Category Archives: Pro Football

Washington Redskins vs. New Orleans Saints Monday Night Football Preview

History can be made to close Week 5 of the NFL season when the Redskins visit the Saints in a showdown of NFC division leaders on Monday Night Football. Saints quarterback Drew Brees needs 201 passing yards to become the NFL’s all-time leader, a record currently held by Peyton Manning with 71,940 yards. Brees comes into this game third on the all-time list and he needs just 99 yards to pass Brett Favre en route to Manning.

Washington Redskins

The Redskins claimed first place in the NFC East while enjoying their bye week and they’re looking for back-to-back victories following a 31-17 Week 3 win over the Packers on September 23. The Redskins got pressure on Aaron Rodgers for most of the game, sacking him four times, led by two from defensive end Jonathan Allen.

Alex Smith completed 12 of 20 passes for 220 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, adding 20 yards on the ground on seven carries, veteran running back Adrian Peterson had a strong game with 120 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries and tight ends Vernon Davis and Jordan Reed combined to make six catches for 135 yards.

The Redskins are averaging 245.3 passing yards (18th in the NFL) and 137.7 rushing yards (5th). Washington ranks 23rd with 21.3 points per game and 2nd with 14.7 points against. Alex Smith has passed for 767 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception, Adrian Peterson has 236 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 56 carries and Jordan Reed has 14 receptions for 168 yards and one touchdown. Mason Foster has 27 tackles and Matt Ioannidis has three sacks.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints bounced back from their 48-40 Week 1 loss against the Buccaneers with three straight wins, including last Sunday’s 33-18 road victory over the Giants. Drew Brees was the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 5,000 yards in a season after Dan Marino, he’s one of only five signal-callers to reach that milestone and the only one to do so in multiple seasons with five.

At 39 years old Brees has shown no signs of slowing down, although his numbers against the Giants were not that impressive by his standards. Brees completed 18 of 32 passes for a season-low 217 yards and no touchdowns, ending a 10-game streak with at least one but he was still effective enough with Alvin Kamara‘s help to lead the Saints on three second-half touchdown drives. Kamara finished with career-highs of 134 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

The Saints are averaging 313.8 passing yards (7th in the NFL) and 104.5 rushing yards (18th). New Orleans ranks 3rd with 34.3 points per game and 29th with 30.3 points against. Drew Brees has passed for 1295 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions, Alvin Kamara has 275 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 56 carries and Michael Thomas has 42 receptions for 445 yards and three touchdowns. Demario Davis has 37 tackles and Cameron Jordan has four sacks.

NFL Trends:

The Washington Redskins are:

4-0 ATS in their last four games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game

6-2 ATS in their last eight road games against a team with a winning home record

9-4 ATS in their last 13 games against a team with a winning record

6-0 ATS in their last six meetings

4-0 ATS in their last four meetings in New Orleans

The New Orleans Saints are:

1-4 ATS in their last five home games

1-4 ATS in their last five games following an ATS win

2-9 ATS in their last 11 games in Week 5

1-5 ATS in their last six Monday games

The underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings between these two teams and the Redskins have a much-improved defense with a strong defensive line led by Jonathan Allen that can generate enough pressure on Drew Brees. Alex Smith always takes care of the football and although he may not have a cannon like Patrick Mahomes, he keeps defenses alert while exploiting mismatches in the middle of the field. Brees will break the all-time record for passing yards but the Redskins will cover the spread.

NFL Pick: Redskins +6.5 (-110)

Odds via Jazz Sports

Jake Walker runs OddsandNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter (@Walker_J23)

NFL Week 5 Injury Updates

Dalvin Cook is not expected to play for the Vikings in week 5. Cook has battled hamstring woes all season and sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL Network that it would take an impressive turnaround for him to be on the field.

