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Week 8 Passing Matchups

[ARI] [BAL] [BUF] [CAR] [CHI] [CIN] [CLE] [DAL] [DEN] [DET] [GB] [HOU] [JAX] [KC] [MIA] [MIN] [NE] [NO] [NYG] [OAK] [PHI] [PIT] [SD] [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.


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense at St. Louis Rams Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Byron Leftwich went into the bye week on an up note, with a win in his pocket vs. the stout Steelers (19/35 for 177 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception). He spread the ball around during that game, hitting 7 different receivers (Reggie Williams led with in yards with 3/50/0 including a long of 41, while rookie Matt Jones hauled in a TD (2/20/1). It's not just Jimmy Smith's show anymore, folks (3/32/0 before the bye). This year, Leftwich is the 20th ranked fantasy QB in points per game, with 98/176 for 1205 yards, 8 TDs and 4 interceptions passing: Smith still anchors the receiving corps with 23/404/4 receiving on 48 targets to date, to rank 14th among all fantasy WRs in points per game.

Aaron Brooks slapped down 18/39 for 230 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception vs. the Rams last week - they average 245.6 passing yards given up per game this season. Even worse, the Rams are tied with Tennessee for 2nd-most passing scores allowed to date, with 14 given away. Over the past 3 weeks, they average 233 passing yards allowed per game (a marginal improvement over their season average). Their defense has given away 1128 total yards during that span, near the bottom of the NFL - with 12 total TDs allowed in 3 weeks, next to last (Houston has allowed 14 TDs in 3 weeks). The Rams field a weak defense, that is vulnerable in both phases of the game. At least their defensive front puts pressure on opposing QBs (20 sacks, tied for 6th in the NFL).

Leftwich and company should be able to make good things happen against this vulnerable pass defense. Advantage, Jacksonville.

Weather: This game will be indoors, at the Edward Jones Dome - weather won't be an issue.

JAX Injuries: RB Fred Taylor (Probable)
STL Injuries: DB Travis Fisher (Probable), DB Chris Johnson (Questionable)


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense at San Diego Chargers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Trent Green finally found some chances to throw at Tony Gonzales last week - Green put up 20/34 for 289 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions, while Gonzales hauled in 7/67/0 during the game - no other receiver had more than 3 receptions (Dante Hall, 3/39/0). As usual this year, the lack of passing scores is depressing all the Chiefs' receivers fantasy value - Green has tossed 35/59 for 470 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions over the past 3 weeks (2 games). In the red zone, Holmes and Johnson are taking it to the house, not the receivers.

The Chargers' secondary is not feared, allowing an average of 247.7 passing yards per game (29th in the NFL) this season, with 8 passing scores surrendered to date. They are tied for 6th in the NFL with 20 sacks, though, so one thing they are doing is getting to the opposing QBs with regularity. The Chiefs have only surrendered 10 sacks so far during 2005, though - they aren't particularly vulnerable to the pass rush. The Chargers allowed 35/54 for 287 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions to the Eagles last week - this secondary is not feared.

The Chiefs don't rely on their passing game very heavily, but when they do choose to pass they should enjoy some success. Don't expect a blizzard of TDs, though, and you won't be disappointed.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium is forecast to have a high of 76F with a low of 55F and a 20% chance of rain - another beautiful day in Southern California, what a surprise!

KC Injuries: WR Samie Parker (Questionable)
SD Injuries: LB Randall Godfrey (Questionable), LB Donnie Edwards (Questionable), LB Steve Foley (Questionable), DB Sammy Davis (Questionable), DB Drayton Florence (Questionable)


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Tampa lost starting QB Brian Griese for the season due to a knee injury that requires surgery, and he's been placed on IR. That means that Chris Simms will get his shot at being a starting NFL quarterback in the coming weeks. His best game came during week 17 of last year vs. Arizona: 16/32 for 224 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions. He's in his 3rd year as a pro and has been steeped in Gruden's offense - it's now or never for Simms in Tampa - no pressure. "I think, all and all, I'm just a lot more relaxed. Last year, I was ready to go and there's no doubt in my mind I would have performed well last year. I think this year I just feel better out there. I know what to expect. Even (Sunday), when I went in, I felt extremely relaxed. No jitters, no happy feet. I felt like I was just going to sit in there and make some throws down the field." The team hopes that Simms is as ready as he says he is - we're about to find out, folks.

The Bucs couldn't have asked for an easier matchup to break in their new starting QB and get him up to speed - the 49ers defense is pathetic. They allowed 52 points total and 14/21 for 260 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions passing to the Redskins last week. They are dead last in the NFL, averaging 328.5 passing yards surrendered per game (1st place Baltimore gives up 152.8 per contest, by contrast) and are dead last in the NFL in passing scores allowed, with 15 given away to date. By the way, they are also second-worst in rushing TDs allowed, with 10 so far - teams pretty much score at will on this defense.

Simms might look like the second coming of Dan Fouts against the 49ers' scrubs.

Weather: The forecast for the Bay area calls for a high of 66F with a low of 53F and a 20% chance for rain. A great day for a football game is coming up for the 49'ers faithful - they'll witness another...well, lets not get into that.

TB Injuries: RB Cadillac Williams (Questionable)
SF Injuries: LB Saleem Rasheed (Out), DB Ahmed Plummer (Out)


Washington Redskins Passing Offense at New York Giants Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Mark Brunell has silenced his critics (and Patrick Ramsey's supporters) with his play this year. He stands at #3 overall amongst fantasy QBs with 116/198 for 1492 yards, 12 TDs and only 2 interceptions so far, and has tossed 68/114 for 905 yards, 8 TDs and 0 interceptions over the past 3 weeks, including his 13/20 for 252 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions performance last week. He's nuclear hot right now, folks. So is Santana Moss - 5/112/1 receiving last week; 23/401/3 over the past 3 weeks; 38/743/5 this season - he's the top fantasy WR this year. RB Mike Sellers has quietly snarfed up 4 TD passes to date, including 2/21/2 last week vs. San Francisco - he's been involved around the goal line quite a bit this year and might be a decent addition in a basic scoring league.

