Wed Sep 23 2:45pm ET
By MARK LONG
AP Pro Football Writer
Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Ed Oliver (91) sacks Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14)during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
In this Sept. 20, 2020, file photo, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) walks in the bench area during an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, Tenn. Quarterback facial hair is sure to be front and center when the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) host the Miami Dolphins (0-2) on Thursday night, Sept. 24, 2020. Miamis Ryan Fitzpatrick has a bushy beard that covers much of his face and engulfs his chin strap; Jacksonvilles Gardner Minshew has a unkept horseshoe mustache that seems to go perfectly with his flowing locks. (AP Photo/Brett Carlsen, File)
In this Dec. 29, 2019, file photo, Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick speaks to the media following an NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass. Quarterback facial hair is sure to be front and center when the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) host the Miami Dolphins (0-2) on Thursday night, Sept. 24, 2020. Miamis Ryan Fitzpatrick has a bushy beard that covers much of his face and engulfs his chin strap; Jacksonvilles Gardner Minshew has a unkept horseshoe mustache that seems to go perfectly with his flowing locks. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) passes as he is pressured by Tennessee Titans inside linebacker Rashaan Evans (54) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) It's the Beard versus the 'Stache in prime time. Fitzmagic on one sideline, Minshew Mania on the other.
Maybe the loser should have to shave.
Quarterback facial hair is sure to be front and center when the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) host the Miami Dolphins (0-2) on Thursday night.
Miami's Ryan Fitzpatrick has a bushy beard that covers much of his face and engulfs his chin strap; Jacksonville's Gardner Minshew has a unkept horseshoe mustache that seems to go perfectly with his flowing locks.
''I think the beard is a cooler look,'' Fitzpatrick said Tuesday. ''I think guys that grow mustaches a lot of times have patchy sides for their beards, so they just stick with the mustache.''
The 24-year-old Minshew politely fired back at Fitzpatrick, 37.
''I'll let mine speak for itself,'' Minshew said. ''I think I've shown I can grow a beard with no patchy sides. But you know, I'm going to have respect for my elders, especially when they're much, much elder. I'll be respectful.''
One of Minshew's teammates, defensive end Josh Allen, might have a tougher time choosing between the two looks.
''We were in a little team meeting and somebody just brought up the beard and I was like, `Bruh does have a really good beard because his chinstrap is so small, and the beard is just everywhere.' It's kind of cool,'' Allen said before quickly adding that he'll ''rock with G-Money.''
Allen is more of a fan of Fitzpatrick's beard than the quarterback's wife.
''She hates when it's long like this,'' Fitzpatrick admitted. ''She hates when it's long because, for some reason, she thinks I'm handsome. But when it's long, I'm not handsome.''
Both QBs looked just fine in close losses last week. Minshew threw three TD passes for the third consecutive game, but he had two somewhat-fluky interceptions in a 33-30 loss at Tennessee.
Fitzpatrick threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-28 loss to Buffalo. He put the Dolphins ahead in the fourth quarter before Josh Allen rallied the Bills against Miami's struggling defense.
Fitzpatrick has won his past four starts against Jacksonville - each one with a different team. He beat the Jags with the New York Jets in 2015, with Houston in 2014, with Tennessee in 2013 and with Buffalo in 2012.
He's a part of one of the youngest teams in the NFL this year and will be facing another one filled with first- and second-year players, led by Minshew.
''I haven't seen him play a ton, but the few times I have, I like watching him,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''I enjoy his playing style. It looks like he's out there having fun. It's not easy to play quarterback in this league. It's not easy to play as a young quarterback. He's already had a lot of success.
''He's had a great start to the season. He's a guy that I don't think I've played against him, so I'm excited to watch him play and see how he does.''
After Fitzpatrick led the Dolphins in rushing last year, the team acquired veteran running backs Matt Breida and Jordan Howard to improve the ground game. Through two weeks they've combined for only 70 yards rushing on 25 carries, an average of 2.8 per carry.
Myles Gaskin, a seventh-round pick in 2019, leads Miami with 86 yards rushing.
''There is only one football,'' offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said. ''Nobody ever gets it enough. When you have good running backs, everybody cannot touch it as much as they would like.''
The Jaguars don't blitz much, but they might need to start if they can't create more quarterback pressure. They have two sacks in two games - only Carolina and Las Vegas have fewer.
''We all have to take that pride in just getting to the quarterback more, especially I do,'' said Allen, who had 10 1/2 sacks and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie last year. ''So I've just been grinding as much as I can and I've been thinking about all the missed rushes that I could've had. Just learn from that and just move forward.''
The Dolphins' secondary is sure to get tested by Minshew after allowing 413 yards passing last week against the Bills. Josh Allen's receivers were often wide open, and Miami's cornerbacks were repeatedly exposed on crossing routes in man coverage.
After Byron Jones was sidelined in the first quarter by a groin injury, former Pro Bowler Xavien Howard and first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene both struggled. The solution?
''My message to the guys is the guys we put you on, those are the guys we expect you to cover,'' Flores said.
