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Game Capsules: Week 14 Game Caps

Dalton Del Don

Dalton Del Don

Dalton Del Don writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Indianapolis (-3) at Tennessee, Thursday 8:20 p.m.

Comments: The Titans enter losers of five straight. The return of Kerry Collins last week didnít lead to the expected improvement on offense, as the team scored just six points at home against a middling Jacksonville defense. Tennessee is out of the playoff race, but they will be motivated to knock off perennial AFC South winner Indy come Thursday night. Chris Johnson is on pace to finish with nearly 1,000 fewer yards from scrimmage this season compared to last, as his YPC has dropped from 5.6 to 4.3, and his activity as a receiver has dramatically declined. Johnson is still on pace to finish with 1,527 total yards and 12 touchdowns, and heís a must-start against the Colts, who have allowed 4.8 YPC and 13 rushing scores this season. The likely return of Kenny Britt (hamstring) should be a big help to the sputtering offense... Indy has lost three straight, and the team is suddenly fighting for their playoff lives. Peyton Manning has thrown 11 interceptions over the past three games, including four pick-sixes. Heís currently in the midst of the worst slump of his career. Injuries to the offense have been a contributing factor, but Manning usually rises above that; at least he has in the past. The backfield will likely be led by Donald Brown, but it will be a committee attack, and itís also safe to expect Reggie Wayne to get targeted heavily once again. The Colts will be vulnerable outdoors and during a short week while traveling, but they are desperate, so expect them to bring their A game.

Predictions: Kerry Collins throws for 220 yards with a TD to Kenny Britt, while Chris Johnson totals 120 yards and scores. Indyís backfield has a relatively quiet game, although Javarris James punches in a goal-line score. Peyton Manning rebounds with a big game, throwing for 270 yards with scoring strikes to Reggie Wayne and Jacob Tamme, as Indy gets back into the win column. Colts 24-20.

Atlanta (-7.5) at Carolina, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: Despite holding a 14-0 lead late in the second quarter last week in Seattle, Carolina lost 31-14 to fall to 1-11 on the season. The team has reached 20 points during just two games this year, but at least the fan base has Andrew Luck to look forward to. Jimmy Clausen has gotten 5.3 YPA with a 1:6 TD:INT ratio, and while the Panthers will rely heavily on Jonathan Stewart and the rushing attack Sunday, the Falcons have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season... Atlanta enters winners of six straight and with an NFC best 10-2 record. Matt Ryan committed a turnover last week for the first time since Week 7, and for all the team's faults, Carolina's secondary has played pretty well this season, allowing 6.7 YPA and a 15:15 TD:INT ratio. Expect a heavy dose of Michael Turner, as the Panthers have ceded 14 scores on the ground in 2010. Carolina has been awful this year, but Atlanta is vulnerable on the road, especially outdoors, and it's extremely difficult to maintain such a high level of success for so many weeks in a row.

Predictions: Jimmy Clausen throws for 180 yards with a touchdown to Steve Smith, while Jonathan Stewart adds 80 rushing yards and hits paydirt. Michael Turner responds with 100 rushing yards and a TD run of his own, while Matt Ryan adds 225 passing yards with a scoring strike to Roddy White, as Atlanta wins its seventh straight game. Falcons 23-17.

Cincinnati (+8.5) at Pittsburgh, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: After opening the year 2-1, the Bengals have lost nine consecutive games, and none was as frustrating as last week's defeat, when jumping off sides prevented a sure overtime. Carson Palmer has been picked off 15 times, and his 6.5 YPA mark is a career-low. The Steelers are tough both against the pass (6.7 YPA, 13:14 TD:INT ratio) and the run (NFL-low 3.0 YPC), so it could be tough sledding in Pittsburgh on Sunday... The Steelers won in Baltimore last week in a physical battle that left Ben Roethlisberger with a broken nose, taking control of the AFC North as a result. Roethlisberger is banged up, but he'll surely give it a go in Week 14, but Rashard Mendenhall should play a big role against a Cincinnati front seven that has allowed a league-high 16 carries for 20-plus yards this season. Hines Ward has reached 30 yards receiving in just one of the past six games and is no longer a reliable fantasy option, and Heath Miller (concussion) is highly questionable, so expect a big game from Mike Wallace on Sunday.

Predictions: Carson Palmer throws for 225 yards and a TD toss to Terrell Owens, while Cincy's ground game is shut down. Rashard Mendenhall answers with 110 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown run, while Ben Roethlisberger adds 250 passing yards with scoring strikes to Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders, as the home team prevails. Steelers 24-16.

