New Orleans (-13.5) at St. Louis, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Rams enter 0-6 and averaging an NFL-low 9.3 points per game. They will likely have to turn to A.J. Feeley at QB again Sunday, and while Sam Bradford as been well below average, Feeley is still a downgrade, although the addition of Brandon Lloyd has helped improve the wide receiver crew. This team looks like one of the league's true doormats and faces a New Orleans squad that scored 62 points last week, but a near two touchdown underdog at home is about as big of a spread as you'll see in the NFL... The Saints are coming off a game in which they scored the most points since the merger and now face a St. Louis defense that has allowed a league-high 5.5 YPC and 183.8 YPG against the rush along with the 10th most fantasy points versus opposing quarterbacks this season. This is a clear mismatch on paper, and the road team should win handily, but don't be shocked if it's closer than anticipated, as the NFL has a way of producing unexpected results because even the worst and best teams aren't quite as separated as records indicate.
Predictions: A.J. Feeley throws for 180 yards with a touchdown to Brandon Lloyd, while Steven Jackson totals 75 yards with a TD run. The Saints' RBBC combines for 125 yards with a score from Pierre Thomas, while Drew Brees adds 300 passing yards with scoring strikes to Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham, as New Orleans comes out on top. Saints 30-17.
Miami (+10) at New York Giants, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Dolphins are 0-6 and blew a 15-0 lead with under four minutes remaining last week. Brandon Marshall has had numerous inexcusable drops, but he's also had to face the Browns, Chargers, Jets (whom rank as three of the four best fantasy defenses against wide receivers so far this year) and Broncos (when Champ Bailey returned) the last four weeks. Despite that, he's still on pace to finish with 91 catches and 1,288 yards. Even with Matt Moore - buy... The Giants are 4-2 and coming off a bye, but like the Cowboys, they seem like a team that can beat or lose to any team in the NFL, so that volatility gives hesitation to the double-digit spread against a winless team Sunday. Eli Manning's 9.1 YPA ranks as the second-highest mark in football this season, and the Giants have also recorded an NFL-high 21 sacks on the year, so they are the clear favorites in this contest.
Predictions: Matt Moore throws for 220 yards with a touchdown to Brandon Marshall, while Daniel Thomas adds 75 yards from scrimmage and scores. Ahmad Bradshaw answers with 90 total yards, although it's Brandon Jacobs who punches in a goal-line TD. Eli Manning adds 275 passing yards with scoring strikes to Mario Manningham and Victor Cruz, as the home team prevails. Giants 27-20.
Arizona (+13) at Baltimore, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Cardinals have lost five straight since winning Week 1, and they might be without Beanie Wells (knee) in Week 8. While fantasy owners can likely withstand that loss (especially with a matchup in Baltimore), if he's out longer (including a favorable matchup at home against the Rams in Week 9), it will become a major problem as we enter the final stretch of the season before the fantasy playoffs. Alfonso Smith needs to be added for insurance. Larry Fitzgerald has averaged 84.2 yards per game this season compared to 71.1 last year, but he's also on pace to finish with 83 receptions and five touchdowns - both lower than last season's disappointing numbers. So much for Kevin Kolb returning him to top-three fantasy WR status... By game time Monday, the Ravens were 10-point favorites, so their loss was a major upset in Jacksonville, thanks heavily to the team's offense that produced just seven points and 146 net yards. The Jags' defense is good, but that's still an embarrassing performance for a Super Bowl contender. Joe Flacco, who remains extremely inconsistent, gets a favorable matchup Sunday against an Arizona defense that has allowed 274.2 passing yards per game (and 8.2 YPA) this season.
Predictions: Kevin Kolb throws for 175 yards with a touchdown to Jeff King, while Alfonso Smith is shut down in the running game. Ray Rice responds with 150 yards and a touchdown, while Joe Flacco adds 250 passing yards and two TD tosses to Anquan Boldin and Ed Dickson, as Baltimore wins handily. Ravens 30-13.
Minnesota (+3) at Carolina, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: It's a battle between teams with a combined 3-11 record, and while a blowout would surprise, a spread that suggests these two teams are equal is a little bit surprising. The Vikings are 0-3 on the road, being outscored 85-44 when outdoors this year. And the difference between Christian Ponder and Cam Newton seems pretty drastic. Percy Harvin is questionable with a rib injury and even Adrian Peterson is less than 100 percent while missing practice Wednesday with an ankle problem... Carolina is 2-5 and possesses a suspect defense, but they still have two strong running backs (much to their fantasy owners' demise) and a big improvement in the passing attack thanks to Cam Newton. Facing a Minnesota front seven that has ceded 7.9 YPA this season, Newton and Steve Smith should continue their successful ways this year, especially on their home turf.
