Since one of those weeks was a bye, Cutler was going to miss at least three games.
The injury appears to have been misdiagnosed. Cutler missed Monday night’s victory over the Packers, but he has returned to full practices and head coach Marc Trestman says he will start Sunday against the Detroit Lions in a battle of division leaders.
While Cutler is a fast healer and new medical techniques were used to help Cutler increase the speed of his recovery, it seems the Bears are putting their No. 1 quarterback at risk. The Lions have Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, and if those two can get through the Bears offensive line that performed so well Monday night, they might take turns throwing Cutler to the turf.
Based on their track records, neither man will do it gently, especially Suh.
Cutler has a stronger arm and can release the ball quicker than backup Josh McCown. However, McCown has had two back-to-back error-free games against the Redskins and Packers, and you have to wonder why Cutler would rush back into to the battle.
He can’t be worried about losing his job. A solid performance by a backup quarterback is one thing, but actually replacing the starter is quite another.
Trestman would stand by Cutler for a couple of weeks if he had to.
But from a Fantasy perspective, the Bears should be in excellent shape as long as Cutler does not get twisted up by the Lions’ front seven. Still, Cutler does present a risk factor, so if you have a close call between him and another passer, use the alternative.
Look for a huge game from Brandon Marshall against a Lions secondary that ranks 25th overall defensively and 26th against the pass. Marshall has a huge edge over Rashean Mathis, who is the Lions’ biggest cornerback at 6-1 and 195 pounds. Marshall is three inches taller and 35 pounds heavier than Mathis.
Continuing on that route, No. 2 receiver Alshon Jeffery has a huge size advantage over Chris Houston. Jeffery is 6-3 and 216 pounds, while Houston is 5-11 and 178 pounds.
Trestman is coming off his best play-calling game of the season as the Bears basically put the Packers away with a nine-minute drive at the end of the game.
Trestman would like to unleash running back Matt Forte on the Lions. Getting the running game going would ease some of the burden on Cutler – although both the quarterback and Trestman insist he is fine – and give the Bears a much better chance to win.
The Bears have to like their chances of imposing their will on the Lions. Detroit has lost 17 of its last 18 road games against divisional opponents.
That’s got to have the Bears’ skill-position players licking their chops, as long as they are not returning the quarterback to the lineup in a hasty fashion.
Foles looks for repeat performance
Unlike the Chicago Bears, who will be rushing their starting quarterback back into action, Chip Kelly and the Eagles will do no such thing with Michael Vick.
They couldn’t if they wanted to, because Michael Vick’s hamstring is not ready and if they push him before it is, it seems likely that the 33-year-old Vick would pull it again.
But the Eagles have no need to push Vick, and there’s a chance that he may never play another game for the team.
That’s because Nick Foles is on a roll, and the way he is playing, he may not lose his job. After his record-tying seven-touchdown performance in Week Nine against the Raiders, Foles has thrown 13 TDs this season and he has not thrown an interception.
You don’t have to be a football genius to realize that’s an excellent performance. Kelly certainly categorizes himself as a football genius and he has no desire to take Foles out of the lineup any time soon.
So Foles will be in the lineup this week against the Packers. Green Bay is reeling with the loss of Aaron Rodgers, but that has nothing to do with the defense.
The defense has been quite good for the majority of the season, but the Packers got taken apart by the Bears in the second half.
One thing the Bears did to the Packers was run on their huge front. By tiring out Johnny Jolly, B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett, the Bears were able to send Forte wide.
LeSean McCoy is better and quicker than Forte. The Eagles would be wise to follow the same gameplan by running to the sidelines in the second half of the game when the Packers’ front will be sucking wind.
Up until that point, it should be all about DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper and rookie Zach Ertz. Look for Cooper to follow up on his 5-139-3 game last week with another top-notch game. He could catch at least six passes for 90 yards and a touchdown.
If the Eagles defense can limit weak-armed Seneca Wallace, they should be able to match the Bears performance. Start Foles and his top targets with a lot of confidence.
Cowboys will continue to throw the ball
Much is made of the need for a balanced running attack in the NFL. That’s not the formula the Dallas Cowboys are using.
Going into their Week 10 game with the New Orleans Saints, the Cowboys had passed the ball 346 times and ran it just 183 times.
That’s not likely to change any time soon.
Never mind the remarks that Tony Romo said this week about wanting to be balanced. That was just theoretical.
Romo would love to be balanced if he had a running back like Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy or Matt Forte. He doesn’t have that kind of running attack.
