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  Passing Matchups  

Week 13 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.


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

Back in week 3, Edgerrin James didn't have much trouble moving the ball against the Rams, posting 24/94/1 rushing and 1/5/0 receiving during the contest. He's had a disappointing season since then, for the most part, with 226/695/3 rushing with 33/199/0 receiving to his credit. Over the past 3 weeks, he's been pretty sub-par with 41/179/0 rushing and 6/37/0 receiving to his credit (32nd fantasy RB in the land) - the Cardinals have been airing out the ball a lot lately and falling away from the rushing attack (no wonder, they are 32nd in the NFL averaging 2.9 yards per carry this season). Last week, the tires really came off the apple cart for James, when he garnered 4/15/0 rushing and 2/10/0 receiving before spending the majority of the second half standing on the sidelines watching the game. "We were passing the ball on every down, I guess," James said after the game. St. Louis is awful at rush D, allowing an average of 154.8 yards per game to date (32nd in the NFL), with 11 scores allowed so far. Over the past 3 weeks, they have handed over 191 rushing yards per game on average, with 31/171/1 given up to the 49ers last week. The Rams' rush defense is pathetic.

This is a great matchup for the Cardinals, but it remains to be seen if James and the coaching staff will be able to exploit the opportunity.

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

ARI Injuries: none
SF Injuries: none


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

Back in week 10, New Orleans handed Atlanta their first loss of the season, 31-27 at Atlanta. Atlanta managed just 18/46/0 rushing during the loss, with a mere 13/15/0 rushing for Michael Turner, and 3/29/0 rushing with 4/33/0 receiving for Jacquizz Rodgers. Since then, the Falcons have tried to run the ball more (and more effectively) - we saw this at Tampa last Sunday, when Jacquizz Rodgers averaged 4.9 yards per carry (10/49/1 rushing with 2/30/0 receiving), while Michael Turner eked out 13/17/1 rushing and 3/13/0 receiving during the contest. The team still has Turner batter the middle of the line regularly, but Rodgers is the one moving the chains at this point during the season.

The Saints' defense is terrible - they rank dead last in rush defense (averaging 156.5 rushing yards allowed per game) and 30th in the league in pass D (averaging 298.3 net passing yards allowed per game - with 10 rushing TDs and 22 passing TDs allowed so far this year. Most recently, San Francisco piled up 31/144/1 rushing at New Orleans - enough said.

This is a great matchup for the home-team Falcons.

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

ATL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: none


Baltimore Ravens Rushing Offense vs Houston Texans Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Baltimore crushed the Bengals' defensive front back in week 1 this year, posting 46/229/2 on the ground without Willis McGahee - Le'Ron McClain gained 19/86/0 rushing; Ray Rice posted 22/64/0 on the ground; Mark Clayton ran for a 42-yard TD; and Joe Flacco also crossed the goal line with 4/37/1. It was a great way to start the season (a 17-10 victory for Baltimore). Much as things unfolded in week 1, Le'Ron McClain took the lead vs. Philadelphia last week, gaining 18/88/1 rushing on a day when Willis McGahee could only limp to 7/8/0 on the ground - Ray Rice didn't fare any better with 8/7/0 rushing (he did add 3/42/0 receiving to the tally, though). The team has 2 injured offensive linemen to worry about (Adam Terry has a concussion, and Jared Gaither is nursing a shoulder injury that limits him to using 1 arm), but coach Jim Harbaugh is optimistic that they'll be able to go in this divisional matchup.

The Bengals don't stop anybody on D this year, averaging 130.2 rushing yards allowed per game (24th in the NFL), with 14 rushing TDs handed out in 11 contests to date. Pittsburgh ran in 2 scores on the Bengals last week (37/121/2 as a team).

McGahee is up and down over the past 3 weeks (41/138/2 rushing with 3/17/0 receiving), but when he's down McClain picks up the pieces (24/117/1 rushing with 4/37/1 receiving during that time span). Against the giving Bengals, either or both of them could have a productive day rushing the ball - keep your eyes on the injury news entering Thanksgiving, but the short week will mean you'll have to roll the dice if you want part of the Ravens' juicy matchup vs. Cincinnati's defensive front (if your league requires full roster submissions before the first game is played on Thursday).

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

BAL Injuries: none
HOU Injuries: none


Baltimore Ravens Rushing Offense vs Houston Texans Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

As expected, Ray Rice had a tough battle vs. the 49ers' top-ranked rush D last Sunday night, posting 21/59/0 rushing and 3/24/0 receiving during the contest. Ricky Williams chipped in 7/29/0 rushing with 1/-1/0 receiving during the contest, and all told the Ravens' rushers had 35/92/0 to their credit (a 2.6 yards per carry average) when the dust settled on the 16-6 win. However, Rice has thrown down for 46/190/2 rushing and has seen 23 targets for 16/121/0 receiving over the last three games - it is not time to panic here. He just struggled against an elite opponent last week, as have the other backs that faced San Francisco earlier in the year.

The Brown's rush D is not nearly of the San Francisco caliber - they average 138.6 yards allowed per game (29th in the NFL), with eight rushing scores surrendered so far this year. Cincinnati ground out 32/132/1 rushing vs. the Browns last week; Jacksonville posted 29/108/1 rushing at Cleveland two weeks ago.

Rice has a great matchup in front of him this week - look for a big rebound in his fantasy production.

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

BAL Injuries: none
HOU Injuries: none


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

On Tuesday, Bills head coach Chan Gailey said C.J. Spiller will remain the starting running back and will receive the majority of playing time going forwards. This is no surprise considering how productive Spiller has been this season (123/830/4 rushing with 32/332/1 receiving) while Fred Jackson (81/314/3 rushing with 27/191/1 receiving) has struggled to stay healthy enough to play ball. Last week, we saw Spiller handle 14/107/0 rushing and 1/-4/0 receiving while Jackson was limited to 6/16/0 rushing and 1/8/0 receiving - expect the workload to look similar in the weeks to come.

The Jaguars have roared to life now that Chad Henne is the starter - they battled Houston into OT two weeks ago and then defeated divisional rival Tennessee 24-19 last week - a resurgent Chris Johnson was kept out of the end zone (21/80/0 rushing and 2/29/0 receiving) while the Titans were limited to 29/110/0 rushing as a team. To date, the Jaguars average 136.0 rushing yards allowed per game, with 14 rushing TDs given up so far. The team is on an upward trajectory, but the D is still suspect.

Spiller is playing at an elite level this year - this looks like a great matchup for him.

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

BUF Injuries: none
MIA Injuries: none


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

DeShaun Foster was sidelined last week as the coaching staff elected to let him heal his hyper-extended elbow rather than play with one good arm. In his absence, the team posted 25/101/0, led by DeAngelo Williams' 17/63/0 rushing (3/23/0 receiving). The Panthers have several backs they can throw into the mix, so unless Foster gets close to 100% he may sit again this week. Foster owners should monitor his practice participation carefully before setting their lineups this week.

Philly was absolutely trampled by Indianapolis last week, allowing a whopping 41/237/4 to the Colts. They average 139.5 rushing yards allowed per game this season (28th in the NFL) with 10 rushing scores surrendered to date, but they looked even worse than their season average indicates last week. This is a unit in crisis coming into the week 13 game.

This is a great matchup for Carolina to exploit.

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

CAR Injuries: none
ATL Injuries: none


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

Carolina's rushing attack functioned smoothly against the Falcons, with 26/134/2 rushing as a team and a 2 point conversion punched in by DeAngelo Williams as well. Williams had 19/101/1 rushing and 2/19/0 receiving; Jake Delhomme chipped in with 2/18/1, and Jonathan Stewart added 5/15/0 in a change-of-pace role. After the game, Stewart was spotted with a walking boot on his left foot - the boot was dismissed as "precautionary" by a team spokesman and Stewart called it "Nothing", but we're still going to be watching practice reports/the official injury report at the end of the week to see whether his left foot flares up. Over the past 3 weeks, Williams has posted 52/361/4 rushing and 3/22/0 receiving (4th best fantasy RB); Stewart has generated 27/166/1 rushing and 1/4/0 in the second-fiddle role (40th best fantasy RB).

The Packers were mauled by the Saints 51-29 on Monday Night Football, led by Pierre Thomas' 15/87/2 rushing (3/34/0 receiving) - Deuce McAllister also managed a TD (5/5/1) to bring the grand total to 26/98/3 allowed on the evening. To date, the Packers are 26th in the NFL averaging 142.9 rushing yards allowed per game, with 12 rushing TDs handed over in 11 games. Over the past 3 weeks, they've coughed up 401 rushing yards (133.6 per contest). These guys are weak along the defensive front.

The Panthers love to grind out yardage via the rushing game, while the Packers can't do much to stop opposing backs - advantage, Williams and the Panthers.

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

CAR Injuries: none
ATL Injuries: none


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

Carolina had their best game of the season rushing the ball at Cleveland, posting 27/151/1 as a team. Jonathan Stewart rose from the dead to rack up 12/98/0 on the ground, while Mike Goodson put up 14/55/1 rushing with 8/81/0 receiving as the starter. It was the second week in a row that the Panthers' backs have gone over 100 yards rushing (two weeks ago Goodson put up an impressive 22/120/0 vs. Baltimore). The moribund Panthers' offense showed a spark and almost pulled out a 'W', losing by a single point to the Browns (23-24).

The Seahawks have been crushed in two straight games, allowing 29/112/1 rushing to the Saints' backups two weeks ago and then 48/270/2 rushing to Kansas City's tandem last week. Over the past four weeks, teams have racked up 620 yards rushing vs. the Seahawks (and 1,191 yards passing), while the team has coughed up a league-worst 135 total points during that time frame. It's easy to move the ball and score on the Seahawks entering December, friends.

The Panthers' backs have a great matchup this week.

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

CAR Injuries: none
ATL Injuries: none


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

This is the first game in the annual home-and-away duels between the Buccaneers and the Panthers - while neither team has a good record this year expect a high level of intensity from both sides in this NFC South grudge match. Last week, the Panthers battered the hapless Colts with 35/201/3 rushing as a team, with Jonathan Stewart leading the charge in terms of rushing yards gained (10/70/0), while DeAngelo Williams busted off a long 25-yard TD and a short two-yard score (15/69/2 rushing last week). Cam Newton also found the end zone as a rusher, with 9/53/1 to his credit. Over the last three games, Williams actually has the team lead with 33/177/2 rushing, while Newton has scored the most (23/145/3) and Stewart has been steadily productive with 22/115/0 rushing and 17 targets for 13/121/0. Stewart is a much bigger part of the passing game than Williams this year - Williams has two targets for 1/32/0 receiving over the last three weeks, making Stewart the more valuable back for PPR league owners.

The Buccaneers' rush D is ranked 30th in the NFL averaging 139.7 yards allowed per game, with 13 rushing scores surrendered over 11 games. Over their last two games, Tampa has surrendered 293 yards rushing and two TDs (35/202/0 to Tennessee last week, and 23/91/2 to Green Bay two weeks ago). Yeah, they're bad.

This is a great matchup for the Panthers' three-headed monster.

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

CAR Injuries: none
ATL Injuries: none


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

Back on October 24, Carolina crushed Tampa Bay 31-13 behind Cam Newton (11/50/1 rushing) and DeAngelo Williams' (8/43/1 rushing with 1/8/0 receiving) efforts. Since then, Jonathan Stewart has rejoined the stable of backs, diluting Williams' carries in recent weeks. Last week, Newton claimed the lone rushing TD with 8/51/1 to his credit, followed by Williams (10/31/0 rushing with 2/16/0 receiving) and Stewart (7/31/0 rushing and 1/3/0 receiving). There are a lot of cooks in the kitchen for the Panthers right now.

The Buccaneers' rush D allowed 24/104/0 to the Detroit running backs last week, while Atlanta put up 30/152/1 on Tampa Bay two games ago. They are ninth in the NFL averaging 101.6 yards rushing allowed per game, with five rushing TDs given out to date.

The Panthers' offense is rolling, while the Buccaneers' defensive front is used to rolling over - advantage, Carolina.

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

CAR Injuries: none
ATL Injuries: none


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

Thomas Jones had a solid weekend vs. Tampa's tough unit, racking up 25/72/0 rushing and 3/50/0 receiving (he led the team in receiving last week) - the Bears as a team slapped down 33/118/0 during the game. He has amassed 50/159/0 rushing and 3/50/0 receiving since returning from injury to the lineup - hopefully, Jones can continue to build on last week's momentum this week. The Bears are tied for 7th in the NFL averaging 4.3 yards per carry at this point in the season - the big guys up front are doing their job.

The Packers field a sub-par rush defense this year, ranking 23rd in the NFL allowing an average of 120.8 rushing yards per game (6 rushing scores handed over to date). Over the past 3 weeks, they have coughed up yardage at a rate of 157.6 per game on the ground, including last week's total of 34/180/1 (a 5.4 yards per carry average) surrendered to the Eagles' 28th ranked attack. Green Bay is falling apart at the seams in this phase of the game right now.

This matchup looks like a great opportunity for Jones to excel.

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

CHI Injuries: none
GB Injuries: none


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

Matt Forte was a Lion-Killer in week one, with 17/50/0 rushing and 7/151/2 receiving to his credit during the 19-13 win over Detroit. He has been the lead back for Chicago all year long since, with 74/332/1 rushing with 8/50/0 receiving over the past four weeks and 14/117/0 rushing with 2/22/0 receiving in last week's game. Chester Taylor is an afterthought at this point, with 6/-3/0 rushing vs. Philadelphia last week and zero targets in the passing game.

The Lions' rush D is sub-par this year, averaging 128.6 yards allowed per game (24th in the NFL) with 13 TDs handed over to date. New England ground out 25/109/2 rushing at Detroit last week; Dallas posted 30/134/1 rushing two weeks ago.

Forte has gotten into the flow of the Martz offense now, and he's doing well lately - the Lions are slouching towards the offseason in this phase of the game. Advantage, Chicago.

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

CHI Injuries: none
GB Injuries: none


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

Marion Barber actually led the Bears in rushing at Oakland, with 10/63/0 to his credit, while Matt Forte remains the dual-threat lead back, with 12/59/0 rushing and 10 targets for 6/25/0 receiving to his credit at Oakland. Over the past three games, Barber has closed the gap with Forte in rushes, with 30/115/1 flowing to Barber and 50/180/1 going to Forte - 37.5% of the rushes for Barber, 62.5% for Forte - but Forte has seen 19 targets for 11/54/0 receiving, vs. zero targets for Barber.

The Chiefs' rush D has not been good this year, currently ranking 26th in the NFL averaging 133.7 yards allowed per game, with 10 rushing scores allowed to date. Pittsburgh was limited to 28/108/0 rushing on Sunday night, but New England spanked them with 35/157/1 rushing two weeks ago in a lopsided 3-34 loss to the Patriots.

Forte and Barber have a great matchup at home in Soldier Field this week.

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

CHI Injuries: none
GB Injuries: none


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

Matt Forte ripped apart the Minnesota defense back in Week two, with 20/88/0 rushing and 10/73/0 receiving to his credit - eventually, Chicago piled up 27/127/0 rushing on the Vikings.

Since week two, Forte has gone on to become the second-ranked fantasy running back in the PPR paradigm, with 190/853/7 rushing and 57/412/1 receiving to his credit. He's consistently getting the football 20+ times per game - last week, he had 16/77/0 rushing and 7/40/0 receiving at St. Louis. Start him if you've got him!

The Vikings' rush D ranks 25th in the NFL averaging 119.3 yards allowed per game, with 13 rushing scores given away to date. Green Bay piled up 34/196/2 rushing on these guys last week; Seattle had 28/93/2 rushing vs. Minnesota two weeks ago.

Advantage, Chicago.

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

CHI Injuries: none
GB Injuries: none


Cleveland Browns Rushing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Trent Richardson put up over 100 yards combined on the Steelers last week (29/85/1 rushing with 4/27/0 receiving), cementing his status as an elite fantasy back who should be started regardless of matchups. He also went over 1,000 yards combined for the season, now having 209/755/6 rushing and 41/316/1 receiving to his credit over the past 11 games. Start him if you've got him.

The Raiders' rush D is among the worst in the NFL, with a whopping 15 rushing TDs given up to date, and an average of 131.2 yards allowed per game (28th in the NFL). The Raiders allowed 34/221/1 rushing to the Bengals last week - this is a sorry defensive front, folks.

Richardson has an excellent matchup this week.

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

CLE Injuries: none
JAX Injuries: none


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

The Cowboys had a hard time moving the ball against the Giants back in week 7, with 21/69/1 rushing as a team (13/30/0 for Julius Jones, and 6/39/0 for Marion Barber III: Drew Bledsoe scored with 1/1/1). The offense has quickly ramped up as Tony Romo has gotten comfortable as the starting QB, though, and last week the committee of backs posted 37/137/0 against the Buccaneers. Barber has 5 TDs in the last 3 weeks (39/183/3 rushing and 3/11/2 receiving) while Jones has amassed 48/164/0 rushing and 3/25/0 receiving.

Since the first meeting between these clubs, the Giants' defense has suffered a lot of key injuries - DEs Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora have both been sidelined for weeks, and Strahan is very likely to sit out this game as well. Last week, the depleted D allowed a 21-0 lead at the start of the 4th quarter to evaporate into a 24-21 loss to the Tennessee Titans - they have really stunk up the joint lately. Travis Henry and company gained 25/108/1 against the Giants last week - they are not shutting anybody down right now, averaging 130.3 rushing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks.

This is a great matchup for the Dallas stable.

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

DAL Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: none


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

Marion Barber was contained (19/59/0 rushing, with 7/50/0 receiving), but not shut down by Mike Singletary's 49ers - over the past 3 weeks, he's amassed 43/173/1 and 13/89/0 receiving (2 games played) to land at #9 among all fantasy RBs in points per game during that time span. Felix Jones just had toe surgery last Saturday, so he won't be back in anytime soon - Tashard Choice spells Barber when he needs a breather (6/18/0 rushing and 2/14/0 receiving vs. San Francisco).

The Seahawks laid down for 41/187/1 to Washington and an injury-slowed Clinton Portis last week - they've coughed up 418 rushing yards in the last 3 weeks (139.3 per contest on average). To date, Seattle is 22nd in the NFL averaging 122 rushing yards allowed per game, with 10 rush TDs handed over so far.

Barber has a smooth path in front of him at home in Texas Stadium on Thanksgiving - advantage, Dallas.

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

DAL Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: none


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

Marion Barber suffered a calf injury on Thanksgiving that may keep him sidelined up to two weeks, according to reports on Monday. Tashard Choice would fill in for Barber if he is indeed sidelined for a time. Felix Jones racked up over 100 yards combined vs. New Orleans on Thanksgiving, with 13/44/0 rushing and 7/69/0 receiving, while Miles Austin (1/60/1), Marion Barber (10/19/1) and Tashard Choice (1/1/1) handled the scoring runs during the contest. Jones has amassed 43/162/0 rushing and 13/189/1 receiving during the past four weeks - he's the 23rd best fantasy RB in PPR leagues during that span of time.

The Colts' rush D is a huge liability for the team, currently averaging 136 yards allowed per game (29th in the NFL), with 12 rushing scores given out over 11 games. San Diego ran for 34/129/1 on Sunday Night Football; New England threw down for 34/168/2 rushing two weeks ago vs. the Colts. It isn't hard to run the ball on Indianapolis' D.

Jones and company have revived their offense during November - they should have a strong game against the weak Colts on Sunday.

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

DAL Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: none


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

Back in week 2, Travis Henry (currently battling knee and ankle injuries) was the starting RB for Denver, posting 26/128/0 vs. Oakland. Fast forward to week 13, and we're talking about Selvin Young and Andre Hall as the potential stable for the Broncos/Raiders rematch. A lot has changed in Denver, but they are still running the ball with authority, averaging 4.5 yards per carry regardless of who is toting the ball (2nd in the NFL). Last week, Hall fought through a sore ankle to post 26/98/1 rushing and 2/69/0 receiving until late in the 4th quarter, when Cecil Sapp came in and posted 7/28/1 rushing and 1/4/0 receiving in relief of Hall. Hall believes that he and Young will be back for this divisional matchup, stating after the game "We need a witch doctor or something. We got the hoax on us. But we'll be all right. I think me and Selvin are going to have a big week competing against each other." The early word is that Henry hopes to return to the lineup this week after resting his partially torn PCL (left knee), assuming he has not setbacks in practice. The picture at RB is pretty crowded in Denver right now, as you can see.

The Raiders are the league's worst rush defense, handing over a staggering 153.6 rushing yards per game, with 18 rush TDs given up to date. They are far-and-away the easiest team in the NFL to run the ball against. Rookie Kolby Smith and the Chiefs gained 37/164/2 against the Raiders last week. 'Nuff said.

This is a great matchup for the Broncos' backs.

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

DEN Injuries: none
KC Injuries: none


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

Both of these divisional rivals have been up and down over the past two weeks - they come into this first showdown with a 1-1 record during that time span. Denver snapped a four-game skid last week with a 26-6 victory over the New York Giants on Thanksgiving evening, led by Knowshon Moreno's 19/88/1 rushing (2/19/0 receiving). He was assisted, as usual, by Correll Buckhalter who added 20/51/0 rushing and 1/5/0 receiving to the effort. Two weeks ago, in the 3-32 loss to San Diego, Moreno posted 10/80/0 rushing with 1/6/0 receiving - the young back is definitely hitting his stride coming into December. We'll see if he can keep up the intensity during the stretch run into the playoffs.

The Chiefs' rush D isn't very good this year, ranking 27th in the NFL through 11 games with an average of 134.5 yards allowed per game, and 11 rushing TDs handed over so far. San Diego compiled 34/94/2 rushing against this group last week; Pittsburgh had 31/114/0 rushing two weeks ago. Over the past four weeks, K.C. has surrendered 563 yards rushing (140.8 per game on average) - like we said, they aren't very good.

Moreno and Buckhalter comprise an effective tandem, while the Chiefs are very suspect in this phase of the game. That sounds like a great matchup for Denver to us.

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

DEN Injuries: none
KC Injuries: none


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

Ahman Green showcased his dual-threat talents against the Seahawks, posting a modest 14/44/1 rushing but adding 6/46/0 receiving out of the backfield to post a respectable fantasy outing. Backup Vernand Morency chipped in with 4/8/0 rushing and 2/31/0 receiving during the contest. Over the past 3 weeks, Green has 49/127/1 rushing and 7/46/0 receiving - the bulk of his production came vs. Seattle, as you can see. He hasn't been very reliable lately.

The Jets are awful ad defending the run - they are tied for most rushing TDs given up during the season (13), and average 135.2 rushing yards allowed per game (26th in the NFL). Last week, they handed over a mere 14/25/0 to the Texans' stable, but that was more a case of the Texans' ineptitude than the Jets suddenly becoming a powerful run defense.

This is a great matchup for Green.

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

GB Injuries: none
CHI Injuries: none


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

Houston dominated Tennessee 38-14 back in week four, led by Arian Foster's 24/86/1 rushing with 1/8/0 receiving. Ben Tate was ineffective during the contest, with 5/11/0 rushing and 2/3/0 receiving - Tate hasn't played much since the disappointing day. It's been Fosters' rushing attack during 2012, and he hasn't disappointed with 269/1,051/12 rushing and 25/122/2 receiving so far this year. Last week, he tore off 20/102/2 rushing and 5/15/0 receiving at Detroit, followed by 5/87/1 rushing for backup Justin Forsett.

The Titans gave up 27/100/1 rushing to the Jaguars' backups last week (Maurice Jones-Drew remains out with a foot injury), while giving up just 15/54/0 rushing to the Dolphins back in week 10. To date, the team averages 129.8 rushing yards allowed per game (27th in the NFL) with 10 rushing scores allowed - this isn't a solid defensive front.

Advantage, Texans.

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

HOU Injuries: none
BAL Injuries: none


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

Arian Foster ran up 20/151/2 at Tennessee back on October 26, but since then he's been fighting through a groin injury that has kept him sidelined since Week 9 - Alfred Blue also saw some action at Tennessee with 14/42/0 rushing and 1/22/0 receiving, and if Foster remains sidelined by his groin injury, Blue will be the head running back here in Week 13. Last week Foster sat out and Blue posted 16/46/0 rushing with 3/20/0 receiving vs. Cincinnati, one week after Blue broke out with 36/156/0 rushing at Cleveland. Stay tuned to Footballguys.com's Players in the News later this week to check on Foster's practice status/Blue's chances to be the featured back again. Now that the team has lost Ryan Mallett to a season-ending pectoral injury, look for the team to lean on the running backs with Ryan Fitzpatrick back under center.

The Titans' rush D is ranked dead last in the NFL averaging 145.4 yards given up per game, with the second-most rushing scores surrendered to date, with 13 allowed. Last week, Philadelphia hit them for 38/164/2 rushing; Pittsburgh posted 36/206/1 rushing against this team two weeks ago.

Advantage, Houston (whoever runs the ball this week).

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

HOU Injuries: none
BAL Injuries: none


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

The last time these teams met, back in week 5, both Joseph Addai (13/62/0 rushing with 2/15/0 receiving) and Dominic Rhodes (20/84/0 rushing and 5/26/0 receiving) had strong games. Since then, Addai has gradually assumed a more prominent role in the Indy attack, and he had a coming out party last week with 24/171/4 rushing and 2/37/0 receiving against the soft Eagles. Dominic Rhodes chipped in 15/68/0 rushing and 3/21/0 receiving (he's hardly a "forgotten man"), but as we've been saying for a while Addai is the better fantasy play with more goal-line opportunities.

Tennessee is lame in this phase of the game, ranking 30th in the NFL allowing an average of 147.7 rushing yards per game, with 12 TDs allowed so far (tied for 2nd most rushing TDs given up). They handed over 36/144/2 to the Giants last week - right on pace for this soft defensive front.

This is a great matchup for the Colts' backs.

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

IND Injuries: none
TEN Injuries: none


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

Joseph Addai went back to mediocre fantasy numbers last week, with 16/70/0 rushing and 3/31/0 receiving - at least he got over 100 yards combined in the game. Dominic Rhodes pitched in 7/21/0 rushing and 5/21/1 receiving, helping his fantasy owners with a 6-point play at the goal line. Over the past 3 weeks, Addai has managed 50/209/1 rushing and 13/92/1 receiving (13th best fantasy WR in the land), while Rhodes has 24/97/0 rushing and 10/71/2 receiving to land at 27th fantasy RB in points per game during that time span. Taken together, the 2 players form 1 solid attack entering week 13. The team got some bad (but expected news) on Wednesday - G Ryan Lilja, out all season due to a knee injury, is now officially out for the rest of the year. He just couldn't get healthy enough to play.

Cleveland's rush D has struggled in this phase of the game all year, with 145.9 rushing yards allowed per contest, and 11 rushing TDs handed over in 11 contests. The banged-up Texans' stable of backs could only manage 36/112/0 vs. Cleveland last week, but that had more to do with their injury situation than a sudden dominance on Cleveland's part. Over the last 3 games, they've given away 421 rushing yards to the opposition, 140.3 yards per game on average.

Addai hasn't been a top-10 fantasy back this year, but he and Rhodes have a great shot at productive showings in Cleveland this week.

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

IND Injuries: none
TEN Injuries: none


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

Maurice Jones-Drew propelled the Jaguars to victory over Houston back in week three, with 23/119/3 rushing and 4/28/0 receiving to his credit - since that early-season game, Jones-Drew has been the engine that drives the Jaguars' attack, with 209/1,001/13 rushing and 41/273/0 receiving through week 12. Last week was the first time in six weeks that he didn't have at least one rushing TD (15/75/0 rushing with 5/35/0 receiving vs. San Francisco). Jones-Drew is a fantasy points machine this year, folks.

The Texans' rush D is in the bottom tier of the NFL this year, averaging 120 yards allowed per game with 14 rushing scores given up to date. They've allowed 414 rushing yards in their last three contests (138 per game on average), with 23/114/1 given away to the Colts last week and 42/228/1 handed over to the Titans two weeks ago. Opposing backs average 4.8 yards per carry against the Texans during 2009. Ouch.

This is a great week to have Jones-Drew in your lineup. Enjoy!

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

JAX Injuries: none
CLE Injuries: none


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

Larry Johnson posted 34/157/1 rushing with 1/6/0 against the Chiefs' arch-rival Denver last week, and has 83/386/4 rushing and 3/20/0 receiving over the past 3 weeks (4th best fantasy RB in the land). He's 2nd only to LaDainian Tomlinson this year - just start him and smile (like you needed us to tell you that!).

The Browns are not stout in this phase of the game, averaging 133.5 rushing yards allowed per game (25th in the NFL), with 9 rushing scores given up to date. Last week, the Bengals could only manage 35/99/1 rushing, but 1/2 of their starting linemen are injured right now. The Browns simply aren't going to shut down most teams.

This is a great matchup for the Chiefs and Johnson.

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

KC Injuries: none
DEN Injuries: none


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

K.C. couldn't rush the ball worth beans back in week 2, gaining just 19/55/0 vs. the Raiders 29th-ranked rushing D. Larry Johnson led the futility with 12/22/0; Jamaal Charles had 3/7/0 rushing and 1/15/0 receiving on the day. It wasn't the best effort put forth by the K.C. backs this year. However, things have changed a bit since week 2. Johnson has been suspended and returned to action, and the passing game has come to life - we'll see if the Chiefs can better their early-season performance this week. Last week, Larry Johnson posted 7/81/0 rushing and 2/24/0 receiving vs. the Bills, helping his team to 13/159/0 on the ground during the game - K.C. QBs Tyler Thigpen and Quinn Gray accounted for another 56 yards rushing, and Jamaal Charles had 2/22/0 rushing and 3/45/1 receiving in his change-of-pace role.

The Raiders' rush D is 29th in the NFL this year, averaging 160 rushing yards allowed per game, with 16 rushing scores handed over to date. They have allowed 499 yards rushing in the last 3 weeks (166.3 per contest - even worse than usual), and coughed up 28/115/1 to the injury-depleted Broncos' backfield last week. They aren't a good rush D, folks.

This is a great matchup for the Chiefs, despite travelling to the boisterous "Black Hole" in McAfee Coliseum this week.

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

KC Injuries: none
DEN Injuries: none


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

Jamaal Charles led the Chiefs' fantasy backs during week 10, doing most of his work as a receiver as the Chiefs chased the Broncos from down 35-0 in the second quarter - Charles ended up with 14/41/0 rushing and 5/80/1 receiving during the game as the Chiefs scored 29 points in the losing effort. Thomas Jones was mostly eliminated from the game due to the all-out focus on the passing game, and ended week 10 with 4/3/0 rushing and 1/19/0 receiving to his credit. However, both guys come into this contest hot after the Chiefs posted 48/270/2 rushing at Seattle - Charles positively exploded for 22/173/1 rushing (with 2/3/0 receiving), while Jones put up 20/68/0 rushing and 3/14/0 receiving on the day. Rolling into week 13, the Chiefs' backs are primed for action at home vs. their hated rivals.

The Broncos' rush D leads the NFL in TDs allowed, with 16, and they are 30th in average yards allowed, with a mark of 141.6 given up per game. St. Louis cranked out 35/123/1 rushing last week; San Diego put up 38/147/1 on the Broncos two weeks ago.

This is a great matchup for Charles owners and Jones owners.

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

KC Injuries: none
DEN Injuries: none


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

Jamaal Charles (23/107/0 rushing last week) commented on the Chiefs' performance vs. Denver after the game - 'Sometimes we just miss plays,' Charles said. 'Playmakers have got to make plays. I feel like I messed up out there as well... We just tried to keep Peyton (Manning) off the field,' Charles said. 'We know how he makes plays when he's out on the field. So we just tried to run the ball and make plays on offense.' In the end, only Charles and place kicker Ryan Succop were making plays vs. Denver (K.C. lost 9-17 last week). Charles is the one piece of this 1-10 Kansas City offense worth considering as a fantasy starter right now as he makes things happen with his 20+ touches per week.

Carolina beat Philadelphia 30-22, but their rush D was shredded by rookie Bryce Brown on Monday night - all told, the Eagles posted 26/204/2 rushing on the Panthers. Two weeks ago, Tampa Bay had 30/167/0 rushing vs. Carolina - enough said here.

Advantage, Charles.

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

KC Injuries: none
DEN Injuries: none


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

Back in week 3, when the Jets and Dolphins last clashed, Ronnie Brown was the starting RB and Trent Green was the starting QB - both are on IR now. Retrospective won't tell us much about this particular matchup.

The return of Ricky Williams to the NFL lasted 6 carries for 15 yards - Williams tore a chest muscle in the contest vs. Pittsburgh and is done for the season due to the injury. Jesse Chatman tried to play through his ankle injury, but in the muck at Heinz Field there was precious little traction to be had even with good ankles - he ended up with 11/17/0 rushing and 1/-4/0 receiving on the day, while deep reserve Patrick Cobbs ended up carrying the ball by games' end (4/10/0 rushing and 1/11/0 receiving). If Chatman can't get his ankle well by Sunday, Cobbs and Lorenzo Booker may be the backfield for the Dolphins this week.

The Jets are 31st in the NFL this year averaging 150.5 rushing yards allowed per game, with 11 rushing scores handed over to date. They've allowed 582 rushing yards in their last 3 games (average of 194 yards per game), with 34/174/1 surrendered to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. They really are just as bad as they looked on Turkey Day, folks.

The Dolphins' RB stable is banged up and depleted, but there won't be a better matchup for the rushers than when their divisional rivals the Jets come calling on Sunday.

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

MIA Injuries: none
BUF Injuries: none


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

St Louis has given up 542 rushing yards and 499 passing yards in the last 3 games, with 109 points handed over to opposing teams. Meanwhile, they've scored 22 in the last 3 games, with a total of 3 in 2 out of 3 contests. To date, the Rams have allowed the most rushing TDs in the league, 20, and average 162.3 yards given away per game (30th in the NFL). These guys are bad in all phases of the game.

Miami's backs managed just 19/62/1 rushing vs. the Patriots last week (no 4 TD outing for Ronnie Brown last week), with 10/37/0 for Brown, and 6/21/0 rushing for Ricky Williams - Chad Pennington ran in the TD (2/3/1). Williams added 2/19/1 receiving during the game - it wasn't an awful outing, but it wasn't stellar, either. Over the last 3 weeks, Brown has posted 36/177/1 rushing with 6/48/0 receiving; Williams has 31/175/1 rushing and 6/46/1 receiving to his credit in that same time span. They form an adequate 1-2 punch for Miami.

The Rams are so terrible that it's a little like Christmas each week for opposinng backs - they get whatever they want from the giving St. Louis defense. Advantage, Miami.

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

MIA Injuries: none
BUF Injuries: none


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

'We are still going through the process and just trying to determine the severity of it,' head coach Leslie Frazier said of Adrian Peterson's injury. 'We'll probably learn a little bit more, probably on Wednesday when we come back and just see what he can or can't do.' Frazier was unsure if Peterson is dealing with a high ankle sprain as of Monday, November 29th. After the injury, Peterson commented on the pain level of it thusly: 'I would have tried to go out there, that's just the mentality that I have. Trust me, if I could have went, I would have been out there. But it was just unbearable.'

Regardless of Peterson's availability for this game, new head coach Leslie Frazier has instilled a run-first mentality to the offense, and against the league-worst Bills' rush D (more on that below), the team is expected to pound the rock heavily again this week. Last week, they ran the ball 38 times (compared to 23 pass attempts for Brett Favre). Toby Gerhart led the charge after Peterson was sidelined by the ankle, posting 22/76/1 rushing and 2/5/0 receiving. While playing the change of pace back with Peterson in the lead this year, Gerhart has put up 46/162/1 rushing and 15/144/0 receiving - he's able to do damage either toting the football or as a receiver out of the backfield.

The Bills' rush D is awful, and is a major reason they only have two wins. Over the last four weeks, opposing teams have racked up 520 yards rushing (130 per game on average), which is an improvement over their season average of 167.4 yards allowed per game, but still isn't very good. Pittsburgh mauled the Bills for 45/206/1 on the ground as a team last week. Enough said.

This is a great week to have Toby Gerhart come off the bench for your fantasy team (assuming Peterson can't play).

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

MIN Injuries: none
DET Injuries: none


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

Adrian Peterson hit the 100-yards rushing mark at Chicago back in Week two, with 26/100/0 to his credit (and 1/7/0 receiving). All told, the Vikings had 33/123/0 rushing at Chicago that day.

Since early in the season, Peterson has dealt with a quarterback carousel that has allowed opposing teams to stack the box against him (and Peterson also has dealt with a nagging groin injury that flares up from time to time). Last week, he was able to overcome the groin issue that limited him two weeks ago, and Peterson ended the day with 32/146/1 rushing and 1/2/0 receiving. Toby Gerhart had 8/91/0 rushing and 1/5/0 receiving during the game as well.

The Bears' rush D is ranked dead last in the NFL averaging 145.2 yards allowed per game, with 14 rushing scores given out to date. Last week, St. Louis had 29/258/3 rushing vs the Bears, while Baltimore's sad sack attack cranked out 41/174/1 rushing two games ago.

This is a great matchup for the Vikings.

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

MIN Injuries: none
DET Injuries: none


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

The Bears made things tough on the Patriots' backs last week, holding the team to 34/85/1 - Laurence Maroney plowed in the TD, with 13/33/1 rushing and added 4/45/0 receiving, while Corey Dillon posted 11/40/0 rushing and 1/3/0 receiving. Over the past 3 weeks, Maroney has seen 44/152/1 rushing and 8/79/1 receiving to rank 20th among fantasy RBs in points per game, while Dillon has piled up 34/169/1 rushing and 2/8/0 receiving to rank 29th. Kevin Faulk chipped in 6/37/0 receiving vs. Chicago.

The Lions are sub-par rush defenders, averaging 131.5 yards allowed per game (23rd in the NFL), with 7 rushing scores given up so far. Over the past 3 weeks, they've handed over yards at a clip of 163 per contest, including last week's total of 35/186/0 surrendered to the Dolphins. They are not playing well in recent weeks, as you can see.

This is a great matchup for the Patriots.

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

NE Injuries: none
NYJ Injuries: none


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

BenJarvus Green-Ellis punched in two rushing TDs at Philadelphia last week, posting 14/44/2 as the lead back in a stable that piled up 36/104/2 as a team. Danny Woodhead was second among the running backs in rushing yards, with 4/20/0, while Shane Vereen (7/18/0) and Stevan Ridley (4/4/0) continued their apprenticeships for the Patriots. Of the 97 rushes that the Patriots have attempted over the last three games, Green-Ellis has seen 43.3% of the carries (42/133/2 with two targets for 1/25/0 receiving), while Woodhead (16/85/0 rushing with seven targets for 3/34/0), Vereen (15/57/1 rushing) and Ridley (9/8/0 rushing) have contributed in secondary roles.

The Colts' rush D is pathetic this year, with a league-worst 15 rushing scores given up and an average of 150.6 rushing yards allowed per game. Most recently, Carolina destroyed Indianapolis with 35/201/3 from their three-headed committee.

This looks like a great week to have Green-Ellis in your lineup, and Woodhead/Vereen might be worth a look as flex options.

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

NE Injuries: none
NYJ Injuries: none


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

The Patriots have leaned on Shane Vereen since he returned to action (10/31/0 rushing with 8/60/0 receiving last week vs. Denver) - partly because Stevan Ridley has caught Fumbleitis again and wound up benched vs. Denver last week. Brandon Bolden 13/58/1 rushing and 1/11/0 receiving last week - may see more work going forwards if Ridley stays in the doghouse with head coach Bill Belichick. LeGarrette Blount took a hard blow to the helmet last week and he also fumbled on the play - he also was benched after his fumble. It'll be interesting to see how the reshuffling of the stable's order affects carries this week.

The Texans' defense has become awful through injury attrition and an increasingly ineffective offense - Jacksonville posted 28/118/1 rushing to win 13-6 at Houston last week, while Oakland slapped this group around with 31/165/1 rushing two weeks ago. The Texans' D is circling the bowel at this point of the season.

Advantage, New England.

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

NE Injuries: none
NYJ Injuries: none


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

New York's game last week was a tale of two halves - in the first, they were unimpressive and scored only six points, trailing the Jaguars 17-6 at the half, but they kicked the offense into high gear in the second period, and ended up winning the game 24-20. Brandon Jacobs led the team in rushing last week with 14/87/0 on the ground, while Ahmad Bradshaw chipped in 9/49/0 rushing and 4/34/0 receiving after his demotion to change-of-pace back. 'I thought Brandon ran hard,' Eli Manning said after the game. 'We kind of simplified things a little bit. Not as many running plays. I think it paid off.' It was a big improvement over the 19/61/0 rushing effort as a team we saw two weeks ago at Philadelphia - 26/135/0 is more in line with the Giants' sixth-ranked average of 138 rushing yards generated per game this year.

The Redskins' rush D hasn't done well this year, and enters this first grudge match with the Giants ranked 26th in the NFL averaging 131.5 yards allowed per game, with eight rushing TDs given away to date. Minnesota as right on that pace last week, with 38/137/2 rushing as a team; Tennessee put up 25/151/0 on the Redskins two weeks ago.

This is a great matchup for the Giants' backs.

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

NYG Injuries: none
DAL Injuries: none


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

Andre Brown has gone over 100 yards receiving in two of his last three games, with 21/127/0 rushing and 4/11/0 receiving vs. Dallas last week - Brandon Jacobs felt frisky last week too, and had 9/75/0 rushing during the contest. These two have become the 1-2 punch that New York brings to the line each week.

The Washington rush D is not good, currently tied for worst in the NFL with 15 rushing scores surrendered and averaging 111.5 yards allowed per game (14th in the league in this category). San Francisco was held to 33/76/0 at Washington last week, though, but Philadelphia had 33/126/3 rushing on this club two games ago.

This is a great matchup for Brown and Jacobs.

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

NYG Injuries: none
DAL Injuries: none


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

Rashad Jennings is getting back into 'game shape' after his injury-induced layoff, and he looked up to speed vs. Dallas last week with 19/52/0 rushing and 8/68/0 receiving to his credit. Unfortunately for his fantasy owners, Andre Williams siphoned off a rush TD against Dallas (10/35/1 rushing with 1/12/0 receiving), but Jennings appears to be firmly atop the pecking order in New York heading into the final month of the NFL season. We'll see if he can find some pay dirt down in Jacksonville this week.

The Jaguars have allowed nine rushing scores over 11 games while ranking 28th in the NFL averaging 130.6 rushing yards given up per game. Last week, Indianapolis hung 35/175/1 rushing on the Jaguars; Dallas had 30/151/1 rushing two games ago.

Advantage, New York.

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

NYG Injuries: none
DAL Injuries: none


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

During the week 3, Thomas Jones played one of his best games of the season vs Miami, gaining 25/110/0 rushing and 1/2/0 receiving. He's sprinkled in 2 other 100 yard+ efforts among his 207/763/0 rushing and 20/146/0 receiving season to date, including a surprising 30/117/0 and 1/7/0 effort two weeks ago in the upset of Pittsburgh. This may be his most appealing matchup of the season, folks, as the Dolphins' rush D is putrid.

Miami gave up 29/84/0 to the Steelers on Monday Night, in a game where nobody could find footing on the mucky turf in Pittsburgh. In the 3 previous games, Miami allowed 202 yards rushing, 63 yards rushing, and 189 yards rushing - more often than not, teams steamroll this defense, which is reflected in their season average of 148.5 yards rushing allowed per game (30th in the NFL). The Dolphins have also allowed the second-most TDs on the ground this year with 13 given up.

Jones did well the last time he played the Dolphins, and there is no reason to expect a different outcome this week.

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

NYJ Injuries: none
NE Injuries: none


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

"That is a fun day for us to go out there and be able to accomplish that," said Jets guard Alan Faneca. "That is an offensive lineman's dream." "It was pretty hard early on," Leon Washington commented after the contest - he finished with 8 carries for 82 yards and 2 touchdowns. "We kind of wore them down... The hole was wide open [on his long TD run] and I tried to run as fast as I could."

Thomas Jones leads the AFC in rushing this season (217/950/9 rushing with 25/140/2 receiving), and had 96 yards on 27 carries (plus 3/21/1 receiving) as the Titans gave up 192 rushing yards, by far the most yards surrendered by Tennessee this year. Jones and Washington have the Jets' afterburners on in this phase of the game.

