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NFL Week 13 Trench Matchups: The Rams' OL is set to handle to Cardinals' pass rush; the 49ers' OL has its work cut out against the Bills

Nov 1, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham (55) reacts after a fumble recovery against the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

With Thursday Night Football rescheduled due to COVID-19, we take a look at the trench matchups of the Week this Friday. Just like every week, it's time for us to analyze each contest's trench matchups by predicting the survival curves for the offensive line and projecting how often a quarterback will be pressured at a given time after the snap.

Going into each game, a machine-learning model incorporates several features in order to come up with a prediction:

  • The survival curve of the offensive line in previous games (or from last year)
  • The survival curve of the defensive line in previous games (or from last year)
  • The PFF pass-blocking grades of the five offensive linemen
  • The PFF pass-rush grades of the pass-rushers and the positions they are projected to line up in
  • How the blend of individual grades and team-level survival curves from the past are weighted toward predicting the cervical curve depends on continuity and how far in the past the information lies. Less continuity means the individual grades are weighted more heavily.
  • Schematic factors such as how often the defense is projected to blitz and how often the offense is projected to use play action, designed rollouts or six-plus-man protections.

[Editor's Note: PFF's advanced statistics and player grades are powered by AWS machine learning capabilities.]

Each week, we will use our projections to highlight the biggest mismatches in the trenches. We will also identify an interesting matchup to watch.

Last week, we expected the Buffalo Bills‘ defensive line to dominate the Los Angeles Chargers‘ pass protection. They didn't let us down and generated quick pressure — pressure within 2.5 seconds — on Justin Herbert on 41% of his dropbacks, the highest figure of the week. On the other side of the ball, the Cleveland Browns were able to protect Baker Mayfield very well, as their offensive line graded out as the best unit of the week … again.

Here are our mismatches for Week 13.

Favoring the offensive line: Los Angeles Rams OL vs. Arizona Cardinals DL

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