SF @ ATL - ATL - Atlanta started to look like they may have begun to climb out of the deep hole they found themselves in this season with a week 4 win over Houston. However, after three straight losses, the Falcons have since fallen back into the abyss. Both teams are ranked in the low 20's (22nd and 23rd) in yards allowed per game, with the 'niners holding the one-spot edge. Some would say that San Fransisco has been a disappointment this year with their 2-5 record. The Falcons are 1-6. Both teams were handed a loss by the Saints in their last game with Atlanta having the bye last week. However, the Falcons made much more of a game out of it than San Fransisco, who got themselves blown-out by a score of 33-10 last week. 'Niners QB Alex Smith has thrown just one interception in 127 pass attempts this season while Falcons' receiver Roddy White has 29 catches for 501 yards (17.3 avg.) in the past six games, including two 100-yard games. The 'niners are ranked dead last in the leage in passing yardage per game with the Falcons holding a decided edge at the 20th spot. Both teams are ranked past 25th in rushing ypg. If Smith continues to avoid making mistakes with the football, this game should be close but the Falcons should still get the dub.
CIN @ BUF - CIN - The Bengals put up 38 points on the Jets while the Bills only put up 13. On the other hand, the Bills held the Jets to only 3 points while the Bengals allowed 30. Buffalo has won their last two games to improve to 3 wins on the season but they haven't won three in a row since December of 2004. The Bengals have obviously struggled this year but their offense should be able to rack-up some yards (and some points) against a Bills' defense that is ranked 30th in the league for yards allowed per game. The Bengals are 5th in the league for yardage gained per game while the Bills are ranked 31st in the same category. When it comes down to it, the score is what ultimately decides the game and I don't think Buffalo will be able to match points with the Bengals.
DEN @ DET - DET - The last-ranked running game of the Packers sprung Ryan Grant for 104 yards last week against a Broncos' defense ranked last against the run. Denver's pass defense is the polar opposite of their run defense but they allowed Favre a QB rating of 142.4 and 331 yards last Monday. While not quite as good statistically as the Packers, the Lions have had a potent passing game this year with Kitna under center. If the Detroit can get Kevin Jones going in the run game and just take what they are given in the passing game, they should be able to beat the Broncos at home.
GB @ KC - KC - Both of these defenses have played very well this year. Even with the likes of Favre and LJ, this game should not be an offensive shoot-out. The Chiefs are the one team that Brett Favre has played but never beaten. KC has won the last 5 consecutive meetings between these two teams. The Chiefs also still hold the best home-winning record in the NFL since 1990. Since 1995, the Chiefs are 21-4 at home against NFC opponents (also the best mark of any team in the NFL for that time period).
In his three career contests against the Chiefs, Favre has been held to a passer rating of 77.0. This year, the Chiefs' defense has held opposing passers to a combined rating of 74.2 Favre has also thrown 5 picks, fumbled 4 times, and been sacked a total of 11 times against the Chiefs.
The Chiefs are 45-4 (.918) at Arrowhead with a positive takeaway margin dating back to ‘95. KC has won 18 consecutive games when positive at home dating back to 2002, the third-longest active streak in the league. KC is 8-2 under head coach Herm Edwards with a positive turnover differential. GB has won 10 straight games when positive under Mike McCarthy. The Packers have also won six consecutive road contests with a positive turnover mark. Favre has thrown 2 interceptions in 2 of his last 3 games while CB Charles Woodson has five INTs and 110 INT return yards versus KC, both a career-best against any opponent. Larry Johnson is aiming for his third straight 100-yard game and is averaging 115.5 yards per game in the past two.
