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Go here for this week's Rushing Matchups.
Top 5 Passing Matchups
Dallas vs Washington
The Cowboys' passing attack took a slight step back last week against a very difficult Carolina Panthers defense. After throwing for 300 yards in 3 consecutive games, Prescott and the Cowboys only threw for 204 yards. While it is not surprising that in a 33-10 against a very good pass defense, they struggled to throw the ball, what was surprising was they threw the ball 41 times last week. With the run game struggling in Dallas, they may just continue to commit more to a pass-heavy approach this season as this is like the Giants game in which they won 49-17 two weeks ago, but in that game, they threw 44 times. Brandin Cooks has now led the team in yards for each of the last two games after some early season struggles, so if they can add a consistent threat with Cooks alongside CeeDee Lamb and Jake Ferguson, this could continue to develop into one of the league's best passing offenses by year's end.
Washington's secondary has fallen apart since the trade deadline but hasn't been fully exposed based on competition. Last week, this defense made Tommy Devito look like a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback, as he threw for 246 yards and 3 touchdowns while completing 69% of his passes. Meanwhile, the Commanders have faced one competent passing offense since the trades of Chase Young and Montez Sweat and allowed 369 yards and 2 touchdowns to Geno Smith. On the season, the Commanders allow the third-most passing yards per game. At cornerback, opponents have a similar game plan each week as they're simply avoiding Kendall Fuller and attacking Benjamin St-Juste and Emmanuel Forbes Jr. as St-Juste has allowed the 2nd-most receiving yards in coverage, while Forbes has allowed the 13th-most this season. When Forbes is being targeted, it is often for deep plays, which could open up an opportunity for Michael Gallup this week, as Forbes is allowing 18.1 yards per reception, which is 3rd in the NFL this season for players who have seen regular playing time.
Baltimore at LA Chargers
The Ravens' passing attack suffered a horrendous injury this past week as Mark Andrews will likely be lost for the season with an ankle injury. While this is a tremendous blow to the Ravens' passing game, if there is a silver lining to losing your primary receiver who led the team in yards per game and touchdowns, it is that the former All-Pro Odell Beckham Jr appears to be getting back to old form. Over the last three weeks, Beckham has topped 100 yards in one game and scored a touchdown in the other two games, which is something he had not done in any of his prior six games. The team is going to need a second option for Baltimore as Zay Flowers should get a boost while Andrews is out, as Beckham was the only player besides Flowers who had more than two targets last week. Look for Lamar Jackson to take advantage of this favorable matchup to continue to develop rapport with Beckham and potentially Likely as the Ravens adjust to not having Andrews.
The struggles continue for the Chargers pass defense as last week they allowed Jordan Love to throw for a career-high 322 yards last week. This is a defense that simply has not been able to stop anyone in the passing game all season, as they have allowed 230 yards or more to every defense that they've faced while allowing a league-high 316 passing yards per game. The Chargers suffered a massive blow to the one thing helping their pass rush as Joey Bosa was placed on Injured Reserve this week with a foot injury. Bosa was second on the team behind Khalil Mack in sacks for the Chargers. This will create a scenario where even more pressure will be put on corners Michael Davis and Ja'Sir Taylor, who have both struggled at corner this year. The Chargers have also struggled against the tight end position, which could open up opportunities for Isiah Likely this week as the Chargers have allowed 60 receiving yards or more to the tight end position in each of the last four games as Eric Kendricks and Derwin James have struggled in pass coverage this season.
Indianapolis vs Tampa Bay
The Colts are a difficult team to figure out at the moment. After back-to-back 300-yard performances against Cleveland and Jacksonville, Minshew has averaged just 178 yards passing per game. While they've faced two good defenses in New Orleans and Carolina, it's become clear that the Colts need to involve Josh Downs more than they have the last two weeks when they threw for just 127 yards and 194 yards against the Panthers and Patriots. While the Colts won both games, Downs averaged just 2 targets per game compared to having four straight games before that with 6 or more targets per game. At 5-5, the Colts are unlikely to be able to just go with the run-heavy approach as they face better quarterbacks than Mac Jones and Bryce Young, who they've faced over the last two weeks, so Minshew and this passing attack need to get back to the team that almost beat Cleveland back in Week 7.
Tampa Bay's secondary early on in the season showed some signs of promise, however now in hindsight they've likely been bad the entire season. This is a team that, over the first four weeks of the season, held Derek Carr and Justin Fields to an average of 169 yards passing. However, Carr was dealing with a shoulder injury, and Fields has been unable to take that year three passing jump that many hoped for just yet. Outside of those two games, and a game against the struggling Will Levis, the Buccaneers have allowed 250 passing yards or more in all 7 games, while allowing 300 yards in 5 contests. Outside of Antoine Winfield Jr, who has been outstanding, the rest of the secondary is a mess. To make matters worse, corner Jamel Dean is week-to-week after suffering an ankle injury last week. This will put a lot of pressure on second-year corner Zyon McCollum, undrafted rookie Christian Izien, and veteran Carlton Davis III, who the coaching staff has been a liability after signing a massive contract last season.
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