Tampa Bay up 4
All year the Bucs' offensive line has been plagued by injuries. But things are starting to turn around for this group. Left tackle Donovan Smith (foot) and right tackle Tristan Wirfs (ankle) both played 100 percent of the snaps last week against Carolina. While Smith has missed more practice time this week, both appear healthy for this week and the playoffs beyond Week 18. Tampa Bay is locked into the four seed no matter the outcome of this week's game at Atlanta and could choose to rest their starters. But they could also choose to keep working their players into late-season form. In other news, All-Pro center Ryan Jensen has rejoined the team at practice and has been ramping up his work. Jensen suffered what was thought to be a season-ending knee injury in the preseason, but he chose to take stem-cell therapy rather than surgery and is at least 50/50 to play in the team's first playoff game. The tackles are in the model, while Jensen is not. It still adds to a top-10 ranking for Tampa Bay, sixth this week.
Buffalo up 14
Center Mitch Morse (concussion) started Monday Night Football at Cincinnati. Although the game was postponed, Morse's return was undoubtedly positive. Morse at the center spot allows Ryan Bates to move back to his natural right guard position, and shifts Greg Van Roten to the bench. The offense is far more effective with Morse in the lineup, and he should be good to go for this weekend's game against New England. With Morse, the group ranks third, up 14 slots in the latest grades.
Seattle up 6
Right tackle Abraham Lucas (knee) missed last week's game against the Jets, and Stone Forsythe started in his place. This week, the Seahawks have full playoff motivation for their game against the Rams, and Lucas has been practicing in a limited fashion. Look for Lucas to return and send Forsythe back to the swing role. Lucas really has been an excellent pickup for the Seahawks who found him in their own backyard (third round, Washington State). In general, the Seahawks' running game has been trending upward and with their right tackle starter back in action, the Seahawks' offensive line rises to 22nd in the latest grades.
Cleveland down 13
Right tackle Jack Conklin (ankle) missed the last 20 snaps against Washington last week and has not practiced this week. Swing tackle James Hudson replaced Conklin, and the sub could get the start this weekend against Pittsburgh. The Browns gave Conklin a massive contract extension less than two weeks ago, and while the Steelers are a rival, the team lacks any playoff motivation for this game. Look for the Browns to be cautious with their investment and shut Conklin down for the year. Without this starter, the Browns' ranking drops to 15th overall.
Denver Down 1
Left guard Dalton Risner (elbow) was forced from last week's game against Kansas City and was placed on injured reserve this week. Quinn Bailey (undrafted - Arizona State) replaced Risner in the game last week and could get his first career start this weekend at the Chargers. Luke Wattenberg (fifth round, Washington) is another option, as he got his first career start Week 14 in place of Risner. In other news, right guard Quinn Meinerz (foot) has not practiced this week. But he played 100 percent of the snaps vs Kansas City and will likely start this weekend against the Chargers. Without their starting left guard, the Broncos' offensive line drops one slot in the latest rankings.
New Orleans down 16
All-Pro right tackle Ryan Ramcyzk (hip) only played 16 snaps against Philadelphia last week before leaving the game. Landon Young replaced Ramcyzk for most of the game, and did a decent job in the run game. With no playoff motivation for Week 18, Ramcyzk could get the final week off to rest. Two other starters, left tackle James Hurst (foot) and left guard Andrus Peat (ankle), are also not practicing. These players and Ramcyzk are not included in this week's model. Missing three starters and facing the Panthers this weekend, the Saints' grade at 23rd in the final regular season rankings.
Miami down 12
Left tackle Terron Armstead (toe, pec, knee, hip) missed last week's loss against New England, and has not practiced this week. Armstead has been accumulating injuries over the season's final month, and the cumulative effect of four different injuries appears to have finally taken its toll. In his place, Kendall Lamm (ankle) split reps with Greg Little. Free agent signing Eric Fisher (calf) has been limited in practice this week, and Fisher could see his Dolphins' debut this weekend against New York. The Dolphins will be playing with full motivation this weekend. At left guard, Liam Eichenberg returned to action and played 100 percent of the snaps for Robert Jones. Still, the good news at guard doesn't outweigh the bad news at tackle. The Dolphins' offensive line drops 12 spots this week, to 27th in the current rankings.
Minnesota down 9
Right tackle Brian O'Neill tore his Achilles tendon during last week's loss to Green Bay. O'Neill was placed on injured reserve and will require season-ending surgery. Oli Udoh replaced O'Neill in the game, and will likely get the start against Chicago. This is a huge drop off. O'Neill has been one of the better right tackles in the game, while Udoh is more of a converted guard prospect. The team also added Bobby Evans to the practice squad and he could be another option. Austin Schlottmann broke his leg at the center position and was added to the injured reserve. Chris Reed replaced Schlottmann in the game, and with Garrett Bradbury (back) still not practicing, Reed will likely start this weekend. The team signed Greg Mancz as another depth option. Losing their center and right tackle starters, the Vikings' offensive line falls to 31st in the latest grades.
ARZ - RT Kelvin Beachum (knee, ankle) did not practice this week, C Billy Price (knee) was limited. But both played 100 percent against ATL and are still in the model.
ATL - LG Elijah Wilkinson (calf) missed last game but practiced in a limited fashion this week. Matt Hennessy took 100 percent of the snaps versus ARZ. Wilkinson has free agency looming and will likely push to play this weekend.
