Thu Nov 21 4:54pm ET
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Pro Football Writer
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) celebrates a touchdown against the Washington Redskins during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders got their season back on track with a three-game homestand sweep.
They're hitting the road again this weekend, traveling to the East Coast to take on Sam Darnold and the rejuvenated New York Jets.
''These little road trips are nothing now,'' Carr said. ''We're flying all the way across to New York and we're like, that's half the flight from what we are used to, and it'll be good for us.''
The Raiders (6-4) are 1-3 on the road this season, having won at Indianapolis but lost at Minnesota, Green Bay and Houston. They also won a ''home'' game in London last month in the middle of a stretch in which they played five straight games away from Oakland. So, Jon Gruden's group has this traveling thing down.
''It's so funny, talking to our guys, we have a good routine of little games we play together, little team bonding things that we do,'' Carr said. ''Some of the guys are like, `Man! We get to go on the road this week!' because they're excited to bond some more and play some of our little games that we play.
''And that's the makings of a group that gets along and loves being around each other.''
The Raiders' victories over Detroit, the Los Angeles Chargers and Cincinnati marked their first sweep of a three-game homestand since 1980. Oakland's 17-10 win against the winless Bengals last week matched the fewest points it has allowed in the past six seasons.
A win Sunday at MetLife Stadium would set up a showdown for first place in the AFC West next week at Kansas City. But first the Raiders have to take care of a Jets squad that has won two in a row and has some newfound confidence after wins over the Giants and Washington.
The Jets (3-7) haven't won three straight since Weeks 3-5 of the 2017 season.
''We can't let off of the gas,'' linebacker Jordan Jenkins said.
The Raiders can owe much of their success to the performance of their rookie class, led by first-round running back Josh Jacobs, whose 1,067 yards from scrimmage are the ninth most for a Raiders player through 10 games.
Fourth-round defensive end Maxx Crosby is coming off a four-sack game; No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell had 2+ sacks two weeks ago; fourth-round tight end Foster Moreau has four TD catches; and fifth-round receiver Hunter Renfrow has 33 catches and two TDs.
The Raiders have the most yards from scrimmage (1,676), TDs (14), yards rushing (937), receptions (73) and sacks (10) from the rookie class, and are the first team since sacks became an official stat in 1982 to get at least 10 TDs and 10 sacks from rookies in the first 10 games of season.
''We try to put more on them every week,'' Gruden said. ''We're not limiting anything. I think that's the key for their development.''
Jets safety Jamal Adams had three sacks against the Redskins and two the previous week against the Giants. His six sacks are already the franchise's single-season record for defensive backs.
He needs two to tie Arizona's Adrian Wilson (2005) for the most by a DB in one season in NFL history. Adams has his sights set higher.
''Am I going to beat the record?'' Adams said. ''Yes, I will beat the record. That's something that I will get.''
Adams made the Pro Bowl last year in his second season and could be playing his way to a return appearance and possibly a spot on the All-Pro team.
''I admire him a lot,'' Gruden said. ''I wish I had six of those.''
CARR IN GEAR
Carr is playing some of his best football of late despite throwing his first interception in four games last week. He's averaging an NFL-best 9.2 yards per attempt over the past six weeks and is on pace to set career highs in completion percentage (72.3%), passer rating (105.2) and yards per attempt (8.0).
Carr will try to reverse a trend of cold-weather struggles this week when temperatures are supposed to be in the 40s. Carr is 2-8 in his career in games that started with the temperature below 50 degrees, with just a 66.3 passer rating in those 10 games.
''I love it cold,'' Carr said. ''If I could have it 50 degrees in my house, I would. My wife would kill me, but I'd do it. So, I've never really minded the cold or anything like that.''
NOWHERE TO RUN
The Jets are allowing a league-low 79.1 yards rushing per game after holding Washington to 54 last week. Opponents are also averaging a league-low 2.98 yards per carry vs. New York.
Only one player has rushed for 100 yards against the Jets this season: Dallas' Ezekiel Elliott, who had 105 on 28 carries in Week 6. New York will have a tough task this week in facing Jacobs, who has three 100-yard performances and ranks fourth in the NFL in rushing with 923 yards.
