Matchups to Watch  

KIA  

Revis gets another shot at elite WR named Johnson

Ravens at Panthers: Ray Rice vs. Jon Beason

Rice is a matchup problem because of his ability to catch passes out of the backfield. He has outstanding quickness and vision as a runner and excels in pass protection. He has been very good against NFC teams in the past, averaging 6 yards per carry.

Beason is a tackling machine. He leads the team in that category. He is an elite athlete and can play in space. He has a very good football temperament and is a great leader. He is good at driving blockers black and disrupting an opponent's rhythm.



Bills at Bengals: Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Leon Hall

Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer knows Fitzpatrick well, as he played in Cincinnati from 2007-08. Fitzpatrick is very smart and has good accuracy most of the time. Sometimes, however, the ball flutters out of his hands, affecting his accuracy.

Hall is tied for the AFC lead in interceptions with four. He has top speed and an ability to find the ball in the air. He is playing well against the run this season. The Bengals lack a pass rush, which makes it harder to stick with opposing receivers.



Lions at Cowboys: Calvin Johnson vs. Terence Newman

Johnson presents a matchup problem due to his size and speed. He is tied for the league lead with nine touchdowns. He makes seemingly impossible catches look easy. He is willing to catch the crossing route, and will catch deep fly patterns as well as anyone in the league.

Newman is a very good tackler, and has the speed to keep up with fast receivers. In high school, he was a Kansas state sprint champion. He does a good job of breaking on the ball. He doesn't have great hands, but gets himself in position to pick off passes.



 
 
Larry Hart

Browns at Jaguars: Joe Thomas vs. Larry Hart

Thomas has gone to the Pro Bowl in each of his first three years. He is a very natural athlete, with quick feet. He excels at sliding out in pass protection. He has long arms and outstanding quickness. He has started 57 consecutive games and hasn't missed a down.

Hart is a rookie, who is a Robert Mathis look-a-like. He has explosive speed as an edge pass rusher. He is very strong with quickness and power. He is only 6-feet tall, and is the kind of player who can give tackles trouble with his pass rush.



Cardinals at Chiefs: Larry Fitzgerald vs. Brandon Flowers

Fitzgerald is not making as many big plays as he did in previous years. He has the most TD catches in the league since 2008. He has long arms, huge hands and ideal height for the position. He has great hand-eye coordination that helps him make spectacular catches.

Flowers has had 65 passes thrown at him this year and only 29 have been completed (44 percent), the fifth-best defensive percentage in the league. He makes a lot of plays on the ball. He is a very physical player, and is good in coverage, but lacks ideal height and can be exposed in jump balls.



Packers at Vikings: Aaron Rodgers vs. Antoine Winfield

Rodgers is the first player in NFL history to pass for 4,000 yards in his first two years as a starter and is on pace to do so for a third consecutive year. He has outstanding arm strength and accuracy. He has a very good understanding of the game, to go along with excellent leadership qualities. The loss of tight end Jermichael Finely has hindered his production.

Winfield is the Vikings' best coverage man. He is small in stature but has great quickness and does not back down from a challenge. He likes to get his hands on the receiver and re-route him. He is a very good tackler vs. the run.



Texans at Jets: Andre Johnson vs. Darrelle Revis

Johnson is one of the best receivers in the NFL, but has been playing injured this season. Despite that, he has still averaged 97 yards receiving per game. He is very fast, and loves the quick slant. He excels running after the catch, but does struggle against press coverage.

Revis held Calvin Johnson to one catch two weeks ago. He usually plays the opponent's best receiver all over the field. He has a linebacker mentality playing cornerback and is especially tough for receivers to get separation on.



Raiders at Steelers: Darren McFadden vs. Lawrence Timmons

McFadden leads the NFL in rushing yards per game. He has big-play capabilities both as a runner and receiver. He is very strong in the upper body and has a great stiff arm. He can pass and will do so from time to time. It is tough to run on Pittsburgh, however.

Timmons plays on all downs and is a very talented player with speed and quickness. He comes hard on the blitz and is having a Pro Bowl-type season in his second year as a starter. He is a tough tackler.



