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Andy Richardson

A Day of Football

Injuries mar some back and forth battles

Seems like there's always one week a year where injuries play a huge role. Hopefully that was the week, and we'll be good from here on out. Definitely an ugly day for a lot of big names, but plenty of high-scorers too. Short week with three more games just 3 days away, so let's get to it.

Cowboys at Panthers: Game was close for a little while, with Dallas meandering about, but their defense gradually took over and put it away. Tony Pollard finally paid off with 80 total yards and a tackle-breaking touchdown, with Dallas taking advantage of the great matchup for the ground game. Not a big game for Dak Prescott, with the run game working better, but CeeDee Lamb still got his. Panthers headed for the No. 1 overall pick to present to Chicago, just a rough-looking year (and future) for them.

Steelers at Browns: Predictably low-scoring affair. For the Browns, David Njoku paid off as the main receiver for Dorian-Thompson Robinson, Elijah Moore also solid (with some key late grabs), highlighting which guys might fare better with the rookie. Jerome Ford actually got a goal-line carry and cashed it in, though it required a coach's challenge. And Jaylen Warren was the entire offense for Pittsburgh on one 74-yard touchdown run -- nobody else did anything at all. Brutal, and hard to invest in any component of the Steelers passing game right now. Pittsburgh may be 6-4 but it's hard to see this offense going to the playoffs.

Bears at Lions: Weirdly turnover-prone outing for Jared Goff, as in, even before Detroit's first touchdown, he was fortunate not to throw a 100-yard Pick Six on a ball that hit the defender in both hands. But 3 interceptions anyway, helping make it more of a close contest than anticipated -- Bears in fact did everything but close out the win, letting Detroit score 2 TDs in the final four minutes. Justin Fields played pretty well, great rushing numbers and a nice connection again with DJ Moore. Both Lions running backs scored, Amon-Ra and even Jameson Williams (helping launch the comeback). Sam LaPorta oddly invisible in the first half, did catch a late 2-point conversion, at least. Changed my pick from Detroit in my Survivor Pool by looking ahead, breaking one of my own rules. I'll regret that for a while, although Detroit was very fortunate to escape.

Cardinals at Texans: Kyler Murray with a decent all-around game, starting things off with an unlikely touchdown bomb to Rondale Moore, and running a bunch. Greg Dortch sighting, stepping in with Michael Wilson out and having a big game out of nowhere. But too much C.J. Stroud, Tank Dell and Devin Singletary. Just too much Houston offense, and enough defense to get another win. Texans are probably going to the playoffs, which seemed pretty unthinkable not long ago.

Chargers at Packers: Another week, and another close game the Chargers probably should have found a way to win. Justin Herbert with a huge day rushing it, and a pretty good day passing it. In the final minute Quentin Johnston dropped a perfect throw that might have gone for a 70-yard TD (bare minimum, field goal range). Tough to see. Another monster game from Keenan Allen, although he also had a couple of drops. Just not enough plays made, including the drops, a critical red-zone fumble....lots of blame to go around. Aaron Jones left early with a knee injury for the Packers that I haven't seen updated yet. Big performance for Jordan Love and the offense; LA gives up a lot of those. AJ Dillon a key add this week, it seems.

Titans at Jaguars: Well, DeAndre Hopkins did pay off, so there's that. Otherwise, this was a good old-fashioned stomping, with Jacksonville bouncing back from last week's pasting. Trevor Lawrence decided to pass to Calvin Ridley this week, which worked out really well. And ran in a couple of touchdowns too. Reading his own negative fantasy clippings...probably not. But great game for the Jaguars. It's been mostly struggles for Will Levis since his strong debut…as Ian notes elsewhere, nice statistical day, but some garbage time stuff in that production. And Derrick Henry went nowhere against Jacksonville's tough run defense. It was my first thought, and then I got swayed a little by his strong recent history in the series. Should have stuck with my first thought.

Raiders at Dolphins: Kind of underestimated the Raiders here. Obviously the coaching switch has been a positive one. This was a game all the way, right until the game-ending interception (a couple of late ones, actually). Josh Jacobs didn't do much on the ground and caught only 1 pass; was figuring he would be used a little more as a receiver. The big news is DeVon Achane returning from injury and departing with another one, unfortunate. Decent game for Mostert, a second straight good for Davante, and another huge one for Tyreek. He'd look good in Kansas City.

Giants at Commanders: I might have said some nice things about Sam Howell last week. That's what I get. Three interceptions, mostly bad ones, and too many mistakes for the whole team to win in the NFL. We knew Washington's secondary was a disaster, it has been all year, just didn't figure it would be bad enough to let Tommy DeVito have a great game. But he did, and so did Saquon, and even Darius Slayton. I'm toast in my Survivor Pool thanks to this poor decision and I'm sure many others are. Howell still a nice fantasy QB and maybe he'll go on to be a good NFL starter, but Ron Rivera's confidence doesn't mean much to me; I'm not sure Rivera is/should be long for this job. Oh yeah, sackapalooza in this game, hope you started either defense.

Buccaneers at 49ers: San Francisco rolls on with another big offensive and solid defensive game. Brock Purdy was at his sharpest, Kittle and Aiyuk and McCaffrey kept doing their thing...I don't know how this team lost three games in a row, they're cooking right now. Bucs did some good things on offense along the way, but a pretty big talent gap here. Still think the Bucs will win the South; schedule gets easier from here.

N.Y. Jets at Bills: I trust the excuse-making for Zach Wilson will be gone this week. Not a good quarterback. Robert Saleh concedes they'll be looking at tape before making a decision who will start in their Black Friday game against the Dolphins. Tim Boyle was no better finishing this game, but he could hardly be worse. It's over, and we can stop talking about Aaron Rodgers returning because the Jets will be out of it before the veteran is available. Story yesterday that the Jets will explore reuniting Rodgers with Davante Adams for next season. Who cares? Rodgers will be 40 and Adams 31. Bills with a nice all-around game, particularly James Cook, perhaps that's the main development from the new coordinator.

Seahawks at L.A. Rams: Seattle was dominating this game early on, but injuries struck. Kenneth Walker left due to injury and Zach Charbonnet looks like a really ordinary back. Then Geno Smith got hurt late, and a couple of penalties helped the Rams pull out an ugly-looking winning field goal drive. Cooper Kupp left early due to injury, that was the big negative (wide-open for a touchdown prior to that but the ball fell incomplete). Entertaining game but not a pretty one. We have to watch Seattle face San Francisco on Thanksgiving night and apparently it might be Drew Lock at quarterback, which shouldn't go well.

Vikings at Broncos: The Broncos, who for two years or more have been losing last-second games in excruciating fashion, are now winning them. Weird to see, but they're sure lucky they had no takers while trying to ship off Courtland Sutton. Defensive-oriented games with two clubs that looked horrible defensively the first half of the season, but are playing a lot better now. Both teams, crazily, in the playoff hunt. Respectable game for Alexander Mattison, when looking at Ty Chandler's numbers (10 for 73) keep in mind nearly half came on a fake punt.

Monday, Monday: Super Bowl rematch, and the kind of game you have to tune in for. A lot of Week 11 matchups will surely be riding on players in this game. Eagles a lot better against the run than the pass, while Kansas City's defense a lot better this year than last year. I'm calling it Kansas City 24, Philadelphia 21, but wouldn't mind seeing a higher-scoring game.

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