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Week 14 mismatches

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The NFL game is all about individual matchups. They're what send coaches to the film room for hours on end, looking for any advantage. Sometimes the mismatches are obvious; other times, not so much. Our scouts have identified the one matchup in each of this week's games in which one team has a clear edge.


Chicago at Jacksonville

Jacksonville ROT Maurice Williams vs. Chicago LDE Adewale Ogunleye


Williams has the potential to develop into one of the top-five right offensive tackles in football. However, he should have some trouble working against Ogunleye, who is already considered an elite talent at defensive end. Ogunleye's biggest weakness is his inability to hold his ground at the point of attack when teams run directly at him. Williams has the strength to take advantage, and he should be able to drive Ogunleye off the ball when Jacksonville runs behind him.


However, that's about the only edge he holds in this matchup. Ogunleye, who has registered at least one sack in four of his last five games, is fast enough to run around Williams when the two are isolated on an island and the Jaguars drop back to pass. He also has the explosive first-step to shoot the inside gap when Williams overcompensates in an effort to take away the outside.



NY Giants at Baltimore

N.Y. Giants QB Eli Manning vs. Baltimore SS Ed Reed


Manning has the intelligence, accuracy and mechanics to develop into one of the best in the league, but his lack of experience and ideal arm strength clearly gives Reed the edge. Reed does an outstanding job of reading the opposing quarterback's eyes and will get a great break on the ball when Manning fails to look him off. He has the ball skills to make the catch once in position and he is a dangerous open field runner.


In addition, Manning must be aware of Reed's alignment at all times. Reed possesses good man-to-man cover skills for a safety and can cover the slot receiver depending on the situation. It's also important to note that Reed will benefit from Baltimore's pass rush forcing Manning to get rid of the ball quickly. Manning is still learning how to read defenses and doesn't have the powerful arm to get good velocity on his passes when his feet aren't set. As a result, the pressure could lead to Manning making a few mistakes over the middle of the field.



Indianapolis at Houston

Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning vs. Houston SSs Glenn Earl and Marlon McCree


There isn't a "hotter" player in the NFL right now than Manning. He has always been among the league's best in terms of reading defenses and making pre-snap calls that put his offense in the best position to succeed. This season he's been even sharper in that regard and he's been more accurate and deadly throwing the ball than ever before.



ManningThe Texans have tried to hide Earl by replacing him with McCree on obvious passing downs, but the versatility of the Colts' offense and Manning's ability to find mismatches will make that difficult. When Earl is in the game, look for Manning to exploit him by targeting him down the middle of the field either on a vertical sideline route with a receiver or a seam route by a tight end. When Earl is out of the game, that's when Manning will look to attack McCree by running Edgerrin James at his side of the field.

Click here for full scouting report



Cleveland at Buffalo

Buffalo RB Willis McGahee vs. Cleveland MLB Barry Gardner


With starting MLB Andra Davis out for the season, the Browns are vulnerable in the middle. Gardner is a physical player who is at his best on first and second downs versus the run, stepping up and filling the hole. However, he lacks range, and if he is asked to make plays in space, he is not as effective.

McGahee does an excellent job of getting through the hole, making moves in space and making yards after contact. Unless Gardner penetrates and hits McGahee before he gets going, there will be a huge athletic mismatch in McGahee's favor.




New Orleans at Dallas

Dallas WR Keyshawn Johnson vs. New Orleans CB Fakhir Brown


Although he is at his best making plays in the short-to-intermediate passing game, expect Johnson to make an impact downfield as well as underneath. Johnson is a fluid athlete who has the lateral mobility and route-running skills to consistently create separation from Brown.


He also has the wide frame to shield Brown from the ball and the strong hands to make the touch catch in traffic, making him an excellent target in the red zone and on third down. Brown won't have much success limiting Johnson's production in the vertical passing game either. Johnson can use his four-inch, 20-pound size advantage to mask his lack of ideal speed, as it will allow him to win any jump balls downfield.



Oakland at Atlanta

Atlanta TE Alge Crumpler vs. Oakland SS Stuart Schweigert


Crumpler has emerged as Vick's favorite target and he should have little trouble getting open working against Schweigert, who made his first career start last weekend. Schweigert is physical in run support, he has great recognition skills and always seems to be around the ball. The problem is he lacks top-end speed and will struggle when asked to stay with Crumpler in man-to-man coverage.


