START: Ravens QB Joe Flacco @ Seahawks. The Ravens have positioned this game as a statement game, having had letdowns against the Jags and Tennessee. The truth is, in 6 of their 8 games, the Ravens have faced 5 of other 9 defenses in the top ten with theirs. They’ve faced the team that’s 3rd in points allowed, 5th, two teams tied for 8th, and the 10th. The Ravens are 2nd in points allowed and seventh in points scored. They have a wide range of weapons to attack Pete Carroll’s defense – expect big weeks for Boldin who’s played in Seattle a lot, Pitta and Dickson – and the Ravens should get three or more turnovers on Tarvaris Jackson which will give them extra possessions and great field position. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tim Tebow and Christian Ponder are also good starts for people leery concerning their starting QB’s match-up or the wind in Chicago, Cleveland, and Cincinnati.
SIT: Bengals QB Andy Dalton, vs. Steelers. Wind will be a factor but James Farrior, Dick Lebeau – 11-1 vs. rookie QBs – and Troy Polamalu will be bigger issues.
START: Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew @ Colts.I own Mojo and have recently been torn about starting him because his offense never gets in the red zone – he has 1 TD in his last three games – and teams are still bringing eight-man fronts against Gabbert. I expect Gabbert and Koetter to have worked on getting him to speed up his progressions and find plays that he’s most comfortable with. Gabbert has struggled with holding onto the ball and the Colts have only forced one turnover in the last five weeks. This all makes me believe Mojo will rediscover his mojo against the Colts. He leads the NFL with 166 carries, so you don’t have to worry about him getting forgotten.
SIT: Cardinals RB Beanie Wells @ Eagles. The Eagles understand this is a playoff game for them. If they lose this game, their season is over. Wells may be healthy for this game. However, I have him on one of my fantasy teams and have benched him.
BONUS! START: Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray vs. Bills. Don’t sweat Felix Jones’ return this week. The Bills defense is very generous. With the exception of a beat-up Redskins team, every opponent of the Bills has run for at least 108 yards and they are 30th in rushing TDs allowed with 10. Murray is going to continue to get better and will be a 2nd round draft pick in 10 team leagues next year.
START: Jaguars WR Mike Thomas, @ Colts.
SIT: Saints WR Marques Coltson, @ Falcons.
START: Panthers WR Brandon LaFell, vs. Titans.
SIT: Seahawks WR Sidney Rice, vs. Ravens.
START: Texans TE Owen Daniels @ Bucs. The Bucs are strong in the secondary. However, tight ends have exploited the Bucs the past few weeks (Graham 6-78, 7-124; Vernon Davis 3-39-2).
SIT: 49ers TE Vernon Davis vs. Giants. He may be the best weapon the 49ers have but Coughlin and Fewell know this and will challenge the Niners to fire somewhere else.
START: Rams DST, @ Browns. Colt McCoy, Greg Little, Evan Moore and – yes – even Chris Ogbonnoya could eventually be a part of a good offense. The line and other receivers aren’t ready to make that happen. The Rams defense has jumped up the last few weeks.
SIT: Jets DST, vs. Patriots. This should be a gimme, since no one prepares a team better than Bill Belichick and New England has not been defeated three straight games since 2002. However, after the great performances the past two weeks by the Jets defense – not to mention the issues the Patriots have had stretching the field and holding onto the ball -, you may be tempted to play the Jets D. Don’t.
Click “Like” if you have made moves to make a playoff run in your league.
Follow me at: http://twitter.com/Chris_M_Bach