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  Passing Matchups  

Week 16 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.


Carolina Panthers Rushing Offense vs Dallas Cowboys Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Carolina's DeShaun Foster headlined the rushing attack last week, with 21/75/0 rushing and 2/9/0 receiving - he wasn't in on every down, but he got 20+ touches and we expect him to continue in that role this week. Nick Goings is the power/change of pace back now that Stephen Davis is on IR, with 16/56/0 rushing and 2/36/0 receiving - Foster and Goings combine for an effective 1-2 punch. Unfortunately, neither one is throwing down explosive fantasy numbers at the moment, but the opportunity is there, especially for Foster.

Dallas' defense has been horrible over the last 3 weeks, giving up 1104 total yards in that span (368 yards per game), and 10 TDs (rushing and receiving). During that miserable span, they've averaged 153 rushing yards allowed per game, including the 40/171/1 that Washington slapped down on them last week. Forget their season average - Dallas' defense is in a terminal tail-spin.

This is a great matchup for the Panthers' backs.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte calls for a high of 55F and a low of 43F with a 20% chance of precipitation. It sounds like a great day for football is on tap in the Carolinas this weekend.

CAR Injuries: RB DeShaun Foster (Probable), RB Brad Hoover (Probable)
DAL Injuries: DB Anthony Henry (Probable)


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

Chicago's Thomas Jones led the charge vs. Green Bay back in week 13, with 19/93/0 on the ground (Chicago piled up 31/141/0 rushing that day). Coming into this game, the Bears will have a more lively passing game for Green Bay to worry about with Grossman under center - there may be even more room for Jones to roam this time around. He's racked up 60/256/2 rushing and 5/26/0 receiving over the past 3 weeks, including last week's totals of 27/91/1 rushing and 1/3/0 receiving.

Green Bay, on the other hand, has allowed 150 yards rushing per game over the last 3 weeks, and coughed up 38/182/2 last week to a Baltimore squad that couldn't beg, borrow or steal a 100 yard rushing game for most of the season. They stink.

Advantage, Chicago.

Weather: The forecast for Lambeau Field calls for a high of 31F and a low of 24F with a 30% chance for wind/rain/snow. This game is scheduled for a 5 PM start, so the temperatures will rapidly fall towards the low end of the range, and the wind chill usually makes things feel even colder. Playing in such cold temperatures isn't optimum for the passing game - if the wind kicks up, it will be even worse for Grossman and Favre. Owners of Bears and Packers will want to check a short-term forecast to see what wind conditions are likely to be at game-time.

CHI Injuries: RB Bryan Johnson (Questionable), RB Cedric Benson (Questionable), WR Muhsin Muhammad (Probable)
GB Injuries: LB Robert Thomas (Questionable), DB Nick Collins (Probable)


Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Rudi Johnson has exploded in the waning weeks of 2005, with 75/384/5 rushing and 5/30/0 receiving during the past 3 weeks (3rd best fantasy RB in the land during that stretch) - he slapped down 24/117/2 rushing (32/155/2 as a team for Cincinnati) vs. Detroit last week. Johnsons' on a roll - he should be a starter if you have him rostered. That's doubly true this week, as Buffalo's awful rush D comes to town this week.

How bad are the Bills in this phase of the game? Well, they are dead last in the NFL allowing an average of 144.3 rushing yards per game to date, and they are tied for dead last in the NFL with 20 rushing TDs surrendered to date. Over the past 3 weeks, they've coughed up 136.6 rushing yards per game and a league-worst 11 TDs (rushing and receiving). Last week, Denver battered them for 37/178/2 on the ground. That's how bad they are.

Johnson's owners should be very happy with him this week.

Weather: The forecast for Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati calls for a high of 46F with a low of 34F and a 50% chance for precipitation - the moisture could fall as rain, sleet or snow in those conditions. Footing and ball handling will suffer for both teams if things get really wet around game time. Owners of Bengals and Bills will want to look at a short-term forecast for Cincinnati at the end of the week when deciding on their lineups.

CIN Injuries: RB Chris Perry (Out), WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Probable), TE Reggie Kelly (Questionable)
BUF Injuries: none


Denver Broncos Rushing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Mike Anderson (17/65/1 rushing) and Tatum Bell (16/44/0 rushing and 3/15/0 receiving) helped power the Broncos to 38/121/1 back in week 10, leading to a Denver victory (31-17). Since then, Denver has become a steadfast running-back-by-committee club, as they showed us last week when Anderson put up 21/97/2 rushing and 1/4/0 receiving, while Bell saw 12/49/0 and 1/9/0 receiving. Anderson is the guy in the red zone, obviously - his scoring runs were of 6 and 11 yards last week.

Oakland's rush D is subpar this year, allowing an average of 120.3 yards per contest (23rd in the NFL), with 14 rushing scores given up to date. They've been right on that pace lately, averaging 127 rushing yards allowed per game over the last 3 weeks, with 25/71/0 handed over to the Browns. Usually, the Raiders are more giving than they were last week.

Look for Anderson and Bell to take advantage of the Raiders' giving, holiday spirit in this phase of the game on Christmas Eve.

Weather: Mile High stadium should see a high of 54F and a low of 36F on Saturday, with a 0% chance for precipitation. Wind is almost always some sort of factor in this venue at this time of year - owners of Raiders and Broncos will want to check a short term forecast to eyeball probable wind conditions before setting their lineups.

DEN Injuries: RB Kyle Johnson (Probable)
OAK Injuries: LB Danny Clark (Probable), DB Fabian Washington (Probable), DB Charles Woodson (Out)


Detroit Lions Rushing Offense at New Orleans Saints Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

With Kevin Jones sidelined due to an elbow injury, Artose Pinner became the team's feaured back last week. He put up 15/55/0 rushing and 3/18/0 receiving in his chances - not terrible production, considering how little the team could do while Jeff Garcia was under center, but not much in fantasy terms, either. Shawn Bryson was a non-factor with only 1 carry (1/2/0) and 1 reception (1/13/0). Keep an eye on Jones' injury/practice status this week - he's bounced in and out of the lineup a lot, but he will play if he's physically able.

