A few days ago you were treated to a fantastic Sells equivalent which you can check out here. Today we take a look at those you should be trying to acquire. Let us know your thoughts, let us know YOUR OPINION. Because that’s what it is all about! Let’s see who can get these guys the cheapest!
The Denver Post, MediaNews Group.
Courtland Sutton – Denver Broncos
There’s a feel-good factor around Denver’s offense at the moment. After finishing the season 4-1 with Drew Lock under centre, John Elway has added Pat Shurmur to his coaching staff and signed Melvin Gordon, Graham Glasgow and Nick Vannett in free agency.
All this looks good for third year receiver Courtland Sutton. Coming off a 1,112 yard, 125 target, 72 reception season, the former SMU man has firmly established himself as the Broncos WR1.
The addition of Shurmur looks set to only help Sutton’s development, with his track record as an Offensive Co-ordinator unquestionably good for young QBs and the passing game. If Shurmur can recreate this in Denver, then look for more fireworks from Lock and Sutton as they look to navigate a difficult AFC West.
In your Dynasty League, the time to buy Sutton might not be now. There are plenty of rumours linking the Broncos to a high quality deep threat receiver in the draft, with CeeDee Lamb and Henry Ruggs both regularly mocked their way. This shouldn’t harm Sutton’s production, in fact it should help minimise double coverage. Others may disagree, getting caught up with the inevitable post draft-fever, make your offer then!
The Associated Press
Miles Sanders – Philadelphia Eagles
Another young player that finished the season well, Miles Sanders was a game changer during the Eagles’ late drive to secure a play-off spot.
The 3rd round pick out of Penn State had an up and down start to 2019, with Jordan Howard forcing him out of the starting role for a string of games before going down injured in week 9. Sanders capitalised on this, increasing his playing time and yardage increase until he peaked against the Redskins in week 14.
Howard is now completely out of the picture, having joined the Dolphins, leaving Sanders in competition with Boston Scott as the Eagles’ presumptive week 1 starter. It’s a battle he should win, considering his potential as a dual threat back and the relative draft capital invested in both.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Calvin Ridley – Atlanta Falcons
You’ve all seen the stat doing the rounds at the moment, the Atlanta Falcons have a starting offense built solely from first round picks. Calvin Ridley is amongst those, with the third year receiver currently occupying the WR2 designation behind Julio Jones.
Jones is contracted through 2024 and given the huge salary the Falcons have invested in him, it doesn’t look like he’ll be going anywhere soon. So why Ridley?
It’s all about consistency. In both his years in the league so far, Ridley has locked up 92 and 93 targets respectively, catching 64 of those in 2018 and 63 in 2019, those catches have gone for 821 and 866 yards, with 10 TDs in his rookie year, compared to 7 last year.
He’s the perfect flex player for your line ups, averaging above 10 points per game and providing the perfect complement to Julio it Atlanta’s offense. With such a stacked WR class this year, chances are he’s available relatively cheap in your league, and with Julio entering a period in which some players decline, Ridley could be set to ease in the other direction.
TJ Hockenson – Detroit Lions
After week one of the 2019 season, Hockenson was cleared off waiver wires everywhere. The first rounder caught six passes from Matthew Stafford, going for 131 yards and a TD. Huge numbers for a rookie Tight End.
From there, things went downhill, with Hockenson only adding another 230 yards across the whole season. When you look at the cards dealt to the Iowa product, it’s not hard to see why his form trailed off, when Stafford went down injured, a combination of Jeff Driskel and David Blough stepped into uninspiringly fill the void and the Lions only managed one win after week three.
So, why trade for him now? Everyone knows that rookie Tight Ends are to be avoided in fantasy, so that shouldn’t put you off when looking at Hockenson’s rookie production. Instead look at the upside, this year’s TE class is poor, he was a top 10 NFL pick for obvious reasons last year, and when fit, his QB is one of the most reliable in the game. Pick him up cheap where you can, and watch him develop into one of the league’s elite TE options.
Marcus Mariota – Las Vegas Raiders
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Marcus Mariota – Las Vegas Raiders
This time last year I picked up Ryan Tannehill in 3 leagues, I didn’t get a complete bargain in all cases, but he was cheap for a QB in superflex leagues. The things I liked about Tannehill were, his work ethic, his commitment to his team, his experience as a starter and the precarious nature of the QB he was backing up.
Fast forward 12 months and the irony is there for all to see that we could say the exact same of that QB, Marcus Mariota. The new Raiders QB has always been the model of professionalism, he’s got a ton of starts (including playoff games) under his belt and he’s backing up Derek Carr, who just doesn’t seem to fit the Jon Gruden school of thought.
So, I’m picking up Mariota where I can this year, half the league had him down as QB1 in the 2015 draft class, and in places he has flashed exactly why they believed that. With a bit of encouragement and the freedom to use his legs, Mariota can certainly be a starter in the NFL, if Carr slips you can bet Mariota will be straight in. Buy low, and buy now!
The playoffs are here and are accompanied by the usual stresses and pressures that the post-season provides.
This week’s Wild Card Weekend will feature the New England Patriots for the first time since 2009 following their disappointing slip up against the Miami Dolphins in Week 17.
They face a Tennessee Titans team that is built for some cold weather up in Foxborough with a strong rushing game and a quarterback on a hot streak with his receiving corps.
Elsewhere, the NFC East champion Philadelphia Eagles play host to a Seattle Seahawks team that few considered a serious challenger before the season.
The New Orleans Saints will seek out some revenge as they welcome the Minnesota Vikings in the Superdome in an attempt to heal the wounds of the Minneapolis miracle.
The other AFC match-up sees two of the NFL’s youngest quarterbacks face off against each other as Josh Allen leads his Buffalo Bills into battle with Deshaun Watsons Texans.
But who is heading into the 18th week of the season with the weight of the world on their shoulders and who will thrive in the pressure?
Titans @ Patriots
The Patriots made a costly error last week by failing to beat the lowly Dolphins.
It is the sort of situation that Brady and Co. have become infallible in, which may explain why the Dolphins went into the game as 14-point underdogs.
In a year where Tom Brady has been questioned more than ever, registering his lowest ever adjusted QBR score of 55.0 in comparison to Lamar Jacksons 81.7, the Week 17 result continues to heap pressure on the 42-year old to prove he is not done and dusted.
Bill Belichik will also face questions over Miami’s last-ditch winning drive against what was one of the best defences in the league.
The Titans enter the game feeling far less pressure on the table.
Heading into the season out of the playoff picture, with questions marks at the quarterback position and a second-year head coach, things have gone better than many envisaged.
They have also performed well over the odds given their mid-season QB switch and have been helped a long by the thumping downhill power of Derrick Henry in the back field.
PRESSURE IS ON: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Bills @ Texans
Its AFC East vs AFC North part two as Buffalo head southwards to visit a Texans team still giddy with the news that talismanic edge rusher J.J Watt has returned early from a pectoral injury.
The Texans who sealed up the division a week early, concluded their season with a loss to the division rivals, Titans.
Now the fourth season of six under Bill O’Brien where they have finished top of their division, the pressure will begin to fall on the head coach to deliver some deeper runs into the post-season.
For the Bills, very few coaching staffs can consider to have done more with less.
Sean McDermott has just one pro-bowler on his roster and a quarterback that still has an uncertain ceiling, managing to look more developed to incredibly raw from week to week under centre.
For this reason, there is little pressure on the Bills who probably expected a more mediocre season than this.
Any further playoff progression is just extra credit.
PRESSURE IS ON: HOUSTON TEXANS
Vikings @ Saints
These two franchises are pretty hard to separate when it comes to who’s under more pressure to win.
Both of them have quarterbacks in need of a deep playoff run but for very different reasons.
Drew Brees is a lock for the Hall of Fame but aged 40 and 10 years removed from his Superbowl, the window for a second Lombardi Trophy is gradually closing.
The quarterback of the Vikings, Kirk Cousins, is not fighting to seal his Hall of Fame status but instead just looking to set himself up another big contract once his time in Minnesota expires after next season.
Still attempting to prove himself as one of the leagues elite quarterbacks, Cousins needs some primetime, big-time playoff performances to stack a currently empty CV.
Both teams also have a fairly young core of talented players, giving them both a bigger Superbowl window than some of the other teams in the Wild Card.
Overall the pressure will lie on the Saints though as they try to forget and forgive their acrimonious playoff exits in 2017 and 2018.
PRESSURE IS ON: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
SEAHAWKS @ EAGLES
How good is Carson Wentz? That’s the real pressure here.
The 2016 second overall pick has played in spells of brilliance, including his MVP trajectory of 2017 before his injury kept him out of the Superbowl run.
The Eagles paid Wentz big in June of last year and are waiting to see some return on that investment in the form of a play-off run.
The North Dakota State alumnus has done a lot alongside an un-experienced receiving corps so far, but whether they can withstand the rigors of playoff football is a new question.
In Seattle, another impressive season for superstar QB Russell Wilson has meant that the Seahawks are in a playoff that many did not predict.
Considered to be a rebuilding year by lots of experienced pundits and commentators prior to Week 1, Pete Carroll’s teams should feel little pressure going into the Wild Card Weekend.
The final bye week but with the Chargers, Chiefs, Vikings
and Cardinals all taking the week off there’s going to be a lot of fantasy
players scrambling for streamers. A lot of benches are reading like an NSYNC
song so you’re going to want to keep your eyes peeled for who other players
drop as you could grab a steal for the fantasy playoffs if you get ahead of the
For this week, here’s a run down of the Sunday games and a
small nudge towards some viable options.
Broncos @ Bills
Two decent defences and two hardly potent offences. Josh Allen still has value due to his legs, Singletary should continue to build on his role and John Brown is usually good for points even in a tough matchup.
The Broncos haven’t been much worse under Allen than they were under Flacco, in many ways they are actually better. The lack of potent receivers hurts them and with Phillip Lindsey questionable, Royce Freeman may not be a bad call in a pinch.
Both defences are very good options.
Giants @ Bears
Bad offence vs mediocre defence compared to a mediocre offence against a decent defence. The Bears DST are the best play here and if Saquon is playing he’s obviously a starter.
I can’t decide if the Giants receivers are worth playing since with Shepard back, Tate in the mix and Slayton there’s a lot of uncertainty. Engram and Ellison are out so they have no real TE which means they would all be playable if it wasn’t the Bears.
The Bears themselves are stuck with Trubisky which means only Allen Robinson has receiving value. David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen are startable but not at the top of the pecking order.
The Giants DST is still a legitimate option this week.
Steelers @ Bengals
I get the sense that last week may light a fire under Mason Rudolph. If only he had some receivers to benefit from it. Juju is out so the load falls on Washington, Johnson and MacDonald. They may well all be relevant, or one could get peppered so it’s a risk, but against the Bengals, I’d be fine with playing any of them and obviously Jaylon Samuels with James Conner out.
The Bengals will struggle against the Steelers defence and I’m even struggling to advise playing Mixon and Boyd unless you really are hamstrung by bye weeks. Steelers DST are a candidate for the #1 DST this week and while many will be advising Cincinnati are a good option, I’m not so sure.
Dolphins @ Browns
The Browns remembered how to win last week, but with their top defenceman missing, their offence still not fully in sync and competition for touches, I can’t say I have high hopes. There’s talent, but it’s not being realised.
The defence isn’t a sure fire thing against the Dolphins who have resurged a bit under FitzMagic and he should have some relevance once more. There are enough pieces missing for Kalen Ballage to be relevant and Devante Parker should be the main receiving threat.
Those struggling at Tight end might have David Njoku as an option but will definitely have Mike Gesicki as a streaming candidate.
Bucs @ Falcons
If Jameis Winston didn’t turn the ball over so often I’d advise avoiding both defences and playing plenty of offence.
Now that Freeman is doubtful and while Winston is throwing his chance at a future starting spot away, I can’t advise using Brian Hill, but I can give the Atlanta defence some love. They’ve picked it up since beating the Saints and they’re on a little bit of a run. Be aware that Matt Ryan is questionable but if he’s good to go again then Julio and Ridley are musts.
The Bucs may have finally figured out how to use RoJo in the run game and keep Evans and Godwin happy. Outside of those 3 and Jameis, it’s hard to see there being enough production.
Panthers @ Saints
Value to be had on both offences and possible the Saints defence. I like Kyle Allen and his receivers this week as well for the obvious CMC.
The Saints should have Brees, Kamara and Thomas all firing, Jared Cook is starting to get more targets and Ted Ginn is a TD dice throw. This might also be a good game to watch.
Seahawks @ Eagles
Now it gets difficult.
Russell Wilson and Chris Carson are locks for starting places (although the Eagles run defence means if you are stacked at RB, he’s not so critical). After that it depends on how you feel. Metcalf, Hollister, Agholor, Jeffrey and even Ertz aren’t sure fire things. Goedert is eating into Ertz share, Jeffrey still isn’t 100% and Agholor is, well, Agholor. Jordan Howard could be back, but the Seahawks aren’t pushovers and he still has to share with Miles Sanders and potentially Jay Ajayi.
It’s a mess which may have points somewhere but good luck predicting who it will be.
Lions @ Redskins
If Matt Stafford was in at QB I’d be enjoying the idea of Marvin Jones, Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola. As it stands with Jeff Driskel, I like them, but not as much. The RB situation with McKissic and Scarborough will dominate a lot of bye week ruined teams this week and hopefully Scarborough can pull off a similar feat to what Jonathan Williams did for Indy on Thursday night.
The Redskins now have an offensive piece you can consider in Derrius Guice and he and AP are playable against the Lions. McLaurin has got some overhyped projections on some platforms so be careful.
Raiders @ Jets
Oakland are threating a playoff run now. Derek Carr is looking solid, despite the lack of receivers, Darren Waller is a league winner and Josh Jacobs is odds on for ROTY. It’s a mix that will serve them well in Vegas when the move happens, but they may leave Oakland in some style. All of the above are playable, as is Tyrell Williams.
The Jets are a bit of a mess but seem to be on a slight elevation in terms of altitude. The Oakland pass defence is very porous, so the likes of Anderson, Crowder, Griffin and Lev Bell are in the frame. Darnold and Carr are actually good streams this week for those in a pinch.
