Each week, the PFF analysis team will bring you break downs of the most important matchups for each game of the NFL season.
Coverage by: Sam McGaw
Matchup: Tennessee Titans offense vs. Houston Texans defense
- WR Rishard Matthews vs. CB Johnathan Joseph –Matthews has torched Houston’s secondary in his last three matchups against the unit. In his two contests last year, he averaged 4.36 receiving yards per route run with a wide receiver rating of 137.5. When he faced Houston as a Miami Dolphin in 2015, he averaged 4.17 receiving yards per route run and posted a wide receiver rating of 158.3. Matthews enters this week’s battle with a PFF overall grade of 78.5. He’s averaging 1.97 YPRR and has a wide receiver rating of 108.3. He’ll likely match up against cornerback Johnathan Joseph for most of his snaps. Joseph has allowed .67 receiving yards per coverage snap this season. He’s given up only three catches on six passes into his coverage for 48 yards and a touchdown.
- TE Delanie Walker vs. LB Zach Cunningham – Titans tight end Delanie Walker approaches Week 4 as the top-ranked player at his position with a PFF overall grade of 88.6. His 1.93 receiving yards per route run ranks eighth among tight ends, and Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has a passer rating of 105.6 when targeting Walker. A lot of Walker’s production has come out of the slot, where he averages 2.31 receiving yards per route run. He will likely see a healthy dose of coverage from Cunningham, who has a PFF coverage grade of 75.0. The rookie linebacker struggled to stop Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski last week, giving up three catches on three targets for 40 yards. Cunningham’s .79 receiving yards allowed per coverage snap ranks 16th among qualified linebackers.
- T Jack Conklin vs. DI J.J. Watt – Conklin has bounced back strong after a dismal Week 1 outing. He’s ranked 15th among offensive tackles in each of the past two weeks with a PFF overall grade of 76.9 in Week 2 and 79.8 in Week 3. During that span, he gave up only three total pressures, with zero coming last week against the Seahawks. Conklin enters Sunday with a pass-blocking efficiency of 94.4, which ranks 30th among tackles. He’ll see plenty of Texans defensive end J.J. Watt on Sunday. Watt is PFF’s top-ranked interior defensive lineman with an overall grade of 91.9. He’s tied for eighth among interior defenders with a pass-rushing productivity of 11.8. Additionally, he has a run-stop percentage of 7.5.
Coverage by: Aaron Resnick
Matchup: Houston Texans offense vs. Tennessee Titans defense
- G Xavier Su’a-Filo vs. DI Jurrell Casey– Like most of the Texans’ offensive line, Su’a-Filo has had his struggles through the first three weeks. His overall grade of 37.1 ranks 65th among guards, and pass protection has been an issue. Allowing 12 total quarterback pressures on 107 pass-blocking snaps, his pass-blocking efficiency of 91.1 ranks 71st out of 73 qualifying guards. After a rough Week 1, Casey has bounced back with two games with a grade of 80.0 or higher. In that two week span, Casey has been disruptive in all facets, with ten total quarterback hurries and six stops.
- WR DeAndre Hopkins vs. CB Logan Ryan – Last year when Ryan was with the Patriots, he and Hopkins saw a decent amount of each other in the two games their teams played. In matchups against Ryan in coverage, Hopkins caught four of the eight passes thrown his way for 56 yards. Hopkins’ 36 targets leads the league through three weeks, but his passer rating when thrown to of 72.0 ranks 67th among wide receivers. Ryan in his first three games as a Titan has a solid coverage grade of 76.6, and his 12.3 coverage snaps per reception allowed puts him just outside the top third among qualifying corners.
- T Chris Clark vs. EDGE Brian Orakpo – After struggling in his first start of the year, Clark bounced back in Week 3, recording a game grade of 80.0. In the game, Clark recorded a pass-blocking efficiency of 96.2, allowing two quarterback pressures on 39 pass-blocking snaps. This week he’s in for a tough test going up against Orakpo, who is also coming off his best performance of the young season. In Week 3, Orakpo’s grade of 88.2 was second best among edge defenders, thanks in part to him racking up a whopping 11 total quarterback pressures. Orakpo’s pass-rushing productivity of 13.5 now ranks in the top ten among all 3-4 outside linebackers. The Texans could really benefit from Clark replicating his Week 3 performance to not only keep Watson clean, but to have some stability at one of the tackle positions.