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FFL: Week 8 | NFL: Week 8

Winless Falcons may not get chance to blow lead at Green Bay

Thu Oct 1 6:08pm ET
By STEVE MEGARGEE
AP Sports Writer

Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley (21) runs against the Chicago Bears during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)


Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) hands the ball off to Atlanta Falcons running back Brian Hill (23) against the Chicago Bears during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)


Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn watches play against the Chicago Bears during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)


Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) dives over the goal line for a touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)


Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) dives over the goal line for a touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)


Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) celebrates his touchdown with offensive guard Elgton Jenkins (74) in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)


Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard (13) celebrates his touchdown reception with offensive guard Lucas Patrick (62) and tight end Robert Tonyan (85) in the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Brett Duke)


The next challenge for the winless Atlanta Falcons is imposing enough that it might not afford them an opportunity for another fourth-quarter collapse.

After blowing two-touchdown leads in the final period each of the last two weeks, the Falcons could have trouble getting ahead Monday night when they visit the unbeaten Green Bay Packers.

''I know the first three weeks haven't been what we would have wanted,'' Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said. ''That's for sure. But I still have a lot of faith and a lot of belief in this football team, that we're capable of winning, and winning regardless of who we're going against.''

Green Bay (3-0) is the first team in NFL history to have at least 35 points and no turnovers in each of its first three games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Packers average 6.9 yards per play to lead the NFL.

''I feel like it's not realistic to think we'll have 40 every game, but it's not unrealistic to think we can do it, either,'' receiver Davante Adams said.

The Packers have trailed in each of their games this season, which could offer Atlanta (0-3) reason for hope.

Then again, getting ahead hasn't been a problem for the Falcons. Staying in front has proved much more difficult.

Atlanta led the Dallas Cowboys 20-0 in the first quarter and 39-24 with 5 minutes remaining before falling 40-39 on a field goal as time expired, thanks in part to the Falcons' inexplicable failure to recover a slow-rolling onside kick.

The Falcons followed that up by falling 30-26 to Chicago as the Bears scored 20 unanswered points in the final 6 1/2 minutes. The collapses brought back reminders of the Falcons blowing a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl after the 2016 season.

''There's anger, obviously,'' embattled Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. ''There's frustration that goes along when you don't play well. For us losing two games that, in the regular season, is as tough as it gets. You get tested, but you also find out a lot and learn a lot from those `L's.' And that's what I saw from our team.''

LaFleur expects the Falcons' recent misfortune will only add to their incentive.

''We're going to have a very hungry Atlanta Falcon team coming in here that, no doubt about it, should be 2-1 right now,'' said LaFleur, a former quarterbacks coach on Quinn's Atlanta staff. ''And they're not, but that's life in this league. Every game comes down to just a couple of plays here and there that can really change the outcome.''

QUINN'S FUTURE

All eyes in Atlanta are on Quinn.

The sixth-year coach came into 2020 knowing he would likely need to guide the Falcons to the playoffs to keep his job after two straight 7-9 seasons.

Players have been vocal in their support of Quinn, but their opinions won't matter if the losses keep piling up.

''Look at what he's done here,'' defensive back Blidi Wreh-Wilson said. ''He's always got our backs. He's a really great coach. This is a tough spot for the team. A lot of things are being said. We just need to stay together.''

UNCERTAINTY FOR RECEIVERS

Each team has a star receiver who didn't play last week due to injury. An ankle injury sidelined Green Bay's Adams while Atlanta's Julio Jones had a hamstring problem.

Both returned to practice this week. But each team now has another injury in its receiving corps. Atlanta's Calvin Ridley (ankle) and Green Bay's Allen Lazard (core) didn't practice Wednesday.

PROTECTING THEIR PASSERS

Green Bay has started a different combination on the offensive line for each of its first three games due to injuries, yet the Packers have allowed only two sacks all year. The Packers have given up sacks on 1.9% of their dropbacks to rank second in the NFL behind Kansas City.

The Falcons have been sacked on 3.7% of their dropbacks, which is sixth-best in the league.

INJURY ISSUES ON DEFENSE

Atlanta safety Ricardo Allen (elbow) and cornerback A.J. Terrell (COVID-19) missed the Bears game. And now the Falcons have lost their most experienced cornerback, placing Darqueze Dennard (hamstring) on injured reserve.

