What I’m Watching This Weekend: World Cup & Lots of NFL!


Dec 16, 2022

Last night began 18 straight days with football. What do you think I’m watching this weekend?Croatia vs. Morocco | Sat: 10:00 a.m. ET | FOX

I’m not exactly geeked up for a third-place match, but both nations deserve their due. Morocco is the first African representative to make it this far, while Croatia, a country of just 3.9 million, has made it to the semifinals in three of six World Cup appearances. With the pressure off, expect a lot of goals!

Colts @ Vikings | Sat: 1:00 p.m. ET | NFL Network

From Qatar to Minneapolis, the offense will continue to flow freely. The Indianapolis Colts attempt passes of ten yards or less at a 78% clip, the highest in the league. Not necessarily a strength unless you’re playing the Minnesota Vikings, who allow a league-worst 6.8 yards on such attempts.

Since Week 11, Kirk Cousins has a fourth-quarter passer rating of 134.2, which is the best in the NFL, while Indy’s 137.2 passer rating allowed to opposing quarterbacks in the final stanza is the worst over the same time frame. Keep that in mind if the Vikings trail late for in-game action.

Ravens @ Browns | Sat: 4:30 p.m. ET | NFL Network

Even without Lamar Jackson, the Baltimore Ravens will look to exploit the Cleveland Browns on the ground. Baltimore’s 4.9 yards per carry on rushes up the middle is tops in the NFL, while Cleveland’s defense is 30th in defending those between-the-tackles runs, allowing 4.6 yards per carry.

The Browns offer another in-game possibility to consider should they fall behind. Cleveland’s 11.9 second-half points per game are sixth in the NFL, while the Ravens allow 11.8 points in the second halves of games, seventh worst in the league.

Dolphins @ Bills | Sat: 8:15 p.m. ET | NFL Network

We all know about Josh Allen’s passing acumen and ability with his legs, but the Buffalo Bills’ backs are coming on. They’ve rushed for ten-plus yards on 13% of carries since Week 11 (sixth-best), while the Miami Dolphins have allowed ten-plus yards on 13% of carries since Week 11 (fifth-worst).

The key for Miami is a pass defense that has been excellent at defending early down passing and has the fourth-most sacks (13) since Week 11. Buffalo’s ten sacks allowed since Week 11 is the ninth-most, and that pressure has hurt their early-down passing effectiveness.

France vs. Argentina | Sun: 10:00 a.m. ET | FOX

Cinderella stories are fun while they last, but most fans are happy to see two of soccer’s powerhouses make it to the World Cup finals. You love to see it. It will be absolute scenes whenever Argentina’s Lionel Messi has the ball if you can take your eyes off France’s Kylian Mbappe. I sure can’t.

Giants @ Commanders | Sun: 8:20 p.m. ET | NBC

The Washington Commanders know how to get after the quarterback and have pressured opposing passers at an impressive 28% rate, second-best in the NFL. How are the New York Giants at protecting Daniel Jones? Not so great. They’ve allowed pressure on 32% of passes, second-worst.

The good news for the G-Men is they probably won’t need a lot of points from their offense, as their defense has been the league’s best on the road, allowing 7.7 points per game away from home, while Washington has scored 18.7 points per game in the friendly confines, fourth-worst.

Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

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