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Pass Rush vs QB Matchups to Watch - Week 1

Quarterbacks typically struggle against pressure. You're going to have some that find ways to excel, but the majority prefer a clean pocket to throw from. When looking at which quarterback belongs in your lineups, you're typically factoring a few things on the defensive side of the ball: how he has fared against that scheme in the past, the opponent's secondary and pass rushers they're going to be sending at him. That's what we're looking at today.

We're starting in Week 1 to see what quarterbacks have good matchups and bad matchups based on opposing pass rushers.

Depending on your scoring format or how you drafted your team, the play of your QB can win or lose you the week. Let's try to make sure that we have you coming out on the winning side far more often than you come out on the losing side.

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Look Away Before It Gets Ugly

Ryan Fitzpatrick vs Baltimore Ravens

Unfortunately for Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Dolphins are in a rebuilding phase, and they just made his job a whole lot harder. Cornerstone left tackle Laremy Tunsil was traded to the Houston Texans for draft picks, and the remainder of the offensive line is not pretty. Per Pro Football Focus, they were graded as the worst offensive line BEFORE the Tunsil trade. It only got worse for him this week.

On the Baltimore Ravens side of the ball, after losing EDGE rushers Terrell Suggs and Za'Darius Smith, most would expect them to struggle in this area. Unfortunately for Fitzpatrick, they have more rushers and the defensive backs are sticky. Between the interior pass rush of Michael Pierce and Brandon Williams along with the edge presence of Pernell McPhee, this defense is going to suffocate the Dolphins, and it's not going to be pretty for Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins offense.

Derek Carr vs Denver Broncos

The Oakland Raiders added running back Josh Jacobs and wide receiver Antonio Brown. For quarterback Derek Carr, even if Antonio Brown somehow isn't suspended, it doesn't matter because of the holes on the offensive line. Last year's first-round pick, left tackle Kolton Miller, struggled mightily. Now, he gets to start the season off with a matchup against EDGE rushers Bradley Chubb and Von Miller. For his career, Von Miller has just one season with less than 10 sacks, and it happened when he only played nine games. Last year's fifth overall pick, Chubb, had the quietest 12-sack season that has ever happened by a rookie.

In the middle of the defensive line, you have a pocket pusher in the form of Shelby Harris who lives in opposing backfields. Harris had the eighth overall grade among interior defenders last season. Unless Carr has recaptured his 2016 form, he shouldn't be a preferred option, especially against this Denver defensive front.

Andy Dalton vs Seattle Seahawks

For Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, life just keeps getting more difficult. His best wide receiver for his entire career, A.J. Green, is still on the shelf with a boot on his foot. His offensive line lost this year's first-round pick, Jonah Williams, who is out for the year. Guard Russell Bodine has hung up his cleats to head into retirement. How does the NFL reward him for all of these struggles? He gets a matchup on the road in Seattle against an improving defensive front.

The Seattle Seahawks just added EDGE rusher, Jadeveon Clowney, who was the ninth-best edge rusher in football last season. Interior rusher, Poona Ford, played just 265 snaps last season, but he would have been a top-15 player at the position with a full workload. This Bengals offensive line has quite a few names to it, but none of them give you any confidence to slow down the Seattle front. Avoid Dalton for this week, and possibly a good while longer.

Kyler Murray vs Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions don't have the most fearsome front in football, but they do have guys that will beat you down over the course of the game. Trey Flowers, Mike Daniels, Damon Harrison and Da'Shawn Hand are a group of four guys that can push the pocket backward to make life difficult on the rookie. Head coach Matt Patricia also comes from the coaching tree of Bill Belichick when he's scheming his defenses up to make life difficult.

Fortunately, Kyler Murray has the athleticism to escape the pocket, because he's going to need it. His interior blockers of Justin Pugh, A.Q. Shipley and J.R. Sweezy leave a lot to be desired. Murray gives himself a high floor with his ability to make plays happen with his legs. The problem is that he's going to make mistakes because he's a rookie, and pressure causes mistakes. Until we see the kid put up some scores, he can't be trusted.


That's More Like It

Carson Wentz vs Washington Redskins

Not only does quarterback Carson Wentz have a bevy of offensive pass-catchers to throw to, but he also has the best offensive line in football. Two years ago, when they won the Super Bowl, they started two guys who are now backups on this team. They also added backup tackle Andre Dillard in the draft as the successor to left tackle Jason Peters. Against a Washington Redskins unit that looks like they're in somewhat of a transition, this makes that stock go up.

Washington lost the consistent presence of Preston Smith off the edge this offseason, and they'll be looking to replace him with rookie Montez Sweat. Ryan Kerrigan will remain a steady contributor, but he might not face a better duo of tackles than Peters and Lane Johnson all year long. Add in the fact that this is a home game for the Eagles where Wentz is fully healthy. He could have a clean jersey minus some Gatorade when the night is over.

Dak Prescott vs New York Giants

The New York Giants are a confusing team to figure out thanks to their general manager constantly changing the direction of the franchise. For the Dallas Cowboys, one thing that isn't changing is their offensive line's level of play. Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Travis Frederick are all back and healthy. Tackle La'El Collins just signed a brand new contract. Three out of the five positions are players that are among the top five players at their respective positions.

On the Giants' side of life, they have traded away pass rusher Olivier Vernon, and they've lost their other consistent pass rushers over the years. Now, they're relying on the one-year wonder Markus Golden and second-year man Lorenzo Carter. Neither of which have proven they can win against top tackles on a consistent basis. With running back Ezekiel Elliott back in the fold as well, Prescott should have an easy game on Sunday.

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