Here’s a rundown of more updates on player injuries:

  • Tight end Hayden Hurst is expected to make his debut for Ravens against the Browns, according to Adam Schefter’s twitter feed.
  • Larry Fitzgerald, who is dealing with back and hamstring injuries, is expected to play for the Cardinals against the 49ers.
  • 49ers RB Matt Breida is expected to play in the game as well.
  • Aaron Rodgers is no longer on the injury report for the Packers.
  • Davante Adams remains listed as questionable with a calf injury and is expected to play. Randall Cobb is not expected to play in the contest against the Lions.
  • Marvin Jones is expected to suit up for the Lions.
  • Greg Olsen won’t play in week 5, though there’s a chance he suits up for the Panthers in week 6.

 

NFL Week 5 Power Rankings

The NFL season is a quarter way finished, and we are down to only two unbeaten teams: the Rams and the Chiefs. Those teams were 1-2 in last week’s rankings, and there isn’t any good reason to change that this week. But as for positions 3-10, a little shakeup this week as per usual, and some surprising entrants into the top five and top ten. Will the Patriots or Packers re-enter the list after dominant performances against AFC East competitors? Which teams crack the top ten for the first time in 2018? Full list:

1) The Los Angeles Rams          2018 Record: 4-0          Previous Week: 1 ( – )

The Rams took down the Vikings last Thursday to move to 4-0 this year. Jared Goff racked up over 450 yards and five TDs, finishing the game with a perfect passer rating. The Rams defense was finally tested, but their high powered offense proved too much for Minnesota to overcome. The Rams rank 2nd in the league in points per game (35.0) and also have the most 1st downs (105) through the first four weeks. The Rams are tied for 3rd in the NFL with a +4 turnover margin, and are also T-2nd best in the league at converting on 3rd down (48.8%).

2) The Kansas City Chiefs         2018 Record: 4-0          Previous Week: 2 ( – )

The Chiefs appeared to be on their way to their first loss this week at Mile High. That was before Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs down the field for two fourth-quarter TD drives, the second of which was the game-winner capped off by a Kareem Hunt four-yard rushing score. In the process, the Chiefs broke the Broncos‘ streak of 65 straight wins when leading by at least ten points in the 4th quarter. It was also the first time in 37 games that the Broncos had surrendered over 300 net passing yards; which had been the longest streak in football. A full quarter into the 2018 season, it is hard to argue that Patrick Mahomes isn’t the front-runner for NFL MVP.

3) The Chicago Bears           2018 Record: 3-1            Previous Week: 6 ( +3 )

For most of the year, the buzz surrounding the Bears has been focused on their new look defense. This past Sunday, the defense again was dominant, as they held the fiery Buccaneers offense to only ten points. But the bigger story was Mitchell Trubisky’s six TD passes en route to putting up a near 50 burger on the Bucs. The Bears currently rank T-3rd in scoring defense (16.3 PPG) and 8th in scoring offense (27.8 PPG). Perhaps more impressive, the Bears have forced 11 turnovers already on defense while only coughing the ball up five times. That +6 turnover ratio ranks 2nd in the NFL to the Browns.

4) The Jacksonville Jaguars           2018 Record: 3-1          Previous Week: 4 ( – )

The Jags dominated the Jets this past Sunday, nearly doubling them up in time of possession. Blake Bortles was able to connect with Dede Westbrook nine times for 130 yards. Bortles also found Donte Moncrief five times for 109 yards, most of which came from a big 67 yard TD pass late in the 3rd quarter. I don’t think we learned a whole ton about the Jags this week that we didn’t already know. Four games in, the Jags have the best scoring defense in the league (14.0 PPG). They also commit too many penalties and have turned the ball over seven times already. Their -4 turnover margin is tied for worst in the NFL.

5) The Cincinnati Bengals          2018 Record: 3-1           Previous Week: 8 ( +3 )

The Bengals beat the Falcons this last week in a shootout 37-36. Andy Dalton led a 75 yard game winning TD drive that was capped by a 13 yard score to AJ Green. This Bengals offense has been electric thus far, ranking 4th in the league in scoring (31.5 PPG). They are also the most efficient team inside the 20 yard line, scoring on 11/13 attempts (84.6%). The Bengals are also T-3rd in first downs (98) and are the 5th best team converting 3rd downs (46.5%). The upcoming schedule for this red hot offense looks promising. They play a Miami team next week that was just routed by the Patriots. After that, their next four opponents all are among the bottom eight teams in points allowed (PIT, KC, TB, and NO).

