Best one-on-one matchups to watch in NFL Week 16
Ready for Week 16 NFL action? Pro Football Focus highlights the key one-on-one matchup to watch in every game.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Entering Thursday night’s matchup with the Eagles, Giants DE Olivier Vernon leads all edge defenders this season with 77 QB pressures, albeit on a league-high 574 pass-rushing snaps. He’ll be tested by Jason Peters, who currently owns a top-six pass-blocking grade among NFL offensive tackles.
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
In his second NFL season, Vic Beasley produced a quality stretch for the Falcons between Weeks 5 and 14, though he saw his play drop slightly against the 49ers last Sunday. He’ll look to bounce back against Panthers RT Trai Turner, whose had a rough stretch of his own that spans back to Week 8.
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
While CB Nickell Robey-Coleman’s playing time has been a point of scrutiny lately, he’ll likely need to be a key a contributor when the Dolphins travel to Buffalo on Saturday. Robey-Coleman has played 289 snaps in the slot this season, and could have a role in limiting Jarvis Landry’s production; for the year, Landry has recorded the most receiving yards out of the slot (804), as well as the most yards per route run (2.52).
Washington Redskins at Chicago Bears
Through Week 15, Ryan Kerrigan is second only to Von Miller in QB pressures this season among 3-4 OLBs, with 69 (12 sacks, eight hits, 49 hurries). On Saturday, he’ll often face Bears tackle Bobby Massie, who has a streak of solid outings in place that stretches back to Week 12.
New York Jets at New England Patriots
Like most of the New York Jets’ roster, Brandon Marshall is having a season to forget, with 752 yards, three touchdowns, and seven dropped passes. In Week 15, Marshall caught just one of the 11 targets sent his way. He’ll likely have a tough time bettering those numbers against the Patriots’ secondary.
San Diego Chargers at Cleveland Browns
While rookie Joey Bosa has received much of the ink among San Diego’s defenders this season (and rightfully so), the development of edge rusher Melvin Ingram should not be overlooked. Through Week 15, Ingram has recorded 59 QB pressures (seven sacks, 10 hits, 42 hurries), fourth-most among 3-4 OLBs.
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars
Firmly established as the Titans’ No. 1 receiver at this point in the season, Rishard Matthews was targeted a team-high nine times in Tennessee’s Week 15 win over the Chiefs. Following two big back-to-back critical victories over AFC West opponents, Matthews and the Titans will continue to reach for the AFC South crown (currently held by the Texans via a tiebreaker) in Week 16.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
After suffering a brutal rout at the hands of Andrew Luck and the Colts in Week 15, the Vikings’ defense will look to bounce back against a Packers team on a four-game winning streak. A key matchup to watch will be that of edge rusher Everson Griffen against Bryan Bulaga; through Week 15, Bulaga is tied for the eighth-highest pass-blocking efficiency mark among NFL offensive tackles.
Indianapolis Colts at Oakland Raiders
While the hype leading into this game will largely center around two of the league’s best young quarterbacks, the amount of pressure applied to Andrew Luck could be a key determinant to the contest’s outcome. While Khalil Mack is again poised for another big game, the more interesting matchup to watch will likely occur on the offensive’s left side of the line, between LT Anthony Castonzo and OLB Bruce Irvin.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
The league’s highest-graded rookie receiver, Michael Thomas has cooled off lately, with his second-lowest-graded game of the season coming against the Cardinals’ secondary in Week 15. He’ll look to get back on track on Saturday, though CB Brent Grimes stands in his way. On the season, Grimes has surrendered just an 82.4 passer rating on throws into his coverage.
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
While we often try to highlight matchups of strength-versus-strength in this weekly article, this lopsided meeting will likely be a major factor in Saturday’s Week 1 rematch. Rookie Joshua Garnett has recorded the second-lowest pass-blocking efficiency among 59 qualifying guards this season, while Aaron Donald owns the top pass-rushing productivity mark among DTs by some margin.
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
When the Seahawks visited Glendale in Week 7, cornerback Patrick Peterson surrendered all four of Russell Wilson’s passes into his coverage for receptions — though he allowed just 15 total yards after the catch. Peterson will look to improve on that mark in Week 16, this time on the road.
Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans
In a battle of the emerging young star versus the stout, consistent veteran, Jadeveon Clowney will likely often match up against Bengals LT Andrew Whitworth on Saturday. Now 35 years old, Whitworth is tied for the best pass-blocking efficiency mark among all offensive tackles this season, with just 14 total QB pressures surrendered (four sacks, zero hits, 10 hurries).
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Entering Week 15, Baltimore’s Tavon Young is PFF’s highest-graded rookie cornerback. In Week 16, he’ll likely square off at times against Steelers WR Antonio Brown, the league’s second-most-targeted receiver this season. Through Week 15, Brown also owns the second-most receiving touchdowns, with 11.
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
Possibly one of the most interesting one-on-one matchups to watch in Week 16 will come on Christmas night, as Broncos CB Chris Harris Jr. attempts to limit rookie WR Tyreek Hill. Through Week 15, Hill has averaged 2.50 yards per passing route run, the NFL’s fourth-highest mark. He failed to haul in a pass against Tennessee last Sunday, but scored a 68-yard rushing touchdown on his lone carry against the Titans.
Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys
Coming off of two down weeks, Lions DE Ezekiel Ansah will look to bounce back against a tough Cowboys unit on Monday. Unfortunately for Ansah, he’ll often face Dallas LT Tyron Smith; through Week 15, Smith owns the 12th-highest pass-blocking efficiency mark among NFL offensive tackles.