Jaguars @ Titans
Nick Foles will step up his return this week which could be good news for Dede Westbrook and DJ Chark. Since they have lost 3 starting tight ends the offence has dipped and teams have zeroed in on Fournette and Chark. They are still playable against the Titans but don’t expect a huge haul.
The Titans are better under Tannehill, but Derrick Henry is the only player I’d have confidence in. He does usually dominate the Jags so he could be a very handy DFS option, but beyond that, I quite like both defences here.
Cowboys @ Patriots
Daks back and this time he faces the Patriots defence which has been stellar, although this is the toughest test, they’ve faced not named the Ravens. Dak, Cooper and Gallup are a force, Zeke is Zeke and Jason Witten can pop in when he needs to. It’s potent and it’s effective, the Patriots may struggle to find an answer, much like when they faced Lamar.
The Patriots themselves need Edelman to recover from his shoulder injury otherwise it could be tough sledding.
The Cowboys aren’t the greatest defence, but they are solid enough and the Patriots are not at full strength. They tend to find a way, but Bill doesn’t usually care about your fantasy team anyway.
Packers @ 49ers
The final game sees the Packers and 49ers square off in a matchup between teams who are doing well, but you’re not quite sure how.
Aaron Rodgers is doing enough to win games, despite the lack of receiving talent outside of Davante Adams. Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams have picked up the slack but face a tough test in the 49ers defence. If Adams is covered and Jones is prevented from running, it’s going to be a long day.
The 49ers defence is stout, but the offence is not so stable. If Kittle is fit to play then he also improves the prospects for Deebo Samuel, Jimmy Garoppolo and the running backs. As it stands, Tevin Coleman is a strong starting choice, although the Packers defence isn’t one to write off.
QB – Derek Carr (OAK @ NYJ) – I like both QBs in this matchup but again, the Hype Train is advocating using a Carr… scandalous.
RB – Derrick Henry (TEN vs JAX) – Henry tends to hoover up the Jags, I can’t see him sucking this week.
WR – DJ Moore (CAR @ NO) – It’s a tough week for receivers. I tried not to go obvious so I had to think a bit Moore.
TE – Ryan Griffin (NYJ vs OAK) – Again, I like both TE’s in this game, but with Carr at QB in this list I thought I’d put Griffin to the TE slot.
DST – Steelers (PIT @ CIN) – The Bengals are going to caught up against something as hard as Iron and tough as Steel.
QB – Tom Brady (NE vs DAL) – He will probably find a way to win the game, but Tom terrific isn’t going to be so good for fantasy.
RB – Brian Hill (ATL vs TB) – Freeman may be missing but I don’t think Brian will take them over the Hill this week.
WR – Terry McLaurin (WAS vs DET) – Haskins still isn’t ready, and McLaurin may be fast but he’s more and F1 choice than an A1 choice.
TE – Zach Ertz (PHI vs SEA) – Goedert is eating into his share and it Ertz for his owners.
DST – Panthers (CAR vs NO) – They’ve been good this season and the Saints have been inconsistent, but this is not a week to be cute.
QB – Daniel Jones (NYG @ CHI) – The Bears might just smother Jones in this one. Danny Dimes may lack a few cents here.
RB – Jordan Howard (PHI vs SEA) – A crowded backfield, a return from injury and a decent opposition. Howard you like that? Not very much.
WR – Courtland Sutton (DEN @ BUF) – Tough sledding, especially with an inexperienced QB. I’d not fancy having him Sutt-on my starting line-up.
TE – Jimmy Graham (GB @ SF) – The 49ers defence should crunch the packers. Graham won’t be a cracker.
DST – Jets (NYJ vs OAK) – IF I like the offensive pieces then it’s obvious I’ll hate on the defensive ones. The Jets DST will likely remain grounded.
That’s it for another week. Apologies for the pun level at the end, some of those were terrible. More of the same next week!
The business end of the season is here and the games get more important as the weeks go by. That is even the case for Bengals, Dolphins and Redskins fans as they are on the edge of their seats hoping their teams continue to lose so they don’t have to stay up as long come draft night.
For (pretty much) everyone else, your teams will still be vying for January football and we have some great matchups including Dallas, New England, Green Bay, San Francisco, Baltimore and the LA Rams. So let’s see what’s on the menu for week 12.
AFC South Battle
Thursday Night Football sees one of the games that hold the
The Colts and Texans get it on in Houston in the first game of
week 12 and the Colts must win otherwise the Texans will have a game lead in
the division but also the tiebreaker, thus essentially giving them a 2 game
lead with just 6 games remaining.
The Colts will be hoping that star wideout T.Y. Hilton can
check in to the game after missing the past few weeks with a calf problem
whilst the Texans will be hoping the epitome of boom or bust Will Fuller can return
from a hamstring niggle.
Expect both teams to leave it all out on the field and let’s
all hope that Quenton Nelson gets a legitimate touchdown this week!
The Hippy Hippy Shakes
Dak and his pre match warmup routine head over to Gillette
Stadium in Foxboro for a tasty match in the late window (why are there only 2
games on the late slate btw?!?)
Many are trying to nudge Dak into the MVP conversation
considering how he has overcome the average defence, inconsistent run game and Jason
Garrett captaining the ship.
The Cowboys are in focus over the next 5 weeks, either being
in primetime or on America’s game of the week so we’ll get a real good look at
his credentials to take the end of season award.
His toughest matchup to date awaits him though and will be
fascinating what weapon Bill Belichick tries to take away from the no.1 ranked
offence in the league. It will also be fascinating to see if Garrett and Kellen
Moore try to utilize Dak’s legs a bit more in this one.
Dallas need the win to stay 1 ahead of the Eagles, whilst
the Patriots need the win to cling on to the coveted #1 seed in the AFC.
We don’t need to go back in to detail about what happened on
TNF last week. That being said, it will be intriguing to see the Browns response
to the adversity.
Freddy Kitchens, Baker Mayfield and the Browns have endured
a lot of criticism this season for a varying reasons, and rightly so, but that
can all dissipate if they can make a run (with a favourable schedule) at the playoffs
which starts this week at home to the maybe tanking Dolphins.
Can Baker put a marker down and take the situation by the
scruff of the neck and become the leader that the Browns need him to be, or
will the Browns continue to be plagued by their continuing allegiance to
Do the 49ers Pack a punch?
Whenever you think of this matchup in recent times, you
think of the playoff game between these two in 2012 where Colin Kaepernick
ripped the Packers to shreds and the Fox commentators got rather excited about
No Kaepernick in this game, despite his efforts, but there
is the small matter of the #1 seed potentially up for grabs in this one on
Sunday Night Football.
Jimmy Garoppolo, fresh off his career day last week vs the
Cardinals, travels to Wisconsin to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers fresh off
their bye week in one of the games of the week. If the Garoppolo and the 49ers
are able to take the W here, it will answer a lot of critics that they still have
chomping at their ankles, despite their record.