The Broncos are not much above wet-paper-bag status as run defenders this year, averaging 144.5 yards allowed per game, with 15 rushing TDs given up in 11 contests. They have coughed up 432 rushing yards in their last 3 games (144 per contest, right on pace for them), and allowed 41/158/2 to the Raiders last week in a 31-10 loss.

This is a great week to have a Jets running back on your team.

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

NYJ Injuries: none
NE Injuries: none


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

The last time the Jets faced the Bills, Thomas Jones (22/210/1) and Leon Washington (15/99/0) led the team to 40/318/1 rushing (but due to five interceptions thrown by Mark Sanchez, the team lost the game 16-13). Since that week six game, Jones has by necessity become the primary ball carrier for New York as Washington is out for the season due to a broken leg. Over the past four weeks, Jones has ground out 66/252/2 rushing with 3/11/0 receiving, while Shonn Greene has pitched in with 20/61/0 rushing. Last week, Jones had 25/75/1 rushing with 3/11/0 receiving vs. Carolina, helping his team snap a three game losing streak.

The Bills' rush D continues to be a mess. They allowed 37/157/1 rushing to the Dolphins last week; they've given up 427 rushing yards in their last three games(142.3 per contest on average); and the team currently averages 165.1 rushing yards allowed per game during the season, with 16 rushing scores handed over. These guys are akin to turnstiles - they just keep on allowing people through.

This is a great week to have Thomas Jones in your lineup.

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

NYJ Injuries: none
NE Injuries: none


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

Chris Ivory suffered a complex ankle sprain last week and looks unlikely to play in this first game vs. divisional rival Miami - Bilal Powell will likely carry the load this week. Powell has posted 125/482/1 rushing and 23/182/0 receiving so far this year, and had 11/41/0 rushing and 3/24/0 receiving at Baltimore last week. Look for Powell to have more opportunities handling the football against Miami this week.

The Dolphins' rush D gave up 29/136/1 to Carolina last week and 26/154/0 to San Diego two weeks ago. They are continuing to play even worse than their season average of 123.8 rushing yards allowed per game (26th in the NFL) with 11 rushing scores given up to date.

Powell has a great matchup in store when the Dolphins arrive in MetLife Stadium this week.

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

NYJ Injuries: none
NE Injuries: none


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

Back in week 2, LaMont Jordan was the starting RB for the Raiders (25/159/0 rushing vs. Denver), and Josh McCown was the starting QB. Neither is seeing much playing time for Oakland these days - a lot has changed in the course of the season when you consider the Raiders' starting lineup.

Justin Fargas has been great since assuming the mantle of starter in Oakland, posting 90/384/2 rushing and 12/85/0 receiving over the last 4 weeks (12th best fantasy RB in the land during that time span). He crammed 22/139/1 rushing and 2/18/0 down the Chiefs' throats last week. The guy is on fire.

The Broncos handed over 32/122/1 to the Bears last week as their re-tooled defensive front continues to stink it up in the rushing phase of the game, averaging 146.7 rushing yards allowed per game, with 9 rushing TDs handed over to date. They've given up at least 122 rushing yards in 3 out of their last 4 contests.

Fargas has a great matchup to exploit this week in front of the Raider faithful.

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

OAK Injuries: none
SD Injuries: none


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

Darren McFadden led the Raiders to victory back in week 2, with 21/164/1 rushing and 1/9/0 receiving vs. the Chiefs - the team slammed KC for 47/300/2 in that contest (Michael Bush ran for 16/90/1 in that game). After missing a lot of time midseason due to a turf toe injury, he also led the Raiders to a "W" over Denver last week, with 10/38/2 rushing and 2/14/0 receiving - he isn't back to gaining near 8 yards a carry yet (and has only the single 100+ rushing yards game so far), but the TDs made him worthy of a fantasy roster spot last week. Justin Fargas cranked out the yardage last week with 24/107/0 rushing and 1/8/0 receiving - all told, the Raiders had 41/158/2 rushing vs. Denver.

The Chiefs are among the worst rush defenders in the land, with an average of 165.9 rushing yards allowed per game (only the Lions are worse) - K.C. has allowed 19 rushing TDs this year, 1 less than the league-worst Rams. Buffalo ran up 38/171/3 vs. K.C. last week - you get the picture.

This is a great matchup for Fargas and McFadden.

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

OAK Injuries: none
SD Injuries: none


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

While Darren McFadden has been nursing sore hamstrings (again), Rashad Jennings has been building a case to be the starting running back in Oakland going forwards. With 16/73/0 rushing and 4/49/0 receiving vs Tennessee last week and 22/150/1 rushing with 2/-2/0 receiving at Houston two weeks ago, Jennings has made his point. On November 26 local sources indicated that Raiders' OC Greg Olson indicated that the team plans to stick with Rashad Jennings at running back on Thursday even though McFadden is reportedly ready to return. We'll see how the work-sharing arrangement plays out but as of mid-week it appears Jennings is the new #1 running back in Oakland.

The Cowboys' defense has been torn up in recent weeks, with 30/202/0 rushing surrendered to the Giants last week and 38/242/3 given away to the Saints two games ago (New Orleans set an NFL record with 40 first downs in that game). This is a defensive front in crisis, friends.

Advantage, Oakland.

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

OAK Injuries: none
SD Injuries: none


Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Rashard Mendenhall (24/95/0 rushing with 2/22/0 receiving last week) and company ground out 38/153/1 vs. the Ravens last week, which is a respectable accomplishment considering that Baltimore is the sixth-ranked rush D in the land as of week 13 averaging just 97.6 rushing yards allowed per game). However, Mendenhall has been underwhelming his fantasy owners over the last five weeks due to a lack of rushing TDs (he does have one receiving score during that time span, against KC two weeks ago). Over the last four weeks, Mendenhall is the 20th-ranked fantasy RB in the land, with 80/366/0 rushing and 8/72/1 receiving to his credit (PPR format). Willie Parker and Mewelde Moore are bit players in the attack at this point - Parker had 5/14/0 rushing last week, while Moore posted 4/2/0 during the game. It's all about Mendenhall coming into December, friends.

The Raiders rush D is among the worst in the land this year, averaging 161.1 yards per game allowed, with 17 rushing TDs given away to date. Over the past four weeks, the team has coughed up 484 rushing yards in three contests (161.3 per game on average), right in keeping with their season average, including last week's gift of 25/195/1 rushing to the Cowboys, an average of 7.8 yards allowed per carry. The Raiders' defensive front is scary-bad.

This should be a great week to have Mendenhall on your roster.

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

PIT Injuries: none
CIN Injuries: none


Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

LeVeon Bell (33/204/1 rushing with 2/18/0 receiving) went into the bye week smoking hot after burning up the Titans in Week 11, and he comes out of the bye without potential TD vulture LeGarrette Blount (now a Patriot again) to worry about. Win/win for fantasy owners, folks. Start him if you've got him.

The Saints' rush D is ranked 23rd in the NFL averaging 123.8 yards allowed per game, with 12 rushing scores handed out to date (third-most in the NFL through 11 games). Last week, Baltimore crushed this defensive front with 32/215/2 after Cincinnati posted 36/186/0 on New Orleans two games back.

Advantage, Pittsburgh.

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

PIT Injuries: none
CIN Injuries: none


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

LaDainian Tomlinson: 19/109/2 rushing last week, with 1/1 for 19 yards and a TD passing, and 1/5/0 receiving. He's the best fantasy RB (and real-world running back) in the NFL this year. He should always be in your starting lineup barring injury.

The Bills are 26th in the NFL averaging 135.2 rushing yards allowed per game, and they have coughed up 11 TDs to date. Last week, Jacksonville bull-dozed the Bills for 35/207/1 on the ground.

It'll be an ugly week for Bills fans, when Tomlinson plays against the soft Buffalo defensive front.

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

SD Injuries: none
OAK Injuries: none


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

Ryan Mathews was still heavily involved in the rushing attack for San Diego back in week five (he led the team with 9/59/0 rushing during that game) - Mike Tolbert had the rushing TD week five, though, with 12/11/1 rushing and 2/24/0 receiving at Oakland. All told, the Chargers managed 26/91/1 rushing vs. Oakland in week five (a 3.5 yards per carry average). Since week five, things have changed in San Diego - Mathews has been sidelined due to injury for weeks (though he may return to action this week), and Mike Tolbert has been very productive in his absence, with 59/246/2 rushing and 5/59/0 receiving over the past four weeks (14th-best fantasy RB in the land in PPR leagues). Last week, Tolbert put up 26/103/1 rushing and 2/15/0 receiving on the Colts - he's a hot player right now.

The Raiders' rush D hasn't been very strong this year, averaging 133.7 yards allowed per game, with nine rushing TDs given up over 11 contests. Miami torched the defensive front for 49/186/1 rushing last week; Pittsburgh slammed them for 33/162/2 two weeks ago. The Raiders' defense is fading as the end of the season approaches.

This is a great matchup for Tolbert and possibly Mathews if he can return.

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

SD Injuries: none
OAK Injuries: none


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

Frank Gore has been outstanding over the past 3 weeks, with 67/505/2 rushing and 10/71/0 receiving to rank 2nd in the NFL in fantasy points per game by a running back during those weeks. He posted 21/134/1 rushing and 4/31/0 receiving vs. the Rams last week before exiting the game with a sore right ankle (sprained ankle). He'll be evaluated further as the week goes along - Gore owners will want to keep an eye on his practice and injury status as the week goes along. On Wednesday, the team revealed that subsequent evaluations show nothing seriously wrong with the leg - Gore has a bruise between his ankle and shin, but nothing more. "I'll be ready." Gore said of the game vs. New Orleans.

The New Orleans' rush D has faded as the year goes along, and currently ranks 29th in the NFL allowing an average of 140 yards per game, with 8 rushing scores given up to date. They handed over 45/281/1 to the Falcons last week - Michael Vick consistently took advantage of wide-open rushing lanes during the game to rack up 166 yards on his own.

This looks like a great matchup for Gore if he can get back to good health during the week.

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

SF Injuries: none
ARI Injuries: none


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

Frank Gore (14/39/0 rushing with 1/9/0 receiving) and Kendall Hunter (4/14/0 rushing with 1/13/0 receiving) ran into a rush D nearly as tough as San Francisco's own unit last week, and they didn't do well. However, there is good news for Gore owners this week - the sorry Rams are coming to town.

How sorry are the Rams? Well, they allowed an Arizona-franchise record 27/228/1 rushing to Chris Wells last week on the way to 38/268/1 rushing allowed to the Cardinals as a team. Two weeks ago, Seattle reeled off 39/126/2 rushing at St. Louis. The Rams are dead last in the NFL averaging 159 rushing yards allowed per game, with nine rushing scores handed over to date. That's how sorry the Rams are.

Gore has a great matchup to work with this week - he should bounce back in a big way during this NFC West divisional contest.

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

SF Injuries: none
ARI Injuries: none


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

Steven Jackson racked up 24/62/0 rushing and 3/59/0 receiving against the Cardinals back in week 3, and since then he's gotten even stronger. Over the past 3 weeks, Jackson has amassed 48/241/2 rushing and 22/141/0 receiving to rank 9th among all fantasy RBs in points per game during that span.

Arizona is the 22nd ranked rush D in the land averaging 122.4 rushing yards allowed per game, and are tied for 2nd-most rushing TDs surrendered so far, with 12 scores allowed so far. Over the past 3 weeks, they have handed over an average of 117 rushing yards per game, including last week's total of 33/157/1 accorded to the Vikings. The Cardinals are pretty weak in this phase of the game.

Jackson has a great matchup to work with this week.

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

STL Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: none


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

Steven Jackson has scored in 3 out of his last 4 games, and has posted 3 straight games with 100+ yards combined - he finally looks more like the back we all expected way back in August. Jackson did suffer a blow to the head last week, but returned after the injury, and ended up with 23/90/1 rushing and 3/15/0 receiving during the contest. He's been a strong fantasy option over the past several weeks.

The Falcons' rush D is not very good, ranking 23rd in the NFL allowing an average of 123.5 yards per game, with 8 rushing scores handed over to date. They've allowed 116 or more rushing yards in 3 out of their last 4 games, with 27/118/1 handed over to the Colts last Thursday. It isn't too hard to rush the ball against the Falcons this year.

Jackson and company have a great shot at posting solid numbers in the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday.

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

STL Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: none


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

As expected, Steven Jackson had less room to roam with Kyle Boller under center - he still eclipsed 100 yards combined, with 23/89/1 rushing and 5/27/0 receiving, but his string of 100+ yards rushing games was snapped at three last week. Jackson has scored a TD in four straight games and has rushed for 485 yards over those four games, with 89 yards receiving as well - he's just hampered by the lack of fire-power on the offense surrounding him as we enter December. Also, starting OT Jason Smith has been sidelined due to post-concussion after-effects - he wound up in the hospital when dizziness and nausea affected him on the sidelines last Sunday (he wasn't suited up, he was inactive - the symptoms were triggered without him being touched). The Rams' OL is pretty banged up entering week 13, with G Richie Incognito also out due to a foot injury. Also, Jackson is battling through a sore back that could worsen if it gets aggravated - 'Absolutely. It bothers me now,' Jackson said on Tuesday. 'A lot of people question, why did I play? Well, I played because I love to play. I look forward to Sundays.'

Chicago's D has been trampled for 608 rushing yards in their last four games, and they gave up 34/159/1 rushing to the Vikings last week - it's no wonder that the Bears are 24th in the NFL averaging 125.6 rushing yards allowed per game, with 10 rushing scores allowed through 11 contests. They're playing even worse than their lowly season ranking would indicate entering December.

Jackson is an elite back who just needs a little help to break out - the Bears are very accomodating hosts this year. Even with the above-mentioned OL issues we like Jackson's chances in this game. Advantage, St. Louis.

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

STL Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: none


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

Steven Jackson was held to 22/81/0 rushing and 4/6/0 receiving by the Cardinals back in week one, beginning a season-long pattern of seeing a lot of touches on the football but few scoring opportunities (232/883/3 rushing and 29/237/0 receiving to date). He was limited by the Broncos last week (29/72/0 rushing, a 2.5 yards per carry average), and added negative yardage in the receiving department (1/-6/0) - the Broncos were dialed in on Jackson but got beat by young Sam Bradford through the air (308 net yards and three TDs in the 36-33 victory for the Rams). Two weeks ago, Atlanta limited Jackson to 11/54/0 rushing and 3/7/0 receiving - he hasn't been able to bust a big run or reception in recent weeks. Kenneth Darby had two carries for four yards, but got the sole rushing TD of the day for the Rams, who ended up with 35/123/1 rushing as a team (WR Danny Amendola had 3/48/0 rushing on end-arounds).

The Cardinals were destroyed by the 49ers on Monday Night Football, especially in the rushing phase of the game. When the dust settled, the 49ers had piled up 47/261/2 rushing despite losing Frank Gore in the first half due to a broken hip. Kansas City whacked the Cardinals for 29/159/2 two weeks ago - the entire defensive front is in a state of collapse entering December, folks.

This is a great matchup for Jackson.

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

STL Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: none


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

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

LeGarrette Blount has posted two outstanding efforts in a row, with 20/103/0 rushing and 3/56/0 receiving at Tennessee last week, and 18/107/1 rushing with 1/6/0 receiving at Green Bay two weeks ago. The Tampa passing game is inconsistent this year so expect Blount to get a steady diet of touches in every game from here on out. Start him if you've got him.

The advice to start Blount is doubly true this week as the Panthers have allowed the most rushing TDs in the NFL this year with 15 surrendered over 11 games. Even Indianapolis pushed in a rushing TD on the Panthers, with 23/105/1 rushing last week - Detroit walloped them with 29/169/2 rushing two weeks ago.

The Panthers make all the backs they face look good - Start Blount!

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

TB Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none


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

Travis Henry was the focus of the Tennessee rushing attack back in week 5 (19/123/0 rushing with 2/10/0 receiving), and he's remained in that role since the earlier game vs. Indy. Over the last 3 weeks he's totaled 57/277/2 rushing and 4/32/0 receiving to rank 14th among all fantasy RBs in points per game. Henry did have an off game vs. the Giants last week, with 12/27/0 rushing and 3/24/0 receiving, though. Hopefully he'll bounce back this week.

Henry has a good shot to do just that, as the Colts have given up the most rushing TDs of any team in the NFL to date (13), and rank 31st in the NFL in terms of rushing yards allowed per game (154.5). Last week, the Eagles racked up 25/149/1 against the Colts, right on pace for this sub-par unit.

This is a great matchup for Henry and company.

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

TEN Injuries: none
IND Injuries: none


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

The Titan's running backs were minimal in impact during the game vs. New York, with 10/46/0 rushing (3/15/0 receiving) for Chris Johnson and 1/-1/0 rushing for LenDale White. Against the top tier New York rush D, the Titans opted to take to the air and didn't really challenge the defensive front much.

The story this week is different when you consider the Titans' opponent. The Lions are the worst defense in the NFL in this phase of the game, averaging 166.7 rushing yards allowed per game. They have surrendered 18 rushing TDs to date. Over the past 3 weeks, they've given away 540 rushing yards, including 32/119/1 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who trailed Detroit 17-0 at the end of the first quarter, but came back to win 38-20. This defense stinks.

This is a great week to start a Titans' running back.

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

TEN Injuries: none
IND Injuries: none


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

Clinton Portis was one of Sean Taylor's best friends, and played with Taylor at the University of Miami before coming to the NFL and working as team-mates in Washington. "It's hard to expect a man to grow up overnight," Portis said of Taylor on Tuesday. "But ever since he had his child, it was like a new Sean, and everybody around here knew it. He was always smiling, always happy, always talking about his child." Our sincere condolences to all the survivors of this awful tragedy.

Given the circumstances, it's hard to say who is going to be "up" for this game. Portis has logged a solid season when healthy, with over 100 yards combined last week (20/68/0 rushing and 5/33/0 receiving) and 213/870/6 rushing with 30/218/0 receiving to land at #6 among all fantasy RBs in total points to date. Ladell Betts contributed heavily last week with 8/47/0 rushing and 3/32/0 receiving vs. Tampa. Pay attention to practice reports and players in the news as the week goes along to get a feel for how the team intends to move forward with this difficult game.

Buffalo hasn't been stalwart in this phase of the game during 2007, ranking 23rd in the NFL allowing an average of 131.4 yards per game, with 9 rushing scores handed over to date. Last week, Jacksonville hung 26/124/2 rushing on the Bills - they've given up 422 rushing yards in their last 4 games, for an average of 105.5 per contest of late. The Bills have handed over at least 124 rushing yards in the most recent 3 out of their last 4 contests.

The Redskins' backs have a great matchup to work with this week, if they can focus on the task at hand.

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

WAS Injuries: none
STL Injuries: none


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

The last time these teams faced off, down in Mexico City during week 4, Marcel Shipp "led" the team with 16/42/0 rushing, while J.J. Arrington had 7/13/0. Neither back was very impressive then, and neither one has been an impact player since then, either - Shipp has 18/56/0 rushing and 5/39/0 receiving to his credit over the past 3 weeks (60th RB in fantasy points per game) while J.J. Arrington has 25/108/2 rushing and 4/31/0 receiving during that same span (32nd fantasy RB in the land). There just isn't much to get excited about on this squad.

The 49ers rush D is very soft this season, ranking next-to-last in the NFL allowing a total of 15 rushing scores to date, while averaging 119.6 yards given up on the ground per game (22nd in the NFL). Over the past 3 weeks, they've handed over 145 rushing yards per contest on average, including 27/118/0 allowed to Tennessee last week. The 49ers are pushovers in this phase of the game.

It's hard to endorse an attack as anemic as the Cardinals', but they have a good matchup against the doormat 49ers. J.J. Arrington has shown some signs of life recently - if he's going to have a breakout game this year, this matchup is his best chance.

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

ARI Injuries: none
SF Injuries: none


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

Edgerrin James has been pretty mediocre of late, with 1 TD in his last three games, with a high of 89 yards combined (last week, vs. San Francisco, 17/78/0 rushing and 2/11/0 receiving) and a low of 61 yards combined (2 weeks ago, vs. Cincinnati, 22/52/1 rushing with 1/9/0 receiving). He's gained more than 100 yards combined twice this season (weeks 1 and 2) and has gone over 100 yards rushing in only one game (week 2 vs. Seattle). It's been awhile since James was a game-breaking fantasy back.

The Cleveland Browns give most backs a lot of latitude to run - last week Ron Dayne gained 16/78/0 before the coaching staff forgot him in the second half (a 4.9 yards per carry average). Last week was the first time in 4 weeks that the Browns gave up less than 105 yards rushing in a game (Houston gained 77 yards rushing as a team) - they've averaged 131.4 rushing yards allowed per game to date, with 6 rushing scores surrendered to date. They are in the bottom 5 NFL rush defenses this season (#28).

James hasn't been overpowering of late, but he has an outstanding chance to make a sizable impact this week, at home against the bottom-feeding Cleveland defense.

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

ARI Injuries: none
SF Injuries: none


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

The return of Chris Wells pumped up the scoring for Arizona - he pushed in two TDs vs. St. Louis last week - but as far as yards per carry, we saw more of the same from Wells (2.8 yards per carry) as he eked out 17/48/2 in his first game back in action since coming off the IR/designated to return list. William Powell saw most of the flares from out of the backfield (3/11/0 rushing with 6/63/0 receiving) as LaRod Stephens-Howling was ineffective with sore ribs last week (1/1/0 rushing with one target for zero receptions). If Stephens-Howling is still gimpy/sore due to his ribs this week, look for the Wells/Powell tandem to lead the way again this week.

The Jets were stomped 49-19 on Thanksgiving as the Patriots trampled them with 39/152/2 rushing. Two weeks ago the Rams ground out 20/114/0 vs. the Jets - to date, the Jets rank 30th in the NFL averaging 142.8 rushing yards allowed per game, with 12 rushing scores coughed up over 11 games.

Wells didn't shine in his first game back, but he's got a good matchup to look forward to in week 13.

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

ARI Injuries: none
SF Injuries: none


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

Rashard Mendenhall has rushed the football 13 times in each of the last four games played, and he has scored in three of the last four contests - his best showing during that span came last week, with 13/54/1 rushing and 1/24/0 receiving (78 yards combined). Andre Ellington also did well against the Colts, with 10/50/0 rushing and 2/21/0 receiving - all told, the Cardinals had 30/120/1 rushing as a team.

The Eagles' rush D ranks 21st in the NFL averaging 117.8 yards rushing allowed per game, with seven rushing scores given out to date. They come into this game off a bye week - prior to the week off Washington reeled of 38/191/0 rushing at the Link, while the Packers managed 30/99/0 rushing vs. the Eagles three weeks ago.

The Cardinals' duo of backs have started to jell into a respectable attack, while the Eagles' defensive front is pretty suspect - advantage, Arizona.

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

ARI Injuries: none
SF Injuries: none


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

The Cardinals' rushing attack has dwindled in recent weeks - part of it may be due to the foot injury that Andre Ellington is fighting through this year (and he also had a sore hip last week), and part of it arose from tough matchups against the Lions (26/46/0 rushing as a team; 19/42/0 rushing with 4/24/0 receiving for Ellington) and Seahawks (20/64/0 rushing as a team; 10/24/0 rushing and 5/39/0 receiving for Ellington). In any case, Ellington is still being fed a lot of touches and his production as a receiver is helping out his owners in PPR leagues.

The Falcons' defense is driving their fans to despair this season - most recently they folded to Brian Hoyer and the Browns in the closing seconds of a game at the Georgia Dome. The Browns piled up 29/162/2 rushing on the Falcons last week; Carolina had 25/106/0 rushing against them two games back. To date, the Falcons have allowed 15 rushing TDs (the most in the NFL) and an average of 125.8 yards rushing per game (24th in the NFL).

Advantage, Arizona.

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

ARI Injuries: none
SF Injuries: none


Atlanta Falcons Rushing Offense at Carolina Panthers Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Michael Turner led the Falcons in TD scoring vs. Tampa Bay during week nine, posting 24/107/2 on the ground during the Falcons' 27-21 win. Jason Snelling had 5/15/0 rushing and 5/24/0 receiving in the change-of-pace role the last time Atlanta clashed with Tampa Bay. Turner has been on a roll since the Falcons' week eight bye, with three games out of four over 100 yards rushing (the exception was 17/39/0 vs. Baltimore) - he's posted 28/131/1 rushing and 23/110/1 rushing in his last two games (at St. Louis and vs. Green Bay). 'This (win) is really big,' center Todd McClure said after the win over Green Bay. 'You want to take it one game at a time, but when we get to the end of December and beginning of January, we'll look back at this win and it will have a big impact on where we play our games in the playoffs.' Turner's hot rolling into this key NFC South matchup, in part due to the great play of his compatriots on the offensive line.

The Buccaneers' D has limited their last two opponents to 17 total points, but had mixed results in the win-loss column going 1-1. In week 11, they shut out the 49ers and only allowed 18/71/0 on the ground to Frank Gore and company (Gore had a tiny 12/23/0 rushing that day). Last week, Joe Flacco and Baltimore beat Tampa 17-10 but were held to 26/92/0 on the ground. Coming into December, the Tampa defensive front has denied some quality backs the end-zone and limited their production yardage-wise in the last two games. They are playing much better than their season average of 132.5 rushing yards allowed per game (27th in the NFL) would indicate.

Turner is hot right now and he did well the last time he faced the Buccaneers. However, Tampa has elevated their game in this phase of late - on balance, this looks like a good but not great matchup for Turner (and Snelling).

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

ATL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: none


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

Jamal Lewis finally rushed for more than 100 yards in a game last week (23/113/1 rushing with 5/36/0 receiving) - hey, it only took him 12 games (Lewis did have over 100 yards combined vs. Detroit in week 5, his only other game over 100 yards of offense this season). However, a lot of his production came in garbage time, after the Bengals were up 34-0 midway through the 3rd quarter - Cincinnati opted to be merciful and bench a lot of their starting defenders. The bottom line here is that Lewis' good looking numbers aren't all they are cracked up to be, given the circumstances.

The Texans' defense ranks 32nd in the NFL vs. the rush, allowing an average of 158.5 rushing yards per game, with a league-worst 16 rushing scores given away to date. Last week, they were rocked for 29/138/1 by the Rams' stable - week after week, people rip this group up. Their defense as a whole is pathetically bad (20 passing TDs allowed, 3rd most in the NFL).

The Ravens' rushing attack is nothing special this year, but the Texans' defense is spectacularly awful - advantage, Baltimore.

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

BAL Injuries: none
HOU Injuries: none


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

Jamal Lewis rang up 24/72/1 rushing and 3/15/0 receiving against the Bengals back in week 9 (the Ravens average 3.4 yards per carry this season, tied for 29th in the NFL). Since then, the Ravens' offense has built up a head of steam, and Lewis has posted 55/202/4 rushing and 5/26/0 receiving over the last 3 games - he's looking much stronger in recent contests and has averaged close to 4 yards per carry (3.7 over the last 3 weeks). Last week, against the Steelers, he posted 17/66/1 rushing (a 3.9 yards-per-carry average) with 1/4/0 receiving.

The Bengals' rush defense isn't very good, allowing an average of 116.6 rushing yards per game (19th in the NFL) and tied for second-most rushing TDs given up to date with 12 surrendered. Last week, the underpowered Browns could only muster 14/51/0 against Cincy, but that had more to do with their injury plagued stable than it did a sudden resurgence of the Bengals' rush D. Over the past 3 weeks, the Bengals have allowed 249 rushing yards to opponents, but that total is skewed by the weak effort by the Browns. The Bengals got bad injury news this week about DT John Thornton, who has started 59 consecutive games for Cincy - he is doubtful to play due to a knee injury. If Thornton can't go, the Bengals will be even more vulnerable to the Ravens' attack.

Lewis has rediscovered his top form, while the Bengals are usually sub-par. This is a good matchup for the Ravens.

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

BAL Injuries: none
HOU Injuries: none


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

Justin Forsett has been on fire for the Ravens over the past two games, with 22/182/2 rushing and 2/8/0 receiving at New Orleans last Monday night and 20/112/2 rushing vs. Tennessee two games back - he's one of the hottest NFL running backs heading into the playoff stretch run - start him if you've got him!

The Chargers' rush D averages 108.8 rushing yards allowed per game, with seven rushing scores given out so far over 11 games played. They handed out 24/107/1 to the Rams last week, and 19/71/0 to the Oakland stable two games back. This is a so-so unit that sticks fairly close to their season average most weeks.

Forsett is playing at a high level right now - he has an edge on the mediocre Chargers.

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

BAL Injuries: none
HOU Injuries: none


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

The Bills took out their frustrations after 4 straight losses, blasting Kansas City 54-31. Marshawn Lynch finally strung together 2 straight 100+ combined yards outings, and also scored for the 2nd time in 2 weeks, with 20/79/1 rushing and 5/25/0 receiving. Fred Jackson assisted with 9/56/0 rushing and 2/20/0 receiving, and Trent Edwards stuffed in 2 rushing TDs (6/38/2) - all told, the Bills rushed for 38/171/3 vs. the Chiefs.

The 49ers were drilled by Dallas 35-22 last week, but they suppressed Marion Barber on the ground (19/59/0 rushing for Barber, 29/74/0 rushing as a team). Over the past 3 weeks, the 49ers have given up 246 rushing yards (82 yards per game), which is much better than their season average of 103.8 rushing yards allowed per game would indicate. The team has handed over 10 rushing scores in 11 contests.

Two improving units clash in this contest - at home, we give the Bills a slight edge but realize neither team has been consistently dominant this season.

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

BUF Injuries: none
MIA Injuries: none


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

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

Buffalo bounced back from a 9-22 loss in Miami two games ago to maul the Jets 38-3 in a special Monday night affair from Ford Field in Detroit - Anthony Dixon (12/54/1 rushing with 1/8/0 receiving) and Fred Jackson (10/32/1 rushing with 3/13/0 receiving) both found their way into the end zone during the contest. Bryce Brown chipped in 6/20/0 rushing to the team effort as the Bills' many-headed monster was productive in the blowout win (29/116/2 rushing as a team).

The Browns' rush D allowed a TD to Steven Jackson last week (23/63/1 for the Falcons as a team), but only 2.7 yards per rush. Two weeks ago, Houston trampled this same club for 54/213/0 rushing - the Browns' defense has swung wildly during recent contests. To date, Cleveland is ranked 29th in the NFL averaging 134.9 rushing yards allowed per game, with eight rushing scores handed out.

This looks like a good matchup for the home-team Bills.

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

BUF Injuries: none
MIA Injuries: none


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

With David Carr (or rookie Matt Moore) under center, nobody respects the passing game, leaving DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams to face stacked defensive fronts. No wonder Foster posted such disappointing numbers last week (9/-5/0 rushing rushing with 2/16/0 receiving, and 2 fumbles). Williams fared a little better (4/19/0 rushing) - Steve Smith led the team with 1/22/0. Foster and Williams owners are praying that Vinny Testaverde's sore back relents this weekend. We'll see - if the other guys are under center, the Panthers' backs are in for another long day.

The 49ers are fairly generous with rushing yardage this year, allowing an average of 120.2 per game, with 7 rushing scores given up in 11 contests. Prior to last week's totals of 24/96/1, the 49ers had surrendered over 100 yards rushing in 6 straight games (and just missed doing so last week).

The Panthers should find some room to roam on Sunday, but pay attention to Testaverde's practice participation/injury status on Friday as his presence/absence changes the dynamic on this team pretty drastically.

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

CAR Injuries: none
ATL Injuries: none


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

On Tuesday, Panthers' offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski acknowledged that Jonathan Stewart has been hampered by a high ankle sprain (first incurred in August) for most of the season - 'He's fighting through it and he's doing the best he can with it. I know some weeks it's better than others,' Chudzinski said. 'We'll just have to wait and see and hopefully we can get that thing healed up quick.' Stewart reportedly also has a sore toe hampering him - no wonder he averaged 3.4 yards per carry on Monday Night Football (8/27/0 rushing with 2/9/0 receiving). DeAngelo Williams has no high ankle excuse, and he stunk too (11/21/0 rushing with one target for zero receptions) - the Panthers' running backs are on empty entering the final four games of the season. Cam Newton led the team in rushing at Philadelphia (14/52/2) - he's the most effective runner left to the team right now.

The Chiefs' team has collapsed during 2012 - currently, the 1-10 squad averages 126.1 rushing yards allowed per game (24th in the NFL), with seven rushing TDs given up to date. They coughed up 24/95/0 to Knowshon Moreno and company last week, and 38/189/2 rushing to the Bengals two weeks ago. This is a sub-par rush D folks.

Advantage, Carolina - but they have health/motivation issues among their stable of backs and haven't had much success running the ball this year even against lesser defenses.

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

CAR Injuries: none
ATL Injuries: none


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

As expected, the Bears' Matt Forte didn't find much room to roam against Minnesota's top-shelf D last week, eking out 8/27/0 rushing and 4/34/0 receiving in the course of the 10-36 loss. Forte has posted just 47/135/0 rushing in his last four games (2.9 yards per carry), but his dual-threat role on the team has salvaged some of his fantasy value for PPR leagues (he's grabbed 22/248/0 receiving during that four week span, and lands at #19 among all fantasy RBs in points per game during that time frame). Basically, the bottom line for Chicago is this: they struggle to move the ball against the better defenses this year, but have some signs of life when facing sub-par opponents.

The Rams are definitely sub-par rush defenders, currently averaging 148.5 rushing yards allowed per game (28th in the NFL), with 16 rushing TDs handed over to date. The Rams have coughed up 556 rushing yards in their last three contests (185.3 per game on average), with 31/170/2 handed over to the Seahawks last week. St. Louis is playing worse than usual entering December - and they were usually horrible already.

Forte and the Bears haven't excited fantasy owners for awhile, but he's got a good matchup to work with this week. Don't expect 200 yards combined and you won't be disappointed, but Forte should put up respectable numbers against the playing-out-the-string Rams.

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

CHI Injuries: none
GB Injuries: none


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

Cincinnati bounced back from their 17-20 loss to Oakland two weeks ago to plow under the Browns with 45/210/0 rushing as a team last week. Newly-arrived Larry Johnson showed his joy at getting out of Kansas City by rushing for 22/107/0 (with 2/-2/0 receiving), and Bernard Scott was solid, too, with 18/87/0 rushing during the game. The early word this week is that Cedric Benson will be starting again this week - we'll see how he holds up in practices later this week or if his hip flares up. Suddenly, the Bengals have an embarrassment of riches at the RB position.

The Lions were blown out 34-12 on Thanksgiving Day, allowing 27/80/0 rushing to the Packers. Over the past four weeks, the Lions have coughed up 418 yards rushing (104.5 yards per game), with 40/131/0 given up to the Browns two weeks ago. To date, the Lions are 19th in the NFL averaging 112.9 rushing yards allowed per game, with nine rushing TDs handed over so far this year.

The Bengals have a good matchup to work with in this phase of the game this week.

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

CIN Injuries: none
PIT Injuries: none


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

The Bengals won a wild game vs. the Browns before their bye last week, fueled by four Cleveland turnovers that created two defensive scores and led to a 41-20 victory. The Cincinnati backs cranked out 31/106/0 during the contest, led by BenJarvus Green-Ellis' 16/62/0 rushing, while Giovani Bernard led the team in receiving (10/45/0 rushing with 4/41/0 receiving). To date, Green-Ellis has put up 156/522/3 rushing and 2/9/0 receiving, while Bernard has 105/464/4 rushing and 42/345/3 receiving to his credit. Together, the two form a very effective backfield.

The Chargers allowed 18/114/2 rushing to the Chiefs last week, and coughed up 19/104/1 to the Dolphins two weeks ago - it isn't hard to gain big chunks of ground on this defensive front. To date, the Chargers average 113.5 rushing yards allowed per game (17th in the NFL), with nine rushing scores handed over so far. This is not a good rush D, folks.

The Bengals' tandem of backs has a good matchup this week.

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

CIN Injuries: none
PIT Injuries: none


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

Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard are in a near 50/50 work share since Bernard got healthy enough to play last week - Hill posted 18/87/1 rushing with 1/9/0 receiving at Houston while Bernard handled 17/45/0 rushing and 2/22/0 receiving in that game. Though Bernard is nominally the starter, Hill is playing more effectively entering Week 13. We'll see how the team proceeds from here on out.

The Buccaneers' rush D doesn't scare anybody, with 10 rushing scores allowed over the past 11 games and an average of 115.8 rushing yards given out per game (19th in the NFL). The Bears posted 26/92/2 rushing vs. Tampa last week; Washington managed 31/155/0 rushing vs. this group two games ago.

Advantage, Cincinnati.

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

CIN Injuries: none
PIT Injuries: none


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

Jamal Lewis has powered into the second half of the season, posting 29/134/1 rushing and 2/13/0 receiving last week - he's gained 87/298/6 rushing and 13/118/0 over his last 4 games, to rank 5th among fantasy RBs in fantasy points per game during that span of time. Lewis is on a big-time roll, folks. Start him if you've got him.

The Cardinals fly in the middle of the NFL flock when it comes to rush D, ranking 15th in the NFL averaging 101.1 rushing yards allowed per game - but they are on the high end of the NFL scale when it comes to rushing TDs allowed, with 10 handed over to date (2-13 TDs allowed is the current NFL range from 1st to last). Last week, Frank Gore (who couldn't find the end-zone with a road map since week 2) stuffed in 2 scores vs. Arizona - the 49ers rushed for 25/137/2 vs. Arizona last week (a 5.5 yards per carry average). The Cardinals have been all over the map in this phase of the game over the past 4 weeks, with 162, -18, 72, and 137 rushing yards allowed from week 9-12. On balance, they are a sub-par unit.

Lewis is hot, while the Cardinals are erratic and come into this game cold as ice - advantage, Cleveland.

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

CLE Injuries: none
JAX Injuries: none


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

Peyton Hillis was a one-man wrecking crew against Carolina, leading the team in both rushing (26/131/3) and receiving (6/63/0) during the team's 24-23 squeaker over the visiting Panthers. He's the top fantasy back in the NFL over the past four weeks, with 95/445/6 rushing and 19/221/1 receiving to his credit - the guy is a must-start fantasy player right now. 'Peyton Hillis is a rock star,' Browns receiver Joshua Cribbs said after the game on Sunday. 'Hopefully he's going to be in Cleveland for a long time. They love him around here. I love him around here. I might have a Peyton Hillis shirt on come Monday.'

The Dolphins dusted themselves off after their shut-out loss to Chicago two weeks ago and beat Oakland 33-17 on Sunday, while allowing just 12/16/0 rushing to Darren McFadden and company. 'That's crazy,' linebacker Channing Crowder said after the game. 'They had a 15-yard reverse -- and only 16 total yards. That's great defense.' Over the last four weeks, the Dolphins have been up and down in this phase of the game, with 432 yards given up during that span of time - the team is currently 14th in the NFL over the season, averaging 103.9 yards allowed per game, with six rushing scores given away so far.

Hillis is on a tear, while the Dolphins have been yo-yoing in this phase of the game recently. Advantage, Cleveland.

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

CLE Injuries: none
JAX Injuries: none


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

Marion Barber and Felix Jones tore up the Giants back in week two, with 18/124/1 rushing and 2/31/0 receiving for Barber, while Jones posted 7/96/1 rushing during the contest - all told, the Cowboys had 29/251/3 rushing as a team (Tony Romo ran in the third TD, with 1/3/1 to his credit). Since that early-season game, Jones has missed time due to injury and hasn't been as effective since his return to the field, while Barber has been the main ball-carrier. Over the past four weeks, Barber has posted 51/236/0 rushing with 9/80/0 receiving, while Jones has managed 24/133/1 rushing and 3/8/0 receiving - Tashard Choice has chipped in with 10/94/1 rushing and 2/17/0 receiving.

The Giants have been on a roller coaster the last few weeks, squeaking out a 34-31 win over Atlanta two weeks ago (while allowing 30/90/2 rushing to the Falcons) and then getting blown out at Denver on Thanksgiving evening by a 6-26 margin (allowing 40/138/1 rushing in that contest). Over the past four weeks, New York has coughed up just 262 yards rushing, but they've been vulnerable in the red zone as you can see above.

The Cowboys are on a roll now, and they want to put more distance in the NFC East race with a win in this game. Meanwhile, the Giants have floundered against opposing backs in the last two contests - advantage, Dallas.

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

DAL Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: none


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

DeMarco Murray has been slowed down over the last two games, though he remains the featured back for Dallas - vs. Miami's top-ten rush D he posted 22/87/0 rushing with 4/41/0 receiving, while Felix Jones had a cameo with 1/4/0 receiving. Two weeks ago at Washington, Murray put up 25/73/0 rushing with 6/32/0 receiving, vs. Jones' 5/18/0 rushing and 1/4/0 receiving. It's hard to complain about Murray's string of four 100+ yards from scrimmage performances, but he has scored just one rushing TD during the month of November, which makes his fantasy value less exciting than it might be. 'But DeMarco is the guy who carried the bulk of the load the other day in the ballgame. He's played very well for us. And Felix will continue to get himself acclimated back into the offense and be a big-impact type player for us like he's been in the past,' head coach Jason Garrett said on Tuesday, November 29th. In other words, Murray is the lead back, and Jones will get a few touches.

The Cardinals' rush D is not very good this year, averaging 123.5 yards allowed per contest with 12 rushing TDs given up over 11 games. The Rams were limited to 22/86/0 rushing last week, though, after San Francisco torched this group with 49/164/0 rushing two games ago. Nobody really fears the Arizona rush D, friends.

Murray is on a hot streak, while the up-and-down Cardinals are pretty weak most of the time - advantage, Dallas.

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

DAL Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: none


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

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

DeMarco Murray has piled up 143/751/4 rushing and 19/182/0 receiving over the six home games played so far this year (5.25 yards per carry on average and 9.58 yards per catch) - he's the engine that drives the Cowboys' offense. Murray has passed the 100-yards-rushing barrier in each of his last two games played (both on the road) with 19/100/0 rushing and 6/31/0 receiving at Jacksonville during Week 10 and 24/121/0 rushing with 2/22/0 receiving at New York last weekend. The only fly in the ointment for his fantasy owners of late has been the lack of TD scoring - but he is seeing touches in the mid-20's consistently, so there are plenty of opportunities for Murray to find pay dirt.

The Eagles' rush D is ranked 16th in the NFL averaging 109.0 yards allowed per game, with six rushing scores given out over 11 contests. They limited Tennessee to 19/56/1 rushing last weekend, after coughing up 25/110/1 to Green Bay two contests back. This is a mediocre unit that has started bleeding six-point plays of late.

Murray is at home for this one and he has a good matchup to anticipate on Thanksgiving day.

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

DAL Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: none


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

The Broncos have stated that Tatum Bell is back to full health and is expected to start vs. the Seahawks this week. That's a relief for Tatum Bell owners and Broncos fans, who watched Mike Bell struggle against the Chiefs (10/28/0 rushing and 3/5/0) - Damien Nash did even worse, with 4/0/0 rushing and 1/5/0 receiving during the game. Tatum Bell has racked up 151/649/2 rushing and 14/53/0 receiving during his 8 games this season, and is the Broncos' best hope at RB this week, when they'll need to lean on the RBs. Rookie Jay Cutler will be stepping under center for Denver this week.

Seattle's rush D has been up and down this year. Last week they posted a strong showing, holding the Packers to 19/51/1 on the ground - over the past 3 weeks, the unit has averaged 140.3 rushing yards allowed per game, though. Their season average of 111.7 rushing yards allowed per game (15th in the NFL) with 10 rushing scores allowed to date is a pretty accurate picture of this team - they are mediocre vs. opposing running backs.

This is a good matchup for Tatum Bell to face during his first week back - hopefully his sore big toes won't flare up during the game.

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

DEN Injuries: none
KC Injuries: none


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

Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball led the Broncos to 36/104/2 vs. Kansas City two weeks ago - Moreno posted 27/79/0 rushing and Ball put up 8/25/2 in his goal-line/short yardage role. However, Moreno was in a walking boot and on crutches after the OT loss to New England last week (37/224/1 rushing with 1/6/0 receiving) - he is reportedly dealing with a significant bone bruise in his leg and looks very iffy to play during Week 13. Assuming Moreno can't play, it's likely that Ball (7/40/0 rushing with 3/17/0 receiving vs. New England last week) will have the lead role for Denver this weekend with some change-of-pace work from Ronnie Hillman/C.J. Anderson.