New Orleans is truly pathetic in this phase of the game, coughing up an average of 137.5 rushing yards per game (30th in the NFL), while handing over 16 rushing scores to date. Over the past 3 weeks, they've been terrible, surrendering 140.3 rushing yards per game, with 8 TDs (rushing and receiving) given away. Last week, the Panthers blasted them for 43/161/2 on the ground.

Whoever carries the ball for Detroit this week has a great matchup to work with - advantage, Detroit.

Weather: This game will be played in the Alamodome - weather won't be a factor in the outcome.

DET Injuries: RB Kevin Jones (Questionable)
NO Injuries: DL Darren Howard (Out), LB Sedrick Hodge (Questionable)


Miami Dolphins Rushing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Ronnie Brown hurt his knee last week, and saw the majority of the production flow to rival Ricky Williams (14/70/1 rushing and 1/4/0 receiving for Williams, 12/45/0 rushing and 2/11/0 receiving for Brown) - as we've said for weeks, the two-headed monster in Miami is effective in the real NFL, but neither back is better than mediocre as a fantasy player. That doesn't figure to change in the next 2 weeks.

Tennessee's rush D has been mediocre this year, averaging 112.9 rushing yards allowed per game (17th in the NFL), with 8 rushing scores allowed to date - the Titans tighten up in the red-zone, obviously. Over the past 3 weeks, Tennessee has coughed up 146.6 rushing yards per game on average, with 9 TDs surrendered (rushing and receiving) - last week, Seattle blasted them for 33/183/1 on the ground. Ouch!

Miami has a great tandem of backs - meanwhile, the Titans are limping towards the finish line in this phase of the game - advantage, Miami.

Weather: The forecast for Opa Locka FL calls for a high of 76F and a low of 60F with a 30% chance for rain on Saturday. If the moisture falls thickly around game time, footing and ball handling could be trickier than usual for both teams.

MIA Injuries: QB Gus Frerotte (Questionable), RB Ronnie Brown (Questionable), WR Wes Welker (Questionable)
TEN Injuries: LB Robert Reynolds (Questionable), DB Andre Woolfolk (Questionable)


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

New England steamrolled the Jets back in week 13, with 35/146/1 as a team (Corey Dillon led the attack with 16/65/1 on the ground and 4/19/0 receiving) -over the past 3 weeks, the Patriot's tandem of Dillon (57/215/3 rushing and 12/63/1 receiving) and Kevin Faulk (21/67/0 rushing and 12/125/0 receiving) have come on to restore respectability to the Patriots' running back stable. Dillon put up 19/48/1 rushing and 4/15/1 receiving vs. the hard-nosed Tampa Bay defense last week, while Faulk chipped in with 6/18/0 rushing and 2/8/0 receiving.

The Jets aren't impressive in this phase of the game, allowing 133.9 rushing yards per contest (28th in the NFL) with 17 rushing scores surrendered to date (the range in the NFL is currently 4-20 - the Jets are on the wrong end of that scale). Last week, Miami slammed them for 31/128/1 on the ground - the Jets have coughed up an average of 123 rushing yards per game during the last 3 weeks.

Advantage, New England.

Weather: The forecast for the final Monday Night Football broadcast on ABC calls for a high of 40F with a low of 27F and a 10% chance of snow at Giants Stadium. It'll be cold and possibly windy during the game - owners of Jets and Patriots will want to check a shorter-term forecast at the end of the week before setting their starting lineups. Conditions aren't likely to be optimum for passing the football late at night in this venue at this time of year.

NE Injuries: QB Tom Brady (Probable)
NYJ Injuries: DL Shaun Ellis (Questionable), DL Dewayne Robertson (Questionable), LB Mark Brown (Questionable), DB Oliver Celestin (Probable)


New Orleans Saints Rushing Offense vs Detroit Lions Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

The Saints managed 22/94/0 rushing against the Panthers last week as a team - not bad, considering that the Panthers are ranked 4th in the NFL vs. the oppositions' running backs this season. However, the carries were evenly split between Antowain Smith (10/25/0) and Aaron Stecker (9/59/0 rushing and 6/42/0 receiving) - the sharing of the workload among the Saints' backs has limited their fantasy upside since Deuce McAllister went down to injury earlier in the season. Over the past 3 weeks, the 2 backs land side-by-side on the RB board, with 21/99/0 rushing and 12/109/0 receiving for Stecker (#32 fantasy RB) while Smith has put up 39/134/1 rushing and 4/13/0 receiving (#33 fantasy RB).

Detroit is in the tank, having lost two top LBs to IR last week (Boss Bailey and Earl Holmes) - they are the league's 26th ranked rush D this year, averaging 128.1 yards allowed per game, with 11 rushing scores surrendered to date. Last week, Cincinnati slapped down 32/155/2 against the Lions' defensive front, and they've bled for 9 TDs (rushing and receiving) over the past 3 weeks, while averaging 146.3 rushing yards allowed per contest.

This is a great matchup for the Saints, but realize that their committee approach will limit Smith and Stecker's upside.

Weather: This game will be played in the Alamodome - weather won't be a factor in the outcome.

NO Injuries: WR Az-zahir Hakim (Questionable)
DET Injuries: DL Cory Redding (Probable), DL Shaun Rogers (Probable), LB Nate Wayne (Questionable), DB Dre Bly (Probable)


Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Offense at Cleveland Browns Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Pittsburgh slapped down 41/159/3 vs. the Browns back in week 10, led by Duce Staley's 17/64/0 - since then, Staley has been mostly inactive (last played week 13 vs. Cincinnati, with 3/2/0 rushing and 2/9/0 receiving) while Willie Parker, Jerome Bettis and Verron Haynes make up the backbone of the Pittsburgh offense. Pittsburgh racked up 39/142/1 rushing last week vs. Minnesota, with 14/81/0 due to Parker's efforts (Bettis had 9/16/0, while Haynes put up 9/36/0 on the ground). The team is using a by-committee approach to close 2005, which is limiting the fantasy upside of both Parker and Bettis (50/220/0 and 5/72/0 for Parker during the last 3 weeks (21st among fantasy backs) and 34/130/3 rushing and 3/24/0 receiving for Bettis (16th among fantasy RBs during that span)). The team can move the ball, but the running backs are fantasy #2 RBs at best.

