In The Trenches: Matchups for Week 12

Co-written by Matt Bitonti and Justis Mosqueda. Comparing offensive and defensive lines to find the best matchups for the week.

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.

Please note that this week we only have a limited amount of super choice matchups (2 rather than the usual 4). That's how the projections worked out this week. There are decent plays in the upper yellows, the +15 and above region. 

Let's get after it!



PIT +30

Pittsburgh vs. Green Bay - Sunday 1 PM ET 

JM: It's hard to imagine being in a better spot long-term than the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rookie pass-rusher T.J. Watt leads the 2017 rookie class in tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage while Bud Dupree, a third-year first-round pick, has been making more splash plays in the past month than any stretch in his NFL career. On the interior line, Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt, worth roughly $120 million combined, are one of the best pairings in the league. If not for Jacksonville's Calias Campbell, Heyward would be a First-Team All-Pro as a "big end" for this season. Tuitt, a former second-round pick, may be the highest-paid 24-year-old lineman in the history of the sport. When you sprinkle in James Harrison, Javon Hargrave and Tyson Alualu into the mix, you realize why the Steelers' front is arguably the second-best in the sport behind Jacksonville's.

BIT: Green Bay Packers' right tackle Justin McCray (a former Arena league guard who is subbing for Bryan Bulaga) left last week's home shutout loss with a knee injury. McCray has been practicing in drills but it is not certain he can start this weekend at Pittsburgh. In McCray's place, recently activated Jason Spriggs was flat out bad. This unit has seen more than it's share of injuries this season and while they are getting healthier (David Bakhtiari and Lane Taylor recently rejoined the lineup) this is an extremely unfavorable road matchup for what has been a sub-standard offensive line for most of the season.  



ATL +27

Atlanta vs. Tampa Bay - Sunday 1 PM ET

JM: In 2016, defensive end Robert Ayers was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a three-year, $20 million contract. This year, he has a total of two sacks. In 2016, defensive end Noah Spence was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This year, he recorded one sack before landing on the injured reserve list. In 2017, defensive end William Gholston was extended by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a five-year, $27.5 million deal. This year, he has a total of zero sacks. In 2017, defensive tackle Chris Baker was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a three-year, $15.75 million contract. This year, he has a total of zero sacks.
Tampa's ability to make plays in the backfield, and their losing record, should not come to anyone's surprise. Four bad investments on the team's defensive line over the last 21 months have helped sink the team.


BIT: The Falcons' offensive line is built around an outstanding center in Alex Mack and two above average tackles in Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder. Schraeder actually is coming off an injury which caused him to miss several weeks. But when he is healthy, he is an All-Pro performer. But all is not perfect for this offensive line as Atlanta's guard duo of Andy Levitre and Wes Schweitzer are getting flack for their unsteady performances last week in Seattle. This week they will again have a tough matchup against Gerald McCoy, the stud of the Buccaneers' defensive front. Still look for the Falcons' line to quietly roll along and allow the skill position players to create fantasy points.



Team                     Unit                  Rank   Team                     Unit                      Rank Favors Diff           NOTES
Atlanta offensive line 2 vs Tampa Bay defensive front 29 OL ATL +27  
Minnesota offensive line 13 @ Detroit defensive front 32 OL MIN +19  
Tennessee offensive line 8 @ Indianapolis defensive front 24 OL TEN +16  
Los Angeles (N) offensive line 10 vs New Orleans  defensive front 25 OL LAR +15  
Pittsburgh offensive line 6 vs Green Bay defensive front 21 OL PIT +15  
Philadelphia offensive line 18 vs Chicago defensive front 30 OL PHI +12  
Washington offensive line 3 vs New York (N)  defensive front 14 OL WAS +11  
Kansas City offensive line 15 vs Buffalo defensive front 23 OL BUF +8  
Jacksonville offensive line 19 @ Arizona defensive front 26 OL JAX +7  
Seattle offensive line 12 @ San Francisco defensive front 18 OL SEA +6  
Dallas offensive line 1 vs Los Angeles (A) defensive front 6 OL DAL +5  
Carolina offensive line 11 @ New York (A) defensive front 15 OL CAR +4  
Indianapolis offensive line 25 vs Tennessee defensive front 28 OL IND +3  
New Orleans offensive line 5 @ Los Angeles (N) defensive front 8 OL NOS +3  
Baltimore offensive line 24 vs Houston defensive front 27 OL BAL +3  
Miami offensive line 31 @ New England defensive front 32 OL MIA +1  
Buffalo offensive line 16 @ Kansas City defensive front 17 OL BUF +1  
Oakland offensive line 4 vs Denver defensive front 5 OL OAK +1  


Team Unit                       Rank   Team                    Unit                  Rank Favors Diff           NOTES
Pittsburgh defensive front 2 vs Green Bay offensive line 32 DEF PIT +30  
Cincinnati defensive front 10 vs Cleveland offensive line 28 DEF CIN +18  
Jacksonville defensive front 1 @ Arizona offensive line 17 DEF JAX +16  
Carolina defensive front 7 @ New York (A) offensive line 22 DEF CAR +15  
Washington defensive front 16 vs New York (N)  offensive line 30 DEF WAS +14  
Baltimore defensive front 13 vs Houston offensive line 23 DEF BAL +10  
Miami defensive front 11 @ New England offensive line 20 DEF MIA +9  
Atlanta defensive front 12 vs Tampa Bay offensive line 21 DEF ATL +9  
Dallas defensive front 22 vs Los Angeles (A) offensive line 29 DEF DAL +7  
Cleveland defensive front 20 @ Cincinnati offensive line 27 DEF CLE +7  
Oakland defensive front 19 vs Denver offensive line 26 DEF OAK +7  
Seattle defensive front 3 @ San Francisco offensive line 9 DEF SEA +6  
Minnesota defensive front 9 @ Detroit offensive line 14 DEF MIN +3  
Philadelphia defensive front 4 vs Chicago offensive line 7 DEF PHI +3  


RANK TEAM                            NOTES
1 Jacksonville  
2 Pittsburgh  
3 Seattle  
4 Philadelphia  
5 Denver  
6 Los Angeles (A)   
7 Carolina  
8 Los Angeles (N)   
9 Minnesota  
10 Cincinnati  
11 Miami  
12 Atlanta  
13 Baltimore  
14 New York (N)  
15 New York (A)  
16 Washington  
17 Kansas City  
18 San Francisco  
19 Oakland  
20 Cleveland  
21 Green Bay  
22 Dallas  
23 Buffalo  
24 Indianapolis  
25 New Orleans  
26 Arizona  
27 Houston  
28 Tennessee  
29 Tampa Bay  
30 Chicago  
31 New England  
32 Detroit  

Looking for the Offensive Line Rankings? Click Here: Week 12 Offensive Line news and full rankings

If you have a question about a player, team or matchup not specifically talked about in this article, please feel free to contact us via Twitter.

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