Looking forward to Week 14, we have to consider a few things. Teams still in playoff contention will play their starters full-force. Teams out of playoff contention are more likely to put their younger backups in to test them out for next season. We learned that in week 13 with the Bucs choice to play Peyton Barber.
Andy Dalton Looking Better
Bengals QB Andy Dalton was solid against the decent Steelers defense on Monday night though the Steelers are far from the worrisome matchup pass defense it used to be. The Bears defense is close to on par with the Steelers at this point, so I trust Dalton once again this week. He may have to throw a lot with breakout RB Joe Mixon in the concussion protocol.
Gronk’s Absence Won’t Hurt Patriots
Rob Gronkowski is suspended for a brutal cheap shot on Bill CB Tre’Davious White who left Sunday’s game with a concussion. This leaves the Patriots without their star TE. Will this affect TE production for the Pats? Definitely. Will this change the number of points the Pats will score? Not so much. Much like the Eagles defense (decimated by injuries all season but you would never know), the Patriots offense lives the ethos of Next Man Up, so there are plenty of offensive weapons for Tom Brady to pass to.
Winston and Brate
In three games with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Cameron Brate had three catches for 28 yards. Brate had 39 yards and two touchdowns in Jameis Winston’s return. If Winston is in, Cameron Brate stock goes way up.
Top QB (SEA) vs. Top Def (JAX)
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson completed 20 of 31 passes for 227 yards and 3 TDs against Philadelphia during Sunday night’s 24-10 victory. He also added 31 rushing yard on six carries. Wilson is no ordinary QB. He uses his arm and his legs equally to score points (he’s Seattle’s leading rusher after all). Seattle takes on Jacksonville Jaguars’ #1 pass defense. Opposing quarterbacks are averaging a passer rating of just 65.2 against the Jags. So who will win out? An MVP-candidate QB or Jags D? Jags will likely hold WRs to few receptions, but the bromance between Wilson and TE Jimmy Graham is strong. Expect Seattle to win this game with Wilson’s legs and Graham’s red zone efficiency. And expect many of those points to be scored in the 4th quarter. This season, Russell Wilson is averaging a passer rating of 139.1 in the fourth quarter of his games.