''He's playing about as well as anybody,'' Jets coach Adam Gase said. ''His yards after contact, the amount of missed tackles that have occurred against him, I think he's the best one in the league.''
After being picked apart by a slate of star quarterbacks such as Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins to start the season, the Raiders defense has fared much better the past couple of weeks against some easier competition.
Oakland ranked 30th in the NFL, allowing 6.29 yards per play and a 114.8 passer rating through the first nine weeks. The Raiders have held Philip Rivers and the Chargers, then Ryan Finley and the Bengals to 4.52 yards per play the past two weeks, ranking 10th best, and a league-low 47.9 passer rating in those two games.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who will be a free agent in March, plans to return to the Saints if he comes back for a 20th season in the NFL. "I have never been in the situation where I was mulling over the thought of [returning]," Brees said. "To me, each one of these contracts, I don't know how many it's been with the Saints, I've played with them 14 years, it's not a matter of if it gets done, it's when. At this stage of my career, it's not a given that I'm coming back every year, but when that time comes, I'll always be a Saint." Despite diminished arm strength, Brees was one of the best quarterbacks when he returned from his thumb injury last season. He may no longer have sky-high QB1 upside for fantasy owners, but Brees will at least be a midrange QB1 target next season if he returns to New Orleans, which is what is expected.
Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt was pulled over and cited during a traffic stop in Rocky River, Ohio on Tuesday. Police pulled Hunt over for going 77 MPH in a 60 MPH zone and found small amounts of marijuana in three different locations in the car. The car was registered in Hunt's mother's name and he told officers that the drugs belonged to his brother. While the running back did not receive a drug charge during the stop, he could still be subject to discipline from the NFL. Hunt is a restricted free agent this offseason and has a chance to land elsewhere as a team's starting running back. This incident is only likely to be an issue in fantasy if the NFL decides to get involved.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (knee) was back at practice on Friday. The Chiefs played it safe with Kelce and gave him some rest on Thursday, but he should be ready to rock in the Super Bowl against the 49ers on Feb. 2. He had a quiet game in the AFC Championship against the Titans but exploded for three touchdowns in the Divisional Round. Kelce was the top fantasy tight end in 2019 and could put up big numbers in the passing game against San Francisco in the Super Bowl if this game turns into a shootout.
Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said it's his understanding that tight end Jimmy Graham wants to play in 2020. Graham is under contract for one more year for $8 million, which is the final year of his three-year contract. The 33-year-old has clearly lost a step at this point in his career, catching just 38 passes (60 targets) for 447 yards and three touchdowns in 2019 with the Packers. He's no longer the focal point in the passing game, and he's more of a low-end, touchdown-dependent TE2 in fantasy circles.
Free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown was granted bail by a Broward County judge on Friday morning at $110,000 for a felony burglary with battery charge. Brown will be monitored by GPS and be required to release his passport and guns, go through drug and alcohol testing and get a mental-health evaluation. He's facing charges of felony burglary with battery, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance and criminal mischief stemming from an alleged assault of a moving-truck driver earlier this week. This isn't Brown's first run-in with the law, and all of his off-field issues virtually assure that no NFL team will take a chance on him moving forward.
Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes (wrist) had surgery to fix torn ligaments in his wrist. Hughes revealed the injury after the playoff loss to the Texans in the wild-card round, and the league launched an investigation as to whether the Bills had violated the injury reporting policy since Hughes never appeared on the team's injury report with a wrist injury. Despite his wrist injury, Hughes didn't miss a game in 2019 and hasn't missed a single game since 2012. He recorded 23 total tackles (14 solo), 4.5 sacks and one fumble recovery for Buffalo's stout defense last season. Hughes should be recovered in time for training camp this summer.
Buffalo Bills DE Jerry Hughes (wrist) had surgery to repair torn ligaments in his wrist this week.
