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ProCanes NFL Preview: Week Four News and Notes

CB Artie Burns looks to get Pittsburgh back to their winning ways against their arch rivals in week four.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Chicago Bears Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

It’s week four in the NFL, and while the season is still young, it has been good so far for ProCanes. We hope this positive streak continues as the season approaches the quarter mark.

Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans 1PM EDT

Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans
While Lamar Miller is still effective, the ProCane has shared carries with a couple of rookies early in the season.
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

It appears that Tennessee has gone back to their ground-and-pound roots. RBs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry punish tacklers, running out the game clock. The Houston Texans should probably hit Command+Alt+C and paste this tactic into their playbook.

While RB Lamar Miller remains the lead back for the Texans, there are other standout players on the team. Deshaun Watson is a dynamic runner, especially when improvising. RB D’Onta Foreman is starting to see more carries and targets in the passing game as the season progresses. This increase for Foreman could be an effort to keep Miller as fresh as possible for later in the season—or that’s what you hope, if you’re a fantasy owner. The Titans so far have been average at stopping the run, allowing 92.3 rushing yards per game. But they have currently only allowed a single rushing touchdown. We could see how good they are during Tuesday’s game against the Texans, a team that controls the ball and has its defense beat opponents into submission. This AFC showdown should be a fun watch.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New York Jets 1PM EDT

It doesn’t matter what continent the Jacksonville Jaguars find themselves on; they thrive anywhere. The Jaguars lead the league in pass defense, having a 124.3 passing yards-per-game average. They also currently have the most sacks in the NFL with 13. DE Calais Campbell was credited with a 0.5 sack against the Ravens a week ago, but he’s still on pace to shatter his single-season sack total of nine that he achieved in the 2013 season, a career best. Surprisingly, the Jets have only allowed seven sacks entering Sunday. If “Sacksonville” can show up in London, I certainly can see it traveling to the Big Apple.

NFL: International Series-Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars
Allen Hurns is riding a two-game touchdown streak. He’ll look to push it to three against a competitive Jets defense.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It was a light day of work for Allen Hurns in the land of the Union Jack. He made the most of his three targets, catching them all for 20 yards and converting one into a touchdown reception. QB Blake Bortles was comfortable going to TE Marcedes Lewis for three TDs. This week the Jags will play against a Jets defense that ranks 13th in the league in average passing yards per game (214.3). In order to achieve victory, the Jaguars could simply feed the ball to Leonard Fournette and let him run behind fellow ProCane Brandon Linder.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens 1PM EDT

AFC Championship - Pittsburgh Steelers v New England Patriots
There are few rivalries in football that compare to the intensity of Steelers vs. Ravens. Artie Burns will be ready for the challenge Sunday afternoon.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

CB Artie Burns continues to make large strides in his second season in the NFL. Against the Bears, he had just two passes that went in his direction and allowed just a single reception for no yards. He also had two pass break-ups to put together a solid day. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh suffered their first loss of the season to an opponent that many people had projected the Steelers to easily handle.

Pittsburgh now travels to Charm City to take on their rivals, the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have looked out of sorts on offense and are coming off a trip to London, where they were beaten to a pulp by the Jaguars 44–7. Expect Burns to get the better of whomever the Ravens trot out to his side of the field. The year of Artie continues.

LB Anthony Chickillo has been making the most of his opportunities in 2017. The linebacker picked up just one stat against the Bears last week, but it was a sack. With it, Chickillo surpassed the career-best 2.5 sacks he amassed in the 2016 season. It bears repeating how great this matchup could be for the Steelers’ defense. It’s possible that we could see that sack number climb.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns 1PM EDT

For one of these teams, the winless streak will continue. Here’s hoping that the Browns are able to earn the win on Sunday. New ProCane TE David Njoku has continued to make noise in his rookie year, scoring his second TD against the Colts last week. While the Browns were never considered playoff contenders, the team has competed well in two of its three games. QB DeShone Kizer’s three interceptions against Indianapolis surely does not help matters, but this team appears to be slowly yet surely coming into form.

