Analysis and Preview

By Zack Cimini

Can you believe we are almost halfway through the football season? It?s amazing and has been a year filled with disappointments. So far players like Ricky Williams, Donovan McNabb, Donte Stallworth, and many others have been destroying their fantasy football teams. Teams like the Raiders and Saints have been horrendous. It just goes to show why the NFL is the best sport, because there are so many changes year in and year out.

It looks like everyone jumped on the Bills band wagon to early. Every year there is a team that over achieves in the first couple of weeks, and this year it was Buffalo. They are still a great team, but all of the sudden they aren?t getting anything from Drew Bledsoe. He is an All-Pro quarterback and will get this team back on track. A wild card is still not out of the question for them.

As far as week six went, how about the Carolina Panthers? They fought off a Colts game tying touchdown, and kept it together without running back Stephen Davis. Jake Delhomme also opened up the passing game a little bit and now all of the sudden the Panthers are looking like serious contenders.

The Cowboys have to be the other surprise team in the league, and should be able to win their division with the way everybody else is playing. Quincy Carter has found his niche with Parcells, and is playing like a fifth year starter. He is adding confidence each and every week, and it could build into greatness by the playoffs.

The New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers are known for their slow starts, and are going to have to overcome them again to get into the playoffs. With the Giants they just need to limit their turnovers on offense, and start utilizing their weapons. Kerry Collins is getting beat up, and needs the time to get the ball down field to his talented receivers. With Pittsburgh they just aren?t playing well yet. Bill Cowher still hasn?t found the way to distribute carries between Zereoue and Bettis, and that has resulted in a weak running game.

Well let?s get ready for week seven. Remember Indianapolis, Arizona, Pittsburgh, and Jacksonville all have byes this week.

Baltimore vs. Cincinnati
Corey Dillon is expected to be healthy this week, and that means Corey Dillon vs. Jamal Lewis. This will be a grind it out football game, and will come down to which running back does better. Dillon has been unhealthy all season and will be out to prove that he is still a top ten back in the league. The Bengals have one thing that the Ravens don?t have and that is a solid passing game. Chad Johnson and Peter Warrick have quietly been one of the best one-two tandems in the league. It could end up being the deciding factor if Dillon can establish the ground game early on.

San Diego vs. Cleveland
No one has talked about Tim Couch?s two straight victories. If you remember this team started off 0-3, and has came on late thanks to William Green. He has had two solid weeks and has complemented Couch well. When the Browns started winning towards the end of last season it was also because of Green, so I guess that is a little hint to the rest of the league. You will win if you can stop the Browns running game. The Chargers haven?t been able to stop any offense all season, so William Green would be a great start in your fantasy football leagues.

Dallas vs. Detroit
If before the season you asked which quarterback was better, ten out of ten people would have said Harrington. Now I bet seven to eight would say Carter, and a win this week would put the Cowboys at 5-1. The Lions don?t present much of a challenge, and this should be another easy win to add to the Cowboys easy schedule.

Green Bay vs. St. Louis
The Rams looked impressive Monday Night and now will have to keep things going against Green Bay. Green Bay may be 3-3 but they?ve been playing solid football lately. They lost a tough one to Kansas City, and will need to limit the Rams offense if they?re going to win this one. If you?re Kurt Warner you might want to try to find a new team, because he isn?t going to step on the field again in St. Louis unless Bulger gets hurt.

New England vs. Miami
Miami could be undefeated if they wouldn?t have overlooked their opening day match up against the Texans. Both of these teams have played some memorable games against each other, and the Dolphins still have last season?s finale on their mind. They had the game all but won, and blew it in the last few minutes and then in overtime. This is a whole new season though, and the Patriots are going to need a passing attack to win this one. Tom Brady has struggled all season, and we all know that Miami won?t give up 150 yards on the ground.

Denver vs. Minnesota
Is this a preview of the Super Bowl? I doubt it, but it is an interesting game. Both teams rely on high potent offenses, with average defenses that get the job done. The status of Jake Plummer is still unknown but expect him to play. They?ll need his abilities on the field to keep up with the Vikings offense.

Philadelphia vs. NY Giants
This is a crucial game for both teams, and both of them really can?t afford to lose. Pretty much which ever team loses will have a hard time getting back in the playoff picture. Teams have finally figured out McNabb and he is no longer able to win games by himself. He came close last week against Dallas, but fell just short. He?ll need a big game from Brian Westbrook or some one else to step up if they are going to win this game.

New Orleans vs. Atlanta
Two of the most disappointing teams in the league will be playing in this game. It?s going to be a sloppy free for all out there, and won?t be shocked to see a couple of defensive touchdowns. The Falcons are hoping for a win just so Michael Vick will have a chance at resurrecting their season.

Tennessee vs. Carolina
In years past the Panthers couldn?t keep up in offensive shoot outs, but now they have the talent. They scored a couple of touchdowns early in the third quarter in a quick span against the Colts, and have been able to turn it on whenever needed. Steve McNair has been the MVP of the league, and he still isn?t getting enough credit. Other quarterbacks are loaded at receiver but who does he have besides Derrick Mason? Exactly, McNair is the best at his position right now.

NY Jets vs. Houston
The Jets finally got a win in the books, and Curtis Martin put out his first solid game of the year. It was only eighty yards but it was good to see him actually do decent. The Texans are on their way, but they?ll need to get a running back next season. Stacey Mack hasn?t been getting it done, and it?s been all on David Carr?s shoulders. Unless Vinny Testaverde goes interception happy the Jets should be able to win. Their defense has too much talent and will force David Carr into some bad decisions.

Washington vs. Buffalo
Both of these teams started off the season great, and have folded as of late. Both teams are still in the thick of things and just need to get back on track. This should be a shoot out with the way both of their quarterbacks like to throw it. Buffalo though has the better running back in Travis Henry and should be able to mix it up a little more.

Tampa Bay vs. San Francisco
The 49ers have been plagued by losing games by crucial mistakes. They lost to the Rams because of Cedric Wilson, and last week because of a botched extra point. If they don?t straighten up they could end up being the last place in this division. Usually a talented team like this will start to give up on a season, and I wouldn?t be surprised to see that happen. They have a young talented team that came in with high expectations.

Chicago vs. Seattle
The Seahawks better keep winning because the Rams are right behind them. Matt Hasselbeck has yet to have a break out game, but the Seahawks keep winning. Their schedule has been soft so there are many doubters on whether this team is a serious threat. Chicago has the ability to pull off this upset, especially if Anthony Thomas continues on a tear.

Kansas City vs. Oakland
This could be it for the Raiders season. The Chiefs would love to put the stamp on that, and go to 7-0. They have been close to losing their past couple of weeks, and sooner or later it?s going to happen. But as long as the Raiders can?t stop the run it?ll be extended another week.


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