In a week that should test the resolve of a couple ProCanes, week six in the NFL schedule represents another opportunity to gain that ever-elusive win to get back on course—or, in the case of one team, bludgeon whoever is put in front of you on defense. Here is your ProCanes preview for week six.
Cleveland Browns vs. Houston Texans 1PM EDT
Bittersweet—a good term to describe the season for rookie TE David Njoku. Cleveland’s TE has scored a touchdown in three of the team’s five games to start the season. At the start of the week, Njoku was tied with 10 other players for eighth in the NFL for receiving touchdowns. I used the term bittersweet because while Njoku has enjoyed personal success, the Browns remain winless on the season.
Also: Njoku is a baller.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) October 8, 2017
The Browns are catching a vulnerable Houston defense that has lost pass-rushers DE JJ Watt and DE Whitney Mercilus for the rest of the season. Before those significant injuries, the Texans have allowed just one TE to reach the endzone—New England TE Rob Gronkowski. If the Browns can settle on who will start at quarterback, QB DeShone Kizer or QB Kevin Hogan, Cleveland just might be able to notch their first tally in the win column.
Houston RB Lamar Miller was having another productive game last week before the Texans abandoned the run trailing against the Chiefs late in the game. Miller produced his best game of the season in terms of yards per carry, averaging 4.9 yards. Cleveland has proven to be stout against the run, surrendering only 76.6 rushing yards per game to opponents. Weeks ago there was concern that Houston may want to make Donta Foreman the lead back, but Miller has reasserted his role as the best option at RB for the Texans moving forward.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 4:05PM EDT
The Jacksonville Jaguars have to be one of the biggest surprises of the season, from concerns in the preseason as to whether QB Blake Bortles was the ideal answer on offense to questioning some of their more expensive free agent signings. DE Calais Campbell has been a viable asset to a Jacksonville defense that has been causing havoc in the backfields of their opponents all season. Campbell now has six sacks on the season, just two and half sacks behind Dallas DE Demarcus Lawrence for the league lead—also just three sacks from Calais’ single-season record of nine. The Rams are coming off a week where the offense played less than stellar, yet still the Rams stayed in it until the very end when WR Cooper Kupp dropped a catch from beating the Seahawks a week ago. Given how well the Jaguars’ secondaries of CB Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye have been against opposing wideouts, Jared Goff and the Rams’ offense could be in for another frustrating afternoon.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders 4:25PM EDT
It could be a high-scoring affair when two AFC West division teams collide this afternoon. A lot of points would benefit WR Travis Benjamin who thrives best on deep posts and streaks routes to gain huge chunks of yardage in the passing game. Chargers’ QB Philip Rivers is known for taking shots down the field, with three Charger receivers among top pass-catchers to have receptions of 20 and 30 yards or more. For his part, Benjamin has three receptions of 20 yards or more and one reception of 40 yards. Playing against a Raiders’ secondary that has a penchant for giving up big plays through the air, Benjamin should add to his big play totals.
For what may be the first time all season, we can talk a bit about TE Clive Walford. Playing second fiddle to starting TE Jared Cook, Walford has been an afterthought in Oakland. That was until TE Lee Smith went down with an injury, thrusting Walford into action. Walford has just two targets in five games for a whopping six yards total. Even with QB Derek Carr projected to return to the field today after sitting out last week’s loss to the Ravens, there is no guarantee that Walford sees more targets for an Oakland offense that has struggled of late. Perhaps offensive coordinator Todd Downing and head coach Jack Del Rio feel that there is need to add another receiving threat. Maybe then we’ll see Walford get a couple more targets.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans (Monday) 8:30PM EDT
Running into the record books on a day when Peyton Manning’s statue made it’s debut outside Lucas Oil Stadium, Frank Gore comfortably sits in 7th on the NFL’s all-time rushing list. It’s astonishing how far Gore has come from attending Coral Gables high school From there to his years at the University of Miami, to surpassing Eric Dickerson in his 12th season in the NFL, Gore has put together an incredible career. Next up on the all-time rushing list is Jerome Bettis and his 13,662 rushing yards with Gore 358 yards behind at 13,304 yards.
