Last week he threw 10/12 for 129 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions vs. the Giants. Sidney Rice grabbed 3/82/1, and has snagged 3 TDs this year. He's second on the team with 41 targets for 23/312/3 to date.

The Lions' pass D is almost as bad as the Browns (22 pass TDs given up by Detroit, vs. 25 allowed by Cleveland), and they've given up more pass yards per game on average (269.1 per game, 31st in the NFL). Detroit has given up 246 or more passing yards in their last 4 games, including the 31/41 for 381 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interception shellacking that Brett Favre handed out last week. This is Detroit's weakest link.

Jackson doesn't put up exciting numbers in the passing department, but he's got a great matchup to work with this week.

Weather: Inside the dome at Ford Field, weather won't be a factor in this game.

MIN Injuries: none
DET Injuries: none


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense at Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Brett Favre has been the number one fantasy QB in the land over the last four weeks (points per game), with 74/102 for 949 yards passing, eight TDs and zero interceptions in his last three contests. Sidney Rice was the number one fantasy WR during the same time period, with 19/379/2 to his credit; Percy Harvin checks in at #8 on the list with 14/233/2. Vishanthe Shiancoe is at #6 among all fantasy TEs for the same time period, with 16/172/2 to his credit. The Vikings' passing attack is on fire entering December, friends. Start 'em if you've got 'em.

The Cardinals' pass D is among the league's most suspect, currently averaging 258.3 net yards allowed per game (29th in the NFL), with 16 passing TDs handed over vs. 11 interceptions generated. The team is fourth in the NFL with 32 sacks, while the Vikings are 13th in the NFL with 22 sacks allowed this year. Last week, Vince Young, who hadn't thrown for more than 210 yards in a game so far this year, chopped up the Cardinals for 27/43 for 387 passing yards (369 net) and one TD with zero interceptions thrown. The Cardinals have handed over 1215 net passing yards in their last four games, folks - we call that bad around here.

This is a great matchup for Favre and his corps of receivers.

Weather: Inside the dome at Ford Field, weather won't be a factor in this game.

MIN Injuries: none
DET Injuries: none


New England Patriots Passing Offense vs New York Jets Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Tom Brady had no trouble passing the ball the last time he saw the Dolphins in week nine, with 25/37 for 332 yards, one TD and one interception - Randy Moss (6/147/1) and Wes Welker (9/84/0) were the wrecking crew that day, as usual, helped out by Ben Watson (4/49/0) and Kevin Faulk (4/35/0). In two out of the last three games since facing Miami, Brady threw for over 300 yards and posted four TDs vs. just one interception - until he ran into the Saints last Monday night. New Orleans held Brady and company to 21/36 for 237 yards, zero TDs and two interceptions in a 38-17 thrashing that got so out of hand Brady and the other starters were benched with ~ five minutes left in the game. It's fair to say that the Patriots come into this matchup on a down-note. Even the best teams have bad games during a season, so we're far from panic mode over the hiccup last week - but there is no denying the Patriots didn't play their best game last week.

The Dolphins have been pretty generous in this phase of the game during 2009, currently averaging 233 net passing yards allowed per game (23rd in the NFL), with 13 passing TDs given up vs. 10 interceptions and 35 sacks generated (they're tied for second in the NFL in the sacks category entering December). New England is fourth in the NFL with just 16 sacks given away this year, though - they aren't particularly susceptible to pass pressure with Brady under center. Last week, Ryan Fitzpatrick tossed 17/26 yielding 207 net yards, one TD and one interception vs. the Dolphins; and Jake Delhomme even managed 19/42 for 201 net yards, one TD and one interception vs. the Dolphins two weeks ago. This is a mediocre-to-sub-par unit depending on the week in question.

The Patriots have one of the best passing attacks in the NFL, and should enjoy a solid game vs. the suspect Dolphins this Sunday.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 46F with a low of 23F and a 10% chance of precipitation on Sunday - pretty nice conditions for New England at this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

NE Injuries: none
NYJ Injuries: none


New England Patriots Passing Offense vs New York Jets Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Tom Brady completed the 'Dream Team's' nightmare last week, pushing the Eagles aside 38-20 with 24/34 for 361 yards, three TDs and zero interceptions passing. All the usual suspects saw footballs - Deion Branch led the team in receiving with 10 for 6/125/0, while Wes Welker led in targets and TDs with 12 for 8/115/2. Aaron Hernandez (seven for 6/62/0) and Rob Gronkowski (four for 4/59/1) also handled the ball a good bit as Brady kept the football going to his top four threats last week - nobody else on the team got a catch at Philadelphia. Start your Patriots if you've got any of the above five guys this week, as New England hosts the NFL's O-fer Colts on Sunday.

The Colts are O-fer due to a horrid D that has allowed 34 offensive TDs over the past 11 games - in the passing phase, they have surrendered 19 passing scores vs. just five interceptions - dead last in the league - and a mere 18 sacks (29th in the NFL) generated. Though their average net yards allowed is 18th in the NFL - 238.7 net yards given away per game - that is mostly due to their 31st-ranked rush D making the running game another attractive option for opposing offensive coordinators. This team is absolutely terrible, and deserves their 0-11 status. The Panthers rushed for 201 yards and three TDs last week, and even so Cam Newton posted 20/27 for 176 net yards passing (74% completion rate) in this phase of the game.

Brady has an outstanding matchup which will help pad the final score this week.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 46F with a low of 23F and a 10% chance of precipitation on Sunday - pretty nice conditions for New England at this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

NE Injuries: none
NYJ Injuries: none


New Orleans Saints Passing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Drew Brees is able to take the available personnel and make them shine - he's been outstanding this season with his new team. Last week, Marques Colston's sore ankle kept him on the sidelines, so Devery Henderson got another chance to shine. He did so, with a beautiful 76 yard TD reception early in the game, and 4/158/1 during the contest. Joe Horn handled 3/61/0 and Terrence Copper hauled in a Hail-Mary at the half (1/48/1). Over the past 3 weeks, Brees has racked up 89/129 for 1257 yards, 5 TDs and 3 interceptions, including last week's 21/30 for 349 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions vs. the Falcons - he's nuclear hot right now.

San Francisco's pass defense is a cellar-dweller this year, averaging 221.5 passing yards allowed per game (25th in the NFL), with 19 passing scores allowed to date. They have 10 interceptions and 24 sacks to their credit - mediocre numbers in both categories - and have handed over 285 total points to date (next-to-last in the NFL). Last week, the Rams sputtering passing attack managed 24/37 for 228 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception against the 49ers - San Francisco makes most QBs look pretty good.

This is an outstanding matchup for Brees and company.

Weather: The forecast for Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge calls for a high of 75F and a low of 52F with a 40% chance of rain. With both pro and college games being played on this surface during 2005, it is likely to be worn, especially in the middle of the field. If the rains come down hard around game time, footing and ball handling with be larger issues than usual for both teams.

NO Injuries: none
TB Injuries: none


New Orleans Saints Passing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Drew Brees has thrown for over 300 yards in four of his last five games, and has posted 29/43 for 382 yards with four TDs and two interceptions (vs. Seattle) and 23/39 for 352 yards, one TD and one interception (at Dallas) in the last two games since the Saints' week 10 bye. Marques Colston has led the team in the last two contests with 20 targets for 14/218/2, followed by Jimmy Graham (in for an injured Jeremy Shockey) with 15 targets for 8/95/0, Lance Moore (12 for 8/82/1), David Thomas (10 for 2/26/0) and Devery Henderson (six for 5/114/0). Robert Meachem has made the most of his four chances over the past two weeks, with 4/105/2 to his credit. The Saints' passing attack is white-hot entering December.

The Bengals' pass D is not good right now, with 830 net yards given up in the last four weeks and 125 total points surrendered during that span of time. The Jets only needed 149 net yards and one TD with one interception to beat the Bengals last week (26-10), but Ryan Fitzpatrick torched them for 21/34 yielding 308 net yards, four TDs with two interceptions two weeks ago. Right now, the Bengals' D is struggling in both phases of the game.

This looks like a great matchup for the elite Saints.

Weather: The forecast for Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge calls for a high of 75F and a low of 52F with a 40% chance of rain. With both pro and college games being played on this surface during 2005, it is likely to be worn, especially in the middle of the field. If the rains come down hard around game time, footing and ball handling with be larger issues than usual for both teams.

NO Injuries: none
TB Injuries: none


New York Giants Passing Offense vs Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Eli Manning threw for more passing yards than Drew Brees last week, with 33/47 for 406 yards, two TDs and one interception. He threw for more yards than Vince Young two weeks ago, with 18/35 for 264 yards, one TD and one interception to his credit. He threw for more yards and more TDs than Alex Smith three weeks ago, with 26/40 for 311 yards, two TDs and two interceptions to his credit. In fact, with 77/122 for 981 yards, five TDs and four interceptions thrown over the past three games, it isn't Manning's fault that the Giants have dropped three straight games. Victor Cruz (33 for 21/369/3 receiving over the last three weeks) and Hakeem Nicks (23 for 12/197/1 receiving) are his main-stays entering December. Jake Ballard has faded over the past three games, with a healthy 16 targets but only 7/95/0 receiving, and Mario Manningham missed last week's game due to a sore knee, and saw only two targets during week 11 (1/4/0 receiving). Cruz and Nicks are the guys to start (besides Manning) on this unit as of December first.

The Packers' pass D rivals New England for generosity, with an average of 287.8 net yards allowed per game, and 19 passing scores given away over 11 contests. However, they have 22 interceptions this year (first in the NFL), and a healthy 25 sacks (tied for 14th in the league). The Giants are tied for ninth with 20 sacks allowed to date. Matthew Stafford piled up 32/45 for 273 net yards vs. Green Bay on Thanksgiving, but had just one TD vs. three interceptions thrown during the contest. Josh Freeman posted 28/38 for 334 yards, two TDs and two interceptions at Green Bay two weeks ago. Like we said, Green Bay is generous in this phase of the game.

Manning has been playing strongly despite the tide of 'L's overtaking his team - he should have a great day throwing the ball at home against the suspect Packers, although it would be no surprise to see an interception or two thrown by Manning at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 45F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Fans and players should enjoy great football weather, as long as the forecast holds up.

NYG Injuries: none
DAL Injuries: none


New York Giants Passing Offense vs Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Eli Manning sparked the Giants to a 27-23 win back in week seven, tossing 26/40 for 337 yards, one TD and two interceptions vs. Washington that day. Since week seven, though, Manning went through a long slump in passing, but returned from the week 11 bye to be rejuvenated against Green Bay (16/30 for 249 yards passing, three TDs and zero interceptions thrown). He hooked up with Hakeem Nicks (13 targets for 5/77/1 receiving), Ahmad Bradshaw (three for 2/61/0), Martellus Bennett (three for 3/44/0), Reuben Randle (two for 2/26/1), and Victor Cruz (six for 3/36/1) for significant plays last week - the Giants' receiving corps came out of their stasis for fantasy owners in week 12. Hopefully Manning can build on this momentum against the suddenly-explosive Redskins' in week 13.

Speaking of Washington, they average 301.4 net passing yards allowed per game (31st in the NFL) with a league-worst 23 passing scores surrendered to date. The team does have 14 interceptions (tied for fifth in the NFL), but only 20 sacks (26th in the NFL). Tony Romo threw 37/62 for 423 net yards, three TDs and two interceptions vs. Washington last week - they don't slow down many passers his year.

This looks like a great matchup for Manning and company.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 45F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Fans and players should enjoy great football weather, as long as the forecast holds up.

NYG Injuries: none
DAL Injuries: none


New York Giants Passing Offense vs Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Eli Manning didn't throw the ball far last week, but he did pitch two TDs and zero interceptions during the loss to Dallas (16/30 for 174 yards passing) - Reuben Randle led the team in receiving with seven targets for 3/64/0 receiving, followed by Brandon Myers (five for 3/39/1), Victor Cruz (four for 2/27/0) and Jerrel Jernigan (seven for 2/24/0). The absence of Hakeem Nicks from the lineup was notable and allowed the Cowboys to key on Cruz - after the game Nicks (abdominal injury) was unexpectedly held out by head coach Coughlin. 'You asked me the question late in the week, and I answered: 'What would be the issue? Speed. He probably can't be full speed,'' Coughlin said when questioned about the issue on Monday. Stay tuned to Footballguys.com's Players in the News later in the week for the latest on Nick's practice status, although as we saw last week practicing doesn't necessarily guarantee that Nicks will actually play.

The Washington pass defense is awful this season, ranking 26th in the NFL averaging 270.6 net passing yards allowed per game, with 22 passing scores given up vs. 10 interceptions and 27 sacks generated to date (tied for 18th and tied for 19th in the NFL, respectively). Colin Kaepernick slashed this group for three TDs and zero interceptions last week (15/24 for 228 net yards passing), while Nick Foles threw 17/26 for 276 net yards, zero TDs and interceptions against the Washington secondary two games ago.

This is a great matchup for Manning and company - we'll see if he can build on the good opportunity.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 45F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Fans and players should enjoy great football weather, as long as the forecast holds up.

NYG Injuries: none
DAL Injuries: none


New York Jets Passing Offense at New England Patriots Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Brooks Bollinger played well against the Saints last week, with 19/28 for 251 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions (Jerricho Cotchery led the team with 4/72/1, while Justin McCareins pulled in 3/71/1 to account for the scoring throw). It was Bollinger's best showing since the San Diego game (11/20 for 106 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions). We'll see if he can keep the momentum going this week - his division rivals may be a big help in that direction (see below).

In seven of the Patriotsí last eight games the D has allowed more than 400 yards of total offense in each game. During the other, against Buffalo, they allowed 396. They have been awful at defending the pass during recent weeks, with 1006 passing yards allowed during their past 3 games (335.3 passing yards per game on average), including last week's totals of 19/26 for 323 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions donated to the Chiefs (they are tied for 3rd-most passing TDs surrendered this year, with 21 allowed to date). The Patriots' battered pass defenders are a cellar-dwelling unit this year.

We can't too excited about him, but Bollinger likely won't see a better matchup than this one. Even though these teams are divisional rivals - the Patriots are simply struggling on defense here.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 46F with a low of 23F and a 10% chance of precipitation on Sunday - pretty nice conditions for New England at this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

NYJ Injuries: none
NE Injuries: none


New York Jets Passing Offense at New England Patriots Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Brett Favre wasn't perfect vs. the Titans - he threw his first interception over the past three games - during which he's posted 65/84 for 649 yards, 5 TDs and 1 interception (13th best fantasy QB in points per game during that span of time). He had a streak of 71 straight passes without a pick going after emerging from a mid-season, interception-prone slump. However, despite the pick Favre led the Jets to a 34-13 upset over the previously unbeaten Titans - he threw for 25/32 for 224 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception on the day. The usual suspects led the receiving tally - Laveranues Coles had 7/88/1; Jerricho Cotchery snagged 6/55/0; and Dustin Keller grabbed 6/42/0, while Thomas Jones handled the other TD with 3/21/1.

The Broncos handed over 11/12 for 160 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions to JaMarcus Russell and the Raiders last week. Even JaMarcus Russell can pass on this team when Champ Bailey is sidelined, as he has been for weeks due to a groin injury. The Broncos are 25th in the NFL averaging 235.9 net yards allowed per game; they have a mere 4 interceptions this year vs. 15 TDs surrendered, and are 22nd in the NFL with 20 sacks to their credit to date. As you can see, the Broncos' pass D can't stop anybody, not even Oakland.

This is a great week to be invested in the Jets' offense, though the Bronco's rush D is as weak as their pass D, so the Jets may elect to grind the ball a lot. Favre should still have good results when he takes it to the air, though.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 46F with a low of 23F and a 10% chance of precipitation on Sunday - pretty nice conditions for New England at this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

NYJ Injuries: none
NE Injuries: none


New York Jets Passing Offense at New England Patriots Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Mark Sanchez out-dueled Tom Brady in week two, posting 21/30 for 220 yards, three TDs and zero interceptions for the Jets in the course of their 28-14 victory. Dustin Keller (7/115/1), Braylon Edwards (5/45/1) and Jerricho Cotchery (4/26/1) led the team in receiving that day, and also handled a scoring toss each.

In the weeks since, Sanchez has been increasingly productive as a real and fantasy QB, with 87/149 for 1,116 yards, seven TDs and four interceptions over the past four weeks, and 10/23/2 rushing as a sweetener for his owners. In two of those four contests, he's gone over 300 yards passing. Last week, Sanchez quieted down a bit, with 16/28 for 166 yards, one TD and one interception vs. the Bengals, but he and his compatriots can be explosive when game conditions demand that (as they have in the three games prior to last week). Over the past four weeks, Santonio Holmes has been a fantasy monster, with 36 targets for 22/360/4 receiving, followed by LaDainian Tomlinson (33 for 21/185/0), Braylon Edwards (29 for 13/243/2) and Dustin Keller (24 for 13/140/0) - those four are the only players on the team with double-digit targets during the past four weeks.

The Patriots' pass D has been awful all year long, and currently rank dead last in average yards allowed per game (288.5), with 21 TDs allowed vs. 15 interceptions and 20 sacks generated. The 15 interceptions has helped keep the team in the 'W' column - that is tied for fourth in the NFL this year - but the porous secondary has made things close a number of times. Shaun Hill threw for 277 net yards, one TD and two interceptions vs. New England last week; Peyton Manning posted 396 net yards, four TDs and three interceptions at New England two weeks ago.

Sanchez and company have proven to be an explosive bunch in recent weeks - against the sorry Patriots' D they should have a solid game again in week 13.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 46F with a low of 23F and a 10% chance of precipitation on Sunday - pretty nice conditions for New England at this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

NYJ Injuries: none
NE Injuries: none


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense at San Diego Chargers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Matt McGloin gets another start in Dallas this week on the strength of his 19/32 for 260 yards passing, one TD and one interception performance at Tennessee. Over the past two weeks, he's preferred Rod Streater over all other receivers (18 targets for 12/177/1 receiving), but also throwing to Marcel Reece (10 for 6/61/1), Mychal Rivera (eight for 6/64/1), Denarius Moore (six for 2/11/1) and Rashad Jennings (seven for 5/47/0). Though Rivera was concussed on Sunday, he practiced on Monday and Tuesday this week and appears to be on track to play in the Thanksgiving game at Dallas. Moore is not practicing due to his bum shoulder and it appears that he'll miss the tilt on Turkey Day. We'll see how well McGloin handles the national TV spotlight - he's played well in his chances so far.

The Cowboys' defense has not been playing well of late, giving up 40 first downs and 34/41 for 383 yards passing, four TDs and zero interceptions to Drew Brees two weeks ago, and then 16/30 for 154 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions to Eli Manning last week. To date, the Cowboys are ranked next-to-last in the NFL averaging 298.5 net passing yards allowed per game, with 22 passing scores surrendered vs. 12 interceptions and 26 sacks generated (tied for 11th and tied for 21st in the league, respectively).

McGloin has a great matchup ahead of him on Thanksgiving.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a typically beautiful Southern California day, with a high of 64F with a low of 43F and a 10% chance for rain - weather shouldn't be a factor in this matchup.

OAK Injuries: none
SD Injuries: none


Philadelphia Eagles Passing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Donovan McNabb has been playing fairly well during the past four weeks, with 95/152 for 1,181 passing yards, six TDs and five interceptions to his credit (which lands him at 12th among all fantasy QBs in points per game during the stated time frame). He hasn't run the ball much of late, with 8/2/0 in the last four games. Last week, against the Redskins, McNabb was the only Eagle QB to complete passes, with 21/35 for 260 yards, one TD and one interception at the end of the game. Mike Vick finished with 0/1 passing and 2/4/0 rushing vs. Washington. Jason Avant continues to be a major contributor, with 5/94/0 receiving last week and 19/319/1 receiving over the past four weeks (23rd-best fantasy WR in points per game (PPR format) during that stretch of time), while DeSean Jackson had 20/268/2 receiving during that time frame and Jeremy Maclin posted 20/247/1. Unfortunately, Jackson suffered a concussion on Sunday (he had 2/41/1 receiving before being forced from the game), while Maclin posted 5/63/0 against the Redskins. Head coach Andy Reid said on Monday, November 30th that Jackson is 'OK.' 'He doesn't feel bad today,' Reid said. 'We are as cautious as they come with concussions. We're going to continue to test him and go through the process.' Stay tuned to Footballguys.com's players in the news as Jackson works through this injury - as we've seen recently with Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner, concussions can cause after-effects several days after they are first incurred. Jackson owners should have a backup plan in place this week in case he's held out (the new emphasis in the league on handling concussions properly is keeping guys out longer than in years past). At mid-week, the news out of Philadelphia indicates that Jackson is very unlikely to play in week 13 - the team confirmed that Jackson lost consciousness after his injury last week and seems resigned to the fact that Jackson isn't going to go on Sunday.

The Falcons field one of the league's worst pass defenses, with an average of 252.8 net yards allowed per game (27th in the NFL) and 18 passing TDs allowed vs. just eight interceptions generated (tied for 23rd in the NFL in interceptions to date). The Falcons are 22nd in the NFL with 21 sacks this year (the Eagles are 23rd in the NFL with 27 sacks allowed through 11 games). The Falcons have allowed 984 net passing yards in their last four games (246 per contest on average), with 20/30 for 245 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions given up to young Josh Freeman of Tampa Bay last week.

McNabb has several weapons at his disposal in this phase of the game, even if Jackson is sidelined, and the Falcons haven't shown the ability to slow down opposing QBs throughout the season - the Eagles have a big edge in this contest despite being in hostile territory (with Mike Vick on the team, likely very hostile territory) in the Georgia Dome on Sunday.

Weather: The forecast for Lincoln Financial Field calls for a high of 46F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance for precipitation. As this game is on Monday Night Football, expect the temperatures to be on the low end of the scale - the cold will make handling the ball more tricky than usual for both teams.

PHI Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: none


Philadelphia Eagles Passing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Mike Vick's numbers over the past four weeks: 90/139 for 1,142 yards, 7 TDs and 1 interception, with 38/232/4 rushing - the number one fantasy QB in the land. DeSean Jackson is 20th among fantasy WRs during that span of time, with 6/31/0 rushing and 16/283/2 receiving, and Jeremy Maclin is 21st with 1/11/0 rushing and 21/294/2 receiving. Start them if you've got them - Vick is a fantasy force to be reckoned with entering December.

The Texans' pass D is embarrassing - they rank 31st in the NFL averaging 286.2 net yards allowed per game, with a league-worst 25 passing TDs given away. The team has only nine interceptions (17th in the NFL) and a mere 18 sacks to date (28th in the NFL). Despite Houston's beat down of a rookie QB in his first start last week, this is a horrible pass D, folks.

Vick and company should feast on the Texans' beef in this phase of the game.

Weather: The forecast for Lincoln Financial Field calls for a high of 46F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance for precipitation. As this game is on Monday Night Football, expect the temperatures to be on the low end of the scale - the cold will make handling the ball more tricky than usual for both teams.

PHI Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: none


San Diego Chargers Passing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Philip Rivers out gained Peyton Manning in the stat box last week (24/31 for 288 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions), but failed to notch a "W" in the win column. Over the last 3 weeks, Rivers has tossed 66/93 for 768 yards, 4 TDs and 4 interceptions to land at #12 among all fantasy QBs in points per game. Antonio Gates leads in targets during that time span (19 for 13/104/1), followed by Vincent Jackson (18 for 9/165/1), LaDainian Tomlinson (15 for 10/114/0) and Chris Chambers (11 for 9/82/0). Malcolm Floyd has caught all but 1 of the balls that came his way recently (9 for 8/159/1 over the last 3 weeks).

The Falcons' pass D is pretty mediocre, allowing an average of 230.7 net yards per game, with 14 passing TDs vs. 9 interceptions and 21 sacks generated to date. Their top pass rusher, John Abraham, is struggling with a neck/nerve stinger injury in recent weeks and he's in and out of the lineup during games. Over the past 3 weeks, Atlanta has coughed up 898 passing yards, with 3 interceptions and 5 sacks generated (299.3 net yards allowed per game on average). Jake Delhomme hit this group for 21/35 for 274 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions last week.

Rivers has run hot-and-cold of late, but he's got a great shot at a big afternoon vs. the suspect Falcons' secondary, who haven't gotten the job done of late.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a typically beautiful Southern California day, with a high of 64F with a low of 43F and a 10% chance for rain - weather shouldn't be a factor in this matchup.

SD Injuries: none
OAK Injuries: none


San Diego Chargers Passing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Philip Rivers lit up the Chiefs like a Christmas tree last week, throwing for 21/28 yielding 317 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions. Antonio Gates was huge for his fantasy owners, with seven targets for 7/118/2 during the game - Malcolm Floyd (4 for 3/85/0) and Darren Sproles (6 for 5/66/0) were the other main pass catchers last week (Vincent Jackson converted just two of his five chances for 27 yards receiving). Rivers has thrown five TDs and zero interceptions over the last three games, and the Chargers are on a six-game winning streak entering this contest. The Chargers' passing game is solid and effective entering December's stretch run to the playoffs.

Solid and effective are not words that spring to mind when we talk about the Cleveland Browns: they are currently 24th in the NFL averaging 233.4 net passing yards allowed per game, with 16 passing scores given up to date vs. just six interceptions generated (tied for last in the NFL with Detroit). The team has 23 sacks to date (tied for 17th in the NFL). The Chargers are tied for seventh in the league with just 20 sacks allowed so far this year. Last week, Carson Palmer didn't need to throw the ball much as the running backs dominated the Browns for 210 yards rushing on 45 attempts - Palmer tossed 13/24 for 96 net yards and a TD on the way to a 16-7 win over Cleveland. Two weeks ago, these guys allowed 26/43 for 416 net yards, five TDs and two interceptions to Matthew Stafford and company - they are not good pass defenders, folks. Last week was a result of the Bengals choosing to exploit the Browns run defense, rather than a sudden surge of competence by the Browns.

Rivers is hot, while the Browns have been pretty awful in this phase of the game most weeks. Advantage, San Diego.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a typically beautiful Southern California day, with a high of 64F with a low of 43F and a 10% chance for rain - weather shouldn't be a factor in this matchup.

SD Injuries: none
OAK Injuries: none


San Francisco 49ers Passing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

The last time these teams faced off (week two), Shaun Hill was the starting QB for San Francisco - now that Alex Smith is back under center entering December, looking at ancient history isn't going to tell us much about this matchup. One thing can be said - the last time San Francisco played Seattle, they rushed for 29/256/2, so not a lot of balls needed to go through the air.

Of late, Alex Smith has been throwing the ball quite a bit, with 88/142 for 863 yards, seven TDs and five interceptions thrown over his last four games (20th-best fantasy QB in the land during that time frame). His main targets during November were: Vernon Davis (37 targets for 25/295/2 receiving), Michael Crabtree (29 for 15/209/1), Frank Gore (29 for 21/119/2) and Josh Morgan (23 for 12/81/0) - Jason Hill was a weapon near the goal-line vs Tennessee in week nine (4/50/2), but has faded during the last two weeks and finished the mentioned four week span with 7 targets for 6/63/2. During last week's victory over Jacksonville, Smith avoided throwing interceptions and threw for a respectable 27/41 for 232 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions - it was perhaps his most complete game as a QB this year. It appears that the coaching staff is growing more comfortable with his skills, as the 49ers emphasized the passing game last week (until the end of the game when they needed to kill the clock). Five 49ers caught at least four receptions last week, with Davis in the lead (6/69/1), followed by Crabtree (4/54/0), Delanie Walker (4/52/0), Josh Morgan (6/43/0) and Frank Gore (7/14/1). The 49ers' passing offense is clicking nicely entering December, friends.

Seattle has coughed up 1048 passing yards and 103 total points from scrimmage during the last four weeks, an average of 262 passing yards allowed per game, which is even higher than their 25th-ranked season average would lead us to expect (the team has averaged 238.1 net passing yards allowed per game). The team has handed over 20 passing scores this year vs. 10 interceptions and 26 sacks generated - it's not too hard to score on this group. Just ask Brett Favre and the Vikings, who racked up 28/33 for 271 net yards, five TDs and zero interceptions vs. Seattle two weeks ago - even Kyle Boller managed 28/46 for 251 net yards, one TD and two interceptions against this pass D.

Smith and company are hot, while the Seahawks pass D is taking steps backwards rather than forwards entering December. Advantage, San Francisco.

Weather: The forecast for Monster Park calls for a high of 57F with a low of 44F and a 10% chance for rain - a very nice day is on tap for this matchup.

SF Injuries: none
ARI Injuries: none


St. Louis Rams Passing Offense vs Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Marc Bulger hit 21/31 for 309 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions against the Cardinals back in week 3, connecting with Torry Holt for 8/120/1 and Isaac Bruce for 3/79/0 for the bulk of his yardage. Since then, things have gone south for Bulger, who has been dealing with bruised ribs for the past 3-4 weeks (taking pain-killing injections to deal with the injury). Also, his top OL Orlando Pace is out for the season with a torn triceps, and teams have been able to bring a lot more pass pressure to bear on Bulger since that injury occurred (San Francisco sacked him twice last week, further aggravating the rib injury when Bryant Young drove into Bulger's ribs right in the tender area). Over the past 3 weeks, Bulger has posted 68/108 for 558 yards, 1 TD and 3 interceptions (31st fantasy QB in points per game during that span of time).

The Cardinals average 230.1 passing yards allowed per game this season (26th in the NFL), with 12 passing scores handed over to date. They have generated 23 sacks and 10 interceptions to date, not top numbers in either department - last week, they gave up 27/41 for 271 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions to Brad Johnson and the Vikings' receivers (who are not considered a top passing attack this year). The Cardinals are soft.

This is a great matchup for Bulger and company.

Weather: This game is to be played inside the Edward Jones Dome - weather will not be a factor for either team.

STL Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: none


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Offense at New Orleans Saints Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Jeff Garcia managed the game vs. New Orleans well back in week 2, tossing 10/16 for 243 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions. He took home a 31-14 victory by relying on Joey Galloway (4/135/2 during the contest). That sounds a lot like the ongoing script for this passing attack, doesn't it?

This week, though, Garcia's presence is something of a question mark due to a deep bone bruise in his back (Garcia called it one of the most painful injuries of his career after the game last Sunday, likening it to a "kidney punch"). Owners of Garcia and Galloway will want to watch Garcia's practice status and injury status later in the week as coach Gruden stated on Monday "I know he's in a lot of pain. We'll see where he is tomorrow. He can play, no question with reduced practice snaps. Again, I don't want to speculate at this point. He might be ready to go Wednesday; he may not be."

If Garcia can't go, the Bucs will be stuck with Bruce Gradkowski, who's underwhelmed us in his chances this season (13/24 for 130 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception in 3 part-time appearances). Stay tuned for Garcia's practice status and cross your fingers if you are invested in the Buccaneers' passing attack.

The Saints rank 27th in the NFL averaging 245.5 net passing yards allowed per game; they have given up 19 passing TDs through 11 games; they are tied for 24th in the NFL with 9 interceptions; and they are tied for 24th in the NFL with 19 sacks. When you don't pressure the opposing passer well and don't break on the ball in the secondary, it's easy for the other teams' QBs to chew up your defense (unless that QB is named David Carr or Matt Moore). In the 3 games prior to Carolina's debacle, the Saints allowed a minimum of 276 net passing yards and a maximum of 344 net passing yards, with 90 points given up in those 4 games. They are not fielding a good pass D, folks.

Tampa has a great matchup to work with, if they can get Garcia back on the field in time for this key divisional game.

Weather: The forecast for Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge calls for a high of 75F and a low of 52F with a 40% chance of rain. With both pro and college games being played on this surface during 2005, it is likely to be worn, especially in the middle of the field. If the rains come down hard around game time, footing and ball handling with be larger issues than usual for both teams.

TB Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

During November, Matt Hasselbeck has been luke-warm as a passer, with 52/93 for 615 yards, three TDs and two interceptions during two-and-a-half games (Jake Locker played some at Atlanta after Hasselbeck injured his elbow two weeks ago, and Locker put up 9/19 for 140 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions in his first regular-season work of the year). Last week, Hasselbeck took all the snaps vs. Tampa Bay, and ended up with 19/34 for 160 yards, one TD and two interceptions thrown. Damian Williams hauled in the TD with four targets for 3/33/1, while Lavelle Hawkins led the team in receiving yards (seven for 5/51/0), and Jared Cook chipped in with seven for 3/38/0. Nate Washington was a disappointment (again) last week, with six targets coming his way but just 1/12/0 receiving - over the last four games Washington had a strong day at Atlanta (9/115/2 receiving), but didn't gain more than 40 yards in the other three contests. He's inconsistent as a fantasy option this year, despite his respectable totals of 49/628/4 receiving to date.

Buffalo's pass D is not good, with the second-most passing TDs allowed so far this year - 21 - and a 22nd-ranked average of 243.6 net yards allowed per contest. They've recorded 16 interceptions, second-most in the NFL, but have a mere 16 sacks to date (31st in the NFL). Overall, this is a sub-par unit, friends. Mark Sanchez hit up Buffalo for four passing TDs last week (17/35 for 180 net yards, four TDs and one interception) and wasn't sacked once; Matt Moore threw three TDs two weeks ago with zero interceptions (1 sack taken, with 14/20 for 147 net yards). The seven passing scores given up in just two games highlights the soft play of the Bills' secondary.

Hasselbeck hasn't wowed us in recent weeks, but he's got a great matchup to work with this week (especially in basic-scoring fantasy leagues, where TDs are King).

Weather: Inside the RCA Dome, conditions should be perfect to play football.

TEN Injuries: none
IND Injuries: none


Washington Redskins Passing Offense at St. Louis Rams Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Mark Brunell has tossed 54/94 for 575 yards, 3 TDs and 2 interceptions during the past 3 weeks, ranking 25th among all fantasy signal callers during that span. Last week he put up a workmanlike 17/27 for 194 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions against San Diego, finally connecting with Santana Moss again for a score (6/65/1) - the Redskins' passing game may be on its way back to health. The Rams' defense should be good medicine (see below).

How soft are the Rams vs. the pass this year? Well, they gave up 25/35 for 293 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception to the anemic Texans last week; they have averaged 269.6 passing yards allowed over the past 3 weeks, with 11 TDs rushing and receiving surrendered during that span - and they rank 30th in the NFL this season, handing over 248.5 passing yards per contest on average, with 23 TDs surrendered to date (the most in the NFL). They are truly awful at defending the pass, folks.

Mark Brunell may look like Mark Rypien (in Rypien's heyday) this weekend against the lame Rams.

Weather: This game is to be played inside the Edward Jones Dome - weather will not be a factor for either team.

WAS Injuries: none
STL Injuries: none


Washington Redskins Passing Offense at St. Louis Rams Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Jason Campbell has thrown for more than 300 yards in 2 straight games (30/49 for 301 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions last week), and has 6 TDs vs 3 interceptions over his last 3 outings. He has started to look like a legitimate NFL starter over the last few weeks - now we see what the Redskins' staff saw in him coming out of Auburn during the 2005 draft (round 1, pick 25). During his hot streak (the last 3 weeks), Campbell has targeted Chris Cooley the most (27 targets for 19/218/2); Santana Moss 2nd most (22 for 14/158/1); and he also likes Keenan McCardell (21 for 15/169/1) and Antwaan Randle El (19 for 12/97/0, with last week's effort cut short by a hamstring injury to Randle El). The Redskins' offense is surging to new statistical heights (even if they aren't notching "W's").

The Bills' pass D lurks at the bottom of the NFL pool, ranking 29th while allowing an average of 258.7 net passing yards per game, with 18 pass TDs given up to date (with 12 interceptions generated so far). The Bills are tied for dead last with 10 sacks, and saw two key linemen go down to injury last week (Chris Kelsay injured his ankle and his backup Ryan Denney aggravated a surgically repaired foot). It's possible that the Bills' pass rush could be even weaker than usual this week. Last week, David Garrard carved up the Buffalo secondary for 23/37 for 292 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions.

Campbell and company are on a roll, and it should continue against the soft Buffalo pass D and their wounded defensive front.

Weather: This game is to be played inside the Edward Jones Dome - weather will not be a factor for either team.

WAS Injuries: none
STL Injuries: none


Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Derek Anderson started the season with a bang, throwing 22/41 for 297 yards, one TD and zero interceptions vs. the Rams - Steve Breaston (7/132/0) led the team in receiving week one, while Larry Fitzgerald hauled in the TD pass (3/43/1) as the Cardinals upended St. Louis 17-13. Since week one, Anderson spent some time on the bench but regained his starting gig - he's put up 79/152 for 992 yards, three TDs and two interceptions during the last four weeks, though he had an anemic 16/35 for 196 yards, zero TDs and one interception to his (dis)credit in last Monday's 6-27 loss to San Francisco.

Larry Fitzgerald has enjoyed 45 targets for 24/325/1 over the last four weeks, followed by Steve Breaston (33 for 14/240/0), Early Doucet (27 for 14/146/1) and Andre Roberts (16 for 10/102/1). Nobody got much done on Monday Night Football, though, with just 196 passing yards and 0 TDs to spread around - Early Doucet led the team with 5/60/0, followed by Chris Wells (1/43/0), Larry Fitzgerald (4/37/0) and Steve Breaston (2/22/0).

The Rams enter this game ranked 21st in the NFL averaging 239.5 net yards allowed per game, with 15 TDs allowed over 11 games vs. eight interceptions and 31 sacks generated - despite their strong pass rush, the secondary has been pretty generous to opponents so far this season. Kyle Orton ripped the Rams for 24/41 yielding 330 net yards, three TDs and zero interceptions last week, while Atlanta reeled off 26/39 for 253 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions at St. Louis two weeks ago. The Rams are what they appear to be - a sub-par pass D - entering the first week of December.

The Cardinals' offense had a miserable outing on Monday Night Football, but they should be able to bounce back at home this week vs. the suspect Rams.

Weather: The forecast for Monster Park calls for a high of 57F with a low of 44F and a 10% chance for rain - a very nice day is on tap for this matchup.

ARI Injuries: none
SF Injuries: none


Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Cardinals struggled mightily without Larry Fitzgerald in Seattle (head coach Bruce Arians stated that Fitzgerald couldn't run during warmups last week), so Drew Stanton had an off game against the outstanding Seahawks' pass D (14/26 for 149 yards passing, zero TDs and one interception thrown, with three sacks taken for -9 yards). Considering that Fitzgerald is dealing with a MCL strain, it's looking iffy for him to go in this contest against Atlanta. We did see some good moves by John Brown last Sunday (five targets for 3/61/0 receiving), but Michael Floyd continued his epic collapse this year with two targets for zero catches during the game. Coach Arians stated after the loss that he 'should have done a better job finding ways to get Michael Floyd open' - the five targets for 2/54/2 receiving Floyd saw two weeks ago seems like a distant memory entering Week 13. It's definitely fair to say that Floyd has been erratic in production during 2014.

Fortunately for Stanton and company, the Falcons' pass D is awful. They average 284.1 net passing yards allowed per game, worst in the NFL, while handing over 14 passing scores this year, vs. 12 interceptions and a mere sacks generated to date (tied for eighth in the NFL, and tied for next-to-last in the league, respectively). Brian Hoyer rang up 313 net yards passing against Atlanta last week, though he threw zero TDs and three interceptions, while taking one sack for -9 yards. Cam Newton posted 23/37 for 285 net yards, two TDs and two interceptions vs. the Falcons, with two sacks taken for -7 yards back in Week 11.

This is a good matchup for the visiting Cardinals.

Weather: The forecast for Monster Park calls for a high of 57F with a low of 44F and a 10% chance for rain - a very nice day is on tap for this matchup.

ARI Injuries: none
SF Injuries: none


Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense vs Houston Texans Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Some people are the glass is half-full sort of people (Kyle Boller threw for 3 TDs last week!), while others are half-empty (Boller's numbers came in garbage time after the Bengals were up 34-0 midway through the 3rd quarter). We're on the half-empty side of the argument with Boller, and will point out that even playing a super-soft prevent-type coverage for much of the game's second half, he could only compile 18/32 for 211 yards, 3 TDs and 2 interceptions on the day. Todd Heap (6/87/2) and Derrick Mason (3/58/1) were as usual the only Raven receivers worth a look in fantasy terms.

This week, though, Boller will face off against a defense that may be just as horrible as Baltimore's passing game has been awful this year. The Texans are 24th in the NFL vs. the pass this year, averaging 224.4 passing yards allowed per contest, but are 4th in the NFL with 20 passing scores handed over to date. They have given up 268 passing yards per game over the past 3 weeks, with a league-worst 13 TDs (rushing and receiving) surrendered during that span. Last week, the Rams threw for 32/33 for 324 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception (using their 3rd-string, rookie QB) against the Texans.

We think the Texans are worse at pass D than the Ravens are at throwing the ball (and that is really saying something bad about Houston) - advantage, Baltimore.

Weather: The weather service predicts a high of 49F with a low of 31F and a 20% chance for rain in the Baltimore area on Sunday. That sounds like great football weather to us.

BAL Injuries: none
HOU Injuries: none


Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense vs Houston Texans Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Steve McNair threw for 21/31 for 245 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions vs. the Bengals back in week 9 - since then, he's tossed 71/105 for 749 yards, 4 TDs and 2 interceptions to rank 11th among fantasy QBs in points per game during the past 3 weeks. Last week, he hit 18/24 for 140 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions vs. Pittsburgh, connecting with Todd Heap for 7/58/1, and Derrick Mason for 5/43/0. Mark Clayton provided some vertical dimension to the attack with 2/31/0.

The Bengal's pass D ranks 32nd in the NFL allowing an average of 245.1 yards per game, with 15 passing scores surrendered to date. They have 26 sacks and 16 interceptions to their credit, which are good-to-excellent numbers, but simply bleed too much yardage. Last week, they stood up to the Browns, though, limiting Charlie Frye to 18/29 for 186 yards, 0 TDs and 4 interceptions, but Cleveland doesn't remind anyone of a top passing offense. CB Deltha O'Neal has missed 2 games and may miss this week due to a nagging shoulder injury - his absence hasn't helped matters any.

This is a good and borderline great matchup for McNair and company.

Weather: The weather service predicts a high of 49F with a low of 31F and a 20% chance for rain in the Baltimore area on Sunday. That sounds like great football weather to us.

BAL Injuries: none
HOU Injuries: none


Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense vs Houston Texans Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Joe Flacco scored a rushing TD the first time he played the Bengals (week 1), with 4/37/1 rushing and 15/29 for 129 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions thrown during the 17-10 victory. Since then, Flacco has posted 183/302 for 1996 yards, 10 TDs and 9 interceptions, and guided the Ravens to a 7-4 record. Over the last 3 weeks he's been pretty good (14th best fantasy QB) with 47/82 for 532 yards, 5 TDs and 2 interceptions passing, with 13/68/0 rushing to his credit as well. Last week, Mark Clayton (2/76/1), Ray Rice (3/42/0) and Derrick Mason (3/40/0) led the team in receiving vs. Philadelphia while Flacco tossed a modest 12/26 for 183 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions vs. the Eagles. Daniel Wilcox caught the other TD (1/1/1).

The Bengals' pass D is not great this season, averaging 209.9 net yards allowed per game (15th in the NFL), with 15 pass TDs surrendered over 11 contests, vs. only 8 interceptions and a mere 11 sacks generated to date. Over the past 2 contests, Cincy has handed out 566 passing yards (283 yards per game), with 17/30 for 243 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions allowed to Ben Roethlisberger on Thursday.

Flacco was harassed by the Eagles last week (3 sacks taken for -45 yards), but against the kitty-cats from Cincinnati he'll have an easier time on Sunday. Advantage, Baltimore.

Weather: The weather service predicts a high of 49F with a low of 31F and a 20% chance for rain in the Baltimore area on Sunday. That sounds like great football weather to us.

BAL Injuries: none
HOU Injuries: none


Buffalo Bills Passing Offense at Miami Dolphins Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Ryan Fitzpatrick put up an impressive 265 yards passing on the Steelers last week, and was one dropped pass (by Steve Johnson) away from defeating the Steelers and notching another TD on the day (he did end up with one TD, a 65 yard pass to Fred Jackson, and one interception during the contest). Two weeks ago, Fitzpatrick and company ripped Cincinnati for 21/34 yielding 316 yards, four TDs and two interceptions - the Bills' offense is on fire entering December, folks. Over the last two games, Steve Johnson has 26 targets for 15/205/3 receiving (and should've had another 60+ yard TD catch last week) - Lee Evans is second on the team with 15 targets for 3/81/0 receiving over the last two weeks (a mere 20% reception percentage recently), followed by Donald Jones (13 for 7/87/1) and Fred Jackson (10 for 8/117/1).

The Vikings' defense limited Donovan McNabb and company to 21/35 for 187 net yards, with one TD and one interception last week; but two weeks ago they were torched at home for 23/32 for 283 net yards, four TDs and zero interceptions by Aaron Rodgers and company. So far this year, the team is ranked 14th in the NFL averaging 215.2 net passing yards allowed per game, with 18 passing scores given up vs. nine interceptions and 21 sacks generated (17th and 20th in the NFL, respectively). They are exactly what they appear to be, friends - a mediocre pass D.

Fitzpatrick and company are on fire, while the Vikings' pass D is so-so on their best weeks - advantage, Buffalo.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 80F with a low of 66F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play and watch a football game.

BUF Injuries: none
MIA Injuries: none


Carolina Panthers Passing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Jake Delhomme flopped (again) last week, tying his season mark for futility with another game in which he threw four interceptions (14/34 for 130 yards, zero TDs and four interceptions). He was pretty awful the last time he played against Tampa Bay, back in week six - 9/17 for 65 yards, one TD and two interceptions - there simply isn't a lot of reason to be excited about Carolina's passing attack entering December. That's especially true with Delhomme suffering from a fractured right finger as of Monday, November 30th - he may miss time due to the injury, which would put the offense in the hands of backup Matt Moore (he's thrown 69/123 for 793 yards, three TDs and six interceptions for the Panthers over 13 appearances to date). Muhsin Muhammad is banged up (his injured knee is still sore and hampering him, though he's trying to play through the pain). Steve Smith, who had 1/4/0 receiving vs. Tampa Bay back in week six, just posted 1/5/0 receiving vs. the Jets last week - the bad old times came back to Carolina last week. We'll see if Delhomme (or Moore) can pull the team out of this nose-dive, or if they'll crash and burn against the blitzing, high-intensity Buccaneers. Delhomme missed practice on Wednesday - it is looking more and more probable that Moore will get the nod this week.

Since the previous showdown between these squads, the Buccaneers have demoted their defensive coordinator and head coach Raheem Morris took over the defensive play-calling/system. He's taken the team back to their 'Tampa Two' scheme, and utilized a lot of blitzing last week vs. Atlanta - Tampa kept the score close last week, but still lost 20-17. However, it was the first time since week four that Tampa held someone to under 21 points scored, so there was some notable improvement. However, the Buccaneers gave up 25/44 for 222 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions to a backup QB straight off the bench - they still have a long way to go before they scare opposing teams. This season, they've coughed up 24 passing TDs vs. just 12 interceptions generated, and average 210.5 net passing yards allowed per game (11th in the NFL).

Delhomme and the Panthers are back in the tank entering December, while the Buccaneers are seeking to reclaim their 'Tampa Two' identity as a unit, but have not been impressive pass defenders most of the year. This looks like a fairly good matchup for Delhomme (or Moore) and the Panthers, who'll have the home field faithful at their back as they attempt to (once again) correct things in this phase of the game.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium calls for a high of 66F and a low of 37F with a 40% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling may be larger issues than usual for both teams.

CAR Injuries: none
ATL Injuries: none


Carolina Panthers Passing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Jimmy Clausen almost won a game in which he played last week, but eventually saw the Panthers fall short 23-24 at Cleveland. Clausen threw 16/28 for 195 yards, zero TDs and one interception - it was his best yardage total of the year, at least. It's hard to find a bright spot on the Panthers' pass attack, which has generated one pass TD during the eight games that Clausen has appeared in. Mike Goodson was his top target last week (10 for 8/81/0), followed by Brandon LaFell (four for 2/37/0) and Dante Rosario (five for 3/33/0). Steve Smith managed 2/33/0 on five targets - he's having a miserable season this year (36/444/2 so far). See Larry Fitzgerald owners, it could be worse!

Over the past four weeks, teams have racked up 1,191 net yards passing (297.75 yards per game, on average) vs. the Seahawks (and 620 yards rushing), while the team has coughed up a league-worst 135 total points during that time frame. It's easy to move the ball and score on the Seahawks entering December, friends. Matt Cassel slammed this group for 22/32 for 233 net yards (zero sacks) and four TDs with zero interceptions last week - and his team rushed for 270 yards and two more TDs during the game. K.C. moved the ball at will against Seattle at home in Qwest Field last week.

The Seahawks are worse than the Panthers and regressing in this phase, while Clausen is at least showing small signs of improvement - advantage, Carolina. But remember Clausen has one pass TD in eight games played, so don't get too excited over the Panthers' players even with the favorable matchup.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium calls for a high of 66F and a low of 37F with a 40% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling may be larger issues than usual for both teams.

CAR Injuries: none
ATL Injuries: none


Carolina Panthers Passing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Cam Newton had us remembering 2011 at Philadelphia, with 18/28 for 306 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions passing and also a team-best 14/52/2 rushing on the day. THIS is what his fantasy owners expected to see on a regular basis during 2012. Sigh...

During the good game, Newton leaned on Brandon LaFell (seven for 3/74/1), Steve Smith (seven for 4/60/0) and Greg Olsen (five for 4/50/0) the most, though he also threw two balls for 2/65/0 to Louis Murphy during the contest. Backup TE Gary Barnidge (one for 1/24/1) also found the end-zone last week. The Panthers do have viable weapons in this phase of the game - maybe Newton will find them more regularly going forwards.

This week, the generous Chiefs' pass D is on the menu - they have coughed up 22 passing scores this year (tied for second-most in the NFL) while averaging 219.9 net passing yards allowed per game (10th in the NFL). Most recently, Peyton Manning enjoyed a multi-TD pass outing at Kansas City, with 22/37 for 273 net yards, two TDs and one interception to his credit on Sunday.

Newton has a nice matchup to work with this week - he may get on a roll entering December.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium calls for a high of 66F and a low of 37F with a 40% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling may be larger issues than usual for both teams.

CAR Injuries: none
ATL Injuries: none


Carolina Panthers Passing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Cam Newton rushed the ball 11/50/1 at Tampa Bay on October 24, and added 23/32 for 221 yards passing, two TDs and zero interceptions passing the football. Ted Ginn Jr. had a hot game with six targets for 5/80/0 receiving to lead the Panthers, followed by Steve Smith (seven for 4/42/0), Mike Tolbert (four for 4/29/1), Greg Olsen (four for 3/21/1) and Brandon LaFell (five for 3/23/0). Newton has since enjoyed four more wins (and seven victories in a row during this hot streak) and has the Panthers at 8-3 on the season. Last week, Newton threw 19/38 for 174 yards, one TD and one interception (while running in another score with 8/51/1 on the ground). The usual suspects - Smith (eight for 5/69/0), LaFell (five for 2/36/0) and Greg Olsen (nine for 5/34/1) led the team in receiving.

The Buccaneers' rebuilt secondary is now ranked 21st in the NFL averaging 244.5 net yards allowed per game, with 22 passing scores offset by 15 interceptions and 24 sacks (tied for third and 24th in the league, respectively). Matthew Stafford threw 26/46 for 286 net yards, three TDs and four interceptions vs. Tampa last week; Matt Ryan and company managed 24/43 for 268 net yards, two TDs and two interceptions thrown while at Tampa two games ago.

Newton is in a groove entering this game, while the Buccaneers' pass D is creating turnovers regularly right now, but not doing much to slow down opposing passers. On balance, this looks like a good but not great matchup for Carolina.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium calls for a high of 66F and a low of 37F with a 40% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling may be larger issues than usual for both teams.

CAR Injuries: none
ATL Injuries: none


Chicago Bears Passing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Jay Cutlers' struggles continued last week in the Twin Cities - he posted the second-lowest passing total of the 2009 campaign on Sunday, with 18/23 for 147 yards, one TD and two interceptions. Greg Olsen (7/45/0) and Matt Forte (4/34/0) were his lead receivers, while Johnny Knox (1/24/1) and Devin Hester (1/20/0) both managed to snag one of the two balls thrown their way last week. The Bears' offense is deflated entering December, folks. At 4-7, their season is already over.

The Rams' season is even more over than the Bears', with one whole win to their credit over 11 weeks. Seattle didn't need to pass the ball last week in order to win, so they didn't (14/25 for 95 net yards, zero TDs and zero interceptions), but when teams do bother to throw the ball vs. St. Louis they generally have good results - the Rams are 22nd in the NFL averaging 225.6 net passing yards allowed per game, with 15 TDs given up vs. eight interceptions and just 18 sacks generated to date (near the bottom of the league in both interceptions and sacks generated). Arizona raked this team for 25/33 for 261 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions two weeks ago, and Kurt Warner could only play one half of the game.

Cutler is in a downwards spiral, but the Rams are bad enough that he may find a saprk this week. Advantage, Chicago.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high of 34F with a low of 23F and a 20% chance of precipitation. The wind conditions at this venue during the winter can be hard on passers and kickers - it would be a good idea to check a forecast closer to game time if you are considering starting Favre, Orton or their team-mates.

CHI Injuries: none
GB Injuries: none


Chicago Bears Passing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Jay Cutler led the Bears to a 19-13 'W' over Detroit in week one, tossing 23/32 for 372 yards, two TDs and one interception during the game. Matt Forte led the team in receiving with 7/151/2 during the game, while Devin Aromashodu (5/71/0) and Johnnie Knox (3/52/0) helped push Cutler's total over 350 yards passing that day. Over the past four weeks, Cutler has flung 69/111 for 828 yards, with nine TDs and just three interceptions (and sweetened the pot for his fantasy owners with 21/108/0 rushing). He absolutely lit up the Eagles' D last week, throwing 14/21 for 218 yards and four TDs with zero interceptions - Devin Hester (six for 3/86/0 last week), Johnnie Knox (five for 3/68/1) and Earl Bennett (five for 4/56/2) are the trio of receivers who are powering Chicago's aerial attack entering December.

The Lions' pass D is pretty generous this year, with 20 passing scores given away in 11 contests vs. just nine interceptions generated. The team does have 28 sacks (ninth in the NFL), which is a concern for Cutler (his line is worst in the league with 41 allowed to date), but still averages 224.9 net yards allowed per game (18th in the NFL) despite generating negative pass yards with the sacks. On balance, this is a sub-par defensive group at best. Tom Brady kicked them around Ford Field last week for 21/27 yielding 338 net yards, four TDs and zero interceptions in the 45-24 win over Detroit.

The Bears' passing attack did well in the first game vs. Detroit, and there is no reason to think they can't do so again this week. Advantage, Chicago.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high of 34F with a low of 23F and a 20% chance of precipitation. The wind conditions at this venue during the winter can be hard on passers and kickers - it would be a good idea to check a forecast closer to game time if you are considering starting Favre, Orton or their team-mates.

CHI Injuries: none
GB Injuries: none


Chicago Bears Passing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Detroit (7-4) is on a two-game skid coming into this divisional showdown, and are now chasing 8-3 Green Bay for the NFC North title - meanwhile the Bears (5-6) are fighting for their playoff chances and are on a two-game winning streak. Detroit is 4-1 at home and they host the first of two showdowns with Chicago at Ford Field on Thanksgiving Day.

The Bears' passing attack continues to perform erratically entering the holiday week, with a mere 17/27 for 130 yards, one TD and zero interceptions thrown by Jay Cutler last week (three sacks taken for -18 yards) against the Buccaneers' 22nd-ranked pass D (that averages 252.1 net yards allowed per game) last week. However, Chicago was more explosive against the Vikings with 31/43 for 330 yards, three TDs and two interceptions thrown during Week 11. During that two-game winning streak, Alshon Jeffery has handled the most passes (21 targets for 14/157/2 receiving), followed by Brandon Marshall (15 for 10/122/2), Matt Forte (12 for 11/81/0) and Martellus Bennett (11 for 8/66/0). All four of Cutler's TD passes have gone to his two featured wideouts.

The Lions' pass D was shredded by Tom Brady and company last week (38/53 for 349 yards passing, two TDs and one interception thrown, with zero sacks taken) after losing a game in Arizona two weeks ago in which Drew Stanton also threw for over 300 yards (21/32 for 306 yards passing, two TDs and two interceptions) - the Lions' vaunted pass rush didn't produce a sack in either game. This unit is in crisis entering this key divisional matchup, friends. The Lions are now 15th in the NFL with 26 sacks generated, while the Bears rank 18th with 27 sacks allowed.

Even though the Bears are on the road, the Lions' pass D is not playing well enough to claim an edge - advantage, Chicago.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high of 34F with a low of 23F and a 20% chance of precipitation. The wind conditions at this venue during the winter can be hard on passers and kickers - it would be a good idea to check a forecast closer to game time if you are considering starting Favre, Orton or their team-mates.

