The Seattle Seahawks visit the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.
PFFELO Ranking: 10
Coverage by: Mike Cahill
Matchup: Seattle Seahawks offense vs. Arizona Cardinals defense
- T Germain Ifedi vs. Edge Chandler Jones – With Duane Brown solidifying the left tackle position, more focus will be shifted to right tackle Germain Ifedi keeping his quarterback clean. Ifedi currently ranks 51st among tackles with a PFF grade of 47.3, but showed his ability to keep QB Russell Wilson clean in his Week 5 matchup against PFF’s eighth best pass-rushing team in the Rams. Against the Rams, he allowed only one quarterback pressure and earned a pass-blocking grade of 87.3. Thursday night’s game against the Cardinals will matchup Ifedi against edge defender Chandler Jones, who has the 13th highest pass-rush productivity from the left side among edge defenders with a mark of 12.7. Jones has produced two of his five sacks on the year rushing from the left side, but Ifedi has not given up a quarterback sack since Week 16 of the 2016 season, playing 375 pass-blocking snaps in that span.
- TE Jimmy Graham vs. S Tyvon Branch – Since Week 3 of the 2017 season, Jimmy Graham has been targeted 46 times, fifth most among tight ends in that span. On those 46 targets, the Seahawks’ offense has averaged either a first down or a touchdown on 62.1 percent of the time, well above the league average in that time among tight ends. He will likely see a lot of safety Tyvon Branch, who is currently PFF’s sixth-highest graded safety with an 88.0 season grade. He also possesses the seventh-highest safety coverage grade at 88.4. Branch has seen 18 of his 26 targets in coverage against tight ends and has allowed 10 of them to be completed for 99 yards, one touchdown, one pass defended, and a passer rating of 89.1.
- WR Paul Richardson vs. CB Tramon Williams– With Patrick Peterson likely to follow Doug Baldwin around, expect Paul Richardson to see most, if not all of his targets against Tramon Williams. Since Week 5, targeting Richardson has yielded a passer rating of 133.8, which is fourth highest among 81 wide receivers in that span. He has gained a first down or touchdown on 80 percent of his 19 targets. In that same span, Williams has been targeted 19 times and allowed 9 catches for 142 yards with an interception, generating a passer rating against of only 50.8, 12th lowest among cornerbacks and one spot ahead of teammate Patrick Peterson.
PFFELO Ranking: 25
Coverage by: Mark Chichester
Matchup: Arizona Cardinals offense vs. Seattle Seahawks defense
- RB Andre Ellington vs. LB K.J. Wright – The presence of Adrian Peterson in the Cardinals backfield almost certainly limits Ellington to a limited, change-of-pace role on the ground, but the fifth-year back is still extremely valuable to the team as a pass-catching option and safety blanket for quarterback Drew Stanton. Through the seven games that he’s played, Ellington has caught 30 of 33 catchable targets for 271 yards and averages 1.65 yards per route run, the 18th best mark among running backs. On Thursday night, the Cardinals should aim to match him up against K.J. Wright, who currently ranks last among Seahawks linebackers with a ‘poor’ coverage grade of 54.7, and has allowed 301 total yards on throws into his coverage, the 11th most among linebackers.
- T Jared Veldheer vs. Edge Frank Clark – Through the first half of the season, it has been a tale of two halves for the veteran offensive tackle. In his first five games, he played a total of 243 pass-blocking snaps, allowed 27 total pressures, ranked 56th of 61 tackles with a poor pass-blocking efficiency of 91.4. During that time he managed just one PFF overall grade above 40.0. However, in his last three games, Veldheer has shown a marked improvement, and has allowed just 3 pressures on 89 pass-blocking snaps while producing game grades of 75.6, 80.4 and 80.8, respectively. If he’s to continue his run of good form, he’s going to have to play well against edge-rusher Frank Clark, who is also coming off a productive three-game stretch. In his last three contests, Clark has produced 13 total pressures from 41 pass-rush snaps, the sixth most among 4-3 defensive ends in that span.
- WR Jaron Brown vs. CB Shaquill Griffin – Brown has seen 41 targets so far this season, the second most among his teammates, and he’s been relatively productive on those targets, catching all 21 catchable passes for two touchdowns and 314 yards, with 101 of those yards coming from “deep” passes that traveled at least 20 yards downfield. One key battle in the game will be the deep route duel between Brown and rookie cornerback Shaquill Griffin. When targeted on deep routes (go and post routes) this year, Brown has hauled in all five catchable targets for 127 yards and a score. When Griffin has covered deep routes this year, he’s been beaten four times from 10 targets for 113 yards, and has allowed one touchdown and a passer rating of 115.8.