This past weekend proved two things for many football fans. College referees and fans alike have no idea what constitutes a targeting penalty. And in the NFL, nobody knows how you’re supposed to hit a quarterback. Thankfully this weekend we’ve got some huge matchups that should help us get over the chaos that is rulemaking in football.
Player to Watch
I’ve highlighted Lions running back Kerryon Johnson before, but I’d like to come back to him now that the season has progressed some.
He’s coming off the best game of his young career against the Dolphins. He rushed 19 times for 158 yards and had two receptions for 21 yards. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, Johnson failed to get into the end zone, so his massive game didn’t generate a ton of points.
The Lions rely heavily upon their running back stable and bruising back LeGarrette Blount gets most of the goal line carries as a result. The lack of goal-line opportunities hurts Johnson’s fantasy potential, but if he can keep breaking big runs like he did last week, then he will find the end zone sooner rather than later. He’s a good choice for a flex/RB2 spot every week here on out.
Games of the Week
Packers Vs. Rams
This is a matchup of two NFC powerhouses. Aaron Rodgers has the Packers flying high on offense yet again. The Rams look like the most complete team in football and are the early favorite for Super Bowl winner.
Rodgers will need some big-time plays from some of his playmakers if they want to survive in LA. Guys like Devante Adams and Randall Cobb (Kentucky) will need to make something happen with their opportunities because LA’s defense is no joke. On defense, they need takeaways to keep themselves off the field against the potent Rams offense. Safety Ha-Ha Clinton Dix is tied for the league lead in interceptions, so they’ll need to rely on him to make an impact.
The Rams live and die with running back Todd Gurley (Georgia). He is the most dynamic player in the NFL right now, and he’s the reason why the Rams are the best team in football right now. Outside of that, they have the best defensive player on the planet in Aaron Donald. He does things that no other interior lineman can do, and he can wreak havoc on a quarterback if given the opportunity.
This game will be a back and forth affair. I think the Rams playing at home will be too much for Rodgers and company though.
Sun 10/28 4:25 ET- FOX
Final Score: 48-42 Rams
#9 Florida vs. #7 Georgia
It seems like every week we have a top 10 SEC matchup. This week is no different with the SEC East showdown between Florida and Georgia.
The Gators are rolling. They are enjoying a five-game win streak after a slow as molasses start to the season. The Tennessee game jump-started them, and they haven’t slowed down since. They’re winning on a combination of defensive pressure and solid overall offensive production. They’ve got numerous weapons and a clutch quarterback. That combination is a surefire way to win ball games in any division of football, but it’s paramount in the SEC. Once again they’ll need Feleipe Franks to have a great day if they expect to win this ball game.
The Bulldawgs are licking their wounds after LSU pounced on them for 36 points on Saturday. They fell out of the top four but are still firmly in the top 10. This game decides the season for Georgia. If they lose, they will be out of playoff contention and more than likely out of the SEC championship game as well. However, if they win, then they will add a critical big-time win to their resume and give them a significant argument against a team like Notre Dame or Ohio State.
I won’t make the mistake of doubting Florida again this season. I think Georgia is starting to show some definite weaknesses. The most jarring being their lack of pass rush, they’re last in the conference with only nine sacks so far. Florida jumps into the playoff conversation with a huge road win.
Sat 10/27 3:30 ET- CBS
Final Score: 35-31 Florida
#16 Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State
This game is intriguing for multiple reasons. The biggest being the quarterback controversy that is brewing in Starkville. The SEC’s all-time leading rushing quarterback, Nick Fitzgerald, is a major liability as a passer. Fans and critics alike have been pushing for a quarterback change all season long. Their offense is sporadic because of the lack of a downfield passing attack. They have a kid on their roster that is athletic and can throw the football.
Jimbo Fisher has his team hanging around still at this point in the season. These are the sort of games he has to win if he wants to keep the Aggie faithful in his good graces. The SEC West is a minefield to walk through for head coaches. With so many high-level teams it’s easy to forget about the unranked teams and possibly look them over for a bigger game down the schedule. If A&M does that, then they will be in for a long day.
Ultimately, I think the Aggies have too many weapons on offense with guys like Trayveon Williams and Kellen Mond for the Bulldogs to stop. Jimbo picks up a nice road win and inches his team closer to the top 10.
Sat 10/27 7:00 ET- ESPN
Final Score: 42-21 Texas A&M
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(Photo courtesy of Athlon Sports)