Cleveland ranks 27th in the NFL this year, giving up an average of 133.1 rushing yards per game, but they've been stingy at the goal-line with only 8 rushing scores allowed to date. Over the past 3 weeks, the team has handed over an average of 154.3 rushing yards per game, including last week's totals of 31/143/0 given away to the limping LaMont Jordan - not very impressive, folks.

This is a great matchup for the Steelers' stable of backs.

Weather: Browns Stadium expects a high of 40F with a low of 33F and a 30% chance for precipitation on Saturday. At this time of year, precipitation could mean rain, sleet or snow (with high winds thrown in, too). Owners of Browns or Steelers will want to check a short term forecast at the end of the week before setting their starting lineups - conditions could be very bad for this game.

PIT Injuries: QB Tommy Maddox (Probable), QB Ben Roethlisberger (Probable)
CLE Injuries: DL Orpheus Roye (Questionable), DB Antonio Perkins (Probable), DB Ray Mickens (Questionable)


San Francisco 49ers Rushing Offense at St. Louis Rams Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Back in week 1, Frank Gore was still in a committee with Kevan Barlow, and Gore managed a mere 4/17/0 rushing and 2/21/0 receiving. Since then, the quarterbacking has gotten worse, but Kevan Barlow has been injured - in his first start last week, Gore managed to headline for the 49ers with 19/79/0 rushing and 3/57/0 receiving - despite a dismal 8/24 for 123 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception performance from rookie QB Alex Smith. Not too shabby for a guy stuck on a one-dimensional offense.

The Rams have handed over rushing yardage in big chunks all year long, averaging 136 rushing yards allowed per game (29th in the NFL), with 19 rushing scores given away to date over 14 games. Last week, they gave away 28/125/1 to the Eagles' running back stable, and they have averaged 165 rushing yards surrendered per game during the past 3 weeks. These guys are soft.

Gore and San Francisco have a great shot at a solid game this week vs. the Rams.

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

SF Injuries: RB Kevan Barlow (Questionable), RB Frank Gore (Questionable)
STL Injuries: DL Leonard Little (Probable), LB Pisa Tinoisamoa (Probable), LB Chris Claiborne (Out), DB Jerome Carter (Probable)


New York Giants Rushing Offense at Washington Redskins Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Tiki Barber owned the Redskins back in week 8, with 24/206/1 rushing and 1/5/0 receiving - the guy has put up over 100 yards of offense (rushing and receiving) for 9 straight weeks, with 2 games exceeding 200 yards rushing during that span: he has 5 straight 100+ yards rushing games coming into this contest. He destroyed the Chiefs for 29/220/2 rushing and 5/29/0 receiving last week. Start him!

Washington allowed 24/109/0 to the Cowboys last week (a 4.5 yards-per-carry average), but have given up an average of 73.3 rushing yards per game over the past 3 weeks. The team is 12th in the NFL this year, averaging 106.5 rushing yards allowed per game, but they have coughed up 15 TDs in this phase. They are nothing special, more often than not.

Barber is on a tear, and he punished the Redskins severely back in week 8 - we can't think of any reason not to start him and smile while you're doing it.

Weather: FedEx Field expects a high of 47F and a low of 35F with a 20% chance of precipitation on Saturday - that's pretty nice weather for this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge issue for either team if the forecast holds up.

NYG Injuries: none
WAS Injuries: LB Lavar Arrington (Questionable), DB Matt Bowen (Probable), DB Shawn Springs (Probable), DB Carlos Rogers (Questionable)


Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Offense at Arizona Cardinals Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

With 33/218/3 rushing and 1/3/0 receiving to his credit during the last 3 weeks, Ryan Moats is the 13th most productive fantasy RB in that span. He is the most productive of the Eagle's stable from week to week (not that Brian Westbrook is out for the season) - he had 12/78/1 rushing last week with a long of 59, while Reno Mahe (4/18/0 rushing and 2/11/0 receiving last week)and Lamar Gordon (4/7/0 rushing and 1/5/0 receiving) both chipped in with some touches. Moats is the guy to start if you have him rostered, the others are only seeing spot duty.

Arizona coughed up 35/119/3 to the Houston Texan's backups last week, and have averaged 93 rushing yards allowed per game over the last 3 weeks. They average 112.7 rushing yards allowed per game this season, and are tied with Buffalo for league-worst in rushing TDs given up to date, with 20 surrendered. These guys are soft, especially at the goal-line.

This is a good matchup for the Eagles' stable.

Weather: Sun Devil Stadium expects a high of 75F with a low of 48F and a 0% chance for rain on Saturday - weather conditions shouldn't be an issue for either team.

PHI Injuries: QB Mike McMahon (Probable), RB Lamar Gordon (Questionable)
ARI Injuries: DL Darnell Dockett (Questionable), LB Karlos Dansby (Probable), DB Eric Green (Probable), DB Antrel Rolle (Doubtful), DB Lamont Reid (Doubtful)


San Diego Chargers Rushing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

San Diego had a fairly hard time moving the ball against K.C. the last time these teams clashed, with 22/83/0 rushing as a team (17/69/0 rushing and 3/23/0 receiving for LaDainian Tomlinson). Over the past 3 weeks, Tomlinson's injured ribs have limited him to 70/237/0 rushing and 10/33/0 receiving (24th ranked fantasy RB in the land during that span) - his backup Michael Turner has racked up 16/151/2 rushign to rank 23rd in fantasy points per game among running backs in that same time-frame. The early word out of San Diego is that Tomlinson will play in this must-win game, but the question for his fantasy owners is "how long?". Stay tuned to the late-week injury reports to monitor Tomlinson's status/practice participation.