Speaking of coming into form, RB Duke Johnson has become the hybrid player that is in demand across the league. While he carried the ball just twice against the Colts last week, he led all Browns with six receptions for 81 receiving yards. His rookie year (2015) was his best season for catching the ball: 61 passes for 534 receiving yards. This season he currently has 11 receptions for 160 yards. This Sunday Johnson will be competing against a Bengals defense that has given up the fourth fewest passing yards per game (163.0) and will include LB Vontaze Burfict in its lineup. If Johnson continues to be a reliable threat as a receiver, the Browns could open lanes in the run game and create one-one-one matchups by spreading out the Bengals defense. If the Browns are looking for a savior, Johnson could be the player who helps them get their first win of the season.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Los Angeles Chargers 4:05 EDT

The Chargers’ offense had trouble last week against the Kansas City Chiefs. QB Philip Rivers threw three interceptions, and RB Melvin Gordon was minimized in the ground game. Despite the atrocious game, WR Travis Benjamin made five catches for 105 receiving yards to lead the Chargers. It was Benjamin’s first 100-yard game since October 19 against Oakland. He currently leads the team in catches 20 yards or more (3) and 30 yards or more (1).

The Eagles squeaked out a win against the Giants in week three. Prior to their game against the Chargers, the Eagles’ defense has only given up six plays of 20 yards or more. I don’t foresee another 100-yard effort from Benjamin, especially if RB Melvin Gordon continues to be hampered by a sore knee, but he is still the downfield threat. We’ll see on Sunday if the Eagles feel any lingering effects from their west-coast travels.

Indianapolis Colts vs. Seattle Seahawks 8:30 EDT

Cleveland Browns v Indianapolis Colts
Frank Gore continues to navigate his way up the all-time rushing list. He’ll look to extend the Colts win streak to two games on Sunday.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Colts picked up their first win of the season against the Browns. With QB Andrew Luck ruled out earlier in the week, the Colts will turn to QB Jacoby Brissett again. RB Frank Gore needs to keep grinding. Rookie RB Marlon Mack has been dealing with a shoulder injury, so Gore has taken on the load for the Colts. Unfortunately, his yards-per-carry average has dipped each week this season, going from 4.2 to 2.28 last week. However, the silver lining is that he and the Colts will be going up against a Seahawks defense that is among the worst in the league in rushing yards per game (146).

If the running game is not working, what do you do? If you are Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, you throw it up to TE Jimmy Graham. That’s what the Seahawks did last week, yet they fell short against the Tennessee Titans. Graham shook off an ankle injury suffered in week two to catch seven passes for 72 yards. While that is great news for him and his fantasy owners, it still doesn’t help the Seahawks establish a run game. Graham will need to be a focus in the passing game, especially if WR Doug Baldwin’s groin injury is more serious than initial reports indicated.

ProCanes Fantasy Player of the Week

Jacksonville Jaguars Defense

NFL: International Series-Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars
Joe Flacco can only run to play another down with DL Calais Campbell hot on his trail to add another sack to the stat sheet.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This week we’re going to buck the trend. The Jacksonville defense is a must-start this week against the Jets. DL Calais Campbell has been collapsing the pocket of the offensive interior, and he should continue to pile up the sacks for fantasy owners.

Quick Outs

  • Los Angeles Chargers LB Denzel Perryman may be ahead of schedule in his rehab from ankle surgery.
  • Chargers S Rayshawn Jenkins missed weeks two and three with a concussion suffered at the start of the season. He was active last Sunday but did not record a stat.
  • With his 77th touchdown last week, Colts RB Frank Gore surpassed fellow ProCane Clinton Portis on the all-time rushing TD list. He is just one TD away from tying Tony Dorsett.
  • New York Giants DE Olivier Vernon came away with an ankle injury in a loss to the Eagles last week. Vernon, who is has never missed a game in his six year career, is questionable for an afternoon game against the Buccaneers.