Our bad on this Vikings – Steelers matchup. Pittsburgh’s usually better than this, and we thought Adrian Peterson would be able to negate the stench emitting from Christian Ponder. We were wrong. Please don’t use this blunder to restart the Revolutionary War, and we promise to give you John Oliver back.
Week 4 Byes: Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers
Baltimore Ravens (2-1) at Buffalo Bills (1-2)
The lowdown: After an inauspicious start, the Ravens looked like the defending world champs last week, laying the smackdown on the Houston Texans. Though lacking the merit of its historical predecessors, the Baltimore defense proved it’s no pushover, holding the Texans to nine points and notching a pick-six. Equally impressive was Baltimore’s conquest came with offensive catalyst Ray Rice on the sidelines. Considering the Ravens were in the news this week for their, ahem, off-the-field activities, you better believe they’re fuming to get back on the gridiron.
Not that the Bills are a cakewalk. Buffalo may rock a 1-2 record, yet Doug Marrone’s squad has been a feisty bunch, nearly knocking off the Pats in the season opener and losing to the Jets by seven. Rookie signal caller EJ Manuel has played well beyond his years, giving those in Ralph Wilson Stadium a sentiment that’s been missing for quite some time: hope. But before we get too sappy, not all is well for the Bills: C.J. Spiller is hampered with a thigh injury, and All-Pro safety Jairus Byrd’s passive-aggressive sabbatical from the team endures. If Buffalo harbors any aspirations of relevancy in the AFC this season, they will need both playmakers back in form.
Key injuries: BUF CB Stephon Gilmore – Wrist (Out), BUF RB C.J. Spiller – Thigh (Probable); BAL RB Ray Rice – Hip (Questionable)
Line: Baltimore -3, 44 points
Fantasy Impact: Torrey Smith is starting to flourish into a primary target for Joe Flacco, yet it’s the development of undrafted rookie Marlon Brown that has our eye. The Georgia product hauled in eight balls for 110 yards and two scores in the first two weeks before posting a no-show against the Texans. Nevertheless, the Bills secondary can be exploited, and with Rice still on the mend, look for the Ravens to attack from the skies. If such a circumstance comes to pass (Get it? Come to “pass”? Thank you, thank you…), Brown could be in for a bountiful harvest.
TV: CBS – 1:00 PM
The Ravens win if: The running game gets back on track (2.6 yards per carry, third-worst in the NFL); Joe Flacco minimizes mistakes and Baltimore D wreaks havoc on Manuel.
The Bills win if: Bryant McKinnie decides to throw an impromptu party Saturday night. Don’t put it past him.
Prediction: Ravens 24, Bills 20
Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-2)
The lowdown: The Who-Deys enter off one of the more thrilling regular-season contests in recent memory, a turnover-tizzy 34-30 victory over the Packers. Featuring a stout defensive front and host of spark plugs on offense, the Bengals are emerging as a dark horse AFC contender. And lest backers fear a trap game, Cincinnati lost in Cleveland last season, which should keep the Bengals on their toes.
As for the Brownies…1-0 in the Brian Hoyer Era! Of course, when I tried to congratulate one of my college buddies who has the misfortune of living in Cleveland, his response was, “I dunno, man. Now we aren’t even in line for a high draft pick. It’s like we lose when we win.”
And you wonder why LeBron bounced.
Key injuries: CIN CB Leon Hall – Hamstring (Questionable), CIN RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Ankle (Probable); CLE OL Shawn Lauvao – Ankle (Questionable)
Line: Cincinnati -4, 42.5 points
Fantasy Impact: Hoyer…hey, don’t laugh. Cleveland will likely be down early against Cincinnati this weekend, and with the exodus of Trent Richardson, the Browns backfield remains a mess. Both elements point to an overabundance of aerial ventures for Hoyer and the Cleveland offense. Replicating Week 3’s 54 passing attempts might be a stretch, but 40-plus throws is not out of the question. Hoyer has viable assets in Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron, and Cincinnati’s defense can be victimized in the passing game. Hey, weirder things have happened…like the Browns winning last week.
TV: CBS – 1:00 PM
The Bengals win if: Giovani Bernard continues to see further assimilation into the Bengals offense; the D-Line repeats its suffocating showing from last weekend .
