Cowboys @ Vikings
This is going to be one hell of a football game. Both the Vikes and the Cowboys were popular Super Bowl picks and are now 1-3 struggling to stay alive for playoff consideration. Neither team has really been able to establish a balanced offensive attack before last week. The Cowboys have been among the worst rushing teams in the NFL but were finally able to get Felix Jones up over 100 yards last week vs the Titans on just 15 carries. The Vikings made a high-profile trade to acquire Randy Moss to help them stretch the field and open up the passing game. On his 5th day back with his old team he was able to find the end zone in a losing effort to the Jets. With some more time to learn the offense and scheme for their new weapon the Vikings should be able to get a big home victory to put them selves right back into the race for the NFC North. They will be effective with an aerial assault against a secondary that looked foolish last week against the Titans. Look for the usual studs to live up to their expectations. (Moss, Peterson, Harvin, Austin and Romo) Stay away from Jones and Barber vs the front seven of the Vikes.
Ravens @ Patriots
I love playoff re-matches that occur in the first half of the season! The Ravens ended the Patriots season last year and they will want their revenge. The problem they will have won’t be the lack of Moss, but the inability of their defense to cover anyone down the field. Ray Rice had his best game of the season last week and if they are able to maintain that balance in their offense then I would expect a big game from Rice, Flacco and Boldin. The Patriots offense replaced Randy Moss with Deion Branch and will need to re-invent themselves. Brady and Welker are the only fantasy players I trust against this great Ravens defense. Many people have speculated that Welker is likely to see a lot of double coverage and his production should decrease as a result, but I don’t see that happening. Welker is a possession receiver that runs his routes flawlessly every time. You cannot double someone that is running a slant route because typically the double team would come from a safety and not someone lined up on the line of scrimmage. If you put two people on Welker at the line, then you have one person on someone else and Brady will abuse this and get the deep play without Randy. I like the Ravens in a very tough road game.
Saints @ Buccaneers
I am a sucker for divisional match-ups but with the Buccs beating the Saints last year and currently being higher in the standings, this game will show us the future of this division. If the Saints fall this week then everyone will become a Buccaneers fan and for good reason. Josh Freeman has been playing with poise and maturity that players his age don’t typically have. Mike Williams rose ahead of a fellow (higher drafted) rookie, Arrelious Benn, on the depth chart and has scored in three of his first four games. Smart money is on the Saints in this game and you can feel confident about starting any Saints you may have on your fantasy team (Thomas, Colston and Brees). As for Buccaneers, Williams is too consistent to ignore at this point and is on his way to being a top 20 WR and if you are in a 2QB format you should be fine using Freeman as well.