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QB vs Pass Rush Matchups to Watch - Week 6


Week 6 of the NFL season is here, and, while some defenses are getting their act together, offenses around the league are beginning to get things rolling. Every game on this week's slate has an over/under of at least 40, which is the first time that has happened this season.

We're also getting to the point in the season where injuries are starting to pile up. On the offensive line, multiple starters around the league are dealing with something as simple as a sprained ankle that is holding them out of this week's action, and their quarterbacks are going to pay for it.

We have some juicy matchups on the slate for this week, and we could see several quarterbacks put up 25 or more points by the time this week is done. Of the guys that are going to do that, it may be going to be some of the guys that we discuss today.

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Look Away Before It Gets Ugly

Jameis Winston vs Carolina Panthers

Technically, this is listed as a home game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers although it's being played over in London, and it will have a 9:30 kickoff. Take that into account when setting your lineups. In Week 6, Jameis Winston will have his work cut out for him to keep himself off the turf. His starting right tackle and right guard are both out for Sunday's matchup. Considering the Bucs have already allowed 18 sacks on the year, that number is likely going to increase.

For the Carolina Panthers, they're second in the NFL, behind the New England Patriots, with 20 sacks through five weeks, and their defense has been turning up the heat every week. Their adjusted sack percentage is fourth in the NFL at 9.5%. In Week 2, the Panthers held Tampa Bay to just 289 yards of total offense, and they harassed Jameis all night as they piled up three sacks and a healthy nine quarterback hits. With a battered line, this could be a long afternoon for Winston.

Andy Dalton @ Baltimore Ravens

This one has more to do with how bad the Cincinnati Bengals are than how good the Baltimore Ravens Defense is. Through five games, the Bengals have given up 20 sacks. Their adjusted sack rate of 8.8 percent is the eighth-worst mark in the NFL. In addition to that, quarterback Andy Dalton's production continues to spiral. Even against the terrible Arizona Cardinals Defense, it took them four quarters to put a touchdown on the board.

For Baltimore, after years as a defensive juggernaut, things have shifted through the early part of the season. They're 26th in the NFL in sacks with just eight through their first five games. This week seems like a get-right game for them though. They have taken advantage of bad offensive lines this year, as six of their eight sacks came against the aforementioned Cardinals and Miami Dolphins. Dalton could be under a lot of pressure this week, especially with Baltimore playing at home.

Joe Flacco vs Tennessee Titans

Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco is not the most mobile guy behind center, it's come back to bite him this year. He's been sacked 14 times on the year which is the 21st mark in the league. Despite only being sacked 14 times, he's been under pressure far more often. The team's adjusted sack rate of 8.1 percent is 12th in the league. This takes into account their low volume of passing attempts, and it shows that Flacco is having negative plays about once every 12 dropbacks.

The Tennessee Titans are a defensive-minded team, and they have been sticking to that identity this year. Through five weeks, they're tied for fourth in the NFL with 17 sacks, and their adjusted sack rate of 9.0 percent is tied for fifth. The only thing that could give them trouble this week is the altitude. Typically, pass rushers get slowed down late in the game because of the thin air. If they do their work early though, that factor can be mitigated.

 

That's More Like It

Jimmy Garoppolo @ Los Angeles Rams

The San Francisco 49ers are currently one of two remaining football teams, and the play of their offensive line is a big reason why. They've allowed just four sacks so far which is the best mark in football, and they're running the ball effectively, as they're averaging an incredible 200 yards per game, which slows down the pass rushers. On the road against the Los Angeles Rams, they'll try to run the ball to take the home crowd out of it.

Despite having the NFL's best defensive player in Aaron Donald and edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr., the Rams are not getting pressure on the quarterback. They have just 11 sacks on the year, and they've only totaled 20 quarterback hits. Additionally, they've been relying heavily on linebacker Clay Matthews who is out this week with a broken jaw. He's totaled six of their 11 sacks, and they're going to struggle to generate pressure without him.

Dak Prescott @ New York Jets

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was under siege by the Green Bay Packers in Week 5. He was sacked three times, and he was hit eight other times. Despite that, he's still only been sacked six times to this point in the year. His offensive line has been playing well, and, if left tackle Tyron Smith (ankle) can play, that will give the entire line a boost. Prescott and the Cowboys have taken advantage of bad teams so far this year, and the New York Jets (0-4) fall into that category.

The Jets have struggled on both sides of the ball due to a rash of injuries at nearly every spot, and, on the defensive line, it has made their pass rush anemic. They've registered just six sacks on the season, and only 2.5 of those have come from actual pass rushers. The other 3.5 have come from corners or stand-up linebackers. Dallas' offensive line is better, and, when Dallas gives Dak time, he can carve defenses up.

Aaron Rodgers vs Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is considered one of the top players in the NFL. He's dominated the NFC North in the past, and, despite being without his top receiving target last week against the Cowboys, he did just enough to take them down. His offensive line allowed just two sacks and four quarterback hits on the day. When they give him time in the pocket, he and his receivers can dance around long enough to move the ball.

For the Detroit Lions, they are often content to just rush four while letting their coverage guys do their job. The issue with that is teams can eventually get the ball out because the pressure isn't getting home. They've registered just nine sacks thus far, and five of those came in Week 1 against Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray. This defensive line doesn't generate enough pressure against quarterbacks, and Rodgers will take advantage of that.

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