Just like that, half of the 2017 NFL season has passed by. As the late coach Dennis Green said, “They are who we thought they were.” — or are they? Can Jacksonville contend behind strong defense, even with the shortcomings of their quarterback Blake Bortles? Have the Seahawks finally paired their offensive identity with a stout defense? Did the Chiefs peak too soon? There’s still another half season remaining — a half that will provide answers to these queries and more.
Los Angeles Rams vs. New York Giants 1PM EDT
The Giants are coming off a bye in week eight. While it must have been nice to get away from football for a week, the G-men remain in the cellar of NFC East division at 1–6. The season does not stop just because a team is down on its luck. For DE Olivier Vernon, it’s been a much longer layoff. His ankle injury has persisted, causing him to miss the last three games. For a player who has been touted for his availability on game days, this has to be a humbling feeling, as well as a sobering season for the Giants’ organization in terms of performance.
The good news for Giants left tackle Ereck Flowers is that unless the Rams employ some games in their pass rush, he won’t have to concern himself with DT Aaron Donald. Instead, Flowers will be tasked with blocking the struggling DE Robert Quinn, who looks like a shell of the player he used to be when he went to the Pro Bowl in 2013 and 2014. This is one of the few matchups where Flowers will be equally matched with an opponent, which could help a Giants’ offense that struggles to establish a run game that presently gains just 83.3 rushing yards a game.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 1PM EDT
The NFL got a brief reprieve from the relentless Jaguars defense, yet the bye week has concluded, and #Sacksonville seeks to continue their reign of dominance over the offensive opposition. This week’s challenger is the Bengals, who escaped with a 24–23 win against the Colts a week ago.
Jaguars’ DE Calais Campbell (10) is just half a sack behind Dallas Cowboys’ DE Demarcus Lawrence (10.5) for league lead in sacks. Campbell is trending into new territory for a player who some viewed as a great signing for Jacksonville, but turning 31 years young in September, was not expected to be this productive in his new home. The only obstacle to Campbell making his third Pro Bowl appearance would be Jacksonville playing in the Super Bowl come February. First, Campbell will have to take advantage of a matchup against a Bengals offensive line that has allowed Andy Dalton to be sacked 22 times this season.
The Jaguars are also ranked as the best passing defense in the NFL, allowing a paltry 161.7 passing yards per game. The expectation is for the Jacksonville to continue that trend against the Bengals this week.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans 1PM EDT
The Colts dropped a close game to the Bengals as mentioned earlier. With QB Andrew Luck nowhere close to making his 2017 debut, the Colts will need to continue to do their best with what they’ve got.
RB Frank Gore continues to defy logic with his production this season. Last week Gore put together his best game from a yards-per-carry perspective with 16 carries for 82 rushing yards and a 5.1 yards-per-rush average. Gore’s numbers were the best for any Colts rusher, gaining more than his rookie teammate. Given how the Texans were involved in a shootout with the Seahawks a week ago, a solid ground game would help the defense stay fresh especially since Texans’ rookie phenom, QB Deshaun Watson, is out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL injury.
Well everyone on the Texans’ offense had a great day against the Seahawks, among them ProCane Lamar Miller. As State of the U’s Silas Tsang broke down this past Tuesday, Miller found the endzone a couple of times against a vaunted Seahawks defense. This week, the challenge is a bit more manageable for Miller and the Texans’ offense — with an average of 406.8 yards allowed per game, only the New England Patriots are graded worse than the Colts at this point in the season. The Colts struggle to rush the passer, unable to find a solution in that department since the departure of DE Dwight Freeney and the retirement of DE Robert Mathis. This could be another high scoring affair for both teams, given the ineptitude to get after the quarterback for both teams. Which means: Start Lamar Miller in all formats if you’re a fantasy football connoisseur.
Washington Redskins vs. Seattle Seahawks 4:05 EDT
Even in the face of adversity, the Seahawks appear to be overcoming it all, continuing to put together wins. This state of mind can be applied to their TE Jimmy Graham who was rumored to be on the trading block before last week’s game against the Texans. Graham took care of business on the field, something that has become normal for the veteran tight end lately, setting a personal record of three straight games with a touchdown. While his four touchdowns on the season are a far cry from his single-season best of 16 touchdowns during the 2013 season in New Orleans, Graham continues to illustrate that he still deserves to be in the conversation of top tight ends in the NFL. Playing against a Washington defense that will have their hands filled with WR Doug Baldwin and WR Paul Richardson, Seattle should see their success pour over into this week.
ProCanes Fantasy Player of the Week
As tempting as it is to want to pick Lamar Miller for another consecutive week, we’re going to go with the guy who is in the midst of a touchdown streak himself. It appears that Graham does most of his damage when the Seahawks cross the 50-yard line, and that his six-foot-seven frame screams red zone target. Trust Graham as a starter at TE or even as a flex option in standard formats.
ProCane Reactions to Miami’s win over Virginia Tech
Errbody frosty. ☃️@David_Njoku80 makin’ sure the Turnover Chain is ready for the show.#ItsAllAboutTheU #teamadidas pic.twitter.com/jQdypDJ7II— adidas Football US (@adidasFballUS) November 4, 2017
Duke Johnson in the house tonight. Chatting it up with Mark Walton pregame. #Canes pic.twitter.com/sfEaYPXaAf— Mike Cugno (@MikeCugnoCBS4) November 4, 2017
We Still Here!! pic.twitter.com/ubNqDkmEZl— Warren Sapp (@WarrenSapp) November 5, 2017
Can’t say enough about how great a job @MarkRicht has done w/ @CanesFootball!— Greg Olsen (@gregolsen88) November 5, 2017
L!!!! https://t.co/596Cwj2Jcb— Corn Elder (@AIR_CORN23) November 5, 2017
OMG‼️‼️ That all black is— Jamal Carter Sr. (@Jamal_Carter6) November 5, 2017
8-0... and it’s still ALL ABOUT THE— Adrian Colbert (@AdrianColbert25) November 5, 2017
Now that’s MIAMI football!!!— Allen Bailey (@AllenBailey57) November 5, 2017
- Seattle Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham’s name came up in trade discussions prior to this past Tuesday’s trade deadline. Seattle’s front office denied the rumours.
- With the rash of injuries to the Houston Texans’ defense, expect more playing time for LB Ufomba Kamalu, who has two sacks this season.
- New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon has been ruled out this week with an ankle injury.
- Cleveland Browns’ RB Duke Johnson left last week’s game in London with concussion-like symptoms. 247 Sports reported that he cleared the concussion protocol. The Browns are on a bye this week.
- Miami Dolphins WR Rashawn Scott was taken off the PUP List this week. He will be eligible to play Sunday when the Dolphins host the Oakland Raiders.
- San Francisco 49ers CB Adrian Colbert was recognized this past week for his contributions to the ‘Cause for Cleats’ campaign.
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!