After Thursday Night’s spectacular contest between the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers, the bulk of the NFL’s week four schedule commences this afternoon. This week also marks first week where team byes become a factor. Both the New York Jets (WR Braxton Berrios, TE Chris Herndon) and San Francisco 49ers will have the weekend off. For the rest of the ProCanes contingent, it’s business as usual.
The league has been competitive — save for the Miami Dolphins. Now is the time where the contenders separate themselves from the pretenders. A few games present some intriguing storylines, which we’ll cover in our game preview section.
New England Patriots (3–0) vs Buffalo Bills (3–0) 1pm EDT
Buffalo running back Frank Gore is now 357 yards away from third place on the NFL’s all-time rushing list. Gore is 437 yards behind Steve Smith Sr.’s record of 19,180 on the league’s all-time all-purpose yards list with.
The Patriots have been in cruise control since the start of the month. The average margin of victory is 26.6 points. Even the polarizing personality of Antonio Brown couldn’t derail the Patriots’ mojo. Now, QB Tom Brady and the Pats travel to Western New York to do battle with a pesky Buffalo team that sport an unblemished record to date. New England and ProCane WR Phillip Dorsett are off to an electric start. Dorsett has already recorded 13 receptions for 187 yards and three touchdowns through as many games. The fifth-year wideout has never been more efficient. Just two of his 15 targets were not turned into receptions and he hasn’t dropped a pass. Dorsett has struggled against Buffalo in the past, however. In five meetings, he has only recorded three receptions for 69 yards. Expect Dorsett to be a focal point of the Patriots’ passing attack.
RB Frank Gore continues to propel the Bills forward. New England presents the ultimate test for Gore and the Bills. Buffalo has lost their past five matchups against New England, with their last win occuring in 2016. However, the ProCane RB enters this AFC East match on a two-game TD streak. Should the former UM back find the endzone for a third straight game, it’ll be a feat he hasn’t accomplished since 2011! That’s easier said than done considering that Gore hasn’t scored against the Patriots in five previous games. If the Bills want to be taken seriously, they’re going to have to exorcise their New England demons.
With 88 rushing yards on Sunday vs. New England, @BuffaloBills RB @FrankGore will become the fourth player to reach 15,000 career rushing yards in @NFL history. The three other players to reach the mark are all enshrined in @ProFootballHOF. #NFL100 #NEvsBUF pic.twitter.com/GW0UPDhAbs— NFL345 (@NFL345) September 27, 2019
Los Angeles Chargers (1–2) vs Miami Dolphins (0–3) 1pm EDT
The Chargers have been competitive through their first three games, but find themselves a game below .500. Thank goodness they get to travel to Hard Rock Stadium and play the Miami Dolphins! It will be a big homecoming for the ProCane fraternity of the Bolts, as LB Denzel Perryman, S Rayshawn Jenkins, K Michael Badgley and WR Travis Benjamin return to their old stomping grounds. After not recording a stat through his first two games while dealing with an ankle injury, Perryman recorded six tackles against Houston last week. This week, against a Miami rushing attack that ranks 31st (45 yards-per-game), the linebacker will be in line for a perfect ‘get right’ game.
I mentioned that talking about the Dolphins would be few and far between until the acaully were competitive. There were some signs of life from the Phins in week three’s loss to Dallas. This franchise is still focused on the 2020 NFL Draft. The good news is that LB Trent Harris was finally healthy enough to see the field a week ago. RB Mark Walton did not play last week and was not listed on the Dolphins’ injury report.
Los Angeles should roll in this one. Let’s move on.
Washington Redskins (0–3) vs New York Giants (1–2) 1PM EDT
This game might as well be titled the ‘Ereck Flowers game.’ Drafted by the Giants with the ninth overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, Flowers was labeled a bust during his time in Gotham. After his release in 2018 and a brief pit stop in Jacksonville, the former offensive tackle is now playing guard for the Redskins. Flowers has started the season well, not allowing a sack in three games.
A pair of ProCane defenders will try to change that stat today. DL Olsen Pierre and RJ McIntosh have experienced some growing pains, but the Giants were able to secure their first win of the season last week. Pierre has been the more disruptive force of the two, tallying a sack. Despite the fact that RJ McIntosh has not registered a stat through three games, PFF has the second-year lineman graded as the Giants’ ninth-best defender (66.2).
This game will come down to whether NYG quarterback Daniel Jones and the Giants’ offense can repeat their scoring output from a week go. If the answer is yes, then Big Blue should get their second win of the season.
