Rookies set to shine in Week 5
After the Steelers and Colts took their players off the market in Week 4, the next seven Sundays will see at least four teams out of action, starting with Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Tampa Bay this weekend. That's three quality quarterbacks (last week notwithstanding) out of action this week. Time to scroll down the QB Depth Chart.
1. Andy Dalton vs. Miami - Dalton has been sensational the last three weeks. During that stretch he's totaled three touchdowns in every game (one rushing) and thrown for 890 yards. Next up he gets a Miami defense that is first in the league against the run. They haven't allowed a 100-yard game and are giving up a pitiful 2.4 yards per carry. Fortunately for Dalton owners, that means BenJarvus Green-Ellis won't carry the ball much, and with the Dolphins 30th against the pass and having just allowed Mark Sanchez and Kevin Kolb to top 300, a big day should be in the works for the "Red Rifle."
2. Andrew Luck vs. Green Bay - The Packers have defended the pass remarkably well after last year's disastrous play, but they've still allowed at least two TD tosses in three of four games. If Green Bay's pass rush doesn't get the quarterback on the ground, they will allow yards, and Luck has the legs, smarts and quick release to combat the pressure. With a defense that cannot even remotely stop Aaron Rodgers, expect Luck to put up nice garbage numbers as the Colts are forced to pass early and often.
3. Jay Cutler at Jacksonville - Against the Jaguars the last two weeks, Andrew Luck and Andy Dalton combined for 557 passing yards and posted two touchdowns apiece through the air. Luck, meanwhile, added 50 rushing yards and Dalton a score on the ground. In Soldier Field, versus the league's worst pass rush (just two sacks in four weeks!), Cutler should have little trouble finding his favorite targets all day.
4. Christian Ponder vs. Tennessee - Ponder may have struggled last week, but the Titans have made good QB starts out of everyone they've faced this season. Tennessee has allowed at least two passing scores and 200 yards to every opponent, and with Ponder getting Jerome Simpson into the fold after a three-game suspension, the Vikings passing game should become more dangerous with each week.
5. Ryan Tannehill at Cincinnati - Last week, Tannehill came out of nowhere to rack up more than 400 yards on a Cardinals defense that had previously allowed less than 200 per game to quarterbacks that included Tom Brady and Michael Vick. And he did this in the desert. Now he faces a Cincinnati team that gave up 322 yards and two scores to Brandon Weeden on its home turf in Week 2. While the Bengals have been better the last two weeks and lead the league in sacks, they're also dead last in yards per rush attempt. Miami's running game is one of the best, so don't be surprised when they use it to get Cincinnati to bite on play-action and give up some big plays to the rookie top-10 draft pick.
6. Brandon Weeden at New York Giants - Weeden might not be putting many in the end zone just yet, but the first-round pick is finding a nice rhythm pulling the trigger for Cleveland. In his past three outings after a highly forgettable Week 1 he's averaged just shy of 300 yards per game with two weeks topping the benchmark. Moreover, Weeden's averaging more than 40 pass attempts per game. That sheer volume will lead to production, and this matchup will be no exception when the Browns are forced to once again play from behind.
No. 2 QB RANKINGS
*Check injury status
12. Andy Dalton CIN vs. Mia 13. Andrew Luck IND vs. GB 14. Joe Flacco BAL at KC 15. Jay Cutler CHI at Jac 16. Alex Smith SF vs. Buf 17. Ryan Tannehill MIA at Cin 18. Matt Schaub HOU at NYJ 19. *Matt Cassel KC vs. Bal 20. Brandon Weeden CLE at NYG 21. Christian Ponder MIN vs. Ten 22. Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF at SF 23. Kevin Kolb ARZ at StL 24. *Matt Hasselbeck TEN at Min 25. Sam Bradford STL vs. Ari 26. *Russell Wilson SEA at Car 27. *Mark Sanchez NYJ vs. Hou 28. Blaine Gabbert JAC vs. Chi 29. *Jake Locker TEN at Min
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