Miami Dolphins QB Josh Rosen hasn't been written off, according to general manager Chris Grier, and Grier said he saw improvement in Rosen during practice throughout the year.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (knee) did not practice on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. Mid-week downgrades aren't good, but we still have another full week before the Super Bowl on Feb. 2, so Kelce should be just fine to play in the big game against the 49ers. Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson (illness) returned to a full practice after sitting out on Wednesday. Although Kelce had just three catches for 30 yards in the AFC Championship against Tennessee, he busted out for 10 grabs, 134 yards and three touchdowns in the Divisional Round against Houston. Kelce was the top-scoring fantasy tight end in 2019 and could easily have a big game in the Super Bowl against San Francisco.
Free-agent WR Antonio Brown (Patriots) is expected to turn himself in to police but hadn't done so as of the afternoon of Thursday, Jan. 23, according to a public information officer for the Hollywood Police Department in Florida. 'I believe they've given him ample opportunity to turn himself in,'' Christian Lata told USA TODAY Sports. An arrest warrant was issued against Brown following an incident with a moving truck driver Tuesday, Jan. 21. 'I'm sure it's going to be within today or tomorrow, but I'm not sure exactly when,'' Lata said late Thursday afternoon. 'I would assume it would be sooner than later.''
Fantasy Spin: There's less and less reason to hold out hope of Brown finding his way onto an NFL roster and becoming fantasy relevant in 2020. Dynasty owners should be looking to move on.
San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (shoulder) didn't participate in practice Thursday, Jan. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Coleman did some solo work as he recovers from a dislocated shoulder. Expect him to play in Super Bowl LIV Sunday, Feb. 2.
Kansas City Chiefs DT Chris Jones (calf) was a limited participant in practice Thursday, Jan. 23. CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder) and C Austin Reiter (wrist) practiced in full. DE Tanoh Kpassagnon (hand) was removed from the injury report. S Jordan Lucas (illness) didn't practice.
San Francisco 49ers WR Dante Pettis (illness) didn't participate in practice Thursday, Jan. 23. LB Kwon Alexander (pectoral), DL Dee Ford (quad, hamstring) and S Jaquiski Tartt (ribs) were limited. LB Dre Greenlaw (ankle) practiced in full.
Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (knee) didn't participate in practice Thursday, Jan. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Kelce and the Chiefs have a long way to go until Super Bowl LIV Sunday, Feb. 2. He should be fully expected to be on the field.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Demarcus Robinson (illness) returned to a full practice Thursday, Jan. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Robinson has scored just one touchdown since Week 3, and he hasn't recorded 100 or more receiving yards since Week 2. He's a risky flier without a guaranteed role in the offense.
San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (shoulder) was seen running on a side field ahead of the team's practice Thursday, Jan. 23.
Fantasy Spin: It appears Coleman will be able to suit up for Super Bowl LIV after dislocating his shoulder in the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers. He'll continue splitting work with Raheem Mostert and, to a lesser degree, Matt Breida. Any or all of the three could have a big game, but it's Mostert with the hot hand following the NFC Championship.
Houston Texans CB Gareon Conley (ankle) recently underwent a procedure to have a screw removed from his right ankle but is expected to be recovered in full for the beginning of the team's offseason workout program, according to a league source Thursday, Jan. 23.
Oakland Raiders CB Nevin Lawson signed a one-year contract extension Thursday, Jan. 23. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman (shoulder) is doing some running on a side field at the team's practice on Thursday. Despite sitting out of practice, Coleman appears very much in play to suit up for the Super Bowl against the Chiefs on Feb. 2. He suffered a dislocated right shoulder in the NFC Championship win over the Packers, but Coleman has an extra week to heal up and should be good to go for the big game. He will continue to serve as a change-of-pace back for Raheem Mostert, who ran for over 200 yards and four touchdowns against the Packers.
The Atlanta Falcons plan to tender a contract to impending exclusive-rights free-agent kicker Younghoe Koo. The 25-year-old place kicker solidified the team's kicking position in the final eight games of the season, making 23 of his 26 field-goal tries and 15 of his 16 extra points. Koo went 7-for-9 on kicks from 40-49 yards and hit his only attempt of 50-plus yards. While he should enter the 2020 season as the favorite to kick for Atlanta, the Falcons will also bring in some competition to push him. With an offense that can be explosive and put up points, Koo will have some fantasy appeal if he sticks around.