Thu Oct 17 2:10pm ET
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Pro Football Writer
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady passes under pressure from the New York Giants in the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are still rolling right along with a high-powered offense and a stingy defense that has their record blemish-free.
The New York Jets look a bit different, though, from the team Bill Belichick's bunch beat 30-14 less than a month ago. And, it all starts at quarterback.
Luke Falk was under center then, making his first NFL start and looking overwhelmed and overmatched. Sam Darnold is back this time around, fully recovered from mononucleosis and coming off one of the best performances of his young career.
''He's a big, strong kid that can stand in the pocket and he's hard to tackle,'' Belichick said. ''He's not an easy guy to bring down. He's big, he can see and find guys under pressure.''
Darnold showed no signs of rust after missing three games because of his illness, going 23 of 32 for 338 yards and two TDs with an INT in a 24-22 win over Dallas and being selected the AFC's offensive player of the week.
It was a big boost for what had been a badly struggling Jets offense. Darnold's day was highlighted by his 92-yard touchdown throw to Robby Anderson, the longest offensive play in the NFL this season and the second-longest in franchise history.
Now, Darnold and the Jets hope to use that momentum to get something going against the Patriots' top-ranked defense at MetLife Stadium in a prime-time showdown.
''You've got to continue to grind,'' Darnold said. ''We know that after a good win, you've got to come right back in here because we got a tough one Monday night against the Pats. We know what our job is, we've just got to come in and get back to work.''
The Patriots are off to a 6-0 start for the fourth time in team history, with a chance to get to 7-0 for just the third time. They also have a chance to sweep the two-game regular-season series against the Jets for the fourth straight year.
Brady is 28-6 against the Jets in the regular season, including seven straight wins. He's also 16-7 in Monday night games, including 2-0 against New York. Meanwhile, Belichick is 18-8 on Monday nights - but just 9-7 in those games on the road.
''Monday night is always a high-energy game,'' Belichick said. ''We'll point to that and know it's always tough down there in New York. So, we need to have a good week here and be ready to go.''
Here are some other things to know for the latest Patriots-Jets showdown:
BEEN A WHILE
The Jets and Patriots play on a Monday night for the eighth time, and New York leads those matchups 4-3.
The previous time the AFC East rivals squared off on ''Monday Night Football'' was in 2010, when New England cruised to a 45-3 victory.
It's also the first time the Patriots are playing a Monday night game on the road against the Jets since 2005, when they won 31-21.
The Patriots entered Week 7 allowing a league-low eight points per game. One of the reasons is how stingy their defense has been on third down.
New England has held teams to an NFL-low 10 of 73 (13.7 percent) conversion rate in those situations. The fewest third downs allowed in a 16-game season is 49 by the 1991 New Orleans Saints.
In their Week 3 win over the Jets, the Patriots did not allow a third-down conversion, which is something New England has accomplished five times since 2000. Only five teams have not allowed a third down twice in the same season - the Packers (2005), Eagles (2009), Giants (2010), Dolphins (2011) and Saints (2018).
Le'Veon Bell hasn't had a breakout-type game for the Jets, but the fluid quarterback situation certainly hasn't helped.
With Darnold back and the offensive line improving the past few weeks, the star running back could start seeing some more opportunities to make plays. He has 256 yards rushing and a TD on 85 carries for a 3.0 average, and 28 catches for 169 yards and a score.
''Hopefully we can open it up a little bit for him,'' coach Adam Gase said. ''We've seen a lot of loaded boxes, he's had a lot of tough runs. He's made the most of what he's had and probably gotten us more than what we should have.''
WELCOME BACK, WATSON
Tight end Ben Watson is back for another stint with the Patriots and it's right on time for an offense looking for some stability and more production from the position.
The 38-year-old Watson was re-signed by New England on Wednesday, less than a week after being released. Belichick left the door open for Watson to return, saying he was cut simply because there wasn't an available roster spot once he returned from serving a four-game suspension for a positive banned substance test following last season.
Circumstances changed when Matt LaCosse injured his knee during the Patriots' win over the Giants on Thursday.
Without Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots haven't gotten a ton of production in the pass game from their tight ends. LaCosse and Ryan Izzo have combined for only nine catches for 169 yards.
Michael Bennett will be missing from the Patriots' defensive huddle on Monday night.
The defensive end was suspended for what he said in a statement to ESPN was a ''philosophical disagreement'' with defensive line coach Bret Bielema. Bennett also offered an apology for any distraction it might have created.
Belichick declined to comment when asked about the suspension this week.
