Playbook: AFC Sunday Lookout

Tennessee Titans vs. Miami Dolphins

With the return of QB Jake Locker you have to wonder if this Tennessee Titan rushing offense will regress. NFL Network analyst LaDanian Tomlinson made a point a few weeks ago on First On the Field saying that Matt Hasselbeck puts Chris Johnson in better positions to succeed in the pre snap phase of the game.

In the last three games out of 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WRs) the Titans have averaged 4.71 yards per carry and out of 21 personnel (2 RB, 1 TE, 2 WRs) 9.93 yards per carry on 30 carries.

Facing the third best defense in the NFL, we feel that this Tennessee rushing surge goes away.

Pick: Miami

Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots

With the huge offseason transaction for the Buffalo defense they have not lived up to expectations. In the week 4 matchup Tom Brady threw for 340 yards.  41% of those yards (141) came out of an empty set.

Expect the Patriots to add some kind of wrinkle to their approach still attacking the Bills with a spread mentality on the ground and through the air. May we also add that Buffalo gave up 104 of 247 total yards on the ground against 3×1 sets – a formation that spreads the defense.

Pick: New England

Oakland Raiders vs. Baltimore Ravens

With key injuries of late in Raider nation, an opportunity to steal a game from a wounded Ravens team looks grim. But with the high production of Carson Palmer of late, you never know how the ball may bounce.

Too bad Carson doesn’t play defense, Baltimore has spread out more than in recent years and will attack the Oakland defense with 3×1 sets. In the last three games, the Raiders have given up a 55% completion percentage while Joe Flacco has thrown 10% higher against the last three opponents he’s faced.

Add the threat of Ray Rice into the mix and the Ravens gain the advantage in this matchup.

Pick: Baltimore

New York Giants vs. Cincinnati Bengals

They key for success in this matchup is first down efficiency – that is when a team gains for or more yards on 1st & 10.

Andy Dalton cannot be put in second and long situations against a veteran defense like the Giants possess. If the Bengals do not rush well on first down they could potentially put themselves in a deep hole on second and third downs.

A situation that fans would trust Eli Manning a bit more than sophomore QB Andy Dalton.

Pick: New York

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Kansas City Chiefs have to become more consistent when it comes to getting the ball to #25, Jamaal Charles. They possess one of the NFL’s greatest talents and he is the key to any success they can have.

The chiefs have also struggled at the quarterback position this season, and that will probably continue as Dick Lebeau’s defense continues to find new ways to disguise pressure packages and coverage.

Expect former Chiefs head coach and current Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley to spare no expense on Kansas City’s pedestrian defense (17th in NFL total defense).

Pick: Pittsburgh

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