This week, the Redskins division rival lurks awaiting their arrival at Giants' Stadium. However, the Giants' pass defense is not very good (CB William Peterson keeps missing games due to his bad back), ranking 31st in the NFL allowing an average of 295.8 passing yards per game, with 9 TDs surrendered to date. Last week, Jake Plummer hit them for less, 18/29 for 194 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions but the Broncos rushed for 33/191/1 - Denver didn't need to pass a lot. Over the past 3 weeks, the Giants have averaged 243.5 passing yards allowed per game (2 games, with 312 given up to Drew Bledsoe two weeks ago) - they just aren't very tough in this phase of the game.

Brunell is super hot, the Giants are very giving week in and week out - advantage, Washington.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 64F with a low of 46F and a 10% chance for precipitation on Sunday - weather shouldn't be an issue for either team in those conditions.

WAS Injuries: QB Mark Brunell (Probable)
NYG Injuries: DL Michael Strahan (Probable), LB Carlos Emmons (Questionable), DB William Peterson (Out)


Buffalo Bills Passing Offense at New England Patriots Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Kelly Holcomb is nothing if not consistent: since assuming the starting role, he has thrown: 20/26 for 169 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions; 18/26 for 172 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions; and 19/27 for 159 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions. He's going to toss somewhere in the neighborhood of 165 yards and 1-2 TDs per game more often than not. Since Holcomb got under center, Eric Moulds has seen 24 targets and Lee Evans has had 14 balls come his way (18/158/2 receiving for Moulds, 19th at his position in fantasy points per game; 9/106/1 receiving for Evans, 39th among WRs over the past 3 weeks). The switch to Holcomb has been especially good for Moulds owners.

The Patriots are weak in this phase of the game, allowing an average of 228 passing yards per game this season (24th in the NFL) and giving up 12 passing scores to date (3rd most in the league). Over the past 3 weeks (2 games), they've averaged 269 passing yards allowed per contest, with 17/24 for 262 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions going to Jake Plummer before the bye week. This group is sub-par, folks.

Holcomb isn't explosive, but he is effective. Expect him to keep his usual pace against the soft Patriots (he might even crack 200 yards passing).

Weather: Gilette Stadium expects a high of 61F with a low of 40F and a 10% chance for rain on Sunday - a cool, crisp autumn day will be the backdrop for this matchup. Neither team should have issues due to the weather if the forecast holds up.

BUF Injuries: none
NE Injuries: DL Richard Seymour (Questionable), DL Jarvis Green (Questionable), DL Marquise Hill (Questionable), LB Larry Izzo (Questionable), LB Willie McGinest (Questionable), DB Duane Starks (Questionable), DB James Sanders (Questionable), DB Randall Gay (Questionable), DB Tyrone Poole (Doubtful)


Carolina Panthers Passing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Jake Delhomme is having a solid but not spectacular fantasy season so far, with 99/170 for 1336 yards, 10 TDs and 8 interceptions to date (16th among fantasy QBs in fantasy points per game). However, Steve Smith is an uber-stud in fantasy circles at his position, garnering 39/596/7 of Delhomme's completions (2nd fantasy WR in fantasy points per game to date) - he's the home-run and red-zone threat on this attack. The next closest WR on the team, Ricky Proehl, has 10/143/1 - RB DeShaun Foster is 2nd on the team with 12 receptions for 188 yards. Delhomme had 15/25 for 236 yards, 2 TDs and 3 interceptions to his credit before being knocked out of the game vs. Detroit (Chris Weinke sealed the comeback win with 5/7 for 47 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions in relief of Delhomme). After a bye week of rest, the regular starters should all be ready to go this weekend, though.

Brett Favre torched the Viking's secondary for 28/36 for 315 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions last week, the majority of his success coming in the first half. Given the talent on this squad (CBs Antoine Winfield and Fred Smoot, Ss Darren Sharper (FS) and Corey Chavous (SS)), you would expect better performance. However, the team is tied for 4th-most passing scores surrendered this year (with 11), and rank 15th in the NFL allowing an average of 204.5 passing yards per game. For whatever reason, the Vikings' secondary is not getting the job done.

Delhomme and Smith have a good shot at a solid game vs. the underperforming Vikings.

Weather: Bank of America Stadium expects a high of 66F with a low of 43F and a 20% chance of rain - a lovely day is on tap for the Piedmont region.

CAR Injuries: RB Rod Smart (Probable), RB Brad Hoover (Probable), RB DeShaun Foster (Questionable), WR Karl Hankton (Probable), WR Keary Colbert (Questionable)
MIN Injuries: DL Spencer Johnson (Probable), LB Napoleon Harris (Probable), LB Dontarrious Thomas (Questionable)


Cincinnati Bengals Passing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Carson Palmer had a hard time moving the ball vs. divisional-rival Pittsburgh - 21/36 for 227 yards, 0 TDs and 2 interceptions described his frustrating day. He was very close to scoring on a pass to Chad Johnson, but Johnson touched the stripe with his hand after catching the ball, placing him out of the back of the end-zone. Johnson saw 8 targets during the game, and newly-returned T.J. Houshmandzadeh received 11 looks after missing 2 games with a hand injury (4/94/0 for Johnson and 7/75/0 for Houshmandzadeh on the day). Over the past 3 weeks Palmer is the 4th ranked fantasy QB in fantasy points per game (10/102 for 738 yards, 4 TDs and 2 interceptions) - he just had an off-game against a very tough defense.

Green Bay opened the game last week vs. Daunte Culpepper and company very well, but collapsed in the second half. When it was all said and done, Culpepper had notched 23/31 for 280 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions against the Pack. Over the past 3 weeks (2 games), Green Bay has allowed an average of 207 passing yards per game; on the season, they average 205 per contest (17th in the NFL). They have also coughed up 11 passing scores, tied for 4th most in the NFL at this point. This is not one of the stronger secondaries in the league.

Palmer and company have been very impressive most weeks, and they have home field advantage at their back. The reeling Packers have been erratic pass defenders at best - advantage Cincinnati.

Weather: The forecast for Paul Brown Stadium calls for a high of 60F and a low of 39F with a 10% chance of rain - crisp fall weather, ideal for playing (and watching) football.

