Each week, the PFF analysis team will bring you break downs of the most important matchups for each game of the NFL season.
Coverage by: Mark Chichester
Matchup: Washington Redskins offense vs. Kansas City Chiefs defense
- TE Vernon Davis vs. Derrick Johnson – With Jordan Reed sidelined with a rib injury, veteran tight end Vernon Davis took over the starting role in Week 3 and performed really well. He played 56 of 68 possible snaps, caught all five of his catchable targets and averaged 2.32 yards per route run, the fifth-best mark among tight ends. With Reed still not 100 percent heading into Week 4, look for Davis to have an expanded role in the passing game, where he’ll no doubt be battling Derrick Johnson over the middle of the field. It’ll be a tough ask though, as Johnson has allowed just two receptions from eight targets in coverage for a resulting passer rating of just 39.6. Johnson is currently ranked ninth among qualifying linebackers with a coverage grade of 83.7.
- T Morgan Moses vs. EDGE Justin Houston – Moses got off to an underwhelming start off in pass protection this year, but the fourth-year right tackle stepped up his game in a big way against Oakland’s Khalil Mack last week, and allowed just one pressure on his 32 pass-blocking snaps against one of the best pass-rushers in the game. Moses ended the contest with a pass-blocking grade of 72.6 and a pass-blocking efficiency of 97.7, good for 16th among 56 qualifying tackles. However, Moses will be tested again this week, this time against Justin Houston, who has already produced 13 total pressures on his 94 pass-rushing snaps and currently ranks 12th among edge defenders with a pass-rush grade of 82.4.
- WR Josh Doctson vs. CB Terrance Mitchell – It’s taken an entire year for the Redskins to get a real sighting of the 2016 first-round pick, but Doctson finally showed the team his big-play capability with his 52-yard touchdown grab against the Oakland Raiders in Week 3. Doctson played a career-high 36 snaps in the contest, and ended the game with a PFF overall grade of 77.8, the second-highest grade among receivers in the game. With a solid performance under his belt, he’ll be looking to continue against cornerback Terrance Mitchell. However, Mitchell has been stingy in coverage this year, allowing just 17 receptions from 33 targets and a passer rating of just 58.0 on throws into his coverage.
Coverage by: Mike Guerelli
Matchup: Kansas City Chiefs offense vs Washington Redskins defense
- WR Tyreek Hill vs. CB Josh Norman – Norman lines up almost exclusively on the left side of the field, so Hill will see some coverage from other Washington cornerbacks, but this is the matchup we want to see. Hill leads all wide receivers that have run a minimum of 50 routes in 2017 with 3.12 yards per route run. He has been targeted deep (20-plus yards downfield) four times this season and has two touchdowns and 105 yards on deep passes. Norman has only allowed five receptions for 68 yards this year, and his 20.2 cover snaps per reception is fourth among cornerbacks with 75-plus snaps in coverage. He is also strong against the run, as his 90.7 run defense grade is the highest of any cornerback in 2017.
- T Eric Fisher vs. EDGE Preston Smith – Fisher has improved his PFF grade each year throughout his career, from a low of 44.9 his rookie season of 2013, to 77.0 this year. He is ranked 21st of 72 qualifying offensive tackles in overall grade. He has allowed one sack and six total pressures in 101 pass-block snaps in 2017. Smith has made four stops in 34 run snaps this year, and is third among 3-4 outside linebackers in run-stop percentage at 11.8 percent. Last week Smith had two sacks in only 16 pass-rush snaps, and he has eight total pressures in 60 pass-rush attempts this season.
- RB Kareem Hunt vs. LB Martrell Spaight – Hunt leads all running backs in just about every PFF statistic this season – 4.21 yards after contact per attempt, 23 missed tackles forced, 173.0 elusive rating, and 91.9 overall grade. His 2.69 yards per route run is second among backs with 20-plus snaps in route this year. If injured linebacker Mason Foster can’t play Monday night, it will be Spaight trying to slow down Hunt. In Week 3 Spaight played eight run snaps without making a stop, and 35 snaps in coverage, allowing five receptions for 26 yards.