A loss coupled with a Seahawks win however, could actually
see the 49ers drop to the #5 seed. Fine margins, high stakes, all reasons we
love late season football.
battle of the birds
Talking of the Seahawks, in another fascinating battle on Sunday, the Eagles host the Seattle who are coming off a bye in the battle of the birds. Whilst there are many birds in the NFL, these two predators will be looking for easy prey on the football field.
Carson Wentz has not been able to show his MVP capabilities much this season, but this matchup poses a chance to get the better of a beatable defence that ranks bottom 5 against the pass in terms of yardage and a defensive line that averages only 1.5 sacks and 3 Quarterback hurries per game.
On the other side, the masterful Russell Wilson was eclipsed by Lamar Jackson in his bye week with regards to MVP consideration, maybe he’ll came and remind everyone not to forget about old Russ.
This game like another few this week, has implications for both divisions and the wildcard race so there is a lot on the line here for both teams.
Late Slate isn’t great, mate
What is up with the scheduling this year?
This Sunday sees just 2 games in the late window. Unfortunately
this isn’t the first time that the Sunday scheduling has seen the entertainment
become very front heavy.
For those in the UK that do not have Sky Sports, the late
window sees us being treated to an absolute classic between…the Titans and
The Eagles/Seahawks game was flex out of Primetime to the
early games. Why?
Seattle are a mainstay in the late slate for the majority of
their home games being on the west coast, so what’s changed?
The one saving grace is that you’ll still be able to watch
the majority of the Patriots/Cowboys game on RedZone because there’ll be no highlights
to show in the Titans game in the late slate, so there is that I suppose. Scott
Hanson will be working hard to find the content filler, that’s for sure.
The Lamar Jackson hype train steam rolls into the Los
Angeles Coliseum on Monday Night Football.
Massive game for obvious reasons, but it can’t be
understated how much more it means for the Rams. Loss here coupled with a possible
SF and/or Seattle wins, could see them be cut too far adrift from the others in
the wildcard race.
Just 10 months removed from the biggest game of them all,
the Rams may even not have the chance of trying to get there once again, with
questions being asked of McVay and his team. Funny how the NFL landscape
changes so quickly.
Week 11 is here, plenty of juicy matchups on this weeks slate including a Super Bowl rematch and an AFC West classic in Mexico.
The 49ers have now been defeated, ensuring that everyone that
had betting tickets ona perfect season
ended up in the bin. To make matters worse, they are starting to get pretty
banged up on both sides of the ball. Ronald Blair now adds to the injury list
that includes Kwon Alexander, George Kittle and Matt Breida. Injury is the biggest
way to negate execution; you can have the fancied schemes and the most
cleverest of play designs, but if you don’t have the right personnel to execute
it, it may as well be a run up the gut.
Can the 49ers now successfully start to negotiate their
toughest part of their schedule with players that aren’t their starters and a
squad that has just had their confidence slightly knocked after tasting defeat.
We’ll find out when they face familiar foes, the Arizona
Cardinals on Sunday.
Tank? What tank?
Don’t look now, but the Dolphins have the longest active win
streak in the AFC East. Sounds impressive doesn’t it? It’s only 2 games though
but even a win streak of that magnitude was seen as nothing more than a
pipedream by the Miami Dolphins’ fans as we entered the season.
This week presents another winnable game as they welcome in
division rivals, the Buffalo Bills.
Currently sitting with the #4 pick in the 2020 draft, a win
for the Miami dolphins and other results panning out a certain way could see
the dolphins pick nearer number 10 than number 1 which wasn’t the narrative
coming in to the season.
SUBTRACTION BY DIVISION
A few divisional matchups this week sees potential playoff
Thursday Night Football pits AFC North foes the Cleveland
Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers togethr whilst the Colts and Jags do battle
in the AFC South in Jacksonville.
The losers of these matches are likely not going to see
January football due to what these matches mean for the head to head tiebreakers.
For the neutrals and the viewers, it certainly does make for more interesting games
with the stakes getting higher and higher as the weeks progress.
Fight for the AFC #2
The game between Houston and Baltimore on Sunday could go a
long way in deciding the potential number 2 seed in the AFC, with the potential
of trying to catch the Patriots who face a tough game in Philadelphia in a
Super Bowl rematch.
Houston are fresh off a bye after their win in London whilst
the Baltimore Ravens are fresh off resting players in the 4th
quarter against the Bengals. With 2 talented Quarterbacks, 2 questionable
defences, this game has all the makings of a classic and a win for the Ravens
coupled with a loss for the Patriots and the Ravens could see homefield
advantage as a real possibility.
Talking of the Patriots, as previously mentioned, the
Patriots travel to Philadelphia for a rematch of Super Bowl. Fresh still in the
memory is the titanic 41-33 classic in 2018 that I am sure the broadcasters
will have enough filler to pad out the stoppages in play.
That being said, this is a critical game for both teams.
New England need a win to help secure yet another first
round bye in January whilst Philadelphia need to try and overtake the Cowboys
in the NFC East where it’s looking likely that only the division winner plays football
in the postseason.
And on top of all that, maybe we’ll also answer the age-old question…Would
Wentz have beaten the Patriots in the Super Bowl?
yeARS FROM TEARS
What a difference a year makes.
This time last year the Rams were about to improve to 10-1 when
beating the Chiefs in the 54-51 classic in LA and the Bears gained a win over
the Vikings to get to 7-3.
Fast forward to this year and there is a real chance that perhaps
both of these teams miss the playoffs. They are both shadows of their former
self and it’s amazing the contrast in confidence and execution from these two
teams. I’m not saying that these 2 head coaches are in danger of being booted
out on Black Monday, but Sir Alex Ferguson certainly has a phrase for how at
least one of them may be feeling.
You may call it a Super Bowl hangover for the Rams, but what’s
the excuse for the Bears?
Nick Foles makes his return to the NFL field on Sunday for
the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Whether or not you feel that is the right decision based on
your perception of Gardner Minshew’s efforts, Doug Marrone and the front office
will certainly see the view that their $88m investment should have the right to
Foles returns from a broken collarbone suffered in against
the Chiefs after leading them to a touchdown drive in the first quarter. It
remains to be seen whether he can come back and pick up where he left off.
The Jaguars will hope so as it’s not out of the question that they can grab that #6 seed.
Stadio Asteca take 2
Rounding us off on Monday Night, Mexico gets another shot to host an NFL game.
Last year was the farce of the LA Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs where the Stadio Asteca was deemed not fit for purpose.
It was the Mexican natives that missed out on the game of the season with the Rams taking it 54-51.
No such worries this time (thus far) and hopefully this time around, the Chiefs and Chargers can put on a show for the international fans.
It’s just a shame that the billing may not live up to the hype…could be worse though, we got the Rams vs the Bengals.
Time to head east for the last 2 sets of Half-Term reports. Quite a few teams in these divisions have underwhelmed and then there’s the Patriots. At the very least the NFC equivalent should be a bit more exciting, but that wouldn’t be hard to do when you are comparing against the AFC East.
Nonetheless, Let’s give them some grades:
New England Patriots – 8-0
Buffalo Bills – 5-2
New York Jets – 1-6
Miami Dolphins – 0-7
Midseason Grade: A+
How has it gone so far?