CHI Injuries: none
GB Injuries: none


Cincinnati Bengals Passing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Bengals won a wild game vs. the Browns before their bye last week, fueled by four Cleveland turnovers that created two defensive scores and led to a 41-20 victory. Andy Dalton had a lot of short fields during the contest, and ended the day with a mere 13/27 for 93 yards passing, three TDs and two interceptions thrown - the TD passes helped save his fantasy outing for his owners. Jermaine Gresham (six target for 2/27/1 receiving), Mohamed Sanu (five for 2/11/1) and tight end Alex Smith (one for 1/2/1) were the receivers who grabbed TDs from Dalton during the last game.

The Chargers' pass defense allowed 26/38 for 281 net yards, three TDs and one interception to Kansas City's Alex Smith last week, and coughed up 22/35 for 239 net yards, one TD and one interception to Ryan Tannehill two games ago. To date, the team ranks 27th in the NFL averaging 276.0 net passing yards allowed per game, with 18 passing scores given up vs. a mere six interceptions (tied for 27th in the NFL) and 29 sacks (tied for 16th) generated to date.

Dalton should have a bigger game this week against the very giving Chargers.

Weather: Heinz Field should see a high of 42F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - a nice, crisp day to play football is on tap for this matchup.

CIN Injuries: none
PIT Injuries: none


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Derek Anderson has been the fantasy value pick/pickup of 2007, currently ranking 4th among fantasy signal callers in FP scored - over the past 4 weeks, he's piled up 93/156 for 1014 yards, 5 TDs and 3 interceptions, with 7/28/1 rushing during that span of time. Last week, vs. the Texans, Anderson threw for 24/35 for 253 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception, splitting the scores between his favorite receivers Kellen Winslow (10/107/1) and Braylon Edwards (4/57/1). Joe Jurevicius chipped in with 5/55/0. The Cleveland machine just keeps on rolling, having scored 27 or more points as a team over their last 6 games.

The Cardinals handed over 25/39 for 237 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions passing to a 49ers team that couldn't beg, borrow, or steal a TD in the prior 2 games (in fact, the 49ers hadn't scored more than 20 points in a game all year until last week). To date, Arizona averages 216.6 passing yards allowed per game (20th in the NFL), with 15 passing scores given up so far. They are in an 11-way tie for 10th in the NFL with 12 interceptions, but have posted 28 sacks to date (8th in the NFL). Overall, this is a middle of the road, mediocre pass D more often than not. Also, they lost starting CB Eric Green to IR this week (torn groin muscle) which costs the unit a top player and depth (Roderick Hood and Antrel Rolle figure to be the new starting CB tandem).

Anderson and company are on a huge roll, while the Cardinals are a run-of-the-mill unit this year. Advantage, Cleveland.

Weather: Cleveland Browns stadium should see a high of 34F with a low of 29F and a 20% chance for rain on Sunday. Cold, but not arctic, conditions shouldn't adversely affect either team, unless a storm blows through.

CLE Injuries: none
JAX Injuries: none


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

As of midweek, Browns' head coach Pat Shurmur was non-specific about Brandon Weeden's chances of playing this week, noting that Weeden was fine but that he was in the process of going through the NFL concussion protocols. Thanks for that insightful information, coach. Anyway, it seems likely that Colt McCoy will get the start for Cleveland at Oakland - in relief of Weeden last week, McCoy didn't put up a single pass, just handed the ball off to Trent Richardson. As Richardson has an excellent matchup against the Raiders' defense which allowed 34/221/1 to the Bengals last week, we look for McCoy's main role to be handing the ball to Richardson again this week. Last year over 13 games, McCoy threw 265/463 (57% completion percentage) for 2,733 yards passing, 14 TDs and 11 interceptions before he was knocked out of the final games of the year due to a concussion.

The Raiders' pass D isn't much better than their rush defense - they are tied for worst in the league with 23 passing TDs given out this year, vs. a mere six interceptions generated (second-worst in the NFL in this category), and have also tied for league-worst in sacks, with a miniscule 13 recorded to date. The team averages 247.8 net passing yards allowed per game (24th in the NFL). Andy Dalton cruised to 16/30 for 194 net yards, three TDs and zero interceptions against the Raiders last week - New Orleans also threw three TDs and zero interceptions vs. Oakland two weeks ago (21/28 for 229 net yards).

McCoy probably won't be asked to throw the ball all that much on Sunday, but when he does put it up good things should happen.

Weather: Cleveland Browns stadium should see a high of 34F with a low of 29F and a 20% chance for rain on Sunday. Cold, but not arctic, conditions shouldn't adversely affect either team, unless a storm blows through.

CLE Injuries: none
JAX Injuries: none


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

'Honestly, it doesn't mean that much to me,' Josh Gordon said on Sunday. 'After taking a loss like that, it means nothing. It is great for me as a wide receiver to get that experience, but if we can't go out there and win, I don't really care about it (17 targets for 14/237/1 receiving for Gordon in the losing effort vs. Pittsburgh).'

'Josh is a good talent,' quarterback Brandon Weeden (13/30 for 209 yards, one TD and one interception thrown) said after the game. 'He's a great route runner. There are a lot of things that go into it. He's a big-time playmaker, and as the quarterback, you know where those guys are at all times.' With Jason Campbell concussed and looking unlikely to play this week, Weeden will likely start once again, relying on Gordon and Jordan Cameron to do most of his pass-catching.

'They pay attention to what you're doing,' Cameron (10 targets for 3/32/0 receiving) said while explaining his disappointing outing. 'They're hitting you in all areas, and I just think it's the way the defense has been playing... I need to speed things up and I need to find a way to get open.'

While the Browns juggle their lineup once again, the Jaguars ride into the Browns' house after beating Houston - Jacksonville limited the Texans to 18/34 for 141 net yards, zero TDs and one interception last week, sacking Case Keenum twice for -28 yards. However, two weeks ago Carson Palmer bombed this squad for 30/42 yielding 402 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions thrown. To date, the Jaguars are ranked 18th in the NFL averaging 242.4 net yards allowed per game, with 20 passing scores handed out vs. a mere five interceptions (30th in the NFL) and only 17 sacks (dead last).

Weeden has a good matchup to work with here.

Weather: Cleveland Browns stadium should see a high of 34F with a low of 29F and a 20% chance for rain on Sunday. Cold, but not arctic, conditions shouldn't adversely affect either team, unless a storm blows through.

CLE Injuries: none
JAX Injuries: none


Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense at New York Giants Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Drew Bledsoe piled up yardage, but not many points, the last time these teams faced off back in week 6 (26/37 for 312 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception), hitting Keyshawn Johnson (8/120/0), Terry Glenn (6/64/0) and Jason Witten (5/56/1) for the majority of the completions. Last week, Bledsoe tossed 29/44 232 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions, while the usual suspects handled the majority of his passes - Keyshawn Johnson handled 10 passes for 6/59/1, Jason Witten saw 9 targets for 9/82/1, and Terry Glenn got 9 targets for 4/56/0. Bledsoe has tossed 58/91 for 538 yards, 3 TDs and 3 interceptions in his last 3 games - last week was his best performance of recent weeks by far.

The Giants were rocked for 21/37 for 249 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception by Matt Hasselbeck last week - New York has averaged 217 passing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks, with 7 sacks and 2 interceptions to their credit during that span. They've been consistently soft in this phase of the game all year long, averaging 236.3 passing yards handed over per game (27th in the NFL), with 12 passing scores donated to the other teams to date.

The Giants had trouble with Bledsoe last time around the block, and he's starting to get the engine cranked up again coming into this game. It's tough to visit Giants' Stadium, but we think Dallas has the edge in this phase of the game.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 45F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Fans and players should enjoy great football weather, as long as the forecast holds up.

DAL Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: none


Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense at New York Giants Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Cowboys are 2nd in the NFL in total offense, with an average of 388.8 total yards per game - in the passing phase of the game, they are 5th in the league averaging 265.9 net pass yards per contest.

Tony Romo is the 2nd-best fantasy QB in the land this year, with 233/352 for 3043 yards, 29 TDs and 13 interceptions passing (18/90/2 rushing). Over the last 4 weeks, he's lit up the opposition for 83/113 for 1059 yards, 13 TDs and 4 interceptions (4th best fantasy QB in the land during that span of time). Terrell Owens has been a ball-hog during that span of time, with 43 targets for 30/537/8 receiving, while Jason Witten is second on the squad with 27 for 17/210/2. Patrick Crayton has caught a TD (9 for 7/82/1), but didn't play last week due to a sprained left ankle - however, he practiced on Monday and is hopeful to play on Thursday vs. the Packers. This team is as hot as their opponent's offense.

The Packers' pass D ranks 18th in the NFL, allowing 215.3 net passing yards per game on average, with 15 pass TDs given up to date vs. 12 interceptions (tied for 10th in the NFL). The Packers are tied for 3rd in the NFL with 32 sacks to date (although DLs Johnny Jolly and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila haven't been practicing this week). Also, CB Charles Woodson hasn't practiced Sunday or Monday and may miss the contest, which would negatively impact the secondary. Last week, the Lions posted only 19/40 for 197 net passing yards, 1 TD and 1 interception vs. the Packers - they have allowed only one QB out of the past 4 to get over 200 yards passing (Vinny Testaverde threw for 19/37 for 251 net yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions against them 2 weeks ago).

The Cowboys' offense is very explosive this year, while the Packers are playing well vs. opposing passers this year, especially during the recent past. In Texas Stadium, home field advantage tilts the balances slightly towards Dallas - we think the Cowboys hold a slight edge over the banged-up Packers' unit.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 45F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Fans and players should enjoy great football weather, as long as the forecast holds up.

DAL Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: none


Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense at New York Giants Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Tony Romo struggled against the Giants back in week two, with 13/29 for 127 yards, one TD and three interceptions thrown (he added a TD rush, 1/3/1, to help salvage his fantasy owners' scores that week). Jason Witten caught his one and only TD of the year vs. New York, with 5/33/1 receiving - he's snagged 59/588/1 during the season, including 5/107/0 last week vs. Oakland on Thanksgiving - Witten is still heavily involved in the passing game, but the TDs haven't appeared at the rate most fantasy owners expected to see this year. Romo comes into this rematch hot, with 18/29 for 309 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions to his credit vs. Oakland last Thursday. Miles Austin led the team in receiving last week, with 7/145/1, while Roy Williams handled the other TD for Romo (2/15/1). Austin's emergence has made a big difference in the weeks between week two and week 13 - the Cowboys' passing attack is much more effective in December than it was in September.

The Giants' pass D is not outstanding despite their fourth-place ranking in terms of yards allowed per game (182.6 net yards on average) - they have given away a hefty 18 passing TDs this year, vs. just nine interceptions generated. Also, the Giants are tied for 17th in the NFL with just 23 sacks to date - they simply haven't generated much pressure up front or in the secondary. Last week, Kyle Orton was only sacked once on Thanksgiving evening and had just one other QB hit to absorb on his way to 18/28 for 235 net yards, one TD and one interception. Matt Ryan posted 26/46 for 262 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions in the 34-31 shootout with the Giants during week 10.

Romo is on a roll, while the Giants' pass D is in retreat entering December. This looks like a good matchup for the Cowboys despite being in the Giants' house on Sunday afternoon.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 45F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Fans and players should enjoy great football weather, as long as the forecast holds up.

DAL Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: none


Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense at New York Giants Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Tony Romo has been nuclear hot during the month of November, with 87/128 for 1,067 yards, 10 TDs and two interceptions thrown during the last four games. Laurent Robinson has exploded as Miles Austin's replacement, with 31 targets for 19/218/6 receiving to his credit during that four game stretch, followed by Dez Bryant (29 for 16/253/2), DeMarco Murray (24 for 20/156/0) and Jason Witten (22 for 16/236/2). It's all good for the Cowboys in this phase of the game, though Romo did toss both of his November interceptions last week vs. Miami (22/34 for 226 yards, two TDs and two interceptions). Hopefully, he'll rein in the turnovers starting off December.

The Cardinals' pass D ranks 25th in the NFL averaging 250.2 net yards allowed per game, but has been fairly stingy with passing scores, surrendering just 12 through 11 games (they have given up 12 rushing TDs, too, though, so don't be too impressed). To date, the club can claim just nine interceptions (tied for 22nd in the NFL) and 24 sacks (tied for 17th) - in most measurable ways, this unit is sub-par. The anemic Rams scraped up just 17/32 for 186 net yards, one TD and zero interceptions passing last week, but Alex Smith and the 49ers posted 20/38 for 267 yards, two TDs and one interception vs. the Cardinals two weeks ago.

Romo is on a big time roll, while the Cardinals are much closer to the bottom of the league than the top in this phase of the game - advantage, Dallas.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 45F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Fans and players should enjoy great football weather, as long as the forecast holds up.

DAL Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: none


Denver Broncos Passing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Denver didn't need to pass much the last time they faced the Chiefs (37/221/2 rushing), but Jake Plummer had good success when they did throw the ball, posting 13/18 for 152 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions. Plummer enjoys outstanding support from the rushing game week in and week out - the team is second in the NFL averaging 165.6 rushing yards per game this year - so he doesn't need to throw the ball a ton from week to week. Last week, Plummer put up 15/24 for 162 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception (Rod Smith snagged the TD with 5/57/1, while Jeb Putzier led the team in yardage with 4/69/0).

The Chiefs pass D is not the team strength, ranking 29th in the NFL this season allowing an average of 240.5 passing yards per game, with 19 thrown TDs surrendered to date. Over the past 3 weeks, teams have hit them for only 187 net passing yards per game (they have generated 5 interceptions and 6 sacks during that span, vs 5 TDs rushing and receiving given away). Last week, Tom Brady tossed 22/40 for 248 yards, 1 TD and 4 interceptions vs. this bunch (some of the interceptions were of the tough-luck, deflection variety). While they have improved in this phase of the game, the Chiefs are at best a mediocre unit heading into the stretch run.

Plummer is a very efficient QB this year, while the Chiefs are middlin' at best - Denver has the edge in this matchup.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 38F with a low of 22F on Sunday, and a 30% chance for precipitation (that could mean rain, sleet, or snow - or a mix of all 3). Wind conditions in this stadium can be extreme at this time of year - owners of Broncos or Chiefs will want to check a short-term forecast near the end of the week before setting their lineups.

DEN Injuries: none
KC Injuries: none


Denver Broncos Passing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Jay Cutler couldn't make the throws when his team needed them last week, posting 16/37 for 204 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception vs. Oakland. Brandon Marshall led the team with 4/84/0, and Brandon Stokley contributed 5/44/0, but nobody else got over 30 yards receiving during the contest. Over the past 3 weeks, Cutler has been up and down, with 59/106 for 867 yards, 4 TDs and 2 interceptions to his credit - 7th-best fantasy QB in the land during that time span - last week was a "down" week, though.

The Jets' pass D is among the leagues' weakest units, with an average of 239.4 net yards allowed per game, and 15 passing TDs given up to date vs. 9 interceptions and 35 sacks generated. Denver has allowed the 2nd-least number of sacks this year, though, with only 8 given away. The Jets create pressure up front, but don't close the deal in the secondary. Kerry Collins tossed 21/39 for 236 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions vs. these guys last week - they've allowed 742 passing yards in the last 3 weeks (247.3 per game on average). They are what they appear to be - a sub-par pass D.

Cutler had a tough time with the Oakland secondary - this week, he's got a much easier task ahead. Despite home field advantage belonging to the Jets, this is a good matchup for Cutler and company.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 38F with a low of 22F on Sunday, and a 30% chance for precipitation (that could mean rain, sleet, or snow - or a mix of all 3). Wind conditions in this stadium can be extreme at this time of year - owners of Broncos or Chiefs will want to check a short-term forecast near the end of the week before setting their lineups.

DEN Injuries: none
KC Injuries: none


Denver Broncos Passing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Peyton Manning threw 24/40 for 323 yards, one TD and zero interceptions the last time he saw the Chiefs two weeks ago - and he wasn't sacked once. Tamba Hali was in that game week 11, which he likely won't be for Kansas City during week 13, which means that Manning should have even less pass rush to deal with this time around the block. Since the big game against the Chiefs, Manning threw 19/36 for 150 yards, two TDs and one interception at New England last week - the Broncos got up big on New England early and ground out 48/280/1 rushing the football as they attempted to run out the clock (the attempt failed, as New England came back from 0-24 to win in overtime). Jacob Tamme (five targets for 5/47/1 receiving) and Demaryius Thomas (nine for 4/41/1) snagged the TDs from Manning - Julius Thomas missed the game last week due to a knee injury but is expected to play this week as usual which likely relegates Tamme back to a bit/role player. Wes Welker saw eight targets last week but only managed 4/31/0 receiving at New England.

The Chiefs' pass defense ranks 15th in the NFL averaging 235.0 net passing yards allowed per game, with 13 passing TDs given away vs. 12 interceptions and 37 sacks generated (tied for 11th and tied for first in the NFL, respectively). However, they lost Tamba Hali (sprained ankle) and Justin Houston (dislocated elbow) vs. San Diego last week and without their premier pass rushers, the defense fell apart. Phillip Rivers picked apart the Chiefs with 27/39 for 387 net yards passing, three TDs and zero interceptions thrown, taking just one sack for -5 yards. Kansas City's pass D has a big problem entering this game against Manning, though their vociferous home crowd should help limit his ability to audible.

The Broncos' passing attack is singularly dangerous but was muted last week in New England - meanwhile, the Chiefs' pass D crumbled vs. San Diego. This one looks like the Broncos hold a slim edge for the renewal of this AFC West divisional rivalry.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 38F with a low of 22F on Sunday, and a 30% chance for precipitation (that could mean rain, sleet, or snow - or a mix of all 3). Wind conditions in this stadium can be extreme at this time of year - owners of Broncos or Chiefs will want to check a short-term forecast near the end of the week before setting their lineups.

DEN Injuries: none
KC Injuries: none


Detroit Lions Passing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Jon Kitna played only part of the game vs. Minnesota back in week 2 (22/33 for 245 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception) before exiting due to a concussion for the better part of the second half, when backup J.T. O'Sullivan tossed 13/23 for 148 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions. Kitna did gut it out and return to action late in the game, and set up the winning field goal. Since then, Kitna has been a solid #1 fantasy QB (checking in at #10 among all fantasy signal callers in total points so far).

Last week, Kitna posted 19/40 for 224 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception in the divisional showdown with Green Bay. Calvin Johnson led the team with 7/83/1 (as he continues to mature as a pro receiver), while Aveion Cason was 2nd with 4/58/0 - Roy Williams was relatively quiet with 3/32/0. It wasn't the most explosive game of the year for the Lions, but it wasn't a disaster either.

The Vikings are 32nd in the NFL allowing an average of 283.1 passing yards per game, with 15 pass TDs handed over vs. 13 interceptions to date (tied for 8th in the NFL). They are 11th in the league with 27 sacks - the Vikings are river-boat gamblers in this phase, going for big turnovers or sacks, but vulnerable to the deep ball. Last week, the formula worked to perfection resulting in 4 interceptions of Eli Manning, 3 of which were returned for long TDs. Manning had 21/49 for 234 net yards, 1 TD and 4 interceptions when the dust settled. The Vikings will pin their ears back and come after Kitna, who shelters behind the league's worst pass-blocking line (47 sacks allowed to date).

Kitna and coach Martz have no problem with letting the ball rip - there should be plenty of passing this week on the Lions' part - assuming Kitna doesn't get his block knocked off by the Vikings' pass rushers.

Weather: Inside the dome at Ford Field, weather won't be a factor in this game.

DET Injuries: none
MIN Injuries: none


Detroit Lions Passing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Back on October sixth, the Lions and the Packers engaged in a duel of (mostly) field goals, with Detroit coming out a loser (9-22). Matthew Stafford did sling a late TD (at 2:06 left in the fourth quarter) to Kris Durham (eight targets for 3/30/1 receiving) and Stafford compiled 25/40 for 262 yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions, while dealing with intense pass pressure (five sacks taken for -40 yards, and five other hits on the quarterback). Brandon Pettigrew (five for 4/59/0) and Tony Scheffler (since released) were the team's leading receivers during the tilt with the Packers. Calvin Johnson was inactive for the first tilt against the Packers, which helps explain the lopsided loss.

'He did a great job of finding some open areas,' Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said of Nate Burleson, who returned to action last week against the Buccaneers, with 10 targets for 7/77/1 receiving. 'Obviously, [he] had a big touchdown catch early in the game and continued to play well. Hopefully, he's feeling good and can continue on that path.' Calvin Johnson also had a strong outing last week, with 14 targets for 7/115/0 receiving (though the one he dropped at the end of regulation cost the Lions the game) - Kris Durham (six for 3/46/0) and Brandon Pettigrew (five for 3/32/1) helped move the chains and Joseph Fauria also scored (one for 1/10/1). The Lions' issues don't arise from the passing arm of Matthew Stafford.

The Packers' pass D is 20th in the NFL averaging 244.2 net yards allowed per game, with 19 TDs given up vs. a league-worst four interceptions generated - the low number of interceptions given up is despite sporting 37 sacks, a league high. The pass pressure up front isn't creating turnovers in the secondary this season. Christian Ponder managed 21/30 for 215 net yards, one TD and zero interceptions (and he isn't usually able to throw for more than 200 yards) while even Eli Manning threw 25/35 for 256 net yards, one TD and one interception against these guys two games ago.

Stafford has a good matchup ahead when the Packers visit on Thanksgiving Day.

Weather: Inside the dome at Ford Field, weather won't be a factor in this game.

DET Injuries: none
MIN Injuries: none


Detroit Lions Passing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Detroit (7-4) is on a two-game skid coming into this divisional showdown, and are now chasing 8-3 Green Bay for the NFC North title - meanwhile the Bears (5-6) are fighting for their playoff chances and are on a two-game winning streak. Detroit is 4-1 at home and they host the first of two showdowns with Chicago at Ford Field on Thanksgiving Day.

The Lions' offense is in a deep funk, with zero TDs (rushing or passing) over the last two games played - Calvin Johnson last caught a TD vs. Miami back in Week 10. With only 183 yards passing at Arizona and 264 yards passing at New England (with one interception thrown per game) Matthew Stafford has been short-circuiting his fantasy owners' lineups lately. One bright spot for Detroit is Golden Tate (11 targets for 4/97/0 receiving at New England last week) who has gone over 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his career (72/1,047/3 receiving on the season so far). He's well ahead of Calvin Johnson's mediocre 38/578/3 receiving total.

The Bears' pass D gave up 25/48 for 301 net yards passing, one TD and two interceptions (with five sacks for -40 yards) to last year's backup quarterback in Chicago, Josh McCown - two games ago, they coughed up a more modest 18/28 for 147 net yards passing, one TD and one interception to Teddy Bridgewater and company (with two sacks for -11 yards). This year, their average net passing yards allowed, 260.5, is on the low end for NFL defenses (28th in the NFL), while the 25 passing scores surrendered to date is second-most in the NFL behind the Jets' 27 allowed.

The Bears' pass D is bad enough to provide a tonic for Stafford and company - we think the home-team Lions hold the edge in this phase of the game.

Weather: Inside the dome at Ford Field, weather won't be a factor in this game.

DET Injuries: none
MIN Injuries: none


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense at Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

As others have pointed out, Brett Favre has no deep love of Texas Stadium, wherein he has yet to win a game in his storied career. However, like the mutual fund commercials constantly remind us, past performance (or lack thereof) is no guarantee of future results. This year, the Packers bring a potent offense loaded with new, young talent to bear against their rivals for the NFC crown.

How potent is this attack? Well, Favre is the #3 fantasy QB in the land this year (points per game) with 291/425 for 3356 yards, 22 TDs and only 8 interceptions passing (which had been Favre's big problem in recent seasons)- the Packers rank 2nd in the NFL in passing yards per game, with 298.5 per contest on average. Favre's tossed 110/151 for 1310 yards, 11 TDs and 2 interceptions over the past 4 weeks, 2nd only to Tom Brady during that span of time - last week, he torched divisional rival Detroit for 31/41 for 381 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions. Donald Driver led the charge against Detroit, with 10/147/0, while James Jones (5/75/0) and Greg Jennings (5/60/2) pulled their weight, too. Koren Robinson caught a 43 yard bomb and ended up with 2/50/0 during the game - Ruvell Martin snagged the remaining TD with 1/3/1. The Packers bring a lot of weapons to the fight each week (although Bubba Franks suffered a setback with his knee on Monday and is likely out for this game - Donald Lee has taken over the #1 TE role long ago anyway, though, so Franks' absence won't be a huge loss for the Packers). This team is on fire, friends.

The Cowboys are ranked 21st in the NFL averaging 217 net passing yards allowed per game, with 15 TD passes given up to date. However, they are tied for 2nd in the NFL with 16 interceptions and are 7th in the NFL with 30 sacks. However, the Packers have allowed the 3rd-least sacks in the NFL this year (only 14 given up to date) and Favre is taking good care of the ball so far. The Packers aren't prone to allowing sacks or throwing interceptions this year. Last week, the Cowboys whupped the Jets 34-3, holding the first-year starter Kellen Clemens to 12/27 for 120 net yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception - but Favre is about as far from a 1st-year starter as can be imagined. Over their past 4 games, the Cowboys have given up 925 net passing yards (231 net yards per game on average), with a high of 34/55 for 361 net yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception handed over to Jason Campbell in week 11. The Jets' numbers last week are the low over the last 4 weeks. The Cowboys' secondary has beat up on lesser teams, but hasn't been able to do much against units that have more fire power.

Favre is at the top of his game, while the Cowboys have ping-ponged up and down in this phase of the game in recent weeks and look fairly average, though they do cause problems when they can bring pass pressure to bear. With the vocal Texas Stadium crowd at their back and the first seed in the NFC at risk, the Cowboys will be cranked to a fever pitch - but the Packers' wily veteran QB has an edge in this one with his new crew of prolific receivers.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high of 34F with a low of 23F and a 20% chance of precipitation. The wind conditions at this venue during the winter can be hard on passers and kickers - it would be a good idea to check a forecast closer to game time if you are considering starting Favre, Orton or their team-mates.

GB Injuries: none
CHI Injuries: none


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense at Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Aaron Rodgers (14/25 for 219 yards passing, one TD and one interception at the Giants) had a season-low 14 completions at New York on Sunday night, and took five sacks for -29 yards and 7 other hits on the quarterback during the game. 'It sucks,' Packers RG Josh Sitton said of the offensive line's problems pass blocking vs. New York 'I don't like to be embarrassed like that.' Randall Cobb (4/39/0 receiving and 1/12/0 rushing last week) added 'That makes it hard for Aaron to get the ball out. By the time we look back for the ball, he's scrambling.' Jordy Nelson did manage to haul in the lone, long-ball TD last week (four for 2/71/1), but the Packers' passing attack sputtered for most of the time in week 12. The offensive line play has to improve if Rodgers is to excel during the final 1/4 of the season. Greg Jennings was close to returning in week 12, but his endurance wasn't quite there - monitor his practice participation later in the week as his return would be a boost for the whole unit.

The Vikings pass D allowed 23/31 for 183 net yards, one TD and one interception to Jay Cutler and the Bears last week, and gave up 28/42 for 308 net yards, three TDs and one interception to Matthew Stafford back in week 10. To date, the unit ranks 14th in the NFL averaging 224.9 net yards allowed per game, with 18 passing TDs given up vs. a mere six interceptions (next-to-last in the NFL) and 27 sacks generated (tied for 13th in the NFL).

Rodgers and company should get back on track against the so-so Vikings' D - advantage, Green Bay.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high of 34F with a low of 23F and a 20% chance of precipitation. The wind conditions at this venue during the winter can be hard on passers and kickers - it would be a good idea to check a forecast closer to game time if you are considering starting Favre, Orton or their team-mates.

GB Injuries: none
CHI Injuries: none


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense at Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Aaron Rodgers and company took a break from utterly burying the opposition last week at Minnesota - Rodgers had his first game under 300 yards passing over the last four contests played, with 19/29 for 209 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions passing during the 24-21 win over Minnesota. Not quite in the style of the 53-20 shellacking meted out to Philadelphia two weeks ago (22/36 for 341 yards passing, three TDs with zero interceptions thrown for Rodgers), but a 'W' is a 'W'. As usual, Jordy Nelson (22 targets for 12/177/1 receiving) and Randall Cobb (18 for 14/187/0) have seen the most targets over the last two games played, but Eddie Lacy (six for 5/58/2) and Davante Adams (six for 3/23/1) have been factors when it comes to six-point plays. It's all good for the Packers in this phase of the game.

Another nuclear-hot NFL team, the Patriots, are coming to play at Lambeau Field on Sunday. They've held the Lions to just three field goals (Matthew Stafford threw 18/46 for 244 net yards passing, zero TDs and one interception at New England, while taking two sacks for - 20 yards) and limited the Colts' offensive machine to 20 points (allowing 23/39 for 303 net yards passing, two TDs and one interception thrown to Andrew Luck, while sacking him once for zero yards lost). To date, the Patriots average 242.1 net passing yards allowed per game (17th in the NFL), with 18 passing scores handed out vs. 12 interceptions (eighth in the NFL) and 25 sacks (tied for 16th) generated.

The Patriots are outscoring their opponents most of the time, but their pass D doesn't shut down opposing passers - at Lambeau field this week, we think this is a good matchup for the high-octane Packers - this game has the look of a shootout to us.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high of 34F with a low of 23F and a 20% chance of precipitation. The wind conditions at this venue during the winter can be hard on passers and kickers - it would be a good idea to check a forecast closer to game time if you are considering starting Favre, Orton or their team-mates.

GB Injuries: none
CHI Injuries: none


Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Colts QB Dan Orlovsky will start over QB Curtis Painter in Week 13 versus the New England Patriots, according to head coach Jim Caldwell's comments on Tuesday, November 29th. Orlovsky has gone 14-for-21 with 122 yards, with zero TDs or interceptions this season. His best stretch as an NFL quarterback came back during 2008 when he appeared in ten games and started seven (143/255 for 1,6165 yards, eight TDs and eight interceptions for a 56.1% completion rate) as part of the Kitna/Culpepper/Orlovsky merry-go-round for the then-0-16 Lions during the disastrous 'O-fer' season. Perhaps Orlovsky will be able to help this Colts' team (now 0-11) avoid a similar ignominious fate this year - we're sure he doesn't want to be part of another 'O-fer' team.

Orlovsky has some upside prospects as a fantasy starter (if not as a real-NFL QB) this week as the Patriots' putrid secondary is on the menu for Orlovsky's start. The Patriots are dead last in the NFL averaging 307.5 net yards allowed per game, and they coughed up an astronomical 393 net yards, with one TD and one interception, to the Eagles' second-string QB Vince Young last week. Even Tyler Palko went over 200 yards passing at New England two weeks ago (24/37 for 209 net yards, zero TDs and three interceptions).

The Colts' prospects for a 'W' in New England look dim at best, but Orlovsky should have some decent numbers against the suspect New England secondary.

Weather: Inside the RCA Dome, conditions should be perfect to play football.

IND Injuries: none
TEN Injuries: none


Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Andrew Luck has thrown 66/113 for 803 yards passing, three TDs and four interceptions over his last three games played. Against the Bills last week he did just enough to win, with 20/37 for 240 yards passing, one TD and one interception thrown. T.Y. Hilton continues to be a significant presence in the offense, with three targets for 3/33/1 receiving vs. Buffalo (and a 75 yard punt return TD too) after breaking out with nine targets for 6/100/2 two weeks ago at New England. Reggie Wayne led the team in receiving vs. Buffalo, with 14 targets for 8/102/0 receiving, followed by Dwayne Allen (six targets for 3/36/0). The Colts' passing attack is going strong entering this showdown with high-octane Detroit.

The Lions' pass D averages 221.5 net yards allowed per game, 17th in the league, with 17 pass TDs given up vs just seven interceptions (25th in the NFL) and 25 sacks (17th) generated to date. They're pretty average across the board in this phase of the game. Matt Schaub put up 29/48 for 296 net yards, one TD and one interception at Detroit last week; Aaron Rodgers posted 19/27 for 219 net yards, two TDs and one interception at Detroit two weeks ago.

Luck is an outstanding young quarterback, while the Lions are middlin' at pass defense - advantage, Indianapolis.

Weather: Inside the RCA Dome, conditions should be perfect to play football.

IND Injuries: none
TEN Injuries: none


Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Andrew Luck went down swinging against the Patriots two weeks ago (23/39 for 303 yards passing, two TDs and one interception thrown during the 20-42 loss), and rebounded to pound the hapless Jaguars 23-3 last week (21/32 for 253 yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions while taking five sacks for -39 yards). New dad T.Y. Hilton snagged a TD in honor of his newborn child (five targets for 4/122/1 receiving), while Donte Moncrief (four for 4/38/0), Dan Herron (five for 5/31/0) and Coby Fleener (four for 2/28/0) helped move the chains. In the local media there have been reports that Reggie Wayne has lost a step after nine targets for 3/10/0 receiving last week, but remember he handled nine for 5/91/0 just two weeks ago against the Patriots - it may be premature to write off the savvy veteran after one disappointing outing. The Colts' passing attack is ranked first in the NFL after 11 games, averaging 323.1 passing yards per game, with 29 TDs thrown vs. 10 interceptions handed over. Also, Dwayne Allen may return from his ankle injury this week, but coach Chuck Pagano wasn't overly optimistic about Allen on Monday 'He's trending in the right direction but he's going to be day-to-day' was the statement. Stay tuned to Footballguys.com's Players in the News for the latest on Allen going into the Week 13 games.

The Washington pass D is ranked eighth in the NFL in terms of net yards allowed per game (230.3), but they have given away a hefty 21 passing scores over 11 games, with a mere four interceptions (tied for next-to-last in the NFL) generated this year. Their 27 sacks ties Washington for 12th in the NFL in that category, but overall this is a mediocre pass D that gives up a lot of points. Colin Kaepernick threw 20/29 for 246 net yards, one TD and one interception vs. Washington last week; Josh McCown tossed 15/23 for 281 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions at Washington two games ago.

This looks like a good matchup for the league-leading Indianapolis offense.

Weather: Inside the RCA Dome, conditions should be perfect to play football.

IND Injuries: none
TEN Injuries: none


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense at Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

David Garrard played well in the Jaguars' week 4 victory over Houston, throwing 23/32 for 236 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions, with 7/41/1 rushing as a sweetener for his fantasy owners. Since the early part of the season, he's been up and down - 58/100 for 690 yards, 3 TDs and 3 interceptions over the past 3 weeks (10/37/0 rushing) which lands him at #18 among all fantasy QBs in points scored per game during that span of time. With 27/45 for 317 yards passing last week, he had his most prolific day as a QB this year, but 1 TD and 2 interceptions later the Jags were sunk 30-12. Reggie Williams handled the TD (3/44/1), and Marcedes Lewis (4/41/0) and Matt Jones (4/37/0) both caught 4 balls, while Maurice Jones-Drew racked up big yardage (9/113/0). Garrard isn't exactly hot entering the game, but he's not ice cold, either.

The Texans hand over 204.8 net passing yards per game on average (13th in the NFL), but have coughed up 17 passing TDs this year, vs. just 9 interceptions and 17 sacks (27th in the NFL in this category). Over the past 3 weeks, Houston has handed over 636 net passing yards (212 per game), with 13/32 for 145 yards and 0 TDs allowed to (and 3 interceptions extracted from) the hapless Browns last week. Most weeks, it's relatively easy to pass on the Texans.

Garrard and company made some noise last week - against their divisional rivals, they should do well again this week. Advantage, Jacksonville.

Weather: Cleveland Browns stadium should see a high of 34F with a low of 29F and a 20% chance for rain on Sunday. Cold, but not arctic, conditions shouldn't adversely affect either team, unless a storm blows through.

JAX Injuries: none
CLE Injuries: none


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense at Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Jaguars' horrid pass attack got Jack Del Rio fired this week (the straw that broke the camel's back), and Wayne Weaver got out of the NFL ownership biz, too, selling the franchise to Pakistani-born entrepreneur and auto-parts mogul Shahid Khan, Weaver announced during a Tuesday news conference. 'My dream is to see this team be successful in Jacksonville, and I found an owner that has the commitment and that passion,' Weaver said. 'He really wanted to buy a team, and he wanted to do it here in Jacksonville. This gentleman is absolutely the American story.' The winds of change, they are a-blowing at gale force down in Jacksonville, folks.

However, those winds won't fill the sails of the moribund Jaguars' pass attack, which enters week 13 ranked 29th in passing attempts, 32nd in passing yards (1,444 to date) and 32nd in passing TDs, with six thrown vs. 10 interceptions given away to date. Blaine Gabbert was finally benched vs. Houston last week (13/29 for 136 yards, zero TDs and one interception thrown), but Luke McCown was no better with 7/11 for 62 yards to his credit, so for now Gabbert remains the future of this franchise. Jaguars interim head coach Mel Tucker said on Wednesday that he believes Gabbert is both the quarterback of the present and future. 'I feel confident in Blaine. Blaine's the quarterback now. He's the quarterback of the future. That's how it's going to be,' Tucker said. We'll see if Tucker can light a fire under Gabbert - he's done precious little to warrant the title of 'quarterback of the future'.

The Chargers come to Jacksonville riding a horrible slide into oblivion. They've lost six straight games and are now last in the AFC West, while averaging 205.3 net yards allowed per game in this phase (ninth in the NFL). However, the Chargers have coughed up 20 passing TDs so far this year, tied for third-most in the NFL, and have generated 10 interceptions (tied for 18th in the NFL) and 19 sacks (28th-ranked) to balance that hefty total. Even Tim Tebow completed 50% of his passes at San Diego, with 9/18 for 141 net yards, one TD and zero interceptions. Two weeks ago, Jay Cutler and company ran up 187/32 for 286 yards, two TDs and one interception vs. the Chargers.

Gabbert has stunk it up this year, but he's got a good matchup under the Monday Night Lights this week.

Weather: Cleveland Browns stadium should see a high of 34F with a low of 29F and a 20% chance for rain on Sunday. Cold, but not arctic, conditions shouldn't adversely affect either team, unless a storm blows through.

JAX Injuries: none
CLE Injuries: none


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense vs Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Trent Green continued his comeback with 13/22 for 161 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception vs. the Broncos - Tony Gonzalez was back in the lineup after his shoulder injury sidelined him for a game (4/35/0), while Samie Parker once again led the team in receiving (3/71/0) - he's been the #3 target for the Chiefs over the past 3 weeks, with 13 targets for 7/128/0. Eddie Kennison is #1 with 18 for 6/112/0, while Gonzalez has 17 for 10/119/0. As you can see, there aren't a lot of fantasy points to be had in this phase of the game while Green gets back up to speed. We'll see if he can pick up the pace this week.

The Browns are mediocre pass defenders, averaging 199.7 yards allowed per game, with 13 thrown TDs given up to date. Over the past 3 weeks, they've allowed an average of 248 passing yards per game, but have generated 6 interceptions and 6 sacks - Carson Palmer hit them for 25/32 for 275 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception last week.

This is a good week for Green to test his recovering timing against a stumbling pass D.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 38F with a low of 22F on Sunday, and a 30% chance for precipitation (that could mean rain, sleet, or snow - or a mix of all 3). Wind conditions in this stadium can be extreme at this time of year - owners of Broncos or Chiefs will want to check a short-term forecast near the end of the week before setting their lineups.

KC Injuries: none
DEN Injuries: none


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense vs Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Though the Chiefs were down 35-0 in the second quarter at Denver during week 10, there was no quit in Matt Cassel (33/53 for 469 yards, four TDs and zero interceptions) or Dwayne Bowe (13/186/2 receiving) - they both ended up being fantasy goldmines in the last Chiefs/Broncos clash. Jamaal Charles was second on the team in week 10 with 5/80/1 receiving (Chris Chambers had a rare TD in the game, too, with 4/36/1 to his credit). Cassel had his second four-TD game in the past three weeks at Seattle last week, slinging 22/32 for 233 yards, four TDs and zero interceptions (he hasn't thrown an interception in three weeks, and has only one since week three). Dwayne Bowe is the only player on the team with double-digit targets over the past two weeks, with 25 for 19/279/5, and he's the number one fantasy WR over the past four weeks with an astounding 37/528/8 receiving - he and Cassel are going bonkers entering December.

The Broncos' pass D is currently 20th in the NFL averaging 239 net yards allowed per game, and they've given up a whopping 23 pass TDs this year, vs just six interceptions (tied for 30th in the NFL) and only 16 sacks generated (31st in the NFL). When you give up the second-most TDs in the NFL through 11 weeks and are near the worst in turnovers and sacks generated, you know your defense stinks. The Broncos' sure does, with 308 net yards and three TDs allowed to the Rams last week and 253 net yards, with four TDs and one interception handed over to San Diego two weeks ago.

This is nice matchup for Kansas City - it looks like they are positioned to move the ball at will vs. Denver, just as they did at Seattle last week.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 38F with a low of 22F on Sunday, and a 30% chance for precipitation (that could mean rain, sleet, or snow - or a mix of all 3). Wind conditions in this stadium can be extreme at this time of year - owners of Broncos or Chiefs will want to check a short-term forecast near the end of the week before setting their lineups.

KC Injuries: none
DEN Injuries: none


Miami Dolphins Passing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Chad Pennington put the Dolphins on his back and fought hard against the Patriots (24/41 for 341 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception, with 2/3/1 rushing as a sweetener for his fantasy owners) - however, when it was said and done Matt Cassel had the upper hand. Unfortunately for Pennington, his most reliable receiver, Greg Camarillo (6/75/1 last week), blew out a knee and is done for the season. Ted Ginn Jr. (5/88/0 last week) and Davone Bess (5/87/0) will have to take up Camarillo's slack in the weeks to come. TE Casey Cramer (1/2/1) and Ricky Williams (2/19/1) handled the other scoring passes from Pennington. Pennington has 62/99 for 724 yards, 4 TDs and 2 interceptions to his credit over the past 3 weeks - he doesn't usually notch 3 TDs in a single game.

The Rams' pass D is slightly better than their horrid rush D, but they are still 21st in the NFL averaging 224.5 net yards allowed per game, with 16 passing TDs given away vs. just 6 interceptions and 21 sacks generated to date. Over the last 3 weeks, the Rams have allowed 109 points to opposing offenses, while scoring 3 on 2 occasions and 16 on the other. Chicago only needed 18/29 for 133 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions to beat the Rams 27-3 last week - most teams don't bother to throw much against the Rams lately, (only 499 passing yards allowed over the last 3 weeks) though they could if they wanted to - the Rams don't stop anybody, generally speaking.

Pennington plays in a system that tends to rely on the run, so don't expect him to throw a lot against the weak Rams - but when he does put it up, good things should happen. Advantage, Miami.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 80F with a low of 66F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play and watch a football game.

MIA Injuries: none
BUF Injuries: none


Miami Dolphins Passing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Chad Henne returned to the starting job for the Dolphins with a big game, hitting 17/30 for 307 yards, two TDs and one interception (without Brandon Marshall in the lineup due to his injured hamstring) - Davone Bess (nine targets for 6/111/0) and Brian Hartline (seven for 4/75/0) led the team in receiving during Henne's return, while Marlon Moore (four targets for 1/57/1) and Patrick Cobbs (three for 2/32/1) provided the scoring grabs. 'Davone did a tremendous job catching the ball and running with the football after the catch during the course of that game," coach Tony Sparano said after the game. 'There were a lot of yards to be had out there with the man-to-man (coverage)... I was impressed with what Davone did.' With a 33-17 'W' under his belt, Henne is back in the catbird seat for the Dolphins entering December. As of Wednesday, Marshall is back practicing with the team, so Henne could have his full array of receivers back for this contest, which would be a boost for the attack.

The Browns' pass D is in the middle of the NFL range this year, ranking 19th in the NFL allowing an average of 237.2 net yards per game, with 19 TDs given up vs. a healthy 15 interceptions (tied for fourth in the NFL) and 23 sacks (tied for 13th) generated. Jimmy Clausen was limited to 16/28 for 175 net yards, zero TDs and one interception last week, while Jacksonville was victimized for four interceptions two weeks ago (but still won despite the turnovers with 20/35 for 226 net yards and two TDs passing and a final score of 20-24 in favor of the Jaguars). Lately the Browns have turned up the heat on opposing passers (five interceptions in two games).

Henne and company looked simpatico last week, but they've got an improving pass D on the way to Miami this week - we give a slight edge to the Dolphins in this contest due to home field advantage.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 80F with a low of 66F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play and watch a football game.

MIA Injuries: none
BUF Injuries: none


Miami Dolphins Passing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Ryan Tannehill bounced back from his three-interceptions-no-TDs debacle against Tennessee in week 10 to post 18/26 for 253 yards passing, one TD and one interception vs. the very good Seattle pass D last week. Davone Bess had nine targets for 7/129/0 receiving last week (only his second 100+ yards-receiving game this year), while Charles Clay was second on the team with six passes for 6/84/1 to his credit. We'll see if Tannehill can build on the momentum against the soft New England pass D this week.

The Patriots have won their last two games by a combined margin of 108-43, allowing 26/36 for 286 net yards, one TD and one interception to the Jets' Mark Sanchez last week, and 27/50 for 329 yards, two TDs and three interceptions to the Colts' Andrew Luck two weeks ago. The Patriots' defense isn't dominating people - their offense is blowing out opposing defenses. To date, the Patriots rank 29th in the NFL averaging 289.4 net passing yards allowed per game, with the second-most pass TDs given up (22), vs. 14 interceptions (tied for fifth in the NL) and 23 sacks (tied for 21st) generated. Seeing as Tannehill had a three-interceptions-thrown outing vs. Tennessee two games ago, he'll need to pay attention to ball security against the ball-hawking Patriots this week.

Tannehill and company have a good matchup to work with in week 13.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 80F with a low of 66F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play and watch a football game.

MIA Injuries: none
BUF Injuries: none


Miami Dolphins Passing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

This is the first clash of the year between these AFC East rivals - Ryan Tannehill has been a streaky passer this year, with 28/42 for 310 yards, one TD and one interception during the narrow 16-20 loss to Carolina last week, and 22/35 for 268 yards passing, one TD and one interception thrown vs. the Chargers two weeks ago. Four receivers have seen double-digit targets over the past two games: Mike Wallace (15 targets for 9/166/1 receiving), Brian Hartline (18 for 10/143/0), Charles Clay (14 for 10/117/1) and Rishard Matthews (13 for 7/54/0).

The Jets' pass D is not as scary as their defensive front - the secondary ranks 23rd in the NFL averaging 250.3 net passing yards allowed per game, with 20 TDs given up vs. six interceptions (27th in the NFL this year) and 32 sacks (tied for 11th in the league) generated to date. Joe Flacco and company put up 17/27 for 245 net yards passing, one TD and one interception thrown vs. the Jets last week, while E.J. Manuel had 20/28 for 245 yards passing, two TDs and zero interceptions vs. New York two games ago.

Tannehill has been on a streak of solid games lately - against the sub-par Jets' secondary he has a good shot at another respectable game. Also, Lamar Miller has an awful rushing matchup this week so if the Dolphins are going to compete they'll have to throw the football early and often in this game.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 80F with a low of 66F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play and watch a football game.

MIA Injuries: none
BUF Injuries: none


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense at Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Brad Johnson had an efficient outing the last time he played vs. Detroit, with 15/22 for 136 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions to his credit (Nate Burleson (2/16/1) and Michael Bennett (1/6/1) hauled in the TDs that day). Johnson has won in his last 4 starts, but has thrown TDs in only 2 out of those 4 games (2 4 weeks ago and 3 last week) - he's been a feast-or-famine type start since assuming the top job. Last week, he provided a smorgasbord of fantasy points for his owners, with 19/28 for 207 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception - Marcus Robinson hogged all 3 scores with 3/32/3, while Travis Taylor led in yardage with 5/70/0.

The Lions surrendered 12/22 for 146 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception to Michael Vick and company last week (the Falcons rushed for 256 yards and a score during the game) - over the past 3 weeks, the Lions' secondary has averaged 203 passing yards allowed per game. A big part of their problems in this phase is due to a lack of turnovers (only 1 interception in 3 weeks) and a lack of sacks (1 sack over the past 3 weeks). When you aren't covering the receivers well and you aren't pressuring the opposing QBs, bad things are going to happen on the score board. These guys are barely showing up to play right now, friends. We'll see if coach Jauron can light a fire under the secondary now that he is in charge. Dre Bly has been vocal in his support of coach Mariucci this week, so one of the team leaders is sowing dissension in the locker room about the firing, by the way.

With a bickering and underperforming secondary facing the Vikings, we expect Johnson to have a good shot at another "feast" day for his owners.

Weather: Inside the dome at Ford Field, weather won't be a factor in this game.

MIN Injuries: none
DET Injuries: none


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense at Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Gus Frerotte was good (25/40 for 298 yards and 2 TDs), and bad (4 interceptions) in the ugly 41-48 loss to Chicago back in week 7. He hooked up with Bernard Berrian (6/81/1) and Visanthe Shiancoe (4/68/1) for the scores during the wild contest, which featured 2 fumbles recovered for TDs and 1 blocked punt returned for a TD on the part of Chicago. Frerotte did cut down on the turnovers last week (12/20 for 120 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception), but he's not been impressive of late (41/68 for 409 yards, 3 TDs and 4 interceptions thrown in his last 3 outings). Visanthe Shiancoe led the team with 3/60/0 receiving, while Bernard Berrian gained more yards rushing (2/22/0) than he did receiving (1/6/0).

The Bears' pass D knocked Marc Bulger out of the game on a sack last week, and heckled the hapless Rams into 4 interceptions (19/36 for 193 yards, 0 TDs and 4 interceptions thrown). They have 6 sacks and 5 interceptions in the last 3 weeks (5 sacks and 4 interceptions from last week, though - they haven't been doing much of late except to the helpless Rams) while averaging 234.6 net yards allowed per game. To date, the Bears are 30th in the NFL averaging 244.2 net yards allowed per game, with 13 TDs handed over vs. 17 interceptions generated (22 sacks, 15th in the NFL so far).

Frerotte has been pedestrian in the last few weeks, but against the underwhelming Bears he's got a good matchup ahead of him on Sunday at home in the Metrodome.

Weather: Inside the dome at Ford Field, weather won't be a factor in this game.

MIN Injuries: none
DET Injuries: none


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense at Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Vikings have shifted to a run-first mentality under new head coach Leslie Frazier, who won his first game as a head coach last week at Washington by running the ball 38 times for 137 yards and two TDs (despite losing Adrian Peterson early in the game with just 6/36/1 rushing to his credit). Brett Favre attempted 23 passes last week (15/23 for 172 yards, zero TDs and zero interceptions), and the team's top receiver was Visanthe Shiancoe (six targets for 3/54/0), followed by Peterson (1/34/0) and Percy Harvin (5/32/0). Sidney Rice looked out of synch with Favre and also may have been favoring his surgically repaired hip - he had just 1/20/0 out of four targets. The Vikings' passing attack deserves to take a back seat to the running game entering December, friends. Things just aren't clicking for this unit this year.

The Bills' pass D isn't very good, having allowed 20 passing scores this year vs. just four interceptions generated (dead last in the NFL by far). They do have 20 sacks to date (22nd in the NFL), and rank 11th in the league averaging 209.9 net yards allowed per game. Pittsburgh was limited to 220 net yards last week (no TDs or interceptions thrown); Cincinnati's Palmers threw 22/37 for 228 yards, two TDs and two interceptions in the loss to Buffalo two weeks ago.

Favre and the Vikings are sub-par this year, but so are the Bills' pass defenders - at home in the Metrodome, we give the Vikings an edge in this ugly matchup.

Weather: Inside the dome at Ford Field, weather won't be a factor in this game.

MIN Injuries: none
DET Injuries: none


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense at Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

3-7-1 Carolina faces off against 4-7 Minnesota in this one, but incredible as it sounds, the Panthers are still in the NFC South race so for Carolina this game is a must-win situation. The Vikings are in spoiler mode with Green Bay far out of reach (as is a wild card playoff berth in the NFC).

Teddy Bridgewater has been steadily improving his TD totals since taking over as the Vikings' starter, and last week he had his first multi-TD pass game of the year, with 21/37 for 210 yards passing, two TDs and one interception thrown, and five rushes for 32 yards as a sweetener for his fantasy owners. Charles Johnson was thrown at a lot (11 targets) but only managed 3/52/1 receiving out of his 11 chances vs. Green Bay. Kyle Rudolph handled five targets for 3/50/0 receiving and seems to be shaking off the rust from his long injury layoff, while Greg Jennings posted 4/38/1 receiving out of six chances against his former team. The Vikings' pass offense is heading in the right direction entering Week 13.

The Panthers' pass D allowed 31/45 for 260 net yards, one TD and zero interceptions to Matt Ryan two weeks ago (they sacked him twice for -8 yards), while Mark Sanchez and company hung 20/38 for 328 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions (with one sack taken for -4 yards) around the Panthers' secondary two games ago. To date, Carolina averages 254.9 net passing yards allowed per game (26th in the NFL), with 20 TDs given up vs. nine interceptions (tied for 18th in the NFL) and 23 sacks (tied-18th) generated. They are a sub-par unit this season, friends.

Bridgewater and company have a good matchup to work with on Sunday.

Weather: Inside the dome at Ford Field, weather won't be a factor in this game.

MIN Injuries: none
DET Injuries: none


New England Patriots Passing Offense vs New York Jets Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Tom Brady tossed 22/33 for 269 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions vs. Chicago's 2nd-ranked pass D last week, connecting with Ben Watson for 6/89/1 - Reche Caldwell was second on the team with 3/57/0. Over the past 3 weeks, Brady has posted 67/101 for 768 yards, 6 TDs and 3 interceptions, targeting Watson the most (22 for 13/179/2) and Caldwell as a close second (21 for 15/217/2) - they are the most prolific receivers on the team right now.

The Lions don't scare people in this phase of the game, handing over an average of 215.5 yards per game (19th in the NFL) with 19 passing scores given up to date. They have only 6 interceptions and 19 sacks this season (at the bottom of both categories). Last week, Joey Harrington lit up the Lions for 19/29 for 213 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception - about par for a game against the soft Detroit secondary.

This is a very good to great matchup for Brady and company.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 46F with a low of 23F and a 10% chance of precipitation on Sunday - pretty nice conditions for New England at this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

NE Injuries: none
NYJ Injuries: none


New England Patriots Passing Offense vs New York Jets Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Who's the #1 fantasy QB in fantasy points scored per game over the past 4 weeks (3 games)? Tom Brady is. Who had an "off night" Sunday night and still posted 34/54 for 380 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions passing? Tom Brady. On Sunday night, it was Wes Welker's turn to shine with 13/149/0 receiving, while Jabar Gaffney showed in the 4- and 5-wide packages to snag 6/87/1. Donte Stallworth grabbed 4/54/0, while Randy Moss (at long last) had an average game, with 5/43/0 - the first time in the last 6 games that Moss didn't score at least 1 TD, and only the second time this season that he didn't check in with at least one appearance in the end-zone.

The Ravens are currently 15th in the NFL allowing an average of 213.5 pass yards per game, with 16 passing TDs handed over to date (with 12 interceptions generated so far). They are 20th in the NFL with 22 sacks to date - last week, they failed to get to Philip Rivers in that category. Over the last 3 weeks, Baltimore has allowed 249 net passing yards and 3 TDs (0 interceptions) to the Chargers; 263 net passing yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception to the Browns; and 23/34 for 256 net passing yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions to the Bengals. They've lost 5 straight games, giving up 32 or more points in 3 of those contests. The Raven's biggest weakness on defense right now is in the passing phase of the game.

Tom Brady and company are operating on an extremely high level in this phase of the game, while the Ravens have been struggling to contain opposing passers of late. Advantage, New England.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 46F with a low of 23F and a 10% chance of precipitation on Sunday - pretty nice conditions for New England at this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

NE Injuries: none
NYJ Injuries: none


New England Patriots Passing Offense vs New York Jets Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Tom Brady's team has scored 108 points in the last two weeks, while he's slung 42/63 for 654 yards, six TDs and zero interceptions. Wes Welker has seen the most action recently (21 for 14/151/1 receiving over the last two games), followed by Brandon Lloyd (13 for 7/71/0), and Julian Edelman (10 for 7/122/2). With Rob Gronkowski out last week, Aaron Hernandez snagged 2/36/0 on three targets as he works himself back into game shape for the Patriots. It's all good on this unit despite Gronkowski's absence.

The Dolphins' pass D is weak this year, averaging 261.7 net yards allowed per game (26th in the NFL), with 14 pass TDs given out vs. eight interceptions (20th in the NFL) and 29 sacks (tied for ninth in the NFL) generated. Russell Wilson threw 21/27 for 216 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions at Miami last week - Ryan Fitzpatrick did struggle two weeks ago with only 17/27 for 161 net yards, zero TDs or interceptions thrown. Of late, the Dolphins have cut down on the amount of yardage allowed, but they are far from a shut-down unit.

This looks like a good matchup for the Patriots' squad. Also, Miami's run D is strong so it would be no surprise to see the New England game plan slanted towards passing the football this week.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 46F with a low of 23F and a 10% chance of precipitation on Sunday - pretty nice conditions for New England at this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

NE Injuries: none
NYJ Injuries: none


New England Patriots Passing Offense vs New York Jets Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Tom Brady came storming back from 0-24 to engineer a 34-31 win over the Broncos last week - 34/50 for 344 yards, three TDs and zero interceptions later, the legend of Brady had grown another notch taller. Fantasy owners of Brady, Julian Edelman (11 targets for 9/110/2 receiving) and Rob Gronkowski (10 for 7/90/1) were happy campers last week, as were Shane Vereen owners (11 for 8/60/0). Kenbrell Thompkins also got in on the bonanza of fantasy points with nine for 6/56/0 receiving. It's all good for the Patriots' passing attack entering Week 13, folks. The return of Gronkowski and now Vereen has boosted this unit back into the elite ranks of the NFL.

