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Week 8 Game Caps: Colts Looking for Revenge Against Houston

Dalton Del Don

Dalton Del Don

Dalton Del Don writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Buffalo (+7.5) at Kansas City, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: The Bills enter as the only winless team in football, but they gave the Ravens all they could handle in Baltimore last week, and the big news for the franchise is the emergence of Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has tossed 11 touchdowns over four games this year. He's got 7.6 YPA while also averaging 29.0 rushing yards per game, making him suddenly a viable fantasy option. Fitzpatrick gets a middling Kansas City secondary this week, and while Buffalo's defense has allowed an NFL-high 33.0 points per game, their offense can put points on the board as well... The Chiefs got back into the win column with a 42-20 drubbing of the Jaguars last week, but they better not overlook a Buffalo team with a sneakily-potent passing attack. Matt Cassel has a 5:0 TD:INT ratio over the last two games and gets his third straight favorable matchup Sunday, when he faces a Buffalo secondary that has allowed 7.7 YPA and a 14:1 TD:INT ratio this season. Dwayne Bowe should continue his hot streak as well, while both Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles are worth using in fantasy leagues.

Predictions: Ryan Fitzpatrick throws for 250 yards and two touchdowns, with Steve Johnson and Lee Evans the recipients. Fred Jackson totals 80 yards but doesn't score, while Thomas Jones responds with 70 yards and a goal-line TD. Jamaal Charles adds 100 combined yards, and Matt Cassel throws for 240 yards with scoring strikes to Dwayne Bowe and Tony Moeaki, as the home team prevails. Chiefs 24-17.

Jacksonville (+6.5) at Dallas, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: Jacksonville lost its second straight game last week and has given up 72 points over that two-game span. The insertion of Todd Bouman at quarterback led to Maurice Jones-Drew increasing his activity in the passing game, but David Garrard (concussion) appears likely to return to action in Week 8. The Jags typically struggle on the road, and this Dallas team is better than its record indicates, but Jacksonville should be able to move the ball against a Cowboys defense that has ceded 7.5 YPA and 4.5 YPC (and 25.3 points per game, which is the second most in the NFC)... Dallas comes in with a disappointing 1-5 record, and even worse, they lost Tony Romo for 6-to-8 weeks with a broken collarbone. It sure looks like a lost season in Big D. Dez Bryant scored three touchdowns last week and looks to finally be close to 100 percent healthy, but every Cowboys' skill position player needs to be downgraded in fantasy leagues with Jon Kitna taking over QB duties. Romo's career net YPA is 7.3, while Kitna's is 5.7, which is a massive difference.

Predictions: David Garrard throws for 230 yards with a touchdown toss to Mike Thomas, while Maurice Jones-Drew totals 80 yards and hits paydirt. Felix Jones answers with 90 yards from scrimmage, but it's Marion Barber who punches one in from in close. Jon Kitna adds 240 passing yards with scoring strikes to Roy Williams and Miles Austin, as Dallas comes out on top. Cowboys 24-20.


Carolina (+3) at St. Louis, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: After losing Week 1, the Rams have won each of their past three home games, and they get a Panthers team that enters just 1-5 on the season. Still, for as much promise as Sam Bradford has shown, he's gotten just 5.7 YPA this season, and he's also been rather fortunate to have only eight picks so far. The loss of Mark Clayton certainly hasn't done this offense any favors, and Steven Jackson is going to try to play through a finger injury that required surgery earlier this week... Carolina has been a disappointment this year, but they recorded their first win last week, and with Matt Moore back at quarterback and Steve Smith returning from injury, this team is better than the 1-5 record suggests. David Gettis showed more last week than Dwayne Jarrett has at any point of his career, and finally Carolina may have a viable WR2. DeAngelo Williams is questionable with a foot injury, and if he's forced to sit, Jonathan Stewart would become a must start in fantasy leagues against a St. Louis front seven that has yielded 4.6 YPC on the year.

Predictions: Sam Bradford throws for 200 yards with a touchdown to Brandon Gibson, while Steven Jackson adds 90 total yards and a score. Jonathan Stewart replaces DeAngelo Williams in Carolina's backfield, and he responds with 100 rushing yards and reaches the end zone. Matt Moore adds 225 passing yards with TD strikes to Steve Smith and David Gettis, as Carolina pulls off the upset. Panthers 21-20.