The Browns win if: Green is contained; Andy Dalton has one of those Andy Dalton games that remind you, “Oh yeah, that’s why the Bengals aren’t better, they have Andy Dalton at quarterback.”
Prediction: Bengals 23, Browns 17
Chicago Bears (3-0) at Detroit Lions (2-1)
The lowdown: Marc Trestman has been effective in refining the efficiency in Jay Cutler and the Bears offense, a development that’s evidenced in just five giveaways through the first three games. However, as solid as Cutler and company have been, defense remains the foundation in the Windy City. At first glance, the Bears don’t seem to be anything remarkable on paper, giving up a fair share of points (24.7 per game, 20th in the NFL). This figure is countered by the team’s league-best 11 takeaways, including a NFL-high three defensive touchdowns. Brian Urlacher may be gone and Pro Bowler Henry Melton is on the shelf, but the Chicago resistance is still a tour de force.
Known for their high-volume passing game (336 yards per contest, second-best in the NFL), Motown has a functioning terrain attack for the first time in years. The combination of Reggie Bush and Joique Bell has provided a dual proficiency in the rushing and receiving arenas, alleviating some of the offensive burden off Matthew Stafford. Combined with a disruptive group of defensive lineman, the Lions have a reasonable shot at returning to the postseason.
Key injuries: DET WR Calvin Johnson – Knee (Questionable); DET RB Reggie Bush – Knee (Probable); CHI CB Charles Tillman – Groin (Questionable), CHI DT Henry Melton – Knee (Out)
Line: Detroit -3, 47.5 points
Fantasy Impact: Ryan Broyles is finally back to full strength, giving Detroit a sound complement to Calvin Johnson over the middle. In PPR leagues, Broyles’ short-route prowess makes him a must-have. And while we’re here, I know Nate Burleson is catching heat for crashing his car while trying to house pizza the other night, but let who has not operated a motor vehicle with a pie on their lap cast the first stone.
TV: FOX – 1:00 PM
The Bears win if: Matt Forte maximizes an advantageous matchup; Bears defense maintains its opportunistic ways.
The Lions win if: Bush and Bell keep Chicago honest; Ndamukong Suh delivers the Rock Bottom to Cutler.
Prediction: Lions 30, Chicago 26
New York Giants (0-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)
The lowdown: The Giants, 0-4. That seemed like an absurd proposition a month ago, although it’s close to becoming a reality in Arrowhead this Sunday. David Wilson has been a lightning rod for most of the offenses’ woes, but the second-year back wasn’t that bad in Week 3, and his output could have been respectable if it wasn’t for two nullified runs (one of which was to pay dirt). Rather, the rapport, or lack thereof, between Eli Manning and his receiving corps is the fundamental issue with this unit. Early deficits have put an unfair onus on this group, but if the G-Men hope to depart the NFC cellar, it starts with the man under center.
On the other side of that spectrum resides the Kansas City Chiefs. Andy Reid and Alex Smith were envisioned to restore stability and tranquility to the franchise, yet the duo has gone above and beyond the call of duty in their debut. While he’s not posting inflated passing numbers, Smith has been a sound presence for the Kanas City offense, an outlook that has correlated to zero turnovers this season. Eric Berry and Tamba Hali lead a defense that has racked up a conference-best nine takeaways. Better believe it, folks: these Chiefs are for real.
Key injuries: KC OT Branden Albert – Shoulder (Questionable), KC CB Brandon Flowers – Knee (Questionable); NYG CB Corey Webster – Hip (Questionable)
Line: Kanas City -4, 43 points
Fantasy Impact: Considering the Giants have allowed seven passing touchdowns against two interceptions, inserting Smith versus New York in deeper formats or two-QB leagues could endow a nice afternoon.
TV: FOX – 1:00 PM
The Giants win if: Eli and company get on the same page; Coach Reid has his first clock-management issues in his KC tenure; the G-Men bring a stable of Clydesdales.
The Chiefs win if: Jamaal Charles goes nuts; Smith keeps the ball out of New York’s hands; Tom Coughlin’s head explodes from yelling at Wilson.
Prediction: Giants 20, Chiefs 14
Arizona Cardinals (1-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-3)
The lowdown: I love me some Greg Schiano. Reports of tampering with team captaincy voting, alienating his newly-acquired All-Pro cornerback, the infamous victory-formation collusions last year…man is a real-life Bud Kilmer! Sad that he’ll be gone in a short few weeks.