The Texans' D has plummeted from the heights of respect to the depths of despair, most recently losing to humble Jacksonville 6-13. However, their pass D remains stingy with yards averaging 171.8 net yards per game (first in the NFL). However, the Texans have now coughed up 18 passing scores and are tied for last in the NFL with only four interceptions all year. Jacksonville posted 23/33 for 215 yards, zero TDs or zero interceptions last week in Houston; Matt McGloin threw 18/32 for 176 yards, three TDs and zero interceptions at Houston two weeks ago.

This is a good matchup for Brady, but he might not need to throw the ball a lot as the Texans struggle to defend the rush right now.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 46F with a low of 23F and a 10% chance of precipitation on Sunday - pretty nice conditions for New England at this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

NE Injuries: none
NYJ Injuries: none


New Orleans Saints Passing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Drew Brees threw 35/45 for 420 yards, three TDs and one interception against the Ravens last week (and had a couple of other TDs that could have been reeled in with some better luck) - though the Saints lost Brees' fantasy owners probably won last week if they started him. Jimmy Graham (10 targets for 6/47/2 receiving) led the team in TDs, while Kenny Stills (nine for 8/98/0) led the team in receiving. Marques Colston also visited the end zone (four for 4/82/1) and Joe Morgan made two big plays on the night with a 67-yard rush and a 62-yard reception. It looks like Stills will work out just fine taking over for Brandin Cooks.

The Steelers' pass D is ranked 16th in the NFL averaging 241.6 net yards passing allowed per game, with 19 passing scores given up vs. eight interceptions (tied for 20th in the NFL) and 20 sacks (25th) generated to date. They are a mediocre-to-sub-par bunch pretty much across the board, as you can see. Zach Mettenberger (15/24 for 263 net yards, two TDs and one interception thrown, with zero sacks taken) and Michael Vick (10/18 for 125 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions, with four sacks taken for -7 yards) both notched two passing scores on the Steelers in their last two games played.

Advantage, New Orleans.

Weather: The forecast for Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge calls for a high of 75F and a low of 52F with a 40% chance of rain. With both pro and college games being played on this surface during 2005, it is likely to be worn, especially in the middle of the field. If the rains come down hard around game time, footing and ball handling with be larger issues than usual for both teams.

NO Injuries: none
TB Injuries: none


New York Giants Passing Offense vs Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Eli Manning's second-half nightmare (2 losses in the 3 games since week 8) continued in a big way last week, with 4 disastrous interceptions leading to 3 long return TDs and a 41-17 drubbing at the hands of the Vikings. (Manning did hit for one TD, with 21/49 for 273 yards, 1 TD and 4 interceptions). We'll see if he can shake off the awful game and move on this week (or not). As usual, Plaxico Burress (7/93/1), Amani Toomer (4/83/0) and Jeremy Shockey (4/44/0) led the team in receiving last week. However, there are reports that Burress has added a knee complaint to his sore ankle - since he doesn't practice much (or at all) during the week, it'll be tough to get a read on his status for this week's game until Friday's official injury report. Keep your eye on our players in the news later this week to keep track of the latest on Burress if he's on your squad.

The Bears coughed up 17/31 for 292 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interception to Jay Cutler last week, and have given away 292 or more passing yards in 2 out of their last 3 games. They rank 25th in the NFL this year averaging 229.1 net passing yards allowed per game, with 13 pass TDs given up vs. a mere 7 interceptions generated (31st in the NFL). The Bears are still tied at 3rd with 32 sacks to date, but the secondary isn't holding up their end of the bargain this year.

Manning had a rough game last week, but he's got a good matchup to work with this week (assuming the Chicago weather cooperates and doesn't turn nasty).

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 45F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Fans and players should enjoy great football weather, as long as the forecast holds up.

NYG Injuries: none
DAL Injuries: none


New York Giants Passing Offense vs Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Eli Manning broke out of his slump during the second half of the game vs. Jacksonville last week, and ended the day with 14/24 for 226 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions to his credit. Faced with an injury-depleted WR corps, he counted on Kevin Boss (eight targets for 3/74/1) and Mario Manningham (four for 3/61/1) the most last week - Ahmad Bradshaw was third on the team in receiving with four targets for 4/34/0. 'We knew Kevin was going to have to come in and have a big role today,' Manning said after the game. He's one of the three guys who've been here the longest. We had to look at them and have them step up for us.' The Giants aren't the high-octane passing attack we saw earlier this year when Hakeem Nicks (leg injury/compartment syndrome) and Steve Smith (pectoral injury) were healthy and playing - something neither guy is expected to do this week - but they were adequate for the task of beating the Jaguars 24-20.

The Redskins' pass D is bumbling along at the bottom of the NFL this year, currently averaging 269.4 net yards allowed per game, with 18 passing TDs given away over 11 contests. The team has generated 10 interceptions and 22 sacks, which is in the middle of the NFL range in both categories. Brett Favre was held to 15/23 for 162 net yards last week (zero scores or interceptions), while Tennessee's injury-ravaged QB rotation had just 15/25 for 222 net yards, zero TDs and one interception two weeks ago. Neither of those teams is fielding a very good passing attack this year, though. The Redskins looked better than they are recently due to weak opponents.

This is a good matchup for Manning and company despite their injury woes at WR.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 45F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Fans and players should enjoy great football weather, as long as the forecast holds up.

NYG Injuries: none
DAL Injuries: none


New York Giants Passing Offense vs Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Eli Manning dueled Tony Romo in fine fashion last week, posting 29/40 for 338 yards passing, three TDs and one interception thrown, while taking two sacks for -10 yards. It was a big improvement over the five interceptions-thrown debacle vs. San Francisco two games ago. One constant over the last two games has been the surge by Odell Beckham Jr. (13 for 6/93/0 receiving vs. San Francisco; 11 for 10/146/2 receiving last week vs. Dallas) and the steady play by Reuben Randle (15 for 7/112/0 receiving two weeks ago; three for 3/36/0 against Dallas last week). The Giants' young receivers are rising up during the second half of the NFL season. We'll see if Manning can avoid falling into an interception-prone slump down in Florida this week.

The Jaguars have recorded just five interceptions this season (third-least in the NFL), while averaging 257.5 net yards passing allowed per game (27th in the NFL) and 19 passing scores given out to date. They have generated a healthy 33 sacks (third in the NFL this year), which is a concern for the Giants who have allowed 24 sacks this season (16th in the league). Andrew Luck was sacked five times for -39 yards last week on the way to 21/32 for 214 net yards, one TD and zero interceptions thrown; Tony Romo and company were sacked just once for -6 yards in London while throwing 21/28 for 248 net yards, three TDs and zero interceptions. Most weeks, teams have good results slinging the football over the Jaguars' heads.

Advantage, New York.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 45F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Fans and players should enjoy great football weather, as long as the forecast holds up.

NYG Injuries: none
DAL Injuries: none


New York Jets Passing Offense at New England Patriots Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Chad Pennington took a hard hit to his surgically repaired shoulder but played on last week, tossing 24/31 for 286 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions vs. Houston. He has managed 65/99 for 616 yards, 2 TDs and 3 interceptions over the past 3 weeks, to rank 27th among all fantasy QBs during that span of time. As usual, Laveranues Coles (37 targets for 22/220/1) and Jerricho Cotchery (25 for 16/205/1) have been his go-to guys in the passing game during those weeks - both were over 100 yards receiving vs. the Texans, with 9/111/1 for Coles and 7/110/0 for Cotchery. The Jets' passing game is on a mini-roll coming into the contest vs. Green Bay.

The Packers' pass D got after Matt Hasselbeck on Monday Night Football, with 3 interceptions (Hasselbeck totaled 17/36 for 157 yards, 3 TDs and 3 interceptions during the game), though they only posted 1 sack last week. Over the past 3 weeks, the Packers have 7 sacks and 4 interceptions and an average of 201.3 passing yards allowed per game to their credit, but have allowed 86 points during that span. They've been softer most of the year, giving up an average of 232.7 passing yards per game, and a whopping 21 passing scores (tied for last in the league with Washington).

The Jets got their afterburners heated up last week, and have an excellent shot at maintaining their momentum against the weak Packer secondary. Pennington will need to be careful with the ball, though, as Green Bay has been generating turnovers of late.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 46F with a low of 23F and a 10% chance of precipitation on Sunday - pretty nice conditions for New England at this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

NYJ Injuries: none
NE Injuries: none


New York Jets Passing Offense at New England Patriots Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Chad Pennington, not Kellen Clemens, was the starter when the Jets last faced the Dolphins back in week 3 - we'll have a better idea how Clemens matches up with Miami by looking at the recent past, in this instance.

Clemens has posted 49/100 for 530 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions passing in his last 3 games (10/69/0 rushing the ball), including last week's totals of 12/27 for 142 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception vs. the Cowboys. He's had to do without Laveranues Coles quite a bit of late, as Coles returned from a concussion only to suffer a high ankle sprain (he sat out of the Thanksgiving game due to his sore ankle). Jerricho Cotchery (23 targets for 8/138/0) has seen the most passes from Clemens in that time frame, followed by Brad Smith (22 for 9/65/0) and Chris Baker (18 for 11/112/1). Clemens is learning on the job and doing OK, but he's inconsistent (like most first-time starters).

Miami didn't do much to interfere with Ben Roethlisberger's passes last week (he hit 18/21 for 132 net yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception) while playing in the horrible conditions at Heinz Field. Over the past 4 games, Miami has handed over 433 passing yards (3 games), averaging 144 pass yards allowed per game (Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Buffalo were the opponents in that stretch). The Dolphins don't hand over much in the way of yardage this season (176.6 net pass yards per game, 3rd in the NFL), but they do allow a lot of TDs (16 so far in this phase of the game). Basically, with an offense as inept as the one the Dolphins field, other teams rarely have to drive the length of the field, necessarily limiting the amount of passing yards they need to gain in order to win. The Dolphins are tied for 24th in the league with 9 interceptions, and stand at 39th in the NFL with 17 sacks - they aren't scaring opposing passers, folks.

Clemens has been mediocre, but the Dolphins are actually pretty suspect in this phase of the game - on balance, this looks like a good matchup for the Jets, but don't expect a ton of passing yards and you won't be disappointed.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 46F with a low of 23F and a 10% chance of precipitation on Sunday - pretty nice conditions for New England at this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

NYJ Injuries: none
NE Injuries: none


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense at San Diego Chargers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Aaron Brooks has managed to find open receivers despite taking a lot of hits (he was sacked 5 times last week) - vs. San Diego he threw for 17/30 for 187 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions and had his team within 1 TD of the division leaders. Randy Moss has been horrid over the past 3 weeks, with 4/34/0 out of 15 targets, while Randal Williams (19 for 12/131/0), Alvis Whitted (14 for 8/113/0) and Ronald Curry (11 for 10/115/0) have all shown Moss up. Last week, John Madsen caught the TD from Brooks (3/69/1) - Brooks is doing his best to make a silk purse from a sow's ear.

The Texans rank 28th in the NFL allowing an average of 231.5 passing yards per game (28th in the NFL), with 17 passing scores given up to date. Over the past 3 weeks, they have averaged 271.3 passing yards allowed per game, with 5 sacks and 5 interceptions to their credit. Chad Pennington and company posted 24/32 for 286 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions against this defense last week.

Brooks and company have a very good matchup to work with (the Texans are 28th in the NFL with 19 sacks to date, so hopefully Brooks will get a break from taking a half-dozen sacks this week).

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a typically beautiful Southern California day, with a high of 64F with a low of 43F and a 10% chance for rain - weather shouldn't be a factor in this matchup.

OAK Injuries: none
SD Injuries: none


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense at San Diego Chargers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Raiders rolled to 300 yards rushing and 2 rushing TDs vs. K.C. back in week 2 - JaMarcus Russell didn't need to throw the ball much, and only eked out 6/17 for 55 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions in the early-season divisional contest. Since then, he's had an awful season, with no reliable wide receiver to lean on and just 7 TDs thrown in 10 games played. However, against the bottom-of-the-barrel Broncos' secondary last week, Russell was nearly perfect with 10/11 for 152 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions thrown - he hit Ashley Lelie for 4/92/1 vs. the Broncos as Lelie left his ex-team in his dust a number of times.

The Chiefs' pass D is not quite as weak as their rush D, but it isn't very good, ranking 27th in the NFL averaging 240.4 net yards allowed per game, with 14 passing TDs handed over vs. 10 interceptions generated. They are dead last in the NFL with a mere 6 sacks to their credit over 11 contests. Trent Edwards socked K.C. for 24/32 for 273 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions last week. The Chiefs have given away 847 passing yards in the last 3 contests (282.3 per game) - not too good, folks.

Russell had some success last week and tasted sweet victory - maybe he'll be able to exploit the equally weak Chiefs for some good numbers this week.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a typically beautiful Southern California day, with a high of 64F with a low of 43F and a 10% chance for rain - weather shouldn't be a factor in this matchup.

OAK Injuries: none
SD Injuries: none


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense at San Diego Chargers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Bruce Gradkowski has made the Raiders' passing attack respectable over the last two weeks, with 17/34 for 183 yards, two TDs and one interception in the upset win over Cincinnati two weeks ago, and 18/35 for 200 yards, one TD and zero interceptions vs. Dallas on Thanksgiving. These guys aren't the Colts, but they've gotten past their Cleveland Browns imitation with Gradkowski calling the shots. Five players have been Gradkowski's main targets over the past two weeks: Zach Miller (13 targets for 10/138/1), Louis Murphy (11 for 3/51/1), Chaz Schilens (11 for 4/73/0), Darrius Heyward-Bey (11 for 3/28/1) and Darren McFadden (9 for 7/53/0). Miller is the most reliable producer of fantasy points during the Gradkowski era, as you can see.

The Steelers field the league's 13th-ranked pass D, averaging 213.5 net passing yards allowed per game, with 12 TDs given away vs. just eight interceptions generated. They do have 35 sacks this year (second in the NFL through 11 games), which is a concern for the Raiders who've allowed 30 sacks this year (25th in the NFL). Joe Flacco put up 23/35 for 261 net yards, one TD and zero interceptions vs. Pittsburgh last week; Matt Cassel had 15/30 for 214 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions two weeks ago. The pass D is a big part of why they Steelers have a three-game skid going right now, folks.

Gradkowski has done a credible job as the Oakland starter, while the Steelers are in a slump right now. Advantage, Oakland.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a typically beautiful Southern California day, with a high of 64F with a low of 43F and a 10% chance for rain - weather shouldn't be a factor in this matchup.

OAK Injuries: none
SD Injuries: none


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense at San Diego Chargers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Carson Palmer's November rampage came to a halt at Cincinnati last week - he threw 19/34 for 146 yards passing, one TD and one interception during the 10-34 loss, the first time in four games that Palmer hadn't gone over 311 yards passing in a contest. During the lull, Jeremy Stewart (six targets for 6/37/0) and Brandon Myers (six for 5/37/0) led the team in receiving, while Denarius Moore (four for 1/20/1) handled the lone TD. We'll see if Palmer can jump-start the passing offense to a higher level at home this week.

The Browns' pass D is in the middle of the NFL range, averaging 243.7 net yards allowed per game (21st in the NFL), with 17 passing TDs allowed this year, while generating 13 interceptions (tied for seventh in the NFL) and 28 sacks (tied for 11th) so far. Oakland is 14th in the NFL with 24 sacks allowed to date. Charlie Batch managed 20/34 for 193 net yards, zero TDs and three interceptions at Cleveland last week, while Tony Romo put up 35/50 for 257 net yards, one TD and zero inteceptions, with seven sacks taken for -56 yards, two weeks ago.

Palmer throttled back during week 12, but he should be able to bounce back against the so-so Browns this week. Advantage, Raiders.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a typically beautiful Southern California day, with a high of 64F with a low of 43F and a 10% chance for rain - weather shouldn't be a factor in this matchup.

OAK Injuries: none
SD Injuries: none


Philadelphia Eagles Passing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Mike McMahon had a rough game last week, with 12/28 for 91 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions to his credit - he just couldn't get much going vs. Green Bay. Over the past 3 weeks, McMahon has tossed 32/72 for 403 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception in 2 1/2 games of action - he hasn't been horrible, but last week wasn't a great effort. We'll see if he can bounce back against the Seahawks.

The Giants managed 29/53 for 344 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception vs. Seattle last week. The Seahawks have been allowing an average of 276 passing yards per game over the past 3 weeks, with 2 interceptions but 9 sacks to their credit during that span (Seattle is 1st in the NFL at this point with 36 sacks to their credit). The Eagles are in the middle of the NFL pack with 21 sacks allowed so far this year. Right now, Seattle looks really vulnerable to their oppositions' QBs (they are way off their sub-par season pace of 223 passing yards allowed per game, which is 23rd in the NFL).

McMahon had an off week last week, but the Seahawks' struggling defense will give him a good shot to get back on top of his game this week.

Weather: The forecast for Lincoln Financial Field calls for a high of 46F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance for precipitation. As this game is on Monday Night Football, expect the temperatures to be on the low end of the scale - the cold will make handling the ball more tricky than usual for both teams.

PHI Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: none


Philadelphia Eagles Passing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

In case you haven't heard, Donovan McNabb, who was responsible for 7 turnovers in the Eagles' last 2 games and 8 over the past 3, was benched in the 2nd half vs. Baltimore last Sunday. McNabb didn't particularly agree with the decision - "I guess that's my competitive nature," he said. "I always think we can get things going and make some plays. But I'm not the coach." However, Andy Reid (perhaps repelled by Kevin Kolb's poor showing in relief of McNabb(10/23 for 73 yards passing, 0 TDs and 2 interceptions)) announced on Monday that McNabb will be the starter for the Thanksgiving game vs. Arizona. We'll see if the 30 minutes on the bench have lit a fire under McNabb, or if he'll continue to bumble through games as he has the past 3 weeks (53/112 for 592 yards, 4 TDs and 6 interceptions, with 5/44/0 rushing and 2 fumbles lost).

The Cardinal's pass D was shattered by Eli Manning last week, allowing 3 passing TDs with 0 interceptions (26/33 for 234 net yards given up). To date, the Cards are in the middle of the NFL flock when it comes to yards allowed per game (212.2, 17th in the league), but they have laid down for the most passing TDs of anyone in the league, with 22 surrendered to date. They have just 10 interceptions and 24 sacks generated - not among the league leaders in either category.

McNabb is struggling big-time entering this game - against the soft Cardinals he may start to fly right again this week, though. Advantage, Philadelphia.

Weather: The forecast for Lincoln Financial Field calls for a high of 46F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance for precipitation. As this game is on Monday Night Football, expect the temperatures to be on the low end of the scale - the cold will make handling the ball more tricky than usual for both teams.

PHI Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: none


Philadelphia Eagles Passing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin (hamstring, shoulder) is likely to miss his third straight game in Week 13 according to local reports - Philadelphia faces off against the Seattle Seahawks Thursday, December first. Eagles QB Michael Vick did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 30, and has been ruled out for the early game in Seattle as well. About the only good news for Vince Young is that RB LeSean McCoy (an integral part of the passing game) is expected to play Thursday despite being listed as questionable on Wednesday.

Despite the injury attrition among the Eagles, Young played well vs. New England last Sunday, tossing 26/48 for 400 yards, one TD and one interception - even though DeSean Jackson was benched for two costly drops (one of a TD pass) on a day when he converted just four of 10 targets for 4/73/0 receiving. Jason Avant led the team in Maclin's absence, seeing 14 targets for 8/110/1 receiving, while Brent Celek (six for 5/75/0) and Riley Cooper (five for 3/71/0) also had solid days catching the football. The Eagles' passing attack is flying high despite the lack of Vick in the lineup.

The Seattle pass D is ranked 20th in the NFL averaging 239.6 net yards allowed per game, and they have given up 15 passing scores to date vs. 12 interceptions (tied for 13th in the NFL) and 20 sacks (tied for 26th) generated so far. Rex Grossman was on last week and hit Seattle for 26/35 yielding 306 net yards (one sack taken), two TDs and two interceptions. Two weeks ago, the anemic Rams climbed to 20/40 for 143 net yards (five sacks taken), one TD and one interception vs. Seattle.

Young is hot, while the Seahawks were knocked back on their heels last week and generally are not very good in this phase of the game from game to game. Advantage, Philadelphia, despite the lack of Maclin and Vick.

Weather: The forecast for Lincoln Financial Field calls for a high of 46F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance for precipitation. As this game is on Monday Night Football, expect the temperatures to be on the low end of the scale - the cold will make handling the ball more tricky than usual for both teams.

PHI Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: none


Philadelphia Eagles Passing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Eagles dropped to 3-6 when they lost to Dallas on November 11, and the losing has continued since - last week, Mike Vick still wasn't ready to return from his recent concussion, so Nick Foles led the team to a 22-30 loss vs. Carolina, with 16/21 for 119 yards passing, zero TDs and zero interceptions thrown. Foles has gained valuable game-time experience with Vick out, and with the season in the tank head coach Andy Reid has indicated that Foles will start vs. Dallas (and likely for the rest of the season). Unfortunately for Foles, number one receiver DeSean Jackson is out for the season due to multiple broken ribs incurred on Monday night - Jeremy Maclin is now the #1 for Philadelphia, and he put up 8/93/1 receiving the last time Philadelphia saw the Cowboys. Maclin led the team with seven targets for 5/55/0 vs. Carolina last week - rookie Damaris Johnson (two targets for 2/13/0 last week) and Riley Cooper (two for 1/7/0 last week) will have to help take up the slack left by Jackson's trip to the IR. Stay tuned to Footballguys.com's players in the news to see if Vick is practicing at the end of the week - he is said to be getting fitted for a 'skull cap' device this week that would further cushion his head under a helmet (assuming he gets back on the field for Philadelphia again this year).

The Cowboys' pass D gave up 22/32 for 219 yards, one TD and one interception to Foles back in week 10 after he stepped in for the concussed Vick - after that game, they've coughed up 20/35 for 192 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions to Brandon Weeden and 20/28 for 295 net yards, four TDs and one interception to Robert Griffin III on Thanksgiving. The Dallas defense is moving in the wrong direction in this phase of the game as of the first weekend in December.

Foles had decent luck against the Cowboys three weeks ago, and their D hasn't improved since - advantage, Philadelphia.

Weather: The forecast for Lincoln Financial Field calls for a high of 46F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance for precipitation. As this game is on Monday Night Football, expect the temperatures to be on the low end of the scale - the cold will make handling the ball more tricky than usual for both teams.

PHI Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: none


Philadelphia Eagles Passing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Both Dallas and Philadelphia are standing at 8-3 coming into this matchup - the teams are in a two-way race for the NFC East crown with New York and Washington out of the picture at 3-8. This is the first game of the two scheduled regular-season meetings between the clubs, at AT&T Stadium where the Cowboys are 3-3 so far this season.

Mark Sanchez recovered from the 20-53 beat down the Eagles took at Green Bay (in which he threw 26/44 for 346 yards passing, two TDs and two interceptions, with three sacks taken for -26 yards) to lead the Eagles to a 43-24 win at Tennessee last weekend. Sanchez had a slightly less productive outing, with 30/43 for 307 yards passing, one TD and two interceptions thrown (with two sacks taken for -9 yards), but his special teams and running backs took up the slack to post a lot of points for the Eagles. During the past two weeks, six Eagles have seen double-digit targets: Jeremy Maclin (19 targets for 15/152/1 receiving), Jordan Matthews (16 for 11/184/1), Zach Ertz (12 for 8/85/0), Riley Cooper (12 for 7/88/0), Brent Celek (10 for 6/59/0) and Darren Sproles (10 for 5/37/0). There are a lot of moving parts in this passing attack, as you can see.

The Cowboys' pass D is ranked 19th in the NFL averaging 247.8 net passing yards allowed per game, with 17 passing scores allowed vs. 11 interceptions and 18 sacks generated so far (tied for 11th and 27th-ranked, respectively). New York threw for 29/40 for 328 net yards, three TDs and one interception, with two sacks taken for -10 yards last week; lowly Jacksonville managed 22/37 for 262 net yards, zero TDs and one interception thrown (with four sacks taken for -28 yards) back in Week 11.

This looks like a good matchup for Sanchez and company even though they are on the road Thanksgiving day.

Weather: The forecast for Lincoln Financial Field calls for a high of 46F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance for precipitation. As this game is on Monday Night Football, expect the temperatures to be on the low end of the scale - the cold will make handling the ball more tricky than usual for both teams.

PHI Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: none


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

In years' past, this would have been a matchup that featured 2 feared defensive teams, but no longer. Time and injuries have eroded both of these teams to the extent that the Bucs have allowed an average of 26.3 points per game over the past 3 weeks, while the Steelers have coughed up 26 per contest during that same span of time. The Bucs have a mere 14 sacks this year (last in the NFL) and only 5 interceptions to date (also tied for last in the NFL). They average 218.4 passing yards given up per game (22nd in the league) and are tied for last in the NFL with 21 passing scores surrendered to date. Tony Romo torched them for 22/29 for 306 yards, 5 TDs and 0 interceptions on Thanksgiving. The Buccaneers' pass D is awful this year.

Pittsburgh's pass protection was atrocious last week, allowing 9 sacks (a franchise record) of Ben Roethlisberger en route to a 27-0 defeat. He managed 21/41 for 214 yards, with 0 TDs and 2 interceptions despite all the heat, but there wasn't a lot he could do in the face of the pass rush. Nate Washington and Cedric Wilson both grabbed 4/49/0 to lead the team. This week, Roethlisberger and the Steelers learned that Hines Ward, their top receiver by a country mile, is out due to broken bone in his left knee that was arthroscopically repaired on Tuesday. "It's going to be at least one week," said Ward. "I'm going to try to get back out there, but I've got to be smart about it ... this is the first time I've ever had surgery." With the Steelers' season in the tank, don't expect Ward to be rushed back. Washington and Wilson will have to headline the attack for now, while Santonio Holmes figures to get accelerated on his learning curve, too.

This looks like a good matchup for the Steelers, but don't expect an explosion of fantasy points out of Roethlisberger and company with Hines Ward sidelined.

Weather: Heinz Field should see a high of 42F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - a nice, crisp day to play football is on tap for this matchup.

PIT Injuries: none
CIN Injuries: none


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Ben Roethlisberger watched LeVeon Bell rush for 204 yards and a TD at Tennessee - he did eventually throw the game-winning pass to Antonio Brown at 9:01 in the fourth quarter (21/32 for 207 yards passing, one TD and one interception thrown for Roethlisberger; 11 targets for 9/91/1 receiving for Brown that day). As usual, Heath Miller (five targets for 5/71/0 receiving) was in the mix, and Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton both saw five targets (though neither did much with their opportunities - Bryant recorded 2/11/0 receiving while Wheaton had 1/6/0). It was a respectable rebound from the upset loss to the Jets during Week 10.

This week the Steelers return to hospitable Heinz Field and welcome the Saints' 23rd-ranked pass D to the holiday weekend - New Orleans averages 253.3 net passing yards allowed per game, with 17 passing scores given up vs. six interceptions generated (26th in the NFL) and 23 sacks recorded (18th) this year. Joe Flacco threw 18/24 for 234 net yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions at New Orleans last week (one sack for -9 yards taken); Andy Dalton threw three TDs there two games ago (16/22 for 219 net yards passing, with one sack taken for -1 yards).

This looks like a good matchup for Roethlisberger and Brown.

Weather: Heinz Field should see a high of 42F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - a nice, crisp day to play football is on tap for this matchup.

PIT Injuries: none
CIN Injuries: none


San Diego Chargers Passing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Drew Brees was efficient the last time he faced Oakland (week 6), with 14/20 for 164 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions. Tomlinson also threw a TD during that game, giving the Chargers 15/21 for 168 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions during the game. He went from awesome two weeks ago (28/33 for 339 yards, 4 TDs and 0 interceptions) to awful last week (22/44 for 215 yards, 0 TDs and 3 interceptions last week). Part of the problem was that Antonio Gates was limited in effectiveness with a sore foot (3/39/0), but other guys elevated their game (Eric Parker snagged 7/98/0 last week to lead the team) in Gates' place. Brees was just "off" last week.

The Raiders are 21st in the NFL this season, allowing an average of 214 passing yards per game, with 14 thrown TDs given up to date. Over the past 3 weeks, they have averaged 197.3 passing yards allowed per game, but have only 1 interception, with 5 sacks (the team ranks 16th in the NFL this year with 25 sacks to date). Gus Frerotte hit them for 18/31 for 261 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception last week - the Raiders aren't very good at pass D right now.

Brees has been up and down in this phase of the game, but he has a good matchup to exploit this week. Advantage, San Diego.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a typically beautiful Southern California day, with a high of 64F with a low of 43F and a 10% chance for rain - weather shouldn't be a factor in this matchup.

SD Injuries: none
OAK Injuries: none


San Diego Chargers Passing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Philip Rivers bombed the Raiders for 27/42 yielding 431 yards, 2 TDs and zero interceptions the last time these teams faced off (week five) - it wasn't Rivers' fault the Chargers lost 27-35. Malcom Floyd tortured the Raiders for 8/213/1 receiving, and Antonio Gates posted 5/92/1 receiving that day.

Since week five, Floyd and Gates have been sidelined on and off due to injuries, but Rivers has continued to carpet-bomb most of the oppositions' secondaries - over the past four weeks, Rivers has thrown 51/70 for 713 yards, with eight TDs and just two interceptions. Last week, Rivers was limited to 19/23 for 172 net yards, zero TDs and zero interceptions during the 36-14 victory over the Colts - his defense scored two of the three TDs during the game on pick-six interceptions of Peyton Manning. Antonio Gates (4/46/0 receiving last week) played for some of the series, though he said after the game that he was 'in a ton of pain'. Legedu Naanee led the wide receivers with five targets for 3/38/0 and he was the lone wide receiver returning to the field in week 12 who didn't injure or re-injure himself - Vincent Jackson suffered a calf injury and also tweaked his groin and is back out of the lineup for another two weeks at least, while Malcom Floyd saw one target before aggravating his sore hamstring and joining Jackson on the sidelines. Rivers could be throwing to Naanee and Seyi Ajirotutu again this week.

The Raiders' pass D enters this game ranked fifth in the NFL in terms of yards allowed per game (201.5), but they've also coughed up 21 passing TDs over 11 contests vs. just six interceptions (tied for second-least in the NFL). Oakland does have 32 sacks this year, so they do get some push upfront, but it hasn't translated into much as far as the secondary is concerned. Chad Henne bombed the Raiders for 17/30 yielding 285 net yards, two TDs and one interception last week; and Ben Roethlisberger tossed 18/29 for 269 net yards, three TDs and zero interceptions two weeks ago. The Raiders' defense is backsliding towards oblivion as they await a high draft pick in the 2011 lottery. Key CB Nnamdi Asomugha played in the first half on Sunday, but his ankle injury was troublesome and he was in and out of the game after half-time. 'I came in and thought it was going to be at a level where I could cut and break and do all those things just fine,' Asomugha said. 'It clearly wasn't and it got worse as I kept going. '... The worst part is, when you go out there and you want to help the guys, but then you feel like you're hurting by being out there.'

Rivers has proven he can win with many of the receivers on the Chargers' roster as his starters - against the fading Raiders, he's got a good shot at a solid game this week.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a typically beautiful Southern California day, with a high of 64F with a low of 43F and a 10% chance for rain - weather shouldn't be a factor in this matchup.

SD Injuries: none
OAK Injuries: none


San Diego Chargers Passing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Philip Rivers is playing through a assortment of nicks and dings (listed as chest and rib injuries on the official injury report), which may be limiting his ability to throw downfield - he attempted just one pass over 20 yards vs. the Rams last Sunday. Nevertheless, Rivers piled up 29/35 for 291 yards passing, one TD and one interception thrown against the Rams, while taking three sacks for -9 yards. Keenan Allen (nine targets for 6/104/1) was his main man last week, while Eddie Royal (six for 6/50/0) and Ladarius Green (three for 2/34/0) helped keep the chains moving - all told, nine different receivers caught at least one ball from Rivers last weekend.

The Ravens' pass D did just enough to hold off Drew Brees and the Saints Monday night, but they still coughed up almost 400 net yards passing (35/45 for 399 net yards, three TDs and one interception thrown by Brees, with four sacks taken for -21 yards). Two games ago Zach Mettenberger was limited to 16/27 for 143 net yards, one TD and one interception, with five sacks taken for -36 yards - but nobody would mistake the rookie Mettenberger for Brees. To date, the Ravens are ranked 29th in the NFL averaging 264.6 net passing yards allowed per game, with 17 passing scores given out vs. seven interceptions and 29 sacks generated (23rd- and eighth-ranked in the NFL, respectively).

Rivers made it work against the Rams, and he has a largely inexperienced and overwhelmed secondary to pick on this week - advantage, San Diego. Also, the passing matchup is tough for Ryan Mathews and company, so Rivers will likely need to throw the ball a good bit in this contest.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a typically beautiful Southern California day, with a high of 64F with a low of 43F and a 10% chance for rain - weather shouldn't be a factor in this matchup.

SD Injuries: none
OAK Injuries: none


Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck receives outstanding run support from Shaun Alexander, so he hasn't needed to pass the ball 50 times a game this year - but when he does throw the ball, good things are happening. Hasselbeck has tossed 221/354 for 2602 yards, 14 TDs and 9 interceptions to date (15th best fantasy QB in the land), including last week's effort (21/37 for 249 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception). Joe Jurevicius broke out of a mini-slump to wallop his former team (the Giants) with 8/137/2 - he was a fantasy stud last week. Jurevicius has 15/204/2 during the last 3 weeks, while D.J. Hackett is second among Seattle receivers in fantasy points per game during that span, with 10/192/2 (2/47/0 last week). Bobby Engram caught 6/34/0 last week and has 18/197/0 to his credit the last 3 weeks (45th fantasy WR during that span). Keep an eye on the injury reports this week, as the first game in December has been the target for Darrell Jackson's return to the lineup for some time - when he comes back, Jurevicius and Hackett will likely return to lesser roles.

Philadelphia's secondary has been sub-par most of this year, allowing an average of 216.9 passing yards per game (22nd in the NFL) with 18 thrown TDs given away to date. Over the past 3 weeks, though, the team has averaged 182.3 passing yards surrendered per game, with 3 interceptions and 8 sacks total during that span. The Eagles are tied for 16th in the NFL with 25 sacks to their credit this year - Seattle has surrendered 19 sacks to date, among the better offensive line pass-blocking performances this year. Last week, Philly limited Brett Favre and company to 15/33 for 171 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions. They are playing fairly well in this phase of the game right now.

Philly has turned up their game during recent weeks - the Seahawk's all-around offense is very powerful. We think this is a pretty good matchup for the Seahawks.

Weather: The forecast for Lincoln Financial Field calls for a high of 46F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance for precipitation. As this game is on Monday Night Football, expect the temperatures to be on the low end of the scale - the cold will make handling the ball more tricky than usual for both teams.

SEA Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: none


Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Matt Hasselbeck has responded to coach Holmgren's emphasis on the passing game by throwing for 7 TDs and 3 interceptions over his last 4 games (108/169 for 1182 yards, 7 TDs and 3 interceptions during that span of time, the #6 fantasy QB in the land during those weeks). During those weeks, Bobby Engram has been the #1 target in the attack, with 48 targets for 33/346/1; D.J. Hackett has been 2nd with 37 for 27/336/3; Nate Burleson is 3rd with 17 for 10/134/1; and Deion Branch (who has only played the last 2 of those 4 weeks) has also seen 17 chances for 9/123/1 - Branch scored his TD last week (his 5/92/1 led the team in receiving). Hackett reinjured his right ankle last week, and will miss at least the next 2 games - coach Holmgren commented on Monday "Right now, they're talking about weeks. Exactly how many weeks, I couldn't even tell you. And I don't think they can tell me, either." In Hackett's absence, look for Branch and Engram (2nd on the team last week with 7/70/0) to continue to see a lot of balls coming their way.

The Eagles' pass D held up against Randy Moss well, but were burned by Brady-to-Welker last week (34/54 for 362 net yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions for Brady). Philly has bounced all over the place in the phase of the game of late, with 109 net passing yards allowed in week 11, 203 in week 10, and 324 given up in week 9 - they've given away 101 points to the opposition during those 4 games, too. Currently, Philly ranks 22nd in the NFL averaging 224.5 net passing yards allowed per game; they have handed over 13 passing scores so far; they are dead last in the NFL with 6 interceptions, but tied for 8th with 28 sacks. The guys up front are generating pressure on opposing QBs as always, but the personnel in the secondary hasn't been able to convert turnovers and are inconsistent in their ability to cover opposing receivers.

Hasselbeck is on a roll (but will be without one of his favorite receivers, Hackett, this week), while the Eagles are pretty average in this phase of the game, on balance. Home field advantage is at the Eagles' backs, but this matchup remains tilted in the Seahawks' favor.

Weather: The forecast for Lincoln Financial Field calls for a high of 46F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance for precipitation. As this game is on Monday Night Football, expect the temperatures to be on the low end of the scale - the cold will make handling the ball more tricky than usual for both teams.

SEA Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: none


Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Matt Hasselbeck could only play part of the game back in week two due to a rib injury inflicted by the 49ers (he missed the next two games due to the injury), so there was a heavy dose of Seneca Wallace vs. San Francisco (15/23 for 127 yards, one TD and one interception, vs. 10/18 for 97 yards, zero TDs and zero interceptions for Hasselbeck). Since the early-season game, Hasselbeck has run hot and cold as a passer - the last two weeks he's definitely been cold, with 19/26 for 231 yards, zero TDs and one interception vs. Minnesota, followed by a minuscule 14/25 for 102 yards, zero TDs and zero interceptions thrown against the Rams (Seattle rushed for 31/170/2 against the soft Rams and didn't need to throw the ball much).

San Francisco handed over 25/36 for 261 net yards passing to David Garrard and company last week (zero TDs and zero interceptions) - two weeks ago, Aaron Rodgers and company racked up 32/45 for 326 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions vs. the 49ers. Over the past four weeks, the 49ers have given away 1057 net passing yards and 73 total points from scrimmage - a pace that is lock-step in tune with their 28th-place ranking as pass defenders this season (256.5 net yards allowed per game, with 11 TDs handed over balanced by 11 interceptions and 25 sacks generated - the team is in the middle of the NFL range in both of the latter categories.

Hasselbeck didn't get to play a full game vs. the 49ers back in week two - this time around, if he can stay in the game, he's got a good shot at a solid showing vs. the suspect San Francisco pass D.

Weather: The forecast for Lincoln Financial Field calls for a high of 46F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance for precipitation. As this game is on Monday Night Football, expect the temperatures to be on the low end of the scale - the cold will make handling the ball more tricky than usual for both teams.

SEA Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: none


San Francisco 49ers Passing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Alex Smith has been posting modest totals in recent weeks, with 46/70 for 447 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions over the past 3 weeks - he connected for 13/25 for 148 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions last week. Antonio Bryant led the team with 2/53/0 during the contest, while TE Eric Johnson handled the TD (3/17/1). Vernon Davis caught his first pass since returning from injury (1/11/0), but has yet to provide the hoped-for spark to the passing game in San Francisco. Right now, this team is all about Frank Gore and the rushing attack, with passing a distant second part of the offense.

New Orleans is weak at rush D, so they don't tend to give up a lot of passing yards (6th in the NFL with 183.5 yards per game), but they are next-to-last in the NFL with 20 passing TDs given up to date. They are tied for last in the NFL with 5 interceptions, though they have posted 29 sacks to date. On balance, this is a sub-par pass D despite the top-ten ranking in terms of yards allowed. Last week, the Falcons could only manage 9/24 for 84 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions passing, but that was more about the Falcons' receivers' drops than it was the Saints suddenly playing brilliant defense.

This is a good matchup for the 49ers low-octane attack, but don't expect a bonanza of fantasy points and you won't be disappointed.

Weather: The forecast for Monster Park calls for a high of 57F with a low of 44F and a 10% chance for rain - a very nice day is on tap for this matchup.

SF Injuries: none
ARI Injuries: none


San Francisco 49ers Passing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Well, at least somebody in San Francisco can move this offense to more than 20 points scored - although it did take 12 weeks. Trent Dilfer took the monkey off the 49ers back for the time being last Sunday, cranking out 25/39 for 237 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions in the surprise victory over Arizona. Arnaz Battle (1/57/1) and Vernon Davis (6/45/1) handled the scores, while Frank Gore woke up to catch 11/98/0 and led the team in receiving. It's a start.

The Panthers were blown out by Drew Brees and company last week (24/36 for 260 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception), and have given up an increasing number of passing yards each game over the past 4 weeks (96, then 189, then 214, and then 260). In other words, this unit is heading in the wrong direction, folks. To date, they are 16th in the NFL averaging 213.6 net pass yards allowed per game, with 14 pass TDs handed over so far. They have only 8 interceptions this season (28th in the NFL), and are tied for dead last in the NFL with only 10 sacks. These guys are pretty easy on opposing signal callers.

Dilfer and company have a good shot at maintaining their momentum on Sunday.

Weather: The forecast for Monster Park calls for a high of 57F with a low of 44F and a 10% chance for rain - a very nice day is on tap for this matchup.

SF Injuries: none
ARI Injuries: none


San Francisco 49ers Passing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

QB Shaun Hill recorded the first 300+-yard passing game of his career when he threw 21/33 for 303 yards and 2 TDs and an interception vs. Dallas. He hit Isaac Bruce (8/125/1) with an 18-yard touchdown pass and RB DeShaun Foster (1/9/1) for another score, both scores arriving in the final quarter - but those count in fantasy football. Hill has pitched 55/93 for 733 yards, 6 TDs and 3 interceptions with 6/17/1 rushing over the last 3 weeks, to land at #5 among all fantasy QBs in points per game. He is developing nicely now that he's at the top of the depth chart.

The Bills gave up 24/39 for 303 net yards, 4 TDs and 2 interceptions to the Chiefs' QBs last week, and have coughed up 705 passing yards in their last 3 games (235 per contest). To date, this club checks in at 16th in net passing yards allowed per game (211.5 on average), with 11 passing TDs vs. 7 interceptions and 18 sacks generated - the Bills are a pretty mediocre bunch from week to week in this phase of the game.

Hill has built up a head of steam in the last 3 weeks - against the suspect Bills, he should continue to shine. Advantage, San Francisco.

Weather: The forecast for Monster Park calls for a high of 57F with a low of 44F and a 10% chance for rain - a very nice day is on tap for this matchup.

SF Injuries: none
ARI Injuries: none


San Francisco 49ers Passing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Colin Kaepernick didn't need to throw the ball much the last time the 49ers played the Rams - San Francisco rushed the ball 40 times for 219 yards and three TDs during that game - but when he put it up against the Rams, he had good results. At day's end, Kaepernick had thrown 15/23 for 167 yards passing, two TDs and zero interceptions. The usual suspects - Anquan Boldin (nine targets for 5/90/1 receiving) and Vernon Davis (four for 2/18/1) - scored the TDs for Kaepernick.

Last Monday night, Boldin (six targets for 5/94/2 receiving) and Davis (seven for 4/70/1) caught all the TDs that Kaepernick threw vs. Washington - Kaepernick posted a solid 15/24 for 235 yards passing, three TDs and zero interceptions during the game. It appears that Kaepernick is pulling out of the funk that held him under 200 yards passing in the four games prior to Monday night's game. We'll see how he responds against the Rams at home in Walsh Field this week. Also, the 49ers activated Michael Crabtree this week, so Kaepernick will start working in last year's #1 wide receiver into this year's mix - we think that Crabtree will be eased in over the next couple of weeks so don't get too excited about starting him here in Week 13.

Speaking of the Rams, they've blown out their last two opponents by a combined 80-29, holding Andrew Luck and Matt Hasselbeck to one TD and four interceptions two games ago, and then giving up two TDs and one interception to Josh McCown last week. However, they've surrendered 732 net yards passing in those two games, so the secondary is far from shutting down their opponents as of Week 13.

Advantage, San Francisco.

Weather: The forecast for Monster Park calls for a high of 57F with a low of 44F and a 10% chance for rain - a very nice day is on tap for this matchup.

SF Injuries: none
ARI Injuries: none


St. Louis Rams Passing Offense vs Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

As of mid-week, the big question on everyone's minds - will Jamie Martin or Ryan Fitzpatrick start on Sunday - is not being commented on by head coach Vitt "I'm not here to discuss [Fitzpatrick starting] right now. We'll wait and see." - that was the latest word from St. Louis as of Wednesday evening. Martin's injury - originally thought to be a concussion - was actually an eye problem that has cleared up after a visit to an opthalmologist. Anyway, whoever is passing the ball, Torry Holt (10/130/1 last week) and Isaac Bruce (4/94/1) figure to headline, with some flares going out to speedster Kevin Curtis (1/56/1) and Shaun McDonald (2/18/0). The Rams defense is sorry in both the rushing and the passing departments, so the offense will need to score a lot of points in order to win games - as we saw last week in the come-from-behind victory over Houston. David Carr (usually limited to ~200 yards passing and 1 TD per game) tossed 25/34 for 293 yards and 3 scores against the Rams' secondary last week.

Washington fields a so-so secondary this season, ranking 12th in the NFL allowing an average of 192.7 passing yards per game, with 10 passing scores given away to date. Over the past 3 weeks, teams have averaged 253.3 yards passing per contest vs. Washington, including last week's totals of 22/45 for 215 yards, 0 TDs and 3 interceptions put up by Drew Brees (Washington has 4 interceptions and 4 sacks to their credit over the past 3 weeks - 3 interceptions off Brees was much more than they usually manage). This unit is nothing special this year, but they are adequate most weeks.

Nothing is wrong with the Rams' aerial attack - they figure to have a big game again this week against the so-so Redskins.

Weather: This game is to be played inside the Edward Jones Dome - weather will not be a factor for either team.

STL Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: none


St. Louis Rams Passing Offense vs Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Marc Bulger was knocked out of the game last week with a concussion, and is looking highly questionable to play this week. Coach Linehan described how Bulger seemed after the injury on Sunday like this: "We talked a little bit. I could tell right when he came off that there was something that was a little different. He mentioned that he didn't feel good, and that's a big concern. He said he was starting to feel a little nauseous there." Bulger was hospitalized for observation after the brain trauma.

It is likely that Gus Frerotte will get another start this week vs. the Falcons. He's posted 67/120 for 672 yards, 4 TDs and 9 interceptions in 5 appearances this year, with 20/32 for 161 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception (and a game-killing 2 fumbles, one of which happened at the Seahawks' goal line at the end of the game). The majority of Frerotte's passes went to Isaac Bruce (6/63/1), Torry Holt (5/54/0) and Drew Bennett (4/35/0) last week. He seems to be in sync with the Rams' top receivers coming into this contest. Bruce is nursing a sprained left hand as of Wednesday - something to keep your eye on if Bruce is in your teams' lineup.

The Falcons' pass D isn't anything to write home about, with 14 passing scores surrendered over 11 games, and currently averaging 202.3 net passing yards allowed per game (8th in the NFL). They have 12 interceptions (and 11-way tie for 10th in the league), but only 18 sacks so far (tie-27th in the NFL). Last week, Peyton Manning toasted this group for 22/32 for 247 net passing yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception without the help of Marvin Harrison. The Falcons had limited their previous 3 opponents to 156, 145, and 135 net passing yards, though - but Tampa Bay, Carolina and San Francisco don't field the most impressive aerial units in the league, either.

In the Rams house, Frerotte and company have a good matchup against a suspect pass D that was picked apart last Thursday.

Weather: This game is to be played inside the Edward Jones Dome - weather will not be a factor for either team.

STL Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: none


St. Louis Rams Passing Offense vs Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Kyle Boller stood up to a lot of punishment last week (four sacks and 12 other hits on the QB were recorded by the Seahawks on Sunday), and crafted a decent showing with 28/46 for 282 yards, one TD and two interceptions. He hit 10 different receivers during the game, finding Ruvell Martin (2/60/0), Danny Amendola (7/55/0) and Donnie Avery (4/48/1) for the majority of the passing yards he amassed in his most recent start. To date, Boller has 77/132 for 763 yards, three TDs and five interceptions to his credit during 2009. That's not horrible considering who leaky the OL is (the Rams have allowed 25 sacks to date, but as we saw last week the Rams' QBs get hit a lot more often than that).

Chicago's pass D has 22 sacks this year (21st in the NFL), while averaging 214.2 net passing yards allowed per game (tied for 14th in the NFL). However, they've handed over 21 passing TDs vs. just 10 interceptions generated - over the past four games, the Bears are tied for second-most points allowed from scrimmage, with 111 handed over - Brett Favre just bombed the Bears for 32/48 yielding 378 net yards, three TDs and zero interceptions during the game on last Sunday. Donovan McNabb hit them for 23/32 yielding 220 net yards, two TDs and one interception two weeks ago. You get the idea.

Boller and company are still scrapping despite their bad record - the Bears' D doesn't appear to have much fight left in them. Advantage, St. Louis.

Weather: This game is to be played inside the Edward Jones Dome - weather will not be a factor for either team.

STL Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: none


St. Louis Rams Passing Offense vs Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

In his first professional start, Sam Bradford had three interceptions vs. one TD (32/55 for 253 yards) - since the early weeks of the season, Bradford has dramatically cut down on turnovers, with 79/121 for 792 yards, six TDs and just one interception over the past four weeks, including a scintillating 22/37 for 308 yards, three TDs and zero interceptions in the victory over Denver (36-33) last Sunday. The Rams have also seen a number of players go down to season-ending injury since week one - the more recent numbers Bradford has posted noted above are more in line with how he is performing entering December, which is pretty darn good.

Danario Alexander played sparingly on Sunday at Denver, but led the team with 4/95/0 receiving on six targets, while Laurent Robinson (six for 4/58/0) and Danny Amendola (seven for 4/41/0 receiving with three rushes for 48 yards) also made their presences felt. TEs Michael Hoomanawanui (1/36/1) and Billy Bajema (five for 3/32/2) handled the TDs - Bajema came in for Hoomanawanui who was injured (again) on Sunday, suffering a high ankle sprain - he may be done for the season, and is out for four-to-six weeks according to initial estimates, making him worthless to fantasy owners this year.

The Cardinals gave up 261 yards rushing to the 49ers last week, so their suspect secondary wasn't tested much by Troy Smith (11/23 for 125 net yards, one TD and one interception). So far this year, the Cardinals are 25th in the NFL averaging 249.3 net yards allowed per game, with 17 TDs handed over so far vs. 11 interceptions and 21 sacks generated - they are a mediocre-to-sub-par unit in most games. Matt Cassel hit them for 15/24 yielding 193 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions two weeks ago, taking zero sacks on the day.

Bradford comes into this game smoking hot, while the Cardinals' defense is suspect despite the low yardage total put up by the 49ers last week. This looks like a good matchup for the young gun Bradford and his array of 'Who's that?' receivers. However, given how vulnerable the Cardinals' defensive front has been lately, realize that Bradford may not need to throw all that much this week - but good things should happen when the Rams do put the ball in the air.

Weather: This game is to be played inside the Edward Jones Dome - weather will not be a factor for either team.

STL Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: none


St. Louis Rams Passing Offense vs Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Shaun Hill has thrown one TD per game since returning as the starter in Week 11 - 20/29 for 220 yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions thrown vs. Denver (with three sacks taken for -14 yards), and then 18/35 for 198 yards passing, one TD and two interceptions thrown (with one sack taken for -7 yards) in San Diego last week. Over the last two starts, he's relied on Jared Cook (14 targets for 6/46/0 receiving), Kenny Britt (12 for 6/165/1) and Stedman Bailey (12 for 10/115/1) the most, going to his wide receivers for the passing scores.

The Raiders' pass D is ranked 12th in the NFL averaging 233.7 net yards allowed per game, but they have given up 20 passing scores over 11 games vs. just five interceptions (tied for third-least in the league) and a mere 12 sacks recorded (dead last in the NFL). They don't pressure opposing passers much at all this season. Alex Smith threw 20/36 for 217 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions at Oakland last weekend (two sacks taken for -17 yards), while Philip Rivers managed 22/34 for 180 yards, one TD and zero interceptions (with two sacks taken for -13 yards).

This is a good matchup for Hill and his favorite targets.

Weather: This game is to be played inside the Edward Jones Dome - weather will not be a factor for either team.

STL Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: none


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Offense at New Orleans Saints Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

In years' past, this would have been a matchup that featured 2 feared defensive teams, but no longer. Time and injuries have eroded both of these teams to the extent that the Bucs have allowed an average of 26.3 points per game over the past 3 weeks, while the Steelers have coughed up 26 per contest during that same span of time. This year, Pittsburgh is ranked 17th against the pass, giving up 206.3 passing yards per game, with 15 scores surrendered in this phase to date. Last week, they handed over 21/27 for 161 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions to Steve McNair and company, and failed to sack him. This week, the Steelers are going into battle without Troy Polamalu, their best DB, due to a sprained MCL in his left knee - this will make the pass D even less able to slow down the opposition.

Bruce Gradkowski had a tough time with Dallas' quality D last week (10/20 for 120 yards, 0 TDs and 2 interceptions) - he hit Joey Galloway for 3/71/0 but got little help otherwise from his receivers. He'd hit for 5 TDs in the previous 3 games, but Dallas was just a little too much for the youngster last week.

Pittsburgh's defense is not at Dallas' level this season - we think Gradkowski has a good chance to bounce back against the Steelers' injury-depleted secondary.

Weather: The forecast for Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge calls for a high of 75F and a low of 52F with a 40% chance of rain. With both pro and college games being played on this surface during 2005, it is likely to be worn, especially in the middle of the field. If the rains come down hard around game time, footing and ball handling with be larger issues than usual for both teams.

TB Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Offense at New Orleans Saints Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Jeff Garcia was adequate but not spectacular back in week 1, with 24/41 for 221 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception vs. the Saints. Since then, he's been benched for a stretch of time and then returned to the field stronger than before, with 36/48 for 420 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions (7/20/0 rushing) over the last 3 weeks and 173/248 for 1783 yards, 7 TDs and 3 interceptions for the season over 8 games played. He provides the sort of attack the Bucs require - high percentage passes and enough points to overcome the small totals the Bucs' D allows to the opposition. Antonio Bryant is Garcia's top receiver this season, with 54/673/2 - he snagged 4/48/0 last week, while Ike Hilliard pulled down the TD (2/51/1) and Jerramy Stevens handled the other TD (2/29/1).

The Saint's pass D is not strong, averaging 235.1 net yards allowed per game (24th in the NFL) this season, with 18 passing TDs handed over vs. 10 interceptions and 20 sacks generated (20th in the NFL in this category). Over the past 3 weeks, they've handed over 688 passing yards (229.3 per contest), with 6 sacks and 4 interceptions generated during that time span. Aaron Rodgers threw for 23/41 yielding 234 yards, 2 TDs and 3 interceptions vs. New Orleans last week.

Garcia is steady but unspectacular, but the Saints' pass D is sub-par - advantage, Tampa Bay.

Weather: The forecast for Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge calls for a high of 75F and a low of 52F with a 40% chance of rain. With both pro and college games being played on this surface during 2005, it is likely to be worn, especially in the middle of the field. If the rains come down hard around game time, footing and ball handling with be larger issues than usual for both teams.

TB Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Offense at New Orleans Saints Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

This is the first game in the annual home-and-away duels between the Buccaneers and the Panthers - while neither team has a good record this year expect a high level of intensity from both sides in this NFC South grudge match.

Josh Freeman has been up-and-down in recent weeks, with a strong 28/38 for 342 yards, two TD and two interceptions performance at Green Bay two weeks ago followed up by a less-impressive 18/33 for 199 yards, one TD and one interception day at Tennessee last week. Mike Williams has been on fire during the roller-coaster ride, with 22 targets (11 each week) for 13/167/2 receiving over the last two games - Kellen Winslow (18 for 14/184/0) and Arrelious Benn (11 for 6/72/0) are the only other Buccaneers with double-digit targets during that two week span, though Dezmon Briscoe did claim a TD two weeks ago with three targets for 2/7/1 to his credit - he wasn't targeted last week, though.

The Panthers' pass D is fairly generous this year, with 17 passing scores allowed vs. just nine interceptions (tied for 22nd in the NFL) and only 21 sacks (tied for 24th) generated to date. They are ranked 15th in net yards allowed per game, averaging 232.6 net yards given up per game. Curtis Painter scored a passing TD last week! He threw 15/29 for 218 net yards (two sacks taken) one TD and two interceptions vs. the Panthers. Matthew Stafford dismembered the Carolina secondary two weeks ago with 28/36 for 326 net yards (two sacks taken), five TDs and two interceptions thrown.

Freeman has had an inconsistent season this year, but he's got a good matchup to deal with when Carolina comes calling on Sunday.

Weather: The forecast for Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge calls for a high of 75F and a low of 52F with a 40% chance of rain. With both pro and college games being played on this surface during 2005, it is likely to be worn, especially in the middle of the field. If the rains come down hard around game time, footing and ball handling with be larger issues than usual for both teams.