Miami (+2) at Cincinnati, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: Miami is coming off a tough one-point loss at home against the Steelers, and they now travel to face a desperate Bengals team that badly needs a victory to momentarily save their season. Ronnie Brown has become essentially worthless to fantasy owners, and it appears a Ricky Williams injury is the only way to salvage that draft pick. Brandon Marshall is dominating targets (tied for third most in the NFL), including inside the 10-yard line, so more TD production is bound to come. The Cincy secondary is banged up... The Bengals have dropped three straight games and enter in something of a must-win situation playing in a tough AFC North division. Carson Palmer was held out of practice this week with a hip issue, while Terrell Owens was limited with a hand injury. Both are expected to play, but Palmer may be less than 100 percent. He hasn't played well this season, but there would be a noticeable drop off if the team had to turn to its backup.

Predictions: Chad Henne throws for 220 yards with a TD toss to Brandon Marshall, while Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams combine for 100 total yards and a score. Cedric Benson adds 75 rushing yards and a touchdown run, while Carson Palmer throws for 230 yards and a touchdown to Chad Ochocinco, as Cincy gets back into the win column. Bengals 23-20.

Washington (+2) at Detroit, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: Washington is 3-1 over its past four games and enters 4-3 on the season, but their defense is on pace to allow the second most yards in NFL history. Moreover, Donovan McNabb hasn't thrown for multiple scores in any game this season, and he's finished with a QB rating below 80.0 in six of seven contests. Detroit's secondary is still beatable, but the Lions' defensive line is fast improving, and this Redskins team really struggles to put points on the board... Detroit enters just 1-5, but they are coming off its bye and get Matthew Stafford back at quarterback (not that Shaun Hill was playing poorly). Calvin Johnson (shoulder) wasn't even listed on this week's injury report, which is great news, and Jahvid Best's turf toe injury is improving as well (although there's still a chance it remains an issue throughout the rest of the year). The Lions should be able to move the ball against a soft Washington defense, and it's unlikely the Redskins can keep up.

Predictions: Donovan McNabb throws for 250 yards with a touchdown to Chris Cooley, while Ryan Torain adds 80 rushing yards and a TD run. Jahvid Best totals 110 yards and hits paydirt, while Matthew Stafford adds 250 passing yards with scoring strikes to Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew, as Detroit wins it. Lions 24-20.

Denver (+1) at San Francisco, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: The 49ers are 1-6 and just lost Alex Smith for 2-to-3 weeks with a left shoulder sprain, so it's safe to say this has been a lost (and highly disappointing) season. With David Carr the alternative, coach Mike Singletary has elected to turn to Troy Smith at quarterback. Smith hasn't seen any meaningful action since 2007, so he's a total unknown. While (Alex) Smith has hardly been great this season, his injury downgrades the entire San Francisco offense. Expect a lot of Frank Gore on Sunday, as he faces a Denver front seven that just allowed 328 rushing yards and five touchdowns at home against the Raiders last week... The Broncos are 2-5, but the AFC West is hardly a juggernaut, so the team still has reason to play hard. After giving up a whopping 59 points through three quarters against Oakland last week, expect a bounce back performance by the defense. Kyle Orton should also find success against a middling SF secondary that has allowed 11 scores through the air this season. In a game played in London, there is no homefield advantage.

Predictions: Troy Smith executes a conservative game plan, resulting in 150 passing yards and a TD to Vernon Davis. Frank Gore totals 125 yards and scores, while Knowshon Moreno counters with 75 combined yards and a TD of his own. Kyle Orton adds 280 passing yards with a scoring strike to Brandon Lloyd, as Denver wins on a late field. Broncos 20-17.

Green Bay (+5.5) at New York Jets, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: Green Bay ended its 1-3 stretch with a victory last week, but they get a tough task traveling to face the Jets on Sunday. Aaron Rodgers has already thrown more interceptions this season (nine) than he did all of last year (seven), and New York's secondary used its bye week to get healthier. Still, the Jets' defense hasn't been as stout as expected, so Rodgers and company should be able to move the ball this week. With Donald Driver clearly limited by a thigh injury, James Jones is a sneaky option for those in deep fantasy leagues... The Jets have yet to lose since a one-point defeat in Week 1, but surprisingly, the team has relied more on its offense than defense so far. LaDainian Tomlinson has spit in the face of father time, while Mark Sanchez has committed a turnover in just one game all year long. The Packers have recorded more picks (10) than TDs allowed (eight), so Sanchez needs to continue to protect the football. Green Bay is vulnerable against the run (4.7 YPC), so expect New York to once again center its game plan on the rushing attack.

