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Path: /college-football/20-must-see-moments-college-football-week-5

Week 5 of the college football season is officially in the books. Needless to say, Week 5 wasn’t short on drama or intrigue around the nation. The weekend started with Cincinnati’s upset over Miami on Thursday night and continued into Saturday with a close call for Ohio State against Indiana, Alabama’s easy win over Georgia, as well as Florida’s upset over Ole Miss and Clemson’s victory over Notre Dame.


Miss anything from Week 5? Here’s 20 must-see plays, moments or post-game celebrations from the weekend of action:


20 Must-See Moments from College Football's Week 5 Games


1. Clemson stops Notre Dame on a two-point conversion to win 24-22:


2. Ohio State remains unbeaten after Indiana's fourth and goal attempt on the final play of the game falls short:


3. Arizona State running back Kalen Ballage carries the UCLA defense into the end zone to seal the victory:

4. One of three touchdown runs for Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott:

19. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and team celebrates victory over Notre Dame with a dance:

20. Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien fakes out the Hawaii defense:

20 Must-See Moments from College Football's Week 5 Games
Post date: Sunday, October 4, 2015 - 08:20
All taxonomy terms: Green Bay Packers, NFC, San Francisco 49ers, NFL
Path: /nfl/green-bay-packers-vs-san-francisco-49ers-preview-and-prediction-2015

The Green Bay offensive juggernaut rolls west Sunday to see if it can continue to bedevil opposing defenses. Despite a spate of injuries that has claimed starters at wideout and right tackle, the Pack has kept piling up the points, thanks in large part to QB Aaron Rodgers, who continues to make his case as the best player in the NFL. While the arguments rage about whether it is he or Tom Brady who enjoys that distinction, Green Bay keeps winning.


Meanwhile, San Francisco appears to be in big trouble. Last week’s 47-7 blowout loss to Arizona was a humiliation from the kickoff, and after surrendering 90 points in their last two games, the Niners appear to be headed for the NFC West basement, not to mention a high first-round draft pick next year. Both sides of the ball are floundering, and it appears that any momentum from the success of the past few years has been erased.


Green Bay at San Francisco


Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET

TV: Fox

Spread: Green Bay -9.5


Three Things to Watch


1. Epic Fail

Colin Kaepernick hasn’t had the smoothest tenure during his time as a starting quarterback for the Niners, but he hasn’t yet had a game like he did in the loss to the Cards. Two of his first four passes were intercepted and returned for touchdowns, and he managed just a 16.7 rating on 9-of-19 passing for 67 yards and four picks. Wednesday, Kaepernick said, “I have confidence in myself.” But it’s hard to imagine San Francisco fans do. Kaepernick remains a threat to run and pass under center, but he isn’t so reliable when throwing these days, and opponents appear to have figured out his tendencies. Unless he gets sharp quickly, the 49ers have no chance to compete in the NFC West.

2. Mr. MVP (Again)

Presenting the opposing QB argument is Rodgers, who has been borderline remarkable this season. He’s completing 73.6 percent of his throws and has thrown 10 TD passes and no picks. When WR Jordy Nelson went down with a knee injury during the preseason, many wondered whether Rodgers’ production would suffer. Through three games, nothing has changed for the reigning NFL MVP. Monday night against Kansas City, he threw five touchdown passes and looked as if he were playing against his little brother’s friends. “I mean to me, it’s like watching [Michael] Jordan in his prime,” backup Packer quarterback Scott Tolzien said. “He’s at the top of his game. He makes it all go.”


3. D-Licious

Green Bay’s defense isn’t stifling enemy attacks completely, but when it comes to the passing game, the Packers are doing a great job. Opposing QBs are completing a pedestrian 57.5 percent of their throws, and the Pack has registered 11 sacks in three games so far. Julius Peppers and Mike Daniels have 2.5 sacks each, and Clay Matthews has two. Matthews is particularly impressive, since he is alternating between his middle linebacker spot on traditional run downs and a stand-up end position when opponents pass. His versatility makes the Packer D a lot more dangerous.


Final Analysis


This one just doesn’t look close. The Packers are firing at full capacity, while the Niners are coming off a significant spanking in the desert. People can talk about pride and rebounding from a tough situation, but when a team has been outscored 90-25 over two weeks, it would appear as if something is terribly wrong. The Niners have not looked very good this season, and Green Bay appears to be auditioning for a Super Bowl spot right now.


