Thu Oct 10 7:15pm ET
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) Always underrated, often overlooked and rarely mentioned in any conversations about who is the NFL's best quarterback, Russell Wilson is outplaying every one of his contemporaries.
Through five games of his eighth pro season, Seattle's steady leader is in a class by himself.
''He is the best that he has ever been right now,'' said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
And that's saying something.
Patrick Mahomes has the stronger arm. Tom Brady the more impressive resume. Aaron Rodgers may have a higher Q rating.
None of them, though, has started a season as strongly as Wilson, the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to pass for 1,400 yards with 12 touchdowns and zero interceptions in his first five games.
Wilson's 73% completion percentage leads the league, as does his 126.3 rating. And, he's made a couple of those did-he-really-just-do-that plays that prompted early-season MVP chatter.
''The play is never over with him,'' said Browns defensive coordinator Steve Wilks. ''I've seen him make so many plays that you think the play is over and all the sudden now he finds the way to get the ball in there.''
Wilson will look to keep it rolling Sunday as the Seahawks (4-1) visit Baker Mayfield and the Browns (2-3), reeling after a dreadful prime-time performance at San Francisco that has cast further doubt about their chances to make a playoff run.
''Our sense of urgency is at an all-time high right now,'' said Mayfield, who leads the league with eight interceptions
While Mayfield struggles in his sophomore season, the 30-year-old Wilson has come of age in 2019, displaying an all-around game he's nurtured through tireless hours of work on the field and in the film room.
A six-time Pro Bowler in seven seasons, Wilson has been nearly flawless so far. That hasn't always been the case, but Carroll knew Wilson would fully blossom because of his persistence.
''It takes years to figure out how to play quarterback in the NFL to me,'' Carroll said. ''Early on when Russ had a lot of success, he was immediately compared to the top quarterbacks in the league. I always used to say, `Give him a few years. These guys are in their double-digit years of their career. He is way behind them.' ... Russ in the last two-three years has continued to improve. It's a result of the great consistency.
''I do not even think that he has ever missed a practice since he has been here. It just adds up eventually.''
The Browns are hoping that's the case for Mayfield, who isn't playing with the confidence he showed as a rookie last season.
Mayfield's issues extend beyond his own shortcomings. Cleveland's line hasn't protected him and first-year coach Freddie Kitchens hasn't figured out how to best use star Odell Beckham Jr., the team's best weapon.
Maybe the Browns can glean something from their up-close look at Wilson.
Beckham's streak of catching at least three passes recently ended at 60 straight games. He's made just four in the past two.
To this point, the sometimes volatile star has kept his cool.
''He's frustrated when he's not getting the ball and we're losing,'' Mayfield said. ''I mean, why not be? Because he feels like he could help us win if we get the ball in his hands. And when we're winning, that's the thing about it; he's a team guy. He's helping us win any way he can and he understands how teams are going to play him.''
One of Seattle's big questions before the year was whether Tyler Lockett could handle the attention of being the No. 1 wide receiver with Doug Baldwin gone. So far, Lockett's doing just fine.
Lockett leads Seattle with 30 receptions through five games and his remarkable toe-tapping TD in the win over the Rams will be on his career highlights tape. He's already more than halfway to last year's career-best total of 57 receptions.
Cleveland's crowds have been great, not the Browns. They're 0-2 at FirstEnergy Stadium.
''We must find ways to win at home,'' wide receiver Jarvis Landry said . ''Obviously winning on the road is extremely important, but we want to definitely establish winning at home. One of the first things that coach Freddie talked about was making sure that we win at home. We haven't done that so far this season.''
FIND THE RUSH
Seattle's pass rush is creating pressure. The Seahawks just aren't getting sacks.
They have 10 through five games and only 18 quarterback hits, both ranking in the league's lower half. It's not what was expected from the pass rush duo of Jadeveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah. The sack stats might not be there, but the Seahawks are being disruptive. Clowney didn't sack Rams quarterback Jared Goff, but he was regularly in his face while forcing a key fumble he recovered.
Carroll believes the rush will get better as the season goes on.
''Just the combination with (Ziggy) outside and what's going on inside, I think we're going to be able to work together better,'' Carroll said.
Only one player remains on Seattle's roster from the team's last visit to Cleveland. It's not a good memory for linebacker K.J. Wright or anyone else.
''Just a bad game,'' Wright said. ''We were super young, didn't know how to win. It was just ugly.''
Cleveland's 6-3 win in 2011 included Charlie Whitehurst starting at quarterback for Seattle, which had only 137 total yards, 69 passing.
New England Patriots rookie wide receiver N'Keal Harry (ankle) is expected to make his NFL debut in Week 11 against the Eagles. The first-round pick has been practicing since Oct. 15 and was placed on the active roster before the Week 9 game against the Ravens, but he didn't dress for that game. Harry has some obvious upside in New England, but he's missed a lot of development time and will be behind wideouts Mohamed Sanu, Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett. There's a chance that Harry pushes Dorsett for playing time in three-receiver sets, but that may not happen right away, and he remains a long shot for meaningful production in redraft leagues down the stretch. Harry should be owned in all dynasty/keeper leagues, however.