New York Giants (-2) at Minnesota, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: With a victory last week, the Vikings have won back-to-back games for the first time this season. Tavaris Jackson replaced an injured Brett Favre (shoulder), and the results were mixed, but aside from the turnovers, he was able to move the offense better than Favre has this year. Still, the safe bet is counting on Favre to play Sunday, but he gets a tough matchup against a New York defense that has allowed just 6.6 YPA while recording 35 sacks in 2010. Percy Harvin continues to miss practice with migraine issues, and Sidney Rice has become the preferable fantasy option down the stretch... Eli Manning's turnovers are up this season, but he's almost certain to set a career-high in TD passes. Minnesota has been much easier to pass on than run against this year, so Manning will have to carry the load Sunday, despite his depleted receiving corps. Ahmad Bradshaw may still not start, but he's reemerged as the fantasy RB to own in New York's backfield. His speed should fare better on turf than Jacobs' physical style in Week 14.

Predictions: Brett Favre throws for 225 yards with a TD toss to Sidney Rice, while Adrian Peterson adds 100 total yards and a touchdown run. Ahmad Bradshaw counters with 75 yards from scrimmage and reaches the end zone, while Eli Manning adds 240 passing yards with a TD strike to Kevin Boss, as New York comes out on top. Giants 23-20.

Green Bay (-7) at Detroit, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: The Lions lost for the fifth straight time last week, and they are big underdogs again Sunday against a surging Packers team. Drew Stanton played surprisingly well last week, and he gets the start again in Week 14. The Packers have allowed an 11:16 TD:INT ratio while recording 35 sacks this season, as opposing passers have accrued an NFL-low 69.6 QB rating against them. Detroit will catch a break if Charles Woodson (ankle) is sidelined. Calvin Johnson can't be benched in fantasy leagues, but he's got a tough matchup this week... Aaron Rodgers has posted an 11:0 TD:INT ratio while getting 9.5 YPA over the past four games, as he's the most valuable player in the NFC. No wide receiver is hotter than Greg Jennings, who has a plus matchup against a leaky Detroit secondary. It remains to be seen how the carries will be doled out for Green Bay, but rookie James Starks possesses the most upside of all Packers running backs.

Predictions: Drew Stanton throws for 175 yards and a touchdown to Brandon Pettigrew, while Detroit's running back by committee produces 80 total yards and a score from Maurice Morris. James Starks counters with 70 rushing yards and a touchdown run, while Aaron Rodgers adds 280 passing yards with scoring strikes to Greg Jennings and James Jones, as Green Bay wins it. Packers 27-23.

Oakland (+4.5) at Jacksonville, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: Oakland has been a tough team to figure out this year, but Week 13 showed what they are capable of, as they went into San Diego and beat the Chargers 28-13. Surprisingly, they enter Week 14 ahead of San Diego in the standings, despite Jason Campbell's modest production (he has eight passing TDs over nine games). The QB is highly fortunate just one of his nine fumbles this season have been lost. Darren McFadden finally got back on track last week, but Michael Bush saw 23 carries as well, and fantasy owners want no part of this rushing attack becoming a committee... Jacksonville is now 4-1 over its past five games and is a game ahead of the Colts in the AFC South. Like the Raiders, the Jags have been inconsistent this season, but they've mostly played well when at home. David Garrard has averaged just 144.0 passing yards with zero scores over the previous two games, but he gets an Oakland secondary this week that has allowed a 22:7 TD:INT ratio on the year. Maurice Jones-Drew has gained 100 yards rushing in five straight contests and remains a bit part of Jacksonville's offense. The Jaguars can't afford to overlook a dangerous Raiders team with an upcoming trip to Indy in Week 15.

Predictions: Jason Campbell throws for 200 yards with a touchdown to Jacoby Ford, while Darren McFadden adds 80 total yards and a TD run. Maurice-Jones Drew answers by reaching the century mark rushing yet again, and he also hits paydirt. David Garrard adds 225 passing yards with scoring strikes to Mike Thomas and Marcedes Lewis, as Jacksonville gets the victory. Jaguars 24-20.

Tampa Bay (-2) at Washington, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: The Bucs have lost back-to-back games, and in a tough NFC, their playoff hopes are fading. A trip to Washington is certainly winnable, but Josh Freeman has gotten a paltry 4.6 YPA over the past two games. LeGarrette Blount and Mike Williams are both worth using in fantasy leagues against a Washington defense that has allowed 24.4 points per game this year. However, the season-ending losses of Aqib Talib and Jeff Faine really hurt. Talib was developing into a shutdown corner, and while Faine struggled in pass protection, it's always tough replacing a center... The Redskins are just 1-4 over their past five contests, as Mike Shanahan's first year in Washington has been a bust. Donovan McNabb has never finished a season with more interceptions than touchdowns, but he's currently sporting a 12:15 TD:INT ratio while also fumbling 10 times. Ryan Torain looks likely to retake the bulk of the workload in the team's backfield, and Anthony Armstrong is a deep sleeper in fantasy leagues.

