Week three of the NFL season displayed that teams across the league are still attempting to find their footing. Games such as the Bills defeating the Vikings in Minnesota serve as evidence that teams are not close to reaching their full potential. Unfortunately, in the season’s youth, some rosters have been plagued by injury which has correlated to performances of players and teams. In regards to WR vs. CB matchups, this can present varying advantages and disadvantages from week-to-week. The onset of injuries coupled with the ongoing development of rosters from top to bottom, I present several intriguing WR vs. CB matchups in Week 4.
Adam Thielen vs. Sam Shields (Rams Secondary):
The Los Angeles Rams through three games have looked like the potential Super Bowl contender they have been slated to be. However, during the back-and-forth game against the Los Angeles Chargers, the Rams lost their two Pro-Bowl CB’s due to injury. Both Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib will miss this week’s game on Thursday night due to the short week and severity of their injuries. Therefore, this leaves CB Shields of the Rams to face Thielen. Shields is a seven-year veteran of the league; however, he missed the entire 2017 season due to concussions. This could leave Shields vulnerable to rust and age. In his four previous seasons, Thielen has developed and emerged as one of the most consistent WR’s in the league. Through three games, the Minnesota State alum has averaged 10 receptions accompanied by 113 yards and that will only improve against the Rams. With Kirk Cousins looking to bounce back after a poor performance against the Bills and the Rams using Shields, I expect Thielen to continue his upward trend of production.
A.J. Green vs. Desmond Trufant (Falcons Secondary):
It has been said that a CB is only as good as its defense as a unit, and this will be true in week four game of Bengals vs. Falcons. It seems that the Falcons cannot catch a break in terms of injury to the core of their defense. This has led to a shift in secondary personnel. Due to the lack of cohesion between the defensive unit due to new faces I expect Green to take full advantage even though he will be competing against one of the league’s best CB’s in Trufant. The Bengals offense has proven that it can be productive and Green has displayed that he has not lost a step despite this being his 8th season. Due to the playing of musical chairs by the Falcons defense I expect Green to have the advantage over Trufant and the Falcons secondary IF HEALTHY.
Shaquill Griffin vs Larry Fitzgerald:
Fitzgerald can arguably already have a gold jacket tailored and ready for a speech in Canton. However, the quarterback situation in Arizona is a cause for concern and a reason why Fitzgerald has a disadvantage in this week’s matchup against Griffin and the Seattle Seahawks. The Cardinals recently announced that rookie Josh Rosen will be the starting quarterback after a poor performance by Sam Bradford against the Chicago Bears. For the reason that Rosen is unproven and may not have the same repour as Bradford has with Fitzgerald, I expect the WR’s to receive the short end of the stick, unfortunately, that includes Fitzgerald. Since being drafted out of Central Florida, Griffin has proven that he can compete each week. After being thrown into the fire last season due to an injury to Richard Sherman, Griffin has been able to steadily improve which puts him in a position to be successful against Fitzgerald and other Cardinal receivers. Due to a new quarterback for the Cardinals and the development of the young defense in Seattle I give Griffin the advantage.
Casey Heyward vs. Marquise Goodwin:
Like another WR on this list, Goodwin will struggle in this week’s matchup due to the quarterback play of the 49ers. Unfortunately, the 49ers lost their star quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo due to an ACL tear on a non-contact play. In replace of Garoppolo will be C.J. Beathard. In seven games played in 2017, Beathard struggled by throwing six interceptions compared to only four touchdowns. For this reason I expect Heyward to take advantage of Goodwin and the potentially inconsistent 49ers offense. Heyward has proved that he is a force of a CB in the NFL and will attempt to improve on that each week. Heyward will make sure Goodwin will not have an easy Sunday. Since the 49ers have a quarterback situation that is uncertain I give Heyward the advantage over Goodwin.