Welcome to the new Cafe Sunday Preview project. We had a few submissions this week, but we’re looking to get all the games covered for next week. If you’d like to participate, visit our thread in the Leftovers forum. Thanks to the three guys that contributed this week!
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
by Dan Lambskin
Brett Favre is very familiar with the Lions from his glory days in Green Bay (although there has been quite a bit of turnover since he last faced them) but this will be the Adrian Peterson show. The Lions still aren’t very good at stopping the run (in fact they’re awful) and based on what Mike Bell did to them last week and what AD did to Cleveland you can expect similar numbers on the ground from the Vikings. If it turns out to be the blowout everyone expects, Chester Taylor could make a nice emergency flex play as well. As for Favre and the passing game, expect the yardage to be minimal but look for at least one big play touchdown from the WR corps and Visanthe Shiancoe to get some red zone looks as well. The Lions may look to blitz more, so it’s possible Favre could end up throwing a pick or two early on, but don’t expect the Lions defense to keep the score close.
As for the Lions, the running game really struggled against the Saints and the Vikings rush defense is one of the best in the league, so this looks like a recipe for disaster for Kevin Smith owners (although he should still be a factor in the receiving game). However, this could be good news for Calvin Johnson owners, as he may see even more than the 13 targets from last week — but until Calvin and Stafford refine their chemistry we might see a string of merely good games before the monster ones we’re all expecting. If the Lions are unable to move the ball though the air the Vikings defense could have a field day. Expect a low point total and plenty of turnovers.
New England Patriots at New York Jets
The AFC East rivalry continues as Sanchez and the Jets host Brady and the Pats on a mild Sunday afternoon at Giants Stadium. Both teams are coming off strong performances and look to carry that momentum into what should prove to be a very exciting game.
Brady started off slow in the first half of last week’s game against the Bills. It seemingly took him forever to find his rhythm. Sure enough it was found, primarily in the last minute of the fourth quarter after a methodical drive, followed by a horrid Buffalo turnover, followed by yet another methodical drive to finish the game. He finished 39 of 53 with 378 yards, a pair of touchdowns and an interception. It seems as if Brady just needed to shake off a little rust. The same can be said for his two main receiving targets, Randy Moss and Wes Welker who finished with 12 catches a piece, with Moss hitting the centenary mark and beyond (141 yards) and Welker just coming up short (93 yards). Welker is suffering from an undisclosed injury which did seem to linger in Week 1 as the PPR machine could have had even more receptions if 100% healthy. This injury needs to be monitored as he was limited in practice Wednesday, but all signs still point to him suiting up for this week’s game. The key injury in this match up actually has nothing to do with the offense. The Patriots will be without reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Jerod Mayo, as he was seen on crutches due to a knee injury. Belichick doesn’t appear to be concerned however, confident that he always has somebody ready to replace an injured player at every position. It is also interesting to note that the running game only managed a measly 73 yards, it’s lowest total since 2007. The bulk of the carries were split between Laurence Maroney (10) and Fred Taylor (9). This weeks match-up will prove to be more difficult and it will be interesting to see how these two backs respond. Expect Brady to try and continue to replicate his 2007 rhythm, often looking to his slot man Welker, and deep threat Moss to make plays. Also, keep an eye on Keven Faulk, Brady’s main check down target, and Benjamin Watson (TE), who caught back-to-back touchdowns to win last week’s Monday night game.
Sanchez, the new face of the Jets Sanchize, showed that even as a rookie in his NFL debut, he could manage and lead his team to victory. He was impressive finishing 18 for 31 with 272 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He has plenty of options in Jerricho Cotchery (6 for 95 yards), his possession receiver, emerging tight end Dustin Keller (4 for 90 yards) and Chansi Stuckey (4 for 64 yards and a TD), a third-year receiver who has proven to have the speed to be a constant deep threat. All-purpose back Leon Washington also showed that he hasn’t lost a step, continuing to contribute to all facets of the Jets offense. It is important to note that he saw a whopping 15 carries in last week’s game, a career high. Signs are pointing to Leon Washington becoming more involved in the Jets run game this year. This doesn’t however mean that Thomas Jones is being phased out by any means. He finished last weeks game with 107 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. He remained dormant through much of the first half until breaking off a monstrous 39-yard run in the second, proving he still has a lot of gas left after posting career-high numbers last year. The real story of this game is going to be how the Jets defense responds to a potent Patriot offense. Last week the Jets bottled up Schaub, sacking him twice, intercepting him once and forcing a fumble in which they recovered. The Jets constant pressure never let Schaub get into any type of rhythm. Nothing less should be expected from a defense run by ex-Baltimore defensive coordinator Rex Ryan. He has proven, if nothing else, that he has a niche for setting up hard hitting, Super Bowl-winning defensive systems. The last time Rex faced Brady and the Patriots was with Baltimore in 2007. In this game Brady put up decent numbers (18 for 38 with 257 yards, 2 TDs and an INT) but was pressured throughout the game, getting sacked three times. Although Rex is working with different players, I’m sure he has a gameplan devised, one to throw Brady off his deadly rhythm. Look for Sanchez to be have a harder time against the Patriots but to still be effective. The same can be said for the Jets dynamic running game. All in all, I expect this to be a high-scoring, hard-hitting rivalry game that will be sure to please.
Cincinnati Bengals at Green Bay Packers
Palmer – 250 yards, 1 TD 1 INT
Benson – 70 yards, 1 TD, 30 rec. yards
Ochocinco – 60 yards, 1 TD
Coles – 30 yards
Henry – 45 yards
Def – Bad
S. Graham – 3 FG, 2 XP
A. Rodgers – 290 pass yards, 2 TDs
R Grant – 120 yards, 1 TD
G. Jennings – 100 yards, 1 TD
D Driver 60 yards, 1 TD
J. Jones – 25 yards
Donald Lee – 20 yards
Def – At least one pick and fumble rec
M. Crosby – 6 points
I think it’ll be closer than most people think, but I can’t wait to see 85 do the Lambeau Leap! Too bad the Bungles will find a way to lose yet again, especially on the road. The Pack D is legit after more passes seemed to go to them than to Bears WRs! Yet Capers’ 3-4 is prone to a few mistakes if a good QB can take advantage (see what I did there Cutler). Capers defenses always start solid in Game 1. Let’s see ‘em make it at least two in a row. Prediction GB 24-20.
R.J. White is a fantasy blogger at the sports site FanHouse. Check out his work both here and there, and feel free to talk to him in the forums, where he posts under the name daullaz.
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