Week 10 Rushing Matchups

by Mark Wimer and Joe Bryant, Exclusive to Footballguys.com

[ARI] [ATL] [BAL] [BUF] [CAR] [CHI] [CLE] [DEN] [DET] [GB] [HOU] [IND] [JAX] [KC] [MIA] [MIN] [NE] [NO] [NYG] [NYJ] [OAK] [PHI] [PIT] [SD] [SEA] [SF] [STL] [TEN]


PLEASE NOTE: This does NOT replace the Cheatsheet ranking. The Cheatsheet rankings are the final say on where we see a player for that week. The Matchup Breakdowns are simply one more tool in the box when it comes to helping choose your lineup.

Also note, just because a player has a "bad" matchup, it does NOT mean he's not a starter in your league. If Peyton Manning is playing the toughest pass defense in the league, that just means he's got a tough matchup that week. He's also your starter unless you're loaded at QB. In the same way, if the worst QB on your roster has a "great" matchup that week, it doesn't necessarily mean he's your starter. It means we think he'll fare better than normal that week.

Bottom line is that the cheatsheets are the final say.


Carolina Panthers Rushing Offense at Oakland Raiders Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Carolina comes off a bye week, fresh and rested, just in time to face a sagging Raiders' defense that was just blasted for 57/252/1 by Atlanta (in McAfee Coliseum) last week. Uh oh, Raiders' fans.

The Panthers plucked Arizona for a victory before the bye week, posting 29/113/1 rushing as a team - DeAngelo Williams led the team with 17/108/1 rushing and added 2/15/0 receiving, while Jonathan Stewart was quiet with 8/10/0 rushing and 1/0/0 receiving. To date, the Panthers are tied for 24th in the NFL averaging 3.7 yards per carry, but Williams was at 6.4 per tote 2 weeks ago. The Panthers are going strong entering the 2nd half of the year.

The Raiders were horrid last week, as noted above. The defense was on the field for 45:15 of the 60 minutes played (their offense stunk, too, in other words). To date, the Raiders are 30th in the NFL averaging 157.6 rushing yards allowed per game (30th in the NFL), with 12 rushing scores handed over (2nd most in the NFL so far).

This should be a great week to start Panther backs.

Weather: The forecast for McAfee Coliseum calls for a high of 60F with a low of 48F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. It should be a great day to watch and play some football.

CAR Injuries: RB Jonathan Stewart (Questionable), WR Dwayne Jarrett (Probable)
OAK Injuries: DT Gerard Warren (Probable), DE Derrick Burgess (Doubtful), S Michael Huff (Probable), S Gibril Wilson (Questionable)


New York Jets Rushing Offense vs St. Louis Rams Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

The Rams' defense is just awful. They are 29th in the NFL vs. the rush, averaging 155.5 yards allowed per game (with 12 rushing scores allowed) - they are 28th in the NFL averaging 246.3 net passing yards allowed per game, with 12 passing TDs handed over to date. When you average over 400 yards allowed per contest, you simply aren't going to win many games. Opposing teams can do what they want to do. Take Arizona, last week's opponent, for example - the Cardinal's first-time starter, Tim Hightower, led Arizona to 33/177/1 vs. St. Louis. See what we mean?

The Jets' tandem of Thomas Jones (50/282/2 rushing and 8/44/0 receiving over the past 3 weeks, #10 among all fantasy RBs in points per game during that time span) and Leon Washington (13/99/2 rushing with 8/97/1 receiving, 18th) have hit their stride entering the 2nd half of the season. They powered the Jets to a key "W" over Buffalo last week, with 12/69/1 rushing and 6/38/0 receiving by Jones and 7/13/0 rushing and 2/42/0 receiving on the part of Washington.

This is a great week to be invested in the Jets' rushing attack.

Weather: The forecast for the Meadowlands calls for a high of 56F on Sunday (with a low of 39F), and a 20% chance of rain. As long as the weather doesn't turn stormy, conditions shouldn't play a big roll in this game slated to start at 1 PM ET.

NYJ Injuries: WR Laveranues Coles (Probable), WR Jerricho Cotchery (Probable), TE Chris Baker (Probable), TE Bubba Franks (Out)
STL Injuries: DT Adam Carriker (Probable), DE Leonard Little (Probable), DE Eric Moore (Questionable), CB Tye Hill (Out), S Todd Johnson (Probable), S Oshiomogho Atogwe (Probable)


San Diego Chargers Rushing Offense vs Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

LaDainian Tomlinson got his legs under him before the bye week, posting 19/105/1 rushing and 5/65/1 receiving vs. the Saints - those are the types of games his fantasy owners had in mind when they drafted him #1 in August. "I'm pretty much back healthy," Tomlinson said after the contest in London. "And I felt like I was running good tonight." We'll see if he can maintain his momentum in the next contest.

The Chiefs' rush D is as bad as the Chargers' pass D, which means they are the league's worst. They average the most rushing yards allowed per game (182.4), and have handed over the most TDs to date in this phase of the game (14). Tampa Bay ran into a rash of injury issues and could only muster 25/81/0 rushing last week, but the Chiefs have still allowed 548 rushing yards in their last 3 games (182.6 per contest on average). They stink.