Cleveland Browns (1–2) vs Baltimore Ravens (2–1) 1PM EDT
Both the Browns and Ravens enter week four off the heels of tough losses. This a significant contest for both sides, but maybe more so for Cleveland. Despite all of their acquired talent, Cleveland has yet to resemble the offensive dream team that they were projected to be in the offseason. Part of that has to do with their offensive line being unable to protect QB Baker Mayfield. The loss of ProCane TE David Njoku only made matters more complicated.
On the defensive side of the ball for Cleveland, it’s been a glass half-full — or empty — approach. Apart from Olivier Vernon giving a shoutout to American Senior High School instead of the U, the defensive end continues to be stout as a run defender. Bookended by DE Myles Garrett, they have been productive in the first three games. Where Vernon has struggled has been in his tackling and his ability to generate a pass rush. He currently has 12 pressures (0 sacks, 2 QB hits and 10 QB hurries). With Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson truly being a Madden create-a-player come to life, the Browns will need all their pass rushers to be productive in this important divisional game… especially with a secondary that could be without its top two corners for a second consecutive week.
Cleveland DE Chad Thomas got a feature role on Sunday Night Football a week ago. According to PFF, Thomas was on the field for 11 snaps and generated a pressure. Better known to fans of hip hop as ‘Major Nine’, Thomas’ 35 snaps in 2019 have exceeded the 22 he earned in his rookie year.
Carolina Panthers (1–2) vs Houston Texans (2–1) 1PM EDT
Don’t look now, but Greg Olsen appears to have rounded back into form. The former Hurricane star has put up big numbers for the Panthers over the past couple of weeks. His two touchdowns against Arizona in week three made it his first multiple score game since week three in 2015. QB Cam Newton has already been ruled out this week with a foot injury, so QB Kyle Allen will once again start under center. From a fantasy perspective, Olsen is a must-start, regardless of who is behind center.
RB Duke Johnson may have changed locations, but the offensive weapon continues to be underutilized. Duke rushed just twice for two yards against the Chargers. He did manage to salvage the afternoon with two receptions for 22 yards. The Texans were victorious, so any complaints regarding lack of snaps will come on deaf ears. Facing a Carolina defense that has bent and broken at times, Johnson will likely factor more in the Texans’ passing game than as a ball carrier.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1–2) vs Denver Broncos (0–3) 4:25pm EDT
Calais Campbell was back in prime form on Thursday Night Football. Despite being hampered by a foot injury, the ProCane defensive end put together a seven-tackle and three-sack performance with TFL and five QB hits against Tennessee. The King of ‘Sacksonville’ remains on his throne. Campbell and the Jags will try to continue that performance against the winless Denver Broncos. Assuming the altitude doesn’t hinder Jacksonville, their defense could put up similar numbers against a Broncos offense that has struggled under pressure.
The biggest help to any new quarterback in the passing game is a tight end. A productive running game will also take the pressure off a young pivot’s mind. But, when it comes to pre-snap read and recognition, there’s no one more important than the center. ProCane C Brandon Linder has put in the work to help his rookie take a positive step forward in his first start. In Minshew’s first start on the road, Linder’s importance will be even more crucial to the Jaguars finding success on offense.
News and Notes
Joe Jack > Taco
In last week’s ProCane Preview, we mentioned the Dallas Cowboys’ decision to release former first round pick Taco Charlton. In an interview with The Dallas Morning News, Cowboys’ executive vice president Stephen Jones admitted that the team preferred ProCane rookie DE Joe Jackson to Charlton.
The Crescent City Gets an Armstrong
Ray-Ray Armstrong signed with the New Orleans Saints last week. The former Hurricane recently spent time with the Cleveland Browns before being released after training camp.
Phins off the Mark
The tank continues for South Florida’s ‘professional football’ franchise. In their loss to the Cowboys, RB Mark Walton did not get any carries or targets as the team went with their top two backs Kallen Ballage and Kenyan Drake. The lack of playing time could be an anomaly, unless it happens once again this week.
Week Four Injury Report
OT Seantrel Henderson —Houston Texans — OUT (Illness)
K Michael Badgley — Los Angeles Chargers — OUT (Groin)
WR Allen Hurns — Miami Dolphins — OUT (Groin)
WR Travis Benjamin — Los Angeles Chargers — Doubtful —(Hip)
LB Trent Harris — Miami Dolphins — Questionable — (Foot)
OG Jon Feliciano — Buffalo Bills — Questionable — (Neck)
DE Al-Quadin Muhammad — Indianapolis Colts — Questionable — (Neck)
ProCanes Fantasy Player of the Week
TE Greg Olsen
Olsen has been one of the most productive ProCanes through three weeks. I have faith that this hot streak will continue against a tough Houston defense.
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!