Best one-on-one matchups in every NFL Week 4 game
The fourth week of the 2016 NFL season is already underway, with the Bengals’ victory over the Dolphins on Thursday. As the action continues, be sure to watch these key one-on-one matchups in every remaining NFL game.
Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars
Through three weeks of the season, 2016 fifth-overall pick Jalen Ramsey has provided great returns on the Jaguars’ investment, currently owning the 12th-highest grade among NFL cornerbacks. He’s coming off his best game yet, earning the eighth-highest grade among CBs in Week 3, at 86.8, surrendering four of six targets for just 15 total yards against the Ravens. On Sunday, the rookie will square off against Andrew Luck’s top target, WR T.Y. Hilton, currently the seventh-highest graded receiver this season. On 18 catchable targets from Luck, Hilton has yet to drop a pass this season.
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Another rookie impressing this season, Titans RT Jack Conklin has surrendered just five QB hurries on 117 pass-blocking snaps, with no sacks or QB hits allowed. Houston defensive lineman Whitney Mercilus aims to up those numbers on Sunday, as the 22nd-highest graded edge defender this season will aid his team’s rebound from Week 3’s loss to the Patriots. With J.J. Watt now out for the year, the Texans will be even more reliant on Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney to put pressure on Marcus Mariota.
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears
Against the Cowboys last week — and with QB Brian Hoyer at the helm of the Chicago offense — Bears WR Alshon Jeffery recorded just the 42nd-best grade among NFL receivers, at 70.3. He’ll look to bounce back at home against the Lions, though he faces a tough test in Detroit cornerback Darius Slay. On 20 targets into his coverage this season, Slay has surrendered 11 receptions and just 20 total yards after the catch; QBs targeting receivers in his coverage have recorded a 94.0 passer rating through Week. 3.
Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens
While not quite matching his impressive preseason showing, Ravens rookie LT Ronnie Stanley has still played well for a rookie offensive tackle this season. Stanley has surrendered nine total QB pressures through three weeks (one sack, one QB hit, seven QB hurries), owning the 33rd-highest pass-blocking efficiency among OTs. He’ll be tested on Sunday against the highest-graded edge defender of the 2015 season, Khalil Mack. Mack isn’t yet on the same pace of his 2015 campaign, with no sacks, one QB hit, and eight QB hurries recorded to through three games. The Raiders’ OLB will look to get back on track in Week 4 against the rookie Stanley.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
As the second-highest graded WR last season, Julio Jones is off to a slower start in 2016, but hopes to change that at home on Sunday. The Falcons welcome the defending NFC champion Panthers in what will be a key NFC South matchup. In Week 3, rookie CB James Bradberry earned a 77.3 grade against the Vikings, surrendering three receptions for 34 yards on six targets into his coverage. Jones will hope to get his connection with QB Matt Ryan back on track in Week 4 against the second-round rookie.
Seattle Seahawks at New York Jets
Lining up in the slot on 82.6 percent of his snaps this season, Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin has climbed to No. 3 overall in PFF’s WR grades this season. On Sunday, he’ll face Jets cornerback Buster Skrine, who has spent 77 snaps lined up in the slot this season, surrendering an NFL passer rating of 94.9 into his coverage on those plays.
Cleveland Browns at Washington Redskins
Last week, Terrelle Pryor put on a show in Cleveland’s loss to Miami, earning the third-highest grade of the week among wide receivers (behind only Doug Baldwin and T.Y. Hilton). In Week 4, he’ll hope to continue that connection with rookie quarterback Cody Kessler, but faces a tough test in Redskins CB Josh Norman. While Norman is coming off a down week against Odell Beckham Jr. and the Giants, he’s still among the league’s highest-graded cornerbacks this season.
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots
Through three weeks of the season, Bills OLB Jerry Hughes owns the fifth-highest grade among NFL edge defenders, tied with Arizona’s Chandler Jones and Green Bay’s Nick Perry for the most QB pressures among OLBs (16). Aiming to slow Hughes’ pace, however, is Patriots LT Nate Solder. Solder missed Week 1 of the season, but posted impressive grades against the Dolphins and Texans.
Denver Broncos at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
While Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston has slowed after his hot Week 1 start, wide receiver Mike Evans has not. Evans currently owns the eighth-highest grade among NFL wide receivers, and the 14th-best drop rate in the league (one dropped pass on 22 catchable passes from Winston). The Bucs’ wideout will face Broncos CB Aqib Talib on Sunday, who surrendered a season-high five receptions and 43 yards to the Bengals in Week 3.
New Orleans Saints at San Diego Chargers
A strength-versus-strength matchup to watch at Qualcomm Stadium will pit Chargers OLB Melvin Ingram against Saints RT Zach Strief. Through three games, Ingram has recorded 13 total QB pressures (two sacks, 11 QB hurries), while Strief has surrendered just four total pressures (one QB hit, three QB hurries).
Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers
Another battle in the trenches to watch will on Sunday will feature Cowboys RG Zack Martin — who owns the ninth-best pass-blocking efficiency among guards this season — against 49ers DE Arik Armstead, the owner of the highest pass-rushing productivity mark among 3-4 DEs in 2016. On just 63 pass-rushing snaps, Armstead has recorded nine total QB pressures (one sack, eight QB hurries).
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals
The most elusive running back in the NFL this season by a fair stretch, Cardinals RB David Johnson has forced 20 total missed tackles (15 on rushes, five receptions). In Week 4, he’ll often meet Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree, who currently owns the eighth-highest run-stop percentage of the season among NFL linebackers, having made nine run stops on the year. It’s worth noting, however, that Ogletree is tied with Kansas City’s Derrick Johnson for the most missed tackles against the run this season, at five.
Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers
Another strength-versus-strength battle, PFF’s Offensive Player of the Year for the 2015 season will square off against the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year. Despite the Steelers falling to the Eagles last week, Antonio Brown recorded a season-high 12 receptions and 140 receiving yards. He hasn’t found the end zone since Week 1, however, and will look to do so at home against the Chiefs. For the second season in a row, Marcus Peters leads the NFL in interceptions, with four picks through Week 3.
New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Jason Pierre-Paul versus Andre Smith Jr. is one of the larger mismatches of Week 4, as the Vikings’ RT currently ranks 70th out of 74 qualifying OTs this season in terms of overall grade. On the other end of the grade spectrum, JPP owns the fifth-highest pass-rushing grade, with 13 total QB pressures to his name this season (one sack, three QB hits, nine QB hurries). Much to the dismay of Sam Bradford, Pierre-Paul and the Giants’ defensive line will likely increase those numbers on Monday.