Mike Glennon is starting over Josh Freeman, so there’s that. Not trying to rain on the dude’s debut, but the fact that Glennon’s teammates compare his appearance to Napoleon Dynamite paints an ominous forecast.
The battle between Larry Fitzgerald and Darrelle Revis should be riveting, and the Cardinals aren’t as bad as everyone believes. Once linebacker Daryl Washington returns from suspension, this Arizona roster could be a legitimate entity in the NFC conversation.
Key injuries: ARZ WR Larry Fitzgerald – Hamstring (Probable), ARZ RB Rashard Mendenhall – Toe (Probable); TB WR Vincent Jackson – Ribs (Questionable), TB WR Mike Williams – Hamstring (Questionable)
Line: Tampa Bay -1, 40.5 points
Fantasy Impact: Super desperate for a running back? Take a gander at Arizona’s Andre Ellington. With Rashard Mendenhall banged up, Ellington could see an elevated workload versus a Tampa Bay defense yielding 107 rushing yards per outing. The Cardinals line is shaky, harnessing Ellington’s value, but his supporting role in the receiving game (three catches for 36 yards in Week 3) gives his stock an extra boost.
TV: FOX – 1:00 PM
The Cardinals win if: The Arizona defense imposes its will on Glennon; Carson Palmer keeps the miscues to a minimum.
The Buccaneers win if: Doug Martin gets his Muscle Hamster on; Fitzgerald gets stranded on Revis Island.
Prediction: Cardinals 23, Buccaneers 14
Indianapolis Colts (2-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3)
The lowdown: How far along is Trent Richardson in the acclimation process? Can the Indianapolis defense, viewed as the team’s Achilles’ heel a year ago, prolong its efforts (16 points per game, sixth-lowest in the NFL) or is it merely an early-season aberration? Will the Jaguars cross midfield?
Key injuries: IND RB Ahmad Bradshaw – Neck (Out), IND S LaRon Landry – Ankle (Doubtful); JAC RB Maurice Jones-Drew – Ankle (Probable)
Line: Indianapolis -9, 42.5 points
Fantasy Impact: Coby Fleener has an opportunity to be a consistent asset in fantasy with fellow tight end Dwayne Allen done for the year. Jacksonville has struggled in defending the middle of the field, providing room to roam for Fleener this weekend.
TV: CBS – 1:00 PM
The Colts win if: I think this is self-explanatory.
The Jaguars win if: Hey, at least Jags fans have a chance to grab a free beer on Sunday. Might be as close to a victory as they get this fall.
Prediction: Colts 35, Jacksonville 17
Seattle Seahawks (3-0) at Houston Texans (2-1)
The lowdown: Billed as a rendezvous of two premier resistances, the Seahawks and Texans have plenty to offer on the other side of the ball as well.
Seattle flaunts one of the best ground games in the league, averaging 132.7 yards per contest, and Russell Wilson’s 109.6 QB Rating is tops among NFC field generals. Alas, the Seahawks line is in disarray, with injuries ravaging the big men up front. With Russell Okung out for the next two months, Seattle’s protection issues will only be amplified in the coming weeks.
For the Texans, rookie DeAndre Hopkins has finally given the club a dependable No. 2 receiver. The former Clemson Tiger has brought in 18 receptions for 243 yards; more importantly, he’s taken heat off Andre Johnson. Houston remains a soil-first offense with Arian Foster and Ben Tate, but Hopkins’ deep-ball dexterity has infused the unit with new life.
Key injuries: SEA OT Breno Giacomini – Knee (Doubtful), SEA DT Jordan Hill – Biceps (Out); HOU OT Duane Brown – Toe (Questionable), HOU CB Johnathan Joseph – Toe (Questionable)
Line: Seattle -2, 42 points
Fantasy Impact: Don’t go dancing against these defenses. If you’re a Wilson or Matt Schaub manager, better options exist. If you happen to own both? Well, that was terrible foresight on your part.
TV: FOX – 1:00 PM
The Seahawks win if: The Seattle secondary harasses Schaub into multiple slip-ups; Wilson and Lynch can overcome line worries.
The Texans win if: Foster shakes off his so-so start to 2013; Houston front seven capitalizes on vulnerable Seahawks vanguard.
