This week in the NFL saw the Bengals barely escape with a win against Indianapolis, an amazing 97-yard catch and run TD from Steelers rookie receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and the Dallas Cowboys defeat the Washington Redskins despite Dak Prescott throwing for less than 150 yards and no touchdowns.
To nobody’s surprise, Deshaun Watson is amazing
Deshaun Watson has once again grabbed the attention of NFL fans this week by showing off his cannon arm and putting up 402 passing yards and 4 touchdowns during a loss on the road against the Seahawks. He’s been putting up consistent numbers in the passing game and has lead the Texans to a deceptively strong 3-4 record. Look for him to continue his rookie-of-the-year campaign against a weak Colts defense that has allowed an average of 301 passing yards to opposing signal callers through 8 games this year. Meanwhile, Seahawk great Richard Sherman says Deshaun will be a Top 5 QB next year.
Where did the Raiders go?
The Oakland Raiders were one of the biggest surprises of the 2016 season. After a late season injury to star QB Derek Carr and an early playoff exit, they were expected to pick up where they left off last year before Carr went down and tear through the league again this year. They have done anything but that.
Not even the addition of hometown legend Marshawn Lynch has been able to satisfy the expectations of the NFL. The Raiders have dropped five of their last six games, the most recent to Buffalo. Nobody seems to know what happened, but the team looks like a shell of its former self. Derek Carr already has as many picks (6) this year through seven games played as he did during the entire 2016 regular season. That combined with a weaker run game and worse defensive play have reduced the Raiders to a 3-5 record. Coach Jack Del Rio will surely be expecting a spark from his team this Sunday night against the Miami Dolphins.
Garappolo is headed to San Francisco
Jimmy Garappolo woke up Monday morning 6-2, feeling confident as the pretty boy backup QB on the reigning NFL champion New England Patriots. After a trade involving a 2018 second round draft pick, he went to bed Monday Night as the projected starting QB for the winless San Francisco 49ers.
With not much on his resume aside from a couple starts during Tom Brady’s suspension last year, Garappolo is now tasked with saving the 0-8 49ers, who have not had a winning record since 2013, when the now blacklisted Colin Kaepernick was still leading the team. Garappolo’s top ally will surely be first-year head coach Kyle Shanahan. During his time as OC in Washington and Atlanta, Shanahan’s quarterbacks flourished and his offenses played lights-out football. It will be interesting to see how Shanahan uses Garappolo and if the young duo can revive the 49ers in the coming years.
Zeroes and Heroes
The Cleveland Browns took a transatlantic trip to England where they lost 33-16 to the Minnesota Vikings. This season has certainly been frustrating for the organization, which was looking to turn things around after a 1-15 season last year and adding a handful of exciting draft picks to the roster. If they cannot find a way to bounce back during weeks 9-17, head coach Hue Jackson will no doubt feel the heat from the dog pound.
The Philadelphia Eagles moved to the top spot in several power rankings, and added Jay Ajayi to the staff on Tuesday in a trade with Miami. Ajayi is the newest addition to an already high-powered offense including second-year QB Carson Wentz, receiver Alshon Jeffery, and former Pittsburgh and New England star LeGarrette Blount. Philly will look to continue their run as NFC East favorites into the second half of the season with a week nine matchup against Denver.