Predictions: Josh Freeman throws for 240 yards with a touchdown toss to Mike Williams, while LeGarrette Blount adds 80 rushing yards and reaches the end zone. Ryan Torian responds with a similar line, while Donovan McNabb adds 240 passing yards with scoring strikes to Anthony Armstrong and Chris Cooley, as Washington gets back into the win column. Redskins 21-20.

Cleveland (+1) at Buffalo, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: Buffalo enters 2-10 and coming off a disappointing showing in Minnesota. In fact, last week marked the first time the Bills lost by more than a field goal since Week 5. After throwing 11 touchdowns over his first four starts, Ryan Fitzpatrick has failed to throw multiple TDs in five of the past six contests. Cleveland has recorded 18 interceptions this season, the second most in the league, so the QB will have to protect the football Sunday... Cleveland won for the second game in a row last week, as Jake Delhomme didn't commit a turnover for the first time since Week 10 in 2009. Peyton Hillis should bounce back from a relatively quiet game against a Buffalo front seven that has been gashed for 4.7 YPC and 14 rushing scores this season. Ben Watson is an intriguing fantasy option as well after getting targeted 11 times last week and facing a Bills' defense that has allowed an NFL-high eight touchdowns to tight ends this year.

Predictions: Ryan Fitzpatrick throws for 250 yards with a touchdown to Stevie Johnson, while Fred Jackson adds 90 combined yards and a score. Peyton Hillis counters with 110 total yards and hits pay dirt, while Jake Delhomme adds 220 passing yards with a TD toss to Ben Watson, as Cleveland wins on a late field goal. Browns 20-17.

St. Louis (+9.5) at New Orleans, Sunday 4:05 p.m.

Comments: The Rams have won back-to-back games, both away from home, but they have the tough task of playing their third straight road game Sunday. At 6-6, St. Louis is tied for first place in the NFC West, but they are big underdogs in New Orleans in Week 14. Sam Bradford has done a fine job not turning the ball over of late, but he has a tough matchup against a Saints secondary that has allowed just 6.6 YPA and an NFL-low eight passing scores. Steven Jackson should once again act as the centerpiece to the Rams' offense... The Saints have quietly won five straight games, as the defending Super Bowl champs are once again contenders, averaging 33.0 points over the past three contests. Drew Brees has gotten 9.4 YPA over that span, although he's also been picked off in eight consecutive games. Pierre Thomas (ankle) is likely to return to the lineup for the first time since Week 3, but Chris Ivory is the better fantasy play.

Predictions: Sam Bradford throws for 180 yards with a TD toss to Brandon Gibson, while Steven Jackson adds 75 hard fought yards and scores. Chris Ivory responds with a similar line, while Drew Brees adds 250 passing yards with touchdown strikes to Marques Colston and Robert Meachem, as New Orleans wins its sixth straight game. Saints 27-20.

Seattle (+5.5) at San Francisco, Sunday 4:05 p.m.

Comments: The Seahawks come in tied for first place in their division, but over their past seven games, their only wins have come against the lowly Cardinals and Panthers, and the team really struggles away from their home-field advantage. Matt Hasselbeck has just 10 touchdowns compared to 11 interceptions this season, and both of his main targets in Mike Williams (foot) and Ben Obomanu (hand) missed practice all week and are questionable to play Sunday. Marshawn Lynch is coming off a three-touchdown performance, but it was a fluke, and he should have tough sledding against a 49ers front seven that has given up only 3.6 YPC this year, which is the third lowest mark in the league... Troy Smith is 3-2 as a starter this season, while Alex Smith is 1-6. So naturally, the team is switching back to the latter for Week 14, with the thought being it opens up the playbook. Still, expect San Francisco to concentrate on its rushing attack. While the return of DT Colin Cole will help, Seattle has been gashed by the run of late, allowing 513 rushing yards over the previous three games. Both Brian Westbrook and Anthony Dixon should get plenty of work Sunday. In a division battle, home field is the difference.

Predictions: Matt Hasselbeck throws for 190 yards with a touchdown to Deon Butler, while Seattle's ground game is held in check. Brian Westbrook totals 80 yards, while Anthony Dixon scores from the goal line. Alex Smith adds 230 passing yards with scoring strikes to Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis, as the home team prevails. 49ers 24-16.

