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Week 12 Rushing Matchups

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

Jump to Passing Matchups

Great Matchups: [BUF] [NE] [SF] [TB] [TEN]
Good Matchups: [CIN] [DEN] [IND] [JAX] [NYJ] [SD] [SEA]
Neutral Matchups: [CHI] [GB] [HOU] [MIN] [NYG] [OAK] [PHI] [PIT] [STL] [WAS]
Tough Matchups: [ARI] [BAL] [CAR] [CLE] [DAL] [KC] [NO]
Bad Matchups: [ATL] [DET] [MIA]


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 Aaron Rodgers 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.


Due to the Wednesday/Thursday games this week, some of the matchups were written using preliminary statistics compiled before the Monday Night Football game - some small discrepancies between the preliminary statistics quoted in the matchups and the final, corrected statistics may be found due to our compressed writing/editing schedule.


Buffalo Bills Rushing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Fred Jackson is said to be making progress returning from his concussion (suffered two weeks ago), so he is expected to start practicing at mid-week and to participate in this contest. His fantasy owners should monitor how his body responds to resuming practices later this week. To date, Jackson has appeared in seven games with 75/298/3 rushing and 26/183/1 receiving to his credit, while C.J. Spiller has been in 10 games with 109/723/4 rushing (6.6 yards per carry!) and has added 31/336/1 receiving to his totals to approach 1,000 yards combined as of week 12. Last week, with Jackson out, Spiller ran up 22/91/0 and added 3/39/0 receiving vs. Miami.

The Colts allowed 25/115/2 rushing to the Patriots last week, but only 12/37/0 rushing to the Jaguars two weeks ago - they've been up and down in this phase of the game recently. To date, the Colts average 119.8 yards rushing allowed per game (22nd in the NFL), and have coughed up a lot of rushing TDs - 11 so far - most weeks teams get good numbers when they run at the Colts.

Spiller and Jackson are a powerful 1-2 punch - against the suspect Colts, they've got a great matchup to work with.

Weather: Lucas Oil Stadium expects a high of 42 F on Sunday, with a 10% chance of rain, and winds in excess of 10 mph. In such blustery conditions, the retractable roof will probably be closed - weather conditions shouldn't impact either team in this game.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New England Patriots Rushing Offense at New York Jets Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Back in week seven, the Patriots eked out a 29-26 OT victory at home over the Jets - Stevan Ridley led the team in rushing with 17/65/0 that day, helped out by Shane Vereen (8/49/0 rushing and 1/10/0 receiving) and Danny Woodhead (6/17/0 rushing with 4/29/0 receiving). Since that game (weeks 8-11), Ridley has handled 50/253/3 rushing, with one target and zero receptions, followed by Vereen's 22/67/2 rushing with five targets for 3/39/0 receiving. Look for more work sharing with Ridley in the lead role in this second showdown with the Jets. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The Jets' rush D averages 141.9 yards rushing allowed per game (30th in the NFL), with 10 rushing scores given up to date. The Rams posted 20/114/0 rushing last week; but Seattle tore up the Jets for 43/174/1 rushing two weeks ago. This is a suspect rush D, friends.

Advantage, New England.

Weather: MetLife Stadium expects a low of 34 F on Thursday night, with a 0% chance of rain forecast and almost no wind expected. Though the football will be hard and slick in the cool conditions, weather shouldn't play a huge role in the outcome of this contest. The placekickers' range for field goal attempts will be less than usual, though.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


San Francisco 49ers Rushing Offense at New Orleans Saints Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Frank Gore led the charge at Chicago, with 17/78/0 rushing, while side-kick Kendall Hunter posted 5/27/1 rushing and 1/3/0 receiving. All told, the 49ers had 29/123/1 rushing as a team last week, against a tough Bears' unit. This is a strong offense entering week 12, folks.

The Saints' rush D is worst in the NFL averaging 157.8 yards given up per game, with nine rushing TDs surrendered over 10 games. Oakland managed 26/120/0 rushing last week (without their top two running backs), while Atlanta stumbled to 18/46/0 at New Orleans two weeks ago. Don't be too impressed - the Saints have been doormats in this phase of the game most weeks.

Advantage, San Francisco.

Weather: Inside the Mercedes Benz Superdome, weather won't impact either team in this matchup.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Doug Martin continues to be the envy of fantasy owners everywhere, with a strong 24/138/0 rushing and 4/23/0 receiving at Carolina last week. He's handled 68/457/4 rushing and 11/95/0 receiving over the past three games - Martin is too hot to sit down knowing that another multi-TD game could be just around the corner on any given Sunday.

The Falcons' rush D is very generous entering the holiday season, averaging 130.5 yards rushing allowed per game and having surrendered 10 rushing scores to date. Arizona's sorry rushing attack looked brilliant at Atlanta last week (26/137/1), and the Saints posted 29/148/1 rushing on this unit two weeks ago.

This looks like a very attractive matchup for Martin and his fantasy owners - start him if you've got him!

Weather: Tampa expects beautiful weather on Sunday, with a high of 70 F forecast, and a 0% chance of rain.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Tennessee Titans Rushing Offense at Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Chris Johnson is back to the top of his game. He's ran for 59/366/2 over the past three games played, adding 7/30/0 receiving. Start him if you've got him.