Redskins at Titans: London Fletcher vs. Chris Johnson

Fletcher is starting his 13th season after entering the NFL as an undrafted player. He has started every game for 13 years and missed only one play his first 12 years. He was the leading tackler in the NFL in the last decade. He plays hard every play and is smart and athletic. He has his job cut out for him this week.

Johnson has rushed for 838 yards and nine touchdowns already this season. He is a special player with unbelievable skills as both a runner and receiver. He has great vision and can run inside or outside. I would think he will have a lot of carries this week due to injuries with the Titans' quarterbacks.



Seahawks at Saints: Earl Thomas vs. Drew Brees

Thomas is one of the league's top rookies. He already has four interceptions and should be a good player in the league for a long time. He has the quickness and ability to make plays in space. He lacks size, but makes up for it with his athleticism and determination.

Brees is an extremely accurate passer who relies on his instincts to overcome his shorter stature. He is very smart and rarely makes mistakes. Injuries in the backfield have limited his effectiveness somewhat this season, but he is still putting up big numbers.



 
Michael Turner
 

Falcons at Rams: Michael Turner vs. James Laurinaitis

Turner has come back after a down year in 2009, a season in which he was limited by injuries. He is not very involved in the passing game, but has great vision as a runner and can burst through openings quickly. The Falcons like to control time of possession and Turner is an asset in that area.

Laurinaitis plays on all three downs as a middle linebacker. He is proficient at reading the offense and figuring out where the play is going. He is a solid tackler that plays with passion and is very physical.



 
 
Nate Clements

Buccaneers at 49ers: Josh Freeman vs. Nate Clements

Freeman has won eight of his past 12 starts. Six of his nine career wins have come on fourth-quarter comebacks. He has won five of his past six road starts. Freeman started nine games as a rookie in 2009. He seems to improve on a weekly basis. He has above average arm strength to go with his athletic ability. He is cool under pressure and the franchise has a bright future with him.

Clements is a very good athlete, with speed, qucikness and acceleration. He is physical and has good height for the position. He can be too aggressive at times and will bite on the double move. He forces a lot of fumbles and is an outstanding tackler.



Colts at Patriots: Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady

Manning is amazingly accurate with the football. He can put it on the right spot 90 precent of the time. If you make him move, it would reduce his accuracy slightly. He has a harder time with 3-4 teams because the tackles are on an island and get beat inside. Edge pressure does not affect him since he just moves up in the pocket, but interior pressure hinders his effectiveness slightly. Manning is playing with a series of backups and third-stringers. Jacob Tamme is playing well, but is no Dallas Clark.

Brady is not fast as a runner, but is very good at feeling pressure in the pocket. He is very accurate throwing the long ball, but is unlikely to go deep too often in this game. He needs to watch out for Kelvin Hayden who has two pick 6s in the past two weeks. He seems to be showing more vocal leadership recently than he has in the past.



Giants at Eagles: Osi Umenyiora vs. Michael Vick

Umenyiora has nine sacks this year -- second-best in the NFL -- and he is very good at forcing fumbles. He needs to play well, because Vick being left-handed likes to go that way when he leaves the pocket. He has excellent speed and quickness for the position.

Monday night was the 2002 version of Michael Vick, but he has even better accuracy now. He has a very strong arm. His first pass Monday night went over 60 yards in the air. He has great feet and is able to avoid people and complete the pass. Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg have done a great job coaching him and have brought unexpected results.



 
Brandon Lloyd
 
Quentin Jammer

Broncos at Chargers: Brandon Lloyd vs. Quentin Jammer

Lloyd was inactive last season from Week 1-14. This year he has caught 48 passes for a league-leading 98.6 yards per game and 20 yards per catch. He has been thrown to 89 times, seventh-most in the NFL. He doesn't have great speed, but he's an excellent athlete with quickness and body control. He's a good jumper to catch the high ball. His attitude has rubbed people the wrong way in the past.

Jammer tries to get his hands on you and is very strong. He has trouble with doulbe moves by receivers. He is a good tackler and smart with very good hands. He is a good, solid corner.

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