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  Passing Matchups  

Week 11 Rushing 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.


Denver Broncos Rushing Offense vs New York Jets Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Denver is 3rd in the NFL this season averaging 5.0 yards per carry as a team, and 2nd in the league averaging 165.2 rushing yards per game (with 12 rushing scores to date). Mike Anderson has notched 38/191/2 rushing and 1/16/0 receiving over the past 3 weeks (2 games) to rank 10th among all fantasy RBs in points per game during that span; Tatum Bell has piled up 30/151/2 rushing and 3/15/0 to rank 14th among all fantasy RBs during that period of time. It's all good in the Denver backfield - start them if you've got them, there are enough carries, yards, and scores to go around.

The Panthers could muster 36/101/1 vs. the Jets' defense last week, but that isn't surprising considering that the Panthers average 3.0 yards per carry this season (tied for last in the NFL). The Jets are usually more giving in this phase of the game, allowing an average of 135.3 rushing yards per game (29th in the NFL) and surrendering 12 rushing scores to date (tied for 2nd-most to date). Over the past 3 weeks, they have averaged 117 rushing yards allowed per game - this isn't one of the NFL's feared rush defenses.

The Broncos sport one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL - the Jets' rush defense is one of the worst this year. Advantage, Denver.

Weather: Mile High Stadium expects a high of 61F and a low of 39F with a 0% chance of rain on Sunday. A very mild day is on tap out on the high plains this Sunday - weather isn't expected to be a huge factor in this matchup.

DEN Injuries: WR Darius Watts (Probable), WR Ashley Lelie (Probable)
NYJ Injuries: LB Kenyatta Wright (Questionable), DB David Barrett (Out)


Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Offense at Houston Texans Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Larry Johnson cut through the Bills' defensive front like a hot knife through butter - except he failed to find the endzone. He had 27/132/0 rushing and 5/46/0 receiving during an all-around excellent performance - he's the real deal, folks. If Trent Green can limit the turnovers this week, Johnson may even find the end-zone again.

The Texans field the league's worst rush D, allowing an average of 153.3 yards per game and a league-worst 13 rushing scores to date. Edgerrin James gained 4.7 yards per carry on his way to 26/122/1 vs. this defensive front last Sunday. They average 126.6 rushing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks, which is an improvement over their awful season average - but they are still very soft.

Johnson is a talented back running behind an exceptional offensive line - he should have a field day against the Texans.

Weather: Reliant Stadium expects a high of 73F and a low of 46F with a 30% chance for rain on Sunday. If the weather looks too nasty, the Texans can always close the retractable roof - weather probably won't be a huge factor in this matchup.

KC Injuries: WR Samie Parker (Questionable)
HOU Injuries: DL Gary Walker (Probable), DB Demarcus Faggins (Doubtful), DB Jason Simmons (Out)


New England Patriots Rushing Offense vs New Orleans Saints Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

The Patriot's rushing attack has been up and down in recent weeks. Most recently, a surprisingly good performance was turned in by Heath Evans (17/84/0 rushing and 3/18/0 receiving) in relief of the injured Corey Dillon (most recently, a calf injury that happened on the first play from scrimmage last week). Dillon was vague when asked about his latest injury, saying "I wish I could figure out why this is happening. I went to make a cut, and . . .Just a lot of stuff going wrong. I can't explain it." The team got more bad injury news on Tuesday when the Patriots' put starting center Dan Koppen on IR due to a shoulder injury. The team currently ranks 25th (tied) in the league averaging 3.5 yards per carry, and averages 79.1 rushing yards per game to date (29th in the NFL). The latest injury to Koppen isn't going to help matters any.

The Saints average 139.3 rushing yards allowed per game this season (30th in the NFL), with 11 rushing scores surrendered to date. During their 2 most recent games, the team has averaged 185.5 rushing yards allowed per contest, with 32/183/1 given away to the Bears in week 9. The Saints field one of the softest defensive fronts in the NFL.

The Patriots have injury woes at RB and along the OL, but the Saints' weakness in this phase means that the battered Patriots have a great matchup.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 49F and a low of 33F with a 30% chance for precipitation on Sunday. If the moisture falls thickly around game time (it could be rain, sleet or snow at this time of year) footing and ball handling could be larger issues than usual for both teams.

NE Injuries: QB Tom Brady (Probable), RB Corey Dillon (Questionable), RB Patrick Pass (Questionable), RB Kevin Faulk (Doubtful), WR Troy Brown (Questionable), WR Tim Dwight (Questionable), WR David Givens (Questionable), TE Daniel Graham (Questionable)
NO Injuries: LB T.J. Slaughter (Questionable), LB Courtney Watson (Questionable), DB Dwight Smith (Questionable)


San Diego Chargers Rushing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

LaDainian Tomlinson went into San Diego's bye week after nuking the Jets for 25/107/3 rushing and 3/46/1 receiving - he has piled up 3/3 for 47 yards and 3 TDs passing, 192/835/13 rushing and 28/264/2 receiving this season. Is there any question in his owners' minds about starting this guy? There shouldn't be.

Buffalo managed to keep the Chiefs out of the end-zone last week, but they didn't shut them down by any stretch of the imagination (32/150/0 rushing as a team). The Bills have averaged 121.5 rushing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks (2 games) - this season they are the 31st ranked rush defense in the land, averaging 150.7 yards allowed per game, and they are tied for league-worst with 13 rushing scores surrendered to date.

Tomlinson is a dominant running back that can burn a defense in many different ways, while the Bills' defenders have been disappointing more often than not this season. Advantage, San Diego.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects typically mild Southern California weather on Sunday - 73F for a high, 52F for a low, with a 0% chance for rain. Conditions are expected to be great for the fans and the teams.

SD Injuries: RB Andrew Pinnock (Questionable), TE Ryan Krause (Out)
BUF Injuries: DL Sam Adams (Questionable), DB Terrence McGee (Questionable), DB Troy Vincent (Questionable)


Seattle Seahawks Rushing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Shaun Alexander last week: 33/165/3. Shaun Alexander's totals over the past 3 weeks (2 games played): 56/338/5 rushing, with 1/9/0 receiving. He has 208/1114/17 rushing this season and may very well top 2000 yards rushing and 30 TDs when the season is over. There should be 0% question in Alexander owners minds - he is a must start every week (like you needed us to tell you that).

