Here's a look at a film nugget for each team playing this weekend that should impact the action on the field:

Pittsburgh at Baltimore


Age is undefeated. Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons is finding that out. Now 30, the once former speedy linebacker, who was underrated as a playmaker for much of his career, has seen his skills erode to the point he's now nothing more than average.

Oh, there are still the flash plays, like when he diagnosed a quick receiver screen against New England two weeks ago and dropped Julian Edelman for a 2-yard loss by beating the block of the tackle. Mostly, though, he's been getting blocked and his speed no longer enables him to chase down as many plays. On one run against the Pats, he took a step outside and they ran inside of him, and he didn't have the speed to get back into the play.

That speed once made him great in coverage too, but that's not the case anymore. It looked at times like the Pats were attacking him in that area of his game. On a 5-yard touchdown run by LaGarrette Blount, he got washed inside and had no chance to make the play. Getting old stinks, and it has to be even tougher to handle when you were once a damn good speed linebacker who made a lot of big plays.


In 2015, the Ravens did a nice job on Steelers receiver Antonio Brown. He was held to five catches for 42 yards and no scores in the first meeting between the teams, and then had seven catches for 61 yards and no touchdowns in the Week 16 game last year.

It wasn't like the Ravens matched up a corner with him. In the Week 16 game, they played mostly zone with a safety over the top to help on him. He got one 28-yard catch when he spun corner Jimmy Smith around, but that was it for the big plays. Smith got even when he matched up with him in man coverage in the fourth quarter -- one of the few times they did that -- and he got an interception in lock-down coverage. It was clear that day that the Ravens weren't going to allow Brown to beat them. I would imagine they would use similar tactics this week as well.

Jimmy Smith intercepts a pass from Ben Roethlisberger intended for Antonio Brown. USATSI

Dallas at Cleveland


With Morris Claiborne out 4-6 weeks with a sports hernia, the Cowboys will turn to Orlando Scandrick as the starter outside at corner opposite Brandon Carr. Scandrick missed all of last season with a torn ACL, then had hamstring issues in the opener and missed four games.

So how did he play last week against the Eagles? Pretty good as the nickel corner inside. He came on the blitz several times from his slot position and got a sack late when he looped all the way around from the left to get Carson Wentz as he moved to his right.

There were a handful of other times where he showed slot-corner blitz, but backed out and seemed to confuse Wentz. He also did a nice job in both zone and man coverage, although he was beat inside on a play and the ball was dropped. The Cowboys will now play him outside, but when they go to their nickel, he will slide back inside and Anthony Brown, who filled inside when Scandrick was out, will play outside with Carr.


The Browns need to get better play from center Cam Erving. There was a play last week where he had Leonard Williams on his nose, and Williams beat him with a quick hand move and was able to dump the Duke Johnson for a 3-yard loss. Erving ducked his head as he tried to make the block, which is a no-no for any lineman. He did get a nice block on Steve McClendon later on a 16-yard run by Johnson.

He also got beat by Muhammad Wilkerson for a sack when he was late sliding over to pick him up and had no chance inside. For the most part, Erving was OK in pass protection. His problems come when he has to move somebody off his face in the run game. He isn't physical enough. He does a nice job with his angle blocks, but he needs to get stronger at the point. The good news: He's a better center than he was guard, which is where he played in 2015. That's not saying a lot.

Jacksonville at Kansas City


Blake Bortles has not played well this season. There is no denying that. But let's not put it all on him. His receivers, a highly-touted group entering the season, have not played up to expectations. The only one who has improved is third receiver Marqise Lee, who might be their best receiver right now.

Allen Robinson, who had an amazing season in 2015, has not taken the next step, which is dealing with the double that comes with being a No. 1 receiver. Allen Hurns, who signed a big deal before the season, has looked more like a No. 3 receiver this season. And high-priced tight end Julius Thomas has looked average at best, but in fairness to him they haven't exactly used him the right way.

With the change at offensive coordinator, look for the Jaguars to try and do things to get these guys open. But a group that looked like a strong part of this team has gone the way of Bortles this season -- backwards.


The Chiefs are getting good play from rookie first-round pick Chris Jones, who had a sack last week against the Colts. Jones is also a good player against the run. Early against the Colts, he beat tackle Joe Reitz inside with a hard move, and when Reitz recovered he used a spin move to get in the face of Andrew Luck and force an incompletion. He then got his sack in the fourth quarter when he overpowered guard Denzelle Good. He pushed him into the backfield and then was able to shed him and grab Luck for the sack.

