Wondering whether to start Aaron Rodgers and Adrian Peterson, or bench Matt Moore and Jerome Harrison? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for real help with your starting lineup conundrums, read on.
Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 9 of the 2010 season.
Watch ‘em roll
Michael Vick, QB, Eagles vs. Colts. You’ve held onto Vick throughout his extended rehab for a reason. Now get him back in your starting lineup against an Indy defense that is vulnerable to mobile quarterbacks. All signs point to DeSean Jackson (concussion) re-joining him in the huddle as well, so we could be in for an old-fashioned shootout in the Indy-Philly contest.
Brandon Jackson, RB, Packers vs. Cowboys. Over the last several games, Jackson has distanced himself from John Kuhn as the primary ball-carrier in Green Bay’s offense, while Dallas’ defense has imploded. Jackson offers a nice change-of-pace for the Packers’ high-octane passing attack, and he should reach the end zone at least once.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Patriots at Browns. He has scored six TDs over the past five games, including two last week against the vaunted Vikings run defense. Though Cleveland has allowed only a single rushing score all season, Green-Ellis could double that, especially if New England’s passing attack continues to struggle.
Mike Williams, WR, Buccaneers at Falcons. Atlanta has surrendered three passing scores apiece in their last two games. That’s great news for Josh Freeman and his favorite target, who just notched the first 100-yard game of his rookie season.
Davone Bess, WR, Dolphins at Ravens. Bess has produced consistently, if unspectacularly, over the past five games (33 receptions for 335 yards and 3 TDs during that span). Miami’s running game is struggling, so look for its No. 2 wideout to be a major part of the game plan against a Ravens secondary that coughed up four passing scores to the Bills prior to the bye.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler; RBs LaDainian Tomlinson, LeSean McCoy, Fred Jackson, Matt Forte, Darren McFadden, Jamaal Charles, Thomas Jones, Peyton Hillis; WRs Greg Jennings, Patrick Crayton, Johnny Knox, Wes Welker, Steve Smith (NYG), Mike Wallace, Pierre Garcon, Steve Johnson.
Roll ‘em back
Matt Schaub, QB, Texans vs. Chargers. He has thrown for one or fewer TDs, and 201 or fewer yards, in four of seven games to date. Now Schaub faces the league’s top-ranked pass defense, which has also amassed 25 sacks (2nd most in the NFL).
Jahvid Best, RB, Lions vs. Jets. Kevin Smith and Best split carries evenly last week, despite assurances from the rookie that his turf toe had fully healed. Now Smith is dealing with soreness in the same knee that knocked him out of action last season, so Best should again get the lion’s share (get it?) of the carries this week. Still, in a shared backfield against one of the league’s stingiest run defenses, Best could be in for another rough outing.
Seahawks RBs vs. Giants. Both Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett were awful in Oakland last week, and neither is likely to penetrate a Giants run defense that has been playing lights-out recently. Don’t be surprised if Seattle is shut out completely in this contest.
Steve Smith, WR, Panthers vs. Saints. He shouldered the blame for Carolina’s loss to the Rams in Week 8, but it won’t be his fault this time around. New Orleans’ pass rush will smother Matt Moore, while its ball-hawking secondary blankets his best receiver all afternoon.
Braylon Edwards, WR, Jets at Lions. Detroit’s pass defense is a lot better than you think, while New York is coming off an embarrassing shutout by Green Bay. Edwards caught just one pass last week, and he should continue his struggles Sunday as the Jets focus on pounding the Lions with their running game.
More thumbs down: QBs Carson Palmer, Brett Favre, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Stafford, Jon Kitna, Mark Sanchez, Jason Campbell; RBs Ronnie Brown, Cedric Benson, Beanie Wells, Jonathan Stewart, Felix Jones, Marion Barber, Chris Ivory; WRs Roy Williams, Mike Williams (SEA), Jerricho Cotchery, Jacoby Jones, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Lee Evans, Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Taking a flier
James Jones, WR, Packers vs. Cowboys. With Donald Driver declared out due to his injured quad, Jones will start opposite Greg Jennings against a Dallas secondary that has surrendered 15 passing TDs to date (third most in the NFL) and was just torched by David Garrard for four TD passes. Heck, Jordy Nelson is a decent bet to excel Sunday night, too.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHObenches Philip Rivers just because his receivers are dropping like flies. Even if Antonio Gates (plantar fasciitis) joins Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee and Vincent Jackson on the sidelines, the NFL’s leading passer will find someone (Patrick Crayton, Darren Sproles, even Seji Ajirotutu) with whom to torch the Texans’ atrocious pass defense.