August 16, 2017

Cowboys 24, Lions 20

The fourth and final game of wildcard weekend featured the Detroit Lions heading south to Dallas, Texas to take on the Cowboys.  The Cowboys started at their 20-yard line and had a quick three and out.  Punter Chris Jones hit a 41-yard punt that was downed at the Detroit 38-yard line.  On second and ten from the 49, quarterback Matt Stafford went deep for wide receiver Golden Tate and he hauled in the pass for a 51-yard touchdown.  Kicker Matt Prater made the point after and the Lions jumped out to an early 7-0 lead with 11:22 to go in the first quarter.

The Cowboys managed to get a first down on their next possession, but the drive came to a halt when quarterback Tony Romo couldn’t complete a pass on fourth and seven to wide receiver Cole Beasley.  Jones punted and the ball was downed at the Detroit one-yard line.  Three plays netted five yards and the Lions were forced to punt.  Punter Sam Martin’s punt went out of bounds at the Detroit 44-yard line.  Wait a minute.  There’s a flag on the play.  The Cowboys were flagged for running into the kicker and that gave the Lions a first down at the 12-yard line.  A short pass to Tate and a scramble by Stafford netted a first down at the 23-yard line.  An 11-yard carry by running back Joique Bell, a nine-yard pass to wide receiver Calvin Johnson and an 18-yard pass to Bell moved the Lions into Dallas territory.  Two more carries by Bell put them at the 18.  From the 18, running back Reggie Bush ran up the left side for a touchdown to cap a 99-yard drive.  Prater made the point after and the Lions were up 14-0 with two minutes to go in the first quarter.

The Cowboys still couldn’t get the ball rolling and ended up punting again.  As a matter of fact, there was a lot of punting going on until the 2:15 mark.  That’s when the Cowboys finally got on the board.  On third and 12 from the 24, Romo let one fly and the pass was caught for a 76-yard touchdown by wide receiver Terrance Williams.  Kicker Dan Bailey made the point after and the Lions led 14-7 with 1:37 to go in the first half.

The Lions started at their 20 and two passes to running back Theo Riddick gained 20 yards.  From the 40, Stafford completed a 19-yard pass to Johnson.  That was followed by an incomplete pass and a five-yard pass to wide receiver Corey Fuller.  That set up a third and five from the Dallas 36.  Stafford completed a pass to Tate that was ruled short of the first down marker.  But replay showed that the yardage gained was good enough for a first down.  Stafford completed a nine-yard pass to Bush as time was running short.  With three seconds to go in the half, Prater made his 39-yard field goal attempt and the Lions led 17-7 at halftime.

Things got off to a great start for the Cowboys in the second half.  Stafford looked for Tate over the middle and the pass was picked off by linebacker Kyle Wilber.  That gave the Cowboys the ball at the Detroit 19-yard line.  But on third and one from the ten, Romo was sacked for a loss of 13 yards by defensive end Ezekiel Ansah.  Well, Bailey is a good kicker.  He shouldn’t have much trouble with a 41-yard field goal.  Wrong.  The kick sailed wide right and the Cowboys failed to cash in on a golden opportunity.

The Lions took over at their 31 and on second and six, Stafford found tight end Brandon Pettigrew for a gain of 11 yards.  After a short carry by Bush, Stafford looked for Johnson again and found him for a gain of 28 yards and a first down at the Dallas 26-yard line.  But the drive would stall at the 19-yard line.  Prater came on again and his 37-yard field goal attempt was good.  That gave the Lions a 20-7 lead with 8:41 to go in the third quarter.

The Cowboys took over at their 20 and moved the ball with running back DeMarco Murray.  Murray had three carries and a seven-yard reception.  That gave them a first down at the 50-yard line.  On third and ten from the 50, Romo threw a short pass to his left that was caught by wide receiver Dez Bryant.  Bryant turned on the speed and weaved his way through several defenders.  He was finally dragged down at the seven-yard line.  Murray took it the rest of the way on the next play, but the play was called back due to a holding penalty on the Cowboys.  From the 17, Romo found Beasley across the middle for a gain of 15 yards.  From the two, Romo completed a short pass to tight end Jason Witten, but he was stopped short of the end zone.  On third and goal from the one, Murray ran up the middle and was stuffed for no gain.  That brought up a crucial fourth and goal from the one.  The Cowboys decided to go for it and Murray ran off left tackle for a touchdown.  Bailey made the point after and the Lions lead was now 20-14 with 2:54 to go in the third quarter.

The Lions had a quick three and out on their next possession and the Cowboys took over at their 31.  They quickly moved to mid-field as Romo found Beasley for a gain of 19 yards.  Murray ran for five more yards and on second and five from the Detroit 45, Romo completed another pass to Beasley.  This one was good for 12 yards.  Then another flag was thrown.  Unnecessary roughness was called on the Lions and the Cowboys now had a first down at the 18.  That’s when the Lion defense stepped up.  Murray was stuffed for no gain and Romo was sacked on back to back plays.  That was meant it was time for Bailey to try another field goal.  His 51-yard attempt was good and the Lions led 20-17 with 12:16 to go in the game.

The Lions got the ball back at their five-yard line.  On second and 12 from the three, Stafford completed a 21-yard pass to Fuller for a first down at the 24.  A short run by Bush and a 19-yard pass to Johnson moved the Lions to the Dallas 45-yard line.  From the 45, Bush ran for a gain of four yards.  Bell got the call on the next play and ran for five yards.  That made it third and one from the 46.  Instead of running it again, Stafford threw to the left side for Pettigrew.  The pass was incomplete due to the fact that Pettigrew was interfered with by linebacker Anthony Hitchens.  The flags flew and it looked like the Lions would have another first down.  All of a sudden, the flag was picked up and the zebras reversed the call.  You’ve GOT to be kidding.  Actually, when it comes to the NFL, hardly anything I see the zebras do shocks me.  Still, that was definitely pass interference.  That made it fourth and one from the 46.  All the Lions needed to do was get one yard to keep the drive alive.  Instead, Stafford tried to draw the Cowboys offside.  In other words, he didn’t snap the ball and took a delay of game penalty.  Lions, you baffle me.  You really do.  To make things really incredible, Martin shanked the punt.  It went TEN freaking yards.

Starting at the 41, the Cowboys went to work.  A 13-yard pass to Murray got them into Detroit territory.  That was followed by a few short runs by Murray and Romo completed a 21-yard pass to Witten on fourth and six.  The pass to Witten gave the Cowboys a first down at the 21.  A defensive holding on the Lions netted another first down at the 16.  The next two plays gained three yards and on third and seven, Romo completed a short pass to running back Lance Dunbar, but he was thrown for a loss of two yards.  Wait a minute.  There’s another flag on the ground.  This time, it was defensive holding on linebacker DeAndre Levy.  That gave the Cowboys a first down at the eight-yard line.  An incomplete pass on first down was followed by a five-yard run by Murray.  That moved the ball to the three-yard line.  A false start on the Cowboys moved them back to the eight.  From the eight, Romo took the snap, had time and fired a pass across the middle that was caught by Williams for a touchdown.  Bailey made the point after and the Cowboys led 24-20 with 2:32 to go in the game.

