NFL Sunday: Five matchups to watch

Here are five matchups I am looking at on tomorrow’s Week 7 Sunday NFL schedule—starting with the Giants and Redskins’ QB Robert Griffin III.

Robert Griffin IIIUS PRESSWIREThe Giants have to limit the designed runs for Redskins' QB Robert Griffin III.

1. Giants’ D-Line vs. RGIII: The New York defensive front will have to rush with contain principles to keep Griffin in the pocket in passing situations, but they also have to defend the multiple designed running packages for the Redskins’ QB. Looking at the tape from the Giants’ win over the Panthers, this D-Line was solid vs. Cam Newton on the Zone Read, Inverted Veer, etc., but they will be challenged again tomorrow. The Giants can’t let Griffin create explosive plays out of the shotgun and pistol formation, plus they must defend the QB Lead Draw in the red zone to beat Washington.

2. Mark Sanchez vs. Patriots’ safeties: Think play action here for the Jets’ QB. Going back to the tape from the New England loss to Seattle in Week 6, Patriots’ safeties Patrick Chung and Tavon Wilson were undisciplined with their eye placement and had a rough day from a technique perspective. If the Jets can establish the line of scrimmage with Shonn Greene and the run game, there will be some opportunities to test out the backend of the Patriots defense with deep inside breaking routes.

3. Janoris Jenkins vs. Aaron Rodgers: The rookie CB (who is expected to play) can transition (open the hips and run) vs. the deep ball from both a press and off-man alignment, plus he has shown the ability to flat-foot read through the 3-step game and break on the throw. I’m impressed with his skill set. However, Jenkins will also “squat” and take some risk outside of the numbers. That can lead to trouble vs. Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and James Jones. Let’s see if the Packers look to set up the rookie on the outside and then take a shot with a deep multiple breaking route or double-move.

4. Ravens’ front seven vs. Arian Foster: This Ravens’ defense has struggled vs. the run game. We all know that. The front-seven isn’t getting penetration or disengaging to make plays along with a secondary that has been suspect at times in their tackling. And without Ray Lewis in the middle and CB Lardarius Webb setting the edge this isn’t going to be easy vs. the Texans and Foster. Houston wants to run the ball to set up their boot package and I don’t expect that to change. Tough assignment tomorrow for Baltimore.

5. A.J. Green vs. Ike Taylor, Steelers’ secondary: Pittsburgh will play some 2-Man (two-deep, man-under) and that should give Taylor some help when he plays from an inside trail position with safety help over the top in the deep half. However, when Pittsburgh sends their zone pressure, Taylor will have to matchup vs. Green in a “Fire Zone 1/3” technique. No different than man-coverage from an off-position vs. vertical route schemes. If the Steelers want to move to 3-3 on the season, they can’t let the Bengals’ WR flip the field.

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