This week, the league's most-scored upon rushing defense welcomes Alexander to town. The 49ers have given up 13 rushing scores to date, while ranking 21st in the league surrendering 117 yards per contest on the ground. They were trampled for 40/172/1 by Chicago's 2nd- and 3rd-string backs last week.

If there was a rating higher than "Great", we'd give it to Alexander vs. the 49ers, but since there isn't we'll call it a great matchup for Seattle and leave it at that.

Weather: Monster Park expects mild weather on Sunday - 66F for a high, with 51F for a low with a 10% chance for precipitation. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

SEA Injuries: WR Darrell Jackson (Out)
SF Injuries: LB Saleem Rasheed (Doubtful)


St. Louis Rams Rushing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Back in week 2, before the team started emphasizing the run as much as they have during recent weeks, Steven Jackson gained 18/93/1 rushing and 2/16/0 receiving vs. the Cardinals (Marshall Faulk had 3/15/0 rushing and 2/8/0 receiving). Since then, of course, the team has switched to interim head coach Joe Vitt, and the rushing game has been a bigger part of the picture. Jackson has rushed for 42/249/0 and snagged 7/66/1 receiving over the past 3 weeks (2 games), including last week's 17/70/0 rushing and 5/45/0 receiving effort vs. Seattle last week. He's the featured back on a powerful offense - start him if you've got him.

The Cardinals are cellar-dwellers when it comes to defending vs. the rush. They have allowed a league-leading 13 rushing scores this year (tied), and currently rank 25th in the NFL giving up 125.7 rushing yards per game. Over the past 3 weeks, they have coughed up 170.6 rushing yards per game on average, and 10 total TDs (rushing and receiving). Last week, Detroit piled up 32/157/0 against this "defense".

Jackson is a top-ten back, while the Cardinals are among the league's worst rush defenses - advantage, St. Louis.

Weather: This game will be played in the Edward Jones Dome - weather won't be a factor indoors.

STL Injuries: RB Marshall Faulk (Probable)
ARI Injuries: LB Karlos Dansby (Questionable), LB Lance Mitchell (Questionable), DB Antrel Rolle (Out)


Arizona Cardinals Rushing Offense at St. Louis Rams Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Last time the Cardinals played the Rams, Marcel Shipp led the team with 12/54/0 rushing (the team had 16/82/0, with 2/25/0 coming from Larry Fitzgerald). Shipp added 5/39/0 receiving in that game, marking one of his strongest games of the season. Since the last time around the block, the Cardinals have not improved their running game. Last week, J. J. Arrington led the way on the ground, with 8/24/1 (the Cardinal's first rushing score of the season) - the team managed 16/38/1 on the afternoon. There just isn't much else to say that we haven't already said at this point - the guys playing at RB and along the OL are all weak: none of the backs are bona-fide fantasy options.

The Rams have not been strong in this phase of the game, allowing an average of 132.3 rushing yards per game this season, with 12 rushing scores given up to date (tied for 2nd-most in the NFL). Over the past 3 weeks, they have coughed up 197.5 rushing yards per contest (2 games), with 36/174/3 handed over to Shaun Alexander and company last week. This is one of the weakest rush defenses in the NFL, friends.

The Cardinals are very weak when it comes to running the ball - the Rams are in the habit of laying down for opposing rushers on a regular basis. We are not excited about the Cardinals by any stretch, but this is a better than normal matchup for them.

Weather: This game will be played in the Edward Jones Dome - weather won't be a factor indoors.

ARI Injuries: WR Anquan Boldin (Questionable), WR Bryant Johnson (Out), TE Eric Edwards (Probable)
STL Injuries: DB Travis Fisher (Questionable)


Atlanta Falcons Rushing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Atlanta was surprised by the Packers last week, but the loss wasn't the running backs' fault, as the team piled up 29/133/1 as a team - 17/76/0 for Warrick Dunn (6/52/1 receiving); 4/31/0 rushing and 2/27/0 receiving for T.J. Duckett; and 7/24/1 for Michael Vick. They are the top rushing team in the NFL, they have been the top team all year long, and there is no reason to expect that to change any time soon.

The Buccaneers have been surprisingly vulnerable vs. opposing rushers of late, averaging 140 rushing yards allowed per game over the last 3 weeks, including 33/185/1 to the Redskins last weekend. That is way off their season pace of 88.7 rushing yards allowed per game (7 total rushing TDs given up to date) - Tampa is definitely back on their heels in this phase of the game.

The Falcons continue to hammer their opponents on the ground, while Tampa is unexpectedly soft vs. the rush recently. Advantage, Atlanta.

Weather: This game will be played in the air-conditioning at the Georgia Dome - weather won't be a factor.

ATL Injuries: RB Fred McCrary (Probable), WR Michael Jenkins (Probable), WR Roddy White (Probable)
TB Injuries: DL Greg Spires (Questionable), DB Dexter Jackson (Questionable), DB Will Allen (Doubtful)


Green Bay Packers Rushing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Green Bay still had Ahman Green in the lineup during the last matchup vs. Minnesota - recent history won't tell us a lot about this week's contest as Samkon Gado was still on the practice squad at that point. Over the past 2 weeks, Gado has been solid, with 51/175/3 rushing and 5/14/1 receiving as the Packer's featured back. Last week especially, he has powered his fantasy owners to top scores (25/103/1 rushing and 4/5/1 receiving). The word out of Green Bay is that Gado will remain the featured back if/when Tony Fisher can return to action - the team feels Fisher is more suited to the 3rd-down/change of pace role. For now, expect Gado to be fed the ball early and often as the team's workhorse.

Minnesota ranks 26th in the NFL this season allowing an average of 127.2 rushing yards per game, with 11 rushing scores surrendered to date. Last week, the Giants piled up 29/124/1 against them; over the past 3 weeks the Vikings average 97.6 rushing yards allowed per game. Minnesota's defensive squad is not among the league's best, or even among the league's average units.

Gado has a good shot to keep it rolling vs. the soft Vikings' defense.

Weather: The Monday Night Football matchup at Lambeau Field should start closer to the forecast low of 28F at 9 P.M. (a high of 50F is expected during the day). With only a 10% chance for rain/sleet/snow, footing shouldn't be a problem on Monday night, but when the temperature gets below freezing the football is harder to grip and handle in general - and fingers can stiffen up in the cold, of course. Owners of Vikings and Packers will want to take a look at a shorter-term forecast later this week before pulling the trigger on their starters for week 11.