Quinn is hoping cornerback Kendall Sheffield plays Monday after he missed the team's first three games with an ailing foot.

Green Bay could be missing linebacker Christian Kirksey, who left the Packers' win over the Saints with a pectoral injury.

Player Notes
Josh Norman Oct 28 9:23am ET

Buffalo Bills CB Josh Norman (hamstring) hasn't been ruled out, but he's unlikely to play in Week 8.

Fantasy Spin: It's a tough break for Norman, who was going off in fantasy before the injury. He can be dropped for fresh legs in IDP leagues.

From TheHuddle

Carlos Dunlap Oct 28 9:13am ET

Cincinnati Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap was told to stay home while the team attempts to trade him.

From TheHuddle

Nick Foles Oct 28 1:20am ET

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy doesn't intend to bench quarterback Nick Foles in favor of Mitchell Trubisky after the team's 24-10 Monday night loss to the Rams in Week 7. The Bears are 5-2 but rank 27th in points per game (19.7), 30th in yards per play (4.8), 30th in yards per run (3.8), 29th in yards per pass (5.6), 30th on third-down conversions (35.1 percent) and 29th in red-zone efficiency (47.6 percent). Foles took over for Trubisky in Week 3 and was 28-for-40 for 261 yards and two interceptions against the Rams. Foles has thrown for 1,139 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions in five appearances (four starts) this year. The Saints -- Chicago's Week 8 opponent -- allow the sixth-most fantasy points per game to signal-callers, but Foles remains a low-end QB2 in superflex leagues in Chicago's stagnant offense.

From RotoBaller

Russell Gage Oct 28 1:10am ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receivers Julio Jones (hip) and Russell Gage (knee) were both limited in practice on Tuesday. Jones' injury is new, but the 31-year-old always seems to be fighting through some sort of injury and he should be fine for the Thursday night matchup with the Panthers. The All-Pro wideout missed the Week 5 matchup with Carolina due to an injury, but he should be fine for this one and he remains a locked-in, must-start WR1 whenever he's on the field as the team's No. 1 receiver. Jones has 16 receptions on 19 targets for 234 yards and two touchdowns in the last two weeks against the Vikings and Lions. The Panthers allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to wideouts, but Jones should be in all starting lineups regardless. Gage should play on Thursday, but he's been a non-factor the last five weeks and can be left to the waiver wire in shallow leagues.

From RotoBaller

Tavon Austin Oct 28 12:50am ET

The San Francisco 49ers reached an injury settlement with wide receiver Tavon Austin (knee) on Tuesday, and he is no longer on their Injured Reserve list. Austin was put on IR before the 2020 regular season started. He spent the last two years in Dallas, recording 21 catches on 37 targets for 317 yards and three touchdowns in 21 games. The eighth overall pick in the 2013 draft by the Rams, Austin had his best season in 2016, catching 58 passes for 509 yards and three touchdowns. He has just 15 touchdowns in seven NFL seasons and has essentially become a little-used gadget player in recent seasons. Don't expect Austin to resurface anywhere in 2021 as a fantasy relevant option.

From RotoBaller

Los Angeles Rams Oct 28 12:40am ET

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said that rookie third-round safety Terrell Burgess (ankle) broke his ankle in the Monday night win over the Bears and will miss the rest of the season. The 21-year-old will finish his rookie season with eight tackles (seven solo) and one pass defensed in seven games of action. Burgess was taken with the 104th overall pick in April and has the versatility to also play nickel cornerback in the NFL. He's a smart player and anticipates routes in coverage. The former Utah Ute should have plenty of time to recover in time for training camp next summer.

From RotoBaller

Detroit Lions Oct 28 12:30am ET

Because of COVID-19 protocols, the Detroit Lions Defense will not have newly acquired defensive end Everson Griffen available to play in Week 8 against the Colts. Griffen's debut with Detroit will come on Nov. 8 against the Vikings, the team that he spent the first 10 years of his career with while earning four Pro Bowl nods. The Lions sent a sixth-round draft pick in 2021 to the Cowboys for Griffen's services on Tuesday, and he'll be a veteran present for Detroit's defensive line the rest of the season. While the 32-year-old isn't an IDP starting option at his position on a weekly basis, he should help improve their defensive line. However, the Lions defense overall is near the bottom of the league in fantasy points through seven weeks, so you should continue to avoid them everywhere.

