Thursday Night Football
October 11th, 2012
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Tennessee Titans
October 11th, 2012
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Tennessee Titans
8:20pm EST on NFL Network
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The Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, and the San Diego Chargers are on a BYE this week
Bye Week Impact
QB: Matt Ryan, Peyton Manning, Mike Vick, Philip Rivers
RB: Michael Turner, Willis McGahee, Jamaal Charles, Reggie Bush, LeSean McCoy, Ryan Mathews, Jackie Battle
WR: Julio Jones, Roddy White, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas, Dwayne Bowe, Brian Hartline, Devone Bess, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Malcolm Floyd, Robert Meachem
TE: Tony Gonzalez, Jacob Tamme, Joel Dreessen, Brent Celek, Antonio Gates
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QB Match-ups to Avoid
Matthew Stafford @ Bears - Whats there to like in Stafford's match-up with the Bears on Monday night in Chicago? In 5 games, Stafford has thrown for just 4 TDs and 5 INTs, and has yet to have a multi TD game. Chicago hands down has the most dominant and aggressive defense in the NFL this year, allowing the least rushing yards per game and only 225 yards through the air. In 5 games the Bears have only allowed 6 TDs total and have picked off opposing QBs 13 times, while sacking them 18 times. This is all a recipe for disaster for Matthew Stafford.
Cam Newton vs Cowboys - The Cowboys surrender the least amount of yards through the air, at only 182 yards per game. Cam Newton has not completed more than 16 passes in a game since week 1 and has failed to throw a touchdown in 2 of his last 3 games. Newton is not playing up to the level most thought he would after an unbelievable rookie campaign With the Cowboys pass rush led by Demarcus Ware and a great secondary, Newton might be in line for a long and ugly game.
Christian Ponder vs Cardinals - Minnesota got into a shoot out with the Redskins last week before RGIII took over with his speed, which caused Ponder to throw the ball 52 times. Arizona does not score a lot of points but they don't give up many either. In fact they are only giving up 16 points a game and have only given up 20 points once, in a win against the Dolphins in OT. The Cards have only given up 5 TDs through the air and have 6 INTs as well as 19 sacks. A true nightmare for opposing QBs. I expect a 20-16 type game and expect the Vikings to feed Adrian Peterson in this one, meaning don't expect much from Ponder.
RB Match-ups to Avoid
Alfred Morris @ Giants - It always take a few games for the Giants defense to get going and this year it's no different. They struggled early on but the past few weeks the Giants defense has looked great. Facing a 49ers offense that was coming off a game where they rushed and passed for over 300 yards, the Giants shut down Frank Gore and company, only allowing 80 yards on the ground and picked Alex Smith off 3 times, sacking Smith and Kaepernick 6 times. The Giants also did a great job containing Trent Richardson, LeSean McCoy, Cam Newton and DeAngelo Williams in previous weeks. In 6 games the Giants have only allowed 3 TDs on the ground and with RGIII taking carries away from Morris, it's hard to imagine he will be in line for a big game, especially when he isn't involved in the pass game.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis vs Steelers - Green-Ellis has seen his carries drop big time. With 82 carries through the first 4 games, he only has 25 in his last 2 games. The Bengals have become a pass heavy team with Andy Dalton and AJ Green. The Steelers aren't that same dominating defense but they still rank 10th against the run. Avoid Green-Ellis until we see the Bengals are committed to the run.
Frank Gore vs Seahawks - Frank Gore continues to lose carries to backup Kendall Hunter as well as back up QB Colin Kaepernick. Gore only has 22 carries his last 2 games, and really isn't getting involved in the pass game either. He did have 4 catches against the Giants but they threw for most of the 4th quarter, but only had 6 catches in the first 5 games. Seattle has a very strong front 7 and only allowing 70 yards per game on the ground, which is 2nd best in the NFL.
WR Match-ups to Avoid
Brandon Lloyd vs Jets - Lloyd will be guarded by Antonio Cromartie on Sunday against the Jets and Cromartie has shut down Andre Johnson (1 catch for 15 yards on 6 targets, 1 INT) and Reggie Wayne (5 catches for 87 yards on 10 targets, 1 INT) the last two weeks, proving he can take over for Revis. With Hernandez back and Brady having Gronkowski and Welker as other options, you can assume Brady won't look Lloyd's way too often.
Steve Smith vs Cowboys - The Cowboys are ranked 1st against the pass and Cam Newton looks like he's never thrown a football before this year. During the past two weeks, Newton has targeted Smith 19 times, only completing it 7 times for 92 yards. Smith has yet to find the endzone this year and this is just a bad match-up for him this week.
Torrey Smith @ Texans - Opposing defenses have started focusing on shutting down Smith, allowing the underneath guy Boldin to catch the short passes. In weeks 3 and 4 Smith was targeted 20 times, as he caught 12 passes for 224 yards and 3 TDs. In the last 2 games, Smith has only seen 8 targets, catching only 4 balls. Expect to see the Texans to take away the deep ball, limiting Smith and forcing Flacco to look elsewhere.
TE Match-ups to Avoid
Jared Cook @ Bills - I believe Cook was better off with Jake Locker at QB, because Hasselbeck loves throwing to his WRs. Britt, Washington and Wright have seen their targets go up since Hasselbeck has taken over for the injured Locker. I also expect Chris Johnson to finally have a big game against the Bills putrid run defense (ranked last in NFL).
Fred Davis @ Giants - The Giants did a great job taking Vernon Davis out of the 49ers game plan as they completely shut him down. RGIII is not out there throwing the ball 50 times a game, as the Redskins are clearly a run first team with Morris and RGIII pretty much splitting carries. Davis is good for 3-5 catches a game but because the Redskins run when they get near the goalline, he's not a real threat to score.
Jermichael Finley @ Rams - It could be all the dropped passes, or it could be the fact that Finley is not 100% but all I know is that he is doing nearly nothing on the football field, despite Aaron Rodgers slinging the ball all across the field. Find a new TE until Finley and Rodgers get on the same page.
DEF Match-ups to Avoid
Steelers @ Bengals - Injuries to Polamalu and Woodley hurt this defense, and I predict a shootout between Andy Dalton and Ben Roethlisberger as the Steelers probably won't have Mendenhall and possibly Redman.
Rams vs Packers - Rams couldn't be playing the Packers at a worse time. Aaron Rodgers has turned into a complete machine as he has shredded defense the last 3 weeks going 75 for 110, throwing for 892 yards 13 TDs and 2 INTs. Good luck trying to slow him down.
Jets vs Patriots - With no pass rush, a depleted secondary, and Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez to defend, Tom Brady should have all day to throw on the Jets. After hearing Rex Ryan predict the Jets will beat the Patriots, you gotta assume Belichick and Brady will try to send a message. Not a good match-up for the Jets.