Sunday Morning Update: Week 7
Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant (knee) is officially active for the team's Week 7 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Fant missed the team's last game against the New England Patriots while dealing with a knee injury. Fant will help give the team's offense a much-needed boost in a game where they'll need to put up some points to keep pace with the Chiefs. Through four games this year, Fant has 19 catches for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson (leg) suffered an injury after a reception late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans. He was helped off the field after the play and appeared to have hurt his leg. With the play coming late in the game, it might be unlikely that he'll return to the game. Johnson has had a great game with nine catches for 80 yards and two touchdowns.
San Francisco 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. (calf) is officially active for the team's Week 7 game against the New England Patriots. Wilson has been nursing a calf injury that forced him to miss the team's previous game against the Los Angeles Rams. With Raheem Mostert (ankle) on Injured Reserve, Wilson should see some opportunities in the game, but Jerick McKinnon will lead the backfield and rookie JaMycal Hasty may have passed Wilson on the depth chart as well. Wilson shouldn't be started in any fantasy leagues this week.
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (knee) had been limited at practice this week while dealing with a knee injury. However, he is officially active for the team's Week 7 game against the San Francisco 49ers. Edelman has struggled lately, with just seven catches over his past three games. He's tough to trust for fantasy purposes right now, but he should remain owned in all leagues as he can be a fantasy stalwart, especially in PPR, if he gets rolling.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Justin Jackson (knee) is officially active for Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jackson was limited in practice this past week while dealing with a knee injury. He has a fantastic matchup against a Jaguars Defense that has been torched on the ground this year. He should lead the Chargers backfield in the game with Joshua Kelley in a supporting act. Start Jackson as a low-end RB2 or flex.
Dallas Cowboys QB Andy Dalton (head) went to the locker room after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit during the Week 7 game.
Fantasy Spin: Ben DiNucci will take over the starting job as long as Dalton is sidelined. Dalton likely will be evaluated for a concussion and does not have a timetable for his return. Fantasy players should avoid the Cowboys quarterback situation until Dalton is back on the field.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton (head) has been taken out of the game in the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Washington Football Team. Dalton slid forward on a rushing attempt and was hit hard in the head by Jon Bostic. Dalton was helped off the field and Bostic was ejected from the game. Rookie seventh-round pick Ben DiNucci entered the game to take over under center for the Cowboys.
The New England Patriots have declared S Kyle Dugger, TE Devin Asiasi, QB Brian Hoyer, DT Carl Davis, CB Myles Bryant and RB J.J. Taylor inactive for Week 7.
The Kansas City Chiefs have declared DE Taco Charlton, LB Darius Harris, OT Mitchell Schwartz, RB Darwin Thompson, TE Ricky Seals-Jones and WR Sammy Watkins inactive for Week 7.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage (knee) left Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions with a knee injury and was deemed questionable to return. Luckily, he has made his return to the game early in the second half. Gage had two catches for seven yards on three targets in the first half. In the midst of a close game against the Lions, Gage should help give Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense a boost the rest of the way.
Tennessee Titans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is questionable to return to Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He left the game early in the third quarter after suffering a knee injury. The Steelers offense dominated the Titans Defense in the first half of Sunday's game. Titans cornerback Kristian Fulton (knee) also suffered a knee injury and is questionable to return as well, making things even tougher on the Titans defense.
The San Francisco 49ers have declared WR Dante Pettis, SS Jimmie Ward, LB Kwon Alexander, QB C.J. Beathard, CB Parnell Motley and SS Jaquiski Tartt inactive for Week 7.
The Denver Broncos have declared TE Andrew Beck, TE Jake Butt, QB Jeff Driskel, LB Jeremiah Attaochu, DT McTelvin Agim, WR Diontae Spencer and OG Netane Muti inactive for Week 7.
The Los Angeles Chargers have declared S Alohi Gilman, OT Storm Norton, OG Trai Turner, OT Bryan Bulaga, QB Tyrod Taylor, WR K.J. Hill and DL Cortez Broughton inactive for Week 7.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared OG A.J. Cann, QB Jake Luton, FS Jarrod Wilson, DL Daniel Ekuale, CB Luq Barcoo, LB Myles Jack, TE Tyler Eifert and TE Tyler Davis inactive for Week 7.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Le'Veon Bell could play around 30 percent of the offensive snaps for the Chiefs in his debut for the team, according to James Palmer of the NFL Network. That would be a pretty significant amount of play for Bell in his first game with the team, making him an intriguing flex play in a game where the snow and wind should lead to a lot of rushing attempts. It also knocks a few touches off of our projection for Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette (ankle) is active for Sunday's meeting with the Raiders. But with Ronald Jones II playing so well over the past month, Fournette being available doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things, as he projects to see very few touches and isn't a viable fantasy play right now. Maybe when he's fully healthy, the team will find a way to get him more involved.
The Las Vegas Raiders have declared QB Marcus Mariota, DL David Irving, WR Bryan Edwards, CB Keisean Nixon and OG Patrick Omameh inactive for Week 7.
Updating a previous report, Houston Texans CB Bradley Roby (knee) will not return to the Week 7 game because of his knee injury.
Dallas Cowboys DE Aldon Smith (knee) suffered a knee injury during the Week 7 game but is expected to return to the game.