It's a rather juicy slate of NFL games in Week 6. Seahawks-Falcons, Cowboys-Packers, Bengals-Patriots, Eagles-Redskins, Chiefs-Raiders could actually all be considered potential playoff previews when you think about it. When the dust finally settles in 10 more weeks, those games could wind up playing a key role in playoff seeding, home-field advantage, etc.
One of those marquee games-Chiefs at Raiders-is highlighted below in our weekly examination of the biggest mismatches around the NFL. Let's get started.
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San Francisco 49ers at Buffalo Bills (-8, 44)
LeSean McCoy and Tyrod Taylor vs. 49ers Front Seven
The 49ers aren't really good at anything, but the run defense has been particularly atrocious. San Francisco, which ranks 20th in overall defense, has allowed the third-most rushing yards in the league this season with 146.8 per game. Three times already the 49ers have been gouged for at least 170 rushing yards in a game: Carolina in Week 2 (176 RY), Dallas in Week 4 (189 RY) and Arizona (172 RY) last week. Perhaps it's no coincidence, but the 49ers only win this season was when they held Todd Gurley and the Rams to just 65 rushing yards in Week 1.
This week San Francisco will face a massive test from LeSean McCoy, Tyrod Taylor and the league's third-best rushing team. McCoy is averaging a robust 5.3 YPC (447 yards, 85 carries) with three TDs this season. Last week, McCoy terrorized the Rams with 150 yards on 18 carries.
Taylor has also been a big part of the run game from behind center for the Bills. He's tallied 168 yards on 26 carries (6.5 YPC) and a touchdown this season.
Perhaps Colin Kaepernick getting the start provides a spark for the 49ers.
Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans (-7, 43.5)
Titans Pass Defense vs. Cody Kessler
Kessler hasn't been bad in three starts for the Browns. He's turned it over just once and completed 66.7 percent of his passes, leading to a respectable 87.9 passer rating. The rib injury Kessler suffered against the Patriots last week won't keep him from starting this week. But with just a week recovery time there likely will still be some soreness. Kessler won't want to be too uncomfortable against one of the league's better pass defenses.
The Titans pass defense will be the best Kessler's faced for 60 minutes given he was knocked out of the Patriots' game. Tennessee, which ranks 10 th in total defense, sports the ninth-best pass defense with just 222.4 YPG allowed through the air. Last week, Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins could muster just 149 passing yards against Tennessee.
A big reason the Titans defense has been better this season, particularly against the pass, is outside linebackers Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo are both finally healthy and on the field at the same time. Orakpo has already tallied six sacks and Morgan has added a pair.
Yung Kessler could be in for a long afternoon Sunday.
Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders (PK, 47)
Latavius Murray and Jalen Richard vs. Chiefs Rush Defense
The Chiefs haven't been nearly as good against the run as a season ago. Last year, the Chiefs ranked seventh in run defense with just 98.2 yards per game allowed on the ground. The script has been flipped this year, as opponents have steamrolled to 129.5 rushing yards per game against the Chiefs. That's the fourth most in the NFL.
This week with the Raiders they'll catch one of the league's better running teams. Oakland, which ranks fourth in total offense, has averaged 119.2 yards per game on the ground during its promising 4-1 start. Latavius Murray (25 carries, 175 yards) has averaged a healthy 4.3 yards per carry with three touchdowns, while the explosive Richard-a rookie out of Southern Miss-has a 70-yard touchdown run to his credit and is averaging 7.0 yards per carry on the season.
The Raiders ground game is good on its own with that duo running behind one of the league's best offensive lines. But it's also helped immensely by Derek Carr's ability to stretch defenses with his big arm. Someway, the Chiefs will need to find a way to revert to last year's form against the run to knock off their division rival.
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