Houston at Cincinnati - 1:00 PM EST Sunday
Intrigue abounds in this matchup of surprising teams. Many analysts had the Texans pegged as a contender for a wild card spot in the AFC this year, while the Bengals are... the Bengals. And yet here we are, five weeks into the 2009 season, and the Bengals are in first place and the Texans can't figure it out.
I promised I wouldn't say "Houston, we have a problem," but if their defense isn't a problem then it's a wreck. Teams go deep on the Texans more than Jacque Cousteau did the Pacific, and people are running all over them as well. Meanwhile, the Bengals defense has become a force and Cedric Benson remembered how to run the ball.
Carson Palmer: 285 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs
Cedric Benson: 135 total yards, 1 TD
Chad Ochocinco: 95 yards, 2 TDs
Andre Caldwell: 75 rec yards, 120 return yards, 1 TD
Matt Schaub: 310 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Steve Slaton: 100 total yards
Andre Johnson: 120 yards, 1 TD
Owen Daniels: 60 yards, 1 TD
Kevin Walter: 70 yards
Final Score: Bengals 34 - Texans 20
Cleveland at Pittsburgh - 1:00 pm EST Sunday
This game could get interesting as well. The Steelers' have been vulnerable through the air, but the Browns don't have a passing game; Derek Anderson completed TWO passes last week. Meanwhile, Jamal Lewis has been the sum of the Browns' offense, but the Steelers run defense is still solid. Something has to give.
It will probably be the Browns. They're really not very good, and just unloaded their best weapon, Braylon Edwards, to the Jets. This could get real ugly real fast at Heinz Field. Smart money says play the Steelers across the board.
Ben Roethlisberger: 285 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs
Rashard Mendenhall: 140 total yards, 1 TD*
Willie Parker: 90 total yards
Santonio Holmes: 100 yards, 1 TD
Heath Miller: 75 yards, 1 TD
Hines Ward: 80 yards, 1 TD
* - Mendenhall missed Wednesday's practice with the flu. Check back to TFF this weekend for updates.
Derek Anderson: 110 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
Brady Quinn: 90 yards
Jamal Lewis: 80 yards
Mohamed Massaquoi: 75 yards, 1 TD
Joshua Cribbs: 40 rec yards, 160 return yards
Final Score: Steelers 31 - Browns 10
St. Louis at Jacksonville - 1:00 pm EST Sunday
The Chicago Cubs Mark Grace used to famously talk about "slumpbusters," and after a 41-0 beat down against the Seahawks and internal comments calling the coaching staff into question from players like Maurice Jones-Drew, the Rams are just what the Jaguars needed to get back in the saddle.
The Rams are really, really bad. Indeed, if not for Stephen Jackson, they might not have an offense at all. Meanwhile, MJD called himself the second highest paid decoy in the NFL this week. I would put my money on him getting the ball plenty on Sunday, and the Jaguars taking no prisoners. Play the Jags this week.
David Garrard: 295 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Maurice Jones-Drew: 150 total yards, 2 TDs
Torry Holt: 95 yards
Mike Sims-Walker: 85 yards, 1 TD
Marcedes Lewis: 75 yards, 1 TD
Kyle Boller: 175 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs
Stephen Jackson: 130 total yards, 1 TD
Anyone else? Someone? Paging St. Louis...?
Final Score: Jaguars 30 - Rams 7
Philadelphia at Oakland - 4:05 pm EST Sunday
Anyone else sensing a trend? The Eagles should roll the Raiders big time this week, and there should be plenty of fantasy points from Philadelphia players this week. Donovan McNabb is back for a second week and should continue to spread the ball to his speedy receivers.
The Raiders will continue to be a fantasy Black Hole as long as they have an incompetent quarterback under center. Because of injuries and JaMarcus Russell being awful, there is no fantasy value in Oakland this week.
Donovan McNabb: 340 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INT
Brian Westbrook: 90 total yards
LeSean McCoy: 85 total yards, 1 TD
DeSean Jackson: 120 rec yards, 100 return yards, 1 TD
Jeremy Maclin: 85 yards, 1 TD
Brent Celek: 75 yards, 1 TD
PHI DEF: 3 TOs, 4 sacks
OAK OFF: not worth it. Maybe Sebastian Janikowski gets two FGs?
Final Score: Eagles 38 - Raiders 6
Buffalo at NY Jets - 4:15 pm EST Sunday
Last week's game between the Bills and the Browns was biblically bad, and the Jets defense coming off a shocking loss isn't going to make matters any better for Dick Jauron's merry group of underachievers. Throw into the mix the T.O. trade rumors, and this is another recipe for disaster.
Or fantasy gold, if you're a Jets owner. Buffalo didn't give up many yards last week, but that was the Browns. Mark Sanchez has a new best friend with big hands in the red zone, and Braylon Edwards fantasy stock is skyrocketing in New York. Thomas Jones could also have a big week. This should be another lopsided game.
Trent Edwards: 120 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT
Terrell Owens: 35 yards
Lee Evans: forgotten
Marshawn Lynch: 80 total yards
Mark Sanchez: 270 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Thomas Jones: 130 total yards, 1 TD
Braylon Edwards: 90 yards, 1 TD
Jerricho Cotchery: 70 yards, 1 TD
Dustin Keller: 55 yards, 1 TD
NYJ DEF: Shut out, 2 TOs, 5 sacks
Final Score: Jets 31 - Bills 0 (and Jauron is the first coach fired this season)
Tennessee at New England - 4:15 pm EST Sunday
This is make-or-break week for the Titans, as they head winless toward their bye week. Is this the week Kerry Collins loses the starting job back to Vince Young? Does Chris Johnson figure out the running game this week? Will their defense decide to stop someone?
On the other side, the Patriots lost at Denver last week and the Brady-Moss connection has struggled. This might be a good opportunity for them to get back to the big play, though, as the Titans pass defense has been so surprisingly bad this year. With Fred Taylor out, the Pats will certainly throw a lot. This game is loaded with questions. It could be a blow out for New England, or a statement game from Tennessee.
Kerry Collins: 240 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Chris Johnson: 100 total yards
Nate Washington: 90 yards, 1 TD
Kenny Britt: 90 yards, 1 TD
Tom Brady: 310 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT
Randy Moss: 120 yards, 2 TDs
Wes Welker: 90 yards
Ben Watson: 50 yards, 1 TD
Final Score: Patriots 27 - Titans 17
Denver at San Diego - 8:30 pm EST Monday
One team has a dominant defense, a solid running game and a quarterback not making mistakes. They're undefeated through five weeks. The other has issues with their running game and their defense is giving tons of points. My money says these descriptions, six weeks ago, would have fit the opposite teams it does now.
The Broncos have found a ground game with Correll Buckhalter and Knowshon Moreno. Brandon Marshall has returned from pouting to be as good as any receiver in the game, and Kyle Orton is playing smart football. Oh, and their defense is holding opponents under nine points per game.
The Chargers are getting scored on like a hostess at a Heidi Fleiss party (25.5 ppg), and they're close to calling the team from "Ghost Hunters" to look for LaDanian Tomlinson. If Philip Rivers wasn't having a great season, they might be winless.
Philip Rivers: 250 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Darren Sproles: 110 total yards
Vincent Jackson: 80 yards, 1 TD
Antonio Gates: 75 yards, 1 TD
Kyle Orton: 240 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT
Knowshon Moreno: 110 total yards, 1 TD
Brandon Marshall: 100 yards, 1 TD
Final Score: Broncos 24 - Chargers 20