With two weeks left for the non-playoff teams, fans need to enjoy seeing their team while it lasts. But for you Jaguars and Titans fans who don’t know what to watch for this Sunday, here’s a few things to look for:
Johnny Manziel vs. Luke Kuechly: Manziel is still the starting quarterback in Cleveland, and despite his performance last week this is certainly the right decision. Manziel will have his work cut out for him this week heading into Carolina to face a Panthers team desperate to win and stay alive in the NFC South race. Manziel has always been a throw on the run quarterback, and if the Panthers allow him to get comfortable moving around in and out of the pocket it’ll be a long day for them. This is where Luke Kuechly comes in. Kuechly is arguably the best linebacker in the NFL, and his ability to contain Manziel and force him to make quick decisions in the pocket will be key to pulling the upset over the Browns.
Keenan Lewis vs. Julio Jones and Roddy White: Keenan Lewis is the New Orleans Saints best active cornerback, so obviously he will be charged with covering Jones and White in turn. This game will more than likely determine the champion of the NFC South, so Lewis is certainly expected to be able to shut down which ever superstar receiver he is guarding at any given time. White and Jones have been known to explode for big games, and that is not something the Saints can afford to give up. The major problem is that Lewis can only guard one at a time. Matt Ryan would be smart to just go after the weaker cornerbacks lining up alongside Lewis.
Cardinals’ defense vs. Russell Wilson: The Cardinals are on their third string no-name quarterback, so they have no hope against the Seahawks, right? Not true. The Cardinals still have a great defensive presence and the Seahawks are not exactly known for their offensive prowess. The Seahawks offense is made up of Marshawn Lynch, Percy Harvin, and another runner in the backfield. No quarterback. Stopping Wilson’s arm is no problem, the big problem is containing him. This is easier said than done. If the Cardinals want to win this game they will need to capitalize off of the few passes Wilson does throw downfield. Wilson is not a good quarterback, so as long as no one is wide open the Cardinals should have a good chance to pick him off at least once. This will be a very low scoring game, but a red zone turnover or two forced by the Cardinals defense could turn a 13-7 loss into a 14-13 victory for the home team.