KANSAS CITY @ OAKLAND
Prediction: Chiefs 30-28
A season of Super Bowl aspirations has turned into a season of misery for the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs record stands at 3-8, Priest Holmes might be out for the season and rumors continue to swirl that Dick Vermeil will retire at season's end.
Oakland comes into Sunday's game with a little momentum after they upset the Broncos in Denver. Quarterback Kerry Collins has played very well in h is last two games and for fantasy players he's a good start. WR Jerry Porter is his favorite target. RB Tyrone Wheatley will miss the game (hamstring).
Chiefs QB Trent Green is banged up with bruised ribs but he is expected to play. I expect both teams to put up a lot of points, so start Tony Gonzalez (as always) and WR Eddie Kennison. Look for RB's Derrick Blaylock and Larry Johnson to split carries.
Date To Remember (12/3/95): - The Chiefs clinch the AFC West Title in Oakland with a 29-23 win.
Game Notes: Chiefs lead all-time regular season series 43-42-2. The Chiefs are 2-1 against the Raiders in the postseason. In past 2 road games, WR Eddie Kennison has 225 receiving yards on 13 catches w/ one TD.
DENVER @ SAN DIEGO
Prediction: Broncos 34-30
My favorite storyline in this game is that San Diego has the second-best run defense in the NFL and the Broncos are fourth. Denver's defense held Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson to 60 yards in the Broncos week three win (the loss sent SD to a 1-2 start).
This week, I see Tomlinson getting into the end zone a couple of times, but not rushing for more than 70 yards. Tomlinson will be able to do damage in the passing game. Broncos RB Rueben Droughns will get yards against Denver, but won't find the end zone. QB's Drew Brees and Jake Plummer should have big days. WR's Rod Smith and Ashlie Lelie of Denver and Chargers TE Antonio Gates and WR Keenan McCardell are good plays.
Game Notes: Denver RB Ruben Droughns has lost a fumble in three of the last five games. San Diego has won their last four home games by an average of 22 points.
GREEN BAY @ PHILADELPHIA
Prediction: Eagles 20-17
Fourth and 26 means nothing in this match up unless you remember last years huge conversion that lifted the Eagles past the Packers 20-17 in overtime in the NFC Divisional Playoff game. This game, I like the Eagles again because Donovan McNabb and T.O. are playing like the most lethal QB/WR tandem in the league. Start RB Brian Westbrook and the Philadelphia defense as well. Brett Favre should throw a TD pass in his 37th consecutive game. WR's Donald Driver and Javon Walker are solid plays. Walker worked out with McNabb and Owens last summer.
Brett Favre has started 200 consecutive games and the Packers have the NFL's best record over that span (132-68). Eagles RB Brian Westbrook has 48 rec. (410 yards), tied for most among NFL RB's.
NY GIANTS @ WASHINGTON
Prediction: Giants 13-10
Both teams are inept on offense and I expect a slow and low scoring game. Priest Holmes has more touchdowns this season (15) than the Redskins (14). The Giants can't stop the run usually, but they can put eight men in the box this week. Fantasy players should start both defenses and stay away from Eli Manning, Tiki Barber and Clinton Portis this week.
Game Notes: The Redskins are 3-0 when Clinton Portis rushes for 100+ yards, and the Redskins are 0-8 when Portis doesn't get 100 yards or more. The Giants have won four of last five in this series.
CINCINATTI @ BALTIMORE
Prediction: Ravens 17-13
Good news for Cincinnati, the Ravens will be without RB Jamal Lewis (ankle). Lewis eats the Bengals alive (100+ yards in all seven games against Cincinnati). That puts more pressure on Kyle Boller to carry the offense and he's just not ready yet, despite playing well two weeks ago. Ravens RB Chester Taylor will get a lot of carries, but I'd stay away from offensive players on Baltimore. The same goes for the Bengals with the exception of WR Chad Johnson. Johnson and Carson Palmer are becoming more familiar with each other every game and C.J. is worth at least one big catch. Steer clear from Rudi Johnson, who will struggle against the Baltimore defense. Both defenses are worth a start.
Game Notes: Ravens defense has given up the least amount of points this season (164). Bengals have lost 11 of 13 in this series.
