Happy Halloween! Saying no to Halloween candy is difficult. Losing the weight that you gain from not saying no to enough of that candy is tough. These schedules are a lot like losing that weight.
@Jacksonville Jaguars, @Tennessee Titans, @Denver Broncos
Three road games with two of them against elite defenses isn’t anyone’s idea of fun. The one thing the Bengals have in their favor is that their defense is very good in its own right. Jacksonville is the stingiest defense in the league fantasy wise. They allow the fewest points to quarterbacks and wide receivers in the NFL. This defense wants you to run. The Bengals haven’t proven that they can do that. They rank 30th in yards rushing as well as 30th in average yards per rush. Tennessee’s defense isn’t at the level of the Jaguars but they are improved. For their part, the offense seems to be getting healthy at the right time. A healthy Marcus Mariota can be a dangerous thing. The Titans have some weapons on offense and can control the clock and football. These two teams haven’t met since 2014. It’ll be there first look at “exotic smash mouth” football. We will learn a few things about Denver and their quarterback situation before the game with Cincinnati.
Green Bay Packers
Detroit Lions, @Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens
Almost any team with Aaron Rodgers playing for it is better than a team that doesn’t have Rodgers playing for it. The Packers are no exception. Facing the NFL’s 16th, 9th, and 5th ranked defenses in fantasy points allowed will not be easy. Green Bay has won the last three against the Lions. All three games were decided by less than a touchdown including the last second Rodgers to Rodgers hail mary. Detroit gave a very good Pittsburgh team all it wanted last week and will be primed taking on their divisional rivals. The Bears will be both the next game and next divisional opponent for Green Bay to deal with. Again, the Packers have won three straight in the series. The Bears defense is surprisingly tough this year coming into the game ranked 10th best in passing yards allowed and 12th in rushing yards allowed. The Ravens defense elite against quarterbacks and wide receivers ranked 2nd against both positions. Brett Hundley didn’t do anything through the air before the bye week did rush for 44 yards and a touchdown. He’ll need to do more of that to keep the Packers in games. A lot more.
@Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, @New Orleans Saints
The Seahawks just got lit up by the Deshaun Watson / DeAndre Hopkins aerial circus. This is a proud group and even though Russell Wilson bailed Seattle out with a win I think Seattle’s defense is going to have a chip on their shoulder. The defense is in the top half of the league against every position except wide receiver. The Redskins will need to attack through the air but limit Russell Wilsons opportunities. It will be very difficult to do both. The Vikings will bring an even nastier defense to FedExField. They are 4th in rushing yards allowed at a measly 81 yards per game. The pass defense is 7th in yards and ranks 6th in sacks and 5th in quarterback hits. Kirk Cousins could be in for a long afternoon. The Saints are a traditional offensive power with Drew Brees calling the shots on the field. He finally has a defense that isn’t a week in and week out unit that underachieves. The Saints won a game without Brees throwing a touchdown last week. Let that sink in a moment. The New Orleans defense is in the top half of the league against every position in fantasy points allowed except running backs and they come in at 20th against them.
@Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, @Seattle Seahawks
The Falcons have struggled on offense this year. That is as kind of a way to put it as I can. Matt Ryan has been more like…Matt Ryan and less like that fantasy points monster he was last year. He’s still a good quarterback but the numbers haven’t been there. The Panthers defense is for real. I think Cam Newton will find a way to score enough to make life difficult for the divisional opponent. The Cowboys look like Ezekiel Elliott might finally be suspended and stay suspended. They still have great weapons on offense. The Falcons are the 9th easiest to run on and if it’s Alfred Morris or Elliott or, dare I say, Dak Prescott who is currently the teams 2nd leading rusher, will find some room to roll. Seattle has already appeared in this column and I haven’t changed any thoughts about them in the past few paragraphs.
Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, @Pittsburgh Steelers
The Titans will try to become champions of the NFC North during the next three games stepping into that division for the next three games. The Titans defense has been much improved but still isn’t at the level that the three they will face are at. Baltimore is 2nd in defending quarterbacks and wide receivers, Pittsburgh is 3rd against quarterbacks and wide receivers, and Cincinnati is 12th against the QB and 7th against wideouts but where the Ravens and Steelers rank in the bottom half of the league in defending running backs the Bengals are 10th. There are no low hanging pieces of fruit to be picked by the Titan Offense. A healthy Marcus Mariota and Corey Davis will be keys in the Titans getting through the next three along with DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry.