Once again, it's time to gear up for this week's slate of NFL games with analysis from the best in the business -- Greg Cosell of NFL Films and ESPN's "NFL Matchup." As he did so well last year, Greg will give you a sense of the week's upcoming games you won't get anywhere else, based on his conversations with players and coaches past and present, and his OCD-level evaluation of coach's tape. Here's the Week 4 schedule in order of games discussed for your edification, and since the podcast was recorded on Friday morning, we started by reviewing the St. Louis Rams' Thursday night win over the Arizona Cardinals.
The Sunday games previewed, in order of discussion:
Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals
Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts
Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs
Atlanta Falcons at Washington Redskins
Cleveland Browns at New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers
Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers
Chicago Bears at Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans at Minnesota Vikings
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots
Buffalo Bills at San Francisco 49ers
San Diego Chargers at New Orleans Saints
Houston Texans at New York Jets
Some words of wisdom from Mr. Cosell:
On Cincinnati Bengals receiver Andrew Hawkins: "Well, I was on him last year, and I'm surprised he didn't play more. I remembered him having a very good game around mid-last season against Pittsburgh, and then, you didn't see him a ton. He strikes me as the ideal slot receiver. He's small, but so is Wes Welker. And I think he has great lateral quickness -- he can run all those kinds of option whip routes that slot receivers run. He's got pretty good speed -- he had that 50-yard touchdown up the seam against the Redskins. I got a chance to talk to him at the Super Bowl because I know his brother, Artrell, very well, and he's a great kid. I think he'll continue to be a factor, because of the A.J. Green factor."
On Green Bay's 2012 offense: "When you look at the matchup [against the Colts], they certainly still have weapons, but if we were discussing this game last year at this time, we would say that Green Bay would put 35 points on them, no problem. I'm not sure that's going to happen now. Green Bay's certainly talented enough, and I have great respect for [head coach] Mike McCarthy, who's one of the best. We know what Aaron Rodgers is, ability-wise. They can certainly come out of this anytime. But right now, Green Bay is a team I'm watching very closely on offense, and I'm not seeing the precision I'm used to."
On New England's new-found running game: "That's the issue you face against New England. Week 1, Tennessee played nickel on every snap, relatively. Last week, Buffalo played dime, relatively, on every snap. And they did that against the one-back, two-tight end sets, and most times when you line up like that, teams counter with their base defense. Against New England, because teams are more worried about the pass, they line up in nickel or dime. Buffalo is a dime sub-package team. And they got killed, because if you're a 4-3 base defense and you line up in dime, your two outside linebackers are, in effect, defensive backs."
As with everything involving Greg Cosell, this podcast is a must-listen for those fans of advanced tape analysis. Subscribe to the Shutdown Corner iTunes link (in iTunes, go to "Advanced/Subscribe to Podcast," and paste this link in: http://ysportspods.podbean.com/category/shutdown/feed/). You can also use the link below to either left-click and listen, or right-click to save to your computer.