The Chiefs' rush D gave up 27/104/2 to the Chargers last week, after allowing 27/104/2 to the Broncos back in Week 11 - this unit is now 20th in the NFL averaging 115.9 rushing yards allowed per game, with six rushing scores handed out to date.

Ball and company has a good matchup to work with this week, but they will be in Arrowhead Stadium, which is the loudest, most partisan stadium in the NFL so audibles from Peyton Manning will be difficult to hear. We'll see how the rookie Ball handles his first game in Kansas City...

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

DEN Injuries: none
KC Injuries: none


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

Montee Ball was the lead running back the last time these teams faced off (Week 2), but C.J. Anderson did get in the action that day and had over six yards per carry rushing (6/31/0 rushing) vs. Kansas City. As Ball is likely out for this game due to his ongoing groin injury woes (as is his one-time replacement Ronnie Hillman, currently nursing a foot injury), we'll see Anderson back in the saddle as the starter during Week 13.

Anderson tore up Miami's defense with 27/167/1 rushing and 4/28/0 receiving last week, leading the Broncos to 35/201/1 rushing as a team (Juwan Thompson had 5/33/0 rushing in a change-of-pace role). Anderson also went over 100 yards combined vs. the Rams two weeks ago (9/29/0 rushing with 8/86/0 receiving) - he's a hot fantasy property entering the stretch run into the playoffs.

The Chiefs' rush D averages 129.4 yards allowed per game (26th in the NFL), with just two rushing scores given out so far this year. The two scores were coughed up last week, though, as Oakland shocked the Chiefs with 30/179/2 rushing and a 24-20 upset over K.C. Two weeks ago, the Chiefs gave up 37/204/0 rushing to the Seahawks - they are getting trampled in this phase of the game lately.

Advantage, Denver.

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

DEN Injuries: none
KC Injuries: none


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

Mikel Leshoure continues to be the lead back for the Lions, despite a slow afternoon vs. the stout Texans (12/32/1 rushing with 2/27/0 receiving) - he's scored at least one rushing TD in three of the last four games played. Joique Bell also pushed in a TD vs. Houston last week with 5/47/1 rushing, including his long 23-yard TD in the fourth quarter. Leshoure and Bell have become a nice 1-2 tandem.

The Colts' rush defense averages 121.2 yards allowed per game (21st in the NFL) with 11 rushing TDs given away so far. They coughed up 25/115/2 to the Patriots two weeks ago, and 23/135/0 rushing to the Bills last week.

Leshoure and Bell have a nice matchup this week.

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

DET Injuries: none
MIN Injuries: none


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

Ryan Grant did OK in his chances to carry the ball vs. New Orleans (18/67/0 rushing with 3/19/0 receiving), but the team had to essentially abandon the rushing attack in the 2nd half when the Saints exploded for 3 unanswered TDs in the 3rd quarter. Over the past 3 weeks, Grant has managed 59/387/2 rushing and 4/25/0 receiving to check in at #12 among all fantasy backs in points per game during that span of time. He did have an off night in New Orleans, though.

The Panthers were dismantled by Michael Turner and company last week, handing over 33/133/5 rushing to Atlanta. In one fell swoop, they doubled the number of rushing TDs allowed this season, to 10, and fell to 17th in the NFL averaging 109.9 rushing yards allowed per game. It was not a good night to be invested in the Panthers' D/ST.

Grant didn't shine against the Saints, but facing the reeling Panthers at home is likely to do good things for his numbers this week. Advantage, Green Bay.

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

GB Injuries: none
CHI Injuries: none


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

Vs. Detroit, the Packers tried 18 rushes for 53 yards and one John Kuhn TD, vs. 33 passes attempted (35.2% rushing plays). Vs. Tampa Bay, the team had 23/91/2 rushing (one John Kuhn TD, one by DT B.J. Raji), vs. 34 passing attempts (40.4% rushing plays). Vs. Minnesota, the team had a 50-50 split (32 passes attempted, 31 rushes), but four passing TDs and just one rushing score. If you are a James Starks (28/120/0 rushing with 11 targets for 9/64/0 receiving the last three weeks) or Ryan Grant (18/42/0 rushing, with four for 4/37/0 receiving during the same time span) owner, you are likely a disappointed fantasy owner. John Kuhn has 25 total yards during that same time span, but two rushing and one receiving score - just to spite Starks and Grant owners even more.

The Giants' rush D is ranked 24th in the NFL with an average of 130.5 yards given up per game, and they are tied for second-most generous with rushing TDs, having allowed 13. Most recently, New Orleans pummeled them for 30/205/3 rushing on Monday Night Football, and scored seven total TDs during the 49-24 rout of New York.

Though the Packers don't ask their running backs to score much (unless the back's last name is Kuhn), this looks like a good week to hope for a rare trip to the end zone for either Starks or Grant.

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

GB Injuries: none
CHI Injuries: none


Houston Texans Rushing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Domanick Davis continues to be a linchpin of the Texans' offense, with 25/78/0 rushing and 3/42/1 receiving last week vs. the Rams - he's compiled 38/135/1 rushing and 6/95/1 during the last 3 weeks (2 games) to rank 9th in fantasy points per game at his position. As we've been saying all year long, he's a quality fantasy starter on a sub-par offensive squad.

Baltimore's defense has been shredded by injuries this season, and without their keystone MLB Ray Lewis the going has been tough in this phase of the game. The team averages 112.6 rushing yards allowed per game over the last 3 weeks (10 yards per game more than their 10th ranked season average of 102.5 rushing yards allowed per contest), including last weeks totals of 32/135/2 coughed up to Cincinnati. The Ravens' defense is in a tailspin to close 2005, folks.

Davis is consistently productive, while the Ravens defense is tattered and battered - advantage, Texans.

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

HOU Injuries: none
BAL Injuries: none


Houston Texans Rushing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Ahman Green (sidelined for weeks with knee problems) was ineffective the last time the Texans faced Tennessee (week 7), managing just 11/39/0 rushing and 5/32/0 receiving vs. the Titans. As the season has gone along, Ron Dayne has become the featured rusher for the Texans in the absence of Green from the lineup.

Dayne has gained a minimum of 4.2 yards per carry over his last 3 games, with 21/122/1 vs. Oakland; 21/89/0 rushing and 3/26/0 receiving vs. New Orleans; followed by 16/78/0 rushing and 2/7/0 receiving against the Browns. Those are very servicable numbers, even in fantasy terms, and right now it looks like Dayne is going to be the Texans' featured back through the end of the season.

The Titans' rush D has fallen over a cliff the last 3 weeks, with 44/166/3 allowed to Jacksonville 3 weeks ago; 26/166/1 handed over to the Broncos 2 weeks ago; and then 36/148/2 laid out for Rudi Johnson and company last week. The loss of Albert Haynesworth to injury is a big part of the problem, but to plummet from among the top teams in the league to worse than Cleveland or Denver may indicate even bigger problems. This defense is in a major slump, folks.

Dayne and company have a good matchup to work with this week, despite home-field advantage resting behind the defense.

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

HOU Injuries: none
BAL Injuries: none


Houston Texans Rushing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

"(Greenís injury) was a big problem because Steve is beat up," coach Gary Kubiak said after the game on Sunday. "Going into the game, we thought it would be more of an Ahman day. (When Green was hurt) we had a problem. We had a beat-up young back who really wasnít 100 percent. And then we had a kid (Ryan Moats) who hasnít touched the ball much, and we didnít want to put him in that situation." Green is now on IR due to his knee injury, and Steve Slaton is nursing sore ribs incurred 2 weeks ago - the running back paddock in Houston is pretty empty right now. Darius Walker was signed to provide some depth behind Slaton going forward.

Way back in week 4, Slaton posted a 100+ combined yardage effort (10/33/0 rushing with 8/83/1 receiving) vs. the Jaguars in the course of the 27-30 OT loss to Jacksonville. Then, as now, Ahman Green was sidelined due to injury - we'll see if Slaton can accomplish more on the ground vs. Jacksonville this time around, despite his sore ribs. He managed 21/73/0 vs. Cleveland last week in his less-than-100% state.

The Jaguars were blown up for 34/122/2 by the Vikings last week, and have handed over 339 yards rushing in their last 3 contests (113 per game on average). To date, the Jags are 19th in the NFL averaging 114 rushing yards allowed per game, with 9 rushing TDs handed over during 11 contests. They are not good rush defenders, folks.

Slaton will try to gut this game out - against the Jaguars, at home on Monday Night Football, he should be able to do some good things.

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

HOU Injuries: none
BAL Injuries: none


Houston Texans Rushing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

'They kept saying I was going to get the ball this week. But, I mean, I was kind of surprised,' said Dennis Johnson (13/74/0 rushing and 2/13/0 receiving vs. Jacksonville), who took over for starter Ben Tate (seven rushes, 1 yard vs. Jacksonville last week). 'I was happy with them. You can't ask for more.' Tate, who is playing with four broken ribs, commented: 'He got hot, and I told him to keep going. I never get mad at that if I see he is doing well. All the time he was doing better than I was. So I just told him to keep going, and he did a good job (Sunday).' With the Texans' offense in tatters and Tate hurting, we may see more of Johnson in this game against mighty New England.

Speaking of the Patriots, they give up a good bit of ground to opposing rushers (139.7 rushing yards per game on average, 31st in the NFL), but they get stubborn at the goal line with only five rushing scores allowed to date. Last week, they bled out 48/280/1 to the Broncos, and the Panthers rushed for 23/103/0 two weeks ago.

Johnson (and Tate, if he plays) have a good matchup to work with this week despite the Texans' woes on offense.

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

HOU Injuries: none
BAL Injuries: none


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

Donald Brown led the team in rushing vs. Carolina last week (despite Joseph Addai playing in the contest) - Brown handled 14/80/1 rushing and 1/17/0 receiving for the Colts, while Addai saw 7/23/0 rushing and one target for zero receptions in the change-of-pace role last week. Addai didn't impress last week, so it is likely that Brown will remain the lead back in this committee with new starter Dan Orlovsky under center in week 13.

The Patriots' rush D isn't as soft as their pass D, currently averaging 102.4 yards allowed per game with eight rushing scores coughed up to date. Philadelphia only tried 17/73/1 rushing last week but averaged 4.3 yards per tote and punched in a TD - Kansas City got 4.6 yards per carry at New England two weeks ago with 27/125/0 rushing. This isn't a shut-down defensive front, friends.

Brown and Addai have a good matchup this week, and they may see a lot of work with a new starter under center at QB.

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

IND Injuries: none
TEN Injuries: none


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

Donald Brown ripped up the Titans two weeks ago with 14/80/2 rushing and 1/14/0 receiving, and Andrew Luck contributed 9/31/1 rushing to lead the Colts to 32/137/3 rushing - Trent Richardson had a tough game (as usual) with 8/22/0 rushing and 5/31/0 receiving. Last week, pending a rough outing at stout Arizona, Colts OC Pep Hamilton confirmed on Saturday, November 23 that the Colts will continue their running back by committee approach. 'We don't plan on changing our rotation with our backs. We've always been a running back by committee bunch, so we're going to continue to do that.' Donald Brown (2/1/0 rushing and 1/-2/0 receiving) and Trent Richardson (7/15/0 rushing with 2/11/0 receiving) were stuffed by Arizona last week, so it'll be interesting to see how they respond to seeing the Titans again so soon after their 11-40 drubbing at Arizona.

The Titans handled the Raiders 23-19 last week, holding Oakland to 23/93/0 rushing. To date, Tennessee is ranked 18th in the NFL with 114.9 rushing yards allowed per game on average, and a very hefty 15 rushing scores given away to date. This is not a top defensive front, folks, despite how they played last week.

Advantage, Indianapolis.

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

IND Injuries: none
TEN Injuries: none


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

Jacksonville held Fred Taylor out to get him back to 100% healthy and to allow him sufficient practice reps to get his timing back in line. Meanwhile, Greg Jones did a decent job filling in for Taylor, with 23/78/1 (new starting QB David Garrard kicked in 6/61/1) - the team rushed for 33/162/2 on the day. With a new starting QB under center, we expect to see Taylor back in the game this week to help ease the burden on Garrard, as long as Taylor has his timing back in line. Keep an eye on him in practice as the week progresses.

Cleveland hasn't played well vs. the run this year, giving up an average of 128.5 rushing yards per game (28th in the NFL), with 7 rushing scores surrendered to date. Over the past 3 weeks, they are averaging 126.3 rushing yards handed over per contest, including last weeks surprise of 31/81/0 vs. Minnesota. Usually, the Browns are a lot more generous than they were last week.

The Jaguars have good success running the ball, regardless of who starts - Cleveland is very giving in this phase of the game. Advantage, Jacksonville.

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

JAX Injuries: none
CLE Injuries: none


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

Jacksonville manufactured 25/139/2 vs. Houston last time these teams locked horns, but neither Maurice Jones-Drew (7/32/0 rushing) or Fred Taylor (10/25/0 rushing) had much success on the ground. David Garrard led the team with 7/41/1, and Montell Owens busted a long-gainer (1/41/1) to provide the bulk of the ground gained. Jones-Drew add 2/17/0 receiving to his tally back in week 4. Since then, Jones-Drew has come to the forefront of the Jacksonville attack, with 31/140/5 rushing and 14/161/0 receiving over the past 3 weeks (5th best fantasy RB in the land), while Taylor has managed just 36/158/0 rushing and 3/26/0 receiving (45th ranked fantasy RB in the land). Last week, though, neither guy dented the Viking's defensive front (6/20/0 rushing for Taylor; 3/4/0 rushing for Jones-Drew), although Jones-Drew led the team in receiving from out of the backfield (9/113/0).

The Texans lurk in the bottom 1/3 of the league in this phase of the game, averaging 129.1 rushing yards allowed per game, with 15 rushing TDs handed over during 11 games so far. They've coughed up 411 rushing yards (137 per contest) over the last 3 games, with 20/95/0 allowed to the faltering Browns last week.

Jones-Drew was limited by the Vikings, but the Texans are no Vikings - advantage, Jacksonville.

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

JAX Injuries: none
CLE Injuries: none


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

Back in week six, Maurice Jones-Drew could only put up 17/57/0 rushing with 2/8/0 receiving - the Titans did a good job of limiting the Jaguars' top back during their 3-30 loss to Tennessee. Jones-Drew has been running wild over the past four weeks, with 68/346/3 rushing and 9/119/0 receiving in his last three contests - he put up 21/113/0 rushing and 4/9/0 receiving at the Giants' last week. Jones-Drew is a must-start fantasy RB entering December, folks.

The Titans' rush D gave up 39/188/0 to the Texans last week, and coughed up 33/107/0 to the Redskins two weeks ago - they've handed over 383 rushing yards in their last three contests (127.6 per game on average). With a faltering passing game and lopsided times-of-possession in favor of their opponents in the last two games (39:41 for the Texans last week; 40:09 for the Redskins two weeks ago), the Titans' D is simply being asked to do too much for too long.

The Jaguars had a rough go against a healthier Titans team in October, but they face a fading unit as of the first week of December - advantage, Jacksonville.

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

JAX Injuries: none
CLE Injuries: none


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

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

One player who is secure down there is Maurice Jones-Drew, who has excelled again this year despite an anemic passing game that ranks dead last in the NFL in both passing yardage and passing TDs. His totals of 230/1,040/5 rushing and 23/206/0 receiving are nothing short of miraculous considering how little threat there is to pass the ball on this team. He led the team in rushing (18/99/0) and receiving (4/67/0) vs. the top-five Houston D last week. Jones-Drew is a stud.

The Chargers' rush D is currently 25th in the NFL averaging 131.9 rushing yards allowed per game, with seven rushing scores surrendered to date. Denver steamrolled to 51/208/0 rushing at San Diego last week; Chicago hit up San Diego for 32/92/2 rushing two weeks ago. This defense has imploded folks.

Jones-Drew has a good matchup for interim coach Mel Tucker's first game leading the Jaguars.

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

JAX Injuries: none
CLE Injuries: none


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

Jacksonville struggled at Indianapolis last week, with 23/80/0 rushing as a team, and 14/25/0 rushing with 4/47/0 receiving recorded by Denard Robinson. Things were so bad that Toby Gerhart (4/31/0 rushing with 3/19/0 receiving) actually led the team in rushing last weekend. Two games ago, Robinson posted 15/60/2 rushing and 2/10/0 receiving against the Cowboys in London, so it's not time to desert him, but last week's performance was not a great boon for his fantasy owners.

The Giants' rush D is ranked 31st in the NFL averaging 142.6 yards allowed per game, and they are tied for second-most rushing scores allowed this year at 13 given away. Last week, Dallas posted 25/119/0 rushing at New York, while two weeks back San Francisco ran for 37/148/0 at MetLife Stadium. Not too good, friends.

This looks like a good matchup for the home-team Jaguars.

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

JAX Injuries: none
CLE Injuries: none


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

Jamaal Charles has risen to the opportunity as Kansas City's lead RB - he's scored one TD in each of the last three games, with 18/103/1 rushing and 3/19/0 receiving vs. Oakland three weeks ago; 17/58/0 rushing with 2/8/1 receiving vs. Pittsburgh two weeks ago; and then 14/93/1 rushing with 3/54/0 receiving while facing the Chargers last week. He's been a consistently good play in fantasy terms, even when the matchup wasn't favorable (vs. Pittsburgh). Backup Kolby Smith managed just 1/1/0 rushing and 1/5/0 receiving behind Charles last week.

Denver's defense re-asserted itself against the Giants last week, holding Brandon Jacobs and company to 16/57/0 on the ground. They've allowed 607 rushing yards in their last four games (151.8 per contest on average), but managed to get back on track while snapping their four-game skid on Thanksgiving evening. We'll see if the Broncos can keep their backbones stiff this week. One game does not a trend make.

Charles has been consistently productive of late, while the Broncos performed well last week but were very suspect prior to the solid game. Overall, this looks like a good matchup for the home team - advantage, Kansas City.

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

KC Injuries: none
DEN Injuries: none


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

Ronnie Brown was the featured back for Miami the last time these teams faced off (Williams wasn't back in the lineup yet), and he did well, racking up 17/97/0 rushing and 6/19/0 receiving during the week 5 contest. Since then, he's been platooned with Ricky Williams - last week, the split carries 50-50 with 16/82/1 going to Williams and 15/58/1 going to Brown (2/13/0 and 2/23/0 receiving, respectively). They are ranked 28th (for Brown) and 30th (for Williams) as fantasy RBs over the past 3 weeks - the two-headed monster is doing well in the real NFL, but they aren't breaking open games for their fantasy owners.

Buffalo allowed 33/113/0 to the Panthers last week (only 3.4 yards per carry) - it was a much better performance than their season average of 146.4 rushing yards allowed per game (with 15 rushing scores given away to date, 2nd most in the NFL) would lead us to expect. Over the past 3 weeks, the Bills average 134.6 rushing yards given up per contest - they are just not very stout vs. opposing running backs.

The tandem of Brown and Williams have a good shot at a solid game vs. Buffalo - but remember that they split the work-load so evenly, an outstanding fantasy performance from either isn't likely.

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

MIA Injuries: none
BUF Injuries: none


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

Reggie Bush (45/140/3 rushing with 14 targets for 11/73/0 receiving) and Daniel Thomas (38/117/0 rushing with two targets for 1/2/0 receiving) have basically split the ball carries for Miami over the last three weeks, but Bush has been the superior fantasy player with all the rushing scores and much more action in the passing game. Bush led the team at Dallas with 16/61/0 rushing, and added four targets for 3/35/0 receiving during the 19-20 near-win on Thanksgiving. Thomas was in a supporting role with 6/25/0 rushing and 1/2/0 receiving to his credit.

The Raiders come calling with their 27th-ranked rush D on Sunday - they currently average 135.3 yards allowed per game in this phase, with 10 rushing scores given up to date. Chicago piled up 27/172/0 rushing at Oakland last week - Minnesota had 24/124/1 rushing vs. Oakland two weeks ago. This is not a strong defensive front.

Bush and Thomas have a good matchup ahead of them at home on Sunday.

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

MIA Injuries: none
BUF Injuries: none


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

Michael Bennett starred the last time the Vikings tangled with the Lions (week 9), throwing down for 18/106/0 - he then disappeared back to bench-land in the following games, though. Mewelde Moore is the Vikings' top back during recent weeks, with 21/67/0 rushing and 2/9/0 receiving last week, and 43/189/0 rushing and 4/25/0 receiving to rank 38th among fantasy RBs during the last 3 weeks. It's hard to get excited about the Vikings' rushing attack right now, folks.

Detroit was shellacked by the Falcons on Thanksgiving, allowing 45/256/1 to the Atlanta stable on the ground before the Falcons had mercy on their crushed foes. The team has averaged 123.2 rushing yards allowed per game this season (26th in the league) with 7 rushing scores given away to date - but they usually aren't embarrassingly bad, as they were on Turkey Day. We'll see if the team can bounce back to being just sub-par this week - last week, they were awful. A coaching change has the team in turmoil to boot - not a good deal for their prospects this week.

Detroit is falling apart and changing direction on their coaching staff this week, while the Vikings are muddling along with their best option at RB - advantage, Minnesota.

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

MIN Injuries: none
DET Injuries: none


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

The Vikings blasted through the Bears' defensive front back in week 7, posting 32/155/3 on the ground in the narrow 41-48 loss to Chicago. Adrian Peterson gained 22/121/2 rushing (1/9/0 receiving), while Chester Taylor had 6/48/0 receiving and 10/34/1 rushing in the contest. Last week, it was more of the same, with Adrian Peterson racking Jacksonville for 17/80/1 and Chester Taylor grinding out 9/25/1 with 2/12/0 receiving. Peterson is 7th among all fantasy backs over the past 3 weeks, with 66/357/2 rushing and 4/30/0 receiving to his credit. One thing to note is that head coach Brad Childress is aiming to increase Taylor's workload to preserve some of Peterson's strength in the event of a playoff run: on Wednesday Childress said he planned to "change it up with Chester [Taylor] a good bit, coming down the homestretch."

The Bears' rush D got back on its collective feet last week, limiting St. Louis to a paltry 19/14/0 - however, the Rams can barely field an offensive line and have a lot of top players out, so don't be too impressed. Chicago had allowed 220 yards rushing in their prior 2 games, well above their 80.7 yards allowed per game season average - they've been up and down in this phase of the game of late.

The Vikings blew past the Bears' defensive front the last time they clashed - the Bears are still suspect entering week 13 despite their impressive season average. Advantage, Minnesota.

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

MIN Injuries: none
DET Injuries: none


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

Adrian Peterson was the sixth-best fantasy RB in the land over the past four weeks (PPR format), with 67/300/3 rushing and 8/44/0 receiving for the Vikings in their last three games played. He has fumbled (and lost) the ball three times in that same time frame, but nobody in Minnesota is thinking about sitting him down due to the ball security issues. His sidekick, Chester Taylor, was the 33rd-ranked fantasy RB over the past four weeks, with 22/122/0 rushing and 9/70/1 receiving to his credit. The Vikings' offense is firing on all cylinders entering December, folks.

The Cardinals are in the middle of the NFL range this year, allowing an average of 108.6 rushing yards per game, with eight rushing TDs given up over the first 11 games. Over the past four games, they've coughed up 520 rushing yards (130 per game on average), with 23/163/1 allowed to Tennessee last week and 27/123/1 coughed up to the Rams back in week 10. The Cardinal's defensive front is regressing as we hit the final month of the season.

Peterson is one of the league's elite talents (and Taylor is no slouch, either) - given the declining fortunes of the Cardinals' defenders, this looks like a good matchup for the visiting Vikings.

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

MIN Injuries: none
DET Injuries: none


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

Adrian Peterson posted 18/108/0 rushing and 6/30/0 rushing last week even though he faced the ultra-tough Bears during a 10-28 blowout loss. He's a fantasy stud who should be starting every week.

The Packers' rush D is currently 11th in the NFL averaging 103.8 yards allowed per game, with nine rushing scores given up so far. However, they've fallen off pace in the yards-allowed department recently. The Giants ground out 37/141/2 on Green Bay last week; Detroit had 24/110/1 as a team two weeks ago.

Advantage, Minnesota - start Peterson.

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

MIN Injuries: none
DET Injuries: none


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

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

Jerrick McKinnon carried the load for the Vikings vs. Green Bay last week - he posted 15/54/0 rushing and 3/9/0 receiving as the lead back for Minnesota while Matt Asiata was sidelined due to post-concussion issues. Joe Banyard (5/26/0 rushing and 3/19/0 receiving) was the change-of-pace back for the Vikings while newcomer Ben Tate sat out the contest.

The Panthers' rush D is ranked 22nd in the NFL averaging 119.1 rushing yards allowed per game, with 13 rushing scores given up so far. Atlanta managed 27/86/0 rushing against them two weeks ago, while Philadelphia had 23/37/2 rushing vs. Carolina back in Week 10 - though they have cut down on the yards allowed in recent weeks, the Panthers' rush D is still suspect entering Week 13.

Advantage, Vikings.

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

MIN Injuries: none
DET Injuries: none


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

New England's rushing attack has become by-committee out of necessity (Corey Dillon and Kevin Faulk are both injured and Faulk hasn't been available all year) - Patrick Pass (8/26/1 rushing and 1/-2/0 receiving) and Heath Evans (6/11/0 rushing with 3/25/0 receiving) handled the load last week in Dillon's absence. There is no news as of mid-week whether Dillon will be available this week - his owners will want to watch the late-week injury reports to see if Dillon has been practicing or not. Even when Dillon has started games, he hasn't been finishing them recently, so caution is in order.

The Jets have allowed the second-most rushing TDs this season, with 15 given away to date, and rank 30th in the NFL handing over an average of 136.9 rushing yards per game. They have been trampled for 131.3 rushing yards per game over the past 3 weeks, including the 25/97/0 posted by New Orleans last week. It's pretty easy to run the ball against the Jets most of the time.

Whoever carries the ball for the Patriots will have a good matchup to exploit.

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

NE Injuries: none
NYJ Injuries: none


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

Laurence Maroney ran strong the last time he faced the Dolphins, with 20/82/1 rushing during the game, and in the three weeks since then he's scored even more fantasy points, with two two-TD games in the last three weeks (22/77/2 rushing vs. NYJ and then 15/64/2 rushing with 3/23/0 receiving vs. New Orleans on Monday Night Football). Over the past four weeks, Maroney is 12th among all fantasy backs, with 70/254/6 rushing and 5/38/0 receiving - he's hot right now, folks. Kevin Faulk is (as always) an effective change-of-pace/third-down back, with 3/22/0 rushing and 2/30/0 receiving to his credit in the game vs. New Orleans on Monday Night Football.

The Dolphins field the league's 12th ranked rush D that averages 108 yards allowed per game, with 13 rushing scores given up over 11 games. Buffalo's Fred Jackson and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick ripped up Miami for 25/129/3 rushing last week, and Carolina had 27/182/0 rushing vs. the Dolphins two weeks ago - they look pretty suspect in this phase of the game entering December, folks.

Maroney has gathered momentum during November and will have a suspect defense in front of him on Sunday in this divisional matchup - advantage, New England.

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

NE Injuries: none
NYJ Injuries: none


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

Jonas Gray was late to the Patriots' facility last Friday, and missed practice. Welcome to Bill Belichick's doghouse, Mr. Gray, who finished with zero touches on the football vs. Detroit. In Gray's stead, retread Patriot LeGarrette Blount plowed in two rushing scores with 12/78/2 rushing (he lead the team in rushing last week), while Shane Vereen handled 8/12/0 rushing and 8/48/0 receiving in the third-down/change-of-pace role. We'll see if Gray can work his way back into good graces this week, or if he is now the backup to Blount going forwards.

The Packers' rush D is ranked 30th in the NFL averaging 136.7 yards allowed per game, with nine rushing scores handed out over 11 games. Minnesota managed 25/112/0 rushing vs. Green Bay last week - Philadelphia posted 31/109/0 rushing at Lambeau two weeks ago. Though the Packers don't shut down opposing running backs, they have stiffened in the red zone of late.

This looks like a good matchup for the visiting Patriots' stable of backs.

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

NE Injuries: none
NYJ Injuries: none


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

Deuce McAllister bounced back from a poor performance 2 weeks ago to post 20/71/2 rushing with 2/5/0 receiving vs. the Falcons; Reggie Bush was mostly quiet with 5/24/0 rushing and 3/21/0 receiving during the game. Over the past 3 weeks, McAllister has 44/167/3 rushing with 6/36/0 receiving to rank 12th among all fantasy RBs in points per game, while second-fiddle Bush has posted 28/124/1 rushing and 18/119/0 receiving to rank 24th. They are a nice set of complimentary running backs.

San Francisco's rush D is pretty weak, tied for 2nd-most rushing TDs allowed this season (12) while ranking 17th in yards allowed per game (116.3). St. Louis posted 29/140/1 against them last week - over the past 3 weeks San Fran has averaged 93.6 rushing yards allowed per game.

McAllister and Bush help power the New Orleans' offense, and most weeks McAllister is finding the end-zone (he's scored in 3 of his last 4 games) - meanwhile, the 49ers tend to give up rushing TDs and aren't particularly stout in general. Advantage, New Orleans.

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

NO Injuries: none
TB Injuries: none


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

The return of Reggie Bush to the field was much ado about nothing (1/1/0 rushing with 1/12/0 receiving) - former Cowboy Julius Jones led the Saints in rushing at Dallas, with 10/45/0 rushing and 3/21/0 receiving, while Chris Ivory pounded in two TDs (7/38/2 rushing). All told, the Saints managed 21/81/2 rushing last week. Sorry, Bush owners, better luck this week - we'll see how Bush's sore leg responds to live action and another week of practices as week 13 progresses - stay tuned to Footballguys' players in the news later this week for all the latest on the fluctuating New Orleans backfield situation. There are rumbles at midweek that Pierre Thomas may get back in the mix this week, too - 'I'm optimistic that (Thomas) can get back on the field for this game,' coach Sean Payton said on Tuesday. 'We began to see some real progress last week, yet we knew he wouldn't be ready to play in that short turnaround on Thanksgiving...But when he and I spoke leading up to the Thanksgiving game, our goal was to make the Cincinnati game at least something we could target.' Stay tuned...

The Bengals' rush D has coughed up 508 yards in the last four games (127 yards per contest on average), with 37/170/1 allowed to the Jets last week, and 25/141/2 given up to the Bills two weeks ago. As you can see, the Bengals' defensive front is collapsing entering December.

This is a good matchup for whichever Saints' backs get in the game on Sunday.

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

NO Injuries: none
TB Injuries: none


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

The work-sharing arrangement goes on in New Orleans this year, with Mark Ingram leading the team last week (13/80/1 rushing with 2/14/0 receiving), followed by Pierre Thomas (8/63/1 rushing last week, with 3/47/0 receiving) and Darren Sproles (8/54/0 rushing with 2/28/0 receiving). All told, the Giants allowed 30/205/3 rushing to the Saints on Monday night (Brees also ran in a TD with 1/8/1 to his credit). The three-headed monster is alive and well in New Orleans, folks, just like years past.

The Lions' defensive front will be without DT Ndamukong Suh this week (at least), thanks to his latest dirty play. With Suh in the lineup, the Lions have been a mediocre rush D, averaging 127.3 yards allowed per game (23rd in the NFL), and surrendering seven rushing scores to date (in the middle of the NFL range from zero to 15 allowed so far this year across the league). Green Bay had 18/53/1 rushing on Thanksgiving; Carolina reeled off 36/137/2 at Detroit two weeks ago. Usually teams have numbers more like Carolina's when Detroit is across the line of scrimmage.

Advantage, New Orleans.

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

NO Injuries: none
TB Injuries: none


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

The Saints upset the Falcons 31-27 at New Orleans back in week 10 - this week, they play in the early Thursday night game at the Georgia Dome. Chris Ivory had his biggest game of the season vs. the Falcons, with 7/72/1 rushing and 1/13/0 receiving, while Mark Ingram handled 16/67/0 rushing while Pierre Thomas posted 5/10/0 rushing and 1/6/0 receiving. All told, the Saints rushed for 29/148/1 that day.

Ivory led the Saints in rushing vs. San Francisco last week, too, but his total was less impressive (8/34/0), while Mark Ingram (10/27/0 rushing) and Pierre Thomas (1/0/0) hardly moved the ball at all against the stout 49ers. Darren Sproles returned to the lineup last week but only handled passes, with nine targets for 7/65/0 to his credit.

Atlanta's rush D ranks 23rd in the NFL - 19 spots lower on the season list than San Francisco's fourth-ranked unit - averaging 123.2 rushing yards allowed per game, with 12 rushing scores handed out to date. Tampa was limited to 21/50 rushing last Sunday, though - but the Falcons coughed up two rushing TDs to Doug Martin. Arizona rang up 26/137/1 rushing on this sub-par group two weeks ago.

The Saints' many-headed monster has a good matchup this week despite being on the road at their divisional rival's house.

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

NO Injuries: none
TB Injuries: none


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

The Giants couldn't get much going against the Cowboys last time around the block (week 6), managing 19/91/0 during the game, led by Tiki Barber's 14/64/0 effort. Barber has been cranking out solid games during recent weeks, with 70/358/1 rushing and 15/160/0 receiving during the last 3 weeks (6th best fantasy RB in the land during that span), including last week's 26/151/0 rushing and 5/27/0 effort vs. Seattle. He's on fire right now, folks.

The Bronco's powerful backfield shattered the Cowboys' defensive front for 20/144/1 last week - the team has averaged 127.3 rushing yards allowed per game during the last 3 weeks. They are way off their 9th-ranked season pace of 99.5 rushing yards allowed per game on average (6 rushing scores surrendered to date). The Cowboys are staggering backwards in this phase of the game recently.

Barber is on fire and has home-field advantage at his back - meanwhile, the Cowboys haven't been very impressive in recent weeks vs. opposing backs. This looks like a good matchup for Barber.

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

NYG Injuries: none
DAL Injuries: none


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

With Brandon Jacobs (hamstring injury) and Derrick Ward (ankle, groin injuries) both on the shelf, Reuben Droughns returned to the tail back position last week, and managed 15/46/1 rushing and 1/6/0 receiving vs. the Viking's tough defensive front. He may be back in again this week as neither Jacobs or Ward looked very close to playing last week, although Ward was able to fully practice on Tuesday and may be available this weekend. Jacobs didn't practice early in the week and is looking iffy as of midweek. Stay tuned to the practice reports and official Friday injury report if you are invested in the Giants' backfield.

The Bears' rush D isn't scaring anybody this year, allowing 11 rushing TDs in the past 11 games and averaging 126.8 rushing yards given up per contest. Over the last 4 weeks, the Bears have coughed up 354 rushing yards in 3 games (118 per contest on average). Denver hung 37/138/2 on this unit last week.

The Giants' RB stable is hurting, but so are the Bears' defenders (especially Tommie Harris, who hasn't finished a game in weeks due to a bad knee) - this is a good matchup for the visitors.

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

NYG Injuries: none
DAL Injuries: none


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

The Giants defeated Washington 16-7 in the very first regular-season game of this year, back on September 4th. As a team, the Giants crammed 32/154/1 down the Redskins' throats, signalling a common theme that has endured all season long for this offense. Brandon Jacobs led the charge in week 1, with 21/116/0 on the ground (1/8/0 receiving) - Eli Manning snuck in the TD (2/-1/1).

Last week, with Jacobs sidelined due to a sore knee (coach Coughlin said on Tuesday he's optimistic that Jacobs will play in this game - despite Jacobs missing practice on Wednesday, Coughlin expects Jacobs in practice on Thursday), Derrick Ward carried the load for New York, with 20/69/1 rushing and 4/30/0 receiving - Ahmad Bradshaw posted 4/9/0 in a limited role. As a team, the Giants gained 27/87/1 last week - not a 200+ yards rushing performance, but a respectable total with their #1 RB out of commission.

Washington gave up 20/139/0 rushing to Maurice Morris and company last week. They've handed over 256 yards rushing in the last 3 weeks (2 games), an average of 128 rushing yards given up per game. To date, the Redskins are 7th in the NFL averaging 89.3 rushing yards allowed per game (7 rushing TDs surrendered to date), but they haven't been playing up to their top-10 standard in recent contests.

Both of these units were off-pace last week - with Jacobs back in the lineup, the Giants should get a boost. On balance, this looks like a good matchup for the Giants, who enjoyed solid numbers vs. the Redskins last time around the block.

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

NYG Injuries: none
DAL Injuries: none


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

The Giants are dead last in the NFL averaging 3.2 yards per carry this year, and they are dead last in average yards per game at 82.3. Ahmad Bradshaw's bum foot didn't allow him to practice last week, and he looks iffy for this battle, too. Brandon Jacobs did manage a TD at New Orleans (13/46/1 rushing), but his excessive celebration nearly cost the team a penalty and may have contributed to Drew Brees and company deciding to pour on seven TDs during the 24-49 drubbing of Jacobs' club last Monday. As Tom Coughlin noted two weeks ago, the Giants' rushing attack is pathetic. He said it, we didn't.

The Packers' rush D is a middle-of-the-road unit, averaging 105.5 yards given up per game (13th in the NFL) with seven rushing scores allowed to date. Detroit muddled together 21/136/1 rushing vs. Green Bay last week; Tampa posted 20/121/1 rushing at Green Bay two weeks ago. They are playing below their modest season average entering this contest, folks.

Two under-performing units face off in this matchup - we give the home-team Giants a slight edge in this matchup, but don't expect miracles from Jacobs and company.

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

NYG Injuries: none
DAL Injuries: none


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

LaDainian Tomlinson (11/76/0 rushing with 4/26/0 receiving) and Shonn Greene (15/52/0 rushing with 1/8/0 receiving) led the Jets to a team total of 32/136/0 rushing the first time these teams clashed (week two). Since then, the Jets have built an impressive per-game average on the ground, with X per contest through week 12. Lately, Greene has come on with 63/230/0 rushing and 6/42/0 receiving over the past four weeks (33rd fantasy RB in the land, PPR format), vs. 58/197/0 rushing and 21/185/0 receiving (25th) for Tomlinson. Versus Cincinnati last week, Greene led the team with 18/70/0 rushing (adding 1/11/0 receiving), while Tomlinson put up 13/49/0 rushing and 2/14/0 receiving.

The Patriots' rush D is in the middle of the NFL range this year, averaging 110.6 rushing yards allowed per game (16th in the NFL), with nine rushing TDs surrendered through 11 contests. Detroit managed 27/129/2 rushing vs. New England last week; Indianapolis posted 20/71/0 at New England two weeks ago. The Patriots' rush D is mediocre any way you slice up the numbers, friends.

The Jets' duo of backs is powerful, while the Patriots' D is so-so - that sounds like a good matchup to us.

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

NYJ Injuries: none
NE Injuries: none


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

Shonn Greene (14/71/0 rushing and 1/9/0 receiving) and Bilal Powell (12/40/1 rushing and 2/13/0 receiving) suffered through a 19-49 embarrassment vs. the Patriots on Thanksgiving. Though the Jets gained 29/119/1 rushing as a team, they didn't do the job on the scoreboard. However, with 217 yards rushing and three rushing TDs scored over the last two weeks between Greene and Powell, the Jets do seem to have found an effective tandem in this phase of the game. Look for the duo to continue to share the workload during the final games of the season.

The Cardinals' rush D laid down last week, allowing 34/173/0 rushing to the Rams; two weeks ago Atlanta was limited to 24/58/1 by Atlanta. To date, the Cardinals average 124.2 rushing yards allowed per game (24th in the NFL), but have given up just five rushing scores to date. They've bounced around that sub-par average in recent weeks, as you can see.

Greene and Powell have made the Jets' rushing attack respectable, and they have a good matchup to look forward to in this one.

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

NYJ Injuries: none
NE Injuries: none


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

Latavius Murray had his chance to headline for the Raiders against the Chiefs, and he capitalized with 4/112/2 rushing during the 24-20 upset of Kansas City. Unfortunately, he was concussed midway through the game, which returned the plodding Darren McFadden (12/29/0 rushing with 2/5/0 receiving) to the lead rusher's role - the contrast between the two was stark, though, and afterwards Tony Sparano acknowledged that Murray had 'earned more touches' - however, as of midweek Murray hadn't been cleared through the NFL concussion protocols - stay tuned to Footballguys.com's players in the news for the latest on Murray's practice status as the weekend approaches. If he can go, he's likely the Raiders new starting running back.

The Rams' defense got shocked in San Diego last week, allowing 22/128/1 to the Chargers' stable of backs. Two weeks ago, they stabled the Broncos' backs holding Denver to 10/28/0 rushing - the Rams have been up and down in this phase of the game lately. To date, the Rams average 115.8 rushing yards allowed per game (tied for 19th in the NFL), with 10 rushing scores given up over 11 games.

If Murray can play, count this as a good matchup. If the Raiders are stuck with McFadden, consider it a tough matchup.

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

OAK Injuries: none
SD Injuries: none


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

Brian Westbrook is as good as they come in this league - he's the #1 fantasy RB in the land this year with 195/901/6 rushing and and 62/558/4 receiving to his credit. Over the past 4 weeks, he's #2 in points per game, with 85/365/3 rushing and 27/213/2 receiving to his credit. Start him if you've got him.

The Seahawks' rush D is mediocre, allowing an average of 100.5 rushing yards per game, with 12 rushing scores given up to date. They handed over 31/104/1 to the Rams last week, and have 2 100+ yards allowed games over their last 3 contests. They aren't handing over 200 rushing yards per game, but they aren't shutting down opposing RBs at this point in the season, either.

Westbrook is tearing up most teams, and has a good matchup ahead of him at home this week, too.

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

PHI Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: none


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

The Eagles dropped to 3-6 when they lost to Dallas on November 11, and the losing has continued since - last week, LeSean McCoy was unable to go due to a concussion, so he may be iffy for this contest, too (he was described as still having dizzy spells midweek last week). Bryce Brown started for Philadelphia in week 12, and posted an outstanding 19/178/2 rushing during the game - but he was stripped of the ball twice, losing both fumbles to the Panthers, so there is still work for the rookie to do regarding ball security. As of Tuesday, November 27 McCoy is still in stage one of his concussion recovery, so he's highly likely to miss more games - why rush him back when Brown needs game-time reps and the season is in the tank anyway? Look for Brown to do more good work in week 13.

The Dallas rush D ranks 13th in the NFL averaging 109.8 yards allowed per game, with nine rushing TDs given up to date. Washington posted 30/142/1 on Thanksgiving at Dallas; Cleveland had 33/119/0 there two weeks ago. The Dallas D has slipped some in this phase of the game during November.

Brown looked very explosive in week 12 - against the so-so Cowboys' D we give him an edge in week 13. Advantage, Philadelphia.

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

PHI Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: none


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

Pittsburgh trampled the Bengals the last time these teams met in week 7 (to the tune of 47/221/1 as a team), led by Willie Parker who posted 18/131/1 that day. Bettis had 13/56/0 in a supporting role. Last week, with Parker, Bettis and Staley active vs. the Colts, Parker was the featured back with 12/43/0 (4/23/0 receiving in addition), while Bettis managed 6/9/0 and Staley 3/6/0. The team was stymied by the Colts' tough D and raucous crowd. None of the Steeler backs have done much over the last 3 weeks - Parker is the top-ranked fantasy play, ranking 22nd at his position with 30/102/0 rushing and 6/45/1 receiving in 3 games. Yawn.

Cincinnati gave up 33/133/1 to the Ravens' stable last week, but much of it came after the Bengals were up 34-0 and solidly in control of the game. The team averages 122.1 rushing yards handed over per game (25th in the NFL), with 10 TDs given away to date. Over the past 3 weeks, the team is pacing 112.5 rushing yards allowed per game (2 games). The Bengals are not fielding a dominant rush D this year.

Pittsburgh trampled the Bengals last time around, but they've been relatively cold in recent weeks - meanwhile, the Bengals' defensive front has been underwhelming. With home field advantage behind the Steelers, we give the edge to Parker and company.