At some point the never ending story of Patriots success has to end, but the 2019 season still has the tale without an end in sight.
The AFC’s only undefeated team at the half-way point Sith Lord Belichick and his cyborg QB Tom Brady are continuing to excel, but the offense is being out-shadowed by a defense that is looking like the 1985 Bears on some old-school steroids. A remarkable statistic to come to the fore after 7 games was that the Patriots would have been 4-2-1 if they had all of their offensive touchdowns removed.
Current Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman is still the heartbeat of the offense, catching more balls than a set of snooker table pockets, and the recent acquisition of sure-handed WR Mohammed Sanu from the Falcons will immediately compensate for the loss of Josh Gordon to injury.
Rest of Season Outlook:
The Pats go up against the Ravens, Eagles, Cowboys, Texans and Chiefs to open up the second half of the season, and you read it here first they WILL lose one of this handful of high-profile games. You can run on the Patriots, just don’t turn the ball over.
Ever since the Patriots shut down the Rams in the Super Bowl they flicked on a switch of defensive dominance and 61 points allowed in 8 games is quite simply amazing. The Patriots are a bit of Mahomes magic from yet another trip to the Big Dance. Just give up betting against them.
Regular season record prediction : 15-1 and trip to Super Bowl.
Midseason Grade: B+
How has it gone so far?
One of the genuine surprise units of the NFL, aside from a rather lacklustre loss to the Eagles the Bills have played solid defense to help them to five wins in their first six games. Josh Allen has not exactly lit it up so far but he is now completing 60% of his passes.
Free agent WR John ‘Smoky’ Brown is on target for over 1k and the Peter Pan of the NFL RB Frank Gore is leading the team in rushing with 422 yards.
On their defence, the strongest part of their setup, CB Tre’Davious White and S Jordan Power lead a top 10 secondary. The Bills allowed a maximum 21 points against them in the first six weeks.
Rest of Season Outlook:
Buffalo’s next four are all winnable, before a tougher ending that includes trips to Dallas, New England and Pittsburgh and home against the Ravens.
The Bills could have a rather shiny 9-2 record heading into Week 12 if they continue their brand of bend but don’t break football. Josh Allen does need to reduce the turnovers and rookie RB Devin Singletary needs to get back on the field.
At some point in the next three weeks Frank Gore will remarkably pass Barry Sanders in the all-time rushing table, with just Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith ahead of him.
This is a team on the rise but likely another one and done in the playoffs.
Regular season record prediction: 10-6
Midseason Grade: E
How has it gone so far?
The Jets have won six games so far, oops that’s the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. The New York Jets unfortunately kissed goodbye to a winning season when their QB Sam Darnold went down with mono. The combination of backups Trevor Siemian and Luke Falk were atrocious.
Mega signing RB Le’Veon Bell has been disappointing, and was even allegedly in the shop window at the trade deadline. His 536 total yards in 7 games is not what was expected and his two scores is pitiful.
With the exception of a bizarre upset win over the Cowboys in Week 6 this is a team heading in the wrong direction fast. Trading away DE Leonard Williams (to the same stadium) will not help matters, but the Jets must love namesake DT Quinnen Williams.
Rest of Season Outlook:
The Jets have perhaps the softest schedule in the entire league over the next six weeks, including two contests agains the Dolphins and trips to Cincy and Washington.
They should come away with two wins at least in this tea cake of a period. The Jets came into 2019 with a new uniform, a new superstar RB and even a wild-card buzz, but this is clearly not a playoff team, and its back to the drawing board already for Adam Gase, who may not be in post when St Nick comes down your chimney.
Trying to shop your top assets, such as Jamal Adams S and Roby Anderson WR is hardly inspiring confidence and will only serve to further fracture an already shattered locker room.
Regular season record prediction: 3-13
Midseason Grade: E
How has it gone so far?
The entire Dolphins team were given a lovely present just before the start of the 2019 season, a one year digital subscription to ‘The World of Tanks’.
With QB Ryan Fitzmagic at the helm Miami are surprisingly competing in games but the feeling is they are told to pump the brakes if there is any danger of actually winning a game. QB Josh Rosen was clearly not the answer, and judging by the trade of RB Kenyan Drake for little more than a handful of conkers, the team is not serious about winning football games.
The ‘Fins trade at the deadline for CB Aqib Talib was merely to get better pick status, and losing CB Xavien Howard to injury is a blow. The tiny ray of offensive light is resurrection project RB Mark Walton who will look for 700 yards rushing.
Anything is better than RB Kalen Ballage, who is averaging less yards per carry than the team’s punter Matt Haack.
Rest of Season Outlook:
This is a team capable of going 0-16, having scored less than anyone else to this point, and only behind the Falcons (who have played one more game) in terms of points conceded. Fitzmagic has shown up in patches, and it’s not beyond belief that the bearded wizard pulls off one or two wins against the Jets (two games) or Giants or Bengals.
Problem is Miami will be desperate to get the number one draft pick. The ultimate irony would be to beat a 15-0 Patriots team in Week 17 if they rest their starters and their backups. It won’t happen, but it would put a cap on a historically Sherman-styled season.
Regular season record prediction: 0-16
Dallas Cowboys – 4-3
Philadelphia Eagles – 4-4
New York Giants – 2-6
Washington Redskins – 1-7
Midseason Grade: B-
How has it gone so far?
Despite a horrendous three-game losing streak the Cowboys are still the class of the NFC East and are atop the division, albeit due to having had a bye week.
The Cowboys had a marshmallow schedule to start, and when they had quality opponents (Saints, Packers) Day and Zeke couldn’t get the W, but a monster 27 point win over the Eagles will have Jerry Jones smiling in the executive box.
Ezekiel Elliot is gunning for a third rushing title, with 602 and 6 scores in 7 weeks. WRs Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup are stretching the field – 65 catches, over 1,000 yards and just under 16 yards a catch between them.
Rest of Season Outlook :
HC Jason Garrett has been in the corner quite a lot this season, clapping to himself as no-one will even give him a high-five. Somehow Garrett is still in post, but this is an appearance in the NFC Championship (most likely as the road team) or bust for the guy who has been in Dallas for 10 seasons.
The Cowboys have a quality roster on both sides of the ball, but they cannot afford to fall asleep at the wheel again for the rest of the season as they did in the shocking loss to the Jets in Week 6.
Look for Zeke to get fed more than Eddie Hall did on his tour of American eateries.
Regular season record prediction: 11-5 and trip to NFC Championship.
Midseason Grade: B-
How has it gone so far?
The Eagles are a hard team to gauge, so can the real team please stand up.
Losses to the Lions and Falcons and wins over Buffalo and Green Bay is a clear sign that there is a lack of consistency.
QB Carson Wentz has been OK (1,821 yards and 14 touchdowns) and he has sorely missed the deep threat of DeSean Jackson, who returned to Philly after five seasons away. Jackson hasn’t suited up since Week 2 leaving WRs Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor to average under 10 yards a catch combined.
Rookie RB Miles Sanders has played second fiddle to Jordan Howard who leads the team with six scores.
