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  Cheat Sheet Goff Wentz set for key NFC clash in L.A. (26 อ่าน)

26 ก.พ. 2567 09:46

Cheat Sheet: Goff, Wentz set for key NFC clash in L.A. Published: Dec 08, 2017 at 10:45 AM Around the NFL Writer Key game-time decisions Oakland Raiders: WR (ankle), CB (foot), DE (hand), RB (ankle), WR (hip) Cooper returned to practice on Friday on a limited basis. The WR will likely be a game-time decision. Patterson was also limited on Friday. Detroit Lions: QB (right hand), RB (neck), CB (knee), DE (ankle), T (ankle), G (foot), P (right foot), T (foot), C (knee), DE (shoulder) Stafford was limited all week. It would be a surprise if the QB sat. Abdullah was limited all week. Lang and Ansah returned to practice on Friday as limited participants. The ruled out RT Rick Wagner (ankle). Jacksonville Jaguars: CB (hamstring), LB (concu sion) Ramsey sat out practice Wednesday and Thursday but returned limited on Friday. Smith sat out Friday after being full-go earlier in the week. WR (ankle) was again ruled out. Philadelphia Eagles: TE (concu sion), LB (neck) Myles Powell Jersey Carolina Panthers: WR (shoulder), C (neck), C (foot), TE (foot), WR (shoulder) Funche s sat out practice Friday, but coach Ron Rivera said it was precautionary. Olsen expects to return to the lineup Sunday. Kalil was limited all week. The ruled out LB (foot). New York Giants: WR (hamstring), CB (hip, back), RB (illne s), DE (finger), WR (hamstring), T (concu sion) Shepard was limited on Thursday and Friday but is expected to play. , Darkwa and Apple were limited on Friday after mi sing earlier se sions. Denver Broncos: WR (ankle), DE (illne s), DT (knee) Sanders returned to practice on Friday as a limited participant. G (back) and QB (ankle) were ruled out. Arizona Cardinals: CB (hamstring), WR (knee), DT (ankle), DT (ankle), T (elbow) The entire crew was limited on Friday. The ruled out RB (neck) and WR (toe). Los Angeles Rams: LB (forearm), LB (elbow), WR (shoulder) Woods practiced on Friday for the first time on a limited basis. The WR had been targeting a Week 15 return, so his listing as questionable to return this Sunday is optimistic. Ogletree and Barwin were also limited on Friday after mi sing practices earlier this week. Cincinnati Bengals: DT (toe), CB (knee), LB (hamstring), S (ankle) Atkins sat out all week. Dennard and Rey were limited on Friday. The ruled out LB (concu sion), CB (groin), CB (concu sion), RB (concu sion), LB (ankle), S (hamstring). Dallas Cowboys: WR (foot), T (back), DT (foot), LB (concu sion, illne s), DE (concu sion), CB (back), T (back) Smith was limited on Thursday and Friday. Irving, Scandrick and Collins sat out all week. Butler was limited on Thursday and Friday. Linebacker was not designated and will play. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DE (knee) The Bucs ruled out CB (hamstring), DT (back), S (hamstring), and S (concu sion). Green Bay Packers: DT (chest, knee), G (hand), LB (foot, shoulder) Perry sat out practice all week. The listed CB (shoulder) as doubtful and ruled CB (hamstring) out. Chicago Bears: S (ankle) The listed S (hamstring), DT (hip), LB (shoulder) as doubtful. Cleveland Browns: CB (knee), WR (knee, ankle), TE (hip), DE (knee), DT (chest, ribs) Boddy-Calhoun and Shelton sat out all week. DeValve was limited on Friday. The listed S (knee) as doubtful to play. Indianapolis Colts: T (illne s), CB (neck), C (ankle) The ruled out C (concu sion), WR (ankle), TE (hamstring), and CB (hand). Buffalo Bills: QB (knee), T (foot, ankle), T (back), CB (knee), DT (groin) Taylor will be a game-time decision and could be the backup even if he's cleared to play. The ruled out G (ankle). Minnesota Vikings: C (shoulder) The center was limited all week in practice. The ruled out OT (lower back) and TE (concu sion). New York Jets: RB (knee), G (abdomen, ankle) Forte sat out practice on Friday. Kansas City Chiefs: LB (knee) Hali sat out Thursday and Friday. K.C. listed C (foot) and S (ankle) as out. San Francisco 49ers: T (shoulder) Brown was limited on Thursday and Friday. Houston Texans: G (groin) The guard was limited on Friday. On a positive note: was not designated on the injury report. The ruled out RB (concu sion), WR (concu sion), T Julien Davenport (shoulder), and LB (concu sion). Seattle Seahawks: DE (neck) Jordan was limited in practice all