Predictions: Aaron Rodgers throws for 260 yards and two touchdowns, with Greg Jennings and James Jones the recipients. Brandon Jackson is shut down, while LaDainian Tomlinson gains 80 total yards and scores a goal-line TD. Mark Sanchez adds 220 passing yards with scoring strikes to Braylon Edwards and Dustin Keller, as New York comes out on top. Jets 24-20.

Tennessee (+3.5) at San Diego, Sunday 4:05 p.m.

Comments: Tennessee enters 5-2 and with easily the biggest point differential in football (+82). They are 4-1 over the past five games and have averaged 33.7 points over the past three contests. According to Pro Football Focus, the Titans have had the worst run blocking in the NFL this season by a wide margin, which helps explain Chris Johnson's modest 4.1 YPC mark. Vince Young (knee/ankle) hasn't been named the starter yet, but he's expected to be healthy enough to get the nod Sunday... The Chargers have lost three straight and enter with just a 2-5 record on the season. This despite Philip Rivers playing like an MVP (8.7 YPA, 13 touchdowns), and their defense allowing an NFL-low 5.9 YPA with an NFL-high 25 sacks. And they have also given up just 3.5 YPC on the ground as well. Part of it has been poor special teams. Part of it has been mediocre coaching. And part of it has been just plain bad luck (they have lost 12 of 15 fumbles, a rate that is normally around 50 percent). Expect the latter to eventually even out, and San Diego to start winning football games in bunches.

Predictions: Vince Young throws for 210 yards with a touchdown to Kenny Britt, while Chris Johnson manages just 75 total yards and a score. Ryan Mathews counters with 80 total yards, but it's Mike Tolbert who gets the goal-line TD. Philip Rivers adds 275 passing yards with scoring strikes to Antonio Gates and Buster Davis, as the home team prevails. Chargers 24-20.

Tampa Bay (+3) at Arizona, Sunday 4:15 p.m.

Comments: Tampa Bay enters 4-2, but they have been outscored by 30 points this season and are worse than their record indicates. Still, they are no longer a doormat, and the franchise is clearly moving in the right direction. While Josh Freeman looks like the future at quarterback, and Mike Williams looks like a potential perennial Pro Bowler at wide receiver, maybe it's LeGarrette Blount who fills out the trio at running back. He'll cede third down work to Carnell Williams, but he's easily the superior ballcarrier and needs to be added and stashed in all fantasy leagues... Despite being outscored by 62 points this season, Arizona is 3-3, and Sunday will mark just its third home game of the year. With Tim Hightower losing another fumble last week, Chris Wells should continue to get an increased workload, and he should have a big game against a Bucs front seven that has allowed a league-high 5.3 YPC in 2010. Quarterback remains a position in flux, but it sounds like Max Hall (concussion) will get another shot in Week 8. Expect a conservative game plan centered on the rushing attack.

Predictions: Josh Freeman throws for 200 yards with a touchdown to Mike Williams, while Carnell Williams cedes more work to LeGarrette Blount, who scores from the goal line. Chris Wells answers with 125 rushing yards and a TD, while Tim Hightower adds a touchdown run as well. Max Hall adds 175 passing yards with a TD toss to Larry Fitzgerald, as Arizona wins it. Cardinals 21-17.

Minnesota (+5) at New England, Sunday 4:15 p.m.

Comments: Minnesota took a tough loss in Green Bay last week, and at 2-4, Sunday's game is paramount. Brett Favre is dealing with an ankle injury that appears to be serious, but forget the song and dance, he's sure to start Sunday. Since he's already committed 14 turnovers over six games (after committing just nine over 16 games last season) and is clearly hobbled, that's not necessarily a good thing for Vikings fans. Ultimately, the team is left with no choice but to live and die with Favre, and at least he'll have a good matchup this week against a New England secondary that has yielded 7.4 YPA and 12 passing scores this year... The Pats have won four straight, but the offense has taken a step back since trading Randy Moss, as Tom Brady has thrown just three touchdowns since Week 3, and there's not much of a running game to speak of. Minnesota has recorded only six sacks this year, so Brady should be able to move the ball, but with no deep threat, this offense has become methodical. In the Moss bowl, expect homefield to be the difference.

Predictions: Brett Favre throws for 240 yards and two touchdowns, with Randy Moss and Percy Harvin the recipients. Adrian Peterson adds 110 total yards and scores, while Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis combine for 80 total yards and a TD run from BGE. Tom Brady adds 250 passing yards with scoring strikes to Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, as New England gets the victory. Patriots 24-21.

Seattle (+2.5) at Oakland, Sunday 4:15 p.m.