CIN Injuries: RB Rudi Johnson (Probable), WR Tab Perry (Questionable)
GB Injuries: DL Cullen Jenkins (Probable), LB Nail Diggs (Questionable), LB Robert Thomas (Questionable), DB Jason Horton (Probable), DB Nick Collins (Questionable), DB Earl Little (Questionable)


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense at Houston Texans Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Trent Dilfer and company have tanked in recent weeks (10/19 for 73 yards, 0 TDs and 3 interceptions last week marking his worst outing to date - 2 weeks ago he wasn't much better with 16/30 for 147 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception). Basically, Dilfer and all of his receivers are stone cold. Braylon Edwards did play last week (recovering from his ailing elbow), but didn't help Dilfer out much (3/30/0) though he did lead the team. Right now, we suggest looking elsewhere for your fantasy starters, folks.

The Texans don't scare anybody in this phase of the game, having a mere 2 interceptions to their credit so far during 2005, and only 9 sacks (t-29th in the NFL) generated. They aren't taking the ball away, they aren't pressuring the opposing QB. To date they rank 20th in the NFL allowing an average of 213.5 passing yards per game (they are dead last in rushing yards allowed per game, by the way), with 9 scores given up so far. Basically, opposing offenses can take their pick - rush (34/205/2 allowed to the Colts last week) or pass (21/27 for 237 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception for Peyton Manning last week) and have confidence they'll produce.

The Browns are in the doldrums passing the ball, but the Texans are... well, words fail to describe just how inept this team is: they are battling San Francisco for the 1st pick in next years' draft. We can't get very excited about the Browns but this is a relatively good matchup for Cleveland.

Weather: The forecast for Reliant Stadium calls for a high of 80F with a low of 57F and a 20% chance of rain. That sounds like great football weather to us.

CLE Injuries: RB Lee Suggs (Out)
HOU Injuries: DL Gary Walker (Questionable), LB Jason Babin (Questionable)


Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Drew Bledsoe was held in check by the Seahawks last week, managing 13/24 for 136 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions. The score went to Keyshawn Johnson (4/28/1), while Jason Witten (2/47/0) and Terry Glenn (4/35/0) also helped chip away at the Seattle secondary. It wasn't a very explosive weekend to have a Cowboy on your roster (Dallas lost 13-10). Over the past 3 weeks, Bledsoe is the 7th ranked fantasy QB in the land, with 63/96 for 737 yards, 5 TDs and 3 interceptions during that span. Don't let one sub-par game scare you off: Bledsoe's trio of receivers - Terry Glenn, Keyshawn Johnson and Jason Witten - have been a very reliable starting lineup of receivers this season (13th, 22nd, and 9th at their positions in fantasy points per game this year).

The Titans were down to their 3rd string QB by the end of the game on Sunday, and had zero experience at WR, so take the Cardinal's results in this phase last week in that context - they "held" Tennessee to 26/45 for 269 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception during the game. That's pretty pathetic, considering how few weapons the Titans had left in the arsenal on last Sunday. The Cards are 19th in the NFL allowing 207.5 passing yards per game on average, with 6 passing TDs given up to date. Over the past 3 weeks, they've been much weaker than that, with an average of 250.5 passing yards allowed per contest (2 games). Some weeks the Cardinals play well, but against quality offenses they aren't very impressive.

Expect Bledsoe and company to get back on track against the visiting Cardinals. Advantage, Dallas.

Weather: Texas Stadium expects a high of 70F with a low of 54F and a 30% chance of rain. If the precipitation comes down heavily at game time, footing and ball handling could become issues for both teams.

DAL Injuries: RB Julius Jones (Questionable), WR Patrick Crayton (Out)
ARI Injuries: LB Karlos Dansby (Probable), DB Eric Green (Probable), DB Antrel Rolle (Out)


Houston Texans Passing Offense vs Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Look, we'll just let the statistics speak for themselves (Top WR Andre Johnson has been sidelined with a sore knee for weeks now, remember) - Carr was sacked 5 more times last week. He has been sacked 35 times so far this year, worst in the NFL. He threw for 6/9 for 48 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception last week - and he played the entire game. The big surprise here is the TD pass to Jabar Gaffney (4/25/1) - words can't describe how pathetic the Texans' pass offense is right now.

The Browns sport the league's 23rd ranked pass defense, allowing an average of 222.8 passing yards per game (7 scores to date) - and they lost starter Gary Baxter to a serious pectoral injury last week, so Leigh Bodden will be stepping into the rotation (he's been on and off the active list this season due to injuries himself). The bottom line here is that the Browns' secondary is worse this week than it was last week, personnel-wise. Speaking of last week, the injury-depleted Lions managed 22/34 for 210 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions vs. Cleveland en route to a 13-10 victory over the Browns.

The Browns are struggling, but they are better than what the pathetic Texans have to offer. We can't get excited about this passing game at all but this at least is one of the better matchups they'll face.

Weather: The forecast for Reliant Stadium calls for a high of 80F with a low of 57F and a 20% chance of rain. That sounds like great football weather to us.

HOU Injuries: WR Andre Johnson (Questionable)
CLE Injuries: DL Orpheus Roye (Probable), DL David McMillan (Probable), DB Daylon McCutcheon (Probable)


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense at Carolina Panthers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Culpepper and company suffered through a rash of fumbles during the first half last week, and the Vikings put up a goose egg on the scoreboard despite his efficient (if not impressive) 5/6 for 46 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions. However, in the second half the team pulled their act together and Culpepper ended the day with 23/31 for 280 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions, adding 7/41/0 rushing (and a come-back victory). Mewelde Moore (4/60/1) and Marcus Robinson (3/60/1) pulled down the TDs. For a week, at least, Culpepper ranked where most fantasy owners expected him to be all year (#1 among all fantasy QBs). We'll see if the Vikings can build on their momentum this week.

The Panthers sport a sub-standard pass defense, averaging 242.8 yards allowed per game (27th in the NFL), with 9 scores surrendered vs. 7 interceptions generated. They are tied for 23rd in the league with 11 sacks to date. Generally speaking, this is not a feared pass defense. During their last game, the soon-to-be-benched Joey Harrington tossed 17/28 for 201 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception (but we're sorry for Harrington's sake to say that those numbers represented one of his best games of the year).

