Patriots at Jets
The AFC East is still up for grabs. Brady and the Pats have already lost more games than they did during the entirety of last season and after losing the the Giants when they didn’t have their two top offensive weapons (Bradshaw and Nicks), I am starting to think they might not be as invincible as they’ve been in years past. Thankfully for them, I think they match up well against the Jets. Welker has not really had too much issue being productive against the Jets in the past and usually Revis does not follow him all over the field. Teams have had success against the Pats this season by locking into man-to-man coverage on the less than elite receiving corp of New England and sending as much pressure as possible at Brady. In order to get the win, Sanchez needs to play a perfect game and not give up any turnovers. If he can do that, there will be plenty of yardage and opportunities to get points on the board. The Pats secondary has been just awful this season and still may prove to be their Achilles heel, much like it was for the Texans last year. Brady and the Pats need to lean on Law Firm and the running game in order to limit the time that their defense can be out there giving away the game. I like the Patriots to win a high scoring affair after New York gets off to a slow start and is unable to catch up. Welker and Brady are must-starts despite the less than appealing match-up but you should stay away from Deion Branch. Upgrade Sanchez and the Jets receivers going against the NFL’s worst pass defense and feel free to use Shonn Greene in his typical RB2 role.
Saints at Falcons
Atlanta sits a game behind the Saints for first in the NFC south and with the game being at home, I like Atlanta in this game. They need to get back to running most of their offense through Michael Turner so that Roddy White and Julio Jones are able to see more man-to-man coverage and make big plays. Neither team has a scary defense that should make you concerned about giving them a start this week. Atlanta needs to find a way to slow the Saints’ pass rush and and Turner is their best bet to do so. Once they are able to bring the 8th man into the box, their receivers will be able to make the difference and get the win. This game could easily go either way but Matt Ryan is almost a completely different quarterback at home and the Saints lack the depth at receiver to exploit Atlanta’s secondary. Start all your typical players with confidence as this is not likely going to be a low scoring affair but do NOT expect a repeat performance from Julio Jones, who I anticipate being a very hit or miss player for his fantasy owners. I am considering him as a very good flex play for the rest of the season unless he is able to consistently hit double digit points.
Lions at Bears
Don’t worry I won’t make a joke about Tigers here, but this game should make a HUGE difference later on as the NFC wild card spots start to get figured out. I think we all expect the Packers to win the NFC North and I would be surprised if at least one more team from the division didn’t make the playoffs. Detroit is up a game on the Bears at the moment and getting this win would be huge for their playoff hopes this season. Detroit’s front seven has slipped in recent weeks and their issues with stopping the run has caused them to have issues late in games when they had been able to be so effective early on this season. Unfortunately for them they face Matt Forte this week and he has been simply incredible for the Bears. For the past few weeks the Bears’ offensive line has been playing much improved football and when Jay Cutler has time to throw, this Bears offense is very difficult to stop and the Lions’ secondary has not been playing that great either. This is a very difficult game to predict the outcome for however with the Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson connection being near impossible to stop. I wouldn’t use a Lions receiver outside of Megatron unless I absolutely needed to and I also am downgrading the Lions’ running backs. If Best can play, which I doubt, I wouldn’t think he would see his normal workload and Maurice Morris is not quite good enough to run wild against the Bears stout defense. I like Chicago to win this close game and Cutler has a relatively clean jersey at the end of the game.