GB Injuries: RB Tony Fisher (Questionable), WR Robert Ferguson (Questionable), TE David Martin (Questionable)
MIN Injuries: DL Spencer Johnson (Doubtful), DB Fred Smoot (Out)


Indianapolis Colts Rushing Offense at Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

26/122/1 rushing with 3/26/0 receiving - Edgerrin James last week vs. Houston. Edgerrin James during the last 3 weeks:(2 games) 60/226/2 rushing with 6/35/0 -4th in fantasy points per game among RBs. During the games during the last 3 weeks, Peyton Manning has also thrown for 54/72 for 618 yards, 6 TDs and 1 interception. The Colts' offense is on fire - start James if you were smart enough to draft him.

The Bengals are playing mediocre vs. opposing backs this season, ranking 24th in the NFL allowing an average of 124.2 rushing yards per game with 6 rushing scores surrendered to date. Over the past 3 weeks, they have averaged 100 rushing yards allowed per game (2 games), including 25/118/0 given up to the Ravens during week 9. They aren't getting trampled in this phase of the game, but they aren't shutting the opposition down, either.

James is red-hot right now (actually, he's been hot all year long), while the Bengals are only so-so vs opposing rushers - advantage, Indianapolis.

Weather: The forecast for Paul Brown Stadium calls for a high of 43F with a low of 34F and a 30% chance for precipitation. If the moisture falls thickly around game time (it could be rain, sleet or snow at this time of year) footing and ball handling could be larger issues than usual for both teams.

IND Injuries: WR Reggie Wayne (Probable)
CIN Injuries: LB David Pollack (Probable)


Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Offense at Tennessee Titans Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Fred Taylor's bum ankle (bone bruise) kept him on the sidelines last week. In his absence, Greg Jones ground out 25/106/1 (1/7/0 receiving) to lead the Jags (35/133/1 as a team). Jones has done well in relief of Taylor this season, with a game of 18/77/1 (1/10/0 receiving) vs. Pittsburgh when Taylor was also unavailable. He's proving to be a valuable second option at the RB position. If Taylor can't go again, Jones will carry the load vs. Tennessee.

Tennessee runs in the middle of the NFL pack this season, allowing an average of 113 rushing yards per game (16th in the NFL) with 4 rushing scores allowed to date. Over the past 3 weeks (2 games), they've given up an average of 130.5 rushing yards per game, including 32/169/1 surrendered to the Browns before their bye week. The Titans have been moving in the wrong direction vs. the rush during recent weeks.

The Jaguars can throw down a solid rush attack no matter who lines up behind Leftwich - meanwhile, the Titans are spiraling downwards vs. the rush. Advantage, Jacksonville.

Weather: The Coliseum in Nashville expects a high of 53F with a low of 30F and a 10% chance for rain on Sunday - a cool, crisp day is on tap for the Titans/Jaguars contest.

JAX Injuries: RB Fred Taylor (Doubtful), WR Ernest Wilford (Probable), WR Cortez Hankton (Probable), WR Jimmy Smith (Questionable)
TEN Injuries: LB Rocky Boiman (Questionable), LB Peter Sirmon (Questionable), DB Andre Woolfolk (Questionable)


Miami Dolphins Rushing Offense at Cleveland Browns Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Ronnie Brown (14/64/0 rushing and 4/28/0 receiving last week) has outshone team-mate Ricky Williams (11/13/0 rushing and 1/19/0 receiving) during the past 3 weeks, with 49/237/0 rushing and 8/51/0 receiving (27th ranked fantasy RB in points per game) vs. 38/147/1 rushing and 1/19/0 receiving for Williams (32nd ranked). However, as long as the duo keep splitting touches roughly 60/40, neither player is going to be a consistently strong fantasy RB. One guy needs to emerge as the featured back if we are to see a starting-quality fantasy RB down in Miami. No signs of this happening as of yet - we'll see how the workload is distributed this week after Brown's lopsided showing over Williams on the ground.

Cleveland's defensive front is not among the league's elite - they are not even among the league's average. The team ranks 28th vs. the run this season, allowing an average of 132.7 rushing yards per game, with 7 scores given up to date. They have coughed up 124.6 rushing yards per game on average over the past 3 weeks, with 41/159/3 surrendered to the Steelers last week. The Browns are not showing signs of improving as we head into the stretch run of the season.

Miami's rushing attack averages 111.3 rushing yards per game this season, but right now that average is being split up between two runners. Against the soft Browns, the Dolphins should have a solid day rushing the ball as a team - but it remains to be seen whether Brown or Williams will shine this week.

Weather: The forecast for Cleveland Browns Stadium calls for a high of 45F with a low of 39F and a 30% chance for precipitation. If the moisture falls thickly around game time (it could be rain, sleet or snow at this time of year) footing and ball handling could be larger issues than usual for both teams.

MIA Injuries: QB Gus Frerotte (Questionable)
CLE Injuries: DB Daylon McCutcheon (Probable)


New Orleans Saints Rushing Offense at New England Patriots Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Antowain Smith went into the bye week on an up note, with 17/110/0 rushing and 2/7/0 receiving to his credit - Aaron Stecker managed 13/29/0 and 2/17/0 in his chances back in week 9 vs. the Bears' tough defense with 23/143/0 rushing and 2/7/0 receiving during his most recent 2 outings, Smith ranks 34th among all fantasy RBs in points per game over the last 3 weeks. He's bounced up and down since stepping into the rotation when Deuce McAllister went down for the season.

The Patriots' rush D is sub-par this season, allowing an average of 123.1 rushing yards per contest (23rd in the NFL) and a total of 9 rushing scores to date. The return of DL Richard Seymour last week did help stem the bleeding - New England held Miami to 25/77/0 on the ground. The team has averaged 118.6 rushing yards surrendered per game over the last 3 weeks - they aren't a shutting down their opponents this season.

The Saints' offense is erratic when it comes to rushing the ball, while the Patriots are sub-par at defending vs. the run more often than not - looks like a good matchup for New Orleans.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 49F and a low of 33F with a 30% chance for precipitation on Sunday. If the moisture falls thickly around game time (it could be rain, sleet or snow at this time of year) footing and ball handling could be larger issues than usual for both teams.

