Go here for this week's Rushing Matchups.
Top 5 Passing Matchups
Dallas vs Philadelphia
Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense have evolved into a legitimate championship and MVP contender. Prescott just missed out on what would have been his fifth 300-yard passing performance over his last six games as he threw for 299 yards last week against the Seahawks. Over the last six games, Prescott has been dominant as he has thrown 20 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions, is averaging 316 passing yards per game, and is completing 71% of his passes. Before this six-week stretch, Prescott was averaging just 222 passing yards per game and had thrown just six touchdowns to four interceptions over that six-game start to the season. The turnaround has been remarkable, and it has been mostly based on a commitment to go to CeeDee Lamb, who has topped 100 yards in five of his last seven games and has become a focal point to becoming essentially an unstoppable elite wide receiver.
The Eagles secondary continues to be a problem for this defense. Last season, this team allowed just one quarterback to throw for over 250 passing yards, as they were amongst the league's best, allowing just 207 passing yards per game. This season has been the complete opposite. In 2023, six quarterbacks have already thrown for over 300 yards against this defense, including four in the last five games. Darius Slay is starting to have age catch up to him as the soon-to-be 33-year-old is having one of the worst years of his career, but the real issue is out of the slot. This was supposed to be a position that Avonte Maddox was going to fill early on in the season, but he was lost for the year back in Week 2. The Eagles have struggled to fill this role as undrafted rookie Eli Ricks got a chance, and now it is the veteran Bradley Roby.
Indianapolis at Cincinnati
Gardner Minshew has the Colts firmly in playoff contention at 7-5, as he's doing more than enough to potentially win the division or compete for a wild card bid. The Colts have now won four straight games, and they're winning in whatever way necessary. With Jonathan Taylor out, expect them to continue to look toward Minshew and this passing attack, which is what they needed last week as he threw for 312 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Titans. This is a more than capable offense as Michael Pittman has developed into one of the best volume receivers in the NFL as he has 12 or more targets in four of his last five games, while this offense has additional role players such as Josh Downs or Alec Pierce who Minshew has turned to as complimentary players depending on the game. This is an offensive line that is excellent for the Colts as they rank sixth in Matt Bitonti's offensive line rankings, led by center Ryan Kelly and left guard Quenton Nelson, but left tackle Bernhard Raimann is looking like a potential steal as a third-round pick in last year's draft.
After a strong start to this season, the Bengals' secondary has been unable to stop anyone. From Weeks 1 through 5, this defense allowed just 213 passing yards per game. However, since then, they've allowed a league-high 309 passing yards per game, with every quarterback topping 250 yards, and four of the seven teams have thrown for 300 yards or more. The Bengals have done a good job at shutting down number-one receivers, but the secondary options have killed them. They're allowing the most yards to opposing tight ends at 85 per game since Week 6, as Dax Hill has been one of the worst coverage safeties in the NFL. At the same time, we've also seen secondary receivers burn them deep - Odell Beckham, Zay Jones, and Noah Brown all had 75 yards or more against this defense, with Brown having 172 yards while Beckham also topped 100 with 116. Rookie corner DJ Turner II has tremendous speed, which led him to being a second-round pick, but he is still very raw and inexperienced despite his 4.26 40-yard dash.
Denver at LA Chargers
Despite winning five of their last six games, Russell Wilson and this passing offense are under a tremendous amount of pressure as they have been one of the weak points of this offense. For Wilson, he has topped 200 passing yards just once in his last eight games as the team has asked him to play more of a game manager role and not turn the ball over, which he did not in their five-game winning streak but threw three interceptions last week against Houston. This offense lulls you to sleep before attempting a deep throw; despite their low passing totals, they have a 30-yard or longer completion in 9 of their 12 games. Courtland Sutton has been a bright spot for this offense as he has a touchdown in six of his last seven games, benefiting from being the recipient of most of those long throws with Russell Wilson.
The Chargers' secondary, on the surface, seems to have started to right the ship just a little, as they're allowing just 159 passing yards per game over the last two weeks. However, the Chargers have been fortunate to face Bailey Zappe and Lamar Jackson, quarterbacks who have struggled throwing the ball at times this season. The Chargers remain an offense that lacks talent as they've cycled through corners, including Ja'Sir Taylor and Michael Davis, and are now starting Deane Leonard, a 2022 seventh-round pick. Also, safety Essang Bassey has moved to the slot to replace Taylor. The one bright spot as of late has been safety Alohi Gilman. This defense has allowed five quarterbacks to throw for over 300 yards and, despite the recent improvement in performance, is still allowing the most passing yards per game by 12 yards compared to the second-worst defense in the NFL.
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