Kansas City got trampled by Tiki Barber last week (29/220/2), and appear to have melted down in this phase of the game recently - they have averaged 161 rushing yards given up per game over the past 3 weeks, with 10 total TDs allowed in that span of time. They are way off their season pace of 103.8 rushing yards allowed per game (9th in the NFL) - the rush D has been very soft of late.

Tomlinson isn't at the top of his game due to injury, but there is a key game in front of him with a collapsing defensive front to exploit - this is a good matchup for San Diego.

Weather: The forecast for Arrowhead Stadium calls for a high of 46F with a low of 30F and a 30% chance of precipitation. In this venue, swirling winds and snow are possible, which could make passing the football problematic - fantasy owners considering starting Chargers or Chiefs will want to look at a short-term forecast at the end of the week before making the final decision on their lineups.

SD Injuries: none
KC Injuries: DL John Browning (Probable), DL Eric Hicks (Questionable), LB Shawn Barber (Questionable), DB Jerome Woods (Questionable)


Seattle Seahawks Rushing Offense vs Indianapolis Colts Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Shaun Alexander during the last 3 weeks: 66/329/4 rushing, with 4/20/0 receiving - he threw down 26/172/1 rushing last week. You don't need us to tell you to start him - just smile and gloat, you lucky Alexander owners.

Indianapolis doesn't have anything to play for this week, and the word is that coach Dungy is going to rest some of his injured starters for the entire game. That means LB Cato June (knee/ankle/groin), and DE Dwight Freeney (foot) are almost certainly going to sit this one out. The defensive front will suffer from missing some of their star players. Indy has given up 106.6 rushing yards per game on average over the last 3 weeks, including last week's totals of 37/206/1 allowed to the Chargers - they aren't likely to be terribly strong with key defensive players in street clothes after suffering such a setback, either.

Seattle needs this game to clamp down on their NFC playoff position, while the Colts don't need it at all - advantage, Seattle.

Weather: Qwest Field in Seattle expects a high of 54F and a low of 41F with a 60% chance for precipitation on Saturday. If the rain falls thickly around game time, footing and ball handling will be trickier than usual for both teams.

SEA Injuries: WR Darrell Jackson (Questionable)
IND Injuries: DL Josh Thomas (Probable), DL Corey Simon (Questionable), DL Montae Reagor (Questionable), DL Robert Mathis (Doubtful), LB Cato June (Doubtful), DB Nick Harper (Probable), DB Gerome Sapp (Questionable), DB Bob Sanders (Questionable)


St. Louis Rams Rushing Offense vs San Francisco 49ers Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Steven Jackson managed 19/60/0 rushing with 3/13/0 receiving the last time he faced the 49ers sorry squad. Last week, he suffered a hip pointer and participated only part-time during the Rams loss to Philadelphia. Not much has gone right for St. Louis this season, but Jackson has been productive in his opportunities (238/1018/7 rushing with 40/299/2 receiving this year, 16th-most productive fantasy RB in points per game). Over the last 3 weeks he'a put up 46/173/0 rushing and 4/18/0 receiving - 38th fantasy RB in points per game - he's cold as ice coming into this matchup.

Happily for Jackson, the 49ers sport one of the most generous rush defenses in the NFL - they have given up 17 rushing TDs to date, and rank 24th in the NFL allowing an average of 121.4 rushing yards per game. Over the past 3 weeks, the 49ers have bled at a rate of 128 rushing yards per game on average, including last week's totals of 35/134/1 handed over to Jacksonville.

Jackson has struggled lately, but the 49ers should prove a tonic - advantage, St. Louis.

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

STL Injuries: QB Marc Bulger (Out), RB Steven Jackson (Probable), WR Isaac Bruce (Probable)
SF Injuries: LB Saleem Rasheed (Probable), DB Shawntae Spencer (Probable), DB Ahmed Plummer (Out)


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

Before we go any further, realize that this is a monster game for both teams - Atlanta absolutely has to have a win here if they are to have a shot at a wild-card slot in the playoffs, and for Tampa Bay the only way they can clinch a playoff spot this week (several scenarios in play) is to beat Atlanta. In the warm-weather Raymond James Stadium, expect both teams to throw down as if there is no tomorrow - because for the 2005 season, there really isn't a tomorrow for either squad.

Carnell Williams ran up 19/116/1 rushing and 3/13/0 vs. Atlanta back in week 11, and he had been carrying the ball 20+ times a week for 3 straight weeks until he ran into the Patriots' buzz-saw last week (14/23/0 rushing and 3/4/0 receiving). However, he hasn't scored a TD in 3 of his last 4 games, and is currently the 15th-ranked fantasy RB over the past 3 weeks with 65/231/2 rushing and 7/15/0 receiving - the scores all came in one game.

Atlanta has given up an average of 131.6 rushing yards per game over the past 3 weeks, even worse than their season average of 118.6 rushing yards allowed per game (22nd in the NFL). Last week, Chicago ground out 38/128/1 against the Falcons' defense. They are not doing well in this phase of the game of late.

Williams has been inconsistent over the past few weeks, but he had good luck against Atlanta the last time these teams played, and should do well against the soft Falcons again this week.

Weather: The forecast for Tampa calls for a high of 69F with a low of 57F and a 20% chance for rain - Raymond James Stadium should be a nice play to play football on Saturday.

TB Injuries: TE Anthony Becht (Questionable)
ATL Injuries: DL Antwan Lake (Questionable), DL Brady Smith (Doubtful), DB Keion Carpenter (Questionable), DB Allen Rossum (Questionable)


Washington Redskins Rushing Offense vs New York Giants Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Washington was stuffed the last time they played New York, with 13/38/0 rushing as a team (and 4/9/0 rushing for Clinton Portis that day - 3/13/0 receiving). The Redskins crashed and burned during week 8, to the tune of 36-0. It was an awful game to be a Redskins' player. Last week, though, they slapped another division rival, the Cowboys, with 40/171/1, led by Clinton Portis' 23/112/0 rushing (1/4/0 receiving) - Ladell Betts handled the TD run (12/44/1). Portis has strung together 3 straight 100+ yards rushing performances, and seems to finally have rediscovered his groove on the ground.