6) The Baltimore Ravens            2018 Record: 3-1           Previous Week: 9 ( +3 )

The Ravens secured a huge win Sunday night in Pittsburgh, downing the Steelers and holding them to only 47 second-half yards. The Ravens defense stepped up huge down the stretch, and Joe Flacco was able to handle the not so elite Steelers defense for 363 yards and two TDs. He also connected with the speedy John Brown three times for 116 yards and a score, including a 71 yard catch and run in the 2nd quarter. The Ravens are one of two teams, the other being the LA Rams, to rank within the top five for both scoring offense (5th; 30.8 PPG) and scoring defense (T-3rd; 16.3 PPG). The Ravens defense is also 2nd best in the NFL at getting off the field on 3rd down, allowing conversions on just 27.8% of attempts.

7) The Philadelphia Eagles          2018 Record: 2-2          Previous Week: 3 ( -4 )

I do not see a three-point OT loss to a better than expected Titans team as a dagger to this Eagles season. And most weeks, it wouldn’t cause them to slip this far at all. What does worry me slightly is the Eagles rank T-26th in scoring (20.5 PPG) through the first four weeks. Another troubling stat about this Eagles team is they have put the ball on the ground 11 times so far, losing five of those fumbles. Their -3 turnover ratio is T-2nd worst in the league. Defensively, Philly has been solid. They rank 3rd in the league in defensive 3rd down conversions allowed (28.3%) and have only allowed seven scores on 16 red zone attempts. Their 43.8% defensive red zone percent ranks 6th best in the NFL thus far.

8) The Tennessee Titans          2018 Record: 3-1           Previous Week: NR

Last week, I mentioned the Titans were tied with the Jags stout defense for best red zone percentage and best at keeping teams out of the red zone entirely. This past Sunday, they found themselves backed up in the red zone at the end of regulation, but held tough forcing a FG to take the game into OT. Again in OT, the Eagles had a 1st and 10 inside the Tennessee 20, but had to settle for a FG. The Titans defense has come up big inside the 20, allowing a league-best 20% of drives inside the red zone to result in a score. They also rank 6th best in the NFL in overall scoring defense (18.3 PPG). Marcus Mariota led the Titans from 14 points down midway through the 3rd quarter. Mariota finished with 344 yards and three total TDs (1 rushing). He also found his #1 target, the 5th overall pick of 2017’s draft Corey Davis, nine times for 161 yards that included the ten yard score in OT.

9) The New Orleans Saints         2018 Record: 3-1          Previous Week: NR

The Saints took down the Giants this week to move to 3-1. Drew Brees leads this offense that ranks 3rd best in the NFL at 34.3 PPG. Brees has been extremely solid to begin 2018, he has 1295 yards, eight TDs, and zero INTs through the first quarter of 2018. The Saints have also added seven rushing TDs so far, five of those by the 2nd year man Alvin Kamara. Defensively, the Saints haven’t gotten off to as hot of a start this year. They rank 29th in the NFL in points allowed (30.3 PPG) and have surrendered the 3rd most yards through the air through four games.

10) The Green Bay Packers          2018 Record: 2-1-1          Previous Week: NR

The Packers rebounded from a tough loss to the Washington Redskins by blanking the Bills 22-0. That shutout was the Packers’ first in eight years, and included a total of seven sacks of Buffalo rookie QB Josh Allen. The Pack defense also forced three turnovers and held the Bills to just 3/16 on 3rd down. Aaron Rodgers, still suffering the lingering effects from a Week 1 knee sprain, wasn’t his normal self. However, RB Aaron Jones was effective on the ground, running 11 times for 65 yards and a score. He could prove to be a real difference maker going forward for this Packers offense. At the least, he could take some pressure off of Green Bay’s all-pro QB until his knee is 100%. This Packers defense is playing better than last year’s team that ranked 26th in scoring. So far in 2018, they rank 11th in scoring defense (20.8 PPG), are T-9th with five takeaways, and also rank T-4th in the league in sacks (13.0).