The Jaguars' rush D is sorry, averaging 137.3 yards given up per game (29th in the NFL), with the second-most rushing TDs given up to date, with 14 surrendered. Houston put up 35/136/0 rushing vs. Jacksonville last week - Detroit had 39/134/4 rushing at Jacksonville back in week nine. Enough said.

Start Johnson for his outstanding matchup this week.

Weather: EverBank Field expects a high of 65 F, with a 0% chance of rain and winds under 5 mph on Sunday - it should be a great day to play (and watch) a pro football game.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Cedric Peerman helped propel the Bengals' rushing attack to 189 yards rushing at Kansas City last week - Green-Ellis went over 100 yards rushing with 25/101/1 rushing and 1/7/0 receiving, while Peerman handled 8/75/0 on the day. Andy Dalton also punched in a TD with 3/13/1 rushing - it's all good for the Bengals' backs entering week 12.

The Raiders have been shelled for 93 total points over the last two games - in this phase they allowed 28/153/1 rushing to the Saints last week, and 28/78/3 rushing to the Ravens two weeks ago. Oakland has now coughed up 14 rushing scores over 10 games (tied-second most in the NFL) while averaging 122.4 rushing yards allowed per game (23rd in the NFL).

Green-Ellis and Peerman ground down the Chiefs last week, and they should have solid games against the hapless Raiders' rush D this week as well. Advantage, Cincinnati.

Weather: Paul Brown Stadium expects a high of 43 F on Sunday, with just a 10% chance of rain - the wind is expected to be pretty mild (10 mph or less). It'll be a cool, crisp afternoon to play some football.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Denver Broncos Rushing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Willis McGahee tore a MCL in his right knee last week, and is out for six to eight weeks - he also suffered a fracture in the same leg, and has been put on the IR list/designated to return (if the Broncos are in the AFC Championship game). Ronnie Hillman, 49/188/1 rushing with 10/62/0 receiving so far this year, is expected to get first crack at earning McGahee's featured role in the final 1/3 of the season. Lance Ball (25/94/0 rushing and 7/61/1 receiving) and Knowshon Moreno (8/15/1 rushing with 1/12/0 receiving) are expected to be the backups/change-of-pace options going forwards.

The Chiefs' defense averages 129.2 rushing yards allowed per game (25th in the NFL), with seven rushing scores given up to date. Cincinnati crushed them with 38/189/2 rushing last week, while the Steelers posted 29/95/0 rushing vs. K.C. two weeks ago.

Hillman and company have a good matchup to work with here.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a relatively-toasty high of 54 F on Sunday, with winds around 10 mph - for Kansas City Missouri, that's about as good as it gets at this time of year. Owners of Chiefs and Broncos should have decent weather on tap for their fantasy players in this contest.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Indianapolis Colts Rushing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Indianapolis' running backs have been combining for good totals in recent weeks - vs. New England the Colts had 24/119/1 rushing as a team, while two weeks ago they posted 37/138/2 at Jacksonville. The problem for fantasy owners is that the Colts are in an extensive running-back-by-committee as of week 12 - Vick Ballard has seen the most work of late, with 28/120/0 rushing and 3/18/0 receiving, while Donald Brown has posted 18/59/0 rushing and 2/6/0 receiving. Delone Carter handled 2/21/1 rushing vs. New England last week, and 2/7/0 two weeks ago vs. Jacksonville. Heading into week 12, it looks like we're stuck with a three-headed monster in Indianapolis, with Brown and Carter getting just enough work to keep Ballard's numbers unexciting from week to week.

The Bills' rush D is among the league's worst, currently averaging 153.3 yards allowed per game (31st) and with a whopping 16 rushing TDs surrendered to date (that's the most rushing TDs allowed by a team this year). Miami was held to 24/60/0 rushing last week, though, while Miami posted 29/117/2 rushing vs. Buffalo two weeks ago. The Bills have tightened up in this phase of the game somewhat.

This is a good matchup for the Colts' backs - Ballard may even find a way to score against the very giving Buffalo defensive front.

Weather: Lucas Oil Stadium expects a high of 42 F on Sunday, with a 10% chance of rain, and winds in excess of 10 mph. In such blustery conditions, the retractable roof will probably be closed - weather conditions shouldn't impact either team in this game.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Jaguars will renew their AFC South rivalry with the Titans, but it appears that they'll do without Maurice Jones-Drew, who didn't practice on Wednesday and appears to not be near returning to the field due to his ongoing foot injury woes. Jalen Parmele was a surprise featured back at Houston, and responded with 24/80/0 rushing and 3/3/0 receiving - Rashad Jennings has reportedly been benched for ineffectiveness, so Parmele will get to show his stuff until Jones-Drew is ready to return to action. We'll see how he responds to a second opportunity for carries this week vs. Tennessee.