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

PIT Injuries: none
CIN Injuries: none


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

In years' past, this would have been a matchup that featured 2 feared defensive teams, but no longer. Time and injuries have eroded both of these teams to the extent that the Bucs have allowed an average of 26.3 points per game over the past 3 weeks, while the Steelers have coughed up 26 per contest during that same span of time. Last week, the Buccaneers allowed 24/101/1 to the Dallas Cowboys, and they have averaged 93 rushing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks. That's actually an improvement on their season average of 122.3 rushing yards allowed per game.

Willie Parker was stuffed by the Ravens last week (10/22/0 rushing with 2/15/0 receiving) - considering how many Ravens were in the backfield all day long, it's a miracle he managed to get into double digits rushing the football. Over the past 3 weeks, Parker has totaled 48/281/3 rushing and 8/44/1 receiving - the most recent, bad game was an outlier, rather than the beginning of a trend, in our opinion. Sometimes, you just get dominated by a better team and that's what happened to Pittsburgh last week.

This is a good matchup for Parker - he should bounce back big against the suspect Bucs.

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

PIT Injuries: none
CIN Injuries: none


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

Rashard Mendenhall shoved in two TDs the last time he saw the Bengals (a 24-17 win for Pittsburgh during week 10) - he posted 16/44/2 rushing and 1/26/0 receiving during the contest. All told the Steelers managed 30/105/2 rushing as a team during week 10.

Since the divisional win, Pittsburgh has seen Mendenhall run for 17/57/0 and add 2/10/0 receiving at Kansas City last week. In the pass-happy Pittsburgh system, he's struggling to get over 20 touches, but Mendenhall remains the featured back here - Isaac Redman was second on the team in rushing last week with 3/22/0 and he added 2/8/0 receiving in a change-of-pace role.

The Bengals' rush D is in the top five in yards allowed per game as of December first, with an average of 92.7 yards given up, but they've 10 rushing scores surrendered through 11 games. Cleveland didn't find pay dirt last week, though, with 30/134/0 to their credit, but Baltimore shoved in two scores two weeks ago (28/105/2).

Mendenhall has a good shot to score in this game, so we're calling it a good matchup for him despite the small yards-allowed average that the Bengals can boast of.

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

PIT Injuries: none
CIN Injuries: none


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

Two weeks ago, the Steelers ground out 27/134/1 rushing, led by Jonathan Dwyers' 12/55/0 rushing and 3/26/0 receiving. Rashard Mendenhall managed 11/33/0 rushing and 3/17/0 receiving, while Isaac Redman posted 1/5/0 rushing before exiting due to a concussion. Cleveland limited the entire stable to 20/49/1 in last week's 20-14 upset of the Steelers - with Charlie Batch under center, the Browns stacked the line and dared Batch to beat them in the air (and he responded with zero TDs and three interceptions thrown). Jonathan Dwyer led the team with 9/19/0 rushing (and 2/9/0 receiving), followed by Chris Rainey (5/17/1 rushing with 4/15/0 receiving). Isaac Redman (2/7/0 rushing with 1/15/0 receiving) and Rashard Mendenhall (4/6/0 rushing) also got touches in this running-back-by-committee from the nether regions - fantasy owners aren't getting much from Steeler backs in the four-headed array the team was employing last week. By the way, all four Pittsburgh backs fumbled the football at least once, and there were five total fumbles lost at Cleveland. UGLY.

Head coach Mike Tomlin took steps to reign in the committee nightmare on Tuesday, November 27, announcing Jonathan Dwyer the team's new starter. 'He's been consistently the most productive guy. I think we have a large enough body of work to be able to identify that at this point,' Tomlin said. 'Obviously, we've been working at less than ideal circumstances with the rotation and the shuffling of those guys due to health and lack of production. But over the course of the last several weeks, it's obvious that he is healthy and he is the most productive of the group.' We'll see if Dwyer can produce better numbers as the featured runner, or if the team will regress back into a committee if Dwyer struggles at Baltimore.

The Ravens limited the Chargers to 23/91/0 rushing last week, and currently rank 26th in the NFL averaging 128.5 rushing yards allowed per game, with 10 rushing scores handed out to date. This is a soft defensive front, friends.

This is a good matchup but the Steelers' banged-up and fumble-fingered stable is a shaky group - Dwyer may be able to rectify the situation, but his 2.1 yards per carry average at Cleveland last week has us cautious here.

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

PIT Injuries: none
CIN Injuries: none


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

Tomlinson and company come into this matchup on a roll, with 28/202/3 rushing as a team last week vs. Washington (Tomlinson had 25/184/3 on the ground). The last time Tomlinson clashed with the Raiders, back in week 6, he racked up 31/140/1 rushing, 1/1 for 4 yards passing and 1 TD, and 2/39/1 receiving - he was a one-man wrecking crew. He's nuclear hot coming into this game, and destroyed Oakland last time around the block - start him!

The Raiders are tied for 19th in the NFL allowing an average of 118.1 rushing yards per game, with 12 rushing scores allowed to date. Over the past 3 weeks, they have given away 124.6 rushing yards per game on average, including last week's totals of 32/145/2 surrendered to Miami. The team lost Warren Sapp to IR last week, and they were none-too-stout vs. the run with him in the lineup - this squad is in serious straits heading into the final weeks of 2005.

Tomlinson is automatic, and he should be a monster this week against the fading Raiders' defensive front.

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

SD Injuries: none
OAK Injuries: none


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

During week 4, LaDainian Tomlinson played one of his best games this season against the Chiefs, gaining 20/132/1 rushing and 5/22/0 receiving during the game (the first of only 2 100+ yard rushing games this year).

Over the last 4 weeks, Tomlinson has topped out at 24/77/0 in the rushing department (vs. Baltimore last week - but he did have 3 straight games with a rushing TD prior to the Baltimore game). He's gone over 100 yards combined in each of his last 2 contests, though, adding 6/45/0 receiving last week - in point-per-reception leagues he's been more valuable than in other formats, this year (216/872/9 rushing and 47/407/1 receiving to date).

The Chiefs allowed 29/153/2 rushing to the Raiders last week, and are 18th in the NFL averaging 109 yards given up per contest, with 7 rushing TDs surrendered to date. They've ping-ponged up and down over the last 4 weeks, with 153, 66, 141, and 78 rushing yards allowed in their games weeks 12-9 (a total of 438 rushing yards allowed, or 109.5 yards per game on average). As you can see, this is an inconsistent group of run defenders who are, on balance, a mediocre crew.

Tomlinson hasn't been as dominant as in years past, but against a suspect divisional foe he has a good shot at a nice performance on Sunday.

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

SD Injuries: none
OAK Injuries: none


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

Here's a surprising statistic for you - the Chargers are tied with Oakland, Kansas City, and Saint Louis for 2nd-least rushing TDs scored this season, with a mere 5 - only Cincinnati (4 rushing TDs scored) is worse in this category than San Diego. LaDainian Tomlinson owners have enjoyed an improvement in yards produced over the last 3 weeks (61/219/1 rushing and 10/114/0 receiving), but the humongous TD totals of yester-year don't appear to be coming back to their fantasy squads any time soon. Tomlinson had 21/84/0 rushing and 3/30/0 receiving vs. the Colts last week.

The Falcons' rush D is currently 21st in the NFL, averaging 120.9 yards allowed per game, with 13 rushing TDs given away over 11 contests. They have coughed up 363 rushing yards over the past 3 weeks (right on pace) - last week, Carolina posted 26/134/2 rushing vs. Atlanta. The defensive front is not this teams' strong suit, folks.

Tomlinson has suffered from a lack of scoring of late, but he'll have a good shot at solid results against the suspect Falcons this week.

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

SD Injuries: none
OAK Injuries: none


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

LaDainian Tomlinson only had 14 touches on the football last week, but he made those few chances count with 13/39/2 rushing and 1/5/0 receiving. Over the past three weeks, Tomlinson has scored five rushing TDs, with two games in which he's pushed in two TDs. He's not throwing down for 150+ yards combined anymore, but he has found pay dirt quite a bit lately. A large cast of characters carried the ball for San Diego last week (eight different players attempted a rush) - Mike Tolbert was second on the team with 4/19/0 rushing, while Darren Sproles kicked in 9/17/0 rushing and 5/66/0 receiving. At the end of the day, the Chargers had manufactured 34/94/2 rushing, and a 43-14 victory over the Chiefs.

The Browns' rush D is among the league's worst, averaging 159.9 rushing yards allowed per game - they've also coughed up 13 rushing TDs to date. Cincinnati's backup RBs hung 45/210/0 on the Browns last week; though Detroit could only muster 17/57/0 in the wild 38-37 shootout two weeks ago - the low total was more due to the Lions preferring to pass (43 pass attempts vs. 17 rushing attempts) than anything else. The Browns are not feared defenders in general this year.

Tomlinson and company have a good matchup to work with this week.

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

SD Injuries: none
OAK Injuries: none


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

Shaun Alexander last week: 31/110/1 rushing and 1/4/0. He has scored multiple TDs in 6 out of 11 games this year, with 20 to his credit so far, and has put up 88/390/6 rushing and 3/20/0 receiving over the last 3 weeks. He should not be on your bench.

Philadelphia's rush D falls in the middle of the NFL statistically this season, allowing an average of 113.2 rushing yard per game (16th), while coughing up 10 rushing scores to date. Over the past 3 weeks, the team has handed over an average of 100.3 yards rushing per contest, including last week's totals of 30/128/1 surrendered to Green Bay. The Eagles aren't overpowering in this phase, but they aren't underwhelming, either.

Alexander is awesome this year, the Eagles are only average - advantage, Seattle.

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

SEA Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: none


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

Marshawn Lynch scored again last week (24/111/0 rushing with 1/20/1 receiving), running his streak of games with a TD to seven - he's posted 180/706/6 rushing and 31 targets for 20/170/1 receiving to date this year. Lynch is the featured back here, and warrants a start in all formats.

The Eagles' rush D is ranked 15th in the NFL to date, averaging 110.3 yards allowed per game with nine rushing scores given out this year. New England pushed in two TDs last week with 36/104/2 rushing; but the Giants' league-worst rushing attack could only muster 17/29/0 rushing two weeks ago. Usually, teams have success similar to New England's when Philadelphia is in town.

Lynch has a good matchup ahead at home on Thursday night.

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

SEA Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: none


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

Marshawn Lynch got to rest last week - so far this year he is the sixth-best fantasy back in the land with 208/925/9 rushing and 24/222/2 receiving for the Seahawks. He posted 17/54/2 rushing and 2/9/1 receiving during the demolition of Minnesota two weeks ago - start him if you've got him.

The Saint's rush D ranks 15th in the NFL at this point in the year, averaging 111.9 yards allowed per game, with nine rushing scores given up to date. They gave up 22/91/1 rushing to the lowly Falcons last week, and just 22/81/0 rushing to the 49ers two weeks ago - right now, the Saints' defensive front is playing better than their mediocre season numbers would indicate.

Lynch is a beast, while the Saints have improved in this phase of the game but remain far from perfect. On balance, we give Lynch an edge as he'll be at home on Monday Night Football.

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

SEA Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: none


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

The 49ers' OL took a big blow this week when the team learned that C Jeremy Newberry is finally surrendering to the knee pain that has plagued him all year long. Newberry has essentially no cartilage left in either knee, and the right one started giving out vs. Tennessee. He is scheduled for micro-fracture surgery to attempt to regenerate some cartilage tissue - he was placed on IR Tuesday. RG Eric Heitmann will move over and assume the duties at center.

The last time these teams met, the 49ers managed 14/51/0 as a team, led by Kevan Barlow's 10/45/0 rushing - not very impressive. Barlow had 14/40/1 rushing last week (4/17/0 receiving), while Maurice Hicks contributed 6/30/0 (Frank Gore has been sidelined due to injuries lately). The 49ers average 97 yards rushing per game this year, not very impressive, especially considering the yards are usually split up between a committee of runners.

Arizona's rush D is very generous with TDs - tied for next-to-last in the NFL with 15 surrendered to date - while handing over an average of 118.1 yards per game on the ground (t-19th in the NFL). Over the past 3 weeks, the team has coughed up 108.3 yards per game, and 8 total TDs (rushing and receiving), including last week's totals of 33/162/2 donated to Jacksonville - Arizona's defensive front is sub-par, no matter how you slice up the statistics.

This is a good matchup for the 49ers, but don't expect a ton of fantasy points from Barlow and you won't be disappointed.

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

SF Injuries: none
ARI Injuries: none


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

Frank Gore finally scored again last week (it only took 10 weeks), posting 21/116/2 rushing after tweaking an ankle and being assisted off the field by HC Mike Nolan, who assumed Gore's day was done - but only one series later Gore was ripping open the Arizona defensive front. Gore also led the team in receiving last week, with 11/98/0 to his credit. Hopefully, Gore will be able to sustain his momentum this week against the Panthers.

Speaking of Carolina, they are not very strong vs. opposing backs, with 11 rushing TDs handed over to date (tied for 3rd most in the NFL), and an average of 112.3 rushing yards allowed per game (20th). Over the past 4 weeks, they have allowed 444 rushing yards to 4 opponents (111 rushing yards per game on average) - they are sticking close to their season average, as you can see. New Orleans posted 39/113/1 against the Panthers last week.

Gore quit hitting the snooze button and woke up on the field last week, while the Panthers continue to hand over 100+ yard games. Advantage, San Francisco.

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

SF Injuries: none
ARI Injuries: none


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

Frank Gore posted his 2nd-worst rushing performance of the season vs. Dallas, 14 carries for 26 yards (a 1.9-yard per carry average), and also was not a factor in the passing game with only one catch for 6 yards on the day. "I think coming into the game we wanted to try to take advantage of some things we saw on their back end," coach Mike Singletary said, referring to the Cowboys' defensive secondary. "I thought Dallas' run defense did a pretty good job today." Over the past 3 weeks, Gore has 55/231/2 rushing with 4/20/0 receiving to his credit - last week was just not his week to shine.

The Bills were hit for 13/159/0 rushing by the Chiefs last week, with several long runs handed over (one of 63 yards to Larry Johnson; 27 to Quinn Gray; 20 to Jamaal Charles). Over the past 3 weeks, the Bills have allowed 464 rushing yards (154.6 per game on average), well below their season pace of 114.1 rushing yards allowed per game (20th in the NFL). Buffalo has coughed up 13 rushing TDs through 11 games - the defensive front is not their strong suit, as you can see.

Gore was shut down last week, but he should run wild against the porous Bills.

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

SF Injuries: none
ARI Injuries: none


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

Frank Gore blasted the Seattle D wide open back in week two, plastering them with 16/207/2 rushing and 5/39/0 receiving (he led the team in both categories). Over the last two weeks, his production has been lagging, though, with 7/59/0 rushing and 3/9/1 receiving vs. Green Bay, and 16/33/0 rushing with 7/14/1 receiving vs. Jacksonville - his receiving TDs have saved his fantasy owners from ruin during the last two games.

The Seahawks average 110.7 rushing yards allowed per game this year (18th in the NFL), with nine rushing TDs handed over to date. Over the past four weeks, the team has coughed up 509 rushing yards in four contests (127.3 per game on average), including 28/113/1 rushing handed over to the Rams last week and 37/160/0 surrendered to Minnesota two weeks ago. This team is not playing at the top of their game right now (and they are only mediocre in this phase of the game at the best of times during 2009).

Gore tore up the Seahawks in the first game of this rivalry - he should have a productive afternoon in the rematch, too.

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

SF Injuries: none
ARI Injuries: none


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

The 49ers were surprised by the Rams three weeks ago, and ended up in a rare 24-24 tie. During the game, Frank Gore (21/97/1 rushing with 3/18/0 receiving) and Kendall Hunter (3/15/0 rushing with 1/8/0 receiving) were the main running backs, while Colin Kaepernick also ran a lot (8/66/1 rushing) as he stepped into the lineup for an injured Alex Smith.

Since the tie, Gore (36/161/0 rushing with 2/18/1 receiving) has been the main back for the 49ers, and his side kick Kendall Hunter landed on IR this week due to an ankle injury. We'll probably see more of Brandon Jacobs (1/1/0 rushing in the last two games) and perhaps LaMichael James with Hunter out - Anthony Dixon has handled 4/11/0 rushing over the last two weeks. Gore is now the clear-cut featured back entering week 13, though.

The Rams gave up 23/74/2 rushing to the Cardinals last week and 41/124/2 to the Jets two weeks ago - to date, the team has surrendered 14 rushing TDs (third-most in the NFL), while averaging 111.4 yards rushing allowed per game (14th in the NFL).

This is a good matchup for Gore and his fantasy owners.

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

SF Injuries: none
ARI Injuries: none


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

Steven Jackson bounced back from his horrid game vs. Arizona (12/6/0 rushing and 3/16/0 receiving) with a great game against Houston, rushing for 25/110/1 (2/2/0 receiving). He's been up and down in this phase of the game recently, as you can see. This year, Jackson is the 8th ranked fantasy RB in the land, with 192/845/7 rushing and 36/281/2 receiving - he's been a great starter more often than not this season.

Washington sports the league's 18th ranked rush D, averaging 115.5 yards allowed per game, with 14 rushing scores given up to date. The Chargers absolutely blasted them for 28/202/3 last week - over the past 3 weeks, the team has averaged 104.3 rushing yards allowed per game. Washington fell apart last week, though.

Washington comes into this game staggering from the San Diego game, while Jackson is back on track and playing on a top offense - advantage, St. Louis.

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

STL Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: none


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

Tre Mason remains the Rams' lead back entering Week 13, after recording 16/62/0 rushing and 1/26/0 receiving at San Diego last week. Benny Cunningham added 4/18/0 rushing and 2/11/0 receiving in his change-of-pace role, and all told the Rams accumulated 24/107/1 rushing. The TD was posted by Tavon Austin (3/27/1 rushing with 3/11/0 receiving in a hybrid role last week). To date, the Rams are ranked 19th in the NFL averaging 101.4 yards rushing per game, with six rushing scores to their credit this year.

The Raiders' rush D is currently 25th in the NFL averaging 126.7 yards allowed per game, with nine rushing TDs handed over so far. They coughed up 24/96/0 to the Chiefs last week, after allowing 32/120/0 to the Chargers two games ago. This is a sub-par rush D by all measuring sticks.

At home, we give the Rams a slight edge in this matchup.

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

STL Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: none


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

Tampa's rushing attack got back on track last week, with 25/107/1 as a team vs. the Ultra-tough Bears (who have only allowed 3 rushing TDs total this season). Cadillac Williams ran for 20/84/0 and snagged 2/7/0, while Mike Alstott continued his 1-yard plunge scoring blitz with 3/8/1 rushing and 2/14/0 receiving (Alstott has punched/leapt in 5 short TDs over the past 4 games, with at least 1 TD per week during that span). Williams has posted 49/220/1 rushing and 5/20/0 receiving over the past 3 weeks (25th best fantasy back in fantasy points per game during that span) - if he could find the end-zone more often, he'd be in the top 20. Alstott's success at the goal-line is limiting Williams' fantasy upside right now.

The Saints are bottom feeders in this category, giving up an average of 136.7 rushing yards per game (29th in the NFL) with 11 rushing TDs handed over to date. Last week, the team coughed up 35/118/0 to the Jets; over the past 3 weeks (2 games), the Saints have averaged 125 rushing yards allowed per game. This is not a strong defensive front, folks.

Tampa should have a solid shot at a good game vs. the soft Saints defense.

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

TB Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none


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

In years' past, this would have been a matchup that featured 2 feared defensive teams, but no longer. Time and injuries have eroded both of these teams to the extent that the Bucs have allowed an average of 26.3 points per game over the past 3 weeks, while the Steelers have coughed up 26 per contest during that same span of time. Last week, Pittsburgh handed over 35/114/1 to Jamal Lewis and the Ravens; they've handed over rush yards at a clip of 111 per contest over the last 3 weeks.

Tampa did manage to keep Cadillac Williams' engine running again last week, with 17/78/0 vs. the Cowboys. Mike Alstott powered in the TD with 2/4/1 as the team ground out 24/101/1 against Dallas' top-5 defensive front. It was the second decent game in a row for Williams, who has posted 59/244/0 rushing and 2/34/0 receiving over the past 3 weeks. Not too shabby, considering how poor his first half went this year.

This looks like a good matchup to us, with the staggering Steelers facing off against the improving Tampa rush attack.

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

TB Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none


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

Tampa Bay didn't have trouble running the ball against the Saints the last time they clashed - 10/91/0 was run up by Earnest Graham (but he's on IR now), while Warrick Dunn ground out 9/54/0 rushing and 1/11/0 receiving during the early-season contest (week 1). Over the last 3 weeks, Dunn has 34/143/1 rushing and 9/102/0 receiving (2 games), to land at #10 among all fantasy RBs. With Cadillac Williams still getting into game-shape (16/27/0 rushing vs. Detroit's 32nd-ranked rush D last week in his first game of 2008), Dunn (14/90/1 rushing with 4/37/0 receiving vs. Detroit last week) figures to be the main man this week vs. New Orleans.

The Saints average 110.8 rushing yards allowed per game (18th in the NFL), with 7 rushing scores allowed over 11 contests to date. Over the last 3 weeks, they've coughed up 346 rushing yards (115.3 per contest during that time span), including 31/109/2 handed over to the Packers last week. The Saints field a mediocre defensive front - not awful, but not a shut-down type unit, either.

Dunn has proven he still has some gas left in the tank this year - against the so-so Saints he's got a good chance at a solid game on Sunday.

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

TB Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none


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

Cadillac Williams led the Buccaneers in rushing during the first contest against the Panthers (16/77/1 rushing) - since then, the team has switched QBs and become more wide-open on offense. Williams has seen his touches and productivity tail off during the past four weeks, though, going from 16/56/0 rushing vs. Green Bay during week nine to 10/30/0 rushing with 1/8/1 receiving last week vs. Atlanta - Derrick Ward actually had more carries than Williams last week (13/29/0 rushing with 1/2/0 receiving), but not better results.

The Panthers' rush D has been soft all year long, and currently averages 131.5 rushing yards allowed per game, with 12 rushing scores handed over to date. Over the past four weeks, they've laid down for 553 rushing yards in four games played (138.3 per contest), with 39/139/1 handed over to the Jets' stable last week.

Williams has been quiet of late, but he and his compatriots have a good matchup to work with this week.

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

TB Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none


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

The last time these teams faced off, the Titans were in the midst of a dismal losing streak and Tennessee didn't manage to score a TD. Since the team switched QBs, though, the offense has been playing at an entirely different level - looking back to week five isn't going to tell us a lot about the Titans entering week 13, as they've performed an amazing comeback over the last five weeks.

Chris Johnson just keeps piling up the impressive performances - last week, he rushed for 18/154/1 vs. Arizona (an 8.6 yards per carry average) and added 3/32/0 receiving to his totals. He's had six straight games with 128 or more yards rushing, and has three two-TD games during that time span, with a total of seven rushing TDs scored since he went on this rampage. Start him if you've got him.

The Colts' rush D is not intimidating this year, averaging 108.9 yards allowed per game (15th in the league), with eight rushing TDs given up through 11 games. They've coughed up 414 rushing yards in the last four weeks (103.5 per game on average), including 31/98/0 allowed to Baltimore two weeks ago and 24/122/1 handed over to the Texans last week. The Colts' defensive front is merely average when it comes to defending vs. opposing rushers.

Johnson has been a fantasy goldmine for weeks - we think he'll yield more paydirt against the so-so Colts this week.

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

TEN Injuries: none
IND Injuries: none


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

After his horrid game in Atlanta (12/13/0 rushing with 3/15/0 receiving), we noted last week that Tampa Bay's rush D is generally good medicine for opposing running backs, and Johnson took advantage of that opportunity in a big way last week. With 23/190/0 rushing (a 8.3 yards per carry average) and 1/3/0 receiving, Johnson reminded us why he was a top-five pick in most fantasy drafts back in August. Unfortunately, this year he hasn't been able to consistently deliver explosive outings - when Johnson has faced higher-quality defenses, the results have been less than spectacular. Happily (for Johnson owners), the Bills aren't one of the top units in the NFL.

Buffalo currently ranks 21st in the NFL averaging 123.8 rushing yards allowed per game, and they've coughed up 12 rushing scores over 11 games (1+ per contest, on average). Last week, the Jets averaged 6.0 yards per carry on the way to 23/138/0 rushing, while Miami posted a less-impressive 2.7 yards per carry on the way to 35/95/1 rushing two weeks ago. Most of the time, teams have numbers closer to the Jets' when the Bills are their opponent.

Johnson has a good matchup to work with on Sunday.

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

TEN Injuries: none
IND Injuries: none


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

Chris Johnson posted 17/86/2 rushing with 1/-2/0 receiving against the Colts two weeks ago, while Shonn Greene chipped in 3/10/0 during the narrow loss to the Colts. Last week, Johnson had 20/73/0 rushing and 3/8/0 receiving in a mediocre game at Oakland, while Greene chipped in 4/15/0 rushing. Johnson is the fantasy back to own here in Tennessee this year, but he's been up and down in recent games as you can see.

The Colts' rush D is currently 27th in the NFL averaging 125.5 yards allowed per game, with nine rushing scores handed out over 11 games to date. They coughed up 30/120/1 to the Cardinals' tandem last week, just under their usual sub-par pace this year.

Advantage, Tennessee.

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

TEN Injuries: none
IND Injuries: none


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

Clinton Portis hasn't become the top-ten fantasy back that many expected in Washington (he's currently #14 among all fantasy RBs, with 222/943/5 rushing and 23/180/0 receiving this season) - as a recent story in the Washington media pointed out, part of the reason for his under-utilization in Washington is that he isn't being targeted very often. Looking at the RB target information at Footballguys.com (http://footballguys.com/05week13rbtargets.php), you can see that Portis has only seen 8 passes come his way in the last 3 weeks, and only 33 during the entire season. In contrast, Brian Westbrook has 89 targets this year, followed by LaMont Jordan, with 82. Several part-time role players like Chris Perry (54) and Chester Taylor (40) have seen more opportunities than Portis. Food for thought.

Anyway, Portis put up 29/87/0 rushing and 1/23/0 receiving last week vs San Diego - the 8th game this season he's had a goose-egg in the TD column out of 11 games - during the Redskin's losing effort. When the Redskins are between the 20's is when Portis gets the majority of his work, week in and week out. That's just the way it is, folks.

The Rams rank 27th in the NFL this season, allowing an average of 128.1 rushing yards per game, with 13 rushing scores handed over to date. They have averaged 130.6 rushing yards surrendered per game during the last 3 weeks, with 1201 total net yards of offense given away during that span (400 yards per game surrendered) and 11 TDs rushing and receiving handed over. Last week, Houston hit them for 31/124/0 in this phase. The Rams' defense is in a shambles at this point, friends.

Portis has a solid shot at a good weekend this week - stay tuned to find out if he can find pay dirt again against the weak Rams.

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

WAS Injuries: none
STL Injuries: none


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

Rock Cartwright and company ground out 25/82/1 rushing vs. the Eagles last week, with 15/38/0 rushing and 3/26/0 receiving to Cartwright's credit during the game. Quinton Ganther assisted with 5/32/0 rushing (with 1/-4/0 receiving) last week. Clinton Portis (concussion) said Tuesday, Dec. 1, that he has been cleared to play by a local doctor but will wait until an examination by a doctor in Pittsburgh Monday, Dec. 7, before returning to action. Portis will not play in Week 13. Portis said during a radio interview, 'It's just the vision. Outside of that, I haven't really tried anything else. I wasn't having any headaches or nausea or anything. Once we realized that, it was basically getting my eye back up to speed,'. This week, it will once again be up to Cartwright to move the football on the ground - he's put up 44/162/0 rushing and 13/107/0 receiving during the past four weeks while subbing for Portis and Ladell Betts.

The Saints' rush D is in the middle of the NFL pack this season when it comes to yards allowed per game (116.3, 20th in the NFL), but they have allowed 14 rushing scores through 11 games, which is near the bottom of the NFL in that category. New England pushed in two rushing TDs last week (28/122/2 as a team); Tampa Bay compiled 23/119/0 rushing vs. New Orleans two weeks ago. If there is a part of this team that can be termed a weakness, the Saint's rush D is it.

Cartwright is doing a workmanlike job toting the football for the Redskins - against the sub-par Saints, this looks like a fairly good matchup for the home team. Advantage, Washington.

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

WAS Injuries: none
STL Injuries: none


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

Alfred Morris ran for 22/120/0 at New York back in week seven, adding 2/10/0 rushing - as a team the Redskins managed 38/248/0 rushing vs. the Giants (Robert Griffin III posted 9/89/0 rushing to contribute most of the yards beyond Morris' 120). Last week, Morris had 24/113/1 during Washington's successful upset of Dallas - Morris is very consistently productive this year.

The Giants' rush D allowed 26/116/0 to the Packers last week, and 28/76/0 given up to Cincinnati back in week 10 - this isn't a solid defensive front, friends. To date, the team averages 114 rushing yards allowed per game (16th in the NFL), with six rushing scores handed over so far. They've been right on their usual mediocre pace recently, as you can see.

Morris is highly productive - against the so-so Giants we give the Redskins an edge.

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

WAS Injuries: none
STL Injuries: none


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

Tim Hightower led the Cardinals with 13/54/1 rushing (and also had 4/40/0 receiving) vs. the Rams back in week one. Over the season, he's had ups and downs, but in recent weeks Hightower has been an important part of the Cardinals' offense, with 12/62/0 rushing and 3/24/0 receiving two weeks ago vs. K.C. and 5/0/0 rushing on Monday Night Football (the whole team only managed 11/13/0 rushing during the game, so Hightower handled half the available carries). Chris Wells also struggled vs. San Francisco, with 5/13/0 rushing though he did add 1/43/0 receiving on one target - he had the longest reception of the night for the Cardinals last week. Neither guy is a hot fantasy property right now, given what the 49ers were able to do on Monday Night Football.

The Rams coughed up 18/119/1 rushing to the Broncos last week (a 6.6 yards allowed per carry average), and handed over 31/138/1 to the Falcons two weeks ago (4.5 yards per carry) - the defensive front isn't getting the job done in this phase of the game lately. Over the past four weeks, St. Louis has handed over 355 yards rushing in three contests (118.3 per contest, on average), with 90 total points allowed. Entering December, the Rams' rush D is looking pretty porous.

The Cardinal's rushing offense was dreadful last week, and they've averaged just 78 yards rushing per game all year long (31st in the NFL) - meanwhile, the Rams' defensive front has been allowing a lot of yards per carry and the odd TD in this phase of the game lately. On balance, this looks like an ugly but fairly even matchup, though with the running-back-by-committee in Arizona and the lack of production, we're not very excited about either Hightower or Wells.

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

ARI Injuries: none
SF Injuries: none


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

Well, the Falcons certainly can run the ball. Michael Vick led the way again last week, with 12/166/0 on the ground (New Orleans left him Mack Truck-sized rushing lanes all day long and he exploited them). Meanwhile, Warrick Dunn found pay dirt (19/52/1) while Jerious Norwood chipped in 13/54/0 rushing and 2/7/0 receiving. There are no complaints about this phase of the game in Atlanta.

Washington braked the Panthers' stable last week, holding them to 25/101/0 on the day (DeAngelo Williams led with 17/63/0) - suddenly, the Redskins found some backbone. They've been tough to score on in this phase all year long (only 3 rushing scores surrendered all year long), but usually folks can run around between the 20s (Washington is 20th in the NFL with an average of 119.4 rushing yards allowed per game).

The Falcons run the ball like nobody else in the league - against the bend-but-don't-break Redskins, we think they have a neutral matchup ahead of them in FedEx Field.

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

ATL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: none


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

Atlanta has won 2 out of their past 4 games - in both of the victories, Warrick Dunn had 100+ yards combined and a rushing score (27/100/1 vs. San Francisco in week 9; 26/89/1 rushing and 3/51/0 receiving vs. Carolina in week 10). In both losses, Dunn has been under 100 yards combined, and hasn't scored (15/32/0 rushing and 8/40/0 receiving vs. Tampa in week 11; 17/70/0 rushing and 2/10/0 vs. Indianapolis last week). Jerious Norwood chipped in 6/33/0 rushing and 1/9/0 receiving vs. the Colts last week, to help lift the Falcons to 30/112/0 rushing as a team. We'll see if Dunn and Norwood can help Atlanta regain a winning form vs. the Rams this week.

The Rams have allowed a lot of scoring runs this year (12 to date, 2nd-most in the NFL), while giving up an average of 109.2 rushing yards per game (19th in the NFL). Last week, the Seahawks found the end-zone (as usual), with 19/87/1 as a team. However, in recent weeks, the Rams have clamped down on rushing yardage allowed, with 43 yards given up to New Orleans (but 2 TDs allowed), 32 yards to San Francisco (0 TDs), and then the 87 rushing yards and a score allowed last week. St. Louis hasn't shut down opposing backs of late, but they haven't rolled out a red carpet for them, either.

Atlanta has been up and down in this phase of the game lately, while the Rams have played better than usual - in the Edward Jones Dome, we think it's a pretty even matchup.

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

ATL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: none


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

Atlanta's backs stomped the Panthers last week, with 33/133/5 rushing to their credit as a team (24/117/4 for Michael Turner; 4/11/0 for Jerious Norwood (1/5/0 receiving)). WR Harry Douglas scored a TD on a reverse as well (2/3/1) - it was an impressive showing by Turner in particular, who has 76/294/7 rushing over the past 3 weeks (#1 fantasy RB in the land during that span of time). The Falcons' offense is on a roll.

The Chargers' D put up a fight vs. Indianapolis on Sunday night, holding Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes to 23/91/0 as a unit. Over the past 3 weeks, the Chargers have given up 291 rushing yards (97 per contest), which is slightly better than their season average of 103.9 rushing yards given up per game (6 rushing scores allowed in 11 contests). They are playing fairly well in this phase of the game of late (of course, their pass D is so bad that most teams attack San Diego through the air - but in fantasy terms, this rush D is stout).

Turner is on a hot streak, but he'll have to bring his "A" game to do well against the home team this week - this matchup looks about even to us as of midweek.

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

ATL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: none


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

Atlanta is 31st in the NFL this season averaging 75.7 yards rushing per game, with only five rushing scores punched in to date. Steven Jackson has eked out 74/255/1 rushing with 20/128/1 receiving in his time on the field, including 16/63/1 rushing with 3/16/0 receiving vs. New Orleans last week. Antone Smith had one rush for 11 yards last week, after his big showing two weeks ago (2/88/1 rushing) - for better or worse, the Falcons are sticking with Jackson as their lead back.

The Bills' rush D ranks 23rd in the NFL averaging 118.8 yards rushing allowed per game, with four rushing TDs given up to date. The Jets posted 23/134/1 rushing at Buffalo two weeks ago (before the Bills' bye), while Pittsburgh managed 33/136/1 rushing against Buffalo three weeks ago. This defensive front is fading as the season draws to a close.

On balance, two sub-par teams clash in this game - neither has an edge over the other in our book.

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

ATL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: none


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

Willis McGahee managed 31/86/1 the last time he faced Miami - his 2.8 yards-per-carry was nothing to write home about (he added 2/5/0 receiving during the game). Last week, he struggled to move the ball against the Panthers, with 21/53/0 to his credit - he's put up 51/158/0 rushing and 1/2/0 receiving over the past 3 weeks, to rank 48th among fantasy RBs in points per game during that span. Teams are keying on McGahee and daring Losman to beat them through the air - it's been a struggle for McGahee to find running room during recent weeks.

Miami's defense did without standout MLB Zach Thomas due to his shoulder injury (he has a bad ankle, too) - Oakland ran wild on them, especially at the goal-line (the Raiders piled up 25/120/3 on the day). The team has averaged 121.5 rushing yards allowed per game even with Thomas in the lineup (24th in the NFL this season) - over the past 3 weeks, they have paced at 130.6 rushing yards handed over per contest. Rush defense is a team weakness right now, a problem exacerbated by Thomas' absence.

Miami's rush defense has personnel problems and they've been sub-par all year long even before the injuries - the Bills are having problems of their own. Home field advantage is behind the Dolphins, which should help a little - this one looks pretty even to us.

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

BUF Injuries: none
MIA Injuries: none


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

Willis McGahee roared back to the top of the Bill's depth chart last week, posting 12/63/2 rushing (1/8/0 receiving), while Anthony Thomas suffered a sprained ankle and posted a weak 4/0/0 rushing with 3/13/0 receiving. McGahee hasn't been stellar most weeks (166/642/3 rushing and 15/135/0 receiving to date, 23rd fantasy RB in points per game this season), but for one week at least he was a fantasy force.

The Chargers are up and down on rush defense, allowing an average of 95.2 yards per game with 9 TDs given up to date. Over the past 3 weeks, they have been softer, though, averaging 122 rushing yards given up per game. The Raiders managed 26/84/1 last week, but nobody mistakes the Raiders' offensive line for a top unit.

The Chargers' defense has been regressing in this phase of the game in the second half of the season, while the Bills may finally be getting something going after a tepid first half - this looks like a fairly even matchup to us.

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

BUF Injuries: none
MIA Injuries: none


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

It is looking like the Bills will go without Marshawn Lynch again this weekend, at least as of Monday. "Marshawn, we're not optimistic again," said HC Dick Jauron. "He's now doing some running and some cutting, but nothing like full speed playing." With Anthony Thomas (15/46/0 rushing and 8/45/1 receiving last week) nursing a strained calf muscle, the Bills may be down to Fred Jackson (5/18/0 rushing and 5/47/0 receiving last week vs. Jacksonville) as their "last man standing" at the position on Sunday. Obviously, the practice reports/Friday injury report are going to be important to fantasy owners invested in the Bill's RB stable this week. You'll want to keep your eyes peeled for Footballguys.com's players in the news later this week, too.

The Redskins' rush D hasn't been anything to write home about over the past 4 weeks, with 124 net rushing yards, 139, 72, and then 25/99/1 allowed to Tampa during weeks 9-12. They are currently 11th in the NFL averaging 97.5 rushing yards allowed per contest, with 8 rushing TDs given away to date. Also, the entire team has suffered an emotional shock this week with Sean Taylor's murder in Miami making the situation very volatile. It's hard to predict how the team will respond to the week's events.

The Bills are limping into this game, and may be down to a very thin stable by the time the game starts on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Redskins have a tragedy to deal with - given the uncertainties on both sides of the ball, we're going to call this matchup even.

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

BUF Injuries: none
MIA Injuries: none


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

The last time the Bills faced the Jets (week six), Marshawn Lynch (19/61/0 rushing with 2/11/0 receiving) and Fred Jackson (15/52/0 rushing) combined to lead the team to 42/142/0 rushing. During the time since the teams last met, a coaching change has led to a shake-up in the RB stable, leaving Jackson as the featured runner entering week 13 - Jackson had 15/73/2 rushing and 5/43/0 receiving vs. Miami last week, while Lynch was given spot duty with 3/6/0 rushing and 1/9/0 receiving. 'I made the decision really during the course of the week just watching us practice,' head coach Perry Fewell said after the game. 'Fred has been very productive for us and it was just a gut (instinct) to help our football team.' Jackson appears to have cemented his hold on the top job with the strong game vs. Miami - look for a heavy workload to land on his shoulders for the rest of the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick showed off his legs against Miami, too, with 7/50/1 rushing, including a 31-yard TD scamper.

The Jets have been up and down in recent weeks, defeating Carolina 17-6 last week while allowing just 25/75/0 rushing, but being trampled for 35/111/2 by the Patriots in their 14-31 loss to New England two weeks ago. Their season average reflects the Jets' up-and-down season, currently ranking 13th in the NFL with 108.2 rushing yards allowed per game, and eight rushing TDs given up through 11 contests. Over the last four weeks (three games), the Jets have stuck close to their usual pace, with 325 rushing yards allowed.

Jackson and Fitzpatrick sparked the Bills' rushing attack last week - they have an even shot at good results again this week when the so-so Jets join the Bills in Toronto on Thursday night.

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

BUF Injuries: none
MIA Injuries: none


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

With Fred Jackson now on IR due to a fractured leg, C.J. Spiller was asked to carry the load at New York last week, and he had a tough go of it, posting a 2.9 yards per carry average vs. the Jets (19/55/0 rushing, with 3/15/0 receiving). Ryan Fitzpatrick was second on the club with 5/34/0 rushing to his credit, while Johnny White had just one carry for two yards in a bit role, and Tashard Choice disappointed with 2/-8/0 rushing in his time on the field. For better or worse, it looks like Spiller is the lead back here heading into the final five weeks of the season.

The Titans' rush D hasn't been very effective lately, allowing 25/122/0 rushing to the Buccaneers last week, and coughing up 36/116/1 rushing in Atlanta two weeks ago. To date, the Titans' rush D is ranked 22nd in the NFL averaging 124.1 yards allowed per game, although they are stingy at the goal line with just five rushing scores allowed this year (only Miami and San Francisco have given up less rushing TDs so far).

Spiller didn't gain much ground at the Jets, but he has an even shot at a productive day running the football in front of the home crowd this week.

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

BUF Injuries: none
MIA Injuries: none


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

Both Fred Jackson (12/34/0 rushing with 2/5/0 receiving) and C.J. Spiller (13/6/0 rushing and 2/10/0 receiving) struggled against the Jets' top-ranked rush D two weeks ago, and neither did much against the Steelers either (Jackson posted 12/55/0 rushing and 2/7/0 receiving; Spiller 8/23/0 rushing and 3/11/0 receiving). The Bills' rushing attack is falling apart as of the final 1/3 of the season.

The Falcons' rush D has been a tonic for a lot of runners this season, currently ranking 28th in the NFL averaging 130.0 rushing yards allowed per game, with eight rushing scores given out to date. New Orleans put up 25/103/0 rushing on Atlanta last week; Tampa Bay cranked out 38/186/2 rushing vs. Atlanta two games ago.

The Bills' rushers are in a bad funk, but the Falcons don't do much to deter opposing backs - this is an ugly but fairly even matchup.

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

BUF Injuries: none
MIA Injuries: none


Carolina Panthers Rushing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Carolina finally (mostly) pulled the plug on plodding Stephen Davis last week (6/22/0), giving DeShaun Foster his chance to headline for the team. Foster responded with 101 yards combined (23/77/0 rushing and 4/24/0 receiving) against a resurgent Buffalo defensive front - it was a promising start to Foster's ascension to #1 RB. We'll see if he can keep producing with 20+ touches per game. He definitely gives the Panthers a bigger "home-run" threat at the position, as Davis has obviously lost his top gear at this point in his career.

Atlanta stomped the Lions on Thanksgiving, holding the team to 13/75/0 rushing (the Falcons were so far ahead that the Lions basically were throwing the ball all day long) - over the past 3 weeks, the Falcons have given up an average of 107.3 rushing yards per game (with 6 TDs, rushing and receiving, surrendered during that span). They field the league's 17th ranked rush D this season, averaging 115 rushing yards given up per game, with 12 TDs handed over to date. They are a fair-to-middling defensive front, depending on the week in question.

Foster's OL is not giving him a lot of room to maneuver (the Panthers are dead last in the NFL averaging 3.0 yards per game), but part of the low ypc average has been Davis' plodding ways. Foster has more explosive potential - against the so-so Falcons' front, we think this looks like a pretty even matchup.

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

CAR Injuries: none
ATL Injuries: none


Carolina Panthers Rushing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Carolina crushed the Tampa Bay defensive front the last time these teams faced off, in week six - at the end of the game DeAngelo Williams (30/152/23 rushing with 2/20/0 receiving) and Jonathan Stewart (17/110/1 rushing) had led the team to a total of 48/267/3 on the ground. Carolina won the game 28-21. Given Jake Delhomme's struggles this year, the team will likely rely on Williams and Stewart again heavily during this contest. Over the last four weeks, Williams has led the stable with 69/403/2 rushing and 7/58/0 receiving, while Stewart has posted 45/184/2 rushing and 1/14/0 receiving. However, it has been three weeks since Williams scored a TD, and his 16/40/0 rushing with 4/10/0 receiving performance vs. the Jets last week didn't have his owners turning handsprings. We'll see if he can get back on track against the generous Buccaneers.