The Lions took over at their 20 and on second and four, Stafford was sacked by defensive end Anthony Spencer.  The ball came loose and it was recovered by defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.  All he had to do was fall on it and that would pretty much seal a win for the Cowboys.  Instead, he tried to advance it and the ball was loose once again.  It was recovered by offensive tackle Riley Reiff and the Lions retained possession at their 23-yard line.  With two minutes to go, Stafford spread the ball around to three different receivers and moved into Dallas territory.  On fourth and three from the Dallas 42, Stafford was sacked for a loss of nine.  The ball came loose again and Lawrence fell on it.  That was the nail in the coffin.  The Cowboys came from behind and won 24-20.

For the Lions, Matthew Stafford completed 28 of 42 for 323 yards, one touchdown and one interception.  Golden Tate led the team in receptions with six and receiving yards with 89.  On the ground, the Lions rushed for 90 yards on 22 carries.  Joique Bell was the leading rusher with 43 yards on 12 carries.  Defensively, linebacker James Ihedigbo led the team in solo tackles with seven.  Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh led the team in sacks with two.

For the Cowboys, Tony Romo completed 19 of 31 for 293 yards and two touchdowns.  Jason Witten led the team in receptions with five and Terrance Williams had the most receiving yards with 92 and two touchdowns.  DeMarco Murray carried the ball 19 times for 75 yards and a touchdown.  The only other player with any rushing stats is Romo.  He had two carries for minus two yards.  Defensively, safety J.J. Wilcox led the team in solo tackles with seven.

Up next for the Cowboys is a trip to Green Bay to take on the Packers.  That game will be on Sunday at 1:05 eastern time.

 

Turkeys Can’t Tackle

Thanksgiving Day saw the Oakland Raiders travel to the great state of Texas to take on the Dallas Cowboys.  The Raiders were coming off a horrible 23-19 loss to the Tennessee Titans and the Cowboys were coming off a 24-21 win over the New York Giants.  Kicker Sebastian Janikowski booted the ball nine yards deep into the end zone and Dallas return man Terrance Williams ran it out.  When he reached the 23-yard line, he was hit and the ball came loose.  Rookie wide receiver Greg Jenkins alertly picked it up and returned it for a Raider touchdown.  The play was reviewed and the call was upheld.  Janikowski made the point after and just like that, the Raiders had a 7-0 lead with 14:48 to go in the first quarter.

That play was followed by two punts from the Raiders and three from the Cowboys.  Both defenses were playing very well.  With a little under a minute to go in the first quarter, Dallas punter Chris Jones sent a punt high in the air that was fair caught at the Oakland six-yard line by Jenkins.  I was hoping he would let it go through the end zone, but that wasn’t the case.  So, on first down from the six, quarterback Matt McGloin fumbled the snap.  It bounced to the right and rolled to the left.  Running back Rashad Jennings tried to pick it up and run with it, but the ball bounced off his hands and was recovered by defensive end Kyle Wilber at the Oakland two-yard line.  That great field position was taken advantage of on the first play as running back DeMarco Murray ran off left tackle for a two-yard touchdown.  Kicker Dan Bailey made the point after and the score was now knotted at seven with 43 seconds to go in the first quarter.

The Raiders got the ball back at their 21 and on third and seven, McGloin completed a 20-yard pass to wide receiver Rod Streater for a first down at the 44.  A short run by running back Darren McFadden and a completion to tight end Mychal Rivera moved the Raiders down to the Dallas 29.  Two more plays gained one yard and on third and nine from the 28, McGloin hooked up with rookie wide receiver Andre Holmes for a gain of 20.  A false start moved them back five yards, and on first down from the 13, Jennings was thrown for a loss of three.  On second and goal from the 16, McGloin completed another pass to Holmes for a touchdown.  But the ruling was reversed because he did not break the plane.  That put them on the one-yard line and Jennings took it in from there for a touchdown.  Janikowksi made the point after and the Raiders led 14-7 with 10:13 to go in the second quarter.

The Raider defense continued to play well and quarterback Tony Romo threw three straight incomplete passes.  Jones punted and Jenkins fielded the punt at the Oakland 36.  He returned it 14 yards to set the Raiders up with good field position at the 50.  On first down, Jennings took a direct snap out of the wildcat formation and was stopped for no gain.  McGloin found Jennings up the left side for a gain of 16, but that play was brought back due to offsetting penalties.  A short run by McFadden and a completion to Rivera gave the Raiders a first down at the 40.  Three straight runs by Jennings moved them down to the 22.  From the 22, McGloin hooked up with Holmes again for a gain of 11 and a first down at the 11.  Two short runs by Jennings and a seven-yard pass to wide receiver Jacoby Ford gave them a first and goal at the one-yard line.  Jennings got the call on first down and took it into the end zone.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 21-7 with 1:56 to go in the first half.

Surely they could stop Romo and the Cowboys again, right?  No problem.  The defense had been playing very well throughout the half and I saw no reason why they couldn’t take a 21-7 lead into the locker room.  Well, defensive coordinator Jason Tarver had other ideas.  The pressure from the defense was nonexistent.  Romo had time to find his receivers and two passes to tight end Jason Witten and one to Murray moved them quickly from their 27 to the Oakland 32-yard line.  From the 32, Romo dumped a short pass to wide receiver Dez Bryant.  He was hit by cornerback Mike Jenkins and the ball came loose.  This was a golden opportunity for the Raiders to bring this drive to an end, but the ball was recovered by the Cowboys.  On third and seven from the 29, Romo found Bryant again for a gain of 25.  Two plays later, Murray took it into the end zone for a Cowboy touchdown.  Bailey made the point after and the Cowboys now trailed 21-14 at halftime.  It was truly amazing how they hadn’t been able to go anywhere throughout the first half and then they suddenly went 70 yards in under two minutes.  Gee, I wonder why that happened.  Actually, I know why it happened.  All the blitzing and pressure was gone.  The Raiders went soft and the Cowboys took full advantage of it.

Still, the Raiders were winning.  But I’m pretty sure the Cowboys made adjustments at halftime.  It looked like the Raiders devoured a couple of turkeys at halftime and didn’t make any adjustments.  Maybe Jerry Jones snuck a couple of turkeys into their locker room during the second quarter.  The Raiders got the ball first and aside from a 21-yard pass to Holmes, they went nowhere.  Also, guard Andre Gurode was flagged for his THIRD false start penalty.  Gurode, you USED to be a Cowboy.  You don’t play for them anymore.  I’d appreciate it if you’d wait for the ball to be snapped before you start moving.  Stop doing favors for your former team!

Punter Marquette King punted the ball away and the Cowboys took over at their 13.  On third and 13 from the ten, Romo avoided the pressure and completed a 14-yard pass to Williams.  Running back Lance Dunbar was brought into the game and on second and four from the 30, he broke off a 45-yard run right up the middle.  He was finally dragged down at the Oakland 25 by cornerback Phillip Adams.  A completion to Murray and another run by Dunbar had the Cowboys knocking at the door again.  A touchdown run by Murray was called back due to holding on the Cowboys.  But that didn’t seem to bother them too much and three plays later, Romo found Bryant in the end zone.  Bailey made the point after and the score was knotted at 21 with 5:11 to go in the third quarter.

