New York Jets (-6) at Denver, Thursday 8:20 p.m.
Comments: Last week Tim Tebow went 2-for-8 and finished with a QB rating over 100 in a victory in Arrowhead. Dating back to his last game, Tebow went more than a full four quarters without completing a single pass. And somehow Denver won both contests. Eric Decker has scored a touchdown in three straight games, but he could see a lot of Darrelle Revis on Thursday night. Revis has allowed an NFL-low 19.1 QB rating on passes thrown in his coverage this season. Willis McGahee (hamstring) hopes to play, but if he doesn't Lance Ball isn't the worst flier for those dealing with byes and/or injuries in fantasy leagues. Denver will no doubt once again implement a run-heavy attack... The Jets appear to be the superior team on paper, but they have a tough task after playing Sunday night then having to travel across the country and play Thursday. They will have two practices to prepare for such a unique offense with little game film to review. Incredibly, these teams would have the same record should the home team win. Still, despite a near .500 record, it's worth noting the Jets' losses have come against opponents with a cumulative record of 23-13 (counting New England twice), with three of those coming on the road. LaDainian Tomlinson (knee) has been ruled out, so Shonn Greene should get a heavy workload against the Broncos' top-10 rush defense. Mark Sanchez has been a sneaky fantasy QB this year, and he has a plus matchup against a Denver secondary that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year.
Predictions: Tim Tebow throws for 150 yards with no TD passes but also adds 60 rushing yards and a score on the ground. Willis McGahee adds 70 yards and reaches the end zone, while Shonn Greene counters with 80 rushing yards and hits pay dirt. Mark Sanchez adds 275 passing yards with scoring strikes to Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress, as New York comes out on top. Jets 24-17.
Carolina (+7) at Detroit, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Panthers' franchise looks bright with the home run drafting of Cam Newton, but while they have been no doormat this season, the defense has been a real problem and has taken a major step back from last year's team which finished 2-14. The running game has been a disaster for fantasy leaguers, and Newton has a big challenge Sunday against a Detroit secondary that has allowed an NFL-low 5.8 YPA with an equally impressive 9:11 TD:INT ratio... After starting the year 5-0, the Lions are 1-3 over their past four games, and it gets worse, as Jahvid Best (concussion) looks likely to miss the rest of the season, and Mathew Stafford is dealing with a broken finger on his throwing hand. Calvin Johnson is also banged up, but he and Stafford are both expected to give it a go Sunday. If they aren't too hampered by their injuries, they should produce big numbers, as Carolina has ceded 8.3 YPA, which is the second-most in football this year.
Predictions: Cam Newton throws for 170 yards without a touchdown, but he also adds 40 rushing yards and a score. The Panthers' RBBC combines for 100 yards and a TD run by Jonathan Stewart, while Detroit's rushing attack is held in check, although Maurice Morris scores from in close. Matthew Stafford adds 280 passing yards with scoring strikes to Calvin Johnson and Titus Young, as the home team prevails. Lions 27-17.
Tampa Bay (+15) at Green Bay, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Bucs started the season 4-2, but it's not a stretch to call them one of the league's doormats, although it's worth mentioning they have endured an extremely tough schedule. Still, they have allowed an NFL-high 8.5 YPA along with 4.7 YPC and the fourth-most rushing TDs in the league (11). Josh Freeman has thrown more interceptions over his past three games than he did all of last year and has the second-most picks in the NFL. They are also the third-most penalized team in the league. A tougher schedule has had something to do with it, but as a young unit, this team hasn't grown this season but regressed instead... Aaron Rodgers has produced 30 touchdowns with just three turnovers this season. His 72.9 completion percentage would easily set an NFL-record. He's also on pace to break the record for most touchdowns by a quarterback. The only reason he might not also break the yardage record is because he's too good, as all of Drew Brees' interceptions necessitate more pass attempts. Rodgers should have another huge game against an overmatched Tampa Bay defense.
Predictions: Josh Freeman throws for 180 yards with a touchdown to Preston Parker, while LeGarrette Blount punches in a score from in close. Ryan Grant continues to be moot, while James Starks adds 70 rushing yards with a score. Aaron Rodgers throws for 300 yards and three touchdowns, with Jermichael Finley, Jordy Nelson and James Jones the recipients, as Green Bay wins handily. Packers 31-14.
