Giants get ground game back on track
Week 16 Recap: The Giants' offensive line has struggled over the past few weeks, but had a signature performance (in the running game) in the huge win over the Panthers, which earned them home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The running game was outstanding, gaining 301 yards on 41 carries (7.3 yards per carry). Pass protection continues to be an issue, however, as the unit allowed three sacks in 27 pass attempts.
Up Next: at Minnesota. The Vikings continue to rank No. 1 vs. the run (73 yards per game), and given that the Giants have little to play for, they may rest most of their starters for at least part of the game. The Vikings also have an excellent pass rush (43 sacks), so look for the sack numbers to likely again be higher than normal, especially because the Vikings are playing for their playoff lives.
Panthers line lost in the mix?
Week 16 Recap: Lost in the excitement of the Giants' win over the Panthers was the great performance the Panthers' offensive line turned in. To a degree, the Panthers' line may have actually outplayed the Giants'. The running game accounted for 158 yards on 35 carries (4.6 yards per carry), including four rushing scores by DeAngelo Williams. Pass protection was excellent, as the unit did not allow a sack. However, the Panthers attempted just 19 passes.
Up Next: at New Orleans. The Saints' defense has allowed only 13 rushing touchdowns this season, although Carolina's line is good enough for them to try and establish the run early and often. Look for the Panthers to continue with their offensive game plan, which is basically run, run, run and throw out of necessity, or to take the occasional shot downfield to Steve Smith.
Steelers line does little to help once again
Week 16 Recap: The Steelers' offensive line continued its lackluster play this season, by doing little to help the team in the loss to the Titans. Run blocking was lacking as the team, once again, averaged 3 yards per carry, gaining 71 yards on 24 carries. Pass protection was horrible, as the unit allowed five sacks in 40 pass attempts.
Up Next: vs Cleveland. The Browns' defense struggles against the run, allowing 150.3 yards per game. Look for the Steelers to try and get the running game back on track and head into the playoffs on a high note by pounding the ball on the ground against the Browns. The Steelers' offensive line has not had a solid performance across the board this season, but a good performance, even against the lowly Browns, would give the unit confidence going into the playoffs.
Patriots line beats the weather and the Cardinals
Week 16 Recap: The Patriots' offensive line had a great performance in the blowout win over the Cardinals. In the snow, the offense gained 183 yards on 42 carries (4.4 yards per carry), led by LaMont Jordan's two rushing touchdowns. Pass protection was near flawless, as the unit allowed just one sack in 38 pass attempts.
Up Next: at Buffalo. The Bills' defense ranks in the middle in overall defense, but has allowed 17 rushing scores this season, which could bode well for the value of running backs Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan. The Bills have a below average pass rush (23 sacks), giving the Patriots' offensive line a good matchup with regards to pass protection.
Broncos line can't win by itself
Week 16 Recap: Although the stats were padded by wide receiver Eddie Royal's 71-yard run, the Broncos' offensive line still turned in another top notch performance, however, the team lost at home to the Bills. The offense gained 181 yards on 27 carries (6.7 yards per carry). Pass protection was, once again, stellar, as the unit allowed just one sack in 45 pass attempts.
Up Next: at San Diego. It all comes down to this for the AFC West division. The Chargers' defense ranks 31st against the pass (242.8 yars per game), which sets up the Broncos' passing game with a great matchup. The Chargers' pass rush is average (28 sacks) and if the Broncos are to have a shot in this game, the line must continue to provide excellent pass protection, in order to let quarterback Jay Cutler pick apart the San Diego secondary.