The Raiders went three and out and punted again.  The Cowboys started at their 35 and on third and six from the 39, Romo dumped off a short pass to Witten.  Both linebacker Kevin Burnett and safety Brandian Ross were there to stop Witten short.  However, they could not bring him down.  Witten powered his way to the 42 for a first down.  A couple of runs by Dunbar and a seven-yard pass to Murray had the Cowboys in Oakland territory again.  Another run by Murray and an unnecessary roughness penalty on linebacker Sio Moore gave the Cowboys a first and goal at the seven-yard line.  From the seven, Murray took the ball up the right side and the gassed Raider defense let him score his third touchdown of the day.  Bailey made the point after and the Cowboys now led 28-21 with 14:20 to go in the game.

Both teams punted on their next possessions and the Raiders got the ball at their 44.  On first down, McGloin hit Holmes in stride for a nice 35-yard gain.  Then, he looked for fullback Marcel Reece across the middle and the pass was broken up and almost picked off.  On third and nine from the 20, McGloin made a costly mistake.  He threw a high pass for Ford in the corner of the end zone.  Ford is the shortest receiver on the team and although he does possess some good leaping ability, he was no match for cornerback Brandon Carr.  Carr picked the pass off in the end zone and that brought the drive to an end.  Standing in the middle of the end zone uncovered was Rivera.  How McGloin didn’t see him is beyond me.

The Cowboys took over at their 20 and proceeded to roll over the Raiders.  Dunbar and Murray grinded out some tough yards and the Raiders simply couldn’t stop them.  Granted, they had players in position to stop them, but they didn’t wrap them up.  A 14-yard pass to Murray and a short run by Dunbar netted a first down at the Oakland 27.  Several more carries by Murray set up a first and goal at the ten.  Murray ran off left tackle for three, Bryant caught a short pass and on third and goal from the three, Murray ran up the middle looking for his fourth touchdown of the day.  It wasn’t meant to be as he was stopped short by defensive tackle Vance Walker.  But that didn’t matter.  If Bailey made his 19-yard field goal attempt, the game was pretty much over and done with.  The kick was good and the Cowboys now led 31-21 with 1:56 to go in the game.  The Raiders managed to get a 45-yard field goal on their final possession, but the onside kick was recovered by the Cowboys.  Game over.  Final score: Cowboys 31 Raiders 24.  The loss dropped the Raiders to 4-8 and the Cowboys improved to 7-5.

For the Raiders, Matt McGloin completed 18 of 30 for 255 yards, no touchdowns and one very costly interception.  Andre Holmes had a great day and led the team in receptions with seven and yards with 136.  The normally effective running game was held in check by the Cowboys.  All totaled, the Raiders rushed for just 50 yards on 25 carries.  Jennings led the team with 35 yards on 17 carries and two short touchdown runs.  Defensively, Nick Roach led the Raiders in solo tackles with ten and had two sacks and one tackle for a loss.

For the Cowboys, Tony Romo completed 23 of 32 for 225 yards and one touchdown.  Dez Bryant led the team in receptions with seven and yards with 61 and a touchdown.  On the ground, Lance Dunbar led the way with 82 yards on 12 carries and DeMarco Murray added 63 yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns.  As a team, the Cowboys rushed for a total of 144 yards on 30 carries.  Defensively, safety Barry Church led the Cowboys in solo tackles with six.

Well, once again, the Raiders got off to a good start and blew a 14-point lead.  They just can’t seem to finish games.  It has become highly annoying.  If they had been able to win every close game they’ve been in, they’d be 9-3 instead of 4-8.  Up next is another trip across the country to play the New York Jets.  The Jets have not been putting many points on the board in recent weeks, so they’re due for a big game.  If the Raiders keep playing soft and don’t pressure the quarterback, the Jets just may come away with a win.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

 

All Out Blitz

Arizona Cardinals: It’s only five games but so far the Kevin Kolb era is off to a slow start…..S Kerry Rhodes broke his foot during the game Sunday and will be out for a least a month…..For those of you keeping track, Arizona will host Super Bowl XLIX in 2015…..With all the attention that defenses are paying towards WR Larry Fitzgerald, Early Doucet is quietly having a nice season.

Atlanta Falcons: I’m not sure which is more surprising – that the Eagles are 1-4 or that the Falcons are 2-3. I didn’t see either one coming…..WR Julio Jones will miss at least this week’s game with a hamstring injury, which will give Harry Douglas a chance to make a bigger impact…..DE Ray Edwards is still not fully recovered from off-season knee surgery and isn’t having the pass rush impact that the Falcons were hoping for…..I hate when analysts say this because it all counts, but take away two long runs from RB Michael Turner and he has been virtually non-existent this season.

Baltimore Ravens: WR Lee Evans was able to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, but missed practice Thursday. It seems unlikely that he will play this week…..CB Jimmy Smith also is unlikely to go as he still can’t run at full speed…..The Ravens are catching the Texans at the right time. DE Mario Williams is out for the season and WR Andre Johnson will also miss the game. It certainly makes life easier when the opposing team is missing their best offensive and defensive player.

Buffalo Bills: The Bills will be going up against one of their own this week in Perry Fewell, the Giants defensive coordinator. They should certainly know some of his favorite schemes…..WR Donald Jones will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a high-ankle sprain, so Brad Smith could see more action…..LB Chris Kelsay won’t play versus the Giants…..What kind of team the Bills have will become much more apparent within the next month.

Carolina Panthers: Fantasy owners couldn’t have been happy when the Panthers offensive coordinator stated this week that QB Cam Newton will be the Panthers goal line back going forward. Now there is something you just don’t hear every day. The ironic thing is this statement came the same week that coach Ron Rivera stated he didn’t want Newton running the ball as much. Can’t seem to have it both ways.

Chicago Bears: QB Jay Cutler has now admitted in back to back weeks that all the hits he is taking are starting to make him gun-shy in the pocket. In other words, he is starting to see the rush rather than looking for his receivers down the field…..RB Matt Forte turned down a contract worth $13-$14 million in guaranteed cash during the off-season. It seems with the season he is having that he is certainly not going to take any less now.

Cincinnati Bengals: By yardage allowed, the Bengals have the best defense in the NFL. Yeah, who saw that coming?…..RB Cedric Benson still doesn’t know if and when he will be suspended by the NFL. His appeal has been heard, but no decision has been made. The problem for fantasy owners is that they are forced to keep Bernard Scott on their roster until a final decision is made. That’s a valuable roster spot being wasted as of now.

Cleveland Browns: WR Greg Little has been named a starter going forward and has been a popular pickup in fantasy leagues. While I like his added playing time, I’m not seeing big things happen here…..CB Joe Haden is out this week. That’s a big loss to the Browns pass defense…..DE Marcus Benard suffered a broken arm in a motorcycle accident Monday and will be lost to the Browns for the remainder of the season. There is a reason emergency rooms call them donor cycles.

Dallas Cowboys: The bye week may have come in Week 5, but for the Cowboys it couldn’t be early enough. WRs Dez Bryant and Miles Austin should be as close to 100% as they have been all season, CB Orlando Scandrick will play in his first game since Week 1 (lucky him as he gets to cover Wes Welker), and QB Tony Romo gets two more weeks to recover from his broken ribs. Speaking of those ribs, Romo will still wear a flak jacket and take a pain killing injection before playing.

