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!
DEFENSIVE FRONT MATCHUPS TO TRUST
SEA +231st SEA defensive front vs. 24th IND offensive line.
SUNDAY 8:30 PM ET - INDIANAPOLIS @ SEATTLE
JM: Cliff Avril is one of the best edge-benders in football. Playing inside or outside of an offensive tackle is no issue for Michael Bennett. Frank Clark is going to be a 10-year stud pass-rusher in the NFL if his off-field concerns don't flare up. Sheldon Richardson racks up tackles for a loss like almost no other interior defensive lineman does. What more is there to say? This is the best defensive line that we've seen since the Warren Sapp Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
BIT: The Colts' offensive line is a talented group but they are also very young. Several of the starters (left guard Jeremy Vujnovich, right tackle Le'Raven Clark and center Deyshawn Bond) have little experience prior to this season. Left tackle Anthony Castonzo is the old man at 29.The unit committed three false start penalties last week in the home win against Cleveland. Holding their water could be a real problem on the road in Seattle, against the intense noise and the top-ranked defensive front in all of the league.
PIT +235th PIT defensive front @ 28th BAL offensive line.
SUNDAY 1 PM ET - PITTSBURGH @ BALTIMORE
JM: Edge defender T.J. Watt's sacks may not be impressive on the relative scale of NFL sacks, but he's generating pressure at the rate of a top-end rookie. Both he, defensive end Stephon Tuitt and outside linebacker Bud Dupree, all top-50 picks, were listed as full participants in practice this week. Add Javon Hargrave, a three-tech turned nose tackle, Tyson Alualu, a nickel interior lineman, James Harrison, who may be fighting off an illness on gameday, and Cameron Hayward, one of the best interior linemen in the league, and you have a pretty dominant force up front.
BIT: One week after losing left guard Marshal Yanda for the season, it's not all that surprising the wheels came off for the Ravens' offense last week in London. Matt Skura got the start and rotated snaps with native Brit Jermaine Eluemunor. Neither were that great. Tony Bergstrom was inactive but he is another option, as he replaced Yanda during Week 2. The problem is that this is far from the first major loss for this unit (Alex Lewis, Nico Siragusa, John Urschel's retirement). The depth cupboard is bare for the Ravens, who host a loaded Steelers' defensive front this Sunday.
PHI +183rd PHI defensive front @ 21nd LAC offensive line.
SUNDAY 4:05 PM ET - PHILADELPHIA @ LOS ANGELES (A)
JM: This is finally the year in which Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham's sack stats are going to match his contribution on the field. In a rotation with Vinny Curry, who is somehow making more money than him, and Derek Barnett, a first-round pick, there aren't many bookend pairings league-wide that can go toe-to-toe with Philadelphia. On the interior, the combination of Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan, two top-20 defensive tackles, make it so that everyone across the board is essentially a penetration threat on any given down. Los Angeles has struggled to run the ball all year. Expect the run-run-pass-punt offense to continue. If Eagles fans travel and get the Chargers into a silent count, expect Barnett to smell blood in the water. His biggest positive in college at the University of Tennessee was knowing when Rocky Top could give him a free jump on the ball.
BIT: The Chargers' offensive line is not a bad unit, and in fact, they are trending upward this week with the return of right tackle Joe Barksdale from a foot injury. Left tackle Russell Okung has been their best run blocker; he and left guard Matt Slauson form a violent duo on that side of the offense. This "bad matchup" is more about the other team, which is loaded at every position. In particular, center Spencer Pulley and right guard Kenny Wiggins could be victimized by the Eagles' interior rush.
OFFENSIVE LINE MATCHUPS TO TRUST
CLE +202nd CLE offensive line @ 22nd CIN defensive front.
SUNDAY 1 PM ET - CINCINNATI @ CLEVELAND
JM: Cincinnati doesn't have a bad defensive line, but they do have a splashy defensive line. Geno Atkins is the best of the bunch, but Carlos Dunlap isn't repeating his 2016 performance in which he was a top-five defensive end in the AFC. With that being said, fourth-round rookie and former All-American Carl Lawson is emerging after a 2.5-sack game against the Green Bay Packers last week. The Bengals are living off of the big play potential of two players right now, and the peaks just may not being there against one of the most expensive offensive lines in football.