This is a great week to have LaDainian Tomlinson on your fantasy roster.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a high of 73F on Sunday (with a low of 54F in the evening), and the weather service says there is a 10% chance of rain. Weather conditions shouldn't play much of a role in this matchup - enjoy Chargers' fans.

SD Injuries: WR Chris Chambers (Probable)
KC Injuries: DE Turk McBride (Questionable), CB Patrick Surtain (Questionable), CB Brandon Flowers (Questionable), S Jarrad Page (Questionable), S DaJuan Morgan (Questionable)


Arizona Cardinals Rushing Offense vs San Francisco 49ers Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

The demotion of Edgerrin James and the strong play of Tim Hightower validated the move by Ken Whisenhunt, who indicated after the game that James is now Hightower's backup: "I would hate to think if, God forbid, something would happen to Tim in a game, it would be nice to have Edge available to carry the ball." Hightower posted 22/109/1 rushing with 1/-1/0 receiving, while J.J. Arrington contributed 6/62/0 rushing and 5/57/0 receiving - the Cardinals appear to have found a potent 1-2 combo with Hightower and Arrington. However, remember that they were playing the Rams, who sport the league's 29th ranked rush D (averaging 155.5 rushing yards allowed per game this season). The Cardinals' 33/177/1 is about par for the course when the Rams are on D.

The Giants hung 32/112/2 on the 49ers 2 weeks before their bye, but the team has averaged 75.5 rushing yards allowed per game in the past 3 weeks (2 games) - thanks to a weak Seattle attack that could only generate 28/39/1 prior to San Francisco's bye. To date, the team averages 112 rushing yards allowed per game, with 10 rushing TDs given up over 8 games - this is not a top defensive front, folks.

The Cardinals got a spark from their new-look backfield, and they'll probably shine again this week against the suspect 49ers. Advantage, Arizona.

Weather: University of Phoenix Stadium expects a high of 81F with a low of 54F and a 0% chance for rain on Monday night - if the weather is that beautiful, the roof may be open for Monday Night Football. Conditions shouldn't make much of an impact on the 49ers/Cardinals' tilt next week.

ARI Injuries: WR Sean Morey (Probable), TE Jerame Tuman (Probable), TE Leonard Pope (Questionable), TE Ben Patrick (Questionable)
SF Injuries: DE Ray McDonald (Probable), S Dashon Goldson (Out)


Atlanta Falcons Rushing Offense vs New Orleans Saints Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Atlanta took advantage of the sinking Raiders for 57/252/1 rushing last week, led by Michael Turner's 31/139/0 on the ground - Jerious Norwood was also productive, with 13/63/1 rushing. Norwood added 2/20/0 receiving to his outing - both players were highly productive on the road in McAfee Coliseum. The Falcons are 2nd in the NFL averaging 4.7 yards per carry - they have finally been able to translate their success at home into a solid performance on the road. They're at home in the Georgia Dome for this game, though.

New Orleans' rush D is in the middle of the NFL, averaging 109.1 yards allowed per game, with 4 rushing scores handed over to date. Over the past 3 weeks (2 games), the Saints have coughed up 253 yards on the ground (126.5 per contest), with 22/110/0 given up to LaDainian Tomlinson and company before their bye week. The Saints are a what-you-see-is-what-you-get group - they are just so-so in this phase of the game.

Turner and Norwood are very dangerous in the friendly confines of the Georgia Dome - with a suspect D across the line from them, this is a good week to have either player on your fantasy team.

Weather: Inside the Georgia Dome, weather won't be an issue for either team this week.

ATL Injuries: none
NO Injuries: none


Baltimore Ravens Rushing Offense at Houston Texans Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Ravens' top back, Willis McGahee, has been struggling with a knee injury all season, and added an ankle problem to his laundry list of woes last week. As a result, he suited up as the "emergency back" but didn't take the field last week. No McGahee, no problem - the rookie Ray Rice showed that the pro game is "slowing down" for him against the weak Browns' defensive front - he posted 21/154/0 rushing and 3/22/0 receiving. Le'Ron McClain ran for 14/34/1 and added 1/3/0 receiving for the Ravens last week. As of midweek, coach Jim Harbaugh said "I don't know if we know [who is the starter] going into the game. We'll find out who is going to play more based on how we match up against this football team. Certainly, Ray has expanded himself with the things he can do and the confidence he builds in the coaching staff." Stay tuned to Footballguys.com players in the news later in the week to see who gets the first team reps in practices heading into week 10.

The Texans are currently 23rd in the NFL averaging 126.8 rushing yards allowed per game, and are tied for 2nd-most rushing TDs allowed so far with 12 given away. Over the past 3 weeks they've coughed up 359 rushing yards per game (just under 120 per contest), and allowed 35/177/1 to Adrian Peterson and company last week. The Texans' defensive front is backing into this game on a low note.

The Ravens have several attractive options at running back, while the Texans' defense has not been very good throughout the first half of the season - advantage, Baltimore.

Weather: Reliant Stadium expects a high of 77F with a low of 56F and a 0% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play (and watch) some pro football.

BAL Injuries: RB Willis McGahee (Probable), RB LeRon McClain (Probable), RB Ray Rice (Probable), TE Daniel Wilcox (Doubtful)
HOU Injuries: DT Amobi Okoye (Doubtful)


Cleveland Browns Rushing Offense vs Denver Broncos Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Cleveland made a game of it against the hard-core Ravens, managing to get within 10 points in a 37-27 loss. Unfortunately, the organization has decided to make a switch to green Brady Quinn at QB, which means that the running backs and receivers will have to fight through Quinn's growing pains going forward. Look for opposing teams to load up the box and come after Quinn and the running backs until he proves he can beat them with his arm. Jamal Lewis gained 19/49/0 rushing and 1/13/0 receiving vs. Baltimore, leading his team to 23/64/0 on the ground - equal to the Ravens' season average of 64.3 rushing yards allowed per game.

The Bronco's rush D is sub-par, averaging 144.6 yards allowed per game (26th in the NFL), with 10 rushing TDs given up to date. They handed over 29/75/1 to the Dolphins in their 26-17 loss last week - over the past 3 weeks, the Broncos have given away 332 rushing yards in just 2 games. Ouch.

Jamal Lewis ran into the Ravens' brick wall last week, but this week he gets to punch through Denver's wet paper bag - advantage, Cleveland.

Weather: Cleveland Browns Stadium expects a high of 63F during the day on Thursday, with a low around 52F that night - there is a 20% chance of rain for this Thursday night matchup. Weather shouldn't make a huge impact on the Browns or Broncos given the temperate forecast.

CLE Injuries: RB Lawrence Vickers (Doubtful), WR Donte Stallworth (Probable), TE Darnell Dinkins (Questionable)
DEN Injuries: DT Dewayne Robertson (Probable), DT Marcus Thomas (Probable), CB Champ Bailey (Out), S Marlon McCree (Out)


Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Offense at Detroit Lions Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Jaguars' rushing attack stinks. They do average 4.0 yards per carry, but its been weeks since anyone went over 100 yards rushing for this team. Maurice Jones-Drew managed 10/33/1 on the ground last week, while Fred Taylor plodded to 5/12/0. Jones-Drew added 2/29/0 through the air to his totals.

The Detroit rush D stinks. They average an astronomical 161.8 yards given up per game, with 11 rushing TDs surrendered so far this year. Chicago blasted Detroit for 30/154/2 rushing last week - par for the course when it comes to the Lions.

Two awful units meet in this matchup - it is a good matchup for the struggling Jags, but don't get your hopes up too high.

Weather: Inside Ford Field weather won't be an issue for either team.

JAX Injuries: RB Fred Taylor (Probable), WR Mike Walker (Probable)
DET Injuries: DT Chartric Darby (Probable), DT Cory Redding (Questionable), S Dwight Smith (Out)


Minnesota Vikings Rushing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Adrian Peterson steamrolled over the Texans last week (25/139/1 rushing, with 7/38/0 rushing and 3/25/0 receiving for Chester Taylor). Peterson's piled up 47/260/3 rushing with 1/9/0 receiving over the past 3 games - Peterson is on fire, folks, and ranks as the #1 fantasy RB during that time span. Way back in week 1, Peterson (19/103/1 rushing and 1/11/0 receiving) and Taylor (5/19/0 rushing and 3/21/0 receiving) helped the Vikings to 33/187/1 vs. the Pack.

The Packers' rush D was blown up for 36/178/1 by the Titans last week, and currently averages 146.4 yards allowed per contest(27th in the NFL), with 8 rushing TDs allowed in 8 games. Over the past 3 weeks (2 games), the Packers have handed over 251 yards rushing - they are up and down in this phase of the game of late.

Peterson is one of the best RBs in the game right now, and he feasted on Green Bay the last time around the block - as of mid season, the Packers are fielding one of the worst rush defenses in the league. Advantage, Minnesota.

Weather: Inside the Metrodome, weather won't be an issue for either team.

MIN Injuries: TE Garrett Mills (Questionable)
GB Injuries: CB Charles Woodson (Probable)


Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Offense vs Indianapolis Colts Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Colts' rush D is not impressive, averaging 143.6 yards allowed per game, with 10 rushing TDs given away at the season's midpoint. Over the past 3 weeks, Indy has coughed up 344 rushing yards (114.6 per game, on average), with 32/140/1 given away to New England's' patchwork lineup in week 9.

The Steelers got Willie Parker (21/70/1 rushing) back last week, and hung 29/64/2 around the Redskins' necks while Parker got his timing back. Mewelde Moore struggled in the rushing phase (4/-2/0), but snagged 3/45/0 in passing situations as he reverted to the change-of-pace back with Parker back in action.

Parker wasn't at his best last week, but he's got some reps under his belt now and an easy matchup vs. the weak Colts on Sunday - advantage, Pittsburgh.

Weather: Heinz Field expects a high of 45F and a low of 37F on Sunday, with a 30% chance of precipitation during the contest. If the sky opens up with a hard downpour at game time, footing, ball handling and the passing/kicking games will all be more tricky than usual. Owners of Colts and Steelers will want to check a shorter-term forecast before setting their starting lineups this week.

