Snap, crackle and pop

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• Baltimore RB Willis McGahee suffered a rib injury during Monday's night's game against Pittsburgh. He carried the ball only once after half-time against the Steelers. Le'Ron McClain got most of the second-half carries while Ray Rice was a spectator. McClain figures to get most of the carries this week against Tennessee and is an excellent bye-week replacement.

• Pittsburgh RB Rashard Mendenhall was a popular sleeper pick in preseason drafts. Although if you're really popular, does you still qualify as a sleeper? In any event, all the Mendenhall owners can cut him now. A Ray Lewis tackle fractured his left shoulder and the highly-touted rookie is headed for the Injured Reserve. That leaves Pittsburgh in a bind at RB since Willie Parker will miss another game with a knee sprain. Mewelde Moore will get the ball against Jacksonville and is a viable bye-week replacement. Look for Parker to return week 7.

• Eagles RB Brian Westbrook is well enough to practice, though in a "limited" fashion. The ankle that caused him to miss last week's game is still sore. Keep Correll Buckhalter in reserve since Westbrook may be a game-time decision once again.

• Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy expects Aaron Rodgers to be well enough to start at quarterback against the Falcons on Sunday. Rodgers hurt his shoulder against the Bucs last Sunday. The Packers feared that the injury was a shoulder separation, but it has turned out to be only a sprain. Backup QB Matt Flynn will get some practice reps this week just in case Rodgers regresses.

• Cincinnati QB Carson Palmer's elbow is improving, but he still might need another week to recuperate. He missed last Sunday's game and Ryan Fitzpatrick took the start in his place. Expect Fitzpatrick to start against Dallas this Sunday.

• Arizona WR Anquan Boldin got lucky. He survived a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit from the Jets' Eric Smith. His lip is cut and his jaw is swollen, but no back or spine issues. Boldin will lobby the Cardinals' medical staff to clear him to play.

• Seattle could get two of their injured wide receivers back on Sunday. Bobby Engram and Deion Branch are practicing and could play against the Giants. Of the two, Engram seems the safer bet to return.

• Chicago WR Brandon Lloyd hurt his knee against the Eagles on Sunday and never returned. His status for this Sunday is very much in doubt.

• Rams' TE Randy McMichael has a fractured tibia. Coach Jim Haslett will likely place him on Injured Reserve and end his season.

• The Miami Herald is reporting that RB Ricky Williams had an "urge" to smoke pot during the Dolphins' bye week. But he didn't. Williams' last game was productive, gaining 98 yards against the Patriots, though he was outplayed by Ronnie Brown who had 113 yards. If Williams makes it through the remainder of the season without getting suspended, I will be surprised. Trade him before that happens. Brown is by far the safer choice against the Chargers this week.

• Saints RB Deuce McAllister is back from the dead. He had only two carries coming into last week's game. Against the 49ers McAllister rushed 20 times for 73 yards and a TD. His comeback is bad news for Pierre Thomas. McAllister is worth picking up for weeks 6 and beyond, but he's not a good play this Sunday. McAllister faces the tough Vikings run defense. Minnesota surrenders less than 72 yards per game on the ground.

• No Plaxico Burress this week. The Giants suspended their star wide receiver for their bye week and for this week's game against Seattle. Burress has been fined many times in the past and the latest incident involved going AWOL from a practice. It will be interesting to see if the situation festers and affects his performance going forward.

• In his last two games, Seahawks' RB Julius Jones had a 140-yard rushing game and a 127-yard effort. Those are his best and second-best rushing totals since 2005. The return of Engram and Branch will help Matt Hasselbeck immensely, but Jones' production may go down. Seattle will not be running as much, plus he faces the Giants' third-ranked run defense. You can forget about RB T.J. Duckett.

• Bench all your Browns, Raiders, Rams and Jets while they rest up on their bye.

• Denver's defense is terrible -- they've given up nearly 30 points a game. Give everyone on the Tampa Bay offense an upgrade this week, especially QB Brian Griese, RB Earnest Graham and even change-of-pace back Warrick Dunn.

• The Bears have thrown the ball a lot the past three weeks. That is very un-Bearlike and all the more surprising now that they have a quality running back in Matt Forte. Against the awful Lions defense, both Forte and QB Kyle Orton should do well. Figure another 30 attempt/200-yard/2 TD type of game for Orton. The Lloyd injury means Devin Hester should get more looks from Orton. Hester improved his production at wide receiver with three receptions and a TD last week against Philadelphia.

• Vikings' WR Bernard Berrian has improved quite a bit since Gus Frerotte took over the starting quarterback job. He is a good sleeper against the crummy Saints defense on Monday night.

• You can expect a little boost for Giants WR Armani Toomer this week. The Burress suspension makes Toomer Eli Manning's no. 1 target against Seattle.

•Numerous injuries have thinned New Orleans' wide receiver corps. Drew Brees' best options these days are Lance Moore and Robert Meachem. Both are good plays against Minnesota's pass defense.

• Kellen Winslow owners: Looking for a tight end this week? How about Miami's Anthony Fasano against an under-performing San Diego defense?