For some teams, the playoffs are a win or loss away. At this point in the season every play matters. This will hold true in week 13. Some teams are desperate to find success, therefore WR’s and CB’s can benefit. Here I will highlight some matchups that should be considered this week. With several changes happening across the league it is important to take them into account as the NFL season winds down. Here are my WR and CB advantages for the week:
Demaryius Thomas vs. Denzel Ward:
Both the Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns are coming off wins last week. The Texans are in a race for the AFC South division and are in the need to capitalize on every opportunity they have can advantage of. An advantage they have this week against the Browns is Thomas vs. Ward. After being traded mid-season to the Texans from the Denver Broncos, Thomas has emerged as the #1 WR for the Texans after they lost WR Will Fuller V for the season due to a knee injury. Even though Ward has had a fantastic rookie season, his hands will be full against the veteran Thomas who has a full route tree and the physical tools to match. Thomas can play some ball. Thomas had a great outing last week and I expect him to build on that performance as the Texans seek to place themselves in the playoff picture. Ward will have a long Sunday this week and expect him to have some rookie woes.
A.J. Green vs. Chris Harris Jr:
After missing the last few weeks due to injury Green returns to the lineup for the Cincinnati Bengals this week against the Denver Broncos. The Bengals are without their starting quarterback Andy Dalton but that doesn’t mean Green won’t be productive. Still regarded as the number one deep threat for the Bengals, Green has produced when healthy. With the need to make significant plays for his team I expect Green to be targeted often. On the other hand, Harris Jr. has had a wonderful season and will give Green a tough matchup. However, the Broncos defense has been inconsistent and that may be evident this Sunday. With the need for Green to be explosive coupled with the inconsistent play of Harris Jr. and the Broncos defense I give Green and the Bengals the advantage in this matchup.
Chris Conley vs. Gareon Conley:
With rising star RB Kareem Hunt being released this weekend due to a domestic violence issue, the landscape of the Chiefs has changed. The Chiefs will have to go through the air to find success, Watkins will be a beneficiary. In a potent offense that has talented pass catchers, Watkins has had a quiet but productive year. With the potential new folds in an Andy Reid led offense I expect Watkins to be heavily involved. This will be a disadvantage for Conley and the Raiders secondary. The Raiders defense has struggled all year to find their footing and I expect the Chiefs to exploit them this weekend. Watkins could have a big day on Sunday, therefore I give him the advantage over Conley and the Raiders static secondary.
Patrick Peterson vs. Davante Adams
: It is do or die for the Green Bay Packers for the rest of the season due to their up and down year. Even though the Packers are the favorite going into this game, the matchup of Peterson and Adams is intriguing. Peterson has been one of the best CB’s in football the past few seasons and has proven to play his best with the stakes high. I expect Peterson to step up to the plate this weekend against Adams and the Packers. Even though Adams has had a tremendous year and has been the favorite WR of Aaron Rodgers, he may meet his match this Sunday against Peterson and the Cardinals. This will be a battle of athleticism and sheer will. I expect Rodgers to target Adams often so Peterson’s workload will be heavy, but it is nothing the veteran hasn’t experienced before. This will be a great battle of new emerging talent vs. a solidified veteran, I give the advantage the Peterson.
Richard Sherman vs. Doug Baldwin:
The Seahawks have had a few convincing wins this season. This proves that Coach Carroll and Russell Wilson are still a happy union. However, Baldwin has battled injury all season which has led to one of his least productive seasons in the league. From week-to-week it is difficult to gauge Baldwin’s potential contribution. This has caused teams to take advantage of the matchup when he is present on the field. The 49ers and Sherman will look to do the same this week against Baldwin and the Seahawks. There is no doubt that Baldwin is tough as he has battled every week this season, but his battle may conclude against the stout play of Sherman. Despite coming off of an injury to his achilles in 2017, Sherman has bounced back and will be making his return to the lineup this week after a brief stint on the injury report due to another health-related issue. I expect Sherman to come out firing on all cylinders and take advantage of Baldwin.