Kansas City is the only NFL team that has held its foes to 20 points or less in every contest this season. Kansas City is 55-9 (.859) at Arrowhead dating back to ‘95 when holding foes to 21 points or less, including victories in 24 of the club’s last 26 games in those circumstances. The Chiefs also own an 8-1 record under Herm Edwards when scoring 21 points or more. Green Bay is 5-22 (.185) on the road when scoring 21 points or less, including losses in nine of its last 10 such contests. The Packers had lost nine straight road games when scoring 21 points or less prior to their 19-13 OT win at Denver. Green Bay was held to exactly 20 points in its only loss this season, a 27-20 setback against Chicago. Since the year 2000, teams coming off a MNF road game are 8-8 when they play on the road the following week while the Chiefs are 12-6 (.667) all-time following a bye week.
SD @ MIN - MIN - Both teams boast a rushing defense ranked in the top 10 (MIN - 3rd, SD - 7th). The Vikings (2nd) hold a 10-spot advantage in rushing offense over the Chargers (12th). Both teams are among the 10 worst passing offenses in the league with the Chargers (22nd) holding the advantage over the Vikings (30th). Both teams are also anemic on passing defense with SD (27th) edging-out last-ranked MIN, holding opponents to roughly 47 less passing ypg than the Vikings. With a nice match-up between the established Tomlinson and the rising Peterson, this game comes down to who gets the edge in the running game and who will be worse at defending the pass.
JAC @ NO - NO - The Saints look like they have gotten back to form after rolling over the 'niners last week by a score of 33-10. Both teams are floating around the middle of the pack of the rankings of both sides of the ball. I will give this one to the Saints because they have homefield advantage and they have gotten back to some semblance of the team that made the NFC champoinship game last year. Especailly Drew Brees, who threw for over 300 yards last week-- something he did with regularity last season. The Saints have averaged 27.0 points in their past three (games -- all wins -- as opposed to 12.8 ppg in their first four -- all losses. Under head coach Sean Payton, New Orleans is 12-3 when scoring at least 20 points. The Saints have not allowed a sack in their last four games.
WAS @ NYJ - WAS - The Jets really look like they can't beat anybody right now. If Washington dwells on the 52-7 beating delivered to them by the Patriots last week, the Jets may have a chance. However, if the 'skins come out looking to salve their wounded pride, the Jets may be on the receiving end of a similar beat-down. This will be the first meeting of these teams since they traded Moss and Coles for each other in 2005. Washington has played well on defense this year but they have also fumbled three or more times in four of their last five games and have put the ball on the ground 18 times this season, second-most in the league behind Oakland (21). If the Redskins can avoid shooting themselves in the foot, they should be able to handle the stagnant Jets.
ARI @ TB - TB - The Bucs barely lost to Jacksonville last week by only one point. Kurt Warner averages over 300 passing ypg against the Bucs while Garcia is 4-1 as starter against Arizona with 104.4 passer rating. In two of those games, he tied career highs with four TDs. The Bucs (8th) hold a slight, 2-spot edge over the Cards (10th) in total yards allowed per game while the Cards (11th) hold a more decisive edge, offensively (TB is ranked 17th in total ypg). The Cardinals have the best red-zone scoring percentage in the league through last week so the Bucs would be well-served to cut off Arizona's drives short. On average, the Bucs give up nearly one less TD per game than the Cardinals.
CAR @ TEN - TEN - WR Steve Smith had 10 catches for 151 yards and a 67-yard TD in his only career meeting against Tennessee but his offensive production has fallen off significantly along with the rest of the Panthers' offensive unit over the last few weeks. The Titans have won 10 of their past 13 dating to last season. Titans' RB LenDale White posted a career-high 133 rushing yards (5.3 avg.) on 25 carries last week and is going for his third straight 100-yard game and their kicker, Rob Bironas has made all 11 of his field goal attempts in the past three games-- including an NFL-record 8 field goals in one game against Houston.
SEA @ CLE - SEA - The Browns are going for their third-straight win-- something they haven't accomplished since 2001. In their four wins this season, the Browns are averaging 36.5 points per game; in their three losses, they're averaging 16.0. Matt Hasselbeck is 2-0 against the Browns and the Seattle defense is allowing only 15.4 ppg. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns are giving up 29 ppg.