Proceed With Caution – Weak Plays for Week 4

My apologies for not posting my regular columns so far this week; I had jury duty and was actually selected as a juror, which was a ton of fun, except by "ton" I mean "load" and by "fun" I mean "shit." Not guilty on all four counts, if you’re wondering, due to a complete lack of any evidence whatsoever. Just a bunch of she-said, she-said between two charming young ladies who seemed to think they were on Judge Judy. Their boyfriends got into a fistfight in the hallway outside the courtroom just as things were getting underway. How it ever got to trial is a question I’ll be asking the Rochester DA, should I ever meet him.

Anyway, here are the guys you might normally start, but may want to reconsider this week for one reason or another:

Jamal Lewis, RB, CLE: He did wondrous things against the Bengals, but so far we’ve seen that a good rushing defense can shut him down (35 yards against Pittsburgh, 56 against Oakland). There might not be a better rush D than the Ravens, and it almost seems set in stone that he’ll have a bad game. He might get lucky and punch through for a goal-line score, but you know he won’t post decent yardage.

Philip Rivers, QB, SD; Vincent Jackson, WR, SD: This game has "LT" written all over it. Kansas City can stop the pass (3rd-ranked passing defense in the NFL) but not the run (22nd-ranked rush D). The Chargers are going to run, run, and run some more, and when Rivers does pass, it’ll probably be to his main man Gates. Rivers will have some big games this season, and Jackson will be heavily involved when he does, but this isn’t the week it happens.

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, PIT: I’m not a believer. All those passes to tight ends… something’s just not right here. I think Pittsburgh’s hand can only stay in the cookie jar for so long before defenses adjust. Arizona’s defense is nothing special, obviously, but I have a bad feeling about the rest of the season for Big Ben, and I think this is the week it starts to unravel.

Tatum Bell/Kevin Jones, RB, DET: All signs point to Jones taking over the majority of the carries this week, but we have no way of knowing what the ratio will be. The Bears rushing defense is far from the show-stopper it was last season, but it’s still tough enough to make this ugly situation uglier, like what happens every time Rosie O’Donnell gets a new perm.

Edgerrin James, RB, ARI: Pittsburgh’s last three victims: Jamal Lewis (35 yards), Marshawn Lynch (64 yards), Frank Gore (39 yards). Stay the hell away.