Comments: The Seahawks have won three of their past four games, but they remain pretty vulnerable on the road (1-2 on the year and have been outscored 71-40). Mike Williams has emerged as the team's No. 1 wide receiver, and fantasy owners have to hope Nnamdi Asomugha doesn't shadow him Sunday. Matt Hasselbeck has thrown just two touchdowns over the past three games, so this is hardly a strong passing attack, which exposes just how little upside this Seattle team has... Darren McFadden entered Week 7 questionable with a hamstring injury that held him out of the previous two games, but he got the start and responded with 196 total yards and four touchdowns on just 18 touches. He would have received more work had the game not been a blowout, as McFadden is clearly the team's lead back when healthy. No other RB has averaged as many total yards per game as McFadden this season (150.0 ypg), and his 5.5 YPC mark is tied for third best in the NFL. Finally the track-star speed has translated onto the football field, and his newfound ability to break tackles has been a welcome sight. Put simply, he looks like an entirely different running back than in years past and more like the runner that made him worth being selected fourth overall in the 2008 draft. His balky hamstrings will seemingly always be a worry, but while healthy, calling McFadden a top-10 fantasy player seems conservative. Seattle has been extremely stingy against the run this year (3.3 YPC), but there's no way McFadden can be on fantasy benches.

Predictions: Matt Hasselbeck throws for 200 yards with a touchdown to John Carlson, while Marshawn Lynch totals 70 yards and a score. Darren McFadden counters with 100 yards combined and a TD run, while Jason Campbell adds 230 passing yards with a touchdown toss to Zach Miller, as Oakland comes out on top. Raiders 20-17.

Pittsburgh (+1) at New Orleans, Sunday 8:20 p.m.

Comments: New Orleans lost 30-17 at home against the Browns as heavy favorites last week, ending many people's survivor pools in the process. After tossing just 11 interceptions all of last season, Drew Brees has already been picked off 10 times this year. New Orleans has taken a major step back from their Super Bowl squad in 2009. Still, at home in primetime Sunday night, expect a focused and inspired effort from a Saints team that badly needs a victory... The Steelers don't always win pretty, but they enter Week 8 with a 5-1 record, including a perfect 3-0 mark on the road. It won't be an easy task in New Orleans, especially after losing Aaron Smith for the season to a torn triceps injury. Still, Pittsburgh has allowed an NFL-low 13.7 points per game, and Ben Roethlisberger has gotten a whopping 10.4 YPA with a 5:1 TD:INT ratio over two games since returning from suspension. This is a dominant team, capable of overcoming playing in a tough environment in primetime.

Predictions: Drew Brees throws for 240 yards with a touchdown pass to Robert Meachem, while Chris Ivory adds 60 rushing yards and reaches the end zone. Rashard Mendenhall responds with 80 total yards and a TD run, while Ben Roethlisberger adds 250 passing yards with scoring strikes to Heath Miller and Hines Ward, as Pittsburgh wins it on a late field goal. Steelers 24-23.

Houston (+5.5) at Indianapolis, Monday 8:30 p.m.

Comments: Both teams enter 4-2 and coming off a bye, and you can be sure the Colts won't take the Texans lightly after losing in Houston 34-24 in Week 1. Andre Johnson's ankle injury is improving, but it's likely going to linger over the rest of the year. As usual, Matt Schaub's YPA mark (7.8) is among the elite, and Arian Foster should have a big role Monday night facing an Indy front seven that has allowed 4.8 YPC and seven rushing scores this year... Peyton Manning, who has a 13:2 TD:INT ratio this season, should shred a Texans' secondary that has given up 8.2 YPA and 14 scores through the air. However, the Colts come in quite decimated by injuries, as Dallas Clark (wrist), Joseph Addai (neck) and Austin Collie (hand) are all out. Donald Brown (hamstring) is also highly questionable, while Reggie Wayne (hamstring) and Pierre Garcon (hamstring) both missed practice time this week while nursing injuries of their own. It's awfully hard to beat the Colts twice in one year, and Manning should be able to move the ball with ease against a leaky Houston defense, but with all those injuries and a shaky Colts defense as well, don't be surprised if it's a close game Monday night.

Predictions: Matt Schaub throws for 275 yards with touchdown tosses to Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels, while Arian Foster adds 125 total yards and hits paydirt. Mike Hart gets the start in Indy's backfield, and he runs for 70 yards and scores. Peyton Manning adds 300 passing yards with scoring strikes to Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon, as the home team prevails in a shootout. Colts 27-24.