Rest of Season Outlook:
Philadelphia’s second half has five very winnable games including three in-division contests, but New England and Seattle games will be season defining matchups. The Eagles defense has regressed and their secondary is their weakness so they will struggle against superior passers like Russell Wilson and an evergreen Tom Brady. Just two seasons away from lifting a Vince Lombardi Trophy this Eagles team is arguably underperforming, and judging by the 4-4 record to date its not clear which team is coming out of the locker room each week.
Regular season record prediction: 9-7
Midseason Grade: D-
How has it gone so far?
This season will go down in New York history as the end of the Eli Manning era and the start of the Daniel Jones one.
The Giants made a bold move to draft Jones early and doubled up when they inserted his in the starting lineup in Week 3. Jones did come out the gate on fire gaining the Giants two wins on the bounce, but that has been followed by four consecutive losses. Jones is on target for around 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Stud RB Saquon Barkley has already missed three games and only has three touchdowns in the five contests he has played in.
The only other half-decent offensive performer is TE Even Engram who has 38 catches to lead the team.
Rest of Season Outlook:
With the Jets, Dolphins and Redskins on their second-half slate the Giants should equal their first half win total. Daniel Jones is growing in confidence week by week and the recent return of WR Golden Tate from a suspension will be a big boost.
The Giants need to improve pretty much everywhere on defense and also they need to get better performances from their offensive line. It is a real shame that Saquon is on such a poor team as he has All-World potential.
Another season of frustration in the Big Apple and an emotional farewell to double Super Bowl winning QB Eli Manning in December.
Regular season record prediction: 4-12
Midseason Grade: E
How has it gone so far?
It’s no surprise the Redskins are cellar dwellers;
Their best offensive piece T Trent Williams has held out to this point and the team only announced this week that they are willing to trade him.
Veteran QB Case Keenum has been serviceable as a bridge passer, and will likely see more snaps than expected as rookie Dwayne Haskins has been the proverbial ‘deer in the headlights’ in his limited appearances.
The biggest surprise has been rookie WR Terry McLaurin who leads the team in anything meaningful. The biggest move of the season in Washington was the removal of head coach Jay Gruden, who failed to win a game before the locks were changed.
Interim replacement Bill Callahan won (barely) in his first outing, and has changed the mentality of the team on both sides of the ball. In his three games in charge the Redskins have fed Adrian Peterson the ball and played solid defense, only allowing three touchdowns in three games.
Rest of Season Outlook:
The season was a lost cause from Week 1 when the Redskins had Coach Gruden in charge. With 8 games left the Redskins will play tough, but their lack of offensive weapons will cost them dearly.
The only achievable target will be trying to finish above the equally woeful Giants in the NFC East. There are two potential Pro Bowl candidates, rookie WR McLaurin and a very under the radar CB Quinton Dunbar, who has shone on a defense that has underperformed considering the early round picks they have spent trying to build a competitive unit.
If they do trade Trent Williams that could at least bring a good pick in the 2020 draft.
Week 8 sees the 3rd of the London games take place between the Bengals and the Rams, the Bears, Chargers and Eagles fighting to save their seasons and lot’s of revenge on Thursday Night. Let’s get our binoculars out and look ahead to week 8!
DOUBLE REVENGE GAME ON THURSDAY NIGHT
The last time the Redskins and Vikings squared off in Week 10 of 2017, Kirk Cousins was Washington’s QB and Case Keenum was Minnesota’s.
The last time a starting QB faced each other for both teams in same match-up was Norm Snead and Sonny Jurgensen for Eagles and Redskins in 1963-64.
Add into the melting pot that Washington’s Adrian Peterson is a Minnesota Vikings legend.
He’ll look to somehow overcome a high and low ankle sprain to try and stick it to his former team but will have his work cut out to get anything against a Kirk Cousins led team that has found their groove in the last few weeks through the air.
Lot’s of revenge for Thursday Night Football which is apt for the time of year and it remains to be seen which players are in scary movies and which players escape unscathed. You have to feel the Kirk Cousins and the Vikings will be the killers, with Peterson and the Redskins the victims.
Sanu and Sanders slip away from the slop
What a difference a day makes for two veteran wide receivers Mohammed Sanu and Emmanuel Sanders. Both are swapping conferences, and far more importantly they are moving from cellar dwellers to a 30th floor VIP champagne bar.
For Sanu, who was a genuinely nice guy when he came to Birmingham recently as part of an NFL tour party, he moves from a septic Falcons team to the only undefeated AFC team the Patriots. For Sanders he escapes the Flacco floundering Broncos for the only team in the NFC that has not lost a game, the 49ers.
Sanu will look to be the recipient of the targets that were going to Josh Gordon, who sadly went onto I/R on Wednesday. Sanu has excellent hands and will be able to support Brady by running routes that would have been made by the likes of Rob Gronkowski in the past.
Sanders has been signed to immediately move into the number one spot, to improve a rather eclectic bunch of WRs, none of whom were anywhere near as good as their top catcher – TE George Kittle.
The Patriots wanted Sanu before the start of the season, so they will be happy the Falcons form has been that bad that Atlanta has started jettisoning players before the half-way point in the season.
Both the Patriots and the 49ers play in the second game window this weekend, so expect to see Sanu and Sanders in some RedZone highlights on Sunday.
Ty goes to the runner
If you are a Detroit Lions fan and you bought a replica shirt with second-year RB Kerryon Johnson’s surname on the back then you can arguably save a few quid after yet another high-profile injury claimed an NFL star.
Kerryon Johnson went down in the first half of his Week 7 contest against Minnesota and was yesterday put on I/R. Johnson was leading the Lions in rushing with over 300 on the ground. Next man up in the Motor City is rookie Ty Johnson who has shown some burst in his limited appearances so far this season.
Former Maryland Terrapin Ty had a stellar college career, racking up 4,196 all purpose yards, third highest in team history. Ty is a dual threat, as he impressed as a kick return specialist too, going to the house against Ohio State and Michigan. The Lions had high hopes for Kerryon Johnson before his injury, but apart from a 125 yard outing against Kansas City he has been underwhelming.
Ty was drafted in the sixth round by the Lions after a trade with the Falcons, with little expectation as a rookie. That has all changed now and Ty will be under the spotlight at home to the dreadful Giants defensive unit.
This is another situation to watch out for on Sunday if you tune into RedZone, as Ty makes his first start. Expect 70-80 yards rushing and 3-5 catches in a winning effort.
Is it now Gumbo and cheese instead of Texas BBQ and California Rolls?
At the start of the 2019 season the NFC ‘on-paper’ favourites looked to be the Rams and the Cowboys, just as Zeke signed his new contract.
Almost at the half-way point and one surprise package, the Green Bay Packers, are now heading the NFC power rankings with the New Orleans Saints just a smidge behind.
Teddy Bridgewater has performed admirably whilst future Hall of Fame enshrinee Drew Brees recovers from his injury, guiding New Orleans to five wins on the bounce and an overall 6-1 record. The age old adage of ‘offense wins games but defense wins championships’ has never rung truer than this season as the Packer and Saints would not both be 6-1 if their defense wasn’t performing at such a high level.
