START: Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, vs. Seahawks. The Seahawks had one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL last season (29th in passing TDs allowed and 25th in interceptions) and – if they end up finishing ranked higher than they did last year – they still aren’t at their peak in week 2 against this high-powered passing attack that will clean things up from last week. The O-line isn’t all there, but the Steelers know they are in for a long season if they lose at home to Seattle.
SIT: Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck, vs. Ravens. The Ravens D is bend not break. They love challenges like Chris Johnson and – while they are gambling more so he could have a few big plays -, Hasselbeck is facing a D-line that is really getting after it. The Jags sacked Hasselbeck twice. This should be a much rougher game.
START: Rams RB Cadillac Williams, @ Giants. Redskins RB Tim Hightower is a good play as well, but I like Cadillac in this offense with Steven Jackson out. I would monitor the situation but the Rams may really lean on Cadillac in the passing game.
SIT: Jets RB Shonn Greene, vs. Jaguars. The Titans only attempted 13 carries against the Jaguars defense, but – even with Rex’s run-first mentality – I don’t see much more success. If the Jaguars’ solid defense has any weakness, it’s depth in the secondary.
START: Giants WR Hakeem Nicks, vs. Rams. I don’t feel good about Nicks having a minor injury and only one additional day to get ready but I like the fact that the Rams will probably have more problems on offense this week and solid Rams starter Ronald Bartell will be out.
SIT: Titans WR Kenny Britt, vs. Ravens. It’s really hard to oversell the Ravens’ pass defense, despite rookie Jimmy Smith missing a few games. In the last six games, the Ravens defense has allowed just one QB to go over 246 yards – and it wasn’t Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger who they faced twice, nor Pro Bowler Matt Cassel – and have forced 24 turnovers.
START: Lions WR Nate Burleson, vs. Chiefs. This defense looks like it has regressed from last year. Stafford loves throwing to Calvin Johnson, but I expect Nate Burleson to get in the end zone this week.
SIT: Seahawks WR Mike Williams, @ Steelers. Sidney Rice being in or out doesn’t affect the fact that this is not a good play. Not only did Tarvaris Jackson spread it out more than I expected – and didnt hit Miller as much as I’d thought he would -, but this week they face a hungry Steelers defense ready to top the five sacks the Niners got against this team.
START: Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez, vs. Eagles. Jermichael Finley is obviously a great play against Carolina, especially with Jon Beason out but anyone with Finley, Gates, Davis or Daniels is going to start them every week. The Eagles have a weakness at linebacker and this is a game where Matt Ryan is looking to prove something.
SIT: Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis, @ Jets. The Jets D has only allowed 2 TE TDs (and neither of those were to #2 TEs) in their last 8 games despite facing the likes of Jason Witten, Greg Olsen, Anthony Fasano, Aaron Hernandez. Rob Gronkowski and Dallas Clark.
START: Broncos DST vs. Bengals. The Broncos know they can’t afford to start the season 0-2 at home if they want to avoid another high draft pick. The slick field contributed to several big plays for the Raiders offense last night. Andy Dalton is day-to-day as I write this, but – while John Fox would prefer to face a rookie QB – Gradkowski is getting his first consistent reps with the first team this week.
SIT: Bears DST @ Saints. The Bears defense had success in the past in games vs. a still-developing Saints offense in Chicago. I think the Saints shall drop 35 on them with their up-tempo, quick-release offense featuring several Cover-2 slicers.