MATCHUP OF THE
What happens when
the NFL's best running quarterback lines up against its fiercest pass rusher?
We'll find out this weekend when the Falcons head to Charlotte to take on the
In his first five
NFL seasons Vick threw for more yards against the Panthers than against any
other team. He's also had two huge rushing games against Carolina: 91 yards in
2002 and 141 yards in '03. However, he's averaged just one touchdown per game
over eight meetings (four each rushing and passing). Vick now has better
weapons in second-year wideout Roddy White and newcomer Ashley Lelie.
In their two
matchups last season the Carolina defense held the Falcons to just 17 total
points and sacked Vick seven times; Peppers, who rushes from the blind side of
the southpaw scrambler, had one of those hits. In 2004 Peppers gathered in a
Vick fumble and scampered 60 yards for a score. He has three career sacks of
the quicksilver QB, who has been felled an average of twice a game by
VERDICT: Not long
ago there was talk that a Curse of Michael Vick plagued the Panthers. Last
season's double drubbing (a total of 68--17 in two games) quickly put an end to
that notion. Peppers and his opposite end, Mike Rucker, will neutralize Vick's
fantasy value as the Panthers protect their house with an opening-day win.
Read Peter King's
10 Fantasy Things I Think I Think and analysis from David Sabino at