Predictions: Christian Ponder throws for 180 yards with a TD toss to Visanthe Shiancoe, while Adrian Peterson adds 120 yards and hits pay dirt. Carolina's RBBC combines for a similar line, with Jonathan Stewart getting a goal-line score, while Cam Newton adds 250 passing yards with scoring strikes to Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell, as the home team prevails. Panthers 27-20.
Indianapolis (+9) at Tennessee, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Colts come in 0-7 after losing by 55 points in primetime. The loss of Peyton Manning cannot be understated at this point, and it's unclear why Joseph Addai tried to return early from a hamstring injury he clearly wasn't fully recovered from. Curtis Painter has shown glimpses at times, so it won't be crazy if another blowout doesn't ensue, even if the Titans come in focused after getting blown out themselves last week... After losing 41-7 at home against the Texans last week, the Titans are now much bigger underdogs to win the AFC South, as the loss of Kenny Britt has really caught up to the passing attack. Chris Johnson is a true buy-low candidate right now, as he's gotten 1.9 YPC after contact this season, which ranks 53rd among running backs. If you're a believer in him bouncing back, now is clearly the time to pounce, as he faces an Indy defense at home this week that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.
Predictions: Curtis Painter throws for 210 yards with touchdowns to Pierre Garcon and Reggie Wayne, while the running game is mostly held in check. Chris Johnson bounces back, totaling 125 yards with a touchdown, while Matt Hasselbeck adds 240 yards with TD tosses to Nate Washington and Jared Cook, as Tennessee wins it.
Jacksonville (+10) at Houston, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Jaguars ended a five-game losing streak with an upset over the Ravens on Monday night that pegged them as up to 10-point underdogs come kickoff. It was an ugly offensive effort on both sides, but Jacksonville's defense can no longer be ignored. Maurice Jones-Drew has played well this season, especially considering his circumstances, although his six fumbles (and he could have been called for another Monday too) are twice as many as any other running back this year... The Texans had a signature victory last week as underdogs, winning by 34 points on the road and solidifying their role as AFC South favorites in the process. Arian Foster's breakaway speed on his 78-yard TD catch Sunday was impressive, if a bit unexpected. He should be considered the No 1 overall fantasy player moving forward. Andre Johnson returned to practice this week, but his hamstring injury could very well keep him out yet another week.
Predictions: Blaine Gabbert throws for 180 yards with a touchdown to Mike Sims-Walker, while Maurice Jones-Drew adds 80 yards from scrimmage and reaches the end zone. Arian Foster answers with 140 total yards with a touchdown run, while Matt Schaub adds 230 passing yards and two TDs, with Kevin Walter and Owen Daniels the recipients, as Houston comes out on top. Texans 24-17.
Detroit (-3) at Denver, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
Comments: The Broncos came back from a 15-0 deficit with fewer than four minutes remaining Sunday, with Tim Tebow somehow transforming from a horrible quarterback to a great one in a matter of a few drives. Willis McGahee has been one of the bigger surprises this season, but he's out Sunday with a broken hand, so Knowshon Moreno is back on the fantasy radar. Moreover, Demaryius Thomas received 10 targets Sunday, and while he only hauled in three of those looks, one went for a touchdown, and it was his first game since Week 11 of last year, so some rust could be expected. Tebow's inaccuracy may be a problem, but if he's the team's WR1, Thomas is certainly on the fantasy radar... After winning five straight to open the season (and nine overall dating back to last year), the Lions have dropped back-to-back games, both of which were at home. Matthew Stafford has a 16:4 TD:INT ratio on the year, but while he's limited turnovers recently, he's gotten just 5.8 YPA over the past two weeks, giving him a 7.1 mark on the season - that number isn't terrible on the surface, but when you factor in the current passing numbers in today's NFL (it comes in as 17th best right now), him playing six of seven games in a dome this year and having Calvin Johnson as a teammate, he hasn't been all that great. Although in his defense, the Lions might have the worst running game in the NFL (and Jahvid Best is out with a concussion). Still, the injury-prone quarterback is now dealing with an ankle sprain that has his availability for Week 8 in question. He's likely to play, but it once again reminds us of his health concerns. Sunday's matchup against a Denver secondary that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season looks favorable, but there's also a chance of snow in the forecast. Even with weather concerns, Stafford owners could do worse than rolling with Shaun Hill if he's forced to sit out this week.
