NFL Analysis


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2023 NFL Week 14: Biggest Matchups, Mismatches

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) runs the ball past Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Addison (97) during the first half in a AFC Divisional playoff football game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Each week, Sports Info Solutions (SIS) will generate a matchup comparison for the week’s NFL games based on its proprietary Total Points stat. 

Total Points takes nearly everything that happens on the field and scales it in a way that allows you to compare players, units and teams. It will allow you to pinpoint mismatches, perhaps those you weren’t even aware existed.

To learn more about Total Points, read our piece from last season

Here’s our look at Week 14.

Total Points Per Play ranks are based on 2023 performance to date. Fourth Down Decision Ranks are based on the head coach’s history over the last two seasons. See a brief description of the ranking methodology in this piece.

Week 14 Matchups

Patriots vs. Steelers

Thursday, 8:15 p.m.
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Fourth-down decisions: Patriots 22nd, Steelers 30th

The New England Patriots’ offense could continue to struggle against a better-than-average Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense that is top-10 in Pass Rushing Total Points.

On the other side, Mitchell Trubisky should have some time to operate against a poor Patriots pass rush.

This game should be a low-scoring affair with the special teams taking center stage. 

Buccaneers vs. Falcons

Sunday, 1 p.m.
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Fourth-down decisions: Buccaneers 28th, Falcons 15th

The Atlanta Falcons’ defense is still a mystery. It is top three in Run Defense Total Points and Coverage Total Points but struggles to bring pressure.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense is not formidable. Still, if Baker Mayfield is given enough time, even the Falcons will be susceptible to some big gains by the Buccaneers’ wide receivers.

Rams vs. Ravens

Sunday, 1 p.m.
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Fourth-down decisions: Rams 10th, Ravens 26th

While the Baltimore Ravens’ defense is excellent in coverage and generating pressure, it is less stout against the run. The Los Angeles Rams will look to exploit this with a heavy dose of Kyren Williams.

Stopping the Ravens’ offense is not easy. The problem is compounded when one of the worst units at generating pressure goes up against a top-five blocking unit. If the Rams struggle to generate pressure, this could be a long game for that defense.

The Rams’ have some playmakers on offense, but if they can’t establish the run, the Ravens could run away with this game.

Lions vs. Bears

Sunday, 1 p.m.
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Fourth-down decisions: Lions eighth, Bears 11th

The Detroit Lions’ defense has slipped in recent weeks, and the Chicago Bears’ offensive numbers would surprise some people who have not been paying attention. 

Their quarterback play is still a problem, but their running backs, receivers and offensive line give them a chance to move the ball.

Jared Goff could be in for a big day as the Bears do a good job stopping the run but struggle mightily to generate pressure and have a below-average coverage rating.

Division games can add a little surprise element to the mix, but expect the Lions to put up a lot of points in this one, given their advantages.

Colts vs. Bengals

Sunday, 1 p.m.
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Fourth-down decisions: Colts 31st, Bengals 16th

Based on the numbers above, these two teams are quite similar, with the one big exception being their Pass Rushing Total Points.

Both teams struggle to stop the run, and the Cincinnati Bengals hold an edge in Rushing Total Points, so expect a steady diet of Joe Mixon. That might give Jake Browning some extra time when he drops back to pass.

Gardner Minshew will need the disappointing offensive line play to take a step up against a struggling Bengals’ defense. The Bengals are not the same team without Joe Burrow, but they can play spoiler against a playoff-seeking Indianapolis Colts team.

Jaguars vs. Browns

Sunday, 1 p.m.
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Fourth-down decisions: Jaguars 24th, Browns 12th

The Cleveland Browns’ offense does not strike fear into many opponents, but there should be some areas to exploit against a below-average Jacksonville Jaguars defense.

On the other hand, the Browns’ defense brings the fear in spades with its top-ranked run defense and pass rush. Outside of quarterback, the Jaguars’ offense struggles in every category and will be without Christian Kirk.

A low-scoring game is expected with the Browns finding a slight edge, given their defense’s reliability.

Panthers vs. Saints

Sunday, 1 p.m.
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Fourth-down decisions: Panthers N/A, Saints 23rd

To put it plainly, the Carolina Panthers are not good. Their numbers on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball are miserable, but they are hoping a mid-season coaching change can breathe new life into a dying team.

The New Orleans Saints are not great either, but they can lock down the back end and make life difficult for Bryce Young, which could be enough to win the game. 

Whoever lines up at quarterback for the Saints should have an easy match up against a porous Panthers defense.

Texans vs. Jets

Sunday, 1 p.m.
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Fourth-down decisions: Texans fifth, Jets 21st

The Houston Texans and New York Jets have clear strengths and weaknesses. For the Jets, their offense is a disaster, and their defense keeps them in games. For the Texans, it’s a little more complicated. 

