Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) runs against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)
Washington Football Team defensive tackle Tim Settle (97) smiles while talking with umpire Tab Slaughter (110) and referee Brad Rodgers (126) during a timeout in the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Washington Football Team tight end Logan Thomas (82) celebrates his touchdown against Philadelphia Eagles with teammate quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7), during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Arizona and Washington both enter Sunday's game at State Farm Stadium with something that's been quite elusive over the past few seasons: Momentum.
The Cardinals had an impressive 24-20 Week 1 win over the San Francisco 49ers, who played in the Super Bowl last season. Washington scored 27 unanswered points to knock off division rival Philadelphia 27-17.
The good news will continue for one of the teams this weekend. The marquee matchup appears to be Arizona's productive offense against Washington's defensive line, which had a big game against Philadelphia's depleted offensive line. Veteran Ryan Kerrigan had two sacks while rookie Chase Young added 1 1/2 sacks in his debut.
''It was pretty nerve-wracking watching their film - the eight sacks, causing turnovers, causing fumbles,'' Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury said. ''They were really, really good, so we just have to have a great week of practice, and like we've done playing the 49ers, you've got to have a plan for those edge rushers.''
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Arizona's offense was balanced in Week 1, throwing for 224 yards and running for 180 more. Second-year quarterback Kyler Murray ran for 91 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown. Kingsbury's offensive reputation when he came to the NFL was spreading the field and flinging the ball through the air, but the Cardinals have run for at least 180 yards four times in his 17 games as coach.
If Kingsbury is nervous about stopping Washington's pass rush, Washington coach Ron Rivera is right there with him when watching Murray.
''He's such an elusive guy,'' Washington coach Ron Rivera said. ''He gives me anxiety. What you want to do is you want to keep a guy like that in the pocket. You want to keep that guy contained. You don't want to give him an opportunity to extend plays. With his athleticism and his arm, he can make plays.''
The Cardinals got a big boost from center Lamont Gaillard and safety Chris Banjo after both had to play bigger-than-expected roles after injuries to starters. Both could see extended playing time against Washington.
The 24-year-old Gaillard was playing in his first NFL game when he came in for Mason Cole, who had a hamstring injury. He held his own against the experienced 49ers defensive line which is considered one of the best in the NFL.
''Very impressive, and that's how he's been,'' Kingsbury said. ''He's a very confident young man. He believes he could start anywhere and could be playing anywhere, and he prepares that way. So, I think when he stepped in, nobody blinked.''
Banjo played nearly the entire game after starting safety Jalen Thompson went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter. The 30-year-old Banjo had six tackles and proved he can be a solid replacement.
The Cardinals were trailing 10-0 in the first quarter against 49ers before a special teams play turned the momentum. Zeke Turner sliced through the line to block a punt and Dennis Gardeck recovered the ball to give Arizona possession at the San Francisco 10.
One play later, Murray hit Chase Edmonds for a 10-yard touchdown pass and the Cardinals were on their way to a win. Turner and Gardeck - who was recently named a team captain - have been a big part of the special teams unit for three seasons.
One big reason for Washington's eight-sack showing against Philadelphia was the play of Kerrigan. He's 32 now and could be a free agent after this season, but Kerrigan displayed in the season opener he can still make life difficult on opposing quarterbacks.
Rivera called Kerrigan ''a true pro'' who works on and studies his craft.
''He understands what it takes to prepare each week, to play physically and mentally,'' Rivera said. ''Because he does that, he has success.''
Scott Turner was offensive quality control coach under Rivera with Carolina in 2011 when they had Cam Newton as a rookie. Now he's Washington's offensive coordinator under Rivera with Dwayne Haskins, another first-round pick with the potential of becoming a franchise quarterback.
The Eagles game was the first chance for Haskins to play in Turner's offense, and his performance drew mostly positive reviews.
''There are probably some decisions he'd like to have back, but you're never going to be perfect in that regard,'' Turner said. ''Stuff happens really fast out there. He's got to see it out his eyes. The more he plays, the more he sees it and I think the better he's going to be at those types of things.''
WASHINGTON'S NEW LEFT TACKLE
While Trent Williams was bulldozing Arizona linebacker Jordan Hicks in his San Francisco debut, Washington turned to 2018 third-round pick Geron Christian to fill his old spot at left tackle. Things didn't go well early against Philadelphia for Christian, and Rivera expects him and left guard Wes Martin to be better as the weeks go on.
''They didn't play very well at the beginning of the game,'' said Rivera, who chalked it up to jitters and saw some progression. ''Hopefully they'll continue that trend and they'll both get better and better.''