Culpepper and his receivers got a boost last week - they should be able to build on their momentum vs. the weak Panther secondary.

Weather: Bank of America Stadium expects a high of 66F with a low of 43F and a 20% chance of rain - a lovely day is on tap for the Piedmont region.

MIN Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: DL Julius Peppers (Probable), LB Dan Morgan (Questionable), DB Chris Gamble (Probable)


New Orleans Saints Passing Offense vs Miami Dolphins Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Aaron Brooks racked up 18/39 for 230 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception against the Rams last week, despite not having Joe Horn due to his ongoing hamstring woes. In Horn's absence, Az-Zahir Hakim has excelled, with 6/100/1 receiving on 9 targets, making it 30 passes that have sailed to Hakim over the past 3 weeks. Donte Stallworth has seen 24 opportunities during that span - Hakim has put up 17/293/1 (9th best fantasy WR during those 3 weeks); Stallworth has snagged 12/142/2 to rank 23rd in the NFL during that span. The Saints may not win every game, but Brooks seems to keep their team competitive and potentially explosive week in and week out.

The Dolphins are in the middle of the pack when it comes to pass D this year, allowing an average of 204.8 passing yards per game to their opponents (16th in the NFL) with 8 scores given up to date. The Chiefs didn't throw for a TD against them last week (20/34 for 289 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions were Trent Green's totals last week); over the past 3 weeks they've averaged 192 passing yards allowed per contest. They have 15 sacks to date, tied for 13th in the NFL. They are not a great pass D, but they are not horrible, either.

Brooks is a solid NFL QB with decent weapons at his disposal - if Horn can get back to 100%, Brooks has exceptional targets to throw at - while Miami is only so-so at defending vs. the pass. Advantage, New Orleans.

Weather: Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge expects a high of 77F and a low of 49F with a 10% chance of rain - it should be a nice day to play football.

NO Injuries: RB Aaron Stecker (Questionable), WR Donte Stallworth (Questionable), WR Az-zahir Hakim (Questionable), WR Joe Horn (Questionable), TE Ernie Conwell (Questionable)
MIA Injuries: DL Kevin Carter (Questionable), DL Jason Taylor (Questionable), LB Junior Seau (Questionable), DB Sam Madison (Questionable), DB Lance Schulters (Questionable)


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense at Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

LaMont Jordan is heating up, which helps reduce the burden on Kerry Collins' shoulders (19/27 for 261 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions passing last week) - the credible threat to run also helped shake loose Randy Moss (though limited by injuries to only part-time participation) for a 22 yard scoring strike (3/43/1 on the day). It looks like the Raiders have finally got their offense in gear. Collins is the 18th ranked fantasy QB over the past 3 weeks (2 games) with 43/75 for 553 yards passing, 1 TD and 1 interception during that span. What's good for the team in the NFL hasn't enhanced Collins' fantasy value.

Over the past 3 weeks, the Titans have given up an average of 160.6 passing yards per game (12/28 for 140 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception to Josh McCown last week). They average 198.7 passing yards allowed per game this year (13th in the NFL) - but they have surrendered 14 passing scores to date, 2nd most in the NFL, and they have only generated 4 interceptions this season. They do get after the opposing QB, with 22 sacks to date (4th in the NFL to date) - the Raiders are in the middle of the NFL pack with 14 sacks allowed so far this year.

The Titans don't allow a lot of passing yards this year, especially recently, but they do give up 6-pointers in bunches. Considering Collins' arm and his array of weapons at WR, expect some scoring from the Oakland passing attack this week.

Weather: The Coliseum in Nashville expects a high of 66F with a low of 41F and a 10% chance for rain on Sunday - ideal football weather, in other words.

OAK Injuries: RB Zack Crockett (Probable), WR Randy Moss (Questionable)
TEN Injuries: DL Albert Haynesworth (Questionable), LB Peter Sirmon (Questionable), DB Andre Woolfolk (Questionable), DB Vincent Fuller (Out)


Philadelphia Eagles Passing Offense at Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Donovan McNabb fought through his ongoing groin injury and played well enough to notch another "W" last week, with 35/54 for 287 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions to his credit. T.O. pulled in the score (7/53/1), while TE L.J. Smith (6/63/0) and RB Brian Westbrook (10/75/0) assisted. McNabb is obviously going to get every opportunity to succeed as the team is, at this point in the season, virtually ignoring the rushing game (only 14 attempts last week) - McNabb's fantasy owners are smiling at that prospect. In fact, over the past 3 weeks, McNabb has 80 passing attempts in 2 games, while Brian Westbrook has 16 carries. All that throwing hasn't led to many fantasy points in recent weeks, though, as McNabb ranks 28th among fantasy QBs in fantasy points per game, with 48/80 for 418 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions over the past 3 weeks.

Denver's secondary has been more down than up lately, allowing 835 passing yards over the past 3 weeks (278.3 passing yards per game, on average) - they proved unable to stop the Giants' two minute attack last week, surrendering the game winning TD to Amani Toomer at the end of the game. Manning hit them for 23/42 for 214 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception during the contest. This season, the Broncos are 26th in the NFL averaging 240.6 passing yards allowed per game (9 TDs given away) - they are obviously heading in the wrong direction as we hit the middle of the NFL season.

The Eagles are pass happy, while the Broncos' secondary is porous. Home field advantage will help the Broncos, but not enough to even the odds. Advantage, Philly.

Weather: Mile High Stadium expects a high of 59F with a low of 38F and a 30% chance of precipitation on Sunday. At this time of year on the high plains, precipitation could be rain, sleet, or snow - field conditions may cause problems for both teams if the weather turns ugly around game time.