Since the previous showdown between these squads, the Buccaneers have demoted their defensive coordinator and head coach Raheem Morris took over the defensive play-calling/system. He's taken the team back to their 'Tampa Two' scheme, and utilized a lot of blitzing last week vs. Atlanta - Tampa kept the score close last week, but still lost 20-17. However, it was the first time since week four that Tampa held someone to under 21 points scored, so there was some notable improvement. Atlanta could only muster 26/75/0 rushing last week, which is considerably better than Tampa's season mark of 160.4 rushing yards allowed per game on average (with 12 rushing TDs given away to date). We'll see if the improvement continues this week.

The Panthers field an outstanding tandem of backs who performed poorly last week, while the Buccaneers have been very suspect in this phase of the game for most of the year but looked rejuvenated last week. We'll call this a neutral matchup between divisional rivals.

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

CAR Injuries: none
ATL Injuries: none


Carolina Panthers Rushing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

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

Carolina comes into this one off a late Week 12 bye, so hopefully DeAngelo Williams (56/198/0 rushing with 5/44/0 receiving so far this year) and Jonathan Stewart (84/323/2 rushing with 18/123/0 receiving) will be ready to take the field for the Panthers. Neither is a compelling fantasy option with a shaky offensive line and a work-sharing arrangement (Carolina ranks 25th in the NFL averaging 96.4 yards rushing per game as a team, with six rushing scores recorded over 11 games played to date).

The Vikings' rush D is ranked 21st in the NFL averaging 118.9 yards allowed per game, with nine rushing scores given out to date. They coughed up 32/155/1 to the Packers last week, and 31/138/0 to the Bears two games back - this unit is regressing during November.

Neither of these sub-par teams has an edge over the other.

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

CAR Injuries: none
ATL Injuries: none


Chicago Bears Rushing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Matt Forte re-injured a sore ankle in the game last week, and though he reportedly avoided a 'high' ankle sprain, it's likely the 8-3 Bears will be cautious with him as the playoffs look like a foregone conclusion for this team during 2012. Backup Michael Bush (106/355/5 rushing and 9/83/0 receiving this year) did well in relief of Forte last week (21/60/2 rushing with 1/-1/0 receiving), and has been a solid dual-threat back his entire career (737/3,006/26 rushing with 100/962/1 receiving over five NFL seasons). There is no reason to rush Forte back into the lineup. We think Bush will carry the main load in this non-divisonal game.

The Seahawks' rush D averages 108.6 rushing yards allowed per game (12th in the NFL), with seven rushing scores given up to date. They were gashed for 28/189/2 by the scrappy Dolphins last week, though, after holding the Jets to 22/84/0 back in week 10. Seattle is knocked back on their heels in this phase of the game entering the final 1/4 of the NFL season.

Chicago has a solid backup to throw at the Seahawks' defensive front - on balance, this looks like a neutral matchup to us.

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

CHI Injuries: none
GB Injuries: none


Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Cedric Benson did as expected and exploited the Bills two weeks ago (25/124/1 rushing with 3/22/0 receiving), but followed up with a stinker at the Jets last week (18/41/0 rushing with 1/0/0 receiving) - basically, the guy is a grinder who averages about 72 yards rushing and .36 TDs per game. Over the last four weeks, Benson is 22nd among fantasy backs (PPR format) with 75/243/2 rushing and 11/69/0 receiving - he's scored two of his four rushing TDs this year during November.

The Saints' D is very stingy with points lately, having allowed just 49 over their last three games, with 329 rushing yards allowed. Dallas did cobble together 32/144/3 rushing on Thanksgiving, but Seattle was held to 17/58/0 two weeks ago. To date, the Saints are 15th in the NFL averaging 108.9 rushing yards allowed per game, with nine rushing scores handed over to date.

The Bengals' rushing attack is sure-and-steady - against the up and down Saints' rush D, this looks like a neutral matchup to us.

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

CIN Injuries: none
PIT Injuries: none


Cleveland Browns Rushing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Reuben Droughns failed to find the end-zone last week (for the first time in 3 games), but still racked up 19/73/0 rushing and 5/46/0 receiving to go well past the 100 yards combined mark last week. He has compiled 66/295/2 rushing and 10/116/0 receiving during the past 3 weeks to rank 8th among all fantasy RBs during that span - he's been pretty hot (as hot as any Brown all year long).

Jacksonville's rush defense limited the Cardinals to 16/67/0 last week (no surprise there, the Cardinals average 69.8 rushing yards per game this year to date, with a measly 2 rushing scores to date). The Jags aren't overly impressive when it comes to yards allowed on the ground this year, ranking 14th in the league averaging 108.7 per game - but they have given up the 2nd-least rushing scores to date, with only 4 TDs handed over. The Jaguars get stubborn at the goal-line, folks.

Droughns may not find the end-zone this week, but he should have a decent game yardage-wise. This looks like an even matchup, on balance.

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

CLE Injuries: none
JAX Injuries: none


Cleveland Browns Rushing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Jamal Lewis ground out 10/58/0 rushing and 2/10/0 receiving, but watched his club go without a TD all day long as the QBs pitched 3 killer interceptions to Houston. He's managed 47/183/1 rushing and 4/34/0 receiving over the past 3 weeks as the Browns continue to slouch their way towards oblivion during 2008.

The Colts are hot right now, riding a 4-game win streak - they've given up 352 rushing yards to their last 3 opponents, though (117.3 per game on average) - the team has handed out 15 rushing TDs in 11 games, and ranks 25th in the NFL right now averaging 136.8 rushing yards allowed per game - the 117.3 mark is actually a modest improvement for this under performing defensive front.

Lewis and the Browns are under performing, the Colts are under performing - this looks like an even matchup of distressed units from where we sit.

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

CLE Injuries: none
JAX Injuries: none


Dallas Cowboys Rushing Offense at New York Giants Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Cowboys are 2nd in the NFL in total offense, with an average of 388.8 total yards per game - in the rushing phase of the game, they are 11th averaging 122.9 yards per game (and are tied for 4th in the NFL with a 4.4 yards per carry average).

Over the last 4 weeks, Marion Barber has posted 61/236/2 rushing and 11/68/0 receiving (#26 fantasy RB in points per game during that time span), while Julius Jones has managed 47/196/1 rushing and 7/48/0 receiving (#36 fantasy RB in the land). Both players laid the lumber on the Jets last week, with 18/103/1 rushing and 4/12/0 receiving for Barber, and 14/64/0 rushing and 4/26/0 receiving for Jones. The 'Boys two backs are as strong as ever entering the final 1/4 of the season.

The Packers' rushing D is playing well at the goal line, with only 4 rushing TDs given up to date (tied for 2nd-least in the NFL), while averaging 100.1 yards allowed per contest (13th in the NFL). However, over the last 2 games, the Packers have coughed up over 130 yards rushing (30/134/1 to the Lions last week, and 29/131/0 to the Panthers 2 weeks ago). They have taken a step back in this phase of the game of late.

The Cowboy's rushing attack is among the leagues top units, while the Packers are tough at the goal-line (but a little more giving in the yardage department lately). On balance, this looks like a neutral matchup with neither team holding a big edge over the other.

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

DAL Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: none


Dallas Cowboys Rushing Offense at New York Giants Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Dallas beat Philadelphia 38-23 three weeks ago, posting 25/101/0 rushing as a team during the contest. Felix Jones (16/71/0 rushing and 3/22/1 rushing) and Lance Dunbar (6/20/0 rushing) led Dallas in rushing during that contest.

The latest word on DeMarco Murray is that he'll attempt to practice on Wednesday, and then the team will assess how his sore foot responds to the increased workload. Pay attention to his practice status later this week as reported in Footballguys.com's players in the news as if Murray can play, then Jones and Dunbar would see a reduced workload, but if his foot reacts poorly, then the current committee would play vs. Philadelphia - this is a developing situation as of mid-week.

The Eagles coughed up 35/109/2 rushing to the Panthers on Monday night, after handing over 34/169/0 rushing to the Redskins two weeks ago. The team is 18th in the NFL this year averaging 117.5 rushing yards allowed per game, with just five rushing scores surrendered all year long. However, they've bounced around that season mark in recent weeks.

Overall, this looks like a neutral matchup for the Cowboys.

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

DAL Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: none


Denver Broncos Rushing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Broncos stampeded all over the Chiefs' defensive front back in week 3, piling up 37/221/2 against K.C. - Mike Anderson led the way with 20/98/1 (Tatum Bell had 5/47/0) and even Ron Dayne was in the act with 3/6/0 that day. Since then, Anderson has continued to be the top Denver back, with 187/813/8 rushing and 14/122/0 receiving - Bell has put together 106/640/5 rushing and 12/66/0 receiving. Dayne exploded in Bell's absence last week, with 7/98/1 rushing and 2/10/0 receiving to mark his best performance of the year. Whoever is running the ball on any given Sunday, the Broncos excel in this phase - they are the league's second-best rushing team this year, averaging 165.6 rushing yards per game as a team. Keep an eye on the injury reports later this week if you are a Bell owner.

Last week, the Patriots' backup RBs scraped together 18/74/1 vs. the Chiefs - they have allowed an average of only 71 yards rushing per game over the last 3 contests. The Chiefs have climbed into the top 5 among NFL rush defenses at this point, averaging only 88.2 rushing yards allowed per game this season, with 6 rushing scores surrendered to date. They've come a long way since their week 3 embarfassment vs. Denver - K.C. fields one of the best defensive fronts in the league at this point of the season.

K.C. has a solid defensive fronts in the game right now, but the Broncos have an elite attack - this looks like a neutral matchup for Denver from where we sit.

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

DEN Injuries: none
KC Injuries: none


Denver Broncos Rushing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Denver surprised everybody last week and inserted Knowshon Moreno into the starting lineup at Kansas City (he responded with 20/85/0 rushing and 4/26/0 receiving). Coach John Fox explained the move on Monday, November 26, saying 'It wasn't the one fumble (against Atlanta) because we had a few other players but as far as him coming off an ACL, it does take time until you're 100 percent. You're cleared to play but you're not as exact as you probably think you should be. He needed some time and he had a great attitude, great mindset throughout that period of time and just by the nature of this league and injuries are part of the game, we knew we needed him and he went about it right so that's why he looked so good [vs. Kansas City].'. Going forwards it look like Moreno will headline for the Broncos backed up by Ronnie Hillman (3/9/0 rushing at Kansas City).

The Buccaneers' rush D gave up 24/79/2 rushing to the Falcons last week, and 34/97/1 to the Panthers two weeks ago - teams have been scoring on this unit regularly lately. To date, the Buccaneers have surrendered nine rushing scores despite ranking first in the NFL averaging 81.5 yards rushing allowed per game.

Moreno has a neutral matchup here - don't look for a huge day rushing the football, but he's a dual-threat talent and the Buccaneers' pass D is weak (and they've been pretty giving of rush TDs this year).

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

DEN Injuries: none
KC Injuries: none


Detroit Lions Rushing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The lone 2 bright spots for the desolation that is the Lions' team are on their offense - Kevin Smith (63/294/1 rushing with 3/50/0 receiving over the past 3 weeks) looks like a bona-fide NFL back that a team can build around, and Calvin Johnson is definitely a top-tier WR (3/66/1 receiving last week). There are a lot of pieces still missing, but there is hope for the future in Motown. Smith rushed for 16/86/0 against the stubborn Bucs last week. Not too bad.

The Titans gave up 192 rushing yards and 2 rushing TDs to the Jets last week, by far the most theyíve surrendered during 2008 - the previous high mark allowed was 146 yards handed over to the Texans. "We didnít tackle," coach Jeff Fisher said after the 13-34 loss to New York. "It was just one of those days. We didnít play particularly well." The bad game knocked Tennessee all the way down to 15th among NFL rushing defenses, with a season average of 103.9 rushing yards allowed per game, and 12 rushing TDs given up to date.

Smith is playing well of late, while the Titans have slipped a couple of notches in this phase of the game. On balance, this is a neutral matchup for the young Lions' back.

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

DET Injuries: none
MIN Injuries: none


Detroit Lions Rushing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Kevin Smith, widely reported to have suffered a high ankle sprain vs. Green Bay on Thanksgiving, was not in practice on Tuesday, November 29th. He didn't have to use crutches, but the ankle was wrapped as he stood on the sidelines. RB Aaron Brown was signed back onto the team on Monday, providing a little more depth behind Maurice Morris (and possibly a signal that Smith is iffy to play this week). Morris led the team in both rushing - with 7/39/0 - and receiving - 10 targets for 9/81/0 - at Green Bay last week. Keiland Williams posted 2/19/1 rushing and 4/33/0 receiving last week. If Smith can't go at New Orleans, Morris and Williams will be asked to carry the load. Stay tuned to Footballguys.com's players in the news as the week goes by for the latest on Smith's practice status. Smith was optimistic about his chances of playing against the New Orleans Saints as of Wednesday. 'I feel pretty good for a Wednesday,' Smith said. 'After you guys (media) left, I got to do some stuff. I feel pretty good for a Wednesday. At this pace, I'm excited. I'm just rehabbing the heck out of it and just keep progressing. Still got a long way till game day.'

The Saints' rush D is smack dab in the middle of the NFL range in both yards allowed per game (17th, averaging 117.1 yards surrendered) and TDs given up (eight so far, among a range from zero (San Francisco) to 15 (Indianapolis and Carolina). The Giants scraped up 22/73/1 rushing at New Orleans last week; Atlanta managed 32/138/0 rushing vs. New Orleans back on November 13th.

The Lions are relying on some capable backups this week (most likely), while the so-so Saints enjoy home-field advantage. That sounds about even to us.

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

DET Injuries: none
MIN Injuries: none


Detroit Lions Rushing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Back on October sixth, the Lions and the Packers engaged in a duel of (mostly) field goals, with Detroit coming out a loser (9-22). The Packers limited Reggie Bush (13/44/0 rushing with 4/25/0 receiving), Joique Bell (5/21/0 rushing and 4/30/0 receiving) and company to 19/64/0 rushing as a team - there wasn't much fantasy juice to be had from the Lions' backs at Lambeau Field.

Since early October, the Lions' backs have taken turns leading the team in rushing - last week, Reggie Bush put up 100 yards combined with 15/83/0 rushing and 4/17/0 receiving, while Bell ran for 6/15/0 and added 1/0/0 receiving. Two weeks ago, Bell led the team with 9/49/1 rushing and 3/48/0 receiving, while Bush posted 12/31/0 rushing and 2/23/0 receiving. These two make a great 1-2 tandem in the real NFL, but they are variable for their fantasy owners which can be frustrating.

The Packers' rush D ranks 19th in the NFL averaging 115.5 yards allowed per game, with nine rushing TDs given up to date. They allowed 43/232/1 to the Vikings last week, after holding the Giants to 24/78/1 the game before - it's fair to say that the Packers' defensive front is wildly inconsistent entering the final 1/3 of the season.

The Lions struggled to run the ball against Green Bay last month, but the Packers' D comes into this game stone cold. On balance, we call this a neutral matchup.

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

DET Injuries: none
MIN Injuries: none


Green Bay Packers Rushing Offense at Chicago Bears Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Green Bay's committee of James Starks (8/35/0 rushing) and Alex Green (10/30/0 rushing with 3/20/0 receiving) posted predictably mediocre results individually last week, while helping amass a respectable 26/116/0 rushing as a team at Chicago. Unfortunately, the near-even-split committee appears to be the plan going forwards for the Packers, meaning neither guy is likely to be a fantasy starter unless they hit a lucky long run on any given Sunday.

The Vikings allowed 39/113/2 rushing to the Bears last week and 17/60/0 to the Lions back in week 10 - to date, Minnesota averages 111.7 yards rushing allowed per game (15th in the NFL), with nine rushing TDs given up to date.

This looks like a neutral matchup for the so-so Packers' tandem.

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

GB Injuries: none
CHI Injuries: none


Houston Texans Rushing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Texans couldn't get a thing done vs the Jets last week, with 14/25/0 to their credit as a team. They were "led" by Wali Lundy with 8/11/0 rushing (he did post 8/68/0 receiving (and a 2 pt conversion) to salvage his fantasy outing, though). Samkon Gado could only eke out 3/4/0 rushing and 1/-4/0 receiving on the day - he's been on again/off again since cracking the rotation. There isn't much good to be said for this attack heading into week 13.

The Raiders rank 24th in the NFL allowing an average of 133.1 rushing yards per game, with 8 rushing scores given away to date. They handed over 25/110/2 to the Chargers and LaDainian Tomlinson last week (most teams give him more than 1 TD, though), and have averaged 124.3 rushing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks. This isn't a powerful defense although they're no pushovers.

Even the up and down Texans have an even shot at a decent outing against the Raiders.

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

HOU Injuries: none
BAL Injuries: none


Houston Texans Rushing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Arian Foster has scored six rushing TDs in his last five games, and gone over 100 yards rushing in three of those five contests. Last week, he didn't find the end zone vs. Tennessee, but he did throw down for 30/143/0 rushing with 9/75/0 receiving, so his fantasy owners weren't complaining. The guy is one of the elite fantasy backs this year and should be starting automatically at this point.

The Eagles' rush D is currently 12th in the NFL averaging 102.5 yards allowed per game, with eight rushing TDs surrendered so far. They have given up 359 rushing yards in their last four contests (89.75 per game on average), with 28/131/0 handed over to the Bears last week but only 19/61/0 allowed to the Giants two weeks ago. This is a respectable, but not outstanding, unit as of December.

The Texans' rushing attack is feared this year, while the Eagles' defensive front is pretty good (and they have home field advantage at their backs this week) - on balance, this looks like a fairly even matchup, with neither team holding a huge edge over the other.

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

HOU Injuries: none
BAL Injuries: none


Indianapolis Colts Rushing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Colts ground out 26/100/0 vs. the Titans back in week 4, led by Edgerrin James' 21/90/0 rushing (2/12/1 receiving). James has been on fire the last 3 weeks, with 79/335/3 rushing and 6/44/0 receiving to his credit, including last week's totals of 29/124/0 rushing against the ultra-tough Steelers' front. He's a must-start player every week.

The Titans run in the middle of the NFL pack in this phase of the game, averaging 103.6 rushing yards given away per contest (12th in the NFL), with 6 rushing scores surrendered to date. Lately, they've been very tough, handing over 61.5 rushing yards per game over their last 2 contests (22/74/1 allowed to San Francisco last week).

James should have a solid game against the Titans, but they won't make it easy - this looks like a pretty even matchup to us.

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

IND Injuries: none
TEN Injuries: none


Indianapolis Colts Rushing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Colts had no trouble running the ball against the Jaguars back in week 7, posting 33/141/2 on the day, led by Joseph Addai (16/85/0 rushing and 4/22/0 receiving) and Kenton Keith (15/56/1 rushing and 2/16/0 receiving) - Peyton Manning snuck in the other TD during the game (2/0/1). All this was accomplished in Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, by the way.

Joseph Addai (10/44/1 rushing and 2/14/0 receiving) and Kenton Keith (17/74/0) stomped all over the Falcons on Thanksgiving evening, helping the Colts to a 31-13 victory. Addai has amassed 79/284/2 rushing and 14/178/1 receiving over the past 4 weeks, to land at #8 among all fantasy RBs in points per game - he's a solid #1 fantasy RB heading into the playoff stretch run.

The Jaguars' rush D has slipped to 12th in the NFL averaging 99.7 rushing yards allowed per game, and they've handed over 9 TDs in this phase of the game to date. Last week, the Jags were true to form, allowing 24/94/1 rushing to the Bills. They have held 3 of their last 4 opponents to under 100 yards rushing, but they aren't shutting the opposition down.

Addai is doing well, and will have home field advantage behind him this week - we think this is a neutral matchup, on balance.

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

IND Injuries: none
TEN Injuries: none


Indianapolis Colts Rushing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Colts' tandem of Vick Ballard (13/41/0 rushing last week) and Donald Brown (10/26/0 rushing with 1/23/0 receiving) continues to be adequate for the Colts. Ballard has led the team in rushing over the past three games with 41/161/0 rushing and 3/18/0 receiving, while Brown has posted 28/85/0 rushing and 3/29/0 receiving in his 1B role. This isn't a high scoring duo, but they do move the chains for Andrew Luck and company.

The Lions' rush D averages 122.4 yards allowed per game (21st in the NFL), with six rushing scores given up to date. Last week, Houston blasted this group with 28/205/3 on the ground, doubling the number of rushing scores Detroit has given up this year - Green Bay managed 29/95/0 rushing at Detroit two weeks ago. As you can see, the Detroit defensive front has swung wildly in performance of late.

This looks like a neutral matchup between two so-so teams.

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

IND Injuries: none
TEN Injuries: none


Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Offense at Cleveland Browns Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Jacksonville's tandem of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew threw down for 27/117/1 rushing against the Colts back in week 7, but their joint effort wasn't enough as the team lost David Garrard to injury and couldn't pull out the win. However, both backs moved the ball well against Indy in that game (11/55/0 for Taylor and 1/-2/0 receiving, with 13/52/1 rushing and 3/17/0 receiving for Jones-Drew). The duo has continued to be productive in the intervening weeks.

Last week, Taylor gained 14/104/1 rushing and 2/14/0 receiving vs. the Bills, while Jones-Drew posted 10/10/1 rushing (several rushes went for negative yards), but managed to add 2/16/0 receiving. The TD saved his fantasy owners from a horrid outing, but it wasn't Jones-Drew's best showing of the season. As a team, the Jags gained 26/124/2 on the ground vs. Buffalo.

The Colts allowed 30/112/0 to the Falcons' stable of backs last week, and have given up 380 yards rushing in their most recent 4 games (an average of 95 yards per contest). They've been slightly stronger than their season average of 102.9 rushing yards allowed per contest would indicate (16th in the NFL) - they've only surrendered 6 rushing scores to date.

The Jaguars' duo has been steadily productive of late, while the Colts are playing decent, but not overpowering, rush D right now. This looks like a fairly even matchup to us.

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

JAX Injuries: none
CLE Injuries: none


Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Offense at Cleveland Browns Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Jacksonville's injury woes at running back continue to mount as of week 13 - newly-installed starter Jalen Parmele injured his groin in the game last week and landed on the season-ending IR list on Tuesday. With Maurice Jones-Drew still nursing his sore foot, the Parmele injury means that Rashad Jennings (93/263/2 rushing and 19/130/0 receiving to date this year) will get a chance to redeem himself after recently being benched for Parmele. Jennings managed 16/43/1 rushing and 1/2/0 receiving vs. Tennessee in relief of Parmele last week (still well under four yards a carry at 2.7 a tote last week - Jennings has averaged 2.8 per rush this year). We'll see how he handles his second shot at the brass ring.

The Bills' rush D is among the most generous in the NFL, leading the league with 16 rushing scores given away so far, and ranking 31st in average rushing yards allowed per game (147.3). Indianapolis only managed 29/87/0 rushing last week, and Miami only had 24/60/0 rushing two weeks ago - this unit is performing better in November than they did earlier in the season.

An inept running back faces a suspect-but-improving defense in this game - that sounds about even to us.

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

JAX Injuries: none
CLE Injuries: none


Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Offense vs Denver Broncos Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Jamaal Charles was limited to 16/78/0 rushing and 2/-6/0 receiving by the Broncos just two games ago - he didn't have a lot of success against the Denver rush D. However, Charles got his groove back against the Chargers and posted a strong 14/115/2 rushing with 4/42/0 receiving - it's hard to keep Charles down for long.

The Broncos discovered late Monday that tests revealed starting DT Kevin Vickerson suffered a dislocated hip in the second half of the team's loss to New England - he's likely out for up to eight weeks, meaning that Vickerson's season is over (including playoffs). This means that the Broncos will be juggling their fifth-ranked defensive front as they enter Arrowhead Stadium - not an ideal situation. Denver has coughed up a hefty 10 rushing TDs this season, including 31/116/1 to the Patriots last week - they are not impossible to score on by any stretch of the imagination.

Charles has a neutral matchup ahead when the Broncos enter Arrowhead Stadium.

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

KC Injuries: none
DEN Injuries: none


Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Offense vs Denver Broncos Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Jamaal Charles had just three touches on the football back in Week 2 (2/4/0 rushing and 1/8/0 receiving) and his team lost 17-24 at Denver - Charles was knocked out early due to an ankle injury. In his place, Knile Davis posted 22/79/2 rushing and 6/26/0 receiving as a credible running threat for the Chiefs.

Lately, Charles has been his usual explosive self with 19/80/0 rushing and 4/42/1 receiving at Oakland last week, and 20/159/2 rushing with 2/19/0 receiving vs. Seattle two weeks ago. Start him if you've got him.

The Broncos' rush D is ranked second in the NFL averaging 75.5 yards allowed per game, with seven rushing scores surrendered to date. Miami posted 21/97/2 rushing during the 36-39 shootout in Denver last week, though, and St. Louis had 33/131/0 rushing during the upset of Denver two weeks ago. The Denver defensive front isn't playing up to their season average right now.

This looks like a neutral matchup for Charles (but he's your fantasy starter regardless).

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

KC Injuries: none
DEN Injuries: none


Miami Dolphins Rushing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Both Ricky Williams (20/95/1 rushing with 1/3/0 receiving) and Ronnie Brown (24/85/0 rushing with 0 receptions) got over their week 11 embarrassment from the Chicago game, taking out their frustrations on the Raiders last week. Both guys have been up and down in recent weeks, but with Chad Henne back under center the opposition had to respect the pass, which helped the backs a good bit during week 12.

The Browns' rush D is now 21st in the league averaging 119.5 yards allowed per game, but they are also tied for first in TDs allowed to opposing backs, with just four surrendered to date. Carolina managed to pound in one score last week (27/151/1), and Jacksonville also turned the trick two weeks ago (28/145/1 rushing) - of late, the Browns' defensive front has been more vulnerable than usual.

Williams and Brown come into this game off a 'boom' effort, while the Browns have regressed in this phase of the game lately - on balance, this looks like a neutral matchup for the home team.

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

MIA Injuries: none
BUF Injuries: none


Miami Dolphins Rushing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Miami surprised the Seahawks with 28/189/2 rushing last week - Reggie Bush was resurgent with 14/87/1 rushing and 1/-5/0 receiving, followed by Daniel Thomas (9/60/1 rushing and 1/18/0 receiving). With Lamar Miller a healthy inactive last week, it appears that this duo of Bush and Thomas will carry the load going forwards. We'll see if Bush and Thomas can develop some consistency during the final 1/4 of the season.

The Patriots have won their last two games by a combined margin of 108-43, allowing 29/119/1 rushing to the Jets last week and 24/119/1 rushing to the Colts two weeks ago. The Patriots' defense isn't dominating people - their offense is blowing out opposing defenses. To date, the Patriots average 100.8 rushing yards allowed per game (10th in the NFL), with seven rushing scores surrendered so far. Lately, the Patriots have come in allowing more rushing yards than usual.

Bush and Thomas have a neutral matchup against the so-so Patriots' rush D in this first game of the bitter divisional rivalry.

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

MIA Injuries: none
BUF Injuries: none


Minnesota Vikings Rushing Offense at Detroit Lions Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said on Monday that Adrian Peterson has made progress from his ankle injury but his status for the home game vs. Denver is uncertain as of Monday. Before the game at Atlanta, Peterson was described as 'very, very doubtful' to play against the Atlanta Falcons. Peterson was no longer wearing a protective boot last week, and did some light work in the pool while receiving more treatment on his high ankle sprain. Suffice it to say it looks like Peterson will be a risky proposition for this game vs. Denver.

Without Peterson, Toby Gerhart (17/44/1 rushing, with 2/19/0 receiving) and Percy Harvin (5/11/0 rushing, with 8/95/1 receiving) handled all of the hand-offs from Christian Ponder at Atlanta. Assuming that Peterson is out again this week, we'll see a lot more of Gerhart (a career 4.0 yards-per-carry rusher in the NFL, with 122/484/2 rushing and 39 targets for 28/247/0 receiving during his two-year NFL career).

The Denver rush D is in the middle of the NFL range when it comes to yards allowed per game, averaging 120.5 per contest (19th in the NFL). However, this unit digs in at the goal line, with just five rushing scores given up over 11 contests. The Chargers piled up 36/185/0 rushing last week, but didn't post a rushing TD, and the Jets were limited to 28/83/0 rushing at Denver two weeks ago. It isn't easy to score when Denver is in town.

Gerhart should find some room to roam between the 20's, but the hard-to-score-on Denver D makes this a fairly even matchup in our eyes.

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

MIN Injuries: none
DET Injuries: none


New Orleans Saints Rushing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

New Orleans has dominated their last two opponents by an average margin of 26 points, taking down Tampa 38-7 and then ripping the Patriots 38-17 on Monday Night Football's big stage this past Monday. During the game vs. New England, the passing game took center stage when it came to scoring (Brees threw five TDs), but the offense was actually pretty balanced when it came to play calling, with 26 rushes called vs. 23 passing plays. Pierre Thomas led the team in rushing last week with 11/64/0, and added a receiving TD to his season totals (3/23/1) - to date, Thomas has 116/648/5 rushing and 20/135/2 receiving to his credit. Mike Bell banged away for 13/50/0 vs. the Patriots, while Reggie Bush (and his sore knee) stayed on the sidelines last week. Bell and Thomas also handled most of the carries two weeks ago vs. Tampa, with 11/92/0 rushing and 3/11/0 receiving belonging to Thomas and 13/75/2 rushing (with 1/5/0 receiving) flowing to Bell. With or without Reggie Bush, the Saints' RB stable is cranking out first downs and points. There is speculation in the news media this week that Bush may be on his way out of New Orleans in 2010 - he's become a secondary player for this squad rather than the key contributor.

The Redskins have dropped two close games by a total of four points - two weeks ago they held Dallas to seven points but were trampled for 33/153/0 rushing; the Eagles scored 27 points last week with 29/123/1 rushing as a team. The Redskins are currently 25th in the NFL with an average of 127.9 rushing yards allowed per game, but they do get stubborn in the red zone, with just six rushing TDs allowed over 11 contests. Moving the ball on the Redskins isn't that hard, but pushing in rushing TDs isn't so easy.

New Orleans has a talented collection of RBs to bring to the table, while the Redskins play bend-but-don't-break rush D this year. On balance, this looks like a fairly even matchup from where we're sitting.

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

NO Injuries: none
TB Injuries: none


New York Jets Rushing Offense at New England Patriots Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Curtis Martin just missed a 100-yards combined game last week, with 24/91/0 rushing and 3/8/0 receiving to his credit. He has compiled 47/173/0 rushing and 5/18/0 receiving over the past 3 weeks to rank 41st among all fantasy RBs in points per game during that span - there hasn't been a lot of room to roam since the Jets turned to their 4th starting QB of the season (Brooks Bollinger).

In seven of the Patriotsí last eight games the D has allowed more than 400 yards of total offense in each game. During the other, against Buffalo, they allowed 396. They have coughed up 92 yards rushing on average during their last 3 games, including 37/112/1 rushing allowed to Kansas City last week. The team ranks 21st in the NFL this season, averaging 118.8 rushing yards given away per contest - the Patriots' defensive front is pretty soft, most weeks.

Martin has been struggling, as have the Patriots - in Gillette Stadium, we think this looks like an even matchup.

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

NYJ Injuries: none
NE Injuries: none


New York Jets Rushing Offense at New England Patriots Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Jets' committee of backs ran into the wall last week, posting 26/27/1 as a unit vs. the Texans. Leon Washington led the team with 5/17/0 while Cedric Houston had the most touches - 11/13/1. Putting it mildly, the Jets have done better than this most weeks, but with so many cooks in the kitchen it has been tough to pinpoint which member of the stable is going to have a decent game from week to week.

The Packers are in the middle of the NFL pack when it comes to rush D, ranking 16th in the NFL allowing an average of 111.9 yards per game, with 8 rushing scores through 11 games. Last week, they coughed up 48/235/0 to the Seahawks, though, and they've averaged 149 rushing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks, largely due to the 235 surrendered to Seattle. The game vs. Seattle was abnormally poor for this unit.

Most of the time, the Packers are average at run D, while the Jets are, on balance, a sub-par team more often than not (tied for 29th in the NFL averaging 3.4 yards per carry. This looks like a neutral matchup for the visiting Jets.

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

NYJ Injuries: none
NE Injuries: none


New York Jets Rushing Offense at New England Patriots Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Shonn Greene returned to lead the Jets in rushing last week, posting 13/78/0 on the ground and adding 3/12/0 receiving vs. Buffalo - Joe McKnight resumed a change-of-pace role in the game, with 4/21/0 rushing and 3/19/0 receiving. LaDainian Tomlinson remained sidelined last week due to his sore knee, but he was practicing as of Wednesday, November 30th and may return to action this week if he doesn't suffer any setbacks in practice. Greene is the lead back for the 6-5 Jets heading into the final five games of the season.

The Redskins finally snapped their six-game slide last week, but Marshawn Lynch still slashed them for 24/111/0 rushing (a 4.6 yards per carry average) as Seattle posted 30/124/0 rushing as a team vs. the Redskins. Two weeks ago, Dallas was limited to 32/89/0 rushing at Washington in the narrow 27-24 Cowboys' victory. So far this year Washington is 18th in the NFL averaging 117.9 yards rushing with eight rushing TDs given up.

Greene gained some ground last week, and he's got an even shot at a decent outing vs. the so-so Redskins.

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

NYJ Injuries: none
NE Injuries: none


Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Eagles are in the process of re-evaluating RB Brian Westbrook this week, after encouraging him to take total rest the last two weeks (he was out of practices as expected while recovering from his latest concussion). There is no word as of mid-week whether he'll return to action for this game - stay tuned to Footballguys.com's players in the news later this week to assess his practice participation/injury status. During the last four weeks, while Westbrook has been mostly absent from the lineup, LeSean McCoy is the 29th-ranked fantasy RB in points per game (PPR format), with 53/234/1 rushing and 12/104/0 receiving to his credit. Leonard Weaver checks in at 70th during that same time span, with 19/88/0 rushing and 3/16/0 receiving, including the 6/44/0 rushing and 1/4/0 receiving he posted last week. McCoy led the team vs. Washington, with 17/76/0 rushing and 4/25/0 receiving, while little-known RB Eldra Bunkley punched in the rushing score on Sunday with 2/1/1 - all told, the Eagles posted 29/123/1 rushing vs. the Redskins last week.

Atlanta's rush defense has been a struggling unit for much of the year, currently ranking 23rd in the NFL averaging 121.3 yards allowed per game, with nine rushing scores handed over to date. Last week, they held the Buccaneers to 26/73/0 rushing, though, and the New York Giants only managed 26/88/1 two weeks ago - over the past four weeks, the Falcons have been up and down in this phase of the game with 482 rushing yards allowed in four contests. The showing against Tampa Bay was sign of a continuing improvement, though.

The Eagles have forged ahead in this phase of the game despite Westbrook's injury woes, while the Falcons have grown a backbone of late - this looks like a fairly even matchup for the visiting Eagles.

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

PHI Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: none


Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

LeSean McCoy put up over 100 yards combined vs. the tough Bears' D last week (10/53/0 rushing with 8/67/0 receiving), while Michael Vick kicked in 9/44/0 rushing - all told, the team had 22/105/0 on the ground at Chicago. Over the past four weeks, McCoy is 10th among fantasy RBs with 51/302/1 rushing (almost six yards a carry!) and 21/155/1 receiving to his credit, while Vick has amassed 38/232/4 rushing on the ground. The Eagles' offense is a juggernaut entering December.

The Texans' rush D is currently tied for ninth in the NFL averaging 100.2 yards allowed per game (part of that respectable average is due to their awful pass D - many teams elect to attack the Texans in the other phase of the game), but they have coughed up eight rushing TDs over 11 contests. Over the last four weeks, the team has given up 369 yards rushing (92.25 yards per game), handing over just 12/24/0 to the Titans last week in Rusty Smith's first start at QB, and holding the Jets to 31/103/0 rushing two weeks ago.

McCoy is an elite back who is also a dangerous pass catcher out of the backfield - he may not go over 100 yards rushing this week, but his prospects as a receiver are great. In this phase of the game, we rate the rushing matchup as neutral, but that doesn't mean we're down on McCoy's fantasy potential (especially in PPR leagues).

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

PHI Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: none


Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

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

The Eagles' tandem of LeSean McCoy (21/130/1 rushing with 1/1/0 receiving at Tennessee last weekend) and Darren Sproles (6/25/1 rushing with 3/14/0 receiving) is finally creating some respectable rushing totals, after a slow start over the first half of the season (the Eagles rank 12th in the NFL right now, averaging 118.7 yards rushing per game, with nine rushing scores to date). McCoy has scored TDs in two of the last three games, and has gone over 100 yards combined in two straight games, much to the relief of his fantasy owners. Sproles has posted 39 and 44 yards combined over the last two games, working into the mix as a nice change-of-pace to McCoy.

The Dallas rush D allowed 32/89/1 to the Giants last weekend (2.8 yards per carry) and gave up 21/74/2 to the Jaguars two games back (3.0 yards per carry on average) - they've been so-so at defending the goal line against opposing rushers lately. To date, Dallas is 13th in the NFL averaging 107.2 yards allowed per game, with 10 rushing scores given up over 11 games played.

The Eagles have a neutral matchup in this game, on the road in Dallas on Thanksgiving afternoon.

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

PHI Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: none


San Diego Chargers Rushing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Ryan Mathews has seized the top job in this stable over the last three weeks, with 41/208/0 rushing and eight targets for 6/42/0 receiving, while Mike Tolbert is in a secondary role with 21/94/0 rushing and 20 targets for 13/80/0 receiving during that same span. Mathews went off vs. Denver with 22/137/0 rushing (a 6.2 yards per carry average) and 1/5/0 receiving on one target, while Tolbert ground out 11/44/0 rushing and added four targets for 3/19/0 receiving during the OT loss. Mathews is on a roll right now, though it'd be nice to see him in the end zone more often.

The Jaguars' defense is in the middle of the NFL range in yards allowed per game (14th with 109.1 yards surrendered on average), and they are in the middle of the NFL range in TDs given away with eight handed over to date (the range through 11 games is 0-15 rushing TDs allowed by various clubs). Houston's powerful tandem was held to 31/88/1 rushing last week; the Browns posted 28/148/1 rushing two weeks ago, though.

Mathews is surging as we enter December - the Jaguars' mediocre group has been up and down of late. On balance, this looks like a fairly even matchup to us.

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

SD Injuries: none
OAK Injuries: none


San Diego Chargers Rushing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Ryan Mathews is a featured NFL running back, BUT - he hasn't scored many touchdowns this year. In fact, he's scored exactly one (146/594/1 rushing with 33/219/0 receiving) - one TD in 179 touches on the football. Not exactly what fantasy owners who spent a first-round pick on him envisioned back in August. Over the last three weeks, Mathews has seen the bulk of the work for the Chargers with 51/173/0 rushing and 12/74/0 receiving, while Ronnie Brown (10/44/0 rushing and 9/33/0 receiving) and Jackie Battle (7/20/0 rushing and 2/11/0 receiving) have chipped in around the edges. The opportunities are there for Mathews, but the TDs haven't come along as expected so far during 2012.

The Bengals' rush D averages 116.1 rushing yards allowed per game (17th in the NF), with 10 rushing TDs handed over to date. Oakland had 19/146/1 rushing at Cincinnati last week, while K.C. was held to 26/113/0 rushing two weeks ago. The Bengals are so-so at run D this year.

Mathews is so-so, Cincinnati is so-so - that sounds about even to us.

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

SD Injuries: none
OAK Injuries: none


Seattle Seahawks Rushing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Shaun Alexander continues to be sidelined by his sore knee - Maurice Morris has stepped into the breach and is serving as the team's top back right now. He's posted 71/308/2 rushing and 7/83/0 receiving over the past 4 weeks (4 games), to land at #19 among all fantasy RBs in points per game. He posted 16/79/0 rushing and 1/5/0 receiving vs. the Rams last week, while Leonard Weaver got the glory carry (1/5/1) - as a team, the Seahawks gained 19/87/1 on the ground. That's around the number of carries to expect out of this team as coach Holmgren has decided to emphasize the passing game going forward (about a 60/40 split - last week, the Seahawks ran 19 times and passed 38 times, a 33/66 proportion).

The Eagles are 7th in the NFL vs. opposing RBs, averaging 93.3 rushing yards allowed per game, with 6 rushing TDs given up to date. New England posted 16/48/2 rushing against them last week - the Eagles have allowed 1 team to rush for more than 100 yards over their last 3 games (36/158/0 handed over to the Redskins in week 10). This is a solid, but not elite, rush D entering the playoff stretch run.

Morris and company are providing a credible rushing attack to the Seahawks, while the Eagles are better than most at defensing against opposing RBs. In the Eagles house, this looks like a neutral matchup to us.

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

SEA Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: none


Seattle Seahawks Rushing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Way back in week two, Justin Forsett was the Seahawk's leading rusher vs. San Francisco (with 5/35/0 rushing and 6/57/0 receiving to his credit), but the team was still juggling in Julius Jones and Edgerrin James at that point, leading to 23/66/0 rushing as a team. However, entering December Forsett has been the team's leading rusher for the past three weeks, with two solid games wrapped around a frustrating outing vs. the stalwart Minnesota Vikings (he had 8/9/1 rushing in that game, but added 8/80/0 receiving) - last week, Forsett posted 22/130/2 rushing vs. St. Louis as Julius Jones' sore chest/injured lung kept him on the sidelines for week 12. 'Julius is our starter. He's our starting running back,' head coach Jim Mora said Monday, Nov. 30, adding that he hasn't even thought about demoting Jones while he remains pained by a bruised lung. 'If he's fully healthy, and he's had a full week of practice, and everybody feels comfortable that he would be able to bear the workload that he would have to handle to be effective, then he would start.' Going forward, we think Forsett is likely to figure heavily in the mix at RB even when Jones is healthy - Forsett has been too productive in his chances to keep on the sidelines.

San Francisco's rush D is currently fifth in the NFL averaging just 94.8 rushing yards allowed per game, but they've allowed nine rushing scores through 11 games - the team is good, but not elite in this phase of the game. Over the past four weeks, the 49ers have allowed 449 yards rushing (112.3 per game on average), with 19/96/0 handed over to Jacksonville last week and 32/158/1 rushing given away to Green Bay two weeks ago. As you can see, the 49ers have been up and down in this phase of the game during the third quarter of the season.

Forsett has played well of late, while the 49ers' D seems to have slipped a notch during November - on balance, this looks like a fairly even matchup for this divisional contest.

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

SEA Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: none


Seattle Seahawks Rushing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Seattle was pounded 42-24 by the Chiefs last week, so they only attempted 12 rushes as a team (managing a pathetic 20 yards on the ground). Seattle was pounded 34-19 by the Saints two weeks ago, and only managed 17/58/0 rushing as a team that week. Seattle's defense has allowed a league-worst 135 points in their last four games - are you seeing a trend here? We are - avoid Seattle backs at all costs right now, though Justin Forsett does catch a few passes each week and may be a desperation play in PPR leagues.

The Panthers' rush D isn't very good this year, averaging 130.5 yards allowed per game, with 11 rushing scores given up in 11 games to date. Cleveland pounded them for 32/152/3 rushing last week; Baltimore racked up 31/100/1 two weeks ago. Like we said, not too good.

However, the Panthers' rush D is strong enough to be a challenge for the anemic Seattle rushing squad - this is a very ugly but even matchup.

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

SEA Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: none


San Francisco 49ers Rushing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Frank Gore tore up the Rams back in Week four, with 20/153/1 rushing and two targets for zero receptions, and his backup Kendall Hunter also had a nice game with 11/49/1 rushing and 1/9/0 receiving at St. Louis. All told, the 49ers posted 40/219/3 rushing on the Rams - Anthony Dixon also scored with 3/6/1 rushing during the 35-11 rout.

Over the last two weeks, Gore has been contained with 13/31/0 rushing and 1/3/0 receiving at Washington on Monday Night Football, and 13/48/0 rushing with 3/8/0 receiving at New Orleans. Kendall Hunter (8/12/0 rushing) and Anthony Dixon (3/13/0 rushing) also struggled at Washington so it wasn't just Gore's issue. We'll see if he can bounce back against the Rams.

However, St. Louis allowed 26/80/1 rushing to the Bears last week, with a mere 14/18/0 rushing allotted to Indianapolis two games ago. They've tightened up in this phase of the game while winning their last two games. To date, the team averages 111.4 yards rushing per game (13th in the NFL) with 12 rushing scores surrendered, but they're playing much better in this phase of the game of late.

The 49ers' rushing game is struggling of late, while the Rams are getting tougher. On balance, this looks like a neutral matchup with neither team holding an edge over the other.

