Jacksonville (pick 'em) at Buffalo, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: Jacksonville enters 2-2 coming off a big win against the Colts, but this is usually a completely different team on the road. Still, they have a strong matchup on paper this week, as Buffalo's secondary has yielded 7.4 YPA with an 8:0 TD:INT ratio this season. Their run defense has been gashed for 4.6 YPC and an NFL-high seven scores as well. Expect Mike Sims-Walker, who was held catchless and was targeted just once last week, to be more involved Sunday, but the Jaguars will center their gameplan on getting Maurice Jones-Drew the ball as much as possible... The Bills are 0-4 and desperate, so expect a focused effort as the team approaches its bye week. Ryan Fitzpatrick has quietly thrown seven touchdowns over his last three appearances dating back to last season, and he gets a Jacksonville defense that has allowed a league-high 9.2 YPA on the year. With Marshawn Lynch getting traded to Seattle, Fred Jackson is back on the fantasy radar, and C.J. Spiller could become a factor down the road as well. Home field is the difference Sunday.
Predictions: David Garrard throws for 220 yards with a touchdown to Mike Thomas, while Maurice Jones-Drew adds 125 total yards and hits paydirt. Fred Jackson answers with 80 yards and a TD run, while Ryan Fitzpatrick adds 240 passing yards with touchdown tosses to C.J. Spiller and Lee Evans, as Buffalo finally gets into the win column. Bills 21-20.
Kansas City (+8) at Indianapolis, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Chiefs somehow enter Week 5 as the only undefeated team in the NFL. With a strong special teams and rushing attack and an improving defense, they aren't flukes, especially with talented minds at both coordinator positions. Still, this remains a passing league, and Matt Cassel is a major work in progress. He's completed just 54.5 percent of his passes and gotten 6.4 YPA on the year, so this Kansas City team isn't built to play from behind. The Chiefs are coming off a bye and get an Indy defense that is struggling mightily, as the Colts have given up 7.5 YPA and just lost safety Melvin Bullitt (shoulder) for the year. Indianapolis has also ceded 5.0 YPC on the ground, so expect KC to rely heavily on its rushing attack Sunday... The Colts lost last week in Jacksonville, thanks largely to awful coaching by Jim Caldwell. The team usually bounces back well after losses, and Sunday marks just their second home game this season. Peyton Manning has an 11:1 TD:INT ratio and is on pace to throw for 5,460 yards. He should pick apart a young Chiefs' secondary, but Indy's defense is definitely a concern. Austin Collie (foot) is questionable, but Pierre Garcon (hamstring) is expected to return to action.
Predictions: Matt Cassel throws for 200 yards with no touchdowns, while Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles combine for 160 yards and each score a TD. Joseph Addai counters with 80 total yards and reaches the end zone, while Peyton Manning adds 280 passing yards with scoring strikes to Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and Pierre Garcon, as Indy hands Kansas City its first loss of the season. Colts 31-17.
Tampa Bay (+6.5) at Cincinnati, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Bucs come in 2-1 and off their bye, and while they are still a work in progress, the team seems to be moving in the right direction. It's a small sample that likely means nothing, but Josh Freeman has actually gotten 7.8 YPA while on the road during his career (compared to 5.1 at home). However, the Bengals have actually allowed just 5.7 YPA - the second-lowest mark in the NFL. Carnell Williams is going to start losing touches to LeGarrette Blount and Kareem Huggins; a situation to monitor closely in fantasy leagues... The Bengals are 2-2, but three of their four games have been on the road, and Carson Palmer threw for 371 yards with two touchdowns last week. Chad Ochocinco isn't expected to be double covered again this week, but he might be shadowed by Aqib Talib, so Terrell Owens may once again be targeted heavily. Still, Cincy plays it close to the vest, usually choosing to win with defense and the run, so don't be surprised if Sunday's game is close.
Predictions: Josh Freeman throws for 240 yards with a touchdown to Mike Williams, while Tampa Bay's backfield committee totals 80 yards and a goal-line TD by LeGarrette Blount. Cedric Benson counters with 75 rushing yards and a touchdown, while Carson Palmer adds 250 passing yards and a TD toss to Jermaine Gresham, as Cincy comes out on top. Bengals 20-17.