Speaking of the Titans, Tennessee comes into this divisional showdown off a bye week - two weeks ago they crushed Miami 37-3 while limiting the Dolphins' backs to 15/54/0 on the ground. However, in the game prior Chicago threw down for 36/160/1 rushing at Tennessee - they've been up and down in this phase of the game during recent contests. To date, Tennessee ranks 28th in the NFL averaging 132.8 rushing yards allowed per game, with nine rushing TDs given away to date.

Jacksonville got a spark from Parmele last week, and he's got a nice matchup to exploit for this game, too. Advantage, Jacksonville.

Weather: EverBank Field expects a high of 65 F, with a 0% chance of rain and winds under 5 mph on Sunday - it should be a great day to play (and watch) a pro football game.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New York Jets Rushing Offense vs New England Patriots Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Shonn Greene managed 16/54/1 rushing with nine targets for 6/34/0 receiving at New England back in week seven, as the Jets battled to a narrow 26-29 loss in OT. Since that game, Greene has led the team in rushing with 48/199/0 to his credit (3/34/0 receiving), while Bilal Powell has handled the TD rushes for New York (12/49/2 rushing with 3/22/0 receiving), despite missing a game due to a concussion during the weeks 8-11 time span. At St. Louis last week, Greene led the team in rushing with 18/64/0, while Powell handled 11/42/2 rushing and 2/18/0 receiving. Joe McKnight chipped in 4/14/0 rushing and 1/18/0 receiving in a bit role last week, and the Jets piled up 41/124/2 rushing as a team during the 27-13 win. We'll see if they can maintain the momentum at home against their arch-rivals on Thursday night - the Jets have made it clear that they consider the rushing attack a committee affair heading into the final weeks of the 2012 season.

The Patriots' defensive front is tenth in the NFL averaging 99.0 rushing yards allowed per game, with six rushing TDs surrendered to date. Indianapolis managed 24/119/1 rushing at New England last week; Buffalo had 28/162/2 rushing there two weeks ago. The Patriots' rush D has faded down the stretch as you can see.

The Jets' committee approach is working out, while the Patriots' rush D is not doing well currently - advantage, New York.

Weather: MetLife Stadium expects a low of 34 F on Thursday night, with a 0% chance of rain forecast and almost no wind expected. Though the football will be hard and slick in the cool conditions, weather shouldn't play a huge role in the outcome of this contest. The placekickers' range for field goal attempts will be less than usual, though.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


San Diego Chargers Rushing Offense vs Baltimore Ravens Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Ryan Mathews had 19 touches on the football last week (14/57/0 rushing with 4/36/0 receiving) and 22 touches two weeks ago (17/54/0 rushing with 5/22/0 receiving), but he hasn't been producing at a high level in his chances during November. Ronnie Brown (4/9/0 rushing and 2/6/0 receiving last week) and Jackie Battle (4/-3/0 rushing last week with 1/1/0 receiving) have been peripheral players at best lately - if San Diego is going to succeed in this phase of the game it's on Mathews' shoulders to step up his game.

The Ravens' rush D averages 132.2 yards allowed per game (27th in the NFL) with 10 rushing TDs given up to date. Last week at Pittsburgh, the Steelers were right on that usual pace, with 27/134/1 rushing to their credit, while the down-to-their-reserve-running-backs Raiders eked out 24/72/0 rushing two weeks ago. Usually, teams do pretty well in this phase of the game when the Ravens are in town.

Mathews and company have a good matchup to work with this week.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a high of 68 F on Sunday, with a 0% chance of rain forecast - weather conditions shouldn't play a role in the outcome of this contest.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


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

Marshawn Lynch comes into this game off a bye week, sitting at eighth best fantasy running back in the land, with 212/1,005/5 rushing and 14/137/0 receiving through ten games this year. Most recently, he posted 27/124/1 rushing with 1/27/0 receiving vs. the New York Jets. Lynch is a fantasy stud this year, and he's going strong entering the Thanksgiving holiday weekend - start him if you've got him.

The Dolphins rank ninth in the NFL averaging 96.8 rushing yards allowed per game, with four rushing scores given away to date. However, last week Buffalo ran for 31/120/0 vs. Miami, while Tennessee posted 37/177/1 rushing at Miami two weeks ago. Miami's defense is crumbling as their offense has gone into stasis recently - they aren't as good as their averages would indicate entering week 12.

Advantage, Seattle.

Weather: Sun Life Stadium expects a high of 76 F on Sunday, with a 0% chance of rain forecast - it should be near-perfect football weather in South Florida.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Chicago Bears Rushing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

This is the first meeting between the Vikings and Bears for 2012 - Chicago enters off a humiliating defeat at San Francisco in which they managed a mere seven points, with just 28/85/0 rushing (and just 58 net yards passing). Without Jay Cutler to make the threat to pass credible, the Bears were stuffed in the running phase of the game for most of the night. Matt Forte managed 21/63/0 rushing with 3/4/0 receiving during the loss, while Michael Bush was held to 5/9/0 rushing and 1/18/0 receiving. If Jason Campbell is back under center this week, look for more intense pressure coming through the makeshift Chicago offensive line during week 12. Stay tuned to Footballguys.com's players in the news to see who'll start at quarterback for Chicago in week 12.