The Giants bring their 11th-ranked rush D to the dance, averaging 105.4 yards allowed per game in this phase, with 11 rushing scores surrendered in 14 games. Over the past 3 weeks, they have been much more giving, though, with 444 rushing yards given away (148 rushing yards per game), including last week's totals of 34/188/2 handed over to Kansas City. The Giants' defensive front has lost some key LB support recently (Antonio Pierce has been out due to an ankle injury) which isn't helping things, but 188 rushing yards and 2 TDs allowed is far from what coach Coughlin expects no matter who is in the lineup.

Portis is on a roll, while the Giants are back on their heels - advantage, Washington.

Weather: FedEx Field expects a high of 47F and a low of 35F with a 20% chance of precipitation on Saturday - that's pretty nice weather for this time of year. Weather shouldn't be a huge issue for either team if the forecast holds up.

WAS Injuries: none
NYG Injuries: DL Reggie Torbor (Questionable), DL William Joseph (Doubtful), LB Carlos Emmons (Doubtful), LB Antonio Pierce (Out)


Arizona Cardinals Rushing Offense vs Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Cardinals' backs stink. They should be embarrassed to collect their paychecks, with the team averaging a league-worst 66.7 rushing yards a game (divided up between Marcel Shipp and J.J. Arrington on a week-to-week basis, with 6/28/0 rushing for Shipp and 7/11/0 for Arrington last week). The team has obviously almost abandoned the running game, and who can blame them? We'd be amazed if anyone is considering an Arizona running back for their lineup during fantasy championship week.

The Eagles are sub-par vs. the rush this year, with an average of 118.4 rushing yards allowed per game this year - over the past 3 weeks, they've coughed up an average of 137.3 rushing yards per game, with 36/178/0 handed over to the Rams last week. They're not too good.

A weak defense meets a pathetic rush attack in this game - neither one has an edge that we can see.

Weather: Sun Devil Stadium expects a high of 75F with a low of 48F and a 0% chance for rain on Saturday - weather conditions shouldn't be an issue for either team.

ARI Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: DL Juqua Thomas (Probable), DB Sheldon Brown (Questionable)


Buffalo Bills Rushing Offense at Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

16/75/1 was the total the Bills amassed on the ground last week - Willis McGahee got the score, with 9/36/1 rushing and 3/14/0 receiving, but Shaud Williams led the team in rushing with 5/40/0 - McGahee banged up his left arm and shoulder during the game and couldn't carry the full load. We'll see how his injury status/practice participation looks as the week unfolds, but realize that McGahee hasn't been terribly productive as a fantasy back lately -- 44/120/1 rushing and 6/37/0 receiving in the past 3 weeks have dropped him well below most owners' starting requirements during recent weeks.

The Bengals are very average when it comes to rush D, giving up 112.9 rushing yards per game (12 rushing TDs to date) to rank 17th in the NFL. Over the past 3 weeks, they've coughed up only 79.3 rushing yards per game, though - last week, Detroit's injury-riddled lineup managed a mere 17/59/0 against Cincinnati which skews their 3-week numbers downward artificially. Cincinnati is average in this phase of the game, more often than not.

McGahee is struggling to stay on the field, and the Bill's attack isn't anywhere near dominating - but neither are the Bengals' front 7. This one looks about even to us, with neither team owning a huge edge over the other.

Weather: The forecast for Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati calls for a high of 46F with a low of 34F and a 50% chance for precipitation - the moisture could fall as rain, sleet or snow in those conditions. Footing and ball handling will suffer for both teams if things get really wet around game time. Owners of Bengals and Bills will want to look at a short-term forecast for Cincinnati at the end of the week when deciding on their lineups.

BUF Injuries: QB J.P. Losman (Probable), TE Ryan Neufeld (Out)
CIN Injuries: DL Jonathan Fanene (Probable), DL Carl Powell (Out), DL Bryan Robinson (Out), LB Nate Webster (Questionable), LB Odell Thurman (Questionable)


Houston Texans Rushing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The last time these teams faced off during week 9, Domanick Davis was on the shelf and Jonathan Wells led the team in rushing with 13/56/1 to his credit, while Vernand Morency carried the ball for 8/24/0. Entering this week, of course, Domanick Davis is nursing a knee injury that cost him last week's game, while Jonathan Wells carried the ball for 28/87/2 (1/11/0 receiving) and Vernand Morency managed 5/32/1 (1/9/0 receiving) vs. Arizona. If Davis can't go this week, then look for Wells and Morency to carry the load vs. Jacksonville again (with Wells leading the stampede).

Jacksonville found itself in a dogfight with the lowly 49ers last week, and coughed up 25/110/0 to Frank Gore and company. That's close to their season average of 107.4 rushing yards allowed per game (14th in the NFL) - but the Jags are very tough at the goal-line, allowing a mere 4 rushing scores to date. Over the past 3 weeks, teams have averaged 102.3 rushing yards per game against this unit.

Jacksonville is hard-nosed in the red zone, but fairly generous with rushing yards between the 20's. The Texans have several solid backs to bring to the dance - we call this one fairly even, but don't expect a lot of rushing TDs out of Houston and you won't be disappointed.

Weather: The forecast for Reliant Stadium calls for a high of 73F and a low of 49F with a 30% chance for rain. If the rain falls for a prolonged period, the stadium's retractable roof can be closed - weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup.

HOU Injuries: RB Domanick Davis (Questionable), WR Andre Johnson (Probable)
JAX Injuries: DB Rashean Mathis (Probable)


Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Offense at Houston Texans Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Fred Taylor (12/48/0) and Greg Jones (7/27/1) split up the workload on the ground the last time these teams faced off (during week 9) - there has been a lot of that in Jacksonville's backfield lately. Last week, Jones was forced out of the game with a jammed neck and pinched nerve in his shoulder, with 12/44/0 rushing and 2/10/0 receiving under his belt before the injury. Jones is expected back in the lineup to share the load with Fred Taylor again (17/61/0 rushing and 2/13/0 receiving last week). This attack has become a RBBC, with neither guy racking up huge numbers when the other is healthy enough to play. The early word out of Jacksonville is that Jones is fine and should be ready to go this week vs. Houston.