Perhaps the Packers are due for a downer. Maybe Rodgers throws a couple of picks because he is emboldened by his early success and takes some chances. Kaepernick could rebound at home and be the dual-threat dynamo he was at times earlier in his career. It could happen, but it most likely won’t.


Prediction: Packers 30, 49ers 16


— Written by Michael Bradley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Bradley is a writer and broadcaster based in suburban Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @DailyHombre.

Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, October 4, 2015 - 08:15
All taxonomy terms: Arizona Cardinals, NFC, NFC West, St. Louis Rams, NFL
Path: /nfl/st-louis-rams-vs-arizona-cardinals-preview-and-prediction-2015

The undefeated Arizona Cardinals (3-0) welcome their divisional rival St. Louis Rams (1-2) Sunday in a game featuring two of the best defenses in the league. With the return of Carson Palmer, the Cardinals have looked like the best team in the NFC through the start of the season, ranking first in points scored and third in points allowed. They're coming off a dominant 47-7 beat down of the San Francisco 49ers and could feast once again on a Rams offense that is near the bottom of the league in all categories.


While the Rams' offense might be not be much cause for concern for Arizona, the same can't be said for St. Louis' defense, one of the most talented and disruptive in the league, and one that can change the course of a game with a single play. The Rams are 12th in points allowed and seventh in passing yards per game. Aaron Donald already has 3.5 sacks, complementing 2014 NFL sack leader Robert Quinn, who is a force on the edge and has three sacks himself.


The Cardinals are clicking in all aspects right now so the Rams' defense will have to have their best game of the season to give St. Louis a chance to win. If Palmer can have a big day against them, the Cardinals will firmly be in the conversation for the NFC Super Bowl representative.


St. Louis at Arizona


Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET

Network: FOX

Line: Cardinals -6.5


Three Things to Watch


1. Carson Under Pressure

There might not be a better one-two pass rush punch in the league than Quinn and Donald, and they'll test Arizona's pass protection like it hasn't been tested before. Carson Palmer has nine touchdowns and just two interceptions, and picked up right where he left off when he went down with an ACL tear in 2014 against these same Rams. The game will most likely be won or lost with how well the Cardinals can keep Donald and Quinn off Palmer.


2. Paging the Rams' offense

The Rams have been equally ineffective running and passing the ball, culminating with just two field goals last week against the Steelers. Still they did put up 352 yards of offense against Seattle in their Week 1 overtime win, so perhaps the potential is there despite the ugly performances of the last two weeks. But playing well offensively at home is one thing, doing it on the road against a divisional rival is something else. They better wake up soon or the season will quickly be going down the drain.


3. Cardinals Make a Statement

This was the same game last year that Palmer tore his ACL and that moment changed the course of the season for a Cardinals team that looked on pace to challenge Seattle for the division. This year the Cardinals have looked even better, and while divisional games are almost always competitive, a convincing victory over the Rams would put 2014 behind Palmer in more ways than one. With a two-game lead in the division already, the Cardinals could put an early stranglehold on playoff spot with a win.


Final Analysis


The Rams have a talented defensive front that can give any offense problems and they should be a strong test for a Cardinals offense that has put up more points than anyone else. The problem for the Rams will be keeping pace on the scoreboard. Simply put, settling for field goals will be unacceptable this week. Unless the Rams can force multiple turnovers that swing field position, the Cardinals should roll.


Prediction: Cardinals 28, Rams 10


— Written by Mike Dussault, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and writer/editor of (@PatsPropaganda), a comprehensive blog covering the New England Patriots.

St. Louis Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, October 4, 2015 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/week-4-fantasy-football-injury-updates-marshawn-lynch-andre-ellington-joique-bell

Per usual, the list of injured running backs is the longest out of all the positions that fantasy owners must deal with in Week 4. The big names in the early Sunday games are impressive enough, but that doesn’t mean those in the later games don’t matter.


In fact, sometimes those are the tougher calls, especially if said player is questionable and/or a game-time decision. The same can be said for the key WR and QB/TE injuries, so don’t forget to check those out too before setting your lineup.


Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)

Questionable – Knee

Ellington has earned a questionable tag after sitting out the past two weeks. He will be a game-time decision, which makes it tough for fantasy owners that need to make a decision before the late games. To be safe, keep Ellington on your bench this week until you actually see him get back on the field and see what his role is. If Ellington is active, Chris Johnson drops to a low RB2; if he is inactive, Johnson is a high RB2. David Johnson is a RB3 if Ellington sits and a RB4 if he plays.


Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks vs. Detroit Lions (Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET)

Questionable – Hamstring

Lynch is going to be a game-time decision for the Monday night game. After being active in Week 3, he couldn't get warmed up from a calf injury that had been plaguing him and then spent additional time on the sidelines with trainers working on his back. He's now questionable with a hamstring injury. While it does appear that he will try to play again, he is banged up and is hard to trust in fantasy. And to add fuel to the fire Pete Carroll said on Saturday that an MRI on Lynch's hamstring had "some findings," which means Lynch is far from a sure thing to play Monday night. The best option for Lynch owners that also don’t have Thomas Rawls or Fred Jackson on their roster to plug in is to sit Lynch this week. While it may hurt if he finds the end zone, it's better than having a zero because you hoped he'd play and then was inactive.


Joique Bell, RB, Detroit Lions at Seattle Seahawks (Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET)

Out – Ankle

At this point, it's hard to recommend starting Bell even if he does play (in future games). Bell has been dealing with injuries since the end of last year and hasn't been the back that he was in the past. While he did find the end zone in Week 3, he has 22 rushing and 41 receiving yards thus far. He hasn't practiced yet this week and has been ruled out. This does help Ameer Abdullah's value, but it's not like Bell was doing a lot anyway. Leave him on the waiver wire (or don't hesitate to drop him).


Reggie Bush, RB, San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)

Probable – Calf

After sitting out the past two weeks, Bush will likely be active for Week 4. While very few fantasy owners are starting Bush (or even own Bush), this is relevant for Carlos Hyde owners. With Bush able to come in for passing downs, Hyde's value takes a slight hit. Hyde is still a low-end RB1, but expect him to lose some touches to Bush.


— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

Week 4 Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Marshawn Lynch, Andre Ellington, Joique Bell, Reggie Bush
Post date: Sunday, October 4, 2015 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-week-4-injury-updates-arian-foster-demarco-murray-jonathan-stewart-chris-ivory

As has been the case this season, the fantasy owners need to pay particular attention to the lengthy list of injured running backs. There’s some good news with the potential return of some key ball carriers, but there’s also those who are in danger of not taking the field today. The injury updates for RBs in the later games can be found here, and don’t forget about the WRs and QBs/TEs either.


Note: all games are at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday unless otherwise noted.


Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (London) (Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ET)

Probable – Quadriceps

Ivory really hurt fantasy owners that started him upon hearing he was active in Week 3. He was listed as active, but didn't play a single down. However, after putting in full practices this week, Ivory should actually play in Week 4. He's a RB2 against a Dolphins team that can be run on.


Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans at Atlanta Falcons

Questionable – Groin

It appears that Foster will be a game-time decision, so thankfully he's playing in the early round of games in Week 4. Foster has been practicing, but playing in a game situation is obviously different than practice. The sense is that Foster will play this week, but he may be on a snap count. The Texans play again on Thursday night, so getting Foster into game action for a few snaps may be beneficial to see how he responds. If Foster is active, it will be hard to not start him. However, if you do have two solid, healthy running backs on your roster, sit Foster in case he doesn't play many snaps.


DeMarco Murray, RB, Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins

Questionable – Hamstring

After sitting out Week 3, Murray earned another questionable tag for Week 4. He did put in full practices this week, so he should be good to play on Sunday. Ryan Mathews looked good for the Eagles in Week 3, so it will be interesting to see what kind of role Murray has. The Redskins’ defense is better than most people think, so Murray is just an RB2 if active.


Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Probable – Knee

Stewart has had a few "good" matchups and he hasn't been able to capitalize on them. He has another such matchup in Week 4, and he should play after putting in a full practice on Friday. He hasn't had more than 62 rushing yards yet this year and he's had double-digit carries in all three games. Continue to start him as a RB2 and hope that he'll finally be able to take advantage of an appealing matchup.


Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers

Questionable – Knee

Even though Martin missed practice on Thursday, he did practice on Friday and should play on Sunday. He had a rough Week 3, only carrying the ball 14 times for 46 yards (3.3 yards per carry). The Panthers did give up rushing touchdowns in Week 3 to both Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson. Look for Martin to find the end zone in Week 4.


