QB Start Em, Sit Em – Defense Matchups for Week 2 (2022)

Week 2 is here and the NFL season is finally underway. For a week, the Seattle Seahawks are at the top of the NFC West, and the AFC South went winless in Week 1 despite two of the teams playing each other. The NFL is truly back when it’s real storylines and not made up.

Due to a combination of bad weather, injuries, bad offenses, and good defenses, the score was down significantly from Week 1 of the 2021 season. NFL teams combined to score 673 points in 16 games, up from 768 points in Week 1 last year. As tradition dictates, defenses seem to be ahead of offenses to start the year.

At the start of the year, you need to rack up as many wins as possible while your team is still healthy and the bye weeks haven’t arrived yet. With that in mind, your quarterback games become even more important in analyzing which offenses are ready to succeed versus which still need a few weeks to warm up. Here are the three best and worst matchups for Sunday to consider when setting your roster.

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Here Comes Trouble – QB vs. Pass Rush Matchups

Pittsburgh Steelers Defense Pass Rush vs. Mac Jones

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones ended his rookie year on a downward slope, and the rebound has yet to come for him or the team after their performance in Week 1. They lost by just 13 on the road to the Miami Dolphins, but it never seemed particularly close. Heading into their Week 2 match, Jones is struggling with a back injury that shouldn’t hold him back, but it will likely be limited.

On the other side of this game, he’ll face a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that made a revamped Cincinnati Bengals offensive line look like they haven’t played the football of their lives. Joe Burrow was sacked seven times in the day and he was pressured on 21.5% of his waivers. Even with TJ Watt out of lineup, this Pittsburgh group has the horses to harass Mac all day.

Verdict: Sit down

New York Giants Defense Pass Rush vs. Baker Mayfield

Well, Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield didn’t get the revenge he was hoping for in Week 1, and you could put a lot of the blame on him. Baker had just one touchdown the day Robbie Anderson got behind the Browns defense. Against that touchdown, he was sacked four times while under pressure on 21.9% of his dropbacks. He also had four fumbles on the day. Although he won all four of them, these ball safety issues can be a problem.

In Week 2, Carolina heads to the New York Giants, who for the first time in five years have a record above .500 after their upset win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 1. They did it thanks to Saquon Barkley in attack. with a defense that made Ryan Tannehill uncomfortable all day. While they only had one sack, they had four knockdowns and 11 presses for a whopping 31.4% pressure ratio. This Carolina offensive line is still under construction and the Giants can take advantage of it to attack Baker.

Verdict: Sit down

Baltimore Ravens Defense Pass Rush vs. Tua Tagovailoa

A bad shot by Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa made headlines in Week 1, but he really performed better than this clip would have you believe. He went 23 of 33 for 270 yards and, had the game not been largely over, he could have gotten bigger numbers. Either way, despite the offensive line taking a step forward this offseason, it’s still a group that leaves more to be desired.

In Week 2, Tua will be dealing with a Baltimore front that seems to produce consistently year after year no matter who they plug into the lineup. In Week 1, they had three sacks against the New York Jets and they generated pressure on 24.2% of their opponent’s dropbacks. In addition, the Dolphins’ two starting tackles missed practice Wednesday. While Terron Armstead should play, there are no guarantees at this stage.

Verdict: Sit down

Easy Sunday Morning – QB vs Pass Rush Matchups

Jacksonville Jaguars Defense Pass Rush vs. Matt Ryan

The Matt Ryan era for the Indianapolis Colts didn’t get off to the best start. They scored just three points in three quarters and needed a 17-point comeback in the fourth quarter just to send the game into overtime. One thing that wasn’t really at fault in Week 1 was the offensive line. They gave up some pressure, but they were in the bottom half of the league in knockdowns allowed. They kept Ryan up more often than not.

The Colts are aiming for their first victory in Jacksonville since Sept. 21, 2014. Both of these teams have come a long way since then, and the Colts are looking to grab this division with other teams floundering. In Week 1, the Jaguars had just one sack from Carson Wentz, and they pressured him on just 8.9% of his backstops. That pass rush, despite high draft picks in recent years, still struggles to come after the quarterback.

Verdict: start them

Detroit Lions Defense Pass Rush vs. Carson Wentz

Because I’m actually recommending Carson Wentz, he’s going to forget how to play football and completely crumble. For now, I’m going to be optimistic. Despite two interceptions, he helped lead his team on a decisive drive for his fourth touchdown of the day from 300+ yards. The offensive line played a big part in this accomplishment, as they gave up just one sack and they allowed a pressure rate of just 8.9%, which was the second-best mark of the week behind the Buffalo Bills.

The Lions had a 25.6% pressure rating in Week 1, but that’s inflated by the low passing volume the Philadelphia Eagles were expected to make thanks to their large lead. This Lions defense is still very young and they have a long way to go before they strike fear into the hearts of opposing quarterbacks. Until then, most offensive lines should be up to speed to slow this group down.

Verdict: start them

Miami Dolphins Defense Pass Rush vs. Lamar Jackson

In Week 1, the Dolphins were playing against a Patriots offensive line that didn’t know how to get out of its own way, and they still only generated two sacks and pressure on 15.2% of Mac’s backstops . It wasn’t against a particularly mobile quarterback, but that didn’t matter. Their passing rush doesn’t have a ton of teeth on a weekly basis.

Now they face Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens where Lamar came out for a huge payday, and the Ravens are trying to prepare for a deep playoff run. Lamar was sacked twice in Week 1 but was under pressure on just 11.8% of snaps. They are still without Ronnie Stanley, despite training this week. Even though Stanley remains out, Jackson has the mobility to handle this passing rush.

Verdict: start them

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