Best one-on-one matchups for NFL Week 12
The 12th week of the 2016 NFL season is underway, with three games kicking off the action on Thanksgiving. After you’ve had your fill of turkey, be sure to check out these key matchups for the two late Thursday games, all of Sunday’s action, and Monday Night Football:
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
Now in full and unquestioned ownership of the Dallas starting QB job, rookie Dak Prescott will face one of his toughest tests yet on Sunday with Redskins CB Josh Norman lurking in the secondary. Recently ranked by Senior Analyst Sam Monson as the NFL’s 11th-best cornerback this season, Norman and the Redskins will look to spoil Prescott’s impressive run.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts
With quarterback Andrew Luck ruled out of Thursday night’s game, T.Y. Hilton will likely be leaned on to carry much of the load for the Indianapolis offense at home. Attempting to slow him will be Steelers CB Ross Cockrell, who has allowed a QB rating of 89.6 into his coverage this season.
Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints
Aaron Donald has been consistently dominant week after week once again this season, and will look to continue that impressive play against the Saints on Sunday. Between him and QB Drew Brees, however, will be RG Jahri Evans. Evans is tied with Minnesota’s Alex Boone for the seventh-best pass-blocking efficiency mark among NFL guards this season.
Tennessee Titans at Chicago Bears
With fellow linebacker Jerrell Freeman suspended for four games due to a PED violation, Danny Trevathan will be heavily relied upon to slow the Tennessee run game on Sunday. Unfortunately for Trevathan, that will be no easy task against DeMarco Murray, the sixth-highest-graded RB this season.
Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons
In what should be billed as the most exciting WR-CB matchup of the week, Patrick Peterson will attempt to slow this season’s highest-graded wide receiver, Julio Jones. Through Week 11, Jones leads all NFL WRs in total receiving yards (1,105) and yards per route run (3.32).
New York Giants at Cleveland Browns
The ever-consistent Joe Thomas will attempt to keep Josh McCown upright on Sunday against an improving New York defensive line, often facing big-money free-agent pickup Olivier Vernon. Through Week 11, Vernon is the 13th-highest-graded edge defender, owning 48 total QB pressures (third-most among 4-3 DEs).
San Diego Chargers at Houston Texans
After what could be called a disappointing rookie season, Melvin Gordon has impressed thus far in his second pro season. Gordon played a season-high 70 snaps last week (24 running, 46 passing); can Texans LB Benardrick McKinney slow the Charger down in Week 12?
Jacksonville Jaguars at Buffalo Bills
While rookie Jalen Ramsey has received much of the attention directed at the Jacksonville secondary this season, offseason free-agent addition Prince Amukamara has quietly been producing a solid 2016 campaign. Tyrod Taylor will attempt to spoil it, however, as the Bills attempt to get a winning streak going.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
Desperate for a win, the Bengals’ offense will be likely be hampered Sunday given the absence of A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard. With that in mind, Carlos Dunlap and the Cincinnati defense must step up to keep this one low-scoring; through Week 11, Dunlap has recorded 39 QB pressures, eighth-most among 4-3 DEs.
San Francisco 49ers at Miami Dolphins
Rookie Joshua Garnett will face a serious test on Sunday, as the 49ers travel to South Florida to take on the Dolphins. Through Week 11, Miami defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has been the third-highest-graded interior defender, behind only L.A.’s Aaron Donald and Arizona’s Calais Campbell, respectively.
Seattle Seahawks at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In what could be considered a slightly down season for Cliff Avril compared to his last three years in Seattle, the edge defender owns just the 41st-highest grade at his position. When focusing on just pass-rushing grade, however, Avril climbs into the top 20; it’s his 67th-ranked run-defense grade that drags down the overall mark.
New England Patriots at New York Jets
In a veteran battle we’ve seen time and time again, it appears Tom Brady has the major advantage against Jets CB Darrelle Revis entering Week 12. In what may be considered the secondary story of the year, Revis’ overall grade has decreased every season since 2011, falling from 78.4 in 2015 to the current mark of 59.5.
Carolina Panthers at Oakland Raiders
Kelechi Osemele has proven to be a major asset to the Raiders’ O-line this year, having been signed from the Ravens over the offseason. He’ll face a tough test on Sunday against Panthers DT Kawann Short, however; Short is just beginning to his stride after a relatively slow start to the season, by his standards.
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
With the Cleveland Browns last season, right tackle Mitchell Schwartz was able to limit Von Miller to just three QB pressures all game. Can he repeat that performance again for the Chiefs, or will Miller—the fourth-highest-graded edge defender this season—get the best of Schwartz this time around? See more on this matchup in PFF’s Big-Game Breakdown.
Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles
After a rough outing against the Redskins last Sunday night, the Packers return to primetime to face Carson Wentz and an impressive Eagles defense that features PFF’s top-graded edge defender (tied with Khalil Mack) through Week 11, Brandon Graham.