NFL NEWS AND NOTES WEEK 4
2 Replies | 582 ViewsOn 10/01/2011 06:44 AM in NFL
Titans pass defense vs. Browns pass offense
Tennessee’s top-ranked defense (261.0 ypg) has surprised many this year. The Titans haven’t given up more than 20 points in a game and they’re pretty salty against the pass, ranking second in the league with an average of 172.0 yards allowed a game.
Cleveland is barely averaging more than 200 yards passing per outing. Colt McCoy hasn’t topped 213 yards in any game this season and has a 54.1 completion percentage.
The Browns are averaging 5.7 yards per passing attempt. Pat Shurmur wants the ball out of McCoy’s hands as quickly as possible to avoid sacks. All this adds up to Peyton Hills and Benjamin Watson being the team’s leading receivers with 10 catches apiece.
The Titans have an emerging secondary that should shine Sunday. Third-year corner Jason McCourty is coming into his own and Cortland Finnegan looks like his old self after a down season in 2010.
San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles (-8.5, 44)
Niners front seven vs. Eagles offensive line
The state of the Eagles offensive line has reached Code Red. Mike Vick said the only way he was coming out of a game was on a stretcher. Unfortunately, that might happen sooner than later.
San Francisco’s secondary is suspect but the team is tied for sixth in opponent completion percentage at 57.1. That speaks volumes about the pressure being generated up front.
The Niners’ eight takeaways and plus-6 turnover differential are tied for tops in the NFC. Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman are quickly becoming the NFL’s best interior linebacker tandem and they can blitz from anywhere on the field.
Philadelphia will want to run the ball more to protect Vick. The Eagles are second in the league in rushing but the 49ers run defense has allowed just 62.7 yards per game thus far.
And don’t worry about the 49ers traveling across the country in back-to-back weeks. They spent the week in Youngstown, Ohio, adjusting to the Eastern Time zone.
Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears (-6, 43.5)
Panthers’ motivation vs. Bears’ motivation
Turmoil is brewing again early in Chicago. There is already a sense of desperation but the motivation edge in this matchup favors the visitor.
Ron Rivera coached for the Bears under Dave Wannstedt for two seasons and then Lovie Smith from 2004-2006. He was also drafted by the Bears and played on the 1985 Super Bowl team.
“I’m not going to downplay it. People say it’s just another game. No, it’s not,” Rivera said about the matchup. “They’re all big, but this has a little personal meaning for me because it’s Chicago.”
Rivera knows Smith’s tendencies and vice versa. But since Rivera has been gone for so long he should have the advantage.
Chicago general manager Jerry Angelo, who has come under heavy scrutiny recently, traded Greg Olsen to the Panthers before the season started.
“To say this game doesn’t light your fire a little more with everything that happened would be a lie,” Olsen said.
New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens (-3, 42)
Shonn Greene/LaDainian Tomlinson vs. Ravens rush defense
Rex Ryan isn’t even attempting to hide the fact that the Jets won’t be able to run on Baltimore Sunday night.
“Are you going to run it against Haloti Ngata over and over and against Ray Lewis? We’ll probably have to throw it more than we want,” he said.
After saying that Shonn Greene was going to get 300-plus carries this year, New York has somehow transformed into a pass-first team. The Jets have thrown the ball 62 percent of their snaps so far, which is more than any three-game stretch since Ryan took over.
Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson have combined for 196 yards on 58 attempts this year, equating to 3.4 yards per carry. It looks like there’s a good chance rookie Colin Baxter will start at center again for Nick Mangold.
“Anytime we make you one-dimensional, then we can pretty much get after your quarterback the way we dictated," Ray Lewis said. "We really pride ourselves on stopping the run.”