MINNESOTA @ CHICAGO
Prediction: Vikings 24-13
Vikings WR Randy Moss played in 54 of the Vikings' 61 offensive snaps but clearly favored the strained right hamstring that had sidelined him the last three games. Moss is still the number one red zone target of Duante Culpepper. They should hook up for a TD at least once. WR Nate Burleson is a good play. RB Onterrio Smith has won the starting spot outright over Michael Bennett and will eat the Bears 28th ranked rushing defense alive. Stay away from most Bears players! The Bears have injuries to both starting offensive tackles and that just makes the job tougher quarterback Chad Hutchinson, who becomes the fourth quarterback to start for Chicago this season. The only play for Chicago is RB Thomas Jones. Jones will get A LOT of touches Sunday.
Game Notes: In 13 games career games against the Bears, Randy Moss has 82 receptions for 1,124 yards and 10 TD. Newly signed Bears QB Jeff George led the Vikings to the Vikings to the Divisional Playoffs in 1999 (10-6).
NEW ENGLAND @ CLEVELAND
Prediction: Patriots 24-16
The Patriots take the show to Cleveland this week and the Browns will make a game of it. Cleveland can't stop the run, so mark Pats RB Corey Dillon down for 80 yards and a touchdown. Tom Brady and Deion Branch are must starts. For the Browns, Terry Robiskie takes over for Butch Davis as head coach. Davis resigned earlier in the week. Cleveland QB Kelly Holcomb had a big day against the Bengals last week, but the New England defense will shut him down this week. The only play for the Browns is kicker Phil Dawson.
Game Notes: Head coach Bill Belichick was Browns head coach (1991-95) & guided 1994 team to 11-5 record & Wild Card win over Pats (20-13). Interim head coach Terry Robiskie makes debut, was 1-2 as Redskins interim head coach (2000). NFL interim head coaches are 10-15 in their debuts since 1985.
ATLANTA @ TAMPA BAY
Prediction: Falcons 24-21
Michael Vick is running and passing his team to victory each week as he continues to grasp the West Coast offense. Vick has rounded into fine form over the last month and I expect him to put up excellent numbers in this game. TE Alge Crumpler is a star. The Bucs have a mediocre run defense, so start Warrick Dunn if you need to. Tampa QB Brian Griese is playing terrific football. In seven games this season, he's thrown 12 TD and 5 INT. He's now a must start on a weekly basis. WR Michael Clayton is his top target. Clayton is my NFC Offensive Rookie of the Year. Tampa Bay booted Kicker Martin Grammatica after missing three field goals last week.
Game Notes: Newly appointed Bucs Kicker Jay Taylor played for John Gruden's brother, Jay Gruden, in the Arena League. The Falcons are 11-1 all-time when Michael Vick rushes for 65+ yards in a game.
TENNESSEE @ INDIANAPOLIS
Prediction: Colts 31-24
Peyton Manning has 41 touchdown passes so far this season. Dan Marino threw 48 touchdowns in 1984. Will Manning tie Marino's record against the Titans? Not this Sunday, but Manning should throw at least three. He makes throwing touchdowns look easy. Throwing touchdowns is not an easy thing to do. You can play any Colts skill position player and have a chance to put up big fantasy numbers. For the Titans, Steve McNair is talking retirement. He faces his 2003 co-MVP (Manning) this week. McNair has five TD's and one INT against the Colts in his career and Derrick Mason could have a huge day. RB Chris Brown (toe) will be a game time decision.
Game Notes: Tennessee averages 18.2 points per game; the Colts average 34.5 ppg. Colts head coach Tony Dungy is tied with Titans head coach Jeff Fisher for the best coaching record in the NFL since 1999 at 60-31.
SAN FRANSISCO @ ST. LOUIS
Prediction: Rams 35-10
Stephen Jackson gets the start at running back for the Rams. Marshall Faulk will sit with a bruised knee. Jackson is a good play because the Rams will pass early and often, leaving Jackson to rack up yards on the ground later in the game. Marc Bulger, Isaac Bruce and WR Shaun McDonald should have big days. The 49ers face the Rams 28th ranked defense. Still, San Francisco's offense has been inept lately, so I'm staying clear of their skill players.
Game Notes: Marc Bulger leads all NFL QB's with 3,267 passing yards. 49ers are an NFL worst -16 takeaway/giveaway. Rams are -14.
