The Baltimore Sun


Rudi Johnson, Cleveland at Cincinnati -- In Sunday's 23-10 win in Kansas City, the Bengals appeared content to let Johnson carry the offensive load (28 carries, 96 yards, one touchdown). Why stop now with Cleveland visiting Sunday? In two wins last season over the Browns, Johnson ran for 295 yards and scored in both games.



STARTING NOD -- Marc Bulger, St. Louis at San Francisco. Bulger passed 34 times in last week's 18-10 upset of the Denver Broncos, completing 18 passes for 217 yards, but was unable to find the end zone. That should change Sunday against the 49ers, as a high-scoring game is likely.

OTHER SOLID OPTIONS -- Peyton Manning, Indianapolis vs. Houston; Steve McNair, Ravens vs. Oakland; Drew Brees, New Orleans at Green Bay.

TAKE A SEAT -- Jon Kitna, Detroit at Chicago; Byron Leftwich, Jacksonville vs. Pittsburgh; Chad Pennington, New York Jets vs. New England.


STARTING NOD -- Shaun Alexander, Seattle vs. Arizona. After a sluggish 51-yard performance in Detroit, Alexander couldn't have asked for a better matchup to get on track. Alexander totaled 313 yards in two games against the Cardinals last season and scored six times.

OTHER SOLID OPTIONS -- Ronnie Brown, Miami vs. Buffalo; Tiki Barber, New York Giants at Philadelphia; Frank Gore, San Francisco vs. St. Louis.

TAKE A SEAT -- LaMont Jordan, Oakland at Ravens; Kevin Jones, Detroit at Chicago; Corey Dillon, New England at New York Jets.


STARTING NOD -- Chris Chambers, Buffalo at Miami. Chambers had a career day against the Bills in Miami last season, catching 15 passes for 238 yards and one touchdown.

OTHER SOLID OPTIONS -- Torry Holt, St. Louis at San Francisco; Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis vs. Houston; Donald Driver, Green Bay vs. New Orleans.

TAKE A SEAT -- Drew Bennett, Tennessee at San Diego; Roy Williams, Detroit at Chicago; Lee Evans, Buffalo vs. Miami.


STARTING NOD -- Todd Heap, Ravens vs. Oakland. "HEAP!!!" Expect to hear that plenty at M&T; Bank Stadium on Sunday as the home crowd gets its first look at the Steve McNair-Heap connection. Heap should be good for at least one big play against the hapless Raiders.

OTHER SOLID OPTIONS -- Antonio Gates, San Diego vs. Tennessee; Kellen Winslow, Cleveland at Cincinnati; Alge Crumpler, Atlanta vs. Tampa Bay.

TAKE A SEAT -- Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City at Denver; Marcus Pollard, Detroit at Chicago; Ben Troupe, Tennessee at San Diego.


STARTING NOD -- Jay Feely, New York Giants at Philadelphia. Field goals could rule the day in this NFC East matchup.


STARTING NOD -- Chicago vs. Detroit. The Bears special teams also got in the act on Sunday with rookie Devin Hester returning a punt 84 yards for a touchdown. The defense also had two interceptions, one forced fumble and three sacks in the 26-0 shutout win in Green Bay.

Last week's tab

Play of the week -- LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego: 149 total yards, one TD.

Quarterback -- Kurt Warner, Arizona: 23-for-37, 301 yards, three TDs.

Running back -- Tiki Barber, New York Giants: 171 total yards.

Wide receiver -- Chad Johnson, Cincinnati: 62 total yards.

Tight end -- L.J. Smith, Philadelphia: 56 yards.

Kicker -- Neil Rackers, Arizona: two field goals, four extra points.

Defense -- Carolina: one

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