No Hurricanes, no problems. The ProCanes contingent have you covered with just five weeks left in the regular season. We know who the contenders are at this point, and the pretenders are just doing their due diligence on the Hurricanes who shall soon turn pro in order to fill the gaps that kept them out of the playoffs. For now, let’s turn the focus to some fascinating matchups with playoff implications.
Carolina Panthers (6-5) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7) 1PM EDT
After stringing together a three-game win streak in October, the month of November has been harsh to the Carolina Panthers. Carolina skids into this NFC South divisional matchup with Tampa on a three-game losing streak. ProCane TE Greg Olsen has been unable to establish himself on the offense, catching just four receptions for 20 yards over their last two outings. Tampa is coming off their first win to thwart a five-game losing streak. This should be a “get right” game for a Panthers’ team desperate to stay alive in the wildcard hunt — especially when Carolina still has two games against the Saints left on the schedule.
Rookie CB Donte Jackson went down last weekend against the Seahawks. The injury allowed ProCane CB Corn Elder to see significant snaps in relief. The only relief for Elder was when that final whistle blew, with Seattle picking on the young corner. Elder was targeted three times, allowing two receptions for 54 receiving yards and a touchdown. If Donte Jackson is unable to go today, Elder will once again find himself on the field, this time against the likes of Tampa Bay receivers DeSean Jackson, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
Buffalo Bills (4-7) vs Miami Dolphins (5-6) 1PM EDT
Miami finds themselves in a (three/four-way) tie in the hunt for the final wildcard spot in the AFC. The last time the Bills took on the Phins in Miami Gardens, the team defeated their AFC East rivals and later celebrated a playoff berth in the visitors’ locker room of Hard Rock Stadium. The Phins will be in tough against a feisty Buffalo Bills roster.
Miami RB Frank Gore continues to climb up the record books, sitting 379 rushing away from 15,000 career rushing yards. However, helping the Dolphins get back into the postseason would be a remarkable achievement in itself. Fellow running mate Kenyan Drake is dealing with a shoulder injury that could get Gore more carries this week. The injuries along the offensive line continue for Miami, with C Travis Swanson questionable with an ankle injury.
The Bills allow an average of a 111.3 rushing yards-per-game, making them a middle-of-the-road team in that category. With the Phins gaining an average of 4.4 yards-per-carry, it’s going to take an above average performance to keep Miami’s playoff fantasy alive.
Cleveland Browns (4-6-1) vs Houston Texans (8-3) 1PM EDT
The Browns won their first road game since 2015 a weekend ago. Cleveland will now try to accomplish another feat: Win consecutive road games for the first time since 2003 under the tutelage of head coach Butch Davis. TE David Njoku was able to will himself, along with getting a helping shove from some linemen, to score his third TD of the year. In last year’s meeting with the Texans, Njoku was held to 0 receptions. The second-year tight end will look to make amends against a Houston team on a short week.
Running back Duke Johnson Jr. continues to be the third down option on the Browns’ offense, especially with the emergence of RB Nick Chubb. Against a Texans’ defense that is more than capable of lighting offenses up with a four-man rush, Duke could be the ideal answer as an outlet for QB Baker Mayfield when the Texans bring pressure.
Houston Texans’ RB Lamar Miller flashed once again why he remains one of the more dynamic backs in the country. His 97 yard rushing TD was the longest run in franchise history and the second 90+ rushing TD of his career. Miller could be in-line for another big day against a Cleveland run defense that has been susceptible to chunk plays. Miller has yet to rush for a TD in his two previous games against the Texans. At this point, betting against Lamar Miller is a pick that none of us should be making.
Arizona Cardinals (2-9) vs Green Bay Packers (4-6-1) 1PM EDT
We’re indeed previewing a game between two teams that are below .500. The Cardinals have been terrible in every phase of the game. ProCane DT Olsen Pierre was active last week after suffering an ankle injury that forced him to miss some time. The Cardinals were unable to slow down the Chargers’ offense last week, and that could be the story this week against the Packers.
Something is not right with the Packers. They have arguably one of the best passers in the league in Aaron Rodgers, but the offense has been unable to string together any consistency throughout the season. Rodgers and ProCane TE Jimmy Graham can’t find much of rhythm — Graham is soldiering through with a broken thumb and knee injury. In his past three games, Graham has four receptions for 61 receiving yards and 0 TDs. The Pack are going to need to make a run to keep their playoff candle lit, but a loss to the Cardinals not only snuffs out those dreams, but will also force Green Bay’s front office to make some substantial changes at the end of the regular season.
