O-Lines That Should Dominate
New Orleans Saints (vs Tampa Bay) – Something’s brewing in the Big Easy. New Orleans has the look of a special team. The offense is clicking the defense is kicking butt and they’re playing with sky-high confidence right now. Andrus Peat, Max Unger, Larry Warford, and Ryan Ramczyk are providing both outstanding protection for Drew Brees, and big holes for Mark Ingram. Add in a great blocking TE like Josh Hill and the added dimension that Alvin Kamara brings and this unit is a nightmare. I know it seems like I pick on Tampa’s D every week but they just stay bad and face good teams over and over. I’d start every Saint I had on my roster except Colby Fleener, because he can’t catch.
Dallas Cowboys (vs Kansas City) – Ezekiel Elliot the lineup yo-yo ladies and gentleman! He’s playing, he’s not playing, he’s playing again! Even without him big D could have rested easy this Sunday as far as their ability to move the ball against the Chiefs. Dak Prescott still has one of the premier lines in the NFL. Tyron Smith & his mates give up less than one sack per game & give Prescott three or more seconds of a clean pocket per play, on almost every play. Also fortunately for the Cowboys their week nine opponent the Kansas City Chiefs gives up the fifth most passing yards per game in the league. Coming off his tussle with Josh Norman Dez Bryant is primed for a big game. Cole Beasley & Brice Butler are also worth a look if you’re in bye week hell with your WR group.
Arizona Cardinals (vs San Francisco) – Dear Arizona, I know you don’t like running. I know your best running back David Johnson is out most likely for the year. But you’re playing the 49ers, they’re one of the worst run defenses in the league. In fact, no team has been run on more. Their pass defense is surprisingly strong and in any event, you don’t have a great QB with Carson Palmer out for the next month at least. You do have Adrian Peterson please feed him. In all seriousness, the Cardinals running attack most likely would have disappointed this year even if D.J had stayed healthy. Center A.Q Shipley is really the only high-quality offensive lineman they have. But if ever there was a time to make the guys in the trenches feel better this Sunday is it. They’d be crazy not to run the ball right down San Francisco’s throat.
O-Lines That Should Struggle
New York Giants (vs Los Angeles Rams) – There’s an old saying in boxing that match ups make fights. Sunday’s fight between the L.A Rams and the N.Y Giants looks like a miss match on paper. Based on the Rams strong run, D tight pass coverage, and suffocating pressure the only options left to the Giants offense is the quick passing game, screens, and draws. They may have some success with that strategy and their D may keep them close but Weston Richburg, Justin Pugh and the rest of the line will not be able to keep Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn and Alec Ogletree out of the backfield and Eli Manning off his back for long. Look for this one to get ugly in the 2nd half.
Cincinnati Bengals (vs Jacksonville) – The Bengals offensive line can’t pass block. Andy Dalton ends up with enough green stains on his jersey to make people think he plays for the Packers. In Week 8 Cincinnati barely beat the lowly Colts and it was the Colts defensive pressure and the Bengals inability to finish drives that kept Indy in it. If the Colts gave the Bengals line a hard time how do you think Sacksonville is going to do? The Jacksonville defense may actually outscore the Bengals offense in this game.
Oakland Raiders (vs Miami Dolphins) – The Raiders offense is fine against lesser defenses. But cannot handle a team that can get pressure against Derek Carr and cover Michael Crabtree & Amari Cooper. Miami’s shutout loss to the Ravens in Week 8 was on the offense. The defense actually surrendered below their season average in that game and even with it, they’re still a top ten unit. It may have skewed the Fins stats but it wasn’t because of their performance and it won’t affect them this week. I’ve watched a lot of the Raiders O-line and as it was early in the season their problem is they seem to lack focus in one on one matchups at critical times. This may be because they feel the pressure of high expectations this season but whatever the reason they can’t win if it doesn’t change. I believe it won’t.