TB Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Kerry Collins (25/42 for 280 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions) out-dueled Sage Rosenfels in a battle of the backups the last time these teams met (week 7), earning a 38-36 victory for the Titans when the dust settled. Roydell Williams (5/124/0 receiving) and Bo Scaife (6/49/0) led the team in receiving that day.

Vince Young tweaked an ankle last week in the losing effort vs. Cincinnati, tossing 19/31 for 246 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception in the course of the afternoon. Young owners will want to keep an eye on his practice participation/injury status later in the week. Justin Gage (4/98/0) and Eric Moulds (2/52/0) led the team in receiving last week. Young has thrown for a lot of yards over the last 3 games (808), but has 2 TDs vs. 5 interceptions in the 3 losses.

The Texans gave up 24/35 for 253 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception to Derek Anderson and the Browns last week - they handed over 280 net yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions to New Orleans in their week 11 game after the week 10 bye. The team has been cold in this phase of the game lately, folks. To date, they are 17th in the NFL averaging 214.5 net passing yards allowed per game, with 15 pass TDs given up. They are 22nd in the NFL with 10 interceptions, and 30th in the league with 16 sacks to their credit - on balance, this is a sub-par unit that is playing even a little softer than usual of late.

Young has been connecting for a lot of yards over the past few weeks, and should have an easier time protecting the ball against the suspect Texans this week - advantage, Tennessee.

Weather: Inside the RCA Dome, conditions should be perfect to play football.

TEN Injuries: none
IND Injuries: none


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Kerry Collins played pretty well vs. the Jets, managing 21/39 for 243 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions during the game. 9 players caught passes from Collins, with Justin McCareins (4/43/0) and Brandon Jones (4/40/0) leading the team - FB Ahmard Hall caught the TD pass (1/6/1). Bo Scaife (3/40/0) and Quinton Ganther (3/40/0) also got 40 yards receiving during the game. Over the past 3 weeks, Collins has thrown for 64/103 for 762 yards, 6 TDs and 1 interception - he's on fire right now.

The Lions' pass D is a little better than their rush D, but that is faint praise. The team ranks 22nd in the NFL averaging 222 net passing yards allowed per game; they have handed over 18 passing TDs to date, with a mere 2 interceptions so far; and they are tied for 13th in the NFL with 22 sacks during 2008. Over the past 3 weeks, the Lions have handed over only 461 yards passing (but 540 yards rushing - teams haven't needed to throw the ball much). Jeff Garcia threw for 13/18 for 136 yards, but 2 TDs with 0 interceptions as the Lions gave Tampa a lot of short fields due to turnovers.

Collins should be able to do what he wants when facing the woeful Lions' D, but the Titans may not need him to pass much considering how porous the opposing defensive front is - advantage Tennessee.

Weather: Inside the RCA Dome, conditions should be perfect to play football.

TEN Injuries: none
IND Injuries: none


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Ryan Fitzpatrick threw 22/28 for 222 yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions vs. Indianapolis two weeks ago, leaning on Delanie Walker (10 targets for 10/91/1 receiving), Kendall Wright (12 for 9/80/0) and Nate Washington (three for 2/53/0) to move the chains. Last week, he built on the solid showing with 30/42 for 320 yards passing, two TDs and zero interceptions thrown at Oakland - since re-assuming the starting quarterback duties in Tennessee week 10, he's thrown five TDs and zero interceptions, in contrast to his stint during weeks four through six when he had two TDs and four interceptions. With more time in the system, Fitzpatrick has grown more comfortable. Last week, Justin Hunter (six targets for 6/109/1) and Kendall Wright (seven for 6/103/1) were the main targets for Fitzpatrick, while Delanie Walker (nine for 5/46/0) and Nate Washington (six for 5/45/0) helped move the chains at Oakland.

The Colts' pass D coughed up 26/38 for 290 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions to Carson Palmer and company last week - they are now 19th in the NFL averaging 243.5 net passing yards allowed per game, with 16 TDs given up vs. eight interceptions (tied for 22nd in the NFL) and 29 sacks (tied for 15th) generated to date.

Fitzpatrick and company have a good matchup to work with here despite being on the road to Lucas Oil Stadium.

Weather: Inside the RCA Dome, conditions should be perfect to play football.

TEN Injuries: none
IND Injuries: none


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Zach Mettenberger had a big game vs. the Texans during Week 8, throwing 27/41 for 299 yards passing, two TDs and one interception. Nate Washington led the team in receiving with four targets for 4/68/0 receiving, but the TDs went Delanie Walker (nine for 4/37/1), and Justin Hunter (10 for 4/31/1). Since that game, Walker and Hunter have been favorite targets of Mettenberger. Last week, at Philadelphia, Walker led the team in receiving with 10 targets for 5/155/0 receiving, while Hunter also saw 10 for 4/64/1. Nate Washington (six for 4/63/0) was in the mix, while Dexter McCluster (three for 3/15/1) hauled in the other available TD pass from Mettenberger (20/39 for 345 yards passing, two TDs and one interception thrown, with five sacks taken for -46 yards). The Titans' passing attack has been enlivened with Mettenberger calling the shots. We'll see if he can put up 300 or more yards passing on the Texans in this game at NRG Stadium.

The Texans' pass D is 31st in the NFL averaging 274.0 net passing yards allowed per game, with 20 TDs surrendered vs. 12 interceptions (tied for eighth in the NFL) and 21 sacks (24th in the league) generated so far. Last week, Andy Dalton wasn't sacked at all on the way to 24/35 for 233 yards passing, one TD and one interception thrown; Brian Hoyer threw 20/50 for 317 yards, one TD and one interception with two sacks taken for -13 yards two games back.

This is a good matchup for Mettenberger and company.

Weather: Inside the RCA Dome, conditions should be perfect to play football.

TEN Injuries: none
IND Injuries: none


Washington Redskins Passing Offense at St. Louis Rams Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Jason Campbell has done well since ascending to the controls - over the 2 games he's played, Campbell has pitched 30/57 for 314 yards, 4 TDs and 1 interception (14th best fantasy QB in the land). Last week, he tossed 11/23 for 118 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception vs. Carolina, hooking up with Chris Cooley for the bulk of the yardage and the score (3/89/1). Santana Moss could only muster 3/12/0 in his return to the field (he's been struggling with a sore hamstring). It's been "So far, So good" for Campbell and the Redskins.

The Falcons' pass D was shredded for 21/30 for 349 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions last week - Drew Brees really made them look bad. They have averaged 234 passing yards allowed per game during the past 3 weeks - which is near their season average of 241.2 passing yards allowed per game (30th in the NFL) with 13 passing scores handed over to date. Atlanta is in the middle of the NFL flock with 9 interceptions and 29 sacks to date - they do a few things right, but on balance this unit is sub-par.

This is a good matchup for Campbell and company.

Weather: This game is to be played inside the Edward Jones Dome - weather will not be a factor for either team.

WAS Injuries: none
STL Injuries: none


Washington Redskins Passing Offense at St. Louis Rams Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Robert Griffin III ran for 9/89/0 and threw 20/28 for 258 yards, two TDs and one interception during a close 23-27 loss at New York back in week seven. Since then, he's become a fantasy owner's dream, tossing eight TDs and just one interception in his last two games (with 511 yards passing). What happened back in week seven isn't going to determine what Griffin does in this game - he's on fire coming into week 13. During the hot streak, Griffin has re-discovered Pierre Garcon (seven for 5/93/1 receiving last week), and also leaned on Aldrick Robinson (one for 1/68/1 last week), Josh Morgan (six for 5/48/0), Santana Moss (five for 4/42/1) and Niles Paul (one for 1/21/1). Griffin III is on a tear right now, friends.

The Giants' pass D did an outstanding job defensing Aaron Rodgers last week (15/27 for 201 net yards passing, one TD and one interception thrown, with five sacks taken for -29 yards and seven other hits administered to the Green Bay quarterbacks), but were blown up for 21/30 for 199 net yards, four TDs and zero interceptions with zero sacks generated against Andy Dalton back in week 10. They've been up and down in this phase of the game lately. To date, New York averages 252.6 net passing yards allowed per game (25th in the NFL) with 18 passing TDs balanced by 18 interceptions (second in the NFL) and 30 sacks (tied for fifth) generated. We'll see how the up-and-down Giants' pass D fares against the red-hot Griffin in this game.

Advantage, Griffin, despite the good game plan against Green Bay last week.

Weather: This game is to be played inside the Edward Jones Dome - weather will not be a factor for either team.

WAS Injuries: none
STL Injuries: none


Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Ryan Lindley was a disaster in week 12, tossing four interceptions and zero TDs. He did manage to get over 300 yards passing (31/52 for 312 yards passing), even though he only hooked up with Larry Fitzgerald three times for 31 yards (he did throw Fitzgerald 12 passes). Andre Roberts (13 for 9/92/0) and Rob Housler (11 for 8/82/0 receiving) were Lindley's most successful receivers last week, followed by William Powell (nine for 6/63/0). Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt stated Monday that Ryan Lindley will remain his starting quarterback this week if Kevin Kolb (ribs) isn't able to play - Kolb hasn't been able practice for weeks and according to coach Whisenhunt 'He still had soreness, and you have to weigh that against taking a hit in the pocket. That's going to happen in this league even when you get throws off. It has to be a safety concern there as well.' It looks like Lindley will be the man for Arizona until fantasy playoffs are almost over (or perhaps until the end of the 2012 season altogether). Sorry, Larry Fitzgerald owners.

The Jets' pass D ranks seventh in the NFL averaging 211.3 net yards allowed per game, with 17 pass TDs given up vs. eight interceptions and 17 sacks generated to date (20th- and 29th-ranked in the NFL, respectively). Though teams don't pile up pass yards on the Jets, they haven't had trouble throwing pass TDs - Tom Brady led the Patriots to a 49-19 rout of New York on Thanksgiving with 18/28 for 323 yards passing, three TDs, zero interceptions and zero sacks taken. Two weeks ago Sam Bradford threw two TDs and one interception vs. the Jets (23/44 for 167 net yards).

Lindley is a struggling rookie - against the so-so Jets he's got a neutral matchup this week.

Weather: The forecast for Monster Park calls for a high of 57F with a low of 44F and a 10% chance for rain - a very nice day is on tap for this matchup.

ARI Injuries: none
SF Injuries: none


Atlanta Falcons Passing Offense at Carolina Panthers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Michael Vick reverted to his usual form against Detroit, tossing 12/22 for 146 yards, but he did ring up 2 TDs vs. 1 interception (and added 6/57/0 on the ground). Alge Crumpler stole the show receiving, with 7/104/2 on 11 targets (the second week in a row he's seen 11 targets) - Crumpler is the #1 fantasy TE in the land over the past 3 weeks, with 17/193/3 to his credit. He's the receiver who consistently sees a lot of chances from week to week - the other weapons on this team run hot and cold. Vick really didn't need to throw very much vs. Detroit (that's often the case with this offense) as the running game yielded 45/256/1 during the contest. Over the past 3 weeks, Vick has tossed 6 TDs and only 1 interception, with 53/90 for 661 yards passing, and added 17/98/1 rushing, to rank 5th among all fantasy starters in points per game.

The Panthers bring the league's 16th ranked secondary to the dance, averaging 202.7 passing yards allowed per game (with 12 passing scores handed over to date). Over the past 3 weeks, the team has averaged 125.3 net passing yards given up per contest, with the 3rd-most interceptions generated during that span (6). The Panthers are tied for 10th in the NFL with 28 sacks this season, 7 compiled during the last 3 weeks. 16/29 for 197 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception were J.P. Losman's totals vs. this group last week. They are a decent but not outstanding pass D this year.

With home field advantage behind the defense, we think this looks like a pretty even matchup.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium calls for a high of 66F and a low of 37F with a 40% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling may be larger issues than usual for both teams.

ATL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: none


Atlanta Falcons Passing Offense at Carolina Panthers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Dropped passes. Lapses in concentration. Just plain poor play - take your pick of these or other excuses for the pathetic play of the Falcons' aerial unit in recent weeks, but realize that the bottom line is this: Michael Vick tossed 9/24 for 84 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions last week, and has only 36/85 for 408 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions passing over the past 3 weeks (a 42.4% completion percentage). Even with a gazillion yards rushing (ok, "only" 45/281/1), the Falcons couldn't beat the Saints last week (31-13) because their passing game is pathetic. As a fantasy QB, Vick keeps his owners happy due to the ridiculous amount of rushing yardage he generates, but the Falcons pass attack is moribund. This group of receivers is DOA most weeks, recently. Alge Crumpler led the team with 1/43/0 last week, and nobody grabbed more than 2 receptions all day long.

The Redskins did a great job of holding Steve Smith and Jake Delhomme in check last week, allowing 23/38 for 168 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions on the day. They have given up an average of 198.6 passing yards per game over the past 3 weeks, which is a far sight better than their season average of 230.8 yards allowed per game (27th in the NFL) with a league-worst 21 passing scores handed over. It is almost as if now that the playoffs are out of reach, the Redskins have suddenly remembered how to play defense. Anyway, they look like they are heading in the right direction.

This is a neutral matchup between a horrid attack and a sub-par-but-improving pass D.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium calls for a high of 66F and a low of 37F with a 40% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling may be larger issues than usual for both teams.

ATL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: none


Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense vs Houston Texans Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

These teams last clashed in Week seven, at Heinz Stadium - Pittsburgh prevailed with a last-second field goal, 19-16.

Joe Flacco threw 24/34 for 215 yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions vs. the Steelers, with one sack taken for -10 yards. Torrey Smith led the team in receiving that day, with six targets for 3/61/0 receiving, followed by Tandon Doss (three for 2/35/0) and Jacoby Jones (eight for 4/32/0). Dallas Clark (four for 3/9/1) was the guy who punched in the TD that day.

Following week seven's performance, Flacco has thrown 78/134 for 825 yards passing, six TDs and six interceptions over his last four games played - pretty pedestrian numbers that have depressed the scoring potential of the receivers on the team. Torrey Smith has led the team over the past four contests with 34 targets for 17/230/2 receiving, followed by Jacoby Jones (18 for 11/159/1), Ray Rice (16 for 13/61/0), Ed Dickson (15 for 8/102/0), and Marlon Brown (14 for 7/65/2). Smith and perhaps Jones are worth considering for fantasy owners' starting lineups as we enter the final 1/3 of the season.

The Steelers' pass D is ranked 10th in the NFL averaging 224.4 net passing yards allowed per contest with 13 passing TDs given out vs. seven interceptions generated (25th in the NFL) and 23 sacks (27th in the league) generated. Cleveland's duo of quarterbacks tossed 27/52 for 312 net yards, one TD and one interception vs. Pittsburgh last week, while Matthew Stafford threw 19/46 for 344 net yards, two TDs and one interception in Heinz Field two games ago. The Steelers' pass defense is in a free fall entering the final 1/3 of the NFL schedule.

Two less-than-impressive units clash in this game - neither side has a clear advantage over the other in our book.

Weather: The weather service predicts a high of 49F with a low of 31F and a 20% chance for rain in the Baltimore area on Sunday. That sounds like great football weather to us.

BAL Injuries: none
HOU Injuries: none


Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense vs Houston Texans Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Joe Flacco has watched Justin Forsett plow in two rushing scores per game over the past two contests - the game plan has been slanted towards the rushing game during recent contests, with 24 passes attempted vs. 32 rushes at New Orleans (Flacco threw 18/24 for 243 yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions with one sack taken for -9 yards at the Superdome) and 27 passes attempted and 34 rushes vs. Tennessee (16/27 for 169 yards, one TD and zero interceptions thrown, with one sack taken for -8 yards). Flacco and company having a winning NFL formula these days, but they aren't creating jaw-dropping fantasy numbers in this phase of the game. The Smiths have split the available passing scores, with Torrey Smith reeling in the TD vs. Tennessee (eight targets for 5/75/1 receiving, to lead the team in receiving), while Steve Smith Sr. (six targets for 4/89/1 receiving) got the TD at New Orleans. Torrey Smith led the team in receiving last week (six for 5/98/0) - the two wideouts are the most productive fantasy receivers for the Ravens entering the holiday weekend.

San Diego averages 221.3 net yards passing allowed per game, with 18 passing scores given out over 11 games, while generating just six interceptions (tied for 26th in the NFL) and only 18 sacks (tied for 27th). Shaun Hill and company posted 19/36 for 210 yards passing, one TD and two interceptions thrown vs. San Diego last week (with one sack taken for -7 yards); Derek Carr dinked-and-dunked to 16/34 for 162 net yards, zero TDs or interceptions, and two sacks taken for -10 yards at San Diego two games back.

Both of these units are on an even (if mediocre) keel entering Week 13 - neither has a clear edge over the other. Also, Justin Forsett has been really hot of late in the rushing phase of the game - Flacco may not need to sling the ball much in this contest.

Weather: The weather service predicts a high of 49F with a low of 31F and a 20% chance for rain in the Baltimore area on Sunday. That sounds like great football weather to us.

BAL Injuries: none
HOU Injuries: none


Buffalo Bills Passing Offense at Miami Dolphins Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Last week, Ryan Fitzpatrick shook off the funk that had depressed his fantasy value during the first three weeks of November (when he threw 55/101 for 546 yards, two TDs and seven interceptions over three games) to post an outstanding game at New York - 26/39 for 264 yards, three TDs and zero interceptions thrown. Brad Smith (seven targets for 4/77/1) led the team in receiving last week, followed by Steve Johnson (13 for 8/75/1), Scott Chandler (seven for 6/50/0) and David Nelson (eight for 5/47/1). Given the rash of injuries that has thinned the ranks at wide receiver, look for more from Smith and Nelson as they fill in the depth chart behind Johnson during December.

The Titans' pass D is in the middle ranks of the league after 11 games, averaging 229.1 net yards allowed per game, with 16 TD passes surrendered vs. 10 interceptions (tied for 18th in the NFL) and 21 sacks (tied for 24th) generated to date. Josh Freeman was held to 18/33 for 186 net yards (two sacks taken), one TD and one interception during the Titans' 23-17 win last week, while Matt Ryan was allowed 22/32 for 316 net yards (zero sacks taken), one TD and zero interceptions in the 17-23 loss to Atlanta two weeks ago. Like most mediocre units, the Titans' pass D is inconsistent from week to week.

Fitzpatrick got the Bills' passing attack running well again last week - he has an even shot at extending that good performance into week 13.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 80F with a low of 66F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play and watch a football game.

BUF Injuries: none
MIA Injuries: none


Buffalo Bills Passing Offense at Miami Dolphins Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Both of these teams are jockeying for a playoff spot - Buffalo is knotted up with Miami at 6-5 in second in the AFC East and looking for a wild card slot, while the Browns are 7-4 but in last place in the fiercely competitive AFC North (Cleveland, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh are all sitting at 7-4, a half-game behind 7-3-1 Cincinnati) - this game is a must-win for both clubs as we enter the stretch run into the Second Season.

Kyle Orton recovered from a bad day in Miami two weeks ago (22/39 for 193 yards passing, zero TDs or interceptions thrown, with two sacks taken for -10 yards) to engineer a 38-3 blowout of divisional rival New York on Monday night - Orton threw 24/32 for 230 yards passing, with two TDs and zero interceptions thrown, taking one sack for -10 yards. Usual favorite target Sammy Watkins had a quiet go of it, with five targets for 3/35/0 while his compatriots Robert Woods (11 for 9/118/1) and Scott Chandler (three for 3/28/1) gobbled up Orton's TD passes. The Bills' offense got on track again last Monday.

The Browns' pass D gave up 27/43 for 252 net yards, two TDs and one interception to the Falcons last Sunday, recording three sacks for -21 yards. Two weeks ago Ryan Mallett wasn't sacked at all, throwing 20/30 for 211 yards passing, two TDs and one interception at Cleveland. As you can see, the Browns' opponents in recent weeks have done well throwing the football. To date, Cleveland ranks ninth in the NFL averaging 232.2 net passing yards allowed per game, with 16 passing scores given up balanced by a strong 15 interceptions (tied for second in the NFL) and 23 sacks (tied-18th) generated.

Orton is on a mini-roll, but a top-ten pass D is coming to town on Sunday - this looks like a neutral matchup for the home team. Also, the Browns tend to be generous to opposing running backs, so Orton may not need to put the ball up a whole lot on Sunday.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 80F with a low of 66F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play and watch a football game.

BUF Injuries: none
MIA Injuries: none


Carolina Panthers Passing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Jake Delhomme shook off his poor game vs. Chicago and threw for 20/27 for 191 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions vs. the top-five Buffalo secondary last week - he didn't light up the board, but he didn't fall flat on his face, either. With 52/85 for 545 yards, 2 TDs and 4 interceptions over his past 3 games, Delhomme hasn't been a fantasy stud recently - but Steve Smith is still a top WR threat, with 20/258/0 over the past 3 weeks (30th fantasy WR during that span in points per game) - the relative lack of TDs from Delhomme has suppressed Smith's fantasy value lately. He led the team with 3/55/0 vs. Buffalo last week.

The Falcons rank 15th in the NFL this year at defending the pass, giving up an average of 202.2 passing yards per game, with 11 thrown TDs surrendered to date. Over the past 3 weeks, they've handed over passing yards at a pace of 197 per contest, including the 25/48 for 258 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions that the desperate Lions put up last week. Atlanta's pass D is nothing special, but they aren't horrible, either.

Two middle-of-the-road teams face off in this game - they are pretty evenly matched.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium calls for a high of 66F and a low of 37F with a 40% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling may be larger issues than usual for both teams.

CAR Injuries: none
ATL Injuries: none


Carolina Panthers Passing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

With Vinny Testaverde a game-day scratch last week (bad back), the Panthers' offense went in the tank. David Carr was so bad (10/22 for 95 yards passing, 0 TDs and 2 interceptions) that undrafted rookie Matt Moore was given some playing time (8/14 for 66 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception) - Moore actually averaged about 1/2 a yard better per attempt than Carr. Needless to say, with under 200 yards passing to split up, none of the receivers were fantasy game breakers, although Steve Smith compiled a decent outing between 6/47/0 receiving and 1/22/0 rushing during the game. Owners invested in the Carolina offense will want to monitor Testaverde's practice participation/injury status later in the week as his presence/absence from the lineup makes a huge difference in the way this unit is able to function (or disfunction, with Carr under center).

The 49ers were carpet bombed by Kurt Warner/Tim Rattay last week, allowing 35/49 for 456 yards, 3 TDs and 2 interceptions to the duo during the contest. The 49ers have been wildly erratic in this phase of the game over the past 5 games, with 336 net yards given up in week 8, then 131, then 274, then 105, and then last week's 456. All the crazy swings equals a 24th-in-the-NFL ranking in this phase of the game, averaging 228.1 pass yards given up per game, with 17 passing TDs given up to date. The 49ers are tied for 28th in the NFL with only 8 interceptions so far, and 16th in the league with 24 sacks generated to date. On balance, this is a sub-par pass D that can be exploited.

The Panthers have been pretty erratic with their offense this season, as have the 49ers' defenders. This looks like a neutral matchup between teams in flux.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium calls for a high of 66F and a low of 37F with a 40% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling may be larger issues than usual for both teams.

CAR Injuries: none
ATL Injuries: none


Carolina Panthers Passing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Jake Delhomme finally found the zip in his throwing arm again, and threw for 21/35 for 295 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions vs. Atlanta on Sunday. He also rushed for a TD (2/18/1), making his fantasy owners happy for one week, at least. As usual, Steve Smith led the attack, catching 8/168/0; Dante Rosario was 2nd on the team with 3/43/0; and Muhsin Muhammad caught a TD with 4/40/1. The Panthers got on track again last week, folks.

The Packers were mugged by Drew Brees, who threw 20/26 for 323 yards, 4 TDs and 0 interceptions vs. the over-hyped Packers' pass D. Over the past 3 weeks, the secondary has allowed just 610 yards despite Brees' strong showing, with 4 sacks and 4 interceptions to their credit, but last week the Pack had no answers for the Saints' prolific attack. We'll see if the DBs can pick up the pieces vs. Carolina or if they continue to fall apart. They are very thin at the S position, as Aaron Rouse was carted off the field with a serious ankle sprain vs. New Orleans; Atari Bigby is still significantly slowed by an ankle injury (he was pulled early in the game vs. New Orleans due to his injury/running slow); starting FS Nick Collins has been playing through a turf toe injury and banged up his left knee against the Saints. There is a lack of bodies in the middle of the secondary heading into this contest.

Delhomme finally got his engine revved up in week 12 after some weak showings of late; the Packers were embarrassed on national TV Monday Night, and are very banged up among the safety position in particular. In the hostile confines of Lambeau Field, Delhomme and company have a loud 12th-man to deal with, but due to the injury woes of the Packers at the safety position this looks like a fairly even matchup between the two teams.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium calls for a high of 66F and a low of 37F with a 40% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling may be larger issues than usual for both teams.

CAR Injuries: none
ATL Injuries: none


Carolina Panthers Passing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

3-7-1 Carolina faces off against 4-7 Minnesota in this one, but incredible as it sounds, the Panthers are still in the NFC South race so for Carolina this game is a must-win situation. The Vikings are in spoiler mode with Green Bay far out of reach (as is a wild card playoff berth in the NFC).

Cam Newton threw for a respectable 23/37 for 292 yards, two TDs and two interceptions thrown vs. Atlanta two weeks ago (two sacks taken for -7 yards), and he's had an extra week to shake off some of the aches and bruises accumulated over the first 11 weeks of NFL action - we'll see if he can build off the positive game here in Week 13. Against Atlanta, Newton leaned on Kelvin Benjamin (13 targets for 9/109/1 receiving) and Greg Olsen (11 for 5/61/0) heavily, while finding Philly Brown for his other TD pass (two for 1/47/1). Jerricho Cotchery kept the chains moving with four targets for 2/43/0 receiving - outside of Benjamin and Olsen, there isn't much fantasy juice to be had among the Panthers' receivers entering Week 13.

The Vikings' pass D is ranked seventh in the NFL averaging 223.5 net passing yards allowed per game, with 19 pass TDs given up vs. 10 interceptions and 31 sacks generated to date (16th and fourth-ranked in the NFL, respectively). Aaron Rodgers was held to 19/29 for 207 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions last week (one sack taken for -2 yards); Jay Cutler wasn't sacked two weeks ago while throwing 31/43 for 330 net yards passing, three TDs and two interceptions. Any team that can slow down Rodgers and the Packers' receivers is worthy of respect.

This looks like a tough matchup for the visiting Panthers.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium calls for a high of 66F and a low of 37F with a 40% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling may be larger issues than usual for both teams.

CAR Injuries: none
ATL Injuries: none


Chicago Bears Passing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Kyle Orton is nothing if not consistent - the guy has tossed 14/28 for 134 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception (last week); 15/26 for 136 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception (2 weeks ago); and 12/26 for 137 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions week 9 vs. New Orleans. That's 3 out of 4 weeks right around 135 yards passing with 1 TD per game (the week 10 game vs. San Francisco was played in high winds which severely impacted both teams' passing games). Over the past 3 weeks, Muhsin Muhammad is the top Chicago wideout, with 11/90/1 to his credit during that span - nothing to write home about, fantasy wise. There just aren't a lot of fantasy points to spread around on this attack (as detailed above).

The Packers' secondary runs in the middle of the NFL pack this season, allowing an average of 178.0 passing yards per game - 7th in the NFL in yards allowed per game - but coughing up 16 TDs to date, which is on the high end of the NFL spectrum through 11 games (7-23 is the range, currently). Last week, Mike McMahon tossed 12/28 for 91 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions, but he is a youngster still finding his way as a starter - the Pack has averaged 149 passing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks, including the downwardly-skewing Philly game last week. This is a mediocre pass D, on balance.

The Packers are not very impressive on balance, the Bears are fairly pedestrian in this phase - we think this one looks pretty even from where we sit.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high of 34F with a low of 23F and a 20% chance of precipitation. The wind conditions at this venue during the winter can be hard on passers and kickers - it would be a good idea to check a forecast closer to game time if you are considering starting Favre, Orton or their team-mates.

CHI Injuries: none
GB Injuries: none


Chicago Bears Passing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

We didn't see either "Good" or "Bad" Rex Grossman last week - he was "Mediocre" Rex Grossman, with 17/33 for 193 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception to his credit. Since regaining his starting job, Grossman has tossed just 1 TD and 1 interception, with one 266 yard passing game (0 TDs and 0 interceptions) to pair with last week's sub 200 yard effort. Last week, Bernard Berrian dug out the TD (3/24/1), while Desmond Clark (2/61/0) and Adrian Peterson (5/41/0) led the team in receiving - nobody else got over 30 yards receiving during the contest. So far, Grossman has been steady but unspectacular in his return to the driver's seat.

The Giants allowed a mere 10/12 for 124 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions to Tarvaris Jackson last week (but we're talking Jackson here - the guy has zero games over 175 yards passing this year). In week 11 Detroit gained 351 net yards passing and in week 10 Dallas threw for 241 net yards - the Giants are pretty giving in this phase of the game most of the time, with 18 passing TDs allowed and an average of 207.2 net passing yards per game (11th in the NFL). However, they do lead the NFL with 38 sacks (though the recent loss of LB Mathias Kiwanuka hurts in this department), and they are in an 11-way tie for 10th in the NFL with 12 interceptions to date. On balance, this is an average-to-above-average defense, depending on the week in question.

Grossman has been decent since his return to the top of the depth chart, while the Giants have bounced around in this phase of the game over the last 3 weeks - at Soldier field, this looks like a neutral matchup to us.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high of 34F with a low of 23F and a 20% chance of precipitation. The wind conditions at this venue during the winter can be hard on passers and kickers - it would be a good idea to check a forecast closer to game time if you are considering starting Favre, Orton or their team-mates.

CHI Injuries: none
GB Injuries: none


Chicago Bears Passing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Caleb Hanie era got off to a rough start in the first quarter at Oakland, with two punts and then a deep-right and deep-middle pass (both intended for Matt Forte) intercepted by the Raiders. However, Hanie persisted through the low point at the end of the first quarter, and ended up making a game of it with 18/36 for 254 yards, two TDs (and one more interception the rest of the game - for three total) passing by the end of the day. Not bad for his first start of the season. As a side note, it looks like Jay Cutler may be out for all of post-season (if the Bears make it) - Doctors could remove the screws and pins in his thumb 'anytime after three weeks, (but they could stay) up to 10 weeks.' he said on Wednesday, November 30th.

Johnny Knox (10 targets for 4/145/1) and Matt Forte (10 for 6/25/0) were the apples of Hanie's eye lat week, while Roy Williams saw the second-most targets with five (3/37/0 receiving) and Earl Bennett, Cutler's good buddy, seeing four targets for just 1/5/0 receiving. If the first week of Hanie's time on the field is an indication, fantasy owners should bench Bennett until further notice.

The Chiefs' pass D is a mixed bag this year, ranking 12th in the league averaging 225.3 net passing yards allowed per game, while allowing 19 passing scores over 11 games. They do have 14 interceptions to their credit (tied for eighth in the NFL), but the team is dead last in the league with a mere 13 sacks. The secondary is playing fairly well, but the big guys up front are failing to pressure opposing quarterbacks. Ben Roethlisberger posted 21/31 for 182 net yards (one sack taken), one TD and one interception at K.C. last week, but Tom Brady diced them up on Monday Night Football two weeks ago with 15/27 for 223 net yards (three sacks taken), two TDs and zero interceptions on the way to a 34-3 win over the Chiefs.

The Chiefs rush D is very suspect, so the Bears may run the ball a good bit in this one. When they choose to pass, Hanie has an even shot at making something good happen.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high of 34F with a low of 23F and a 20% chance of precipitation. The wind conditions at this venue during the winter can be hard on passers and kickers - it would be a good idea to check a forecast closer to game time if you are considering starting Favre, Orton or their team-mates.

CHI Injuries: none
GB Injuries: none


Cincinnati Bengals Passing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Carson Palmer was frustrated by the Steelers during the last meeting between these teams (week 7), posting 21/36 for 227 yards, 0 TDs and 2 interceptions on the day. It was the only game this season that Palmer failed to throw a TD, and it was the only game this season that he threw more interceptions than TDs. Palmer comes into this game red hot, with 22/30 for 302 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception vs. Baltimore last week, and 47/68 for 637 yards, 5 TDs and 2 interceptions during the last 3 weeks (2 games) to rank 2nd in fantasy points per game at his position during that span. Chad Johnson (19 targets for 13/277/2, #1 fantasy WR in points per game) and T.J. Houshmandzadeh (20 targets for 14/194/1, #7 fantasy WR in points per game) have been his top threats during the most recent 3 weeks (and all year long).

The Steelers have been hard on opposing passers during recent weeks, with 9 sacks during their last 3 games (they are tied for 6th in the league with 32 sacks to date), while allowing an average of 206 net passing yards per contest. Last Monday, Peyton Manning hit them for 15/25 for 245 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception - the Steelers never found the answer to the Manning puzzle (no shame in that, no NFL team has shut down the Colts offense this year). Usually, they are an average-to-decent group, ranking 18th in the NFL this year allowing an average of 209.5 passing yards per game (but surrendering the 3rd-least passing scores to date, with only 9 handed over).

Palmer and company are on a roll, but they are going to have to face a very hostile crowd and a fired up, solid pass D this week - this matchup looks pretty even from where we sit.

Weather: Heinz Field should see a high of 42F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - a nice, crisp day to play football is on tap for this matchup.

CIN Injuries: none
PIT Injuries: none


Cincinnati Bengals Passing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Andy Dalton threw 24/35 for 233 yards, one TD and one interception against the Texans last week, while taking zero sacks. Two weeks ago he bombed the Saints for 16/22 yielding 220 yards passing, three TDs and zero interceptions thrown, with one sack taken for -1 yards. The Bengals have won two straight games and cling to a slender 1/2 game lead in the AFC North entering this contest. During the winning streak, Dalton has relied on three main receivers; A.J. Green (24 targets for 18/248/1 receiving), Mohamed Sanu (13 for 8/71/1), and Jermaine Gresham (nine for 6/46/2) - nobody else has seen more than five targets during that two game span. Obviously, Green is the guy with the most potential going forwards (he stated this week that he finally feels healthy after struggling through a toe injury earlier in the year).

The Buccaneers' pass D has not been very good for most of the season, ranking 22nd in the NFL averaging 252.1 net passing yards allowed per game, with 21 passing scores given up over 11 games played, vs. just 8 interceptions (tied for 20th in the NFL) and 23 sacks (tied-18th) generated. Jay Cutler underperformed against Tampa last week with 17/27 for 112 yards, one TD and zero interceptions thrown (with three sacks taken for -18 yards), while a struggling Robert Griffin III was limited to 23/32 for 167 net yards passing, one TD and two interceptions thrown, with six sacks taken for -40 yards two games ago. Tampa's pass D has played solidly in this phase of the game over the past two games, folks.

Dalton and company are getting into synch, while the suspect Buccaneers seem to have pulled it together in this phase of the game during recent weeks - on balance, this looks like a neutral matchup with neither squad holding an edge on the other.

Weather: Heinz Field should see a high of 42F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - a nice, crisp day to play football is on tap for this matchup.

CIN Injuries: none
PIT Injuries: none


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Charlie Frye suffered through an awful game vs. Cincinnati, with 18/29 for 186 yards, 0 TDs and 4 interceptions to his credit. He has 1 TD pass in the past 3 weeks and ranks 30th among fantasy signal callers during that span (51/78 for 575 yards, 1 TD and 4 interceptions) - with numbers like that, it's no wonder that Braylon Edwards (2/29/0 last week) was frustrated. Dennis Northcutt led the team with 3/61/0 last week, while Kellen Winslow II posted 6/52/0. We'll see if Frye can get his game back this week, but he is really struggling as of week 13.

The Chiefs rank 12th in the NFL averaging 199.6 passing yards allowed per game, with 13 passing scores allowed to date. They have 9 interceptions and 22 sacks so far this year (sub-par numbers in both categories) - on balance, these guys are a pretty mediocre bunch most weeks. Over the past 3 weeks, they've allowed 588 passing yards (196 per contest) with 2 interceptions and 4 sacks, including last week's 25/39 for 216 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception given up to Jake Plummer. K.C. is a what-you-see is what-you-get pass defense - ordinary in almost every way.

This is a neutral matchup for the struggling Frye.

Weather: Cleveland Browns stadium should see a high of 34F with a low of 29F and a 20% chance for rain on Sunday. Cold, but not arctic, conditions shouldn't adversely affect either team, unless a storm blows through.

CLE Injuries: none
JAX Injuries: none


Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense at New York Giants Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Jon Kitna has thrown for 300 yards or more in two of his last three starts, with 13/22 for 327 yards, three TDs and one interception at New York in week 10, and then 30/42 for 313 yards, zero TDs and one interception vs. New Orleans on Thanksgiving. In between, he tossed three TDs in the win over Detroit (18/24 for 147 yards, three TDs and zero interceptions). Kitna is red hot entering week 13, folks. Five players have seen double-digit targets over the past three games: Jason Witten (17 for 15/154/0), Dez Bryant (15 for 6/112/2), Felix Jones (13 for 13/189/1), Roy Williams (12 for 9/136/0), and Miles Austin (11 for 7/100/3). The Dallas passing attack is wide open entering December, friends.

The Colts' pass D is currently sixth in the NFL averaging 204.5 net yards allowed per game, with 13 TDs given up vs. nine interceptions and 23 sacks generated. Part of the good net yards average is due to the team's weak run D, though - teams are electing to run the ball on a lot of plays each week. San Diego had 34 rushes vs. 23 pass attempts last week (19/23 for 172 net yards, zero TDs and zero interceptions), while Tom Brady tossed 19/25 for 178 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions two weeks ago (34 rushing attempts that week).

Kitna has been high-octane more often than not in this phase recently, but game conditions in deafening Lucas Oil Stadium and a really attractive rushing matchup may serve to limit his passing this week - on balance, this is a neutral matchup for the Cowboy's passing attack.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 45F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Fans and players should enjoy great football weather, as long as the forecast holds up.

DAL Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: none


Denver Broncos Passing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Jake Plummer wore out his welcome with coach Shanahan, and has been relegated to the bench for rookie Jay Cutler. Cutler hails from Vanderbilt, and was fairly impressive during pre-season. His team-mates appear to be solidly behind him and the coaching staff for making this move. Champ Bailey stated "(He's) Super-confident out there, as usual. That's the way Jay has been all season. The thing is, he is getting better every week. I've seen it. I think he's going to be that way in games and help this team." Coach Shanahan agreed, stating "It's about winning, and he's our best chance." We'll see how Cutler's performance in practice translates to production on the field soon enough.

The Seahawks sport the league's 21st ranked pass D, allowing an average of 216.9 passing yards per game, with 14 scores allowed to date. They are 3rd in the NFL with 37 sacks - expect them to try and rattle Cutler with a lot of big pass rushes. The Broncos are among the league's best at protecting the QB, with only 17 sacks allowed to date - it'll be interesting to see how often Seattle can penetrate into the Denver backfield. Last week, the Seahawks had only 1 sack of Brett Favre, but grabbed 3 interceptions while giving up 22/36 for 266 yards and a TD to the Packers.

Rookies in their first start often struggle with the speed of the pro game - we think this is a neutral matchup for Cutler and the Broncos, with neither team possessing a huge edge over the other.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 38F with a low of 22F on Sunday, and a 30% chance for precipitation (that could mean rain, sleet, or snow - or a mix of all 3). Wind conditions in this stadium can be extreme at this time of year - owners of Broncos or Chiefs will want to check a short-term forecast near the end of the week before setting their lineups.

DEN Injuries: none
KC Injuries: none


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense at Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Favre made his 232nd start on Monday Night Football, but turned in a flawed game with 22/36 for 266 yards, 1 TD and 3 interceptions. Donald Driver contributed 2/82/1 to lead the team in receiving, and Greg Jennings handled 6/50/0. Over the past 3 weeks, Favre has tossed 51/93 for 686 yards, 3 TDs and 3 interceptions - he was the 21st ranked fantasy QB during that time span.

The Jets' pass D is not impressive, allowing an average of 216.3 yards per game (20th in the NFL) with 13 passing scores given up to date. They have 22 sacks and 12 interceptions so far this season (both numbers are decent but not outstanding). They have posted 9 QB sacks and 2 interceptions over the past 3 weeks, while averaging 217.3 passing yards per game. Last week, the Jets gave up 39/54 for 321 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception to David Carr, but a lot of the yardage came late in the game (after it was already decided).

Two struggling units butt heads in this matchup - this looks like a neutral matchup to us.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high of 34F with a low of 23F and a 20% chance of precipitation. The wind conditions at this venue during the winter can be hard on passers and kickers - it would be a good idea to check a forecast closer to game time if you are considering starting Favre, Orton or their team-mates.

GB Injuries: none
CHI Injuries: none


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense at Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Aaron Rodgers got outgunned by Drew Brees last week (29-51 loss), managing 23/41 for 248 yards, 2 TDs but also reeling off 3 costly interceptions. Greg Jennings (8/101/1) and Donald Driver (4/43/0) were his top receivers as usual, while Ruvell Martin handled the other TD (2/14/1) - in all, 8 Packers caught passes vs. the Saints. Over the past 3 weeks, Rodgers has posted 61/97 for 617 yards, 4 TDs and 4 interceptions - he was off-kilter vs. New Orleans, though.

The Panthers gave up 5 rushing TDs last week, so Atlanta didn't throw many balls to the end zone (17/27 for 259 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions), but they had no trouble moving the ball through the air and Matt Ryan wasn't sacked once. The Panthers remain among the stingiest seondaries in the NFL with only 8 passing TDs given away this year (3rd-best mark in this category through 11 games), and are 9th averaging 192.1 net yards allowed per game, with 9 interceptions and 22 sacks generated to date. Over the past 3 weeks, they've allowed only 557 net passing yards (185.6 per contest), but they fell short vs. Atlanta.

Two solid clubs stumbled last week - in this matchup, we don't think either has an edge on the other.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high of 34F with a low of 23F and a 20% chance of precipitation. The wind conditions at this venue during the winter can be hard on passers and kickers - it would be a good idea to check a forecast closer to game time if you are considering starting Favre, Orton or their team-mates.

GB Injuries: none
CHI Injuries: none


Houston Texans Passing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Matt Schaub was knocked out of the game early on in the contest last time Tennessee faced Houston (week 7), posting only 5/9 for 23 yards before leaving play. Backup Sage Rosenfels headlined the rest of the way in a 38-36 thriller that went down to the wire (Rob Bironas won it for the Titans at the buzzer), tossing 22/35 for 290 yards, 4 TDs and 3 interceptions against Tennessee.

Schaub has been back in the saddle for the Texans for 2 weeks, and he's thrown for over 250 yards and 2 TDs in each contest since getting back to health. Last week, he posted 22/36 for 256 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions vs. the weak Browns' D, hooking up with Owen Daniels (7/82/1) and Kevin Walter (6/65/1) the most. Andre Davis (3/51/0) and Andre Johnson (3/37/0) also chipped in during the contest. The Texans' offense started and ended strong, but struggled in the middle of the game last week. We'll see if they can get more consistent with more reps for Schaub helping to cement his rhythm/rapport with the receivers.

The Titans were blasted by the Bengals last week, giving up 3 TDs to the Carson Palmer (32/38 for 278 net yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception)/Chad Johnson axis (Johnson had 12/103/3 and an excessive celebration penalty during the contest). Over the last 3 games (without Albert Haynesworth's pass rushing prowess), they've given up an increasing amount of passing yards each week (96, 193, 278). We'll see if the team can get back to the top of their game - when things are right, the Titans are ranked 7th in the NFL averaging 200.5 net passing yards allowed per game.

Schaub has been mostly solid but sporadic since returning to play, while the Titans' D is crumbling leading into the playoff push. This looks like a neutral matchup to us.

Weather: The weather service predicts a high of 49F with a low of 31F and a 20% chance for rain in the Baltimore area on Sunday. That sounds like great football weather to us.

HOU Injuries: none
BAL Injuries: none


Houston Texans Passing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Matt Schaub had a pretty quiet day throwing the ball vs. Tennessee, with 25/35 for 178 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions to his credit. Arian Foster (11 targets for 9/75/0) led the team in receiving last week, while Andre 'Mike Tyson' Johnson also saw 11 targets for 9/56/1 receiving before being ejected for a fist fight with Cortland Finnegan, and Joel Dreessen handled five targets for 3/15/1 from the TE position. Over his last three games, Schaub has thrown five TDs and zero interceptions, and has generated 746 yards passing - the Texans' offense is just fine entering December, especially since Johnson avoided being suspended by the NFL.

The Eagles' pass D is a high-risk, turnover producing unit that sometimes beats up opposing passers (like Eli Manning two weeks ago, who threw 20/33 for 147 yards two TDs but three interceptions), but which can at times get burned early and often (like last week, when Jay Cutler torched the Eagles for 14/21 yielding 218 net yards, four TDs and zero interceptions). To date, the team averages 214 net passing yards allowed per game (13th in the NFL), with 22 passing TDs allowed vs. 19 interceptions (first in the NFL) and 30 sacks (eighth) generated. The Texans are in the middle of the league with 24 sacks allowed to date - they'll need to pay attention to pass protection this week or Schaub will get beat up.

The Texans' pass attack can be explosive, while the Eagles' unit is aggressive in seeking turnovers but sometimes has a free hand with TDs. This looks like a fairly even matchup from where we're sitting.

Weather: The weather service predicts a high of 49F with a low of 31F and a 20% chance for rain in the Baltimore area on Sunday. That sounds like great football weather to us.

HOU Injuries: none
BAL Injuries: none


Houston Texans Passing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

This week, rookie T.J. Yates takes over for the Houston Texans in the wake of season-ending injuries to Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart (both previous starters are slated for surgery to fix their respective injuries). Yates is a relative unknown at this level (8/15 for 70 yards with four rushes for -3 yards in relief of Leinart last week - Yates' first regular-season NFL action), so we called an 'Audible' and asked Footballguys Cecil Lammey, Sigmund Bloom, and Matt Waldman to break down Yates' skill set and prospects as the starter.

The Footballguys agreed that Yates is a diamond in the rough - Matt rated him mostly of 'reserve' caliber when Yates came out of college (17th-best QB of the 2011 draft class). Cecil commented: 'He's a tough QB, good leader, and plays with a lot of moxie. He can climb the ladder to escape pressure and will keep his eyes downfield while extending the play with his feet. Yates is a bit of a gunslinger - he'll throw deep, and challenge the edges of a defense... His decision making is poor, but he has a short memory and doesn't go into a shell as a QB.' Sigmund chimed in with this: 'Yates is hard-nosed, aggressive, smart, competitive - his accuracy, his deep arm, and his decision-making are works-in-progress but he was improving each year. Yates is not a guy who will spin the ball and leave vapor trails or otherwise impress on long throws.'

For his part, Texans head coach Gary Kubiak likes the mobility of T.J. Yates, who'll start this week against the Atlanta Falcons (newly-signed Jake Delhomme is the backup for now). 'He's very mobile. He moves around very good. He took off that one time yesterday and slid a little bit before the first down but that's something he can give us. He can move around. He's very athletic,' Kubiak said Monday, November 28th. Given the above, it sounds like Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels owners need not despair - Johnson may see some nice big gainers with Yates slinging the football around for the rest of the year. We'll find out what Yates is made of starting this Sunday in Reliant Stadium.

The Atlanta pass D kept Christian Ponder under wraps last week, limiting him to 17/25 for 162 net yards (four sacks), one TD and zero interceptions. However, two weeks ago Tennessee piled up 22/44 for 257 net yards, two TDs and one interception, with rookie Jake Locker tossing the two scores - Atlanta had just one sack in that game. The up-and-down performance of recent weeks is mirrored in the Falcons' sub-par season numbers: they average 245.7 net yards allowed per game (23rd in the NFL), with 15 passing scores surrendered vs. 11 interceptions (15th in the NFL) and 20 sacks (tied for 26th) generated to date.

Yates is on a crash course as a starter and the learning curve is steep - the good news for him is that the Texans are second in the NFL with just 16 sacks allowed this year, and Atlanta isn't generating a big push from the pass rush, so he should be fairly comfortable in the pocket, at home this week. On balance, we call this a fairly even matchup. Given the Texans' outstanding running game, look for Yates to hand the ball off more than he throws it as he acclimates to his new role on the team.

Weather: The weather service predicts a high of 49F with a low of 31F and a 20% chance for rain in the Baltimore area on Sunday. That sounds like great football weather to us.

HOU Injuries: none
BAL Injuries: none


Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Manning had a full complement of receivers the last time the Colts faced the Jaguars, during week 7 in Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, and passed for 23/37 for 259 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception during the game. As usual, Reggie Wayne led the charge receiving, with 9/131/0, while Dallas Clark hauled in the TD (4/66/1). However, in recent weeks, the Colts have been going into battle with one boot off as Marvin Harrison hasn't joined in play since week 7, and various injuries have kept Anthony Gonzalez and Clark out in more recent contests.

Last week, Manning torched the Falcons for 22/32 for 272 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception. He had Anthony Gonzalez (6/105/0) and Dallas Clark (4/49/1) back in the lineup, expanding his target selections considerably, although Marvin Harrison was still out due to his lingering knee injury. Reggie Wayne (5/66/1) and Ben Utecht (4/38/1) accounted for the other scores. After a couple of rocky outings, Manning is back on track.

The Jaguar's pass D ranks 28th in the NFL averaging 246.5 net yards allowed per game, but has handed over only 11 passing scores in 11 games (on the lower end of the NFL range from Seattles' league best 6 allowed to Clevelands' league worst 25). The Jags are tied for 6th with 14 interceptions and tied for 14th in the NFL with 25 sacks - on balance, they are a bend-but-don't-break type of unit that can get in an opposing QB's face and create turnovers. The Colts' OL isn't as dominant at pass blocking as years past, allowing 16 sacks to date - they'll need to mind their blocking assignments this week against Del Rio's Jaguars.

Manning looked more comfortable last week with most of his top receivers back on the field, but don't expect the Jaguars to lay down for him in this battle for divisional supremacy. On balance, this looks like a neutral matchup for Manning and the Colts.

Weather: Inside the RCA Dome, conditions should be perfect to play football.

IND Injuries: none
TEN Injuries: none


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense at Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

David Garrard didn't throw for a TD vs. Houston back in week three (18/30 for 214 yards, zero TDs and zero interceptions), but he did run for one (5/29/1 rushing during the game). The usual suspects led the team in receiving during that game, with 6/81/0 flowing to Mike Sims-Walker, 3/57/0 landing in Torry Holt's arms, and 4/28/0 going to Maurice Jones-Drew. Though his team lost last week, Garrard threw for over 300 yards passing vs. San Francisco, with 25/36 for 307 yards, zero TDs and zero interceptions - the Jags just couldn't get into the end-zone last week. Seven different Jaguars caught at least two passes, led by Mike Thomas (4/62/0), Torry Holt (4/50/0) and Mike Sims-Walker (4/46/0). The Jaguar's offense is operating fairly well entering December, with 80/119 for 1,007 yards, three TDs and one interception to Garrard's credit over the past four weeks.

The Texans average 214.2 net passing yards allowed per game this year (14th in the NFL, currently), with 14 passing TDs given up vs. 10 interceptions and just 15 sacks generated (30th in the NFL in the sacks category entering week 13). Over the past four weeks, Houston has allowed 650 yards of passing in their last three games (216.6 per contest), which is lock-step with their mediocre season average. Peyton Manning threw for 27/35 yielding 228 net yards, three TDs and two interceptions in last week's 35-27 win over Houston.

Garrard and company have hit their stride - this week, at home against a so-so Houston squad, we think that this is a fairly even matchup, with neither team holding a big edge over the other.

Weather: Cleveland Browns stadium should see a high of 34F with a low of 29F and a 20% chance for rain on Sunday. Cold, but not arctic, conditions shouldn't adversely affect either team, unless a storm blows through.

JAX Injuries: none
CLE Injuries: none


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense at Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Chad Henne has given hope to weary Jaguars fans by making his team competitive during the last two games. He took the Texans to overtime two weeks ago (Henne threw 16/33 for 354 yards, four TDs and zero interceptions in that game), and then helped defeat the divisional-rival Titans 24-19 last week (17/26 for 261 yards, two TDs and one interception), despite taking seven sacks for -40 yards. Justin Blackmon has burst into production with Henne under center (19 targets for 12/298/2 receiving in the last two games), while Cecil Shorts (13 for 7/186/2) and Marcedes Lewis (10 for 7/96/2) have also been productive. Suddenly, the Jacksonville passing game is relevant for fantasy owners.

The Bills' pass D is mediocre-to-sub-par this year (depending on the statistical category), averaging 233.3 net passing yards allowed per game (18th), with 20 passing TDs given up (tied for third-most allowed to date) vs. nine interceptions (tied for 17th in the NFL) and 27 sacks (tied for 13th) so far. Andrew Luck managed 20/37 for 225 net yards, one TD and one interception passing vs. the Bills last week (four sacks taken for -15 yards), while Ryan Tannehill posted 14/28 for 124 net yards, one TD and two interceptions, with three sacks for -17 yards taken two weeks ago. The pass pressure of Buffalo will be a concern of Henne's this week - his line is ranked 28th in the NFL with 34 sacks given up this year (including the seven Henne took last week...).

Henne has the Jaguars' offense off life support, but the Bills' pass rushers constitute a serious threat this week due to Jacksonville's poor line play - on balance, this looks like a neutral matchup to us.

Weather: Cleveland Browns stadium should see a high of 34F with a low of 29F and a 20% chance for rain on Sunday. Cold, but not arctic, conditions shouldn't adversely affect either team, unless a storm blows through.

JAX Injuries: none
CLE Injuries: none


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense at Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Blake Bortles has struggled over his last two games, with 37/64 for 436 yards passing, zero TDs and two interceptions thrown against the Colts and the Cowboys - only Cecil Shorts III (10 targets for 6/125/0 receiving) has gone over 100 yards receiving during that two game span, followed by Marquise Lee (eight for 4/65/0) and Allen Robinson (10 for 5/60/0). The Jaguars' pass offense is circling the bowl entering the final month of the season, friends.

The Giants' pass D averages 253.9 net passing yards allowed per game, with 19 passing scores given up vs. 13 interceptions and 19 sacks generated (tied for fifth in the NFL and 26th, respectively). Dallas blasted this group for 18/26 yielding 266 net yards, four TDs and zero interceptions last week, while San Francisco managed 15/30 for 185 net yards, one TD and zero interceptions thrown two weeks ago.

Two sub-par units face off in this one - that sounds about even to us.

Weather: Cleveland Browns stadium should see a high of 34F with a low of 29F and a 20% chance for rain on Sunday. Cold, but not arctic, conditions shouldn't adversely affect either team, unless a storm blows through.

JAX Injuries: none
CLE Injuries: none


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense vs Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Trent Green managed 23/44 for 221 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions the last time he faced the Broncos, back in week 3. Since then, he's become the 21st ranked fantasy QB in the land, with 224/360 for 2694 yards, 11 TDs and 7 interceptions to his credit. Last week, Green tossed 19/26 for 323 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions against the injury-depleted Patriots. Samie Parker was his top receiver last week, with 5/76/0, while Dante Hall pulled in the TD (2/66/1). Green is a solid, but not spectacular, QB more often than not this year.

Denver gave up 29/44 for 232 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions to Drew Bledsoe on Thanksgiving. Over the past 3 weeks, they have averaged 225.6 passing yards allowed per game, with the second-most interceptions during that span (7), while generating 9 sacks. The Broncos are pressuring opposing passers and generating turnovers during recent weeks. The team ranks 28th in the NFL this season averaging 239.6 passing yards per game, with 16 TDs given up to date. On balance, they are a mediocre unit that has the capacity for generating big turnovers.

This looks like a pretty even matchup in our eyes.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 38F with a low of 22F on Sunday, and a 30% chance for precipitation (that could mean rain, sleet, or snow - or a mix of all 3). Wind conditions in this stadium can be extreme at this time of year - owners of Broncos or Chiefs will want to check a short-term forecast near the end of the week before setting their lineups.

KC Injuries: none
DEN Injuries: none


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense vs Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Back in Week 2, Alex Smith was adhering to the same game plan we've seen all year, with a conservative passing attack (26/42 for 255 yards passing, zero TDs and zero interceptions thrown) that rarely goes to the wide receivers. Not much has changed for the Chiefs since Week 2 - their wide receivers have zero TDs this season as a group.

Last week, K.C. was down 3-14 at the half and they had to let Smith off the leash a tad - he finished the game with 20/36 for 234 yards passing, with two passing scores and zero interceptions thrown (two sacks taken for -17 yards) - he found Jamaal Charles (seven targets for 4/42/1 receiving) and Anthony Fasano (two for 2/30/1 receiving) for the TDs, and Fasano's book-end tight end Travis Kelce (five for 4/67/0) actually led the team in receiving yards. Dwayne Bowe did get in the mix with five targets for 3/42/0, but as usual no wide receivers managed a TD catch.

The Bronco's pass D is ranked 15th in the NFL in terms of net yards allowed per game (240.5), but they average two passing scores allowed per contest, with 22 handed out over 11 games played. Denver does have 11 interceptions (tied for 11th in the NFL) and 28 sacks (tied for ninth in the NFL) - on balance this is an above-average but not elite pass D. Ryan Tannehill threw 26/36 for 216 net yards, three TDs and one interception at Denver last week (one sack taken for -12 yards); Shaun Hill threw 20/29 for 206 net yards, one TD and zero interceptions thrown two weeks ago, with three sacks taken for -14 yards.

