Sat Sep 18 9:33am ET
By ROB MAADDI
AP Pro Football Writer
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) throws against the Indianapolis Colts in the first half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) is sacked by Arizona Cardinals defensive end Michael Dogbe in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) waves to fans as he leaves the field following a 28-16 win over the Indianapolis Colts in an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Russell Wilson put off watching film for an extra hour to join Peyton and Eli Manning and provide commentary on the alternate ''Monday Night Football'' broadcast as the Ravens-Raiders thriller went to overtime.
After carving up the Colts' secondary in the opener, Wilson could afford a brief break.
No doubt, he'll be ready to lead the Seattle Seahawks (1-0) against the Tennessee Titans (0-1) on Sunday as the ''12s'' return to the stands for the first time since Dec. 29, 2019, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
''It was a blast to be on there with Peyton and Eli. I have such respect for their family and who they are,'' Wilson said. ''To be able to talk on `Monday Night Football,' talk about the game, and be an analyst in a way from our vantage point is something that I have always loved to do because I love the game. To be on there with guys like Peyton and Eli who love the game just as much is always fun.''
A win over the Titans would be Wilson's 100th regular-season victory in 146 career starts. Only Tom Brady (131) and Joe Montana (139) have won 100 more quickly.
The defending AFC South champion Titans are looking to avoid a 0-2 start following a poor effort at home in a 38-13 loss to Arizona last week.
Ryan Tannehill was sacked six times, Derrick Henry averaged only 3.4 yards per carry and the defense gave up 416 yards.
''We know last week wasn't our standard,'' said Henry, who led the NFL with 2,027 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2020. ''We just need to come out here and focus on being better, being locked in on what we have to do, play by play, and each rep. That is all we need to do. Guys are hungry to be better and just trying to put it together this week.
''We want to play to our standard, play to our identity, and we know it starts out here each and every day. Each and every rep, just locking in, working hard, focusing on what you have to do so you can go out there and play at a high level on Sunday.''
Week 2 kicked off Thursday night with Washington (1-1) edging the Giants 30-29 on Dustin Hopkins' 43-yard field goal on the final play - after an initial miss was negated by New York going offside. Graham Gano made five field goals for the Giants (0-2).
Los Angeles Rams (1-0) at Indianapolis (0-1)
Carson Wentz's debut with the Colts looked more like the way he finished last season in Philadelphia as he was constantly hit, hurried and harassed during a 28-16 loss to Seattle. It won't get much easier facing Aaron Donald and the stingy Rams with an undermanned offensive line. Two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Eric Fisher's status is uncertain and right tackle Braden Smith is dealing with a foot injury.
Meanwhile, Matthew Stafford's debut with the Rams couldn't have been any better. He passed for 321 yards and three touchdowns with a a career-high 156.1 rating in a 34-14 win over Chicago. The Rams aim to win a road opener for the fifth straight year under coach Sean McVay.
Kansas City (1-0) at Baltimore (0-1)
Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson face off for the fourth straight season in a matchup of MVP quarterbacks. Jackson is 0-3 vs. Mahomes, 30-5 against everyone else.
''It's not about me and Mahomes,'' Jackson said. ''Not to me. Probably to everyone else. But it's the Ravens vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.''
He's right, and the injury-depleted Ravens need a win after blowing a 14-0 lead Monday night against the Raiders.
Mahomes rallied the Chiefs to a win over Cleveland and still hasn't lost in September. He's 11-0 with 35 TDs and zero interceptions in the opening month.
New Orleans (1-0) at Carolina (1-0)
The Saints began the post-Drew Brees era with a resounding win over Aaron Rodgers and the Packers thanks to an efficient performance from Jameis Winston and a dominant defensive effort.
Carolina's Sam Darnold led his new team to a win over his old team last week, but he'll face a tougher test against the Saints than the Jets presented. Expect Christian McCaffrey to continue to get a heavy workload after totaling 187 yards on 30 touches in his first game back from an injury-riddled 2020 season.
Cincinnati (1-0) at Chicago (0-1)
Andy Dalton makes his first home start with the Bears and most fans hope it'll be his last. Nearly all of Chicago wants to see first-round draft pick Justin Fields, who played well in a brief appearance in the opener.
The Bengals got Joe Burrow back and he got them back in the win column. He had help from his college teammate Ja'Marr Chase, who had five catches for 101 yards and one TD in the overtime win over Minnesota. Joe Mixon, also back from injury, ran for 127 yards.
Houston (1-0) at Cleveland (0-1)
A popular pick to upend Kansas City in the AFC, the Browns wasted a 12-point halftime lead and lost a playoff rematch to the Chiefs. The Texans should help them avoid a 0-2 start.
Despite routing Jacksonville and spoiling Urban Meyer's NFL coaching debut, the Texans are still expected to be one of the worst teams in the league.
