NFL Sunday: Five things to watch
Lets’ take a look at the Sunday NFL schedule. Breakdowns, matchups and personnel I am going to keep an eye on tomorrow—starting with the Patriots’ defensive game plan vs. Tim Tebow.
1. Tebow vs. Belichick: I’m curious to see what type of defensive game plan the Patriots put together vs. Tebow and the Broncos’ offense. Limiting the option and Willis McGahee in the run game are always key in the matchup vs. Denver, but what does Belichick script on third downs? Even with a secondary that has struggled, I would bring edge pressure and give Tebow multiple looks up front that force the QB to make quick decisions in the pocket. Perfect opportunity for Belichick to use some new defensive install that Denver hasn’t seen on tape this season.
ICONNelson could become the top target for Rodgers Sunday vs. the Chiefs.
2. Packers’ Jordy Nelson: The Packers’ playbook isn’t going to change because of the knee injury to Greg Jennings. Instead, look at this as an opportunity for Nelson to play the No.1 role outside of the numbers vs. the Chiefs secondary. He can win working against press-coverage, has separation speed down the field and is a solid route runner. Losing Jennings until the playoffs isn’t ideal as the Packers push for 16-0, but with Nelson, Finley, Driver, Jones and Cobb I don’t see this offense slowing down. Still plenty of options for Aaron Rodgers to produce points.
3. Terrell Suggs vs. the Chargers: Ray Lewis is expected to be back on the field for the Ravens tomorrow night with the Chargers coming to town, but my focus will be on Suggs and his ability to rush off the edge. I am a big fan of what Baltimore does from an Xs and Os perspective on defense because of the unique pressure packages they carry in their game plan. However, when the Ravens want to play coverage in the secondary, Suggs is the key player to watch vs. the Chargers’ O-Line.
4. Marshawn Lynch’s production: You know what you are going to get with Lynch in the Seahawks run game: Power O, Counter OF, Lead, etc. The base downhill package with one of the top running backs in the NFL. And over the last two weeks (wins vs. the Eagles and Rams), Lynch has shown the ability to break tackles and work the second level of the defense. However, he will see a much better front seven in Chicago with Lovie Smith’s unit that will also drop a safety into the box in their Cover 1 and Cover 3 schemes. Good matchup to watch in a game that both teams desperately need to stay in the NFC Wild Card discussion for at least another week.
5. Jets’ offensive game plan: Keep it simple. What that means with the Jets is a game plan that leads with RB Shonn Greene to set up middle of the field play action opportunities for QB Mark Sanchez. Pound on the Eagles’ front seven with Greene and then force the LBs to step towards the line of scrimmage. That allows Sanchez to target Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller on inside breaking routes that work back to the QB (think dig, post, seam). But it has to start with the run game in a matchup that favors the Jets.
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