The Carolina Panthers visit the New York Jets in Week 12 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.
Coverage by: Mike Manning
Matchup: Carolina Panthers offense vs. New York Jets defense
- WR Devin Funchess vs. CB Morris Claiborne – In the one game since Kelvin Benjamin was traded, Cam Newton targeted five different receivers at least five times but Funchess was the most efficient recevier with a passer rating of 158.3 when being targeted in Week 10. Funchess’ 80.6 overall game grade against the Dolphins was a season high for him. He has yet to be shadowed this season by a team’s best cornerback, which is something Claiborne has done early and often in his first season with the Jets. He’s shadowed a receiver in six of the ten games this season, allowing a passer rating of 83.4 in those instances. Claiborne has yet to allow a touchdown in coverage in 2017 and his 12.5 cover snaps per reception allowed is on pace for a career best.
- RB Christian McCaffrey vs. LB Demario Davis – McCaffrey is coming off his first career multi-touchdown game to go along with his first career streak of back to back games with a touchdown. After forcing four missed tackles in the run game against the Dolphins, McCaffrey became one of only six running backs that have forced 10 or more tackles in the run game and receiving game this season. But McCaffrey’s strength is still in the passing game, the rookie is on pace for 120 targets, which would be a PFF record for a running back. In his return to the Jets, Davis has allowed only 0.66 yards per cover snap which is good enough for third-lowest by a linebacker. Davis’ 78.3 coverage grade this season is a career high for the sixth-year linebacker.
- TE Greg Olson vs. S Jamal Adams – Olsen will see his first game action since Week 2 as he finally returns from a broken foot. The Panthers’ tight end has been the definition of consistency, as he’s only dropped nine of the past 253 catchable passes thrown his way. He was one of the most efficient tight ends in the league last season when lined up out wide, with a threat percentage of 35 percent leading the position in 2016. With the emergence of Ed Dickson in Olsen’s absence, Adams will have his hands full in coverage. Adams has allowed a passer rating of 123.6 this season when covering tight ends, including four touchdowns receptions.
PFFELO Ranking: 24
Coverage by: Cyrus Geller
Matchup: New York Jets offense vs. Carolina Panthers defense
- WR Robby Anderson vs. CB James Bradberry – Anderson has been one of the better deep ball receivers this year for the Jets, as he currently ranks tied for seventh in deep ball receptions with eight, 10th in yards at 267 and tied for 14th in catch rate out of 56 receivers that qualified. He will likely have a favorable matchup this week against James Bradberry, who is ranked 87th out of 118 qualified cornerbacks with an overall grade of 49.0. In Week 10 against Miami, Bradberry was targeted six times and allowed four receptions for 49 yards and a passer rating of 91.7 when targeted. Look for Josh McCown to go after him early and often on Sunday.
- G Brian Winters vs. DI Kawann Short – This matchup could spell trouble for the Jets, as Winters, the 54th ranked guard out of 78 that qualify, will be going up against the seventh-highest graded interior defender in Kawann Short. Short has 35 total pressures to his name this season, which is the fifth most among 66 qualified defensive tackles. If the Jets want to have any kind of success against this defense, containing Short on the inside is a top priority.
- TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins vs. LB Luke Kuechly – Seferian-Jenkins has had a solid season, particularly in not dropping the football, as he is one of only five tight ends that have yet to drop a pass, and only Kyle Rudolph has done it on more targets. However with the potential of the third-highest coverage-graded linebacker covering him this week, Seferian-Jenkins will have his work cut out for him. Kuechly’s three interceptions are tied for the most among inside linebackers this year, and in Week 10 against Miami, he was targeted six times and the opposing quarterback’s passer rating was a measly 56.3.