Denver Broncos: I’m still not a big believer in Tim Tebow’s ability to be a franchise QB, but at this point in the season the Broncos needed to see what they have in him. If you’re going to lose, you might as well lose big…..Fantasy wise though, Tebow is an interesting play. He’s probably good for somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 yards a game which helps offset his probably lack of passing yards, and if he can run in a touchdown he could have a decent week–figure around 18 points…..For those of you who want the Broncos to trade QB Kyle Orton, it’s probably not going to happen. The deadline is next week. The only team that might be interested is Miami, and the Broncos happen to play Miami that Sunday. I’m just not seeing that PR nightmare happening.

Detroit Lions: TE Tony Scheffler suffered a concussion during the game Monday and is unlikely to play Sunday…..S Erik Coleman was placed on season ending IR with an ankle injury…..DL Nick Fairley finally got to play Monday. Although he didn’t make an impact during his first game, he should only help what may be the best defensive line in football as he gets more experience…..WR Nate Burleson seems to be seeing his role in the offense decline as QB Matthew Stafford seems to be looking for his TEs as secondary targets when Calvin Johnson is covered.

Green Bay Packers: Pretty amazing game for the Packers and QB Aaron Rodgers last week against the Falcons when you consider they lost both starting tackles. This may be a problem that comes more to the forefront in the coming weeks…..I know WR James Jones has had back to back big weeks but there are just too many offensive weapons for Rodgers to choose from to see this being an every week thing…..Staying on that note, WR Donald Driver’s best days are behind him and the Pack may be better off only using him in four and five WR sets.

Houston Texans: As mentioned earlier, WR Andre Johnson is out for this week’s game but may return sooner than thought, possibly even next week…..What does have to concern the Texans however is that RB Adrian Foster has been slowed in practice once again this week and one has to wonder if that hamstring is bothering him once again…..The acquisition of WR Derrick Mason from the Jets goes to show how unimpressed the Texans were with Jacoby Jones.

Indianapolis Colts: Who would’ve thought that the most dynamic passing combo in the NFL would be QB Curtis Painter to WR Pierre Garcon? The Colts are still going to need another positive week though before I completely buy in…..WR Joseph Addai injured his hamstring last week and is unlikely to play Sunday, leaving the running game in the hands of Delone Carter and Donald Brown. I’d rather have Carter.

Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Aaron Kampman is expected to finally play in a game this season–Sunday versus the Steelers. With the state of the Steelers offensive line, he couldn’t have picked a better game to come back to…..How long until coach Jack Del Rio is fired? He was told that the team would have to make the playoffs to save his job. Ummm, this team is not going to make the playoffs.

Kansas City Chiefs: QB Matt Cassel has come alive of late and has made WRs Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston good plays as well in fantasy leagues. There is one problem though, the Chiefs schedule gets much tougher in the weeks ahead. Although they will probably be playing behind which will lead to more passes, they will also be playing against tougher defenses…..RB Jackie Battle had well over 100 yards rushing last week but don’t be looking for big things from him when the Chiefs return from their bye. He’s just not that kind of back.

Miami Dolphins: How will the Dolphins do with QB Matt Moore at the helm? It can’t be any worse than what they did with Chad Henne…..RB Daniel Thomas should be back as the bye enabled him to recover from his hamstring injury. The Dolphins will need him this week as it would seem unlikely that Moore will have great success against the Jets defense…..Look for the other RB, Reggie Bush, to line up in the slot as the Dolphins look to get him more involved in the offense.

Minnesota Vikings:  QB Donovan McNabb is playing better behind center, but once the Vikings come to the conclusion that the playoffs are out of reach, the Christian Ponder era should begin…..CB Antoine Winfield and WR Percy Harvin both missed practice Thursday. Winfield has a neck injury and seems questionable at best while Harvin is dealing with sore ribs but is more on the probable side.

New England Patriots: RB Danny Woodhead has been practicing on a limited basis the past couple of days and could play Sunday, just what Tom Brady needs–another weapon…..Speaking of weapons, TE Aaron Hernandez is still limited in practice, but as we saw last week versus the Jets, even at 80% healthy he is quite a weapon…..Fantasy wise I’m giving WR Chad Ochocinco one more week to show he can still play at the NFL level or it’s waiver wire time.

New Orleans Saints: Coach Sean Peyton admitted this week that he is having a hard time giving RB Mark Ingram enough carries during the game. I can’t really blame him. I’d want the ball in QB Drew Brees’ hands as much as possible also…..WR Devery Henderson has a calf injury that is slowing him down. He hasn’t been able to practice this week after having a subpar game Sunday. He could be sitting this week…..For those of you wondering who the number one receiver is for the Saints, even with the return to health of Marques Colston, it’s TE Jimmy Graham.

New York Giants: RB Brandon Jacobs is still having problems with severe swelling around his knee. Not a good thing for a running back, especially one who is normally taken down around the knees…..WR Victor Cruz is still technically the 3rd receiver for the Giants, but he is making more plays than Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham. It seems to be just a matter of time before Manningham is demoted…..DE Justin Tuck has been hearing it from a number of ex-Giants about not playing in games due to injury and this week may be no different. Even if he does play, it certainly wouldn’t be anything more than as a situational pass rusher.

New York Jets: The Jets are starting to feel the pressure after losing three straight road games. They aren’t talking as much to the media, but are complaining plenty in-house about the offensive strategy. One of those so-called complainers found himself shipped out when WR Derrick Mason was traded to the Texans for a 7th round pick…..What has happened to TE Dustin Keller after a hot start to the season? Come to think of it, you could say the same thing about WR Santonio Holmes as well…..Will this be the week the Jets get back to ground and pound, smash mouth football on both sides of the ball.

Oakland Raiders: Like him or hate him, Al Davis was a pioneer and one of the people who made the NFL what it is today. “Just win baby!” RIP Al

Philadelphia Eagles: I know it’s only Week 6, but the Eagles are in what may be a must win situation. A loss to the Skins Sunday and the Eagles will be four games out of 1st in the NFC East…..WR Steve Smith is now fully healthy, but still may be no better than 4th on the Eagles’ depth chart…..The Eagles reached out to former Jets and Browns coach Eric Mangini to be their defensive consultant. He turned it down however, preferring his gig with ESPN.

Pittsburgh Steelers: RB Rashard Mendenhall’s hamstring is said to be better and he will be good to go Sunday, but keep in mind his carries may be limited and that hamstring can easily be re-injured…..OT Max Starks, who hadn’t played in about a year, was in on all but two snaps in Sunday’s game and seemed to stabilize the Steelers offensive line. Was this just a one game phenomenon or will things start to get easier for QB Ben Roethlisberger and Mendenhall?

San Diego Chargers: The Chargers are off this week and once again the bye couldn’t have come at a better time. RB Ryan Matthews is dealing with a calf strain that may have made him unable to play this week, Mike Tolbert has a concussion, WR Vincent Jackson a leg injury , and hopefully TE Antonio Gates can use the time off to finally get his foot healthy enough to get back on the field.