The Patriots traded for the 11-year veteran in March, but his usage has steadily decreased over New England's first six games. Bennett has started just once and played a season-low 11 snaps in the Patriots' win over the Giants in Week 6.
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman will get a juicy matchup in Week 11 against a leaky Eagles secondary. Edelman has been as solid as a rock all season, posting 63 receptions for 663 yards and four touchdowns through his first nine games this season. Now he will face an Eagles Defense that is allowing the eighth most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. They have surrendered 12 touchdowns to receivers and 11 different receivers have scored 10-plus fantasy points against them. The Patriots passing game should be able to exploit the Eagles, making Edelman a low-end WR1 for Week 11.
New England Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu will look to build off his excellent performance in Week 9 when the Patriots take on the Eagles in Week 11. In his second game with his new team, Sanu caught 10 passes for 81 yards and one touchdown. The veteran now will face an Eagles Defense that is allowing the eighth most fantasy points to receivers this season. Sanu actually caught four passes for 16 yards against the Eagles in Week 2 but he played for the Falcons at the time. The Eagles secondary has allowed seven 100-yard receiving games to receivers this season, a number Sanu could conceivably achieve in Week 11. Sanu will carry WR2/3 value into Sunday's matchup.
The New England Patriots Defense will look to get back to its elite ways in Week 11 against the Eagles. The defense was exposed in Week 9 by the Ravens and have had an entire bye week to stew about it. They will face an Eagles offense that has been inconsistent this season and has allowed 12 sacks over their last four games. Before the Ravens game, the Patriots defense was on pace to break all sorts of fantasy records. Now they will have a chance to get back on track in Week 11 and should be considered a top-five fantasy play among defenses this coming Sunday.
New England Patriots running back Sony Michel will try and get his season on track against the Eagles in Week 11. It won't be easy as the Eagles Defense has allowed the eighth fewest fantasy points to opposing backs this season. Outside of the Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott rushing for 111 yards against them in Week 7, no other running back has posted more than 63 rushing yards in a single game. Michel's fantasy status has been saved by his six rushing touchdowns this season but must drastically improve upon his 3.3 yards per carry. The second-year running back could disappoint with this difficult matchup in Week 11.
New England Patriots running back James White is coming off the bye week with 44 receptions for 404 yards this season heading into Week 11's action. The veteran will go up against an Eagles Defense that is allowing the eighth fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. The Eagles have been tough on the run all season and have surrendered only one receiving touchdown to an opposing running back all season. The Patriots will still look to exploit the underneath passing game and White should see a solid amount of targets. But don't expect the world out of White in fantasy for Week 11.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Co. will be ready to roll of their bye week when they play the Eagles in Week 11. After a disappointing loss to the Ravens, the Patriots offense will look to get back on track against an Eagles Defense allowing the 15th most fantasy points to opposing passers. Brady is having another top-10 fantasy season at the quarterback position but has posted only modest totals the past few games. The Eagles secondary is still a mess but the defensive unit has allowed only an average of 15.1 fantasy points to quarterbacks over their last three games. But Brady is no average quarterback and should post top-10 totals once again in Week 11.
The Chicago Bears Defense will go up against a Rams offense in Week 11 that was manhandled by a feisty Steelers Defense last week. Los Angeles' offense has taken a step back this season and quarterback Jared Goff has already thrown nine interceptions this season. The Bears defense still is posting decent fantasy numbers but the takeaways have been on the decline over the past month. The Rams will be without multiple starters on their offensive line for this important game and the Bears defense will be an appealing choice with Khalil Mack and Co. can take advantage in Week 11.
Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery will face a Rams Defense that is allowing the 11th fewest fantasy points to opposing backs this season. Montgomery's touches have been on the rise but, for the most part, his yardage is capping around 60-80 total yards a game. This is will be a challenging marker to hit against a Rams defense that hasn't allowed more than 66 rushing yards to a single running back since Week 5. The rookie does have three touchdowns over his last three games and will need a score to post RB2-type fantasy numbers in Week 11.
Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen will look to make an explosive play on Sunday Night Football when the Bears take on the Rams in Week 11. Cohen is coming off one of his more active games of the season, posting 37 total yards with one touchdown against the Lions last week. Cohen is a threat in the passing game but the Rams Defense has not allowed an opposing running back to post more than 35 receiving yards against them since Week 1. The Bears offense is still a major work in progress, making Cohen a very risky FLEX play in most fantasy formats for Week 11.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel will take on a Rams Defense that is allowing the 12th fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. Gabriel caught four passes for 39 yards and one touchdown in last week's win and could see plenty of targets with teammate Allen Robinson being shadowed by top corner Jalen Ramsey. The Rams secondary, however, has been tough on wide receivers this season. Outside of a three-touchdown meltdown against the Seahawks, the Rams have allowed only four touchdowns to receivers all season. Gabriel should see at least one deep target in the game and will be no more than a dart-throw in deeper fantasy formats for Week 11.