Prediction: Texans 17, Seahawks 16
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-3) at Minnesota Vikings (0-3)
The lowdown: Seriously, London, it wasn’t supposed to be like this. Did you see what Adrian Peterson did last year? It was like Super Tecmo Bo Jackson in the flesh! And the constant success from the Steelers franchise is almost unparalleled in any sport. Please, don’t be mad…See, we even took Christian Ponder out with a (cough cough) “rib” injury! And at least we didn’t send over Jacksonville, right?
Key injuries: MIN DT Kevin Williams – Knee (Probable), MIN QB Christian Ponder – Ribs (Out)
Line: Pittsburgh -2.5, 42 points
Fantasy Impact: Heralded rookie Le’Veon Bell is set to make his first appearance in black and yellow across the pond. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the same can be said for Bell in your lineup. Bell may get the start for Pittsburgh, yet imagine Felix Jones and Jonathan Dwyer to see a healthy dose of action. Throw in a decent Minnesota front seven and it spells a bench spot for Bell.
TV: CBS – 1:00 PM
The Steelers win if: Bell spurs the Steelers offense from its lethargic state; Pittsburgh defense has a field day with Matt Cassel.
The Vikings win if: Peterson goes for 200-plus. That’s right, you heard me; Pittsburgh offensive line fails to clog its holes.
Prediction: Steelers 33, Vikings 17
New York Jets (2-1) at Tennessee Titans (2-1)
The lowdown: Following this encounter, either the Titans or Jets will be 3-1. In 2013. Chew on that cookie for a moment. (Don’t you DARE bring up the prospect of a tie.)
His play would hardly be described as easy on the eyes, and his overall performance remains a work in progress. Nevertheless, Jake Locker has been a pleasant surprise for the Titans in September, showcasing his ability to be a productive, if not potent, quarterback. His faculty has been good enough to take pressure off Chris Johnson, who’s accumulated 256 yards on the ground through three games (most in the AFC).
But the chief stimulus for Tennessee has been its defense. With a throttling secondary and active linebacker corps, the Titans are surrendering just 18.7 points per game. No doubt the Titans defense lacks household names at the moment. Expect that to change if such display continues.
The Jets know a little something about displays, although most of theirs occurred in the media in negative connotation. Despite becoming a running joke the past year, Gang Green has endured thanks to its defense. New York is giving up a paltry 270 total yards per contest, third-best in the NFL. This is especially outstanding considering the offseason exile of shutdown corner Darrelle Revis. Geno Smith’s erraticism in the backfield has been softened by the works of Bilal Powell (226 yards, 4.3 yards per attempt) and solid offensive line. Can the Jets defy expectations and become a playoff aspirant?
Key injuries: NYJ RB Chris Ivory – Hamstring (Out); TEN WR Kenny Britt – Neck (Questionable), TEN RB Shonn Greene – Knee (Out)
Line: Tennessee -4, 39.5 points
Fantasy Impact: An examination of the game logs reveals a feast-or-famine harvest from Jets wideout Stephen Hill. Usually a lack of stability translates to a stay-away in the fantasy realm, and a matchup against a tough secondary this week doesn’t augur fruition. However, Tennessee’s objective will be checking Santonio Holmes, and as an upshot, don’t be surprised if Hill finds extra wiggle room downfield.
TV: CBS – 4:05 PM
The Jets win if: Powell submits a laudable outing; Locker’s careless with the pigskin.
The Titans win if: Geno’s imprudent decision-making rears its ugly head; the Titans WR crew give Johnson breathing room.
Prediction: Jets 14, Titans 10
Washington Redskins (0-3) at Oakland Raiders (1-2)
The lowdown:The rise of Robert Griffin III made Washington the darling of the NFC last campaign. The recovery of RG3 following knee surgery in the offseason hasn’t been as prosperous, with the former Heisman winner’s absence of mobility encumbering his ability.
Not helping matters has been the dissolution of Washington’s D, as the team is allowing a league-high 488 total yards per game. Such a feeble showing has often put Washington behind on the scoreboard, removing the threat of Alfred Morris and the running game from the offense. Griffin’s comeback is getting the notoriety, but Washington’s true turnaround hopes dwell in the performance of the defense.
On the bright side, Washington takes on the Raiders this weekend, which is almost as good as a Bye week. Better yet, Matt Flynn will be calling the shots for Oakland. If Griffin can’t pull out a victory against the Silver and Black, expect full-scale panic in our nation’s capital.
