KURT WARNERCardinals AT Falcons Warner continues to be plagued by turnovers; in threeweeks he's fumbled eight times (losing two) while being picked off four times.Now he gets to face a Falcons D that is filled with ball hawks, features atough pass rush and has clamp-down corners who'll make things sticky for widereceivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.
MATT HASSELBECKSeahawks AT Bears How in the world can we suggest sitting Hasselbeck followinghis utter dismantling (five scoring passes) of the Giants? Well, the only thingthe Giants' and the Bears' defenses have in common is that they collect NFLpaychecks; Chicago has held two of its three opponents to no offensivetouchdowns.
PHILIP RIVERSChargers AT Ravens Charlie Frye led Cleveland to the first two touchdownsscored against Baltimore's D this season by moving the pocket and scrambling,tactics that don't suit the less mobile Rivers. The Ravens are all butimpossible to score against at home, having allowed a total of two touchdownsin their last four games at M&T Bank Stadium.
October 1, 2006
STEVE MCNAIRRavens VS. Chargers McNair started the season strong but was rattled by theBrowns last week, leading Baltimore to just three points in the first threequarters. So how will he react to being chased around by Shawne Merriman andthe rest of the Chargers' nasty front seven, rested coming off their byeweek?
QB BEARS VS.Seahawks
Against ablitz-happy Vikings defense in Week 3, Grossman lived up to the Brett Favrecomparisons. Unfortunately, he played not like the future Hall of Famer versionbut like the Favre of 2005, lobbing ill-advised passes off of his back foot androlling the dice from the Bears' end zone. The result: two picks (one returnedfor a touchdown), which negated his 278 passing yards. In Seattle, Grossmanfaces another formidable pass defense, one that intercepted the Giants' EliManning thrice and didn't allow him to go over 100 yards until the last play ofthe third quarter. Further, Grossman most likely will be without one of hisfavorite targets, tight end Desmond Clark, who strained his foot againstMinnesota. (Grossman didn't complete a pass to a tight end for the rest of thegame.) There's no need to ditch Grossman; after all, the Bears do play Detroitand Green Bay again. But bench him this week.
DEANGELO WILLIAMSPanthers VS. Saints Many observers expected Williams to have wrested thestarting job from DeShaun Foster by now; indeed, in Week 2 Williams logged thebulk of the team's yardage. But coach John Fox's logic has been Shanahanesque,and Williams had only four touches a week later. Let this one play itself outbefore committing.
EDGERRIN JAMESCardinals AT Falcons James owners may feel a little cheated: The ex-Colt hasyet to rip off a run of more than 14 yards, and he's nearly 100 yards (93, tobe exact) behind his three-game total of a year ago. The Falcons are secondagainst the run and have held Cadillac Williams and DeShaun Foster to fewerthan 55 yards each.
CHESTER TAYLORVikings AT Bills Taylor played himself into the doghouse late on Sunday againstChicago. His costly fumble--and Mewelde Moore's running--landed Taylor on thebench when the game was on the line. Moore, a coach's dream, has been aperpetual thorn in the side of anyone owning a Minnesota back. Proceed withcaution.
AHMAN GREENPackers AT Eagles Green stands the best chance of matching his Week 3 numbers(63 yards rushing; 68 yards and a score receiving) if he's part of thesecond-half game plan. But with Philly striking early and often, Green Baymight have to try to catch up through the air--a better way to go anywayagainst a vulnerable Eagles secondary.
CHRIS COOLEYRedskins VS. Jaguars A touchdown machine last season, Cooley's been shut outthus far this year, and his receptions are down too--from nine catches and 115yards through three games in 2005 to seven for 38 yards in '06. Despite givingup a touchdown to TE Dallas Clark of the Colts last week, Donovin Darius &Co. should keep Cooley in the deep freeze.
JOHN GILMOREBears VS. Seahawks Gilmore was a popular pickup last week after scoring on hisonly two catches against the Lions. (That gave him three touchdowns on threecatches dating back to last season.) However, he didn't have a single catchagainst the Vikings in Week 3, and as a second-stringer he's too much of a riskto be a fantasy starter.
RANDY MOSSRaiders VS. Browns Having Andrew Walter at quarterback should only make thingsworse for Moss in Oakland's already horrendous passing game (an embarrassing82.5 yards per). With Jerry Porter in the doghouse and Alvis Whitted, RonaldCurry and Johnnie Morant as the other receiver options, look for Moss to bedouble- and triple-teamed for 60 minutes.
NATE BURLESONSeahawks AT Bears He may have had a touchdown catch in the pummeling of theGiants, but the Bears know how to defend against the former Viking, who hasonly one scoring grab in five games against Chicago. Look for possession-typereceivers Deion Branch and Bobby Engram to get more looks than Burleson orDarrell Jackson.
CHRIS CHAMBERSDolphins AT Texans An elite receiver going up against the league's most porousdefense (Houston has allowed an NFL-high 483.7 yards per game, including 320.7through the air) seems like a no-brainer. But look beyond the numbers in thisapparent mismatch--Chambers's propensity for dropping passes and DaunteCulpepper's woes thus far make Chambers one to avoid.
TROY WILLIAMSONVikings AT Bills The leading receiver for Minnesota in its first two games,Williamson is being hampered by a sore shoulder, which possibly contributed tohis being held to just four catches against the Bears. Keep an eye on theinjury, especially against a much-improved and underrated Buffalosecondary.
JOSH BROWNSeahawks AT Bears Seattle's three-time 100-point scorer has some kinks in hiskicking that he needs to work out: Through three games he's had as many fieldgoals blocked (three) as he's made. But that's not his biggest problem;Chicago's defense (ranked fourth overall) is of greater concern. The Bears haveallowed an opponent to advance inside their 35-yard line only five times.
EAGLES VS.Packers Though this may seem like an enticing matchup, Philadelphia ownersought to keep the Eagles' D in reserve while some regulars get healthy. GreenBay's line is susceptible to protection problems, but if QB Brett Favre staysupright, he'll work over a Philly secondary that's down one starter and severalkey reserves.
WEEK 4 INJURY WATCH
SHAUN ALEXANDER RB Seahawks (out, foot)
VERNON DAVIS TE 49ers (out, broken leg)
MATT JONES WR Jaguars (groin)
TERRELL OWENS WR Cowboys (broken ring finger)
DONTE' STALLWORTH WR Eagles (hamstring)
For the latest injury news, go toSI.com/football/nfl/injuries.
BYE WEEK Broncos, Buccaneers, Giants, Steelers