December 11, 2006
Mr. Moss has toshow up at some point this season, and it's a good bet that he'll grace us witha cameo against the banged-up Bengals secondary, which is ranked dead lastagainst the pass and has allowed 16 TDs through the air this year. The Raidersdon't throw the ball a lot, so don't count on too many receptions. Rather, lookfor some catch-and-run plays of the type Moss exhibited against Cincinnati in'98 (his rookie year), when he hauled in four balls for 99 yards and atouchdown. This year's Bengals have the look of a playoff team, and they'relikely to put Oakland away early. That could lead Raiders coach Art Shell toopen up the offense as a means of playing catch-up and seeing whom he wants tokeep around for the future. In that vein Moss may also have an eye on '07. Evenif he wants out of Oakland, he'll have to find someone else to pay him and willneed to show his stuff down the stretch.
Seahawks AT Cardinals
Even with wins in two of its last three games, Arizona continues to give uppassing yards by the acre (234.8 per game). Hasselbeck gets a well-deservedgimme after missing four games with a knee injury, then playing in frigidconditions in Seattle in Week 12 and in Denver on Sunday.
Chargers VS. Broncos
When these teams last met, Denver was confident that it could contain LaDainianTomlinson. Four TDs later the Broncos realized no one can. That won't keepDenver from trying this week by stacking the box, which will open up passinglanes for Rivers (222 yards, two TDs, two picks in their first matchup).
Titans AT Texans
Houston entertained the notion of making this native son the first overall pickin April's draft. Now the Texans will get to see what they missed out on. Younghas led Tennessee to five wins in seven games with his arm (five TD passes overthree games) and legs (147 rush yards and a TD in his last two).
Redskins VS. Eagles
Betts has shown some nifty footwork and has been a serviceable fantasyreplacement ever since he stepped in for Clinton Portis four weeks ago--againstthe Eagles (28th against the run). Betts may not have Portis's goal lineinstincts, but he averages 3.3 receptions per game (Portis averages 2.1).
Bills AT Jets
Here's what Willis was talkin' 'bout: In four career starts against New York,McGahee has averaged a splendid 4.72 yards per carry and has never been heldunder 113 yards. (He had 150 against the Jets in Week 3.) What's more, the Jetsrecently have allowed monster games to Thomas Jones and Ahman Green.
Jaguars VS. Colts
Indy has allowed the most rushing yards (159.9 yards per game) and thesecond-most TDs (13) in the league. Taylor's a supersafe bet, considering hisrecord against the Colts: In 10 career games he has logged only one subparperformance (19 yards in a loss last year) and has topped 70 yards in the otherseven.
Cowboys VS. Saints
What a difference a few games make. In Week 9 it looked as if Glenn's seasonwas in jeopardy after he suffered a knee injury. Now he is one of Tony Romo'sfavorite targets, hauling in 14 passes, including two TDs, over the last threeweeks. New Orleans's foes have passed for 11 TDs in the last six games.
49ers VS. Packers
Bryant went the entire month of November without a TD catch but broke thedrought last week against the Saints. This week he'll be Alex Smith's bestfriend as he provides the Niners QB with a deep threat against a Green Bay teamthat's been lit up for nine TD receptions in its last three games.
Bengals VS. Raiders
While Chad Johnson was challenging receiving records last month, Housh wasrelatively quiet nursing a sore hamstring. Now he has come up big in twostraight games, including a 10-catch day against the Ravens. Carson Palmer willhook up with both wideouts for TDs in this game.
Redskins VS. Eagles
As in 2005, Cooley is looking solid down the stretch. After going scoreless inhis first five games, he has five TDs in his last seven and has developed anice rapport with second-year QB Jason Campbell, who tossed two of thosescores. There's bad news down the road, though. As Campbell gains confidence,he'll throw more to his fleet of underused wideouts.
Saints AT Cowboys
Carney has worked plenty on his short game recently, booting 28 extra pointsand only one field goal longer than 39 yards in the last 10 games. But Dallas'sdefense, which has allowed a mere 11 passing TDs all year, should be stoutenough to slow down Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense, often forcing fieldgoal tries. Carney will clean up.
Rex Grossman has suddenly become Rex the Wonder Dog of Interceptions, which isgood news for a team that has but a dozen this year. Even soft pass defenseslike the Rams' have proved troublesome for the beleaguered QB: He's tossed 10interceptions to the Vikings, Patriots and Cardinals combined.
IS HE FORREAL?
Remember who theCardinals' leading rusher was before Edgerrin James was signed last off-season?It was Shipp, who in last week's win at St. Louis thrived in his new role asJames's replacement in goal line situations. Shipp scored three times on sevencarries, a feat that becomes infinitely more impressive once you realize thatJames also has three rushing TDs this season--in 252 tries. Arizona's offensehas moved the ball effectively (averaging 355.3 yards over the last threegames), creating scoring chances that belong to Shipp. He has found hisniche.
THE PERFECT TEAM: WEEK 14
CARSON PALMER vs. Raiders
No one is throwing the ball better
LADAINIAN TOMLINSON vs. Broncos
Will shatter alltime TD record
SHAUN ALEXANDER at Cardinals
TD record holder vs. run D for the birds
CHAD JOHNSON vs. Raiders
Oakland has no answer for Ocho Cinco
ANDRE JOHNSON vs. Titans
Will rebound after a one-catch day
ALGE CRUMPLER at Buccaneers
Tampa Bay has a hard time with TEs
ROB BIRONAS at Texans
Pulls the trigger plenty in a shootout at Houston
BENGALS vs. Raiders
Cincinnati ball hawks will lay in wait for Brooks