All Romo has at his disposal is DeMarco Murray, and he is “just a guy” at this point. Murray can make a cut and go, but he doesn’t protect himself from big hits and the Cowboys can’t give him the ball 20-to-25 games because he will get hurt.
Running backs Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar don’t give Garrett and Romo any kind of a threat either, so the pass-run ratio will stay where it is.
That means Dez Bryant getting most of the passes – despite his sore back — followed closely by Jason Witten. Look for a healthy dose of Cole Beasley as well.
We have talked about Beasley before, and it looks like he’s going to get more of a shot than he’s had in the past because Romo likes him and Bill Callahan is starting to like him more than he did. That’s sure to warrant more opportunities this week.
The Saints are going to try to stop Witten on third downs and prevent Bryant from making the deep catch downfield. That should open things up for Beasley
Look for a major upgrade from the Buffalo Bills this week against the Steelers. Barring a late setback, quarterback E.J. Manuel returns from the LCL sprain he suffered in Week Five against Cleveland. Manuel has had a sharp week in practice and we hear that the Bills are going to open up the playbook against the Steelers. Look for a big receiving game from Stevie Johnson, running back Fred Jackson and young receiver Marquise Goodwin. Manuel’s great strength is his ability to keep plays alive by shaking off the hit. That’s something his backups couldn’t do.
The Ravens have simply become too predictable because they don’t have enough playmakers on the roster. There are no dependable receivers that John Harbaugh has been able to turn to outside of Torrey Smith, and that makes the Ravens easy to defend. By bracketing Smith, opponents have had an easy time since the running game has been awful. Brandon Stokley (groin) should be back this week against Cincinnati, and the Ravens are hoping the possession receiver will make life easier for quarterback Joe Flacco.
Here’s what you need to know about Roddy White’s return this week. He is feeling much better than he’s felt all season, and he is not hesitant at all about returning against Seattle and Richard Sherman. Never mind Sherman’s insulting remarks about White, because the receiver doesn’t care. If White can play a full game at close to his normal level, that’s going to be great news for Harry Douglas, who won’t have to face Sherman. The Seahawks are looking at White as the No. 1 threat and Tony Gonzalez as the No. 2 threat. Douglas has been money in the bank the last three weeks, averaging 117.3 yards per game.
Rashad Jennings could be a big-time weapon for the Raiders against the Giants on Sunday. The Raiders are certainly counting on him vs. an underachieving New York defense because Darren McFadden (hamstring) does not look like he is going to play. There are some in the Raiders’ camp who think Jennings is the better football player at this point, and after gaining 102 yards on 15 carries and catching seven of Terrelle Pryor passes. The Raiders quarterback is also going to try to get the ball to Rod Streater once again. He caught five passes for 98 yards against the Eagles.
This week’s game against the San Francisco 49ers is a true test for Cam Newton. The Panthers’ quarterback has led his team to four wins in a row and he has a 7-2 TD-interception ratio in that span. But if you look at the teams the Panthers have beaten during the win streak – Minnesota, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Atlanta – Newton has not faced a major test. That comes to an end against the 49ers, and Newton understands that the pressure level will be dramatically different. In the past, Newton has not played well under those circumstances and that could be bad news for DeAngelo Williams, Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell and Jonathan Stewart.
Love ’Em, Hate ’Em in Week 10
Much of the focus in Atlanta will be on the Roddy White-Richard Sherman battle, but we are going to the other side. Once again, the Seahawks are left in the waiting mode for Percy Harvin. But the Seahawks are not waiting for Golden Tate. He’s going to tear apart the Falcons’ secondary as Seattle finally plays an assertive and dominant game on the road. Tate catches eight passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. LOVE HIM.
Case Keenum and the Houston Texans had their hearts broken in the Week Nine home loss to the Colts. The team was stunned by Gary Kubiak’s collapse and they are not going to recover against the Cardinals. Arizona is very competitive at home and the Cardinals’ secondary will make life miserable for Keenum and intercept him at least three times. HATE HIM.
Look for the Saints to be in attack mode right from the start at home against the Cowboys. Aside from Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham, this week it’s Kenny Stills’ turn to assert himself with a huge game. Stills was bad against the Jets in Week Nine, but he had two solid games before that. He will punish the Cowboys with at least six catches and get in the end zone once. LOVE HIM
The Chargers would like to ride Ryan Mathews against the Broncos because if he can have a good game on the ground, it can limit the amount of time Peyton Manning and the Broncos have the ball. It won’t happen because the Broncos defense is making Mathews a top priority this week. Mathews will have less than 50 rushing yards. HATE HIM.
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