San Diego (-1.5) at New York Jets, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Chargers enter 4-1 and coming off a bye, but unlike last season, when their terrific underlying stats suggested they might be one of the best teams in football yet they didn't make the playoffs, this year the team hasn't played nearly as well as their record suggests. Despite an easy schedule, they have outscored their opponents by just 11 points, although the bye came at a perfect time, as Antonio Gates (foot), Vincent Jackson (hamstring), Ryan Mathews (calf) and Mike Tolbert (concussion) are all expected to play Sunday. The Jets can be beaten on the ground, but their secondary has allowed a 3:9 TD:INT ratio with an NFL-low 62.1 QB rating, so Philip Rivers and company have a tough task... New York is just 3-3, and they weren't overly impressive during last week's win against the Dolphins and will be coming off a short week, but their three losses have all come on the road against strong teams, and the defense remains legit. San Diego has recorded only eight sacks this year and has given up 4.6 YPC, although the Jets' offense is no juggernaut. Shonn Greene only manages to gain what's blocked for him, while Plaxico Burress can no longer separate. Still, home field should be the difference Sunday.
Predictions: Philip Rivers throws for 230 yards with a touchdown to Malcom Floyd, while Ryan Mathews totals 90 yards and scores. Shonn Greene gets 70 rushing yards, while Mark Sanchez adds 225 passing yards with scoring strikes to Dustin Keller and Santonio Holmes, as the home team prevails. Jets 23-20.
Seattle (+2.5) at Cleveland, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: After getting outscored by 40 points over their first two games this season, the Seahawks have actually outscored their opponents by 12 over the last three and are coming off a bye. Still, this doesn't appear to be a good team, although their run defense is elite, and Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin have been a boost to the passing attack, albeit one that is likely to be missing Tarvaris Jackson (peck) on Sunday. Enter Charlie Whitehurst, who surprisingly impressed during relief work last time out against the Giants. Joe Haden's (knee) availability could play a big role in Week 7... The Browns are 2-3 but play in one of the toughest divisions in football and face one of the lesser teams in the league at home Sunday, so it's curious why the spread isn't the standard three. While the touchdowns have been there, like fellow sophomore Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy has taken a step back during his second year in the league, and who knows what to make of Peyton Hillis' situation while dealing with a hamstring injury and contract dispute. He's highly questionable to play Sunday. Greg Little looks like a WR3 for fantasy purposes moving forward now in the starting lineup and acting as the team's clear No. 1 option in the passing attack.
Predictions: Charlie Whitehurst throws for 220 yards with a TD to Sidney Rice, while Marshawn Lynch is held in check. Montario Hardesty gets the start and produces 70 yards and a TD run, while Colt McCoy adds 225 passing yards with a touchdown toss to Greg Little, as Cleveland wins it. Browns 20-16.
Atlanta (+3.5) at Detroit, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Falcons enter a .500 team barely resembling last year's squad that was the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and while they don't travel well, at least Sunday's game is in a dome. Julio Jones (hamstring) is highly questionable, and Matt Ryan is dealing with a tough matchup against a Lions secondary that has allowed 5.9 YPA (second fewest in NFL) while recording more interceptions (eight) than yielding touchdowns (seven) this season. Ryan has looked overwhelmed this season despite playing in domes and with three strong receivers at his disposal, so expect the Falcons to give Michael Turner a heavy workload, especially since Detroit has ceded 5.2 YPC - the second-highest mark in the NFL... The Lions lost for the first time this season (and first time in 10 games dating back to last year) last week, so they should be focused Sunday. Jahvid Best is out with a concussion, and the real concern there is how long he'll be sidelined. It's "indefinitely" for now, as he's dealing with serious repercussions after this being his third over the past 1.5 years. Matthew Stafford's 7.3 YPA mark is underwhelming in today's NFL, but his 15 touchdowns are the third most in the league, behind only Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.
Predictions: Matt Ryan throws for 210 yards with a touchdown to Harry Douglas, while Michael Turner runs for 90 yards and a touchdown. Maurice Morris gets the bulk of the work, although Keiland Williams scores from the goal line. Matthew Stafford adds 270 passing yards with scoring strikes to Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew, as Detroit gets back into the win column. Lions 27-20.
