Arizona @ Denver (-2.5)
Power rankings: Arizona 29, Denver 25
Spread update: This line has moved away from the model, Denver is now 1.5 point favorites.
Keys to the game: Cardinals QB Kyler Murray tore his ACL last week, which puts Colt McCoy as the starter. McCoy leads an offense that is 28th in DVOA and 26th in EPA/play -- which is a nice way of saying there were horrid even with Murray. They have an offensive line that is mediocre at the tackle positions and weak along the interior, but at least have a strong 1-2 punch at receiver (Deandre Hopkins and Marquise Brown) and a solid running back (James Conner). They'll have a difficult matchup against a Broncos defense that is 7th in DVOA and 5th in EPA/play. The Broncos don't have a great pass rush, but are returning Randy Gregory from a knee injury. Gregory last played week 4, so it's safe to say that the talented edge rusher won't quite be up to his normal standard of play. The key to the Broncos defense is their secondary, which is without a weakness and features CB Patrick Surtain, who has been one of the better cornerbacks in football this season. The Broncos have been better against the pass (6th in DVOA) than the run (17th), but the Cardinals have been bad everywhere.
The Broncos have a similar story at QB, with Russ Wilson projected to miss due to a concussion. In comes Brett Rypien, a 2019 UDFA out of Boise State. Rypien has taken 66 snaps in his NFL career, none of which were impressive. He'll also be without WR Courtland Sutton (hamstring), leaving Jerry Jeudy and rookie TE Greg Dulcich as the only viable receiving options. Along with a less than impressive offensive line, I'm not expecting much. The hope comes from the matchup, the Cardinals are 24th in defensive DVOA and 20th in EPA/play. The Cardinals generate pressure via the blitz -- they blitz at a rate of 34.1%, 4th most in the league -- but they are also without DT Zach Allen (hand), who has been their best pass rusher this season. There's a few other decent players along the Cardinals defense, but nothing that should scare an offense -- unless your quarterback is Brett Rypien.
Tennessee (+3.0) @ LA Chargers
Power rankings: Tennessee 17, LA Chargers 26
Spread update: This line is sticking at 3.0.
Keys to the game: I take no joy in writing about this matchup. The Titans offense is 22nd in DVOA and 23rd in EPA/play vs a Chargers defense that is 18th in DVOA and 24th in EPA/play. The term "battle in the trenches" is insulting to the word battle. The Titans have arguably the worst offensive line in football, while the Chargers defensive line has an aggressive blitz rate of 28.5% but still only generates pressure at a 17.6% clip, 6th worst in the league. It's a pass rush that consists of Khalil Mack and nobody else. The Chargers secondary is missing it's best player, S Derwin James (quad), but the Titans receiving weapons is equally lacking. Robert Woods is a decent complimentary option, but serves as the number 1 option -- especially with Treylon Burks (concussion) sidelined. As for the run game, Derrick Henry is asked to do that by himself (see above on offensive line), but he at least does have a favorable matchup against a Chargers run defense that ranks 25th in DVOA.
The Chargers offense is 24th in DVOA and 19th in EPA/play. They have a talented quarterback, but a slew of injuries along the offensive line and receiving core have hindered progress throughout the season. The offensive line still isn't back to it's full potential, but they do at least have Mike Williams and Keenan Allen fully healthy. The other issue is with the scheme itself -- Herbert has a monster arm, but has been asked to play a safe, dink and dunk style throughout the last two seasons. The Titans defense is 16th in DVOA and 19th in EPA/play, but the story there is the dichotomy between the front 7 and secondary. They are remarkably better against the run (1st in DVOA) than the pass (28th). Up front, they'll be without DE Denico Autry (knee), but DT Jeffery Simmons will be a problem for the interior of the Chargers offensive line. The Titans blitz at a 15.7% clip -- 4th fewest in the league -- but have still been able to generate pressure at an impressive 22.9% rate. Their issues will come in the secondary -- they don't have any corners capable of covering Allen or Williams, and they'll need to go further down the depth chart with CB Kristian Fulton (groin) out. Tennessee does have a strong safety tandem between Kevin Byard and Andrew Adams, but their pass defense woes are a concern.