San Francisco 49ers: WR Josh Morgan is out for the season after suffering a broken ankle last week. The 49ers are riding high, but their depth at receiver is going to be tested until Braylon Edwards returns…..Until Edwards returns, Ted Ginn will be the 49ers number two. Scary isn’t it? Not to mention Michael Crabtree isn’t completely healthy either.

Seattle Seahawks: Pretty impressive win by the Hawks last week versus the Giants. There were plenty of big plays and turnovers, but in the end they made more of the good kind than the G-Men…..QB Tavares Jackson suffered a strained pectoral muscle and may not have been able to play if the Hawks had a game this week, but they don’t, so he has an extra week to rest…..WR Doug Baldwin went off against the Giants, but I wouldn’t be running out to the waiver wire just yet.

St. Louis Rams: RB Steven Jackson should be fully recovered from his quad injury and should be safe to start in fantasy leagues. Problem is the Rams play the Packers this week and could be behind by multiple touchdowns quite early, forcing them to abandon the run game…..WR Mark Clayton should return from the PUP next week. We all know the Rams could use all the help they can get at receiver as Danny Amendola was placed on IR, ending his season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: What has happened to the Bucs? That was a complete butt kicking handed to them by the 49ers last week. Seems the offense can’t quite get in gear as QB Josh Freeman is not having the big season many predicted of him. WR Mike Williams is also suffering as he seems to be going through a rough sophomore season. Is it the fault of Williams that Freeman has regressed or vice versa? The Bucs better figure it out soon before the season slips away…..The running game may not be able to help as LeGarrette Blount will miss the next game or two with a knee injury. Look for Earnest Graham to handle the load until Blount’s return.

Tennessee Titans: The Titans came out hot versus the Steelers last week, but when they were unable to score a TD on the opening drive despite having multiple chances inside the 10-yard line, all the air seemed to come out of the balloon and the game slipped away very quickly…..Look for the Titans to become more of a running team as the season progresses.

Washington Redskins: The big question for the Skins, besides if they are for real, is who will be the main ball carrier each week. Tim Hightower still has a banged up shoulder but is in line for more carries. Ryan Torain and Roy Helu have been impressive at times. All three could see the ball Sunday against the Eagles whose defense can’t stop anyone…..As for the QB, Rex Grossman hasn’t looked good the past few weeks and it’s hard to see him having a big day versus the Eagles secondary. He just needs to avoid the big mistake.

All Out Blitz

Arizona Cardinals: How many owners did RB Beanie Wells cost last week with his last minute deactivation? It’s not that he got deactivated, — Wells has a history of missing games — it’s that he swore up and down all week that he would play. Oh, he is game-time decision for this week as well…..With Wells out, Chester Taylor had a chance to show what he could do, but apparently he couldn’t do much as Alfonso Smith looked much better than Taylor.

Atlanta Falcons: WR Roddy White is dropping more passes than he ever has and now he is dealing with a thigh injury…..RB Jason Snelling will miss this week with a concussion so look for rookie Jacquizz Rodgers to play a few more snaps this week, especially if Michael Turner has a rough time once again.

Baltimore Ravens: That was quite a coming out party for WR Torrey Smith last week with three touchdowns. He will get a chance for an encore this week as he will once again start for Lee Evans. Evans will most likely not play once again…..Former 1st round pick Sergio Kindle, who didn’t play all of last season due to a skull fracture, has been deactivated for the first three games of this season; not a good start to his NFL career.

Buffalo Bills: Quite an impressive win the by Bills last week. They seem to have another layup versus the Bengals this week, but their schedule gets much tougher in the coming weeks as they will play the Eagles, Giants, Redskins, Jets, and Cowboys. NFL fans should get a much better read on how good a team they are after this stretch.

Carolina Panthers: It took a heavy rainstorm last week to stop the Cam Newton show, but still the Panthers won their 1st game of the season. It’s nice to see that Newton can throw the ball when necessary, but the Panthers would still best be served this season if they can get their running game going with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart…..Do you think TE Greg Olsen would like to have a big game this week to show the Bears they made a mistake in trading him?

Chicago Bears: QB Jay Cutler admitted this week that he is starting to see the rush due to all the hits he is taking. It’s always been kind of strange that the Bears didn’t look to get him a top WR, which would have enabled him to have more confidence with his passes. They did try to upgrade the OL in the draft with Gabe Carimi, but that might take a few years to “bear” fruit…..One receiver who could help is Earl Bennett, but he is still out for at least another game or two.

Cincinnati Bengals: RB Cedric Benson must have made some headway with his appeal to commissioner Roger Goodell as he will be allowed to play this week. One would think if it was a slam dunk case that he would have already heard about the decision…..There has been no news this week regarding the legal situation that WR Jerome Simpson found himself in regarding the marijuana found in his home. He didn’t play well last week–could be he has bigger things on his mind.

Cleveland Browns: RB Peyton Hillis didn’t play last week due to strep throat and lost about 12 pounds, but he should be good to go Sunday…..Josh Cribbs is once again being used as a receiver. Now, he’s not someone you need to rush out and grab, but in deeper fantasy leagues he could be worth a look.

Dallas Cowboys: With their dramatic win last week versus the Redskins, the Cowboys have now played in nine straight games decided by a field goal or less. With injuries to a big part of their team (Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Felix Jones, Orlando Scandrick), it may be awhile before they are able to score enough points to put teams away early…..Romo may have to take a pain killing injection to play again this week, and with the play of his receivers last week, it may not be because of his fractured rib.

Denver Broncos: Not that the Broncos have much of a chance to beat the Packers this week, but if CB Champ Bailey is unable to play because of a hamstring injury, this game could get out of hand quickly…..Injury news doesn’t get any better for Denver as WR Eddie Royal will miss the game with a groin injury…..RB Knowshon Moreno is expected back in the lineup this week, but Willis McGahee will remain the starter.

Detroit Lions: Last week was the first one in which QB Matthew Stafford took a few hits. He is still alive and standing which is good news for Lions fans. The Cowboys are sure to put him on his back a few times this week too. As good as Stafford and WR Calvin Johnson have been so far this season, an injury may be the only thing that could stop them…..Don’t look for a big game from RB Javhid Best this week. The Cowboys may have problems versus the pass, but haven’t had a problem stopping the run.

Green Bay Packers: Not that anyone should be rooting for an injury, but RB James Starks should be pretty happy that Ryan Grant will miss this game with a bruised kidney. Starks was clearly outplayed by Grant this week and may have been close to losing a good deal of his carries had Grant remained healthy…..WR Donald Driver has only had one catch in the last two games, his role has certainly been reduced, with Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, and JerMichael Finley the favorite targets of QB Aaron Rodgers.

Houston Texans: RB Arian Foster is due to return once again this week. I still have a hard time seeing him stay healthy all season and in fantasy leagues I would still hold onto Ben Tate…..TE Owen Daniels looks to be back in form as he and QB Matt Schaub look to be developing that chemistry once again that made them a lethal duo before injuries set Daniels back…..LB Mario Williams injured his knee last week but should be good to go for Sunday.

