Playbook: NFC Sunday lookout

San Diego Chargers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

In both teams’ last four games…

The Chargers defense has played a single high coverage 76% (104/170) of the opponents drop backs. They will also be forced to stack the box due to RB Doug Martin’s presence.
This tendency will present one on one opportunities on the outside for QB Josh Freeman who has been efficient against a single high safety (30/54, 551 yds, 2 TDs, INT) with a 55% completion percentage.

Pick: Tampa Bay

Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers

Peyton Manning faces the NFL’s 12th ranked weekend in the Carolina Panthers that has given up 21 pass plays of 20 or more yards.

This season, Manning has completed 37 passes of 20 or more yards. In the last three games the Denver passing offense has been 21-35, 473 yds, 60% comp %, 2 TDs, INT (158 yards/game) via play action pass. They have used play action to take downfield shots in all three games – expect nothing less this week.

Pick: Denver

Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings

In their week 4 meeting QB Christian Ponder was 1-11 passing on third down and barely threw for over 100 yards (111) in the game. The positive for Minnesota is that RB Adrian Peterson ran for over 100 yards (102) averaging 4.9 per carry. They had ground success with trap and draw plays. The Vikings’ offense did not record an offensive touchdown in this win.

In the first meeting Detroit was held to 55 yards rushing on 20 carries, forcing Matthew Stafford to sling it 51 times, for 319 yards and 0 interceptions. If they do not generate any rushing attack, the results could be the same. Ground movement is the key.

Pick:: Minnesota

Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints

The Falcons defense has given up 45 pass plays of 15 or more yards while the Saints offense has thrown 60. Atlanta is a defense that likes to take chances in efforts to generate turnovers. Drew Brees is not the player to be undisciplined against.

Drew Brees has 8 TD passes of 20+ yards (2nd in NFL) and 34 completions of 20+ (3rd in NFL) but average the worst starting field position in the league (23.2).

While Atlanta’s high octane offense faces a porous New Orleans defense, throw records out of the window, these teams are very familiar with one another. Expect a high scoring game and the last offense to have the ball bring home the win.

Pick: New Orleans – upset alert!

New York Jets vs. Seattle Seahawks

Seattle is 4-0 at home this season hosting a struggling New York Jets squad that has not produced offensively at all, creating a trickle effect onto their defense.

Seattle is 7th in the NFL in rushing offense attempting 32 rushes per game averaging 4.9 yards per carry. New York’s 29th ranked run defense faces 32 rushes per game and allows 4.4 yards per carry.

Seattle can exploit this weakness and aid the continuation of Russell Wilson’s phenomenal home passing statistics (62 % completion %, 9 TD-0 INT, 120.2 passer rating).

Pick: Seattle

Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Both teams offenses have not done well starting the game fast. The Eagles have scored only seven points in the first quarter (31st in NFL). Not a good recipe when facing the 5th ranked defense in the NFL.

Last week Michael Vick and the Philly offensive line struggled with adjusting their protection to various looks. One of the main conflicts came when facing mugging linebackers – that is when linebackers walk over each shoulder of the center. Something that any Ryan run defense has never been afraid to do.

Pick: Dallas

St. Louis Rams vs San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers are the best running football team in the game. To take that further, they are the league’s best at running on second down averaging 6.9 yards per carry.

The St. Louis Rams are a league worst defending the run on 2nd down (6.05 per carry).

Pick: San Francisco

Houston Texans vs. Chicago Bears

The key to this game for Chicago is to shut down Houston’s potent zone running scheme – bottom line. This season, The Texans have run most out of 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WRs); they have rush 172 of their 280 total rushing attempts averaging 4.45 yards per carry in this personnel grouping.

The Bears have only given up 2.76 yards per carry against this personnel package (12) – yet only seeing 34 attempts.

In the last three games Chicago has not been good against play action passing. They have given up a quarterback rating of 105.2 averaging 11.4 yards per attempt; while Matt Schaub has been an efficient 12-16 (75%), 154 YARDS (9.63 YPA) and a 144.3 QB rating.

Pick: Houston

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