Sunday Morning Update: Week 7
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel injured his left hamstring during the game against the New England Patriots, and has been ruled out for the game. Initially it was thought to be a potential knee injury, but there seems to be a sense of relief that he injured his hamstring instead. Additional injury updates will be provided as further information is known about the extent of the injury.
Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt carried the ball 18 times for 76 yards and added 26 yards and a touchdown on three receptions in a 37-34 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 7. It was another solid outing for Hunt, who now has three rushing touchdowns and four receiving scores in seven games this season. Established as a rock-solid RB1 in fantasy for as long as Nick Chubb is sidelined by a knee injury, Hunt has benefited from playing for one of the most run-heavy offenses in the league. He will take on the Las Vegas Raiders at home in Week 8.
San Francisco 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. was forced to leave the game against the New England Patriots with a leg/ankle injury. Wilson had just scored his third touchdown of the day, and was in the midst of a career game, but was noticeably injured on the play and had issues standing up on his own. He had to be carted to the locker room, and will be evaluated further, but it certainly seems like he's done for the day and it also didn't look like a minor injury. Stay tuned for further updates.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield completed 22 of 28 passes for 297 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception in a 37-34 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 7. Mayfield's five touchdown passes sets a new career-high, beating his previous best of four TD tosses which he did back in Week 12 of the 2018 season. Even more impressive, he did so without star wideout Odell Beckham Jr. for almost the entire game after Beckham was injured on the second offensive play of the game for Cleveland. Mayfield found rookie tight end Harrison Bryant for scores twice, Kareem Hunt once, and Donovan Peoples-Jones for the game-winning score with 15 seconds left in the game. Mayfield shoots back up to the high-end QB2 ranks after his big game. He now has 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions through seven games. He will face the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 8.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Deonte Harris hauled in four of five targets for 44 receiving yards, including his first career receiving score. Harris' score was crucial, as it came with just seconds left in the first half, giving New Orleans a 21-17 lead heading into the locker room. The dynamic return man flashed some receiving ability at Division II Assumption University, so he's certainly capable if the Saints need some more receiving work out of him. With Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19) out, Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) up in the air, and Marquez Callaway (ankle) banged up- Harris could be worth a look on the waiver wire in deep leagues.
Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (head) will not return to Sunday's matchup against the Chiefs. On a snowy, sloppy day in the Mile-High City, the 26-year-old suffered a concussion shortly before the end of the first half. Before his departure, he had nine attempts for 79 yards. Melvin Gordon, who also has nine carries, will likely serve as the featured back for the remainder of the contest. With more news to come, possibly sometime on Monday, fantasy managers will want to monitor this situation ahead of Denver's Week 8 against the Chargers.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith was targeted just four times but caught all four, totaling 56 receiving yards in a win over the Panthers. It wasn't the volume fantasy managers were hoping for from Smith, as he took a backseat to undrafted rookie Marquez Callaway (ankle). However, Smith really could be the lone wolf in the receiving room next week, especially if Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring), Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19), and Callaway are all out for a Week 8 matchup against the Bears.
The Washington Football Team defense had another good game against a banged-up offense as they dominated the Andy Dalton-led Cowboys. Dallas was playing without several starters on the offensive line and Washington took advantage as they sacked Dalton six times with one sack leading to a safety. Cole Holcomb led the charge for Washington with an interception and a sack from the middle linebacker position. In all, Washington allowed three points, recorded six sacks, a safety, and an interception on a great day for fantasy managers. The Football Team will have a bye in Week 8 but have another juicy matchup versus the Giants in Week 9 where they will be a startable unit in fantasy.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green had seven catches (13 targets) for 82 yards during the loss to the Browns on Sunday. The veteran recorded another convincing performance against Cleveland while combining for 15 receptions (24 targets) over the team's previous two contests. Although fantasy managers may not see this type of production against the Titans in Week 8, he could have some more favorable outings over Cincy's remaining nine games, especially if Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd continue to open things up for him.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marquez Callaway caught eight of 10 targets for 75 receiving yards in a 27-24 victory over Carolina. Callaway led the team in targets in the absences of both Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19). Somewhat quietly, the 22-year old rookie has compiled 16 targets over his last two contests. With Sanders definitely out and Thomas's status looking murky, Callaway makes for an interesting waiver add. He did sustain an ankle injury and had to be helped off the field to the locker room. If Callaway's ankle isn't anything serious, fantasy managers should consider him as a streaming option against Chicago.