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

SF Injuries: none
ARI Injuries: none


Tennessee Titans Rushing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

LenDale White (27/104/1 rushing with 4/22/0 receiving) and Chris Henry (11/57/1 rushing and 2/12/0 receiving) imposed their will on the Texans the last time these teams faced off in week 7.

Last week, the Titans had the Bengals' collective will imposed on them - Chris Brown and LenDale White could only manage 18/61/0 rushing between them. White had 8/27/0 rushing, marking his 3rd straight game under 70 yards combined after a solid streak of 3 straight 100+ rushing yard games weeks 7-9. He's stone cold coming into this game. Brown has been doing mostly spot duty since returning from his most recent injury. There isn't much going on here right now folks.

The Texans rolled over and played dead against the Browns last week, yielding 33/148/1 rushing to Jamal Lewis and company. They've given up 109 or more yards in 6 of their last 7 games - this team deserves their 22nd ranking in the NFL this season, averaging 119.4 rushing yards allowed per game, with 9 rushing TDs handed over to date.

The Titans are cold, but the Texans are in the Christmas spirit of giving extra-early this year - this looks like a neutral matchup between struggling units to us.

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

TEN Injuries: none
IND Injuries: none


Tennessee Titans Rushing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Bishop Sankey posted 9/35/0 rushing and 4/25/0 receiving the last time he saw the Texans - all told, the Titans tried just 13/36/0 rushing against the Texans (at home in LP Field).

Coming into this week, Sankey had a poor effort vs. Philadelphia (10/37/0 rushing with 2/14/0 receiving) and ended up limited by a stinger inflicted during the game. Shonn Greene vultured the lone rushing TD during the loss to Philadelphia (6/15/1 rushing last week), doing just enough to keep Sankey extremely frustrating for his fantasy owners. This rushing attack is ranked 28th in the NFL averaging 88.8 yards generated per game, with six rushing TDs scored this year. Given the shared workload, it isn't reasonable to expect exciting fantasy numbers from this below-average group. Adding insult to injury, Dexter McCluster suffered a concussion last week and is going through the concussion protocols this week, and may not be available to spice up the attack in his change-of-pace role. Stay tuned to Footballguys.com's Players in the News for the latest practice reports from Tennessee heading into this divisional showdown.

The Texans' rush D is now 18th in the NFL averaging 113.9 yards allowed per game, with six rushing scores given up over 11 contests. They allowed 43/139/1 to the Bengals last week; Cleveland had 2458/0 rushing two weeks ago. Like most mediocre units, this one is inconsistent in results from week to week.

Sankey and company are a low-end rushing attack facing a mediocre rush D - that's a neutral matchup in our book.

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

TEN Injuries: none
IND Injuries: none


Washington Redskins Rushing Offense at St. Louis Rams Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The wheels came off and the engine fell out of the Redskins' rushing attack last week - they were held to 13/29/0 as a team, and led by James Davis (6/11/0 rushing with 1/4/0 receiving) - Keiland Williams crept to 3/5/0 on the ground and added 4/21/0 receiving to his totals. 'We just didn't get the running game going today,' center Casey Rabach said after the fiasco. 'Partially, I think, due to them. Partially due to us.' With Ryan Torain still hobbled by a severe hamstring injury and Clinton Portis on IR, the Redskins don't have much choice but to stick with this duo of backs - but fantasy owners hopefully do have a choice and can bench them.

The Giants' rush D is currently ninth in the NFL averaging 100.2 yards allowed per game, with eight TDs given away so far. They had a rough outing vs. Jacksonville last week, though, getting hammered for 34/207/2 on the ground. Philadelphia also tore up the Giants' D, with 26/148/2 on the ground two weeks ago - over the past four games, the Giants have given away 507 yards rushing, which is not too good. They are struggling with run defense right now.

Two struggling units face off in this matchup, which sounds ugly but about even to us.

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

WAS Injuries: none
STL Injuries: none


Washington Redskins Rushing Offense at St. Louis Rams Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Roy Helu strengthened his claim to top dog in the Redskins' RB stable last week, gaining 23/108/1 rushing and catching all seven balls that Grossman threw to him (7/54/0). Over the last three weeks, he's handled more than twice as many carries as any other running back, with 37/184/1 rushing (5.0 yards per tote) and 12 targets for 12/70/0 receiving - Ryan Torain managed a mere 15/24/0 rushing (a 1.6 yards per carry average) during the same period, with four targets for 2/6/0 receiving. It looks like Helu will be the featured back during December.

The Jets' rush D is ranked 16th in the NFL this year averaging 114.1 yards given up per game, with 10 rushing scores allowed over 11 games. Buffalo was limited to 28/86/0 rushing last week (but they did without starter Fred Jackson) - Denver compiled 34/125/1 rushing two weeks ago when New York was in town.

Helu has come on strongly in recent weeks, and he's got an even shot at a solid game in FedEx Field on Sunday.

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

WAS Injuries: none
STL Injuries: none


Washington Redskins Rushing Offense at St. Louis Rams Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Alfred Morris has been a bright spot for the Washington offense while Robert Griffin III has crashed-and-burned over the last few weeks. 'I stopped hesitating. I was trying to see too much.' he explained on Monday after his 21/125/1 rushing with 1/5/0 receiving performance vs. San Francisco. Morris also posted 20/96/0 rushing with 2/36/0 receiving vs. Tampa Bay two weeks ago - he's done a lot with the 20+ touches he's receiving of late. Look for the team to continue to feed him the ball as they get Colt McCoy settled back in as the team's starting quarterback for the foreseeable future. Roy Helu had just two catches for nine yards in the final Griffin-quarterbacked game - he should see more catches going forwards, though with Morris running the ball so well right now he may not get many cracks at carrying the football.

The Colts' rush D has allowed 23/80/0 to the Jaguars last week and a disastrous 44/246/4 rushing to the Patriots two games ago - they've swung between extremes in the near term. Also, Indianapolis ranks 17th in the NFL averaging 109.9 rushing yards allowed per game, with the third-most rushing scores surrendered during 2014, at 12 handed out.

This is a neutral matchup for Morris (and company) on Sunday.

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

WAS Injuries: none
STL Injuries: none


Arizona Cardinals Rushing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Chris Wells set a Cardinals' franchise record for rushing last week, crushing the Rams with 27/228/1 rushing at the Edward Jones Dome. After the explosion of output, Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt said that Wells' previously-injured knee was a little swollen and sore after the game on Sunday but that Wells should be fine for this contest with Dallas. Well's fantasy owners certainly hope he is able to continue with strong performances after suffering through several sub-par games in previous weeks.

The Cowboys have squeaked by Miami and Washington by a total of four points in the last two weeks, but their rush D has been doing a fine job - Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas were limited to 25/89/0 rushing on Thanksgiving; the Redskins' committee posted 24/60/1 rushing two weeks ago vs. Dallas. To date, the Cowboys rank 10th in the NFL averaging 100.3 rushing yards allowed per game, with six rushing scores given up through 11 contests.

Wells tore up the dead-last Rams rush D during week 11, but he faces a sterner test vs. Big D this week - advantage, Dallas.

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

ARI Injuries: none
SF Injuries: none


Atlanta Falcons Rushing Offense at Carolina Panthers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Atlanta brings the top rushing attack in the NFL to this game, averaging 183.1 yards per game on the ground (they are also first in the NFL averaging 5.1 yards per carry so far during 2005). Warrick Dunn has been a yardage machine in recent weeks, with 52/274/0 rushing and 9/72/1 receiving during the last 3 weeks, including 17/116/0 vs. Detroit last week. The Falcons put up 45/256/1 as a team - T.J. Duckett scored and notched 19/72/1 during the game. It is very hard to contain the Falcons' rushing attack this year.

Carolina ranks 3rd in the NFL this season, allowing an average of 82.2 rushing yards per game, with 5 rushing TDs handed over to date. Over the past 3 weeks, the team averaged 104 rushing yards given away, including the 24/53/0 allotted to Buffalo last week. The Panthers have found their hard-nosed defensive front again, after stumbling vs. NYJ (32/137/0) and Chicago (31/122/0) - and even when they were coughing up yardage in chunks, the Panthers were still very hard to score on (1 TD allowed either rushing or receiving over the past 3 weeks).

This is a key divisional game - both teams will bring their best to the field. The Panthers will have their home crowd in full throat for this game - we like Atlanta but it's going to be a tough assignment for the Falcons to impose their will on the Panthers in Charlotte on Sunday.

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

ATL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: none


Atlanta Falcons Rushing Offense at Carolina Panthers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Michael Turner injured his ankle (again) on Sunday - current reports indicate that he didn't aggravate the high-ankle sprain that previously kept him on the sidelines, but that the most recent injury is to another region of his ankle. In any case, Turner is fighting to rehab the injury and may (or may not) be available for action vs. Philadelphia. If he can't go, look for Jason Snelling (47/145/3 rushing with 6/45/0 receiving in three games over the past four weeks, 21st-ranked fantasy RB (points per game) during that time span in the PPR format) and Jerious Norwood (6/22/0 rushing with 2/28/1 receiving in his return to action last week vs. Tampa Bay) to handle the work load until Turner can get back on the field. Also note that the team will be starting their backup QB this week, Chris Redman, who is a respectable player but not the talent that Matt Ryan is (when Ryan is healthy).

The Eagles' rush D is among the league's top-ten units, with an average of 102.3 rushing yards allowed per game, and eight rushing TDs allowed through 11 contests. Philadelphia has allowed 403 yards rushing in their last four games, with 25/82/1 handed over to the Redskins last week and 20/126/0 allowed to Chicago in the previous contest (72 yards of that total came on one long run by Kahlil Bell). The Eagles have a hard-nosed defensive front this year, and they are playing pretty well entering December.

The Falcons may be without their lead back this week, and whoever totes the football for Atlanta faces a tough matchup when the Eagles come calling at the Georgia Dome.

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

ATL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: none


Atlanta Falcons Rushing Offense at Carolina Panthers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Michael Turner cooled off against the top-ten Vikings' rush D last week, with 19/60/0 rushing and 1/4/0 receiving during the game - all told, the Falcons managed 29/89/0 rushing, with 3/19/0 rushing and 2/12/0 receiving for Jacquizz Rodgers in support of Turner. Over the last three games, Turner has seen 62/256/1 rushing and five targets for 3/23/0 receiving; Rodgers has posted 12/51/0 rushing with four targets for 3/20/0 receiving; and Jason Snelling has chipped in with 11/18/0 rushing and five targets for 4/33/1 receiving. Turner is the lead back, but Rodgers and Snelling get in the mix occasionally each week.

The Texans' rush D enters December ranked fourth in the NFL averaging 92.5 yards allowed per game, with six rushing scores surrendered to date. Jacksonville ground out 24/105/0 rushing in Jack Del Rio's last game as head coach; Tampa also failed to score back on November 13th with 18/90/0 rushing as a team. This is a hard-nosed unit, friends.

Turner didn't excel against the Vikings, and the Texans are even more stubborn - advantage, Houston.

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

ATL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: none


Atlanta Falcons Rushing Offense at Carolina Panthers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Steven Jackson found pay dirt again last week (making one rushing TD per game in three of the last four contests for him) and also reeled in two receptions for 17 yards to go with his 13/34/1 rushing vs. Cleveland. While he is not gaining much ground, Jackson has seen mid-to-high teens in touches on the football over the past four weeks, and he is the man in goal line situations - there are many worse fantasy options around the league entering Thanksgiving week. Jacquizz Rodgers (3/16/0 rushing and 3/11/1 receiving vs. Cleveland) has seen his change-of-pace touches uptick since Antone Smith was lost for the rest of the season - Devonta Freeman continues his understudy role with 5/7/0 rushing and 1/0/0 receiving most recently.

The Cardinals' rush D is ranked third in the NFL allowing an average of 84.5 yards per game, and is tied for second-least rushing scores allowed this season with only five allowed. Last week, the Seahawks posted 29/124/0 rushing on this defensive front, but Marshawn Lynch was limited to 15/39/0 rushing by the Cardinals (with 3/43/0 receiving) - two weeks ago, Detroit managed 19/98/0 rushing at Arizona. As you can see, the Cardinals are falling off their top-five pace in this phase of the game of late.

Atlanta's rushing attack is sub-par, while Arizona's rush D is usually well above average, though they've fade a bit recently - advantage, Arizona.

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

ATL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: none


Baltimore Ravens Rushing Offense vs Houston Texans Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Willis McGahee has been a solid fantasy RB of late, with 67/271/4 rushing and 9/48/0 receiving over his last 4 contests (#16 fantasy RB in the land during that span of time in points per game). Last week, he hit a speed bump in San Diego, and was limited to 17/59/1 rushing and 2/2/0 receiving - he has 1 rushing TD in each of the team's last 6 games, though. Entering week 13, McGahee is one of the few consistent TD scorers among the league's running backs.

The Patriots had a scare thrown into them by the Eagles last week, allowing 17/52/1 rushing and 7/40/0 to the Eagles' Brian Westbrook - they did limit the pass-happy Eagles as a team to 19/55/1 rushing during the contest, though. In fact, the Patriots have held 3 out of their last 4 opponents to 78 or fewer rushing yards - they are currently 5th in the league this year with an average of 86.2 rushing yards allowed per game, with only 6 rushing TDs handed over in 11 games.

McGahee is on a roll coming into this game, but even with home-field advantage at his back this has to be considered a tough matchup for the Ravens' RB stable.

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

BAL Injuries: none
HOU Injuries: none


Baltimore Ravens Rushing Offense vs Houston Texans Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Ray Rice continues to be the engine that drives the Baltimore rushing attack, with 71/296/2 rushing and 23/233/0 receiving over the past four weeks - he's posted 20/71/0 rushing and 7/64/0 receiving (vs. Indianapolis) and 19/88/0 rushing with 5/67/0 receiving (vs. uber-tough Pittsburgh) in the last two weeks. Willis McGahee has been creaming off all the goal-line carries in recent weeks, and managed to put one in the end zone last week (5/18/1 rushing with 1/1/0 receiving) - all told, the Ravens rushed for 29/132/1 as a team vs. the Steelers last week, which is impressive considering Pittsburgh averages 74.9 rushing yards allowed per game this year (first in the NFL).

The Packers cruised to an easy 34-12 win over the hapless Lions on Thanksgiving Day, holding the Detroit squad to 23/73/0 on the ground. Two weeks ago, San Francisco was limited to 10/69/0 rushing. Over the past four weeks, the Packers have given up just 284 yards rushing during four games (71 yards per game on average) - their defensive front has only allowed three rushing TDs all year and currently sits at fourth in the NFL averaging 89.1 rushing yards allowed per game.

Rice is an elite talent, but he's got another tough challenge on his plate with the top-five Packers lurking in Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football this week.

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

BAL Injuries: none
HOU Injuries: none


Baltimore Ravens Rushing Offense vs Houston Texans Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Willis McGahee led Baltimore in rushing the last time these bitter rivals clashed (week four), posting 14/39/1 rushing with 2/2/0 receiving - Ray Rice managed 8/20/0 rushing and 1/9/0 receiving that day. Since that game, Rice has been the major ball carrier for the Ravens, with 204/815/3 rushing and 47/392/0 receiving through 11 games (McGahee has seen 71/271/4 rushing and 13/47/1 receiving to date). Rice ran for 20/85/0 and added 7/47/0 at home vs. Tampa Bay last week, while McGahee saw 3/9/0 rushing and 3/13/0 receiving. Usually, Rice is the guy to start out of this backfield.

The Steelers don't let many backs look good, though - they lead the NFL averaging just 64 yards rushing allowed per game, with a mere four rushing TDs given up through 11 games. Their last four opponents have put up just 292 yards rushing (73 yards per game on average), with 17/74/0 going to the Bills in last week's 19-16 scare for Pittsburgh at Buffalo. Even when the score is tight, the Steelers' rush D is stalwart, folks.

This is a very tough matchup for Rice and McGahee. With the AFC North crown on the line in this game, both teams will bring their 'A' game to bear on their rivals.

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

BAL Injuries: none
HOU Injuries: none


Baltimore Ravens Rushing Offense vs Houston Texans Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Ray Rice struggled to rush the ball at Pittsburgh two weeks ago, with 20/40/0 rushing and 5/53/0 receiving, but his team managed to prevail 13-10. Last week, the Chargers took an early lead, but Rice converted a 4th-and-29 play late in the game to help the Ravens force OT. Eventually Baltimore won 16-13, with 22/97/0 rushing and 8/67/0 receiving to Rice's credit. He remains the engine that propels the Ravens' offense, but lately the Ravens have been winning low-scoring affairs (29-23 margin of victory over the last two weeks after the 55-point explosion vs. Oakland back in week 10).

Pittsburgh is currently tied for fifth in the NFL averaging 91.5 rushing yards allowed per game, with seven rushing TDs given up to date. Cleveland managed 34/108/1 rushing last week after the Ravens had 23/47/0 rushing two weeks ago. The Steelers have the #1 overall defense in the NFL folks, averaging 257.2 net yards allowed per game.

Rice is an elite back, but he faces an elite defense in this contest - advantage, Pittsburgh.

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

BAL Injuries: none
HOU Injuries: none


Baltimore Ravens Rushing Offense vs Houston Texans Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

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

Ray Rice managed 15/45/0 rushing and 4/27/0 receiving vs. Pittsburgh, while Bernard Pierce had 6/13/0 rushing and 1/9/0 receiving. Since mid-October, the Ravens' rushing attack has stayed mostly in this sub-par vein, and as of late November they average 81.7 yards rushing per game, with six rushing scores this year. Though Rice had a solid game two weeks ago (25/131/1 rushing with 3/17/0 receiving), he crashed back to his usual 2013 level vs. the Jets last week (16/30/0 rushing with 1/-3/0 receiving), and Pierce also struggled (11/30/0 rushing). This is a sorry rushing attack most weeks, folks.

The Steelers' defensive front surrendered just 16/55/0 rushing to the Browns last week, and limited the Lions to 25/107/1 two games ago - they are clawing back from their season ranking of 23rd in the NFL averaging 118.8 yards rushing allowed per game, with 13 rushing scores given away to date.

Rice didn't do much the first time around the block with Pittsburgh, and they're actually playing better run D at this point of the season. Advantage, Pittsburgh.

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

BAL Injuries: none
HOU Injuries: none


Buffalo Bills Rushing Offense at Miami Dolphins Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Fred Jackson did a great job moving the ball on a tough Pittsburgh defense, with 12/59/0 rushing (a 4.9 yards per carry average) and 5/104/1 receiving - he was a big part of the second-half comeback surge. Two weeks ago, Jackson tore up Cincinnati with 21/116/2 rushing and 3/13/0 receiving - the guy is making everyone forget about C.J. Spiller. Speaking of Spiller, he may be healthy enough to play this week, but don't look for him to eat into Jackson's work load much - Spiller hasn't been effective in his first NFL season.

The Vikings won in their first game under new coach Leslie Frazier, and their rush D held Washington to a mere 13/29/0 on the ground during the game. Two weeks ago, Green Bay was limited to 30/91/0 rushing by the Vikings - the defensive front hasn't been their issue this year, folks. Over the past four weeks, opposing rushers have only managed 303 yards (~76 yards per game on average) - these guys are tough in the trenches.

Jackson comes into this game red-hot, but on the road playing against the Vikings is a tough matchup for any back this year.

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

BUF Injuries: none
MIA Injuries: none


Chicago Bears Rushing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Thomas Jones had a modest game the last time he faced the top-ranked Vikings' rush D, posting 18/54/0 rushing with 3/11/0 receiving - Cedric Benson didn't touch the ball during that game. Jones has been strong in recent weeks, with 23/99/0 rushing and 1/-2/0 against the 3rd-ranked Patriots defensive front (Benson punched in a rare TD against them with 10/46/1), and 76/333/1 rushing with 6/9/0 receiving over the past 3 weeks. The Bears' stable is playing very well right now.

The Vikings basically forced the Cardinals to totally abandon the run last week, allowing just 6/17/0 during the game. They have averaged an astonishing 20.3 rushing yards allowed per game over their past 3 contests, and currently average 56.6 rushing yards allowed per game, with only 4 scores given up in this phase all year long. They are the toughest rush D in the NFL this year.

This is a tough matchup for the Bears backs even with home-field advantage on their side.

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

CHI Injuries: none
GB Injuries: none


Chicago Bears Rushing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Bears won't have Cedric Benson in the lineup any more, now that his injured ankle has landed him on IR. Now it is Adrian Peterson's time in the spotlight up in the Windy City. He crammed in a TD last week vs. the Broncos, with 17/45/1 rushing in relief of the injured Benson, and also grabbed 5/41/0 receiving in his usual role as a pass catching RB. Peterson has been in on obvious passing downs all year long, and is a more versatile back than Benson due to his soft hands - it remains to be seen how well he can hold up to a full load of carries (but we're about to find out). To date he's logged 52/189/2 rushing and 33/253/0 receiving. Garrett Wolfe will fill the #2 slot (he's managed 9/31/0 rushing this year in his NFL debut).

The Giants were rolled over by the Vikings for 39/127/1 last week, and have bounced around in the rushing phase over their last 3 games, with 82, 25, and then 127 rushing yards allowed. The team averages 94.5 rushing yards given up per contest (8th in the NFL), with 7 rushing TDs handed over to date. Usually, they are fairly tough to run on - it did take almost 40 rushes for the Vikings to hit 127 yards.

Adrian Peterson is largely an unknown factor as a featured back, but the Bear's season rushing average of 3.3 yards per carry (tied for last in the NFL) can't all be blamed on Benson - Peterson isn't likely to see very big holes on Sunday against the Giants given the offensive line's track record this year. Advantage, New York.

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

CHI Injuries: none
GB Injuries: none


Chicago Bears Rushing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Chicago won the last wild contest with the Vikings, partly due to the steady diet of hand offs to Matt Forte (20/56/1 rushing, with 2/17/0 receiving), who managed a TD against the stout Minnesota rush D. Forte dispatched the woeful Rams last week, with 20/132/2 rushing and 2/14/0 receiving - St. Louis could only muster 3 points all day long. He has piled up 56/268/2 rushing and 15/108/1 receiving in the last 3 games to check in at #6 among all fantasy RBs in points per game during that span of time.

The Vikings boast of an outstanding rush D that averages a mere 70.4 rushing yards allowed per game (2nd in the NFL). They have been a little more generous than last year in the red zone (9 rushing TDs given up), but make no mistake - these guys are still tough. Jacksonville could only scrape up 14/35/0 rushing vs. Minnesota last week.

Forte battled into the end zone the last time he faced the Vikings - he'll have to play well to repeat the feat against the hard-nosed Vikings up in the Metrodome this week.

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

CHI Injuries: none
GB Injuries: none


Chicago Bears Rushing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

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

Matt Forte remains a force to be reckoned with heading into the final five games of the season - he tore up Tampa Bay for two rushing scores last week with 23/89/2 rushing (and added 5/23/0 receiving), after torching the Vikings for 26/117/0 rushing and 6/58/0 receiving (175 yards from scrimmage) two games back. Forte is a consistent fantasy producer regardless of Jay Cutler's ups-and-downs in the other phase of the game.

The Lions' rush D is still ranked first in the NFL averaging 70.7 yards allowed per game, but they have now coughed up six rushing scores over 11 games after LeGarrette Blount and the Patriots blasted them for 20/90/2 on the ground last Sunday. Arizona had 26/46/0 on the ground two games back - most of the time it is hard to get into the end zone/gain much ground on the Lions in this phase of the game. The New England loss looks like an aberration rather than the start of a trend.

Forte is dangerous in both phases of the game, but he definitely has a tough rushing matchup to deal with in Ford Field on Thanksgiving.

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

CHI Injuries: none
GB Injuries: none


Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Cincinnati managed 19/91/1 vs. the Steelers back in week 7, with 12/65/0 to the credit of Rudi Johnson. Carson Palmer put the ball across the end-zone on the ground, with 3/8/1 that day. Johnson has continued to be the top-producing Bengal back in the interim, with 43/190/4 rushing and 3/14/0 receiving during the last 3 weeks (2 games), to rank 4th in fantasy points per game at his position during that span. He's rushed for 234/968/7 (15/53/0 receiving to date) this year, ranking 13th among all fantasy RBs in fantasy points per game, even though he hasn't had any gaudy afternoons - he's usually right between 75-100 yards rushing, with 0-1 TDs per game.

Pittsburgh is hard on most running backs, ranking 4th in the NFL this season allowing an average of 88.1 rushing yards per game, with 7 rushing TDs given up to date. This past Monday, the Colts were the exception that proves the rule, racking up 32/127/0 vs. Pittsburgh (but not every team has as lethal an offense as the Colts do) - over the past 3 weeks, Pittsburgh has given away 97.3 rushing yards per game.

Johnson is consistently going to crank out a respectable yardage total, and lately he's been finding the endzone more often - Pittsburgh has home field advantage this week, though, and they will bring their "A" game to this divisional matchup. This looks like a tough matchup for Johnson and company.

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

CIN Injuries: none
PIT Injuries: none


Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Rudi Johnson ground out 18/77/1 (with 1/2/0 receiving) vs. the Ravens back in week 9 (a 4.3 yards-per-carry average), and has posted 70/260/2 rushing and 3/11/0 receiving during the 3 games since then (to rank 16th among all fantasy RBs in points-per-game during that span). He's posted 70/260/2 rushing and 3/11/0 in the 3 weeks since that game to rank 16th among all fantasy RBs in the land, including last week's 25/64/1 rushing and 1/0/0 receiving vs. Cleveland. One concern for Johnson owners this week is the state of his OL - with C Rich Braham and OT Levi Jones injured and likely to miss this contest, about 1/2 of his starting OL is sidelined for the contest. That's not good when you are about to face the Ravens.

Speaking of the Ravens, they shut down the usually prolific Willie Parker last week (10/22/0 rushing and 2/15/0 receiving), and spent about as much time in the offensive backfield as Parker did. Over the past 3 weeks, the Ravens have averaged 95.6 rushing yards allowed per game - they are really clamping down on opposing backs lately.

This is going to be a tough game for the Bengals.

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

CIN Injuries: none
PIT Injuries: none


Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Rudi Johnson was still sidelined by injury back in week 8 (the last time the Bengals faced the Steelers) - Kenny Watson did a decent job against the tough defensive front with 19/88/0 rushing and 5/26/0 receiving during the contest. The Steelers didn't shut down the Bengals' backs last time around the block.

Rudi Johnson finally got back to top form vs. Tennessee's formerly-tough rush D last week, posting 25/88/1 to lead the 36/148/2 breakout vs. the Titans (DeDe Dorsey added 5/42/0, and Kenny Watson handled the other scoring run with 4/17/1 rushing and 5/32/0 receiving). The Bengals' offense is looking like it is finally back on track entering week 13. This week, the teams square off on Sunday Night Football - hopefully the turf at Heinz Field will be somewhat recovered after the monsoon-like conditions that turned it into a gelatinous mess last Monday, or both teams' backs will have trouble moving the ball effectively.

Pittsburgh limited the banged-up Dolphins' backfield to 23/49/0 (Ricky Williams is out for the season due to a torn chest muscle inflicted during the game) in the mud-bowl on Monday Night Football, and is currently 2nd in the NFL with an average of 77.1 rushing yards allowed per game (they have given up only 2 rushing TDs all year long). They have allowed more than 100 yards rushing once since week 2 of the season, in the surprise loss to the Jets in week 11 (151 yards rushing, 0 TDs).

Rudi Johnson will have his work cut out for him on Sunday night.

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

CIN Injuries: none
PIT Injuries: none


Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Three weeks ago, the Steelers defeated the Bengals 24-17 while limiting Cedric Benson to 15/57/0 rushing with 1/5/0 receiving. Bernard Scott chipped in 7/38/0 rushing during the game, and all told the Bengals had a respectable 26/109/0 rushing to their credit during the close loss.

Since then, the Bengals have gone 1-1, losing to Baltimore 24-31 but winning at Cleveland 23-20. Cedric Benson has been a force in both games, with 21/106/1 rushing and 4/24/0 receiving vs. Cleveland, and 15/41/2 rushing at Baltimore (the Ravens have only allowed six rushing TDs this year, 33% of them to Benson two weeks ago). Brian Leonard (1/2/0 rushing with zero receptions vs. Cleveland) and Bernard Scott (4/1/0 rushing and 2/2/0 receiving vs. Cleveland last week) were after-thoughts last week - Benson is the guy to play in fantasy circles, folks.

The Steelers' rush D is currently sixth in the NFL averaging 96.3 yards allowed per game, with six rushing TDs given up to date. K.C. managed 34/90/0 rushing last week, in the only game the Steelers have played since last seeing Cincinnati. This is a very good defensive front, folks.

Benson struggled the last time he saw the Steelers, and he has to play in partisan Heinz Field this week - advantage, Pittsburgh.

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

CIN Injuries: none
PIT Injuries: none


Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a big game vs. Oakland (19/129/1 rushing with 1/9/0 receiving) - quarterback Andy Dalton observed 'For most of the game, they tried to put two guys over A.J. [Green] and tried to take him out of it. It opened up the running game. We were able to drive down and make some big plays in the run game. That's what we have to do in those situations.' All told, the Bengals ran for 34/221/1 vs. Oakland - Cedric Peerman was second on the team with 8/61/0 rushing to his credit. It's all good for the Bengals' backs entering week 13.

San Diego coughed up 35/127/0 rushing to Baltimore last week - they allowed 25/133/0 to the Broncos two weeks ago. To date, San Diego has averaged 91.5 rushing yards allowed per game (fourth in the NFL) with just four rushing scores given up through 11 contests, but the defensive front has slipped a couple of notches during November, as you can see.

Green-Ellis and Peerman have a head of steam up coming into this one, but the Chargers are pretty stout in this phase of the game - advantage, San Diego.

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

CIN Injuries: none
PIT Injuries: none


Cleveland Browns Rushing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Facing the Bengals' top-five rush D last week, the Browns had little room to roam during the game. Top back Jamal Lewis scraped up 11/40/0 rushing during the game, while Brady Quinn scored a rushing TD with 2/10/1 during the contest - all told, Cleveland had 18/58/1 rushing as a team last week - when not facing the cellar-dwelling Lions, this team has had lots of trouble producing points this year.

The Chargers are playing hard-nosed defense of late in the red zone, with just 374 rushing yards allowed over their last four games (93.5 yards per game on average) and a total of 60 points from scrimmage allowed (15 per game on average) - Kansas City managed 23/114/1 rushing last week but lost the game 14-43; Denver was limited to 17/115/0 rushing during the 3-32 loss to San Diego two weeks ago. To date, the Chargers are 21st in the NFL averaging 118.1 rushing yards allowed per game, with eight rushing TDs given up, but they have been very stout during the third quarter of the season when it comes to points allowed.

The Browns' offense is a joke most weeks - against the Chargers, we expect them to be their usual bumbling selves. Advantage, San Diego.

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

CLE Injuries: none
JAX Injuries: none


Cleveland Browns Rushing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Cleveland's running-back-by-committee limped to 16/55/0 rushing vs. Pittsburgh last week, led by Chris Ogbonnaya's 4/26/0 rushing (with 2/15/0 receiving). Fozzy Whittaker added 6/16/0 rushing and 1/5/0 receiving to the mix, followed by now-marginalized Willis McGahee (4/12/0 rushing). With so many mouths to feed here and so few carries to share, none of these players looks like a compelling fantasy starter for Week 13.

The Jacksonville Jaguars won their second game of the year and did it by limiting the Texans to 21/77/0 rushing - two weeks ago, they lost but held the Cardinals to 24/14/1 on the ground. It looks like the Jaguars' defensive front is finally pulling together (far too late to save their season, but for fantasy owners this drastic improvement is of note).

The anemic Cleveland rushing attack has met it's match in the improving Jacksonville club - advantage, Jacksonville.

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

CLE Injuries: none
JAX Injuries: none


Cleveland Browns Rushing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

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

Cleveland's all-rookie rushing attack flourished at Atlanta, with 12/88/2 rushing for Isaiah Crowell and 14/62/0 rushing with 1/9/0 receiving for co-chair Terrance West. These two are a powerful tandem entering the final weeks of the 2014 season.

The Buffalo rush D averages 98.4 yards allowed per game (eighth in the NFL) with five rushing scores handed out (tied for second-least in the league) so far this year. Last week, the Jets' rushing attack posted 19/92/0 during their 3-38 drubbing at the hands of Buffalo, while Miami had 24/125/0 two games back.

This is a tough test for the young duo of backs as they travel to snowy Buffalo this weekend.

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

CLE Injuries: none
JAX Injuries: none


Dallas Cowboys Rushing Offense at New York Giants Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Dallas was without Julius Jones and in transition in this phase of the game the last time these teams met (week 6) - a committee of backs managed 38/92/0 during the game. Now that Jones is back in the picture, he's been seeing most of the carries (but Dallas is still spelling him often with Marion Barber III) - last week Jones managed 20/55/0 rushing and 5/9/0 receiving vs. Denver, while Barber III rushed for 9/28/0 and caught 1/-2/0. Dallas hasn't been running the ball terribly well during recent weeks - Jones has 49/163/0 rushing and 7/25/0 receiving during the last 3 contests (42nd at his position in fantasy points per game); Barber III has 37/127/3 rushing with 4/-2/0 receiving during that span (24th fantasy RB in the land).

The Giants average 93.7 rushing yards allowed per game this year (7th in the NFL), with 7 rushing scores given away to date. They are averaging 81.6 rushing yards surrendered per game over the past 3 weeks, including their 34/127/1 performance vs. Seattle last week. More often than not, the Giants frustrate opposing backs.

Dallas has to travel to New York - expect the 12th man to be a factor in favor of the defense in this game. Given the Giants' stout defensive front and Dallas' lack-luster committee of backs, we give the nod to New York.

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

DAL Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: none


Dallas Cowboys Rushing Offense at New York Giants Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

DeMarco Murray went over 100 yards combined at New York last week, with 14/86/0 rushing and 3/40/0 receiving - he's that rare 'featured' running back that fantasy owners love to roster. Lance Dunbar spelled Murray with 3/20/0 rushing and 2/26/0 receiving - it's all good among the Dallas running back stable entering Week 13.

The Raiders' rush defense is respectable, averaging 99.1 yards given up per game (eighth in the NFL this year) with seven rushing scores surrendered so far. Tennessee managed 29/114/0 rushing last week at the Black Hole, while Houston put up 21/90/0 rushing vs. Oakland two games ago.

Murray has a bunch of tough customers to deal with in Dallas on Thanksgiving.

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

DAL Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: none


Denver Broncos Rushing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Peyton Hillis continues to get the job done for the Broncos on the ground, with 17/74/1 rushing and 2/22/0 receiving to his credit last week vs. Oakland. He's the 18th ranked fantasy RB over the last 3 weeks, with 35/142/3 rushing and 5/48/0 receiving to his credit - the guy is playing very well entering week 13. Tatum Bell is the change of pace back (6/14/0 rushing and 1/0/0 receiving) entering the stretch run to the playoffs.

The Jet's rushing D is very impressive entering the final month 1/2 of the season, with an average of 78 yards allowed per game (3rd in the NFL) and only 7 rushing TDs given up over 11 contests. They stuffed the Titans' backs last week (11/45/0), and have given up just 250 yards rushing in the last 3 weeks (83.3 per contest).

Hillis has been doing a respectable job for the Broncos, but this week he has to face an elite defense on their home turf - this is a tough matchup, folks.

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

DEN Injuries: none
KC Injuries: none


Denver Broncos Rushing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Knowshon Moreno started his strong second half vs. Kansas City back in week 10, posting 22/106/0 rushing and 3/50/1 receiving during the 49-29 victory. Since then, Moreno has 25/114/2 rushing and 13/124/0 receiving to his credit, with 12/56/1 rushing and 6/62/0 receiving vs. St. Louis last week. Lance Ball has become the second-string back over that time span, and posted 4/31/0 rushing vs. St. Louis in a complementary role - Correll Buckhalter had just 1/12/0 rushing last week in a bit-part role.

The Chiefs' rush D crushed the Seahawks' stable last week (12/20/0 rushing allowed), and they limited the Cardinals to 20/101/0 two weeks ago - over the past four weeks, the Chiefs have allowed 386 rushing yards (96.5 per game) which is exactly on pace for the club. K.C. ranks seventh in the NFL averaging 96.5 rushing yards allowed per game, with six rushing TDs given up over 11 contests. These guys are pretty stout.

Moreno has gotten in gear during the second half of 2010, but he's got a tough challenge to face when Denver rolls into raucous Arrowhead Stadium for the rematch game on Sunday.

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

DEN Injuries: none
KC Injuries: none


Denver Broncos Rushing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Willis McGahee was critical to the OT win in San Diego, posting 23/117/0 rushing and saving his longest jaunt of the day, a 24 yard gain, for his last run of the day to set up the game-winning field goal. During the current four-game winning streak, McGahee has piled up 59/315/2 rushing, while Tebow has pitched in 51/296/2 rushing on his part. Lance Ball has also been part of the picture (primarily while McGahee was hurt), with 43/147/0 rushing and four targets for 2/26/0 receiving over the last month. McGahee is one of the rare, featured running backs to be had in the NFL these days, even though he does share time with Tebow (though given the average of 41 rushes per game over the last four games, there are plenty of carries to BE shared).

The Vikings' rush D is currently ranked ninth in the NFL averaging 99.6 yards allowed per game, with eight rushing scores handed over to date. Atlanta was held to 29/89/0 rushing last week, while Oakland mauled the Vikings with 41/162/2 rushing two weeks ago. Most of the time, team's totals look more like Atlanta's when the Vikings are in town.

The Broncos run the ball more than anyone else, but the Vikings are pretty tough in this phase of the game. At the Vikings' house, we think this is a tough matchup for the streaking Broncos.

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

DEN Injuries: none
KC Injuries: none


Detroit Lions Rushing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Detroit was basically shut down by the Vikings back in week 9, with 20/58/1 as a team. We'll see if coach Jauron continues the by-committee approach that coach Mariucci fell into this season (3 backs plus the QB carried the ball vs. Minnesota, none with more than 7 carries). Last week, the by-committee approach yielded 13/75/0, led by Kevin Jones with 4/32/0 - his fantasy owners would love to see Jauron anoint Jones the featured back and feed him the ball 25 times a game, but as of mid-week we have had no indications from Detroit how they will parse out the running back's work-load. As coach Jauron pointed out on Tuesday, there is only limited practice time and no time to chuck the much-criticized playbook, so there is a limit to how much tweaking the new regime can do to the offense. The team is planning on starting Jeff Garcia at QB, it was announced Wednesday. He's better at running this offense, which helps open up some room for the backs.

Minnesota limited the Browns' stable to 20/78/0 rushing last week, and have been playing at that level for several weeks now - over the past 3 weeks, the team has averaged only 74.3 rushing yards allowed per game. They are much improved over the first half of 2005, as their season average of 113.1 rushing yards allowed per game illustrates (15th in the NFL, with 11 rushing scores total given away to date). The Vikings are on the rise during the stretch run, folks.

Detroit is in turmoil, and nothing is certain about the new regime's approach as of mid-week. Minnesota is on the rise and is playing for a shot at a wild-card - advantage, Minnesota.

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

DET Injuries: none
MIN Injuries: none


Detroit Lions Rushing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

After watching the team post 10/21/0 rushing vs. Miami, Lions' fans and Kevin Jones owners will be glad to hear that he is expected back in the lineup this week. "It's a little sore," Jones said after practice on Tuesday. "I feel good enough right now -- a lot better than I did. I could barely jog last week. I ran today and did some cutting. I know definitely I'm going to have some pain. I did have a pretty bad sprain on the foot and ankle. I'm just going to try to get through it and finish strong." Jones has been an integral part of the Lions' offense this season, with 153/636/6 rushing and 50/367/1 receiving over 10 games to date (he went out early in the 10th) - his return should be a boost for both the running backs stable and the passing game (50 receptions out of 65 targets - he's been very sure-handed and reliable).

The Patriots are no pushover in this phase of the game, though, ranking 3rd in the NFL averaging 83.2 rushing yards allowed per game. They have handed over 6 rushing TDs in 11 games, and have been stout most games. Last week, they were overwhelmed by the Bears' backs, giving up an uncharacteristic 36/153/1 to Chicago. Coming into this matchup, they are knocked back on their heels.

Jones will have some rust to knock off after his lay-off - this is a tough week to run into a top-5 rush D in the defense's house.

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

DET Injuries: none
MIN Injuries: none


Detroit Lions Rushing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Detroit prevailed over the Vikings back in week 2, 20-17, while rushing for a mere 21/56/0. Of course, since then Kevin Jones has rehabbed his foot and revitalized the Lions' rushing attack - this time around the block Detroit will take the field with a more credible running back stable.

Jones has been up and down over the past few weeks, but was solid last week, with 20/93/1 rushing and 2/27/0 receiving vs. Green Bay, while side kick T.J. Duckett posted 7/29/0 rushing in a supporting role - the team ended up with 30/134/1 on the day (a 4.5 yards per carry average). Jones has 52/185/2 rushing and 14/80/0 receiving over the past 4 games, to land at #29 among all fantasy RBs in points per game during that time frame.

The Vikings field one of the toughest rush D's in the land this year, averaging 74.8 yards allowed per game (1st in the NFL), while handing over 5 rushing TDs so far. They've given up more than 100 yards rushing once over their last 5 games, holding the wounded Giants' stable to 19/75/1 last week. It isn't easy to pile up yards against the Vikings' defensive front.

Jones is a dual threat back, but he'll find running room scarce this week in the Metrodome, during a heated divisional faceoff.

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

DET Injuries: none
MIN Injuries: none


Detroit Lions Rushing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

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

Reggie Bush couldn't play vs. New England last weekend due to his gimpy ankle, leaving Joique Bell (19/48/0 rushing with 1/-2/0 receiving) and Theo Riddick (2/12/0 rushing with 3/40/0 receiving) to tote the load for Detroit during Week 12. Though Bush is reported to be on track for playing on Thanksgiving, we've seen this dance card before - he has made cameos in other games only to aggravate one or another of his injuries and then sit out the balance of a contest. Bell is being fed the ball at a high rate and looks like the best fantasy option heading into Turkey Day.

The Bears' defense limited the Buccaneers' backs to 22/66/0 rushing last weekend, and held Minnesota under 100 yards rushing two games back (16/96/0) - they've played some stout defense against two teams with less-than-stellar options at running back. To date, the Bears are 12th in the NFL averaging 106.8 rushing yards allowed per game to all opponents, and they have allowed just five rushing scores (tied for second-least rushing scores given up this season).

The Lions have some tough customers on their way to Detroit this Thursday - advantage, Chicago.

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

DET Injuries: none
MIN Injuries: none


Green Bay Packers Rushing Offense at Chicago Bears Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Ryan Grant has provided the Packers with a credible threat to rush the ball, posting 15/101/1 rushing and 6/31/0 receiving last week vs. Detroit (he was the only RB to touch the ball in the rushing game). Over the past 4 weeks, Grant has 79/363/2 rushing and 16/90/0 receiving to land at #13 among all fantasy backs in points per game during that span of time. He's the real deal, folks.

The Cowboys held the Jets to 21/60/0 on the ground last week, and have limited their 3 out of their last 4 opponents to 66 or less yards on the ground (only the Giants broke through the 100 yards rushing barrier, with 106 yards rushing and 1 TD). To date, the Cowboys average 82.1 rushing yards allowed per game (4th in the NFL), with only 5 rushing scores given up in 11 games. They are tough run defenders heading into the final 1/4 of the NFL season.

Grant has been solid for the Packers since getting his shot, but this week he faces a tough assignment down in Texas Stadium.

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

GB Injuries: none
CHI Injuries: none


Green Bay Packers Rushing Offense at Chicago Bears Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Ryan Grant went over 100 yards combined last week, with 20/61/0 rushing and 3/42/0 receiving during the 34-12 shellacking of the Lions on Thanksgiving Day. Grant has compiled 81/365/2 rushing and 7/66/0 receiving over teh past four weeks, to land at #16 among all fantasy RBs in points per game (PPR format) during that time frame. Understudy Brandon Jackson has chipped in with 12/32/0 rushing and 10/89/0 receiving during the same time frame (59th-ranked fantasy RB in the land).