After being robbed of a potential trip to the Super Bowl thanks to a horrendous non-call the Saints have rallied around the injustice and come back fighting even harder. The Packers have got the ‘real’ Aaron Rodgers back, after a few seasons filled with injury and underperformance.
The 49ers may be the conference’s only undefeated team heading into Week 8 but anyone sensible knows the true class of the NFC at this point in time is the Saints and the Packers.
Both teams have very winnable games, the Saints play a rather hot Cardinals team, and the Packers travel to KC, to face Matt Moore and not Patrick Mahomes.
Bungling back to Wembley
The last time the Cincinnati Bengals travelled to London to play a regular season NFL contest they came away undefeated, but because they are the Bungles they didn’t come away with a win, they in fact tied a contest against the Washington Redskins.
The Bengals (0-7) travel over this week to face the Los Angeles Rams (4-3) in the third English game of the season.
Andy Dalton is looking frustrated, the Cincy running game is looking non-existant and their defense is looking raggedy with nine games left to play. You only have to look at their ‘star’ running back Joe Mixon’s stat line last week – 10 rushes for 2 yards and 2 catches for 1 yard (ok yes one did go for a touchdown). That’s 3 yards of offence in a game. Mixon’s stats have been historically awful – in four out of seven games his ground output has been 35 carries for 39 yards. That can’t be all his fault, this ineptitude has to be shared with the offensive line and the play calling.
The Rams are fresh of a monster win over the equally poor Falcons, and will take this game as another walkover. For Bengals fans this season of woes brings back memories of Akili Smith the Bengals biggest bust at QB ever. Head Coach Zac Taylor could be out the door at the end of the season if he can’t show some sort of backbone.
Maybe Wembley is time to unleash rookie passer Ryan Finley. If this does happen remember you read it here first.
Eagles got Bills to pay?
Interesting matchup this weekend up in Buffalo as the Eagles travel over to New Era Stadium.
The Bills are an impressive 5-1 after victory over the lowly Dolphins last week whilst the Eagles are in all sorts of trouble after being embarrassed by Dallas on primetime. Philadelphia can’t lick their wounds for too long considering this is the start of a fairly difficult schedule and if they aren’t careful, could slip in to the “No football in January” quicksand.
The Bills matchup pretty well on both sides of the ball, with Josh Allen and John Brown having that exposed Eagles Secondary and the Bills pass defence being one of the best in the league.
On paper, not the most eagerly anticipated matchup of the year, but there is actually quite a lot on the line.
brees-y does it
Drew Brees is practising this week and hoping to play in the week 8 clash at home to the Cardinals. I, for one hope that he sits this one out and uses this and the bye week to get back to 100%.
The future hall of famer obviously knows his time is up soon and wants to savour every possible second on the pitch, but it is surprisingly short sighted in my opinion from #9 if he want’s to continue playing in to next season. A thumb injury is hardly the most likely to end a career but even putting yourself in a position to reinjure a less than 100% body part is not something that should be recommended. His backup and potentially next Saints starting QB Teddy Bridgewater has done more than enough in his absence, leading them to 5 straight wins against some decent opponents. OK, maybe the defence can take more than the fair share of credit for that run, but why risk Brees against Arizona on Sunday? I’m sure Teddy B can take care of business once more and hand the reins back to Brees in Week 10.
Cleveland and Carolina try and take the 0
San Francisco and New England remain undefeated as we head into week 8 so undoubtedly everyone now looks at the teams trying to be the first to score a victory over those teams.
Out of the two teams this week, you have to feel that Carolina (+5.5 currently on the handicap) are the more likely to kill the streak as they travel to Levi’s Stadium to face the 49ers after a bye with the hapless Baker Mayfield and his Browns (+13) tackling the red hot Patriots in Foxborough.
Whilst both New England and San Francisco will start to see their schedule get that little bit tougher, the bullseye on their backs will also get that little bit bigger.
if at first you don’t succeed, trade, trade again
If you don’t know by now, the trade deadline shuts next week. Don’t worry, the USA doesn’t have an equivalent of Jim White in a yellow tie, but there’ll certainly be more deals going through on deadline day.
Look for veterans (AJ Green) or guys on rookie deals (Kenyan Drake) to keep the rumour-mill busy over the next few days as teams try and jostle around their rosters to help give them the best chance at not only January football and the Super Bowl but also more picks as those planning rebuilds can start to get a handle on the picks they have for the next NFL Draft. Like Free Agency, some may overpay, whilst some may get players at bargain basement prices. With Sanders, Sanu and Quandre Diggs already heading to their new teams, there’ll be plenty of movement to come before the trade deadline slams shut.
Dan Quinn bye bye?
We’ve mentioned it a few times already, but keep an eye out on how the Falcons get on this weekend. Once again embarrassed at home against the Rams, they face a Seahawks team smarting from a defeat at home against the Ravens. If the Falcons lose considerably once more in their own back yard, you can fully expect Arthur Blank to fire HC Dan Quinn during their bye week and look to rebuild.
It’s somewhat telling that they allowed Mohammed Sanu to go to New England for a 2nd round draft pick (which is pretty much a 3rd, let’s face it) and the other usual life saving technique of firing their co-ordinators already happened last offseason. So the are not many lives left at all for Dan Quinn and it’ll be interesting to see the fight the players show on the field this Sunday.
Week 4 already here folks! Why does it go so quickly?!?!
Without wasting any more time thinking about such things, here is what we ehre at F10Y HQ are thinking about as we look ahead to the week’s action.
Die Eagles Die!
As a Cowboys fan, this could be a huge week for America’s Team.
A depleted Eagles team travel on a short week to Lambeau field to face a resurgent Packers defence and Aaron Rodgers. At 1-2, this is potentially already a must win game for an Eagles team without a plethora of talent on both sides of the ball. A loss here coupled with a Dallas Cowboys win vs a Drew Bree-less Saints, and the cowboys could be 3 games ahead in the NFC East.
Yes, there are still the 2 divisional games they have to play in Week 7 and 16, but the Eagles will not want to go in to the week 7 game finding themselves 3 games back and having to win that one.
If there is one team who is set up to come from disadvantageous situations such as this though, it’s Wentz, Pederson and the 2018 Super Bowl Champions. They’ll need to achieve what noone outside the NFC North has done this far in 2019, beat an NFC North team. NFC North vs all opposition outside division- 7-0-1.
Water Under the Bridge(water)
Teddy Bridgewater put in a composed performance at CenturyLink Field last week, condemning Pete Carroll to his first loss in September at home in his tenure as the Seahawks HC. No turnovers, but no aggressive play calling either as Bridgewater only threw the ball once over 15 yards, and that was incomplete.
That’s a sign of a good head coach though, putting plans in place to help his players succeed as easily as possible.
Bridgewater and co return home this week in primetime to face a 3-0 Cowboys team that are looking to wrap up the NFC East as early as possible.
Will Sean Payton be more aggressive with how he gameplans for Bridgewater? Or will it be more of the dink and dunk style we saw last Sunday? Either way, everything will probably need to right to have any chance of winning, even at home. If Teddy Bridgewater does come away with a victory and puts in another assured performance, maybe i’ll let bygones be bygones and take notice of the understudy in “Naw’lins”.