The Philadelphia Eagles are in discussions for a long-term contract extension with tight end Zach Ertz, offensive tackle Lane Johnson and safety Malcolm Jenkins, according to league sources. Ertz signed his last extension in January of 2015 and has become one of the best tight ends in the league since then. Johnson is considered by some as the best right tackle in all of football, while Jenkins has emerged as a leader for Philly's defense. Despite somewhat of a down year in 2019, Ertz leads the Eagles in receptions (46) and yards (527) while finding the end zone just two times. With Alshon Jeffery (ankle) out in Week 11 against the Patriots, Ertz could be set up for another big game.
Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz has talked with the Eagles about a possible contract extension, according to sources.
Fantasy Spin: Ertz is not posting the numbers he did last season but still has been a consistent starting option for fantasy players. He should be a weekly starting option in all leagues and likely will have a big role in the passing game this week with Alshon Jeffery sidelined.
The Denver Broncos are expected to ride running back Phillip Lindsay more in the backfield over Royce Freeman in Week 11 against the Vikings on the road. Lindsay and Freeman have been in a near-even timeshare for most of the season, which has really given Lindsay owners headaches after his breakout rookie season in 2018. But Freeman had just 15 yards on five carries in the Week 9 win over the Browns, and it sounds as though Denver wants to get Lindsay more involved this week against a tough Minnesota run defense. Lindsay is the back to own, and he'll have more RB2 upside this week, although Denver's offense could struggle with Brandon Allen making his second start at quarterback.
Detroit Lions DT Damon Harrison (groin) is active for Week 11's game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford (back) may be sidelined for as many as six weeks because tiny, non-displaced fractures in the upper thoracic spine.
Fantasy Spin: It is not known if Stafford will be able to play again this season, so fantasy players will need to monitor the situation. Jeff Driskel will continue to be the starting quarterback but should be avoided in fantasy leagues.
Carolina Panthers CB Donte Jackson (hip) is active for Week 11's game against the Atlanta Falcons.
New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (knee, illness, ribs) and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (hamstring, knee) are both active for Week 11 against the Redskins. Bell continues to fight through injuries in a disappointing first season with Gang Green, but he has another opportunity to break out against a weak Redskins front. He'll have low-end RB1/high-end RB2 appeal. If Bell can't get it done today for fantasy owners, there's not much hope that he'll be an RB1 the rest of the way. Thomas had a decent day in Week 10 but remains third on the receiver depth chart behind Jamison Crowder and Robby Anderson. Despite the good matchup, Thomas is a low-upside WR4/5 in deeper fantasy leagues.
The Buffalo Bills have declared TE Tommy Sweeney, WR Duke Williams, OL Ike Boettger, OT Ryan Bates, DT Vincent Taylor, S Dean Marlowe and RB T.J. Yeldon inactive for Week 11.
The Carolina Panthers have declared LB Christian Miller, LB Jordan Kunaszyk, CB Ross Cockrell, DL Kyle Love, WR Brandon Zylstra, OT Dennis Daley and RB Mike Davis inactive for Week 11.
New York Jets WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring, knee) is active for Week 11's game against the Washington Redskins.
Minnesota Vikings S Andrew Sendejo will start Week 11's game against the Denver Broncos in place of injured S Anthony Harris (groin).
New York Jets RB Le'Veon Bell (illness, knee, ribs) is officially active for the team's Week 11 game.
Fantasy Spin: Bell has been a big part of the offense for the Jets and should continue to receive a significant amount of touches. He will have a favorable matchup this week and is a must-start option in all leagues.
Houston Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil (shoulder) is expected to play in Week 11 against the Ravens, according to a source. Tunsil missed the Week 9 game but was able to heal up during the Week 10 bye. His presence is great news for the protection of quarterback Deshaun Watson in what is expected to be a high-scoring affair between two potent offenses. As usual, Watson will be a top-five fantasy quarterback on Sunday despite not having wide receiver Will Fuller in the fold.
The Atlanta Falcons have declared FS Kemal Ishmael, DT Deadrin Senat, TE Austin Hooper, DL John Cominsky, WR Brandon Powell, RB Devonta Freeman and OL Matt Gono inactive for Week 11.
The Dallas Cowboys have declared OT Connor Williams, DT Trysten Hill, LB Luke Gifford, FS Jeff Heath, WR Cedrick Wilson, DE Joe Jackson and WR Devin Smith inactive for Week 11.
The Indianapolis Colts have declared CB Pierre Desir, CB Quincy Wilson, OT Le'Raven Clark, WR T.Y. Hilton, RB Jordan Wilkins, QB Chad Kelly and WR Parris Campbell inactive for Week 11.
The Washington Redskins have declared DT Tim Settle, CB Deshazor Everett, WR Paul Richardson, OG Ross Pierschbacher, RB Chris Thompson, TE Vernon Davis and QB Colt McCoy inactive for Week 11.
The New Orleans Saints have declared WR Deonte Harris, OT Andrus Peat, WR Austin Carr, DE Carl Granderson, OT Ethan Greenidge, TE Dan Arnold and CB Marshon Lattimore inactive for Week 11.
Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson is expected to remain the starter in Week 11 against the Jets despite Derrius Guice (knee) returning for the first time since the season opener, according to a source. It's likely that Guice receives his carries and catches on third down to start. His role could grow as the season wears on, but he won't make Peterson a healthy scratch like he was in Week 1 when Jay Gruden was still the head coach. Peterson has seen at least 18 touches in three of the last four games and has gone over 100 yards in two of them. He remains the starter, but he'll inevitably lose valuable touches to Guice, making him a low-upside RB3 in a low-scoring offense led by a rookie quarterback. Guice has even less appeal as a desperation RB3/flex in PPR formats after a long layoff.