The Vikings' rush D got to rest last week after holding Detroit to 17/60/0 rushing back in week 10 - they enter this game 6-4 and well-rested. To date, the Vikings rank 14th in the NFL averaging 111.6 rushing yards allowed per game, with seven rushing scores surrendered through 10 contests.

This is a fierce divisional rivalry so expect a hard-fought game - on balance, we think neither side has an edge over the other in this phase of the game.

Weather: Solider Field expects a cloudy, chilly day on Sunday with a high of 42 F and a 10% chance of rain - winds are forecast to be around 10 mph on Sunday. As long as a storm cell doesn't form, it should be a chilly but decent afternoon to play football in the Windy City.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Green Bay Packers Rushing Offense at New York Giants Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Though James Starks headlined for the Packers vs. Detroit (25/74/0 rushing with 1/6/0 receiving) and Alex Green languished last week (one target for zero receptions), the Packers plan to employ a dual-back approach to close out the season. 'And frankly, Alex Green not getting carries was a poor performance by myself managing how we were running the ball. We'll continue forward working both James and Alex and get those guys ready in our preparation for the Giants,' head coach Mike McCarthy said on Tuesday in reference to the work-sharing last week. Over the past three games, Starks has seen 43/143/0 rushing and 2/15/0 receiving, while Green has handled 33/107/0 rushing with 6/53/0 receiving during that time span.

The Giants' rush D has been up and down over their past two games, holding the Bengals to 28/76/0 rushing during week 10, while coughing up 35/158/1 to the Steelers back in week nine. To date, the Giants average 113.8 rushing yards allowed per game (15th in the NFL), with six rushing scores allowed so far.

The Giants come into this game-with-playoff-implications off a bye, but they are just middlin' as rush defenders most of the time. Against the Packers' journeymen, this looks like a fairly even matchup to us.

Weather: MetLife Stadium expects a low of 30 F on Sunday night, and winds may approach 15 mph - in the cool conditions, gusty winds would make the kicking and passing games more tricky than usual (as will a cold, hard, slick football). Owners of Giants and Packers will want to check a shorter-term forecast before setting their lineups this week.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Houston Texans Rushing Offense at Detroit Lions Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Arian Foster is a fantasy stud who should start every week. He put up 28/77/0 rushing and 3/15/0 against the scrappy Jaguars last week, true - but to date he's the third-ranked fantasy running back in the land with the most rushing TDs scored this year: 249/949/10 rushing and 20/107/2 receiving put up through 10 games played. Don't over-think this - just start Foster.

The Lions are ranked 16th in the NFL averaging 114.1 rushing yards allowed per game, though they have just three rushing scores allowed to date. Green Bay posted 29/95/0 rushing at Detroit last week, but Minnesota's attack (led by fantasy stud Adrian Peterson) ground up the Lions for 34/196/1 rushing two weeks ago.

Just start Foster and smile.

Weather: Inside Ford Field, weather won't impact either team.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Minnesota Vikings Rushing Offense at Chicago Bears Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Adrian Peterson is a fantasy superstar, with 195/1,128/7 rushing and 29/155/0 receiving so far this year over 10 games played (second-best fantasy running back in the land). He's a must-start player regardless of matchup.

The Bears' usually-stout defense got hammered in San Francisco 7-32, allowing 29/123/1 rushing to the 49ers' stable. Two weeks ago the Texans threw down for 35/127/0 rushing and won 13-7 - the Bears' defense is in a slump right now. To date, the team ranks eighth in the NFL averaging 95.2 rushing yards allowed per game, with just three rushing scores given away to date but they've been about 30 yards rushing per game more generous during November.

The Vikings are divisional rivals, so look for a hard-fought game here. We rank this a neutral matchup for the must-start Peterson.

Weather: Solider Field expects a cloudy, chilly day on Sunday with a high of 42 F and a 10% chance of rain - winds are forecast to be around 10 mph on Sunday. As long as a storm cell doesn't form, it should be a chilly but decent afternoon to play football in the Windy City.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New York Giants Rushing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Ahmad Bradshaw continues to be limited in practices due to his long-standing foot woes, and also due to a newer neck injury. He will likely see limited reps again this week, but he should start as usual for this important game regarding playoff seeding. Before the bye week he put up 10/57/0 rushing and 3/14/0 receiving at Cincinnati, while Andre Brown led the team with 7/65/1 rushing (and added 5/29/0 receiving). The two backs figure to continue as the tandem attacking on the ground for the Giants in the final weeks of the 2012 season.

Green Bay averages 99.5 yards rushing allowed per game (11th in the NFL), with seven rushing scores surrendered to date. They coughed up 24/110/1 to the Lions last week, while holding the Cardinals to 18/54/1 on the ground two games ago. This is a solid rush defense, but they don't shut opposing backs out from week to week.

This looks like a neutral matchup for the Giants' tandem of backs.