Baker Mayfield won't have Odell Beckham Jr. but threw for 321 yards without him, and he can turn to the backfield duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt anytime.
Denver (1-0) at Jacksonville (0-1)
Teddy Bridgewater was another quarterback who had a strong debut, leading the Broncos to a road win over the Giants. He's a solid bet to get Denver another road win over the lowly Jags.
No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence looks to improve on a so-so start. Meyer wants him to improvise more. It would help if Jacksonville didn't fall behind by a few scores early and could rely more on James Robinson's running and a more balanced attack.
Buffalo (0-1) at Miami (1-0)
The Bills, an even more popular pick than the Browns to overtake the Chiefs in the AFC, started out flat, losing at home to Pittsburgh. MVP runner-up Josh Allen got sacked three times and completed just 59% of his passes.
Good news for Buffalo is facing an opponent it has dominated recently, winning five straight. The Dolphins are 0-2 in home openers under coach Brian Flores. Tua Tagovailoa was efficient in a win at New England last week. He'll need to do more to beat the Bills.
New England (0-1) at New York Jets (0-1)
This is the first matchup featuring two of the five 2021 first-round QBs as Mac Jones leads the Patriots against Zach Wilson and the Jets, with both players seeking their first win.
New England has won the last 10 meetings and rookie quarterbacks are 6-21 against Bill Belichick since 2000. Robert Saleh has the home-crowd support as he looks for his first win as Jets coach.
San Francisco (1-0) at Philadelphia (1-0)
Nick Sirianni's impressive head coaching debut coupled with Jalen Hurts' stellar performance in a convincing win at Atlanta made the duo the talk of Philly. The praise won't last long if they stumble against the 49ers.
Jimmy Garoppolo led San Francisco to a big lead before the Niners had to hold off the Lions in a 41-33 win. Trey Lance threw a TD pass on his first NFL attempt, but Garoppolo can keep the rookie on the sideline by continuing his steady play.
George Kittle had a career-best 15 catches for 183 yards in a loss to the Eagles last October and he should have plenty of opportunity to do more damage.
Las Vegas (1-0) at Pittsburgh (1-0)
Fresh off leading the Raiders to an impressive comeback win, Derek Carr and Jon Gruden lead their team across the country on a short week. It'll be a tough challenge against the Steelers.
A win over another playoff team from the AFC North would be a major step forward for Gruden's rebuilding project that began in 2018.
Ben Roethlisberger is three TDs away from becoming the eighth quarterback to throw 400 career touchdowns.
Minnesota (0-1) at Arizona (1-0)
Kyler Murray was spectacular in the opener for the Cardinals, who also got an excellent defensive effort led by Chandler Jones with his five sacks. J.J. Watt plays his first home game in Arizona while eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson returns to face his former team.
Kirk Cousins and the Vikings had several chances to beat the Bengals but couldn't do it and now must win on the road to avoid 0-2.
Atlanta (0-1) at Tampa Bay (1-0)
The defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers needed some magic from Brady and a winning field goal from Ryan Succop to hold off Dallas in the NFL's kickoff game. Brady has never lost to the Falcons in eight meetings and Tampa is a 12 1/2-point favorite.
Arthur Smith's head coaching debut was a dud as Matt Ryan and the Falcons were held to two field goals. Look for Ryan to try to exploit Tampa's injury-depleted secondary.
Dallas (0-1) at Los Angeles Chargers (1-0)
Dak Prescott picked up where he left off last season before an ankle injury sent him to the sideline. But his outstanding performance against the Bucs wasn't enough because the Cowboys still are weak defensively.
Justin Herbert threw for 337 yards against Washington's strong defense, so he could have a career day facing Dallas. The Cowboys are battling more injuries with the possibility that four starters will be out. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence headlines that list.
Detroit (0-1) at Green Bay (0-1), Monday night
Aaron Rodgers looked more liked a guy who spent the offseason contemplating his next move than the reigning MVP in a shocking blowout loss to New Orleans last week.
Facing the Lions should get Rodgers and the Packers back on track. Detroit rallied to turn a 28-point deficit into only an 8-point loss in Dan Campbell's head coaching debut, but the Lions' best chance to beat Rodgers would be if the game was being played in Florida, where he is 3-5.
Carolina Panthers tight end Ian Thomas and tight end Tommy Tremble will take on the Giants in Week 7. Both players split the playing time relatively evenly last week, as Thomas played 54 percent of the snaps compared to Tremble's 51 percent. The Giants have allowed four touchdowns to the position, so one of these two could find the end zone in Week 7. Given that the Panthers have shown some creativity with Tremble at the goal-line, he looks like the slightly better bet of the two to produce a decent line.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell (foot) underwent foot surgery on Friday and could miss the rest of the season. The 24-year-old exited Monday's win over the Texans early with a foot injury. He was placed on injured reserve earlier this week. Campbell caught 10-of-17 targets for 162 yards and the one touchdown in five games this year. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Campbell underwent surgery on Friday, potentially ending his season. While Campbell is sidelined, T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal, and Michael Pittman should see an uptick in targets.
Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones continues to produce for fantasy managers. He rushed 13 times for 76 yards and caught all four targets for 34 yards and a touchdown in the Packers' 24-14 win over the Chicago Bears in Week 6. The 26-year-old has found the end zone six times over his last six games this season. Jones has made the most out of his receptions out of the backfield, averaging 8.9 YAC per reception, seventh among all running backs. Washington is ranked 28th in rush DVOA and allows 20 fantasy points per game to opposing team's running backs. Jones should be busy on Sunday and is set up to have a massive performance in a plus matchup against Washington in Week 7.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson has struggled this season heading into a favorable matchup against the Giants. Anderson has caught just 15 of 40 targets for 190 yards and two touchdowns, posting a career-worst 37.5 percent catch rate. However, 29 of those 40 targets have come in the past three weeks, as the speedy wideout has seen his involvement in the offense skyrocket with Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) sidelined. Anderson should remain heavily involved with fellow receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. (head) trending in the wrong direction for Sunday's game. With a potentially elite target share incoming and a matchup against a Giants defense that has allowed the eighth-most touchdowns to wideouts on tap- Anderson could be poised for his best game of the year.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers could have another massive fantasy day in Week 7 against the Washington Football Team. Washington has been unable to stop the pass and has given up the most yards through the air. The future Hall of Famer has been terrific in 2021, throwing for 1,436 yards and a 12:3 TD: INT ratio along with 27 rushing yards and two scores over six games in 2021. Rodgers is a surefire QB1 and is set to finish as a top-5 fantasy QB in a plus matchup against Washington.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore has morphed into an elite receiver this season. Moore ranks among the top-seven wideouts in targets, receptions, and receiving yards while on pace to smash his previous career-high of four touchdowns- he currently has three. The former 2018 first-round pick draws a potentially tricky one-on-one matchup this week against Giants corner James Bradberry, though New York's defense as a whole has struggled to contain the passing game. Moore has proven he can win any matchup and should be started as an elite WR1 this week.
Carolina Panthers running back Chuba Hubbard gets a great matchup in Week 7 against the Giants. New York ranks 27th in rush DVOA- and has allowed an average of 29.13 fantasy points per game to running backs, the fifth-most in the league. Hubbard has been a workhorse over the last two weeks, as he has played at least 65 percent of the snaps while averaging 23 touches per contest. In another potential boost to the rookie's value, head coach Matt Rhule spoke this week about making the Panthers a more run-first team moving forward. With RB1-level volume, Hubbard looks poised for a top-15 finish in Week 7.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold could be poised to bounce back in Week 7 against the Giants. After a hot start, Darnold has fallen back down to earth, as he has thrown just four touchdowns while tossing six interceptions in his last three games played. To make matters worse, head coach Matt Rhule has spoken this week about running the ball more- or essentially taking the ball out of Darnold's hands to limit mistakes. Even on potentially fewer passing attempts, the USC product is perfectly capable of delivering a solid fantasy line against a Giants defense that has surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Darnold is a sleeper option in Week 7.
Cleveland Browns kicker Chase McLaughlin made one of his two field goals in a 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 7. Kicking in windy conditions, McLaughlin made a 52-yard field goal at the end of the first quarter and had a field goal blocked by Denver near the end of the second. McLaughlin also chipped in two extra points in the win. The veteran has been an excellent find for Cleveland this season, going 10-for-11 on his field-goal tries and making all 17 of his extra points. He will take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8.
The Cleveland Browns defense played well in a 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 7's Thursday night game. Cleveland held the Broncos to 223 yards of total offense while picking up two sacks and an interception in the win. The Browns were led by Myles Garrett, who posted 1.5 sacks, with Jadeveon Clowney chipping in on the second sack. It wasn't all good news, however, as the team lost top cornerback Denzel Ward to a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter. Ward is headed for an MRI on Friday. Cleveland now has 10 days to rest up before an important divisional game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8.
Cleveland Browns tight end Austin Hooper led his team in receiving in a 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 7's Thursday night game. Hooper wound up catching two of three targets for 42 yards in the win on a windy evening in Cleveland. The veteran tight end did most of his damage on a 34-yard reception on Cleveland's second play of the game, a drive that ended in a D'Ernest Johnson touchdown. Hooper broke a streak of three straight games with less than 20 receiving yards in the win. The veteran tight end will look to build upon his performance in Week 8 when he takes on the Pittsburgh Steelers in a divisional clash.