NO Injuries: WR Donte Stallworth (Questionable), TE Ernie Conwell (Questionable)
NE Injuries: DL Jarvis Green (Questionable), LB Monty Beisel (Questionable), DB James Sanders (Questionable)


New York Giants Rushing Offense vs Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Tiki Barber has been nuclear hot over the past 3 weeks, with 8/372/2 rushing and 11/148/0 receiving to his credit (3rd-best fantasy RB in the land during that stretch in points per game). The entire team is likely to be highly motivated this week because A). the team co-owner Preston R. Tisch passed on this week (the Giants destroyed the Redskins after Wellington Mara died a few weeks back) and B). the Eagles are the Giants' divisional rivals. The Giants will have extra motivation this weekend. Brandon Jacobs had 1/2/0 last week - Barber was in the lineup all day long with 23/95/1 rushing and 8/111/0 receiving vs. Minnesota.

Philadelphia's defense has been truly dreadful over the past 3 weeks, with a league-leading 11 TDs (rushing and receiving) given up during that span - they have coughed up 1098 total net yards during that time-frame, including an average of 130.3 rushing yards per contest. Last week, the Cowboy's RBBC scraped up 24/58/1 against this group - they were torn up for 29/78/2 vs. Washington 2 weeks ago, and trampled for 36/255/3 by Denver 3 weeks ago. As you can see, the Eagles' defensive front has stemmed their bleeding, but they are still suspect in this phase of the game.

Barber has been excellent during the past few weeks, while the Eagles have struggled to get back into form after taking a very bad beating from the Broncos - advantage, Giants.

Weather: The weather service says that Giants Stadium can expect a high of 53F with a low of 38F and a 30% chance for rain on Sunday. If the moisture falls thickly around game time, footing and ball handling will be more difficult than usual (this field does double-duty, hosting both the Jets and the Giants, which means the turf is pretty chewed up at this stage of the season - seeing a lot of mud in the middle of the field during damp conditions is usual in this venue). Also, gusty autumn winds can make passing and kicking accurately more difficult.

NYG Injuries: WR Tim Carter (Questionable), WR David Tyree (Questionable), TE Jeremy Shockey (Questionable)
PHI Injuries: DL Ndukwe Kalu (Probable), LB Keith Adams (Probable), LB Jeremiah Trotter (Probable), DB Michael Lewis (Probable), DB Brian Dawkins (Probable), DB Roderick Hood (Probable)


Oakland Raiders Rushing Offense at Washington Redskins Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

LaMont Jordan - 14/48/0 rushing and 7/60/0 receiving last week - continues to make the most of his dual-threat capabilities. He has only 1 TD over the past 3 weeks, but has put up 100+ yards combined in each game during that span, and ranks 16th among fantasy RBs with 53/208/0 rushing and 17/154/1 receiving during that time-frame. He's a solid fantasy starter unless your team is absolutely loaded at the RB position, and he has the ability to ring up multiple TDs on any given Sunday.

The Redskins' rush defense was pretty good last week - until they had their backs to the goal-line, that is. The Buccaneers' stable didn't pile up the yards, but Mike Alstott stuffed in 2 TDs and a 2 pt. conversion during the 36-35 shootout (27/61/2 as a team, with 9/21/2 for Alstott). Over the past 3 weeks, the 'Skins have averaged 122.6 rushing yards allowed per contest (with 9 scores, rushing and receiving, allowed during that span). This season, they sit at #17 in the NFL averaging 113.2 rushing yards given up per game (11 rushing scores handed over) - Washington is not dominant in this phase of the game.

The Redskins are not overpowering vs. opposing rushers, while the Raiders have a talented and multi-faceted back to throw at the Redskins. Even with the home-field advantage behind the defense, we think Jordan has a good shot at a productive game this week.

Weather: The forecast for Fed-Ex Field calls for a high of 54F with a low of 36F and a 30% chance for precipitation. If it rains (or sleets, or snows) hard around game time, both teams could have more trouble than usual with footing and ball-handling.

OAK Injuries: RB Omar Easy (Questionable), WR Randy Moss (Probable)
WAS Injuries: DL Joe Salave'a (Probable), DL Philip Daniels (Probable), DL Cornelius Griffin (Questionable), DB Omar Stoutmire (Probable), DB Sean Taylor (Questionable)


Washington Redskins Rushing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Redskins' erratic rushing attack currently ranks 8th in the NFL with an average of 126.7 yards per game (11th with a yards-per-carry average of 4.2 yards) - as a team, they are doing pretty well on the ground. However, the problem for fantasy owners is that Clinton Portis has been all over the map from week to week (he has yet to string 2 100 yard rushing games back-to-back), ranging from a low of 4/9/0 rushing and 3/13/0 receiving in week 8 vs. NYG to 23/144/1 rushing and 2/9/0 receiving last week vs. Tampa Bay. He is the 13th ranked fantasy RB in the land in points-per-game this season (171/764/5 rushing with 21/163/0 receiving to date), but he's inconsistent from week to week (3 of his 5 rushing scores came in one game, vs. the 49ers).

The Raiders coughed up 38/121/1 to their hated rivals the Broncos last week, and have averaged 125 rushing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks. They are 19th in the NFL this season, giving up an average of 116.2 rushing yards per contest (with 10 rushing scored given up to date). They aren't a feared defensive front 7 this year.

Portis has bounced between being a poor fantasy starter to a great fantasy player over the past 3 weeks, but comes into this game fairly hot. Against the sub-par Raiders, he should have a decent shot at a solid afternoon.

Weather: The forecast for Fed-Ex Field calls for a high of 54F with a low of 36F and a 30% chance for precipitation. If it rains (or sleets, or snows) hard around game time, both teams could have more trouble than usual with footing and ball-handling.

WAS Injuries: RB Ladell Betts (Questionable)
OAK Injuries: DL Bobby Hamilton (Doubtful), LB Danny Clark (Probable), DB Renaldo Hill (Probable), DB Charles Woodson (Out)


Cleveland Browns Rushing Offense vs Miami Dolphins Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Reuben Droughns finally found pay-dirt last week, with 17/56/1 rushing and 4/67/0 receiving vs. Pittsburgh - not a bad outing, considering how stout the Steeler defense is this year. Droughns' fantasy value had been held back during the first half of 2005 due to a lack of scoring - if that is changing for the better now, he is positioned to move into the top 10 among fantasy RBs. As a team, the Browns average a healthy 4.2 yards per carry - the big guys up front are doing their job for Droughns. He is the 12th ranked fantasy RB over the past 3 weeks with 57/271/1 rushing and 8/140/0 receiving to his credit. He's a solid fantasy starter this season (unless you play in a "basic-scoring" league).

