At the mid point of the season, injuries are taking their toll on the trenches. This week there are two significant downgrades in the rankings. The chef recommends the weekly match-up's of note, and also a side dish of other news. Let's get after it:
Baltimore minus 9.
The Ravens lost both left tackle Eugene Monroe and left guard Kelechi Osemele in the fourth quarter of the Monday Night Football loss against Arizona. In their places stepped James Hurst and John Urschel, respectively. There is a sizable dropoff from those starters to their backups, and that is the main reason for the downgrade. It is not clear that either Monroe or Osemele will be ready for this weekend's contest, home against San Diego. The team activated De'Ondre Wesley from their practice squad, which is not a great sign for the injured players' availability on a short week. In even more discouraging news, John Urschel's first NFL catch was wiped out via penalty, despite the fact he clearly communicated his eligibility to the officials. It's tough out there for a big man, trying to get his hands on the football. With the downgrade the Ravens check in at 18th, and are a mid tier unit until they can get their left side starters back in the lineup.
Chicago minus 11.
The Bears' offensive line are extremely injured this week, with three starters LT Jermod Bushrod, LG Matt Slauson and C Hroniss Grasu, checking as limited at Wednesday's practice. Coming off a bye week, this was unexpected, and it's not clear when exactly some of these injuries occurred. If both Slauson and Grasu can't go against the Vikings, the fourth starting center this season for the Bears would probably be Barrett Jones, currently on the practice squad. As for Bushrod, the comments from the coaches seem to indicate that he is benched for Charles Leno. Bushrod is not in the team's long term plans and perhaps could be a trade target in the right situation (PIT and NE have needs). Leno is improving but is simply not the same tier of athlete as Bushrod. With all the disruption to the lineup, the Bears' line drops from a mid-tier to a low-tier unit.
Week 8 Match-Up's Of Note
POSITIVE MATCHUPS TO TRUST
- 2nd CLE O-Line vs. 28th AZ defensive front seven (+26).
- 4th NO O-Line vs. 26th NYG defensive front seven (+22).
- 5th NYJ O-Line @ 25th OAK defensive front seven (+20).* If Nick Mangold plays
- 8th CIN O-Line @ 24th PIT defensive front seven (+16).
- 3rd GB O-Line @ 17th DEN defensive front seven (+14).
NEGATIVE MATCHUPS TO FADE:
- 31st NE O-Line vs. 7th MIA defensive front seven (-24).
- 29th TEN O-Line @ 9th HOU defensive front seven (-20).
- 27th IND O-Line @ 11th CAR defensive front seven (-16).
- 25th CHI O-Line vs. 10th MIN defensive front seven (-15).
- 20st SF O-Line @ 8th STL defensive front seven (-12).
A look back at Week 7's Match-up's of Note:
Last week's match-up's of note were 5-3. May have been 6-2 if the Ravens' left side didn't get hurt. More good than bad, on the year it's still positive, with 46 good and 28 bad predictions.
NYJ - C Nick Mangold left game, but is questionable.
Nick Mangold suffered a scary looking injury in the closing period against New England. However, Mangold's X-rays, Cat scan and MRI tests all came back negative and he's listed as questionable for the game at Oakland. Mangold did not practice Wednesday and the team elevated Wesley Johnson from the practice squad in case he can't go. Usually we expect Mangold to play, but the adding of a player from the taxi squad is highly concerning. If Mangold doesn't play, abandon all hope ye who enter here. The Jets will lose this game without Nick Mangold. Knowing that, and how important it is for the wild card, he probably will play hence the lack of an official downgrade. But this is a dicey situation, be sure to watch the inactive lists Sunday morning, if you have any Jets exposure.
SD - LG ORLANDO FRANKLIN CARTED OFF BUT IS DAY TO DAY.
Left guard Orlando Franklin was carted off with a left knee injury, and it looked scary at the time. However Franklin's tests came back negative and is considered 'day-to-day' for this weekend's contest at Baltimore.
PHI - Jason Peters left game with back spasms.
Matt Tobin replaced (and struggled in pass protection). Peters says he is ok and should be able to play after bye.
JAC - Zane Beadles is playing through plantar fasciitis.
Beadles was seen wearing a walking boot after the game, but Beadles has not missed a snap in his time in Jacksonville and is not likely to break that streak. After London, he and the Jaguars get the bye week to recover.
MIN - John Sullivan suffered a setback in his rehab.
No changes to the immediate lineup, but Sullivan, who is on the IR-DFR list, is likely out for the season.
PIT - LT Villanueva struggles in first start.
Following up on last week's downgrade, Alejandro Villanueva struggled in his first career start at Kansas City. As frequent readers will remember, Villanueva is starting because of an ACL tear suffered by left tackle Kelvin Beachum.
As usual, if you have a question about a team not specifically talked about in this article, please feel free to contact me via twitter or in the Shark Pool.
Week 8 Offensive Line Rankings
|5||NYJ||5||0||30.85||B+||A-||B||Mangold neck injury?|
|17||BAL||8||-9||28.9||B-||C+||B-||Monroe & Osemele out.|
|25||CHI||14||-11||27.78||C||C-||C+||Bushrod benched for Leno.|
Week 8 Defensive Front Seven Rankings
|5||New York (A)|
|26||New York (N)|