Nov 19, 2010
It would appear that you all enjoyed the first installment of this blog, so I will continue with the things I am looking for in the Week Eleven games. Also, thanks to those of you who submitted names for this blog. I have decided to go with “The Weekly MATTchups” based on that being the most common suggestion and most logical one. Anyway, on to this week’s games…
Baltimore Ravens at Carolina Panthers
I’m not saying Tony Pike is any good, but to sign and then to start Brian St. Pierre, who was a stay-at-home dad just a week ago is insane. The Baltimore secondary has been terrible, but this will be like a week off for them. While this looks like a totally lopsided game, I don’t think the Ravens will blow the Panthers out of the water. Carolina’s defense, specifically their secondary, is pretty good, but they’ve been flying under the radar because the offense always hangs them out to dry. Joe Flacco has been very steady, throwing 10 TDs to 1 INT in his last four games. I’m interested to see if Donte Stallworth is a little more involved this week since he’s the only explosive receiver they have.
Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals
Two of the worst run defenses in the league match up in this battle of draft pick teams. That should be good news for Fred Jackson and Cedric Benson. Jackson’s role looks like it should increase with C.J. Spiller out and it’s not like the Bengals can blow them out, so he should have a good day. Benson has been getting the touches, but the numbers just haven’t been there. Unlike Jahvid Best, who couldn’t get anything going against the terrible Buffalo defense last week, I think Benson will be able to have a good day as long as they keep feeding him the ball. Also, if Chad Ochocinco wants to prove he’s worth anything, he’ll do something in this beatable matchup. I refused to be convinced he’s relevant after one decent game against a banged up Colt defense.
Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys
Can we call this the Kitna Bowl? Dallas did embarrass the Giants last week, but they hit a bunch of big plays. I think they can do that again this week, especially with physical talents like Dez Bryant and Miles Austin going against the smaller Detroit CBs. However, I don’t see this continuing when they play better defenses, especially behind that shaky OL. Maybe I’m crazy, but I think Felix Jones is a fine flex option and could be a decent #2 fantasy option going forward. Jason Garrett is auditioning for this full-time head-coaching job, so he’s going to go with what has worked. Jones was great at the end of last season and in the playoffs for Dallas as the lead back, so I expect Garrett to get him more involved going forward.
Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars
While David Garrard has been a fantasy star in his last two games, I think he comes crashing back down to Earth this week. He had great fantasy numbers last week, but didn’t look particularly good even against one of the worst defenses in the league. Garrard needs a clean pocket to make plays, and he won’t have it against the Browns, who have confused even the best QBs in the league. The Jaguars know Garrard isn’t that good and he probably won’t have Mike Sims-Walker. Let’s see if Maurice Jones-Drew can keep up his great play as of late. As long as they give him touches, and they should, he should be a great play this week. Considering the Jaguar secondary sucks, I’m keeping an eye on Mohammad Massaquoi, who’s been a little more active in the last two games.
Arizona Cardinals at Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are not winning the AFC West, but they will crush the Cardinals. It’s not often Matt Cassel comes into a game as the best QB, but that’s not saying much when his competition is Derek Anderson. This should be a great week for Jamaal Charles AND Thomas Jones against this atrocious Cardinal defense, which will also have its hands full with Dwayne Bowe, who had a huge game full of GTP last week. What the hell happened to the Cardinals running the ball? Wasn’t this supposed to be Ken Whisenhunt’s bread and butter? Bean Wells is a giant waste of talent. Tim Hightower stinks. I hate this team.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
My hatred for Brett Favre is well documented, but I’m going to defend him here. The interceptions he’s thrown in the last two weeks haven’t been his fault. Passes have been tipped at the line of scrimmage (thanks to his poor blocking OL) and his receivers have either slipped or had balls go off their hands. Speaking of that receiving corps, does anyone want to show up besides Percy Harvin? The second-year receiver has missed a ton of practice because of injuries, which has actually hurt his development, yet he continues to produce every week. Bernard Berrian is a joke and has been more active on Twitter than he has on the field. Minnesota’s use or lack of use of Adrian Peterson is absolutely insane. Maybe one day Brad Childress will realize that he completed wasted AP’s prime. The Packers don’t get a lot of love when it comes to the “best” team conversation, but they are rolling right now and haven’t missed a beat without Donald Driver. Driver might be back this week, but I think James Jones has officially taken over as the #2 WR.
Houston Texans at New York Jets
I still don’t trust Mark Sanchez, but I do love the Jets this week. Houston looks completely lost on defense and their secondary continues to struggle, no matter who the opponent. Santonio Holmes is emerging as NY’s top receiver and his rapport with Sanchez continues to improve. I’m looking at Dustin Keller to be more involved because of both the matchup and the absence of Jerricho Cotchery, who made one of the gutsiest plays ever in OT last week. You cannot ever sit Andre Johnson or Arian Foster, but I think expectations need to be lower facing this Jet defense. The Texan OL hasn’t looked very good and Matt Schaub is dealing with a knee injury, so my prediction is that the Jets will knock him out of this game. Cue up the “Safety Dance.”