Dallas (-8.5) at Washington, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Redskins have lost five straight, and Mike Shanahan continues to frustrate, randomly changing his starting running back seemingly on a weekly whim. He also made a QB change late last week, and this type of decision-making can't only be maddening to fantasy owners, as his players are likely always looking behind their shoulders. Rex Grossman gets the start this week against a Dallas defense that has yielded a 12:13 TD:INT ratio, and he's been picked off eight times over his past three games. Washington's backfield simply can't be trusted in fantasy leagues, but Roy Helu is likely the best option... Dallas comes in 5-4 and one game out of first place in the NFC East. The team is just 1-3 on the road this season, but all three losses have come against tough competition. Tony Romo opened last week's game 13-for-13 for 195 yards (15.0 YPA) with two touchdowns, eventually completing 18-of-19 passes for 237 yards and three scores before Dallas turned to a conservative offense in a blowout. He gets a Washington defense that has allowed just eight passing scores this year while recording 27 sacks, so while the Redskins' offense has struggled mightily, the defense has been solid. DeMarco Murray is easily a top-10 fantasy back and remains a must-start.
Predictions: Rex Grossman throws for 220 yards with a touchdown to Fred Davis, while Roy Helu totals 80 yards from scrimmage. DeMarco Murray counters with 130 combined yards and a TD run, while Tony Romo adds 250 passing yards with a TD toss to Laurent Robinson, as Dallas wins it. Cowboys 23-16.
Buffalo (+1) at Miami, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: Buffalo is just 1-3 over its past four games after opening the year 4-1, and any playoff hopes are fading fast. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been picked off eight times over his past four games, although Miami's secondary has recorded just four interceptions all season. Stevie Johnson is questionable with a shoulder injury, while Fred Jackson remains a fantasy stud, even during the Bills' decline... After starting the year 0-7, the Dolphins have won back-to-back games, with a combined score of 51-12. Homefield hasn't meant much to this team over the past few years, but it's got to be better than traveling to a cold Buffalo. Matt Moore has been plenty competent, and he faces a Bills' secondary that has allowed 7.9 YPA on the year. Over the last four games, Reggie Bush has averaged 89.8 yards from scrimmage with three touchdowns, with an impressive 5.5 YPC mark as well. Who knows how long it will last, but he's a fantasy starter right now.
Predictions: Ryan Fitzpatrick throws for 220 yards with a touchdown to Scott Chandler, while Fred Jackson adds 110 total yards and reaches the end zone. Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush counter with 130 total yards and a TD run by the latter, while Matt Moore passes for 250 yards with a touchdown to Brandon Marshall, as Miami wins on a late field goal. Dolphins 23-20.
Jacksonville (-0.5) at Cleveland, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: Jacksonville has won two of its past three games, as the defense continues to play well. Blaine Gabbert has averaged just 104.3 passing yards over the past four contests, as the offense remains incredibly lackluster. Maurice Jones-Drew is far and away the best fantasy option in this matchup, and he should once again see a heavy workload... The Browns are just 1-5 over their past six games after opening the year 2-1. Joe Thomas continues to play at an elite level, but there's not a franchise in greater need of improvement at the skill positions. Chris Ogbonnaya should carry the workload once again Sunday and can be used as a flex play in deeper fantasy leagues as a result.
Predictions: Blaine Gabbert throws for 140 yards, while Maurice Jones-Drew adds 100 yards from scrimmage and a TD run. Chris Ogbonnaya adds 80 total yards, while Colt McCoy throws for just 160 yards with no touchdowns, as Cleveland wins thanks to four field goals. Browns 12-10.
Oakland (-0.5) at Minnesota, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: Having last played Thursday, the Raiders should come in well prepared, whereas the Vikings are coming off a short week having played Monday night. Michael Bush gets another start in place of Darren McFadden and is a top fantasy option, while Denarius Moore looks like a strong WR2 as well. Carson Palmer threw six interceptions in his first six quarters as a Raider, but he has also thrown five touchdowns while putting up an incredible 11.5 YPA over his last two games - his only two as Oakland's starter. He has also taken a modest three sacks over that span and has shown renewed arm strength as well. Palmer looks rejuvenated and should be treated as a top-12 fantasy quarterback right now... Minnesota was blown out in Green Bay last week, but there's not a lot of shame in that this season. Despite a 1-3 record, the Vikings have actually outscored their opponents while playing at home this season. Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen are playing at an elite level, and the former gets an Oakland front seven that has been gashed for 5.2 YPC this year. It should be a close game Sunday, with homefield the difference.
Predictions: Carson Palmer throws for 275 yards with touchdowns to Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey, while Michal Bush adds 120 yards from scrimmage and hits pay dirt. Adrian Peterson responds with 140 combined yards and scores, while Christian Ponder throws for 225 yards with a touchdown toss to Michael Jenkins, as Minnesota wins it. Vikings 23-21.