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku caught both of his targets for 18 yards in a 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 7's Thursday Night Football game. Njoku showed his athleticism on a short screen pass on a third-and-nine in which he exploded up the field for a first down on a 12-yard gain, but he was mostly quiet after that. The veteran tight end hasn't done much since going off for 149 yards and a touchdown in Week 5, having corralled just three balls in the two games since. He will look for another big outing in Week 8's important divisional clash against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones (groin) and cornerback Denzel Ward (hamstring) are headed for MRIs on Friday after both got injured on Thursday night. Peoples-Jones pulled his groin during pre-game warmups and was held out of his team's 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos. Ward left during the fourth quarter of the win with a hamstring injury and did not return. The team, and fantasy gamers, will know more about the status of both players after their respective MRIs on Friday.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry caught five of eight targets for 37 yards in a 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 7. Landry was making his first appearance since Week 2 when he sprained his knee and instantly stepped in to lead the team in targets in the Thursday night win. The veteran wideout did provide a scare late in the game as he had to limp off of the field following his final catch of the game. He appeared to be in significant pain while being attended to by trainers on the sidelines but he eventually was able to return to action. Head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters after the game that Landry was shaken up on the play and that he will be okay. Landry now has 10 days to rest before Cleveland takes on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8.
Los Angeles Rams running back Sony Michel (shoulder) was a limited participant at Thursday's practice. He missed Wednesday's practice with a shoulder issue and was spotted in a red non-contact jersey on Thursday. The former New England Patriot has rushed for 205 rushing yards and a touchdown while hauling in four passes for 20 yards in his six games in 2021. Michel is the clear backup to Darrell Henderson Jr. and is a borderline flex play at best in Week 7 against the Detroit Lions. Fantasy managers should check Friday's injury report for Michel's official status as the 26-year-old is considered questionable for Week 7.
Cleveland Browns running back Demetric Felton carried the ball twice for 13 yards and added three receptions for 21 yards in a 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 7's Thursday Night Football contest. Felton showed explosiveness on his limited touches but mostly stood by and watched as teammate D'Ernest Johnson operated as the team's lead back in the win. The carries were the first of Felton's NFL career while he now has 11 receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown through six games. Considering his usage on Thursday night, Felton is unlikely to see a very large role in Week 8 when the Browns take on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. caught two of six targets for 23 yards in a Week 7 win over the Denver Broncos on Thursday night. Beckham, who was originally not expected to play through a shoulder injury, seemed to be affected by the issue as he committed a drop and slipped on another incompletion that most likely would have been caught had he remained on his feet. Beckham also aggravated his shoulder injury trying to make a diving catch and appeared to be in considerable pain, although he was able to return to the contest after halftime. Trending in the wrong direction, Beckham will be a shaky flex option in Week 8 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but at least he gets 10 days to heal up now.
Cleveland Browns running back D'Ernest Johnson turned in an excellent performance in a 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 7's Thursday night game. Johnson carried the ball 22 times for 146 yards and a touchdown while adding 22 yards on two catches in the win. The veteran back found the end zone on a four-yard run to cap off his team's first drive of the game. Johnson showed nice burst, agility, and power while running around and through attempted tackles in the win on Thursday evening. The Browns could be getting Nick Chubb (calf) back ahead of their Week 8 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers but Johnson should remain in the mix with Kareem Hunt (calf) still on the injured reserve list. Either way, Johnson needs to be rostered in all leagues moving forward.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Case Keenum completed 21 of 33 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown in a 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 7's Thursday Night Football game. Keenum, who drew the start with Baker Mayfield reportedly dealing with a fracture and a torn labrum in his left shoulder, mostly played well for Cleveland. His lone touchdown pass was a one-yard toss to fullback Johnny Stanton. He did dodge a bullet when the Browns recovered his fumble into the Denver end zone on a rushing attempt. With news coming out that Mayfield's shoulder injury is worse than initially reported, it wouldn't be a big surprise to see Keenum back out there in Week 8 when the Browns face the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Denver Broncos defense had promise heading into a Week 7 Thursday night matchup against a Cleveland Browns offense missing quarterback Baker Mayfield (shoulder) and running backs Nick Chubb (calf) and Kareem Hunt (calf). Cleveland's No. 1 rushing offense didn't miss a beat, as No. 3 back D'Ernest Johnson rushed for 146 yards and a score on 22 carries. The Browns rushed for a total of 184 yards in the 17-14 win. Denver's D allowed only 17 points, but they failed to record a turnover and managed just one sack on backup quarterback Case Keenum. The Broncos defense has created only one turnover during their four-game losing streak. The silver lining from Thursday is that top pass-rusher Von Miller (ankle) isn't expected to miss time after suffering an ugly looking ankle injury in the first half. Still, even if Miller plays in Week 8 against the Washington Football Team, this defense has become unreliable.