Averaging 97.5 yards per game this season, the Colts' rushing attack hasn't been anything to write home about, and Ballard's 2.0 yards per carry average ranks among the NFL's lowest. But it's a league of opportunity, and with starter Donald Brown likely shelved until November with torn knee cartilage, Ballard will get a crack at running through a Jets defense that's allowed a staggering 172.4 rushing yards per game, including at least one running touchdown in each game thus far.
2 of 13Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The Cardinals were supposed to be well stocked at running back this season, but injuries have landed both Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams on injured reserve and default starter LaRod Stephens-Howling is dealing with a hip injury. This has created a golden opportunity for Powell, who's a favorite among his teammates. The veteran of just 23 carries at Kansas State and eight touches from scrimmage in the NFL gets a crack at home against a Buffalo squad that has allowed an average of 48.3 points and more than five touchdowns per game in its three losses this season.
3 of 13Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
The journeyman returns to one of his old stomping grounds, Philadelphia, where he once led the Eagles in preseason rushing yards. Now the 2009 Harlon Hill Trophy winner (awarded to the Division II player of the year), who rushed for 2,084 yards and 29 touchdowns as a senior at Wayne State, gets to show the team that cut him twice that it made a grave mistake. While he hasn't been gaining much ground on handoffs as a backup to first Kevin Smith and then Mikel Leshoure, he's Detroit's leading receiver out of the backfield, including a career-high 72 yards on six catches in Week 4 against a tough Vikings defense.
4 of 13Rich Kane/Icon SMI
One of the NFL's few players with position flexibility, Houston's H-back is getting more involved in the offense, catching nine of the 10 targets thrown his way the past two weeks. Casey is a classic grinder and should have a large role against a Packers defense that has already allowed touchdowns this season to lesser-known tight ends Dwayne Allen and Kellen Davis.
5 of 13John Iacono/SI
The Giants' Super Bowl hero hasn't exactly burned up the stats sheet since signing as a free agent, averaging just 37.2 yards per contest with San Francisco. But this week is personal, and there's nothing Manningham would like more than showing the Giants they should have ponied up more to retain his services. Quarterback Alex Smith is on a roll, and New York's banged-up secondary has to account for Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, opening up plenty of revenge chances for Manningham.
6 of 13Bryan C Singer/Icon SMI
Other than Percy Harvin, few Vikings have been a part of the passing attack under Christian Ponder, but that may change this week against the Redskins, who have given up eight touchdowns to wideouts (and 13 total) this year. Don't be surprised to see the sure-handed former-Bear Aromashodu get more looks than usual, especially now that his role has expanded while filling in for the injured Jerome Simpson.
7 of 13Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
They say throw out the records when the two Ohio teams square off, and that's a great idea for Weeden, who is 0-5 as a starter. However, last week he found Josh Gordon and Jordan Norwood for a combined 11 catches, 163 yards and two touchdowns against the Giants. That would seem to open up two more options than he had when the Bengals and Browns met in Week 2, when Weeden threw for 322 yards and two scores in what was easily his best game as a pro.
8 of 13David Bergman/SI
Kansas City neutralized Joe Flacco at Arrowhead last weekend, but Freeman is a solid sleeper against the Chiefs with an extra week to prepare, home-field advantage and big receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, each of whom is coming off a 100-yard receiving game. Also look for Freeman to get the ball to Doug Martin in space more to try to take advantage of the strong receiving skills Martin showed at Boise State but have been largely absent so far from his pro repertoire.
9 of 13Peter Aiken/Getty Images
Matt Cassel was concussed in last weekend's touchdown-less torture-fest against the Ravens. That has opened the door for the former Notre Dame, Browns and Broncos signal-caller, who with a good showing this week could potentially stake claim to the stating job in Kansas City. The Buccaneers are exactly the team to audition against, as they are allowing a league-high 354.8 passing yards per game as well as the sixth-highest passer completion rate (66.5 percent).
10 of 13Damian Strohmeyer/SI
The good news for the Browns defense is the return of Joe Haden, who is back from suspension. The bad news is that Cleveland doesn't have enough defensive backs to cover all of the options Andy Dalton has at his disposal, including Gresham, who has at least five grabs in each of his last three games.
11 of 13Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
The former Texan has been at the receiving end of a Peyton Manning touchdown in three consecutive games. The Chargers have only allowed one score all season to a tight end (Tony Gonzalez), but they haven't had to face one with a nose for the end zone like Dreessen, who enters this game having scored on 25 percent of his catches (9-of-36) in the last calendar year.
12 of 13Al Bello/Getty Images
The inability to keep opposing teams off the scoreboard has plagued Detroit this season. In fact, kickers have lined up for a league-high 3.25 field goal attempts per contest against Detroit, which is good news for the Eagles' second-year man, who has made eight of nine attempts this season. Those who need a fill in for Robbie Gould or Garrett Hartley should grab Henery if he's available.
13 of 13Rich Schultz/Getty Images
Detroit had a week off to try to fix a special teams problem that has allowed kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns in each of the past two games. That, coupled with the struggles of Matthew Stafford (three touchdowns, four interceptions, nine sacks) and a running game that should struggle against a team that allows fewer than 100 yards per game, make the Eagles the pick of the week.
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