Welcome back to another week "In The Trenches."
Every week we will take Bitonti's offensive line rankings and compare them to Mosqueda's defensive front rankings, and combine the two with the goal of isolating and discussing the choicest matchups. All of the matchups are listed at the bottom of the article.
Let's get after it!
OFFENSIVE LINES TO TRUST
Dallas @ Atlanta - Sunday 4:25 PM ET
JM: The Dallas Cowboys have one of the more interesting defensive line situations in the league right now. While defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence is racing for the sack title, there was little help for him to start the season. Coming off suspension, defensive tackle/end hybrid David Irving has changed that, but the team still has two blue chippers lining up next to question marks. In terms of tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage, Lawrence leads the team with 15, Irving is second with nine and third place is a tie between Tyrone Crawford and Maliek Collins with five. To put that into perspective, Collins, who has roughly half of a number of Irving's tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage, has played more than twice the amount of snaps as him this season. For Atlanta, they only need to focus on stopping two penetrators.
BIT: This weekend's game between the Cowboys and Falcons features the two top-rated offensive lines in all of the league. Much has been made of the Cowboys' offensive line (and certainly the attention is deserved) but the Falcons' offensive line is also a top-notch unit in their own right. Right tackle Ryan Schraeder is fully recovered from injury and is playing for a contract. Center Alex Mack did not have a great performance last week against Carolina (especially on short yardage) but he and the rest of the line should have a much easier time this week against an uneven Cowboys' defensive front.
PIT + 21
Pittsburgh @ Indianapolis - Sunday 1 PM ET
JM: The loss of defensive end Henry Anderson for the season will hurt the Indianapolis Colts down the stretch. Jonathan Hankins, Jabaal Sheard and John Simon have had solid seasons in Indianapolis, but the difference between three C+ players at the line of scrimmage and a couple of blue-chip defenders, like in Seattle, Jacksonville or Pittsburgh, is felt every Sunday. They've laid the groundwork for a sustainable program long-term, but they're still searching for a stud defensive lineman, a search they've been conducting since Dwight Freeney moved on.
BIT: The Steelers' offensive line should have right tackle Marcus Gilbert back in action for this Sunday's contest at Indianapolis. Gilbert had been rehabbing a hamstring injury and suffered several setbacks along the way, resulting in five total missed games so far this season. However, Gilbert is not listed on this week's injury report and the Steelers' line should be back at full strength. Chris Hubbard did a good job in place of Gilbert but the veteran makes a bigger impact, especially in the run game. The Steelers' offensive line should have a favorable matchup this weekend against a beat-up Colts' defensive front.
DEFENSIVE FRONTS TO TRUST
Los Angeles (A) @ Jacksonville - Sunday 1 PM ET
JM: The Los Angeles Chargers don't give up many sacks, but it's because of Philip Rivers' ability in the quick game, not their offensive line talent. That will be put to the test against the Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend, by far the best pass defense in football. With A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey potentially locking down the quick game, expect Calais Campbell, the NFL leader in sacks, Yannick Ngakoue, Dante Fowler, Malik Jackson and Marcel Dareus to have a field day if their secondary buys them time. Together, Campbell, Ngakoue, Fowler and Jackson have combined for 41 tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage, a terrorizing number. Dareus did not record a similar tackle in his first week in Jacksonville, but he did flash at moments. If he's ready for the playoffs, the Jaguars could make it out of the AFC.
BIT: The Chargers' offensive line will have right tackle Joe Barksdale back in the lineup to face the Jaguars this weekend. Michael Schofield had been starting in Barksdale's place. While getting a starter back is good news, it is outweighed by the bad news, which is that the matchup against Jacksonville is absolutely fearsome. Left guard Dan Feeney especially could be a target for the interior pass rush. Feeney is a third round rookie and is only starting due to season ending injuries to Matt Slauson and Forrest Lamp.
Minnesota @ Washington - Sunday 1 PM ET
JM: Despite not leading the NFL in sacks at the moment, Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen has recorded a sack in every single game this season. Everyone was excited about Danielle Hunter coming into this year, and for good reason, but Griffen is the one stealing the show. He is battling a foot injury after a bye week, which might be the only thing that can slow him down. A banged up Washington offensive line meeting a rested combo of Griffen, Hunter and Linval Joseph seems more like a collision course than a matchup.