Weather: MetLife Stadium expects a low of 30 F on Sunday night, and winds may approach 15 mph - in the cool conditions, gusty winds would make the kicking and passing games more tricky than usual (as will a cold, hard, slick football). Owners of Giants and Packers will want to check a shorter-term forecast before setting their lineups this week.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Oakland Raiders Rushing Offense at Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Marcel Reece led the Raiders in rushing (19/103/0) and receiving (4/90/0) last week - he's putting up the numbers fantasy owners expected to see from Darren McFadden this year (McFadden is still sidelined due to yet another ankle woe, which has kept him out for two games - so far). Taiwan Jones handled 3/13/0 rushing (and tweaked an ankle) during the game - heading into the final 1/3 of the season, Reece (33/151/0 rushing and 37/418/1 receiving to date) looks like the lead back for the Raiders' stable as long as McFadden sits out.

The Bengals' rush D averages 117.8 rushing yards allowed per game (18th in the NFL), with 10 rushing scores given up to date. They coughed up 27/113/0 to the Chiefs last week, and 20/129/1 to the Giants two weeks ago - this is a middle-of-the-road rush D that gives up an average of one rushing score per game.

Reece continues to raise his profile while McFadden is sidelined - he's got a neutral matchup against a so-so defensive unit this week.

Weather: Paul Brown Stadium expects a high of 43 F on Sunday, with just a 10% chance of rain - the wind is expected to be pretty mild (10 mph or less). It'll be a cool, crisp afternoon to play some football.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Offense vs Carolina Panthers Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

LeSean McCoy was concussed at the end of the 6-31 debacle at Washington last week, and he'll have to complete the NFL-mandated concussion protocols before resuming football activities. If he's out this week (which seems likely - why rush him back for a 3-7 squad like this?), then rookie Bryce Brown will be the next man up - Brown has handled 32/141/0 rushing (4.4 yards per carry) and one reception for eight yards in spot duty so far this year. Chris Polk, another rookie running back on the squad, has been a special-teamer this year without recording a touch on the football for the offense.

The Panthers' rush D isn't impressive, currently ranking 20th in the NFL averaging 118.4 yards allowed per game, with seven rushing TDs given away to date. Tampa Bay whacked Carolina for 30/167/0 rushing last week, while Denver posted 22/65/1 on the ground two weeks ago.

The so-so Panthers likely see a rookie in his first NFL start this week (with perhaps a second rookie, Nick Foles, under center in his second NFL start) - that sounds like a neutral matchup (at best) for Brown. If McCoy can go, upgrade this to a good matchup (but we're not holding our breath on that possibility).

Weather: On Monday night, Lincoln Financial Field expects a low of 37 F with a 10% chance for rain. In such cool conditions, the footballs will be hard and slick, making ball handling, and the passing/kicking games more tricky than usual. No extreme weather is expected at this time, but owners of Panthers and Eagles should check a shorter-term forecast before setting their lineups this week.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Offense at Cleveland Browns Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Steelers' banged-up team comes into this contest with a committee of sorts - Rashard Mendenhall (11/33/0 rushing with 3/17/0 receiving) started last week vs. Baltimore despite his sore Achilles, but was rotated with Jonathan Dwyer (12/55/0 rushing with 3/26/0 receiving) and Isaac Redman (1/5/0 rushing) - until Redman suffered a concussion, anyway. Quarterback Byron Leftwich ran in the team's only TD last week with 1/31/1 rushing, but ended up with fractured ribs and is out for this contest, too. With Ben Roethlisberger also out due to a shoulder/rib injury, the Steelers will be down to venerable Charlie Batch at quarterback this week - look for the Browns to load the box against whoever totes the ball. Regarding who will do the ball carrying this weekend, coach Mike Tomlin commented on Tuesday: 'My preference would be to have a healthy, solidified featured runner, but I don't always get what I want in this business.' Fantasy owners will want to monitor the Footballguys.com Players in the News later this week to see who is practicing for the Steelers in this phase of the game.

The Browns' rush D averages 125.3 rushing yards allowed per game (24th in the NFL), with eight rushing scores allowed this season. Dallas posted 21/63/1 rushing on Cleveland last week, while Baltimore ran up 37/137/2 on this group back in week nine.

This would normally be a good matchup, but given how banged-up and thin the Steelers entire offense is right now we rate this a neutral matchup, with neither side holding a clear edge over the other.

Weather: Cleveland Browns' Stadium expects a high of 37 F on Sunday, with a 20% chance of precipitation, and winds in excess of 10 mph. In such cool, blustery conditions the football will be hard and slick, while swirling winds may make the passing and kicking games more difficult than usual. Owners of Steelers and Browns will want to check a shorter-term forecast before setting their lineups this week.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


St. Louis Rams Rushing Offense at Arizona Cardinals Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Rams defeated the Cardinals 17-3 back in week five, cranking out 32/111/0 rushing as a team that day. Steven Jackson posted 18/76/0 rushing during the win, while Daryl Richardson put up 9/33/0 rushing with two targets for zero receptions. We've seen these two tag-team in the rushing attack all year long, so expect more of the same at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday.

Over the past three weeks, Jackson has handled 49/205/1 rushing with 6/53/0 receiving, while Richardson has seen 20/137/0 rushing and 6/18/0 receiving - a 68/32 split on touches between Jackson and Richardson. Last week Jackson saw 13/81/0 rushing and 2/5/0 receiving, while Richardson threw down for 6/26/0 rushing and 1/18/0 receiving vs. the Jets.