Green Bay (-2.5) at Washington, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Redskins have wins over the Cowboys and Eagles and should have beaten the Texans this year, yet they've been outscored overall and were lucky to see Michael Vick leave injured last week in Philadelphia. Donovan McNabb has gotten 7.9 YPA, and the running game should improve with Ryan Torain taking over duties for an injured Clinton Portis (groin). Torain is a strong start in fantasy leagues this week against a Packers front seven that has allowed 5.2 YPC - the second-most in the NFL... Despite winning last week, Green Bay's offense produced zero points over the final 35+ minutes at home against the Lions, and Aaron Rodgers has since expressed frustration with the scheme. The team's ground game has been a big problem, as the loss of Ryan Grant has been a bigger problem than expected. Washington hasn't exactly been a dominant defensive unit this season, so expect Rodgers and company to get back on track Sunday.
Predictions: Donovan McNabb throws for 250 yards with scoring strikes to Chris Cooley and Santana Moss, while Ryan Torain adds 100 rushing yards and a touchdown. Green Bay's RBBC produces just 70 total yards, although John Kuhn scores from the goal line. Aaron Rodgers contributes 275 passing yards with TD tosses to Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley, as Green Bay wins on a late field goal. Packers 24-21.
St. Louis (+3) at Detroit, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Rams have won their last two games by a combined score of 50-19, and while they travel Sunday, playing in a dome isn't nearly has bad as this team having to go outdoors. Sam Bradford is already clearly the best quarterback in his division, and after another 14 targets last week, Mark Clayton is up to 41 on the year - good for sixth in the league. What an underrated trade by the Rams. Chris Long has been useless in IDP leagues so far with just one sack and eight tackles, but it's worth noting his 22 quarterback pressures easily lead the NFL. In fact, the second most is 18. More sacks, and possibly in bunches, should be in store... Speaking of sacks, Detroit has already racked up 13 on the year, showing huge improvement from the defensive line. Despite being 2-34 since 2008, the Lions enter Sunday as three-point favorites, which makes sense considering how the team has played so far in 2010 - they've been mostly competitive in every game. After entering the year averaging 15.9 yards-per-catch during his career, Calvin Johnson has managed just 11.9 this season, and he's finally healthy. At least he's been used in the red zone, but Detroit needs to better utilize such a dangerous weapon. Jahvid Best should have a big game Sunday if his toe is up for the task.
Predictions: Sam Bradford throws for 275 yards with a touchdown to Mark Clayton, while Steven Jackson adds 120 yards from scrimmage with a touchdown run. Jahvid Best answers with a similar line, while Shaun Hill adds 230 passing yards with scoring strikes to Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew, as Detroit gets its first win of the season. Lions 24-20.
Chicago (-2.5) at Carolina, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: Carolina enters Week 5 as one of four teams still without a win, although they do catch a break getting Chicago without Jay Cutler (concussion). The Panthers are a team clearly playing for the future, with rookie Jimmy Clausen making just his third start of his career throwing to the worst WR corps in the NFL with Steve Smith (ankle) sidelined. Carolina will concentrate on its ground game, but the Bears have been one of the toughest teams to run against in the league this season... The Bears are travelling after playing on Monday night, which is never an easy task. Cutler was sacked nine times before halftime last week, and as a result, Todd Collins gets the start Sunday. It will be his first start since 2007, and he'll have to work with a poor offensive line and quite possibly the worst rushing attack in the league (Matt Forte is averaging just 2.7 YPC). Expect a defensive battle Sunday that comes down to the wire, as Chicago scales back its playbook quite a bit.
Predictions: Jimmy Clausen throws for 170 yards with no touchdowns, as DeAngelo Williams runs for 75 yards, and Jonathan Stewart scores from the goal line. Chicago's rushing attack is shut down, while Todd Collins throws for 160 yards and a TD to Greg Olsen. Devin Hester scores a special teams touchdown as well, which is the difference in a Chicago win. Bears 17-16.
New York Giants (+3) at Houston, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Giants' defensive line took advantage of a disheveled Chicago O-line last week, recording 10 sacks. The offense wasn't overly impressive, but the win evened the team's record at 2-2. Eli Manning has gotten 7.6 YPA while completing 64.4 percent of his passes, and he should move the ball with ease against a Houston secondary that has allowed 8.7 YPA and an 8:2 TD:INT ratio. Ahmad Bradshaw is currently on pace to finish the year with 1,772 total yards and 12 touchdowns and has taken complete control over New York's backfield, but the Texans are much easier to beat through the air than on the ground... Houston is 3-1 and won't have to go on the road again until Week 8, but its defense remains a problem. Still, Matt Schaub continues to impress, getting 8.0 YPA. He should also get Andre Johnson (ankle) back this week as well. Arian Foster was benched for the first quarter last week after missing a team meeting, but he totaled 187 yards with two touchdowns anyway. There's an argument he's the No. 2 overall fantasy player right now.