Key injuries: WAS S Brandon Meriweather – Shoulder (Probable); OAK QB Terrelle Pryor – Concussion (Questionable)
Line: Washington -3.5, 43.5 points
Fantasy Impact: Oakland’s line has put the reins on Darren McFadden, meaning the Raiders will need to go aerial in hopes of finding the Promised Land. And when they go this route, expect Denarius Moore to be the principal bull’s-eye. Moore pulled in six catches off 11 targets last week for 124 yards and a score. Against Washington’s permeable secondary, imagine similar dividends.
TV: FOX – 4:25 PM
The Redskins win if: Morris sees higher incorporation into the offensive game plan; Washington employs a bend-but-don’t-break attitude against McFadden.
The Raiders win if: RG3’s leg falls off; Flynn’s presence opens up the passing game.
Prediction: Redskins 34, Raiders 24
Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) at Denver Broncos (3-0)
The lowdown: Not sure if you’ve been following the Mile High proceedings this fall, but apparently this Peyton cat’s pretty good. Call me crazy, I think he’s going to make it in this league.
Manning and the Broncos offense will take center stage against a Philly defense granting 323 passing yards per game. Obstructing such a blitzkrieg is improbable, as Manning is performing at a level rarely seen at the position. What is attainable for the Eagles is keeping Denver’s offense on the sidelines by effectively utilizing the running game. In this pass-happy NFL landscape, the Eagles are one of the remaining teams still making its bones on the turf, averaging a league-best 209 rushing yards per contest. Chip Kelly’s up-tempo attack is intended to catch the opposition off guard, but Sunday’s aim should be keeping Manning on the pine as long as possible.
Key injuries:PHI OT Jason Peters – Finger (Probable); DEN CB Champ Bailey – Foot (Questionable), DEN S Duke Ihenacho – Ankle (Questionable)
Line: Denver -12, 57.5 points
Fantasy Impact: Bryce Brown hasn’t seen much love this season, receiving a meager 15 carries. Look for that allotment to change, as LeSean McCoy is already showing wear-n-tear from an elevated workload. For those looking to take a flyer, Brown as a flex play is a high-risk, high-reward implementation.
TV: FOX – 4:25 PM
The Broncos win if: Denver’s defense, holding opponents to a league-low 43.3 rush yards per game, keeps on keepin’ on; Manning does his thing.
The Eagles win if: Michael Vick turns in one of those “Vick from Madden 2004” performances; Manning decides to up the ante by throwing left-handed.
Prediction: Broncos 40, Eagles 24
Dallas Cowboys (2-1) at San Diego (1-2)
The lowdown: The Chargers were viewed as a roster on the decline, a sentiment that started with quarterback Philip Rivers. Through three weeks, the effort put forth by San Diego illustrates the Lightning Bolts have no intentions of going quietly into the night. Rivers is in the midst of a rejuvenation campaign, hitting 70 percent of his targets for 798 yards, eight touchdowns and only one pick. Unfortunately, unless the Chargers defense fortifies its secondary (conceding a league-high 341 yards per contest), San Diego’s playoff hopes will remain a distant dream.
Speaking of wishes, DeMarco Murray is answering the collective prayers of Cowboys Nation. A victim of the infamous sophomore slump a season ago, Murray has revived his 2011 ways, racking up 286 yards in the early going with a robust 4.9 yards per carry. What’s remarkable has been Murray’s execution behind a Dallas line that can be classified as beleaguered and diminished. If Murray can continue to add a dynamic component from the backfield, Tony Romo and the Cowboys passing attack will have room to soar.
Key injuries: DAL WR Miles Austin – Hamstring (Out); SD WR Malcom Floyd – Neck (Out), SD OT King Dunlap – Concussion (Questionable)
Line: Dallas -1, 46.5 points
Fantasy Impact: Miles Austin is on the shelf and Dwayne Harris is dealing with a hip injury, bestowing a start to rookie Terrance Williams. Although shaky in the season opener against the G-Men, Williams has sparkled during practice, and the Cowboys brass feels confident in placing Williams alongside Dez Bryant in most packages. Make no mistake, Bryant, Jason Witten and even Murray are ahead in the totem pole, yet Dallas is no stranger to the skies, meaning Williams should see plenty of opportunities against a susceptible Chargers secondary.