New England (-3) at Chicago, Sunday 4:15 p.m.

Comments: The Patriots are 9-1 over their last 10 games, including a highly impressive 45-3 win over the Jets in primetime Monday night. The team will be hard pressed to avoid a letdown Sunday, and they combine that problem with having to travel during a short week to play in a tough environment. Still, despite a mediocre defense, New England is clearly one of the best teams in football, thanks largely to Tom Brady having an MVP season. He has a 15:0 TD:INT ratio over the past five games, has gotten 9.7 YPA over the past four games and hasn't been intercepted since Week 6. It's strength against strength, as Chicago has allowed an NFL-low 6.2 YPA and just nine passing TDs this season... The Bears enter riding a five-game winning streak of their own, and if the season ended today, they would have a first round bye in the playoffs. They have an extremely difficult schedule down the stretch, however, starting Sunday with the Patriots. Jay Cutler hasn't been picked off in either of his past two games and has gotten an impressive 8.0 YPA this year, although he's on pace to be sacked a whopping 60 times. Chicago has concentrated on its ground game more than expected, something that should continue this week, as New England has picked off 18 passes this year. Expect a close, hard-fought contest that comes down to the end. Fantasy owners should note that forecasts call for high winds and temperatures in the low 20s.

Predictions: Tom Brady throws for 240 yards and a touchdown to Rob Gronkowski, while BenJarvus Green-Ellis manages 60 yards and a TD run. Matt Forte counters with 80 yards and reaches the end zone, while Jay Cutler adds 250 passing yards with a scoring strike to Earl Bennett, as Chicago wins on a late field goal. Bears 20-17.

Miami (+5.5) at New York Jets, Sunday 4:15 p.m.

Comments: Since Week 3, Miami has alternated wins and losses every other game, which bodes well for the team's Week 14 outlook coming off a 13-10 loss against the Browns. Of course, that pattern really doesn't matter come Sunday, and the Dolphins get a Jets squad that should be focused coming off an embarrassing 45-3 blowout loss. Chad Henne has a 12:15 TD:INT ratio on the year, and his status as the team's franchise quarterback has taken a major hit. Brandon Marshall hopes to play, but he remains questionable with a hamstring injury, and it's safe to expect a bounce back performance from New York's defense... After not committing a single turnover over the first five games this season, Mark Sanchez has thrown 11 interceptions over seven contests. The Dolphins have defended the run well this year, so he's going to have to make some plays Sunday. LaDainian Tomlinson, who hasn't scored since Week 6, is a much more enticing fantasy option in PPR formats. The Florida-based Dolphins catch a break, as forecasts call for clear skies and temperatures in the 40s on gameday.

Predictions: Chad Henne throws for 170 yards with a TD toss to Anthony Fasano, while both Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown manage 50 yards without scoring. LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene combine for 120 yards, with the latter reaching the end zone. Mark Sanchez adds 240 passing yards with scoring strikes to Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards, as New York bounces back. Jets 27-16.

Denver (-5.5) at Arizona, Sunday 4:15 p.m.

Comments: Arizona has lost seven straight games, and they have averaged just six points over the past two - both at home. That offensive ineptitude will be tested Sunday, as Denver has allowed 27.8 points per game this season, which is tied for the most in the AFC. Of course, the Cardinals' QB position remains in flux, with the starter still in question. John Skelton is likely to get the nod, but the fifth round pick out of Fordham is extremely raw and nowhere near ready for NFL action. Expect a limited playbook, with a lot of running played called Sunday, especially since the Broncos have been gashed for a league-high 16 rushing scores this year... Just when the team has its best defensive and rushing performance of the season last week, Kyle Orton has his worst game of the year, leading to the team's seventh loss in their past eight outings. As a result, coach Josh McDaniels was fired, but the team's offensive philosophy isn't expected to change much under new HC Eric Studesville. Expect Kyle Orton to rebound under ideal conditions in Arizona and against a Cardinals defense that has allowed an NFL-high 28.2 points per game. Brandon Lloyd and Knowshon Moreno are both must-starts in fantasy leagues.

Predictions: John Skelton throws for just 150 yards, but he does find Steve Breaston for a score. Tim Hightower gets the majority of touches in Arizona's backfield once again, resulting in 80 total yards and a TD run. Knowshown Moreno has a big game, totaling 125 yards with a touchdown. Kyle Orton adds 270 passing yards with two scoring strikes to Brandon Lloyd, as Denver comes out on top. Broncos 24-20.

