This is a breakdown of 4 vital positional mismatches in Week 14:
Patriots DE Lawrence Man vs. Dolphins OG Jesse Davis
After one in all his greatest performances of the season, New England Patriots inside defender Lawrence Man has a possibility to duplicate that exhibiting this weekend in opposition to Miami Dolphins guard Jesse Davis.
Man’s pass-rush fashion resembles a bull rampaging by a china store. He is not blessed with otherworldly pace or explosiveness, so he compensates with power, leverage, and energetic fingers. This is an instance:
On this play from Week 13, Man’s aligned with a slight outdoors shade over Minnesota Vikings proper guard Mike Remmers. As soon as the ball is snapped, Man pushes vertically, attacking Remmers’ outdoors edge with a rip transfer.
As soon as he reaches the apex of the quarterback’s drop, Man transitions to a strong “hump transfer” made common by Reggie White. Though Man does not generate a lot pace on this rush, his upper-body power permits him to toss Remmers apart. From there, Man will get his hips on observe and pursues the quarterback, leading to a success simply after the ball is launched.
However whereas Man ought to generate stress as a pass-rusher in opposition to Davis, his largest impression will come defending the run, as his uncooked power makes him nearly inconceivable to displace on the level of assault. This fourth-down stand in opposition to the Vikings is a good instance:
Right here, Man’s lined up within the bottom A-gap between Minnesota’s middle and proper guard. He is instantly double-teamed when the ball is snapped, however makes use of leverage and lower-body power to soak up the contact and maintain his floor in opposition to two 300-plus-pound offensive linemen.
In the meantime, the Vikings really do an awesome job of opening a crease within the different A-gap and look primed to transform the fourth down – however Man has different concepts. His eye self-discipline permits him to establish the ball-carrier’s path earlier than escaping the double-team and making the deal with in need of the stick.
That is the place Davis will actually battle in opposition to Man. There may not be a guard with sloppier approach, which incorporates clumsy footwork and a scarcity of timing together with his strikes.
Davis additionally carries his fingers too vast, which permits defenders to provoke contact with superior placement. That will be advantageous if he had the footwork and core power to anchor in opposition to energy, however he does not.
It is a recipe for catastrophe in opposition to Man, whose Hulk-like power permits him to get the higher of some upper-echelon guards – not to mention somebody like Davis. It’s tough for inside defenders to build up huge stats in Invoice Belichick’s system, however do not be shocked if Man totally dominates the road of scrimmage in opposition to Miami.
Saints DT Sheldon Rankins vs. Buccaneers RG Caleb Benenoch
Sheldon Rankins is quietly changing into one of the crucial disruptive defensive tackles in soccer. In 12 video games with the New Orleans Saints this season, the 2016 first-rounder has racked up 30 tackles – 10 for loss – 12 quarterback hits, and 7 sacks.
Rankins is poised to maintain producing in a tasty matchup in opposition to Tampa Bay Buccaneers proper guard Caleb Benenoch. The 24-year outdated Benenoch struggles to get sufficient depth in go safety, leaving little room for error if he is beat off the snap. Moreover, he lacks nuance and timing together with his strikes, making it simpler for defenders to get in a rhythm as the sport goes on.
That is dangerous information in opposition to Rankins, who possesses excellent quickness, sneaky energy, and a mixture of hand and foot strategies that rival any inside defender not named Aaron Donald. This is an instance:
On this play, Rankins is aligned in an A-gap with a slight inside shade over Atlanta Falcons proper guard Ben Garland. After the ball is snapped, Rankins shortly engages Garland and controls him with superior hand place.
Subsequent, Rankins peaks inside, which leads Garland to shift his weight in that route. Seeing that, Rankins shortly jukes again outdoors, will get round Garland, and exits with an arm-over transfer. From there, Rankins’ expert footwork (toes pointed on the quarterback) permits him to get his hips on observe with sufficient burst to chase down Matt Ryan for the sack.
Except he will get appreciable assist all through the sport, Benenoch is in for a protracted day in opposition to Rankins.
Browns DE Myles Garrett vs. Panthers LT Chris Clark
After a formidable seven-sack rookie marketing campaign, the previous No.1 general decide has taken the following step this season by recording 32 tackles – together with 9 for a loss – 22 quarterback hits and 11.5 sacks. Most defensive ends could be ecstatic with these numbers throughout 16 video games.
Issues will not get simpler in opposition to Garrett, whose pace is extremely tough to cope with. The 6-foot-4, 272-pounder possesses an uncanny means to burst across the edge at sharp angles whereas lowering his blockable floor space. This play is a good illustration:
Right here, Garrett’s aligned with a large outdoors shade over the left deal with. As soon as the ball is snapped, Garrett explodes out of his stance and pushes vertically. Then, like a runner rounding the ultimate nook throughout a 400-meter sprint, he sprints across the edge and finishes for the sack.
The deal with can barely lay a hand on Garrett as he speeds across the edge. It is uncommon for such a big human to own that explosiveness and lower-body pliability, which is why Garrett’s such an anomaly within the NFL.
In the meantime, the above sack is much like one which Clark allowed to Tampa Bay‘s Jason Pierre-Paul final week, so it’s simple to see why this matchup leans closely in Garrett’s favor. Anticipate the pass-rusher to generate a ton of stress on Cam Newton.
Vikings DE Danielle Hunter vs. Seahawks RT Germain Ifedi
Seattle Seahawks proper deal with Germain Ifedi appears like a unique participant underneath new offensive line coach Mike Solari. After being one of many league’s worst on the place underneath Tom Cable, Ifedi’s been common – or maybe barely above common – this yr. He is gotten higher by cleansing up his footwork points and bettering his hand strategies.
However even with the drastic enhancements, Ifedi faces an uphill battle Sunday in opposition to Danielle Hunter, who’s turn out to be a star this season after years of taking part in second fiddle to Everson Griffen. Hunter’s fourth within the NFL with 11.5 sacks, whereas additionally recording 58 tackles – 16 for loss – 15 quarterback hits, and a fumble restoration that went for a landing.
At 6-foot-5 and 252 kilos, Hunter has a uncommon mixture of energy and pace, however his approach is the important thing that enables him to maximise these bodily presents:
Right here, Hunter’s aligned properly outdoors of Detroit Lions proper deal with Rick Wagner. After the ball is snapped, Hunter pushes at a 45-degree angle towards the pocket, permitting him to control the width of Wagner’s go set.
Subsequent, Hunter instantly throws on the brakes and executes an inside-arm-over transfer to beat Wagner’s fingers. The best deal with’s momentum is pulling him ahead, making it tough to remain balanced as he whiffs together with his strike.
From there, it is nearly inconceivable for Wagner to get better. His solely hope is to carry Hunter, however that fails because the pass-rusher’s energy permits him to proceed pursuing Matthew Stafford, leading to a sack.
After being held sack-less since Week 9, Hunter’s primed to finish the drought this week. Ifedi’s improved, however he is nonetheless not able to deal with Hunter in one-on-one conditions.
John Proudly owning is a soccer author at theScore. He has written for Bleacher Report and Soccer Insiders. He was additionally the lead NFL content material editor at FanRag Sports activities. John supplies evaluation on the Dallas Cowboys for the Dallas Morning Information and edits for The Quant Edge. Discover him on Twitter @JohnOwning.