Welcome back to another week in the trenches.
The recipe is take Bitonti's offensive line rankings and compare them to Mosqueda's defensive front rankings.
The goal is to isolate and discuss the choicest matchups of the slate, from a "three-point stance" perspective.
All of the matchups are listed at the bottom of the article.
Let's get after it!
OFFENSIVE LINES TO TRUST
Pittsburgh vs. New England - Sunday 4:25 PM ET
JM: In terms of tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage, both in the passing game and the running game, the New England Patriots are by far the worst team in the sport. They are about 25.5 tackles behind the NFL average in that aspect. Only three other teams (Washington, Oakland and Detroit) are even half as bad as them on the year. Trey Flowers has six sacks on the season, but there's virtually no one else on that defensive line that Pittsburgh will have to worry about. Rookie Deatrich Wise has three sacks on the year, good for a tie for 95th-112nd in the league, while Eric Lee, who has played three professional games in his career, is third on the defensive line in sacks with 2.5 on the season.
BIT: Whether he stays with the Steelers or tries his luck in free agency, right tackle Chris Hubbard has boosted his future earnings. With Marcus Gilbert out four games with a suspension, Hubbard was forced into action. The offense has been proficient in recent weeks and Hubbard is currently playing as an above average starter. This choice matchup assumes center Maurkice Pouncey, who has been limited with a hip problem, is healthy enough to play this weekend against New England. Pouncey is a tough player and is usually a safe bet to play through an injury.
Jacksonville vs. Houston - Sunday 1PM ET
- Jadeveon Clowney: 17
- Brennan Scarlett: 8
- D.J. Reader: 7
- Carlos Watkins: 5
- Lamarr Houston: 5 (only played five games in Houston before returning to Chicago)
DEFENSIVE FRONTS TO TRUST
Jacksonville vs. Houston - Sunday 1PM ET
JM: Momentum is slowing down for Calais Campbell's Defensive MVP campaign, but the combined 61 tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage by Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Malik Jackson, Dante Fowler and Marcell Dareus for the Jacksonville Jaguars this season is still an amazing team effort. While just average at stuffing the run, though they are getting better with the addition of Dareus, the team is elite at getting after the quarterback. On any given down, you have to worry about a combination of five different defensive linemen who could get in the game and win one-on-one matchups. That's just not fair against modern offensive lines.
BIT: All season long this article has avoided commenting on both sides of the same game in the article. But this week the matchup in Jacksonville was just too tempting, on both sides of the football. While the Jaguars' offensive line is almost fully healthy, the Texans' line is ridiculously injured. Two possible left tackles are injured (Chris Clark, Kendall Lamm) and Jeff Allen (the usual right guard) has been manning the blind side. Julie'n Davenport is returning from a shoulder injury and could be a play for the coaching staff, but overall things have turned desperate for the Texans' offensive line as the season winds down. Quarterback T.J. Yates will likely face pressure on the road against Mosqueda's number one ranked defensive front.
Philadelphia @ New York (N) - Sunday 1PM ET
JM: The Philadelphia Eagles are the second-best team at stopping runs for 0 yards or a loss this season. Why: Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan and Vinny Curry and Derek Barnett and Chris Long and Beau Allen. It's within reason that the Eagles could lose three players who will start for another team in free agency and still have a top-five defensive line going into 2018. In short yardage situations, when it takes two or fewer yards to move the chains, teams have simply elected not to run the ball on this front. Only two teams in the NFL have been run on fewer than 50% of short yardage situations: Carolina (39/80, 48.8%) and Philadelphia (23/61, 37.7%.)
BIT: The Giants' best offensive lineman, right tackle Justin Pugh, went on injured reserve this week. Undrafted rookie Chad Wheeler again will the nod at right tackle. Wheeler should have his hands full against Bobby Graham while Bobby Hart will likely be needed at right guard. Fletcher Cox will have be drooling over this matchup. The Giants' offensive line has been shuffled as it has been depleted by injuries. Besides Pugh, Weston Richburg and D.J. Fluker are also done for the year.
OFFENSIVE LINE MATCHUPS
|Pittsburgh||offensive line||4||vs||New England||defensive front||31||OL||PIT +27|
|Jacksonville||offensive line||5||vs||Houston||defensive front||28||OL||JAX +23|
|Atlanta||offensive line||7||@||Tampa Bay||defensive front||29||OL||ATL +22|
|Chicago||offensive line||11||@||Detroit||defensive front||32||OL||CHI +21|
|Oakland||offensive line||2||vs||Dallas||defensive front||20||OL||OAK +18|
|Dallas||offensive line||1||@||Oakland||defensive front||16||OL||DAL +15|
|Tennessee||offensive line||3||@||San Francisco||defensive front||15||OL||TEN +12|
|New Orleans||offensive line||12||vs||New York (A)||defensive front||22||OL||NO +10|
|Detroit||offensive line||21||vs||Chicago||defensive front||30||OL||DET +9|
|Washington||offensive line||17||vs||Arizona||defensive front||26||OL||WAS +9|
|Los Angeles (A)||offensive line||15||@||Kansas City||defensive front||23||OL||LAC +8|
|New York (A)||offensive line||19||@||New Orleans||defensive front||25||OL||NYJ +6|
|Baltimore||offensive line||13||@||Cleveland||defensive front||18||OL||BAL +5|
|Miami||offensive line||23||@||Buffalo||defensive front||27||OL||MIA +4|
|Buffalo||offensive line||14||vs||Miami||defensive front||17||OL||BUF +3|
|San Francisco||offensive line||18||vs||Tennessee||defensive front||21||OL||SF +3|
|Philadelphia||offensive line||10||@||New York (N)||defensive front||12||OL||PHI +2|
|Minnesota||offensive line||6||vs||Cincinnati||defensive front||8||OL||MIN +2|
|Seattle||offensive line||9||vs||Los Angeles (N)||defensive front||10||OL||SEA +1|
DEFENSIVE FRONT MATCHUPS
|Jacksonville||defensive front||1||vs||Houston||offensive line||31||DEF||JAX +30|
|Philadelphia||defensive front||4||@||New York (N)||offensive line||30||DEF||PHI +26|
|Atlanta||defensive front||9||@||Tampa Bay||offensive line||29||DEF||ATL +20|
|Los Angeles (A)||defensive front||6||@||Kansas City||offensive line||25||DEF||LAC +19|
|Minnesota||defensive front||7||vs||Cincinnati||offensive line||26||DEF||MIN +19|
|Denver||defensive front||5||@||Indianapolis||offensive line||22||DEF||DEN +17|
|Baltimore||defensive front||11||@||Cleveland||offensive line||27||DEF||BAL +16|
|Washington||defensive front||14||vs||Arizona||offensive line||28||DEF||WAS +14|
|Pittsburgh||defensive front||2||vs||New England||offensive line||16||DEF||PIT +14|
|Carolina||defensive front||13||vs||Green Bay||offensive line||24||DEF||CAR +11|
|Indianapolis||defensive front||24||vs||Denver||offensive line||32||DEF||IND +8|
|Seattle||defensive front||3||vs||Los Angeles (N)||offensive line||8||DEF||SEA +5|
|Green Bay||defensive front||19||@||Carolina||offensive line||20||DEF||GB +1|
FULL DEFENSIVE FRONT RANKINGS
|6||Los Angeles (A)|
|10||Los Angeles (N)|
|12||New York (N)|
|22||New York (A)|
Looking for the Offensive Line Rankings? Click Here: Week 15 Offensive Line news and full rankings
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