Each week, this column will take a critical look at key statistical trends to highlight pass rushing and tackle matchups to exploit and avoid. We'll be heavily relying on another great feature at FBG this season, the IDP Matchup Spreadsheet that will be generated by Aaron Rudnicki. That spreadsheet will contain weekly average statistical measures to help identify those defensive teams who are facing the best and worst opportunity as the season progresses. While this column will include analysis of tackle and pass rush opportunity and matchup data, it's only a fraction of the data available in the spreadsheet. We hope that the Matchup Spreadsheet and this column will join John Norton's weekly IDP projections, Doug Drinen's Matchup Analyzer Tool and our customizable MyFBG function as useful tools to assist in making weekly line-up and waiver wire decisions.
You are very welcome to the third edition of the IDP Matchup column here at Footballguys in 2019. I have been penning this defensive diary for the past several years and I am delighted to be able to share some tidbits to help you secure a league title come December.
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Dave Larkin. I am a veteran IDP player and what some would call a diehard fan of this game of football that we all love so much.
Defense is my passion. Over the past few years, I have assimilated countless pages of data from various sources to hone my knowledge of the defensive side of the football. Every week I will study film from the previous week’s games and provide you with nuggets of wisdom that will lead you to a championship.
Week 3 has arrived, and along with it more clarity as to how these teams will perform and mature throughout the season ahead. Although we only have two weeks of data points at our disposal, we are starting to sort the wheat from the chaff, the weak from the strong and the exploitable from the avoidable.
Making yourself fully aware of which situations and teams to target and which to avoid can be the difference in early weeks when ostensibly everyone’s line-ups are at their strongest and games can be decided by small margins. As we enter the bye week gauntlet beginning next week, that edge becomes paramount to sustained success and stacking up wins.
Without further ado, let’s kick off with this week’s match-ups.
Pass Rushing Match-ups to Exploit
Green Bay pass rushers vs. Denver offensive line
The Packers defense ranks as Football Outsider’s third-best through two games. The sample size is small, but there is a different feel to this unit than previous seasons. The visit of Joe Flacco and the Broncos offensive line that seemed to collect holding penalties for fun last week will have the Pack’s defensive stalwarts licking their chops.
Our resident offensive line guru Matt Bitonti has the Broncos line ranked 29th, and it is hard to argue based on the lack of cohesiveness on display against Chicago. The game script will be crucial here. If Aaron Rodgers and the offense can overcome a stout Broncos defense and establish a lead, the pass rush should get into a groove. Flacco is not the player he used to be. An immobile quarterback will be just the ticket for Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, among others.