Indianapolis Colts: QB Kerry Collins suffered a concussion last week and won’t play Monday, leaving Curtis Painter behind center. Ouch! Fantasy wise, WR Reggie Wayne may be the only player still remotely valuable to a fantasy team as even TE Dallas Clark may have a tough time getting targets…..Gary Brackett and Melvin Bullitt are both out for the season due to injury. The suck for Luck continues…..The Colts keep holding out hope that Peyton Manning can return this season, but is there any doubt that they would be better off letting Manning take the season off and come back completely healthy next season.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars are trying to get TE Mercedes Lewis more involved in the passing game. Good idea, a TE is usually a young QB’s best friend…..RB Maurice Jones-Drew is off to a solid start this season but defenses are going to start to key on him as they won’t be afraid of the passing offense, especially one with a rookie QB…..DE Aaron Kampman, the Jags only real pass rush threat, is out once again this week…..This game is not going to be pretty if you’re a Jacksonville fan.

Kansas City Chiefs: WR Jonathan Baldwin is still out with a thumb injury, starting to look like this may be a lost season for the rookie…..K Ryan Succop is only 2 of 5 on FG attempts this season. One  more miss and he may find himself on the unemployment line…..RB Dexter McCluster may be taking on a bigger and bigger role in the offense. He could certainly be an interesting pickup in fantasy leagues.

Miami Dolphins: The news just keeps getting worse for the Dolphins: they are 0-3, play the Chargers this week, plenty of talk about the job security of the head coach, and now RB Daniel Thomas, who has played well in the past two weeks, is unlikely to play Sunday with a hamstring injury…..WR Brandon Marshall and QB Chad Henne certainly look to be in better shape this season than last, but by my count, there is at least three TD passes that Marshall has dropped this season.

Minnesota Vikings: Someone has to explain to me how a team can have a 20 point lead at halftime, yet only hand the ball to Adrian Peterson five times in the second half. It’s decisions like this that leave fans and critics alike shaking their heads, not to mention the Vikings have blown a double digit lead in each game so far this season…..WR Percy Harvin was a bigger part of the offense last week, but still had to leave the game early after taking a shot to the gut.

New England Patriots: Not sure which was more of a shock, that the Pats blew a big lead to the Bills last week or that QB Tom Brady threw four interceptions…..TE Aaron Hernandez will indeed miss this week’s game versus Oakland…..S Patrick Chung, he of the broken thumb, is questionable to play this week. Lord knows the Pats pass defense could use his help…..Don’t be concerned about WR Deion Branch not catching a pass this week, Brady was just looking to exploit matchups, and last week he apparently loved Wes Welker’s matchup.

New Orleans Saints: WR Marques Colston is apparently healthy after breaking his collarbone in Week 1. Its only been three and a half weeks. It is hard to believe he is 100% recovered after such a short time to recuperate, not to mention, why would you bring him back early in a game that should be easily won with or without him…..K Garrett Hartley was placed on IR this week, which means John Kasay is indeed the full-time kicker this season…..RB Mark Ingram is off to a slow start, and it certainly doesn’t help any that Darren Sproles is off to such a fast start. Sproles needs to get his hands on the ball as much as possible right now.

New York Giants: Big win by the G-Men last week. WR Victor Cruz proved that he could make a big play, which is good news for QB Eli Manning as he is running out of healthy receivers with Hakeem Nicks nursing a knee injury and Mario Manningham a concussion…..DE Osi Umenyiora will most likely make his season debut this week after having knee surgery in camp…..DE Justin Tuck however may be forced to miss the game with neck and groin injuries.

New York Jets: CB Antonio Cromartie, who had a tough game last week (penalties, long passes, bruised lung), should play this week…..C Nick Mangold has a shot of playing this week and the Jets offensive line could use him, but he is unlikely to be at full strength and would probably benefit from another week’s rest…..QB Mark Sanchez broke his nose during the game last week, so much for that GQ cover…..The Jets are having a tough time getting their ground game — ummm “off the ground”, so look for LaDainian Tomlinson to get more touches if Shonne Greene is not getting the job done.

Oakland Raiders: RB Darren MacFadden, who is off to a fast start this season, will be a full go for this game after suffering a slight groin injury last week…..WR Jacoby Ford could possibly return this week. The Raiders could use him as they are going to need their offense to be in high gear to keep up with the Patriots…..QB Terrelle Pryor’s five-game suspension was upheld — shocking…..QB Jason Campbell has a foot injury which could limit his ability to avoid the rush, but then again it’s not like the Patriots put much pressure on the quarterback.

Philadelphia Eagles: QB Michael Vick (hand) and WR Jeremy Maclin (hamstring) are both going to start this week, whether or not they finish the week is another story…..Rumors are starting to float around again that WR DeSean Jackson is more worried about his contract than about winning football games. Is it me or is this dream team quickly becoming a nightmare?…..Back to Vick, he seems to be a bit off base in complaining about the refs not calling late hits against him. Numbers don’t back him up, as he is in the middle of the pack as far as getting the call. Perhaps, he should talk to his offensive linemen about blocking better, chat with his coach about getting maximum protection, or just get rid of the ball quicker.

Pittsburgh Steelers: RB Rashard Mendenhall was told that he still remains the goal-line back, which is all fine and good, but with the Steelers offensive line being one of, if not the worst in the league, I’m not sure it matters. Mendenhall and QB Ben Roethlisberger could both be in for subpar seasons unless the line picks up its play…..CB Bryant MacFadden will miss the game this week. This certainly doesn’t help as Pittsburgh travels to Houston to take on the high flying Texans.

San Diego Chargers: TE Antonio Gates could be out quite awhile as he tries to recover once again from Plantar Fasciitis. It still seems unlikely that he will ever be 100% over this injury…..WR Vincent Jackson was hobbled this week (abdomen) as was RB Ryan Matthews (left foot), but both look good to go on Sunday…..S Bob Sanders was placed on IR this week. One has to wonder if his career is over at this point.

San Francisco 49ers: This could be a tough week for fantasy owners trying to figure out the 49ers running back situation for this Sunday’s game. Frank Gore has an ankle injury that could limit his effectiveness but he will probably will play. He has a juicy matchup against a porous Philadelphia run defense and you wouldn’t want to sit him, but how frustrated would you be if he was only able to last a quarter…..WR Michael Crabtree is probable to play this week after suffering a foot injury, but it probably won’t matter much as the Eagles may not be able to stop the run and shouldn’t have much problem with the 49ers passing game.

Seattle Seahawks: WR Sidney Rice had a solid return from his shoulder injury. He may be the only bright spot on a dull offensive squad…..Do you think TE Zach Miller is starting to regret his choice in free agency? How quickly he has fallen off the radar?

St. Louis Rams: I can’t say how disappointed I am in the play of TE Lance Kendricks so far this season. I thought he would be a major part of the Rams offense, but so far he’s done little to nothing…..RB Steven Jackson is said to be a bigger part of the offense this week as he is another week into his recovery from the quad injury suffered in Week 1…..Remember when WR Danny Amendola thought he could return quickly from his dislocated elbow? Well, he is out another week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This has to be a get well game for QB Josh Freeman. He has been having problems getting the ball downfield to WR Mike Williams. Although it won’t be easy with DEs Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis coming after him, it’s a big Monday night game and big plays in the passing game are needed…..For those of you in IDP leagues, LB Mason Foster is now an every down player.

