NFL Week 5 Preview: Packers at Cowboys
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
- WR Jordy Nelson vs. CB Anthony Brown – Nelson has been one of the league’s top receivers to kick off the season. He’s tied for eighth at his position with a PFF overall grade of 82.8. He leads the Packers with a 119.1 wide receiver rating, which ranks sixth in the NFL. A majority of his production has come from the right side of the field this year. When lined up outside to the right, he’s caught seven of nine targets for 110 yards and two touchdowns. When he’s lined up in the slot to the right, he’s snagged five of six targets for 51 yards and three touchdowns. He’ll often be matched up against Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown on Sunday. While Brown is tied for second among cornerbacks with three touchdowns allowed this year, he’s giving up just .80 receiving yards per coverage snap. Quarterbacks targeting him average a passer rating of 92.2.
- HB Ty Montgomery vs. LB Jaylon Smith – If Montgomery can play Sunday, his usage in the passing game could be troublesome for the Cowboys. Montgomery’s 81.8 receiving grade ranks 10th among running backs this season. He’s racked up 176 yards after the catch, which is the third most for his position. On the downside, his 1.17 receiving yards per route run is 18th. Smith has given up 13 catches on 15 passes into his coverage for 123 yards. He’s allowing 1.06 receiving yards per coverage snap.
- TE Martellus Bennett vs. S Byron Jones – Bennett has struggled in the passing game this season. His PFF receiving grade of 39.4 ranks 47th out of 48 qualified tight ends. He’s averaging 1.01 receiving yards per route run. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has produced a passer rating of 79.2 when targeting Bennett. Bennett has a tough matchup against Jones, who’s allowing .48 receiving yards per coverage snap. His PFF coverage grade of 83.7 ranks 14th among safeties. Quarterbacks targeting a player in Jones’ coverage average a passer rating of 76.4.
Coverage by: Aaron Jones
Matchup: Dallas Cowboys offense vs. Green Bay Packers defense
- WR Dez Bryant vs. CB Damarious Randall – After facing some of the highest-rated cornerbacks in the league to start the season, Dez Bryant finally lands a better matchup. The current 38th rated wide receiver in the league will face one of the lowest rated cornerbacks in the league, Damarious Randall. Through the first quarter of the season, Randall fields an overall grade of 39.1, placing him at 103rd among 111 qualifying cornerbacks. He is currently allowing a quarterback rating of 127.8 when targeted, the seventh highest mark among 113 qualifying cornerbacks. After Bryant’s 11 targets last week (only four wide receivers registered more), look for Dak Prescott to continue to target his No. 1 wide receiver.
- WR Terrance Williams vs. CB Kevin King – While Bryant figures to garner most of the secondary’s attention, this should leave Terrance Williams with ample opportunities against the rookie Kevin King. King currently ranks 91st among 111 qualifying cornerbacks with an overall grade of 43.6. Quarterbacks have targeted King often, with his 4.7 coverage snaps per target tied for the 14th highest rate among 113 qualifying cornerbacks. He’s allowed the most receiving yards (144) of any Packers cornerback since Week 2. If the Packers try to take away Bryant, watch for Prescott to look William’s way.
- T La’el Collins vs. Edge Clay Matthews – Through four weeks of NFL action, offensive tackle La’el Collins has allowed a total of three quarterback hits; only three offensive tackles have registered more. He’s allowed 12 quarterback hurries, the eighth most among 64 qualifying offensive tackles. He’s yet to find his ground since switching to right tackle, ranking 63rd among 68 qualifying offensive tackles with an overall grade of 38.3. Clay Matthews on the other hand is having a strong rebound year, currently ranking 13th among 103 qualifying edge defenders with an overall grade of 84.2. His run-defense grade of 85.7 is the eighth highest among edge defenders, partially due to his five run stops (a stop constitutes a win for the defense) and his nine total tackles.