Multiplication and Division
Some tasty divisional games this week which will go some way in determining final finishing positions like they do every year.
This week sees all of the AFC North squaring up as the Ravens and the Browns face off and someone’s 0 must go when Pittsburgh face the Bengals. If the Ravens win this one, it could be a long rest of the season for the other 3 teams as the Ravens will have a couple of games on the field and an early tiebreaker.
The NFC North gets in on some divisional action as well which pits the Vikings against the Bears, where both teams need the win having both already lost to the 3-0 Packers, the loser of this game may start to fall back in the wildcard playoff race.
Talking of 3-0, we have a 3-0 bowl in Buffalo where the Patriots will want to put the Bills in their place in the AFC East. Surely Buffalo will come unstuck against the masters. Worth noting that New England have not lost in Buffalo since 2011 and only twice in the Tom Brady era.
Other div matchups that maybe aren’t as important in terms of playoffs and divisional races sees that Seahawks travel the Glendale to try and get back to winning ways as they face the winless Cardinals and Kyler Murray and finally, the Redskins travel to Big blue to face Danny Dimes and a Barkley-less Giants.
Divisional games are always hotly contested and form some of the most heated rivalries in the sport so whichever one you may end up watching should be a good one. Well, maybe except the Giants/Redskins game. Yawn.
It feels as though each week Patrick Mahomes does something that we have never seen before in the NFL.
After tying Kurt Warner’s record of most 300 yard games within his first 20 career starts last weekend, what will be the record he smashes this week? Well how about a cast iron guarantee, Mahomes will throw for more yards in a domed stadium then he ever has before. Sunday will mark the first time in his 21 career starts when the Chiefs signal caller will suit up with a roof over his head as the Lions host the Chiefs.
How about a bold prediction? The single game passing yardage record of 554 yards held by Norm Van Brocklin falls in this game. Why not? Mahomes seems set to break every other record going. With perfect conditions in his favour expect to see the young quarterback shine yet again.
Myles Better Than Lamar
2 hype trains are on an AFC North collision course this weekend as the Browns face Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
It was a “back to reality” type of game for Jackson last week where he found not facing the teams ranked 29th and 32nd defensively rather tricky. His final stat line could and should have been much worse with some ill advised heaves and garbage time yards padding his overall figures. On the opposite side of the field this week he gets Myles Garrett who has 6 sacks to his name already through 3 games this year.
For all the offensive hype preseason, Garrett has been the Browns most dominant player and will look to continue his hot start to the campaign. This promises to be a stellar match up for years to come and Jackson will be advised running away from the Browns #95 if he relies on his legs too often this weekend.
Hyde & Seek
The Texans traded a conditional 3rd round pick for Duke Johnson on the eve of the 209 season, 3 games in and he appears to have gotten lost. Johnson touched the ball just 4 times in last Sundays victory over the LA Chargers.
He is currently being out played by Carlos Hyde. Hyde had been with the Chiefs during camp but was also traded for by the Texans following the Lamar Miller injury in preseason. This was supposed to be Johnson’s opportunity to shine after becoming frustrated at dropping down the Browns depth chart previously.
With the season reaching the quarter pole it will be interesting to see how the Texans backfield continues to be utilised. Johnson’s strength is catching the ball out of the backfield but at the moment he looks like nothing more than a very poor man’s James White.
Someone’s “0” Has Got To Go
ESPN must have really annoyed someone at the league office. This weeks Monday Night Football offering sees a battle of 2 teams yet to taste victory this year. The Bengals travel to Heinz Field to take on the Steelers with both looking to kick start their respective campaigns.
The Steelers will be once again suiting up Mason Rudolph behind center as he gets his 2nd consecutive start. Outside of 2 big plays last week he went 12/25 for 59 yards with an interception. James Conner is under 100 yards on the ground in 3 games, averaging less than 3 yards per carry.
In short, the Steelers are really struggling. The Bengals have played 2 close games either side of being blown away by the 49ers so we aren’t quite sure how good or how bad they are. Monday night is a big game for both and barring a draw at least 1 of them will get into the win column.
Oooh Ek(eler) Melvin’s
The Los Angeles Chargers are notoriously slow starters and 2019 is no exception, as the team boast a 1-2 record. Facing the Dolphins in Week 4 will ease the Bolts to 2-2, as they utilise Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson in the backfield.
The news in the last couple of days that stud running-back Melvin Gordon has ended his holdout will be a huge boost to the fans in Hollywood. Gordon has finally grown bored of playing Madden and watching Sports Centre. Melvin could well miss the Dolphins game as he gets up to speed with the offense and renews his bond with old man (Philip) Rivers.
The Chargers are right at the precipice of remaining Super Bowl relevant with Rivers at the helm, and with Gordon back this is a bigger boost than that of a truck of IV drips. This will make Austin Ekeler a borderline flex, as he becomes a third-down back as opposed to a viable starter in fantasy. Gordon is a top 8 running back talent, he just needs to rather appropriately hit the ground running.
For those of you who were patient and kept Gordon on your bench you deserve a round of applause. If you are in multiple leagues then dig around the waiver wire and you may just unearth a Melvin or two.
Can the real Carson
Wentz stand up
It’s a small sample size but Carson Wentz is underperforming so far as the Eagles, only two years removed from their first Vince Lombardi Trophy, are 1-2 and at risk of falling three games behind the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East with just a quarter of the season in the books.
Wentz has started sluggishly in contests so far, throwing only one first-half touchdown. A large part of this lack of production has been due to injuries. After three weeks Nelson Agholor leads the team in catches (18) but he is averaging less than 10 yards a catch. Wentz has seriously missed Desean Jackson who exploded Week 1 against a poor Redskins secondary. The Eagles running game has also failed to take-off this season, the combination of rookie Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard and pocket-rocket Darren Sproles has failed to make a significant impact.
The Eagles travel to Green Bay for a juicy Thursday Night Football matchup, where we get to see the ever improving Packers defense, led by Week 3 NFC Defensive Player of the Week Preston Smith. Wentz needs to step up this week or it will be an uphill battle already with twelve games remaining.
To start or not to start Dwayne Haskins that is the question…
There is something rotten in the state of Maryland, a true Shakespearian tragedy is unfolding as Redskins head coach Jay Gruden is enduring a 0-3 start and calls for his head are getting louder and louder.
In the first two weeks it was the Washington defense that was primarily to blame, but the loss fell clearly on the bruised and battered shoulders of veteran QB Case Keenum in Week 3. Keenum’s MNF woes included three fumbles and three interceptions, including a pick-6 to begin the nationally televised humiliation. The New York Giants used Week 3 to make the change and play their first round rookie, with great success, so now is the time for the Redskins to consider following suit.
Coach Gruden came out of the MNF dismantling saying he wanted consistency, in other words carry on with Case. It’s a tough situation to bring a rookie in, where the offensive line is leaky, the running game is not shining, and the wide receivers are poor, with the exception of Terry McLaurin.
One major thing to note is that Dwayne Haskins, the future at QB for the Redskins was team mates with McLaurin at Ohio State. With nothing to lose, and as Yazz would sing ‘the only way is up’ so let’s unleash the Haskins.