Scouting Matchups: Week 12
NFL advance scouts watch games in person, studying everything from personnel packages to play-calling signals, and on film, looking at individual players, as well as a team's various schemes and recent trends. The goal? Provide their coaching staff with the best possible means of preparation during the week of practice.
Scouts Inc. does the same thing, compiling the best advance scouting reports available and delivering them to you by Tuesday afternoon on ESPN.com Insider. On Friday, after breaking down more game film, Scouts Inc. files an updated report with a deeper look at each game, spotlighting key individual matchups and trends and predicting the final score.
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 23, 2006
Miami at Detroit
Miami's defensive stars have done a terrific job of leading the Dolphins' success, making enough plays to win the last three games. The Dolphins are the only team to defeat Chicago, as well as Minnesota on Sunday, giving Miami a 2-1 record against NFC North teams.
Tampa Bay at Dallas
The Buccaneers' approach hasn't changed that much since rookie quarterback Bruce Gradkowski replaced injured starter Chris Simms. They will continue to attack on the ground with RB Cadillac Williams to set up the quick, controlled West Coast attack. However, Gradkowski's inability to stretch the vertical seams has placed a lot of pressure on the Buccaneers' offense. Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer will load up the box in an effort to clamp down on Williams and pressure Gradkowski on heavy passing down tendencies.
Denver at Kansas City
It will be the best of the Thanksgiving Day games and it is a rivalry game. Denver has not had much success in Arrowhead and this is a big game. After Denver's loss to San Diego in Week 11, this game could have serious wild-card ramifications down the road. If Denver QB Jake Plummer continues to struggle, this might be his last start in a Broncos uniform.
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 26, 2006
San Francisco at St. Louis
The Rams are in the midst of a five-game losing streak and need a win on the road to help regain confidence. The Rams are still only two games behind in their division as they try to regain footing in the NFC. The 49ers have been surprising everyone and come into this game with an impressive 5-5 record after a stunning win over the division-leading Seahawks. The Rams are looking to avenge a Week 2 loss to the 49ers.
Arizona at Minnesota
The Arizona Cardinals got a much-needed win at home last week against the Detroit Lions. Head coach Dennis Green has been under fire for his lack of production with such an abundance of talent in Arizona, and a victory will do wonders for an organization that is pointing fingers in every direction as to who should be shouldering the blame for their underachieving efforts this season.