Denver Broncos vs Cincinnati Bengals
What exactly did the Bengals get this offseason in their free agent signing of Green-Ellis? He started off the season on a high note but has fallen off considerably over the past few weeks. He’s still searching for his first 100-yard game of the year and hasn’t found the end zone in five weeks. Owners were aiming for RB2 production but have been left disappointed for the most part. Unfortunately for Green-Ellis, things are going to get worse before they get better as the Bengals host the Broncos in week 9.
Denver has performed very well against the run defensively and is hitting on all cylinders offensively. This could lead to a need to air out the ball, limiting the use of BJGE to a receiver out of the backfield which has never been his best attribute. His production here will be quite indicative of how we should use him the rest of the way, either as a RB2 or simply as a matchup spot start.
Baltimore Ravens vs Cleveland Browns
Speaking of starting off hot and tailing off, what’s the deal with Dennis Pitta? Can we really trust any of the Ravens’ receiving options outside of Torrey Smith? Pitta was on a roll to begin the year but has completely fallen off and has burned owners over his last few starts. In a game that features one of the best cornerbacks in the league, one would think the need to establish the tight end as a threat would be high. Browns’ corner Joe Haden will likely be working against Anquan Boldin. With Torrey Smith serving as more of an over the top option, Pitta could be turned to in order to convert several first downs.
Owners will only allow themselves to be burned so many times before they completely lose patience with Pitta and find an alternative option. If he can perform this week he’ll end up saving a lot of value and continue to tempt owners for the starter’s spot moving forward.
Arizona Cardinals vs Green Bay Packers
If the Cardinals’ receiver were to ever finally have a breakout game it would be here. The Packers offense is capable of peppering the scoreboard in seven point increments every time they have the ball in their possession. The Packers’ secondary, however, is just as apt to let up a plethora of offensive output. With a severe need to throw given both the Packers’ defensive woes and the Cardinals injuries at running back, Fitzgerald should be in for a huge day.
If the John Skelton-to-Fitzgerald connection can not get on the same page here and put up an elite showing it would be extremely troubling for owners. Fitzgerald owners could be left pressing the same panic button that Calvin Johnson owners currently are. Expectations should be set extremely high. That means if he doesn’t impress, the disappointment could justify drastic measures being taken, even so drastic as owners offering him up for trade.
Chicago Bears vs Tennessee Titans
Who is Jay Cutler in Week 9? Is he the Bears’ quarterback that will light up a defense for 300 yards and three touchdowns? Or is he the Bears’ quarterback that will finish with 180 yards, five sacks, two interceptions, and a fumble lost? Cutler has been perhaps the hardest quarterback to gauge value on this season. Just as you count him out he bounces back with a superior outing. Then when he earns your trust, he completely crumbles and leaves you lost for words. The truth is if you can’t trust Cutler for solid production here against the Titans then you just plain can’t at all.
Tennessee has been brutalized this season through the air. They’re one of those matchups that you consider benching your number one quarterback to start your back up for. On paper this looks to weigh heavily in Cutler’s favor.
But beware the Bears’ defense. Tennessee could find themselves at the mercy of the most opportunistic defense in the league. If the defense can handle the Titans’ offense without much resistance, Cutler may not need to throw. He could be pushed into his “game manager” role, running out the clock and limiting turnovers. This is a matchup that should benefit Cutler owners, but the defensive makeup and the shear enigma that is Cutler, could be too big of an issue to overcome both here and in future use.