PIT Injuries: QB Ben Roethlisberger (Probable), RB Gary Russell (Probable), RB Willie Parker (Doubtful), WR Hines Ward (Probable), TE Heath Miller (Out)
IND Injuries: DT Daniel Muir (Questionable), CB Kelvin Hayden (Questionable)


Denver Broncos Rushing Offense at Cleveland Browns Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Denver suffered another rash of injuries at RB last week, and ended up placing Michael Pittman and Andre Hall on IR as a result - Selvin Young has been battling a groin problem and hasn't played of late. With all the injuries, youngster Ryan Torain figures to get a chance, but he was uninspiring in his return to the field last week (3/1/0 rushing won't get it done, folks). Stay tuned to players in the news later this week to get a feel for which back is likely to start on Sunday.

The Browns' rush D is not good, ranking 28th in the NFL averaging 148 rushing yards allowed per game, with 9 rushing TDs given up to date. They handed over a whopping 41/193/1 to the Ravens in their 10 point loss last week. Ouch.

Two struggling units clash in this matchup - sounds about even to us.

Weather: Cleveland Browns Stadium expects a high of 63F during the day on Thursday, with a low around 52F that night - there is a 20% chance of rain for this Thursday night matchup. Weather shouldn't make a huge impact on the Browns or Broncos given the temperate forecast.

DEN Injuries: RB Ryan Torain (Probable), RB Selvin Young (Questionable), TE Tony Scheffler (Questionable)
CLE Injuries: DT Shaun Rogers (Questionable), DT Corey Williams (Questionable)


Detroit Lions Rushing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Detroit's stuttering rushing attack misfired against the Bears' tough D, eking out 26/53/1 on the ground (Kevin Smith managed to rack up some fantasy points thanks to the TD (14/37/1 rushing with 2/16/0 receiving), but he still isn't touching the ball enough to be a week-in, week-out starter). Over the past 3 weeks, Kevin Smith has managed to be the "best" Lion back, with 28/110/2 and 10/73/0 receiving in 3 games (32nd fantasy RB in the land by points per game), but nobody on this rushing attack is really exciting to fantasy owners. Rudi Johnson plodded to 8/19/0 rushing with 2/13/0 receiving vs. Chicago.

The Jaguars' rush D allowed 29/159/1 to the formerly-winless Bengals, and coughed up 24/104/1 to the great Cedric Benson during the loss. Over the past 3 weeks (2 games), Jacksonville has handed over 250 yards rushing - they enter this game cold as ice, folks.

Smith has been productive when given the chance, but he doesn't get enough touches on the ball for fantasy owners to be happy - meanwhile, the Jaguars were roughed up by one of the worst teams in the NFL last week. That sounds about even to us.

Weather: Inside Ford Field weather won't be an issue for either team.

DET Injuries: QB Dan Orlovsky (Out), RB Jerome Felton (Out), TE John Owens (Questionable), TE Casey Fitzsimmons (Out)
JAX Injuries: DT John Henderson (Out), CB Rashean Mathis (Probable), S Pierson Prioleau (Probable)


Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Offense at San Diego Chargers Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Kansas City is in trouble at the RB position. Larry Johnson is still out due to suspension, and Kolby Smith landed on IR last week - here's what coach Herm Edwards had to say of "last man standing" Jamaal Charles earlier this week: "When you draft a guy like that, you know that you can't give him the load of your offense. You have to pick your spots with him." Gee thanks, coach. Jackie Battle and Dantrell Savage are the other healthy unknowns now on the roster. Charles did OK last week in emergency duty, with 18/106/0 rushing (the Chiefs pounded out an impressive 36/183/1 vs. Tampa Bay, scoring the first rushing TD allowed by the Bucs all year long).

The Chargers' rush D is so-so, averaging 106.5 yards allowed per game (16th in the NFL), with 6 rushing scores given up in 8 games. They handed over 2 TDs to the Saints in London 2 weeks ago (26/70/2 allowed), though, and have given up 179 rushing yards in their last 2 games. Not too bad, but not great either, as you can see.

Kansas City ran the ball well last week despite their injury/suspension woes - we'll see what kind of mix Herm Edwards comes up with in the divisional matchup vs. San Diego. On balance, this is a neutral matchup.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a high of 73F on Sunday (with a low of 54F in the evening), and the weather service says there is a 10% chance of rain. Weather conditions shouldn't play much of a role in this matchup - enjoy Chargers' fans.

KC Injuries: none
SD Injuries: DT Jamal Williams (Probable), CB Antonio Cromartie (Probable)


Miami Dolphins Rushing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Miami managed 29/75/1 rushing against the Bronco's 26th-ranked rush D last week, led by Ronnie Brown's 20/59/1 rushing (3/30/0 receiving). Sidekick Ricky Williams gained 6/16/0 rushing and 1/23/0 receiving in his support/change of pace role - when it was all over, the Dolphins won but the backs weren't impressive during the contest. Brown is the 42nd-ranked fantasy back in points per game over the past 3 weeks, with 47/129/1 rushing and 5/36/0 receiving, while Williams checks in at 48th with 17/48/1 rushing and 3/66/0 receiving.

