Dallas up 7
Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith (ankle) returned to practice this week in a limited fashion. Smith has been managing a bone spur injury and had missed the prior two games. Usually, a player of Smith's age would have to prove his return to the lineup but positive comments from the Dallas front office tips the scales toward Smith's return. The Cowboys do have many options with Ty Nshkhe, Terrence Steele, and La'el Collins all able to contribute at a starting level. It all adds up to a sizable upgrade, and the Cowboys' offensive line ranks 6th with their best player in the lineup. They face a vulnerable Kansas City defense this weekend in what broadcasters have termed America's Game of the Week.
New England up 3
Former All-Pro right tackle Trent Brown rejoined the starting lineup last week and played 69% of snaps against Cleveland. After missing time since Week One, Brown rotated with Mike Onwenu. It is rare for any team to have a player of Onwenu's caliber as a bench player, but with Ted Karras playing well at left guard, and Brown working his way into form, that might be the outcome for this talented second-year player out of Michigan. Right guard Shaq Mason (abdomen) is officially questionable, as is Trent Brown (calf) but Mason played 100% of snaps last week and both are in ranks. The Patriots travel to Atlanta on a short week for Thursday Night Football, and that's always a tough assignment (look at Baltimore last week against Miami). On full rest, this Patriots' line has the talent to dominate not only this matchup but most on their remaining schedule. This group ranks 9th, as they move into the top ten of the current rankings.
Baltimore up 3
Despite their spotty performance last week on Thursday Night Football, this Baltimore group is due for a minor upgrade based on the return of right tackle Patrick Mekari. Mekari has missed several games with a high ankle sprain and has been limited in practice this week. However, assuming Mekari sends Tyre Phillips to the bench, the Ravens' offensive line would have a small upgrade prior to traveling to face a tough Chicago front this weekend. Neither Mekari nor Phillips are natural tackles, but Mekari does a better impersonation. In other news, center Bradley Bozeman has been away from the facility with a non-Covid illness. With ten days rest, Bozeman is included in the model, but his status should be monitored by those with exposure to this offense. The loss of Ronnie Stanley has put a cap on Baltimore's grades, but they rank 18th this week.
Minnesota up 1
After missing two games, center Garrett Bradbury has been activated from the Covid list. Bradbury practiced in a limited fashion, but he took reps with the first team. This is a controversial upgrade among Vikings' fans as the offense has looked much better with journeyman Mason Cole in the lineup than it did with Bradbury. Still, the team has invested first-round draft capital into Bradbury and will give him every opportunity to keep this job. It will be interesting to see what kind of leash the coaches give Bradbury, as he could be benched mid-game. It's a small upgrade that many will look at as a downgrade. So it goes in the wild world of offensive line evaluation. Minnesota ranks 25th prior to hosting a red-hot Packers' defensive front.
Carolina up 1
There was some hope for the bottom-dwelling Panthers' offensive line this week. Without their starting left tackle and center, the replacements stepped up and upset Arizona on the road. At left tackle, Dennis Daley played 84% of snaps, giving way to Brady Christensen, who played the final 13 snaps at the spot. Daley has been rock solid wherever the coaches put him and the development of Christensen is extremely positive news. With Matt Paradis on IR, Pat Elflein returned to his college center position and played well given the opportunity. The Panthers' line doesn't have a great grade, 30th in this week's ranks, but they are on the upswing prior to hosting a vulnerable Washington Football Team defense, reeling from the loss of defensive end Chase Young (ACL).
Kansas City down 1
With right tackle Mike Remmers on IR and Lucas Niang still healing from broken ribs, the team has turned to Andrew Wylie to start at right tackle. Fans will remember Wylie as the right tackle starter in last year's Super Bowl when Tampa Bay's defensive front dominated. For a backup, Wylie has considerable experience at the position, especially compared to other swing options around the league. However the Chiefs did everything this offseason to avoid this outcome, and it has to be somewhat frustrating to put #77 (a natural guard) at right tackle again. It's only a minor downgrade, as the rest of the Chiefs' line has been playing well. They rank 5th prior to hosting a decent Dallas defense that is getting healthier as the season progresses.
New Orleans down 7
Already without their left guard Andrus Peat (pectoral, season-ending IR), the Saints also were without their left tackle Terron Armstead (knee, shoulder) during the loss at Tennessee. James Hurst started at left tackle and Calvin Throckmorton played guard against Titans. In other news, All-Pro right tackle Ryan Ramczyk appeared on the injury report with a knee ailment that kept him out of practice. Ramczyk played 100% of snaps last week and is included in the grades, but his gameday active status should be monitored by those with exposure to this offense. The Saints' offensive line ranks 10th prior to traveling to face a pretty good Philadelphia defensive front.
Arizona down 6
Left guard Justin Pugh suffered a calf injury against San Francisco and was unavailable for the loss against Carolina. Sean Harlow played 98% of snaps for Pugh last week, and with Pugh still out of practice, Harlow looks on track to get another start, this week at Seattle. Another backup Max Garcia has been struggling with an Achilles tendon injury, and he has been limited in practice. Should Garcia return to health, he also could factor into the left guard conversation. The matchup at Seattle is very favorable, but overall, Arizona drops to 14th in the latest rankings.
Tennessee down 1
Right guard Nate Davis was forced from the New Orleans win with a concussion. Davis had just exited the league's concussion protocol last week, so to have him in the protocol again is concerning for his recovery time. Aaron Brewer replaced Davis the last time this happened, and he will likely get the start again this week against a dire Houston defense. The Titans' offensive line ranks 21st this week and might be without their starting right guard for some time.