Smith is in a hum-drum passing scheme, while the Broncos operate a so-so pass D - this looks like a neutral matchup for the home-team Chiefs.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 38F with a low of 22F on Sunday, and a 30% chance for precipitation (that could mean rain, sleet, or snow - or a mix of all 3). Wind conditions in this stadium can be extreme at this time of year - owners of Broncos or Chiefs will want to check a short-term forecast near the end of the week before setting their lineups.

KC Injuries: none
DEN Injuries: none


Miami Dolphins Passing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Gus Frerotte was up-and-down vs. Buffalo back in week 5, tossing 21/33 for 226 yards and 2 TDs, but also handing over 3 interceptions to the Bills. Marty Booker (who suffered a calf injury during last week's game) had 3/72/0, while Chris Chambers hauled in 4/60/0. Randy McMichael handled one of the TDs (1/30/1), while unheralded Will Heller snagged the other (1/1/1). Frerotte has also bounced up and down over the past 3 weeks (partially due to an index finger injury on his throwing hand that limited him for a game 2 weeks ago) - on balance, he's tossed 47/96 for 674 yards, 4 TDs and 2 interceptions during the past 3 weeks, to rank 16th among all fantasy QBs. Chambers, with 15/182/2, has been the top Miami receiver during that span, while TE Randy McMichael has 11/140/1 to rank 10th among fantasy TEs during that span.

The Bills rank 5th in the NFL this season, giving up an average of 176.4 passing yards per game, with 11 thrown TDs handed over to date. Over the past 3 weeks, the team has faded coughing up 228.3 passing yards per contest, including 20/27 for 191 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions surrendered to Jake Delhomme last week. Right now, the Buffalo secondary is playing pretty mediocre football - they are neither dominant nor weak in this phase of the game.

Frerotte had a so-so game against the Bills the last time they went around the block - we expect more of the same this week as the home-team Dolphins are going to benefit from the weakening play of the Buffalo secondary.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 80F with a low of 66F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play and watch a football game.

MIA Injuries: none
BUF Injuries: none


Miami Dolphins Passing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The last time these teams faced off (week nine), Chad Henne managed 19/34 for 219 yards, zero TDs and zero interceptions (Ronnie Brown threw a TD during the game, with 1/2 for one yard and one TD). Since that game, Henne has thrown one TD per game, with a total of four interceptions (three came last week in the divisional loss to Buffalo, when Henne went 17/31 for 175 yards, one TD and three interceptions). In fact, Henne has completed 17 passes three weeks in a row, with between 172 and 175 yards passing in each of the last three games. During the past three weeks, Davone Bess (18 targets for 13/169/0), Brian Hartline (13 for 6/95/1) and Ted Ginn (13 for 6/50/0) have been Henne's lead targets. As you can see, the Dolphin's attack is not swimming with the sharks entering December - they have a pretty unexciting aerial attack, friends.

The Patriots' pass D was dismantled by Drew Brees and company last week - they racked up 18/23 for 367 net yards, five TDs and zero interceptions during the 38-17 demolition of New England. Two weeks ago, Mark Sanchez was intercepted four times and held to 8/21 for 122 net yards and a TD - the Patriots' pass D has been outstanding and then abysmal in the course of two weeks. To date, the team ranks 10th in the NFL averaging 203.6 net yards allowed per game, but they've now given up 19 TDs vs. 13 interceptions and just 19 sacks generated (27th in the NFL in the latter category). On balance, this group looks mediocre entering the stretch run in December. They certainly were knocked back on their heels last week, anyway.

On balance, this looks like a neutral matchup between units that need improvement entering December.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 80F with a low of 66F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play and watch a football game.

MIA Injuries: none
BUF Injuries: none


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense at Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Christian Ponder was the starter vs. Chicago back in Week two (16/30 for 227 yards, one TD and one interception) and since then he's gone from starter to bench-warmer to starter once again. It's been a bumpy season for the 2-8-1 Vikings, to say the least.

Last week, Ponder threw a respectable 21/30 for 215 yards, one TD and zero interceptions at Green Bay, though he did take six sacks for -18 yards. He hit Cordarrelle Patterson (11 for 8/54/0), Jerome Simpson (four for 2/54/0), John Carlson (four for 3/36/0) and Greg Jennings (three for 2/29/0), while Rhett Ellison grabbed the available TD (two targets for 2/26/1).

The Bears' pass D is ranked 13th in the NFL averaging 230.8 net yards allowed per game, with 16 TDs allowed vs. 14 interceptions (tied for sixth in the NFL) and 18 sacks (30th) generated. They allowed 10/22 for 148 yards, one TD and zero interceptions to Kellen Clemens last week, and 17/31 for 143 yards, one TD and two interceptions to Joe Flacco two weeks ago.

Ponder has played adequately over the past few weeks, while the Bears are so-so in this phase of the game. On balance, this is a neutral matchup with neither team holding a big edge over the other.

Weather: Inside the dome at Ford Field, weather won't be a factor in this game.

MIN Injuries: none
DET Injuries: none


New England Patriots Passing Offense vs New York Jets Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Tom Brady tossed 20/36 for 248 yards, two TDs and two interceptions the last time he saw the Jets, relying on Aaron Hernandez (6/101/0), Wes Welker (6/38/1), and now-Titan Randy Moss (2/38/1) for the bulk of the day's yardage and all the receiving scores.

Lately, Brady has gone over 300 yards passing in two of the last three games played, and has multiple TD passes in each contest with zero interceptions thrown (in fact, he hasn't thrown a pick since week six). At Detroit on Thanksgiving, Brady and company moved the ball virtually at will, with 21/27 for 341 yards, four TDs and zero interceptions (a 158.3 QB rating) - Deion Branch (3/113/2) and Wes Welker (8/90/2) were the top receivers last week. Rob Gronkowski kicked in with 5/65/0 and Aaron Hernandez (1/18/0) and even Alge Crumpler (1/27/0) also snagged passes from the tight end position. It's all good for the Patriots in this phase of the game, folks.

The Jets' pass D is currently ranked 12th in the NFL averaging 210.6 net yards allowed per game, with 15 passing TDs vs. seven interceptions and 24 sacks generated. However, they have given up just 787 net passing yards in their last four games (196.75 per contest on average), with two interceptions and nine sacks generated during that span of time. Carson Palmer was limited to 17/39 for 117 yards, one TD and two interceptions last week; Matt Schaub put up 19/33 for 246 net yards, one TD and zero interceptions two weeks ago. The Jets have bounced around their average in recent weeks, but played well in week 12.

Brady finds a way to take advantage of a defense's weaknesses - against the decent but not outstanding Jets, this looks like a fairly even matchup to us.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 46F with a low of 23F and a 10% chance of precipitation on Sunday - pretty nice conditions for New England at this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

NE Injuries: none
NYJ Injuries: none


New Orleans Saints Passing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

What more can be said about Drew Brees? 24/38 for 363 yards, four TDs and zero interceptions on Monday Night Football last week, with 323/460 for 3,689 yards (a 70.2% completion rate) 27 TDs and 11 interceptions so far this year. Because he spreads the ball around so well, four of Brees' wide receivers have two or more TDs (but less than six each) - Marques Colston leads in yards receiving, with 62 targets for 45/667/3 receiving, while Lance Moore has the most TDs among the wide receivers, with 54 for 39/440/5. The most prolific receiver this year is tight end Jimmy Graham, with 102 targets for 67/957/8 to his credit through 11 games. Start the Saints you've got if they are healthy. Every receiver among the top five guys - throw in Robert Meachem (41 for 29/359/4) and Devery Henderson (37 for 23/385/2) with the three above - have the potential for an explosive game from week to week in this offense.

The Lions' pass D (sixth in the NFL averaging 202.2 net yards allowed per game) is a high-pressure bunch, with more interceptions (15) than TDs allowed (12), while posting 29 sacks so far this year (tied for 10th in the NFL). However, this week (at least), they will shuffle the big guys up front while Ndamukong Suh serves a suspension for his outrageous behavior vs. Green Bay on Thanksgiving. Nick Fairley will try to fill the hole, but he's only seen six games this year, with a mere four tackles and two assists in his rookie campaign to date. No sacks. Even with Suh around for part of the game, Aaron Rodgers (the other guy playing at the same level as Brees this year) put up 22/33 for 296 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions passing. Brees' line is tied for fifth in the NFL with just 19 sacks allowed, so he isn't likely to feel a ton of pressure from the Lions this week.

The Lions' pass D is no joke, but they'll be diminished this week. Brees and company are on a big-time roll right now, and they enjoy home-field advantage, too. We call this one fairly even, on balance.

Weather: The forecast for Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge calls for a high of 75F and a low of 52F with a 40% chance of rain. With both pro and college games being played on this surface during 2005, it is likely to be worn, especially in the middle of the field. If the rains come down hard around game time, footing and ball handling with be larger issues than usual for both teams.

NO Injuries: none
TB Injuries: none


New Orleans Saints Passing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Saints upset the Falcons 31-27 at New Orleans back in week 10 - this week, they play in the early Thursday night game at the Georgia Dome. Drew Brees was, as usual, very productive vs. the Falcons, with 21/32 for 298 yards passing, three TDs and one interception thrown. Jimmy Graham had a monster game that day, posting eight targets for 7/146/2 receiving, while Lance Moore (nine for 7/91/0) and Marques Colston (six for 3/26/1) were also heavily involved.

Last Sunday, Brees posted another three-passing-TD effort (he's thrown three TDs in each of his last three games) with 26/41 for 267 yards passing, but he also pitched two interceptions and took five sacks for -36 yards. Marques Colston (five targets for 4/36/1) was the only 'usual suspect' to catch a TD pass from Brees last week (Jimmy Graham posted six for 4/33/0; Lance Moore six for 3/61/0) - David Thomas (five for 4/24/1) and Jed Collins (two for 2/9/1) were the other recipients of Brees' TD passes last week.

The Falcons' pass D averages 221.7 net yards allowed per game (12th in the NFL), with only 11 pass TDs given up so far vs. 11 interceptions and 26 sacks (tied for 11th- and 15th-ranked in the NFL, respectively) generated to date. Tampa Bay threw 20/31 for 276 net yards, zero TDs or interceptions vs. Atlanta last week; Arizona's sorry attack crawled to 11/27 for 41 net yards, zero TDs or interceptions two weeks ago. The Falcons have recorded five sacks for -37 yards over the last two games - New Orleans is tied for ninth in the NFL with 21 sacks allowed so far this year.

Brees blew up the so-so Falcons' pass D not so long ago - this time, he'll be in the hostile Georgia Dome, which makes things tougher. On balance, this looks like a neutral matchup to us, but with nine pass TDs over the last three games Brees is still your starter for week 13 if you were wise enough to draft him in August.

Weather: The forecast for Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge calls for a high of 75F and a low of 52F with a 40% chance of rain. With both pro and college games being played on this surface during 2005, it is likely to be worn, especially in the middle of the field. If the rains come down hard around game time, footing and ball handling with be larger issues than usual for both teams.

NO Injuries: none
TB Injuries: none


New York Giants Passing Offense vs Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Eli Manning had a workmanlike game vs. Dallas back in week 6, tossing 14/29 for 215 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception during the close loss (13-16). Jeremy Shockey owned the Cowboys that day, with 5/129/1 to his credit. Last week, Manning lit up the Seahawks for 29/53 for 344 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception (he's tossed 69/127 for 853 yards, 6 TDs and 5 interceptions during the last 3 weeks, to rank 8th at his position in fantasy points per game). Jeremy Shockey willed himself back to the forefront with 10/127/1 (16/183/2 during the last 3 weeks, 2nd fantasy TE during that span). Amani Toomer continued his renaissance 2nd half, with 6/62/1, while Plaxico Burress hauled in 6/109/0. The Giants have as productive a trio of receivers as any team in the league heading into the final weeks of 2005.

The Dallas pass D is on the fringe of the top ten this year, ranking 10th while allowing an average of 185.8 passing yards per game, with 11 TDs surrendered to date. Over the past 3 weeks, they have handed over an average of 165.3 passing yards per game to their opponents, including last weeks' totals of 15/24 for 162 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception given away to Jake Plummer. This group is playing some very good football during recent weeks, as you can see.

The Giants managed a decent game vs. Dallas last time around, and they are firing on all cylinders coming into this game - but Dallas won't make it easy for them. This looks like a fairly even matchup from where we sit.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 45F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Fans and players should enjoy great football weather, as long as the forecast holds up.

NYG Injuries: none
DAL Injuries: none


New York Giants Passing Offense vs Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Eli Manning is having trouble with his foot, characterized as a stress reaction - in the cuboid bone, which is the bone on the outside middle of the foot, according to various reports out of New York this week. The plantar fasciitis that has bothered Manning earlier this season is apparently no longer an issue - in any case, Manning has an injured foot that could get worse during December. 'It makes me frustrated because it's kind of one thing leads to another,' Manning said on Monday. 'When you have to go to the training room and get treatment, it just kind of throws your schedule out of whack. You have to get there early in the morning and stay after. Things that I normally do, it just kind of pushes everything back. It throws your normal schedule (off).' The last time these divisional rivals clashed, during week two, Manning exploded for 25/38 for 330 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions (Mario Manningham, 10/150/1, and Steve Smith, 13/134/1, handled the bulk of Manning's passes that day). However, since the early-season winning streak, the Giants have struggled to post 'Ws' in the win/loss column - most recently, they lost on Thanksgiving evening to Denver 6-26 and Manning disappointed with 24/40 for 230 yards, zero TDs and one interception after two strong performances in his previous two games. It's fair to say that the Giants are yo-yoing in this phase of the game entering December.

The Cowboys have allowed one passing TD in their last two games, with 18/35 for 181 net yards, one TD and zero interceptions handed over to Bruce Gradkowski on Thanksgiving Day - two weeks ago, Jason Campbell managed 24/37 for 246 net yards, zero TDs and one interception vs. Dallas. Over the past four weeks, Dallas has given up 814 net yards passing (203.5 per contest), compared to their season average of 224.9 net yards allowed per game (21st in the NFL). The team has tightened their coverage during the third quarter of the season, although they aren't shutting teams down like the Redskins just yet. To date, Dallas has allowed 15 passing scores vs. generating seven interceptions (that's tied for second-least in the interception department through 11 games).

The Giants are streaky in this phase of the game, while the Cowboys have gone from sub-par to mediocre during recent weeks - that sounds about even to us.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 45F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Fans and players should enjoy great football weather, as long as the forecast holds up.

NYG Injuries: none
DAL Injuries: none


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense at San Diego Chargers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Carson Palmer provides plenty of passing yards to the Raiders - 52/80 for 764 yards (a 65% completion rate), three TDs and two interceptions thrown over the past three weeks - but he isn't generating a lot of six-point plays. Last week, the Raiders beat out the Bears with six field goals and one rushing score, while Palmer managed 21/37 for 301 yards, zero TDs and one interception during the game against the bend-but-don't-break Bears. Five players have seen double-digit targets from Palmer over the last three weeks, with 15 for 8/85/0 flowing to Darrius Heyward-Bey; 11 for 8/77/0 going to Kevin Boss; 11 for 7/108/0 thrown to Marcel Reece; 10 for 5/69/1 tossed to Chaz Schilens, and 10 for 9/129/0 going to Michael Bush. Denarius Moore has handled the most TDs in the last three weeks, with nine targets for 6/137/2, but he didn't play last week due to his injured foot.

The Dolphins' pass D is ranked 24th in the NFL averaging 248.1 net yards allowed per game, with 16 passing TDs allowed vs. eight interceptions generated. However, the Dolphins' D has been playing much better in the second half of the season - Tony Romo squeaked by a 20-19 win over Miami last week but posted 22/34 for 218 net yards (one sack taken), two TDs and two interceptions thrown in the game; Buffalo was limited to 21/44 for 206 net yards (two sacks taken) zero TDs and two interceptions at Miami two weeks ago.

Palmer has been mediocre of late, while the Dolphins' pass D is middlin' this year, too - this looks like a fairly even matchup.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a typically beautiful Southern California day, with a high of 64F with a low of 43F and a 10% chance for rain - weather shouldn't be a factor in this matchup.

OAK Injuries: none
SD Injuries: none


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense at San Diego Chargers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Derek Carr can't get over the dink-and-dunk disease lately, throwing a lot of high-percentage, short passes that don't amount to much for fantasy owners. He had 18/35 for 174 yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions Vs. Kansas City during their 24-20 upset of the Chiefs. Carr relied on Andre Holmes (10 targets for 5/55/0 receiving) and James Jones (six for 5/47/1) the most last week, with four for 2/30/0 flowing to little-utilized Vincent Brown. We'll see if the win will open up the playbook a bit for Carr.

The Rams' pass D is ranked 21st in the NFL averaging 250.9 net passing yards allowed per game, with 15 passing scores handed out vs. seven interceptions (23rd in the NFL) and 22 sacks (22nd) generated. Philip Rivers dinked-and-dunked to 29/35 for 282 net yards, one TD and one interception thrown last week (with three sacks for -9 yards taken) vs. St. Louis; Peyton Manning had 34/54 for 369 net yards passing, but only one TD vs. two interceptions thrown in St. Louis two games ago (two sacks taken for -20 yards).

This is a neutral matchup between two below-average units.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a typically beautiful Southern California day, with a high of 64F with a low of 43F and a 10% chance for rain - weather shouldn't be a factor in this matchup.

OAK Injuries: none
SD Injuries: none


Philadelphia Eagles Passing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Eagles' Nick Foles has thrown 10 TDs and zero interceptions during his past three games played (52/73 for 942 yards) - DeSean Jackson leads the club in receiving yards during that three game span with 15 targets for 13/312/2 receiving to his credit, while Riley Cooper leads the team in TDs with 18 for 11/278/5. LeSean McCoy (nine for 9/115/1), Zach Ertz (nine for 7/73/1) and Brent Celek (six for 5/76/1) have each reeled in one passing score during the hot streak. Foles is a fantasy monster right now, friends. Start him and the Eagle's primary receivers (Jackson, Cooper, McCoy) and consider Ertz and Celek at tight end as well.

The Cardinals' pass D is in the middle of the NFL range, averaging 235.8 net passing yards allowed per game (17th in the NFL) with 19 passing scores given up vs. 15 interceptions (tied for third in the NFL) and 29 sacks (tied for 15th) generated to date. Andrew Luck was held to 20/39 for 159 net yards, one TD and one interception thrown at Arizona last week, while Chad Henne managed 27/42 for 242 yards, one TD and two interceptions thrown vs. the Cardinals two games ago.

Foles is on fire, but the Cardinals play fairly well in this phase of the game - on balance, this looks like a neutral matchup for the home team.

Weather: The forecast for Lincoln Financial Field calls for a high of 46F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance for precipitation. As this game is on Monday Night Football, expect the temperatures to be on the low end of the scale - the cold will make handling the ball more tricky than usual for both teams.

PHI Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: none


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Ben Roethlisberger didn't need to throw the ball much the last time these teams met during week 7 (his backs piled up 47/221/1 on the ground), so he didn't, tossing 9/14 for 93 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception during the game. Heath Miller (6/58/1) and Hines Ward (3/35/1) were the only Steelers to catch balls back in week 7. Last week, returning to the lineup for the first time since having his knee scoped after week 8, he knocked off the rust vs. Indianapolis for 17/26 for 133 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions - it was a rough week to get back in the saddle. Reliable Hines Ward grabbed the TD (3/28/1), while Cedrick Wilson led the team with 3/44/0 receiving. There weren't many fantasy points to spread around last week.

Cincinnati has allowed 274 passing yards per game on average over the past 3 weeks (2 games), but the statistic is misleading because the team had mercy on Kyle Boller and company last week after beating them up for a 34-0 score by the mid-point of the 3rd quarter (Boller piled up 18/32 for 211 yards, 3 TDs and 2 interceptions, most of it in "garbage time"). This season, the team averages 202.9 passing yards allowed per game (17th in the NFL), but lead the NFL in Takeaway/Giveaway differential, at +20 (23 interceptions to date). The Bengals go for the big play - they have generated 3 interceptions during their last 3 games.

Cincinnati hasn't been overpowering in this phase recently, but neither have the Steelers. This one looks like an even matchup to us.

Weather: Heinz Field should see a high of 42F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - a nice, crisp day to play football is on tap for this matchup.

PIT Injuries: none
CIN Injuries: none


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Ben Roethlisberger (19/26 for 230 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception), Hines Ward (8/88/2), Santonio Holmes (6/87/0), and Heath Miller (2/42/0) cruised past the lagging Bengals during week 8, ending the day with a "W" at 24-13. All this while playing in hostile Paul Brown Stadium - rather than the swamp formerly known as Heinz Field.

This week, the teams square off on Sunday Night Football - hopefully the turf at Heinz Field will be somewhat recovered after the monsoon-like conditions that turned it into a gelatinous mess last Monday. Ben Roethlisberger managed to lead his team to a 3-0 victory last week, partly due to his high completion-percentage passing (18/21 for 165 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception). Hines Ward handled the lion's share of passes, with 9/88/0 - nobody else got over 30 yards rushing during the game. Santonio Holmes was sidelined due his ongoing ankle problem - keep an eye on his practice status this week.

The Bengals have clamped a tourniquet on the bleeding in this phase of the game of late, limiting their last 3 opponents to 206, 197, and 244 net passing yards (19/31 for 244 net yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception for Vince Young last week). They are playing much better than their season total of 22 pass TDs allowed would indicate, with an average of 20 points allowed over their past 4 games (2 of the last 3 opponents have scored 7 or less points). They have posted 6 sacks and 3 interceptions in those 3 contests. It looks like the D has grown a back-bone in recent weeks.

Roethlisberger and company were not impressive due to the bad weather and awful turf last week, but they have scored 8 TDs over the last 4 weeks, with only 3 interceptions thrown - meanwhile, the suspect Bengals' D is definitely improving. In the Steelers house, we think this is a neutral matchup.

Weather: Heinz Field should see a high of 42F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - a nice, crisp day to play football is on tap for this matchup.

PIT Injuries: none
CIN Injuries: none


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Ben Roethlisberger hasn't been generating many TDs of late, with 78/113 for 835 yards, 1 TD and 3 interceptions (4/12/1 rushing) over the last 3 weeks - he's the 17th ranked fantasy QB during that time span. Last week, against the woeful Bengals, he managed to avoid any interceptions and ended up with his best game of the last 3 weeks (17/30 for 243 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions, with 3/13/1 rushing). Santonio Holmes (5/84/0), Heath Miller (4/44/1) and Mewelde Moore (4/41/0) handled the bulk of his passes - Hines Ward had one grab for 37 yards.

The Patriots got involved in a shoot-out with Miami last week, and allowed 24/41 for 330 yards, 3 TDs to Chad Pennington while generating 1 interception and 2 sacks. Over the last 3 weeks, the Pats have handed over 673 net passing yards (224.3 per game), with 7 sacks and 3 interceptions generated - that's a little worse than their season pace of 215.8 net yards given up per game (18th in the NFL). To date, the Patriots have handed over a hefty 19 passing TDs vs. 11 interceptions generated, with 21 sacks to their credit (19th in the NFL).

Roethlisberger started to get back on track last week, while the Patriots took a step back vs. the Dolphins. On balance, this looks like a fairly even matchup between two up-and-down units.

Weather: Heinz Field should see a high of 42F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - a nice, crisp day to play football is on tap for this matchup.

PIT Injuries: none
CIN Injuries: none


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Ben Roethlisberger has reportedly been working out without complications since missing the week 12 game for Pittsburgh, and is expected to resume fully practicing as of Wednesday, December 2nd. However, as we saw last week with Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner, the after-effects of concussions can crop up unexpectedly on the eve of contests - owners of Roethlisberger will want to monitor his practice participation/injury status later this week and be ready with a backup plan on Sunday in case a setback occurs. In the three games he's played over the past four weeks, Roethlisberger is the eighth ranked fantasy QB in the land with 73/111 for 805 passing yards, six TDs and four interceptions thrown. If Roethlisberger can't go again, Dennis Dixon did a decent job in his first NFL start last week, with 12/26 for 145 yards, one TD and one interception (with 3/27/1 rushing) against Pittsburgh's tough divisional rival Baltimore. He looked to Santonio Holmes (6/74/1) and Hines Ward (3/47/0) the most during his first start.

The Raiders' pass D runs in middle of the NFL range this year, averaging 215.8 net yards allowed per game. They are hard to score on, though, with just 10 passing TDs given up over 11 games, vs. seven interceptions and 24 sacks generated so far this year. The Raiders allowed 676 passing yards in their last three games (225.3 per contest on average), with a poor showing on Thanksgiving down in Dallas (18/29 for 299 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions given away to Tony Romo and company). The team comes into this game cold after pulling off an upset of the Bengals two weeks ago (14/22 for 171 net yards, zero TDs and one interception handed over to Carson Palmer and company).

On balance, this looks like a neutral matchup for Pittsburgh at mid-week, though if Roethlisberger is back to 100% and looking good by the end of the week, upgrade the ranking to a conservative 'good' ranking. Realize, though, that given the weakness of Oakland in the rushing phase of the game, the Steelers may not need to throw a whole lot this week.

Weather: Heinz Field should see a high of 42F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - a nice, crisp day to play football is on tap for this matchup.

PIT Injuries: none
CIN Injuries: none


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Ben Roethlisberger was held to 21/33 for 245 yards, one TD and one interception at Cincinnati three weeks ago, but his team won the game 24-17 thanks to two rushing TDs scored by Rashard Mendenhall. Jerricho Cotchery grabbed the lone passing score during week 10 (four targets for 2/29/1), while Antonio Brown led the team in receiving (six for 5/86/0), followed by Mike Wallace (10 for 6/54/0) and Heath Miller (five for 3/31/0 receiving). We'll see if Roethlisberger can turn up the dial at home vs. the Bengals this week.

Over the last two weeks, Roethlisberger has thrown in just one game, vs. Kansas City last Sunday Night. He posted a meager 21/31 for 193 yards, one TD and one interception during the surprisingly tight game (a 13-9 victory for Pittsburgh). The usual suspects got most of the action at K.C., with six targets for 4/81/0 going to Antonio Brown; four for 2/25/0 flowing to newly-returned Emmanuel Sanders; four for 4/21/0 going to Hines Ward, and two for 1/20/0 flowing to Heath Miller. Mike Wallace disappointed with six targets but just 2/17/0 receiving, while backup TE Weslye Saunders handled the lone passing TD (1/2/1 receiving on the night). It was enough for a 'W' in the real NFL, but didn't contribute to many 'W's in fantasy circles.

The Bengals' pass D has been pretty tough all year long - they are currently 11th in the NFL averaging 215 net yards allowed per game, and have coughed up 13 passing scores over 11 contests. The team has a small sum of six interceptions, though, tied for 28th in the league, and a so-so showing with 28 sacks (12th in the NFL) to date. Colt McCoy threw two TDs last week at Cincinnati (16/34 for 140 net yards (two sacks taken), and one interception as well), while Joe Flacco put up two passing TDs as well two weeks ago (17/27 for 268 net yards (one sack taken), and one interception thrown). Of late, the secondary is becoming more generous with passing scores, as you can see.

At home in Heinz Field, we think Roethlisberger has an even shot at a productive day vs. his AFC North rivals.

Weather: Heinz Field should see a high of 42F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - a nice, crisp day to play football is on tap for this matchup.

PIT Injuries: none
CIN Injuries: none


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

'But man, I've been with Antonio for four years. I've been around a lot of receivers. He's one of the best at doing it. If you try to come up and press this guy, good luck. You'd be better trying to play him off because he's so quick, and he's fast. I've learned from him and he's learned from me. We're just continuing to get better and we're continuing to show the world, 'Watch out for these receivers in Pittsburgh.'' - Emmanuel Sanders commenting on Antonio Brown, after Brown put up 10 targets for 6/92/1 receiving and Sanders saw seven for 6/52/1 last weekend. Heath Miller helped move the chains with six for 5/41/0 receiving - Ben Roethlisberger piled up 22/34 for 217 yards passing, two TDs and zero interceptions thrown all told in Cleveland. The Steelers' offense is on fire entering the final 1/3 of the season.

The Ravens' pass D is currently ranked 11th in the NFL averaging 226.4 net passing yards allowed per game, with 17 TDs surrendered vs. nine interceptions (tied for 20th in the NFL) and an impressive 37 sacks generated to date (tied for first in the league - Pittsburgh is 26th in the NFL with 37 sacks allowed to date, friends). Geno Smith was victimized last week with three sacks taken for -22 yards, eventually finishing with 9/22 for 105 net yards, while Josh McCown fared a little better with 19/31 for 215 yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions thrown two games ago.

Two hot units clash in this divisional rivalry game - neither appears to have a big edge over the other in our book.

Weather: Heinz Field should see a high of 42F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - a nice, crisp day to play football is on tap for this matchup.

PIT Injuries: none
CIN Injuries: none


San Diego Chargers Passing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Philip Rivers had a quiet game against the Raiders, tossing 14/31 for 133 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception while LaDainian Tomlinson assisted with 1/1 for 19 yards and a TD. The team was led by Antonio Gates (6/81/1) - he's been the top target over the past 3 weeks, with 23 targets for 16/198/1. LaDainian Tomlinson is second on the team with 16 targets for 10/133/1 during that same span. Rivers is a quality NFL QB, but the team just doesn't need him to explode very often with Tomlinson scoring 21 rushing TDs to date this season (Rivers has thrown for 15 TDs, and only 6 interceptions, in comparison).

The Bills rank 16th in the NFL allowing an average of 203.7 passing yards per game, with 14 TDs given up to date. They have only 8 interceptions to date, near the bottom of the NFL, and have 27 sacks so far (in the middle of the NFL range). Over the past 3 weeks, they've averaged 187 passing yards allowed per game, with only 1 interception and 5 sacks during that span. Last week, David Garrard hit 16/22 for 132 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions vs. the Bills.

Rivers has a neutral matchup to work with this week.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a typically beautiful Southern California day, with a high of 64F with a low of 43F and a 10% chance for rain - weather shouldn't be a factor in this matchup.

SD Injuries: none
OAK Injuries: none


Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Good news for fantasy owners is that Seattle's defense has allowed 135 total points in the last four weeks, and their ground game has become almost non-existent. That means that Matt Hasselbeck has to throw the ball a lot each week - he's had 282 or more passing yards in his last three games, with a total of 74/115 for 981 yards, four TDs and two interceptions to his credit during that time span. Mike Williams has led all receivers with 24 targets in the last three games (despite missing last week's game with a foot sprain - keep an eye on his practice participation later this week if he's on your roster), gaining 17/254/0 receiving in those chances. Deon Butler (20 for 8/94/1), Ben Obomanu (17 for 14/306/2) and Brandon Stokley (14 for 11/127/1) have been the other main targets - Obomanu averages 21.9 yards per catch over the last three weeks and has been a fantasy stud.

The Panthers' pass D ranks seventh in the NFL averaging 205.6 net yards allowed per game, with 15 TDs given up vs. 13 interceptions generated (tied for 10th in the NFL). However, the team has just 18 sacks this year (tied for 28th in the NFL) - Seattle is 22nd in the NFL with 26 sacks allowed to date, so the Panthers may be able to grow that total some more this week. Jake Delhomme and company put up 24/36 for 227 net yards, zero TDs and two interceptions last week (Carolina did get two sacks of the statue-like Delhomme), while Joe Flacco hit them for 24/33 yielding 278 net yards (three sacks) and one TD two weeks ago. Of late, the Panthers' pass D has had more of a push up front, as you can see.

The Panthers' pass D is decent, while the Seahawks' passing attack is the entire Seattle offense at this point - we call this a fairly even matchup on balance.

Weather: The forecast for Lincoln Financial Field calls for a high of 46F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance for precipitation. As this game is on Monday Night Football, expect the temperatures to be on the low end of the scale - the cold will make handling the ball more tricky than usual for both teams.

SEA Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: none


Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Seahawks QB Tarvaris Jackson may require surgery after the season to fix his injured pectoral muscle, according to a report in the Minneapolis press on Tuesday, November 29th. The injury appears to be significantly hurting Jackson's ability to heave the ball downfield; he has completely only two passes that have gone for more than 20 yards over the last two weeks. Seahawks WR Sidney Rice (concussion) is not practicing Tuesday, Nov. 29, and is highly unlikely to play in Week 13 against the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday, Dec. 1. 'Very slim that he has any chance of playing,' head coach Pete Carroll said. Rice has suffered two concussions in the last three games. In other words, the top two playmakers for this attack are either not playing (Rice) or not playing very well (Jackson). That doesn't sound like a good basis for playing on a short rest (this game goes down Thursday night). While Rice has been in and out of the lineup over the last three weeks, Doug Baldwin (18 targets for 9/170/0) has led the team in targets and yardage - he's the only receiver with over 100 yards (combined) from the last three games. RB Marshawn Lynch is second iwth 12 targets for 8/79/1, followed by Ben Obomanu (10 targets for 5/47/0), Golden Tate (nine for 5/77/1) and Mike Williams (nine for 2/62/0). Williams was benched last week after hurting his shoulder - 'I kind of landed on my shoulder,' Williams said after the game. 'But I wasn't playing good anyway, so I don't think it mattered if I was healthy or not. Like I said, this whole year has been not what I've been accustomed to, and not what I had for myself from the beginning.'

The Eagles' secondary is also banged up, with Nnamdi Asomugha trying to play through a sore knee - he hyper-extended his knee in practice during the week, and though he tried to gut out the game he was unable to finish the contest last week. Antonio Rodgers-Cromartie was unable to practice on Wednesday or Thursday last week, and was limited on Friday due to his injured ankle, and he was inactive on Sunday after being listed as questionable to play on Friday. Rodgers-Cromartie missed his second straight game with the high-ankle sprain. The cornerback was at practice on last Friday, but did very little and was still noticeably limping, and after being limited in practice on Wednesday day Rodgers-Cromartie was ruled out for this game. All the attrition in the secondary showed vs. New England, when Tom Brady diced up the Eagles throwing 24/34 for 353 net yards, three TDs and zero interceptions - the Eagles have allowed the second-most passing TDs this year with 21 given up, vs. 11 interceptions (tied for 15th) and 30 sacks (tied for seventh) generated. Seattle is tied for 30th in the NFL with 36 sacks allowed this year - Jackson will get hit some in this contest, no doubt.

Jackson is banged up, the Eagles are banged up - the two hurting units look fairly evenly matched from where we sit.

Weather: The forecast for Lincoln Financial Field calls for a high of 46F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance for precipitation. As this game is on Monday Night Football, expect the temperatures to be on the low end of the scale - the cold will make handling the ball more tricky than usual for both teams.

SEA Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: none


San Francisco 49ers Passing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Tim Rattay/Alex Smith were the QBs for the 49ers back in week 4, when these teams last played - Rattay is a Buccaneer now, and Smith has been on the bench for months. Recent history won't tell us much about this matchup. Ken Dorsey tossed 23/42 for 193 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions against Tennessee's bottom-feeding secondary last week (he's had 41/72 for 441 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions in 2 games since stepping back under center - 21st in the NFL at his position in fantasy points per game). Brandon Lloyd is the only 49er receiver to even consider starting - 11/177/1 puts him at 34th among all fantasy WRs during the last 3 weeks - but he's not a headliner by any stretch of the imagination.

The Cardinals' pass D is nothing special, ranking 19th in the NFL this season, giving up an average of 210.5 passing yards per game, with 14 thrown TDs given up to date. Over the past 3 weeks, they have handed over 235.3 passing yards per contest, with 0 interceptions to their credit. They did generate 6 sacks during that span (they are 16th in the NFL with 25 sacks to date), but gave up 8 TDs rushing and receiving as well. Last week, the Jaguars ran all over the Cards (33/162/2), so they didn't need to pass too much, tossing 14/28 for 133 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions as a team.

In this battle of the bad, we think neither side has a big edge.

Weather: The forecast for Monster Park calls for a high of 57F with a low of 44F and a 10% chance for rain - a very nice day is on tap for this matchup.

SF Injuries: none
ARI Injuries: none


San Francisco 49ers Passing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The 49ers were surprised by the Rams three weeks ago, and ended up in a rare 24-24 tie. During the game, Alex Smith was concussed (7/8 for 72 yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions) and replaced by Colin Kaepernick (11/17 for 117 yards passing with 8/66/1 rushing) who has proceeded to put up wins and 32/48 for 474 yards passing (66.7% completions), three TDs and one interception over two starts since Smith was sidelined (with 10/44/1 rushing). The word this week is that head coach Jim Harbaugh is dithering between Kaepernick and Smith, but most observers in San Francisco expect him to go with Kaepernick, and for Smith to stay on the sidelines. Michael Crabtree (10 targets for 6/57/1 receiving over the last two games), Vernon Davis (nine for 6/83/1), and Mario Manningham (seven for 7/114/0) have been Kaepernick's favored targets, with Frank Gore also snagging a TD pass (2/18/1).

The Rams' pass D intercepted Ryan Lindley four times last week, but still allowed 31/52 for 301 net yards (zero TDs given up). Two weeks ago the Jets managed 16/21 for 165 net yards, one TD and zero interceptions at St. Louis. To date, the Rams are ranked 16th in the NFL averaging 229.5 net yards allowed per game, with 13 passing TDs given up vs. 12 interceptions (ninth in the NFL) and 31 sacks (fourth) generated. This is a respectable defense in the passing phase of the game, but they aren't a shut-down type of squad.

The 49ers will have an effective passer under center no matter who gets the start, but against the solid Rams this looks like a neutral matchup to us.

Weather: The forecast for Monster Park calls for a high of 57F with a low of 44F and a 10% chance for rain - a very nice day is on tap for this matchup.

SF Injuries: none
ARI Injuries: none


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Offense at New Orleans Saints Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Chris Simms had an off game last week - 19/30 for 202 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions - but remember the Bears field the NFL's top pass defense this year. Given the competition, Simms played fairly well. Joey Galloway remains his top target, with 8 targets for 7/138/0 last week, and 25 targets for 14/269/1 over the past 3 weeks (15th fantasy WR in points per game during that span). Simms has 3 TDs and only 1 interception over the past 3 games (45/78 for 599 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception - 23rd fantasy QB in the land) - he's progressing nicely in the starting QB role.

The Saints rank 6th in the NFL this season, giving up an average of 176.9 passing yards per game, but they are pretty generous with thrown TDs, with 15 surrendered to date. They gave away 19/28 for 251 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions to the struggling Brooks Bollinger last week - over the past 3 weeks, the Saints average 218 passing yards allowed per contest. The team fields an average (at best) pass defense.

Simms had a hard game last week, but against the Saints he'll have a much better chance of hooking up for some more TDs than he did against Chicago - this looks like a pretty neutral matchup here for the Bucs.

Weather: The forecast for Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge calls for a high of 75F and a low of 52F with a 40% chance of rain. With both pro and college games being played on this surface during 2005, it is likely to be worn, especially in the middle of the field. If the rains come down hard around game time, footing and ball handling with be larger issues than usual for both teams.

TB Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Offense at New Orleans Saints Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Josh Freeman was limited to 11/22 for 189 yards, two TDs and two interceptions by the Falcons back in week nine, eventually losing to Atlanta 21-27. Mike Williams led the team with 4/89/1 receiving, while Arrelious Benn caught the other TD with 1/14/1 during the contest. Since then, Freeman hasn't thrown an interception, with 48/81 for 539 yards, five TDs and zero interceptions thrown in the past three games. He's been under 200 yards passing for the last two weeks, with 13/20 for 136 yards and two TDs at San Francisco, and 17/37 for 162 yards, one TD and zero interceptions thrown at Baltimore. Kellen Winslow led the Buccaneers with nine targets for 4/44/1 last week; Cadillac Williams was second on the team with eight targets for 5/41/0.

The Falcons' pass D has played respectable football of late - they held Aaron Rodgers to a single TD pass last week (though they did surrender 26/35 for 341 yards to the Packers' impressive cast of receivers and Rodgers); and they gave up 27/42 for 233 yards, two TDs and one interception to Sam Bradford two weeks ago. Though the team is 27th in the NFL averaging 252.9 net yards allowed per week, they balance 19 TDs allowed so far with 15 interceptions generated (tie-fourth in the NFL) and 19 sacks put up (tie-26th). This group isn't perfect, but they are good enough for the Falcons to be 9-2.

Freeman has been slowing down in recent weeks, while the Falcons are flawed but opportunistic when it comes to generating turnovers. On balance, this looks like a fairly even matchup from where we're sitting.

Weather: The forecast for Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge calls for a high of 75F and a low of 52F with a 40% chance of rain. With both pro and college games being played on this surface during 2005, it is likely to be worn, especially in the middle of the field. If the rains come down hard around game time, footing and ball handling with be larger issues than usual for both teams.

TB Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Offense at New Orleans Saints Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Josh McCown (25/48 for 341 yards passing, one TD and two interceptions thrown at Chicago last week; 15/23 for 288 yards passing, two TDs and zero interceptions thrown at Washington two weeks ago) is responsible for making the Tampa offense go as the running backs haven't generated more than 66 yards rushing in a game over the last two weeks. Mike Evans has caught all three of McCown's TD passes during that two-week time frame, with 20 targets for 10/256/3 receiving during that stretch, while Vincent Jackson (13 for 8/160/0), and Louis Murphy (11 for 6/113/0) have kept the chains moving. One dynamic in play this week is the back injury that Austin Seferian-Jenkins suffered last week midway through the game at Chicago (he had four targets for 2/16/0 before being sidelined) - he couldn't practice on Tuesday, and the Buccaneers signed two new tight ends also on Tuesday, which may point to a serious injury concern regarding Seferian-Jenkins. Fantasy owners invested in him should keep an eye on his practice participation later this week in Footballguys.com's Players in the News.

The Bengals' pass D is ranked 18th in the NFL averaging 243.5 net passing yards allowed per game, with 11 pass TDs given out vs. 11 interceptions (tied for 11th in the NFL) and 14 sacks (tied-30th) generated so far this year. Ryan Mallett tried to play through a torn pectoral muscle last week against the Bengals (21/45 for 184 net yards passing, zero TDs and one interception with one sack taken for -5 yards) but was ineffective and wound up on IR this week; two weeks back Drew Brees managed 33/41 for 255 net yards, one TD and zero interceptions thrown with zero sacks taken as the Bengals upset the Saints 27-10.

McCown is the spark that makes the Tampa offense fire, and he's got a 50-50 shot at a good game when the so-so Bengals come calling on Sunday.

Weather: The forecast for Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge calls for a high of 75F and a low of 52F with a 40% chance of rain. With both pro and college games being played on this surface during 2005, it is likely to be worn, especially in the middle of the field. If the rains come down hard around game time, footing and ball handling with be larger issues than usual for both teams.

TB Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The last time these teams faced off, the Titans were in the midst of a dismal losing streak and Tennessee didn't manage to score a TD. Since the team switched QBs, though, the offense has been playing at an entirely different level - looking back to week five isn't going to tell us a lot about the Titans entering week 13, as they've performed an amazing comeback over the last five weeks.

Vince Young has three straight games with one TD pass to his credit, and he exploded all over the Cardinals last week for 27/43 yielding 387 yards, one TD and zero interceptions - young Kenny Britt broke out with his best game of the season (7/128/1 receiving) and ran his streak of games with a TD reception to two. Bo Scaife (5/68/0), Nate Washington (3/68/0) and Lavelle Hawkins (4/44/0) did most of the rest of the heavy lifting during the game. All told, eight different Titans caught at least one pass last week. Young is hot entering December.

Indianapolis fields a tough-to-score-on secondary that bends but doesn't often break. The Colts have allowed only nine passing TDs this year vs. 13 interceptions and 26 sacks generated (towards the top of the league in each of the latter two categories). Over the past four weeks, the Colts have given up 1195 net yards passing (just a shade under 300 yards per game at 298.75 on average), but they have six interceptions and six sacks to their credit. Matt Schaub posted 31/42 for 274 net yards, two TDs and two interceptions last week (one returned for a TD by Clint Session); Joe Flacco posted 23/35 for 256 net yards, zero TDs and one interception two weeks ago.

Young uncorked a big game last week, and he may well rack up a bunch of passing yards again this week. On balance, this looks like a neutral matchup for the visiting Titans.

Weather: Inside the RCA Dome, conditions should be perfect to play football.

TEN Injuries: none
IND Injuries: none


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Back in week six, the Titans started Vince Young (now on IR) and Kerry Collins stepped in to take over for Young after he was banged up - neither guy is going to be available for this game, so looking back at week six won't tell us a whole lot about the Titans' chances in this phase of the game.

Tennessee's chances look pretty dim with Rusty Smith under center - he's managed 20/40 for 200 yards, zero TDs and four interceptions over the last two games, and led the Titans to a 0-20 loss to Houston in his first start last Sunday (17/31 for 138 yards, zero TDs and three interceptions passing). Randy Moss has four catches for 49 yards since joining the Titans (five targets for 3/23/0 last week) - Justin Gage (six targets for 4/50/0) and Jared Cook (nine for 4/40/0) led the team in receiving last week, while Nate Washington disappointed with four targets but just 1/10/0 receiving. That's ugly all over with a side of abysmal, folks. Kerry Collins (calf injury) is said to be improving, it's far from a lock that he'll be able to play this week - keep your eyes on Footballguys' players in the news on that front. Collins is the Titans' best hope to get back on track now that Vince Young has had thumb surgery and is on IR.

The Jaguars' pass D has been pretty poor for much of the year, averaging 281.1 yards allowed per game, with 22 passing TDs given up vs. nine interceptions and 20 sacks generated to date (both stats are towards the bottom of the NFL range this year). They played well for a half in New York, but eventually allowed 14/24 for 226 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions to Eli Manning in the 20-24 loss to New York. Colt McCoy managed 17/28 for 195 net yards, one TD and one interception at Jacksonville two weeks ago. Some improvement has been made on this unit, but they are still mediocre at best.

The Titans' pass attack is awful right now, while the Jaguars are also pretty suspect in this phase of the game. That sounds about even to us.

Weather: Inside the RCA Dome, conditions should be perfect to play football.

TEN Injuries: none
IND Injuries: none


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Houston blew Tennessee out 38-14 back in week four - Jake Locker was 0/2 passing before injuring his shoulder and exiting the contest. Matt Hasselbeck came in to pitch relief and managed 17/25 for 193 yards, two TDs and two interceptions during the loss. Kendall Wright led the team in receiving that day, with eight targets for 4/46/1 receiving.

Since week four, Locker missed a number of games due to his sore shoulder, returning to action two games ago - since rejoining the starting lineup, he's put up 32/61 for 391 yards passing, three TDs and two interceptions, with 9/57/0 rushing. Locker didn't look good vs. Jacksonville's powder-puff defense on Sunday (23/40 for 261 yards, one TD and two interceptions thrown). 'We struggled all day to score points and had to settle for field goals when we could have done much better than that,' Titans coach Mike Munchak said. 'When you do that in this league, it ends up costing you. We just missed way too many opportunities to put points on the board.' Nate Washington (nine for 4/54/0) and Kendall Wright (eight for 5/48/0) led the team in receiving last week, while Kenny Britt (five for 3/25/1) snagged the TD. The Titans' receivers aren't making huge waves in fantasy ponds right now, friends.

The Texans rank 17th in the NFL averaging 232.3 net passing yards allowed per game, with 19 pass TDs given up vs. 11 interceptions (tied for 11th in the NFL) and 30 sacks (tied for fifth) generated to date. However, the Titans are sixth in the NFL with just 19 sacks allowed to date - they protect Locker and Hasselbeck reasonably well, despite the shoulder injury that Locker incurred back in week four. Matthew Stafford went off on the Texans on Thanksgiving with 31/61 for 419 net yards (three sacks taken for -22 yards), with two TDs and zero interceptions thrown; one week earlier Jacksonville threw 18/35 for 372 net yards, four TDs and zero interceptions. All of a sudden, the Texans' secondary is in a state of melt-down.

Locker has been up and down since returning from his shoulder woes - the Texans pass D has been awful in the last two weeks, but are usually much better in this phase of the game. This looks like a neutral matchup to us.

Weather: Inside the RCA Dome, conditions should be perfect to play football.

TEN Injuries: none
IND Injuries: none


Washington Redskins Passing Offense at St. Louis Rams Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Jason Campbell balked coming out of the gates back in week 1, tossing 15/27 for 133 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions in the Redskins' 16-7 loss to New York. Santana Moss (5/37/1) caught the lone passing TD in the loss, while Antwaan Randle-El led the team in receiving with 7/73/0. Since week 1, the Redskins' offense has built up a head of steam (Portis is the leading rusher in the NFL; Campbell is the 14th best fantasy QB in the NFL, with 21/340 for 2328 yards, 10 TDs and only 3 interceptions thrown to date). Last week, vs. Seattle, Campbell turned in a solid afternoon with 20/33 for 206 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions, while Santana Moss (4/72/0) and Chris Cooley (5/54/0) led the team in receiving - Antwaan Randle-El snagged the TD with 2/18/1.

The Giants are currently 8th in the NFL averaging 190.5 net passing yards surrendered per game, with 13 passing TDs given up vs. 15 interceptions and 32 sacks generated (5th in the NFL in the sacks department - the Redskins are at 11th-most sacks allowed to date, with 28 given up). Over the past 3 weeks, the Giants have handed over 696 net passing yards(232 net yards per game on average), with 4 interceptions and just 2 sacks - they are falling off their top-10 pace entering the final month of the season. Kurt Warner hit them for 32/52 yielding 348 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception last Sunday.

Campbell has come into his own in coach Jim Zorn's west coast offense as the season has gone along, while the Giants have slipped a couple of notches in the last few weeks - on balance, this looks like a neutral matchup with neither club holding a big edge over the other.

Weather: This game is to be played inside the Edward Jones Dome - weather will not be a factor for either team.

WAS Injuries: none
STL Injuries: none


Washington Redskins Passing Offense at St. Louis Rams Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The bottom fell out for Robert Griffin III vs. San Francisco - he managed a mere 17/27 for 127 yards passing, zero TDs and one interception thrown, while taking four sacks for -37 yards during the contest. He couldn't gain ground in the rushing phase, either, with 6/22/0 rushing to his credit. The entire Washington offense disappointed in a big way last week. We'll see if Griffin can get things turned around against divisional rivals New York this week.

The Giants arrive to FedEx Field with the league's 15th-ranked pass defense, giving up an average of 235.0 net passing yards per game, with 16 passing scores handed over to date, vs. 12 interceptions (tied for 11th in the NFL) and 18 sacks (31st) generated so far. Tony Romo managed 23/38 for 220 net yards passing, two TDs and one interception despite taking four sacks for -30 yards, at New York last week, while Green Bay's third-stringer Scott Tolzien put up 24/39 for 339 net yards, zero TDs and three interceptions against these guys two games ago.

Griffin fell off the fantasy map last week, but he's got an even shot at a bounce back game against the so-so Giants' secondary.

Weather: This game is to be played inside the Edward Jones Dome - weather will not be a factor for either team.

WAS Injuries: none
STL Injuries: none


Washington Redskins Passing Offense at St. Louis Rams Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Colt McCoy takes over for the indecisive Robert Griffin III as of Week 13. The 77 net yards passing during the loss at San Francisco sent Griffin back to the bench and elevated McCoy into the cat-bird seat again. McCoy's divisional victory over Dallas in Week 8 (25/30 for 299 yards passing, zero TDs and one interception thrown) in which he enlivened DeSean Jackson (seven targets for 6/136/0 receiving) and Pierre Garcon (four for 4/47/0 receiving) looks pretty good compared to the limping pace each receiver has shown with Griffin in the saddle (five for 2/39/0 for Jackson last week; four for 3/34/0 for Garcon). We'll see if McCoy can continue to bring the mojo that beat Dallas during the final month of 2014 season. His NFL opportunity has arrived (again).

The Colts' pass D is ranked 20th in the NFL averaging 249.4 net passing yards allowed per game, with 18 passing scores given out vs. nine interceptions (tied for 18th in the NFL) and 28 sacks (ninth in the NFL) generated to date. After Tom Brady hit them for 19/30 yielding 257 net yards, two TDs and two interceptions thrown (zero sacks taken) two weeks ago, the Colts took apart Jacksonville's Blake Bortles (15/27 for 114 net yards passing, zero TDs and one interception thrown, with four sacks taken for -32 yards) last weekend.

McCoy has been solid but unspectacular in his chances so far this year, while the Colts are so-so in this phase of the game - that sounds like a neutral matchup to us.

Weather: This game is to be played inside the Edward Jones Dome - weather will not be a factor for either team.

WAS Injuries: none
STL Injuries: none


Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Back in week 3, Kurt Warner was still under center and Matt Leinart was on the bench - things have changed a lot for the Cardinals in this phase of the game since the last time they faced the Rams. Over the past 3 weeks, Matt Leinart has tossed 70/118 for 854 yards, 2 TDs and 4 interceptions (with 12/20/2 rushing) to rank 6th among all fantasy QBs in points per game - obviously, the rushing TDs have helped his fantasy owners out a lot. He's throwing the ball to the usual suspects - Larry Fitzgerald has 29 targets for 19/282/0 over the past 3 weeks, while Anquan Boldin has seen 28 targets for 16/280/1 during that time frame. Bryant Johnson has snagged 10/119/1 on 15 chances during that time frame.

The Rams are 10th in the NFL in passing yards allowed (averaging 189.3 per contest), but have coughed up 16 passing scores to date, with 25 sacks and 12 interceptions to their credit. Over the past 3 weeks, the team averages 146.6 passing yards allowed per game (but 191 rushing per contest), with 9 sacks and 4 interceptions. Teams are electing to attack them in the other phase of the game, much as the 49ers did last week (13/25 for 148 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions passing).

Leinart has been throwing the ball around a lot, but he won't find the going easy this week.

Weather: The forecast for Monster Park calls for a high of 57F with a low of 44F and a 10% chance for rain - a very nice day is on tap for this matchup.

ARI Injuries: none
SF Injuries: none


Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Kurt Warner kept his team in the game vs the World Champs last week (32/52 for 351 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception), helping to set up 2 short TD runs in the 29-37 loss to New York. Over the past 3 weeks, Warner has been a fantasy stud, with 96/138 for 1074 yards, 5 TDs and 2 interceptions - he's a must start with Anquan Boldin (11/87/1 last week; 31/365/3 receiving over the past 3 weeks, #1 fantasy WR in points per game during that time span) and Larry Fitzgerald (5/71/0 last week; 23/271/1 over the last 3 weeks, #13 fantasy WR) to run down his passes.

The Eagles' pass D relies on pressure: they are 1st in the NFL with 39 sacks to date, and have generated 9 interceptions so far, vs. 15 passing TDs and an average of 188.9 net passing yards allowed per game (5th in the NFL). Over the last 3 weeks, the Eagles have given up just 546 passing yards (182 per contest) and have notched 12 sacks. Joe Flacco managed 12/26 for 138 net yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions vs. this unit last week.

Warner is an elite QB this season, but so are the Eagles' pass defenders. At home in Lincoln Financial Field with their 12th man revved up for a Thanksgiving Day game, this defense will give Warner a tough time.

Weather: The forecast for Monster Park calls for a high of 57F with a low of 44F and a 10% chance for rain - a very nice day is on tap for this matchup.

ARI Injuries: none
SF Injuries: none


Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

As of Tuesday, Kurt Warner continues to experience sensitivity to light and is seeing shadows in his field of vision. Despite these post-concussion after-effects, Warner is planning to play on Sunday - but he also cautions that he's taking things one day at a time. Owners of Warner (and the Cardinals' receivers) will want to check on Warner's practice status/injury status later in the week before setting their lineups. With Warner sidelined last week, Matt Leinart led the Cardinals to 21/31 for 220 yards, zero TDs and zero interceptions against Tennessee. Anquan Boldin (5/53/0 receiving) and Larry Fitzgerald (4/34/0) led the team in receiving yardage last week. Stay tuned to Footballguys.com's players in the news later in the week to see how Warner progresses in his recovery.

The Vikings lead the league in sacks, with 40 to their credit to date (the Cardinals are fifth in the NFL with just 18 sacks allowed through 11 games). The Vikings get good pressure up front, but it isn't translating into turnovers (the Vikings have just nine interceptions to their credit, tied for 20th in the NFL). Right now, the team ranks 19th in the NFL allowing an average of 221.9 net passing yards per game, with 15 passing TDs surrendered so far. Over the past four weeks, the Vikings average just 179.3 net passing yards allowed per game - Jay Cutler scraped up 18/23 for 126 net yards, one TD and two interceptions in the Chicago loss to Minnesota. As the season has gone on, the Vikings have clamped down on opposing passers.

Warner (or Leinart) have home field advantage this week, and they'll need every advantage they can find as the fierce Vikings want to stay in the fight for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. This looks like a tough matchup for the home team.

Weather: The forecast for Monster Park calls for a high of 57F with a low of 44F and a 10% chance for rain - a very nice day is on tap for this matchup.