The Seahawks lurk among the bottom tier of rush defenses in the league, averaging 115.5 yards allowed per game (22nd in the NFL), with 6 rushing TDs given up to date. They did a good job last week against Brian Westbrook, limiting him to 20/61/0 (and under 100 yards combined), while the Eagles compiled 28/72/0 rushing. Over the past 3 weeks, Seattle has coughed up 293 rushing yards - they aren't usually as stout as they were against Philly.

Brown and Williams are struggling to remain productive, while the Seahawks are slowly improving but remain mediocre - this looks like a neutral matchup from where we sit.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 76F with a low of 65F and a 10% chance of rain on Sunday - weather shouldn't impact this game very much with such nice conditions.

MIA Injuries: none
SEA Injuries: DT Red Bryant (Out), DE Patrick Kerney (Out)


New Orleans Saints Rushing Offense at Atlanta Falcons Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Reggie Bush-less Saints managed 26/70/2 against the Chargers two weeks ago, led by Deuce McAllister's 18/55/1 on the ground. Mike Karney picked up the other score with 2/4/1 rushing - Pierre Thomas had 3/28/0 rushing and Aaron Stecker handled 5/27/0 receiving as the 3rd-down/change of pace back. So far, so good for the Saints as they forge on without Bush.

The Falcons held the Raiders to just 10 net yards passing last week, and limited the ground game to 11/67/0 - the Falcons' offense held the ball for an astonishing 45:15 during the game. Over the past 3 weeks (2 games), the Falcons gave up 259 yards rushing - they have bounced up and down in this phase of the game as you can see. To date, the Falcons are 22nd in the NFL averaging 120.9 rushing yards allowed per game, with 9 rushing TDs given up to date. The defensive front is suspect, folks.

The Saints are without their best weapon among the running backs, while the Falcons field a suspect unit - this matchup looks about even to us.

Weather: Inside the Georgia Dome, weather won't be an issue for either team this week.

NO Injuries: RB Reggie Bush (Out), TE Jeremy Shockey (Probable)
ATL Injuries: DT Grady Jackson (Questionable), CB Brent Grimes (Questionable)


Buffalo Bills Rushing Offense at New England Patriots Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Buffalo struggled against the Jets last week, gaining just 17/30/0 on the ground during the game. Marshawn Lynch posted 9/16/0 rushing and 3/52/0 receiving during the game, with 7/15/0 rushing and 3/25/0 receiving for Fred Jackson in the change of pace role. Over the past 3 weeks, Lynch has gained 41/147/2 rushing and 12/108/0 receiving to land at #19 among all fantasy RBs in points per game during that time span. Jackson has compiled 26/89/0 rushing and 7/54/0 receiving during that same time span.

The Patriots coughed up a mere 21/47/0 rushing to Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes last week - they have allowed 243 rushing yards over the past 3 weeks (an average of 81 yards per game), while pacing 105 yards allowed per game since the beginning of the season (4 rushing TDs given up to date). The Patriots' defensive front is playing well entering the 2nd half of the season, friends.

Lynch enters this game stone cold, while the Patriots' defenders are on a hot streak - advantage, New England.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 55F on Sunday (with a low of 37F later that night) - there is a 20% chance of rain forecast. Conditions shouldn't present much difficulty for the Patriots or the Bills during this key AFC East showdown if the weather service is right on target.

BUF Injuries: WR Josh Reed (Out)
NE Injuries: DT Vince Wilfork (Questionable), CB Ellis Hobbs (Questionable), CB Lewis Sanders (Doubtful), CB Terrence Wheatley (Out)


Chicago Bears Rushing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Chicago exploited the weak Detroit defensive front last week to the tune of 30/154/2 rushing - Matt Forte led the team with 22/126/0 on the ground (1/5/0 receiving), but Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman each punched in a rushing TD to get the glory. In the end, the Bears prevailed 27-23. Forte remains a focal point of the offense, and may see more work as Rex Grossman takes over under center for the next 3-4 games with Orton out due to a high ankle sprain.

The Titans field the league's 10th ranked rush D, averaging 91.6 yards allowed per game, but they have coughed up 7 rushing TDs to date. Green Bay managed 24/102/0 on the ground vs. Tennessee last week in an OT loss - Tennessee has handed over 254 rushing yards in the last 3 contests (84.6 per game). They are a hard nosed bunch, folks.

The Bears have a decent offense, but the unit is in turmoil due to the loss of their starting QB. Against the tough Titans, this game is going to be a hard fight for Forte and company.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high around 43F at game time, with a low of 34F later in the evening - there is a 20% chance of rain in the forecast. Assuming the weather service is right and the wind isn't howling with a storm on the wings this Sunday, it should be a nice day to watch and play some football.

CHI Injuries: QB Kyle Orton (Doubtful), WR Brandon Lloyd (Probable)
TEN Injuries: DE William Hayes (Probable), DE Kyle Vanden Bosch (Questionable), CB Chris Carr (Questionable)


Green Bay Packers Rushing Offense at Minnesota Vikings Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Ryan Grant did a credible job against the stout Titans' defense last week, with 20/86/0 rushing to his credit, while sidekick Brandon Jackson ran for 1/3/0 and snagged 4/30/0 receiving in his change-of-pace role. It was a lighter workload for Grant than we'd seen in weeks 6 and 7, but he still was a focal point of the offense. Back in week 1, Grant ground out 12/92/0 vs. the Vikes, and the Packers hit Minnesota for 27/139/1 as a team.