Gore and the Colts picked up their second win on the season against the Niners and look to extend their win streak over AFC South rivals, Tennessee. The Titans have surrendered 100 yards to every opponent with the exception of just two teams. It’s unlikely that Gore surpasses the century mark this week; his last 100-yard game was last season against the Vikings. Gore still could find some daylight to have a successful day.
ProCanes Fantasy Player of the Week
RB Duke Johnson
It’s finally time. We’ve been keeping Duke Johnson off of the FPW, but we can no longer hold back. Johnson at this point is a must start in PPR formats, with a 4.6 reception per game average. We’ve spoken about Johnson seeing limited snaps lining up as a running back, but he has become a feature weapon for a Browns’ offense that does not have too many assets to lean on. In a standard league, Johnson may also have value as a flex option, especially with byes for the Bills, Bengals, Cowboys and Seahawks this week.
Mark Walton’s NFL Future
The 2017 season for Miami Hurricanes running back Mark Walton ended much sooner than anyone had hoped or anticipated. SOTU’s own Cam Underwood covered the story last weekend, and wrote what impact the injury will have on the Hurricanes. What now for Walton?
There was plenty of speculation that Walton would have a decision to make at the end of the season whether to forego his senior year and declare for the 2018 NFL Draft. That decision is now a more difficult one—not because of the injury, but because Walton was on the outside looking in regarding the top tier of the possible 2018 running back class. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller discussed his anticipation, as did many other outlets, to see what Walton would do against a talented FSU defense. The Hurricanes have two talented RB commits. RB Travis Homer looks like the next great ’Cane running back, so the cupboard would not be bare should Walton opt for the NFL. If Walton returns for his senior year, he’ll remain the best running back on the roster. What was once 70/30 odds of Walton leaving likely are a toss up at this point.
Sean Taylor, Michael Irvin, Ed Reed, Warren Sapp, and Ray Lewis Inducted into the University of Miami’s Ring of Honor
“I’m so proud of how hard my father worked to receive this honor. He took a lot of pride in his career as a Hurricane” - Jackie Taylor pic.twitter.com/a60c5F2YzE— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) October 13, 2017
Two of the five legends cemented into Miami history. pic.twitter.com/F4UrB3ifCu— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) October 14, 2017
Ed Reed will get his Ring of Honor ring before the Notre Dame game next month.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) October 14, 2017
- ProCane return specialist Devin Hester had his No. 23 jersey retired by Suncoast High School this past Friday.
- In news we missed last week, the Indianapolis Colts released LB Sean Spence
- Niners LB Ray Ray Armstrong produced one of his better performances last week against the Colts. It will be intriguing to see what Armstrong's role will be with the sudden release of former Niners LB Navarro Bowman and the return of rookie LB Reuben Foster.
- With LB Whitney Mercilus out for the season, converted outside linebacker Ufomba Kamalu will see more snaps in the coming weeks.
- Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen is making progress after foot surgery. He’s now out of his walking boot.
- DL Allen Bailey and the Kansas City Chiefs remain undefeated (5–0). The Chiefs play ProCanes Artie Burns and Anthony Chickillo today.
- NFL Films had Chargers WR Travis Benjamin mic’d up as he battled a familiar nemesis.
- Jacksonville Jaguars center Brandon Linder missed last week’s game against the Steelers due to illness.
- New York Giants DE Olivier Vernon has been ruled out for Sunday’s tilt against the Denver Broncos.
- The Detroit Lions have signed LB Thurston Armbrister to their practice squad
- Sports Illustrated opened their Vault to commemorate the Hurricanes recent success by looking back at the school’s illustrious past. Check out those glorious pictures here.
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!