ARI Injuries: none
SF Injuries: none


Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

John Skelton kept Kevin Kolb's seat warm at St. Louis, with an unimpressive 12/23 for 114 yards, zero TDs and two interceptions thrown. Though his team won the game, the Cardinals are anxiously awaiting Kolb's return to the field after two horrid outings by Skelton (18/42 for 213 yards, zero TDs and five interceptions thrown in the last two contests). The team is hopeful that Kolb will return to the field this week - 'If you think about standing on the sideline for three quarters and all of a sudden you have to go in, it's tough to get that thing warmed up and ready to go, especially when you're playing on turf,' head coach Ken Whisenhunt said in regards to Kolb's injury. 'I anticipate it won't be an issue this week.' So far this year, Kolb has thrown 129/227 for 1,706 yards, eight TDs and eight interceptions over seven games played. Skelton has four TDs and seven interceptions thrown in his four games of action to date.

The Dallas D has just barely held off their last two opponents, winning vs. Miami by one point on Thanksgiving and staving off Washington by three points two weeks ago. Matt Moore posted 19/32 for 263 net yards (four sacks taken), one TD and zero interceptions at Dallas last week; Rex Grossman managed 25/38 for 279 net yards (three sacks taken), two TDs and one interception vs. Dallas two weeks ago. Thus far during 2011, the Cowboys average 230.7 net yards allowed per game (14th in the NFL), with 15 passing scores surrendered vs. 14 interceptions (tied for eighth in the NFL) and 30 sacks (tied for seventh) generated to date. This isn't a shut-down type pass defense, but they are better than average despite the lofty yardage totals given up of late.

The Cardinals' passing attack has been mediocre-to-sub-par this year (depending on their starting QB) - if Kolb can go this week consider this a tough matchup. If Skelton ends up under center, downgrade this to a bad matchup.

Weather: The forecast for Monster Park calls for a high of 57F with a low of 44F and a 10% chance for rain - a very nice day is on tap for this matchup.

ARI Injuries: none
SF Injuries: none


Atlanta Falcons Passing Offense at Carolina Panthers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

After an ill-fated flirtation with Byron Leftwich as the Falcons' starter, coach Bobby Petrino has decided to stop tinkering with the QB depth chart and leave Joey Harrington at the controls (at least, for this week). "I'm going to stay with Joey," HC Petrino said on Monday. "I think right now he understands everything that we are working (with)." Harrington has tossed one TD in each of his last 3 appearances for the Falcons, and has 3 TDs vs. 2 interceptions during that span of time. Indianapolis did intercept Harrington twice - he ended that game with 14/30 for 155 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions. Roddy White led the team in targets vs. Indy (with 10 for 6/104/1) and is definitely the stud fantasy WR on this team, with 52/774/3 receiving to date (nobody else on the team has gone over 400 yards receiving this year).

The Rams rank 12th in the NFL allowing an average of 211.5 net passing yards per game, with 15 passing TDs given up to date. Over the past 4 weeks, they are playing fairly well in this phase of the game, with 5 interceptions and 9 sacks in 3 contests, while averaging 230.6 passing yards surrendered. Last week, Matt Hasselbeck posted 21/38 for 215 net passing yards (5 sacks against the 'Hawks last week) with 1 TD and 1 interception during the contest. The Rams aren't overpowering in this phase of the game, but they aren't wet noodles, either.

The Falcons passing attack is unspectacular, but they do find a way to score most weeks. The Rams are middlin' at defensing the pass, but have turned up the heat on opposing passers, which is a concern for the battered Falcons' OL, who have surrendered 35 sacks this season (4th-most in the NFL). On balance, this looks like a tough matchup for Harrington and company.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium calls for a high of 66F and a low of 37F with a 40% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling may be larger issues than usual for both teams.

ATL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: none


Atlanta Falcons Passing Offense at Carolina Panthers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Falcons will have to lean on Chris Redman this week as Matt Ryan's painful turf toe is going to keep him on the sidelines for this game (and possibly longer). Redman was the guy who returned the Falcons' passing game to respectability two years ago (in the wake of the Michael Vick dog-fighting debacle) - he threw for 89/149 for 1079 yards, 10 TDs and five interceptions during seven games played that year. Last week, Redman stepped in for Ryan after just 3 passes were attempted by Ryan and proceeded to crank out 23/41 for 243 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions. Redman hit all the usual suspects (Tony Gonzalez, 9/83/0; Michael Jenkins (7/80/0); and Roddy White (5/57/1)), and also got Jerious Norwood into the end zone on a shovel pass (2/28/1 receiving for Norwood). Redman is a solid backup who has worked with this team for several years now.

The Eagles' pass D is a high-intensity unit that brings a lot of pressure to bear on opposing QBs - the team has 31 sacks (sixth in the league to date) and 18 interceptions (third in the NFL), but their DBs can be burned deep (the team has allowed 17 passing TDs, with a long of 86 yards handed over). To date, the Eagles are ninth in the NFL averaging 202.6 net passing yards allowed per game, with 873 net passing yards allowed in the last four weeks (218.3 passing yards allowed per game, on average). Jason Campbell was right on the latter pace last week, with 22/37 for 221 net passing yards, two TDs and two interceptions during the 24-27 Philadelphia victory. The Falcons' OL is banged up coming into this game, which is a reason for concern - Tampa Bay got six sacks and eight other hits on the QB last week, while G Harvey Dahl (ankle and Achilles' tendon) and OT Sam Baker (multiple, unspecified injuries - he was listed as questionable on Friday due to an elbow problem) were both sidelined during the game on Sunday. Look for the Eagles to attack the faltering Falcons' OL with a vengeance on Sunday.

Redman is a capable player, but the situation he'll face on Sunday isn't the most favorable for success - advantage, Philadelphia.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium calls for a high of 66F and a low of 37F with a 40% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling may be larger issues than usual for both teams.

ATL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: none


Atlanta Falcons Passing Offense at Carolina Panthers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Matt Ryan helped his team notch a 27-21 'W' over Tampa Bay in week nine, with 24/36 for 235 yards, one TD and zero interceptions when the final gun sounded. Tony Gonzalez led the team with 8/72/0 receiving, while his backup Michael Palmer caught the only receiving TD of the game with 2/11/1. Michael Jenkins racked up 2/55/0 receiving during the game, and Roddy White was third on the team with 4/49/0 on the day.

The Falcons have won every game since the match with Tampa Bay, and Matt Ryan has thrown zero interceptions in every game since the bye week, with 106/153 for 1,001 yards, seven TDs and zero interceptions thrown over the past four weeks. As usual, Roddy White (41 targets for 30/319/2), Tony Gonzalez (30 for 22/207/1) and Michael Jenkins (26 for 15/185/0) lead the team in receiving, while Jason Snelling lands at fourth on the team over the past four weeks with a steady diet of targets (19) and an impressively-sure-handed 18/138/1 receiving (that's a 94.7% reception percentage, folks!). The Falcons' passing attack is going strong entering December.

The Buccaneers' pass D has surged with a strong pass rush in the past four weeks (12 sacks), but they still average almost 200 yards per game allowed (792 net yards allowed in the past four weeks, 198 yards per game on average). That's slightly better than their season average of 205.9 net yards allowed per game (ninth in the NFL) - Tampa has 17 TDs and 16 interceptions during 2010, with 18 sacks to date (but 12 in the last four games, as mentioned above). Atlanta is sixth in the NFL with just 17 sacks allowed this year - they protect Matt Ryan pretty well. Joe Flacco hit Tampa for 25/35 for 257 net yards, two TDs and one interception last week, though Troy Smith could only eke out 118 net yards and zero TDs with one interception two weeks ago. As you can see, Tampa has been up and down in this phase of the game recently.

The Falcons' passing attack is formidable entering December, while the Buccaneers are bouncing around their respectable season average lately. On balance, the home field advantage tilts this matchup slightly in favor of the Buccaneers.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium calls for a high of 66F and a low of 37F with a 40% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling may be larger issues than usual for both teams.

ATL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: none


Atlanta Falcons Passing Offense at Carolina Panthers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Matt Ryan is the only quarterback named Matt to enter this game healthy enough to play (the Texans have lost Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart to injury and IR in recent weeks) - and Matt Ryan has been on quite a roll during November, with 92/142 for 1,204 yards, nine TDs and two interceptions during the past four games. Roddy White leads the team in targets and yards receiving during that four game span, with 43 for 25/405/1 (he's shaken off the mid-season doldrums when White was well below 50% reception percentage for multiple games). Tony Gonzalez has snarfed up the most TDs (31 for 24/250/3), and Harry Douglas has done a good job subbing for the injured Julio Jones with 23 targets for Douglas resulting in 14/229/1 receiving. These three guys are the backbone of the passing attack entering December, though once Jones is healthy he figures to be prominent as well. It's all good for the Falcons in this phase of the game, friends.

The Texans bring their second-ranked pass D to this dance - Houston averages just 175.8 net yards allowed per game, with a mere 11 passing scores given up so far vs. 15 interceptions (fifth in the NFL) and 35 sacks (second) generated. The Falcons are 14th in the NFL with 22 sacks allowed, so Ryan will likely have guys in his face fairly often this week. The woeful Jaguars had just 150 net yards passing last week (20/40 for 150, with zero TDs and one interception thrown) while their QBs took seven sacks; Tampa Bay's Joshes posted 15/35 for 141 net yards (four sacks taken), one TD and three interceptions vs. Houston on November 13th. This is a ferocious pass D, folks.

Ryan is hot, but the Texans' pass D is a rock that has broken up a lot of opposing units this year. This is a tough road game for Ryan to face.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium calls for a high of 66F and a low of 37F with a 40% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling may be larger issues than usual for both teams.

ATL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: none


Atlanta Falcons Passing Offense at Carolina Panthers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Matt Ryan has dialed back on the turnovers over the last three games, and managed to not throw any last week vs. New Orleans (30/39 for 292 yards, zero TDs and zero interceptions thrown) - Harry Douglas led the team in receiving with 11 targets for 9/79/0 receiving. Tony Gonzalez (six for 4/43/0) started to shake free again last week, while Darius Johnson was actually second on the team with eight for 6/67/0. Roddy White didn't impact the game much, with two targets for 2/24/0 receiving. We'll see if Ryan can build on the positive momentum here in Week 13.

The Bills' pass D is a high-pressure unit that has piled up 16 interceptions (tied for first in the NFL) and 37 sacks (tied for first in the NFL) this season. However, they have also given up 22 passing scores to date, and rank 12th in the NFL averaging 229 net passing yards allowed per game. Geno Smith and the Jets struggled due to the Bills' pass rush two weeks ago (12/29 for 133 net yards passing, one TD and three interceptions); Ben Roethlisberger tossed 18/30 for 164 yards, one TD and one interception thrown three weeks ago.

Ryan had issues with turnovers in the recent past - the Bills' pass D is tightening up as we enter the final few games of the year. Advantage, Buffalo.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium calls for a high of 66F and a low of 37F with a 40% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling may be larger issues than usual for both teams.

ATL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: none


Atlanta Falcons Passing Offense at Carolina Panthers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Matt Ryan did his part to win the game for Atlanta vs. Cleveland, with 27/43 for 273 yards passing, two TDs and one interception thrown (with three sacks taken for -21 yards), but the defense failed in the waning seconds and Cleveland kicked a game-winning field goal with zero seconds left on the clock. As usual, Roddy White (10 targets for 9/96/0 receiving) and Julio Jones (13 for 5/68/1) saw most of Ryans passes, while Devin Hester (six for 4/50/0) also played a key role in the offense last Sunday. The Falcons can move the football through the air, but they can't seem to catch up to the points their defense bleeds week in and week out.

The Cardinals' pass D limited Russell Wilson to 17/22 for 169 net yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions thrown (with a whopping seven sacks for -42 yards, plus 11 other hits on the quarterback) last weekend, but lost 3-19 despite the good defensive effort - two weeks ago, Matthew Stafford and Detroit didn't manage a single TD at Arizona with 18/30 for 164 net yards passing, zero TDs and one interception thrown (four sacks taken for -19 yards). During November the Cardinals have played excellent pass defense - they've overcome the early-season woes that placed them at 25th in the NFL averaging 254.6 net passing yards allowed per game as of this week.

Ryan has done his part in recent weeks, but he faces a resurgent Arizona pass D that is shutting down quality opponents right now. Advantage, Arizona.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium calls for a high of 66F and a low of 37F with a 40% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling may be larger issues than usual for both teams.

ATL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: none


Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense vs Houston Texans Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Kyle Boller has been filling in for the banged-up Steve McNair (his latest concern is a shoulder injury), but it appears that Boller is in fact the starting QB going forward as McNair's performance has tanked this season (133/205 for 1113 yards, 2 TDs and 4 intercepitions over 7 appearances). Boller has posted 124/208 for 1242 yards, 5 TDs and 5 interceptions in his 10 appearances (almost exactly half of the pass attempts this season) - he's no fantasy star, but he's done better than McNair this season.

Last week, Boller turned in a workman-like 21/33 for 191 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions passing vs. the Chargers, mostly relying on Derrick Mason (7/99/0) in the continuing absence of TE Todd Heap (hamstring/thigh injury). Nobody else on the team went over 30 yards receiving, though FB Le'Ron McClain did find pay dirt with 1/13/1. Boller has thrown 2 TDs and 2 interceptions in his 2 most recent full games - he at least gives the Ravens a hope of winning.

The Patriots were tested by Philly's A.J. Feeley last week, and almost failed the exam, giving up 27/42 for 336 net passing yards, and 3 TDs - but 3 interceptions (in particular, 2 key picks by Asante Samuel, resulting in a score on the first series of the game and quashing a potential game-winning drive at the end of the game) preserved the Patriots' unblemished record. They did not look like the 6th best pass D in the land on Sunday Night Football (the Pats average 195.4 pass yards allowed per game this year). In truth, New England has handed over 15 passing TDs this year, which is in the middle of the NFL range so far (6-25 TDs given up among the various 32 teams to date). They are 2nd in the NFL with 16 interceptions, though, and 6th in the NFL with 31 sacks - one off game does not a season make. The Patriots are still one of the toughest pass defenses in the league despite their hiccup vs. Philly.

Boller and the Ravens are mounting an unexciting attack coming into this contest, while the Patriots bring a top-tier pass D to the dance (despite their wounded pride over last week's showing). Advantage, New England.

Weather: The weather service predicts a high of 49F with a low of 31F and a 20% chance for rain in the Baltimore area on Sunday. That sounds like great football weather to us.

BAL Injuries: none
HOU Injuries: none


Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense vs Houston Texans Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Joe Flacco snapped out of his funk last week, throwing for 23/35 yielding 289 yards, one TD and zero interceptions vs. the Steelers. Mark Clayton (7/129/0), Ray Rice (5/67/0) and Derrick Mason (7/62/1) were the three players who caught more than one pass - in all, seven Ravens hauled in at least one pass from Flacco last week. It was Flacco's first TD pass in the past four games - he looks like he's on the upswing entering December. We'll see if he can build on the momentum on Monday Night Football this week. Flacco is reportedly nursing a sore ankle that was re-rolled in the second half last week - however, he's playing through the injury: 'I kind of re-rolled it in the beginning of the second half,' Flacco said on Monday, November 30th. 'I just put some tape on it. It felt good the rest of the time.'

The Packers field one of the league's stingier pass defenses when it comes to yards allowed, averaging 192.5 net passing yards allowed per game (sixth in the NFL). However, they have coughed up 21 passing TDs to balance their 18 interceptions (tied for third in the NFL in the interceptions department), while generating 23 sacks so far this year (tied for 17th in the NFL). Over the past four weeks, the Packers have handed over 829 passing yards in four games, with seven interceptions and 11 sacks to their credit - Matthew Stafford was blown up for four interceptions last week (20/43 for 199 net yards, one TD and four interceptions).

Flacco hasn't been finding the end zone much of late, but against the river-boat-gambling DBs that the Packers field, he may hook up for a couple scores this week. On balance, this looks like a tough matchup for the Ravens, who'll face the Lambeau faithful as well as the Packers' D on Monday night.

Weather: The weather service predicts a high of 49F with a low of 31F and a 20% chance for rain in the Baltimore area on Sunday. That sounds like great football weather to us.

BAL Injuries: none
HOU Injuries: none


Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense vs Houston Texans Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Joe Flacco led the Ravens to a last-minute TD to seal the 17-14 victory over Pittsburgh in week four, hitting T.J. Houshmandzadeh for an 18-yard strike at :32 left in the game. All told, Flacco flung 24/37 for 256 yards, one TD and one interception during the game, going to Anquan Boldin (10 targets for 7/68/0), Derrick Mason (eight for 6/80/0 receiving) and Houshmandzadeh (six for 3/49/1) the most often. Over the past four weeks, Flacco has thrown 91/129 for 1,071 yards, eight TDs and two interceptions - he posted 25/35 for 289 yards, two TDs and one interception last week at Tampa Bay. Flacco is red-hot entering December, friends. So are Derrick Mason (30 targets for 19/219/3 receiving), Ray Rice (28 targets for 23/253/0) and Todd Heap (18 for 13/228/2). Anquan Boldin has enjoyed 22 targets in the last four weeks, but only converted 13/134/1 a 59.1 reception percentage), so he's lagging the other three players mentioned by a bit. However, Flacco has a lot of healthy targets to utilize entering week 13, something a lot of other teams can't say right now.

The Steelers' pass D is of the bend-but-don't-break variety, with an average of 240.5 net yards allowed per game (22nd in the NFL), but only 12 passing TDs allowed over 11 games, vs. 14 interceptions generated (ninth in the NFL) and 32 sacks put up so far (tied for second in the NFL). Overall, this is a tough, but not shut-down, type of pass D. Ryan Fitzpatrick took the Steelers to overtime last week with 23/45 for 255 net yards, one TD and one interception, while Oakland's cast of characters could only manage 20/43 for 121 net yards, zero TDs and two interceptions two weeks ago.

Flacco is hot, but the Steelers' D is quite good - this looks like a tough matchup for the Ravens.

Weather: The weather service predicts a high of 49F with a low of 31F and a 20% chance for rain in the Baltimore area on Sunday. That sounds like great football weather to us.

BAL Injuries: none
HOU Injuries: none


Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense vs Houston Texans Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Joe Flacco (61/102 for 686 yards, four TDs and two interceptions over the last three weeks) and Ray Rice (1/1 for one yard and one TD) have combined for 62/103 for 687 yards, five TDs and two interceptions over the past three games played. During that time frame, five players have seen the majority of targets for Baltimore - Ray Rice (23 for 16/121/0), Anquan Boldin (20 for 7/120/1), Ed Dickson (19 for 13/115/2), Torrey Smith (18 for 11/216/1) and Dennis Pitta (nine for 6/68/1). Though the Ravens' passing attack isn't at Green Bay's level, it has been fairly productive during November, as you can see. Rice, Boldin, Dickson and Smith in particular warrant starts in most fantasy formats.

The Browns' pass D isn't very giving during 2011, though, with a league-best average of 174.7 net yards allowed per game, with just 11 passing scores given away vs. six interceptions (tied for 28th in the NFL) and 22 sacks (tied for 20th in the NFL) generated to date. Though they don't create a lot of turnovers or sacks, the Cleveland secondary is very tough to move the ball upon. Andy Dalton managed 21/31 for 257 net yards (two sacks taken), one TD and zero interceptions last week; Blaine Gabbert pitched 22/41 for 210 net yards, zero TDs and zero interceptions vs. Cleveland two weeks ago.

Flacco has been 230 yards passing per game of late - this week, he'll likely have less than that given the Browns' stout pass D and their weak rush D (Ray Rice and Ricky Williams will likely carry the ball a lot in this game). Advantage, Cleveland.

Weather: The weather service predicts a high of 49F with a low of 31F and a 20% chance for rain in the Baltimore area on Sunday. That sounds like great football weather to us.

BAL Injuries: none
HOU Injuries: none


Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense vs Houston Texans Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Joe Flacco struggled at Pittsburgh two weeks ago, with 20/32 for 164 yards, zero TDs or interceptions, with two sacks taken for -11 yards. Nevertheless, the Ravens eked out a key 13-10 divisional win. Last week, the Ravens caught up from behind in San Diego and eventually pulled out a narrow 16-13 win - Flacco threw 30/51 for 355 yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions during the win, giving him two 340+ yards-passing performances in his last three games sandwiched around the spare performance at Pittsburgh two weeks ago. Torrey Smith (13 targets for 7/144/0 receiving), Ray Rice (nine for 8/67/0), Jacoby Jones (seven for 5/50/0) and Dennis Pitta (nine for 6/42/1) were the top receivers last week, followed by Anquan Boldin (eight for 2/42/0). Ed Dickson suffered a knee injury during the game on Sunday - 'It's a little concern going forward,' head coach John Harbaugh said after the game. 'It's not a major knee injury. I can characterize it as a sprain with some swelling. We'll just have to see how it goes.' Coming into this rematch with Pittsburgh, Flacco is on a mini-roll. We'll see if he can maintain the momentum against this divisional rival.

The Steelers' D held Brandon Weeden to 17/26 for 130 net yards, one TD and one interception last week, sacking him four times for -28 yards. Weeden ended the day concussed and on the sidelines, while Colt McCoy did nothing but hand off the football in relief of Weeden. To date, the Steelers' pass D ranks first in the NFL averaging 165.7 net yards allowed per game, with 12 passing TDs given up vs. only six interceptions (tied for 28th in the NFL) and 22 sacks (tied for 24th) generated to date. It's hard to move the ball in this phase of the game when Pittsburgh is on the field.

Flacco struggled against the Steelers two weeks ago, and this looks like another tough matchup for him during week 13 despite his 355 yards passing at San Diego last week.

Weather: The weather service predicts a high of 49F with a low of 31F and a 20% chance for rain in the Baltimore area on Sunday. That sounds like great football weather to us.

BAL Injuries: none
HOU Injuries: none


Buffalo Bills Passing Offense at Miami Dolphins Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

J.P. Losman was on the bench the last time Buffalo struggled with Miami (during week 5) - recent history won't tell us much about this week's matchup. Since returning to the top job in Buffalo 3 weeks ago, Losman has tossed 45/81 for 502 yards, 3 TDs and 2 interceptions to rank 29th in fantasy points per game during that span. He looks more confident under center, but his improved play hasn't added to his fantasy value very much just yet. Eric Moulds (27 targets for 17/148/0 - 61st fantasy WR) and Lee Evans (21 targets for 12/180/2 - 25th fantasy WR in points per game during the last 3 weeks) are options A and B for Losman since returning to the lineup. Evans is the superior fantasy WR right now as he's getting the scoring chances currently.

The Dolphins rank 14th in the NFL this year, giving up 201.5 passing yards per game, with 12 TDs surrendered in this phase to date. Over the past 3 weeks, Miami the team allows a net of 219 passing yards per game on average - but they have generated 9 sacks during that span, including 7 sacks of Kerry Collins last week. The Bills are tied for 5th-most sacks given up this season (32) - they are vulnerable to high-intensity pass rushing like we saw from Miami last week.

Miami will make life miserable for Losman with their pass rush, and their home crowd will be in full throat for this divisional matchup - this looks like a tough matchup for Losman and company.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 80F with a low of 66F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play and watch a football game.

BUF Injuries: none
MIA Injuries: none


Buffalo Bills Passing Offense at Miami Dolphins Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

J.P. Losman went back to being, well, J.P. Losman-like, tossing 21/28 for 169 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception vs. the Jaguars last week. His top receiver was, as usual, Lee Evans (5/58/0) - the Bills upset the Jags 27-24, but Losman and Evans didn't propel many fantasy squads to a "W". Losman has amassed 56/79 for 592 yards, 3 TDs and 2 interceptions over the past 3 weeks (24th ranked fantasy QB in point per game during that span). He's sandwiched two poor games around his explosive outing vs. Houston.

The Chargers rank 14th in the NFL averaging 201.9 passing yards allowed per game, with 14 TDs given up to date in this phase. They are first in the NFL with 41 sacks this year (11 interceptions to date) - the Bills have allowed 32 sacks so far, 7th-most in the NFL, so Losman can expect a heaping helping of pass rushers this week. Last week, they had 5 sacks against Aaron Brooks, and held him to 17/30 for 187 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions.

This looks like a tough matchup for the sub-par Bills.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 80F with a low of 66F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play and watch a football game.

BUF Injuries: none
MIA Injuries: none


Buffalo Bills Passing Offense at Miami Dolphins Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

J.P. Losman has lost his job (again), leaving rookie Trent Edwards under center for his second stint as starter this year. So far, Edwards has posted typical-looking rookie QB numbers, with 80/121 for 790 yards, 1 TD and 5 interceptions passing. During his first 5 games (weeks 3-8) with time in the driver's seat, Lee Evans was targeted the most (33 targets for 18/327/1), followed by Josh Reed (23 for 16/191/0) and Roscoe Parrish (16 for 14/118/0). Nobody else on the team hauled in more than 100 yards worth of receptions during that span of time.

The Redskins come into this game with heavy hearts as key S Sean Taylor was murdered last Sunday night. Given the circumstances, it is going to be difficult for this unit to focus all their energies on preparing for the Bills, so it is hard to say how ready the team will be on Sunday. Up until now, the Redskins have been in the middle of the NFL pack with an average of 213.2 passing yards allowed per game, with 17 passing scores handed over to date, vs. 9 interceptions generated (tied for 24th in the league). They are 13th in the league with 26 sacks so far. Over the past 4 weeks, the 'Skins have only 1 interception and 9 sacks, while averaging 208.5 net passing yards allowed per game. Last week, Jeff Garcia got knocked out of the game early and journeyman Bruce Gradkowski struggled to be effective, leading the Bucs to a mere 11/23 for 93 net passing yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions (but circumstances were far from "usual" for Tampa).

Edwards is relatively green and still on the steep part of the NFL learning curve, while the 'Skins are fighting more than the usual aches and pains of a long season this week - even so, the inexperience of Edwards makes this a tough matchup for the Bills.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 80F with a low of 66F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play and watch a football game.

BUF Injuries: none
MIA Injuries: none


Buffalo Bills Passing Offense at Miami Dolphins Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Back in week six, Ryan Fitzpatrick took the majority of snaps for the Bills (10/25 for 116 yards, one TD and one interception), and he's since played his way into the starting role for the team - last week, Fitzpatrick threw for 17/26 yielding 246 yards, one TD and one interception (with 7/50/1 rushing, too), and the Bills notched a key 'W' over divisional rival Miami. Over the past two weeks, Fitzpatrick has played well since regaining the starting job. Terrell Owens has been the primary recipient of Fitzpatrick's passes during the past two weeks, with 19 targets for 14/293/2, followed by Josh Reed (8 for 4/50/0) and Lee Evans (10 for 3/55/0). RB Fred Jackson has caught every ball thrown his way of late (9 targets for 9/63/0 receiving over the past two weeks). The Bills are hard-charging spoilers entering December, folks.

The Jets have swung through extremes in the past two weeks, shutting down Carolina's Jake Delhomme last week (14/34 for 104 net yards, zero TDs and four interceptions), but being blown up by Tom Brady two weeks ago (28/41 for 299 net yards, one TD and zero interceptons allowed to the Patriots). Over the past four weeks, the Jets have coughed up 611 net passing yards during three contests - this year, they average 175.7 net passing yards allowed per game (2nd in the NFL), with just seven passing TDs handed over vs. 11 interceptions and 21 sacks generated. Usually, the Jets are pretty tough in this phase of the game.

Fitzpatrick is making good things happen for the Bills, but he's got a tough assignment this week up in Toronto. Advantage, New York Jets.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 80F with a low of 66F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play and watch a football game.

BUF Injuries: none
MIA Injuries: none


Carolina Panthers Passing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Jake Delhomme was frustrated for much of the day by the Redskins, and ended up with 23/38 for 168 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions when the fat lady sang. He's been luke-warm for several weeks, with 58/97 for 599 yards, 4 TDs and 4 interceptions to his credit over the past 3 weeks. Last week, Steve Smith grabbed 5/34/1 while Keyshawn Johnson led the team with 6/38/0.

Philly couldn't stop the run last week, and they also handed over 14/20 for 183 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception to the Colts in the passing game. This season, the Eagles average 180.5 passing yards allowed per game (4th in the NFL), with 10 passing scores given up. They have 10 interceptions and 29 sacks, which are in the middle of the NFL range - given how soft their rush D has been, teams are going to attack the Eagles in that phase aggressively, which accounts for some of the modest passing numbers posted against the secondary. In any case, when teams play the Eagles they tend to end up with mediocre passing numbers at the end of the game.

This is a tough matchup for the so-so Delhomme and company.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium calls for a high of 66F and a low of 37F with a 40% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling may be larger issues than usual for both teams.

CAR Injuries: none
ATL Injuries: none


Chicago Bears Passing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Kyle Orton led the Bears' offense to 2 TDs in the wild 48-41 victory over Minnesota back in week 7 (21/32 for 283 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions) - since then he's missed time due to a high ankle sprain, but looks like he's getting back up to speed after tossing a steady 18/29 for 139 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions during last week's blowout of St. Louis (27-3). Devin Hester (5/57/0), Desmond Clark (5/40/0) and Jason McKie (3/26/1) snagged the most passes vs. the Rams.

The Vikings' pass D is not as dominant as their rush D, averaging 228.5 net yards allowed per game, with 9 passing TDs given up vs. 8 interceptions and generated. They do have 30 sacks to their credit this year (tied for 6th in the NFL) - the Bears are in the middle of the NFL field with 19 sacks allowed this year. Over the last 3 weeks, Minnesota has 651 net passing yards allowed (217 per game), with only 2 interceptions but a hefty 9 sacks generated. David Garrard did better than usual vs. Minnesota, with 27/45 for 286 yards, but only 1 TD and 2 interceptions thrown.

Orton is working back into shape, but he's got to visit the hostile Metrodome and deal with the high-pressure pass rush of Minnesota this week - this looks like a tough matchup for a QB battling a high ankle sprain.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high of 34F with a low of 23F and a 20% chance of precipitation. The wind conditions at this venue during the winter can be hard on passers and kickers - it would be a good idea to check a forecast closer to game time if you are considering starting Favre, Orton or their team-mates.

CHI Injuries: none
GB Injuries: none


Chicago Bears Passing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Jay Cutler revved up the Chicago offense in week 12, even though his fantasy numbers were pedestrian (23/31 for 188 yards passing, one TD and one interception thrown) - Cutler makes the entire Bears' offense function by providing a credible threat to throw the ball down field to Brandon Marshall (17 targets for 12/92/0 receiving last week). Earl Bennett chipped in with four targets for 4/45/0 receiving as the second-best receiver on the team during Cutler's return - backup TE Matt Spaeth hauled in the TD with one for 1/13/1 on the day.

The Seahawks' pass D ranks third in the NFL averaging 200.7 net yards allowed per game, with only 10 passing TDs given up this year vs. 10 interceptions (tied for 14th in the NFL) and 29 sacks (tied for ninth) generated to date. However, a performance-enhancing drug scandal is emerging among the secondary in Seattle - for this week, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said CBs Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner will play in Week 13 against the Chicago Bears while their appeals for their four-game suspensions are heard by the league. We'll see if Sherman and Browner can attend to business with a black cloud over the final games of the 2012 season. Ryan Tannehill was allowed 18/26 for 246 net yards, one TD and one interception by the Seahawks last week in their narrow 21-24 loss - three weeks ago Mark Sanchez and company could only put up 12/25 for 101 net yards, zero TDs and one interception.

Cutler is a solid starter, but he's got a tough matchup ahead on Sunday.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high of 34F with a low of 23F and a 20% chance of precipitation. The wind conditions at this venue during the winter can be hard on passers and kickers - it would be a good idea to check a forecast closer to game time if you are considering starting Favre, Orton or their team-mates.

CHI Injuries: none
GB Injuries: none


Cincinnati Bengals Passing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Carson Palmer had a tough time with the Ravens the last time around the block, posting 12/26 for 195 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions in week 9. Since that game (Chad Johnson had 4/32/0 that day), though, Palmer has rediscovered Chad Johnson as a #1 WR, leading to 24/573/5 for Johnson over the past 3 weeks, and 70/96 for 990 yards, 9 TDs and 2 interceptions for Palmer. It's fair to say that Palmer and the receiving corps have found their "A" game again (Houshmandzadeh has 16/182/1 during that 3 week span, and Chris Henry has 9/83/3). One potential snag for the Bengals is that Henry has a court date for a DUI charge this week, and a league suspension could follow, depending on the outcome of the proceedings. On Monday, the results of a breathalyzer test were tossed by the court, and a trial date set for Feb. 15th - it looks like Henry will dodge further league sanctions until next season, if ever.

The Ravens' pass D is 9th in the NFL allowing an average of 188.5 yards per game, with 10 passing scores surrendered to date. They have been on a tear sacking opposing QBs recently, with 9 against Pittsburgh last week and 16 sacks over the past 3 weeks. This year, they are 2nd in the NFL with 39 sacks - it's a concern for the Bengals, who have had 1/2 of their starting OL out due to injuries (C Rich Braham and OT Levi Jones have missed several weeks of action). To date, the Bengals have given up 30 sacks, 10th-most in the NFL. Expect the Ravens to exploit this weakness on Sunday. Ben Roethlisberger managed to toss 21/41 for 214 yards, but had 0 TDs and 2 interceptions last week in the face of the intense pass pressure.

Palmer is on fire, but the division-leading Ravens figure to be up for this key AFC North game and they are mounting a very devastating pass defense during recent weeks. This is a tough matchup for the Bengals.

Weather: Heinz Field should see a high of 42F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - a nice, crisp day to play football is on tap for this matchup.

CIN Injuries: none
PIT Injuries: none


Cincinnati Bengals Passing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Carson Palmer was luke warm the last time he challenged the Steelers, in week 8, posting 23/31 for 205 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions during the 24-13 loss. The usual suspects, T.J. Houshmandzadeh (7/81/1 receiving) and Chad Johnson (5/51/0) led the team's receiving corps that day.

Palmer has kicked it up a notch in the 4 games since that defeat, posting a minimum of 271 passing yards in each game since week 8, with 7 TDs and 6 interceptions during that time span. Last week, he and Chad Johnson got red hot vs. Tennessee, winning 35-6. Palmer threw for 32/38 for 283 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception while Johnson hauled in all 3 TDs (12/103/3) - Houshmandzadeh was 2nd on the team with 7/66/0.

The Steelers have given up a total of 419 passing yards in their last 4 games (heck, their divisional rivals the Browns have allowed almost that much in a single game this year (394, week 2)), averaging 104.8 pass yards allowed per game to date. They have given up 11 passing TDs, with 8 interceptions to date (tied for 28th in the NFL). Pittsburgh is in a 3-way tie for 3rd in the NFL with 32 sacks so far, and are 1st in the league averaging 152.1 passing yards allowed per game to date. Last week, John Beck managed 14/24 for 110 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions passing. The Steelers make things tough on their opponents.

This is a tough divisional matchup (in hostile Heinz Field) for the Bengals, regardless of their hot streak coming into Sunday night.

Weather: Heinz Field should see a high of 42F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - a nice, crisp day to play football is on tap for this matchup.

CIN Injuries: none
PIT Injuries: none


Cincinnati Bengals Passing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Carson Palmer put up his worst game since the week six bye at the Jets last week, with 17/38 for 135 net yards, one TD and two interceptions thrown - he'd had multiple TD passes in his last seven games prior to last week's loss. Two weeks ago Palmer threw 19/34 for 230 yards, two TDs and two interceptions vs. Buffalo in a more typical performance for this year. Jordan Shipley has come on in recent weeks with 17 targets for 10/109/1 in the last two games, whle Terrell Owens (17 for 6/80/1) hasn't been catching enough balls and Chad Ochocinco has also been under 50% in reception percentage (15 for 7/69/1) during that time span. Batman and Robin aren't looking too imposing.

The Saints' pass D is now third in the NFL averaging 197.6 net yards allowed per game, but they have given up just seven passing scores this year (best in the NFL), with seven interceptions and 20 sacks to their credit. Jon Kitna threw the ball well against them last week (30/42 for 313 net yards), but was yet another QB who couldn't find the end zone against the Saints with zero TDs and one interception. Two weeks ago, Matt Hasselbeck did throw 32/44 for 366 yards, one TD and zero interceptions - the Saints' pass D has slipped a few notches in recent weeks.

The Bengals have backslid in this phase of late, but so have the Saints - in Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday, this looks like a tough but not impossible matchup for Palmer and company (if Owens and Ochocinco can get their Dynamic Duo mojo back).

Weather: Heinz Field should see a high of 42F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - a nice, crisp day to play football is on tap for this matchup.

CIN Injuries: none
PIT Injuries: none


Cincinnati Bengals Passing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Andy Dalton kept it close vs. Pittsburgh in week 10, with 15/30 for 170 yards (zero sacks taken), two TDs and two interceptions thrown during the narrow 17-24 loss. A.J. Green injured his knee during his lone catch of the game (1/36/1 receiving, the TD scored at the end of the first quarter), so Dalton was without his top threat for most of the contest - Andrew Hawkins led the Bengals in receiving that day, with six targets for 5/56/0. Jermaine Gresham had five targets for 4/23/1 during the game and handled the second TD from Dalton.

Since the loss, Cincinnati has lost to Baltimore (24-31) and defeated Cleveland (23-20) - Dalton has thrown for 45/76 yielding 643 yards, two TDs and three interceptions over the last two games. Jerome Simpson (18 targets for 10/167/0 receiving), Jermaine Gresham (15 for 8/116/1), Andre Caldwell (12 for 6/87/1) and Andrew Hawkins (11 for 6/74/0) have been his main targets since this team last saw the Steelers.

Speaking of Pittsburgh, they got some good news on Tuesday when it was revealed that Troy Polamalu isn't showing after-effects from the head injury he incurred vs. Kansas City last week. During that game the low-turnover-generating Steelers got a boost from Tyler Palko, and almost doubled their season total of interceptions with three picks (18/28 for 162 net yards (one sack taken), zero TDs and three interceptions thrown). So far this year they are tied for 26th in the NFL with seven interceptions, but they are third in the league averaging 181.3 net yards given up per game, and they have 24 sacks (17th in the NFL), while surrendering 13 passing scores to date.

Dalton found pay dirt the last time he faced the Steelers, but this week he has to face the rabid Heinz Field crowd as well as a top-five pass D - advantage, Pittsburgh.

Weather: Heinz Field should see a high of 42F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - a nice, crisp day to play football is on tap for this matchup.

CIN Injuries: none
PIT Injuries: none


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The early word out of Cleveland is that Trent Dilfer is still the starting QB, provided his sore knees heal up enough by Sunday. Said coach Crennel "...it's my choice and I'm deciding to stay with the veteran if he's healthy and he can go...I don't anticipate that there's any structural damage. He got it banged on the turf a couple of times so it's probably just sore from the beating that he took. With time, that's going to heal." Dilfer reports feeling sore, but that the knees are stable and that he's feeling better - so it looks like Dilfer will start on Sunday. The big question will be "can he finish the game?".

Last week, Dilfer stayed in the game despite his gimpy knee, and tossed 23/35 for 214 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions, while backup Charlie Frye threw 0/1 in a short appearance. TE Steve Heiden (5/55/0) and RB Reuben Droughns (5/46/0) led the team in receiving, while Dennis Northcutt hauled in a TD with 2/17/1. Dilfer has tossed 51/87 for 604 yards, 3 TDs and 3 interceptions over the past 3 weeks, to rank 26th among fantasy signal callers in points per game during that span.

The Jags were ripped for 29/46 for 315 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception by Kurt Warner last week - the team has averaged 200.6 passing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks (with 10 sacks, tied for 2nd-most in the league during that span). The disaster vs. Arizona looks more like an anomaly than a trend when you realize that the Jags rank 2nd in the NFL this year averaging 172.7 passing yards allowed per game (14 passing scores coughed up to date). The Jaguars were off last week in this phase of the game.

Cleveland hasn't been explosive in this phase recently, while the Jaguars stumbled last week but are usually stout. We think this looks like a tough matchup for Dilfer and company.

Weather: Cleveland Browns stadium should see a high of 34F with a low of 29F and a 20% chance for rain on Sunday. Cold, but not arctic, conditions shouldn't adversely affect either team, unless a storm blows through.

CLE Injuries: none
JAX Injuries: none


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Cleveland's QBs stunk up the joint vs. Houston last week - Brady Quinn suffered a young QB's NFL growing pains (8/18 for 94 yards, 0 TDs and 2 interceptions) and got a quick hook - Derek Anderson came on in relief and wasn't any better (5/14 for 51 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception). Braylon Edwards led the team with 5/85/0 receiving, but dropped another almost-sure TD and a few other balls as his case of butter fingers has now reached epidemic proportions. Donte Stallworth was 2nd with 1/18/0 and Kellen Winslow Jr. disappeared with 1/11/0 receiving on the day. After the game, Quinn was clearly irked at the early hook: "Uh, yeah," he said. "Come on, I'm in this game to play. After that last one, I didn't really have any inclination I was on such a short leash. The fourth quarter is where games are won or lost and I just wish I would've been able to be in there to have a chance." Both of his picks were on passes intended for Braylon Edwards - it's tough to win when your team's "star" receiver drops as many balls as he catches.

Anderson commented on Braylon Edwards' big drop (last week): "It could've been a touchdown. It should've been a touchdown, but it happens. I'm going to keep throwing it to [Edwards] and he'll make plays. Offensively, we've just got to make plays. We've got to be more precise and obviously I'm not the only person that's frustrated about it. Nobody likes to go out there in their home stadium and get rolled like that." As of Tuesday, the word is that Quinn is still the starter, but that he is also getting a second opinion on the injured digit from Dr. James Andrews - "[The injury] makes it tough for him to spin it (the ball) the way he wants to spin it," head coach Romeo Crennel said in reference to the consultation. After the consultation, the Browns discovered that Quinn is further damaging his finger by playing - he's expected to be sidelined for the rest of the season due to this injury. As of Wednesday, it appears that Quinn is out and Anderson will be the QB for the rest of 2008.

The Colts are on a hot streak, with 4 "W's" in a row, but their pass D has been giving of late, with 241.3 net yards allowed per game over the last 3 weeks, well more than their season pace of 197.1 given up per game. The Colts have 4 interceptions and 6 sacks to their credit during that 3-week span. However, they still lead the NFL with a mere 4 passing TDs allowed to date - Philip Rivers doubled that tally last week by throwing 24/31 for 274 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions vs. the Bob Sanders-less secondary.

The Browns' QB of today is Anderson, but he's struggled most of the year - the Colts' pass D is very good almost all the time. Advantage, Indianapolis.

Weather: Cleveland Browns stadium should see a high of 34F with a low of 29F and a 20% chance for rain on Sunday. Cold, but not arctic, conditions shouldn't adversely affect either team, unless a storm blows through.

CLE Injuries: none
JAX Injuries: none


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Colt McCoy couldn't play last week due to a bad ankle (high ankle sprain), so Jake Delhomme got the 'revenge' nod against his former team, the Panthers. He did enough to get the team over Carolina by a point, 24-23, but didn't look stellar in his first time back on the field since week five, with 24/35 for 245 yards, zero TDs and two interceptions. As of Monday, head coach Eric Mangini said he wants to see where QB Colt McCoy (ankle) is this week and said QBs Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace are in the mix as well - we'd be surprised to see McCoy back so quickly from a high ankle sprain, so it will likely be either Delhomme or Wallace in week 13. On the good news front, Brian Robiskie finally started to catch some passes last week (7/50/0), while Mohammed Massaquoi (4/52/0), Peyton Hillis (6/63/0) and Ben Watson (4/40/0) handled most of the other completions for Delhomme last week. The Browns' offense was not overwhelming in week 12, but they were respectable in this phase of the game.

The Dolphins gave up 17/32 for 247 net yards, one TD and two interceptions to 'surprise' starter Bruce Gradkowski last week, after limiting Jay Cutler to 16/25 for 133 net yards, zero TDs and one interception two weeks ago. The Dolphins have given up 760 net passing yards in the last four weeks (190 yards passing per game), which is in line with their fourth-ranked season average of 201.4 net yards allowed per game (with 14 passing TDs allowed vs. nine interceptions and 27 sacks). The Miami secondary is playing pretty well entering December, folks.

Whoever starts for Cleveland in Miami will face a tough matchup in this phase of the game.

Weather: Cleveland Browns stadium should see a high of 34F with a low of 29F and a 20% chance for rain on Sunday. Cold, but not arctic, conditions shouldn't adversely affect either team, unless a storm blows through.

CLE Injuries: none
JAX Injuries: none


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Both of these teams are jockeying for a playoff spot - Buffalo is knotted up with Miami at 6-5 in second in the AFC East and looking for a wild card slot, while the Browns are 7-4 but in last place in the fiercely competitive AFC North (Cleveland, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh are all sitting at 7-4, a half-game behind 7-3-1 Cincinnati) - this game is a must-win for both clubs as we enter the stretch run into the Second Season.

Despite three interceptions marring his performance, Brian Hoyer had good things happen last week. 1). He re-established chemistry with Josh Gordon, throwing him 16 targets for 8/120/0 receiving. Though they were rusty and out-of-synch on some routes, we can see the potential for some giant games by Gordon in the near future. 2). Hoyer pulled out the 'W' with a fine two-minute drill to set up the game-winning field goal. 3). Johnny Manziel was involved in another early-morning off-field incident involving late-night carousing. Andrew Hawkins (five for 5/93/0) and Miles Austin (eight for 6/64/0) proved to be solid in the complimentary roles around Gordon - excepting the turnovers Hoyer and company look ready to rock heading into the playoff stretch run.

The Bills destroyed the Jets' hapless assortment of quarterbacks last week, holding them to 17/31 for 126 net yards passing, zero TDs and one interception thrown, with seven sacks for -39 yards. The Bills now have 46 sacks on the season (first in the NFL), and rank fifth in the league with an average of 213.8 net passing yards allowed per game, with 14 passing scores given out vs. 13 interceptions recorded (tied for fifth in the NFL). This is one of the best overall pass defenses in the NFL, friends.

Hoyer and company are headed for a tough fight on Sunday.

Weather: Cleveland Browns stadium should see a high of 34F with a low of 29F and a 20% chance for rain on Sunday. Cold, but not arctic, conditions shouldn't adversely affect either team, unless a storm blows through.

CLE Injuries: none
JAX Injuries: none


Denver Broncos Passing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Jay Cutler tossed 23/33 for 269 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions the last time he faced the Raiders, hitting the usual suspects Brandon Marshall (5/82/0) and Brandon Stokley (3/43/1), as well as the (as of week 12) newly-returned Javon Walker (8/101/0 receiving vs. Oakland in week 2, but 0 catches in his first game back last week). Since week 2, Cutler has had his share of ups and downs as his journey through the professional learning curve has progressed (he's the 12th ranked fantasy QB in total points to date, with 194/300 for 2384 yards, 13 TDs and 10 interceptions, with 28/121/1 rushing - those numbers put him at 19th among fantasy signal callers in fantasy points per game, though).

Cutler carved up the Bears for 17/31 for 302 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interception last week, hitting Brandon Marshall (4/97/1), Tony Scheffler (5/82/1) and Brandon Stokley (5/50/0) the most, and also hit Andre Hall for 2/69/0. He's on a hot streak entering this game.

The Raiders rank 4th in the NFL allowing an average of 184.3 passing yards per game (partly due to their awful rush D - teams don't need to throw the ball much). They have only given up 8 passing scores to date, vs. 13 interceptions (8th in the NFL) and 22 sacks (20th in the NFL). Last week, Brodie Croyle could only manage 12/23 for 128 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception vs. the Oakland D. The prior 2 games they did surrender over 200 yards passing, though (250 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception to Minnesota in week 11, 217, 1 TD and 0 interceptions to Chicago in week 10).

The Broncos' young QB is hot right now, but he'll have a fight on his hands in the Raiders' raucous house this weekend.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 38F with a low of 22F on Sunday, and a 30% chance for precipitation (that could mean rain, sleet, or snow - or a mix of all 3). Wind conditions in this stadium can be extreme at this time of year - owners of Broncos or Chiefs will want to check a short-term forecast near the end of the week before setting their lineups.

DEN Injuries: none
KC Injuries: none


Denver Broncos Passing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Peyton Manning threw 21/26 for 242 yards passing, three TDs and zero interceptions the last time he faced Kansas City (September 14), hitting Emmanuel Sanders the most (nine targets for 8/108/0 receiving). His TD passes went to Demaryius Thomas (seven for 5/62/1), Julius Thomas (five for 4/39/1), and Jacob Tamme (one for 1/4/1). The Denver D withstood a late push and won the game 24-17 with a goal-line stand against the Chiefs.

Since then, Manning has been throwing for more than 300 yards per game with regularity, having crossed that hurdle three out of the last four games - he did have a more modest total of 28/35 for 257 yards passing last week, but his fantasy owners consoled themselves with his four passing scores against the Dolphins. Manning has 12 passing scores vs. six interceptions thrown over the past four games. Last week (in Julius Thomas' absence due to a gimpy ankle) Emmanuel Sanders (13 targets for 9/125/0 receiving) and Demaryius Thomas (13 for 10/87/3) handled most of Manning's passes, while Wes Welker got a rare TD (four targets for 4/18/1 receiving). The Bronco's passing attack is stampeding into the Second Season as of Week 13.

The Chiefs' pass D has allowed 18/35 for 172 yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions (with one sack for -2 yards) to Derek Carr, and 20/32 for 168 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions with two sacks for -10 yards to Russell Wilson over the past two games. Kansas City now ranks first in the NFL averaging 198.9 net passing yards allowed per game, an average helped out by the 31 sacks they've generated this year (tied for fourth in the NFL). However, Denver is first in the league with only 12 sacks allowed to date. K.C. has coughed up 17 passing TDs over 11 games played, and has just four interceptions generated (next-to-last in the NFL).

Manning and company face a tough challenge at raucous K.C., but the Chiefs' generosity with passing scores this year helps the prospects for Denver.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 38F with a low of 22F on Sunday, and a 30% chance for precipitation (that could mean rain, sleet, or snow - or a mix of all 3). Wind conditions in this stadium can be extreme at this time of year - owners of Broncos or Chiefs will want to check a short-term forecast near the end of the week before setting their lineups.

DEN Injuries: none
KC Injuries: none


Detroit Lions Passing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Joey Harrington had one of his better games, fantasy-wise, against the Vikings back in week 9, with 28/48 for 263 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions to his credit. However, coach Jauron has anointed Jeff Garcia the starter as of Wednesday, so Harrington's success doesn't tell us much about this week's prospects. Many observers expect to see a lot more passes going to the Lions' young trio of receivers, but even if they see more balls they're going to have to catch them - something none of them have been particularly good at so far. With so much in flux in Detroit, we'd look elsewhere for your starters until we have seen how well the Lions are responding to the regime change.

Minnesota's pass D has come alive in recent weeks, with 9 interceptions and 9 sacks generated in the past 3 games (226.6 passing yards allowed per game during that span). Last week, the Browns were frustrated by this squad, compiling 23/36 for 214 yards, 1 TD and 3 interceptions on the day - Minnesota notched 5 sacks last week. This squad is playing aggressive, ball-hawking football right now.

Garcia steps back into the top job (as long as his sore leg will hold up), but it remains to be seen if coach Jauron can get more production out of the receivers than Mariucci and company did - advantage, Minnesota.

Weather: Inside the dome at Ford Field, weather won't be a factor in this game.

DET Injuries: none
MIN Injuries: none


Detroit Lions Passing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Jon Kitna has been mediocre over the past 3 weeks, with 64/108 for 702 yards, 2 TDs and 3 interceptions on his balance sheet in the passing department (5/25/0 rushing). He's been throwing to Roy Williams (31 targets for 16/274/0) and Mike Furrey (27 for 15/147/0) the most, but TE Dan Campbell has handled the scoring, with 8 targets for 6/57/2. The return of Kevin Jones should help Kitna out (Jones has turned 65 targets into 50/367/1 this season), but if he's to return to the top ranks of fantasy QBs we need to see some more scoring passes out of the Lions.

Unfortunately for Kitna owners, the Patriots are first in the NFL with only 7 passing scores allowed all year long (15th in the league in yards allowed, averaging 203.6 per contest). The Patriots have 27 sacks and 13 interceptions to date, in the middle of the NFL ranges in both categories. Last week, the Patriots held Rex Grossman and the Bears to 15/34 for 176 yards, 0 TDs and 3 interceptions. They are very hard-nosed defenders.

This is a tough matchup for Kitna and company.

Weather: Inside the dome at Ford Field, weather won't be a factor in this game.

DET Injuries: none
MIN Injuries: none


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense at Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Brett Favre played on off game last week, with 15/33 for 171 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions to his credit - over the past 3 weeks, he's faltered, tossing 61/105 for 650 yards, 5 TDs and 6 interceptions to rank 20th in fantasy points per game at his position. Bubba Franks, his top TE, may not be able to go this week due to a spinal column injury suffered during last week's game - adding yet another injury to the banged-up Packer receiving corps. Other than Donald Driver (18/248/2 during the last 3 weeks, 10th among all fantasy WRs during that span), the Packers aren't fantasy standouts in this part of the game during recent weeks. Chicago limited Chris Simms to 19/30 for 202 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions last week - they also sacked him 4 times during the game. Over the past 3 weeks, the Bears lead the NFL in sacking the opposing QB, with 12 sacks during those weeks (125.3 net passing yards allowed per game in that span). It's not easy to find time to throw the ball against this group. They are the top ranked pass D in the land this season, averaging only 161.5 passing yards allowed per game and they are 1st in the NFL allowing only 7 passing scores to date. The Bears have allowed the fewest rushing TDs in the NFL as well - Chicago doesn't give away much of anything in the defensive phase of the game this year.

Chicago's defense is ferocious, while the Packers' offense is sputtering coming into this matchup - advantage, Chicago (they also hold home-field advantage in this matchup).

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high of 34F with a low of 23F and a 20% chance of precipitation. The wind conditions at this venue during the winter can be hard on passers and kickers - it would be a good idea to check a forecast closer to game time if you are considering starting Favre, Orton or their team-mates.

GB Injuries: none
CHI Injuries: none


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense at Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Aaron Rodgers bombed the Lions for 28/39 for 348 yards, three TDs and zero interceptions on Thanksgiving Day, hooking up with Donald Driver (7/142/1), James Jones (4/35/1) and Donald Lee (4/22/1) for the TDs - in all, eight different Packers had receptions in the game, with seven of the players catching multiple passes. Rodgers utilizes all the diverse weapons he has at his disposal - over the past four weeks, he's the #2 fantasy QB in the land with 102/155 for 1147 passing yards, eight TDs and three interceptions to his credit - he's also added in 16/59/2 rushing for his fantasy owners during that time frame. The Packers are nuclear hot entering December, folks.

The Ravens are currently ranked 12th in the NFL with an average of 211.3 net passing yards allowed per game. They have given up 12 passing TDs this year, balanced by 12 interceptions and 21 sacks (a number that is very likely to go up by several facing the league's worst pass-blocking line: Green Bay has surrendered 44 sacks through 11 games). Over the past four weeks, the Ravens have allowed 741 net passing yards (185.3 per game on average) with five interceptions and five sacks. Last week, Pittsburgh's third-string QB Dennis Dixon threw for 12/26 for 145 net yards, one TD and one interception in a close 17-20 loss to Baltimore.

Rodgers and company are blasting into December at the top of their game, but they face a stern test when the Ravens come calling on Monday night.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high of 34F with a low of 23F and a 20% chance of precipitation. The wind conditions at this venue during the winter can be hard on passers and kickers - it would be a good idea to check a forecast closer to game time if you are considering starting Favre, Orton or their team-mates.

GB Injuries: none
CHI Injuries: none


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense at Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Packers' patchwork RB stable is falling apart entering December, which lays the burden of the offense squarely on Aaron Rodgers' capable shoulders. He's been a fantasy owners' dream come true lately, with 26/35 for 344 yards, one TD and zero interceptions with 12/51/1 rushing last week (and he could easily have had two rushing TDs) at Atlanta - two weeks ago Rodgers pumped out 22/31 for 301 yards, four TDs and zero interceptions at Minnesota to drub the Vikings 31-3. Greg Jennings has been his main man over the past two weeks, with 17 targets for 12/271/3 receiving (a 22.6 yards per reception average!), followed by James Jones (13 for 8/95/1), Donald Driver (10 for 6/57/0), Brandon Jackson (8 for 7/48/0) and Jordy Nelson (eight for 8/81/1). It's all good for fantasy owners invested in the Green Bay passing attack.

The 49ers' pass D has allowed just 555 net passing yards and 47 total points over the past four weeks (three games), averaging 185 net passing yards allowed per game - that's extremely stout, folks. Derek Anderson could only manage 16/35 for 190 net yards, zero TDs and one interception last week; Tampa came up with 14/22 for 137 net yards and two TDs two weeks ago.

Rodgers and company form one of the most powerful passing attacks in the league, but the 49ers' D is playing well enough right now to mount a stiff resistance to the Packers' attack. Rodgers is a must start though in just about every league even though this is a tough matchup for Rodgers and company.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high of 34F with a low of 23F and a 20% chance of precipitation. The wind conditions at this venue during the winter can be hard on passers and kickers - it would be a good idea to check a forecast closer to game time if you are considering starting Favre, Orton or their team-mates.

