Are you stuffed from all the holiday fixings yet? There are still some leftover NFL games on tap today as week 12 continues with Sunday’s regular slate of games. There are no byes remaining on the schedule, so all 32 teams will have competed once Monday Night Football concludes. The playoff push continues while—for some ProCanes—the offseason cannot arrive soon enough. For the Browns, they continue to look for at least one win this season. So if you’re still feasting on some leftover turkey, or reeling from your Black Friday spending, State of the U has your preview of today’s NFL Sunday.
Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts 1PM EDT
RB Frank Gore and his Indianapolis Colts should be pretty rested after having a bye in week eleven. The pressure will be intense down the homestretch for a team that is an afterthought sitting at the bottom of the AFC South standings with a 3–7 record. In the final six weeks of the season, it will interesting to see if the team puts up a good enough fight to help save the job of former Hurricanes’ coach, Chuck Pagano (who is currently the Colts’ head coach). Likely you could add offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski to the conversation with Indy coming in 28th in total offense in the entire league, averaging 300 yards of offense per game.
At 34 years young, Gore is on pace to having his worst statistical season rushing since his rookie season with the 49ers in the 2005 season where he rushed for only 608 yards. Currently sitting at 509 rushing yards, it’s fathomable that Gore will not approach the 1,000 yard mark that he surpassed just a season ago. Against a top five rush defense in the Titans this week, it will be a difficult task to find room to run after Tennessee limited Steelers’ RB Le’Veon Bell to 46 yards on 12 carries. Gore still has ample opportunity to showcase what has been an illustrious career. If he’s able to squeak out 89 yards, he will leap over Steeler RB Jerome Bettis for seventh on the NFL’s all-time rushing list.
Seattle Seahawks vs San Francisco 49ers 4:05 PM EDT
The resurgence of TE Jimmy Graham has certainly been fun to watch over the last month. The six-foot-seven receiver is looking like a throwback to his days with New Orleans. The Seahawks are lining Graham at various spots in different formations, especially given that Graham is such a mismatch for most defenders, the task of defending Graham only gets complicated when Seattle gets into the red zone because of his size and penchant to box defenders out for passes in such a small area. Seattle will look to prevent the Niners’ from putting together a win streak, as they look to keep pace with the Rams in the NFC West.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Arizona Cardinals 4:30 PM EDT
We’re starting to run out of superlatives to describe the season that DE Calais Campbell is having this season. The off-season signing has made the Jaguars look like savvy buyers, picking up a player that is in the conversation to be the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year—at worse, an All-Pro for his position. Campbell is tied with Dallas Cowboys’ DE Demarcus Lawrence with 11.5 sacks to lead the league. Returning to a place where he spent nine seasons and earned two trips to the pro bowl, while there will be plenty of familiar faces, Campbell will still have to make that strange walk into the visiting dressing room, preparing to line up across from guys he worked with for so long. Arizona has been generous to pass-rushers this season, allowing the tenth most sacks at 28 on the season. Campbell should be motivated to show Cardinal’s GM Steve Keim that it was a mistake not to make it a priority to resign Campbell this past off-season.
Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers 8:30PM EDT
We’ve discussed at different points this season how much CB Artie Burns has improved for the Steelers. Well that point will be tested in the coming weeks. Fellow cornerback Joe Haden went down after fracturing his fibula against the Colts. It means that Burns, who has earned a 77 coverage grade according to Pro Football Focus, becomes the top corner on the field for the Yellow and Black. Fortunately, while Burns will be working against a quality receiving group in Green Bay, it’s almost a mute point given the play of Green Bay QB Brett Hundley since taking over the position. The Steelers are in the top three defenses in the league in defending the pass, allowing 190 yards-per-game. Hundley was able to pass for 239 yards against the Ravens, with 126 of those yards produced by WR Davante Adams. After being shutout by the Ravens last week, the Packers can’t possibly put up a goose egg two weeks in row. The Packers who will need to string together a win streak and get some help to make it into the playoffs at 5–5. This is an important game for Burns in his evolution to being a premiere corner.
Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens Monday 8:30PM EDT
The Texans have experienced plenty of adversity throughout the 2017-’18 season. They’ve lost star DE JJ Watt, LB Benardrick Mckinney and the favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year, QB DeShaun Watson. The latest name to that season-ending list is RB D’Onta Foreman. Once more meaning there will plenty of pressure put on the legs of running back Lamar Miller. The Texans gave Miller the ball 22 times last week for 61 rushing yards, adding 22 yards on four receptions in the passing game. It’s that versatility to be a legitimate receiving threat out of the backfield that Miller will need to rely on if the Texans’ offense has any shot against a surging Baltimore defense that is coming off of their third shutout victory this season. Oddly enough, the Ravens are susceptible to allowing big gains on the ground, especially considering they give up 120 yards-per-game in that department. Look for Houston to buckle up and play some smash-mouth football with their sixth-ranked rushing attack that gains an average of 128.5 yards-per-game.
ProCanes’ Reactions to Miami’s Game against Pitt
All the haters coming out now— Deon Bush (@deonbushlive2) November 24, 2017
Y’all boys keep ya heads up! And bounce back next week! It’s still all about the U! #Canesfam— Corn Elder (@AIR_CORN23) November 24, 2017
ProCanes Fantasy Player of the Week
Jimmy Graham and Duke Johnson
For many of you in fantasyland, this is the final week before the playoffs. It’s not time to ease off the pedal or be on the outside looking in. Graham has been red hot, scoring seven touchdowns in the past six weeks. The tight end is a must start in all formats. Duke Johnson has a good matchup against the Bengals today—he should be able to get some mismatches in the passing game to be a flex option in standard leagues, a borderline number two RB in PPR formats.
- With a season-ending injury to New Orleans DE Alex Okafor, it could provide the opportunity for DE Al-Quadin Muhammad to be active for the first time all season.
- From injured reserve, to the broadcast booth, and now back on the field for Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen, who will be active against the Jets today after suffering a broken foot in week two.
- Earlier in the week, three ProCanes were named semi-finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2018 class. LB Ray Lewis, HC Jimmy Johnson, and RB Edgerrin James.
- The ProCanes touchdown streak currently stands at two games.
- Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Hurns will miss his second consecutive game due to an ankle injury.
- At the time of this posting, Kansas City Chiefs DE Allen Bailey is designated as questionable (knee) for today’s game at Buffalo.
- Coming on strong since the halfway mark of the season, San Francisco 49ers S Adrian Colbert has been ruled out this week.
- Continuing with news from the bay, the 49ers released LB Ray Ray Armstrong on Saturday to make room for LB Tank Carradine.
- As always, be sure to check out State of the U’s own Silas Tsang’s NFL Recap on Tuesday.
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!