From RotoBaller

Cole Beasley Oct 27 11:13pm ET

Buffalo Bills WR Cole Beasley has either topped 50 receiving yards or caught a touchdown pass in all seven games this season.

Fantasy Spin: Beasley's 470 receiving yards rank in the top 20 in the NFL, and he sits inside the top 15 in receptions. He's a PPR flex option.

From TheHuddle

Todd Gurley Oct 27 11:03pm ET

Atlanta Falcons RB Todd Gurley's 122 rush attempts rank second in the NFL, and he has logged at least 14 carries in all seven games.

Fantasy Spin: The heavy workload is a bit of a surprise given Gurley's history of knee problems, and while he has managed just one 100-yard game, he has scored seven times and topped 50 yards six times. He's a volume-based RB2 heading into a friendly matchup against Carolina in Week 8.

From TheHuddle

Dwayne Harris Oct 27 10:33pm ET

Free-agent WR Dwayne Harris (Texans) was signed to the Chicago Bears' practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 27.

From TheHuddle

A'Shawn Robinson Oct 27 10:23pm ET

Los Angeles Rams DL A'Shawn Robinson (undisclosed) will be activated from the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list this week, head coach Sean McVay said Tuesday, Oct. 27.

From TheHuddle

Tyler Higbee Oct 27 9:03pm ET

Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee (hand) could be ready to play against the Miami Dolphins in Week 8, according to head coach Sean McVay Tuesday, Oct. 27.

Fantasy Spin: Higbee was forced to sit out Week 7 for his first missed game of the season. He has 18 catches on 21 targets for 222 yards and three touchdowns through six games and is a low-end TE1 most weeks.

From TheHuddle

Ryan Fitzpatrick Oct 27 8:43pm ET

Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick isn't being shopped for a trade, according to a source with direct knowledge Tuesday, Oct. 27.

Fantasy Spin: Fitzpatrick would definitely have at least some measure of fantasy value on any one of the NFL's current QB-needy teams, but it appears he'll be staying in Miami to mentor rookie Tua Tagovailoa. It will help Tagovailoa, but it's a shame for fantasy managers in two-QB leagues.

From TheHuddle

Trevor Siemian Oct 27 8:23pm ET

Tennessee Titans RB D'Onta Foreman, PK Tucker McCann, QB Trevor Siemian and LB Tuzar Skipper were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.

From TheHuddle

Deon Cain Oct 27 8:13pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Deon Cain, RB Trey Edmunds, LB Jayrone Elliott and RB Wendell Smallwood were named to the team's Week 8 practice squad protection list Tuesday, Oct. 27.

From TheHuddle

Jeremiah Ledbetter Oct 27 8:13pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers PK Greg Joseph and DT Jeremiah Ledbetter were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.

From TheHuddle

Alfred Morris Oct 27 8:03pm ET

New York Giants RB Alfred Morris, P Ryan Santoso, G Chad Slade and QB Clayton Thorson were named as protected practice squad players for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.

From TheHuddle

Tevin Coleman Oct 27 8:00pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman (knee) could be back in the mix as soon as Sunday versus Seattle, with head coach Kyle Shanahan saying that he was hopeful that they'd have Coleman for the game. The 49ers' backfield has been a constant shuffling endeavor with Raheem Mostert (ankle) and Jeff Wilson Jr. (ankle) both now out of the mix for the foreseeable future. Coleman's return coincides with Jerick McKinnon likely moving up the depth chart, although how any share of carries would be split remains unclear. Coleman started 11 games for San Francisco last season, so despite having compiled just 30 yards across 18 carries this year, he's likely to see an increased role whenever he's officially ready to return. Check back throughout the week for updates on his status as they become available.

From RotoBaller

Troymaine Pope Oct 27 7:43pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers RB Kalen Ballage, RB Darius Bradwell and RB Troymaine Pope were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.

From TheHuddle