12 NFL Trends To Note

We’ve hit the quarter-mark on the season and it’s time to look at some players that are trending in the right direction and some that are heading the wrong way:

  1. Nyheim Hines has played on 70.5% of the Colts offensive snaps during the past two games. Marlon Mack missed both of those contests and three out of four this season with injury woes.
  2. Hines is averaging 8.3 targets per game when Mack sits. Mack is also not expected to play on Thursday.
  3. Over the past two weeks, Eric Ebron has run the second-most routes of all tight ends. He saw 21 targets over that span and should be in all lineups at least until Jack Doyle returns to full health.
  4. Sony Michel accounted for 69.4% of the Patriots’ backfield carries on Sunday, producing 112 yards.
  5. Michel received nine red zone carries over the last two weeks, which is six more than the next highest back (James White).
  6. Kerryon Johnson continues to look good when he’s on the field, gaining 55 yards on nine carries against the Cowboys in week 4. He only saw 20 snaps, running just seven routes, seeing just one target. On the plus side, he handled on the Lions‘ only red zone carry.
  7. Larry Fitzgerald only made three catches during Josh Rosen‘s first start, though better times may be on the horizon. The future Hall-of-Famer recorded a team-high 26% target share from the rookie. Expect brighter days, especially with a soft schedule approaching.
  8. Nelson Agholor is nice buy-low candidate. Alshon Jeffery stole the receiving show for the Eagles in his first game back, but Agholor actually had more targets. Agholor is still running nearly 70% of his routes from the slot, averaging 8.5 targets per contest.
  9. Jordan Howard has seen his snap rate decline in each of the past three weeks, going from 72.7% to 62.2% to 54.1% from weeks 2-4. The Bears were up big in the first half thanks to Mitchell Trubisky’s miracle 6-TD game, though Howard only saw one carry.
  10. Melvin Gordon is averaging 8.4 targets per game and his increased use in the passing game (something he was already a big part of last season) makes him a top-five player in all fantasy formats.
  11. What is going on with Kenyan Drake? He was only on the field for 44.9% of Miami’s offensive snaps on Sunday and ran just one more route than Frank Gore. The Dolphins just lost starting center Daniel Kilgore for the season so the sledding won’t get any easier for Alabama product.
  12. In five games without Leonard Fournette in the lineup, Blake Bortles is averaging over 34 pass attempts per game, including 45 and 34 attempts in weeks 2 and 3, respectively.

Kansas City Chiefs Vs. Denver Broncos Monday Night Football Preview

The red-hot Kansas City Chiefs look to stay undefeated when they clash with the Denver Broncos in an AFC West battle on Monday Night Football. Here’s a preview of the highly anticipated game:

Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes completed 24 of 38 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-27 win against the 49ers on Sunday. It was his first regular season start at Arrowhead Stadium and Mahomes now has 13 touchdowns and no interceptions in three games, a new NFL record for most touchdowns in the first three weeks of a season (Peyton Manning threw 12 touchdowns in the first three games in 2013). The Chiefs became the third team to score at least 38 points in each of the first three games of a season, joining the 2007 Patriots and the 1967 Colts.

Kareem Hunt finished with 44 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries in the win, Travis Kelce made eight catches for 114 receiving yards and Sammy Watkins had five receptions for 55 yards and one touchdown for a Chiefs team that was 7-for-11 on 3rd down efficiency.

The Chiefs are averaging 295.0 passing yards (7th in the NFL) and 103.3 rushing yards (15th). Kansas City ranks 1st with 39.3 points per game and 30th with 30.7 points against. Patrick Mahomes has passed for 896 yards, 13 touchdowns and no interceptions, Kareem Hunt has 168 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 52 carries and Tyreek Hill has 14 receptions for 310 yards and three touchdowns. Anthony Hitchens has 32 tackles and Justin Houston has two sacks.

Denver Broncos

The Broncos suffered their first loss of the season, 27-14 against the Ravens last Sunday. Case Keenum completed 22 of 34 passes for 192 yards and an interception in the setback while Royce Freeman ran for just 53 yards on 13 carries, although he scored a touchdown. Demaryius Thomas led the team with five receptions for 63 yards.

