NFL O-line Overview: Eagles vs Packers TNF Preview

Thursday Night Football showdowns are infamously hit-or-miss affairs, and the 2019 season has certainly had a number of misses. That’s hopeful to change Sept.27, when the 3-0 Packers host the 1-2 Eagles — two teams who came into the season with high expectations and have flashed, but haven’t yet managed to perfect their formulas. Interestingly enough, both the Packers and Eagles are attempting to anchor their gameplans around stellar O-line play. We’ll examine how well that’s working out for each franchise in the Week 4 edition of our weekly Offensive Line Overview, and check in with other risers and fallers around the league.

Risers

Green Bay Packers: Green Bay makes it into the Risers section for a second consecutive week. Despite an offense that’s clearly still finding its footing, the team boasts an undefeated record. That success has come largely in part due to the quality of protection up front. In Week 3 versus the Broncos’ vaunted pass rush, quarterback Aaron Rodgers took only one hit en route to a convincing victory. Tackles Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari have been particularly excellent, having succeeded against a gauntlet of pass rushers including Khalil Mack, Leonard Floyd, Danielle Hunter, Von Miller and Bradley Chubb already this season. They face another tough matchup against the Eagles’ defensive line.

What to Watch: Davante Adams was drafted by many to be the No. 1 fantasy wide receiver this season, or at least within the top five. Through three contests so far, Adams has only 15 catches for 198 yards without a touchdown. Savvy owners will avoid panic, at least through this week, as Thursday’s tilt looks like a get right game for Adams. Green Bay’s pass protection has been excellent, Philadelphia’s secondary is banged up with injuries, and Rodgers recently spoke out regarding a desire to target Adams more frequently.

 

Buffalo Bills: An offensive line that doesn’t hold the team back is a vast improvement for Buffalo compared to the 2018 season. Middle-of-the-road protection up front has proven sufficient enough to rack up three straight wins, though pass protection has been a point of unreliability at times. Frank Gore and rookie Devin Singletary have both had successes running the ball thus far, giving second-year quarterback Josh Allen the benefit of some much-needed balance on offense. The rotation of Cody Ford and Ty Nsekhe hasn’t quite worked seamlessly, but it’s possible that one of the two tackles emerges as an every-down starter as the season continues. The status of Jon Feliciano, who suffered a neck injury Week 3, will be worth monitoring closely as Buffalo prepares to host an undefeated division rival: the New England Patriots.

What to Watch: Devin Singletary is working his way back from a hamstring issue. Such injuries can be tricky and are difficult to put a timetable on, so it’s difficult determine the rookie running back’s exact chances of suiting up Week 4. In the event that Singletary were unable to go, veteran tailback Frank Gore would draw another start. Gore put up a respectable statline versus Cincinnati, rushing 14 times for 76 yards and a touchdown while nabbing a pair of catches. Buffalo has been able to supply adequate running volume through their first three games, while mostly playing ahead, but that could change versus the Patriots on Sunday. In any case, if Singletary misses any more time Gore could qualify as an under-the-radar and budget-friendly option with guaranteed touches in DFS formats.

Fallers

Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles’ offensive line remains one of the top units in the league, but hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations of competing for the No. 1 spot with Dallas. The context for Philadelphia’s struggles has to do with injuries, as per usual, but all starters now appear healthy. It’s notable that RG Brandon Brooks has stepped his game up coming off Achilles surgery, and is making a strong case for himself as one of the top guards in the NFL. He’s more than made up for the play of Isaac Seumalo, who still appears to be finding his footing. It’s early in the season and the Eagles’ offensive front has more than enough talent to put all concerns to rest by the end of the year. They’ll be looking to use Thursday’s tilt against Green Bay as a get right game, though the Packers’ revitalized pass rush may have other thoughts.

What to Watch: If Philadelphia’s offensive line requires another week to get right, Thursday’s tilt against the Packers could go awry. Carson Wentz already missing pivotal deep threat DeSean Jackson, and with the Eagles’ secondary managing multiple injuries he could be forced to look downfield Week 4. The O-line will need to play up to their potential in terms of pass protection, but Wentz will at least have the benefit of Alshon Jeffery back on the field.

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Arizona Cardinals: This was an anticipated problem heading into the season. Pass protection and run blocking have both been atrocious and unreliable through three games. Jordan Mills is a clear liability as a starter, having been thrust into the lineup due to an injury to Marcus Gilbert (knee). Justin Pugh appears to be developing as an asset in pass protection, which should be a small grace for the development of rookie quarterback Kyler Murray, but he’s still lapsing behind in the running game.

What to Watch: David Johnson is averaging just 3.7 yards per carry across three games, and he’s got reprieve from AZ’s atrocious run blocking in sight. Receiving work has always been Johnson’s claim to fame, but he’ll need to rely on pass catching now more than ever in order to churn out top-end fantasy production in 2019.