We’re with you every Sunday to provide the Sunday Six Pack, an article featuring six of the biggest story lines heading into each and every week of the season. Keeping tabs on these events will keep you prepared and informed throughout the season – just don’t drive within six hours of reading this. With that in mind, let’s take a look at this week’s Sunday Six Pack:
Can #1) No Go In Buffalo
The Bills will be out their top two receivers in Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods this week against the Jets – this should allow a Jets defense that is already ranked first in the NFL in terms of rushing yards allowed per game to load up even more again the run. Expect tough sledding for Bills running backs Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller as a result. The only saving grace is if they end up being used in more a receiver capacity in PPR leagues. On the other side of the ball, the return of Santonio Holmes should make things a little easier for rookie quarterback Geno Smith. In fact, it’s an odd week, so he should be on and the Jets should win. They got lucky the bye came during their typically poor even weeks.
Can #2) Eastbound and McCown
With Jay Cutler adding a high ankle sprain to the aggravation of his groin injury, career backup and Marc Trestman poster child Josh McCown gets another start after almost leading a comeback against the Lions last week. McCown has been able to be effective throwing the ball, so it shouldn’t be too much of a downgrade for Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte, especially against the Ravens’ 19th ranked passing defense in terms of average yards given up per game. The Bears are struggling with injuries on the entire defense, including the defensive line, so if there’s any game that should get Ray Rice going, it should be this one.
Can #3) Saving the Sinking Ship?
The Buccaneers and more importantly, Greg Schiano, got a much needed win against a distracted and depleted Miami Dolphins team last week. Now they get a home game against the majorly disappointing Atlanta Falcons who may be without future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez. If Tony G isn’t able to go, it will be interesting to see if developmental tight end Levine Toilolo can step in and provide TE2 production. Harry Douglas has also missed practice this week with a knee injury suffered in practice, which may provide an opportunity for rookie wide receiver Darius Johnson. On the other side of the ball, desperate owners probably won’t get a zero from Buccaneers wide receiver Tiquan Underwood.
Can #4) Pryor Restrained
It’s becoming increasingly doubtful that Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor will be able to suit up ‘on Sunday, leaving UDFA Matt McGloin as the potential starter at Houston. The Texans defense has struggled mightily this year, but McGloin might just be the cure for their ails. JJ Watt and the rest of that defense have to be licking their chops. Its certainly not going to make things easier for Rashad Jennings even though the Texans are ranked 17th in the NFL in terms of average rushing yards given up per game. On the other side of the ball, another UDFA, Case Keenum will look to continue his hot play and attempt to further reward fantasy owners of Andre Johnson (five touchdowns in his last two games with Keenum starting).
Can #5) Kaeper-sick
49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has severely disappointed his fantasy owners, ranking just 23rd in average fantasy points per game in four point per passing touchdown leagues. Playing a charged up Saints team in the Superdome (possibly without concussed star tight end Vernon Davis) shouldn’t make things any easier. It’s hard to trust any 49ers this week outside of ageless wonder running back Frank Gore and even he might fall into the RB2/Flex category. If Davis, can’t go, DLF’s own Eric Hardter will attempt to contain his excitement at the prospect of a start for rookie tight end Vance McDonald. Saints rookie receiver Kenny Stills has three receptions in four straight games and four touchdowns in that span. He’s an interesting high ceiling wide receiver flyer for those dealing with bye weeks or injuries.
Can #6) The Game of the Millennium
At least that’s how this week’s matchup between the 9-0 Chiefs and the 8-1 Broncos is being hyped. Peyton Manning is all set to go despite lingering ankle issues and will lead his talented receiving trio of Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker and developing stud tight end Julius Thomas against a dominant Chiefs defense ranked ninth in average total yards per game given up at 326.9. With the Broncos averaging 458.7 yards of total offense per game (good for first in the NFL), something has to give. Assuming the Chiefs can slow Manning & Co. down, safety-first quarterback Alex Smith is going to have to generate points working with a receiving corp that is devoid of playmakers. I would expect a heavy dose of Jamaal Charles, not only to keep Manning off of the field, but also because the gap between him and the next biggest offensive playmaker on the Chiefs’ offense is extremely wide.
What are you looking forward to today?