Los Angeles Chargers (8-3) vs Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3-1) 8:20PM EDT
Two of the hottest teams in the league clash in what could be an AFC playoff matchup. QB Philip Rivers has been elevated his game to a next level all season and, even though he won’t get MVP votes, is having a MVP-caliber season. ProCanes’ WR Travis Benjamin remains the splash option for the Chargers’ offense. The speedster has been used on jet sweeps, deep fly routes and everything from outside the numbers to capitalize gift to create seperation. It will be up to LB Anthony Chickillo, who continues to be a rotational linebacker for the Steelers who helps slow down the explosive Chargers’ offense. Pittsburgh is ranked 28th in the NFL in total defense, yet this inconsistent defense has done just enough to get off the field to let their offense carry them across the finish line. Against Rivers and the Chargers, the Steelers’ defense will need to hold up their end of the bargain as Pittsburgh hopes to avenge last week’s loss to the Broncos.
ProCanes Fantasy Player of the Week
Olsen has struggled recently, but take comfort in the fact that the TE secured six catches for 76 receiving yards and a touchdown in his last game against the Buccaneers. Not sold? The Bucs’ defense has given up a league-high 26 passing TDs through 11 games.
News and Notes
Erik Swoope On the Mend
Colts’ backup tight end Jack Doyle suffered a kidney injury in week 12, ending his 2018 season. The next man up should be ProCane TE Erik Swoope. However, the TE has not returned to practice since suffering a knee injury against Buffalo in late October. As of the time of this posting, it’s unknown if Swoope will be available for the game against the Jaguars today.
Walford Finds a New Home
My Cause, My Cleats
Week 13 serves as the one week in the NFL calendar where the NFL allows its players to have more of a voice and personality. The My Cause, My Cleats campaign has gone on for a couple seasons now, with players championing their personal brands, families and most of all charitable foundations that are important to them. Earlier this week we went into detail regarding Cowboys’ WR Allen Hurns advocacy for keeping schools safe as of a result of the Stoneman Douglas shooting. Today, it’s the rest of the league’s turn to show off their causes and flair on the field.
Here are just a few of the designs from some of your favorite ProCanes.
Hands Against Hunger
“Hands Against Hunger works to provide thousands of meals daily to children in need throughout the world, including Africa.”
Duke Johnson Jr
Anger Management/RAKE, Women Facing Their Future
“Johnson believes in displaying kindness to others and that giving back should be an important piece of everyone’s daily lifestyle, emphasizing that people should give what they can and expect nothing in return.”
.@deonbushlive2 of the @ChicagoBears and his foundation Doby's Dream partnered with Boys & Girls Club of Lake Forest to take part in workshops, team building and fitness exercises. @BearsOutreach pic.twitter.com/qsWQj7E1ko— NFLPA (@NFLPA) October 1, 2018
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
“The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is the nation’s largest non-profit dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide.”
Youth Aviation Education (EAA Young Eagles)
“Launched in 1992, the Young Eagles program has dedicated more than 25 years to giving youth ages 8–17 their first free ride in an airplane. It’s the only program of its kind, with the sole mission to introduce and inspire kids in the world of aviation.”
Breast Cancer Awareness (National Breast Cancer Foundation)
“NBCF’s mission is to help women now by providing help and inspiring hope to those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education and support services.”
CRC Foundation/ March of Dimes
Cancer Awareness/ Susan G. Koman
Supporting Education/ Allen Bailey Charities
Testicular Cancer Foundation
Coats Disease Awareness/ Jack McGovern Coats Disease Foundation
”Many pediatricians and eye care specialist aren’t able to diagnose Coats disease in children due to the lack of research and funding. This has prompted me to try and bring awareness to this very special cause. The fight against Coats disease empowers me to use my sight for good. With all that’s happening in the world today it’s easy to take for granted things like having full vision.”
Gun Violence/ March for our Lives
Domestic Violence Prevention and Awareness/ Next Door Solutions
Mental Health Awareness/ National Alliance for Mental Health
Youth Development/ Boys and Girls Club
Youth Engagement/ RJ McIntosh Foundation
Stomach Cancer Awareness/ American Cancer Society
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!