week. G (shoulder), S (neck), and DT (ankle) were ruled out. Tenne see Titians: OUT: LB (knee) Morgan was the only player designated. WR (hamstring), CB (concu sion), and TE (ankle) will all play. Washington Redskins: LB (hamstring, achilles), DE (toe), T (ankle), C (hand), LB (ankle), T (knee) The group was limited on Friday. The ruled out TE (hamstring). Los Angeles Chargers: DT (toe), WR (knee) Williams was full-go in practice on Friday. Liuget was limited. Baltimore Ravens: WR (back), LB (neck), G (shoulder) Maclin and Mosley were both full participants on Friday, a positive sign for their availability on Sunday night. Pittsburgh Steelers: S (ankle) Mitchell was limited in practice on Friday. was not listed on the injury report. Weather Tracking at -- 21 degrees, overcast, winds 14 mph at Bucs -- 53 degrees, clear, winds 10 mph at -- 44 degrees, clear, winds 11 mph at (indoors) -- 49 degrees, clear at - 39 degrees, partly cloudy, winds 15 mph at -- 28 degrees, mostly cloudy, winds 18 mph at -- 30 degrees, partly cloudy, winds 10 mph at -- 34 degrees, clear at -- 74 degrees, partly cloudy at -- 57 degrees, clear at (indoors) -- 73 degrees, clear at -- 54 degrees, clear at -- 75 degrees, clear at (SNF) -- 28 degrees, mostly cloudy, wins 10 mph at (MNF) -- 59 degrees, clear What to Watch For For all the praise has earned this season, not enough praise is being heaped on the backfield tandem of and . Since suffered his torn ACL (Week 4), Murray and McKinnon have formed the NFL's second-best rushing duo entering Week 13, earning 922 rushing yards, behind only and . Murray put early season injury i sues to rest and has powered through tacklers to keep Keenum in favorable down-and-distances. The tandem has its toughest test of the season against a powerful defensive front, including tackling maven . If Murray and McKinnon can pick up chunk gains on early downs, it will set up Keenum to burn Carolina's secondary with play-action as the game wears. The ebb and flow of the ' season rests solely on . Carolina is 8-1 when Newton has a pa ser rating of 55 or higher this season, and 0-3 when he has a rating below 55. The quarterback must summon the power of his Superman alter ego Sunday against a battering, smothering defense. In two previous games versus Newton, Mike Zimmer's defense earned 12 sacks and picked off the QB twice. There isn't a place on the field where the own a district advantage outside Newton's ability to pick up broken plays. Given Minnesota's menacing pa s rush, I expect the to utilize often in space. The , however, are giving up just 35.3 pa sing yards per game to running backs, per Football Outsiders, and have slowed the likes of and . 's return could be the best matchup for Newton on Sunday. NFL Research stat of the week: The are allowing a third-down conversion rate of 27.2 percent this season (1st in NFL) -- lowest third-down conversion percentage allowed in a season by any team since the 1992 (27.2) team that won XXVII. has the NFL's seventh-best QB conversion percentage on third down this season (41.5). The average drive: run, run, pa s, punt. With John Fox still calling the shots, we shouldn't expect that to change. With the banged up on defense, including out with a concu sion, has a solid matchup to at least extend a few drives with his legs. With showing signs of regre sing in limited pa s attempts in recent weeks, I don't expect the conservative coaching staff to finally open the playbook on the road (even though it happen before the end of the season). As long as the game is close, expect Howard to receive the bulk of the touches against an injured Cincy squad coming off a short week. has collapsed this season when pre sure closes in, particularly in second halves of games. The good news for the Red Rifle on Sunday is the ' pa s rush has been rendered impotent by injury. Even behind a porous offensive line, Dalton should have plenty of time to find and downfield. With (concu sion) out, I expect a pa s-heavy game plan from Bill Lazor, beginning with quick strikes, then hitting a flagging secondary with deep shots as the game progre ses. After Green caught zero pa ses in the second half of last week's lo s, I'd expect the to target the receiver heavily against a Chicago D rated No. 28 against No. 1 wideouts, per Football Outsiders. NFL Research stat of the week: The are 12-32 (.273 win