Jones plays with power, but he also has the athletic ability to do things like that spin move last week. When he is lined up next to Dee Ford, it's a bad look for an offense. On one of Ford's sacks last week, he was involved in a stunt with Jones, who helped free Ford to loop inside and drop Luck.

New York at Miami


One of the bigger disappointments for the Jets this season has to be the play of left tackle Ryan Clady. It's not like the right side has been much better, but Clady was expected to solidify a position left open when D'Brickashaw Ferguson retired. The former Pro Bowl player for the Broncos has looked like a shell of his former self.

He had trouble last week in pass protection against Cleveland, getting beat several times with hard moves to the inside. He also got beat by Emanuel Ogbah for a sack, although Ogbah wasn't credited with the sack. He went around Clady and got a hand on Fitzpatrick as others helped clean it up. Clady has to pick up his game in the second half of the season.


The Dolphins have future star in rookie left guard Laremy Tunsil. He was drafted as a tackle, and eventually will move to the left side and be a good one, maybe great even. For now, though, he's playing left guard next to Brandon Albert and doing a really nice job. He might be the most-athletic guard in the league right now. He's tough, too.

On a 4-yard touchdown by Jay Ajayi two weeks ago against the Bills, he rooted out Adolphus Washington to open the hole. Then to show off his athletic ability, he got on a double at the point, came off it, and got all over Preston Brown to create a hole for a 12-yard gain by Damien Williams. Ajayi has run for over 200 yards the past two games, and Tunsil is a big reason why. His matchups inside this week with the Jets down linemen will be fun to watch.

How Laremy Tunsil fares against the Jets' front will determine a large part of Miami's success. USATSI

Philadelphia at New York


Why won't the Eagles take shots down the field? Carson Wentz threw one pass that traveled more than 15 yards in the air last week in the loss to the Cowboys, and none over 20. That makes it easier to defend him.

Yes, the Cowboys played more two-high looks that took away some of that, and forced Wentz to be patient, but the tape shows a quarterback who is too apt to rush his check-down at times. He needs to let the routes develop more.

There was a play in the second quarter when Wentz had a chance for a big play. Zach Ertz went in motion to feel the defense, then went back and settled on the left before the snap. He ran a corner route with Jordan Matthews running a go route. The corner on that side had safety help, but settled down and Wentz had a chance for a big play to either Matthews on the sideline or Ertz on the corner route. But Wentz instead checked it down to Ryan Matthews on the right for a 1-yard gain.

He had a another chance with Ertz and Nelson Agholar later in the second quarter when the route combination stressed the safety, but he chose to check the ball down. He did that way too many times last week. That has to change or it makes it easy to defend the Eagles offense. He has the arm to make all the throws, so it's time to let it loose.


When you play the Eagles, you better be good at the tackle spots in pass protection. Jim Schwartz loves to attack with his wide-9 ends who come rushing up the field. Brandon Graham has been really good for the Eagles as a pass rusher, so the Giants have to be stout up front. Left tackle Ereck Flowers and right tackle Bobby Hart, who took over after Marshall Newhouse had a calf injury in Week 2, have to play well. Hart has been the weak spot on the line and has really had issues in pass protection. Graham could have a field day this week.

Detroit at Minnesota


Earlier this season, I wrote about Lions defensive end Kerry Hyder. He was a surprise starter who was playing well. That has continued and the Lions have to be thrilled with Hyder, who actually has outplayed Ziggy Ansah, their other end, the past few weeks.

Hyder is a smallish end who plays with a big attitude. He plays hard. He packs a punch and he never seems to take plays off. He will chase passing plays down the field, which a lot of lineman don't do. He made a really nice run play last week against the Texans, beating right tackle Chris Clark with a power move and then dumping Lamar Miller for a 3-yard loss.

Hyder can also push the pocket and leads the Lions in sacks with five. I like when he moves inside to tackle in passing situations with Ansah lining up outside of him. He is then a quick, penetrating tackle who causes problems for guards. He isn't your conventional defensive end, which is why it's good to focus on a player like him in this spot again.


The right side of the Vikings' offensive line was brutal last week at Chicago. Right tackle. T.J. Clemmings was pretty much a spinning top in pass protection, but right guard Brandon Fusco wasn't far behind in the bad-play category.