BIT: This week Browns right guard Kevin Zeitler faces his old team the Bengals for the first time. Zeitler spent 5 seasons with the other Ohio team and he is a rock solid interior blocker. This is a divisional game where both teams see this as a winnable situation. Last week's In The Trenches article lead off with a call that Cleveland's line would find success last week. While they didn't win the game (and haven't all year) the Browns' rushing attack remains healthy from a fantasy perspective.
OFFENSIVE LINE MATCHUPS
|Cleveland||offensive line||2||vs||Cincinnati||defensive front||22||OL||CLE +20|
|Minnesota||offensive line||11||vs||Detroit||defensive front||25||OL||DET +14|
|Miami||offensive line||15||vs||New Orleans||defensive front||28||OL||MIA +13||LONDON|
|Tennessee||offensive line||6||@||Houston||defensive front||18||OL||TEN +12|
|San Francisco||offensive line||12||@||Arizona||defensive front||23||OL||SF +11|
|Los Angeles (N)||offensive line||19||@||Dallas||defensive front||30||OL||LAR +11|
|Carolina||offensive line||17||@||New England||defensive front||26||OL||CAR +9|
|Washington||offensive line||4||@||Kansas City||defensive front||11||OL||WAS +7|
|Dallas||offensive line||1||vs||Los Angeles (N)||defensive front||7||OL||DAL +6|
|Oakland||offensive line||3||@||Denver||defensive front||9||OL||OAK +6|
|New Orleans||offensive line||7||@||Miami||defensive front||13||OL||NO +6||LONDON|
|New England||offensive line||16||vs||Carolina||defensive front||21||OL||NE +5|
|Jacksonville||offensive line||22||@||New York (A)||defensive front||27||OL||JAX +5|
|Chicago||offensive line||10||@||Green Bay||defensive front||14||OL||CHI +4|
|Houston||offensive line||25||vs||Tennessee||defensive front||29||OL||HOU +4|
|Buffalo||offensive line||14||@||Atlanta||defensive front||17||OL||BUF +3|
|Atlanta||offensive line||8||vs||Buffalo||defensive front||10||OL||ATL +2|
|Philadelphia||offensive line||5||@||Los Angeles (A)||defensive front||6||OL||PHI +1|
|Denver||offensive line||23||vs||Oakland||defensive front||24||OL||DEN +1|
DEFENSIVE FRONT (AND EVEN) MATCHUPS
|Seattle||defensive front||1||vs||Indianapolis||offensive line||24||DEF||SEA +23|
|Pittsburgh||defensive front||5||@||Baltimore||offensive line||28||DEF||PIT +23|
|Chicago||defensive front||8||@||Green Bay||offensive line||29||DEF||CHI +21|
|Philadelphia||defensive front||3||@||Los Angeles (A)||offensive line||21||DEF||PHI +18|
|Jacksonville||defensive front||12||@||New York (A)||offensive line||30||DEF||JAX +18|
|Tampa Bay||defensive front||15||vs||New York (N)||offensive line||26||DEF||TB +11|
|Minnesota||defensive front||4||vs||Detroit||offensive line||13||DEF||MIN +9|
|Baltimore||defensive front||2||vs||Pittsburgh||offensive line||9||DEF||BAL +7|
|San Francisco||defensive front||20||@||Arizona||offensive line||27||DEF||SF +7|
|New York (N)||defensive front||16||@||Tampa Bay||offensive line||18||DEF||NYG +2|
|Washington||defensive front||19||@||Kansas City||offensive line||20||DEF||WAS +1|
|Indianapolis||defensive front||31||@||Seattle||offensive line||31||EVEN||EVEN|
|Cleveland||defensive front||32||vs||Cincinnati||offensive line||32||EVEN||EVEN||WORST ON WORST|
Full Defensive Front Rankings
|6||Los Angeles (A)|
|7||Los Angeles (N)|
|16||New York (N)|
|27||New York (A)|
Looking for the Offensive Lines? Click Here: Week 4 Offensive Line news and full rankings
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