Miami's rush D is in the middle of the NFL spectrum, allowing an average of 115.1 rushing yards per game this season (18th in the NFL), with 6 rushing scores given up in 9 games. They have given up an average of 114.3 rushing yards per game over the past 3 weeks (right on their season pace), including last week's 25/91/0 handed over to New England's battered stable.

Droughns is a workhorse back doing good things with the ball in Cleveland, while the Dolphins are a work in progress that isn't among the dominant rush defenses in the league. We think this is a fairly neutral matchup.

Weather: The forecast for Cleveland Browns Stadium calls for a high of 45F with a low of 39F and a 30% chance for precipitation. If the moisture falls thickly around game time (it could be rain, sleet or snow at this time of year) footing and ball handling could be larger issues than usual for both teams.

CLE Injuries: RB William Green (Doubtful), WR Josh Cribbs (Probable)
MIA Injuries: none


Dallas Cowboys Rushing Offense vs Detroit Lions Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Cowboy's running-back-by-committee got off to an undistinguished start this week, with 24/58/1 as a team (13/46/1 for Marion Barber III; 8/16/0 for Julius Jones). That's pretty unimpressive, folks. We'll see if either guy can establish themselves as the featured starter this week - the "shared workload" didn't fly very well last week. The early word is Parcells is leaning toward Julius Jones.

Detroit fields a solid defensive front that averages 105.6 rushing yards allowed per game this year (13th in the NFL), with only 4 rushing scores given up to date. Over the past 3 weeks, Detroit has been right on pace, with 317 rushing yards allowed in 3 games (105.6 per contest), including last week's total of 16/38/1 surrendered to the under-powered Cardinals' stable.

The Cowboy's backfield is unsettled coming into this game - neither Barber or Jones cemented their hold on the starting job last week, but both have shown good skills in past games. Meanwhile, the Lions continue to play solid but not outstanding rush defense - this one looks like a fairly even matchup to us.

Weather: Texas Stadium is expected to have near-perfect weather this weekend, with a high of 67F and a low of 45F with a 20% chance for rain. Weather shouldn't be a big factor in this matchup if that forecast holds up.

DAL Injuries: WR Patrick Crayton (Doubtful), TE Brett Pierce (Probable)
DET Injuries: LB Boss Bailey (Questionable), LB Earl Holmes (Doubtful), LB Teddy Lehman (Out), DB Andre' Goodman (Probable), DB Dre Bly (Out)


Minnesota Vikings Rushing Offense at Green Bay Packers Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Minnesota (as a team) managed 26/108/0 rushing vs. the Packers back in week 7 - but they had Daunte Culpepper scrambling that week (7/41/0) - the top running back vs. Green Bay was Mewelde Moore (who is currently nursing a wrist injury) - he had 13/45/0 on the ground. The team has indicated that RB Moe Williams is likely done for the season due to a right knee injury, which will make the RB picture in coming weeks a little less complex. There is still not a clear-cut, every-week starter in Minnesota - as we indicated after Michael Bennett's big game 2 weeks ago, he was not a lock to repeat the feat last week (and he didn't come close, with a mere 19/16/0 rushing and 6/11/0 receiving - 27 yards on 25 touches is pathetic, quite frankly). This squad is a confusing mess, basically.

Green Bay is mediocre when it come to defending the run, ranking 14th in the NFL allowing an average of 110.3 rushing yards per game, with 4 rushing scores allowed to date. They gave up 29/133/1 to the Falcons' top-ranked attack last week, and have averaged 127.3 rushing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks. Rush defense is not the team's strong suit of late, as you can see.

Two stumbling units face off in this game - neither has a clear edge over the other.

Weather: The Monday Night Football matchup at Lambeau Field should start closer to the forecast low of 28F at 9 P.M. (a high of 50F is expected during the day). With only a 10% chance for rain/sleet/snow, footing shouldn't be a problem on Monday night, but when the temperature gets below freezing the football is harder to grip and handle in general - and fingers can stiffen up in the cold, of course. Owners of Vikings and Packers will want to take a look at a shorter-term forecast later this week before pulling the trigger on their starters for week 11.

MIN Injuries: RB Mewelde Moore (Probable), RB Moe Williams (Out)
GB Injuries: DL Corey Williams (Doubtful), LB Robert Thomas (Questionable)


Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Pittsburgh ground out 28/101/0 vs. Baltimore the last time these teams played, back in week 8. Willie Parker led the team with 14/63/0 rushing (a 4.5 yards per carry average, with a long of 16). Keep an eye on Parker's status as he works to return from an ankle injury that has kept him sidelined for much of the last 2 games. Duce Staley led the way last week with 17/64/0 rushing, while Verron Haynes (9/41/1), Charlie Batch (3/16/1) and Jerome Bettis (9/28/1) all punched in scores - the Steelers totaled 41/159/3 rushing as a team last week. Keep an eye on Parker's injury/practice status as the week progresses.

Baltimore is currently 12th in the NFL averaging 102.4 rushing yards allowed per game, with 6 rushing scores surrendered to date. Over the past 3 weeks, they have coughed up 110.6 rushing yards per contest, including last week's 35/133/1 surrendered to Greg Jones and the Jaguars. With Ray Lewis sidelined and an ineffective offense forcing the defense onto the field (they played for 34:29 last week), there is only so much a team can do before wearing down.

The Steelers should find room to roam against the injury-depleted and offensively-challenged Ravens.

Weather: M and T Bank Stadium should see a high of 54F with a low of 41F on Sunday, with a 30% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling could be bigger issues than usual.