Predictions: Eli Manning throws for 275 yards and two touchdowns, with Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks the recipients. Ahmad Bradshaw adds 80 combined yards and scores, while Arian Foster counters with 125 total yards and a touchdown run. Matt Schaub adds 290 passing yards with scoring strikes to Kevin Walter and Andre Johnson, as Houston comes out on top. Texans 27-21.
Denver (+7) at Baltimore, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: Kyle Orton, who is on pace to attempt a whopping 700 passes this season, has the second-most passing yards through four weeks in NFL history. With a completely stagnant running game (Laurence Maroney has got an anemic 1.3 YPC), and Orton fast developing into an elite quarterback (he's gotten 8.1 YPA this season), it's strength against strength Sunday, as Baltimore's secondary has allowed an NFL-low 5.2 YPA and just one passing touchdown in 2010... The Ravens are 3-1 after becoming the first team to beat Pittsburgh last week, but the offense has really struggled. Joe Flacco has a 5:6 TD:INT ratio, and the team's 3.0 YPC is the second lowest in the league (Denver ranks last with 2.2 YPC). Ray Rice has scored just one touchdown over his past 11 games and has seen his production as a receiver dip this season compared to last, but his knee is getting healthier, so he makes for a buy-low candidate in fantasy leagues.
Predictions: Kyle Orton throws for 240 yards with a touchdown to Demaryius Thomas, but the Broncos' rushing attack is stymied. Ray Rice bounces back with 90 total yards, while Willis McGahee punches in a goal-line score. Joe Flacco adds 230 yards with scoring strikes to Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason, as the home team prevails. Ravens 21-16.
Atlanta (-3) at Cleveland, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Browns are just 1-3, but they've been an improved football team in 2010. Peyton Hillis has been a revelation, averaging 4.9 YPC and scoring a touchdown in all four games. Hillis has averaged 3.3 yards after contact, which is tied for the fifth-highest in the NFL. Not sure why Cleveland is handing the QB job back to Jake Delhomme. Seneca Wallace isn't going to be their savior by any means, but at least he limits turnovers. The Browns have played competitive football so far, but Delhomme could single-handedly change that - he faces an Atlanta secondary that has already recorded an NFL-high eight interceptions this season... The Falcons were fortunate to win last week, but they enter Sunday riding a three game winning streak nevertheless. The team isn't the same playing outdoors, but Matt Ryan should find success against a Cleveland defense that has yielded 7.9 YPA. He may have to, as surprisingly the Browns are one of just two teams yet to allow a touchdown on the ground in 2010.
Predictions: Jake Delhomme gets the start, throwing for 175 yards with a score to Mohamed Massaquoi, but he's also picked off twice. Peyton Hillis adds 80 total yards and another TD run, while Michael Turner produces similar results. Matt Ryan adds 250 passing yards and two touchdowns, with Harry Douglas and Tony Gonzalez the recipients, as the road team gets the victory. Falcons 24-17.
New Orleans (-7) at Arizona, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
Comments: The Cardinals are currently tied for first place in the NFC West, but they've been outscored by 60 points - the most in the NFC and second most in the NFL. After Derek Anderson completed just 51.8 percent of his passes, Arizona has decided to go in a different direction, naming rookie Max Hall the team's starting quarterback. Anderson recorded one touchdown and committed six turnovers during three games on the road this season. Larry Fitzgerald's fantasy value is down either way, but the switch here certainly can't hurt. Hall gets a susceptible New Orleans secondary this week, but it remains to be seen whether he can take advantage of it. Expect a lot of Tim Hightower and Chris Wells on Sunday... It took Drew Brees nearly 50 pass attempts to reach 275 yards at home against the Panthers last week, as New Orleans continues to struggle throwing deep. After getting 8.5 YPA last season, Brees is down to 7.1 this year, as the Saints have become a dink-and-dunk offense. Pierre Thomas is officially injury-prone and must be discounted in future fantasy drafts.
Predictions: Max Hall throws for 160 yards with a TD to Larry Fitzgerald, while Arizona's backfield committee combines for 110 yards and a touchdown run by Chris Wells. New Orleans' RBBC produces similar results, while Drew Brees adds 250 passing yards with TD strikes to Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey, as the road team prevails. Saints 24-20.
Tennessee (+6.5) at Dallas, Sunday 4:15 p.m.