Oakland Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers
To steal a line from our guy, Greg Cosell, “This is a very intriguing matchup.” The Steelers look very vulnerable on offense right now with their injuries and generally poor play along their OL. Oakland’s defense, specifically their front seven, has really stepped up in their last three games and could give the Steelers some problems, although I’d feel better if Nnamdi Asomugha was at full strength. If Asomugha is good to go, I’ll be interested to see if he’s matched up on Hines Ward or Mike Wallace. Wallace appears to be getting a more involved all over the field, but he still puts up numbers because of his straight-line speed and big-play ability. A healthy Asomugha matching up against Wallace would be a nice measuring stick to determine where Wallace is as a receiver. Finally, if Jason Campbell struggles, we will see Bruce Gradkowski. Campbell is starting because they’ve been winning in spite of his play, but Gradkowski is the guy Tom Cable wants out there.
Washington Redskins at Tennessee Titans
How about that DeAngelo Hall?! What an overrated bum. The Titans, just like every other Redskin opponent will target Hall, especially with deep threats like Nate Washington and Randy Moss. If Moss were to have a “big game” this would be it. As I said last week, I don’t have high expectations for him going forward, but he does spread things out for Chris Johnson, as we saw last week. I’d think Washington has a better chance to make a play since defenses don’t pay as much attention to him. What I’m worried about is the healthy of Vince Young, who has never been able to play well even if he has something as minor as an ingrown toenail. As for the Redskin offense, they are a train wreck. We covered the ridiculousness of the Donovan McNabb contract, but apparently he gives them “stability” at the QB position. Stable is not a word I’d use to describe McNabb.
Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints
If you have a Saint, start him this week. Seattle is just “okay” at home, but against any sort of legitimate opponent, they are atrocious on the road. Their secondary will be eaten alive by Drew Brees. The return of Reggie Bush will be very intriguing to watch, especially if you’re a Lance Moore owner. Moore’s role increased in Bush’s absence, but he might fade into the background now that Bush is back. I’m staying away from all Seahawks for the rest of the year unless the matchup is favorable.
Atlanta Falcons at St. Louis Rams
I’m rooting for the Rams to win the NFC West because I’ve liked the direction this team is going in ever since HC Steve Spagnuolo took the job last year. That being said, I don’t feel good about them this week because Atlanta’s on a roll right now and can attack the Ram corners, a glaring weakness in their secondary. I’m a little worried about Steven Jackson because he could be taken out of this game if the Falcons go up early. Luckily, he’s been more active as a receiver lately, so he might be able to make up any lost carries with catches. The Falcons are playing really good ball right now, but I have a hard time fully trusting Tony Gonzalez because he seems to come and go way too often. That’s on both him and Matt Ryan.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers
I’m staying away from the Mike Williams off-the-field issues. HC Raheem Morris says Williams will play on Sunday, which is good because this matchup is fantastic. We saw the unproven Ram receiving corps put up some nice numbers on the 49er secondary last week and I think the Bucs will do the same. Arrelious Benn is a very deep reach, but they’ve tried to get him involved more and he’s been making some plays. Troy Smith has the arm and receiving corps to give the Buccaneer secondary some problems this weekend. I’m not sold on the Bucs, and think the Niners have been rejuvenated since Smith has moved into the lineup, which is why I think they’ll win this one at home.
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots
Neither one of these offenses have been particularly exciting as of late, and I don’t think that will change very much this week. However, they could put up some points since neither defense is particularly good on the back end. New England’s gameplan in last week’s game was to use more base personnel to help handle the Steelers pass rush, which is why Aaron Hernandez was out of the mix. He should be active this week, especially with the injury problems the Colts have at LB and S. Peyton Manning is still great, but his receiving corps is really struggling right now and it’s made their offense look mediocre. Indy’s inability to run the ball is finally catching up with them and might end up costing them if they make it to the playoffs.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Along with the Packers, I think these are the best two teams in the NFC, and maybe the NFL. The Giants laid an egg last week because their blitz was neutralized by Dallas using the screen game with Felix Jones. We could see more of that from LeSean McCoy this week, especially since Andy Reid loves to run screens. I think that will make up for McCoy’s lack of production as a runner against this great Giant run defense. I laughed when I read that Giant DC Perry Fewell was confident about his gameplan for Michael Vick. I doubt their ability to limit Vick from beating them, especially if their corners keep struggling to cover the deep ball. The Giant OL has some injury issues, which will be exploited by the Eagle pass rush. Philly keeps things rolling on Sunday Night Football.
Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers
Even if Antonio Gates doesn’t play, San Diego should win this one easily. Denver’s defense doesn’t scare me and the return of Malcom Floyd and Legedu Naanee is huge for the Chargers, although Philip Rivers has shown it doesn’t matter who he’s throwing it to because he’ll still put up big numbers. Much like the Colts, the Broncos will be burnt by their inability to run the ball with any kind of consistency. I want nothing to do with Knowshon Moreno, who only puts up numbers if he gets a lot of touches and continues to get undercut by the use of Tim Tebow in goal-line situations. Denver has been terrible against the run, so if he’s healthy, could this be a…I can’t even say it.
As usual, you can leave you questions and comments here or send me something on Twitter: @MattCamp23. Good luck to everyone this week and thanks for reading.