Predictions: Tim Tebow throws for 200 yards with a TD to Denaryius Thomas, while Knowshon Moreno adds 70 total yards and a TD run. The Lion' RBBC combines for 90 yards with no touchdowns, while Matthew Stafford plays through his injury and throws for 250 yards and touchdowns to Nate Burleson and Brandon Pettigrew, as Detroit gets back into the win column. Lions 23-17.
Washington (+6) at Buffalo, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
Comments: The Redskins have lost three of their past four games and enter sputtering, with an already struggling offense now missing Santana Moss (hand) for the next 3-to-6 weeks. With Chris Cooley (knee) also on the IR, Fred Davis and Jabar Gaffney stand to benefit. Each make sneaky fantasy plays this week against a Buffalo secondary that has allowed the third-most points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Ryan Torain and Roy Helu are risky plays because of Mike Shanahan, but if either gets the majority of the workload, a big game could be in store, as the Bills have allowed 5.1 YPC with eight rushing scores on the year... Buffalo is coming off its bye and is a surprising 4-2, with each of their losses by just a field goal. The offense has carried the team, although they get a tough task Sunday against a solid Redskins defense. Fred Jackson has somehow been the No. 1 fantasy back this year, and he'll continue to be the team's offensive centerpiece. Sunday's matchup takes place in Toronto, so Buffalo's home-field advantage may be muted a bit.
Predictions: John Beck throws for 230 yards with a touchdown toss to Jabar Gaffney, while Ryan Torain runs for 80 yards and scores. Fred Jackson responds with 110 yards from scrimmage and reaches the end zone, while Ryan Fitzpatrick adds 240 passing yards with scoring strikes to Stevie Johnson and David Nelson, as Buffalo comes out on top. Bills 24-20.
Cincinnati (-3) at Seattle, Sunday 4:15 p.m.
Comments: The Bengals come in riding a three-game winning streak and off their bye, as both the team's defense and rookie QB Andy Dalton have played better than expected. A.J. Green has also been a revelation, as the future looks bright for the franchise with a ton of upcoming draft picks as well. Cedric Benson is out Sunday while serving his suspension, and while Benard Scott should get around 20 touches as a result, he faces a Seattle front seven that has ceded an NFL-low 3.1 YPC on the year... The Seahawks are alone in second place in their division despite a 2-4 record, including an ugly 6-3 loss last week. Tarvaris Jackson (peck) is making progress, but he's highly questionable to play Sunday, so it looks like the team has to suffer through another Charlie Whitehurst start. Sack adjusted, Whitehurst got 2.0 YPA last week. Marshawn Lynch remains questionable with a back injury, so expect Leon Washington to lead the team in carries if Lynch is forced to sit out again. Seattle's best home is a strong home-field advantage coming into play versus a rookie quarterback.
Predictions: Andy Dalton throws for 210 yards with a touchdown to Jermaine Gresham, while Bernard Scott gets 60 total yards and scores. Seattle's RBBC produces a similar line, while Charlie Whitehurst adds 200 passing yards with a touchdown toss to Sidney Rice, as Seattle pulls off the upset. Seahawks 20-17.
Cleveland (+9) at San Francisco, Sunday 4:15 p.m.
Comments: The Browns won an ugly 6-3 game last week and travel Sunday to face the surprising first place 49ers. Colt McCoy leads an offense that lacks a vertical threat, but rookie Greg Little has emerged as the team's WR. Peyton Hillis continued to miss practice time this week thanks to his hamstring injury, and it's likely he and Montario Hardesty share the workload in Week 8 against a San Francisco run defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season... The 49ers enter winners of four straight and coming off their bye, as they have outscored their opponents by 70 points this year. Alex Smith has an 8:2 TD:INT ratio this season, but his accompanying 6.9 YPA mark suggests the passing attack remains a weakness. Braylon Edwards (knee) might return to action, but the Browns have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers in 2011, and Joe Haden is also back to full strength. Expect Frank Gore to get yet another heavy workload Sunday.