Washington (+2) at Carolina, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: Only the Ravens have allowed fewer points than the Redskins this season, although they have had a bye already. Still, this defense is good, but the offense is a different story, as John Beck is replacing Rex Grossman at quarterback. They do have a plus matchup Sunday against the Panthers, who are arguably the worst defense in football. Beck remains something of an unknown, as does Washington's backfield, although Ryan Torain gained 26 yards after contact last week (while totaling 22 rushing yards), so he could be in store for a big game against a Carolina front seven that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing RBs this season, but it's worth noting the Redskins are dealing with some pretty serious injuries on their offensive line. Fred Davis is easily a top-10 fantasy tight end with Chris Cooley (finger) out... The Panthers' RBBC remains a mess for fantasy owners, while Steve Smith could be in store for a tough day against a Redskins secondary that has allowed an NFL-low one touchdown to opposing wide receivers this season. Cam Newton is a must-start even if he makes a few terrible mistakes each week, thanks to a bad Carolina defense that leads to a high volume of pass attempts and also his willingness to run, especially inside the 10.
Predictions: John Beck throws for 240 yards with a touchdown to Fred Davis, while Ryan Torain tacks on 100 rushing yards and hits pay dirt. Carolina's backfield committee responds with a similar line, with Jonathan Stewart scoring from in close, while Cam Newton adds 280 total yards and finds Greg Olsen in the end zone, as Carolina comes out on top. Panthers 23-20.
Chicago (pick 'em) at Tampa Bay, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Bucs enter 4-2 and in first place after an upset victory over the Saints at home last week, but they have been outscored by 26 points this season and have plenty of flaws. Moreover, they got saddled with a "home" game played in London this week. Josh Freeman had a nice game last week, but Mike Williams remains a risky fantasy start, and LeGarrette Blount remains out with a knee injury... The Bears' performance this season at home compared to on the road has been pretty stark, but Sunday's game is on a neutral field against a team that's vulnerable, so this looks like one of the more even matchups of Week 7. After taking 14 sacks over the first three games this season, Jay Cutler has taken just five over the past three contests, so maybe some progress has been made with the offensive line. Matt Forte leads the team in receiving by 86 yards, so expect him to once again be the Bears' focal point on offense.
Predictions: Josh Freeman throws for 220 yards with a touchdown to Kellen Winslow (the Bears have allowed the most points against opposing tight ends in 2011), while Earnest Graham totals 80 yards and scores. Matt Forte responds with 140 yards from scrimmage, although it's Marion Barber who punches in a score from in close. Jay Cutler adds 250 passing yards with TD strikes to Roy Williams and Forte, as Chicago wins a tightly contested game. Bears 21-20.
Denver (+1) at Miami, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: Denver comes in 1-4, although coming off a bye and with Tim Tebow as the team's new starting quarterback. There's a lot of skepticism about how Tebow will perform, but fantasy owners should be salivating given his rushing ability, and this isn't necessarily some PR move, as Kyle Orton was playing poorly. The trade of Brandon Lloyd won't help Tebow's prospects, but it should theoretically boost Eric Decker's fantasy value. Willis McGahee has gone from bust to boring to underrated... This game features two of the worst pass defenses in the NFL, and while Matt Moore is well below average, his willingness to target Brandon Marshall should keep the latter's fantasy value afloat moving forward. Coach Tony Sparano will almost certainly be fired if he loses this game, and Miami has little home-field advantage, but they are winless and desperate, so don't be surprised by a focused effort Sunday. It's not like Denver is appreciably better by any means.
Predictions: Tim Tebow throws for 240 yards with a touchdown to Eric Decker, and he also adds 40 rushing yards and a goal-line TD run. Willis McGahee adds 100 total yards, while Daniel Thomas counters with 90 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. Matt Moore adds 225 passing yards with touchdown strikes to Brandon Marshall and Brian Hartline, as the home team prevails. Dolphins 24-20.
Houston (+3) at Tennessee, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: Houston has lost three of its past four games and has to travel to Tennessee on Sunday to face a rested Titans team coming off a bye. Missing Andre Johnson (hamstring) and Mario Williams (peck) has been a big problem. Matt Schaub gets a Titans secondary that has allowed just 6.1 YPA this season, so expect the team to rely heavily on its rushing attack... As easily the two top teams in the AFC South, Sunday's matchup is a big game and would give the winner a huge leg up on the division. Matt Hasselbeck has got 7.8 YPA while taking just seven sacks on the year, although the loss of Kenny Britt (knee) may eventually catch up to them. The team spent its bye week working on its ground game, so expect a heavy dose of Chris Johnson come Sunday. Johnson has averaged just 3.0 YPC in 2011, and the offensive line has been a big problem.