Denver had 120 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries and if they want to have a chance to beat this talented Kansas City team they need to run early and often and keep the ball out of Mahomes’ hands.

The Broncos are averaging 238.0 passing yards (16th in the NFL) and 144.7 rushing yards (3rd). Denver ranks 19th with 20.3 points per game and 16th with 23.3 points against. Case Keenum has passed for 743 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions, Phillip Lindsay has 198 rushing yards and on 33 carries and Emmanuel Sanders has 19 catches for 269 yards and one touchdown. Todd Davis has 21 tackles and Von Miller has four sacks and 14 tackles.

NFL Trends:

The Kansas City Chiefs are:

7-1 ATS in their last eight games overall

6-1 ATS in their last seven games following a straight up win

6-1 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS win

12-4 ATS in their last 16 road games

20-7 ATS in their last 27 games against AFC West opponents

4-0 ATS in their last four road games against a team with a winning home record

The Denver Broncos are:

7-18-2 ATS in their last 27 games overall

5-15-1 ATS in their last 21 games against AFC opponents

1-9 ATS in their last 10 games following an ATS loss

1-8 ATS in their last nine games following a straight up loss

1-7 ATS in their last eight games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game

0-4 ATS against a team with a winning record

0-5 ATS in their last five games against AFC West opponents

 

The road team is 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings between these two teams and Patrick Mahomes is playing like an MVP. I’ll keep backing the Chiefs until someone slows down their offense. Mahomes will have a chance to shine in the bright Monday night lights in front of a national television audience and the stage won’t intimidate him. I’ll ride this streak out with Kansas City and lay the points.

NFL Pick: Chiefs -4.5 (-110).

Odds via Jazz Sports.

Jake Walker runs OddsandNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter (@Walker_J23).

NFL Week 4 Power Rankings

Entering Week 4 of the NFL season, there are some perennial powers not in their usual place atop the power rankings. The LA Rams and KC Chiefs appear to be the two hottest teams, but what about spots 3-10? Spoiler alert: you won’t find Tom Brady‘s Patriots or Aaron Rodgers‘ Packers. And you still wont see Big Ben’s Steelers, who just got their elusive first win. So who does fill out the best of the NFL after three weeks? You’re going to have to read to find out.

1) The Los Angeles Rams          2018 Record: 3-0          Previous Week: 1 ( – )

The Rams continued their roll in week three, downing the Chargers 35-23. Jared Goff had an impressive showing, tallying over 350 yards in the air, and adding three TDs. He was able to find veteran WR Robert Woods 10 times for 104 yards and a score. Todd Gurley had another 100+ yard game and also added one score. He has been a regular there, as he’s tied for the league lead in rushing TDs with four. The Rams defense added two takeaways vs the cross-city Chargers, bringing their season total to six, which is tied for 6th best in the league. The Rams continue to lead the league in points allowed per game at 12.0. One interesting stat to note, teams aren’t running on the Rams. In three games, teams have rushed 58 times against them (2nd fewest). However, in those 58 rushes, albeit a small sample, the Rams are giving up 5.0 yards per carry (6th worst).

2) The Kansas City Chiefs          2018 Record: 3-0          Previous Week: 5 ( +3 )

What a start to the season for 2nd year QB Patrick Mahomes. Through three games, he has thrown for 896 yards and 13 TDs. That may seem pretty impressive for a 2nd year signal caller, but perhaps even more so, he has yet to throw an INT. That ball security has led Kansas City to a 3-0 record. Thus far, the Chiefs have committed only one turnover, which ranks 1st in the NFL. With elite weapons on offense like Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins, and Kareem Hunt, it is no wonder Kansas City leads the league in PPG (39.3). As much as their defense has been shredded thus far, the Chiefs defense actually ranks first in a key category. On third down, they’ve only allowed eight successful conversions of 31 attempts (25.8%).