The Vikings have one of the best defensive fronts in pro football, averaging 69.6 rushing yards allowed per game, though they have coughed up 7 rush TDs to date. Houston could only manage 62 yards rushing and 0 TDs last week, though.

It is tough to run the ball effectively when Minnesota is your opponent, especially in the Metrodome - advantage, Vikings.

Weather: Inside the Metrodome, weather won't be an issue for either team.

GB Injuries: QB Aaron Rodgers (Probable)
MIN Injuries: DE Jared Allen (Doubtful), S Husain Abdullah (Probable)


New England Patriots Rushing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Patriots' improvised rotation of backs, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Kevin Faulk (currently) managed to lead the Patriots to 32/140/1 on the ground vs. Indianapolis (15/57/1 rushing with 1/8/0 receiving for Green-Ellis; 10/60/0 rushing with 5/38/0 receiving for Faulk). LaMont Jordan and Sammy Morris were both inactive last week due to their ongoing injury woes - we'll see if either or both participate in practice this week as the game draws nearer. Faulk has 27/170/0 rushing and 12/91/1 receiving over the past 3 weeks (27th fantasy back in points per game), while Green-Ellis has compiled 37/138/3 rushing with 1/8/0 receiving to land at 25th.

The Bills' rush D is half-decent, averaging under 100 yards allowed per game (98.9, 12th in the NFL), but they cough up a lot of rushing TDs (9 given away to date). Over the past 3 weeks, the Bills have only allowed 220 yards rushing (73.3 per contest, on average), with 25/96/1 handed over to the Jets last week. They are a good, but not great, unit at the midway point.

The Patriots have managed to scrape up a running game despite injury woes - at home they face tough matchup against the stingy Bills.

Weather: Gillette Stadium expects a high of 55F on Sunday (with a low of 37F later that night) - there is a 20% chance of rain forecast. Conditions shouldn't present much difficulty for the Patriots or the Bills during this key AFC East showdown if the weather service is right on target.

NE Injuries: RB LaMont Jordan (Questionable), RB Sammy Morris (Doubtful), WR Matt Slater (Questionable)
BUF Injuries: DE Aaron Schobel (Out), CB Ashton Youboty (Out), S Donte Whitner (Out)


New York Giants Rushing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Giants crushed the Cowboys last week 35-14, largely due to their powerful running back corps - Brandon Jacobs had 17/117/1 rushing and Derrick Ward contributed 12/63/1 as well, with 5/20/0 chipped in by Ahmad Bradshaw - Ward added 2/26/0 receiving to the pie. Right now, the Giants' tandem of Jacobs and Ward is playing as well as any unit in the league.

The Eagles limited the Seahawks' committee to 28/72/0 last week, and have averaged 81.5 rushing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks (2 games). They are currently 8th in the NFL pacing 89 rushing yards allowed per game, with only 3 rushing TDs handed over in the first half of the season.

This is a gritty, nasty divisional rivalry and figures to be a tough struggle for both teams.

Weather: Lincoln Financial Field expects a high of 55F and a low of 38F with a 20% chance of rain on Sunday night - it should be a cool, crisp evening to play some football. Assuming the forecast holds up, conditions shouldn't impact the Eagles or Giants too much during this contest.

NYG Injuries: none
PHI Injuries: DE Juqua Parker (Probable), CB Joselio Hanson (Questionable), CB Lito Sheppard (Questionable), S Brian Dawkins (Probable)


Oakland Raiders Rushing Offense vs Carolina Panthers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Raiders suffered without Darren McFadden, limping to 11/67/0 rushing (2/46/0 of it generated by JaMarcus Russell) - Justin Fargas got 6/23/0 rushing and Michael Bush ended the day with negative yards rushing (3/-2/0 rushing with 3/15/0 receiving). Here's how bad it was for the Raiders - Bush's 3/15/0 led the team in receiving.

The Panthers are currently 14th in the NFL averaging 99.9 yards given up per game, with 4 rushing scores handed over in 8 weeks. The Cardinals eked out 14/50/1 vs. Carolina 2 weeks ago - they come into this game feeling stingy.

The Raiders are in complete collapse entering the 2nd half, while the Panthers just keep on winning - advantage, Carolina.

Weather: The forecast for McAfee Coliseum calls for a high of 60F with a low of 48F and a 20% chance of rain on Sunday. It should be a great day to watch and play some football.

OAK Injuries: QB Andrew Walter (Probable), QB JaMarcus Russell (Questionable), RB Darren McFadden (Questionable), TE Tony Stewart (Questionable)
CAR Injuries: DT Darwin Walker (Out), CB Chris Gamble (Probable)


Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Offense vs New York Giants Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Brian Westbrook came back down to Earth vs. the Seahawks, with 20/61/0 rushing and 6/35/0 receiving - he's compiled 42/228/2 rushing and 12/77/0 receiving since coming back from his fractured ribs. With Westbrook in the lineup, the Eagles have one of the premier RB stables in the NFL.