GB Injuries: none
CHI Injuries: none


Houston Texans Passing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

David Carr was chasing the Jets from the beginning of the game, and the Texans never caught up. Carr did manage to hook up with Andre Johnson for a late TD and hit Wali Lundy for a 2 Pt. conversion (with under 4 minutes left in the game) but the outcome of the game was never in doubt. Carr finished with 39/54 for 321 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception on the day, a very solid fantasy outing - Johnson (10/98/1) and Eric Moulds (10/79/0) both posted good games for their owners. Over the past 3 weeks, Carr has piled up 60/116 for 711 yards, but only 1 TD and 2 interceptions - he's the 17th ranked fantasy QB in the land during that time span.

The Raiders boast the top-ranked pass D in the land in terms of yards allowed per game (156.5) and have handed over 13 passing scores, vs. 14 interceptions and 22 sacks generated by the defense. Last week, the Chargers tossed 15/32 for 152 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception against Oakland. The stats of opposing passers tend to be lackluster when they face off against the Raiders.

This looks like a tough matchup for Carr and company.

Weather: The weather service predicts a high of 49F with a low of 31F and a 20% chance for rain in the Baltimore area on Sunday. That sounds like great football weather to us.

HOU Injuries: none
BAL Injuries: none


Houston Texans Passing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Kevin Walter has seven TDs for the season, second among AFC receivers - New Englandís Randy Moss has one more TD scored with eight. "It means a lot," Walter said on Sunday. "I go out there and work hard. I go out there and take pride in how I work and how I play. It feels good and it feels great to get a win." Andre Johnson became the first player in the NFL to reach 1,000 receiving yards for the season vs. the Browns, with 10 catches for 116 yards. However, it was the first time during the past four weeks that he went over 100 yards receiving. "Itís a great accomplishment," Johnson said after the game. "Everyone wants to go over 1,000 yards and get all the yards and all the catches, but I just want to win. If me getting 1,000 yards helps my team win, so be it. If me getting 500 yards helps us win, Iíll take the 500 yards."

Back in week 4, Matt Schaub was still in the game for Houston, and he threw for over 300 yards and 3 TDs vs. Jacksonville (29/40 for 307 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions). Unfortunately for Houston, he's been out for several weeks due to a knee injury and is iffy to appear in this game as well. Sage Rosenfels pulled out of his slump vs. Cleveland, generating 24/32 for 275 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions - the turnovers are still a worry, but at least his receivers moved the ball on the Browns. As mentioned above, Kevin Walter caught a TD in the game (7/93/1), marking the 2nd time in 3 weeks that he has scored. We'll see if Rosenfels can keep his momentum going in this divisional matchup.

The Jaguars' pass D hasn't been great this year, averaging 204.9 net yards allowed per game (14th in the NFL), with 18 TDs surrendered vs. 10 interceptions and 22 sacks generated (in the middle of the NFL in both interceptions and sacks). Over the past 3 weeks, though, the Jags have allowed 487 net passing yards (162.3 per game on average) - Minnesota could only muster 104 yards passing, with 0 TDs and an interception last week. Lately, the pass D is playing much better football.

Rosenfels has been up and down a lot over the last few weeks, while the Jaguars have been stout throughout recent games - advantage, Jaguars.

Weather: The weather service predicts a high of 49F with a low of 31F and a 20% chance for rain in the Baltimore area on Sunday. That sounds like great football weather to us.

HOU Injuries: none
BAL Injuries: none


Houston Texans Passing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Back in Week 8, Ryan Fitzpatrick was still starting at quarterback for the Texans. Since then Ryan Mallett had become the Texans' starter, but a pectoral injury has knocked Mallett onto the IR and now Fitzpatrick (19/35 for 227 yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions thrown at Tennessee) is the on-again starting quarterback for Houston.

DeAndre Hopkins (81 targets for 51/803/4 receiving this season) and Andre Johnson (103 for 58/667/1 receiving to date) were both seeing a high volume of passes with Mallett under center. However, the team tends to emphasize the rushing game when Fitzpatrick is in, so their targets may droop with him back under center. We'll see if Fitzpatrick can pick up his game in his second crack at starting for the Texans.

The Titans' rush D is awful, while their pass D is 11th in the NFL averaging 233.4 net passing yards allowed per game, with 16 pass TDs given out balanced by 11 interceptions (tied for 11th in the NFL) and 31 sacks (tied for fourth) generated so far this year. Mark Sanchez managed 30/43 for 298 net yards, one TD and two interceptions thrown (with two sacks taken for -9 yards) at Tennessee last week; Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times for -27 yards on the way to 21/32 for 180 net yards passing, one TD and one interception thrown two weeks ago.

The Titans are vulnerable in the other phase of the game, and the Texans like to limit the number of passes that Fitzpatrick puts up - this looks like a tough matchup for the Texans' passing attack.

Weather: The weather service predicts a high of 49F with a low of 31F and a 20% chance for rain in the Baltimore area on Sunday. That sounds like great football weather to us.

HOU Injuries: none
BAL Injuries: none


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense at Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

David Garrard is the new starter for Jacksonville, now that Byron Leftwich is out with a fractured ankle. He put up 12/26 for 115 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions passing and 6/61/1 rushing in relief of Leftwich last week, and is a career 52.6% passer (82/156 for 806 yards, 4 TDs and 3 interceptions in 13 games to date, with 44/288/4 rushing as a sweetener). It'll be interesting to see who he is most in synch with out of the WR stable - last week, Jimmy Smith snagged 1/2 of the completed passes with 7/70/0. Nobody else grabbed more than 2 balls (Ernest Wilford, 2/28/0).

Cleveland's pass D has been pretty stout of late, averaging only 159.3 net passing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks (an anemic 4 sacks generated during that span - not enough pass pressure is being brought to bear by the Browns). They crumpled to Brad Johnson and the Vikings last week, though, handing over 19/28 for 207 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception during the contest. The team ranks 13th in the league this season averaging 196.4 passing yards given up per game (13 passing scores) - they had been bettering that mark until last week. On balance, this is a fair-to-middling pass defense heading into the final weeks of 2005.

The Jags new starter will have to acclimate himself quickly in a hostile environment this week - we think that the home team will have an edge. Advantage, Cleveland.

Weather: Cleveland Browns stadium should see a high of 34F with a low of 29F and a 20% chance for rain on Sunday. Cold, but not arctic, conditions shouldn't adversely affect either team, unless a storm blows through.

JAX Injuries: none
CLE Injuries: none


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense at Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

David Garrard did a solid job vs. the Bills last week, with 16/22 for 132 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions to his credit (5/28/0 rushing) during the game. He hit Maurice Jones-Drew the most (5/47/0), but tossed the TDs to Matt Jones (2/8/1) and Marcedes Lewis (1/1/1). Over the past 3 weeks, Garrard has amassed 50/88 for 595 yards, 2 TDs and 4 interceptions - it was a big step in the right direction for him to not throw an interception last week.

Miami's pass D is among the top ten, ranking 7th while allowing an average of 185.5 yards per game (with 14 passing scores handed over). They have a total of 34 sacks this season (4th in the NFL), but only 8 interceptions. Over the past 3 weeks, Miami has allowed an average of 210.3 passing yards per game, but has generated an impressive 14 sacks during that time frame (2 interceptions). The Jags do a good job protecting their QBs, though, with only 17 sacks given up to date - their pass blocking is not a weakness for Miami to exploit this week. Last week, the Dolphins gave up 22/40 for 252 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception to Jon Kitna and company - they were off their usual pace.

In the Dolphin's stadium, the Jags have a tough challenge in front of them.

Weather: Cleveland Browns stadium should see a high of 34F with a low of 29F and a 20% chance for rain on Sunday. Cold, but not arctic, conditions shouldn't adversely affect either team, unless a storm blows through.

JAX Injuries: none
CLE Injuries: none


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense at Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

David Garrard was injured part way through the first matchup vs. Indy back in week 7, managing 8/12 for 72 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions before leaving the game with a high ankle sprain. He's been back in the lineup for 2 weeks coming into this game, though, and is on a hot streak with 15/24 for 189 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions vs. San Diego 2 weeks ago, and 23/37 for 296 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions vs. the Bills last week - he still has yet to throw an interception this season. Dennis Northcutt (5/65/0), Ernest Wilford (5/60/0) and Reggie Williams (1/59/1) were his top receivers last week - since returning from injury, Garrard has gone to Wilford 11 times (7/91/0), Northcutt 11 times (8/104/0), and selected both TEs 10 times (7/59/0 for George Wrighster, 6/58/1 for Marcedes Lewis). However, Wrighster was placed on IR this week with a torn ligament in his knee - Lewis will probably see more chances in his absence. Reggie Williams has score once in each game since Garrard returned, with only 4 targets, but 3/121/2 in his chances.

The Colts' pass D is outstanding this year, ranking second in the NFL averaging 161.9 net pass yards allowed per game, with 10 passing TDs given up to date, vs. 15 interceptions (tied for 4th in the NFL). The pass rushers haven't been dominant this year, though, with only 20 sacks (tied for 22nd in the NFL). Last week, Joey Harrington could only muster 14/30 for 138 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions against the Colts - they haven't allowed over 162 yards passing in their last 3 contests.

Garrard has protected the ball well all year long, but he'll have a tough time driving the ball against the determined Indianapolis defenders.

Weather: Cleveland Browns stadium should see a high of 34F with a low of 29F and a 20% chance for rain on Sunday. Cold, but not arctic, conditions shouldn't adversely affect either team, unless a storm blows through.

JAX Injuries: none
CLE Injuries: none


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense vs Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Damon Huard, not Brodie Croyle, was the signal caller the last time the Chiefs faced the Chargers. Dwayne Bowe (8/164/1) and Tony Gonzalez (5/71/1) did lead the team in receiving that day - some things haven't changed for the Chiefs over the course of the season, as those two are still option A1 (Bowe: 49/731/4 receiving to date) and A2 (Gonzalez: 62/738/4 receiving to date).

Last week, Croyle tossed 12/23 for 145 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception against the Raiders' tough D, hitting Bowe for 4/63/0 and Gonzalez for 3/48/0 - nobody else got over 30 yards receiving in that game. Croyle is still learning the pro game, and that means some weeks there will be slim pickings for the receivers in KC.

The Chargers contained Kyle Boller last week, holding him to 21/33 for 154 net passing yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions. They sport the league's 23rd ranked pass D coming into this week, averaging 226.7 passing yards allowed per game, with 16 pass TDs handed over so far. However, they are 1st in the NFL with 17 interceptions and 17th in the league with 23 sacks to date. KC is tied for 6th-worst in the NFL with 34 sacks given up this year - Croyle is going to have pressure in his face this week.

Croyle has home field advantage at his back, but the ball-hawking Chargers are going to represent a tough challenge for the inexperienced QB.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 38F with a low of 22F on Sunday, and a 30% chance for precipitation (that could mean rain, sleet, or snow - or a mix of all 3). Wind conditions in this stadium can be extreme at this time of year - owners of Broncos or Chiefs will want to check a short-term forecast near the end of the week before setting their lineups.

KC Injuries: none
DEN Injuries: none


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense vs Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Tyler Thigpen was still wet behind the ears in week 2 (the last time he saw the Raiders), and managed 14/33 for 151 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception during the contest (Tony Gonzalez caught the TD, 5/39/1, while Dwayne Bowe led the team in receiving with 6/90/0).

Since week 2, Thigpen has matured into a quality NFL starter - he's posted 63/110 for 741 yards passing 8 TDs and 3 interceptions, with 8/100/0 rushing over the past 3 weeks, to land at #2 fantasy QB in the land during that time span. Last week, he threw for 17/31 for 240 yards, 3 TDs and 2 interceptions in the shootout with Buffalo, before the game was out of reach. Quinn Gray got some reps in the final period and did well in his time on the field, too (7/8 for 76 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions). Tony Gonzalez (10/113/1), Dwayne Bowe (3/58/1); Mark Bradley (2/52/1) and Jamaal Charles (3/45/1) all caught TD passes. Thigpen and company are fantasy forces entering December, folks.

The Raiders' pass D is good, averaging 195.5 net yards allowed per game, with 12 passing TDs given away vs. 12 interceptions generated to date. They have 24 sacks (10th in the NFL) - the Chiefs gave up 3 sacks to Buffalo last week and have allowed 31 total this season (8th-most in the NFL). Over the past 3 weeks, Oakland has clamped down even more than usual, with only 421 net passing yards allowed (140.3 per game), including 16/37 for 204 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception allotted to Jay Cutler last week in the Raiders' 31-10 win.

Thigpen and company are improving, but the Raiders are wet blankets in this phase of the game - and they have home field advantage at their backs this week. K.C. is in for a divisional grudge match in this game - it'll be tough to do well out in Oakland.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 38F with a low of 22F on Sunday, and a 30% chance for precipitation (that could mean rain, sleet, or snow - or a mix of all 3). Wind conditions in this stadium can be extreme at this time of year - owners of Broncos or Chiefs will want to check a short-term forecast near the end of the week before setting their lineups.

KC Injuries: none
DEN Injuries: none


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense vs Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Matt Cassel has been all over the map during the last four games, with two solid outings (23/39 for 262 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions at Jacksonville and 15/30 for 248 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions vs. Pittsburgh), a mediocre game last week at San Diego (19/31 for 178 yards, one TD and one interception), and a poor game (19/34 for 216 yards, zero TDs and one interception at Oakland). Chris Chambers continues to be the lead receiver for the Chiefs, with 7/70/1 last week vs. San Diego and 17/319/3 receiving over the past four games (12th-best fantasy WR in points per game (PPR format)). Jamaal Charles (3/54/0 receiving last week), Bobby Wade (2/20/0) and Lance Long (2/15/0) provide other targets for Cassel, but Chambers is the fantasy WR to own right now - Dwayne Bowe continues with his performance-enhancing drugs suspension this week.

Denver's pass D is currently fifth in the NFL averaging 185 net yards allowed per game, with 10 passing TDs given up over 11 games vs. eight interceptions and 32 sacks generated (tied for fourth in the NFL in this category). Kansas City is 31st in the NFL with 38 sacks allowed to date, so look for the Broncos to rush Cassel heavily this weekend. Eli Manning was limited to 24/40 for 210 net yards, zero TDs and one interception last week (he was sacked three times and hit six other times during the game). Over the past four weeks, the Broncos have allowed 771 net passing yards (192.8 per contest), which is close to their outstanding season average. This is one of the top pass defenses in the NFL, and they got back to their top form on Thanksgiving vs. the Giants.

Cassel has been inconsistent during the third quarter of the season, while the Broncos are consistently solid at pass D - advantage, Denver.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 38F with a low of 22F on Sunday, and a 30% chance for precipitation (that could mean rain, sleet, or snow - or a mix of all 3). Wind conditions in this stadium can be extreme at this time of year - owners of Broncos or Chiefs will want to check a short-term forecast near the end of the week before setting their lineups.

KC Injuries: none
DEN Injuries: none


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense vs Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Chiefs head coach Todd Haley said Monday, Nov. 28, that QB Tyler Palko remains the starting quarterback, but he acknowledged that QB Kyle Orton will be given every opportunity to win the job before Week 13. 'Tyler's the starter,' Haley said, 'but as we do every week and with every position, if we feel Kyle or Ricky (Stanzi) gives us a chance to win, we'll make that determination.' This is what happens when your team loses two games with only four field goals to show for your leadership as a quarterback. To be fair, Dwayne Bowe really left Palko out to dry vs. Pittsburgh, alligator-arming a reception that could have positioned the Chiefs to take the lead last week. The poor numbers on Palko's part (43/66 for 403 yards, zero TDs and six interceptions thrown in the last two games) are due in part to poor efforts from other players on the team - though Palko has made a number of poor decisions with the football, too. Bottom line here - the situation in Kansas City is fluid this week, with Orton possibly in position to become the starter. Owners of Chiefs' receivers will want to monitor the outcome of this positional battle as the week goes along.

The Bears' pass D is, as usual, allowing a lot of yardage between the 20's (ranked 30th in the NFL averaging 270.5 net yards given up per game) but not giving up a lot of TDs (just over one per game, with 14 surrendered over 11 games). The Bears have more interceptions (16, tied for second in the NFL) than TDs allowed, and 22 sacks to date (tied for 20th). Carson Palmer stayed right on the usual pace last week with 21/37 for 268 net yards (four sacks taken), zero TDs and one interception thrown. Philip Rivers was alos in the usual neighborhood, with 21/31 for 280 net yards (zero sacks taken), two TDs and two interceptions thrown two weeks ago at Chicago.

Kansas City hasn't scored a TD since Matt Cassel went down - they don't look very likely to turn the trick this week, either. Advantage, Chicago.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 38F with a low of 22F on Sunday, and a 30% chance for precipitation (that could mean rain, sleet, or snow - or a mix of all 3). Wind conditions in this stadium can be extreme at this time of year - owners of Broncos or Chiefs will want to check a short-term forecast near the end of the week before setting their lineups.

KC Injuries: none
DEN Injuries: none


Miami Dolphins Passing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Joey Harrington has turned the corner in the Dolphins' offense, it appears, posting 19/29 for 213 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception vs. Detroit last week. He's amassed 64/106 for 668 yards, 4 TDs and 2 interceptions over the past 3 weeks, and has been above 60% completion percentage in the last 2 games. Marty Booker exploded for 7/115/2 last week (Randy McMichael caught the other TD with 3/25/1), and he's posted 24 targets for 15/215/2 during the last 3 weeks, while Chris Chambers has converted 31 tossed into 11/133/0 - Booker is doing more with his opportunities heading into week 13.

The Jags are 5th in the NFL averaging 182.5 passing yards given up per game this year, and have only allowed 9 passing scores to date. They have 22 sacks and 15 interceptions to their credit - this is one tough group of pass defenders. Over the past 3 weeks, the Jags have averaged 183 passing yards allowed per game, with 4 sacks and 3 interceptions to their credit. Last week, J.P. Losman was held to 21/28 for 169 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception vs. the Jags.

This is a tough matchup for Harrington and the improving Miami passing offense.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 80F with a low of 66F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play and watch a football game.

MIA Injuries: none
BUF Injuries: none


Miami Dolphins Passing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Back in week 3, when the Jets and Dolphins last clashed, Ronnie Brown was the starting RB and Trent Green was the starting QB - both are on IR now. Retrospective won't tell us much about this particular matchup.

John Beck is the starting QB, and he's had a rough go of it so far (like most rookie QBs do in this league). In the swamp formerly known as Heinz Field, Beck sloshed to 14/23 for 132 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions - he hasn't made a big mistake passing the ball (yet), but hasn't thrown a TD yet, either. So far, he's amassed 23/45 for 241 yards passing, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions in 2 starts. Fantasy points are hard to come by on this unit right now (Marty Booker led the team last week with 5/54/0).

The Jets' pass defense is better than their rushing defense, ranking 19th in the NFL with an average of 215.7 net yards allowed per game, and 15 passing scores surrendered to date. They are tied for 24th in the NFL with 9 interceptions so far, and also tied for 24th in the league with a total of 19 sacks. Over the past 3 games, the Jets have played well in this phase of the game, surrendered only 456 yards passing (an average of 152 per game) while facing the Cowboys (21/28 for 170 net yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception), Pittsburgh (15/25 for 151 net yards, 1 TD and 1 interception) and Washington (12/23 for net 135 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception). As you can see, the Jets' secondary is playing well at this stage of the year.

Beck is a green rookie, while the Jets' defense has been tough of late - look for Beck to have another tough outing on Sunday.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 80F with a low of 66F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play and watch a football game.

MIA Injuries: none
BUF Injuries: none


Miami Dolphins Passing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Matt Moore cooled off a tad down in Dallas on Thanksgiving, with 19/32 for 288 yards, one TD and zero interceptions thrown. Over the last three games, he's completed 65.4% of his passes for 53/81 yielding 657 net yards, four TDs and one interception thrown - that's hot for this unit. Brandon Marshall has seen more targets than anyone else on the team during the past three weeks, with 22 for 13/206/1 receiving, while Reggie Bush is second with 14 for 11/73/0 receiving. Davone Bess (13 for 8/91/1), Anthony Fasano (eight for 7/100/1) and Charles Clay (eight for 6/72/1) have also scored TDs during the past three weeks.

The Raiders' pass D is in the middle of the NFL this year in yards allowed, with an average of 239.1 net passing yards given up per game (19th). However, they have coughed up a hefty 20 TDs so far, with 14 interceptions (tied for eighth in the NFL) and 32 sacks (tied for fifth) to balance the high number of TDs allowed. Caleb Hanie started off poorly in Oakland last week, but rallied rfor 18/36 yielding 229 net yards (four sacks taken), two TDs and three interceptions - Christian Ponder also threw three interceptions vs. Oakland two weeks ago with 19/33 for 187 net yards (five sacks taken), two TDs and three interceptions passing.

Moore has avoided turning the ball over during the last three weeks, but he's got a solid pass D to worry about this week - and his leaky OL has allowed 34 sacks this year, tied for 28th in the NFL. The Raiders' strength at rushing the quarterback makes this a tough matchup for the Dolphins.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 80F with a low of 66F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play and watch a football game.

MIA Injuries: none
BUF Injuries: none


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense at Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Unfortunately for Minnesota, Michael Jenkins (54 targets for 38/466/3 receiving over 11 games this year) was sent to IR on Tuesday, 11/29/11, due to a torn meniscus in his knee that requires surgery. This is a huge loss for Christian Ponder - Jenkins has had 31 targets since week six, when Ponder stepped into the lineup, which was second-most on the team during that time span (18/290/1 receiving during that stretch for Jenkins). Percy Harvin (leading the team with 41 targets for 33/371/2 receiving since week six), Visanthe Shiancoe (30 for 18/226/1) and Devin Aromashodu (28 for 5/28/0 receiving) are the apples of Ponders eye so far this year - Harvin and Shiancoe have been way more productive than Aromashodu, though. Ponder (17/25 for 186 yards, one TD and zero interceptions) and Harvin (eight targets for 8/95/1) were very simpatico in Atlanta last week - nobody else on the team went over 25 yards receiving - so look for more balls heading Harvin's way with Jenkins gone.

The Denver pass D is in the middle of the NFL range this year, averaging 234.7 net yards allowed per game (17th in the league), with 19 passing scores surrendered vs. just seven interceptions (26th in the NFL) and 30 sacks (tied for seventh) generated. Philip Rivers was contained last week - 19/36 for 159 net yards (three sacks taken), one TD and zero interceptions thrown - and Mark Sanchez and the Jets didn't score an offensive TD two weeks ago, with 24/40 for 235 net yards (three sacks generated), zero TDs and one interception granted by the Broncos. This defense is playing at a high level entering December, despite the high number of passing scores given up at the beginning of the year.

Ponder is down a primary receiver entering this week, and he's got a very-much-improved pass defense coming to town on Sunday - advantage, Denver.

Weather: Inside the dome at Ford Field, weather won't be a factor in this game.

MIN Injuries: none
DET Injuries: none


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense at Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Christian Ponder continued his erratic play in week 12, posting just 159 yards passing despite attempting 43 throws (22/43 for 159 yards, one TD and one interception) - he's been swinging wildly from week to week while Percy Harvin (severely sprained ankle) has been sidelined. Last week, Kyle Rudolph (who led the team in receiving with 5/55/1) was concussed, further constricting the quality targets available to Ponder this week - he looks iffy to play as of midweek. Michael Jenkins (four for 2/17/0 receiving last week) and John Carlson (two for 1/7/0) don't inspire us with confidence as stand-ins for Harvin and Rudolph. This looks like another week to avoid the Vikings' passing attack as a whole, friends.

The Packers' pass D is weak - 22nd in the NFL averaging 244.3 net yards allowed per game, with 17 passing TDs given up to date - but they have generated 12 interceptions (tied for ninth in the NFL) and 34 sacks (third) this year. Minnesota has allowed 27 sacks to date (tied for 21st in the NFL) - Ponder is likely to have pass pressure in his face often this week (he's taken four sacks for -36 yards over his last two games). Eli Manning ripped off 16/30 for 243 net yards, three TDs and zero interceptions vs. Green Bay last Sunday, right on the usual pace for yards allowed by this unit.

Ponder has injury issues across the board at receiver and tight end in Minnesota, making this a tough matchup for him.

Weather: Inside the dome at Ford Field, weather won't be a factor in this game.

MIN Injuries: none
DET Injuries: none


New England Patriots Passing Offense vs New York Jets Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Tom Brady had a bad game last week, with 22/40 for 248 yards, 1 TD and 4 interceptions (some of the interceptions were hard-luck deflections that landed in defenders' hands) - with little to no rushing game right now, teams are making it harder for Brady to find open receivers by playing more defenders outside the "box" near the line of scrimmage. Tim Dwight (5/76/0) and Deion Branch (5/49/0) led all receivers last week (the team has several receivers sidelined due to injury right now). Not much is going right for the Patriots on either side of the ball right now.

The Jets' secondary is 4th in the NFL this season, allowing an average of 173.5 passing yards per contest (with 10 TDs given up to date). They have averaged 166.3 passing yards allowed per contest over the past 3 weeks, with 2 interceptions and 4 sacks to their credit during that span (4 is not a huge number of sacks, but sacking is not a team strength as the team ranks 30th in the NFL this season with only 16 sacks to date). The Jets surrendered 17/23 for 181 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions to New Orleans last week - it wasn't their best outing of the season in the TDs allowed department, obviously.

The Jets are usually pretty stout in this phase of the game, while the Patriots are struggling due to injury and an ineffective rushing attack - that sounds like a tough matchup to us.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 46F with a low of 23F and a 10% chance of precipitation on Sunday - pretty nice conditions for New England at this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

NE Injuries: none
NYJ Injuries: none


New England Patriots Passing Offense vs New York Jets Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Randy Moss on Matt Cassel after Cassel posted his 2nd straight 400+ passing yards game (30/43 for 415 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception): "Heís playing some hellified ball and stepping up, and weíre behind him," Moss said. "Heís getting a feel for the other 10 of us, and weíre getting a feel of how Mattís playing." Moss was a TD hog last week, snagging all 3 of the TD passes for 8/125/3.

"Mattís coming into his own," receiver Jabar Gaffney (5/88/0 last week) said. "Heís starting to play with that confidence. We spread íem out with four receivers and he got us something good out of it." The other usual suspect, Wes Welker, racked up 8/120/0 during the win over Miami. Right now, the entire Patriots' passing attack is firing on all cylinders.

The Steelers bring their #1 ranked pass D to the dance on Sunday - they currently average 168.8 net yards allowed per game, with 10 passing scores handed over vs. 11 interceptions and 37 sacks racked up to date (2nd in the NFL). The Patriots have allowed 35 sacks this season (5th most in the NFL), with 5 sacks given up during the last 2 games (when Cassel threw for 400+ yards in each game). Ryan Fitzpatrick tossed 20/37 for 165 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception vs. the Steelers last week (right on the Steelers' season pace) - they've allowed 545 net passing yards in the last 3 weeks, (181.6 per contest), with 5 sacks and 3 interceptions recorded during that time span.

Matt Cassel is as hot as any QB in the NFL right now, but Pittsburgh is the type of defense that makes things tough for whoever is across the line of scrimmage from them.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 46F with a low of 23F and a 10% chance of precipitation on Sunday - pretty nice conditions for New England at this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

NE Injuries: none
NYJ Injuries: none


New England Patriots Passing Offense vs New York Jets Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Tom Brady is on a tear through the NFL - after opening the season with one TD pass per game during September (Weeks 1-4), he's thrown multiple TDs in each game since then, with over 300 yards passing in three of his last four starts (and 13 passing TDs vs. four interceptions thrown during that four game span). Tight ends Tim Wright (15 targets for 13/99/4 receiving) and Rob Gronkowski (34 for 27/304/5) have accounted for nine of the passing scores over the past four games. Meanwhile, Brandon LaFell (40 for 29/337/2) and Julian Edelman (37 for 26/242/1) have also found pay dirt on occasion and are the top two targets for Brady over the past four contests. The Patriots' passing attack is going full bore entering the stretch run into the playoffs.

Green Bay's pass D goes for turnovers (15 interceptions to date, tied for second in the NFL) and pass pressure (27 sacks, tied for 12th), and they've been above-average in terms of passing yards allowed per game this year, allowing 234.4 net passing yards per game (13th in the NFL) with 17 passing scores handed out to date. New England is tied for fifth in the NFL with only 16 sacks of Tom Brady allowed so far. Last week, Teddy Bridgewater was sacked twice for -14 yards and intercepted once on the way to 21/37 for 196 net yards passing and two scores thrown; two weeks ago Mark Sanchez was sacked three times for -26 yards and intercepted twice on his way to 26/44 for 320 yards passing, with two TDs thrown.

Lambeau is always a tough place to visit in the winter, but Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have been basically matchup-proof since the beginning of October. Detroit sports one of the top overall defensive units in the league and got stomped by 25 points last week. Always start your studs.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 46F with a low of 23F and a 10% chance of precipitation on Sunday - pretty nice conditions for New England at this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

NE Injuries: none
NYJ Injuries: none


New Orleans Saints Passing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Aaron Brooks was "on" last week, with 17/23 for 181 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions passing - he distributed the scores to WR Donte Stallworth (5/48/1 last week) - who is finally developing into a legitimate weapon, with 11/124/3 in his last 2 games to rank 5th in fantasy points per game over the last 3 weeks - fellow WR Devery Henderson (1/30/1) and TE Zachary Hilton (3/33/1). Joe Horn snagged 4/47/0, but watched the TDs go elsewhere - he's the 48th ranked fantasy WR over the past 3 weeks, with 10/127/0 in the Saints last 2 games.

The Bucs gave 14/28 for 134 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception to Kyle Orton last week - not a lot, but enough for the Bears to win the game. Over the past 3 weeks, the Bucs have averaged 206 passing yards allowed per game (7 TDs rushing and receiving surrendered during that span), compared to their season average of 173.3 passing yards given up this season (3rd in the NFL to date) - they are second in the NFL with only 8 passing scores given up to date. They've been more vulnerable during recent games than their season average would indicate, but this is still one of the better secondaries in the NFL, even during an "off" week.

Brooks comes into this game on an upswing, but he's been erratic all year long and will face a top-tier defense in this divisional rivalry - this looks like a tough assignment for the Saints.

Weather: The forecast for Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge calls for a high of 75F and a low of 52F with a 40% chance of rain. With both pro and college games being played on this surface during 2005, it is likely to be worn, especially in the middle of the field. If the rains come down hard around game time, footing and ball handling with be larger issues than usual for both teams.

NO Injuries: none
TB Injuries: none


New Orleans Saints Passing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The last time these teams met in week 2, the Saints' offense was a shambles and they spotted the Buccaneers a 28-0 lead before posting 2 late scores to lose 31-14. Drew Brees wasn't awful (in fantasy terms), with 26/44 for 260 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception (the TD went to Marques Colston, 8/70/1) - since then, Colston has remained the #1 option in the WR stable, and Brees has returned to something resembling his 2006 form (307/456 for 2997 yards, 18 TDs and 15 interceptions, with 16/52/1 rushing - which lands him at #7 among fantasy QBs in total points to date). Last week, Brees tore up the Panthers with 24/36 for 260 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception (he wasn't sacked - in fact the Saints are best in the NFL with only 8 sacks allowed all year long). Marques Colston headlined the receivers (as usual), with 7/93/1, while Billy Miller (4/32/1) and Lance Moore (3/16/1) grabbed the other TDs. In all, 9 Saints caught passes last week.

The Buccaneers pass D has been manufacturing interceptions of late, while holding down scoring (only 30 points allowed to their last 3 opponents). Jason Campbell and the Redskins managed 30/49 for 301 net yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions last week; 31/48 for 226 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions were given up to the Falcons; and Arizona managed 10/30 for 172 net yards, 0 TDs and 2 interceptions. They have posted 6 sacks and a defensive score in that time frame, as well. Overall, the Bucs rank 5th in the NFL allowing an average of 188 passing yards per game, with only 8 passing TDs given up to date. They are very tough on opposing passers right now, as you can see.

Brees and company will have their hands full with their divisional rivals on Sunday.

Weather: The forecast for Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge calls for a high of 75F and a low of 52F with a 40% chance of rain. With both pro and college games being played on this surface during 2005, it is likely to be worn, especially in the middle of the field. If the rains come down hard around game time, footing and ball handling with be larger issues than usual for both teams.

NO Injuries: none
TB Injuries: none


New Orleans Saints Passing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Drew Brees torched the Bucs for 23/32 for 343 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception back in week 1, leading the Saints to a 24-20 divisional victory. Reggie Bush was the lead receiver (8/112/1); Devery Henderson (1/84/1) and David Patten (1/39/1) made their single catches count for 6, too. Marques Colston had just 3/26/0 during the contest.

Since then, Brees has been tearing up nearly every secondary he faces, with a league-leading 286/424 for 3574 yards, 22 TDs and 11 interceptions (he's on pace for the all-time yardage record in a single season). Last Monday, the Packers were mugged by Drew Brees, who threw 20/26 for 323 yards, 4 TDs and 0 interceptions vs. the over-hyped Packers' pass D. Lance Moore chalked up 5/115/2 as the lead receiver; Marques Colston checked into the box score with 1/70/1; Jeremy Shockey played better than usual with 5/57/0; and Billy Miller handled the other TD with 4/36/1.

The Buccaneers field the league's 2nd-ranked pass D, averaging 174.6 net yards allowed per game, with 14 TDs handed over vs. 14 interceptions and 24 sacks generated. Woeful Detroit could only generate 10/26 for 99 net yards passing, 1 TD and 2 interceptions vs. Tampa (although they did explode to an early 17-0 lead, they eventually lost 38-20). Tampa recorded 4 sacks vs. Detroit, and have generated 9 sacks and 2 interceptions over the last 3 weeks (2 games), while giving up a minuscule 210 net passing yards (105 per game). Right now, the Bucs' pass D is at the top of their game.

Brees doesn't take many sacks (only 9 all year long), and he had good luck against the Buccaneers the last time around the block. However, this week, the Bucs will have their boisterous 12th man backing up the defense, and they've turned up their game a few notches since week 1. Brees has been so incredible this year that he's a must start type player, but realize that this is a tougher-than-usual matchup for him to overcome.

Weather: The forecast for Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge calls for a high of 75F and a low of 52F with a 40% chance of rain. With both pro and college games being played on this surface during 2005, it is likely to be worn, especially in the middle of the field. If the rains come down hard around game time, footing and ball handling with be larger issues than usual for both teams.

NO Injuries: none
TB Injuries: none


New Orleans Saints Passing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

New Orleans has dominated their last two opponents by an average margin of 26 points, taking down Tampa 38-7 and then ripping the Patriots 38-17 on Monday Night Football's big stage this past Monday. Drew Brees and his receivers were playing on an extremely high level last week, with 18/23 for 371 yards, five TDs and zero interceptions on the night - he's thrown 10 TDs and just two interceptions over the last three weeks, with multiple TD passes in each game. All the usual suspects got into the act last week, with 4/121/1 receiving for Marques Colston, 3/116/1 for Devery Henderson, 5/69/1 for Robert Meachem and 3/23/1 for Pierre Thomas. Even Darnell Dinkins snagged a TD, with 1/2/1 during the game. Jeremy Shockey was the lone disappointment last week, with just one target for 1/15/0 on the night. The Saints are going mach two with their hair on fire entering December.

The Redskins boast of the league's top-ranked pass D, allowing an average of 170.4 net yards per game, with 11 TDs given up vs. seven interceptions and 27 sacks generated through 11 games. However, the Saints are third in the NFL with just 14 sacks allowed this year - Brees doesn't get hit very often (New England had just one sack and one other hit on Brees last Monday night). Over the past four weeks, the Redskins have allowed 720 yards passing (180 per game on average), although they did stumble somewhat last week against Donovan McNabb and the Eagles (21/36 for 258 net yards, one TD and one interception allowed).

The Saints are on fire this year, but they've got a tough task ahead when they visit the Redskins at FedEx Field on Sunday. Brees and company are too hot to sit down, for sure, but this isn't a cup-cake matchup by any means.

Weather: The forecast for Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge calls for a high of 75F and a low of 52F with a 40% chance of rain. With both pro and college games being played on this surface during 2005, it is likely to be worn, especially in the middle of the field. If the rains come down hard around game time, footing and ball handling with be larger issues than usual for both teams.

NO Injuries: none
TB Injuries: none


New Orleans Saints Passing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Drew Brees lit up Atlanta for 23/33 yielding 278 yards passing, two TDs and zero interceptions last week, after blasting San Francisco for 30/43 yielding 305 yards passing, one TD and one interception thrown two games ago. He's thrown for over 300 yards passing in eight-out-of-eleven games this year - start him and the major New Orleans receivers (Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston, Darren Sproles when he is healthy, to name a few) each week and smile. There are enough balls in the air for Lance Moore and Kenny Stills to also have upside potential in any given game.

The Seattle pass D is ranked second in the NFL averaging just 180.4 net passing yards allowed per game, with 12 passing scores given up vs. 16 interceptions (tied for first in the league) and 33 sacks (tied for ninth in the NFL) generated to date. However, they've just lost RCB Brandon Browner to a one-year league suspension (he was already out due to a groin injury) and are doing without CB Walter Thurmond III for four games (marijuana related suspension according to reports). The depth at cornerback is being thinned due to the suspensions, friends. Against the Vikings two weeks ago the Seahawks allowed 18/35 for 204 net yards passing, two TDs and three interceptions generated. They remain a top secondary/pass D, but they are not a full strength for the final five games of the season.

This looks like a tough matchup for the visiting Saints, but Brees is an elite quarterback that we don't recommend sitting. The stars come out on Monday Night Football.

Weather: The forecast for Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge calls for a high of 75F and a low of 52F with a 40% chance of rain. With both pro and college games being played on this surface during 2005, it is likely to be worn, especially in the middle of the field. If the rains come down hard around game time, footing and ball handling with be larger issues than usual for both teams.

NO Injuries: none
TB Injuries: none


New York Giants Passing Offense vs Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Giants defeated Washington 16-7 in the very first regular-season game of this year, back on September 4th. Eli Manning needed just 19/35 for 216 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception to do the trick last time around the block. Last week, with Brandon Jacobs out due to a knee problem, Manning provided more of the Giant's offensive firepower (even though Plaxico Burress could only play a few downs before aggravating his sore hamstring), with 26/33 for 240 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions to his credit. It was the first time since week 5 that Manning threw for more than 200 yards passing, but his 3rd multi-TD pass game out of the last 4 games played - Manning is steadily productive for his fantasy owners of late. With Burress out, Domenik Hixon stood at the top of the receiving boxscore, with 6/57/0; Kevin Boss grabbed 4/48/1 (his 4th TD in the past 5 games); Steve Smith came up with 4/45/0; and Amani Toomer scored with 4/30/1. FB Madison Hedgecock scored his first TD of the year with 2/10/1 receiving. Manning and company are playing very good football entering the final month of the season. Burress is looking like a game-time decision this week - head coach Coughlin commented on Wednesday: "They'll do everything they can medically to help him," Coughlin said of Burress. "We're just going to have to wait and see."

The Redskins limited the gimpy Matt Hasselbeck to 12/24 for 89 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions last week - they've handed over just 287 net yards passing in the last 3 weeks (2 games), with 2 sacks and 4 interceptions generated during that span of time. To date, the Redskins are 4th in the NFL vs. opposing passers, with an average of 182.7 net yards allowed per game, with 12 passing TDs given up vs. 10 interceptions and a mere 17 sacks generated to date. Though they don't have much of a pass rush, the Redskins' DBs are getting the job done week in and week out.

Manning didn't light up the scoreboard the last time he saw these guys, and he'll have to deal with the partisan FedEx Field crowd this time around the block. On balance, this looks like a tough matchup for Manning and company.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 45F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Fans and players should enjoy great football weather, as long as the forecast holds up.

NYG Injuries: none
DAL Injuries: none


New York Jets Passing Offense at New England Patriots Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Mark Sanchez responded to losing practice reps to Mark Brunell by tossing four TDs and just one interception vs. Buffalo (17/35 for 180 yards, four TDs and zero sacks) - it looks like Rex Ryan's motivational ploy worked out well. Dustin Keller led the team in yards and TDs last week (eight targets for 4/61/2 receiving), while Plaxico Burress (seven for 4/54/1) and Santonio Holmes (nine targets for 2/22/1) also found pay dirt. However, all three of the above-mentioned receivers are under 60% reception percentage over the past three weeks - Keller is best of the bunch with 20 targets for 11/138/2 receiving, a 55 % rate, followed by Holmes (26 for 12/154/1, a 46.2% rate) and Burress (24 for 11/157/2, 45.8%). Sanchez needs more effective play from his main targets if the Jets are going to advance into the playoffs.

The Redskins limited Tarvaris Jackson to 14/30 for 126 net yards (two sacks taken), two TDs and one interception in their 23-17 victory last week, but coughed up 23/37 for 264 net yards (four sacks taken), three TDs and zero interceptions to the Cowboys two weeks ago. To date, the Redskins are ranked 10th in the NFL averaging 212.7 net yards allowed per game, with 13 TDs given away vs. eight interceptions (tied for 24th in the NFL) and 33 sacks (tied for third) generated to date. Most weeks, this is a fairly stout pass D, regardless of how Romo fared two weeks ago.

Sanchez blew up a weak Buffalo defense last week, but he's got a stouter unit to deal with on Sunday - advantage, Washington.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 46F with a low of 23F and a 10% chance of precipitation on Sunday - pretty nice conditions for New England at this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

NYJ Injuries: none
NE Injuries: none


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense at San Diego Chargers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Kerry Collins couldn't find the end-zone vs. San Diego back in week 6 (24/48 for 292 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception passing), and he had the same problem last week vs. Miami (21/37 for 226 yards, 0 TDs and 2 interceptions). Collins has been in the doldrums lately, with twice as many interceptions thrown as TDs during the last 3 weeks (66/123 for 825 yards, 3 TDs and 6 interceptions - 12th ranked fantasy QB during that span of time). As the QB goes, so go the receivers - Jerry Porter is the 27th ranked fantasy WR in points per game during the last 3 weeks, with 12/226/1 receiving in that span; Randy Moss is 42nd in the land with 12/155/1 during that same span.

For the year, the Chargers' pass D is nothing special, ranking 26th in the NFL to date allowing an average of 233.2 passing yards per game, with 14 thrown TDs given up to date. But over the past 3 weeks, they have handed over an average of 164 passing yards per game (2 games), but have only 1 interception. They have generated 8 sacks, though, and have a total of 35 this season to tie for 2nd in the NFL, and have given up only 3 TDs rushing and receiving during that 3 week span. Last week, Mark Brunell managed 17/27 for 194 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions vs. San Diego.

The Chargers' pass D has stiffened during the second half of the season, while the Raiders have been in the doldrums. With home-field advantage at the Charger's backs, we think this looks like a tough challenge for the struggling Raiders' unit.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a typically beautiful Southern California day, with a high of 64F with a low of 43F and a 10% chance for rain - weather shouldn't be a factor in this matchup.

OAK Injuries: none
SD Injuries: none


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense at San Diego Chargers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Back in week 2, LaMont Jordan was the starting RB for the Raiders, and Josh McCown was the starting QB (8/16 for 73 yards, 1 TD and 3 interceptions vs. Denver). Neither is seeing much playing time for Oakland these days - a lot has changed in the course of the season when you consider the Raiders' starting lineup.

Daunte Culpepper notched a rare "W" against the Chiefs last week, with 15/22 for 170 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions to his credit. Jerry Porter was "on" last week with 3/75/0 receiving, while Ron Curry was second with 6/39/0 during the contest. Culpepper has been up and down since regaining the starting mantle, with 38/61 for 514 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception to his credit over the last 2 weeks.

The Broncos gave Rex Grossman 17/33 for 171 net passing yards, 1 TD and 1 interception last week - they've bounced around in this phase of the game lately, with 290 net passing yards given up 2 weeks ago, and 217 3 games in the past. To date, they rank 10th in the NFL with an average of 203.4 passing yards surrendered, but they have handed over 17 TD passes vs. 12 interceptions (tied for 10th in the league) and 23 sacks (tied for 17th). Two great cornerbacks does not an overpowering pass defense create. On balance, this group has struggled some entering the playoff stretch run.

Culpepper has posted a strong game and a slow game since getting back in the saddle - at home against the so-so Broncos, he'll have some chances to do good things on Sunday but we think it'll be a tough matchup.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a typically beautiful Southern California day, with a high of 64F with a low of 43F and a 10% chance for rain - weather shouldn't be a factor in this matchup.

OAK Injuries: none
SD Injuries: none


Philadelphia Eagles Passing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Jeff Garcia did a very credible job in his first start of Philadelphia, with 19/23 for 140 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions to his credit. He relied heavily on the running backs last week (Brian Westbrook led the team with 7/46/0 receiving, and Correll Buckhalter was 2nd with 2/26/0), but threw the TDs to L.J. Smith (4/21/1) and Reggie Brown (2/9/1). Late in the game Garcia bruised/sprained his right forearm and ended the day on the sidelines, but according to coach Reid he's progressing well and will start vs. Carolina if healthy, which seems likely as of mid-week.

Carolina's pass D is 8th in the NFL allowing an average of 186.1 yards per game, with 14 scores surrendered to date. They have generated 28 sacks and 11 interceptions this year, both numbers solidly in the middle of the NFL. Over the past 3 weeks, the team averages a mere 114.3 passing yards allowed per game, including the 11/23 for 118 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception given up to Jason Campbell last week. This is a pretty stout pass D heading into the stretch run to the playoffs.

It looks like Garcia and company are in for a challenge on Monday Night.

Weather: The forecast for Lincoln Financial Field calls for a high of 46F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance for precipitation. As this game is on Monday Night Football, expect the temperatures to be on the low end of the scale - the cold will make handling the ball more tricky than usual for both teams.

PHI Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: none


Philadelphia Eagles Passing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Coach Andy Reid has indicated that Donovan McNabb needs to be 100% healthy before he plays again - that won't be determined until late this week: "We're trying to get him back to 100 percent before we stick him in the game. I think we're pretty fortunate we have two quarterbacks here that can play," Reid said on Monday. As well as A.J. Feeley played against the Patriots, McNabb may be riding the pine for a while, folks. Pay attention to who gets practice snaps with the first team later in the week.

Speaking of A.J. Feeley, he threw for 27/42 for 345 yards, 3 TDs and 3 interceptions, bringing his team to within 4 points of a victory over New England. Brian Westbrook was the most targeted player on the field (11 for 7/40/0), followed by Reggie Brown (9 for 5/45/1), but it was Greg Lewis who made his 4 chances count the most (4/88/2). Kevin Curtis (9 for 5/71/0) and L.J. Smith (5 for 3/46/0) were also heavily involved with Feeley under center.

The Seahawks survived a 4-down goal-line situation at the end of the game last week to prevail over St. Louis 24-19, but it was very close. The Rams lost Marc Bulger early and Gus Frerotte led the team to 23/37 for 161 net pass yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions during the game. Over the last 4 weeks (4 games), Seattle has allowed 857 net passing yards (~214 per game), with 3 interceptions and 12 sacks during that time frame. They are 2nd in the NFL with 35 sacks this year - Seattle gets after the opposing QBs, which is a concern for the Eagles as they are tied for 6th-worst in the NFL with 34 sacks allowed so far this year. Look for Seattle to come after Feeley or McNabb early and often in this matchup.

The Eagles played a great game last week, but they'll have their hands full when the aggressive Seahawks visit Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.

Weather: The forecast for Lincoln Financial Field calls for a high of 46F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance for precipitation. As this game is on Monday Night Football, expect the temperatures to be on the low end of the scale - the cold will make handling the ball more tricky than usual for both teams.

PHI Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: none


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Charlie Batch was subbing for Ben Roethlisberger back in week four, so looking back at the first matchup between these rivals won't tell us much about this upcoming clash in week 12.

Roethlisberger and the Steelers just barely got out of Ralph Wilson Stadium with a 'W' last week, managing 20/33 for 246 yards, and zero TDs passing during the 19-16 OT victory. Over the last four games, Roethlisberger has put up 85/138 for 1,071 yards, seven TDs and two interceptions - he's been hot during November as you can see. Two weeks ago vs. Oakland's pass D, he threw for 18/29 yielding 275 yards, three TDs and zero interceptions. Over the last two games, Hines Ward (13 targets for 10/135/0), Heath Miller (12 for 7/72/0), and Mike Wallace (11 for 6/149/1) have been Roethlisberger's main receivers, with Emmanuel Sanders also seeing a healthy share of chances (nine targets for 4/62/1).

The Ravens' pass D is currently ranked seventh in the NFL averaging 205.6 net yards allowed per game, with 13 TDs given away over 11 games vs. 10 interceptions and 19 sacks generated so far this year. Tampa Bay eked out 17/37 for 162 net yards, one TD and zero interceptions against this bunch last week; Carolina could only muster 13/28 for 150 net yards, one TD and two interceptions two weeks ago. Right now, the Ravens' pass D is at the top of their game.

Roethlisberger had been hot going into Buffalo, but failed to throw a pass TD last week - meanwhile, the Ravens are cracking down on opposing passers with a vengeance entering this key divisional game. This looks like a tough matchup for the visiting Steelers - it should be a hard-fought contest on Sunday Night Football this week.

Weather: Heinz Field should see a high of 42F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - a nice, crisp day to play football is on tap for this matchup.

PIT Injuries: none
CIN Injuries: none


San Diego Chargers Passing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Philip Rivers was not terribly sharp the last time San Diego played K.C. (week 4), hitting 21/42 for 211 yards, 0 TDs and 2 interceptions in the losing effort (30-16 defeat at home). Since that game, Rivers has run in hot and cold streaks, with some games in which he's thrown for 2 or 3 TDs and 0 interceptions (including last week vs. Baltimore, 25/35 for 249 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions), but also several outings with more interceptions than TDs (22/40 for 309 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions in week 11 vs. Jacksonville; 13/24 for 104 yards, 0 TDs and 2 interceptions vs. the Indianapolis in week 10). San Diego hopes he's going to stay hot for this key divisional game.

The Chiefs are 9th in the NFL averaging 202.6 net passing yards allowed per game, and on the low end of the NFL spectrum of 6-25 pass TDS surrendered to date with only 9 passing scores given up by KC. They are in the middle of the NFL with 12 interceptions so far, and tied for 11th with 27 sacks. This unit is solid, overall. Last week, Daunte Culpepper managed 15/22 for 159 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions vs. K.C. They have not allowed a 200+ yards passing over their last 3 contests.

Rivers is on a mini-roll, but the Chiefs and their fans won't make things easy for him this week - this is a tough matchup for the up-and-down San Diego passing attack.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a typically beautiful Southern California day, with a high of 64F with a low of 43F and a 10% chance for rain - weather shouldn't be a factor in this matchup.

SD Injuries: none
OAK Injuries: none


San Diego Chargers Passing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Phillip Rivers has posted 63/114 for 742 yards, five TDs and three interceptions in his last three games, but rumors persist that he isn't fully healthy. Rivers and head coach Norv Turner both continue to deny that Rivers is playing with an injury. However, during Week 12, Rivers (19/36 for 188 yards, one TD and zero interceptions) reportedly again didn't show his customary zip on several passes. He pushed several passes, according to observers at the game. Vincent Brown (10 targets for 3/50/0) and Antonio Gates (10 for 6/49/1) were his most trusted receivers last week, while Vincent Jackson did another disappearing act with three targets for 2/25/0 vs. Denver. He has yet to string together two 100+ yards-receiving performances, though he does have four 100+ yards-receiving games this year (10/172/2 vs. New England in week two; 3/108/1 vs. Miami in week four; 7/141/3 vs. Green Bay in week nine, and 7/165/1 vs. Chicago in week 11).

Jacksonville's pass D has been solid this entire year, currently ranking fourth in the NFL averaging 183.4 net yards allowed per game, with 13 passing scores given up vs. 10 interceptions (18th in the NFL) and 23 sacks (19th) generated to date. Houston's backups managed 18/28 for 127 net yards, one TD and zero interceptions at Jacksonville last week; Cleveland posted 17/24 for 186 net yards, one TD and one interception vs. Jacksonville two weeks ago.

Rivers is stuggling entering December, while the Jaguars' pass D is their best unit this year. Advantage, Jacksonville.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a typically beautiful Southern California day, with a high of 64F with a low of 43F and a 10% chance for rain - weather shouldn't be a factor in this matchup.

SD Injuries: none
OAK Injuries: none


San Diego Chargers Passing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Philip Rivers has steadily declined in production over the current three-game losing streak, with 23/36 for 228 yards, one TD and zero interceptions vs. Baltimore last week, 23/30 for 258 yards, two TDs and two interceptions at Denver two weeks ago, and 29/37 for 337 yards, three TDs and two interceptions thrown three weeks ago at Tampa Bay. Danario Alexander (26 targets for 17/303/3 receiving), Malcom Floyd (18 for 14/195/2), and Ryan Mathews (15 for 12/74/0) have been his main receivers during the three-game slide - Antonio Gates has fell flat with 11 for 8/87/1 during that time frame. It's all going downhill for the Chargers as of week 13.

The Bengals have won three straight games, in comparison, limiting formerly high-flying Carson Palmer to 19/34 for 119 net yards, one TD and one interception last week; the Chiefs' tandem to 17/30 for 171 net yards, zero TDs and zero interceptions two weeks ago; and Eli Manning to 29/46 for 189 net yards, zero TDs and two interceptions back in week 10. Whew - this pass D has played at the elite level of the NFL during November, folks.

Rivers is fading, while the Bengals are surging - advantage, Cincinnati.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a typically beautiful Southern California day, with a high of 64F with a low of 43F and a 10% chance for rain - weather shouldn't be a factor in this matchup.

SD Injuries: none
OAK Injuries: none


San Diego Chargers Passing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Philip Rivers outgunned Alex Smith at the buzzer last week, throwing a game-winning TD to Seyi Ajirotutu at :24 left in the fourth quarter after Smith hit Dwayne Bowe for a lead-changing score at 1:22 left in the fourth. Talk about a thrilling finish! All told, Rivers threw 27/39 for 392 yards passing, three TDs and zero interceptions during the game - he's hot coming into Week 13. Keenan Allen (12 targets for 9/124/0 receiving) and Eddie Royal (four for 4/87/0) moved the chains for Rivers last week, while Danny Woodhead (four for 4/45/1), Ladarius Green (four for 3/80/1) and Ajirotutu (one for 1/26/1) handled the TD catches - Antonio Gates saw eight targets but only managed 3/21/0 receiving on the day.

The Bengals' pass defense enters Week 13 ranked sixth in the NFL averaging 211.1 net yards allowed per game, with 14 pass TDs given away this year vs. 12 interceptions and 34 sacks generated (tied for 11th- and sixth-ranked in the NFL, respectively). Before last week's bye, the Bengals limited Jason Campbell to 27/56 for 228 net yards, one TD and three interceptions, with four sacks for -20 yards generated. This is a top-shelf defensive unit, folks.

Rivers has a tough matchup this week, but he's so hot it's hard to sit him unless you are stacked at the quarterback position this season.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a typically beautiful Southern California day, with a high of 64F with a low of 43F and a 10% chance for rain - weather shouldn't be a factor in this matchup.

SD Injuries: none
OAK Injuries: none


Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Matt Hasselbeck came out of the gates slow on Monday Night Football, and tossed a couple of interceptions before he got the rust knocked off and back into the flow of the game. By the end of the night, though, he'd compiled 17/36 for 157 yards, 3 TDs and 3 interceptions - enough scores to lift Seattle to a 34/24 win over Green Bay in less-than-ideal weather conditions. He looked pretty good by the end of the contest. D.J. Hackett led the team with 5/67/1; Darrell Jackson (2/20/1) and Jerramy Stevens (1/3/1) handled the other TDs from Hasselbeck. It was a good way for Hasselbeck to start his comeback from a sprained MCL.

The Broncos limited Trent Green to 13/22 for 161 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception last week. They are currently 23rd in the NFL allowing an average of 219.3 passing yards per game, with only 8 passing TDs given up so far. As we've pointed out many times, it is hard to score on these guys when the field is compressed. They have 24 sacks and 11 interceptions this season, in the middle of the NFL pack - on balance, the Broncos have an above-average unit despite the low ranking in yards-allowed.

At Mile High Stadium, the Seahawks will face a tough challenge on Sunday.

Weather: The forecast for Lincoln Financial Field calls for a high of 46F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance for precipitation. As this game is on Monday Night Football, expect the temperatures to be on the low end of the scale - the cold will make handling the ball more tricky than usual for both teams.

SEA Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: none


Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Matt Hasselbeck is trying to gut out the season, but he clearly isn't 100% - last week, he crawled to 12/24 for 103 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions vs. the Redskins. Bobby Engram led the team with 2/34/0; John Carlson had a TD (2/14/1), and Maurice Morris snagged 3/10/1, but nobody excited their fantasy owners with only 103 yards to share around. Deion Branch (1/11/0) and Koren Robinson (1/14/0) were both held under 15 yards receiving.

The Cowboys gave up 2 late TDs to Shaun Hill but won 35-22 over San Francisco - Hill threw for 21/33 for 278 net yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception during the contest. Dallas averages 196.2 net passing yards allowed per week (11th in the NFL), with 15 passing TDs given away vs. just 5 interceptions generated, despite having 33 sacks this year (4th in the NFL). On balance, this is a mediocre pass D that doesn't consistently play well.