PHI Injuries: QB Donovan McNabb (Probable), RB Ryan Moats (Probable), WR Terrell Owens (Probable), TE Stephen Spach (Probable)
DEN Injuries: LB Keith Burns (Probable), DB Nick Ferguson (Probable), DB Champ Bailey (Probable), DB Lenny Walls (Questionable), DB Sam Brandon (Doubtful)


San Diego Chargers Passing Offense vs Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

With a non-existent running game last week, Drew Brees and company came within 3 points of a victory anyway, due to his 23/40 for 299 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interception effort. If Reche Caldwell (4/97/0 subbing for Eric Parker) hadn't been stripped in the game's waning moments, the Chargers could have walked away with a win. Antonio Gates (8/72/1) and Keenan McCardell (5/78/1) accounted for the Chargers' TDs last week. Brees is the 17th ranked fantasy QB over the past 3 weeks, with 57/95 for 682 yards, 4 TDs and 3 interceptions to his credit - in the unlikely event that Tomlinson is totally shut down again, Brees will rely on Gates and McCardell even more than normal.

The Chiefs are near the bottom of the league's pass defenses, ranking 30th allowing 263.7 passing yards per game, with 10 scores surrendered to date. They are 19th in the NFL with 13 sacks to their credit (San Diego has only allowed 12 sacks to date, in the middle of the NFL pack this year). Last week, the Chiefs clamped down on Miami, though, allowing only 12/31 for 202 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception (the TD came on a last-second heave at the end of the game, 77 yards to Chris Chambers). They did a great job, last week.

San Diego brings a talented stable of receivers to the table, and Drew Brees is one of the NFL's bright young stars at his position. We'll see if the Chiefs can live up to last week's solid game (our guess is they won't) - advantage, San Diego.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium is forecast to have a high of 76F with a low of 55F and a 20% chance of rain - another beautiful day in Southern California, what a surprise!

SD Injuries: TE Ryan Krause (Out)
KC Injuries: DL John Browning (Questionable), DL Ryan Sims (Out), DB Dexter McCleon (Questionable), DB Jerome Woods (Questionable)


Denver Broncos Passing Offense vs Philadelphia Eagles Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Jake Plummer continues to play efficient, but not explosive, football, with 18/29 for 194 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions to his credit last week. He's the 19th ranked fantasy QB over the past 3 weeks, with 45/78 545 passing yards, 4 TDs and 0 interceptions to his credit (11/21/0 rushing). Rod Smith has 11/197/1 during that span (25th fantasy WR); Ashley Lelie has snagged 9/150/1 (32nd fantasy WR); TE Jeb Putzier hauled in 7/82/0 (26th ranked fantasy TE). The Bronco's receivers aren't going to be top ten material with the current offensive configuration, but Smith and Lelie are worth starting in most 12 team leagues.

The Eagles' pass D ranks 22nd in the NFL allowing an average of 219.2 passing yards per game (9 scores allowed to date). Over the past 3 weeks, they've been softer, averaging 279.5 passing yards allowed per contest (2 games), with Drew Brees putting up 23/40 for 299 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions last week. They run in the middle of the NFL pack with 14 sacks - Denver is 4th best in that department this year, though, with only 9 sacks allowed so far.

The Eagles' pass defense is mediocre, while the Bronco's pass offense is efficient but not explosive - sounds even to us.

Weather: Mile High Stadium expects a high of 59F with a low of 38F and a 30% chance of precipitation on Sunday. At this time of year on the high plains, precipitation could be rain, sleet, or snow - field conditions may cause problems for both teams if the weather turns ugly around game time.

DEN Injuries: QB Jake Plummer (Probable)
PHI Injuries: DL Darwin Walker (Probable), DL Trent Cole (Probable), LB Jason Short (Doubtful)


Miami Dolphins Passing Offense at New Orleans Saints Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Gus Frerotte was off-pace last week, throwing for 11/29 yielding 125 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception. Sage Rosenfels heaved a 77 yard "prayer" that connected with Chris Chambers at the end of the game (Chambers snagged 2/88/1 during the game), but it was a fluky score in garbage time. Otherwise, the Dolphins' pass offense stunk up the place last week. Frerotte has been unimpressive during the past 3 weeks, with 53/105 for 618 yards, 2 TDs and 4 interceptions. Those numbers pretty much tell the tale for us.

The Saints rank 8th in the NFL this year, allowing an average of 175 passing yards per contest (but they have coughed up 9 passing scores to date). Part of their apparent success may be due to their super-soft defensive front - teams are electing to run the ball against New Orleans because they aren't good vs the rush. The bottom line in fantasy terms, though, is that opposing QBs haven't enjoyed a ton of success against this unit. Jamie Martin tossed 18/29 for 198 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions against the Saints last week.

A stumbling pass offense locks up with a middlin' pass defense in this matchup - neither has a big edge over the other in our opinion.

Weather: Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge expects a high of 77F and a low of 49F with a 10% chance of rain - it should be a nice day to play football.

MIA Injuries: WR David Boston (Questionable)
NO Injuries: DL Darren Howard (Questionable), DL Brian Young (Questionable), LB T.J. Slaughter (Questionable), DB Mel Mitchell (Questionable), DB Dwight Smith (Questionable)


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Billy Volek (18/32 for 198 passing yards, 1 TD and 1 interception) was knocked out of the game last week due to a concussion, so Matt Mauck was forced into action (8/13 for 71 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions). This week, the team expects McNair back in the lineup - but he doesn't have much in the way of WRs to throw at now that Drew Bennett is sidelined rehabbing his surgically repaired thumb. As expected, a tight end led the team in receiving yards last week (Erron Kinney, 5/60/0), while Tyrone Calico (6/51/0) and Brandon Jones (2/50/1) did their part in Bennett's absence.

The Raiders allowed 19/27 for 159 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions to the Bills last week, and lost a starting S (Derrick Gibson, dislocated wrist) and a starting CB (Charles Woodson, broken leg) in the process. Their secondary is much more inexperienced coming into this game than they were last week, with rookie Fabian Washington and Stanford Routt figuring to pick up Woodson's duties. The Raiders haven't been very good at pass D even with Gibson and Woodson, ranking 25th in the NFL averaging 228.2 passing yards allowed per game, with 9 scores surrendered vs. a measly 2 interceptions to date.

Two injury-depleted squads clash in this matchup - neither figures has a big edge over the other.

Weather: The Coliseum in Nashville expects a high of 66F with a low of 41F and a 10% chance for rain on Sunday - ideal football weather, in other words.