PIT Injuries: QB Ben Roethlisberger (Questionable), QB Charlie Batch (Out), RB Duce Staley (Probable), RB Jerome Bettis (Probable), RB Willie Parker (Questionable), TE Jerame Tuman (Questionable)
BAL Injuries: LB Ray Lewis (Out), DB Samari Rolle (Probable), DB B.J. Ward (Questionable), DB Dale Carter (Questionable), DB Ed Reed (Out)


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Offense at Atlanta Falcons Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Tampa's rushing attack has disintegrated over the past few weeks - if it weren't for Mike Alstott's short-yardage prowess (10/22/3 rushing and 6/63/0 receiving, with a rushing 2-pt. conversion to boot - he's the 28th best fantasy RB in the land over the past 3 weeks), the Buccaneers would be in total disarray in this phase of the game. Cadillac Williams has eked out 34/69/0 rushing and 4/30/0 receiving (65th among fantasy RBs), while Michael Pittman has only 14/34/0 rushing and 5/32/0 receiving to rank 76th at his position over the past 3 weeks. They haven't been very good lately, as you can see.

Atlanta's rush D has been mediocre of late, allowing an average of 106 rushing yards per game over the past 3 weeks (2 games), including 29/107/2 to the Packers last week. They are the league's 20th ranked unit this season, averaging 116.7 rushing yards given up per game, with 10 rushing scores surrendered to date. The Falcons are so-so at defending vs. opposing rushers.

A struggling rushing attack visits a decent but unspectacular defense in this matchup - with home-field advantage behind the Falcons.

Weather: This game will be played in the air-conditioning at the Georgia Dome - weather won't be a factor.

TB Injuries: RB Michael Pittman (Probable), WR Michael Clayton (Questionable)
ATL Injuries: DL Chad Lavalais (Probable), DL Brady Smith (Probable), DB Keion Carpenter (Probable), DB Kevin McCadam (Probable)


Buffalo Bills Rushing Offense at San Diego Chargers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Willis McGahee has not been in the end-zone lately (51/202/0 rushing and 2/21/0 receiving over the team's past 2 games) - the lack of scoring places him at #23 among fantasy RBs in points per game. The Bills rank 18th in the NFL averaging 3.9 yards per carry this season, slightly below the benchmark of 4.0 yards per carry. Last week, McGahee managed 20/66/0 vs. the Chiefs - he needs to get his engine going at a higher RPM.

San Diego ranks #1 vs. the rush this season, averaging only 79.6 rushing yards allowed per game. Part of the reason for this is their soft pass defense (teams elect to throw on the Chargers a lot), but in fantasy terms, most teams don't put up a lot of yardage against the Charger's defensive front. They have allowed 8 rushing scores to date, including the 25/89/1 given up to the Jets before the Charger's bye week.

The Chargers limit most opposing backs to modest totals - meanwhile McGahee is currently struggling to produce at a high level. This looks like a tough matchup for the Bills' stable.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects typically mild Southern California weather on Sunday - 73F for a high, 52F for a low, with a 0% chance for rain. Conditions are expected to be great for the fans and the teams.

BUF Injuries: QB Kelly Holcomb (Questionable)
SD Injuries: DL Shawne Merriman (Questionable), LB Steve Foley (Questionable), LB Randall Godfrey (Questionable), DB Terrance Kiel (Questionable)


Carolina Panthers Rushing Offense at Chicago Bears Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Stephen Davis has scored as many TDs rushing the ball as Shaun Alexander over the past 3 weeks (5 rushing scores each), but he's only compiled 56/169/5 rushing (3.0 yards per carry) with 2/8/0 receiving - the relatively small total of yards pushes Davis out of the top-ten among fantasy RBs (he's 11th in fantasy points per game over that span of 3 weeks). However, he is the Panthers' #1 goal-line threat - given how well they've moved the ball passing recently, Davis is bound to get his shots at the end-zone week in and week out. 34/94/0 rushing and 6/67/0 are DeShaun Foster's totals in the change-of-pace role during that span - he's not a viable fantasy starter at this point of the season.

The Bears only allowed 2.9 yards per rush last week - the 49ers had to run the ball all day (46/133/0) because their QB could only muster 1 completion during 31:06 of ball-possession. The Bears are tied for the league lead with only 2 rushing scores given up this season, and rank 8th in the NFL averaging only 95.2 rushing yards allowed per game. Lately, they are off that pace, allowing an average of 119.3 rushing yards per contest during the last 3 weeks (but they have only surrendered 363 net passing yards during 3 games). This is one of the premier rush defenses in the NFL.

The Panthers run the ball often, but don't gain much ground - the Bears are very tough to score on (Davis' specialty this year), and they have home field advantage. This one looks like a tough matchup for the Panthers' stable.

Weather: The forecast for Soldier Field calls for a high of 43F with a low of 33F and a 10% chance for rain. Sounds like a great day for a football game is on tap in the Windy City - as game time approaches, owners of Panthers and Bears will want to glance at wind conditions forecast for Chicago - as we saw last week, the gusty winds at Soldier Field can adversely affect both the passing and the kicking games.

CAR Injuries: RB Stephen Davis (Probable), TE Kris Mangum (Questionable)
CHI Injuries: DL Israel Idonije (Questionable), DB Nathan Vasher (Probable)


Chicago Bears Rushing Offense vs Carolina Panthers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Chicago lost the services of Cedric Benson for 3-6 weeks last week (sprained MCL) - it'll be Thomas Jones back in the lineup this week unless his rib injury suffers a setback during practices this week. In the absence of both Benson and Jones last week, Adrian Peterson piled up 24/120/1 - if the Bears need to turn to Peterson, they can count on him to continue their top-5 rushing attack in fine form (the team averages 4.4 yards per carry this season (t-6th in the NFL) and 135.3 rushing yards per contest (5th in the NFL).

Carolina has been very hard-nosed in this phase of the game during 2005, allowing only 81 rushing yards per game (2nd in the NFL) and 5 rushing scores to date. They have averaged 87.6 rushing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks, including last week's 32/137/0 surrendered to the Jets. The Panthers' defensive front is one of the best in the business, folks.

A top rushing attack clashes with a top rush D in this matchup - we like the Bears but this is clearly a tough matchup for them.

Weather: The forecast for Soldier Field calls for a high of 43F with a low of 33F and a 10% chance for rain. Sounds like a great day for a football game is on tap in the Windy City - as game time approaches, owners of Panthers and Bears will want to glance at wind conditions forecast for Chicago - as we saw last week, the gusty winds at Soldier Field can adversely affect both the passing and the kicking games.