The Cardinals' rush D coughed up 24/58/1 to the Falcons' backs last week, and 39/176/0 to Green Bay during week nine - they've swung wildly in this phase of the game recently. To date, Arizona ranks 21st in the NFL averaging 119.3 yards rushing allowed per game, with only five rushing scores given away to date. This group gets stubborn at the goal-line, friends.

Jackson has scored just two TDs all year (both rushing scores), while Richardson has zero to his credit. The Cardinals are giving between the 20's, but pretty stingy in goal-line situations. On balance, this looks like a neutral matchup with neither team holding a big edge over the other.

Weather: University of Phoenix Stadium expects a high of 80 F on Sunday, with a 0% chance of rain - in such nice conditions, the retractable roof will probably be open. Weather conditions shouldn't impact either team in this contest.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Washington Redskins Rushing Offense at Dallas Cowboys Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Alfred Morris posted 20/76/0 rushing and 1/7/0 receiving vs. Philadelphia last week, and has handled 46/210/0 rushing with 1/7/0 receiving over the last three games - the only other running back over five rushes during that time frame has been Evan Royster, with 5/9/1 rushing and 3/30/0 receiving. Robert Griffin III chipped in 12/84/0 rushing last week - Morris is a steady runner for this offense, though he hasn't pushed in many six-pointers lately (five rushing scores this year, but none over the last three weeks).

The Cowboys' rush D gave up 33/119/0 to the Browns last week, and held Philadelphia to 23/91/1 rushing two weeks ago. They rank 13th in the NFL this year, averaging 106.6 rushing yards allowed per game, with eight rushing TDs given up so far.

Morris is a solid back, while the Cowboys are so-so at run defense, but they enjoy home-field advantage this week. On balance, this looks like a neutral matchup for the Redskins' rushers as they renew a NFC East rivalry on Thanksgiving Day.

Weather: Cowboys' Stadium expects a high of 75 F on Thanksgiving, with only a 20% chance of rain - if the skies don't get threatening, the retractable roof may be open for this game. However, if a storm approaches, the Stadium will be buttoned up tight - either way, weather conditions shouldn't impact either team much during this contest.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Arizona Cardinals Rushing Offense vs St. Louis Rams Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Back on Thursday, October 4, the Rams defeated the Cardinals 17-3 - Ryan Williams led the team in rushing with 14/33/0 to his credit. As Williams is now out on IR and Chris Wells (who didn't play in the prior game) is expected back in the lineup on Sunday, looking back won't tell us much about the Cardinals' outlook in this game.

Some things that will give us hints is the sorry state of run blocking in Arizona this year - the team ranks 30th in the NFL averaging 82.3 yards rushing per game. LaRod Stephens-Howling is the only Cardinals' back with rushing TDs (he's put up 90/311/4 rushing and 13/105/0 receiving to lead the team's stable of running backs in both rushing and receiving during 2012). So far this year, Wells has averaged 2.6 yards per carry with 29/76/0 rushing to his credit before being put on IR-designated to return. We'll likely see a committee approach for the final weeks of the season here, with Wells and Stephens-Howling handling most of the work (assuming that Wells' knee holds up under the stress of playing in a live NFL game this weekend).

The Rams are 17th in the NFL averaging 115.1 rushing yards allowed per game, with 12 rushing scores surrendered to date (that's on the high end of the current NFL range of 0-16 rushing TDs allowed by the various teams). Last week the Jets posted 41/124/2 rushing against the Rams' defenders; two weeks ago San Francisco ground out 34/183/2 vs. St. Louis. They've been sub-par rush defenders so far during November.

Wells and Stephens-Howling are hampered by their poor offensive line, and against the so-so Rams this looks like a tough matchup to us given that Arizona only scored three points the last time they played St. Louis.

Weather: University of Phoenix Stadium expects a high of 80 F on Sunday, with a 0% chance of rain - in such nice conditions, the retractable roof will probably be open. Weather conditions shouldn't impact either team in this contest.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Baltimore Ravens Rushing Offense at San Diego Chargers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Baltimore destroyed the Raiders 55-20 two weeks ago (with 13/35/1 rushing and 4/33/0 receiving for Ray Rice), but barely survived a 13-10 slug-fest in Pittsburgh last week (20/40/0 rushing for Rice, with 5/53/0 receiving). Of late, Rice has been getting plenty of work, but he hasn't provided much production in his chances. We'll see if the Chargers see Rice's best game on Sunday.

He better bring his best game to this matchup - the Chargers currently rank third in the NFL averaging 87.9 yards rushing allowed per game, with only four rushing scores surrendered to date. Denver managed 25/133/0 rushing vs. San Diego last week; Tampa had 22/74/0 two weeks ago. This is a hard-nosed defensive front, folks.

This looks like a tough matchup for the slumping Rice.