The Texan's rush defense has been pathetic most of the season, and currently ranks 31st in the NFL with an average of 139.2 rushing yards allowed (with 17 rushing scores surrendered to date). However, the arrival of "talent evaluator" Dan Reeves seems to have put some starch in the defense, as they have averaged only 68.3 rushing yards allowed per game over the last 3 weeks, with only 3 TDs (rushing and receiving) handed over during that span. Last week, the anemic Cardinals plodded to 13/39/0 vs. the Texans. They are playing much better than we're used to seeing right now.

The Jaguars have a talented backfield, but they have a tougher-than-usual Texans' defense in front of them, and the defense has home-field advantage. This looks like a fairly even matchup from where we sit.

Weather: The forecast for Reliant Stadium calls for a high of 73F and a low of 49F with a 30% chance for rain. If the rain falls for a prolonged period, the stadium's retractable roof can be closed - weather shouldn't be a huge factor in this matchup.

JAX Injuries: QB Byron Leftwich (Out), RB Greg Jones (Probable), RB Rich Alexis (Questionable)
HOU Injuries: DL Gary Walker (Probable), DL Robaire Smith (Probable), DL Junior Ioane (Doubtful), LB Frank Chamberlin (Questionable)


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

Before we go any further, realize that this is a monster game for both teams - Atlanta absolutely has to have a win here if they are to have a shot at a wild-card slot in the playoffs, and for Tampa Bay the only way they can clinch a playoff spot this week (several scenarios in play) is to beat Atlanta. In the warm-weather Raymond James Stadium, expect both teams to throw down as if there is no tomorrow - because for the 2005 season, there really isn't a tomorrow for either squad.

Atlanta rolled to 36/150/1 vs. Tampa Bay back in week 11, with 18/82/0 rushing (2/20/0 receiving) for Warrick Dunn and 14/51/1 rushing and 1/19/0 receiving for T.J. Duckett that day. Tampa barely survived their onslaught, ekeing out a 30-27 victory. Last week, the Bears limited their attack to 31/114/0 - it was an atypically bad outing for Dunn (17/81/0 rushing, with 1/9/0 receiving), Duckett (8/-2/0) and Vick (6/35/0). Atlanta's top ranked rushing attack has been stymied the past few weeks - Dunn is the 22nd ranked fantasy RB over the past 3 weeks, with 47/234/0 rushing and 4/54/0 receiving to lead the team during that span.

Tampa Bay sports the leagues' 5th ranked rush D, allowing an average of 92.1 rushing yards per game, with 9 rushing scores given up to date. Over the past 3 weeks, they've held the opposition to 76.6 rushing yards per game, including last week's totals of 32/83/1 surrendered to New England. The Bucs are stout in this phase of the game.

With home field advantage at the Buc's back and given Atlanta's recent struggles, this looks like a tough matchup for Atlanta.

Weather: The forecast for Tampa calls for a high of 69F with a low of 57F and a 20% chance for rain - Raymond James Stadium should be a nice play to play football on Saturday.

ATL Injuries: none
TB Injuries: DL Anthony McFarland (Questionable), LB Marquis Cooper (Questionable), DB Juran Bolden (Probable)


Baltimore Ravens Rushing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Welcome back from the dead, Jamal Lewis. 22/105/1 rushing and 2/9/0 receiving isn't a blockbuster game, but at least Lewis showed some power and acceleration on Monday Night Football - something that hasn't been in evidence most of the year. Auditioning for a new contract somewhere else was sufficient to motivate him. Mark Clayton added a TD on a trick play (3/14/1), and the Ravens racked up 38/182/2 rushing during their best offensive performance in ages.

Minnesota hasn't been in a giving mood lately, though, with only 3 TDs (rushing and receiving) allowed in the last 3 weeks - they've averaged 118.3 rushing yards given up per game during that span. Pittsburgh battered at their front line 39 times last week, ending up with 142 yards and 1 TD to show for it - Minnesota didn't shut the Steelers down, but they held their own (3.6 yards per carry for Pittsburgh). The Vikings are playing very tough defensive football right now.

Can Lewis stay motivated with yet another nationally televised game in which to showcase his talents? We'll see, but we don't think Minnesota will make it easy for him.

Weather: The forecast for M and T Bank Stadium calls for a high of 50F with a low of 34F and a 40% chance of precipitation on Sunday. As this game is to start at 8:30 PM, the temperatures will be on the low end of the scale, and any precipitation is likely to be slushy snow or ice - footing and ball handling will be trickier than usual in cold, wet conditions. If the wind gets going, the passing games will suffer even worse - owners of Vikings and Ravens will want to check a short-term forecast at the end of the week before setting their starting lineups.

BAL Injuries: RB B.J. Sams (Questionable), TE Darnell Dinkins (Questionable), TE Daniel Wilcox (Questionable)
MIN Injuries: LB Keith Newman (Out), DB Corey Chavous (Probable), DB Fred Smoot (Probable)


Dallas Cowboys Rushing Offense at Carolina Panthers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Last week, the Cowboy's unpredictable committee of backs split the work-load fairly evenly, but Julius Jones had the better afternoon, gaining 12/79/0 rushing (one long run of 51 yards definitely helped pad his stats), while catching 3/17/0. Marion Barber III picked up 10/30/0 rushing and 4/26/0 receiving - the team managed 24/109/0 on the day. The coaching staff is inserting both backs on a situational basis (according to game-time conditions) - starting either one in a fantasy league is a roll of the dice at this point in the season.

Carolina boasts a defensive front that has allowed only 7 rushing scores in 14 games (tied for 3rd-least in the NFL), and they currently rank 4th in the NFL giving up 87.5 rushing yards per game. They held New Orleans to 22/94/0 last week, and average 109.3 rushing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks - as you can see, they have fallen off their usual pace in the yardage department, but remain a very stout rush D most weeks.