The Ravens field the league's sixth-ranked rush D, averaging 97.6 yards allowed per game, with seven rushing TDS given up over the past 11 contests. Over the past four weeks, the team has been a little more generous with rushing yardage and TDs of late, handing out 461 yards in this phase of the game (115.3 per contest, on average) - Pittsburgh reeled off 38/153/1 rushing last week and the Colts posted 25/76/1 rushing during the previous game.

Grant is providing a credible threat to run the ball to the Packers, but he's got a tough assignment ahead when the Ravens land at Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football.

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

GB Injuries: none
CHI Injuries: none


Green Bay Packers Rushing Offense at Chicago Bears Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Packers had a hard time running the ball at Atlanta - Dmitri Nance had one carry for zero yards and then was concussed, while Brandon Jackson could only scrape up 10/26/0 rushing (with 3/10/0 receiving) - Aaron Rodgers actually led the team last week with 12/51/1 rushing to his credit. 'It was pretty hard; they were attacking,' Jackson said after the loss. 'When I get the ball and there's guys in my face, I've just got to try to make something happen.' Two weeks ago Nance and Jackson combined for 65 yards rushing and zero TDs, with 4/38/0 receiving for Jackson - as you can see, neither of these backs has been a valuable fantasy back of late. Things are so bad that coach Mike McCarthy is thinking about inserting James Starks into the lineup - 'Well, he'd better be (ready),' McCarthy said Tuesday. 'He may have an opportunity this week.'

The 49ers were shut out by Tampa two weeks ago 21-0, but bounced back nicely against the anemic Cardinals winning 27-6 while holding the Cardinals' backs to a mere 11/13/0 rushing. The team has allowed just 279 yards rushing and 47 total points during their last three games (93 yards per contest, on average). TO date, the 49ers' rush D is ranked eighth in the NFL averaging 98.3 yards allowed per game, with six rushing TDs given away so far.

The Packers' backs are dealing with injuries and ineffectiveness right now, and may have a third back in the mix this week, while the 49ers are fighting to keep slim playoff hopes alive and are at the top of their game in this phase - advantage, San Francisco.

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

GB Injuries: none
CHI Injuries: none


Green Bay Packers Rushing Offense at Chicago Bears Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Back on October sixth, the Lions and the Packers engaged in a duel of (mostly) field goals, with Detroit coming out a loser (9-22). Eddie Lacy had a strong game with 23/99/0 rushing and 1/-2/0 receiving - all told, the Packers ran for 33/180/0, helped along by Randall Cobb's 2/72/0 rushing.

Lacy had a strong game vs. Minnesota last week, posting 25/110/1 rushing and 6/48/0 receiving before his asthma acted up and sidelined him for most of overtime. 'I love the kid. I think he runs his (butt) off,' Packers rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari said after the tie with Minnesota. 'He's special. He's got a chip on his shoulder. Most importantly, he's a great kid. He's got something special and he's using it. It was awesome.' James Starks put up 3/37/0 rushing in a supporting role, while Jonathan Franklin got concussed during the game (he didn't touch the ball on offense). This is Lacy's attack entering the final 1/3 of the season.

The Lions' rush D is fourth in the NFL averaging 88 yards rushing allowed per game, with just five rushing scores handed over to date. Tampa Bay eked out 24/22/0 rushing at Detroit last week, while Pittsburgh had 27/40/0 two weeks ago. The Lions' defensive front is shutting down opposing backs right now, friends.

This is a very tough matchup for Lacy as it doesn't appear Aaron Rodgers will be back under center this week, so the Lions will be able to key on Lacy.

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

GB Injuries: none
CHI Injuries: none


Green Bay Packers Rushing Offense at Chicago Bears Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

As the weather has gotten colder, Eddie Lacy has gotten hotter - 10/69/1 rushing with 3/45/1 receiving vs. Philadelphia two weeks ago, and then 25/125/1 rushing with 2/13/1 receiving at Minnesota last week. He's one of the best fantasy running backs in the league heading into Week 13 - start him if you've got him!

The Patriots are 14th in the NFL in terms of rushing yards allowed per game (108.2), but they are tied for second-least in the category of rushing TDs allowed (five). Last week, Detroit could only muster three field goals (25/91/0 rushing) while two games back the Colts had a comical 16/19/0 rushing against this defensive front.

This game goes down in partisan Lambeau Field which helps out Lacy, but this is still a tough matchup. In this case though, remember the fantasy football mantra 'always start your studs', unless you are absolutely loaded at running back - Lacy is too hot to sit right now.

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

GB Injuries: none
CHI Injuries: none


Houston Texans Rushing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Back in week three, Steve Slaton (12/76/0 rushing with 3/37/0 receiving that day) and Chris Brown (8/19/0 rushing) were the tandem of backs that Houston threw at Jacksonville - since then, the stable has gone through various permutations but is back to the above mix entering December. Slaton had the most work (and success) that he's had over the past four games last week, with 10/57/0 rushing and 7/49/0 receiving vs. Indianapolis, while Brown posted 11/56/1 rushing with 3/20/0 receiving during the contest - all told, the Texans ripped off Indianapolis for 24/122/1 rushing last week. Houston's backs have found their top form entering December.

The Jaguars have held each of their last two opponents to under 60 yards rushing, with 20/52/0 given up to the 49ers last week and 19/53/0 allowed to Buffalo two weeks ago. Over the past four weeks, they've surrendered just 275 yards rushing (68.8 per game) - the Jaguars are suddenly very stubborn in this phase of the game (they've only given up six rushing scores this season, while averaging 106.6 yards rushing allowed per game, which is 10th in the NFL currently).

The Texans have recovered their best mix in this phase of the game, but against the stubborn Jaguars they are in for a tough fight this week.

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

HOU Injuries: none
BAL Injuries: none


Houston Texans Rushing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Arian Foster (58/273/3 rushing with 20 targets for 16/152/1 receiving), Ben Tate (30/204/2 rushing with one target for zero receptions), and Derrick Ward (17/58/1 rushing) have combined for seven scores from the running back position in the last three weeks. The Texans' offensive line averages 4.3 yards per carry this year, with the third-best per game average of 151.7 rushing yards generated per contest. All this is important to note because the Texans will start rookie T.J. Yates at quarterback this week - we expect the Texans to become even more run-oriented during December thanks to their injury woes at he QB position. Yates will likely hand off the ball early and often to his outstanding cast of runners.

The Falcons' rush D is ranked second in the NFL averaging 83.5 yards allowed per game, but they've coughed up seven rushing scores to date (in the middle of the NFL range between 0-15 TDs allowed through 11 contests). Minnesota averaged 2.7 yards per carry at Atlanta last week (24/64/1), while Tennessee was limited to a 2.9 yards per carry clip two weeks ago (14/41/0). Entering December, the Falcons' rush D is playing very solid football, as you can see.

Foster and Tate are powerful backs, but they draw a very tough matchup this week when the Falcons come to call at Reliant Stadium. With a rookie under center in his first pro start for Houston, look for the Falcons to load up against the run and dare Yates to beat them throwing the football.

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

HOU Injuries: none
BAL Injuries: none


Indianapolis Colts Rushing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Joseph Addai didn't gain a lot of ground rushing the ball vs. Tennessee back in week five (14/27/1 rushing), but he added 10/53/0 receiving to make most fantasy owners satisfied with his showing. Donald Brown chipped in with 6/22/0 rushing and 2/13/0 receiving as the complimentary back during the 31-9 rout of the Titans. Since that game, the picture in this stable has remained basically the same, with Addai leading the team and Brown assisting in the understudy role. Over the last four weeks, Addai is the eighth-ranked fantasy RB in the land (PPR format), with 58/247/3 rushing and 11/96/2 receiving, while Brown has chipped in 13/51/0 rushing and 3/19/0 receiving (71st-ranked fantasy RB).

The Titans have clamped down on opposing backs over the third quarter of the season, with 329 rushing yards allowed in their last four games (82.3 per game on average) - Arizona managed to muster 20/75/1 rushing vs. the Titans last week. Houston posted 17/57/0 rushing vs. Tennessee the week prior - the Titans are now among the top-ten rush defenses in the NFL, with an average of 101.5 rushing yards allowed per game (seventh in the NFL), and nine rushing scores given away to date.

Addai and company have been very productive of late, but the Titans are on a hot streak and very stubborn in this phase of the game. This looks like a tough matchup for Indianapolis' RB stable.

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

IND Injuries: none
TEN Injuries: none


Indianapolis Colts Rushing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Colts' rushing attack flamed out in week 12, with just 11/24/0 rushing (with 5/47/0 receiving) for Donald Brown, and 2/0/0 rushing to Jarvarris James' credit (with 3/22/0 receiving). Brown did have over 100 yards combined at New England (17/68/0 rushing with 3/40/0 receiving), but neither guy is looking like a solid, can't miss fantasy play entering week 13.

The Cowboys' rush D is so-so this year, averaging 114 yards allowed per game (19th in the NFL), with 8 rushing TDs given up so far. New Orleans managed 21/81/2 rushing at Dallas last week - Detroit's banged-up bunch could only eke out 20/75/0 two weeks ago. But let's face it, Chris Ivory and Maurice Morris aren't exactly the next coming of Marshall Faulk. This defensive front has been average for most of the season.

The Colts' rushing attack is anemic, so much so that the mediocre Dallas unit is still a tough challenge for Indianapolis.

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

IND Injuries: none
TEN Injuries: none


Indianapolis Colts Rushing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Colts lost Ahmad Bradshaw to IR, but they promptly found another back to split up the work load with Trent Richardson - Dan Herron started against the Jaguars (Richardson was said to be 'under the weather' last weekend) and piled up 12/65/0 rushing and 5/31/0 receiving for the Colts during the win over Jacksonville. Richardson did plow in a TD with his usual sub-4.0 yards per carry average (13/42/1 rushing with one target for zero receptions), which saved fantasy owners who were excited about his chance to finally become the Colts' featured back - but the bottom line here is that Herron looks like the better option for the Colts entering Week 13.

The Washington defense has been saddled with an inept passing attack since Robert Griffin III returned to the field - mercifully, the team has pulled the plug on him for 2014 and set Colt McCoy up as their caretaker going forwards. This may help the offense do a better job of changing field position so that the defense isn't always defending a short field. Last week, in San Francisco, the Washington defensive front held the 49ers' backs to 29/66/1, and two weeks ago they limited the Buccaneers' backs to 21/48/0 on the ground. This defensive front has been stout despite the struggles on offense.

Herron and Richardson have a tough matchup ahead on Sunday.

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

IND Injuries: none
TEN Injuries: none


Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Offense at Cleveland Browns Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Jaguars' backs had no problems carving up the Bills last week, totaling 35/207/1 on the day. Fred Taylor had 22/101/0 on the ground, while Maurice Jones-Drew gained 8/78/1 rushing and 5/47/0 receiving during the game. Over the past 3 weeks, Taylor has gained 58/243/1 rushing and 8/87/0 receiving to rank 17th among all fantasy RBs in points per game, while Jones-Drew has posted 20/134/3 rushing and 11/119/0 receiving to rank 13th. The Jaguars' backs have got it going.

Miami's rush D is currently 6th in the NFL averaging 93.9 yards allowed per game, with only 5 rushing scores given up so far (2nd-least in the NFL to date). In recent weeks, they have averaged 71.6 yards allowed per game, including last week's drubbing of the Lions who could only eke out 10/21/0. These guys have gotten back to playing outstanding defense in the second half of the season.

This looks like it will be a hard-fought matchup between top units - with home field at Miami's back, we give them the edge in this contest.

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

JAX Injuries: none
CLE Injuries: none


Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Offense at Cleveland Browns Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Maurice Jones-Drew looked like his peak performances aren't all behind him last week, notching 14/84/1 rushing and 6/60/0 receiving against the Texans. His was the only TD of the game - we'll see if Jones-Drew can build on his momentum this week vs. Cleveland.

Speaking of Cleveland, they sport the league's sixth-ranked rush D averaging 97.9 yards allowed per game, but they do have nine rushing scores allowed over that span of time. Last week, Pittsburgh put up 34/85/0 rushing on the Browns, while Cincinnati had 31/106/0 rushing vs. Cleveland two games ago.

The Browns haven't given up rushing TDs in recent weeks, and their defense forms a tough barrier to Jones-Drew this week.

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

JAX Injuries: none
CLE Injuries: none


Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Offense vs Denver Broncos Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Denver held the Chiefs to 22/74/0 rushing the last time these teams faced off, back in week 3. At that time, Holmes was the featured back (Johnson had 8/13/0 on the ground) - things have changed a lot since then for the Chiefs, as Johnson has come into his own in the second half of the season. He has cranked out 94/462/3 rushing and 11/105/0 receiving over the past 3 weeks (3rd ranked fantasy RB in points per game during that span), and hasn't missed going over 100 yards rushing in the last 4 weeks (he's added a minimum of 46 receiving yards to his totals in 3 of the last 4 weeks as well). The guy is on fire.

Denver ranks 1st in the NFL this season, allowing 79.1 rushing yards per game on average, with 6 rushing scores given up to date. Dallas managed 32/85/1 against these guys last Thursday - the Broncos have surrendered an average of 55.6 rushing yards per game over their last 3 contests. The Broncos' defensive front is super-solid heading into the final weeks of 2005.

Johnson is on fire, but the Broncos are playing at an elite level. We wouldn't hesitate to start Johnson, but realize that this is a tough matchup for him.

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

KC Injuries: none
DEN Injuries: none


Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Offense vs Denver Broncos Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Back in week 4, Larry Johnson was still healthy and Michael Bennett was still with the team - a lot has changed in this phase of the game since the Chargers last played the Chiefs.

Kolby Smith opened his reign as the Chiefs' starter against the super-soft Raiders last week, and he performed as well as any other pro RB who has gobbled up the Raiders this year, posting 31/150/2 rushing against the Raiders. Smith is off to a solid start - we'll see what he can do against better units (such as the Chargers bring to the table) as we head into the playoff stretch run.

The Chargers are certainly stouter than the Raiders, but they aren't at the top of the NFL by any means, ranking 21st in the league allowing an average of 113.9 rushing yards per game this season, with 8 rushing scores given away to date. Over the past 3 weeks, they've been up and down with 20/56/1 given up to Willis McGahee and company last week, 37/122/1 to the Jags in week 11, and 26/75/0 handed over to the Colts in week 10. As you can see, they've handled some strong RB stables well in that stretch (after being embarrassed by the Vikings 4 weeks ago).

Smith did well last week, but the Chargers are made of sterner stuff, especially in recent games. This looks like a tough challenge for the young RB.

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

KC Injuries: none
DEN Injuries: none


Miami Dolphins Rushing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Dolphins have lost their starting RB, Ronnie Brown, for at least this week and probably several games, due to his broken left hand and the surgery that repaired the injury. Sammy Morris will move into the starting role, with Travis Minor serving as change-of-pace/third down back. Morris did well in relief of Brown vs. Detroit, gaining 12/91/0 rushing. Miami has averaged 4.0 yards per carry this season - Morris has a respectable run-blocking OL in front of him to open holes.

The Jaguars rank 5th in the NFL allowing an average of 93.6 rushing yards per game, with 7 TDs given up to date. They coughed up 23/72/2 to the Bills last week, though, giving up more TDs than is usual for this group in a game. Over the past 3 weeks, teams have averaged 81.6 rushing yards allowed per game vs. Jacksonville - they are tough in this phase of the game.

This looks like a tough matchup for the Dolphins' understudies.

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

MIA Injuries: none
BUF Injuries: none


Miami Dolphins Rushing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The last time these teams faced off during week nine, Ronnie Brown (now on IR due to his foot/Lisfranc injury) led the Dolphins with 15/48/0 rushing, but Ricky Wiliams scored the rushing TD for the team with 7/33/1 rushing (1/3/0 receiving). All told, the Dolphins piled up 31/133/1 rushing as a team during the contest. During the three weeks since these teams last clashed, Williams has been very productive for his fantasy owners, with 69/336/3 rushing and 4/24/1 receiving - Lex Hilliard has chipped in with 9/46/0 and Lousaka Polite has posted 9/47/0 in bit roles while Williams has been the featured back. Williams will continue to get a heavy workload during December.

The Patriots have swung from a big divisional win two weeks ago to a humiliation on Monday Night Football last week - The Saints rushed for 26/113/0 during the 38-17 thrashing that Drew Brees laid on the Patriots. Two weeks ago, the Jets also went over 100 yards rushing as a team, with 26/104/0 - as we've pointed out many times, this is a bend-but-don't break defensive front, with an average of 109.7 rushing yards allowed per game (16th in the NFL), but a mere three rushing scores given up through 11 games.

The Dolphins' attack is very productive, but against the stubborn Patriots this has to be considered a tough matchup for Williams and company.

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

MIA Injuries: none
BUF Injuries: none


Miami Dolphins Rushing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

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

Lamar Miller has been carrying the load for Miami all year - over the past two games, he's handled 27/145/0 rushing and 3/20/0 receiving, but Daniel Thomas has siphoned off a rushing score with 8/42/1 to his credit (and Ryan Tannehill snagged another rushing TD last week at Denver with 4/15/1 rushing). Going forwards we expect more of the same, with Miller seeing the bulk of the work but occasional scores falling into the lap of the lumbering Thomas.

The Jets' rush D is now ranked fourth in the NFL averaging 86.2 yards allowed per game, with six rushing scores handed out to date. Last week, they were crushed 3-38 by the Bills (and the team allowed 29/116/2 rushing), while two games ago the Jets upset the Steelers and only allowed 17/36/0 rushing to Pittsburgh. It's fair to say that the Jets' rush D has swung wildly between extremes in recent weeks.

Miller is a solid back, but the Jets' one virtue this year is their rush D - this looks like a tough matchup for the visiting Dolphins.

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

MIA Injuries: none
BUF Injuries: none


Minnesota Vikings Rushing Offense at Detroit Lions Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Minnesota didn't manage to score an offensive TD vs. the Bears back in week 3 (they did have an interception returned for a TD by Antoine Winfield), and Chester Taylor was relatively quiet with 20/74/0 rushing and 3/15/0 receiving during the game. Over the past 3 weeks, Taylor has racked up 75/291/3 rushing with 5/55/0 receiving to rank 8th among all fantasy RBs in points per game, including his strong game vs. Arizona last week (27/136/1 rushing and 3/35/0 receiving). Taylor is on a roll.

The Bears bring the league's 8th ranked rush D to the table, averaging 98 yards allowed per game, but they have tied with Minnesota for second-least rushing TDs allowed to date, with only 4 surrendered. Last week, the Patriots managed 34/85/1 against this team - they are very tough to rush the ball against.

This is a division rivalry - both teams will be high-intensity on Sunday. In Solider Field, we think the Bears hold an edge over Taylor and company.

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

MIN Injuries: none
DET Injuries: none


Minnesota Vikings Rushing Offense at Detroit Lions Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Back in week 2, Adrian Peterson was in the lineup (20/66/0 rushing and 4/52/0 receiving) and Chester Taylor wasn't, due to injury. Of course, in the weeks prior to this matchup, the reverse has been true as Peterson is recovering from a LCL injury in his knee. In between week 2 and Peterson's injury, he established himself as a premier NFL running back, with 169/1081/8 rushing and 15/220/1 receiving in only 9 games - #3 among fantasy RBs in total fantasy points to date.

Peterson had a follow up MRI on his injured LCL on Monday, which showed the partial tear has healed up well - he'll practice this week and if all goes well, look for him to take the field again vs. the Lions. If Peterson can't go, Taylor is certainly a very capable backup, as he has displayed in his time behind the league-leading OL in Minnesota (5.6 yards per carry on average, 1.1 better than the second-place Broncos).

The Lions' D is actually in the top 10 vs. opposing backs, limiting them to 95.8 rushing yards per game on average (tied-9th in the NFL). They have handed over 8 rushing scores so far. Last week, Green Bay posted 17/100/1 against the Lions, who have allowed just 1 100 yard rushing game in their last 5 contests.

Peterson and Taylor are outstanding backs, but the Lions aren't just going to lay down for them - this is a tougher-than-usual matchup for the Vikings. However, Peterson is so explosive it's hard to imagine anyone sitting him down if he can go.

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

MIN Injuries: none
DET Injuries: none


New England Patriots Rushing Offense vs New York Jets Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Laurence Maroney took his turn on the bench last week as the Patriots employed an almost-exclusively spread passing attack/offense against the Eagles during the first half of the game. However, the Eagles kept pace with the Pats throughout the game, and eventually the Patriots started playing in a more standard pro-set, bringing Maroney into the mix late in the contest - he ended up with 10/31/1 to lead the team (Heath Evans was the 2nd-most productive running back on the team last week with 1/1/1 rushing to his credit). Kevin Faulk posted 2/0/0 rushing and 3/30/0 receiving during the pass-happy phase of the game last week. Over the last 3 games, it's become apparent that Maroney is just part of a committee in New England, as he hasn't caught a pass during those contests and has posted 15/59/0; 6/19/1; and 10/31/1 rushing in his limited chances weeks 9-12 (bye week in 10).

The Ravens sport the 3rd ranked rushing defense in the NFL, averaging 77.9 yards allowed per game, with only 4 rushing scores surrendered to date. They've given up more than 90 yards just once in the last 4 weeks (34/117/2 to the Browns back in week 11) - last week, LaDainian Tomlinson and the Chargers could only manage 30/83/0 against these guys (a 2.8 yards per carry average). The Ravens are very stout in this phase of the game.

The Patriots' rushing attack is tied for 11th in the NFL averaging 4.1 yards per tote, but the RB stable isn't being featured much in recent weeks - meanwhile, the Ravens contained one of the NFL's best backs last week and are generally extremely tough to rush the ball against. This looks like a tough matchup for the visiting Patriots.

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

NE Injuries: none
NYJ Injuries: none


New England Patriots Rushing Offense vs New York Jets Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Patriots continue to mix up their RB stable from week to week - last week, Kevin Faulk led the team with 8/53/1 rushing and 6/52/0 receiving, while Sammy Morris also rushed the ball 8 times (8/35/0) and snagged 2 receptions (2/14/0). BenJarvus Green-Ellis handled the ball 7 times (7/20/1) and Matt Cassel also ran in a TD (2/14/1). All told, the Pats racked up 25/122/3 rushing vs. the Dolphins' defense. Over the last 3 weeks, Faulk has amassed 21/100/1 rushing and 11/110/0 receiving (35th-best fantasy back in points per game); Green-Ellis has 35/134/2 rushing (37th); and Sammy Morris has seen action during 2 games for 13/49/0 rushing and 2/14/0 receiving (64th). No one player has emerged as the "workhorse back", but Faulk is the player seeing touches most consistently.

This week, the Patriots will host AFC North-leading Pittsburgh to Gillette Stadium. The Steelers are #1 in the NFL averaging 66.5 rushing yards allowed per game, with only 4 rushing scores given up in 11 contests. Last week Cincinnati could only get 20/43/0 on the ground vs. Pittsburgh; over the last 3 weeks, the Steelers have given up just 171 yards rushing (57 yards per game on average).

The Patriots have cobbled together a rushing attack from several contributors, but all of the players face an uphill battle when the Steelers hit town - advantage, Pittsburgh.

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

NE Injuries: none
NYJ Injuries: none


New England Patriots Rushing Offense vs New York Jets Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Patriots couldn't get much going on the ground back in week two (20/52/0 rushing vs. the Jets) - BenJarvus Green-Ellis had 10/19/0 rushing during the game, while Kevin Faulk (now on IR) led the team with 5/22/0 rushing. There wasn't much room to roam against the Jets' hard-nosed defensive front. Over the past four weeks, the Patriots' rushing attack has consisted of Green-Ellis (60/256/3 rushing with 5/40/0 receiving, 22nd fantasy RB in the land) and Danny Woodhead (28/166/1 rushing with 10/94/0 receiving, 30th fantasy RB in the land during that span of time). Both guys were in the mix at Detroit on Thanksgiving, with 12/59/2 rushing for Green-Ellis and 8/32/0 rushing with 2/13/0 receiving for Woodhead. Entering December, the Patriots' RB stable has settled into a productive dual effort.

The Jets' rush D currently ranks fourth in the NFL averaging 86.3 yards allowed per game, with only six rushing TDs given away through 11 games. In a convincing 26-10 win over Cincinnati last week (after a number of close games), the Jets gave up just 20/46/0 rushing to Cedric Benson and company. Houston's explosive unit posted 26/97/2 on the Jets two weeks ago, but most of the time they are very tough to score on.

This is a tough divisional grudge match for Green-Ellis and Woodhead.

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

NE Injuries: none
NYJ Injuries: none


New England Patriots Rushing Offense vs New York Jets Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Stevan Ridley (21/97/1 rushing) and Shane Vereen (10/42/0 rushing with 2/91/1 receiving) both punished the Jets during week 12, while Danny Woodhead had a subsidiary role (2/8/0 rushing with 1/11/0 receiving). The Patriots' many-headed monster is rocking and rolling entering week 13 - the entire team has scored 108 points in the last two weeks, folks. Wow.

The Dolphins' rush D averages 96.7 yards allowed per game, with just four rushing TDs surrendered so far this year. They held Marshawn Lynch and company to 27/96/0 rushing last week, and Buffalo to 31/120/0 two weeks ago. This is a stout defensive front, friends.

This looks like a tough matchup for the Patriots' stable of backs. Also, the Dolphins are very soft at pass D so it would be no surprise to see Tom Brady throw the ball way more than the Patriots attempt to run it this week.

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

NE Injuries: none
NYJ Injuries: none


New Orleans Saints Rushing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

New Orleans' tandem of Aaron Stecker (11/54/0 last week) and Antowain Smith (12/45/0) are combining to give the Saints some semblance of a running game. However, in fantasy terms, they are splitting the workload so evenly that neither one is of much worth to fantasy owners - Stecker is the 35th ranked fantasy back over the last 3 weeks, with 18/79/0 rushing and 7/78/0 receiving (2 games); Smith has compiled 23/77/0 rushing (0/0/0 receiving) during that span to rank 56th among all fantasy backs in points per game. Our advice is to look elsewhere for your fantasy starters.

The Buccaneers' defense contained the Bears last week, holding them to 33/118/0 on the ground (a 3.6 yards-per-carry average). Over the past 3 weeks they have averaged 151 rushing yards allowed per contest - they have been knocked back on their heels more often than not recently. This season, the team is the 8th ranked rush D in the land, averaging 96.4 rushing yards allowed per game (8th in the NFL) with 8 rushing scores surrendered, but they haven't been playing anywhere near their usual top-ten standard in the past few games.

Tampa has been down at the heels vs. the rush lately, but they are fighting for a divisional crown and the Saints are with them in the NFC South - expect the Bucs to bring their "A" game to this one. Meanwhile, the Saints have a committee approach that isn't doing much in fantasy terms - advantage, Tampa.

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

NO Injuries: none
TB Injuries: none


New Orleans Saints Rushing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The last time these teams met in week 2, the Saints' offense was a shambles and they spotted the Buccaneers a 28-0 lead before posting 2 late scores to lose 31-14. Deuce McAllister was still in the lineup at that time - obviously, a lot has changed in the New Orleans offense and this RB stable since the last game.

Reggie Bush was limited by a shin injury last week, and could only muster 9/32/0 rushing and 3/30/0 receiving before handing off the ball carrying duties to Aaron Stecker (13/42/0 rushing and 2/8/0 receiving) and Pierre Thomas (12/32/0 rushing). The group effort was enough to amass 39/113/1 (Drew Brees ran in the score) and helped bury the Panthers 31-6. Bush owners will want to monitor his practice participation this week before inserting him in their lineups for week 13.

The Buccaneers' D has retrenched itself for the playoff run, limiting their last 3 opponents to 30 total points and only 192 rushing yards (an average of 64 yards per game). Last week, the Redskins gained 31/120/0 on the ground - in the 2 games prior, the Bucs gave up 49 and 23 yards rushing (to Atlanta and Arizona, respectively). This is a hard-nosed team intent on holding their playoff spot.

The Saints' rushing attack is sub-par this year (tied for 27th in the NFL averaging 3.5 yards per carry), and right now the headliner, Reggie Bush, is limited by a shin injury. The Bucs' D is playing very well of late - this looks like a tough matchup for the home team.

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

NO Injuries: none
TB Injuries: none


New Orleans Saints Rushing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Pierre Thomas led the Saints in rushing back in week 1 (the last time these divisional foes crossed swords) - he had 10/52/0 on the ground (2/11/0 receiving), while Reggie Bush gained 14/51/0 rushing and 8/112/1 receiving. Thomas was also the leading rusher on Monday Night Football vs. Green Bay, with 15/87/2 (3/34/0 receiving), while an obviously-limited Deuce McAllister punched in 1 TD (5/5/1) to claim the all-time scoring record for the Saints. The early word this week is that Reggie Bush is expected back in the lineup this week as his sore knee is finally right again: "I definitely feel like this is the week." he said on Tuesday. Recently-signed Mike Bell generated 6/6/0 in a limited role vs. Green Bay.

The Buccaneers bring their stingy rush D to the contest (the Bucs have given up a grand total of 1 rushing TD all year long) - they currently average 100.1 rushing yards allowed per game (12th in the NFL), but they are incredibly stout at the goal line. Over their last 2 games (3 weeks), the Bucs have allowed 207 rushing yards, including last week's total of 22/108/0 allotted to Detroit.

The Saints may be getting the explosive Bush back in the lineup, but against the stubborn Buccaneers in Raymond James Stadium, the Saints' backs will face an uphill battle (especially in the red zone).

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

NO Injuries: none
TB Injuries: none


New Orleans Saints Rushing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Darren Sproles missed the game last week due to his sore knee and ankle, but he has until Monday Night Football to get healed up enough to play again - Sproles owners will want to check his practice status in Footballguys.com's Players in the News later this week. In his absence last week, Pierre Thomas went over 100 yards combined with 10/73/0 rushing and 5/57/0 receiving at Atlanta, while Mark Ingram had 9/32/0 to his credit - none of the other backs had more than one carry Week 12.

The Seattle defense ranks 16th in the NFL averaging 112.9 rushing yards allowed per game, with only four rushing scores handed over to date. Before their bye week, Minnesota was limited to 33/132/0 by the Seahawks.

This is a tougher-than-usual matchup for the Saints.

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

NO Injuries: none
TB Injuries: none


New Orleans Saints Rushing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Saints' rushing attack got Pierre Thomas back in action vs. Baltimore, and he added 5/19/0 rushing and 6/37/0 receiving to the team effort, while Mark Ingram continues to lead the team in rushes with 11/27/0 and 2/15/0 receiving. New Orleans' total was padded by an end-around run by Joe Morgan (1/67/0), but the running backs had very little room to roam against the stout Baltimore defensive front last week. Khiry Robinson remains sidelined due to his forearm complaint - keep an eye on his practice participation this week in Footballguys.com's Players in the News if you are contemplating Robinson for a fantasy lineup this week.

The Steelers' rush D is ranked 10th in the NFL averaging 102.2 yards allowed pr game, with eight rushing scores given up to date. Last week, they were on bye so they've had plenty of time to prepare for New Orleans - two weeks ago, Tennessee was held to 15/49/1 rushing after the Jets posted 36/150/0 rushing on the Steelers back in Week 10.

This is a tough matchup for the Saints as they visit Heinz Field on Sunday.

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

NO Injuries: none
TB Injuries: none


New York Giants Rushing Offense vs Dallas Cowboys Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Tiki Barber led the Giants against the Cowboys back in week 7, with 27/114/0 rushing and 4/32/0 receiving. Brandon Jacobs contributed 10/40/1 to the effort, and the Giants ended the day with 39/155/1 rushing to their credit. Over the past 3 weeks, Barber has gained 54/250/0 rushing and 9/59/0 receiving, while Jacobs has handled 14/63/4 rushing and 4/43/0 receiving - together, they are a formidable tandem. In fantasy terms, each is a RB #2 due to the way the workload is split.

Dallas has averaged 91.6 rushing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks, with only 34 total points allowed during that span. Tampa Bay did push one TD across the goal-line last week, with 24/101/1 as a team - to date, the Cowboys have given up 10 rushing scores while ranking 4th in the NFL averaging 87.1 rushing yards allowed per game. They constitute a good, but not great, rush defense.

Barber and Jacobs had good success against the Cowboys last time around the block, but this time OT Luke Petitgout is out due to a broken leg and that makes things tougher for the backs. This looks like a tough matchup for the Giants, who desperately need to win this game if they are going to stay in the hunt in the NFC East.

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

NYG Injuries: none
DAL Injuries: none


New York Giants Rushing Offense vs Dallas Cowboys Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Neither Brandon Jacobs (16/58/0 rushing) or Ahmad Bradshaw (9/37/0 rushing with 2/8/0 receiving) impressed fantasy owners the last time they played Dallas, back in week two. Since then, Bradshaw has sustained a foot/ankle injury that sidelined him last week for the Denver game, while Jacobs was limited to 11/27/0 rushing and 3/30/0 receiving by the Broncos (he hasn't rushed for more than 40 yards in the past two games following the team's week 10 bye, and has just one rushing TD in his last four games played). Danny Ware, who stepped into Bradshaw's change-of-pace role last week, logged 4/27/0 rushing and 1/-4/0 receiving in his appearances vs. Denver.

Dallas has allowed 395 yards rushing in their last four games (~99 yards per game), with 24/124/0 given away to the Raiders on Thanksgiving Day and 20/78/0 allowed to the Redskins two weeks ago. To date, the team is ninth in the NFL averaging 102.7 rushing yards allowed per game, but Dallas has given away just four rushing scores over 11 games. They are stubborn when the field is compressed in the red zone.

The Giants' backs are sputtering as of December, while the Cowboys simply don't give up many points in this phase of the game. That sounds like a tough matchup for the home team in this key NFC East game - advantage, Dallas.

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

NYG Injuries: none
DAL Injuries: none


New York Giants Rushing Offense vs Dallas Cowboys Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Back in week seven, the Giants defeated Washington 27-23 - Ahmad Bradshaw (12/43/1 rushing with 4/22/0 receiving) and Andre Brown (5/17/1 rushing with 1/17/0 receiving) both pushed in TDs during the win, and led the team to 19/64/2 rushing during the game. Unfortunately, Brown broke his led last week, so we're going to see more of Bradshaw and rookie David Wilson going forwards - the team also signed free agents Kregg Lumpkin and Ryan Torain this week in a bid to replace Browns' bruising running style. We'll see how much the coaching staff trusts Wilson vs. the new backs here in week 13. One thing is sure - Bradshaw's contributions are more essential than ever with Brown out. During the 38-10 smack down of Green Bay, Bradshaw posted 10/58/1 rushing and 2/61/0 receiving to go over 100 yards combined.

The Redskins' rush D limited Dallas to 11/35/0 rushing last week, and held Philadelphia to 21/80/0 rushing two weeks ago - they've played well in this phase of the game lately. To date, Washington is ranked third in the league vs. opposing rushers, with an average of 89.2 yards allowed per game, and seven rushing scores given out so far.

The Giants' stable of backs has a tough matchup this week.

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

NYG Injuries: none
DAL Injuries: none


New York Jets Rushing Offense at New England Patriots Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Jets' passing game evaporated in Ford Field on Monday night, leaving Chris Johnson (7/40/0 rushing with 3/22/0 receiving) and Chris Ivory (7/31/0 rushing with 3/7/0) to do their best against a stacked box. Not much went well for the Jets' offense last week, and now flame-out Geno Smith is back under center. Look for more difficulties for the Jets' offense under his 'leadership'.

The Dolphins' rush D is ranked 11th in the NFL in terms of rushing yards allowed per game (104.2), but they are tied for second-least rushing TDs allowed at only five given up. Denver punished this unit for 35/201/1 rushing last week, but Buffalo could only muster 19/54/0 on the ground two weeks ago - usually the Dolphins are closer to 100 than 200 yards allowed in a game.

This looks like a tough matchup for the woeful New York offense.

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

NYJ Injuries: none
NE Injuries: none


Oakland Raiders Rushing Offense at San Diego Chargers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Raiders put up 13/39/2 against the Chargers back in week 6 (12/36/2 for LaMont Jordan) - they didn't tear them up, but Jordan was effective at the goal line. Lately, Jordan has been good to his fantasy owners (especially last week), with 64/197/2 rushing and 19/144/0 receiving (14th best fantasy RB in points per game during that span) - he hit Miami for 23/97/2 rushing and 7/47/0 receiving last week. Jordan has got his mojo going again.

Over the past 3 weeks, the Chargers have coughed up an average of 78 rushing yards per game (2 games), including last week's totals of 33/91/1 allowed to Washington. They are the league's 2nd ranked rush D this year, averaging only 79.3 rushing yards allowed per game, with 9 rushing scores surrendered to date - this squad is one of the better defensive fronts in the league, although they are softer than the elite units at the goal-line.

Jordan cranked up the intensity last week, but he faces a tough challenge from the Chargers this week - he may be limited in the yardage department more than usual. On balance, we think this one looks like a pretty tough matchup.

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

OAK Injuries: none
SD Injuries: none


Oakland Raiders Rushing Offense at San Diego Chargers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

With LaMont Jordan out, Justin Fargas started for the Raiders (14/32/0 rushing with 1/16/0 receiving), but backup RB Reshard Lee was given the short plunge TD (1/1/1) - all told, the Raiders managed 26/84/1 during the game. It wasn't a dominating performance by any stretch of the imagination, but at least there was a threat of running the ball.

The Texans field the league's 17th ranked rush D (averaging 116.3 rushing yards given away per game), with 11 scores handed over to date. Over the past 3 weeks, though, they've averaged 71.6 rushing yards allowed per game. The Jets could only muster 26/27/1 last week - Houston has been stubborn recently.

This looks like a tough matchup for the marginal Oakland attack.

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

OAK Injuries: none
SD Injuries: none


Oakland Raiders Rushing Offense at San Diego Chargers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Though Darren McFadden is getting his foot back in shape (the walking boot came off this week, finally), Michael Bush has been dominant as a replacement starter (84/335/3 rushing with 10 targets for 9/129/0 receiving over the last three weeks), so there is no need to rush McFadden back into action. Raiders head coach Hue Jackson said on Tuesday that there is no timetable yet for the return of McFadden to the lineup. Jackson wants to make sure McFadden is at full strength. 'I think when the player is ready to play I'll know, because he'll be ready to go at full speed and obviously the player you mentioned, Darren, we gotta get his conditioning back first and foremost,' Jackson said. Marcel Reece (9/48/0 rushing with 11 targets for 7/108/0) and Taiwan Jones (9/42/0 rushing with zero receptions the last three weeks) are providing change-of-pace looks for the Raiders. The rushing attack is in good hands with Bush at the forefront.

The Dolphins field one of the stingiest rush D's in the NFL, with a mere three scores given up to date (averaging 97.5 yards rushing allowed per game, seventh in the NFL). Dallas was limited to 23/85/0 rushing last week - Buffalo had 19/41/0 rushing at Miami two weeks ago. Entering December, the Dolphins are stuffing the opposing running backs, friends.

Oakland has a powerful attack, but the Dolphins make things tough for all comers - advantage, Miami.

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

OAK Injuries: none
SD Injuries: none


Oakland Raiders Rushing Offense at San Diego Chargers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson are expected back on the playing field for week 13, just in time to remind weary McFadden owners what might have been this year if only McFadden could have stayed healthy enough to play from week to week. If McFadden can actually play come game time, Marcel Reece will likely slip back into a mostly-pass-catching role from the fullback position - Reece has been admirable as a fill-in for McFadden during the season, with 48/225/0 rushing (4.7 yards per carry) and 41/447/1 receiving, compared to McFadden's 139/455/2 rushing (3.3 yards per tote), with 31/190/0 receiving. We'll see if McFadden's long rest period has improved his health enough to get over 4.0 yards per carry in week 13.

The Browns' rush D averages 118.4 rushing yards allowed per game (19th in the NFL), with nine rushing TDs given up to date. Pittsburgh was limited to 20/49/1 rushing last week in their Charlie-Batch-driven offense, while Dallas managed 21/63/1 rushing vs. Cleveland two weeks ago. Right now, the Browns' rush D is playing pretty well.

McFadden and/or Reece have a tough matchup to deal with here.

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

OAK Injuries: none
SD Injuries: none


Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Since Donovan McNabb went on IR and Mike McMahon has taken the reins of the Eagles' offense, the team has run the football a lot more than they did in weeks past. Brian Westbrook has rushed for 53/269/2 during the last 3 weeks, while hauling in a fairly modest (for him) 13/100/0, including last week's totals of 21/117/1 rushing and 4/11/0 receiving vs. Green Bay. Westbrook has become a more conventional running back with good success, as the numbers show.

Tiki Barber and company put up 29/166/0 rushing against the Seahawks last week - Seattle has averaged 108.6 rushing yards allowed per game this season (13th in the NFL). However, when the Seahawks get their backs to the end-zone, they are very stubborn, with only 3 rushing scores surrendered to date (tied with Chicago's unit for 1st in this category). Yards aren't so hard to come by, but Seattle's prowess in the red-zone makes this unit one of the better defensive fronts in the NFL most of the time.

Westbrook is doing well as the Eagles' featured running back (he averaged 5.6 yards per carry last week), but the hard-nosed Seahawks won't give him a ton of room to roam this week - this is a tougher than usual matchup for Westbrook.

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

PHI Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: none


Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Philly had no problem running the ball at the dawn of the Jeff Garcia era - the team posted 25/149/1 vs. Indianapolis, with 20/124/1 rushing and 7/46/0 receiving for Brian Westbrook (led the team in both categories) and 4/18/0 rushing and 2/26/0 receiving for Correll Buckhalter (2nd on the team in both categories). It appears that the running backs are going to be a big part of what this team does going forward. Westbrook has been a solid #1 for his fantasy owners over the past 3 weeks, with 64/339/1 rushing and 22/129/0 receiving to place 7th among all fantasy RBs in points per game during that span of time.

Carolina couldn't slow down the Redskins last week, allowing 37/143/0 to the Washington backups. They are 14th in the league this year allowing an average of 109.2 rushing yards per game, but have given up only 6 rushing scores to date - over the past 3 weeks, they've coughed up yards at a clip of 81 yards per game. The Washington game was an outlier for Carolina - they've been pretty strong most of the time lately.

Westbrook is a top back, but the Panthers won't make it easy for him to find the end-zone. This looks like a tough matchup for Philly.

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

PHI Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: none


Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Eagles' rushing attack is in serious difficulties entering week 13, with Brian Westbrook missing practice on Monday due to soreness in his injured ankle and knee, and Correll Buckhalter out for a few weeks due to a MCL injury in his knee. Lorenzo Booker may be the last man standing for the Eagles this week (16/32/0 rushing with 5/10/0 receiving to date this season) - this is the week we may see if Booker can fill in for Westbrook or not (he was inactive last week when Buckhalter went down, leaving just Westbrook to carry the ball vs. the physical Ravens).

The Cardinals are among the top-10 rush defenders in the NFL, averaging 89.5 yards allowed per game, with only 8 rushing TDs given up to date. The mighty Giants (without Brandon Jacobs) could only muster 27/87/1 on the ground vs. Arizona last week - these guys are playing very well entering the playoff stretch run.

Whether or not Westbrook can play, this is a tough matchup for the Eagles. If they are down to the unproven Booker on Thanksgiving, mark this down as a bad matchup.

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

PHI Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: none


Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

LeSean McCoy is expected to play on Thursday despite being listed as questionable by the team on Wednesday. He does have a sore toe, though - we'll see if the digit gets aggravated between now and kickoff. McCoy owners will want to keep an eye on his injury status before setting their lineup this week. Last week, McCoy was not his usual explosive self, averaging 3.1 yards per carry with 10/31/1 rushing and 4/30/0 receiving vs. New England. Fantasy owners should be aware that McCoy is riskier-than-usual as a starter this week thanks to the chance of aggravating his toe injury.

Seattle's rush D is pretty good this year, averaging 100.9 yards allowed per game (11th in the NFL) with just six rushing scores surrendered over 11 games. Washington did push in a TD last week, with 29/110/1 rushing, while St. Louis was held to 17/42/0 rushing two weeks ago.

McCoy is trying to play through injury, and the Seahawks are stout - advantage, Seattle.

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

PHI Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: none


Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

LeSean McCoy went into Philadelphia's bye week hot, with 150 yards and two TDs combined vs. Washington (20/77/2 rushing with 4/73/0 receiving). He's the league's fourth-ranked fantasy running back (PPR scoring) through 11 games, with 213/1,009/5 rushing and 34/400/1 receiving to his credit. Start him if you've got him!