TEN Injuries: QB Steve McNair (Questionable), RB Jarrett Payton (Questionable), RB Chris Brown (Questionable), RB Troy Fleming (Questionable), WR Brandon Jones (Questionable), WR Drew Bennett (Out)
OAK Injuries: LB DeLawrence Grant (Doubtful), DB Jarrod Cooper (Probable), DB Charles Woodson (Out), DB Derrick Gibson (Out)


Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense at Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Josh McCown won again last week, but it wasn't pretty (12/28 for 140 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception against the Titans). Anquan Boldin didn't catch a pass (but was second on the team with 2/15/0 rushing)- only Larry Fitzgerald was worthy of a fantasy start with 4/71/1 receiving. Over the past 3 weeks, Fitzgerald is the 3rd ranked fantasy WR in points per game, with 13/207/2 in 2 games (26 targets during those 2 games) - he's the most consistent of the Cardinal's receivers, although Anquan Boldin is always a threat to blow up and take a long pass to the house. The early word is that McCown will again get the starting nod, at least for one more week. The team does win with him under center, something nobody else has done much of during the last 2 years.

The Cowboys allowed 23/42 for 224 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions to the Seahawks last week - not great, but not terrible, either. They average 200.9 passing yards allowed per game this season (14th in the NFL) with 9 passed TDs given away to date. While they aren't as dominant in this phase as they are against the run, opposing teams have to respect the Cowboy's secondary and defensive front. The pass rushers have piled up 21 sacks to date (5th in the NFL) - the Cardinals are near the bottom of the NFL with 19 sacks allowed to date (t-6th most). Over the past 3 weeks

The Cardinals aren't hopeless in this phase of the game (they are hopeless when it comes to rushing the football), which means that McCown or Warner will put up a lot of balls. With no credible threat to run, though, Dallas will have tight coverage on his top 2 WRs - and they aren't push-overs. Expect McCown to have pressure in his face regularly and remember that the Cowboys have a solid home-field advantage. Advantage, Dallas.

Weather: Texas Stadium expects a high of 70F with a low of 54F and a 30% chance of rain. If the precipitation comes down heavily at game time, footing and ball handling could become issues for both teams.

ARI Injuries: QB Kurt Warner (Probable), RB Harold Morrow (Probable), WR Reggie Swinton (Probable)
DAL Injuries: DB Anthony Henry (Probable)


Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Anthony Wright didn't embarrass himself vs. Chicago, with 18/32 for 164 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions, but he didn't do anything to excite us, on the other hand. His best game this year came against Detroit (20/37 for 230 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions) - other than that game he has thrown either 1 or 0 TDs per contest. With so little production coming from the QB, is it any wonder that Derrick Mason, the team's top WR, is 31st in the NFL at his position with 37/401/1 to date (2/38/0 receiving last week, on 8 targets). Only Todd Heap stood out last week, with 10 targets for 7/71/0 receiving. Granted, Chicago is a tough defense but the Ravens just don't have much to offer on any given Sunday, regardless of their opponent. They field a low-octane offense.

Pittsburgh's pass D is not overly impressive in terms of yards allowed per game (206.2, 18th in the NFL), but they are tough to score on, allowing only 4 passing scores this season (tied for 2nd-least in the NFL). Carson Palmer couldn't notch a TD throw against this bunch last week (21/36 for 227 yards, 0 TDs and 2 interceptions), although he did come very close with a pass to Chad Johnson at the back of the end-zone. The Steelers are pretty tough in this phase of the game, but not dominant.

The Ravens have a lack-luster pass attack, while the Steelers are stubborn as far as points allowed (and they have home-field advantage at their back). We give the nod to the home team in this matchup - advantage, Steelers.

Weather: On Halloween, the temperature at Heinz Field is expected to range between 54F and 45F (at 9 PM it'll be closer to 45F) with a 10% chance for precipitation. Unless ghouls and ghosts take over the stadium, Heinz Field should be a nice place to watch and play a football game on Monday night.

BAL Injuries: QB Kyle Boller (Doubtful), RB Ovie Mughelli (Questionable), RB Alan Ricard (Out), WR Mark Clayton (Questionable)
PIT Injuries: DL Aaron Smith (Probable), DL Kimo von Oelhoffen (Questionable), LB Clint Kriewaldt (Probable), LB James Farrior (Probable), LB Clark Haggans (Probable), DB Deshea Townsend (Probable), DB Ricardo Colclough (Questionable), DB Mike Logan (Out)


Chicago Bears Passing Offense at Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Kyle Orton played a decent game against a feared secondary last week, managing to pass for 15/29 for 145 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions. He isn't ripping up fantasy land in terms of points per game (26th in the NFL with 47/80 for 379 yards, 4 TDs and 1 interception over the past 3 weeks/games) but he's no Kyle Boller, either. And that's a good thing. TE Desmond Clark led the way last week with 4/50/0 (FB Marc Edwards scored his second receiving TD in 3 weeks with 1/9/1). His receivers aren't creating a fantasy bonanza for their owners, though - Muhsin Muhammad is 51st among fantasy receivers with 14/139/0 over the past 3 weeks.

Detroit throttled the Browns last week, allowing a mere 10/19 for 73 yards, 0 TDs and 3 interceptions last week. They have 8 interceptions over the past 3 weeks/games (tops in the NFL during that span), and have allowed 182.3 passing yards per game during that time-frame. This season, the Lions are 12th in the NFL averaging 191.7 passing yards per game allowed, so they are on pace in recent weeks - they are second in the league with 13 interceptions vs. 8 passing scores given up. However, this week the Lions lost CB Dre Bly to a wrist injury which is going to cause a reshuffling in the secondary.

Orton is playing fundamentally sound football in recent weeks, but he faces a tough challenge in division-rival Detroit at Ford Field this week.

Weather: Inside beautiful Ford Field's dome, the conditions should be perfect. Weather won't be an issue in this matchup.

CHI Injuries: QB Rex Grossman (Out), RB Thomas Jones (Probable), WR Mark Bradley (Probable), WR Bernard Berrian (Out)
DET Injuries: DL Dan Wilkinson (Probable), DL Marcus Bell (Questionable), DL Shaun Rogers (Questionable), DB Dre Bly (Out)


Detroit Lions Passing Offense vs Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Jeff Garcia won the game but statistically didn't light things up with the injury-depleted Lion receiving corps (22/34 for 210 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions) but the win is all that counts in the NFL. Mike Williams was his top receiver on Sunday, hauling in 5/95/0 with a long of 49 - they had a good chemistry last week. Scottie Vines chipped in with 5/34/0. It wasn't a dazzling performance, but there is hope for the Lions' attack with Garcia under center.