percent) since John Fox became head coach in 2015 -- only Cleveland (4) and San Francisco (9) have fewer wins than Chicago since 2015. With one more lo s this season, the will have lost 10-plus games in four consecutive seasons, which would be the longest streak by the since 1997-2000 (4 straight -- cro sing the Dave Wannstedt and Dick Jauron eras). The ' season is sliding toward its inevitable end, likely with the coaching staff being buried this winter. At least we can look forward to chugging along the rest of December. Now No. 5 on the NFL's all-time rushing list, the 34-year-old continues to defy amorphous age limitations. On a better offense, with a better offensive line, we'd likely be marveling at Gore's consistency each week. Despite his age, the veteran continues to break tackles, make quick cuts, find the correct holes and fall forward on each run. Sunday, he faces a Buffalo defense that ranks 29th in DVOA by Football Outsiders and has repeatedly been gashed up the gut. The matchup sets up a good week for Gore to begin pecking away at Curtis Martin's fourth place in the all-time standing. With (knee) a game-time decision, the have the opportunity to go back to . Against a defense that has made look like a Pro Bowler twice this season, Peterman would have a chance to build confidence. A good performance against a bad defense might allow the coaching staff to wiggle back to their plan to give the rookie a shot down the stretch. Peterman struggles with decision making, but his ability to throw with anticipation would be paid off against Indy's limp secondary. Regardle s of which quarterback plays, expect a heavy dose of against a sieve defense front. NFL Research stat of the week: defensive rankings under Chuck Pagano:Points per game allowed: 2017: 32nd; 2016: 22nd; 2015: 25th; 2014: 19th; 2013: 9th; 2012: 21stYards per game allowed: 2017: 29th; 2016: 30th; 2015: 26th; 2014: 11th; 2013: 20th; 2012: 26th Running back powered the to a win last week, earning his first career 100-yard rushing game (113 rush yards, 1 TD). The bruising runner has back-to-back games with 100-plus scrimmage yards, becoming the first RB to do so since in 2015. Green Bay will again ride Williams against a defense decimated by injuries up front. Williams runs like an angry moose, rarely going down upon first contact, and powering through fruitle s arm tackles. With continuing to struggle to stretch the field, Williams must keep the Pack in Bernard King Jersey good down-and-distances Sunday to maintain Green Bay's chances at a playoff spot with Aaron Rodger's po sible return down the road. Apparently, is rust-proof. The ' receiver had four receptions for 85 yards last week, second most for a Cleveland receiver all season. Gordon displayed his uber-athleticism, ability to fight for the ball at the catch point, acrobatic catch acumen, and speed in space. He looked like a spry gazelle last week against a very good secondary. Sunday, he faces a mediocre defense that has been burned vertically repeatedly this season, especially on third downs. displayed no hesitation trying to force-feed Gordon last game (11 targets). In his second tilt back, expect a similar workload for the ma sive receiver as the try to get their first win in the post-Sashi Brown era (which would match the win total of the Sashi Brown era #SadFaceEmoji). NFL Research stat of the week: In the last five seasons (since 2013), Green Bay has made the playoffs both times it had a .500-or-worse record heading into Week 14 (2013 and 2016). Never has a 2-10 team been as enticing a watch as the Niners with under center. Last week, the quarterback looked every bit a franchise signal-caller he was promised while in New England. Jimmy G displayed sublime pocket movement, otherworldly accuracy, arm strength for days, and phenomenal pre-snap recognition. Like all franchise QBs, Garoppolo elevated the play of everyone around him, including a feeble offensive line. Sunday's matchup against a Houston defense prone to giving up chunk gains portends another big day for Garoppolo if he can avoid getting his torso ripped from the hips by . had a career day in Week 13, to sing for 356 yards and completing 63.3 percent of 49 pa s attempts with a touchdown and an interception. The quarterback gets another matchup to stack positives, facing a Niners secondary ranked 30th in pa s DVOA by Football