Hasselbeck has been consistently poor this year, while the Cowboys go up and down - at home on Thanksgiving, we expect them to be tough on the underpowered Seahawks. Advantage, Dallas.

Weather: The forecast for Lincoln Financial Field calls for a high of 46F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance for precipitation. As this game is on Monday Night Football, expect the temperatures to be on the low end of the scale - the cold will make handling the ball more tricky than usual for both teams.

SEA Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: none


Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Russell Wilson responded to an off day by Marshawn Lynch (19/46/0 rushing) by tossing 21/27 for 224 yards passing, two TDs and zero interceptions, with 5/38/0 rushing, and kept his team in it to the end at Miami (a narrow 21-24 loss at the buzzer). Wilson was not at fault in the loss - Seattle's defense was the problem. As usual, Wilson leaned on Golden Tate (five for 4/56/0 receiving) and Sidney Rice (three for 3/49/0) for most of his passing yards - running back Robert Turbin (three for 3/47/0) was also involved, while Anthony McCoy (three for 2/23/1) and fullback Michael Robinson (one for 1/4/1) handled the TDs last week.

The Bears' pass D ranks sixth in the NFL with an average of 210.1 net yards passing per game, while having allowed a mere 11 pass TDs vs. 20 interceptions (first in the NFL) and 30 sacks (tied for fifth in the NFL) generated to date. Yikes! Christian Ponder managed 22/43 for 144 net yards passing, one TD and one interception last week; Colin Kaepernick tossed 16/23 for 232 net yards, two TDs and zero interceptions two weeks ago.

Wilson has been steadily productive this year, but he's got a very tough matchup ahead at Soldier Field on Sunday.

Weather: The forecast for Lincoln Financial Field calls for a high of 46F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance for precipitation. As this game is on Monday Night Football, expect the temperatures to be on the low end of the scale - the cold will make handling the ball more tricky than usual for both teams.

SEA Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: none


Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Robert Wilson enjoyed playing with Percy Harvin two weeks ago (before the Seattle bye), racking up 13/18 for 230 yards passing, two TDs and zero interceptions thrown - Harvin had just one target for 17 yards and is being eased into the lineup - while Zach Miller led the team in receiving with five targets for 4/59/0 receiving. Doug Baldwin (two for 2/63/1) and Marshawn Lynch (two for 2/9/1) handled the TDs for Wilson two weeks ago. The Seattle offense continues to be on a roll as of the final 1/3 of the season.

The New Orleans' pass defense averages just 198.0 net yards allowed per game (fourth in the NFL) with only 11 passing scores given up to date, vs. 10 interceptions (tied for 18th in the league) and 37 sacks (tied for first in the NFL) generated to date. Atlanta didn't score a passing TD last week (30/39 for 264 net yards passing, zero TDs or interceptions thrown), while San Francisco was limited to 17/31 for 115 net yards, two TDs and one interception thrown two games ago.

Wilson is on a roll, but the solid Saints' pass D won't roll over for him on Monday Night Football - advantage, New Orleans.

Weather: The forecast for Lincoln Financial Field calls for a high of 46F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance for precipitation. As this game is on Monday Night Football, expect the temperatures to be on the low end of the scale - the cold will make handling the ball more tricky than usual for both teams.

SEA Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: none


San Francisco 49ers Passing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Troy Smith and the 49ers' passing offense have slowed way down over the past two weeks, with 16/31 for 148 yards, zero TDs and one interception vs. Tampa Bay in week 11 and 11/23 for 129 yards, one TD and one interception at Arizona last week. Part of the reason for the low numbers last week was that the Cardinals' rush D laid down and died vs. San Francisco, allowing 47/261/2 during the game - there was really not much need to throw passes in that situation. Michael Crabtree handled the lone TD last week (six targets for 2/48/1), while Vernon Davis (four for 2/32/0) and Josh Morgan (five for 3/28/0) were the only three receivers targeted more than once during the game. That's the trio of receivers that Smith relies on entering December.

The Packers' pass D is 10th in the NFL averaging 208.2 net yards allowed per game, and they are third in pass TDs allowed, with just 10 surrendered over the past 11 games. The team has generated 15 interceptions (tied for fourth) and 31 sacks (tied for fifth) - any way you slice it, the Packers' pass D is outstanding. San Francisco is tied for 22nd in the NFL with 26 sacks allowed, by the way - Smith is going to have consistent pressure in his face this week at Lambeau Field (with a high of 27 F forecast). Matt Ryan was held to 24/28 for 177 net yards, one TD and zero interceptions in the Georgia Dome last week; Brett Favre managed 17/38 for 207 net yards, zero TDs and one interception two weeks ago.

Smith has won games for the 49ers since stepping into the starting job, but he and his receivers face a tough matchup this week in wintry Lambeau Field.

Weather: The forecast for Monster Park calls for a high of 57F with a low of 44F and a 10% chance for rain - a very nice day is on tap for this matchup.

SF Injuries: none
ARI Injuries: none


San Francisco 49ers Passing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Alex Smith got beat up by the Ravens, with nine sacks and 12 QB hits absorbed during the 6-16 loss - no wonder he didn't throw a TD (15/24 for 140 yards, zero TDs and one interception thrown last week). Michael Crabtree (nine targets for 6/54/0 receiving) and Vernon Davis (five for 4/38/0) led the team in receiving as usual at Baltimore. It was a tough night against a top-five pass D.

However, this week Smith and company get to relax against the Rams. The St. Louis rush D is awful, averaging a league-worst 159 yards allowed per game, with 38/268/1 given up to Arizona last week. Smith may not need to pass the ball more than 15 times in this game as he hands off to Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter early and often. When he does throw the ball, it'll be against the Rams' pass D that averages 205.1 net yards allowed per game (eighth in the NFL), with 16 passing scores given up vs. 10 interceptions (tied for 18th in the NFL) and 29 sacks (tied for tenth) generated to date. John Skelton eked out 12/23 for 106 net yards, zero TDs and two interceptions at St. Louis last week (but his team still won) - Seattle posted 15/25 for 163 net yards, one TD and two interceptions at St. Louis two weeks ago (and they still won, too).

Smith had a tough game last week, and against the run-vulnerable Rams he probably won't put the ball up much, making this a tough fantasy matchup for Smith owners and others invested in the 49ers passing attack.

Weather: The forecast for Monster Park calls for a high of 57F with a low of 44F and a 10% chance for rain - a very nice day is on tap for this matchup.

SF Injuries: none
ARI Injuries: none


St. Louis Rams Passing Offense vs Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

"I have no idea [who'll start for St Louis]; I really don't," Trent Green said after the latest debacle, a 27-3 loss to the Bears in which Green threw 16/30 for 219 yards, 0 TDs and 4 interceptions after starter Marc Bulger was concussed and knocked out of the game 5 snaps into the first offensive possession. Chicago sacked St. Louis QBs 5 times last week, running the season total to 37 sacks allowed by St. Louis. The Rams also lost another offensive lineman, Nick Leckey, to IR (broken foot). "As the week progresses, we'll find out who's ready and who's not ready," center Brett Romberg commented. "Then we'll go from there."

"Execution? Terrible. Tackling? Terrible. You can't get the pre-snap penalties, and you've got to take care of the football." - Head Coach Jim Haslett on the current state of the Rams.

Miami is currently 28th in the NFL averaging 240.6 net passing yards allowed per game, with 15 passing TDs given away vs. 8 interceptions generated. They do have 28 sacks this year (8th in the NFL), though, and have really come on strong in pass rushing over the last 3 weeks, with 11 sacks and 1 interception generated while giving up 696 net yards (232 per game on average). Prior to Matt Cassel's explosion (408 net passing yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception), Oakland had 116 net yards passing and Seattle had 172. The Dolphins were improving until New England took their revenge for the early-season loss to Miami.

The Rams are just awful in this phase of the game right now, while the Dolphins are reeling from a bad game - but the Dolphins' team strength in pass rushing plays into the Rams' weakness in pass blocking. This is a tough matchup for St. Louis to deal with in their current state.

Weather: This game is to be played inside the Edward Jones Dome - weather will not be a factor for either team.

STL Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: none


St. Louis Rams Passing Offense vs Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Rams snuck up on the 49ers back in week 10, and ended up with a 24 all tie in the divisional game. Sam Bradford had a strong game that day, with 26/39 for 275 yards passing, two TDs and zero interceptions. Danny Amendola led the club with 12 targets for 11/102/0 receiving, while Brian Quick (one for 1/36/1) and Austin Pettis (four for 3/15/1) handled the TDs for Bradford in that game.

In the two games since he last saw the 49ers, Bradford has won one and lost one, with 31/61 for 375 yards passing, with four TDs and two interceptions thrown. Danny Amendola has seen 12 passes for 8/79/0 receiving during that two game span (but comes into this game on a sore foot that limited him to one target for 1/38/0 receiving last week), while Chris Givens (13 for 9/134/1), Brandon Gibson (eight for 3/9/2) and Lance Kendricks (four for 3/51/1) have handled the TDs during that span of two games. Bradford has been so-so as a passer of late.

The 49ers kept Drew Brees under 250 net yards passing last week (26/41 for 231 net yards) but still gave up three TDs vs. two interceptions generated. Two weeks ago, Jason Campbell struggled to 14/22 for 58 net yards, one TD and two interceptions at San Francisco. San Francisco is currently second in the NFL averaging 187.3 net passing yards allowed per game,with 12 TDs given up vs. 10 interceptions (tied for 14th) and 28 sacks (tied for 11th) generated so far. These guys are tough to pass on most weeks.

Bradford and company have a tough matchup ahead of them.

Weather: This game is to be played inside the Edward Jones Dome - weather will not be a factor for either team.

STL Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: none


St. Louis Rams Passing Offense vs Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

With the running backs limited to 19/18/0 rushing vs. San Francisco on September 26, Sam Bradford was forced to throw the football 41 times. Unfortunately, since then Bradford has been sent to IR, so looking back at September 26 won't tell us much about Kellen Clemens' prospects this week (he didn't take a snap in the first game).

Clemens has played pretty well since Bradford was lost for the season, pitching 56/108 for 801 yards, four TDs and two interceptions this season. He has four TDs and zero interceptions over the past three games, with 10/22 for 167 yards, one TD and zero interceptions thrown last week vs. Chicago. He's relied on Jared Cook (13 targets for 8/133/2 receiving) and Tavon Austin (10 for 4/177/2) for the receiving scores during the last three games played, while Chris Givens (18 for 6/109/0) and Zac Stacy (12 for 9/67/0) have also seen double-digit targets during the stated three games.

The 49ers' pass D ranks fourth in the NFL averaging 208.2 net passing yards allowed per game, with 11 passing TDs given up vs. 12 interceptions (tied for 11th in the league) and 25 sacks generated to date (23rd in the NFL). They sacked Robert Griffin III four times for -37 yards on Monday Night Football, allowing just 17/27 for 90 yards passing, zero TDs and one interception - two games ago Drew Brees threw 30/43 for 295 yards, one TD and one interception against the 49ers.

This is a tough defense that will have their home crowd at their back - this looks like a very tough matchup for the Rams.

Weather: This game is to be played inside the Edward Jones Dome - weather will not be a factor for either team.

STL Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: none


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Offense at New Orleans Saints Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Josh Freeman played a solid game in Atlanta last week, throwing 20/29 for 250 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions. It was the first time in his pro career he completed 20 passes, and the first time he hit 250 yards passing - he also avoided throwing an interception for the first time since he became the team's starter. Antonio Bryant returned to action and made an impact, with 3/91/1 receiving, followed by Kellen Winslow (7/81/0), Maurice Stovall (3/26/0) and Sammie Stroughter (3/19/0). In all, eight Buccaneers caught at least one pass from Freeman last week - we'll see if he can keep up the momentum against another divisional rival. Freeman didn't play in the first contest vs. Carolina.

The Panthers' pass D is the defense's strong point, currently averaging 181.3 net yards allowed per game (third in the NFL), with 12 passing TDs given away balanced by 12 interceptions and 21 sacks generated to date. Last week, Mark Sanchez and company managed just 13/18 for 144 net yards, zero TDs and one interception vs. Carolina; Miami was held to 17/29 for 172 net yards, one TD and zero interceptions on Thursday night two weeks ago.

Freeman made good things happen last week, but he's got a tough challenge ahead when he visits this divisional rival in Charlotte, N.C.

Weather: The forecast for Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge calls for a high of 75F and a low of 52F with a 40% chance of rain. With both pro and college games being played on this surface during 2005, it is likely to be worn, especially in the middle of the field. If the rains come down hard around game time, footing and ball handling with be larger issues than usual for both teams.

TB Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Offense at New Orleans Saints Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Josh Freeman narrowly lost his duel with Matt Ryan last week, 23-24, while throwing 19/30 for 256 yards passing (zero TDs or interceptions). Two weeks ago at Carolina he put up 25/46 for 248 yards passing, three TDs and two interceptions - the Tampa passing attack has the potential to be explosive on any given Sunday. That's why Vincent Jackson is ranked 11th among all fantasy receivers with 47/959/7 receiving to date (20.4 yards per reception!), Mike Williams checks in at 34th with 37/625/5 receiving (16.9 yards per reception), and Dallas Clark is 23rd among fantasy tight ends with 31/320/3 receiving (10.3 yards per catch). Freeman is rocketing the ball for big chunks of yardage when he releases his passes this year.

The Bronco's pass D averages 209.6 net yards allowed per game (fifth in the NFL), with 18 passing TDs given out vs. 13 interceptions (tied for seventh in the NFL) and 37 sacks (tied for first) generated to date. Tampa is fourth in the NFL with just 16 sacks given up, though - Freeman should have enough time to get the ball out more often than not. Brady Quinn and company eked out 13/26 for 116 net yards passing, zero TDs and one interception vs. Denver last week - Philip Rivers posted 24/40 for 224 net yards, two TDs and two interceptions at Denver two weeks ago.

Freeman has been very productive this year, but he faces an uphill battle at Denver this week - advantage, Denver.

Weather: The forecast for Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge calls for a high of 75F and a low of 52F with a 40% chance of rain. With both pro and college games being played on this surface during 2005, it is likely to be worn, especially in the middle of the field. If the rains come down hard around game time, footing and ball handling with be larger issues than usual for both teams.

TB Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Offense at New Orleans Saints Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Mike Glennon threw the football 51 times the last time he saw the Panthers (30/51 for 275 yards, one TD and zero interceptions), but was still on the losing end of the contest with a 13-31 final score. Vincent Jackson was the lead receiver with 13 targets for 5/79/0 receiving, while Tim Wright scored with eight targets for 5/48/1.

Last week, Glennon threw 14/21 for 247 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions, outplaying Matthew Stafford in Stafford's home field - Glennon is growing into a formidable NFL starter entering the final 1/3 of the year. He relied on Tiquan Underwood (five targets for 3/108/2) for both of his TD throws, while Timothy Wright (nine for 8/75/0) and Vincent Jackson (three for 2/61/0) helped move the team down the field last week.

The Panthers' pass defense is ranked seventh in the NFL in terms of net yards allowed per game, with 215.9 given up on average, and they are second in passing scores surrendered with just nine given away this season, vs. 15 interceptions (tied for third in the NFL) and 34 sacks generated (tied for sixth). Ryan Tannehill blew the curve last week, with 28/42 for 280 net yards passing (one TD and one interception thrown, three sacks for -30 yards taken), and Tom Brady also threw for over 280 two weeks ago (29/40 for 283 net yards, one TD and one interception thrown, with two sacks taken for -13 yards).

Glennon is playing well entering this game, but he faces a very tough Panthers squad on their own turf. Advantage, Atlanta.

Weather: The forecast for Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge calls for a high of 75F and a low of 52F with a 40% chance of rain. With both pro and college games being played on this surface during 2005, it is likely to be worn, especially in the middle of the field. If the rains come down hard around game time, footing and ball handling with be larger issues than usual for both teams.

TB Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Steve McNair managed 28/37 for 220 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception vs. the Colts back in week 4 (TEs Erron Kinney (7/42/0) and Bo Scaife (7/39/1) were his primary receivers that week). Since then, he's seen receivers come back into the lineup (and depart again - Brandon Jones will need season-ending knee surgery according to reports from Tennessee media). Last week, McNair ripped the league's worst pass D, San Francisco, for 23/41 for 343 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception, tossing scores to RB Chris Brown (3/105/1), WR Roydell Williams (3/95/1) and TE Erron Kinney (4/37/1) - WR Drew Bennett led in receptions with 5/52/0.

Ben Roethlisberger managed 17/26 for 133 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions vs. the Colts last week (he was sacked 3 times by Indianapolis - they are tied for 2nd in the NFL with 35 to date). Indy has 7 sacks over the last 3 games, while averaging 188.3 passing yards given up per contest. That's smack on their 8th-ranked season average of 182.2 passing yards given up per contest (12 passing scores surrendered to date). The Colts are tough vs. opposing passers this year.

In the Colts' house, we expect Indianapolis to make things tough for McNair and company.

Weather: Inside the RCA Dome, conditions should be perfect to play football.

TEN Injuries: none
IND Injuries: none


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Vince Young was just starting on the NFL learning curve the last time these teams played (back in week 5), and it showed with 10/21 for 63 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception to his credit (4/43/1 rushing). Since then, he's come quite a ways, with 45/82 for 561 yards, 3 TDs and 1 TD over the past 3 games (24/157/2 rushing during that span) to rank 4th among fantasy QBs in points per game. Last week, he posted 24/35 for 249 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions with 10/69/1 rushing to mount a furious 4th-quarter comeback victory over the New York Giants (who led 21-0 at the beginning of the 4th quarter). Bobby Wade led the team with 6/83/0 receiving, while Brandon Jones (4/38/1) and Bo Scaife (5/34/1) accounted for the TDs. Young is coming along nicely - we'll see if he can build on the momentum this week.

The Colts are 3rd in the NFL allowing an average of 163.7 passing yards per game, with 12 passing scores given up to date. Part of their strong showing is due to a 31st-ranked rush defense - opposing teams elect to attack them on the ground as it is so easy to do. Last week, Jeff Garcia posted 19/23 for 140 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions against this group, who have averaged 142.3 passing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks. Opposing passers tend to post modest games when they face the Colts.

This looks like a tough matchup for Young as a passer, although he may add a lot of fantasy points running the ball against the weak Indy defensive front.

Weather: Inside the RCA Dome, conditions should be perfect to play football.

TEN Injuries: none
IND Injuries: none


Washington Redskins Passing Offense at St. Louis Rams Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Jason Campbell played pretty well against the Eagles last week, with 22/37 for 231 yards, two TDs and two interceptions during the narrow 24-27 loss. However, he reportedly lost consciousness on the final play from scrimmage last week - given the NFL's increased vigilance about concussions this year, this may be an issue for Campbell this week. Head coach Jim Zorn said on Monday he expects Campbell to be OK, but he plans to ask the league office to review the hit. Owners of Campbell or the Redskins' receivers should pay attention to his practice participation later this week in Footballguys.com's players in the news. In the game last week, youngsters Malcolm Kelly (2/50/0), Devin Thomas (4/46/0) and Fred Davis (4/43/1) led the team in receiving, while old guard member Santana Moss snarfed up the other available TD (4/28/1 receiving). The Redskins' passing attack is on a even keel right now, with one or two passing TDs during four of the last five games, and a total of six passing TDs vs. five interceptions.

The Saints' pass D allows a good amount of yardage each week as teams try to catch up to their phenomenal offense (currently the Saints are 18th in the NFL averaging 217.5 net passing yards allowed per game), but they force oodles of turnovers in this phase of the game - the Saints are first in the NFL with 22 interceptions this season, and are second in the NFL (tie) with a mere nine passing TDs handed over this year. They are also tied for 10th in the NFL with 26 sacks through 11 games. Tom Brady and company were held to 23/40 for 244 net yards, zero TDs and two interceptions last week by the Saints during the 38-17 New Orleans victory. Josh Freeman managed jsut 17/33 for 100 net yards, one TD and three interceptions the week before - as you can see, protecting the football is a paramount concern when New Orleans is your opponent.

Campbell and company have a hard fight on their hands this week - advantage, New Orleans.

Weather: This game is to be played inside the Edward Jones Dome - weather will not be a factor for either team.

WAS Injuries: none
STL Injuries: none


Washington Redskins Passing Offense at St. Louis Rams Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Donovan McNabb cooled off last week after two big games in a row - he managed 21/35 for 211 yards, one TD and one interception vs. Minnesota, but lost the game 17-13. Over the past four weeks (three games), he's thrown 68/116 for 882 yards, four TDs and five interceptions to check in at 22nd among all fantasy QBs in points per game. Chris Cooley (24 for 15/163/0 receiving over the past three games) has been his most trusted target of late, followed by Santana Moss (21 for 14/174/1), Keiland Williams (21 for 14/98/1) and Anthony Armstrong (19 for 8/177/0, a 22.1 yards per reception average but only a 42.1 reception percentage). The Redskins pass attack is OK entering December, but they aren't an elite bunch.

The Giants' pass D has allowed 802 yards over the past four weeks (200.5 per game on average), which is slightly more than their top-ranked season average of 186.4 net passing yards allowed per game. The team has surrendered 14 passing TDs vs. 11 interceptions and 31 sacks generated - Washington is currently 27th in the NFL with 32 sacks allowed, a vulnerability you can bet the Giants' defensive front will exploit (smile, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora owners in IDP leagues!). Last week, David Garrard was held to 20/35 for 121 net yards, zero TDs and one interception at New York - even the red-hot Mike Vick didn't throw a TD against the Giants (24/38 for 244 net yards). These guys are good.

This looks like a tough matchup for the Redskins, who'll face their arch-rivals at New Meadowlands Stadium on Sunday.

Weather: This game is to be played inside the Edward Jones Dome - weather will not be a factor for either team.

WAS Injuries: none
STL Injuries: none


Washington Redskins Passing Offense at St. Louis Rams Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Rex Grossman snapped the Redskins' six-game skid last week with 26/35 for 314 yards, two TDs and two interceptions passing at Seattle. Jabar Gaffney (seven for 5/72/0 receiving) led the team in yardage, while Roy Helu (seven for 7/54/0) and Santana Moss (seven for 4/29/0) also enjoyed seven targets - Fred Davis (four for 4/58/1) and Anthony Armstrong (one for 1/50/1) took care of the TDs for 'Good' Rex. We'll see which Grossman shows up vs. New York this week.

Speaking of the Jets, the Bills blew up their secondary with 26/39 for 250 net yards (three sacks taken), three TDs and zero interceptions last week. Two weeks ago, the run-happy Broncos had 9/21 for 104 net yards (zero TDs or interceptions), but that was partially a function of the Tebow phenomena and not solely due to the Jets' D. To date, the Jets are seventh in the NFL with an aveage of 204.6 net yards allowed per game on average, having allowed 11 passing TDs in 11 games, vs. 13 interceptions (12th in the NFL) and 22 sacks (tied for 20th) generated to date. Some cracks started showing in this unit last week - we'll see if New York can get things patched up in Washington.

Grossman was on-again last week - the Jets stumbled but are usually made of stern stuff. Advantage, New York.

Weather: This game is to be played inside the Edward Jones Dome - weather will not be a factor for either team.

WAS Injuries: none
STL Injuries: none


Cincinnati Bengals Passing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Carson Palmer was destroyed by the Ravens in week 1, tossing 9/24 for 94 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception. He hasn't thrown a ball for months - the Bengals are Ryan Fitzpatrick's team now. Fitzpatrick has been solidly workmanlike since stepping under center, with 49/81 for 429 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception over the past 3 weeks (2 games) - not too bad, considering the Bengals are 3rd in the NFL with 39 sacks surrendered over 11 contests. Last week, against the stubborn Steelers, Fitzpatrick managed 20/37 for 168 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception passing - TEs Reggie Kelly (3/41/0) and Ben Utecht (3/36/0) led the team in receiving, while Glenn Holt caught a rare score (2/16/1).

Speaking of sacks, the Ravens are in the middle of the NFL with 22 to date (tied for 15th in that category), but they are first in the NFL with 19 interceptions to date, vs. 12 passing TDs allowed. Baltimore averages just 182.1 net yards allowed per game (3rd in the NFL), and has allowed 546 passing yards in their last 3 outings (182 per game), with 9 interceptions and 5 sacks in that span of time - the Ravens humiliated the Eagles' QBs last week to the point that Donovan McNabb was benched at the half due to poor play vs. this secondary. The Ravens ended up with 18/41 for 120 net yards, 0 TDs allowed and 4 interceptions generated vs. the Eagles, with 2 sacks to the Ravens' credit.

Fitzpatrick had to play last week without Chad Johnson, but even with Johnson's return to the lineup he's likely to struggle vs. Baltimore this week.

Weather: Heinz Field should see a high of 42F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - a nice, crisp day to play football is on tap for this matchup.

CIN Injuries: none
PIT Injuries: none


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Brady Quinn reverted to form vs. Cincinnati last Sunday, eking out 15/34 for 100 yards, zero TDs and zero interceptions during the 7-16 loss to the Bengals. Excepting the week that he faced the league's worst pass D (that'd be Detroit), he's thrown zero TDs and two interceptions since returning as the Browns' starter. Chansi Stuckey was the only Brown to go over 20 yards receiving last week, with eight targets for 4/44/0 - Muhammad Massaquoi could convert just a single one of his eight chances (1/12/0). Look for your fantasy points elsewhere, folks.

This week, the Chargers invade Cleveland Browns' Stadium with their eighth-ranked pass D (averaging 199.6 net passing yards allowed per game, with 14 passing scores balanced by 11 interceptions and 28 sacks to date - the Chargers are seventh in the league in sacks generated through 11 games). The Browns are tied for 18th in the NFL with 25 sacks allowed this year - we expect the Chargers to test Quinn early and often with pass pressure. They've had 11 sacks over the past four weeks, while generating three interceptions during that time span - last week, Kansas City was held to 20/33 for 170 net yards, one TD and one interception by the Chargers. Two weeks ago, Kyle Orton and Denver managed 17/33 for 156 net yards, zero TDs and one interception. Right now, the Chargers are playing top-five level pass defense.

The Browns struggle against mediocre defenses - against a top shelf unit like the Chargers, we'll see how low Quinn can go on his passer rating. Advantage, San Diego.

Weather: Cleveland Browns stadium should see a high of 34F with a low of 29F and a 20% chance for rain on Sunday. Cold, but not arctic, conditions shouldn't adversely affect either team, unless a storm blows through.

CLE Injuries: none
JAX Injuries: none


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Colt McCoy staked the Browns to a 10-point lead at half-time in Cincinnati last week (17-7), but his D couldn't hold the line during the second half (and the Cleveland offense managed just a field goal in the final 30 minutes). All told, McCoy was under 50% completion percentage against the top-12 Cincinnati pass D, managing 16/34 for 151 yards, two TDs and one interception thrown. Jordan Norwood (five targets for 4/69/1) led the team in receiving, while Greg Little posted 5/57/1 out of a whopping 13 chances last week. Nobody else on the team got over 14 yards receiving (Ben Watson had four targets for 2/14/0 last week). During November, McCoy has averaged 178.5 yards passing per game, with one TD and .75 interceptions per game (67/107 for 714 yards, four TDs and three interceptions).

The Ravens' pass D is ranked fifth in the NFL averaging just 200.8 net yards allowed per game, and they are first in the NFL with a mere seven passing scores allowed through 11 contests - they are the only pass D in the league still in the single digits when it comes to passing TDs allowed this year. To date, the team has generated 12 interceptions (tied for 13th in the NFL), and 38 sacks (first in the NFL). Alex Smith was racked by this D last week, taking nine sacks and 12 QB hits on the way to 15/24 for 96 net yards, zero TDs and one interception thrown. Ouch.

This is a horrid matchup for McCoy, who 'shelters' behind the 20th-ranked (tied) pass-blocking line in the NFL - they've given up 27 sacks so far, and that number will go up this week.

Weather: Cleveland Browns stadium should see a high of 34F with a low of 29F and a 20% chance for rain on Sunday. Cold, but not arctic, conditions shouldn't adversely affect either team, unless a storm blows through.

CLE Injuries: none
JAX Injuries: none


Detroit Lions Passing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Daunte Culpepper took a step back vs. the mighty Buccaneers' defense, managing just 8/20 for 121 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions during the game. Youngster Drew Stanton was tapped to take over for Culpepper at one point, but he got shellacked by the Buc's pass rush and was knocked out of the game with a concussion. At the end of the day, the Lions had 10/26 for 99 net yards passing, 1 TD (to Calvin Johnson, 3/66/1) and 2 interceptions, along with 4 more sacks allowed, to bring their season total to 41 sacks allowed, worst in the NFL. Culpepper will start this week for sure, as the only other healthy QB on the squad is Drew Henson, who was on the practice squad until this week.

The Titans have a ferocious pass rush, tied for 6th in the NFL with 30 sacks - look for that total to go up on Thanksgiving. They've more than doubled the number of TDs allowed (7) with interceptions generated (16), and average 189.5 net yards allowed per game (7th in the NFL). Last week, Brett Favre managed 25/32 for 217 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception vs. this bunch - "We didnít tackle," coach Jeff Fisher said after the 13-34 loss to New York. "It was just one of those days. We didnít play particularly well."

Usually, the Titans play pass D very well indeed - the Lions, are another story when it comes to passing offense. Advantage, Tennessee.

Weather: Inside the dome at Ford Field, weather won't be a factor in this game.

DET Injuries: none
MIN Injuries: none


Detroit Lions Passing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Matthew Stafford tried to battle through his sore left (non-throwing) shoulder last week, but it didn't work out very well - he threw four interceptions and only one TD during the game (20/43 for 213 yards), bringing his four-game total to 11 interceptions thrown vs nine TDs tossed in that same time frame. Even worse, his young compatriot on the team, TE Brandon Pettigrew, landed on IR Tuesday, December 1st with a season-ending knee injury/surgery. However, the work at hand goes on and both Stafford (shoulder injury) and Calvin Johnson (hand, knee injuries) practiced on Tuesday as they prepare for the Bengals - we'll see who is able to go on Sunday - keep your eye on the Footballguys.com feature players in the news later on this week to get a read on the likely starters for Detroit.

The Bengals are in the middle of the NFL when it comes to pass D, averaging 215.8 net yards allowed per game (16th in the league), with 12 passing TDs and 12 interceptions generated during 11 contests. They are tied for 10th in the NFL with 26 sacks this year - Detroit is 28th in the NFL with 33 sacks allowed so far this year. Look for the Bengals to come after Stafford and his aching body early and often on Sunday. Brady Quinn was held to 15/34 for 100 yards passing, zero TDs and zero interceptions last week (the team had 16/35 for 111 net yards passing thanks to 1/1 for 18 yards by Josh Cribbs). Oakland surprised the Bengals with 17/34 for 183 net yards, two TDs and one interception two weeks ago - over the last four games, the Bengals have allowed just 600 yards passiing, though, for an average of 150 net passing yards allowed per game. These guys are playing very stubborn defense entering December.

Stafford is wounded and he lost an important target in the passing game last week - meanwhile, the Bengals are gearing up for a playoff run in December. This looks like a bad matchup for Detroit.

Weather: Inside the dome at Ford Field, weather won't be a factor in this game.

DET Injuries: none
MIN Injuries: none


Detroit Lions Passing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Shaun Hill stepped in for an injured Matthew Stafford in week one (9/19 for 88 yards, zero TDs and one interception) - since then, he's spent some time sidelined with a broken arm but Hill is was once again the starting QB for Detroit through last week. Over the past four weeks, Hill has thrown 88/143 for 897 yards, four TDs and four interceptions (three games played), with 27/46 for 285 yards, one TD and two interceptions to his credit on Thanksgiving. Calvin Johnson (seven targets for 4/81/1) and Brandon Pettigrew (seven for 5/67/0) were his main threats, helped out by Nate Burleson (eight targets for 3/35/0 last week). Unfortunately, we have to talk about Hill in the past tense as he has also injured the index finger of his throwing hand - he was wearing a splint on it at practice Tuesday while Drew Stanton took all the first team reps - and the early word out of Detroit this week is that Hill is done for the season. Stanton has thrown 20/36 for 233 yards, one TD and one interception in limited action for the Lions week 6 (19/34 for 222 yards, one TD and one interception vs. the Giants). This is Stanton's third season as a Lion, in which he has compiled 55/104 for 611 yards, two TDs and seven interceptions as a reserve QB. He does have a strong arm, which means Calvin Johnson may not be a fantasy liability with Stanton under center, but accuracy hasn't been his strong suit so far in his career.

The Bears' pass D is currently ranked 17th in the NFL averaging 219.7 net yards allowed per game, but they are incredibly stingy with TDs this year, giving up a mere eight passing TDs over 11 contests. The team has 16 interceptions (second in the NFL) and 23 sacks this year. Michael Vick tossed 29/44 for 293 net yards, two TDs and one interception last week, but he's Michael Vick (and the Eagles still lost 26-31 by the way). Tyler Thigpen was held to 17/29 for 148 net yards, zero TDs and one interception in the Bears' shutout victory two weeks ago.

This is a bad matchup for Stanton and company as the Lions try to adjust to a third starter's cadence and timing while facing a hated divisional rival with a solid pass D.

Weather: Inside the dome at Ford Field, weather won't be a factor in this game.

DET Injuries: none
MIN Injuries: none


Houston Texans Passing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

'We suck as an offense,' Andre Johnson said after the Texan's most recent loss. 'That's pretty much it.' Case Keenum has faded after a hopeful start, going from 350 yards and three TDs passing back in Week nine to a woeful 18/34 for 169 yards, zero TDs and one interception last week vs. then 1-9 Jacksonville. At the end of the game both Jacksonville and Houston were 2-9 as the Texans lost 6-13. Johnson saw six targets but only reeled in 2/36/0, while tight end Ryan Griffin led the team in receiving with 1/37/0 to his credit. The Texans' passing attack is in crisis as of Week 13. 'You want to find him some success,' head coach Gary Kubiak said of Keenum, confirming he'll start this week. 'He's going through a growth process.' Right now, it's a painful growth process - sorry, Texans' fans.

The Patriots' pass D is pretty good this year, ranking eighth in the NFL averaging 220.4 net yards allowed per game, with 18 TDs given up vs. 13 interceptions (tied for eighth in the NFL) and 34 sacks (tied for sixth) generated to date. Peyton Manning had a mere 19/36 for 132 net yards, two TDs an one interception thrown at gusty Gillette Stadium last week, while Cam Newton threw 19/28 for 197 net yards, three TDs and zero interceptions vs. New England two weeks ago.

This is a bad matchup for the Texans.

Weather: The weather service predicts a high of 49F with a low of 31F and a 20% chance for rain in the Baltimore area on Sunday. That sounds like great football weather to us.

HOU Injuries: none
BAL Injuries: none


Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Andrew Luck threw 23/36 for 232 yards, zero TDs and zero interceptions at Tennessee two weeks ago - he connected most with Coby Fleener (10 targets for 8/107/0 receiving), T.Y. Hilton (nine for 5/44/0), and Trent Richardson (five for 5/31/0) during the contest - nobody else had more than one reception during the game. Last week, he was blown out in Arizona 11-40, tossing a mere 20/39 for 159 yards, one TD and one interception. Coby Fleener (eight targets for 4/55/1 receiving) led the team in receiving that day, while T.Y. Hilton was second on the team with nine targets for 5/38/0 receiving, and LaVon Brazill was third with five targets for 3/35/0. Luck has been on a downwards trajectory over the past few weeks, going from 353 yards passing vs. St. Louis dwon to last week's 159 yards - we'll see if he can bounce back against the Titans here in Week 13.

The Titans didn't sack rookie Matt McGloin at all last week and allowed 19/32 for 260 net yards, one TD and one interception to the Raiders. To date, the Titans are ranked eighth in the NFL averaging 217.4 net passing yards allowed per game, with a stingy eight passing scores given up vs nine interceptions generated - the Titans are the stingiest pass defenders in the NFL when it comes to scoring passes allowed.

Luck has slipped into a downwards spiral over the past three weeks, and the Titans aren't likely to give him a boost - advantage, Tennessee.

Weather: Inside the RCA Dome, conditions should be perfect to play football.

IND Injuries: none
TEN Injuries: none


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense at Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Chad Henne led his team to a 'W' last week, but he didn't score a TD in the passing phase of the game, throwing 23/32 for 239 yards passing, zero TDs and zero interceptions (he was sacked four times for -24 yards). Cecil Shorts III led the team with 11 targets for 8/71/0 receiving, followed by Ace Sanders (five for 4/61/0) and Maurice Jones-Drew (six for 6/60/0). The Jaguars' passing attack isn't hard to predict, but Shorts, Sanders and Jones-Drew made it work last week.

The Browns' pass D ranks fifth in the NFL averaging 208.4 net passing yards allowed per game, with 18 passing scores given up vs. eight interceptions and 31 sacks to their credit (tied for 22nd- and 14th-ranked, respectively). Ben Roethlisberger wasn't sacked last week and he put up 22/34 for 217 yards passing, two TDs and zero interceptions thrown. Two weeks ago, the Bengals were limited to 14/28 for 118 net yards, three TDs and two interceptions thrown.

Henne and company face a bad matchup on the road to Cleveland this week.

Weather: Cleveland Browns stadium should see a high of 34F with a low of 29F and a 20% chance for rain on Sunday. Cold, but not arctic, conditions shouldn't adversely affect either team, unless a storm blows through.

JAX Injuries: none
CLE Injuries: none


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense vs Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Brady Quinn is making the Chiefs' fans wax nostalgic for the glory days of Elvis Grbac (326/547 for 4,169 yards, 28 TDs and 14 interceptions back in 2000, when the Chiefs posted a 7-9 season) - it's bad when a 7-9 season looks good compared to where you are...

Anyways, Quinn isn't reminding anyone of the Trent Green heyday in K.C. - to date, he's posted 49/84 for 434 yards passing, ZERO TDs and four interceptions over five games played. Yup, zero TDs over five games played in. Enough said.

Look, the Panthers' pass D isn't anything special (220.9 net yards allowed per game this year, 11th in the NFL, with 13 pass TDs given up vs. eight interceptions generated), but they can handle inept passers like Nick Foles (16/21 for 107 net yards, zero TDs or interceptions on Monday Night Football this week) - or Brady Quinn.

This is a bad matchup for long-suffering Chiefs fans.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a high of 38F with a low of 22F on Sunday, and a 30% chance for precipitation (that could mean rain, sleet, or snow - or a mix of all 3). Wind conditions in this stadium can be extreme at this time of year - owners of Broncos or Chiefs will want to check a short-term forecast near the end of the week before setting their lineups.

KC Injuries: none
DEN Injuries: none


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense at Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Brad Johnson was modestly productive vs. Chicago in their first game of the series (week 3), tossing 21/31 for 194 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions. Since then, he's been pretty blah in fantasy terms, with 234/373 for 2410 yards, 8 TDs and 10 interceptions passing to date. Last week, though, Johnson had an outstanding game, with 27/41 for 271 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions to his credit vs. Arizona. Marcus Robinson led the team with 7/82/1 receiving, while Billy McMullen (2/15/1) and TE Jeff Dugan (2/5/1) handled the other TD passes. Johnson got in the groove last week, but most teams do that against the Cardinals.

The Bears are not very giving in the passing phase of the game, allowing an average of 163.1 yards per game on average (2nd in the NFL) - they are tied for 2nd-least passing scores allowed to date, with only 8 surrendered. Over the past 3 weeks, the Bears average 174.6 rushing yards allowed per game, with 4 sacks and 6 interceptions during that span. Last week, Tom Brady could squeeze in 22/33 for 269 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions against Chicago - they are usually harder on their opponents in the yardage department.

Johnson is a mediocre QB with a bland supporting cast, while the Bears bring a top-notch unit to the table. In Soldier Field, this is a bad matchup for the Vikings - Johnson has pitched one outstanding game all year; it just happened to be last week against the inferior Cardinals.

Weather: Inside the dome at Ford Field, weather won't be a factor in this game.

MIN Injuries: none
DET Injuries: none


New York Giants Passing Offense vs Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

12/26 for 189 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception was enough to put Eli Manning and the Giants over the top against the Cowboys back in week 7 - Plaxico Burress (2/94/1) and Jeremy Shockey (2/32/1) hauled in the TDs that day. Since then, the Giants' receiving corps has lost Amani Toomer to injury, and Manning has slowed down during November as his receivers have been draped with coverage. Last week, Jeremy Shockey suffered a compound dislocation of his left ring finger bone, which had to be sewn back into the hand after it poked out through the skin - he played with a numb hand and still pulled down 5/39/0, but he's not 100% healthy right now. Plaxico Burress caught the TD with 4/44/1, helping Manning en route to a 18/28 for 143 yards, 1 TD and 2 interception outing. The Giants' pass attack has faltered of late (Manning has posted 51/101 for 494 yards, 2 TDs and 6 interceptions in his last 3 games).

The Cowboy's pass defense has not faltered - they have only allowed 34 total points over the last 3 weeks, and held Tampa to 10/20 for 120 yards, 0 TDs and 2 interceptions last week. Over the past 3 weeks, the Cowboys have averaged 188.6 passing yards allowed per game, while stealing 6 interceptions and posting 4 sacks during that time frame. This unit is playing very well heading into the stretch run to the playoffs.

This looks like a bad matchup for the fading Manning and company.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 45F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. Fans and players should enjoy great football weather, as long as the forecast holds up.

NYG Injuries: none
DAL Injuries: none


New York Jets Passing Offense at New England Patriots Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Mark Sanchez struggled mightily the last time he faced the Bills, throwing five interceptions and zero TDs (10/29 for 119 yards). Since the week six disaster, Sanchez has run hot and cold, and enters this game in a slump - he's thrown two TDs and seven interceptions over the past three weeks, with 13/17 for 154 yards, zero TDs and one interception most recently, vs. Carolina. Sanchez also tweaked a knee during the game, which may be an issue for him during practices this week: 'I know he's sore, so we'll see how that goes,' head coach Ryan said on Tuesday. 'It's a short week...but he finished the game. I thought he was still moving around pretty good, so hopefully he'll be 100 percent when we play.' During the slump, Jerricho Cotchery has been the best fantasy WR on the team, with 21 targets for 10/164/2 receiving, followed by Dustin Keller (17 for 13/164/0) and Braylon Edwards (14 for 7/129/0). Those three receivers are Sanchez's main targets entering December.

The Bill's pass D is currently ranked seventh in the NFL with an average of 197.8 net yards allowed per game, and they've given away only nine passing TDs this year, while landing at second in the league with 21 interceptions. Though the team has only 20 sacks so far (26th in the NFL), their DBs do a great job shutting down pass lanes and breaking on the ball. Just ask the Dolphins, who compiled 17/32 for 168 net yards, one TD and four interceptions vs. Buffalo last weekend (a 31-14 victory for the Bills).

Sanchez is a typical rookie QB, with some stinker games among his outings this year. The last time he faced Buffalo, he had a rough time, and he's cold as a winter day in New York City entering December. This looks like a bad matchup for the youngster.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 46F with a low of 23F and a 10% chance of precipitation on Sunday - pretty nice conditions for New England at this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

NYJ Injuries: none
NE Injuries: none


New York Jets Passing Offense at New England Patriots Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Mark Sanchez did what almost everyone does when they play New England this year - he threw for over 300 yards passing (26/36 for 301 yards, one TD and one interception), and he lost the game (19-49). It was the first time in three weeks that Sanchez had over 200 yards passing in a game (the Patriots are 29th in the NFL averaging 289.4 net passing yards allowed per game). Jeremy Kerley led the team in receiving with 10 targets for 7/86/0 receiving, but he injured a hamstring and didn't practice on Monday 11/26/12 as a result, while Dustin Keller (seven targets for 5/64/1 receiving) handled the only TD Sanchez threw. Clyde Gates suffered a concussion during the game and will be going through the NFL's concussion protocols this week - the Jets remain very thin at wide receiver due to injuries entering week 13.

The Cardinals' pass D averages 203.7 net passing yards allowed per game (fourth in the NFL), with 15 pass TDs given up balanced by 15 interceptions generated (fourth in the NFL) and 30 sacks put up to date (tied for fifth in the NFL). The Cardinals' pass D isn't the problem this year, folks. Matt Ryan didn't throw a TD and had five interceptions thrown vs. Arizona two weeks ago (28/46 for 296 net yards), while the Rams were held under 200 yards passing last week (8/18 for 194 net yards, two TDs and one interception thrown). The Jets are tied for 22nd in the NFL with 27 sacks allowed to date - Sanchez can expect pass pressure in his face this week.

Sanchez has trouble producing against solid pass defenses, and Arizona has a solid pass D. Advantage, Arizona. Also, the injury bug is biting the receiving corps here (again) - the Jets may have to play special-teamers at wide receiver this week if Kerley and Gates can't go.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 46F with a low of 23F and a 10% chance of precipitation on Sunday - pretty nice conditions for New England at this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

NYJ Injuries: none
NE Injuries: none


New York Jets Passing Offense at New England Patriots Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

'It's hard to be consistent when there's drops. That's another problem, another issue we thought we moved past, but apparently, we aren't there yet. Clearly, we have a ton of work to do.' Rex Ryan said after the game on Sunday. Geno Smith needs all the help he can get as pass rush pressure is rattling the rookie - last week, he eked out 9/22 for 127 yards, zero TDs and two interceptions thrown while taking three sacks for -22 yards, after Buffalo hit him for four sacks worth -30 yards two weeks ago (and Smith tossed three picks vs. zero TDs with 8/23 for 103 yards before giving way to backup Matt Simms (4/6 for 60 yards, one TD and zero interceptions). Right now, the Jets' passing attack is in tatters - Stephen Hill is being disciplined for poor play (he's had his playing time reduced and has zero catches over three games) and nobody is really making plays for Smith as coach Ryan noted above.

The Dolphins' pass defense swims in the middle of the NFL pod, averaging 234.7 net yards allowed per game (14th in the NFL) with 12 TDs given up vs. 14 interceptions and 32 sacks generated to date (tied for sixth in the NFL in interceptions and tied for 11th in sacks). The sacks are a worry for Smith as we've seen the past two weeks. Cam Newton was limited to 19/38 for 159 net yards passing, one TD and one interception at Miami last week, while Phillip Rivers threw 22/34 for 281 net yards, one TD and one interception there two weeks ago.

Given Smith's struggles against vigorous pass-rushing squads, this looks like a bad matchup for the Jets' struggling rookie starter.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 46F with a low of 23F and a 10% chance of precipitation on Sunday - pretty nice conditions for New England at this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

NYJ Injuries: none
NE Injuries: none


New York Jets Passing Offense at New England Patriots Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

3-38 loss to Buffalo. This, after a bye week and an uplifting 20-13 upset over Pittsburgh was enough to get Michael Vick sent back to the bench for Geno Smith, but the situation for New York is similar to the old conundrum 'Arsenic or Strychnine in your tea?' - pick your poison, Jets' fans. With 141/245 for 1,459 yards passing, seven TDs and 10 interceptions thrown over nine appearances this year (162.1 yards passing per appearance, on average), it's no wonder the Jets rank 32nd among all NFL pass offenses averaging 173.7 yards passing per game, with 10 passing TDs and 12 interceptions thrown this season. There is no reason for optimism about this unit going forwards. Sorry, Percy Harvin and Eric Decker owners (five targets for 1/2/0 receiving for Harvin last week; eight for 4/63/0 for Decker). Jeremy Kerley handled five targets for 5/66/0 receiving during the train wreck at Ford Field last Monday.

The Dolphins' pass D is ranked fourth in the NFL averaging 211.7 net yards allowed per game, with 18 pass TDs given up vs. 10 interceptions and 31 sacks generated to date (16th- and tied for fourth-ranked in the NFL, respectively). The Jets are 31st in the NFL with 36 sacks of Vick and Smith allowed this year - not good news for the on-again Smith.

This is a bad matchup for the down-the-drain Jets.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 46F with a low of 23F and a 10% chance of precipitation on Sunday - pretty nice conditions for New England at this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

NYJ Injuries: none
NE Injuries: none


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense at San Diego Chargers Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Bruce Gradkowski's bum shoulder limited him to 1/7 for 14 yards vs. San Diego in week five - he was replaced early in the game by Jason Campbell who threw 13/18 for 159 yards, one TD and zero interceptions during the balance of Oakland's 35-27 victory. Since that time, Gradkowski and Campbell have traded stints under center back and forth - during week 12, it was Gradkowski's turn to get the starting nod, and he responded with 17/32 for 252 yards, one TD and two interceptions - but suffered another third-degree shoulder separation and is now out for the season. Jacoby Ford is emerging as a star for the Raiders at WR (4/108/1 last week, with a long of 52 yards) - Louis Murphy handled six targets for 4/73/0, and Darren McFadden saw 10 passes for 7/63/0 last week. We'll see how Campbell responds to his one-week ride on the bench - so far this year he has 104/190 for 1,322 yards, seven TDs and six interceptions to his credit as a passer, good for 31st among all fantasy QBs this year.

The Chargers' pass D is second in the NFL entering week 13, averaging 192.5 net yards allowed per game, with just 11 passing TDs given up over 11 contests. The team has generated 13 interceptions (10th in the NFL) and 33 sacks (first in the league) this year. Oakland is 29th in the NFL with 33 sacks allowed to date - look for San Diego to get in Jason Campbell's face a lot this week. Peyton Manning was harassed for one sack, five other QB hits, and four interceptions last week (he threw 31/48 for 279 net yards in catch-up mode, with two TDs to his credit in the 14-36 loss to San Diego). These guys make even elite QBs like Manning miserable.

This is a bad matchup for on-again starter Jason Campbell and his crew of receivers.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a typically beautiful Southern California day, with a high of 64F with a low of 43F and a 10% chance for rain - weather shouldn't be a factor in this matchup.

OAK Injuries: none
SD Injuries: none


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Ben Roethlisberger was knocked out of the first BAL/PIT game due to a shoulder/clavicle injury, and his replacement, Byron Leftwich, suffered broken ribs in the next contest. So, as of week 12, the Steelers were down to third QB Charlie Batch. He struggled at Cleveland, with 19/33 for 188 yards passing, zero TDs and three interceptions thrown, doing without number one wide receiver Antonio Brown (again). With Batch under center, the Browns stacked the line of scrimmage and limited the Steelers' backs to 20/49/1 rushing while causing eight fumbles (of which the Steelers lost five). You don't win games in the NFL with eight turnovers in one game (which is what the Steelers did last week). Batch threw the ball to Emmanuel Sanders (eight targets for 5/75/0) and Heath Miller (eight for 6/63/0) the most - recent signee Plaxico Burress had two targets for zero receptions in his first game back in the black-and-yellow.

The early word on Roethlisberger this week is that he slept much better this week, even with his newborn son in the house. He has been able to hold his baby with his right arm, and doctors have determined his rib has healed enough that he doesn't risk further damage. His availability for the week 13 showdown with Baltimore is still up in the air as of Tuesday, November 27 - stay tuned to Footballguys.com's players in the news later in the week to see if Roethlisberger can practice - if he can't, the Steelers' offense is in sorry shape with Batch making his second start of the year.

The Ravens' pass D averages 244.4 net passing yards allowed per game (23rd in the NFL), but they are stingy with passing TDs having given away just nine all year long, vs. 11 interceptions (tied for 11th in the NFL) and 25 sacks (tied for 17th) generated to date. Philip Rivers managed just 23/36 for 189 net yards, one TD and one interception thrown vs. Baltimore last week (with six sacks taken for -39 yards). Pittsburgh is 13th in the NFL with 23 sacks taken to date.

If Batch is the starter for Pittsburgh, rate this bad matchup due to his deficit of NFL-level skills at this point in his career - if Roethlisberger makes it back to play, rate it neutral as we're uncertain how close his throwing arm will be to 100% healthy (and the receiving corps remains banged up).

Weather: Heinz Field should see a high of 42F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday - a nice, crisp day to play football is on tap for this matchup.

PIT Injuries: none
CIN Injuries: none


Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Seattle and San Francisco are knotted up at 7-4 behind divisional leader Arizona (9-2) - this is the first of two scheduled clashes between these divisional rivals (with profound playoff implications for both), which will go down in Levi's Stadium on Thanksgiving night.

Russell Wilson has been throwing for modest totals over the last few games - he has thrown for less than 200 yards passing in four of his last five starts, although he did get over that threshold (barely) last week, with 17/22 for 211 yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions. The counter-balance to the anemic passing numbers is that he's been over 70 yards rushing in three straight games, so depending on how your league scores rushing yards for quarterbacks, he may still be a viable fantasy quarterback. But, the lowly passing totals (and Seattle's spread-the-wealth philosophy when it comes to targets) have most of his receivers stuck in fantasy no-man's land. Aside from Marshawn Lynch (3/43/0 receiving vs. Arizona last week), it is likely that neither of the other two receivers that led the Seahawks in receiving last week - Ricardo Lockette (one target for 1/48/0 receiving) or Tony Moeaki (four for 4/34/0) were even started in your local fantasy league. There is little upside to starting a Seahawks' receiver at this point, as the pass distribution is so unpredictable.

The 49ers' pass D is ranked second in the NFL this year, averaging 207.2 net yards allowed per game, with 18 passing scores given out balanced by 16 interceptions (first in the NFL) and 22 sacks (tied for 22nd) to date. Washington's Robert Griffin III was held under 100 yards (net) last week, with 11/20 for 77 net yards passing, zero TDs with zero interceptions thrown, and five sacks taken for -29 yards. Two weeks ago Eli Manning was blown up for five interceptions thrown on the way to 22/45 for 265 net yards passing, with one TD and two sacks taken for -15 yards. The 49ers have been all over opposing quarterbacks lately, as you can see.

This looks like a bad matchup for the visiting Seahawks.

Weather: The forecast for Lincoln Financial Field calls for a high of 46F with a low of 28F and a 20% chance for precipitation. As this game is on Monday Night Football, expect the temperatures to be on the low end of the scale - the cold will make handling the ball more tricky than usual for both teams.

SEA Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: none


San Francisco 49ers Passing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Seattle and San Francisco are knotted up at 7-4 behind divisional leader Arizona (9-2) - this is the first of two scheduled clashes between these divisional rivals (with profound playoff implications for both), which will go down in Levi's Stadium on Thanksgiving night.

Colin Kaepernick had a solid (but not spectacular) game passing the football against the Washington defense - 20/29 for 256 yards, one TD and one interception thrown, with two sacks taken for -10 yards - adding 9/14/0 rushing to the team effort. It was the fifth straight game in which he's thrown one TD and also the fifth straight game in which he's rushed for less than 25 yards. This year, games like this are what we've come to expect out of Kaepernick. Respectable, but not spectacular. He is back to relying on Anquan Boldin (12 targets for 9/137/1 receiving this week; 32 targets for 20/285/2 receiving over the past three games) and Michael Crabtree (seven targets for 5/58/0 receiving last week; 23 for 11/205/1 over the past three contests) as his top receivers - the dalliance with Brandon Lloyd and Steve Johnson fantasy owners saw earlier in the year is mostly a thing of the past. Boldin is the best option for fantasy owners entering Week 13. Vernon Davis has seen 15 targets over the last three games, but has only converted 5/37/0 and has faded from relevance as a fantasy tight end.

The Seahawks' pass D ate up the Larry-Fitzgerald-less Cardinals on Sunday, holding Arizona to 14/26 for 140 net yards passing, zero TDs and one interception thrown, with three sacks taken for -9 yards. Alex Smith only attempted 16 passes two weeks ago (11/16 for 108 net yards passing, zero TDs or interceptions, with zero sacks taken) - lately, the Seahawks' pass D is back to their shut-down ways of 2013. They rank third in the NFL averaging 208.5 net passing yards allowed per game, with 15 passing scores given up vs. seven interceptions (23rd in the NFL) and 16 sacks (29th) generated this season.

Kaepernick and company have some tough customers arriving at Levi's Stadium on Thanksgiving night. Advantage, Seattle.

Weather: The forecast for Monster Park calls for a high of 57F with a low of 44F and a 10% chance for rain - a very nice day is on tap for this matchup.

SF Injuries: none
ARI Injuries: none


St. Louis Rams Passing Offense vs Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Sam Bradford has averaged less than 200 yards passing per game during November, with 75/132 for 794 yards, three TDs and three interceptions to his credit over four games. Brandon Lloyd is the only viable fantasy player on this unit, as he has caught all three TDs available during the last four games, with 46 targets for 19/269/3 receiving - Brandon Gibson (22 for 11/121/0) and Austin Pettis (18 for 12/131/0) are the other receivers with more than 100 yards to their credit during the four game span in question.

The 49ers are ranked 21st in the NFL this year averaging 241.2 net yards allowed per game, with 15 passing scores given up vs. 15 interceptions (tied for fifth in the NFL) and 25 sacks (tied for 14th) generated. St. Louis is dead last in the league with 39 sacks allowed, by the way - look for the 49ers to get after Bradford early and often in this game. Last week, Joe Flacco was limited to 15/23 for 161 net yards (zero sacks), one TD and zero interceptions thrown, while Arizona managed 14/35 for 149 net yards, one TD and three interceptions at San Francisco two weeks ago. As you can see, the defense is clamping down on opposing passers of late - they are playing better than their season average would indicate.

Bradford is struggling this year, while his divisional rivals' defense is jelling in time for the stretch run into the playoffs. Advantage, San Francisco.

Weather: This game is to be played inside the Edward Jones Dome - weather will not be a factor for either team.

STL Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: none




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