BUFFALO @ MIAMI
Prediction: Bills 17-13
The Bills have won four of five games and QB Drew Bledsoe has thrown 7TD and 7INT during that stretch. STAY AWAY! RB Willis McGahee is the play. McGahee has rushed for 100+ yards in four of the last five games, and he tallied four touchdowns last week. Both defenses should do well. Miami's offense is 28th in the NFL.
Game Notes: Buffalo CB Nate Clements has six interceptions in his last five games against Miami. Jim bates is the interim head coach of the Dolphins.
CAROLINA @ NEW ORLEANS
Prediction: Panthers 31-24
Carolina looks to extend its winning streak to four while New Orleans tries to end a two-game slide. Both teams are 4-7 and are still in the thick of the NFC playoff race. Panthers QB Jake Delhomme and WR's Muhsin Muhammad and Keary Colbert will have great days. Delhomme has 12 TD and 3 INT in his last five games. The Saints are playing for a dead man walking. Jim Haslett will most likely lose his job at the end of the season. QB Aaron Brooks and WR Donte Stallworth will connect for a TD. Start RB Deuce McAllister, as he is healthy again.
Game Notes: The all-time series is tied at 9-9, with Carolina winning the last three. Panthers Head Coach John Fox and Saints Head Coach Jim Haslett were both on the Los Angeles Raiders staff in 1994. Fox was the defensive coordinator and Haslett was the LB coach.
HOUSTON @ NY JETS
Prediction: Jets 21-20
It's very tough to throw the ball in Giants Stadium late in the year because of the swirling winds. Jets QB Chad Pennington will start and he has thrown it well when he's been healthy. I can see WR Santana Moss catching six or seven balls and a touchdown. Curtis Martin gains yards, but does not score often. QB David Carr and WR Andre Johnson will both have average days. RB Dominick Davis gets a lot of yards on a lot of carriers. He's worth a start on your fantasy squad, if needed.
Game Notes: The Jets scored a combined 23 points the past two weeks in wins against Arizona and Cleveland. Houston has the second-most interceptions (16) this season in the NFL. Seattle has 17 interceptions.
ARIZONA @ DETROIT
Prediction: Lions 24-14
Arizona is starting rookie John Navarre at quarterback. Navarre has never thrown an NFL pass. Larry Croom takes over for Emmitt Smith at running back. To say that the Cardinals will have a hard time scoring is putting it lightly. Detroit will run a lot on the Cardinals. RB Kevin Jones may get 100+ yards, but he has just one rushing touchdown this season. WR Roy Williams will get his yards.
Game Notes: Rookie free agent RB Larry Croom rushed for 932 yards as senior at UNLV. Lions WR Roy Williams leads all rookie receivers with five touchdown catches.
PITTSBURGH @ JACKSONVILLE
Prediction: Jaguars 17-13
Both defenses are expected to play well this week. The Steelers defense has yielded a 100- yard rusher just one time this season, and that doesn't bode well for Jags RB Fred Taylor. Byron Leftwich should hit Jimmy Smith often, but Smith is the only Jaguar that will put up numbers this week. The Steelers will look to get RB Duce Staley back in the flow, but Jerome Bettis will continue to get a number of carries and all the runs on the goal line. If WR Plaxico Burress plays he'll be at much less than 100%. Hines Ward will put up decent numbers.
Game Notes: Steelers RB Jerome Bettis needs 297 rushing yards to pass Eric Dickerson (12,863 yards) for fourth on the all-time list. The Jaguars have turned the ball over just three times in five home games.
DALLAS @ SEATTLE
Prediction: Seahawks 31-28
The Seattle Seahawks are the league's weakest first place team. This week, they look to stop a rested Dallas Cowboys team coming off 10 days of rest. Seattle has had problems stopping the run recently. Dallas RB Julius Jones could very well hit the 100-yard mark. Quarterback Vinnie Testaverde and Tight End Jason Whitten will do well against Seattle's weak pass defense. The Seahawks will look to give the ball to RB Shaun Alexander early and often. QB Matt Hasselbeck is a risk for fantasy players. WR Darrell Jackson should be good for at least one big play.
Game Notes: Don Hasselbeck, the father of Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, played tight end for Bill Parcells with the New York Giants in 1985.