Outsiders. The po sible return of will provide a needed complement to , but expect Savage to send Nuk his standard double-digit targets (he's averaged 12.4 targets the past five games). also has a tremendous matchup in the pa sing game, against a defense that struggles to cover backs in space. If Savage can avoid the turnovers, Sunday's game in Houston has the chance to be a shootout. NFL Research stat of the week: 's 293 yards pa sing in Week 13 were the most by a quarterback in a starting debut. The ' Week 7 win over the at home kept their season alive after a 2-4 start. Going 4-2 since, coupled with K.C.'s collapse, gives Jack Del Rio's team a shot at the postseason. A win in Kansas City would keep them on pace for a grand turnaround. Oakland is a flawed team, but, even if can't suit up, Sunday sets up as a potentially big day for and the offense. 's return, coupled with the team-imposed suspension of corner , gives Oakland a matchup advantage on the outside. owns the biggest edge of the afternoon against a K.C. run D ranked 30th in DVOA. With Beast Mode picking up chunk gains, Carr should find ample windows down the field against a shorthanded defense. The big plays returned last week for , but the continue to lack consistent chain-moving offense. An offense can live off 70-yard bombs to on broken coverages for so long. Sunday at Arrowhead, however, Hill should continue to eat. The ' secondary has been torched through the air, allowing a 108.2 pa ser rating and four games of three TDs and no INTs to opposing quarterbacks. It took an inept for Oakland to magically earn their only interception of the season. After watching feast last week against the , must be champing at the bit. Between the favorable matchups for Hill and Kelce, Smith should be able to make enough splash plays and turn Sunday's game into another shootout. NFL Research stat of the week: Since returning from his one-game suspension incurred during the last meeting with K.C., has been a more productive runner:First seven games: 10.3 carries per game, 38.0 rush YPG, 3.7 yards per carry, 2 rushing TDs.Last 4 games: 17.0 carries per game, 73.0 rush YPG, 4.3 yards per carry, 4 rushing TDs. 's bruised right hand casts a pall off over the ' deteriorating playoff hopes. The quarterback is questionable. He'll Earl Monroe Jersey likely play, but with po sible limitations. Entering Week 14, Stafford owns the highest pa ser rating of his career (63.9). His accuracy and ability to power the ball into tight windows could be affected by the injury Sunday in Tampa. Last year, Stafford played with a bum hand down the stretch that limited his ability to get power behind throws. Reports out of Detroit practices are that Stafford looks close to normal on all his throws, which, if true, would set him up for a potentially big day. Against a Bucs pa s defense that covers slot men about as well as a dish towel covers a grizzly bear, Sunday forecasts as a Golden Tate-heavy day for the . Big play rookie also has a great matchup on the outside to make plays downfield, if Stafford's hand allows. continues to make at least one boneheaded decision a week when under pre sure. Luckily for the Tampa quarterback, he faces a toothle s pa s rush. Winston should find plenty of time to target and against a defense that ranks 31st in DVOA against tight ends. Winston is at his best pushing the ball down the seam to his tight ends and should have plenty opportunities to do so at home Sunday. The matchup on the outside to watch is versus . The DB is enjoying an under-the-radar season as a shadow corner. According to Football Outsiders, Detroit ranks No. 4 in DVOA against opposing No. 1 receivers. The high rank is on Slay. The battle at the catch point between an athletic Evans and a finger-wagging Slay could be epic. NFL Research stat of the week: D in 2017: Total YPG: 385.6 (31st in NFL); Yards per play allowed: 6.1 (32nd); Pa s YPG: 267.3 (31st); 3rd down percent: 48.5 (32nd); Sacks: 17 (32nd). has averaged just 150.5 pa s YPG over his last four tilts. Is he in for a bounce-back against a banged-up defense that struggles to tackle in space? Dak's propensity to force-feed should pay off this week. Bryant gets the luxury of not facing (IR) this time around and should beat up the le s-physical corners tasked with slowing him down. The will still ride heavily, especially if they