BAL - RT Morgan Moses (biceps) missed 16 snaps against PIT. Patrick Mekari replaced him. Moses is still in the model as the Head Coach called his injury not serious. Mekari has more experience than most backups. He has been rotating for Moses and Ronnie Stanley all year, to keep the veterans fresh.
CHI - RG Teven Jenkins and Michael Schofield were added to the injured reserve list this week. South African born Dieter Eiselen (undrafted - Yale) relaced Schofield in the game and will likely get his first career start this weekend at Minnesota.
DAL - C Tyler Biadasz (ankle) was forced from the game last Thursday Night against the Titans and was seen on the sideline wearing a walking boot. The team moved LG Conor McGovern to C, LT Tyler Smith to LG and elevated Jason Peters to LT. This shuffle would be a downgrade for almost any other line but the Cowboys have actual depth in the form of Peters and recently returned Tyron Smith. They maintain their top-10 grade, even without Biadasz.
DET - C Frank Ragnow (foot) DNP, C Evan Brown (ankle) limited, But Ragnow and Brown played 100 percent of the snaps against CHI and are included in the model.
GBP - LT David Bakhtiari (knee, abdomen) and LG Elgton Jenkins (knee) played 100 percent of the snaps against MIN. RT Yosuah Nijman (shoulder) missed the game but has been limited in practice this week. Zach Tom played RT for Nijman and the model really doesn't see much of a difference between these two players.
HOU - C Jimmy Morrissey (concussion) did not practice this week. LG Kenyon Green played 100 percent of the snaps against JAX.
JAX - RG Brandon Scherff (abdomen, ankle) played about 70 percent of the snaps against HOU, Blake Hance replaced for other 30 percent. Scherff has been limited in practice but the Jaguars have full motivation against Tennessee this weekend, and the veteran should play.
KCC - LG Joe Thuney (ankle) played 68 percent of last week's snaps and has been limited in practice. Nick Allegretti replaced for 19 snaps. There is a drop off between Thuney and Allegretti, but as KCC has full motivation this weekend against Las Vegas, look for Thuney to at least play some of the snaps.
LAC - T Trey Pipkins (knee) limited. Pulled for last 7 snaps for Foster Sarell. Corey Linsley was also pulled during garbage time vs LAR.
LAR - Still no sign of C Brian Allen (calf) at practice. RT Rob Havenstein (knee) has been limited. Havenstein is in the model, Allen is not.
NYG - C Jon Feliciano (back) played 84 percent against IND (pulled with Andrew Thomas in garbage time). This is a tricky one as the Giants could choose to rest their starters against PHI this weekend.
NYJ - T Duane Brown (shoulder), G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (knee), T George Fant (knee) all have not practiced this week. Duane Brown missed 10 snaps for Cedrick Ogbuehi. This line is truly limping to the finish.
PHI - RT Lane Johnson (groin) missed last weeks' game but that was expected. Look for Johnson to make his return in the playoffs. In the meantime, Jack Driscoll played 100 percent against NOS.
PIT - LG Kevin Dotson (shoulder) did not practice this week, but he played 100 percent of the snaps against BAL and is included in the model.
SFO - LG Aaron Banks (ankle, knee) left after 17 snaps against LVR and appears unlikely to play this weekend against Arizona. In his place, Daniel Brunskill moved to LG. Spencer Burford, who has been rotating with Brunskill all season 50/50 took all the reps at right guard. Injuries to starters are never good but the model treats Brunskill as an extra starter, due to his extensive experience in the system. As long as Trent Williams stays healthy, the 49ers remain a top-10 line.
TEN - RT Nicholas Petit-Frere (ankle) has been limited in practice this week. Last week, Le'Raven Clark took 100 percent of RT snaps against Dallas. While Petit-Frere's return would represent an upgrade, the Titans have no motivation for the playoffs and could choose to be cautious with the rookie. Petit-Frere is not included in this week's model against JAX.
WAS - Backup OL Saahdiq Charles (concussion) is still missing at practice, and RT Cornelius Lucas (ankle), LG Andrew Norwell (hip) also missed practice. Lucas and Norwell are still in the model but this 16th ranking could be way too high for the Commanders, who are looking at this game against DAL as extended preseason to evaluate their quarterback draft pick Sam Howell.
|3||Buffalo||17||14||34.05||A+||A+||A||4.8||C Mitch Morse started against CIN, Ryan Bates to RG.|
|6||Tampa Bay||10||4||33.88||A||A-||A+||5.0||LT Donovan Smith and RT Tristan Wirfs playing 100 percent.|
|15||Cleveland||2||-13||32.35||B||B+||B-||4.6||RT Jack Conklin (knee) left game, James Hudson replaced.|
|21||Seattle||27||6||31.00||B-||C+||B||5.0||RT Abraham Lucas (knee) likely to play.|
|22||Denver||21||-1||30.53||B-||B||C+||4.4||LG Dalton Risner (elbow) to IR. Quinn Bailey or Luke Wattenberg to replace.|
|23||New Orleans||7||-16||30.53||C+||C+||C+||4.4||RT Ryan Ramcyzk (hip) left game, Landon Young replaced.|
|27||Miami||15||-12||30.13||C||C+||C-||5.0||LT Terron Armstead (various) inactive Week 17, Greg Little and Kendall Lamm replaced.|
|31||Minnesota||22||-9||29.10||C||C+||C-||4.6||RT Brian O'Neill (calf) to IR, Oli Udoh replaced. C Austin Schlottmann (leg) to IR, Chris Reed replaced.|
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