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky will try and bring his team back to .500 against the Rams in Week 11, Trubisky bounced back after a horrific showing against the Eagles by throwing three touchdowns against the Lions last week. But he will have a more challenging test this week against a Rams Defense that is allowing the 11th fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. They have, however, allowed an average of 281 yards passing over their last six games, The season is on the brink for both teams but Trubisky can't be trusted to deliver in fantasy for Week 11.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson will have a tough test against the Rams in Week 11. Robinson has been the only consistent source of production for the Bears this season, heading into the game with 53 receptions for 618 yards and three touchdowns. But he should see plenty of Jalen Ramsey shadowing him throughout the game and the Rams are allowing the 12th fewest fantasy points to receivers. In addition, outside of allowing three touchdowns in Week 5 to Seahawks receivers, the Rams have surrendered only four touchdowns to receivers all season. Touchdowns have already been hard to come by for the Bears offense this season and Robinson could struggle to post WR2 numbers in Week 11.
Washington Redskins RB Adrian Peterson is expected to remain atop the depth chart despite the return of RB Derrius Guice. Before Guice's injury, interim head coach Bill Callahan said Guice was coming into his own as a check-down back and in pass-protection scenarios. Guice remains behind Peterson on the depth chart.
Fantasy Spin: Peterson and the Redskins actually face a difficult matchup in Week 11, as they meet the Jets. New York ranks No. 2 in the NFL against the run, allowing just 81.9 yards per game on the ground. However, they have allowed 10 rushing scores. Peterson remains an RB2 or flex fantasy option in most leagues.
The Denver Broncos waived CB Coty Sensabaugh on Wednesday, Nov. 13.
The Denver Broncos claimed CB Cyrus Jones off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday, Nov. 13.
While Indianapolis Colts LB Darius Leonard (abdomen) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 13, beat writer Kevin Bowen expects the tackle machine to be ready for Week 11 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, noting that Leonard played every defensive snap and did not have an in-game injury in Week 10 against the Miami Dolphins.
Indianapolis Colts QB Jacoby Brissett (knee) was able to take part in a full practice session Wednesday, Nov. 13. That was apparently a vital step for him to get back to his starting duties for Week 11 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. 'I'm assuming it's going to be good and barring any setback the rest of the week, he'll be the starter,' head coach Frank Reich confirmed.
Fantasy Spin: Obviously watch the injury report Thursday, and especially Friday. If Brissett suffered a setback it would be Brian Hoyer making another start. After losing to the lowly Miami Dolphins last week, the Colts probably hope it doesn't come to that.
The Pittsburgh Steelers Defense has been on an absolute tear of late and are in a perfect spot to continue that strong play against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night. The unit has recorded at least three takeaways in each of their last five games, including four a week ago against the Rams. However, on the short week, the Steelers will need to do a good job of pressuring Baker Mayfield, as the Browns haven't turned the ball over in either of their past two matchups. All things considered, the Steelers are about as "must play" as it gets for a fantasy defense right now.
Indianapolis Colts WR Devin Funchess (clavicle) was able to practice Wednesday, Nov. 13 for the first time since the regular-season opener. He is eligible to return in Week 11 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but his rehab has lingered. He wore a red non-contact jersey on Wednesday, so being exposed to contact is the remaining hurdle for him before he is cleared to play. '(Funchess) has to get certain things done and scans done to make sure he's fully cleared and ready to go,' head coach Frank Reich said.
Fantasy Spin: Funchess is worth a look in deeper fantasy leagues down the stretch, although the window for other Indy receivers not named T.Y. Hilton to shine might be closing. The latter did not practice Wednesday, but is inching closer to a return.
Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (calf) is uncertain for Week 11 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and head coach Frank Reich wasn't ready to offer a guarantee one way or the other on the receiver's playing status. Two weeks ago he was given a three-to-four week timetable for a return.
Fantasy Spin: Hilton could very well suit up, but fantasy owners might want to see him make it through a full game without any setbacks before trusting him again. The Colts have a quick turnaround with a Thursday night game in Week 12 against the Houston Texans, so it might be in their best interests to rest him one more game rather than push him with the short turnaround.