get a lead, but Sunday's matchup could be an opportunity for Prescott to get back on track as the attempt to keep their playoff hopes alive. There is only one thing I'm certain will happen Sunday: will receive the loudest cheer of the day from the MetLife crowd when he takes the field. How the hometown fans react once the game begins to unfold remains to be seen. The biggest problem for Manning will be avoiding decapitation by -- who leads the NFL with 13.5 sacks this season. The made changes to the secondary last week, going young, to great effect. Even with those limited sample-size upgrades, Manning should still have mismatches with tight end and out of the slot. Manning wasn't lighting the world on fire before he was unceremoniously benched for . Given the lack of surrounding talent, we shouldn't expect him to come out blazing in his return. Football is funny, however. What a fitting plotline this fools play would get if Manning ripped apart the to dash his rival's playoff hopes. NFL Research stat of the week: Statistically speaking, the RB duo of and (since Week 10) has been slightly more productive than Elliott was in the first eight games of the season: Elliott: 23.9 carries per game, 97.9 rushing YPG, 4.1 yards per carryMorris/Smith Since Week 10: 23.6 carries per game, 100.0 rushing YPG, 4.3 yards per carry The might enter the game wanting to run the ball, but going to the air has been the proven method in besting a stout defense. 's season has been maddeningly up-and-down, but he has a matchup to earn big gains against Arizona's second and third cornerbacks. A suming shadows (returning from injury), rookie and own favorable matchups. I'm interested to see if Davis can overcome the struggles of the past month and win against le ser CBs. The ever-forgotten also has a positive matchup to continue his hot streak. Walker continues to be one of the most underrated, consistent tight ends in the NFL, and could find the end zone again Sunday against a Cards D that has allowed six TDs to tight ends this season. With out again, will be forced to carry the load. The quarterback gets a beautiful matchup against a defense that just allowed to have a career day. (Any defense that lets Savage and Gabbert to go off in back-to-back weeks should be forced run a mile in high heels.) profiles for a big day as Gabbert's security blanket, even with (cleared concu sion protocol) likely following him to the slot. Gabbert's penchant for targeting tight ends, especially on third down, should be beneficial against a Tenne see defense comfortable funneling targets to the middle (allowed 106 pa ses to TEs this season, most in the NFL). NFL Research stat of the week: With 26 receiving yards on Sunday, (15,267) will pa s Randy Mo s (15,292) for 3rd place on the NFL's all-time receiving list. We were all wrong about the ' receivers. Unle s you were related to someone on the team, don't pretend you thought this gaggle of pa s-catchers would be fun to watch, especially after went down with injury. The reality is that John Morton's offense has been highly entertaining with and picking up chunk gains with ease. Kearse (157 yards) and Anderson (107 yards) became the first teammates to each have 100-plus receiving yards in consecutive games (Weeks 12-13) since Don Maynard and George Sauer in 1967 (Weeks 16-17). The duo has a much stiffer test this week. While the defense has begun to show signs of cracking, Denver still boasts sticky cover men on the outside, bolstered by 's return from suspension. Anderson's matchup with Talib is the one to watch. Talib is a physical corner, but Anderson has the speed to burn him deep if the young wideout can get off the line of scrimmage free. On paper, the would have a good matchup against a pa s defense that has given up big plays this season -- see last week. Does anyone in Denver have faith can connect on those to ses? The Denver offense is broken and painful to watch. Even with (questionable) and owning plus matchups on the outside, it doesn't feel like Siemian can take advantage. Against the 27th ranked pa s DVOA defense, the best bet seems like easy slants and receiver screens hoping Sanders or Thomas can break free. This is depre sing. NFL Research stat of the week: has 18 TD, 8 INT, and a 96.7 pa ser rating this season -- career highs in comp. percentage (67.8), pa sing touchdowns (18), and rushing