The Dallas Cowboys Defense didn't fare well in Week 7 despite being matched up against a Washington Football Team that was allowing the third most fantasy points to opposing fantasy defenses. The Cowboys defense allowed 23 points, recording two sacks but no turnovers. The Cowboys will take on the Eagles in the battle of bad NFC East defenses next week, where they will not be a recommended fantasy option.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins caught all five of his targets to finish with 71 yards and a touchdown against the Browns on Sunday. The rookie now has three touchdowns on the year, finding the end zone for the first time since Week 3 against the Eagles. With Joe Burrow leading a pass-heavy attack for Cincy, Higgins may continue to benefit, especially with Tyler Boyd and A.J. Green drawing the attention needed to open things up for him over the remaining nine games of his inaugural season.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd caught 11 of his 13 targets to finish the Week 7 matchup against the Browns with 101 yards and a score. After fizzling out against the Colts last Sunday, the 25-year-old recorded one of his most convincing performances of the 2020 campaign. Boyd has now logged at least eight targets in five of Cincy's seven contests and should continue to benefit from the stellar play of rookie signal-caller Joe Burrow. However, things may get difficult for the former Pittsburgh Panther in Week 8 against the Titans, with Tennessee looking to rebound after suffering its first defeat of the year against the Steelers.
Dallas Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein attempted a field goal in Week 7, and it was good for the only three points the Cowboys scored in an ugly 25-3 loss to the Washington Football Team. Zuerlein made his kick from 45 yards out and was never on the field on offense again. The Dallas offense is in total shambles, possibly moving Zuerlein out of the top-15 fantasy kickers going forward. He should continue to be solid, but may not get enough opportunities to score significant fantasy points.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup came up empty in a rough Week 7 loss. Gallup was targeted twice but couldn't come down with either pass, ending up with a blank box score and zero fantasy points. Gallup was working as a field stretcher with Dak Prescott around, but now with Andy Dalton and possibly Ben DiNucci throwing the ball for the Cowboys, Gallup seems much more likely to hit the "bust" part of his boom-or-bust fantasy outlook.
Washington Football Team tight end Logan Thomas caught all four of his targets for 60 yards and a touchdown in a Week 7 win over the Cowboys. Thomas played second-fiddle to Terry McLaurin in the passing game as no other Washington player had more than two targets. Thomas made them count catching several big passes to move the chains while finding the end zone for the third time this season. Thomas has had an up-and-down season but is getting enough weekly targets to be considered a borderline starter in 12-team fantasy leagues. He'll be a touchdown-dependant starter in his next matchup in Week 9 versus the Giants.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard racked up 37 yards off 13 carries during the heartbreaking loss to the Cleveland Browns. He also added five catches for 59 yards and a touchdown. The veteran filled in admirably for Joe Mixon (foot), who is considered week-to-week after being injured during the Week 6 encounter with the Colts. At this point, the 28-year-old has likely found a home on fantasy rosters. However, if he is still floating around the waiver wire, managers should pick him up before it's too late, especially if Mixon cannot suit up against the Titans in Week 8. Although Bernard isn't the most efficient runner, he should continue to benefit from the team's pass-heavy offense.
New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray posted 56 scrimmage yards on 12 total touches in a victory over the Panthers. Murray's 4.3 yards per carry were a bit skewed, as he picked up 25 yards on one run and just 22 yards on the other 10 carries. Still, the opportunity Murray is getting is encouraging for those who have him rostered, as the coaching staff clearly trusts him. It bears repeating, but if something were to happen to Alvin Kamara, Murray would be an easy start as an RB1.
Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin posted a 7-90-1 line versus the Cowboys to help lead Washington to a win over their division rival. The sophomore receiver was a huge part of the game plan against a bad Dallas secondary as McLaurin was targeted 11 times, his fourth game this season with double-digit targets. It could have been an even bigger game for McLaurin but he came up inches short of the goal line on his first catch of the game. He made up for it a couple of drives later as he torched Trevon Diggs for a 52-yard score. McLaurin doesn't operate in the NFL's most electrifying offense, but his combination of skill and target-floor make him one of the best WR options in fantasy. He'll have another solid matchup with the Giants in Week 9 after the bye.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara carried the ball 14 times for 83 rushing yards and caught all eight targets for 65 receiving yards in a 27-24 win. The 83 rushing yards tied a season-high for Kamara, as the running room was easy to find against Carolina's ground defense. Amazingly, the star halfback has exceeded 100 scrimmage yards in every game but one- and he ended up with two scores in that contest to salvage his day. There might be no better player to roster in fantasy football right now, so managers should keep riding the Kamara wave into a Week 8 contest against a Bears Defense that can be had on the ground.