Dallas' committee of backs is effective but not particularly explosive - the Panthers will be a big challenge for the youngsters.

Weather: The forecast for Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte calls for a high of 55F and a low of 43F with a 20% chance of precipitation. It sounds like a great day for football is on tap in the Carolinas this weekend.

DAL Injuries: none
CAR Injuries: DL Mike Rucker (Probable)


Indianapolis Colts Rushing Offense at Seattle Seahawks Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Colts don't need this game, and with the undefeated season by the boards, coach Dungy is going to be cautious with his starters. "We'll probably map it out beforehand and really have a script and stick to it," Dungy said on Monday. "What that script will be, I'm not sure yet." Be sure that the script won't include 20+ touches for Edgerrin James. Hopefully, if you are a James owner, you also have Dominic Rhodes rosterd - he may very well see more snaps than James, but coach Dungy was so vague that it's hard to be certain.

The Seahawks are tough vs. the rush, giving up only 4 rushing scores all year long (tied for 1st in the NFL), while averaging 99.9 rushing yards surrendered per contest. Last week, Tennessee scraped up 26/81/1 against Seattle - they are usually not so giving with the 6 pt. plays. Over the last 3 weeks, the Seahawks have surrendered 68 rushing yards per game on average, with only 3 TDs given up (rushing and receiving).

This is a tough matchup for whoever the Colts decide to field on Saturday.

Weather: Qwest Field in Seattle expects a high of 54F and a low of 41F with a 60% chance for precipitation on Saturday. If the rain falls thickly around game time, footing and ball handling will be trickier than usual for both teams.

IND Injuries: QB Peyton Manning (Probable), WR Marvin Harrison (Questionable)
SEA Injuries: DL Chartric Darby (Questionable), LB Kevin Bentley (Probable), DB John Howell (Questionable), DB Andre Dyson (Out), DB Kelly Herndon (Out)


Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Offense vs San Diego Chargers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson were still platooning back in week 8 (Johnson had 6/55/0 vs. San Diego for a 9.2 yards-per-carry average, with 3/28/0 receiving) - since then, Johnson has become one of the premier fantasy RBs in the league, with 278/1418/16 rushing and 27/274/0 receiving to date (3rd best fantasy RB in the land). He's racked up 87/450/7 rushing and 7/54/0 receiving during the past 3 weeks, to rank #1 among all fantasy RBs in that span of time. Start him.

San Diego sports the league's top rush defense, averaging 74.9 yards allowed per game, with 10 rushing scores surrendered to date. They practically shut down Edgerrin James last week (13/25/1 rushing), and average 58.6 rushing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks. These guys are very tough up front.

San Diego has played dominantly in this phase of the game during recent weeks, but we can't recommend sitting a running back as hot as Larry Johnson - this is a tough matchup for him, though.

Weather: The forecast for Arrowhead Stadium calls for a high of 46F with a low of 30F and a 30% chance of precipitation. In this venue, swirling winds and snow are possible, which could make passing the football problematic - fantasy owners considering starting Chargers or Chiefs will want to look at a short-term forecast at the end of the week before making the final decision on their lineups.

KC Injuries: RB Larry Johnson (Probable), RB Tony Richardson (Probable), WR Eddie Kennison (Questionable), TE Jason Dunn (Probable), TE Kris Wilson (Questionable)
SD Injuries: none


Minnesota Vikings Rushing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Minnesota's RBBC didn't fare too well against Pittsburgh's top ranked rush D, with 17/54/0 to show for their efforts - Michael Bennett led the team with 11/43/0 rushing (1/-5/0 receiving) - nobody else got over 6 yards rushing on the night. It was an off night for the on-again, off-again Bennett (51/192/2 rushing and 8/11/ receiving during the last 3 weeks, making him the 14th ranked fantasy RB during that span). As we've written before, starting Bennett is always a roll of the dice.

Baltimore bent for Samkon Gado (6/45/0) last week - until Gado's knee blew out - and then stuffed the Packers' reserves, holding them to 19/107/0 on the ground as a team. Over the past 3 weeks, the Ravens give up an average of 122.6 rushing yards per game, compared to their season average of 106.8 rushing yards allowed per game (13th in the NFL). They are playing at a solid but not elite level over the past few weeks.

At Baltimore, we think the Vikings are at a disadvantage.

Weather: The forecast for M and T Bank Stadium calls for a high of 50F with a low of 34F and a 40% chance of precipitation on Sunday. As this game is to start at 8:30 PM, the temperatures will be on the low end of the scale, and any precipitation is likely to be slushy snow or ice - footing and ball handling will be trickier than usual in cold, wet conditions. If the wind gets going, the passing games will suffer even worse - owners of Vikings and Ravens will want to check a short-term forecast at the end of the week before setting their starting lineups.

MIN Injuries: TE Jermaine Wiggins (Questionable)
BAL Injuries: DB Dale Carter (Questionable)


Oakland Raiders Rushing Offense at Denver Broncos Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Lamont Jordan had a fine game last week (25/132/0 rushing and 5/40/0 receiving), but injured a toe again (turf toe), and is currently considered doubtful to play on Saturday. The last time he faced the Broncos, Jordan posted 14/48/0 rushing and 7/60/0 receiving - if he can't go, Zack Crockett and Justin Fargas will need to elevate their games.

Denver allowed 16/75/1 to the Bills last week, and have coughed up an average of 105 rushing yards per game over the last 3 weeks - they have a season average of 84.6 rushing yards allowed per game. Denver has been up and down in this phase recently, as you can see.

Oakland probably won't have their top back in the lineup on Saturday night, and they didn't do too well against the Broncos last time around, either. Advantage, Denver.

Weather: Mile High stadium should see a high of 54F and a low of 36F on Saturday, with a 0% chance for precipitation. Wind is almost always some sort of factor in this venue at this time of year - owners of Raiders and Broncos will want to check a short term forecast to eyeball probable wind conditions before setting their lineups.