Predictions: Colt McCoy throws for 200 yards with a touchdown to Evan Moore, while the Browns committee attack in their backfield is held in check. Frank Gore answers with 100 total yards and hits pay dirt, while Alex Smith adds 225 passing yards and a TD toss to Vernon Davis. Ten Ginn also returns a punt to the house, as San Francisco wins it. 49ers 27-13.
New England (-3) at Pittsburgh, Sunday 4:15 p.m.
Comments: The Steelers are 5-1 since their opening week loss in Baltimore, and Sunday's home matchup against the Patriots is the game of the week. Ben Roethlisberger has a 7:1 TD:INT ratio over three games at home this season, and New England has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in 2011. Mike Wallace has got an unheard of (and NFL-record) 14.3 yards-per-target this season... While having a bye hasn't been especially helpful so far this year, giving an extra week of preparation to Bill Belichick can't hurt, and the Pats have played the Steelers well over the past few years. Tom Brady and company get a Pittsburgh defense that has allowed an NFL-low 5.8 YPA on the season, but they've also recorded just two interceptions, as they've struggled to force turnovers. Brady, meanwhile, has got 9.1 YPA and should be able to move the ball Sunday with a spread attack.
Predictions: Ben Roethlisberger throws for 275 yards with scoring strikes to Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown, while Rashard Mendenhall contributes 75 total yards. BenJarvis Green-Ellis responds with 70 rushing yards and a TD run, while Tom Brady adds 275 passing yards and two touchdowns, with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez the recipients, as New England gets the victory. Patriots 27-23.
Dallas (+3) at Philadelphia, Sunday 5:20 p.m.
Comments: After a recent slate of miserable primetime games, Sunday night's affair looks enticing. Michael Vick has thrown seven interceptions over his past four games after throwing just six all of last year, and he's already lost as many fumbles (three) this season compared to last as well. LeSean McCoy has had a fantastic year, but he gets a tough task Sunday against a Dallas front seven that has yielded just 3.3 YPC and two touchdowns in 2011. It's important to note Philadelphia is 12-0 when coming off its bye under Andy Reid... The Cowboys are coming off a 34-7 win, and while their passing attack is getting healthier, it was the team's running game that led them to victory. Rookie DeMarco Murray's fantasy value has shot up after he became just the 11th running back in NFL history to rush for 250 yards in a game, and his 3.6 YPC after contact this season ranks as the third-highest mark in football. In an extremely important game between division rivals, expect the outcome not to be decided until the final minutes.
Predictions: Michael Vick throws for 240 yards with a touchdown to Jeremy Maclin, while he also adds 40 rushing yards and a TD run. LeSean McCoy adds 90 total yards, while DeMarco Murray runs for 80 yards and reaches the end zone. Tony Romo adds 270 passing yards with a touchdown toss to Jason Witten, as Dallas pulls off the upset. Cowboys 26-23.
San Diego (-3.5) at Kansas City, Monday 8:30 p.m.
Comments: After losing their first three games of the season, the Chiefs have won three straight, albeit against pretty weak competition (the Raiders were a mess at QB last week and also lost Darren McFadden early on). Still, the team no longer looks like a doormat, and it won't be easy playing in Arrowhead on Monday night. Matt Cassel has got just 6.5 YPA this season, so the passing attack is a weakness. Jackie Battle should continue to act as the team's lead back, and San Diego has allowed 4.7 YPC in 2011... The Chargers' three-game winning streak came to an end when the team blew a double-digit lead to the Jets last week, as they remain as frustrating as ever. After leading the NFL in YPA for three straight seasons, Philip Rivers has a surprising 7:9 TD:INT ratio this year, but the Chiefs have recorded just six sacks in 2011. Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates and Ryan Mathews practiced fully this week, so it's good news the team's best offensive weapons are getting healthier, although Mike Tolbert (hamstring) and Malcom Floyd (hip) are both banged up. Expect a heated contest between AFC West rivals, as the winner here will enter Week 9 first place in the division.
Predictions: Matt Cassel throws for 220 yards with a touchdown to Dwayne Bowe, while Jackie Battle adds 75 yards from scrimmage and scores. Ryan Mathews counters with 90 combined yards and hits pay dirt, while Philip Rivers adds 275 passing yards with TD strikes to Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates, as the road team prevails. Chargers 24-20.