Weather: Qualcomm Stadium expects a high of 68 F on Sunday, with a 0% chance of rain forecast - weather conditions shouldn't play a role in the outcome of this contest.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Carolina Panthers Rushing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Panthers' running backs managed to score a TD last week - Jonathan Stewart ran in one with 15/43/1 rushing and 1/30/0 receiving to his credit. Meanwhile, DeAngelo Williams continues to under-produce, with 7/18/0 rushing last week, while Cam Newton contributed 11/40/0 rushing to the Panthers' effort during the OT loss to Tampa Bay. As this was Stewart's first rushing TD of the year (85/309/1 rushing with 15/148/1 receiving so far this year, 38th-ranked fantasy running back in the land), we're not going to get too excited about the final quarter of the season, unfortunately.

The Eagles are slouching towards oblivion as of week 12, with a 3-7 record to date - the team ranks 19th in the NFL in terms of average yards rushing allowed per game (118.3), but they have given away only three rushing TDs all year long (so it looks like Stewart owners may have to wait a while longer for his next rushing TD). Washington piled up 34/169/0 rushing vs. Philadelphia last week, while Dallas posted 25/101/0 on the ground two weeks ago.

Two sub-par teams clash in this one - we give the Eagles an edge thanks to their stubborn ways at the goal line.

Weather: On Monday night, Lincoln Financial Field expects a low of 37 F with a 10% chance for rain. In such cool conditions, the footballs will be hard and slick, making ball handling, and the passing/kicking games more tricky than usual. No extreme weather is expected at this time, but owners of Panthers and Eagles should check a shorter-term forecast before setting their lineups this week.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Cleveland Browns Rushing Offense vs Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Trent Richardson has posted over 100 yards (combined) over the last three games played, with 77/323/1 rushing and 13/92/0 receiving - he put up 28/95/0 rushing and 6/49/0 receiving to his credit at Dallas, most recently. Montario Hardesty has been a bit player during that same three game span, with 7/26/0 rushing - this is Richardson's rushing attack entering the final 1/3 of the season.

The Steelers battled Baltimore to a narrow 10-13 loss last week, allowing just 20/40/0 rushing to Ray Rice (23/47/0 rushing for Baltimore as a team). Kansas City posted 35/142/1 rushing on this group two weeks ago, though - the Steelers' defensive front has been up in down in recent weeks. To date, Pittsburgh ranks fourth in the NFL averaging 89.8 yards rushing allowed per game, with six rushing TDs given up so far this year.

Richardson is on a roll, but he's facing a tough matchup when the Steelers arrive in Cleveland.

Weather: Cleveland Browns' Stadium expects a high of 37 F on Sunday, with a 20% chance of precipitation, and winds in excess of 10 mph. In such cool, blustery conditions the football will be hard and slick, while swirling winds may make the passing and kicking games more difficult than usual. Owners of Steelers and Browns will want to check a shorter-term forecast before setting their lineups this week.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Dallas Cowboys Rushing Offense vs Washington Redskins Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Cowboys will host the Redskins for the traditional Thanksgiving Day game - entering the short week it appears that DeMarco Murray (foot injury) still won't make it back as he missed practice on Tuesday. Also, Felix Jones was out of practice on Tuesday due to soreness in both of his knees - 'He was dealing with a knee going into last week and hurt his other knee in the ballgame,' coach Jason Garrett said. 'It sounds like it's feeling better and better and better and we'll just see what his availability is over the course of the next couple of days.' If Jones can't go Thursday, then the Cowboys would have to rely on a mix of Lance Dunbar, Phillip Tanner, and fullback Lawrence Vickers to tote the football. Fantasy owners should stay in touch with Footballguys.com's players in the news as Thursday's games approach as this is a developing situation at midweek. During the game last week, Dallas managed 21/63/1 rushing led by Jones' 14/43/1 rushing (2/12/0 receiving) - Dunbar had 5/10/0 rushing with 2/6/0 receiving to his credit vs. Cleveland last week.

The Redskins' rush D limited the Eagles to 21/80/0 rushing last week, after allowed 27/129/2 to the Panthers back in week nine. So far this year, Washington ranks seventh in the NFL averaging 94.6 yards rushing allowed per game, with seven rushing TDs given out to date. Usually, they are closer to the numbers that Philadelphia put up on a week to week basis.

Dallas' backs are banged up entering this game, and though they have home-field advantage this looks like a tough matchup (even if Jones and/or Murray were healthy).

Weather: Cowboys' Stadium expects a high of 75 F on Thanksgiving, with only a 20% chance of rain - if the skies don't get threatening, the retractable roof may be open for this game. However, if a storm approaches, the Stadium will be buttoned up tight - either way, weather conditions shouldn't impact either team much during this contest.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Offense vs Denver Broncos Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Jamaal Charles has put up 100+ yards combined in each of his last two games, with 23/100/1 rushing at the Steelers two weeks ago, and 17/87/0 rushing with 4/31/0 receiving vs. Cincinnati last week. He's once again handling the bulk of the work for the Chiefs, with Peyton Hillis (13/40/0 rushing with 1/2/0 receiving in the last two games) and Shaun Draughn (2/10/0 rushig and 2/1/0 receiving) mixed in occasionally over the last two games, to no great effect. Start Charles if you've got him.

