QB Start: Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
After missing a week plus with a concussion, Cutler's return behind center was a rude one. He was sacked six more times against Seattle, bringing the tally to 15 in his last six quarters.
However, in spite of constant pressure (and 17-of-39 completions), Cutler converted passing plays of 67, 36 and 34 yards and averaged over 17yards per completion.
Failure to prevent the big play has been the bugaboo of the Redskins secondary, as they've allowed six passing plays over 20 yards the past two weeks. When the pass rush doesn't hit home (13 sacks), the result is often a deep connection.
If the Chicago Bears offensive line can muster some protection for Cutler he's in store for rewarding day at the office. Establishing some semblance of a running attack with Matt Forte would go a long ways in slowing down the rush.
WARNING: Showers in the forecast for Sunday.
QB Sit: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Ryan posted a quality passing line last week (250 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 INT), but those stats need to be taken with a grain of salt. The Falcons fell behind 21-0 midway thru the first half, at which point Ryan had completed 4-of-8 passes for 54 yards. Having 42 pass attempts is not the norm for a run-first offense, but a three touchdown deficit doesn't leave many options.
In spite of wide receiver Michael Jenkins’ stellar return to the lineup, Atlanta still lacks a secondary weapon on the outside to compliment Roddy White.
The Bengals eighth rated pass defense will provide a stern test with two shutdown-caliber corners. Cincinnati has more interceptions (7) than touchdown passes allowed (6).
Coming off a bye week, and devastating loss to Tampa Bay the week prior, Marvin Lewis should have his team in a nasty mood. Ryan's last 300-yard passing game came in week five of 2009.
RB Start: Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
Seattle has relied on a finesse running attack since 2005 (the exodus of Shaun Alexander), but that needs to change ASAP.
While Lynch wasn't overly productive in his first game in a Seahawks uniform running for 44 yards, the signs are encouraging.
Despite an abysmal 2.6 yards per rush, they still force fed him the ball 17 times. He also reached paydirt for the first time in 2010.
Lynch is a good bet to break the century mark this week against a porous Arizona rush defense that's allowing 141 yards per contest on the ground, and 4.3 per carry.
The 'Hawks will continue to establish their new offensive identity behind the presence of a workhorse back.
Lynch is a different player when fed the ball on a consistent basis. He's a talented pass catcher as well, hopefully something offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates will look to incorporate.