Last week Chiefs
coach Herm Edwards expressed his belief that running the football wins games.
While Kansas City does rely heavily on Johnson, here's a case where such
dependence could prove costly to you in a crucial week. That isn't to say
Johnson should automatically be shelved, but take a look at the defensive
matchup and your alternatives before proceeding. The Ravens' vaunted defense
has stood its ground against almost every top AFC back, including LaDainian
Tomlinson, whom they held to 98 yards and zero TDs. (He leads the league with
26 this season.) Baltimore has bottled up the likes of Rudi Johnson (47 and 78
yards), Willie Parker (22), Reggie Bush (16) and DeShaun Foster (58), and it
has surrendered more than 100 yards to a running back only once, when it was
banged up against Tennessee. This week the Ravens are healthy, so consider
Giants AT Panthers
The South hasn't recently shown its famed hospitality to a kid who grew up in
New Orleans and went to college in Mississippi. In games at Jacksonville and
Tennessee, Manning passed for an average of 186.5 yards and totaled two TDs and
four picks. Since Week 10, Carolina's D has allowed nine points per game.
Rams VS. Bears
This would be a tough assignment even if St. Louis had a full complement of
O-linemen to protect Bulger against Chicago. But Orlando Pace is out for the
year, and with Bulger having thrown three picks against Arizona (which was
missing top pass rusher Bertrand Berry), he must be benched.
Steelers VS. Browns
K.C.'s Trent Green torched the Browns for 297 yards and four TDs, so
Roethlisberger seems like a sure bet at Heinz Field next week. However, with
Hines Ward ailing, Big Ben will find it hard to duplicate the 272 yards (with
two touchdown passes) he had at Cleveland on Nov. 19.