3) The Philadelphia Eagles          2018 Record: 2-1          Previous Week: 4 ( +1 )

The Birds saw the return of their franchise QB, Carson Wentz, in week three. It may be a few weeks before the Eagles’ offense, which has battled injuries other than Wentz’s, will start to click on all cylinders. They should be able to be held afloat by their 1st ranked rushing defense. Overall, they rank T-8th in scoring defense (18.3 PPG) and may have the best front seven in the league. The Eagles also have one of the best offensive lines in the league, bolstered by all-pro left tackle Jason Peters. Dominating the line of scrimmage, the Eagles ran for 152 yards while only yielding 68 rushing yards vs the Indianapolis Colts. Their defense also racked up 5 sacks while nearly doubling up the Colts in total yards. Three games in, the Eagles defense ranks T-3rd in first downs allowed (48) and 9th in total yards allowed (314.67/game).

4) The Jacksonville Jaguars          2018 Record: 2-1          Previous Week: 2 ( -2 )

A tough divisional matchup with the Titans saw the Jags take their first loss of the season. Blake Bortles, who looked like an all-pro in week two, struggled in week three. He barely surpassed 150 yards in the air, as his team failed to score an offensive TD. The Jags should get a pick-me-up when RB Leonard Fournette returns from a hamstring issue. That said, Blake Bortles will need to perform better than he did this week to win games going forward. The Jags have played undisciplined football the first three weeks, and they rank 4th worst in penalties (26) and 3rd worst in penalty yards (265). The Jags defense is ranked T-2nd best in the NFL allowing just 14.7 PPG. Their defense is also tied for the best redzone percetage (16.7%) and fewest attempts allowed inside the 20 (6). The team they are tied with in both categories: the Tennessee Titans.

5) The Miami Dolphins          2018 Record: 3-0          Previous Week: 10 ( +5 )

Say what you want about the Fins’ quality of competition through three games, this team can win games, and it is not just because QB Ryan Tannehill ranks 4th in both completion percentage (73.0%) and QB rating (121.8). But that sure doesn’t hurt. The Dolphins have been stout against the run, allowing only 3.3 YPC, which ranks 2nd in the league. Then, add in the fact the Fins lead the league with 7 INTs, and they rank 3rd in the league in defensive red zone percentage (33.3%), this team can play. They will, no doubt, face their toughest QB matchup this season when they travel to Foxborough this week to face Tom Brady and the Patriots. But if you’re a Dolphins fan, there may be a tad more optimism about this matchup than usual.

6) The Chicago Bears          2018 Record: 2-1          Previous Week: NR

Last week I debated back and forth whether to put the Bears or Dolphins at #10. The Bears had a tough loss in week one to the Packers, a game in which they led for most of the way. But after three games, it is more than obvious: the Bears are back. They rank 2nd in the NFL to the Eagles in rushing yards allowed (196) and they also rank 2nd in first downs allowed. Through three games, they rank T-2nd in the league with eight total takeaways, thanks in large part to the addition of DPOY Khalil Mack. If it wasn’t for the heroics of Aaron Rodgers and Vicodin, the Bears would be 3-0 at this point. Jordan Howard hasn’t gotten fully going yet, and neither has Tarik Cohen. Mitchell Trubisky has a very respectable completion percentage (69.2), but it hasn’t translated to a ton of yards. With a superb playmaking WR like Allen Robinson, the Bears will look to find an offensive rhythm against a Buccaneers team ranked 31st in yards allowed and 29th in points allowed.

7) The Minnesota Vikings         2018 Record: 1-1-1         Previous Week: 3 ( -4 )

The Vikings were ambushed by the Bills in week three. Josh Allen led Buffalo into Minneapolis and it seemed they were up 17-0 before the game started. It wont get easier this week either, the Vikings have to travel to LA on a short week to play the Rams Thursday night. The Vikings rank 9th in passing defense going into their prime time matchup with the Rams. They also are 8th best in the league in rushing YPC (3.6), and they also have been stingy in the red zone, allowing only four scores on 12 attempts (33.3%), which ranks T-3rd. It very well could be a lopsided Rams victory, but if the Vikings are up to the arduous task of slowing down Todd Gurley, they will have a chance.