CHI Injuries: QB Rex Grossman (Out), RB Cedric Benson (Out), WR Bernard Berrian (Doubtful)
CAR Injuries: LB Vinny Ciurciu (Questionable), DB Mike Minter (Probable), DB Thomas Davis (Questionable)


Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Offense vs Indianapolis Colts Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Rudi Johnson rushed for 29/97/1 with 1/15/0 receiving before the bye week (vs. Baltimore). Over the past 3 weeks (2 games), he has piled up 51/169/1 rushing with 2/15/0 receiving - ranking as the 19th best fantasy RB in points per game during that stretch. More interestingly, for Johnson owners, was the lull in touches for Chris Perry before the bye week (1/4/0 rushing and 2/11/0 receiving) and the 2 games prior (only 3 carries in each contest) - the Bengals seem to be putting the ball back into Johnson's hands more heading into the 2nd half of the season, and limiting Perry more strictly to pass situations.

The Colts play hard-nosed rush defense, giving up an average of 97.4 yards per game (9th in the NFL), while tying for 2nd-least rushing scores allowed to date (3 over 9 games). Over the past 3 weeks, they have averaged 58.5 rushing yards allowed per contest (2 games), with 24/83/1 given up to Houston last week. The Colts are top-notch defenders in this phase of the game.

Johnson plays on a powerful and balanced offense (so the Colts won't be able to load up the box against him) and has home-field advantage on his side. The Colts don't make things easy for opposing backs, though, and have been very tough recently.

Weather: The forecast for Paul Brown Stadium calls for a high of 43F with a low of 34F and a 30% chance for precipitation. If the moisture falls thickly around game time (it could be rain, sleet or snow at this time of year) footing and ball handling could be larger issues than usual for both teams.

CIN Injuries: RB Rudi Johnson (Probable)
IND Injuries: DL Josh Thomas (Questionable), DL Vincent Burns (Questionable), LB Cato June (Probable), LB Keith O'Neil (Questionable), LB Rob Morris (Questionable), DB Joseph Jefferson (Probable), DB Jason David (Probable), DB Michael Doss (Probable), DB Bob Sanders (Questionable)


Detroit Lions Rushing Offense at Dallas Cowboys Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Joey Harrington was "on" last week, and the proficient passing attack opened rushing lanes for Kevin Jones (for once this season) - he ended up averaging 5.8 yards per carry on the day (14/81/0 rushing with 2/12/0 receiving). As a team, the Lions slapped down 32/157/0 against the hapless Cardinals. It wasn't the most explosive fantasy performance of the season, but it showed that if the Lions can generate a credible passing attack, Jones and company will be more able to find room to maneuver.

Dallas fields a top-ten rush D this year, allowing an average of 99.3 yards per game, ranking 10th in the NFL (with 4 rushing scores allowed to date). Over the past 3 weeks (2 games), they have given up an average of 126 rushing yards per game, including 36/181/2 to Philadelphia on Monday night.

Dallas is usually stout vs. the rush, but crumbled last week against Philadelphia - Jones and company got their engines going on Sunday. With home-field advantage at the Cowboy's back, though, we think this is a tough matchup for the up-and-down Lions' stable.

Weather: Texas Stadium is expected to have near-perfect weather this weekend, with a high of 67F and a low of 45F with a 20% chance for rain. Weather shouldn't be a big factor in this matchup if that forecast holds up.

DET Injuries: QB Jeff Garcia (Questionable), RB Paul Smith (Probable)
DAL Injuries: DB Anthony Henry (Questionable)


New York Jets Rushing Offense at Denver Broncos Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Curtis Martin (19/75/0 rushing with 1/6/0 receiving) and company were throttled by the Panthers' 2nd-ranked rush D last week (Cedric Houston added 10/53/0 in 4th quarter garbage time after the game was already decided to make the team average look more respectable than it really was). Bollinger didn't present a credible threat to pass and the Panthers loaded up against the run, stifling the Jets' offense. Bollinger is expected to get his 3rd start of the season this week vs. Denver, so Martin needs a better effort from the QB if he is to find some room to roam.

Denver limited the Raiders to 17/60/0 rushing last week, and currently ranks 4th in the NFL vs opposing running backs, averaging 85.1 rushing yards allowed per game this year (5 ran TDs handed over to date). They have averaged only 69.5 rushing yards allowed per contest during the past 3 weeks (2 games) - Denver is playing very well vs. the rush this year.

Martin is having a hard time breaking out, especially last week when Bollinger struggled to throw the ball effectively. Against the Broncos at Mile High Stadium, he faces an uphill battle.

Weather: Mile High Stadium expects a high of 61F and a low of 39F with a 0% chance of rain on Sunday. A very mild day is on tap out on the high plains this Sunday - weather isn't expected to be a huge factor in this matchup.

NYJ Injuries: QB Jay Fiedler (Out), RB Curtis Martin (Probable), RB B.J. Askew (Questionable), RB Derrick Blaylock (Out)
DEN Injuries: DL Courtney Brown (Probable), DB Champ Bailey (Probable), DB Sam Brandon (Probable)


Tennessee Titans Rushing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

In the absence of most of the team's receivers, the Titan's running game has been productive - Chris Brown gained 22/95/1 in the game vs. Cleveland before the bye week, and has amassed 41/192/2 and 3/21/0 in his most recent 2 games to rank 9th among all fantasy RBs in points per game during the last 3 weeks. Now is when the team needs Brown to be productive, and he's doing his part to keep the offense on the field.

Jacksonville fields a bend-but-don't-break defensive front this season, ranking 22nd in the NFL allowing an average of 118.4 rushing yards per game, but tied for 2nd-least rushing scores allowed to date with only 3 surrendered. Baltimore was stuffed by the Jags last week, held to 17/53/0 on the day. The Jaguars' defensive front is very solid, especially in the red-zone.

Brown has been doing well during recent weeks, and will have the home-crowd behind him this weekend. The Jaguars are making a push for the playoffs, though, and have been tough to score against in this phase. This looks like a tough matchup to us especially for scoring TDs.

Weather: The Coliseum in Nashville expects a high of 53F with a low of 30F and a 10% chance for rain on Sunday - a cool, crisp day is on tap for the Titans/Jaguars contest.

TEN Injuries: WR Drew Bennett (Questionable), WR Tyrone Calico (Questionable), WR Sloan Thomas (Out), TE Ben Troupe (Questionable)
JAX Injuries: DL Marcus Stroud (Questionable), LB Patrick Thomas (Doubtful)


Baltimore Ravens Rushing Offense vs Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

27/72/0 was the Raven's total on the ground back in week 8 (the last time they played Pittsburgh). Jamal Lewis led the team with 17/61/0 that day (ho-hum). Last week, with Kyle Boller turning over the ball 3 times and failing to muster a credible threat to pass, Lewis eked out 14/44/0 rushing and 5/13/0 receiving. The team managed 17/53/0 rushing on the day. Frankly, we don't think you want any part of this offense right now.

