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Top 2 Passing Matchups
Cincinnati at Kansas City
Joe Burrow and the Bengals have been one of the better stories in the NFL this season as they have exploded over the last eight weeks. Burrow has thrown for 300 or more yards in five of his last eight games, but has topped 340 in four of them including a 525 yard performance against the Ravens and a 446 yard performance against the Chiefs. This week, the Bengals will need a similar performance from Burrow who is once again facing the Chiefs who simply could not contain Ja’Marr Chase who had 266 yards on 11 catches. Alongside Chase, Tee Higgins has had a fantastic season as he topped 1,000 yards for the first time in his career as he has developed into a dependable number two receiver in this offense. The deciding factor of this game will likely be the Bengals offensive line as well as Joe Burrow holding onto the ball for too long as Burrow was sacked a staggering nine times last week and has been sacked 63 times on the season. If the Bengals can keep Burrow upright and Burrow can get rid of the ball quickly, they should have a lot of success this week.
The Chiefs secondary has been a unit that has struggled most of the season. On the year, the Chiefs allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, and the 9th-most passing yards to opposing quarterbacks. Much like we saw last week, this is a defense that can allow some very big games as they’ve allowed five quarterbacks to top 300 yards including a 446 yard performance to Joe Burrow earlier this season. The issue for the Chiefs has been allowing big plays as we saw last week where Gabriel Davis had 205 yards and four touchdowns. This was the seventh receiver to top 100-yards against the defense. The Chiefs did receive some good news as both Rashad Fenton and Tyrann Mathieu will play this week after being questionable heading into the week as the Chiefs can not afford to lose any of their starters this week.
Kansas City vs Cincinnati
After a somewhat disappointing statistical season for Patrick Mahomes II, he went out and showed last week that he is still the best quarterback in the NFL. Throwing for 378 yards and 3 touchdowns, Mahomes has now thrown for an average of 391 yards over his last two games. A big reason for the success outside of Mahomes has been the offensive line which continues to be the best in football this season led by Orlando Brown and Creed Humphrey as Mahomes has continually had a clean pocket for most of the season as they were sacked the third fewest in the NFL and the fewest on a per attempt basis. The good news for the Chiefs this week was that Tyreek Hill broke out of his slump last week against the Bills in a big way as Hill had 11 receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown after having just 118 total yards over his prior four games.
The Bengals secondary has been a sub-par unit this season allowing 269 yards passing per game to opposing quarterbacks which is the sixth-most in the NFL this season. This is a defense that has allowed 300 yards or more eight times this season and have faced a fairly easy schedule as they’ve allowed some of these big games to some lower tier quarterbacks. Josh Johnson, Mike White, Kirk Cousins, Ben Roethlisberger, Derek Carr have all topped 300 yards against this defense. What’s interesting in this matchup is that the Bengals best performance of the season was against the Chiefs as they held Patrick Mahomes II to just 259 yards passing in a 34-31 victory. Expect a big game from Travis Kelce this week as the Bengals are allowing the third-most fantasy points and yards to the tight end position as the linebacker play of Cincinnati is the weak point as Germaine Pratt and Logan Wilson are two of the worst coverage linebackers in the NFL.
Bottom 2 Rushing Matchups
LA Rams vs San Francisco
The Rams passing attack is clicking on all cylinders as they looked unstoppable last week against the Buccaneers as Matthew Stafford threw for 366 yards and two touchdowns en route to victory this past week. This is an offense that continues to run through Cooper Kupp who had a 70-yard touchdown reception as well as securing a 44-yard catch to setup the game winning field goal last week. Odell Beckham has also started to find a role on this Rams team as he now is averaging 61.5 yards over his last two games. One thing to watch is that Stafford did suffer a toe injury in that game, although he is stating that there is nothing to worry about. The big news for the Rams this week is that they should get Andrew Whitworth back after he missed last week.
The 49ers have been one of the better passing defenses in the NFL this season as they are allowing just 224 yards passing per game which is fifth in the NFL this season. In the playoffs this season they have been thoroughly tested, but have been outstanding as they’ve faced two of the better quarterbacks in football in Dak Prescott and Aaron Rodgers and held Prescott to 254 yards while holding Rodgers to just 225 yards. The key for the 49ers will be to try to shut down Cooper Kupp as much as possible as he has dominated the matchups earlier this season as he has averaged 118 yards receiving as the 49ers do have some issues at the second cornerback as they have benched Josh Norman replaced by Ambry Thomas who has struggled in his rookie season.
San Francisco at LA Rams
Jimmy Garoppolo has come under some fire after struggling the last two weeks. Garoppolo this post season has not topped 200 yards passing throwing for just 131 yards and 172 yards over the last two weeks. Statistically this offense just has not been great as both George Kittle and Deebo Samuel have struggled statistically with Kittle averaging just 40 yards, while Samuel who was a superstar as a receiver earlier this season has averaged just three receptions for 41 yards as a receiver and has just one receiving touchdown over his last nine games. One key injury to monitor for the 49ers is the health of Trent Williams, who has stated that he believes he will play, but has not practiced so far as of Thursday.
The Rams passing defense has been up and down throughout the season. Their numbers are somewhat skewed by giving up significant passing yardages while having a big lead like we saw last week where Tom Brady ended up with 329 yards with most of that being in the fourth quarter. On the year, the Rams are allowing 261 yards passing which is the eighth-most, but surprisingly are allowing just the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks on the season as they are allowing less than a touchdown per game to the position which aligns with some of the garbage time yardage that they’ve allowed on the year. In their first two meetings, the results were inconclusive against the 49ers as Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 182 yards in their first meeting, while throwing for 316 yards in a comeback win in their second. The comeback win fits the Rams story all year as the 49ers were down 17-3 at half. In the first half of that game, Garoppolo threw for just 84 yards, while throwing for 232 yards in the second-half.This is a defense that when they’re at their best they have time to re-align their defense to confuse you with Aaron Donald lining up in different positions and having to deal with both Leonard Floyd and Von Miller coming off the edge which has led to the Rams having the third most sacks in the NFL this season. The Rams are allowing 8.0 yards per attempt when facing no huddle compared to just 7.0 when their opponents huddle.