Cincinnati (+7.5) at Baltimore, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: Not only did the Bengals' five-game winning streak come to an end last week, but the team also lost CB Leon Hall (Achilles) for the season, and A.J. Greene also suffered a knee injury. He looks unlikely to play Sunday, which would be a big blow to Cincy's offense. Andy Dalton has seven touchdown passes over his past three games, but Baltimore has allowed an NFL-low six passing touchdowns on the year. Cedric Benson also has a tough task, as the Ravens have yielded a league-low 3.3 YPC this season... One week after beating the Steelers for the second time this season, the Ravens lost as heavy favorites last Sunday in Seattle, as the team remains maddeningly inconsistent. Three of their next four games are at home, with the lone road tilt in Cleveland, so they may soon go on a run, and it starts against division rivals this week. Despite averaging 50.0 passes over the past three games, Joe Flacco has recorded just two touchdowns. After receiving just five carries last week, expect Ray Rice to see a heavy workload Sunday.
Predictions: Andy Dalton throws for 175 yards but no touchdowns, while Cedric Benson fights for 70 rushing yards and a TD run. Ray Rice answers with 125 yards from scrimmage and reaches the end zone, while Joe Flacco adds 230 passing yards with a scoring strike to Ed Dickson, as Baltimore comes out on top. Ravens 23-16.
Seattle (+1) at St. Louis, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
Comments: The Seahawks ended a three-game losing streak with an upset victory over the Ravens last week, as the defense played well. Tarvaris Jackson has got 7.8 YPA over his past three games, but that's been accompanied by a 0:4 TD:INT ratio. Marshawn Lynch saw a whopping 37 touches Sunday and now leads the NFL in the category over the past two weeks. Despite totaling just 24 yards in one of them, he's somehow averaged 116.3 total yards over his past four games, scoring in each of his past five contests as well. However, Seattle's offensive line suffered two devastating injuries this past week, which is a major blow... The Rams enter 2-7, with both of their victories coming over the past three weeks. The team has scored the fewest amount of points in the NFL, but the addition of Brandon Lloyd has helped the offense. Sam Bradford will make his first start at home since Week 4, and he gets a middling Seattle secondary Sunday. Steven Jackson has totaled 484 yards over the past three games, but the Seahawks have been stingy against the run this season, allowing just 3.6 YPC.
Predictions: Tarvaris Jackson throws for 200 yards with a touchdown to Sidney Rice (concussion), while Marshawn Lynch totals 80 yards with another TD run. Steven Jackson counters with 110 yards from scrimmage and hits pay dirt, while Sam Bradford adds 230 passing yards with a TD toss to Brandon Lloyd, as the home team prevails. Rams 20-17.
Arizona (+9.5) at San Francisco, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
Comments: Arizona has won-back-to-back games after losing six straight, including a big upset in Philadelphia last week. The team is in the middle of a three-game road trip, and John Skelton gets another start Sunday. Skelton has been an upgrade over Kevin Kolb and has also been a big boost to Larry Fitzgerald's fantasy value. Chris Wells remains limited by his knee injury, but he's expected to play Sunday. He's not a strong fantasy option, however, facing a 49ers' front seven that has ceded just 3.4 YPC and is the only in the NFL yet to allow a rushing score... San Francisco has won seven straight games and has been one of the biggest surprises of the 2011 season, thanks in no small part to a terrific special teams unit. Alex Smith hasn't thrown multiple touchdowns since Week 5, but he's got 7.9 YPA over the past three games and has been intercepted just three times this season, one of which was completely Ted Ginn's fault last week. Frank Gore is limited by ankle and knee injuries, so don't be surprised if Kendall Hunter produces flex fantasy value Sunday.
Predictions: John Skelton throws for 220 yards with a touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald, while Chris Wells is held in check. Frank Gore shares carries with Kendall Hunter, as the two total 150 yards from scrimmage and each score a touchdown. Alex Smith adds 230 passing yards with a scoring strike to Michael Crabtree, as San Francisco wins its eighth straight game. 49ers 24-16.
Tennessee (+6) at Atlanta, Sunday 4:15 p.m.
Comments: The Titans have won two of their past three games, and while unlikely, there's still a chance they win the AFC South, especially with Matt Schaub (foot) out for the season. Matt Hasselbeck has had a solid season, and Damian Williams continues to be a sneaky fantasy play. Chris Johnson had by far his best game of the season last week, but Atlanta's run defense is underrated... The Falcons' three-game winning streak ended last week in an overtime loss to the Saints, and coach Mike Smith has taken a lot of heat for his decision to go for it on fourth down at his own 29-yard line. Matt Ryan has eight touchdown passes over four home games this year, but there's a strong chance he'll be without Julio Jones (hamstring) on Sunday. Harry Douglas, who saw 14 targets last week after Jones exited, could be a useful fantasy play in deep leagues. Rumors of Michael Turner's decline appear to have been greatly exaggerated.