BIT: The Washington offensive line has been decimated by injury recently. Last week the team was without four starters in their improbable away win at Seattle. This week both guards Shaun Lauvao and Brandon Scherff look ready to rejoin the lineup. However left tackle Trent Williams and center Spencer Long will likely remain out. Williams' injury is especially serious, and even though he has been playing with it for several weeks, Williams will require season-ending surgery to fix the problem. Ty Nsekhe usually starts when Williams is hurt, but Nshkhe is also rehabbing an abdomen injury and could be out of action again this weekend. This would leave T.J. Clemmings to again get the start at left tackle. The Vikings' pass rushers should be drooling.
OFFENSIVE LINE MATCHUPS
|Atlanta||offensive line||2||vs||Dallas||defensive front||25||OL||ATL +23|
|Pittsburgh||offensive line||5||@||Indianapolis||defensive front||26||OL||PIT +21|
|Los Angeles (N)||offensive line||9||vs||Houston||defensive front||28||OL||LAR +19|
|Chicago||offensive line||4||vs||Green Bay||defensive front||23||OL||CHI +19|
|Dallas||offensive line||1||@||Atlanta||defensive front||18||OL||DAL +17|
|Seattle||offensive line||12||@||Arizona||defensive front||27||OL||SEA +15|
|New York (A)||offensive line||21||@||Tampa Bay||defensive front||32||OL||NYJ +11|
|Buffalo||offensive line||6||vs||New Orleans||defensive front||14||OL||BUF +8|
|Tennessee||offensive line||7||vs||Cincinnati||defensive front||12||OL||TEN +5|
|Minnesota||offensive line||19||@||Washington||defensive front||20||OL||MIN +1|
|Denver||offensive line||29||vs||New England||defensive front||30||OL||DEN +1|
DEFENSIVE FRONT MATCHUPS
|Pittsburgh||defensive front||3||@||Indianapolis||offensive line||27||DEF||PIT +24|
|Minnesota||defensive front||11||@||Washington||offensive line||32||DEF||MIN +21|
|Jacksonville||defensive front||1||vs||Los Angeles (A)||offensive line||22||DEF||JAX +21|
|Los Angeles (N)||defensive front||10||vs||Houston||offensive line||26||DEF||LAR +16|
|Seattle||defensive front||2||@||Arizona||offensive line||14||DEF||SEA +12|
|Denver||defensive front||5||vs||New England||offensive line||15||DEF||DEN +10|
|New York (N)||defensive front||17||@||San Francisco||offensive line||24||DEF||NYG +7|
|San Francisco||defensive front||21||vs||New York (N)||offensive line||28||DEF||SF +7|
|Carolina||defensive front||9||vs||Miami||offensive line||16||DEF||CAR +7|
|New York (A)||defensive front||19||@||Tampa Bay||offensive line||24||DEF||NYJ +5|
|Miami||defensive front||13||@||Carolina||offensive line||17||DEF||MIA +4|
|Buffalo||defensive front||7||vs||New Orleans||offensive line||11||DEF||BUF +4|
|Cleveland||defensive front||16||@||Detroit||offensive line||18||DEF||CLE +2|
|Los Angeles (A)||defensive front||8||@||Jacksonville||offensive line||10||DEF||LAR +2|
|Chicago||defensive front||24||vs||Green Bay||offensive line||25||DEF||CHI +1|
|Tennessee||defensive front||29||vs||Cincinnati||offensive line||30||DEF||TEN +1|
|Detroit||defensive front||31||vs||Cleveland||offensive line||31||EVEN||EVEN|
FULL DEFENSIVE FRONT RANKINGS
|8||Los Angeles (A)|
|10||Los Angeles (N)|
|15||Kansas City||Allen Bailey.|
|17||New York (N)|
|19||New York (A)|
Looking for the Offensive Line Rankings? Click Here: Week 10 Offensive Line news and full rankings
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