The Cardinals do bring a powerful defensive front to Philadelphia, currently ranking second in the NFL averaging 81.3 yards allowed per game, with four TDs given out to date. The Colts were held to 15/80/0 rushing last week, while Jacksonville managed 16/32/1 on the ground two weeks ago.

This is a tough matchup for McCoy, but he's too hot to sit down unless you are truly stacked at running back this season.

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

PHI Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: none


Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Pittsburgh's rushing attack pounded the Bengals into submission back in week 8, gaining 33/160/1 as a team, led by Willie Parker's 22/126/1 rushing (and he also grabbed 2/8/0 receiving). Cincy went down by a count of 24-13 when it was all said and done. This week, the teams square off on Sunday Night Football - hopefully the turf at Heinz Field will be somewhat recovered after the monsoon-like conditions that turned it into a gelatinous mess last Monday, or running the ball will be much more difficult than it was in week 8. In the muck last Monday, Parker gained 24/81/0 rushing and 1/8/0 receiving (the team could only add 3 more yards to Parker's total in 5 more carries, 29/84/0).

The Bengals' rush D has been firmly rooted over the past 3 weeks, giving up 66, 50, and the 61 yards rushing weeks 10-12 (18/61/0 to Tennessee last week). Cincy is playing much better than their season average of 120.5 rushing yards allowed per game would indicate (25th in the NFL). The Bengals seem to have gotten their legs under them in the second half of the season.

The Steelers boast a solid rushing attack, but they are in for a brawl on Sunday night as their divisional rivals appear to be tired of getting pushed around.

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

PIT Injuries: none
CIN Injuries: none


Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Willie Parker could only last 1 half vs. Cincinnati on Thursday night, with 14/37/0 rushing on his tally sheet before "tweaking" his sore knee and taking the 2nd half off. Mewelde Moore led the team in rushing last week, with 15/56/0 and 4/41/0 receiving; Gary Russell picked off a rushing TD (3/5/1) in his short-yardage role, and Ben Roethlisberger also ran for a score (3/13/1). All told, the Steelers compiled 37/121/2 rushing vs. Cincinnati.

The Patriots are currently 13th in the NFL averaging 100.2 rushing yards allowed per game, with 6 rushing TDs given up over 11 contests. They have limited the opposition to 262 rushing yards in their last 3 games (87.3 yards per game on average), and contained the Dolphins' "Wildcat" posse to 19/62/1 last week. Entering this contest, the Patriots are playing very stout rush D.

Parker isn't 100%, and his status for this game is in doubt as of Wednesday according to coach Mike Tomlin - but with Moore's and Russell's help the Steelers field an effective attack even in Parker's absence. However, the Patriots have home field advantage and an solid defensive front to pit against the Steelers - advantage, New England.

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

PIT Injuries: none
CIN Injuries: none


Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Pittsburgh lost to Baltimore by three points in week four's low-scoring affair (14-17) - Rashard Mendenhall put up 25/79/2 rushing (with 2/9/0 receiving) to account for all of the Steelers' six-point plays during the contest. He's been the Steelers' featured back all year, with 238/962/9 rushing and 16/98/0 receiving through 11 games. Mendenhall tore up the Bills' paltry defensive front for 36/151/1 rushing last week (the Steelers put up 45/206/1 as a team, with 5/25/0 rushing from Isaac Redman and 3/12/0 rushing with 4/33/0 receiving from Mewelde Moore when they gave Mendenhall a few snaps off during the game). The Steelers' ground game is going full blast entering December.

The Ravens' rush D is currently ranked 11th in the NFL averaging 101.7 yards allowed per game, and they have given up just five rushing TDs over 11 games. Tampa Bay was held to 26/92/0 rushing last week; Carolina managed 22/120/0 rushing two weeks ago. These guys are quite good, but not in the elite class that Pittsburgh's D claims this season.

Mendenhall and company face a tough matchup at a hated rivals' house on Sunday Night Football - both teams will be 'up' for this game.

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

PIT Injuries: none
CIN Injuries: none


Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Le'Veon Bell had a solid game against the Ravens back in Week seven, with 19/93/0 rushing and 1/6/0 receiving to his credit during the narrow 19-16 victory. All told, the Steelers posted 29/141/0 rushing that day.

Since then, Bell has maintained his status as the Steelers' featured running back, with 23/80/0 rushing and 2/18/0 receiving at Cleveland last week and 18/36/0 rushing and 4/52/0 receiving to his credit vs. Detroit. Bell has the vast majority of carries flowing his way each week, with just peripheral contributions from Felix Jones and Jonathan Dwyer in bit roles on game day.

The Ravens' defensive front is now ranked 11th in the NFL averaging 102.6 yards rushing allowed per game, but they are far-and-away first in TDs allowed, with just one rushing score given up over 11 games played so far. The Jets posted 28/102/0 rushing vs. Baltimore, while two games ago Chicago managed 26/104/0 against Baltimore. This is one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL this year.

Advantage, Baltimore.

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

PIT Injuries: none
CIN Injuries: none


San Diego Chargers Rushing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Ryan Mathews re-injured his hamstring last week, and looks iffy for the game on Sunday as of mid-week. Mathews owners (and Danny Woodhead owners) should keep an eye on Mathews' practice participation in the Footballguys.com's Players in the News as the weekend gets nearer. Woodhead put up 6/25/1 rushing and 4/45/1 receiving last week at Kansas City and remains one of the biggest surprises of the year (checking in at #8 among all fantasy running backs in the PPR paradigm this year, with 70/262/2 rushing and 59/469/5 receiving to his credit). If Mathews can't play Woodhead will probably see a bump in his carries and share some work with Ronnie Brown.

The Bengals' rush defense averages 102 yards allowed per game (10th in the NFL) and has allowed just four rushing scores all year long. Most recently, Cleveland was exactly on pace with 19/102/0 rushing to their credit.

Woodhead has to face a top-ten defense this week - that's a tough matchup in our book.

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

SD Injuries: none
OAK Injuries: none


San Diego Chargers Rushing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Ryan Mathews had his best game vs. Saint Louis, with 12/105/1 rushing and 2/8/0 receiving to his credit - Branden Oliver chipped in with 6/17/0 rushing and 4/23/0 receiving during the contest. It appears that Mathews is finally rounding into 'game shape' and he may be a fantasy force during the stretch run into the playoffs. We'll see if he can build off the solid numbers here in Week 13.

The Ravens' rush D kept New Orleans out of the end zone, but they allowed 21/126/0 rushing to Mark Ingram and company. Two games ago, Tennessee had 22/67/0 rushing to their credit - to date the Ravens have given up just six rushing scores over 11 games played. They rank fifth in the NFL averaging 88.3 rushing yards allowed per game.

Mathews has a tough road trip ahead.

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

SD Injuries: none
OAK Injuries: none


Seattle Seahawks Rushing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Shaun Alexander got back to full speed last week in his second game after returning from injury, posting 40/201/0 against the Packers on Monday Night Football. There's not a whole lot more to say - Alexander looked confident and strong, and shredded an inferior opponent. Now we'll see if he can build on the momentum vs. Denver.

The Broncos don't get pushed around by opposing backs very often, averaging 102.2 rushing yards allowed per game with only 6 rushing TDs given up to date. They did get hammered by Larry Johnson last week for 34/157/1 rushing (1/6/0 receiving), but a lot of teams look bad when Johnson is toting the rock. Look for Al Wilson and Ian Gold to come into this game looking for redemption.

Mile High Stadium is a tough venue for visitors, and the Broncos need to win to keep pace in the AFC Wild-card hunt. Alexander is looking strong, but he'll find this a tough game even at the top of his abilities.

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

SEA Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: none


Seattle Seahawks Rushing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Maurice Morris came to the fore for the Seahawks last week, posting 14/103/0 rushing and 3/10/1 receiving vs. Washington (Julius Jones had 2/21/0 rushing; T.J. Duckett managed just 1/4/0). All told, the Seahawks posted a respectable 20/139/0 on the ground, something they haven't been able to do in many games. The early word this week is that Julius Jones is expected to headline the stable in this contest (against his former team mates), but coach Mike Holmgren has freely swapped between backs all year long, so Jones' continued presence in the lineup will be dependant on how he performs on Thanksgiving.

The Cowboys shut down Frank Gore last week (San Francisco had 15/26/0 rushing as a team), and look like a top-10 rush D again. To date, they rank 10th in the NFL averaging 98.4 rushing yards allowed per game, with 8 rushing TDs handed over in 11 games. Over their 2 most recent games, they've given up just 118 rushing yards.

Morris put in a good effort last week, but Seattle just isn't the offensive powerhouse they used to be. In Texas Stadium, they are likely to struggle vs. the quality Cowboys.

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

SEA Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: none


Seattle Seahawks Rushing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Marshawn Lynch was held under 100 yards rushing for the first time in five games last week, posting 19/46/0 rushing and 2/1/0 receiving at Miami. Given that he'd been over 100 yards rushing in each of the prior four games, we're not panicking here - everybody has an off game once in a while.

The Bears' rush D ranks eighth in the NFL averaging 96.9 rushing yards allowed per game, and they are especially stingy with rushing TDs, having allowed only three this year (second-least rushing TDs allowed in the NFL to date). Even Adrian Peterson didn't score against these guys (20/114/0 rushing for Minnesota last week). Enough said.

Lynch has a very tough matchup ahead.

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

SEA Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: none


Seattle Seahawks Rushing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Seattle and San Francisco are knotted up at 7-4 behind divisional leader Arizona (9-2) - this is the first of two scheduled clashes between these divisional rivals (with profound playoff implications for both), which will go down in Levi's Stadium on Thanksgiving night.

Marshawn Lynch had lingering symptoms of illness that sickened him during the game vs Arizona last week (15/39/0 rushing with 3/43/0 receiving), and may have suffered from a tight back as well. Though he gutted out the contest, it wasn't his finest moment of the 2014 season, as you can see. To date, he is the fourth-ranked fantasy back in the land (PPR scoring), with 192/852/9 rushing and 27/290/3 receiving to his credit - start him if you've got him. Russell Wilson ran for 10/73/0 rushing last week, making it three games in a row he's had more than 70 yards rushing to his credit.

The 49ers rush D gave up 27/136/1 to Washington's Alfred Morris and company last week, after holding the Giants to 21/65/0 on the ground two weeks ago. This season they are usually in between those totals, with an average of 92.9 rushing yards allowed per game (seventh in the NFL) and only six rushing scores given out over 11 contests

In the 49ers house, we give the home team a slight edge in this matchup - advantage, Santa Clara.

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

SEA Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: none


San Francisco 49ers Rushing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The 49ers won their NFC West showdown with Arizona on Monday Night Football 27-6, but they lost Frank Gore for the season due to a broken hip. However, the team picked up an outstanding backup in the offseason, Brian Westbrook, and he proceeded to explode for 23/136/1 rushing during the game. Anthony Dixon was also in the mix last week with 14/54/1 rushing and 1/-5/0 receiving - it looks like Westbrook will take the lead position with Dixon as the change-of-pace back moving forwards for the 49ers.

Green Bay's rush D is fairly generous between the 20's, with a season average of 112.5 yards allowed per game (18th in the NFL), but they get stubborn at the goal line, and have given away just five rushing TDs over 11 contests. Over the last four weeks (three games), the Packers have allowed just 249 yards rushing (83 yards per game on average), with 27/117/1 given up to Atlanta last week and 18/93/0 allotted to Adrian Peterson and the Vikings two weeks ago.

Westbrook looked good against the Cardinals last week, but the Packers' D is a whole different kettle of fish. This looks like a tough matchup for Westbrook and Dixon.

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

SF Injuries: none
ARI Injuries: none


San Francisco 49ers Rushing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Seattle and San Francisco are knotted up at 7-4 behind divisional leader Arizona (9-2) - this is the first of two scheduled clashes between these divisional rivals (with profound playoff implications for both), which will go down in Levi's Stadium on Thanksgiving night.

Frank Gore (13/36/0 rushing vs. Washington) watched Carlos Hyde (7/16/1 rushing) punch in another rushing score last weekend - Hyde is the junior partner in this committee, but he's got twice as many rushing TDs (four) as Gore (two) this season. Hyde has posted 70/255/4 rushing with 8/22/0 receiving in the understudy role this season, while Gore has ground out 171/681/2 rushing with 8/98/1 receiving as the lead back. Neither has been producing featured back numbers in the work-sharing arrangement, much to fantasy owners' chagrin.

The Seahawks' rush D held Arizona to 20/64/0 rushing last week, but got pounded for 30/190/3 rushing at K.C. two weeks ago. To date, the defensive front is ranked sixth in the NFL averaging 88.4 yards rushing allowed per game, with seven rushing scores given up - they are usually a pretty stubborn bunch, the embarrassment at Kansas City standing out as an exception to the rule.

This looks like a tough matchup for the ho-hum stable of fantasy backs that San Francisco fields.

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

SF Injuries: none
ARI Injuries: none


St. Louis Rams Rushing Offense vs Washington Redskins Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Rams snuck up on the 49ers back in week 10, and ended up with a 24 all tie in the divisional game. Steven Jackson had one of his strongest games of the year, with 29/101/1 rushing and 2/26/0 receiving, while Darryl Richardson also ran strongly with 7/58/0 to his credit.

Jackson also had a strong game against the Cardinals last week, with 24/139/0 rushing - head coach Jeff Fisher noted 'Obviously, our run game was a difference in this ballgame.' Rams LT Roger Saffold added after the contest 'It's where he's [Jackson] like, 'OK, I'm gonna take over the game,' Saffold said. 'He says, 'All right, guys, I'm gonna put my big-boy pads on this play.' And after that you see a huge play.'. Though Jackson continues to move the chains, he has only two rushing scores this year (174/724/4 rushing and 16/129/0 receiving). Daryl Richardson posted 7/32/0 rushing in his change-of-pace role last week.

The 49ers' D held Chicago to 28/85/0 rushing two weeks ago, and then kept the Saints to 21/59/0 on the ground last week. They remain one of the toughest rush D's in the land, currently ranking fourth in the NFL averaging 91.1 yards rushing allowed per game, with three rushing scores surrendered to date.

This is a tough matchup for the St. Louis tandem of backs.

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

STL Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: none


St. Louis Rams Rushing Offense vs Washington Redskins Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Rams experienced a nightmare in this phase of the game back on September 26, gaining a mere .9 yards per carry vs. the 49ers (19/18/0) - at home in the Edward Jones Dome. Yikes!

Since then, Zac Stacy has come to forefront for the Rams, and he's provided 12/87/1 rushing with 1/10/0 receiving vs. Chicago last week (but Stacy was concussed and may miss this contest). With Stacy knocked out of action, Benny Cunningham posted 13/109/1 rushing vs. the Bears, and wide receiver Tavon Austin took a reverse to the house last week (1/65/1 rushing). All told, the Rams posted 29/258/3 rushing at Chicago last week. If Stacy can't go this week, Cunningham would likely pick up the slack.

The 49ers limited Alfred Morris and company to 27/100/0 rushing last week, and held New Orleans to 23/92/1 on the ground two weeks ago - they are currently ranked 12th in the NFL averaging 103.5 rushing yards allowed per game, with nine rushing scores handed over to date. The 49ers have been right around that respectable pace of late.

The Rams have a tough matchup ahead when they travel to San Francisco on Sunday.

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

STL Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: none


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Offense at New Orleans Saints Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Back in week 2, the Tampa running back stable was headlined by Carnell Williams, with Michael Pittman as the change of pace back. Many injuries later, Williams is out for the season and Pittman is struggling to get back on the field due to a nagging ankle injury. The Tampa Bay rushing totals from week 2 won't tell us much about this weeks' matchup in this instance.

Ernest Graham has become the Buc's starter by default, and he's done a workmanlike job in the role, with 72/301/3 rushing and 5/28/0 receiving over the past 3 contests (7th fantasy RB in the land in points per game during the last 4 weeks). He's score 1 TD in each of his last 3 games, and posted 21/75/1 rushing and 2/9/0 receiving vs. the Redskins last week. He's carrying the load well.

The Saints are tied for 9th in the NFL averaging 95.8 rushing yards allowed per game, and have handed over 5 rushing TDs to date (on the low end of the NFL scale from 2 allowed by Pittsburgh so far to 18 allowed by the Raiders). They've been up and down over the last 3 weeks, with 133, 103, and 43 rushing yards allowed from week 10-12 (Carolina could only manage 18/43/0 on the ground last week). The run defense is much better than the Saints' secondary.

Graham is powering through the opposition right now, but in the Saints' house on Sunday he'll face some stiff opposition.

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

TB Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Offense at New Orleans Saints Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

LeGarrette Blount was limited to 14/36/0 rushing at the Georgia Dome in week nine, while Cadillac Williams crept to 8/13/0 rushing with 1/9/0 receiving during the contest. The Falcons kept the Buccaneers' backs under wraps during their first grudge match of 2010. Blount has seen the majority of the carries in the three weeks since the contest at Atlanta, with mixed results - he was held to 13/55/0 by the Ravens last week and only managed 82 yards on 26 carries two weeks ago at San Francisco. Cadillac Williams has been productive in the change-of-pace role, with at least 58 combined yards in each of the last three games (and rushing TDs in two of the last three), but was limited as a rusher at Baltimore (4/19/0 rushing with 5/41/0 receiving). Put together, Blount and Williams form a respectable, but not overwhelming, ground game for the Buccaneers. However, neither has been a top-flight fantasy RB over the past four weeks: Blount is out of the top forty (PPR format) with 71/274/1 rushing while Williams is in the RB#3 range with 24/145/2 rushing and 9/80/0 receiving to his credit.

The Falcons' rush D is currently ranked sixth in the NFL averaging 93.7 yards given up per game, and they've only allowed four rushing TDs over 11 contests. Green Bay managed 23/77/1 rushing last week; Steven Jackson and company were held to 12/71/0 rushing two weeks ago. As you can see, the Falcons' rush D is hitting their top form entering the playoff run - the team has given up 360 yards rushing in their last four games (90 yards per contest, on average). Any way you slice it, this is a hard-nosed defensive front, folks.

Tampa has elevated their ground game to a mediocre level with the injection of Blount into the lineup - against their divisional rivals in a key NFC South contest this week, the matchup appears as if a tough battle is ahead for the Buccaneers.

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

TB Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Offense at New Orleans Saints Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Doug Martin has been a fantasy monster since the midpoint of the season (week eight), with 118/642/7 rushing and 16/187/1 receiving from week eight - 12. Wow. Last week, he posted 21/50/2 rushing and had 2/13/0 receiving - even though the yards per carry weren't what we're used to seeing from him, he still put his 23 touches to good use with two TDs scored. Start him if you've got him.

The Broncos average 98.7 yards rushing allowed per game (ninth in the NFL), with just five rushing TDs given up to date. Last week, K.C. managed 31/148/0 rushing, while San Diego was held to 23/53/0 rushing at Denver two weeks ago. Usually, teams don't crack 100 yards rushing against the Broncos.

This is a tougher-than-usual matchup for Martin, but he's still your fantasy starter even when visiting tough Mile High Stadium.

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

TB Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none


Tennessee Titans Rushing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Tennessee compiled 19/109/0 rushing vs. the Colts the last time these teams met, but none of the backs had a solid outing individually (Chris Brown piled up 10/31/0 rushing and 2/17/0 receiving in the featured role, but McNair (4/40/0) and Jarret Payton (4/37/0) outgained Brown on the ground that day). There wasn't much in the way of fantasy points to be had back in week 4. Last week, Tennessee employed a tandem of backs, handing off to Travis Henry for 13/86/0 (1/14/0 receiving) and Chris Brown for 10/30/0 (he hauled in 3/105/1 receiving, though). We'll see how the work-load is split this week, but if it continues to be 50-50 between Brown and Henry it's unlikely that either will have a lot of fantasy potential moving forward. Stay tuned...

The Colts limited the Steelers to 25/86/0 on the ground last week, and have averaged 111 rushing yards allowed per game over the most recent 3 weeks. The team ranks 10th (tie) in the NFL averaging 102.5 rushing yards allowed per game this season with only 5 rushing scores given up to date. These guys are very tough more often than not.

Tennessee is a divisional rival, and they have to visit the raucous RCA Dome for this game. Indianapolis owned these guys the first time around the block - this looks like a tough matchup for the Titans' committee of backs.

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

TEN Injuries: none
IND Injuries: none


Tennessee Titans Rushing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Tennessee destroyed Jacksonville 30-3 back in week six, with 26/111/1 rushing and 2/20/0 receiving contributed to the team effort by Chris Johnson. At the end of the game the Titans had 39/153/1 rushing vs. the porous Jaguars' defensive front. However, since week six the Titans' offense has been degraded severely due to injuries to Vince Young, Kerry Collins and Kenny Britt, which they have unsuccessfully tried to address by bringing in much-traveled Randy Moss (4 catches for 49 yards in three games) - they were also forced to start raw rookie Rusty Smith last week - he had 17/31 for 138 yards, zero TDs and three interceptions in his first start of the year. With little-to-no credible threat from the passing game, Houston sat on the line of scrimmage and stuffed Chris Johnson all day long last week (7/5/0 rushing with 2/2/0 receiving) - the Titans managed 12/24/0 rushing as a team, led by Javon Ringer's 4/27/0 as they held the ball for only 20:19 during the contest. It's ugly for the Titans right now, and though Kerry Collins is said to be improving, it's far from a lock that he'll be able to play this week.

The Jaguars' rush D is currently 20th in the NFL averaging 114.3 yards allowed per game, with 12 rushing TDs given up to date. However, they've only allowed 304 yards rushing in their last three games (101.3 per contest), though New York managed 26/135/0 rushing last week after the Jaguars held Peyton Hillis and the Browns to 26/88/0 two weeks ago. In short, the Jaguars' rush D is a mediocre bunch that has swung from a solid performance two weeks ago to a disappointing showing last week.

Even a mediocre rush D can take advantage of the Titan's injury woes - if Smith starts again this week, this is a tough matchup for Johnson and company. If Collins can go and stay in the lineup, it improves to a neutral scenario.

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

TEN Injuries: none
IND Injuries: none


Tennessee Titans Rushing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Houston blew Tennessee out 38-14 back in week four, but Chris Johnson got on track during the contest with 25/141/0 rushing and 2/16/0 receiving. Since that loss, Johnson has built up strong momentum, and enters this game with 191/942/4 rushing and 26/175/0 receiving so far this year, with 21/80/0 rushing and 2/29/0 receiving last week. 'We struggled all day to score points and had to settle for field goals when we could have done much better than that,' Titans coach Mike Munchak said. 'When you do that in this league, it ends up costing you. We just missed way too many opportunities to put points on the board.' As you can see, the relatively-low total of four rushing TDs is the damper on Johnson's fantasy value - it's why he's at 11th among all fantasy running backs to date.

The Texans have only allowed two rushing scores all year (first in the NFL) and average 87.5 yards rushing allowed per game (second in the NFL). Detroit did push in the two rushing scores last week (23/106/2), but it's hardly time to panic over the Texans' rush D - this remains one of the best units in the entire league.

Advantage, Texans.

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

TEN Injuries: none
IND Injuries: none


Washington Redskins Rushing Offense at St. Louis Rams Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Without Clinton Portis, LaDell Betts posted 24/104/0 rushing and 2/4/0 receiving to lead the team to 37/143/0 against the Panthers' tough defensive front. Rarely-used T.J. Duckett chipped in with 7/24/0 and looks like he'll find a role in the attack now that there is room on the active roster for him. We'll see how the workload shakes out as the team navigates the final weeks of regular season - Betts figures to be the "featured" guy, but just how featured remains to be seen.

The Falcons' rush D gave up 25/95/2 to the Saints last week, and has averaged 96.3 rushing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks. Their season average is 98.2 rushing yards allowed per game (9th in the NFL), but they have handed over 11 rushing scores to date - this is an above average but not dominant unit.

At FedEx Field, we think this game shapes up as a tough matchup for the home team - they'll have to fight hard to find enough room to roam.

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

WAS Injuries: none
STL Injuries: none


Washington Redskins Rushing Offense at St. Louis Rams Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Giants held Clinton Portis (23/84/0) and LaDell Betts (1/0/0) to 84 yards on the ground back in week 1 - 11 games later, the Giants average 84.8 rushing yards allowed per game (6th best rush D in the NFL). Last week, the Giants gave up a mere 15/23 rushing to the Cardinals, but Tim Hightower did stuff in 2 rushing TDs vs. the Giants - that brings their season total of TDs allowed to 6. Most of the time, it isn't easy to run the ball against Big Blue.

The Redskins got a strong game from Clinton Portis (29/143/0 rushing with 2/16/0 receiving) last week despite his sore knee (he also strained a rib-cage muscle during the game, but kept in the action). LaDell Betts got his first TD of the season vs. the Seahawks, with 5/7/1, and Jason Campbell scrambled for 6/32/0. All told, the Redskins ran for 41/187/1 last week. Portis just keeps racking up fantasy points despite his aches and pains. In an unsurprising move, the Redskins released former NFL-MVP Shaun Alexander after having him on the team for 4 games (11 carries) - he wasn't providing much insurance at the RB position as he was totally ineffective in his short appearances on the field.

The Giants contained the Redskins the last time these divisional rivals clashed, and they haven't become more generous since week 1. Despite having home field advantage at their backs, this looks like a tough matchup for the Redskin's backs.

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

WAS Injuries: none
STL Injuries: none


Washington Redskins Rushing Offense at St. Louis Rams Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Alfred Morris was hampered by the outstanding 49ers defense last week, and finished the game with 14/52/0 rushing. His compatriots Roy Helu (7/26/0 rushing with 1/7/0 receiving) and Robert Griffin III (6/22/0) all suffered from the lack of red zone opportunities during the game (Washington only scored field goals last week). There is no denying that the Washington offense regressed in their game vs. San Francisco.

The Giants' D hasn't given up much ground in this phase of the game during 2013, with an average of 98.8 yards allowed per game, with seven TDs handed over to date. Dallas had 20/107/0 rushing vs. New York last week, while Green Bay had 20/55/1 to their credit at New York two weeks ago.

This is a tougher-than-usual matchup for Morris and company.

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

WAS Injuries: none
STL Injuries: none


Arizona Cardinals Rushing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Cardinals rushed the ball 15 times for a season-low 23 yards last week vs. the Giants. Arizona is now dead last in the NFL averaging 3.3 rushing yards per carry - there is a reason the team relies on Kurt Warner to win their games for them. Tim Hightower (11/21/2 rushing) came close to breaking one attempt for a long gain, but got his feet tangled with a team mate and went down in a heap. "I have to pick my feet up," Hightower said after the game. "I got to get better at that." The most effective player moving the ball in the stable last week was J.J. Arrington, who posted 5/38/0 receiving out of the back field. Edgerrin James handled the ball once for -1 yard rushing.

To date, the Eagles are 11th in the NFL averaging 99.7 rushing yards allowed per game, with only 6 rushing TDs given up to date, but last week circumstances worked against the D.

The weakest rushing attack in the NFL faces a top-12 rush D this week, in the D's house - advantage, Eagles.

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

ARI Injuries: none
SF Injuries: none


Arizona Cardinals Rushing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Over the last four weeks, Chris Wells and Tim Hightower have combined to create a powerful rushing attack for the Cardinals. For fantasy owners, the split duties have resulted in less-than-stellar results, with 51/251/3 rushing and 5/64/0 receiving for Wells (26th-best fantasy RB in the land), and 50/279/1 rushing with 11/70/0 receiving for Hightower (28th-best fantasy RB in the land). Last week, against Tennessee, Hightower led the team in rushing with 11/55/1 (3/23/0 receiving), while Wells posted 8/20/0 rushing and 1/21/0 receiving. All told, the Cardinals had 20/75/1 rushing as a team vs. the Titans.

The Bears managed just 11/43/0 rushing vs. Minnesota last week - the Vikings have only allowed three rushing TDs all year long, and currently average just 81.6 rushing yards allowed per game (2nd-ranked rush D in the land as of week 12). Over the past four weeks, the Vikings have held their last three opponents to a total of 140 yards rushing (46.6 yards rushing allowed per game, on average).

Wells and Hightower have given the Cardinals a credible threat to run the football this year, but they face a bad matchup this week when the Vikings come calling.

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

ARI Injuries: none
SF Injuries: none


Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Chris Perry experiment was just starting back in week 1, when the Bengals ran for 24/70/0 as a team - since then, they have the least number of rushing TDs in the league, with just 4 scored in 11 outings. Perry is now Cedric Benson's backup (Benson has managed 39/77/0 rushing and 7/41/0 receiving over the last 3 weeks (2 games)). Benson had 16/35/0 rushing and 1/4/0 receiving vs. the Steelers' #1 rush D last Thursday. He's eked out 39/77/0 rushing and 7/41/0 receiving over the last 3 weeks (2 games) for the Bengals.

The Ravens are #4 in the NFL vs. opposing rushers, averaging just 80.2 yards allowed per game, with only 3 rushing TDs given up in 11 contests. Brian Westbrook (14/39/0) led the Eagles to 21/86/0 against the Ravens last week - Baltimore got back to business as usual after their spanking by the Giants 2 weeks ago.

Benson's rushing attack isn't in the same class as Westbrook, let alone the Giants'. Against quality units, the Bengals struggle - look for more of the same this week vs. Baltimore.

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

CIN Injuries: none
PIT Injuries: none


Cleveland Browns Rushing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Reuben Droughns was relegated to spot duty and special teams last week, partially due to his nagging foot injury and partly due to Jason Wright playing well vs. Pittsburgh. When asked on Tuesday if Droughns would return to the starting job once his foot is healthy, coach Crennel answered "When his foot heals, we'll see if that's the case." With Wright sputtering against the Bengals (5/12/0) and Jerome Harrison only toting the ball 3 times (3/18/0) vs. Droughns' two carries (2/4/0), the starting RB job in Cleveland appears to be up in the air. The Browns are 31st in the NFL this year averaging 3.3 yards per carry - whoever comes out on top will have a tough time finding room to run behind their patchwork offensive line. Stay tuned to our Players in the News this week to see who appears to be leading the pack for the top job in Cleveland.

The Chiefs stuffed the Broncos last week (16/38/0), but have averaged 96 rushing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks - usually, they aren't quite so impenetrable. The team averages 108.6 rushing yards allowed per game (13th in the NFL) with 7 rushing scores allowed to date - they are a solid but not a shut-down type unit most of the time.

This is a bad matchup for the sputtering Browns.

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

CLE Injuries: none
JAX Injuries: none


Cleveland Browns Rushing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Peyton Hillis (finally) stepped back in as the featured back for Cleveland during week 12, and he started to knock of the rust as the game went along, eventually compiling 19/65/0 rushing with 2/-4/0 receiving. His backup Montario Hardesty re-injured his sore calf during warmups, so spot starter Chris Ogbonnaya did a little change-of-pace duty at Cincinnati with 3/16/0 rushing and 1/4/0 receiving. All told, the Browns posted 30/134/0 rushing at Cincinnati. Hillis commented on his performance after the game, saying 'It's tough when you don't know how things are going to go until you get in the rhythm of things,' Hillis said. 'Things started going well toward the middle of the game and toward the end. I expect big things. I expect to progress and I'm looking forward to next week.'

However, don't get too excited fantasy owners, as this week Hillis and company have the dubious pleasure of a visit from their divisional rivals from Baltimore. The Ravens are ranked third in the NFL this year, with an average of 91.5 rushing yards allowed per game, and they have given up just six rushing scores over 11 contests. Frank Gore and company put up 21/74/0 rushing at Baltimore last week - the Bengals surprised us with 30/119/2 rushing there two weeks ago. Most of the time, opposing teams see a result more like the 49ers when they face the Ravens' D. However, it looks like MLB Ray Lewis may miss this game due to his ongoing turf toe issue, which will soften up the defensive front a tad. Owners of Hillis will want to monitor Lewis' progress in practices this week (as well as Hillis' - just in case he has a set-back with that sore hamstring).

This looks like another tough week for Hillis' long-suffering fantasy owners.

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

CLE Injuries: none
JAX Injuries: none


Detroit Lions Rushing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Kevin Smith did the best he could given the offensive collapse last week, posting 18/43/0 rushing and 4/46/0 receiving vs. the surging Green Bay defense. He's compiled 55/210/0 rushing and 13/169/1 receiving over the past four weeks to land at 23rd among all fantasy RBs in points per game (PPR format) - he's simply not going to get much higher up the slate until the rest of the team around him improves enough to afford Smith more scoring opportunities.

The Bengals field the league's third-ranked rush D, averaging just 81.9 rushing yards allowed per game, with only five rushing scores given up to date. They held the Browns to 18/58/1 rushing last week, and limited the Raiders to 24/92/0 two weeks ago. The team has given up 285 yards rushing in their last four games (71.3 yards per contest on average).

This looks like a bad week to give Smith a whirl if you can find better options on your roster. Both phases of this game look ugly for the Lions, which will most likely limit Smith's receiving yardage this week, too.

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

DET Injuries: none
MIN Injuries: none


Detroit Lions Rushing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Jahvid Best scored two TDs vs. the Bears in week one (14/20/2 rushing with 5/16/0 receiving), but he's been hampered by turf toe injuries and a shoulder issue - entering week 13, Maurice Morris is the lead back in Detroit. He put up a big game last week, with 9/55/2 rushing and 5/20/0 receiving after managing 10/31/0 rushing and 4/40/0 receiving at Dallas two weeks ago. Morris is the guy to have out of Detroit's backfield these days.

The Bears' rush D has been formidable of late, with just 260 yards given up over their past four games (65 yards allowed per game, on a par with top-ranked Pittsburgh's numbers for the 2010 season). The high-octane Eagles managed 22/105/0 rushing last week, while Miami could only eke out 13/39/0 two weeks ago - the Bears are now second in the NFL this year averaging 80.5 rushing yards allowed per game, with nine rushing TDs handed over earlier this year (lately they aren't giving up any).

This is a bad matchup for Morris and company.

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

DET Injuries: none
MIN Injuries: none


Green Bay Packers Rushing Offense at Chicago Bears Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Samkon Gado resumed the featured role last week (Tony Fisher had as much trouble holding onto the ball as Gado had in weeks past early in the game - and Gado has more upside as a featured runner than Fisher), posting 26/111/1 rushing and 1/11/0 receiving to Fisher's 2/9/0 rushing (3/33/0 receiving). So far this season, Gado has averaged 3.3 yards per carry, but he did much better than that last week, pacing at 4.3 yards per tote - he had a long of 33 yards. Gado is inexperienced, but he's the best option the Packers have at this point - we expect to see him somewhere in the mid-20's in touches again this week.

Chicago was unusually generous with the Tampa Bay backs last week, surrendering 25/107/1 during the game. Considering that they average 92.6 rushing yards allowed per game this season, with only 3 rushing TDs allowed to date, Tampa did exceptionally well. Over the past 3 weeks, the Bears average 104 rushing yards allowed per game, but have given up exactly 1 TD (rushing or receiving) during that span. This group is one of the elite defenses in the NFL.

Gado is still learning the ropes as a starting RB in this league, and his OL hasn't run-blocked well this year (Green Bay ranks 31st in the NFL this season averaging 3.1 yards per carry) - on the other side of the line of scrimmage an elite rush D will be waiting to swallow up Gado. This one looks like a bad matchup for Green Bay (the Bears have home-field advantage on top of everything else).

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

GB Injuries: none
CHI Injuries: none


Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Offense vs Denver Broncos Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

With Tyler Palko throwing six interceptions and zero TDs in the last two games, the Chiefs' backs have been attempting to spark the attack from a three-man platoon, with few results. Thomas Jones (21/85/0 rushing, with one target for 1/7/0), Dexter McCluster (17/67/0 rushing with four targets for 4/20/0) and Jackie Battle (17/53/0 rushing with two targets for 1/3/0 receiving) have pretty much evenly split the load, making all three worthless as fantasy options. Look for more committee work going forwards.

The Bears' rush D is eighth in the NFL this year, averaging 98.6 yards allowed per game, with seven rushing scores allowed over 11 contests. Oakland's Michael Bush and company were held to 27/73/1 rushing last week; the Chargers' backs could only muster 17/52/0 two weeks ago. This unit is playing very stout rush D entering the final month of the season.

This is a bad matchup for the trio of Kansas City backs.

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

KC Injuries: none
DEN Injuries: none


Miami Dolphins Rushing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

This is the first clash of the year between these AFC East rivals - with Daniel Thomas suffering a serious ankle injury last week, Lamar Miller now has a shot to be the true 'featured' back for the Dolphins. Against the hard-nosed Panthers last week, he eked out 10/8/0 rushing, but added 4/39/0 receiving. The Dolphins' offensive line has averaged 4.1 yards per carry this season, but has been less effective since the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito controversy engulfed the big guys up front.

The Jets won't give Miller much room this week - they are the top rush D in the NFL averaging just 72.6 yards allowed per game, with six rushing scores surrendered to date. They smothered the Ravens' backs last week (31/67/0) and held Buffalo to 38/68/1 two games ago. It isn't easy to run the ball when the Jets are in town.

This week, Miller has a bad matchup to deal with at MetLife Stadium.

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

MIA Injuries: none
BUF Injuries: none


Oakland Raiders Rushing Offense at San Diego Chargers Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Oakland's rushing attack has trickled to a near-halt over the third quarter of the season in fantasy terms - Justin Fargas has been the top back on the attack with 30/136/1 rushing and 3/21/0 receiving over the last four weeks (three games) - he lands at #42 among all fantasy backs with those numbers (PPR format) for the stated period. Michael Bush (21/154/0 rushing and 2/10/0 receiving) and Darren McFadden (16/59/0 rushing with 7/53/0 receiving) are cheek-by-jowl at #53 and #54 on the RB board during that four week span. Last week, Fargas led the team in rushing with 12/63/0 (1/4/0 receiving), while McFadden compiled 6/23/0 rushing and 4/43/0 receiving during the 7-24 loss to Dallas. There simply aren't a lot of fantasy points to be had here, folks.

The above should be doubly true this week as the Raiders face Pittsburgh's number one-ranked rush D in Heinz Field on Sunday (the team averages 74.9 rushing yards allowed per game). The Steelers also lead the league (tied with three other teams) with only three rushing TDs given up this year. Baltimore did manage 29/132/1 rushing in their win over Pittsburgh, but even with that game on the books the Steelers have given up just 288 rushing yards over the last four weeks (an average of 72 rushing yards per game). These guys are extremely stubborn rush defenders.

Oakland's attack is losing steam and faces the best rush D in the land on Sunday - that's a bad matchup, folks.

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

OAK Injuries: none
SD Injuries: none


Oakland Raiders Rushing Offense at San Diego Chargers Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Back in week five, Darren McFadden was still sidelined due to injury, so the Chargers turned to Michael Bush vs. San Diego - Bush posted 26/104/1 rushing with 3/31/0 during the Raiders' 35-27 victory. Though McFadden is back in the active lineup, he still doesn't seem to be right - he's bumbled to 8/2/0 rushing (with 7/63/0 receiving) vs. Miami and posted 10/14/0 rushing with 2/16/0 receiving at Pittsburgh in his last two games - there are rumbles out of Oakland that the coaching staff is concerned that his running style has deteriorated since the start of the season. Michael Bush managed 4/33/0 rushing with 2/18/0 receiving at Pittsburgh and had 1/1/0 rushing vs. Miami last week - neither guy is a reliable, fantasy-quality starter right now.

The Chargers have broken out of their early-season swoon to knock off Denver (35-14) and Indianapolis (36-14) in the last two weeks - Indianapolis could only muster 13/24/0 rushing vs. the Chargers last week, while Denver managed 15/63/1 two weeks ago - San Diego has given away just 227 yards rushing in their last three contests. They enter week 13 ranked second in the NFL averaging 81.1 yards rushing allowed per game, with eight TDs given up over 11 contests.

The Raiders' backs have wilted as the year went along, while the Chargers' D has been stout in this phase all year and absolutely stone-walled the Colts last week. This is a bad matchup for the Raiders despite their earlier success vs. San Diego.

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

OAK Injuries: none
SD Injuries: none


St. Louis Rams Rushing Offense vs Washington Redskins Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

"Execution? Terrible. Tackling? Terrible. You can't get the pre-snap penalties, and you've got to take care of the football." - Coach Jim Haslett on the current state of the Rams.

Filling in for Steven Jackson, Antonio Pittman and Kenneth Darby generated a mere 18 yards on 16 carries. The Rams finished the game with a total of 14 rushing yards, giving fantasy owners invested in the Rams' rushing attack more anxiety than usual. Darby managed 3/29/0 receiving; Pittman eked out an additional 11 yards through the air. Considering that St. Louis has scored 3 points in 2 of their last 3 games, none of their players look very attractive from a fantasy point of view. While OT Orlando Pace may practice and "test" his sore knee on Wednesday, the Rams went down another offensive lineman when C Nick Leckey broke a bone in his foot on Sunday and was placed on IR earlier this week - the picture just keeps getting grimmer and grimmer for the Rams, although Steven Jackson is said to be practicing strongly since Saturday and may return to face Miami.

However, Jackson isn't likely to be a cure-all for what ails the Rams against the top-10 Miami rush D. They average just 94.1 yards allowed per game this year, with 8 rushing TDs given up over 11 contests - New England did push in 3 rushing scores against the Dolphins last week (25/122/3), but that is very atypical for this group who have allowed only 318 rushing yards in the last 3 weeks including the 122 put up by New England. It isn't easy to push around the Dolphins.

The Rams' OL is battered and depleted, and their best QB, Marc Bulger, was concussed last week and is iffy to play this week, which (if he's out) would allow Miami to further concentrate on the run - this looks like a bad matchup for the Rams.

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

STL Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: none


St. Louis Rams Rushing Offense vs Washington Redskins Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Steven Jackson's spurt of TDs against the Saints back on 10/30/11 was his last scoring outburst, and during the final two weeks of November he hasn't managed to get near 100 yards combined, with 17/64/0 rushing and 3/14/0 receiving in the loss vs. Arizona and 15/42/0 rushing with 3/19/0 receiving vs. Seattle to close out the month. He's mired in (another) funk, friends. Playing for a perennial loser does that to a guy.

The 49ers rush D is the best in the NFL this year, having given up zero TDs to opposing backs to date, while averaging a league-best 75.5 yards allowed per game. Even the mighty Ray Rice was limited to 21/59/0 rushing with 3/24/0 receiving last week (Baltimore managed 35/92/0 rushing all told vs. San Francisco).

Jackson has a bad matchup at San Francisco this week.

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

STL Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: none


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Offense at New Orleans Saints Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Mike James was leading the Buccaneers' rushing attack back on October 24, and now they are on their third starting running back of the season, Bobby Rainey, so looking back at the rushing stats from Week eight won't tell us much about this matchup.

Rainey surprised the Falcons two games ago with 30/163/2 rushing and 2/4/1 receiving, while he crashed and burned last week at Detroit (18/35/0 rushing). Brian Leonard had a quiet outing vs. Detroit (1/3/0 rushing with 1/3/0 receiving), but given the scarcity of every-down running backs in the NFL today, Leonard should see an increase in his touches against the Panthers' top-shelf rush D.

Speaking of the Panthers' defensive front, Carolina is third in the NFL averaging 81.3 yards rushing allowed per game, with just three rushing scores given away this season. Miami was held to 17/52/0 rushing last week; New England manged 25/107/1.

This is a bad matchup for Rainey and Leonard, especially since they have to go into Carolina's house for this game.

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

TB Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Offense at New Orleans Saints Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Tampa's running back stable is a fantasy nightmare of many cooks in one kitchen. Last week, Doug Martin nominally started (11/27/0 rushing with 1/4/0 receiving), but nobody in the stable got over 40 yards combined (Charles Sims had 6/22/0 rushing and 2/11/0 receiving; Bobby Rainy posted 1/3/0 rushing with 4/18/0 receiving). This is a situation to stay far away from if you are a fantasy owner.

The Bengals' rush D has allowed 19/64/0 to the Texans and 26/75/0 to the Saints over the last two weeks - after a rash of injuries caused problems early in the second half of the season, the Bengals have regrouped and returned to stout defense during November. Right now they are playing stout rush D, folks.

This is a bad matchup for the Buccaneers' bevy of backs.

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

TB Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none




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