The Giants are not pushovers in the rushing phase of the game, ranking 7th in the NFL averaging 85.4 yards allowed per game, with just 3 rushing TDs handed over to date. They stifled Dallas last week (24/81/0 rushing) and have given up just 211 rushing yards in their last 3 games (70.3 per contest on average). This group is playing at the top of their game entering week 10.

Two top-shelf squads clash in this divisional grudge match - it's always tough in the NFC East this year.

Weather: Lincoln Financial Field expects a high of 55F and a low of 38F with a 20% chance of rain on Sunday night - it should be a cool, crisp evening to play some football. Assuming the forecast holds up, conditions shouldn't impact the Eagles or Giants too much during this contest.

PHI Injuries: RB Brian Westbrook (Probable), WR Jason Avant (Probable), WR DeSean Jackson (Probable), TE L.J. Smith (Probable)
NYG Injuries: CB Kevin Dockery (Out), S James Butler (Out)


Seattle Seahawks Rushing Offense at Miami Dolphins Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Seattle compiled 22/86/0 vs. the Eagles last week, with 5 different ball carriers contributing to the pie - Maurice Morris led with 8/43/0; Julius Jones posted 10/41/0 rushing, T.J. Duckett lumbered to 2/4/0; Seneca Wallace contributed 1/2/0, and Koren Robinson was stuck for 1/-4/0 on the ground. This attack is all about the committee, friends. Nobody is the primary ball carrier.

The Dolphins are currently 9th in the NFL averaging 89.6 rushing yards allowed per game, with 5 rushing TDs surrendered to date. Last week, Denver was embarrassed for 12/14/0 on the ground - the Dolphins have given up 273 rushing yards in their last 3 games, though, so last week looks like an aberration and not the beginning of a trend. The Bronco's RB corps suffered 2 season-ending injuries during that game.

Seattle has a tough matchup to deal with on the road in Dolphins' stadium.

Weather: Dolphins Stadium expects a high of 76F with a low of 65F and a 10% chance of rain on Sunday - weather shouldn't impact this game very much with such nice conditions.

SEA Injuries: QB Matt Hasselbeck (Out), RB Leonard Weaver (Probable), WR Koren Robinson (Probable), WR Deion Branch (Questionable), TE Will Heller (Questionable)
MIA Injuries: none


San Francisco 49ers Rushing Offense at Arizona Cardinals Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Frank Gore led the 49ers in rushing (18/94/0) and receiving (7/65/0) vs. the Seahawks, and is currently the 4th ranked fantasy RB in the land in points per game, with 136/629/4 rushing and 32/311/1 receiving to date. He's the engine that drives the offense, and with the team transitioning to a new QB (Shaun Hill), the 49ers figure to lean on Gore as much as ever this week.

The Cardinals are currently ranked 11th in the NFL averaging 92 rushing yards allowed per game, with 5 rushing scores handed over to date. They've averaged 87 rushing yards allowed per game over the past 3 weeks (2 games), with 20/61/0 given up to the Rams in last week's game. It isn't easy to run the ball against the Card's defensive front - they're pretty stout.

Gore is the 49ers' best weapon, but in University of Phoenix Stadium, he'll have a hard time finding much room to roam.

Weather: University of Phoenix Stadium expects a high of 81F with a low of 54F and a 0% chance for rain on Monday night - if the weather is that beautiful, the roof may be open for Monday Night Football. Conditions shouldn't make much of an impact on the 49ers/Cardinals' tilt next week.

SF Injuries: WR Arnaz Battle (Out), TE Delanie Walker (Probable)
ARI Injuries: CB Eric Green (Questionable)


Tennessee Titans Rushing Offense at Chicago Bears Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Tennessee rang up 36/178/1 on the ground vs. Green Bay, led by 24/89/1 by Chris Johnson, while his sidekick LenDale White gained 8/77/0 rushing. Johnson also led the team in receiving with 6/72/0 - as usual, the Titans leaned on their RB stable heavily during the game. Over the past 3 weeks, Johnson has racked up 61/334/3 rushing with 12/65/0 receiving (3rd best fantasy back in points per game during that time span); White has amassed 35/239/5 rushing with 2/8/0 receiving (6th best in points per game).

The Bears are currently 5th in the NFL when it come to rush D, averaging 81.8 yards allowed per game, with 8 rushing TDs given away so far this year. Over the past 3 weeks (2 games), they've given up 208 rushing yards - they are a bit off pace. Detroit's anemic unit could only manage 26/53/1 rushing last week, though - usually, the Bears make life difficult for opposing RBs.

Strength clashes with strength in this game - in Soldier Field, this looks like a tough matchup for the visiting Titans.

Weather: Soldier Field expects a high around 43F at game time, with a low of 34F later in the evening - there is a 20% chance of rain in the forecast. Assuming the weather service is right and the wind isn't howling with a storm on the wings this Sunday, it should be a nice day to watch and play some football.

