Published: November 24th, 2012 | Tags: AFC, Game Previews, NFL Playbook, SUNDAY LOOKOUT, AFC, Bills/Colts, Broncos/Chiefs, MATCHUPS, NFL Playbook, Raiders/Bengals, Seahawks/Dolphins, Steelers/Browns, SUNDAY LOOKOUT, Titans/Jaguars
Titans @ Jaguars
When the Titans travel to Florida this weekend they should be packing their ascending rushing offense as a main priority.
Jacksonville is 0-2 when giving up 100 yards to a rusher. On the contrary, Chris Johnson has averaged 130 yards per game in his last five outings.
Tennessee should be able to control the clock against the NFL’s 29th-ranked run defense (138.6/gm), which will aid quarterback Jake Locker and possibly limit the amount of drives Jaguar quarterback Chad Henne will have to operate.
Bills @ Colts
The Bills average 140 rushing yards a game and have an NFL best second-down rushing average of over six yards per attempt. Buffalo has a lot of speed in its backfield and uses its spread packages to remove bodies out of the interior, which exemplifies them being tied for third with 11 rushes over 20 yards this season.
Andrew Luck has been as advertised and is showing why he was selected as the No. 1 draft pick. There is no situation too great for him, this offense is fourth in the league in third-down conversion (45%) and the is the NFL’s best in third-and-long situations at 41.2 percent.
This game will score a lot of points because both defenses have deficiencies when facing the run and pass. Luck’s show of poise at such a young age forces us to believe that Indy will prevail.
Steelers @ Browns
This season Pittsburgh has not allowed a 300 yard passer and are No. 1 in the NFL in pass defense and third-down defense. In these same categories the Browns rank 20th in passing offense and 12th on third down.
Even though Charlie Batch will start against a much improved Browns front four, he still is well vested in the Pittsburgh system and just needs to protect the ball. This game will probably close if Cleveland continues to find ways to get the ball to rookie running back Trent Richardson in open space forcing one-on-one tackling. When watching film, defenders simply do not want to tackle him alone.
Pittsburgh has the defense to force turnovers and even put points on the board when needed. Expect a tough game out of this storied rivalry, but the defense of the Steelers will have to find a way to lead their team.
Chargers @ Ravens
Charger quarterback Phillip Rivers is 2nd in the NFL in interceptions this season with 14. This doesn’t bode well when visiting an opportunistic Ravens defense that is the AFC’s second-leading pass intercepting defense (11).
Though the Charger defense issecond in the NFL against the run (87.9 yds/gm) and held running back Ray Rice to 57 rushing yards in 2011; their pass defense will be challenged. San Diego loves to play a simple three-deep coverage, which shall boost Baltimore’s pass offense – making it an uphill battle for the San Diego Chargers.
Raiders @ Bengals
Though the Oakland offensive line has struggled to get consistent push in the run game, Cincinnati has struggled against the run as well through undisciplined linebacker play. Expect versatile RB/FB Marcel Reese to challenge this defense on the ground.
As we have watched film this season, one thing that has consistently shown up while watching the Raiders’ secondary has been busted coverages. Bengal quarterback Andy Dalton is going to test this group, and expect Cincinnati to find ways to get A.J. Green matched up on converted safety Michael Huff for big plays down the field.
Broncos @ Chiefs
Believe it or not, Kansas City does not match up bad against Denver. They are sixth in pass defense yet 25th against the run. With the injury to Willis McGahee, this should play in the Chiefs’ favor right? Wrong. Peyton Manning is the tipping point; he is a master at the line of scrimmage and will play a numbers game with this Chiefs defense.
When the box is heavy with defenders, Manning will abandon the run and check to a pass play, and vice versa when the box is light. This will create mismatches and ultimately force mistakes and defensive breakdowns that Denver has capitalized on most of this season.
Still expect nothing less than a great game from Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson, who is having a lights-out season thus far.
Seahawks @ Dolphins
The Seahawks rank 32nd in passing offense (1748 yds, 175/gm) and rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has thrown every interception this season on the road. Though Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle run offense ranks in the top 5 of the NFL, they face a top 10 run defense led by interior terrors Randy Starks and Paul Soliai, a disciplined linebacking group and solid run supporting safeties.
On the other side, Seattle’s defense must leave a prominent stain in this game if they want to succeed. Their defensive front is built to stop Miami’s zone run scheme. The Dophins rank 24th in completion percentage and have the third-lowest passer rating in football (72.3), playing into the Seahawks’ hands to stop their inconsistency away from home.