The Steelers sport the league's 3rd ranked rush D, allowing an average of 82 rushing yards per game this season, with 7 rushing scores surrendered to date. The Browns scraped together 19/61/1 rushing against the Steel Curtain last week - they have allowed an average of 66 rushing yards per game over the last 3 weeks (3 games). The Steelers field an elite defensive front this year.

Lewis and the entire Ravens' offense has been disappointing this year - the Steelers exemplify a dominant defense in this phase of the game. Advantage, Pittsburgh.

Weather: M and T Bank Stadium should see a high of 54F with a low of 41F on Sunday, with a 30% chance for rain. If the rain comes down thickly at game time, footing and ball handling could be bigger issues than usual.

BAL Injuries: RB Musa Smith (Questionable), TE Daniel Wilcox (Probable)
PIT Injuries: LB Andre Frazier (Probable), LB Joey Porter (Probable), LB James Farrior (Questionable), DB Deshea Townsend (Probable), DB Mike Logan (Doubtful)


Houston Texans Rushing Offense vs Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Jonathan Wells has done what he can in relief of injured starter Domanick Davis (15/58/1 rushing and 3/17/0 receiving last week; 28/114/2 rushing and 8/62/0 receiving during the last 3 weeks), and to his credit the rushing attack is still the best segment of the Texans' offense (he's the 26th ranked fantasy RB during the past 3 weeks due to his efforts). Given how anemic the rest of the squad is, around 100 yards combined and 0-1 TDs per game is probably the maximum a person can reasonably expect to get from a Texan back this year - they are not pathetic like the Cardinals or Ravens, but nobody mistakes the Texans' stable for Denver's, either.

K.C. is stout vs. opposing rushing attacks, giving up an average of 90.9 yards per game (7th in the NFL) with only 4 rushing TDs allowed to date. Over the past 3 games, they average 81.6 rushing yards allowed per contest, including last week's total of 28/61/0 grudgingly allowed to Buffalo. The Chiefs are at the top of their game vs. opposing running backs right now.

The Texans are limited by their mess along the offensive line and by a weak passing game - the Chiefs bottle up opposing backs more often than not. This is a bad matchup for whoever carries the ball for Houston this week.

Weather: Reliant Stadium expects a high of 73F and a low of 46F with a 30% chance for rain on Sunday. If the weather looks too nasty, the Texans can always close the retractable roof - weather probably won't be a huge factor in this matchup.

HOU Injuries: RB Domanick Davis (Questionable), WR Andre Johnson (Probable), WR Jerome Mathis (Questionable)
KC Injuries: DL John Browning (Probable), DL Carlos Hall (Questionable), DL Ryan Sims (Out), DB Dexter McCleon (Questionable), DB Jerome Woods (Out)


Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Offense at New York Giants Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Eagles finally found their rushing game last week, with 16/86/1 on the ground for Brian Westbrook (5/32/0 receiving - only the 2nd time this season he has rushed for more yards than he gained receiving). With journeyman Mike McMahon starting this week in place of the injured Donovan McNabb, the team will probably keep the ball on the ground more than usual, which should mean we'll see some more of Lamar Gordon (13/57/0 rushing) who provides a more physical presence between the tackles. As a team, the Eagles piled up 36/181/2 on the ground during the game vs. Dallas.

The Giants' defensive front has been a stone wall in recent weeks, allowing an average of 34 rushing yards per contest during the last 3 games. Minnesota managed 21/12/0 last week (0.6 yards per carry) - opposing backs have gone exactly nowhere vs. the Giants for several games in a row, folks.

The Eagles will have an emotional and motivated divisional rival lined up across from them this weekend. Preston R. Tisch, the team's co-owner, passed on this week - after the death of Wellington Mara, the Giants absolutely destroyed the Redskins 3 weeks ago. The Eagles' backs are not wimps, but this game won't be easy, especially as it is going down in the Giants' house.

Weather: The weather service says that Giants Stadium can expect a high of 53F with a low of 38F and a 30% chance for rain on Sunday. If the moisture falls thickly around game time, footing and ball handling will be more difficult than usual (this field does double-duty, hosting both the Jets and the Giants, which means the turf is pretty chewed up at this stage of the season - seeing a lot of mud in the middle of the field during damp conditions is usual in this venue). Also, gusty autumn winds can make passing and kicking accurately more difficult.

PHI Injuries: QB Donovan McNabb (Out), RB Lamar Gordon (Probable), TE Stephen Spach (Probable), TE L.J. Smith (Questionable)
NYG Injuries: DL Reggie Torbor (Questionable), DL Justin Tuck (Questionable), DL Kenderick Allen (Questionable), DL William Joseph (Out), LB Carlos Emmons (Questionable), DB Shaun Williams (Questionable), DB William Peterson (Out)


San Francisco 49ers Rushing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

In the absence of any passing game to speak of, the 49ers handed the ball off 46 times last week (managing 133 yards and 0 TDs). When your QB can only hit 1 completion during an entire game, there simply won't be much running room for the backs, especially in the compressed field of play near the goal-line. Kevan Barlow (25/63/0 rushing) and Frank Gore (14/55/0) did what they could in an impossible situation last week.

The Seahawks are very tough to score on in this phase of the game, even when the team in question has a viable passing attack - Seattle has allowed a league-low 2 rushing scores so far this season (tied with the Bears). They give up an average of 102.1 yards per game on the ground (11th in the NFL), and have averaged only 73 rushing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks. Seattle sports an elite rush D this season.

The 49ers dysfunctional offense is limiting what the running backs can do - they are in for a long Sunday.

Weather: Monster Park expects mild weather on Sunday - 66F for a high, with 51F for a low with a 10% chance for precipitation. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup if the forecast holds up.

SF Injuries: RB Maurice Hicks (Probable), RB Fred Beasley (Questionable), WR Arnaz Battle (Doubtful), TE Billy Bajema (Questionable), TE Brian Jennings (Questionable)
SEA Injuries: DL Marcus Tubbs (Questionable), LB Jamie Sharper (Out)




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