Player matchups: Campbell, Cutler should shine

By Kyle Fisher

Good Matchups

The Lions defense gives Campbell a good opportunity to have a nice week. They're 30th in the league against the pass, giving up 267.5 yards per game, and have surrendered eight touchdowns. The fast-paced Lions offense also likely will give Campbell plenty of possessions to make plays. Campbell has also shown he gain yards with his legs, averaging 5.7 yards per carry.

Edgerrin James vs. STL

While the Cardinals are playing musical chairs with their quarterbacks, their most consistent offensive player has been James. He has good history against the Rams as he averaged 104.5 yards per game in two meetings last season. The Rams are not stopping the run at all. They have given up 157 yards per game on the ground and a league-leading seven touchdowns.

Joey Galloway vs. IND

Galloway has had a decent start to the season. He leads the Buccaneers with 256 yards receiving and two touchdowns. The Buccaneers have not needed to pass a lot but have been very efficient when throwing. Quarterback Jeff Garcia has a 98.6 passer rating and his average yards per attempt of 8.6 is the fourth highest in the league. With the Colts high-powered offense and the injuries to Rob Morris and Bob Sanders on defense for the Colts, plus the loss of Cadillac Williams for the Buccaneers, look for Galloway to be a big part of the offense this week.

Jay Cutler vs. SD

Cutler faces a defense that is not playing well against the pass. The Chargers allow 253 yards a game through the air and are the second-worst team in the league in yards per attempt allowed at 8.4. Cutler should be able to find some opportunities downfield against them. The Chargers are tied for the third-most touchdown passes allowed with eight. Against a much better Chargers defense last season, Cutler was solid in his only outing, throwing for 188 yards and two touchdowns.

DeShaun Foster vs. NO

Foster appears the best option for the Panthers with Jake Delhomme out and David Carr struggling mightily in his first start. Foster has been productive for the Panthers, averaging 93 total yards per game and five yards per carry. Foster also averaged 92 rushing yards and scored two touchdowns in his two meeting with the Saints last year. The Saints are just average against the run, as teams are gaining 116.3 yards per game and have scored four rushing touchdowns in three games.

Eli Manning vs. NYJ

Manning is facing a Jets defense that is having a lot of trouble stopping teams through the air. In four games it has surrendered seven touchdowns, 253 yards per game and more than eight yards per attempt. The Jets also have the second-worst passer rating allowed at 106.9. That is rating slightly higher than the average effort of Lions quarterback John Kitna. With the weapons the Giants have in Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer and Jeremy Shockey, look for Manning to bounce back from a sub-par effort last week.

Ahman Green/Ron Dayne vs. MIA

Whoever gets the bulk of the carries against the Dolphins should have a fine day. The Dolphins defense has suddenly gotten very old very quickly. They are last in the NFL against the run, allowing almost 200 yards per game and seven rushing touchdowns. While the Texans have not been great running the football, this is the perfect defense against which to get their running game going.

Patrick Crayton vs. BUF

Crayton was outstanding last week, catching seven passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns. This week he faces the worst pass defense in the NFL, surrendering 282.2 yards per game. The Cowboys have demonstrated so far that they will continue to throw despite having a big lead. This week all of the Cowboys offensive weapons should produce.

Dallas defense vs. Buffalo

The Cowboys rank eighth in total defense, giving up just less than 300 yards per game. They lead the NFL with nine interceptions and have nine sacks. Against an inexperienced Buffalo quarterback and a team that is 31st in total offense, look for the Cowboys defense to produce big Sunday.

Bad Matchups

Frank Gore vs. BAL

At the beginning of the season Gore was seen as a Top-5 running back and a must start every week. After four games, Gore is just 21st in rushing and has been outrushed by Sammy Morris and Justin Fargas. Expect another tough afternoon for Gore as the passing game is nonexistent for the 49ers, and the Ravens rank fourth against the run, giving up just 71 yards per game.

Rivers is facing a defense that has been all-world against the pass except when the passer's name is Peyton Manning. The Broncos still rank first against the pass (114.5 yards per game) despite facing Manning. Rivers has struggled most of the season, as he has thrown more interceptions (6) than touchdowns (5). With all the criticism coach Norv Turner took for not utilizing Ladainian Tomlinson in the second half last week against Kansas City, expect a heavy dose of Tomlinson and, thus, Rivers' passing attempts to be minimal this week.

David Garrard vs. KC

Garrard has been good this season. He is averaging 210 passing yards per game and a touchdown per game. Most impressive, he has yet to throw an interception. However, this week he faces a stout Chiefs passing defense that is ranked fifth against the pass (167.8 yards per game) and has five interceptions. The Chiefs have allowed just two passing touchdowns and have the lowest passer rating in the league at 62.6. That is near the rating of struggling Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart (63.8).

Could anyone have predicted Anderson would have more passing yards than Donovan McNabb, Eli Manning or Marc Bulger or have a higher quarterback rating than Drew Brees or Phillip Rivers after four starts? Anderson has impressed this season, but this week he takes a step up in class against a Patriots defense that is fourth in the NFL against the pass, surrendering just 156.2 yards per game with five interceptions. Expect Belichick and the Patriots to have an answer for Anderson's hot start.

Chad Pennington vs. NYG

The first two weeks, the Giants defense was terrible. However, it appears to have straightened out the problem after a 12-sack performance against the Eagles. With Pennington's injury history and his lack of mobility, plus the fact that Jet offensive line has already allowed 11 sacks, look for Pennington to struggle and be on his back a lot against the Giants.

Warrick Dunn vs. TEN

Dunn faces a run defense that is the NFL's most improved and might have the best defensive tackle in the league through the first four weeks in Albert Haynesworth. The Titans allowing just 63.3 yards per game on 3.5 yards per carry. Dunn himself has struggled, averaging just 3.5 yards per carry. The Titans are still somewhat susceptible to the pass, ranking 24th in the league, so look for the Falcons to try and move the ball through the air.

Roethlisberger has been solid this season, throwing for more than 200 yards per game and eight touchdowns in four games. However, he is facing a defense in the Seahawks that has allowed only two passing touchdowns and just a 67.6 passer rating. Look for the Steelers to establish the run with Willie Parker, as the Seahawks give up more than four yards per carry, and limit their passing attempts. Roethlisberger might be efficient but shouldn't get enough attempts to be a solid play this week.

Chicago defense vs. Packers

Because of injuries and a bad offense, the Bears defense is a shell of itself. While the Bears are still formidable against the run, Green Bay is last in the NFL in rushing and won't challenge the Bears on that front. But the Bears rank 19th against the pass with twice as many touchdowns (6) allowed as interceptions (3). Brett Favre is playing well and taking care of the football and revenge should be on the minds of the Packers, who were shutout at home by the Bears, 26-0, last season.

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