The Broncos' rush D averages 93.8 rushing yards allowed per game (fifth in the NFL) with five rushing TDs given up to date. San Diego was held to 23/53/0 rushing last week, while Carolina had 21/52/0 rushing vs. Denver two weeks ago - right now, Denver is playing shut-down defense.

An elite running back faces a top-tier rush D in this one - it's a tough matchup for Charles but he's probably still one of your fantasy starters given his resurgent role in the Chiefs' offense of late.

Weather: Arrowhead Stadium expects a relatively-toasty high of 54 F on Sunday, with winds around 10 mph - for Kansas City Missouri, that's about as good as it gets at this time of year. Owners of Chiefs and Broncos should have decent weather on tap for their fantasy players in this contest.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New Orleans Saints Rushing Offense vs San Francisco 49ers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

New Orleans has suddenly recovered a viable rushing attack, with two games in a row near or over 150 yards rushing as a team - Atlanta allowed 29/148/1 rushing to the Saints, while they piled up 28/153/1 at Oakland last week. Mark Ingram has 28/134/1 rushing during that two game spread, while Chris Ivory has posted 15/109/1 rushing with 1/13/0 receiving, and Pierre Thomas has chipped in 10/40/0 rushing and 4/34/0 receiving. Darren Sproles (healing his broken hand) is practicing as of midweek and is expected to go for this game as well - the Saints' many-headed monster is alive and well entering this game with playoff implications.

The 49ers recovered from their embarrassing 24-all tie with St. Louis to slam Chicago 32-7 last week, allowing just 28/85/0 rushing to the Bears. To date, the 49ers rank sixth in the NFL averaging 94.3 yards rushing per game, with only three rushing TDs allowed this year. They are rock solid in rush defense most of the time this year.

This is a tough matchup for the surging New Orleans stable of backs.

Weather: Inside the Mercedes Benz Superdome, weather won't impact either team in this matchup.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Atlanta Falcons Rushing Offense at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

This is the first clash between the NFC South foes during 2012 - it should be a very entertaining game between two potent offenses.

Well, at least the Falcons' passing offense is potent - the rushing attack has been pretty blah most weeks (currently ranked 28th in the NFL averaging 89.2 rushing yards per game, with a total of six rushing scores so far this year). Michael Turner did manage to punch in a TD on Arizona last week (15/46/1 rushing, with two targets for zero receptions), while Jacquizz Rodgers generated 5/16/0 rushing with 5/35/0 receiving in his touches last week. Turner has scored two TDs in the past three games, sandwiching acceptable efforts around a dreadful 13/15/0 rushing performance at New Orleans two weeks ago.

The Buccaneers' rush D ranks first in the NFL averaging 81.8 rushing yards allowed per game, with seven rushing scores given out to date (in the middle of the current NFL range of 0-16 rushing scores allowed by various teams). Carolina was limited to 34/97/1 rushing as a team last week; San Diego posted 26/103/0 rushing at Tampa two weeks ago.

This is a bad matchup for Turner and Rodgers, partly due to the fact that Tampas' pass D is terribly vulnerable - the Falcons will likely throw the ball a lot in this game, running the ball sparingly (perhaps even more sparingly than usual).

Weather: Tampa expects beautiful weather on Sunday, with a high of 70 F forecast, and a 0% chance of rain.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Detroit Lions Rushing Offense vs Houston Texans Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Mikel LeShoure led the Lions with 19/84/1 rushing vs. Green Bay last week (and added one catch for -2 yards) - he's put up 48/197/4 rushing with 2/3/0 receiving over the past three games, while Joique Bell has chipped in with 15/81/1 rushing and 11/85/0 receiving over that same span of time. LeShoure is the Lions' lead back entering the final 1/3 of the season.

Houston's rush D performed up to expectations last week, holding the Jaguars to 29/86/0 on the ground after crushing the Bears' backs two weeks ago (16/39/0 rushing with two receptions for -3 yards compiled by Matt Forte; 3/34/0 rushing put up by Michael Bush) - the Texans have yet to surrender a single rushing TD this year, and average 85.6 yards rushing allowed per game (second-least in the NFL).

This is a bad matchup for the Lions' running backs, despite the spate of TDs that LeShoure owners have enjoyed in the past three games.

Weather: Inside Ford Field, weather won't impact either team.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


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

Reggie Bush (10/20/0 rushing with 2/15/0 receiving) and Daniel Thomas (12/33/0) both underwhelmed fantasy owners against the powder-puff Buffalo rush D last week (they are 31st in the NFL in yards allowed per game and worst in the NFL with 16 rushing scores given up). Frankly, it's hard to recommend either player (or Lamar Miller) when your team limps to 24/60/0 vs. the 2012 Buffalo Bills. The Miami rushing attack is in a state of collapse entering week 12.

The Seahawks are ranked 12th in the NFL averaging 100.6 rushing yards allowed per game, with five rushing scores given away so far. Most recently, the Jets were held to 22/84/0 rushing by the Seahawks.

Avoid the Dolphins backs if at all possible.

Weather: Sun Life Stadium expects a high of 76 F on Sunday, with a 0% chance of rain forecast - it should be near-perfect football weather in South Florida.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.