Tennessee Titans: The loss of WR Kenny Britt for the season could have a severe impact on the Titans. Their passing game was rolling but now they lose their deep threat. Opposing defenses will now devote most of their attention to stopping the running game, which hasn’t yet gotten on track — not good news for RB Chris Johnson…..The Titans signed Donnie Avery to replace Britt on the roster…..QB Matt Hasselback may take a few more hits with the loss of Britt as teams should have an easier time covering the team’s other receivers.

Washington Redskins: How will Washington react to losing a game Monday night that they probably should have won? Pretty well I think. Even though it is a short week and they are playing on the road, they are playing a Rams team that just hasn’t been able to get anything going so far this season…..It’s looking more and more like Roy Helu is the back you want in the Skins backfield. Sure Tim Hightower is the starter, but in the last two weeks, Helu has had the bulk of the carries in the second half and has shown a better burst and play making ability.

All Out Blitz

Arizona Cardinals: RB Chris Wells is listed as a game-time decision for the game Sunday with a hamstring injury. Backup LaRod Stephens-Howling is also dealing with an injury (hand) which means Chester Taylor could be in line for a bigger role than expected Sunday versus Seattle…..QB Kevin Kolb and WR Larry Fitzgerald continue to develop the chemistry team officials were hoping for when they made the trade with Philadelphia in the off-season.

Atlanta Falcons: WR Roddy White has a thigh injury but is listed as probable and will be good to go for the game versus the Bucs Sunday. But keep in mind that in past meetings with CB Aqib Talib, White hasn’t had the best of games…..The NFL keeps saying they will suspend flagrant violators of the hit to the head rule, but instead chose to fine CB Dunta Robinson $40,000 for his hit on Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin last week. Reasoning being that Maclin had a second to protect himself and Robinson didn’t launch himself. You have to wonder if they would’ve felt differently had Maclin been injured.

Baltimore Ravens: I wouldn’t want to be the Rams this week. One must have to think Baltimore comes out with an angry attitude after laying an egg last week…..WR Lee Evans, who has been dealing with an ankle injury, won’t play Sunday. A bigger problem is that WR Torrey Smith has had a terrible case of the drops in practice and may not have the trust of QB Joe Flacco…..Ravens are also having problems at CB as Jimmy Smith isn’t expected to play until Week 6 and Domonique Foxworth, who is dealing with a surgically repaired knee, may need to be rested for the near future.

Buffalo Bills: If the Bills can truly “circle the wagons” and defeat the Patriots, than it may be time to take them for real. With that being said, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is tied for the NFL lead with seven touchdown passes, RB Fred Jackson leads the NFL in rushing, and WR Steve Johnson is showing no problems with tighter coverage since the departure of Lee Evans…..RB C.J. Spiller is one Bill who hasn’t found his niche yet, but with the injury to Roscoe Parrish, may start to see an increased role on the offense. He will also take over the punt return role.

Carolina Panthers: To all those who thought QB Cam Newton was going to need a season or two to get acclimated to the NFL: think again!  You bet WR Steve Smith is a happy guy…..One player who hasn’t performed up to expectations so far this season is RB DeAngelo Williams. Matter of fact, his partner Jonathan Stewart has looked better than Williams so far, but the Panthers didn’t give Williams that fat contract in the off-season not to use him.

Chicago Bears: RB Marion Barber is set to make his season debut Sunday. I doubt that is going to help the protection problem the Bears are having. Once again, OC Mike Martz has forgotten that he has a good RB in Matt Forte and is throwing the ball every chance he gets. Problem is the Bears don’t have the receivers to truly take advantage of that pass/run ratio, and QB Jay Cutler is getting crushed. Martz was on his way to the same kind of ratio last season before he changed philosophies in the early going. He needs to do the same again this season.

Cincinnati Bengals: What a week for the Bengals.  First, WR Jerome Simpson was detained by authorities after a significant amount of marijuana was delivered to his home. Then, RB Cedric Benson was suspended three games for violating the leagues’ code of conduct. Simpson is questionable at best to play Sunday as they are still trying to figure out his legal situation, while Benson will play as he appeals his suspension. You shouldn’t wonder why we call them the Bungles.

Cleveland Browns: RB Peyton Hillis had to leave practice Friday with an illness and is now questionable to play Sunday. Seems unlikely that he would miss the game though unless this is one serious illness…..QB Colt McCoy could be a sneaky play in some fantasy leagues this year as the Dolphins will be without CB Vontae Davis, and possibly CB Will Allen. It’s not like the Dolphins were all that successful stopping the pass even with them in the lineup.

Dallas Cowboys: What a difference a week can make.  One week after wearing the goat horns for his fumble and late interception versus the Jets, QB Tony Romo became a hero for playing with a punctured lung and fractured rib while leading the Boys to victory. Although the lung is healed, the rib has not and Tony may have to play in some pain for a little bit…..The Cowboys are a walking MASH unit right now. RB Felix Jones has a separated shoulder but should play this week–not that he has been doing much anyway. WR Miles Austin injured his hamstring on an ill-conceived reverse last week and will most likely not be back until after the Cowboys Week 5 bye. The good news is that CB Terrance Newman will play Monday, and WR Dez Bryant also may be able to go.

Denver Broncos: RB Knowshon Moreno is dealing with a hamstring issue. Doesn’t it always seem like Moreno is dealing with one injury or another. It will be a game-time decision this week to see if he plays or not…..DE Elvis Dumervil is still dealing with a shoulder injury and will miss another week…..WR Brandon Lloyd’s groin seems to be feeling much better this week and is likely to play Sunday…..Speaking of groin injuries, WR Eddie Royal is expected to miss 2-4 weeks with one.

Detroit Lions: DT Nick Fairley is getting closer to his first game as he was able to participate in individual drills this week. He won’t play Sunday, but could return in Week 4 or 5…..Guess who holds the NFL record for most games played for one team with 297 games–that would be K Jason Hanson…..Since we’re playing guessing games, guess which team has yet to give up a sack this season–that would be Detroit. It would certainly keep QB Matthew Stafford healthier much easier if he never gets sacked.

Green Bay Packers: Tough loss for the Packers as S Nick Collins is lost for the season with a neck injury. This happens to a defense that has been shredded through the air in the first two weeks…..It’s starting to look like WR Jordy Nelson is the number two behind Greg Jennings….Big game this week between Chicago and Green Bay. Chicago wants revenge for last season’s playoff loss, but they are unlikely to get it here.

Houston Texans: This hamstring injury for RB Arian Foster is turning out to be a major problem for fantasy owners as he is once again a game-time decision. Even if he does play, Ben Tate could get a majority of the carries. Not to mention this injury could linger for weeks…..DC Wade Phillip’s new defense is certain to get tested this week against QB Drew Brees and the Saints, especially in New Orleans.

Indianapolis Colts: TE Dallas Clark has a foot injury and is now questionable to play Sunday against Pittsburgh. Just what the Colts need in a primetime game that is certain to be a blowout…..QB Peyton Manning stated that he is feeling better after having yet another neck surgery, but there is still no timetable for his return…..Receivers like Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie are being dropped like flies in fantasy league. No one has much faith in QB Kerry Collins.