touchdowns (5). Friends, pray for . Pray he doesn't get squashed like a tin can in a trash compactor by and on Sunday in California. The man has a child to care for! If you don't believe Cousins has performed spectacularly given his inconsistent weapons and disintegrating blocking, you're either box-score-watching or sticking to a preconceived belief and choosing to budge to reality. Cousins' biggest problem Sunday will be a fire-breathing pa s rush. The offensive line has allowed 35 sacks and pre sure on 27.9 percent of pa ses this season. Since Week 7, the OL has allowed the second-most sacks (27) in the NFL and Cousins has been taken down four-plus times in five of their last seven games. The have 35 sacks on the season (fourth Obi Toppin Jersey most in the NFL) and get pre sure on 27.4 percent of dropbacks. These numbers foretell doom for Cousins. He must get the ball out to and quick Sunday. During their three-game win streak, the ' offense ranks first in the NFL in points per game (33.7), total yards (457.7), pa sing yards (350.7), third down percent (55.8) and tied for first with zero giveaways. The smartly have morphed into a pa s-first offense, allowing to play point guard, and it's made all the difference. The NFL's hottest receiver, has been a matchup nightmare for defenses all over the field. Expect him to roam the slot plenty Sunday to get the most beneficial matchup. L.A. also owns speed on the outside that's proven difficult for the to match. boasts a juicy matchup versus a Washington D that has allowed 791 yards to tight ends this season (third-most in the NFL). Once again, Rivers has matchups acro s the board for a ma sive day. NFL Research stat of the week: is the first player in NFL history with 10-plus receptions, 100-plus receiving yards and 1-plus rec TD in three consecutive games. Allen leads all players in third-down targets (50), receptions (31), receiving yards (464) and receptions for first downs (26) this season -- 99 more yards on third down than next closest WR ( , 365 yards). The Seattle Wilsons face their stiffest defensive test of the season. the ' offense this year, earning 82.2 percent of the team's yards, highest by any player in era. Sunday however, he faces the most physical, fast secondary in the NFL. With and bumping and buzzing his receivers down the field, will Wilson be able to find enough lanes to keep drives alive? Only three wide receivers all season have topped 60 yards versus the ' secondary. While provides some oomph in the run game against an up-and-down Jacksonville rush D, it likely won't be consistent enough Sunday. Wilson has worked magic with his legs against good defenses -- including last week against Philadelphia -- but will he be able to get away from , and the rest of Sacksonville? against what's left of the Legion of Boom is the key. As much as the Jags want to run the ball, they'll have a tough time Sunday. is averaging 56.5 rushing yards per game and 2.9 yards per carry in his last four tilts. While the back end of Seattle's D is banged up, the front seven hasn't forgotten how to stuff the run. The are allowing just 71.2 rushing yards per game and 2.8 yards per carry in the last five matchups. In the Jags' eight wins, Bortles has 11 TD pa ses to just three INTs and a 93.7 pa ser rating. Somewhat astonishingly, Bortles hasn't turned the ball over in the red zone. The quarterback has yet to have an implosion game in a big spot this season. Will Sunday be the one? Or will Bortles stay out of the way enough for the Jags to pull off an important home win? NFL Research stat of the week: is tied for the league lead with 29 total touchdowns this season. The ' defense has allowed the fewest touchdowns (16) in the NFL this season. Who's up for some points? The and are tied for the NFL's No. 1 scoring offense this season (30.1 PPG). This is the first time since the 1970 merger in which two teams tied with the NFL's top scoring offense play each other. Doug Pederson stuck with the running game too long last week, and it cost his team. This John Starks Jersey is the week to ride the ground-heavy attack. Wade Phillips' defense is most susceptible to the ground attack. , and have a plus matchup against Football Outsiders' No. 21-ranked run D that could be without (questionable). Getting the ground game going will open the play-action for . The MVP candidate