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Original Issue

Start 'Em

WE LIKE THE MATCHUP

SUPERSLEEPER
TOM BRADY
QB PATRIOTS
vs.
Texans

There's no question that two-time Super Bowl MVP Brady loves to win. But did you know how much he hates to lose? Since 2003 he has lost consecutive games once (Weeks 9 and 10 this year). In games following a defeat he's 11--1 with 21 TDs, a mere six interceptions and a robust 260.3 passing yards per game. This time he's also playing for New England's playoff position, which typically motivates Brady to the max. Over the last three years, in nine late-season games with playoff implications Brady has totaled 22 TD passes. Better yet, he's facing the Texans, who aren't exactly menacing on defense, especially against the pass. Houston allows a dismal 225.8 yards per game through the air and has come up with a paltry 10 interceptions this year. Expect numbers similar to the ones Brady posted last time he played Houston, in 2003: 368 yards and two TDs.

QUARTERBACK

BRETT FAVRE
Packers VS. Lions
Favre demolished Detroit with 340 yards and three TDs in a Week 3 win--his best passing game since Week 3 of 2004. He has never lost to the Lions at home (including games in Milwaukee), and, against a sloppy defense, this is going to be a shootout with Favre firing at will.

MATT HASSELBECK
Seahawks VS. 49ers
Just consider: Seneca Wallace passed for 161 yards and two TDs against the Rams; Hasselbeck had 268 and three TDs. Wallace had 252 yards and two TDs against San Francisco in Week 11; so Hasselbeck (who has 10 TDs and one pick in his last four games against the Niners) should top that.

BEN ROETHLISBERGER
Steelers AT Panthers
Carolina's injury problems extend beyond its QB. Starting cornerbacks Ken Lucas and Chris Gamble could be slowed by injured hamstrings, if they're able to play. Also, the D has allowed eight passing TDs in the last three games. And Big Ben may get his favorite target, Hines Ward, back this week.

RUNNING BACK

COREY DILLON
Patriots VS. Texans
Forget that Dillon has not cracked the 100-yard mark this season. The signs are good entering Sunday. His backfield mate Laurence Maroney has missed almost two full games with a bad back and may not play. And the Houston defense has given up 15 rushing TDs, which ranks near the bottom of the NFL.

AHMAN GREEN
Packers VS. Lions
Last week Detroit surrendered 125 yards and three TDs to the legendary Artose Pinner--a performance that's a green light for Green. Although he's been held to less than 100 rushing yards four times in the last five games, two of those efforts came against the stingy Vikings and Patriots.

SAMMY MORRIS
Dolphins AT Bills
True, in last week's issue we labeled Morris a possible dud for this game, but then he pounded a nasty New England run D for 123 yards and even broke off a 44-yard jaunt (only the second run longer than 20 yards allowed by the Pats all year). Now he challenges a Bills defense that gives up 139.8 yards per game.

WIDE RECEIVER

REGGIE BROWN
Eagles AT Giants
Philly's playoff hopes don't just rest on the arm of Jeff Garcia. The QB seems to have tabbed Brown as his man, finding him for two TDs in three games and 152 yards over the last two. Brown scored a touchdown against New York in Week 2 and leads the team with seven for the season.

DREW CARTER
Panthers VS. Steelers
Monitor Jake Delhomme. If he's a no-go, consider picking up Carter. Even with Steve Smith and Keyshawn Johnson sharing reps, Carter was backup QB Chris Weinke's favorite target on Sunday, despite a dropped deep ball. In that game against the Giants, Carter logged eight catches and 144 yards, plus a TD.

PLAXICO BURRESS
Giants VS. Eagles
The volatile wideout has caught at least one TD in each of his last four games, the longest streak of his career. He'll likely extend it against Philly, which he riddled for 114 yards and a game-winning overtime TD in Week 2. In his only previous home game against the Eagles, Plax was spectacular: 113 yards and a TD.

TIGHT END

HEATH MILLER
Steelers AT Panthers
This has been the season of Miller Lite. Expected to have a breakout year, 2005's rookie revelation has produced just 356 yards and four TDs. But facing the Carolina defense may be the perfect tonic. The Panthers could be without three injured cornerbacks. Even when healthy, Carolina has allowed six TDs to opposing tight ends this year.

KICKER

MORTEN ANDERSEN
Falcons VS. Cowboys
The old man needs just two points to become the NFL's alltime leading scorer and only one field goal to set the record for most in league history. But that's not why he's listed here. With running backs Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood both nursing injuries, Andersen will get his kicks in the red zone.

DEFENSE

SEAHAWKS VS. 49ers
The last time these teams met, San Francisco rolled up 416 yards, did not throw an interception and permitted one sack. But this time the Niners travel to noisy Qwest Field, where the Seahawks' D customarily toughens up: Seattle has allowed nearly a touchdown less at home than on the road.

IS HE FOR REAL?
ARTOSE PINNER
RB VIKINGS

With Chester Taylor missing Sunday's game against Detroit, it was reasonable to expect big numbers from his backup. That man, however, was not Ciatrick Fason but Pinner, who got the surprise start and lit up the Lions for 125 yards and three touchdowns. But the fourth-year back won't be taking the starting job permanently. After all, he was so poorly regarded that Detroit cut him before the season. And Minnesota has $14.1 million invested in Taylor. Unless Taylor's bruised ribs again keep him out, Pinner has little to no fantasy value.

ADAM DUERSON THE PERFECT TEAM: WEEK 15

QB PEYTON MANNING vs. Bengals
Will feast off league-worst pass D

RB MAURICE JONES-DREW at Titans
Solid even though he splits time

RB RUDI JOHNSON at Colts
Licking his chops after Jags' blowout

WR TERRELL OWENS at Falcons
He'll play his way out of the doghouse

WR LEE EVANS vs. Dolphins
Five TDs in five games versus Miami

TE ANTONIO GATES vs. Chiefs
So nice to have you back, Mr. Gates!

K JEFF WILKINS at Raiders
Oakland has allowed second-most FG attempts

D BEARS vs. Buccaneers
NFC's worst offense visits best defense. Easy pick