Predictions: Matt Hasselbeck throws for 225 yards with a TD toss to Nate Washington, while Chris Johnson adds 80 total yards and reaches the end zone. Michael Turner counters with 100 rushing yards and a TD run of his own. Matt Ryan adds 250 passing yards with scoring strikes to Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White, as Atlanta comes out on top. Falcons 24-20.
San Diego (+3.5) at Chicago, Sunday 4:15 p.m.
Comments: After opening the season 4-1, the Chargers have lost four straight games and suddenly find themselves in a serious battle within their division. Ryan Mathews continues to infuriate while battling injuries, and it appears Antonio Gates is far from 100 percent. Philip Rivers might be the most disappointing player in the NFL this season, and he faces a tough task Sunday in Chicago against a Bears' secondary that has allowed just 6.6 YPA with a 12:13 TD:INT ratio. Still, at times San Diego appears to be more dangerous once every one gives up on them and as underdogs, although injuries to the team's offensive line are a huge concern... The Bears have won four straight and look like one of the best teams in the NFC. Devin Hester continues to get it done, while Matt Forte continues to produce as well. Jay Cutler gets a San Diego secondary that has yielded 17 touchdowns this season, which is the third-most in football. The weather doesn't appear to be a huge concern, which is good news for the Chargers.
Predictions: Philip Rivers throws for 250 yards and two touchdowns, with Vincent Brown and Antonio Gates the recipients. San Diego uses a RBBC, producing 110 yards from scrimmage sans a score. Matt Forte responds with 120 total yards, but it's Marion Barber who scores from the goal line. Jay Cutler adds 250 passing yards with a touchdown toss to Earl Bennett, as Chicago wins by a field goal. Bears 23-20.
Philadelphia (+3) at New York Giants, Sunday 8:20 p.m.
Comments: One week after losing in primetime and with their season essentially on the line, the Eagles lost as 14-point favorites at home to the Cardinals on Sunday. The squad once deemed the dream team is now 3-6 with little chance of making the postseason. LeSean McCoy has scored a touchdown in every game this season, but Michael Vick has reportedly already been ruled out with his rib injury. Enter Vince Young, who should be treated as a borderline top-12 fantasy starter while Vick is out. Although he's likely to be without Jeremy Maclin (shoulder, hamstring), so DeSean Jackson, who was suspended last week, better step it up... The Giants' three-game winning streak came to an end in San Francisco last week, and with upcoming games in New Orleans, versus the Packers and then in Dallas, the team can ill afford a slip up at home in primetime Sunday night. Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) will miss another game, but New York's receiving corps appears to be getting back to full strength. Eli Manning has been fantastic this season, and he gets a Philly secondary this week that has been extremely disappointing this season.
Predictions: Vince Young throws for 180 yards with a touchdown to Brent Celek, and Young also adds 30 rushing yards and a score on the ground. LeSean McCoy adds 100 yards from scrimmage and a TD run of his own, while Brandon Jacobs runs for 75 yards and hits pay dirt. Eli Manning adds 275 passing yards with scoring strikes to Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham, as New York wins it. Giants 27-21.
Kansas City (+15) at New England, Monday 8:30 p.m.
Comments: The Chiefs have lost back-to-back games, both at home against teams that had a combined three wins among them at the time. Moreover, the offense managed just 13 points total, and Matt Cassel is out indefinitely after hand surgery. Enter Tyler Palko, who's looked mostly overwhelmed during his limited work in the NFL. He gets a poor New England secondary this week, but expect a scaled down game plan from Kansas City on Monday night. Things could get ugly if they get down early and have to shift to comeback mode... The Patriots stopped a two-game skid by beating the Jets in New York last Sunday night in emphatic fashion. Tom Brady's INT% is way up this season, but his 8.4 YPA mark is actually a career-high. He should have a big game against a Chiefs' defense that has allowed 8.0 YPA with an NFL-low nine sacks this season. BenJarvus Green-Ellis has ran for fewer than 10 yards in two of his past three games and has topped 75 yards rushing just once all year, but he could be looking at a few scoring opportunities this week, as New England enter as heavy favorites and should produce some goal-line opportunities.
Predictions: Tyler Palko throws for 180 yards with a touchdown to Steve Breaston, while Jackie Battle adds 70 total yards. BenJarvus Green-Ellis runs for 75 yards and a touchdown, while Tom Brady adds 300 passing yards with scoring strikes to Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Deion Branch, as New England wins in a rout. Patriots 34-13.
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