Crumpler, who is a solid route-runner, can capitalize by setting Schweigert up with a double move. Once Crumpler gets behind Schweigert, Schweigert lacks the recovery speed to close the gap. In addition, Crumpler weighs about 50 pounds more than Schweigert, and he can use his wide frame to shield him from the ball, which gives Atlanta a decisive edge when it gets into scoring range.



Seattle at Minnesota

Seattle OC Robbie Tobeck vs. Minnesota NT Spencer Johnson


Johnson is a 286-pound rookie free agent who was forced into a starting role last week against the Bears with Chris Hovan inactive. Johnson will continue to play in a rotation at the NT position, and when he is in the game the Seahawks need to target him by running right at him. Johnson is undersized and gets pushed around entirely too much when opposing linemen can get him in a phone booth matchup.


Tobeck is the most athletic center in the NFL but he's quick enough to establish position against Johnson and has nearly a 15-pound size advantage over the rookie. If Tobeck can dominate this mismatch on running downs, RB Shaun Alexander should have a huge day against a run defense that is allowing 128 yards per game.



Cincinnati at New England

New England RB Kevin Faulk vs. Cincinnati MLB Landon Johnson


Johnson is an explosive open field tackler and Faulk has had some problems holding onto the football, but Faulk should dominate this matchup as long as he practices good ball security. Although he won't start, Faulk regularly replaces Dillon on obvious passing downs and New England should look to isolate him working against the rookie Johnson.


Injuries have forced Johnson into the starting lineup and he is still learning the scheme, so he will get caught out of position at times. Faulk is a crisp route-runner who will set Johnson up with a move one way before exploding in the opposite direction and that should allow him to create quality separation. It's also important to note that Faulk shows good patience and allows his blocks to develop when running the draw play because Miller doesn't shed blocks well.



NY Jets at Pittsburgh

Jets OC Kevin Mawae vs. Pittsburgh NT Chris Hoke


Hoke has filled in admirably in the place of injured NT Casey Hampton. Hoke isn't anywhere near as big as Hampton and he doesn't have the strength to gobble up blockers in the middle, but he's using quickness, leverage and discipline to complete his assignments.


Mawae is aging but he remains one of the toughest, feistiest and craftiest centers in the NFL. He has the initial quickness and the strength to control Hoke one-on-one in this matchup. The Steelers' run defense ranks No. 1 in the NFL but if the Jets have any chance of penetrating it and pulling off the road upset, Mawae must dominate his matchup against Hoke and allow his OGs Pete Kendall and Brandon Smith to get out on ILBs James Farrior and Larry Foote.



Miami at Denver

Miami RB Travis Minor vs. Denver WLB D.J. Williams


While it's unclear whether he will start because of Morris' status, Minor will at the very least get some touches in relief, especially on passing downs. He possesses a good combination of elusiveness and burst but expect him to struggle working against Williams, who has developed into a quality starter during his rookie season.


Williams has excellent instincts for such a young player, he takes good angles to the ball and he is a reliable tackler who will wrap Minor up in the open field. Minor won't have much success getting open as a receiver out of the backfield either. Williams has the quick feet to blanket him in the short-to-intermediate passing game and the speed to run with him downfield. He is also a playmaker who has the ball skills to turn any mistakes made by Feeley into interceptions.



Detroit at Green Bay

Green Bay LOT Chad Clifton vs. Detroit RDE James Hall


Hall is active against the run and leads Detroit in sacks, but expect him to struggle working against Clifton. Although he isn't an overpowering run blocker, Clifton takes good angles to his blocks, is quick enough to get into position working against Hall and does a nice job of sustaining his blocks.


He can also use his significant size advantage to wear Hall down over the course of the game. Hall won't have much success rushing the passer either. Clifton uses his hands extremely well and has the long arms to ride Hall past the pocket. He has the lateral mobility to counter when Hall ties to redirect inside after starting outside and the bulk to hold his ground when Hall tries to push him back into the pocket.



Tampa Bay at San Diego

Tampa Bay WR Joey Galloway vs. San Diego RCB Drayton Florence


Florence has a good combination of size and speed but he's an inconsistent second-year pro who has been thrust into a starting role due to the injury suffered by Sammy Davis. Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden does an outstanding job of targeting and exploiting man-to-man mismatches and this is one he is certain to go after.