OAK Injuries: RB Omar Easy (Probable), RB Lamont Jordan (Doubtful), WR Randy Moss (Probable), TE Courtney Anderson (Doubtful)
DEN Injuries: DL Courtney Brown (Probable), LB Keith Burns (Probable), LB Ian Gold (Probable), DB Darrent Williams (Out)


Tennessee Titans Rushing Offense at Miami Dolphins Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Chris Brown turned 20 carries into 56 yards and 0 TDs last week - he's wearing down as the season closes, with only 47/141/0 rushing and 4/55/0 receiving to his credit during the past 3 weeks. Travis Henry has a bum ankle right now (inactive last week), so Brown is what the Titans have to lean on - and he's not able to do much.

The Dolphins are 20th in the NFL this season, allowing an average of 115.4 rushing yards per game (11 rushing scores to date) - over the past 3 weeks, they've done better, with 92.6 rushing yards per game allowed. Last week, they handed over 25/90/0 to the Jets. Miami has become much more stubborn now that Zach Thomas is back at MLB.

This is a tough matchup for the weary Titans.

Weather: The forecast for Opa Locka FL calls for a high of 76F and a low of 60F with a 30% chance for rain on Saturday. If the moisture falls thickly around game time, footing and ball handling could be trickier than usual for both teams.

TEN Injuries: RB Chris Brown (Questionable), RB Travis Henry (Questionable), RB Jarrett Payton (Questionable), WR Drew Bennett (Questionable), TE Erron Kinney (Questionable)
MIA Injuries: LB Channing Crowder (Questionable)


Cleveland Browns Rushing Offense vs Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Reuben Droughns had an all-purpose outing the last time he faced the Steelers (week 10), with 17/56/1 rushing and 4/67/0 receiving - he did a great job against an elite NFL defense. Since then, his numbers have slid, amounting to 69/215/0 rushing and 6/35/0 receiving during the past 3 weeks, including last week's totals of 18/53/0 rushing and 5/31/0 receiving. He's still a dual-threat back, but he's not powering many fantasy franchises to easy wins during recent weeks.

Pittsburgh is the 3rd-ranked rush D in the land this year, grudgingly allowing an average of 86.3 rushing yards per game to date (10 rushing scores so far). They crushed Minnesota's stable last week (17/54/0), and average 79.6 rushing yards allowed per game over the last 3 weeks. These guys are very good.

This is a bad matchup for Droughns and company - he'll struggle to find room to rush the ball.

Weather: Browns Stadium expects a high of 40F with a low of 33F and a 30% chance for precipitation on Saturday. At this time of year, precipitation could mean rain, sleet or snow (with high winds thrown in, too). Owners of Browns or Steelers will want to check a short term forecast at the end of the week before setting their starting lineups - conditions could be very bad for this game.

CLE Injuries: QB Charlie Frye (Probable), TE Steve Heiden (Probable), TE Aaron Shea (Probable)
PIT Injuries: DL Travis Kirschke (Questionable), LB Clint Kriewaldt (Probable), LB Andre Frazier (Doubtful), DB Chidi Iwuoma (Probable), DB Deshea Townsend (Probable)


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

Back in week 13, Samkon Gado was the Packers' starting RB. Since then, he has joined the other starting RBs with an injury (torn MCL) - he's out of the picture. The Packers will try to make do with a committee of Tony Fisher and Noah Herron to close the season. Last week, they managed 4/27/0 rushing (4/27/0 receiving) for Fisher and 8/27/0 rushing for Herron. The bullets are all shot for the the Packers in this phase of the game - now they're down to the pro equivalent of a child's toy bow and arrow.

Worse yet for the Green Bay faithful, Chicago will bring their 8th ranked rush D to bear on the depleted Packer backfield. The Bears average 101.6 rushing yards allowed per game to date, while giving up only 6 rushing scores in 14 games (second-least in the league this year). The Bears held the top rushing attack in the NFL, the Falcons, to 31/114/0 last week - they are back on top of their game, folks.

This one looks like a painfully ugly matchup for the depleted Packers.

Weather: The forecast for Lambeau Field calls for a high of 31F and a low of 24F with a 30% chance for wind/rain/snow. This game is scheduled for a 5 PM start, so the temperatures will rapidly fall towards the low end of the range, and the wind chill usually makes things feel even colder. Playing in such cold temperatures isn't optimum for the passing game - if the wind kicks up, it will be even worse for Grossman and Favre. Owners of Bears and Packers will want to check a short-term forecast to see what wind conditions are likely to be at game-time.

GB Injuries: RB Samkon Gado (Out), WR Robert Ferguson (Questionable), TE Bubba Franks (Questionable)
CHI Injuries: DL Ian Scott (Questionable), LB Brian Urlacher (Probable), LB Hunter Hillenmeyer (Questionable), DB Mike Brown (Questionable), DB Todd Johnson (Questionable)


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

Curtis Martin couldn't get anything going against the Patriots the last time around the block, with a mere 15/29/0 rushing to his credit - of course, he is now on IR due to a knee injury that he played through for most of the season. That probably means that Cedric Houston will carry the load again this week, though Derrick Blaylock has been listed as "questionable" recently - he has yet to play since breaking his ankle early in the year. Houston piled up 15/84/0 rushing and 4/40/0 last week vs. Miami - he's starting to get into the groove as a starting RB.

The Patriots' defense is becoming an elite unit in the waning weeks of 2005. They stuffed Cadillac Williams and Tampa last week (18/30/0 rushing), and have allowed only 85 yards rushing in their last 3 games. Thats an average of 28.3 rushing yards per contest - they have also surrendered only 1 TD in 3 contests. Looks like the Pats are loaded for bear heading into the playoffs, folks.

This is as bad a matchup as any running back has seen this year.

Weather: The forecast for the final Monday Night Football broadcast on ABC calls for a high of 40F with a low of 27F and a 10% chance of snow at Giants Stadium. It'll be cold and possibly windy during the game - owners of Jets and Patriots will want to check a shorter-term forecast at the end of the week before setting their starting lineups. Conditions aren't likely to be optimum for passing the football late at night in this venue at this time of year.

NYJ Injuries: RB Derrick Blaylock (Probable)
NE Injuries: none




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