TV: FOX – 4:25 PM
The Cowboys win if: Murray and the Cowboys offense controls the clock; Dallas resistance keeps Rivers relatively in check.
The Chargers win if: The revival of Rivers soldiers through; Romo has one of those three-turnover outings which leads to a week of, “Is Romo an ELITE quarterback?” discussion on the airwaves.
Prediction: Chargers 27, Cowboys 21
New England Patriots (3-0) at Atlanta Falcons (1-2)
The lowdown: Has a 3-0 squad ever been as disrespected as the Pats? Instead of praising the fortitude in New England’s come-from-behind win in Buffalo, critics were hung up that the Pats had the audacity to be losing in the first place. The Patriots defense put the clamps on the Jets in Week 2, yet the news deriving from Foxborough was a plethora of dropped balls by the receiving corps. I guess when you’ve been on top of the football world for decade, haters gonna’ hate.
The Falcons would gladly switch places with the Pats, as a loss could place the Dirty Birds three games behind in the NFC South by the end of Week 4. The injury absence of Steven Jackson and a beat-up receiving ranks have kept the high-flying Atlanta offense on the ground. Worse, the Falcons defense lost an integral component of its scheme with Sean Weatherspoon heading to the IR. For the reigning regular-season NFC champs, 2013 is beginning to look like a lost year.
Key injuries: ATL RB Steven Jackson – Hamstring (Out), ATL OT Sam Baker – Knee (Questionable); NE WR Danny Amendola – Groin (Questionable), NE TE Rob Gronkowski – Back (Questionable)
Line: Atlanta -1, 49.5
Fantasy Impact: Stevan Ridley’s disappearing act has deteriorated to the point that LeGarrette Blount is siphoning carries in the New England backfield. Blount – remember him? – is making the most of his prospects, amassing 65 yards last week in relief of Ridley. Blount struggles in pass protection, hurting his value in PPR leagues, but if Ridley continues to no-show with his carries, envision Blount’s workload to expand.
TV: NBC – 8:30 PM
The Patriots win if: The return of Amendola and GROOOONNNNKKK right New England’s wayward offensive attack.
The Falcons win if: The Falcons keep Tom Brady under duress; Matt Ryan is able to keep the Pats offense off the field.
Prediction: Patriots 31, Falcons 30
Miami Dolphins (3-0) at New Orleans Saints (3-0)
The lowdown: Take notice, America – this Dolphins team is legit. Coach Joe Philbin has installed the same principles and strategy that he utilized in his successful tenure as Green Bay offensive coordinator. While Ryan Tannehill is no Aaron Rodgers, the second-year arm out of Texas A&M has quietly been one of the more efficient quarterbacks in the AFC, throwing for 827 yards with a 94.3 QB rating. As Mike Wallace continues to assimilate into the Miami offense, don’t be surprised if the Dolphins challenge the Patriots for the AFC East crown.
In New Orleans, the vengeance of Sean Payton and the Saints after “Boutygate” has made for must-see spectacle. Drew Brees’ evisceration of opposing defenses is becoming systematic, and the connection between Brees and Jimmy Graham (23 catches, 358 yards) might be the most unstoppable QB-target connection in football. However, the real story out of the Big Easy has been the Saints defense. Historically a maligned group, new coordinator Rob Ryan has his unit holding adversaries to a measly 12.7 points per game. The Broncos may be reaping the early-season headlines, but New Orleans has assembled a squad more than capable of making a run to the Meadowlands come February.
Key injuries: MIA DE Cameron Wake – Knee (Questionable), MIA LB Dannell Ellerbe – Ribs (Questionable); NO RB Mark Ingram – Toe (Questionable), NO S Roman Harper – Knee (Questionable)
Line: New Orleans -7, 49.5 points
Fantasy Impact: Brandon Gibson is slowly building a rapport with Tannehill out of the slot, serving as a de facto safe haven over the middle for the Miami QB. The Saints have excelled at stopping the air game this year, giving up just 184.3 yards per game. Nevertheless, if Miami gets down early, the Dolphins will be forced to attack from above. If such a circumstance transpires, Gibson could see an allotment of pigskins in his direction.
TV: ESPN – 8:30 PM
The Saints win if: Brees in prime-time in the Superdome? I think we know how this is going to end.
The Dolphins win if: There’s another Superdome light malfunction.