Comments: Tennessee has alternated wins and losses this season and has a tough task this week travelling to Dallas to face a Cowboys team coming off a bye. The Titans' offensive philosophy has remained the same this season, as Vince Young has attempted an average of just 17.8 passes per game. The problem has been the running game, as Chris Johnson's YPC has dropped from 5.6 last season to 3.8 this year. His yards-per-catch has also declined from 10.1 down to 3.2 as well. The Titans need to get Johnson going for them to be successful this season... Tony Romo has taken just one sack in 2010, which is good news since they face a Tennessee front seven that has recorded an NFL-high 16 quarterback takedowns this year (although the season-ending loss of DE Derrick Morgan (ACL) hurts). With Marion Barber continuing to disappoint (3.5 YPC), Dallas is expected to get Felix Jones more involved in the offense. We'll see if it comes to fruition.
Predictions: Vince Young throws for 170 yards with a TD toss to Kenny Britt, while Chris Johnson totals 100 yards and hits paydirt. Felix Jones and Marion Barber combine for 120 yards and a touchdown, while Tony Romo adds 240 passing yards with a scoring strike to Dez Bryant, as Dallas wins it. Cowboys 23-17.
San Diego (-6) at Oakland, Sunday 4:15 p.m.
Comments: Oakland enters 1-3 and as heavy dogs against division rival San Diego, but the Raiders seem to always play the Chargers tough at home. Louis Murphy (shoulder) should be healthier this week, which should help the passing attack greatly, and while Darren McFadden is likely to miss the game with a hamstring injury, Michael Bush is a more than capable replacement. Bush is a strong RB2 start in fantasy leagues... San Diego comes in 2-2, with both of its losses coming on the road. Philip Rivers has already thrown nine touchdowns this season while getting 9.4 YPA - he's a legitimate MVP candidate. Antonio Gates is on pace to score 24 touchdowns - it's a mystery why defenses don't double him more often. The Chargers' backfield remains unsettled, but it's safe to assume Ryan Mathews starts getting more of the carries as long as his health cooperates.
Predictions: Bruce Gradkowski throws for 220 yards with a touchdown to Zach Miller, while Michael Bush adds 100 total yards and a goal-line score. Ryan Mathews answers with 80 rushing yards and a TD run, while Philip Rivers adds 300 passing yards with scoring strikes to Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates, as San Diego comes out on top. Chargers 24-20.
Philadelphia (+3.5) at San Francisco, Sunday 8:20 p.m.
Comments: The Eagles lost to the Redskins last week, and even worse, Michael Vick was knocked out with a rib injury that could cost him multiple weeks. Kevin Kolb wasn't impressive in relief, and while he should benefit from getting a week of reps with the first-team offense, he's clearly a downgrade from Vick. Kolb rarely looks downfield, instead concentrating on underneath and dump-off routes. LeSean McCoy is questionable with a rib injury... The 49ers are 0-4 and keep finding different ways to lose games they should win, although to be fair, the team has been outscored by 51 points this season. Of course, Sunday will mark just the second time San Francisco has played at home, and in primetime while desperate to save their season, expect an inspired effort by the 49ers. Alex Smith would have probably been replaced by now if they had any sort of alternative, but David Carr doesn't qualify. Expect Frank Gore to once again be the center of SF's offense, and he should find success against an undersized Philadelphia front seven.
Predictions: Kevin Kolb throws for 230 yards with touchdown passes to Brent Celek and DeSean Jackson, while the Eagles' rushing attack is held in check. Frank Gore counters with 125 total yards and a touchdown run, while Alex Smith adds 200 passing yards with scoring strikes to Vernon Davis and Gore, as San Francisco finally gets into the win column. 49ers 21-17.
Minnesota (+4) at New York Jets, Monday 8:30 p.m.
Comments: The Vikings ostensibly used their bye week to get in much-needed practice time after Brett Favre missed valuable work in the preseason, and the team enters Monday with a new weapon after trading for Randy Moss. Since Moss basically runs one route, he could have an immediate impact, especially since Darrelle Revis is still hampered by a hamstring injury. It should be interesting to see just how much a motivated Moss has left in the tank... After a poor Week 1, Mark Sanchez has gotten 7.9 YPA with an 8:0 TD:INT ratio. He hasn't been sacked over the past two games and hasn't lost a fumble this year either. He should also benefit from the addition of Santonio Holmes as well. Still, the Jets remain a run-first team, with LaDainian Tomlinson taking a clear lead in the pecking order over Shonn Greene. Minnesota shouldn't be written off, especially with the addition of Moss, but New York has clearly been the better team so far, and with the Jets at home playing on Monday night, they should roll.
Predictions: Brett Favre throws for 230 yards with a touchdown to Visanthe Shiancoe, while Adrian Peterson adds 100 total yards and a touchdown. LaDainian Tomlinson answers with 80 total yards and a TD run, while Mark Sanchez adds 225 passing yards with scoring strikes to Dustin Keller and Braylon Edwards, as New York improves to 4-1 on the year. Jets 24-17.