Fusco got whipped inside several times and could do little in the run game. The only guy who was decent last week was center Joe Berger, and he got beat for a sack when Akiem Hicks overpowered him in a third-and-goal situation to dump Sam Bradford. It is a bad line in terms of pass protection, but it's not good in the run game either. Left guard Alex Boone, a high-priced free agent from San Francisco, hasn't played up to expectations either. This group needs to play better, or the season could be unraveling because of it.

Carolina at Los Angeles


For much of this season, the Carolina defense has looked bad. The lack of pass rush from the ends was tough to handle, but understandable. They aren't great players.

What wasn't understandable was the average play of defensive tackle Kawann Short. He had his breakout season in 2015, earning a Pro Bowl spot and getting 11 sacks. But for the first six games of this season, he was just OK.

That changed last week against the Cardinals. On the second play of last week's game, he exploded past center A.J. Shipley to drop David Johnson for a 2-yard loss. He would have had a sack in the second quarter, but corner Daryl Worley beat him to it. And he got there as Star Lotulelei got a sack in the second quarter, which could have been split. Short did get a sack in the fourth quarter when he beat left guard Mike Iupati with a lightening-quick first step to dump Palmer. This is the Short we expected to see this season.


Why can't the Rams run the ball? That's an interesting question since they have Todd Gurley, who was special as a rookie in 2015. So far this season, Gurley has yet to rush for 100 yards in a game and he's averaged 3.0 per rush. That's terrible.

The reasons are plentiful. For one, the Rams don't scare down the field in the passing game so teams play to stop the run. The second biggest reason is the inability of the offensive line to create holes. It is not a good run-blocking unit. Center Tim Barnes isn't big, so he has trouble with power players on his nose. The rest of the line isn't good at it either.

Guard Jamon Brown might be the best, but he's played in just four games because of injuries. Right tackle Rob Havenstein, who was a solid run blocker last season, hasn't been as good in 2016. Then there's Gurley. He's been tentative at times, and missed holes at others. He's never looked comfortable this season. It's tough for a big back like him to get going with penetration on a lot of his runs. That doesn't mean he is without fault.

Todd Gurley has yet to rush for 100 yards in a game this season. USATSI

New Orleans at San Francisco


One of the most-improved Saints players is left guard Andrus Peat. The second-year player from Stanford was drafted as a tackle, and has played some on the right side, but he has developed into a nice power guard on the left side.

He was impressive last week against a good Seattle defense. He is strong at the point and does a nice job getting to the second level when he is asked to do so. On a 5-yard run by Daniel Lasco last week, he got under Ahtyba Rubin and drove him out of the hole for a nice 5-yard gain.

On another long run, he did a great job with the double to open up a big gap inside of his right hip. On another run, he got on linebacker K.J. Wright, a swift linebacker, which makes it tough to do, and he nearly knocked him off his feet on one run. Peat is also sound in pass protection. The Saints have a nice left side for Drew Brees with Terron Armstead at tackle next to Peat.


The 49ers haven't been very good this season, but rookie first-round pick DeForest Buckner has been impressive. The defensive end out of Oregon has done a nice job in the run game, but he's also pushed the pocket as a pass rusher from his down-end spot in their 3-4 scheme. I thought at draft time last spring that he had a chance to be a special player. I like that idea even more now. He is one of the young building blocks for this team going forward.

Tennessee at San Diego


It seems at this time of the year, it's a good time to remind everybody how underrated Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey is as a player. Casey was dominant last Thursday against the Jaguars, and has been that for much of this season. Yet he doesn't get the due he deserves.

It's time Casey started to get even more props for being one of the best inside players in the league. He is cat-quick and strong, and he's a handful every week for the opposition lined up across from him. The Chargers have to get him handled in both the run and the pass this week.


A year ago, when the Chargers had a bunch of line injuries, right tackle Joseph Barksdale was their best lineman. This year, he's been bad.

Barksdale, who was re-signed as a free agent, is coming off a game where he struggled in a big way against the Broncos. On a safety blitz by T.J. Ward that ended up being a sack, Barksdale blocked inside and didn't need to since the guard had Von Miller. By the time he tried to recover, he had no chance against the fast Ward.

DeMarcus Ware went around him for a sack-fumble in the second quarter when he was slow to get out of his stance. In the third quarter, on an interception by Broncos safety Darian Stewart, he did a poor job of handling a tackle-end stunt and Derek Wolfe got inside of him to get in Philip Rivers' face and force a bad throw. He also had a tough time with Wolfe in the run game. Wolfe threw him aside on one play and dropped Melvin Gordon for a 1-yard loss. Barksdale has to pick up his game.