After missing six games earlier in the season, Galloway is finally catching stride. He has 12 receptions in his last three games and is coming off his best performance of the season with four catches for an average of 15.8 yards with a touchdown against the Falcons last week. QB Brian Griese has become most comfortable with the veteran speedster and should find Galloway when he is able to use his experience and speed advantages over Florence to gain separation vertically in this game.



St. Louis at Carolina

St. Louis ROT Blaine Saipaia vs. Carolina LDE Julius Peppers


Saipaia has the strength and aggressiveness to develop into an adequate starter, but he is inexperienced and is only playing because of injuries. Expect Peppers to dominate every aspect of this matchup consequently. Peppers has the first step to beat Saipaia to the point of attack and uses his hands well, which will prevent Saipaia from locking on to his frame.


Once he's disengaged the block Peppers has the athletic ability to make the play in space. He also has the burst to chase plays down from behind when Saipaia fails to seal the backside and is relentless in pursuit. St. Louis will have to consistently give Saipaia help when it drops back to pass. Peppers is fast enough to run around him and quick enough to shoot the inside when he tries to take away the corner by oversetting outside.



San Francisco at Arizona

Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald vs. San Francisco CB Shawntae Spencer


This matchup features two rookies with huge potential. However, Fitzgerald is more polished at this point, and his sharp route-running skills will make life difficult for Spencer. Spencer will try to counter with an aggressive approach at the line of scrimmage in the hopes that he can push Fitzgerald out of his routes.

However, Fitzgerald is difficult to jam because of his intelligence, size and quickness. He also has an uncanny ability to set defenders up in man-to-man coverage. Although he lacks elite speed, Fitzgerald should be able to get open downfield by using some double moves to set Spencer up. Once Spencer is caught out of position, he'll have little chance to make a play on the ball.


It's also important to note that DSs Tony Parrish and Ronnie Heard have struggled in support over the top. Spencer could be left on an island even when the scheme dictates otherwise.




Philadelphia at Washington

Washington ROT Ray Brown vs. Philadelphia LDE Jevon Kearse


Kearse is one of the best edge rushers in the NFL and is a tough matchup athletically for the aging Brown. If Brown oversets in pass protection in order to compromise for Kearse's quickness, Kearse can then come back inside with double moves. The Redskins will be forced to give Brown extra help with a back or tight end in some double teams and chip blocks.


With their max-protection schemes already in place, it will not be too big of an adjustment. The problem, however, is that using extra blockers to keep Kearse in check will limit QB Patrick Ramsey's options in the passing game and will open up more gaps for an aggressive Eagles' defensive scheme to blitz.



Kansas City at Tennessee

Kansas City WR Eddie Kennison vs. Tennessee RCB Michael Waddell


Waddell is quick and fast but he's also undersized and inexperienced. The rookie has been forced into a starting role opposite Andre Dyson due to the injuries suffered by Samari Rolle and Andre Woolfolk. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will continue to try to protect Waddell on the perimeter but his inexperience should continue to show in his matchup against Kennison.


Kennison has re-emerged as a vertical threat for the Chiefs, as he is averaging 17.8 yards per catch and is coming off a 149-yard receiving performance against the Raiders last week. With TE Tony Gonzalez drawing attention in the middle, Kennison should get occasional opportunities to work one-on-one versus the rookie. If Green recognizes the mismatch and puts the ball in a spot that his receiver can make a play on it, Kennison will.

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Thanks, nice information I'll be able to use.  I have Keyshawn, so this just confirms my decision to start him.  :D






Just realize, there is never a crystal ball for FF. Last week one huddler benched Kennison due to the advice of the mismatches. Well, as you may know, Kennison lit it up for 149 yds 70 of which went for a TD.


Good luck this week. Peace.

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Last week one huddler benched Kennison due to the advice of the mismatches.

:DB) and started Colbert for a whopping 1 pt. :D

Wheres that crystal ball....


Still thanks for the insights Brentastic. :D

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:D  B) and started Colbert for a whopping 1 pt. :D

Wheres that crystal ball....


Still thanks for the insights Brentastic. :D






That sucks! Good luck this week if you're in the playoffs! Peace.

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