NFL: Win-Making Match-ups

NFL scout offers their analysis on what each team needs to do to pull off a win in each NFL game this weekend!

Arizona at Miami
What the Cardinals have to do to win:
Offensively, Run at the Dolphins. Remember, veteran DT Tim Bowens was placed on season-ending injured reserve last week and the Jets ran for over 200 yards against them last week. By running well, the Cardinals will be able to get more one-on-one coverage for their receivers.

Defensively, get after QB Randy McMichael).

What the Dolphins have to do to win:

Offensively, pound the ball at the Cardinals' front seven as the Bills did last week. That would help set up the deep passing game to Chambers and get single coverage on him and McMichael.

Defensively, they'll have to do a better job against the run than they did last week against the Jets. Tackles Jeff Zgonina need to be more physical at the point of the attack. They were blown off the ball by the Jets' offensive line.



Dallas at Cincinnati

What the Cowboys have to do to win:


Offensively, go after the Bengal defensive backs. Star WR Chris Brown ran for over 140 yards against them last week.

Defensively, double WR Chad Johnson all game. He is their best playmaker and make someone else beat them.

What the Bengals have to do to win:

Offensively, go after the Cowboy secondary who will be without CB Tyrone Williams due to injury.

Defensively, find a way to get to QB Vinny Testaverde. Don't let him stand back there like a statue. He's getting way too much time to throw the ball these days.



Kansas City at Tampa Bay

What the Chiefs have to do to win:

Offensively, run the ball as much as possible against the Buccaneer front seven. It won't be easy to pass because the Buccaneers have one of the best pass defenses in the NFL. However, their run defense isn't as good as it has been in the past. We expect RB Priest Holmes to have a solid game.

Also, they might need one of their receivers to make a big play because we don't expect this to be a high-scoring game.

Defensively, get after QB Brian Griese who has been solid since taking over the starting job. Also, they must tackle well and stay in their gaps.

What the Buccaneers have to do to win:

Offensively, get RB Michael Clayton the ball early and often against the suspect Chief cornerbacks.

Defensively, they must wrap up Holmes and control him all game. If they can do that, they have a good chance to win the game.



Washington at Detroit

What the Redskins have to do to win:

Offensively, it won't be easy because the Lions' run defense is solid, but commit to the running game. Don't have QB Rod Gardner the ball in the redzone where he can take advantage of his size against the smaller Lion cornerbacks.

Defensively, double WR Roy Williams (if he plays). Make another receiver beat them.

What the Lions have to do to win:

Offensively, make more of a commitment to running the football. Get rookie back Kevin Jones more involved.

Defensively, continue to pressure the quarterback like they done so well so far against their previous opponents. Also, obviously don't let RB Clinton Portis become a big factor. If they can do that, they'll likely win the game because Brunell hasn't proven yet that he can put up big numbers.



New York Jets at Buffalo

What the Jets have to do to win:

Offensively, continue to run the ball plenty and well. If they can, they'll be able to get single coverage for their receivers. Speaking of them, they must get Santana Moss the ball more. He's their best playmaker.

Defensively, get after QB Drew Bledsoe who can't move well. The Jets' ends should have their way against the Bills' offensive line.

What the Bills have to do to win:

Offensively, run the ball as much as possible with second-year back Willis McGahee. We saw last week what McGahee can do by taking pressure off of Bledsoe.

Defensively, pressure QB Chad Pennington and don't give him time to throw. Also, they must control the Jets' running game. If they can't, they have little chance to win because the Jets have become much more of a running team this season.



Philadelphia at Pittsburgh

What the Eagles have to do to win:

Offensively, go after the Steelers' cornerbacks who don't have good size. No.1 receiver Chad Scott in the lineup. He's the Steelers most physical cornerback.

Defensively, get after rookie QB Ben Roethlisberger. See if he can win a game when coming from behind. Also, they must to a better job of tackling against the Steelers' running game than they have recently against other teams.

What the Steelers have to do to win:

Offensively, whoever runs the ball (Verron Haynes) since Staley is hurt, needs to run well in the middle of the Eagles' defense where the Eagles really struggle. If they can get the running game started, the Steelers should have their way with the much smaller cornerbacks of Philadelphia.

Defensively, get after QB Donovan McNabb. If they can pressure him, McNabb could struggle because he tends to throw passes at his receiver's feet under duress.

Also, don't let RB Brian Westbrook make plays outside. The Eagles love to use him outside as a receiver or on screens. One big play could mean the difference in the game.

Obviously, they also must control Owens by doubling him all game. Make someone else beat them-although not one other team seemed to be able to do that.



Oakland at Carolina

What the Raiders have to do to win:

Offensively, make more of a commitment to the running game. That will take the pressure off of QB Tyrone Wheatley the ball early and often.