Predictions: Matt Schaub throws for 230 yards with a touchdown to Owen Daniels, while Arian Foster adds 100 yards from scrimmage and hits pay dirt. Chris Johnson answers with a similar line, while Matt Hasselbeck adds 240 passing yards with scoring strikes to Nate Washington and Damian Williams, as the home team comes out on top. Titans 24-20.
Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Arizona, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
Comments: The Cardinals haven't won since Week 1 and even found themselves down 28-0 in the first quarter during their last game. Kevin Kolb has produced just five touchdowns compared to nine turnovers this season, so while he's been a modest upgrade at quarterback, he certainly doesn't look like a long-term answer at the position, at least not yet. He gets a Steelers secondary this week that has yielded an NFL-low 5.4 YPA on the year. Pittsburgh has been more vulnerable against the run than usual in 2011, so Beanie Wells should see a bunch of carries. Arizona has played much better at home this season and is coming off a bye, but they have a tough task Sunday... Last week's game against the Jaguars was much closer than anticipated, but Pittsburgh came away with the victory and come in 4-2 on the year. The lack of James Harrison (eye) hurts, although it's good news Troy Polamalu (concussion) looks likely to play Sunday. After recording a 3:5 TD:INT ratio over the first four games of the season, Roethlisberger has thrown six TDs to just one pick over his last two contests. Mike Wallace has been hampered by a hamstring injury, but he's expected to play in Week 7, albeit possibly in limited fashion. Rashard Mendenhall is coming off his best game of the year and faces an Arizona front seven that has allowed an NFL-high eight rushing scores in 2011.
Predictions: Kevin Kolb throws for 200 yards with a touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald, while Beanie Wells adds 80 rushing yards and reaches the end zone. Rashard Mendenhall matches that line, while Ben Roethlisberger adds 250 passing yards with scoring strikes to Mike Wallace and Heath Miller, as Pittsburgh wins it. Steelers 27-20.
Kansas City (+4.5) at Oakland, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
Comments: Kansas City is coming in with a modest two-game winning streak (albeit against weak competition) and off its bye, as they have played better of late. Matt Cassel has got 8.9 YPA over his last two games and faces an Oakland secondary that has ceded an NFL-high 12 passing scores on the year. Jackie Battle looks like the team's new feature back, and as a result, can be used in fantasy leagues as long as he doesn't breakdown... The Raiders shocked the world this week, trading future first and second round picks for Carson Palmer, who despite having not played all season is expected to start Sunday. He's familiar with Hue Jackson's system, but it remains to be seen what kind of shape he's in and just how rusty he'll be. Still, the acquisition is good news long-term for Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey, as Kyle Boller would have been a big drop off from Jason Campbell (collarbone). Darren McFadden has averaged 6.4 YPC while at home this season and should have another nice game Sunday. Sebastian Janikowski is doubtful with a hamstring injury, and while normally kickers wouldn't matter much, this is a blow.
Predictions: Matt Cassel throws for 250 yards with TD tosses to Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston, while Jackie Battle adds 75 total yards and a touchdown run. Darren McFadden counters with 130 yards from scrimmage and hits pay dirt, while Michael Bush also adds a goal-line score. Carson Palmer adds 225 passing yards and finds Darrius Heyward-Bey in the end zone, as Oakland comes out on top. Raiders 30-21.
Green Bay (-9) at Minnesota, Sunday 4:15 p.m.
Comments: The Vikings enter 1-5 and are already turning to rookie Christian Ponder at quarterback. The Packers have recorded more interceptions (11) than touchdowns allowed (10) through the air this season, but Green Bay has also allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing QBs this year. Ponder looked overwhelmed during the preseason and is raw, so expect Adrian Peterson to be given as many touches as he can handle. He remains a top-five fantasy player, but his sudden disappearance as a receiver as limited his upside... Green Bay comes in as the only undefeated team in football, as Aaron Rodgers is the favorite to win MVP. Rodgers has got 9.7 YPA with a 19:3 TD:turnover ratio and looks unstoppable. His spread the wealth mentality has curtailed the fantasy value of players like Jermichael Finley, and despite the team averaging an NFL-high 32.8 points per game, neither James Starks nor Ryan Grant have much fantasy upside.
