I’m going to do a quick little fantasy preview on this game, and then get into some game details.
Jay Cutler: I think he will throw up 250+ yards and 2-3 touchdowns, so you be the judge on whether or not you would like that type of production in your lineup.
Brandon Marshall: He will have a great game, whether Royal plays or not, Marshall will be matched up against one of the worst secondaries in the league all game, and that can’t be good for N.E. fans. I’m predicting him to get back to his 100 yard days and have his first mult-touchdown game of the season.
Michael Pittman: He will have a very solid game, and may squeeze a touchdown in a goal line situation in this game. I’d say he’s a solid start, but not a must start. New England does have a decent run defense.
Wes Welker: Denver’s defense is one of the worst against the pass. However, they cover the #1 receivers very well because of Champ Bailey, so expect Randy Moss to get shut down. Dre Bly may have trouble matching Wes Welker’s tenacity and ability to knife through on crossing routes. I’d say if New England can move the ball, Wes Welker will be a big part of it.
Matt Prater: The only thing not to like about him in this matchup is that he’s playing in the unpredictable North East and anything can happen weather wise in that area, especially with winds. However, he has a very good chance to kick 3 field goals or more, and I would take that as a good chance to put up some points.
If You Must:
Randy Moss: I think he will have a very off game, which has been pretty common place for him this season without Tom Brady. He should give you 60 yards or so, but probably no touchdowns. But, having said that, he is a threat to go deep at any time, and that may be one reason to take a risk and play him.
Eddie Royal: He didn’t play last week, will his chemistry be off with Cutler? Only time will tell, however, look how the offense sputtered in his absense last week. But, you have to wonder if his ankle will allow him to be productive this week. I like the matchup, but not the health of this player. So, you decide what to do with him.
Tony Sheffler: Another guy that has a good matchup, but may not be worth a play. He is a playmaker for the Denver offense, but with an injury last week, he may not be very productive this week. If he plays, I say give him a shot if you don’t have much depth at TE, but if you do, play the other guy.
Ok. I have gotten the fantasy preview part out of the way. I hope everyone liked my analysis. Now, let’s see how these two teams really stack up.
QB- Cutler Vs. Cassel: Drumroll please……..ok……so this is a pretty obvious mismatch, but if he can find Randy Moss deep, all bets are off. Jay Cutler should be able to scorch NE’s porous pass defense if he has his full array of weapons. Matt Cassel, if he can hit his check downs should have a solid game, but he is going to have to be a game manager in this one and take a couple chances with Randy Moss deep.
RB- Michael Pittman vs. NE: I don’t think Lamont Jordan or Lawrence Maroney will be playing in this one. That means Sammy Morris will get a crack at Denver’s run defense, but without game breaking potential, I think Denver’s defense hold’s NE’s running game in check. Michael Pittman should have a solid game, and if Jay Cutler catches fire, I really like Pittman on screen passes and wearing NE out late in the game.
WR- Marshall/Royal Vs. Moss/Welker: I think one receiver from each team will be somewhat neutralized. And those receivers are Randy Moss and Eddie Royal. Randy Moss has the task of going up against Champ Bailey, and Eddie Royal has a chance of going against himself, well, atleast his injury. But, Marshall and Welker should have nice games, with Marshall eclipsing 100 yards and scoring a couple of times.
OL: Den. Vs. NE: This matchup should be pretty good. However, I think Denver’s offensive line is having it’s finest season in years, and has a quarterback with a quick release, I can’t say the same about Matt Cassel. With Denver running the ball effectively and getting some great matchups in the secondary, Denver’s offensive line will play a huge role in that.
Defense/ST: I love Matt Prater in this matchup and don’t feel that N.E. is going to get as many scoring opportunities, so the kicking matchup should favor Denver. With some injury concerns, i’d give the advantage to NE in the return game.
Defensively speaking, I think Denver will get pumped up for this road game, and fully expose this NE defense, also Denver’s defense has had to go against some pretty good quarterbacks in the early going, it get’s a break in this matchup, I look for Denver to come out and confuse Matt Cassel and with injuries in the running game, they will struggle to run it as well.
So, Denver matches up favorably to NE, that shouldn’t be a surprise, even when Tom Brady plays, Denver typically beats N.E.
Score: 34-17 Denver
So, grab your popcorn and get ready for MNF football…..oh and a cold beverage to wash it down would be nice too.