Jacksonville Jaguars: It’s good to see the Luke McCown era lasted all of a game and change. Either they never really had all that much faith in him or David Garrard was indeed released because of the $8 million he was due to make this season…..QB Blaine Gabbert will start this week. Don’t expect him to put up the same kind of gaudy numbers Cam Newton is for Carolina…..Anyone else think that RB Maurice Jones-Drew is going to be pretty busy, or at least busier than normal this week.

Kansas City Chiefs: Losing RB Jamaal Charles for the season with a torn ACL is a devastating blow for a team that was barely alive anyway. In the short term, Thomas Jones will handle the load, but Dexter McCluster will also see a bigger role. Not the same role that Charles had, he’s just not built that way…..Losing Charles could have a ripple effect as the focus of the defenses attention will now fall on WR Dwayne Bowe. Only bright point may be that they will be in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.

Miami Dolphins: With 107 yards on 18 carries last week, RB Daniel Thomas has taken over the starting role from Reggie Bush. It is not that big a shock as Bush wouldn’t last half the season if he touched the ball 20+ times a game. Thomas did put the ball on the ground once. He can’t make a habit of that…..The Dolphins have already had a tough time stopping the pass this season and will be without CB Vontae Davis and possibly Will Allen this week. Good thing they play the Browns, good for the Browns that is.

Minnesota Vikings: DT Kevin Williams returned to practice this week after serving his two game suspension, but is now dealing with plantar fasciitis and still may not be at full strength for Sunday’s game versus Detroit–good news for Javhid Best…..WR Percy Harvin has only been on the field for approximately half of the offensive snaps. This is the Vikings answer to trying to keep him healthy? Unfortunately, they don’t have much of a threat in their passing game besides Harvin.

New England Patriots: TE Aaron Hernandez is out for at least a week and probably two with a knee injury. Hernandez is listed as a TE but is basically a receiver in the Pats offense. Perhaps this could be the opening that WR Chad Ochocinco needs to get his act in gear…..S Patrick Chung is out for Sunday which certainly won’t help the Pats defense as they try and stop the suddenly high flying Bills.

New Orleans Saints: WR Robert Meacham was expected to take on a bigger role with the loss of Marques Colston, but that also means defenses will play closer attention to him. That seemed to happen last week as Meacham only caught one pass, granted though it was a touchdown…..LB Jonathan Vilma will not play this week as he is dealing with a knee issue. Not good news when the Saints are dealing with a team that has been extremely successful running the ball the first two games.

New York Giants: Giants players have been running their mouths this week about how much they want to beat the Eagles with QB Michael Vick. In other words, at full strength. G-Men be careful what you wish for though, you just may get it…..Look for the Giants to run the ball as much as possible for two reasons: one–to keep the Eagles offense off the field, and two–outside of WR Hakeem Nicks, the Giants don’t have anyone to throw to at the moment.

New York Jets: The Jets are 2-0 and averaging close to 30 points a game, yet WRs Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason aren’t happy about not seeing the ball enough. You just have to love receivers…..Speaking of WRs, one who is not complaining about receptions, but is dealing with a quad injury is Santonio Holmes. He has been limited at practice, but should play versus the Raiders on Sunday…..One who will miss the game is C Nick Mangold, and possibly a couple of other games as he recovers from an ankle injury.

Oakland Raiders: The Raiders receiving corps is getting a little bit healthier this week as Darrius Heyward-Bey and TE Kevin Boss are expected to return from injury this week. Jacoby Ford and Louis Murphy however will not…..The Raiders have been using the Jets’ Mark Sanchez eating a hot dog on the sideline of a lopsided win over the silver and black as motivation for this game. Guess you have to use whatever you believe will work. Truth is–I just don’t see the big deal, not like he ordered a pizza.

Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Vick will play this week after missing part of the second half last Sunday with a concussion. Somehow I don’t think this is the last time we will be talking about Vick missing game action…..The Eagles better tighten up their run defense as that will be the preferred method of attacking their defense, especially when it looks as bad as it does. You know the Giants are going to target that weakness this week…..WR Jason Avant has been pretty busy in the early going this season. If he wants to keep the slot job, he’ll have to
continue to keep busy as Steve Smith is getting healthier each week.

Pittsburgh Steelers: QB Ben Roethlisberger missed a couple of plays last week with a knee injury but did return to the game and has practiced all week. But this could just be the beginning of his injury worries as that offensive line would have trouble protecting a cheeseburger from the Hamburglar…..With that line, I’m worried about running room for Rashard Mendenhall as well.

San Diego Chargers: TE Antonio Gates had zero receptions for the Chargers last week. Now I know the Pats bracketed him, but one has to wonder if that foot injury is starting to rear its ugly head again…..WR Malcolm Floyd is listed as doubtful for this week with a groin injury. It should be noted that in the past four seasons no player listed as doubtful has played that week for the Chargers. It also should be noted that the Chargers may be in no rush to push him since they’re playing the Chiefs this week.

San Francisco 49ers: TE Vernon Davis was virtually invisible last week as the 49ers kept him in to help block. With injuries to both WRs Michael Crabtree and Braylon Edwards, the 49ers are going to need Davis to run pass patterns and catch passes no matter how bad their offensive line is…..The line is also the probable culprit for Frank Gore’s lackluster start to the season…..Crabtree is likely to play this week while Edwards is out for a couple of weeks after having his knee scoped.

Seattle Seahawks: Which is worse, that the Seahawks didn’t trade for QB Kevin Kolb, or that they didn’t resign QB Matt Hasselback? Looks like they are going to regret both decisions…..Good news though, WR Sidney Rice is expected to make his season debut Sunday…..Bad news, OG Robert Gallery will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a groin injury. Seems to be a lot of that going around…..TE Zach Miller is another player who is being dropped en masse in fantasy leagues. Perhaps, the addition of Rice to the passing game will open things up for Miller.

St. Louis Rams: This week RB Steven Jackson is a game-time decision with a quad injury, and backup Cadillac Williams is questionable with a hamstring injury. Of course the Rams are going up against what is sure to be an angry defense in Baltimore. Not a bad week to take off…..WR Danny Amendola is unlikely to play as he still recovers from his elbow injury…..The Rams did complain to the league about the Giants faking injuries Monday night. Look, we all know they did it, but unless someone admits it, it can’t be proven.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Fantasy owners are worried about WR Mike Williams thanks to his miserable stat line last week of one catch for -4 yards. Relax! It was just a bad game, a game in which the Vikings decided to take him out and force someone else to beat them. It happens, time to move on, and Williams did have a TD catch called back…..TE Kellen Winslow practiced Friday but is dealing with a knee injury and may not be at full strength for Sunday.

Tennessee Titans: The Titans are playing pretty well offensively, and RB Chris Johnson hasn’t even gotten started yet…..LB Mason Foster, who many thought could be a replacement for Barrett Rudd, will finally get that chance as he will be a three down player starting Sunday…..Is it me or does QB Josh Freeman seem to play better when he is behind?

Washington Redskins: QB Rex Grossman predicted that the Redskins would win the NFC East during camp. We laughed at the time, but with all the injuries suffered by the Cowboys and Giants, it’s not so funny anymore. Even the Eagles are a bit banged up…..RB Tim Hightower may be listed as the starter, but one can just feel that Roy Helu is gaining on him. Not that Hightower has done anything wrong, but Helu just has that extra burst that could bring a big play at any moment.