The Lions are making this pretty easy for us. Sitting at 0-10, whichever team is set to play them will be eligible for top fantasy billing. Look for Monte Kiffin (Bucs’ defensive coordinator) to go after Culpepper in this one and use his front seven to contain Kevin Smith and the running game. We see the Bucs forcing a few turnovers in this game and possibly taking one back to the house.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals are already playing this football game without Carson Palmer, and today came news that they’d also be without star malcontent Chad Ocho Cinco. With only Houshmandzadeh to worry about, we think the Steelers will dial up a lot of blitzes and make life terrible for Fitzpatrick and Co.
3. Chicago Bears vs. St. Louis Rams
The Bears were horrible last week, but the Rams have been scraping the bottom of the barrel for some time now. They’ve scored three and nine points respectively in their last two games—and it wasn’t against particularly good teams either in the Jets and 49ers.
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Look for the Bears to get after Bulger. Without having to worry about RB Jackson, we see Chicago having a big ( fantasy) performance on Sunday.
4. Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49ers
Ever since Wade Phillips assumed defensive play calling duties, the Cowboys have responded outside of the shellacking the Giants gave them in the Meadowlands. Look for Dallas to contain RB Gore and then send DeMarcus Ware and Co. after Hill, forcing him into sacks and a few turnovers.
1. Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders
The Broncos haven’t been particularly good on defense this season, but Oakland can make stars out of anybody. Playing in such disarray as Oakland is right now, look for Denver to have a big game defensively and force Russell into a few big mistakes.
2. Washington Redskins vs. Seattle Seahawks
Even with the return of Hasselbeck, the Seahawks were careless with the ball. Look for Washington to bring a lot of pressure at Hasselbeck and allow their quality corners to lock down Seattle’s receivers one on one. This should lead to sacks and interceptions.
Others with favorable matchups
1. Baltimore Ravens vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The McNabb/Reid combo is mired in a slump, and playing in Baltimore is not an easy thing to do. Look for Lewis and Co. to take Westbrook out of the game plan and force McNabb to beat them. The result is he won’t. 2. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills
Trent Edwards has been playing Santa Claus of late: He’s been giving the ball (and game) away a lot over the past four. Playing in Arrowhead is never an easy proposition, so look for the young Chiefs to play a strong game and keep the turnovers coming. 3. Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons
This pick isn’t as good as it looked the last time these teams played. Ryan is very efficient at home and is playing with a great deal of confidence. That being said, Carolina smells blood in the division, and we see Peppers and Co. creating some havoc down in Atlanta this Sunday.