Defensively, they must tackle much better than they have in recent games. Additionally, they have to get someone to get some turnovers in the secondary. It won't be easy if star CB Charles Woodson can't play (listed as doubtful).

What the Panthers have to do to win:

Offensively, if veteran RB Stephen Davis plays, get him the ball at least 25 times. The Raiders haven't proven they can stop the run. No matter who runs the ball, they have to make a better commitment to run the ball more than they did last week. That would help set up the deep passing game and the Raider secondary is really struggling.

Defensively, get after Collins who is struggling and is turning the ball over almost twice a game so far.



Chicago at New York Giants

What the Bears have to do to win:

Offensively, QB Craig Krenzel must make at least one big play if the Bears want to have a chance to win. We don't see the team being able to run the ball well in his matchup.

Defensively, get after QB Tiki Barber who is having a phenomenal season.

What the Giants have to do to win:

Offensively, get the ball in the hands of Barber early and often. No one has really been able to stop him in both the run and pass game yet. He seems to break off at least one big play a game.

Defensively, get after Krenzel early and don't get him get any confidence going.



New Orleans at San Diego

What the Saints have to do to win:

Offensively, make more of a commitment to get RB Drew Brees.

Defensively, get after Brees and don't give him time to get the ball to his emerging star TE Antonio Gates. They also must find a way to do a better job against the run. Players must stay in their gaps.

What the Chargers have to do to win:

Offensively, keep doing what they have been doing. Run the ball effectively to control the clock and make plays in the passing game. Get Gates and veteran WR Keenan McCardell the ball.

If star RB Jesse Chatman the ball. He's proven more than capable of handling the load.

Defensively, don't let QB Aaron Brooks make big plays in the passing game. That's something that Brooks is capable of doing at any time. Also, make sure to get one more than one tackler on McAllister. He's too big to take down with just one defender.



Seattle at San Francisco

What the Seahawks have to do to win:

Offensively, because of the injuries at receiver, make more of a commitment to run the football. If they can run the ball at least 25 times, that will eat up the clock and they won't ask QB Matt Hasselbeck to have to win it on his own with than a full compliment of receivers at his disposal.

Defensively, get after whoever starts at quarterback for the 49ers. Tim Rattay, if he plays, can make big plays down field when given the chance.

What the 49ers have to do to win:

Offensively, it hasn't been easy for them to do but get the running game started. If starting back Maurice Hicks the ball. He has more speed to get around the edges.

Defensively, find some way to muster a pass rush. With the team's best CB Ahmed Plummer not expected to play, Hasselbeck could carve them up even with less to work with at receiver.



Houston at Denver

What the Texans have to do to win:

Offensively, it won't be easy but try to run the ball as much as possible. The Broncos have a solid run defense but the Texans have to make a commitment to run the ball or they'll be able to double star WR Andre Johnson more easily.

Defensively, don't give QB Jake Plummer a lot of time to throw the ball. He has been getting the ball down field much more lately.

What the Broncos have to do to win:

Offensively, pick on their secondary that has given up a lot of big plays. Also, get RB Reuben Droughns the ball at least 20 times. The Texans haven't given up a lot of rushing touchdowns because teams have done so well throwing against them.

Defensively, get after QB David Carr who has really started to emerge as one of the better young signal callers. Take away his throwing lanes. He loves to throw the slant pass and can make big plays on those types of plays.



New England at St. Louis

What the Patriots have to do to win:

Offensively, they must make more of a commitment to run the ball with or without RB Kevin Faulk who is best used as a situational runner.

If they can run the ball well, that will help keep the high-powered Rams' offense off of the field.

Defensively, they'll need to go to more zone looks because both of their starting cornerbacks are out. Get a pass rush against QB Marc Bulger because if they don't, he'll carve their depleted secondary up.

What the Rams have to do to win:

Offensively, get after the Patriots' secondary early and often. If they block well for Bulger, he'll have a huge game.

Defensively, double veteran WR David Givens is out (listed as questionable). The Patriots have a lot of injured receivers plus Dillon is hurt as well.



Cleveland at Baltimore

What the Browns have to do to win:

Offensively, it won't be easy but try to establish the running game-especially outside with second-year back Lee Suggs. It will be very difficult to run inside against Baltimore.

Also, one of their receivers must make a big play. The best way to go at the Ravens is against CB Gary Baxter.

Defensively, use the 4-4 or stack alignment which they used in the first matchup to control RB Jamal Lewis. Using that fourth linebacker really helped bottle up Lewis all game.

What the Ravens have to do to win:

Offensively, if Cleveland goes to the 4-4 scheme again, find a way to get the ball up field to the receivers. The Ravens have more playmakers at that position this season. That will help loosen up the Browns' front.

Defensively, shut down their running game and also make QB Jeff Garcia beat them. He hasn't proven yet that he can win a tough game on the road with his new team.


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