8) The Cincinnati Bengals          2018 Record: 2-1          Previous Week: 7 ( -1 )

The Bengals fell in week three to Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Coming into the matchup they had been the 3rd ranked rushing defense. Christian McCaffrey changed that, single handedly, by racking up 184 yards on the ground. Newton added 36 yards of his own, and two scores. This week, the Bengals have to travel to Atlanta to face a team hungry to stay in their own divisional hunt. The Bengals will need to score more points than they have been scoring, especially with a defense that after three games is ranked dead last in third down percentage allowed (52.2%) and T-6th worst in red zone scoring percentage (77.8%). The good news, for Cincy, is the Falcons just allowed 43 points to the Saints. Andy Dalton and company will need to make use of the fact that, on offense, they are T-3rd in the league in red zone scoring percent (87.5%).

9) The Baltimore Ravens          2018 Record: 2-1           Previous Week: NR

The Ravens, through three games, have yet to not convert a red zone trip into a score. The lopsided win vs Buffalo in week one aside, the Ravens lost a close game to Cincy and just handed Denver its first loss. They also have one of the better RB tandems, in Alex Collins and Javorius ‘Buck’ Allen, who lead the NFL with a combined six rushing TDs. Thus far, the Ravens have allowed the 2nd fewest passing yards (169.3/game) and are a respectable 13th in rushing yards allowed (103.67/game). Their defense has tallied nine sacks (T-7th) and recorded three INTs (T-9th).

10) The Washington Redskins and the Carolina Panthers          2018 Records: 2-1    Previous Week: NR/NR

As we’ve already seen this season, there are sometimes ties in the NFL. Both the Redskins and Panthers enter a week 4 bye with a 2-1 record. Neither Cam Newton nor Alex Smith have been a true gunslinger this year. But both veteran QBs are taking care of the ball (1 INT each) and avoiding negative yardage (6 sacks each). The Redskins are tied with the Jaguars for the 2nd best scoring defense in the NFL (14.7 PPG). The Panthers, meanwhile, lead the league in rushing yards. Fourth on the list of rushing yards, the Washington Redskins. The Panthers are T-2nd in the NFL with only two turnovers lost, and directly behind them with three is the Redskins (T-5th). The Panthers and Redskins have both gotten off to good starts, and with no matchups this week, we’ll have to wait a bit to see more of each.

Fantasy Football Notes: Lions, Eagles, Bills, Bengals

Kerryon Johnson became the first Lions players to rush for 100 yards in a game last week since Reggie Bush did it in 2013. The rookie carried the rock 16 times for 101 yards, making a bevy of explosive plays.

While Johnson’s national televised coming out party may make it harder to obtain him in a trade, a favorable matchup with the Cowboys awaits, meaning it won’t get any easier to trade for him next Monday. Dallas star linebacker Sean Lee won’t play this week. The Cowboys allowed 1.7 more yards per carry with him on the sideline, compared to when he played last season. Jerry’s team spent a first-round pick on Leighton Vander Esch to prepare for Lee-less battles, having gone just 1-8 over the past three seasons when the former Penn Stater sits. Vander Esch should help to mitigate the loss, but it’s still a plus matchup for Lions rushers.

LeGarrette Blount could be a sneaky, low-cost play in daily fantasy. He saw 18 touches last week, producing 65 yards.

Player Snaps Percent Touches
Kerryon Johnson 33 44.60% 18
LeGarrette Blount 26 35.10% 18
Theo Riddick 21 28.40% 3

Johnson will eat into his volume after the big game, though Blount should still have a nice on role in week 4. Here’s more from around the league:

  • Alshon Jeffery was cleared for contact on Wednesday, though he was not on the field for practice on Thursday. For fantasy purposes, Jeffrey is a stay-away even if he suits up. With only two teams (Panthers and Redskins) on bye, there should be plenty of other WR options available to start this week.
  • Josh Allen may be a viable fill-in this week for those that lost Jimmy Garoppolo. He was the sixth-ranked QB on ESPN during week 3 and he faces a Green Bay squad that ranks 27th in defensive DVOA this season.
  • The Tyler Boyd breakout is for real. He was on the field for 38 of the team’s 47 pass plays and saw seven targets. He’s a WR3 with upside if A.J. Green suits up (he’s expected to as of this writing) and if Green can’t make it onto the field, Boyd becomes a must-start WR2.
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