They rank highly in Passing Total Points, Receiving Total Points and Run Defense Total points. However, they struggle in Rushing Total Points, Blocking Total Points and Coverage Total Points.

C.J. Stroud will be tested against a tough defense and will be without rookie sensation Tank Dell. The Texans’ offensive line does not match up well against the Jets, and there won’t be much relief in the rushing game, either.

The Jets struggle running the ball, which likely won’t change this week. There could be opportunities through the air against a Texans’ defense that struggles to generate pressure or lock down the back end.

Vikings vs. Raiders

Sunday, 4:05 p.m.
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Fourth-down decisions: Vikings 17th, Raiders 29th

With Josh Dobbs getting the endorsement from Kevin O’Connell, he could finally get a chance to throw to Justin Jefferson. 

The Minnesota Vikings’ offense without Jefferson has been inconsistent, resulting in middle-of-the-pack offensive rankings. Adding Jefferson will be a major boost for the offense.

The Las Vegas Raiders’ offensive line is respectable, but the team struggles everywhere else. Forcing some turnovers will be key in beating the Vikings.

Brian Flores’ defensive scheme hasn’t improved their Coverage Total Points ranking but has helped against the run and generating pressure. Look for the blitz-heavy scheme to roll on this week.

Seahawks vs. 49ers

Sunday, 4:05 p.m.
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Fourth-down decisions: Seahawks 14th, 49ers ninth

The San Francisco 49ers’ offense continues to roll. It should find continued success against a Seattle Seahawks defense that struggles to stop the run and pass.

Brock Purdy leads a varied 49ers offense that can win in numerous ways. The 49ers have a defense that isn’t elite by our metrics but can provide resistance to most offenses.

The Seahawks will need their top-two ranked receiving core to win some tough matchups to give them a chance. 

Bills vs. Chiefs

Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
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Fourth-down decisions: Bills seventh, Chiefs 27th

In what could be the best game of the week, both quarterbacks will be facing off against tough defenses.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ offense is first-rate, except for its offensive line play. It will go against a fierce Buffalo Bills’ defense that can stop the run, generate pressure and lock down the back end. 

Kansas City’s offensive line will be under immense pressure to protect Patrick Mahomes and create rushing lanes for Isiah Pacheco.

Turnovers have hurt the Bills this year, but their receiving core has also struggled. They could struggle against a good Chiefs secondary. That means they might have to rely on the run game — where they have a distinct advantage — to earn the win.

Broncos vs. Chargers

Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
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Fourth-down decisions: Broncos 20th, Chargers 19th

The Denver Broncos will look to run all over an abysmal Los Angeles Chargers’ run defense and take shots downfield against an equally abysmal Chargers’ pass defense.

The Chargers need Justin Herbert to pick apart the Broncos' secondary to take pressure off of their defense. While the Chargers have struggled to run the ball, this could be the game to get it going against a weak Broncos’ run defense.

Eagles vs. Cowboys

Sunday, 8:20 p.m.
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Fourth-down decisions: Eagles first, Cowboys fourth

Both offenses are similar, but the Dallas Cowboys hold a distinct advantage on the defensive end.

The Philadelphia Eagles might want to slow this game down. They could find moving the ball on the ground or through the air against a very well-rounded Cowboys defense difficult.

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense should move the ball against the Eagles, but limiting turnovers will be the key to pulling away in this one.

Both teams are elite in fourth-down decision-making. While that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll go for it a lot, it does mean we’re not likely to be harping on a crucial decision by either coaching staff next Tuesday.

Titans vs. Dolphins

Monday, 8:15 p.m.
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Fourth-down decisions: Titans sixth, Dolphins 13th

The game plan for both of these teams is simple. 

Tennessee Titans: Run the ball. Miami Dolphins: Throw the ball.

The Titans excel at running the ball, and the Dolphins struggle to stop the run. The Titans rank low in Passing Total Points and Blocking Total points, while the Dolphins are lockdown in coverage and generate lots of pressure.

The Dolphins’ offense is elite, but the Titans have a good run defense. However, the Titans are last in Coverage Total Points. While they still find success on the ground, they should find more success throwing the ball.

The Titans need to control the pace in this game, as they will struggle to match the Dolphins’ offense in a shootout.

Packers vs. Giants

Monday, 8:15 p.m.
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Fourth-down decisions: Packers second, Giants 25th

Looking at the New York Giants’ rankings, one would not expect this team to still be in the hunt for a playoff spot, but here we are.

The Giants struggle across the board, but the Green Bay Packers are vulnerable in the passing game. Tommy DeVito could further enhance his cult-hero status with another strong primetime show.

Jordan Love will have the luxury of attacking a lackluster Giants defense through the air or on the ground. His offensive line has an advantage against the Giants’ defensive front and could make the difference in this game.

This article was authored by Jeff Dean.