No matter whatterrible things you hear about Grossman this week, remember this: The26-year-old has a short memory. He was miserable on the road against theCardinals in Week 6 (zero TDs, four picks), then came back with a flawlessthree-TD game against the 49ers. He floundered against the Dolphins in Week 9(three interceptions), but threw three TDs a week later on the road against theGiants. On paper Grossman was a wreck at New England on Sunday, with threeinterceptions, but he did throw a decent short game. (His deep passes got himinto trouble.) He should bounce back against Minnesota at Soldier Field, wherehe has been picked off only three times all year (see: Miami, above). TheVikings rank 31st against the pass and have been tinkering with their lineup tolittle effect: Cardinals rookie Matt Leinart carved up the unit last week for acareer-best 405 yards.
December 4, 2006
Ravens AT Bengals
With cornerbacks Deltha O'Neal and Keiwan Ratliff nursing injuries, Cincinnatiallowed 828 passing yards to the Chargers and the Saints in Weeks 10 and 11,before holding the sorry Browns to 152 on Sunday. Unless O'Neal (shoulder) andRatliff (ribs) are healthy, a vet like McNair should have a field day.
Redskins VS. Falcons
Campbell has yet to crack the 200-yard mark in two starts, but he'll have aterrific opportunity to do so on Sunday: Atlanta's pass defense has fallen to29th in the league (241.2 yards per game), with its rush hampered by defensiveend John Abraham's groin injury.
Bengals VS. Ravens
The last time he faced Baltimore, in Week 9, Palmer was a dismal 12 of 26 withtwo interceptions. Since then he has nine TDs and has reconnected withplaymaking WR Chad Johnson (who's had five of those scores), while Baltimore LBRay Lewis and S Ed Reed have developed nagging injuries.
Colts AT Titans
It was clear when he scored three first-half touchdowns against the Eagles thatAddai is the new Edgerrin James in Indianapolis. This week he faces a Tennesseedefense that should have charged rent for all the room Giants RB Brandon Jacobshad to work with on his two trips to the end zone on Sunday.
Ravens AT Bengals
In 10 career games against Cincinnati, Lewis has rushed for 100 yards eighttimes and scored at least one touchdown six times--including a Week 9 meeting,in which he scored a TD but was held to 72 yards on 24 carries. Lewis may nothave a triple-digit rushing day, but he's sure to strike pay dirt.
Rams VS. Cardinals
If it seems as if Arizona gives up a touchdown run every week, there's goodreason: Over the last five weeks, opposing backs have scored on the ground sixtimes. On Sunday the Vikings' Chester Taylor had 136 yards and a TD against theArizona D, and Jackson is a bigger, more talented runner.
Vikings AT Bears
Chicago brass gave Robinson the heave-ho after the 2002 season because hisathleticism was offset by a tendency to get injured. (He has missed four gamesthis year.) But when Robinson does suit up, he's dangerous: He has a touchdowngrab in four of the seven games he has played this season.
Saints VS. 49ers
Marques Colston sat out with a bum ankle on Sunday, ceding his spot toHenderson, who had a 100-yard game for the third time in four weeks. (He'stotaled 438 yards in those three games.) Even if Colston is healthy, Hendersonand veteran Joe Horn will still play--and Henderson's got the hottesthands.
Steelers VS. Buccaneers
Ward's season has been full of peaks and valleys--he has averaged 66.7 yards inhis last three games after going for 126.3 per in the prior three. Expect himto start peaking again against Tampa Bay, which has a league-low fiveinterceptions while allowing an NFL-high 21 touchdowns through the air.
Cowboys AT Giants
With Tony Romo under center it seems that Dallas can do whatever it wants inthe passing game, while New York's D has struggled without sackmaster MichaelStrahan. You'd better believe that Bill Parcells has a play or two designed toget his rookie from Notre Dame into the end zone on his first trip home to NewJersey as a pro.
Bengals VS. Ravens
When these teams met in Baltimore on Nov. 5 they combined for 46 points, 14coming off the foot of Baltimore kicker Matt Stover. Since that 26--20 loss,however, the Cincinnati offense has shifted into a higher gear, moving the ballat will. That will translate into many scoring chances for Graham, who ranksfourth in points among kickers.
A few weeks ago this intrastate rivalry was shaping up as a cakewalk forJacksonville. But the Jags have since sputtered, while the Jason Taylor--leddefense has sparked a four-game Miami winning streak. During that stretch theDolphins' D has scored three touchdowns while surrendering just five.
DAVID SABINO THEPERFECT TEAM: WEEK 13
QB TOM BRADY vs.Lions
The most lopsided of many QB mismatches
RB LADAINIANTOMLINSON at Bills
3 TDs last week constitutes a slump
RB LARRY JOHNSONat Browns
Cleveland tends to allow big yardage
WR REGGIE WAYNE atTitans
He'll devour CB Pacman Jones
WR CHAD JOHNSONvs. Ravens
It's the new, improved Ocho Cinco
TE BEN WATSON vs.Lions
He's now among the elite at his position
K JEFF WILKINS vs.Cardinals
Like Pujols, he'll pad his stats vs. Arizona
D CHIEFS atBrowns
Cleveland's problems? Can't run, can't pass
IS HE FORREAL?
A former walk-onat Utah, where he played wide receiver, the 6'5", 220-pound Madsen was theonly undrafted rookie free agent to make the Oakland roster this past summer.On Sunday against the Chargers, he showed why he stuck: three catches(including a 57-yarder) for 69 yards and a touchdown. The 2--9 Raiders havelittle more than pride to play for, a situation well-suited to a scrappyoverachiever like Madsen, whose athleticism (4.6 speed in the 40 and a 371/2-inch vertical leap) should not be overlooked.