The Bears limited Anthony Wright to 18/32 for 164 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions last week. They are 9th in the league this season, averaging 177.2 passing yards allowed per game (6 scores surrendered to date). Over the past 3 weeks, they have 11 sacks, tied for 2nd in the NFL during that span (the team is 9th in the NFL with 18 to date), while averaging 179 passing yards given up per contest. This is a very solid defense as a whole, and they are top-ten vs. the pass.

Garcia and his receivers (whoever is healthy enough to play) will have their hands full with the Bears this week.

Weather: Inside beautiful Ford Field's dome, the conditions should be perfect. Weather won't be an issue in this matchup.

DET Injuries: WR Eddie Drummond (Questionable), WR Roy Williams (Questionable)
CHI Injuries: none


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense at Cincinnati Bengals Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Brett Favre had an outstanding first half vs. the Vikings last week, with 16/19 for 211 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions to his credit. He finished the game with 28/36 for 315 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions - a solid performance, but he was contained after the half by the Vikings' adjustments. Of course, he also lost #2 WR Robert Ferguson to a LCL injury (he's out 2-4 weeks) - the Packers are down to Donald Driver, Antonio Chatman, and former NFLE and practice-squad player Jamal Jones as their healthy wide receivers. Driver saw a large number of targets as a result of the Ferguson injury (11) and hauled in 8/114/1 as a result. He figures to be a major focus of the pass attack (and object of opposing DBs) from here on out. Chatman contributed 5/31/1 last week (7 targets) to account for the other score. Bubba Franks, David Martin and Donald Lee figure to see more balls in coming weeks, as well, to help pick up the slack among the WRs.

The Bengals are swiping a lot of passes this season, and lead the league with 15 interceptions to date. Ben Roethlisberger threw his first pick of the season against this secondary last Sunday (9/14 for 93 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception). The team averages 183.6 passing yards given up per game this year (10th in the NFL) with only 6 passing scores given up - overall, the Bengals' secondary is very impressive. The big guys up front aren't doing a lot of sacking, though, with only 10 to Cincy's credit this season (t-27th in the NFL) - the Packers have only allowed 8 this year (3rd least in the NFL) - Favre should have time to survey the field on Sunday.

The Packers are thin at WR and they face an opportunistic pass D in the defense's house this week. Favre has limited his interceptions in recent weeks (47/63 for 530 yards, 5 TDs and 0 interceptions to rank 3rd among fantasy QBs during that span) but he does go on bad streaks in that department from time to time. This matchup looks pretty tough from where we sit.

Weather: The forecast for Paul Brown Stadium calls for a high of 60F and a low of 39F with a 10% chance of rain - crisp fall weather, ideal for playing (and watching) football.

GB Injuries: RB Tony Fisher (Probable), RB Vonta Leach (Probable), WR Robert Ferguson (Out)
CIN Injuries: DL John Thornton (Probable), LB David Pollack (Questionable), DB Keiwan Ratliff (Probable), DB Madieu Williams (Out)


New England Patriots Passing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Tom Brady continues to excel week in and week out, with 24/46 for 299 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions in his most recent start vs. Denver during week 6. This year he is the 7th ranked fantasy QB in the land, with 143/228 for 1821 yards (leading the NFL in this category), 8 TDs and 4 interceptions. He averages over 300 yards passing per game after 6 games - that's impressive. In typical New England style, though, he is spreading the ball around a lot - Deion Branch is the top New England WR with 37/437/1 to his credit (24th fantasy WR to date in points per game). TE Daniel Graham is 16th at his position with 8/142/2 receiving - you never know which of the Patriot receivers will excel in fantasy terms from week to week.

The Bills rank 3rd in the NFL vs. the pass, allowing 153.6 yards per game on average, with 5 passing scores surrendered. As they field the league's worst rush defense, part of their statistical prowess is due to teams electing to run against Buffalo, rather than pass. However, CBs Nate Clements (PR) and Terrence McGee and Ss Lawyer Milloy (SS) and Troy Vincent (FS) have something to do with their solid pass D, as well. Between their lame defensive front and their strong secondary, the Bills don't allow much in the way of passing from week to week. Kerry Collins broke the curve against them last week, with 19/27 for 261 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions, but he didn't need to throw for scores because LaMont Jordan (3) and Zack Crockett (1) stuffed 4 TDs into the end-zone on the ground.

Brady has been spectacular to open the season, but he faces a stiff challenge from the division-rival Bills this week. This one looks tough to us.

Weather: Gilette Stadium expects a high of 61F with a low of 40F and a 10% chance for rain on Sunday - a cool, crisp autumn day will be the backdrop for this matchup. Neither team should have issues due to the weather if the forecast holds up.

NE Injuries: QB Tom Brady (Probable), RB Corey Dillon (Questionable), RB Kevin Faulk (Out), WR Troy Brown (Questionable)
BUF Injuries: DB Terrence McGee (Probable)


New York Giants Passing Offense vs Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Eli Manning continues to impress with his poise and patience, and he ran the 2 minute offense to perfection against the Broncos last week, engineering a game-winning drive in the game's waning moments. On the day, he totaled 23/42 for 214 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception; over the past 3 weeks (2 games) he's tossed 37/72 429 yards, 3 TDs and 2 interceptions. While he's not as explosive right now as he was earlier in the season, he's been good for 200+ passing yards and 1-2 TDs per week. Amani Toomer came back from the dead last week and garnered 8/62/1 receiving, while Manning's favorite receiver Plaxico Burress handled the other score (6/84/1) - both players were targeted 13 times during the game. Jeremy Shockey got the "assist" with 3/44/0 including a long pass that went down to the 8 yard line, setting up Toomer's score. He saw 7 balls come his way.

