Welcome to the playoffs.
If you are reading his, you have had a good season, or at least been lucky enough to make the playoffs in your league. Let’s look at some Week 14 matchups we can exploit or avoid while trying to move on to the semi-finals and beyond.
Of course, no one and no process is perfect. There will always be the Adrian Peterson or Derrius Guices of the world to show that. But these are educated predictions of who may or may not deserve a spot in your lineup this week.
Bring on the Bengals. After their first win of the season against the not-so-good Jets, the Bengals will be riding high into this battle of Ohio. This battle takes place on the banks of Lake Erie and not on the banks of the Ohio River. This could make a lot of difference for the outcome.
Although Nick Chubb is clearly the lead back for the Browns, Kareem Hunt is getting quite a bit of work. Enough to make him a solid RB2 or flex start. Going against a bottom three run defense does not hurt either.
Don’t get it twisted, the Bengals still stink. There is no doubt, they will prove it again this week. Win or lose, it really doesn’t matter for either of these teams. But with the Cincinnati defense being so bad, what does matter is who you start against them? This week it could be either Nick Chubb or Kareem Hunt. Either way, expect good things to arise from it.
The Bills are great against the pass, but not so much against the run. WE saw what the Ravens can do against a one-sided defense just this past week. The 49ers were able to hold down Jackson in the pass game with their first ranked pass defense. But the 18th ranked run defense should let Jackson and Ingram get yards in controlling the game.
Buffalo fits the same mold as San Francisco. Having the third ranked pass defense compared to the 15th ranked run defense.
This should mean good things for both Jackson and Ingram. Ingram could get another 100-yard game. A touchdown scamper should also be in consideration here for the bruising back from Alabama.
In a rematch of an earlier shootout, the Lions will take on the Minnesota Vikings this weekend. The Vikings and their fifth ranked run defense will make tough sledding for Bo Scarborough and company. But their 20th ranked pass defense will make up for it.
Both Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones are top 15 wide receivers on the season. This week, they could both be top 10 wide receivers. Not only because of their matchup, but because their own defense is terrible. This will lead to a lot of catchup being played. Hence a ton of opportunity to gain yards.
Jones is streaky for sure. He will have four touchdowns, like last time these teams met, followed by a dud. But a dud is not likely here. A hard-fought divisional battle in the NFC Norse is on tap here. Expect both teams to get into the 30’s. A lot of this, at least for the Lions, will need to happen through the pass game. With the Vikings allowing 244 yards per game through the air, it will be easy pickings.
Bo Scarborough (RB, DET)
The contrary to the Marvin Jones love is Bo Scarborough. With the pass defense on Minnesota being bad, the run defense is just as good. In getting to their winning ways this season, the Vikings have only allowed on average 94 rush yards a game. They are going to be up in this game and this will further limit the run game for Detroit as they are in comeback mode. After the loss of Kerryon Johnson for the season, it has fallen upon a committee of mediocre backs to fill the void. The latest of these is Scarborough. But the good times stop here.
The Lions are not good. Their defense is one of the worst in the NFL. This could lead to the departure of Matt Patricia, or at least it should. But until this happens, this is what we have to look forward to. So, don’t get caught in the trap. There are much better options in different games. Latavius Murray against a middle of the pack 49ers run defense or even Jamaal Williams against the Redskins. Both of these guys have better outlooks and started over Bo. So, in this case at least, Bo don’t know running.
The main back turned out to be Nyheim Hines in a move reminiscent of a Patriots backfield. Not only does this muddy the water for who to start but a game against the second ranked Buccaneers run defense does not help either. The fact Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will light up the Colts defense, making it a game where the ball will be in the air also makes Hines the safer play in this one. He is the better pass catcher and he has the rapport of working with Jacoby Brissett for the past two seasons.
As I said, it was nice while it lasted. It is just a shame it had to end so soon. Ah the memories.