Indianapolis at Green Bay


Just when it appeared the Colts might be making strides on their line, it reverted back to a trouble spot last week against the Chiefs. The tackles had their issues with the speed rushers. Left tackle Anthony Castonzo was beat for a sack by Dee Ford and also got called for a hold. Right tackle Joe Reitz had his issues as well in pass protection, also giving up a sack.

The two best in pass protection were rookie center Ryan Kelly and left guard Joe Haeg, who moved there from right tackle because of an injury to Jake Mewhort a few weeks ago. Reitz has had real problems all season long when he's been in the lineup. Luck has been sacked an NFL-high 31 times, and it would be much higher if he didn't move like he did. Sometimes, he holds the ball, but the line has issues, which is main reason for the high sack total.


One thing that could be a big factor this week against Andrew Luck is the coverage ability of the Packers inside linebackers. Both Jake Ryan and rookie Blake Martinez have had issues in coverage this season. That's to be expected since they are young linebackers who can be aggressive in the run game, making them vulnerable to the play-action pass.

Matt Ryan got both of them sucked up on a play-action fake last week and then hit tight end Austin Hooper for a 17-yard gain behind them. That aggressiveness leads to windows being open behind them and in front of the safeties this week. Luck is really good with his ball handling on his play-action throws.

Denver at Oakland


After the 2015 season, the Broncos were insistent that they had three really good corners. We know starters Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr., are among the best in the NFL. But last week, the Broncos got an impressive corner performance from Bradley Roby, who started in place of the injured Talib.

Roby has impressed in his time as the team's nickel corner, but he was really good last week against the Chargers. He had the pick-six off a pass that went off the receiver's hands -- he was actually trailing on a crossing route on the play after getting picked yet stayed with it to make the play.

He did a lot of other good things in coverage as well. He had a nice breakup in man coverage against Dontrelle Inman in man coverage in the first quarter. Talib and Harris Jr., have continued to play at a high level this season, and Talib is having one of his best seasons in his career. But with three top guys, it makes it tough to expose any weakness in the secondary. Their matchup this week against Derek Carr should go a long way in deciding the game.


It took him a while to get going this season, at least by the standards he set in 2015, but Khalil Mack is back playing dominant football for the Raiders. Early in the season, he seemed to have trouble dealing with all the attention that comes with being a star pass rusher. But he's been really good the past month and ate up the Bucs last week.

He forced a hold early in the game on left tackle Donovan Smith with a power move into his chest. He got the first of his two sacks when he ran right through right tackle DeMarr Dotson. He started up the field like he was going to make a speed move, but then ducked inside and ran Dotson over to sack Jameis Winston.

He made a great play in the run game when he tossed tight end Luke Stocker aside like he was a high school player to make a tackle for a 1-yard loss. His second sack was an easy one when he didn't bite down on run action to the left and waited to easily dump Winston. He made another great run play in overtime crashing down hard after beating Stocker again. The bad news for opponents is that Mack is back to being Mack.

The Broncos' offensive line will have its hands full trying to slow down Khalil Mack. USATSI

Buffalo at Seattle


What did Marcell Dareus do last week in his first game back at defensive tackle? He did both some good and bad. Early in the game, he threw Patriots center David Andrews aside with great quickness and hands to make a tackle on LaGarrette Blount for a 1-yard loss. He also looked to take it easy on one early pass rush, but he picked it back up the rest of the game.

He did get pushed a yard back into the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run by Blount. But he commanded the double and got push in his pass rush as the game went on. He got a sack in the fourth quarter when he drove guard Shaq Mason back into Tom Brady. Now comes word this week that Dareus, who missed four games with a suspension and then three more with a hamstring injury to open the season, might miss more time with a groin injury. It's been one of those seasons for a good player.


Russell Wilson is struggling right now. Yes, he's injured and that's changed the way he's playing. He isn't running as much, or throwing on the move to make big plays. With a struggling offensive line, most of the calls are quick throws.

I also think the bulky brace on his left knee is impacting his ability to step into his throws. A lot of his passes last week against the Saints sailed high of the target because he's not stepping into his throws like he would if he were healthy. Because of his line issues, he's also leaving the clean pockets that are there way too soon. He did that several times last week against the Saints. He has to be more patient, especially with his injuries. Wilson has gone three straight games without a touchdown pass. That's unreal for him.