Mathews may have had his share of ups and downs coming into the league, but he has slowly worked his way into the conversation of elite tackles in the NFL. He’s been nearly perfect at protecting Matt Ryan’s blind side this year after receiving a fat five-year extension in the offseason. Although, this week will present a special type of challenge against another former Aggie.
Myles Garrett has come as advertised since being drafted #1 overall in 2017. The second year is when you usually see pass rushers take off, and Garrett has done just that already eclipsing his sack total from last year in eight games. At 6’5″, 270 pounds of toned machinery, it’s noticeable every time he takes the field. It’s a unique combination of size and speed, that even in the NFL, is rare to see. It’s just a matter of time before Garrett is talked about in the same conversation as Von Miller, J.J. Watt and others, if he’s not there already.
Injuries prevented Ward from playing the majority of last week’s matchup. It looks like he will be ready for Sunday, and as a competitor, he surely doesn’t want to miss his chance to go up against the best in Julio Jones. The Browns corner has been oozing with confidence his entire rookie campaign and made the organization look good for taking him with the fourth overall pick, a selection that wasn’t all popular among draft experts.
Assuming he does go, he’s likely going to be following Jones around. We saw how competitive the matchups were last year between Jones and another former Ohio State rookie cornerback, Marshon Lattimore. I would expect nothing less from Ward, one of the bright young talents at the position.
The Baker Mayfield to Jarvis Landry connection hasn’t been there as consistently as the Browns would like. In the first three full games Mayfield started, Landry only came up with 11 catches for 114 yards. It has been slightly better over the last three, but this is where it should really take off.
The Falcons defense is as vulnerable as any in the middle of the field and are a terrible tackling team. That should work out well for Landry, who feasts in the middle out of the slot and is a nightmare to bring down in the open field. He’s the one weapon on the Browns team that can strike fear into a defense and this is the perfect matchup for him.
KRAZEEEEE KAZEEEE has moved into the starting position due to injuries and quickly become the most reliable player in the secondary. His ball hawking skills have been on full display the last five weeks, recording four interceptions, enough to tie him for the league lead. Every week, he is playing with more and more confidence, and this Sunday, he gets a rookie quarterback to pick on.
I love Mayfield as much as anyone, but it would be foolish not to acknowledge some of the egregious mistakes he makes on a game-by-game basis. It’s more likely than not that he throws a pick in this one, and if there was one guy I would put my money on to record it? Take a guess.
I know most of the time the success of the running game depends more on the offensive line rather than the running back. However, that’s not going to stop me from putting Coleman in my 5 key players this week. This is rushing attack that has been non-existent for the most part, and it really doesn’t make a lot of sense.
The Falcons have a really talented offensive line, and they showcased just how good they are against a relentless Redskins rush defense. There’s no reason they can look like that against Washington and then run for 50 yards against the Bucs, or the Browns for that matter. Cleveland has been torched by 100 yard rushers more times than not over the last four weeks. Hopefully the line and Coleman can take advantage of them, because this is really what makes the Atlanta offense unstoppable. It also keeps their suspect defense off of the field.