Predictions: Christian Ponder throws for 190 with a touchdown to Visanthe Shiancoe, while Adrian Peterson adds 90 rushing yards and scores. Green Bay's RBBC produces a similar line, with John Kuhn punching in the goal-line TD. Aaron Rodgers adds 300 passing yards and two touchdowns, with Jordy Nelson and James Jones the recipients, as Green Bay stays undefeated. Packers 27-20.
St. Louis (+12.5) at Dallas, Sunday 4:15 p.m.
Comments: The Rams enter 0-5 and as the only winless team in the NFC, and they may also be without Sam Bradford (ankle) on Sunday. A.J. Feeley would get the start if Bradford can't go, and either QB would get an upgrade after the team recently traded for Brandon Lloyd. The passing attack should be important Sunday, because Dallas has allowed just 3.3 YPC and one rushing touchdown on the year, so Steven Jackson has a tough matchup... The Cowboys could have won in New England last week, but thanks to a conservative approach they enter 2-3, and with an upcoming matchup in Philadelphia next week, they better not overlook the Rams on Sunday. Felix Jones is out with a high-ankle sprain, and rookie DeMarco Murray is the favorite for carries as a result. Dez Bryant has been held catchless in the second half in three of his four games this year, and his disappearing act has become a concern. Jason Witten has a tough matchup this week, as St. Louis has allowed the fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season.
Predictions: A.J. Feeley gets the start and struggles, throwing for 170 yards with a touchdown to Danario Alexander. Steven Jackson totals 75 yards sans a score, while DeMarco Murray gains 70 rushing yards with a TD run. Tony Romo adds 275 passing yards with scoring strikes to Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, as Dallas wins handily. Cowboys 30-13.
Indianapolis (+14) at New Orleans, Sunday 8:20 p.m.
Comments: The Colts enter as the only 0-6 team in the NFL, having allowed a league-high 163 points. Curtis Painter has been a big upgrade at quarterback over Kerry Collins, and Pierre Garcon's fantasy value has seen a huge boost as well. Indy's defense is a big problem, however, as its secondary has allowed a 104.0 QB rating to opposing passers. With the defense always on the field, Pat Angerer has already racked up an NFL-high 73 tackles, so he's been an IDP monster... New Orleans' four-game winning streak came to an end in Tampa Bay last week, so they should be focused come Sunday night. Drew Brees has thrown eight interceptions over the past four games, but he has a favorable matchup this week. NBC can't be happy with this game in primetime, as a blowout is certainly possible.
Predictions: Curtis Painter throws for 240 yards with another TD toss to Pierre Garcon, while Donald Brown and Delone Carter combine for 80 rushing yards and a goal-line score by the latter. The Saints' RBBC produces 140 yards from scrimmage with a TD run by Mark Ingram, while Drew Brees adds 280 passing yards with scoring strikes to Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston and Darren Sproles, as New Orleans wins easily. Saints 31-20.
Baltimore (-8.5) at Jacksonville, Monday 8:30 p.m.
Comments: Jacksonville has lost five straight after winning Week 1, although the defense has played relatively well. Blaine Gabbert hasn't thrown many interceptions, but he's inaccurate and faces a Baltimore defense that has been the best in football this season. Maurice Jones-Drew has played well this year, but his situation in that offense limits his fantasy upside... The Jaguars don't have a great home-field advantage, but the Ravens shouldn't overlook a team playing in its first prime time matchup in such a long time. Joe Flacco has been inconsistent, but Ed Dickson is a sleeper this week while facing a Jacksonville defense that has yielded an NFL-high 40 receptions to tight ends this year. Ray Rice has just one touchdown since Week 2, but he's on pace to finish with 2,240 yards from scrimmage. Expect him to once again be Baltimore's offensive centerpiece.
Predictions: Blaine Gabbert throws for 150 yards with no touchdowns, while Maurice Jones-Drew fights for 75 total yards and runs in a TD. Ray Rice answers with 120 combined yards with a touchdown, while Joe Flacco adds 230 passing yards with a scoring strike to Ed Dickson, as the road team prevails. Ravens 20-13.