Kansas City (+7) at San Diego, Sunday 4:15 p.m.

Comments: The Chiefs have won three straight and have a two-game lead in the AFC West, but the team suffered a major setback when Matt Cassel underwent an emergency appendectomy this week. He's highly questionable to play Sunday, and in fact, might miss multiple games with the injury. Enter Brodie Croyle, who has gotten 5.4 YPA and is 0-9 as a starter throughout his career. He has a tough matchup against a San Diego defense that has ceded only 6.4 YPA (second lowest in league) while recording 34 sacks this season. Expect a run-heavy gameplan from Kansas City... The Chargers' four-game winning streak came to a surprising end last week during a 28-13 home loss to the Raiders, as the team dropped a game in which they were 13-point favorites. They will be favored in all four of their remaining games this season, so they still aren't out of the playoff picture, but Sunday marks a must-win versus the Chiefs, and they catch a huge break with Cassel out. Philip Rivers is coming off one of his worst games of the year, but he could be getting reinforcements back, as Vincent Jackson (calf) is suddenly likely to return to action. Ryan Mathews should continue to be ignored in fantasy leagues, but Mike Tolbert can be started with confidence in a game in which the Chargers are likely to be playing mostly with the lead.

Predictions: Brodie Croyle struggles, managing just 160 passing yards with no scores. Jamaal Charles totals 100 yards and hits paydirt, while Javier Arenas takes a punt return to the house. Mike Tolbert answers with 90 rushing yards and a TD run, while Philip Rivers throws for 300 yards with a touchdown toss to Antonio Gates, as San Diego wins it. Chargers 26-20.

Philadelphia (-3.5) at Dallas, Sunday 8:20 p.m.

Comments: Dallas is 3-1 since Jason Garrett took over as head coach, including a 38-35 win in Indianapolis last week. Unfortunately, the team lost impressive rookie Dez Bryant to a season-ending leg injury, so Miles Austin should see an uptick in targets as a result. The Cowboys could catch a huge break, as Asante Samuel suffered a setback with his knee injury during practice this week and might not make the trip Sunday night. He's been a shutdown corner this season, and Philadelphia's pass defense drops off sharply when he's been out of the lineup. Felix Jones remains the team's lead back, but after watching Tashard Choice get 5.3 YPC last week, it's hard to figure why he's been playing behind Marion Barber all season... The Eagles won for the third time over their past four games last Thursday, and while it's not exactly the same as a bye, it's worth pointing out just how successful Andy Reid has been with extra preparation. Michael Vick has a ridiculous 21:3 TD:turnover ratio this year, but he's been fortunate just one of his nine fumbles have been lost. He's got a terrific matchup, as Dallas has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in the NFC this season. On turf and against a Cowboys team that is just 1-5 at home on the year, expect Philadelphia to light up the scoreboard in a high-scoring affair Sunday night.

Predictions: Jon Kitna throws for 270 yards and two touchdowns, with Miles Austin and Jason Witten the recipients. Felix Jones totals 75 yards, but it's Tashard Choice who scores from the goal line. LeSean McCoy responds with 90 combined yards and hits paydirt, while Michael Vick adds 270 passing yards, 40 rushing yards and scoring strikes to DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, as the road team prevails. Eagles 30-24.

Baltimore (-3) at Houston, Monday 8:30 p.m.

Comments: Houston is 1-5 over its past six contests, with their lone win coming against a slumping Tennessee team that just went nearly 15 quarters without scoring a touchdown. At 5-7, the Texans are effectively out of the playoff picture, but a rare home game on Monday night should sufficiently fire them up. Matt Schaub has posted a 7:1 TD:INT ratio over the past four games, but Baltimore has yielded just 6.4 YPA this season, which is the second lowest mark in the NFL. The Ravens have also allowed the second fewest rushing scores (five) in the league, so Arian Foster will get a stiff test as well... Baltimore is coming off a tough loss to Pittsburgh, and Joe Flacco has taken eight sacks over the previous two games. Flacco has played much better at home compared to on the road this season, but Houston has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in the NFL this season, so he's got a favorable matchup. Ray Rice has been something of a disappointment this year, but he averaged 135.5 yards from scrimmage over his previous four games before running into a Pittsburgh defense that shuts down all backs last week, so he's a must-start Monday night.

Predictions: Matt Schaub throws for 240 yards with TD tosses to Andre Johnson and Arian Foster, while the latter also adds 90 total yards. Ray Rice counters with 110 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown run, while Joe Flacco adds 250 passing yards with scoring strikes to Derrick Mason and Anquan Boldin, as Baltimore wins it. Ravens 24-20.