is coming off a game in which he struggled but still completed 64.4 percent of his pa ses for 348 yards. Wentz's most favorable matchup in the pa sing game Sunday will be against a D that has given up chunk gains to slot receivers. After a tough lo s, how Wentz bounces back against a good team will speak to his character, mettle and the ' chances to hoist a trophy. has feasted off play-action, creating gaping holes to throw into. Credit Sean McVay for scheming his receivers wide open and getting Goff into the proper play call. For those play-action pa ses to work, however, first the must be able to run the ball. Against previous opponents, that's been little trouble. has nine games this season with 100-plus scrimmage yards (most in NFL). Gurley, however, faces an front that has not allowed a 100-yard rusher this season and gives up just 68.1 rush YPG. Gurley has been able to plow his way through defenders and make tacklers mi s on the edge consistently this season. If he's stymied Sunday, and the ' pa s rushers can pin their ears back on long down-and-distances, Goff must display his improved mettle in the pocket. Whichever young quarterback performs best when the pocket breaks down will give his team the upper edge Sunday in a game with ma sive playoff implications. NFL Research stat of the week: and are on pace to become the 4th and 5th QBs in NFL history to have 4,000-plus pa sing yards and a 95-plus pa ser rating in their second NFL season. looked like a real quarterback last week. Hip hip hooray. The maligned signal-caller looked like Joe of old, heaving several deep shots, for a season-high 269 pa sing yards. Flacco benefited from facing a limp pa s rush last week. He won't have such a luxury Sunday in Pittsburgh against a defense ranking second in the NFL with 40 sacks on the season. With linebacker suffering a devastating, sad spinal injury last week, Pittsburgh is without its sideline-to-sideline tackling machine. Will Shazier's absence open lanes for angry bulldozer up the gut and to the edge? If Collins is gaining chunks, it could slow down the pa s rush on Flacco and allow for some deep shots against a defense that is susceptible to the bomb. The matchup of the night is the ' yard-churning offense (seventh in yards) against the ' suffocating defense (seventh in yards allowed). has been held under 100 receiving yards in five straight games against the (100-plus rec yards in two of 14 regular season meetings versus Baltimore). Brown logged just 34 receiving yards in a Week 4 meeting (season low) to go along with a Gatorade jug frustration to s. The difference this week could be the absence of corner , who blew his Achilles last week. Rookie allowed five catches for 116 yards replacing Smith last game, per Pro Football Focus. Expect to test the rookie corner often Sunday, especially when he lines up acro s from Brown. NFL Research stat of the week: has 47 more carries than the next closest player ( , 223) and 65 more offensive touches than next closest player ( , 271). 's suspension wipes out a huge mismatch advantage for . It shouldn't slow down the NFL's greatest quarterback. The are 12-0 in games without Gronkowski since 2016, earning 29.6 PPG and 295.8 pa sing YPG in those tilts. Brady still boasts plenty of weapons to exploit a simple defense. 's likely return gives Brady another red-zone target to help make up for Gronk's absence. And Miami has no answer for ' speed on the outside. should play another big role against a leaky run defense. The shifty running back rushed for 112 yards on 15 totes versus Miami just two weeks ago. takes over as the ' offensive motor. The running back earned a career-high 26 touches for 141 total yards last week, displaying speed, shiftine s in space, and enough tackle-breaking ability to earn tough yards. While New England's defense has stiffened, especially in the red zone (11.9 PPG allowed since Week 5), it is most susceptible to the ground attack, ranking 32nd in run DVOA. If the are to keep the game tight at home, Drake should carry the load early in an effort to keep Brady on the sideline. NFL Research stat of the week: Last week did not have a TD pa s. Over the past two seasons, Brady has had four games with 0 pa sing TDs. In the next game following a 0-TD performance, Brady is 3-0 with 10 pa s TD and 0 INT. 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