Miami down 5
This is a general downgrade for the left side. Austin Jackson has struggled in his move to left guard, and rookie left tackle Liam Eichenberg has often been overwhelmed in pass protection. The Dolphins managed a stunning upset last week against a Baltimore team coming off overtime and they have a fantastic matchup this week against the league's worst defense in the New York Jets. However, the left side needs to play better before they can be considered even an average offensive line by league standards. In other news, tackle Greg Little was placed on the IR, but he hadn't been a factor since arriving via trade from Carolina. The Dolphins' offensive line falls to 24th in this week's rankings.
Pittsburgh down 4
The Steelers lost both guards last week, as Trai Turner (ankle) and Kevin Dotson (ankle) both were forced from the tie against Detroit. Joe Haeg and JC Hassenauer replaced Dotson and Turner during the game. While neither starter practiced this week, coaches have been more optimistic about Turner's return than Dotson's. Both have ankle sprains but Dotson's appears to be a high-ankle sprain while Turner's can probably just be taped over. Prior to facing an average LA Chargers' defensive front on Sunday Night Football, Turner is included in this week's rankings but Dotson is not. The Steelers' offensive line ranks 28th in the most current grades.
CHI - RT Elijah Wilkinson has missed practice with a back injury. Rookie Larry Borom continues to start. In other-other news, Teven Jenkins has been getting press lately, but he is officially still on injured reserve for preseason core surgery.
CIN - C Trey Hopkins missed 6 snaps vs CLE two weeks ago. He is managing a knee injury but is still in the ranks.
DEN - Cam Fleming played 100% of snaps at RT, and Calvin Anderson played 100% of snaps at LT. Garett Bolles and Bobby Massie will have time to heal during the bye Week
DET - Swing tackle Matt Nelson has missed time with an ankle injury. Penei Sewell was excellent in his return to right tackle.
GBP - LT David Bakhtiari still is dealing with his knee rehab, 10.5 months after ACL surgery. Bakhtiari is still in the ranks as his return could be this week. However, due to a stamina issue, it could be a timeshare at LT with Yosh Nijman. Nijman played well in 3 starts at LT earlier in the season.
IND - Braden Smith (elbow) and Eric Fisher (back) played 100% of snaps against Jacksonville. Neither are practicing this week but both are in the rankings.
NYJ - Swing tackle Chuma Edoga was placed on IR. Conor McDermott would be the swing option. Mekhi Becton (knee) is still weeks away from practicing, and it's getting to the point where his season could be in doubt.
SEA - LT Duane Brown (hip) was forced from the Packers game - Jamarco Jones played the final 21 snaps but he too is dealing with an injury (back). While both did not practice this week, coaches expect Brown to play.
SFO - RT Tom Compton is rotating with Jaylon Moore 3:1 ratio in place of Mike McGlinchey (quad - season-ending IR)
WFT - Sam Cosmi did not play last week vs Tampa Bay, Cornelius Lucas played 100% of snaps. Cosmi has rejoined the team in practice this week and is included in the rankings.
|1||Green Bay||0||34.1||A+||A+||A+||5.0||LT David Bakhtiari (calf - in ranks) could split reps with Yosh Nijman.|
|5||Kansas City||-1||32.3||A||A||A||4.8||RT Lucas Niang (ribs - not in ranks) likely out, Andrew Wylie replaced.|
|6||Dallas||7||32.3||A||A+||A-||5.0||LT Tyron Smith (ankle - in ranks) returns to lineup.|
|9||New England||3||32.0||A-||A||B+||5.0||RT Trent Brown (calf - in ranks) returned to lineup.|
|10||New Orleans||-7||31.6||A-||A||B+||4.4||LT Terron Armstead (knee, shoulder - not in ranks) likely out. Monitor RT Ryan Ramcyzk (knee - still in ranks).|
|11||LA Rams||-1||31.6||A-||A-||A-||5.0||BYE WEEK|
|14||Arizona||-6||31.2||B+||B||A-||4.8||LG Justin Pugh (calf - not in ranks), Sean Harlow replaced.|
|18||Baltimore||3||30.6||B||B+||B-||5.0||RT Patrick Mekari (ankle - in ranks) returns to lineup.|
|20||Cincinnati||2||30.0||B-||B||C+||4.8||Monitor C Trey Hopkins (knee - still in ranks).|
|21||Tennessee||-1||29.9||B-||B||C+||4.8||RG Nate Davis (concussion - not in ranks) likely out, Aaron Brewer to replace.|
|24||Miami||-5||29.6||B-||C+||B||5.0||Left side downgrade.|
|25||Minnesota||1||29.3||C+||B-||C||5.0||C Garrett Bradbury (COVID - in ranks), returns to lineup, Mason Cole replaced.|
|27||Denver||1||29.2||C||C-||C+||4.2||BYE WEEK - Afterward, monitor RT Bobby Massie (ankle - not in ranks) and LT Garett Bolles (ankle - in ranks).|
|28||Pittsburgh||-4||29.2||C||C+||C-||4.6||LG Kevin Dotson (ankle - not in ranks), Joe Haeg or J.C. Hassenauer to replace. Monitor RG Trai Turner (ankle - still in ranks).|
|30||Carolina||1||28.6||C-||C||D+||4.2||C Pat Elflein and LT Dennis Daley into lineup.|