Reel Football Preview Week 15

The Reel Football Preview Week 15 is Mark Schofield‘s look at the most compelling matchups in the NFL on tape. Scouring the film, highlighting interesting play design, optimum offense, innovative defense and how the inches really matter. This week we have some divisional rivalry rematches: #OAKvsKCC, #HOUvsIND, #CINvsCLE and #SFvs#SEA.

Oakland v. Kansas City – Kansas City’s Stacked Box

While defenses tend to bring pressure against inexperienced quarterbacks, Kansas City might want to dial back the heat in their rematch against the Raiders. For one, rookie quarterback Derek Carr has shown an ability to handle pressure, as demonstrated last week against the 49ers. But more importantly, earlier this season Oakland was deep in their own territory and the Chiefs stacked the box and brought the blitz—and it burned them.

The Raiders start possession on their own 10-yard line, and Carr is under center. Oakland has 13 personnel on the field; offensive lineman Matt McCants lines up as an eligible tight end while TE Mychal Rivera lines up as a fullback. The Chiefs have a short yardage defense on the field, with four down linemen, four linebackers and only three defensive backs:

At the snap, 10 defenders are along the line of scrimmage. Then this happens:

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Breaking this down a bit, the Raiders run a simple counter play and block it very well:

The right tackle, guard, and center all block left and collapse the defensive line. The left guard and Rivera both pull in front of running back Latavius Murray. Left guard Khalif Barnes (#69 – circled in red) handles the edge while the tight end (circled in yellow) leads through the hole and stones linebacker James-Michael Johnson (#52):

This gives the running back a little crease to cut through, leaving him one-on-one with linebacker Josh Mauga. Unfortunately for the LB, he has over-committed and his feet are in poor position to deal with Murray:

The RB blows right by Mauga:

The only defender left is free safety Eric Berry, who takes a Yasiel Puig-esque route to the ball-carrier:

By stacking the box, Kansas City put themselves in position to either stuff the run – or give up a huge play. With so many defenders committed to the run, it only takes one or two small mistakes to lead to a big play for the offense. This week, look to see if the Chiefs dial back the pressure game and play a bit more conservatively on defense.

Houston v. Indianapolis – Houston’s Cover 3/Play Action

Houston travels to Indianapolis in a rematch of their Week 6 tilt. If the visitors are to leave with a victory, their defense might want to handle play-action when in Cover 3 better than they did on this play – a big shot from quarterback Andrew Luck to wide receiver T.Y. Hilton.

Early in the first quarter the Colts successfully executed an onside kick and took over possession on their own 46-yard line. The offense comes out in a run formation using 13 personnel. The Texans counter with their base 3-4 defense and show Cover 3 in the secondary:

Off the play-fake, Luck has three receivers in the pattern. Tight end Coby Fleener (#80 – circled in black) runs a shallow crossing route while position-mate Dwayne Allen (#83 – circled in white) runs a very deep out route. From the outside Hilton (circled in red) runs a very deep post. Defensively the Texans drop into Cover 3 with D.J. Swearinger (#36) responsible for the middle, while cornerback Johnathan Joseph (#24) covers the deep outside third:

Watch as Swearinger and Joseph collapse on Allen and ignore the big-play receiver running deep:

Both Allen and Hilton are open. Joseph’s depth leaves him unable to break on the tight end’s out route, while Swearinger trails the TE. Of course, neither defender is anywhere close to Hilton, running free down the middle of the field:

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He is ruled down at the 5-yard line but the Colts would score on the next play and extend their lead. Houston’s secondary needs to be more disciplined this Sunday against Andrew Luck and the explosive Colts offense.

Cincinnati v. Cleveland – Dalton v. the Browns Defense

With Johnny Manziel making his first NFL start against Cincinnati, the pregame coverage is focused on how Johnny Football will handle the Bengals defense. But the outcome of this game will be determined more by how his counterpart handles the Cleveland defense. In their Week 10 contest, Andy Dalton was woeful, completing only 10 of 33 passes for 86 yards and three interceptions. It was one of the worst performances in modern passing history. The quarterback forced numerous throws into coverage, including this early interception by linebacker Craig Robertson.

Dalton and the Bengals face a 2nd and 10 and the quarterback lines up in the shotgun with 12 personnel. Cleveland counters with a nickel defense showing Cover 3:

Dalton has two wide receivers to the right who will run go routes, clearing that side of the field for the two tight ends. Both Ryan Hewitt (#89 – circled in white) and Jermaine Gresham (#84 – circled in orange) run crossing routes:

From the end zone camera, watch as Dalton stares down Gresham on his crosser. Read his eyes… Robertson sure did:

As the quarterback winds up to throw, the linebacker jumps the route and is in position to intercept the throw. He returns the football into the red zone and the Browns are in position early:

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This play is just one of many examples of Andy Dalton making poor decisions with the football that night. Cincinnati is clinging to a division lead and needs a win on the road. If their quarterback continues to make bad reads and throws, the Bengals will see that small lead in the AFC North evaporate in Cleveland… at the hands of Johnny Manziel.

San Francisco v. Seattle – Will that guy ever make the tackle?

Three weeks ago the 49ers hosted the Seattle Seahawks. While the matchup was underwhelming, one question remains: Will Dontae Johnson finally sack Russell Wilson?

Enjoy the games everyone.

Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkSchofield.

Mark Schofield has always loved football. He breaks down film, scouts prospects, and explains the passing game for Inside the Pylon.

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