8/16 for 92 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception was the rookie Alex Smith's final tally against the Redskins last week - they were not sorely tested by the raw rookie, as you can see. Teams have a hard time throwing the ball on Washington this year, though, rookie or not: they rank 4th in the NFL averaging only 157.5 passing yards surrendered per contest, and have given away only 4 passing scores all year (tied for 2nd-least in the NFL). However, the Redskins have only generated 2 interceptions and are tied for 27th with only 10 sacks - these are areas ripe for improvement. 5 sacks came last week, by the way, now that LaVar Arrington has ended his exile on the bench (he didn't get any sacks, but was a disruptive force all day long) - anybody else wonder why he's been ignored for almost half the season?

This looks like a tough matchup for Manning and company, despite New York's home field advantage.

Weather: Giants' Stadium expects a high of 64F with a low of 46F and a 10% chance for precipitation on Sunday - weather shouldn't be an issue for either team in those conditions.

NYG Injuries: WR Plaxico Burress (Questionable), WR David Tyree (Questionable)
WAS Injuries: DL Joe Salave'a (Probable), DL Cornelius Griffin (Probable), DL Cedric Killings (Probable), LB Lavar Arrington (Probable), DB Sean Taylor (Probable), DB Carlos Rogers (Probable)


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense vs Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Ben Roethlisberger was back under center last week, but he didn't need to throw the ball much due to the soft Bengals' rush D - 9/14 for 93 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception were all he needed to lead his team to a dominant 27-10 victory. Rookie TE Heath Miller continues to develop into a key player on this attack, posting 6/58/1 last week to lead the team in receiving for a second consecutive week - he has snagged at least 4 receptions and 1 TD in each of his last 3 games. WR Hines Ward got back into the action with 3/35/1. With only 9 receptions to go around, there isn't much else to highlight about Roethlisberger's return to the field.

The Ravens allowed Chicago's Kyle Orton to chip away at them last week, giving up 15/29 for 145 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions. He didn't "blow up" against Baltimore, but neither was he stifled. This season, the Ravens average 152.8 passing yards allowed per game (tops in the NFL), with 5 scores given away to date - but they have only 3 interceptions to their credit (tied for 3rd-least in the NFL). They are 19th in the league with 13 sacks - mediocre at best in that department. The Ravens aren't easy to pass on, but they don't slam the door on opposing QBs this year.

Roethlisberger doesn't throw a ton of passes, but when he does let the ball fly he's on target more often than not. The Ravens, even though banged up, are very good in this phase of the game - we think this is a pretty tough matchup.

Weather: On Halloween, the temperature at Heinz Field is expected to range between 54F and 45F (at 9 PM it'll be closer to 45F) with a 10% chance for precipitation. Unless ghouls and ghosts take over the stadium, Heinz Field should be a nice place to watch and play a football game on Monday night.

PIT Injuries: QB Tommy Maddox (Probable), RB Jerome Bettis (Probable), WR Cedrick Wilson (Probable), WR Antwaan Randle El (Probable), WR Hines Ward (Probable)
BAL Injuries: DL Anthony Weaver (Questionable), LB Ray Lewis (Out), DB Ed Reed (Out)


San Francisco 49ers Passing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

What is there to say? Smith is a raw rookie playing behind one of the worst pass-blocking offensive lines in the NFL (22 sacks allowed to date, 4th most in the NFL). Despite some support from the running game, he is making typical rookie mistakes while trying to adjust to the pro game. He stinks in fantasy terms (17/39 for 166 yards, 0 TDs and 5 interceptions in 2 games, 42nd in fantasy points per game over the past 3 weeks) and he'll continue to stink for the foreseeable future. Stay far, far away. Ken Dorsey isn't any better.

Tampa Bay is 7th in the NFL this season allowing an average of 171.3 passing yards per game, and lead the league in passing TDs allowed, with only 2 surrendered to date. They are tied for 13th in the NFL with 15 sacks to their credit (that number figures to go up this week after they punch through the porous 49er line multiple times) - and they are well rested coming into this game off a bye week.

This one could get ugly for San Francisco.

Weather: The forecast for the Bay area calls for a high of 66F with a low of 53F and a 20% chance for rain. A great day for a football game is coming up for the 49'ers faithful - they'll witness another...well, lets not get into that.

SF Injuries: QB Alex Smith (Questionable), WR Arnaz Battle (Questionable), WR Otis Amey (Questionable)
TB Injuries: DB Jermaine Phillips (Probable), DB Dexter Jackson (Out)


St. Louis Rams Passing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Coach Martz is out for the season due to his heart condition, and rumor has it that the front office wants to make his absence permanent. From here on out, it's Joe Vitt's team. Jamie Martin is currently steering the team while Marc Bulger rehabs his injured shoulder - the Rams are still horrible at pass blocking, allowing a total of 22 sacks to date (t-4th most in the NFL), with 2 allowed last week to the Saints. Martin's doing a decent job considering top WRs Isaac Bruce (turf toe) and Torry Holt (knee injury) have been sidelined in recent weeks. Kevin Curtis (4/90/0) and Marshall Faulk (5/28/0) were the top receivers last week in the win over the Saints (Martin tossed 18/29 for 198 yards, 0 TDs and 0 interceptions). With the current personnel, the Rams' high-flying pass offense has been limited to more down-to-earth numbers.

The Jaguar's secondary is ranked 2nd in the NFL allowing an average of 153.5 passing yards per game (7 scores given away to date). They are tied for 17th in the NFL with 14 sacks so far (St. Louis is very vulnerable to the pass rush, as noted above) - expect the sack total to go up after this game. Two weeks ago, before their bye, they absolutely wrecked Tommy Maddox and the Steelers' attack (11/28 for 154 yards, 1 TD and 3 interceptions, with 2 sacks generated) - this is a hot pass D right now, friends.

The Rams don't have their full complement of weapons to hand right now, while the well-rested Jaguars are smoking hot in this phase coming into the game. Despite home-field advantage flowing to the Rams, we give the nod to Jacksonville in this matchup.

Weather: This game will be indoors, at the Edward Jones Dome - weather won't be an issue.

STL Injuries: QB Jamie Martin (Probable), QB Marc Bulger (Questionable), WR Isaac Bruce (Questionable), WR Torry Holt (Doubtful)
JAX Injuries: LB Mike Peterson (Probable)




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