TEN Injuries: QB Kerry Collins (Probable)
CHI Injuries: CB Charles Tillman (Questionable), S Mike Brown (Probable), S Danieal Manning (Probable)


Houston Texans Rushing Offense vs Baltimore Ravens Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Ravens field an awesome rush D, that allows just 64.3 yards per game on the ground, with a mere 1 rushing score allowed to date. Cleveland managed to hit that average last week, with 23/64/0 rushing vs. their division rival. These guys are one of the best defensive squads in the NFL.

The Texans' best back, Steve Slaton, is a rookie who has managed 48/195/2 rushing and 13/78/0 receiving over the past 3 weeks. His backup is the fragile Ahman Green, who didn't play last week due to a thigh injury suffered 2 weeks ago (nobody was surprised when Green sat out). Speaking of last week, Slaton gained 16/62/0 rushing and 8/56/0 receiving for a credible performance against the strong Vikings' defensive front. He isn't on the level of Clinton Portis, but he's not comparable to Rudi Johnson, either.

Anytime you play the Ravens, you are in for a tough fight - Slaton has a hard fight in front of him this week.

Weather: Reliant Stadium expects a high of 77F with a low of 56F and a 0% chance of rain on Sunday - it should be a great day to play (and watch) some pro football.

HOU Injuries: QB Matt Schaub (Out), RB Ahman Green (Probable), WR Kevin Walter (Probable), WR Andre Davis (Out)
BAL Injuries: DT Brandon McKinney (Probable), CB Samari Rolle (Questionable), CB Chris McAlister (Out), S Dawan Landry (Out)


Indianapolis Colts Rushing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Joseph Addai returned to the lineup last week, but was ineffective against the Patriots, with a mere 17/32/0 rushing and 2/10/0 receiving - Dominic Rhodes could only scrape up 4/15/0 on the ground, adding 1/7/0 receiving. The Colts' rushing attack is mired at #32 in the NFL, averaging 3.3 yards per carry, and they did way worse last week, with 21/47/0 rushing (2.2 yards per carry). There isn't much that is positive to say here.

The Steelers field the league's 3rd ranked rushing D, averaging 70.1 yards given up per game, with just 3 rushing scores handed over to date. Last week, the top back in the NFL, Clinton Portis, eked out 13/51/0 rushing vs. Pittsburgh (Washington had 15/60/0 as a team). Pittsburgh has an elite rush D, folks.

The worst rushing attack in the league faces (arguably) the best rush defense in the league on Sunday, in Heinz Field - advantage, Pittsburgh.

Weather: Heinz Field expects a high of 45F and a low of 37F on Sunday, with a 30% chance of precipitation during the contest. If the sky opens up with a hard downpour at game time, footing, ball handling and the passing/kicking games will all be more tricky than usual. Owners of Colts and Steelers will want to check a shorter-term forecast before setting their starting lineups this week.

IND Injuries: QB Jim Sorgi (Probable), WR Roy Hall (Questionable), TE Tom Santi (Probable)
PIT Injuries: DT Casey Hampton (Probable), CB Bryant McFadden (Out), S Tyrone Carter (Probable), S Troy Polamalu (Probable)


St. Louis Rams Rushing Offense at New York Jets Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

"Steven (Jackson) has to give us a full day's work this week or he'll not play," coach Jim Haslett said on Tuesday. "We can't go into the game not knowing whether he can play or not. We're going to make sure he can actually go in practice, and not just jog through. He's going to have to give us a full day's work, and I think he'll feel better about it also." Backup Antonio Pittman is iffy to play due to a hamstring/leg injury, leaving the Rams down to (possibly) Kenneth Darby and newly-signed Samkon Gado. Uh oh, Rams fans. Jackson commented on his poor game (7/17/0 rushing) thusly: "I hate to take an injury as an excuse," Jackson said. "I didn't play like myself. I'm very down right now. I didn't help my team out, and it's really disappointing. And it's something that I'm definitely going to use as motivation for the rest of the season." Stay tuned to Footballguys.com's players in the news to see who may be manning the RB position in week 10. According to reports out of St. Louis, Pittman is expected to miss the Jets game (Week 10) with a hamstring injury. Travis Minor (concussion) did not pass his neuro-psyche test Tuesday and will be tested again Friday. So, if Jackson can't practice fully this week, Kenneth Darby and Samkon Gado will have to carry the load vs. the Jets.

The Jets' rush D has become a top unit as the year goes along - they are currently 4th in the NFL averaging 76 rushing yards allowed per game, and have coughed up 7 rushing TDs to date. Last week, they shut down the Bills' tandem of Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson (17/30/0) - these guys are for real.

The Rams' offense fell apart vs. Arizona in this phase of the game, and they face a top shelf team in the D's house this week - advantage, New York.

Weather: The forecast for the Meadowlands calls for a high of 56F on Sunday (with a low of 39F), and a 20% chance of rain. As long as the weather doesn't turn stormy, conditions shouldn't play a big roll in this game slated to start at 1 PM ET.

STL Injuries: RB Travis Minor (Questionable), RB Antonio Pittman (Questionable), RB Steven Jackson (Doubtful), WR Derek Stanley (Probable)
NYJ Injuries: S Eric Smith (Out)


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