Jonas Gray, RB, Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets (London) (Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ET)

Questionable – Calf

While few fantasy owners are starting Gray, it should be noted that he is banged up and may not play. This only helps Lamar Miller as Gray will be one less player taking carries away from him.


LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills vs. New York Giants

Out – Hamstring

McCoy has come out and said that he is not going to play until he is 100 percent healthy. After spending most of Week 3 on an exercise bike on the sidelines (and giving his fantasy owners 16 rushing yards), McCoy has been ruled out for Week 4. Watch his practice reports this week to get a feel for his Week 5 status.


Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons vs. Houston Texans

Out – Ribs

Coleman was out last week, as anyone who owned or played against Devonta Freeman is well aware. It is going to be hard for Freeman to top last week, but at least he doesn’t have to worry about competing with Coleman for touches this afternoon.


— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

Fantasy Football Week 4 Injury Updates: Arian Foster, DeMarco Murray, Jonathan Stewart, Chris Ivory
Post date: Sunday, October 4, 2015 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-week-4-injury-updates-eric-decker-alshon-jeffery-brandin-cooks-davante-adams

As we head into Week 4, it's another week with a full injury report for fantasy owners to digest. Two teams (Patriots, Titans) are on bye, so that's a week for players on those teams to heal. However, plenty of other players are on the injury report. This article is all about the wide receivers, so be sure to check the other Week 4 injury updates for the latest on the RBs (here and here), as well as the QBs/TEs.


Players that have a probable tag, put in a full practice and played in Week 3 aren't noted on here unless the injury is relevant.


Note : All games are at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday unless otherwise noted.


Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (London) (Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ET)

Questionable – Knee

With a touchdown in each of the two games he's played, Decker is a solid WR2 when healthy. However, he injured his knee, missed Week 3, and is a game-time decision for Week 4. Fantasy owners will know early if he plays, however, thanks to the early morning game. Decker will likely test out the knee and see if he can go. Because of the injury, he'll be a WR3 if active.


Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears vs. Oakland Raiders

Questionable – Hamstring

Even though he has a questionable tag, it appears that Jeffery will sit for Week 4 as well. He has been able to practice some, but the Bears likely don't want to rush back their best offensive player as this is already shaping up to be a lost season. Expect Jeffery back for Week 5.


Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys (Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET)

Probable – Ankle

Now that Drew Brees is likely playing, Cooks' value goes up. He has put in limited practice sessions all week and will play in the Sunday night game. He hasn't found the end zone yet this season and actually had his best game with Luke McCown in Week 3. However, he is a WR2 in Week 4 against a beatable Dallas secondary.


Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)

Questionable – Ankle

After leaving the Monday night game against the Chiefs in the first quarter (much to his fantasy owners’ dismay), Adams did not return. He hasn't practiced and is likely going to end up on the not playing side of the questionable tag. Don't count on having him for Week 4. Ty Montgomery filled in when Adams was out in Week 3, but the rookie is just a WR3 for Week 4.


Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts

Probable – Thigh

While Hurns did have the touchdown in Week 3, he isn't a recommended start in standard leagues for Week 4. He will play as he has practiced this week (limited). The draw for Hurns is simply that cornerback Vontae Davis will be on Allen Robinson, freeing up the Jags’ No. 2 receiver. This is where the Colts are weak, but Hurns is a low-end WR3 at best this week. If he doesn't find the end zone, you're looking at a 3/40/0 stat line.


Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills vs. New York Giants

Out – Calf
After giving fantasy owners one reception for 39 yards in Week 3, Watkins left the game with a calf injury and did not return.

He didn't practice this week, so it was almost a given that he would be sitting out this week. The lack of practice doesn't bode well for his Week 5 status either, but be sure to pay attention to the practice reports. In the meantime, Percy Harvin's fantasy outlook gets a boost.


DeSean Jackson, WR, Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Out – Hamstring

Originally the hope was that D-Jax would be available for this game against his former team. However, he hasn't been

practicing and is still probably two weeks away from playing. Continue to hold onto him, but don't count on starting him for a couple weeks.


Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants at Buffalo Bills

Out – Calf

Cruz suffered a setback with his calf injury this week and has undergone plasma injections. It doesn't look like he will be on the field anytime soon. It's going to be hard to hold on to him through the bye weeks as it isn't clear when he'll be able to play or how effective he will be.


Charles Johnson, WR, Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)

Out – Ribs

A preseason sleeper, Johnson has already been ruled out for Week 4 with a rib injury. He has totaled six receptions for 46 yards in three games. He shouldn't be on the starting WR radar to begin with, but he is not playing in Week 4. While Mike Wallace might benefit, this is going to be the Adrian Peterson show.


Marqise Lee, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts

Out – Hamstring

In case anyone was looking to start Lee, he has already been ruled out for Week 4 after not practicing all week. He isn't worth rostering in 10- or 12-team leagues.


— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

Fantasy Football Week 4 Injury Updates: Eric Decker, Alshon Jeffery, Brandin Cooks, Davante Adams
Post date: Sunday, October 4, 2015 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/knee-jerk-reactions-nebraska-cornhuskers-vs-illinois-fighting-illini

On Saturday Oct. 3, fans who tuned in for the Nebraska-Illinois clash were in for something…different. I doubt they expected The Game That Fun Forgot. The Huskers actually had some notable moments.


Unfortunately, the putrid offense covered up nearly all sweet memories and confusion reigned from the seats to the striped shirts. Let’s review:


- The honeymoon is officially over for Mike Riley. It never started in the eyes of some, but now we’re going to get to see how he handles Nebraska fans when they’re flat out angry. It’s probably best for him to just avoid social media for a bit.


- Heading into this game, I felt that we’d see quite a bit of Andy Janovich or at least a 60/40 run-pass ratio. Danny Langsdorf’s play calling was just baffling overall and when the fullback finally did see time, the ghost of Shawn Watson possessed Nebraska’s offensive coordinator. At least, that’s what I think I saw.


- The defensive line looked as stout as it did all year with Maliek Collins and Kevin Maurice playing well off each other.


- While I have nothing but praise for Chris Weber filling in this year, having Josh Banderas back next week gives the Blackshirts another shot in the arm.


- De’Mornay Pierson-El’s day was likely dictated by his muffed punt. There’s a mental part of the game that needs to be rekindled with live play. After a few snaps in bad weather, it was likely determined that this game was not the time or place to force DPE back in the groove.


- Player of the Game? Sam Foltz is as good as any in my book. Nine punts for 422 yards (a 46.9-yard average) with a long of 63, five that went for 50 yards or more, three inside the 20-yard line and three inside the 10.


- Do me a favor: Find the “Stand Up and Shout” button in the Illinois box and break it.


- The refs. I honestly don’t have to write anything after those words, but the amount of incompetence during the game by those wearing black and white was mind-blowing. It was close to literally being this.


— Written by Brandon Cavanaugh, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Be sure to follow Brandon on Twitter @eightlaces and Periscope (eightlaces), and like his Facebook page.

Knee-Jerk Reactions: Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini
Post date: Saturday, October 3, 2015 - 20:09
Path: /college-football/ohio-state-ezekiel-elliotts-huge-day-against-indiana

Ohio State survived an upset bid by Indiana, using a last-minute goal-line stand to win 34-27 over the Hoosiers.


While the defense stepped up with the game on the line, the biggest reason for the Buckeyes’ victory was running back Ezekiel Elliott. The junior carried Ohio State’s offense, rushing for 274 yards and three scores on 23 attempts.


With the passing attack sputtering, Elliott received the bulk of the work on offense, which included touchdown runs of 55, 65 and 75 yards in the second half.


Here’s the highlights from Elliott’s huge day in Bloomington: 




Here's Elliott just hurdling a defender:

5 Must-See Moments from Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott's Huge Day Against Indiana
Post date: Saturday, October 3, 2015 - 19:40
Path: /99-funny-fantasy-basketball-team-names

The NBA season tips off Oct. 27, which means it’s time for fantasy basketball. Only one team will win your league, but everyone can be a winner with a good, clever and, most of all, funny fantasy basketball team name. Pop culture references? Of course. Dirty jokes? Even better. Hard core trolling? That’s the name of the name game. Here’s our list of suggestions for the 2015-16 NBA season:

Steve Ballmer Dance Party


Who Told You Put the Ballm On?


Steve Ballmer’s iPhone7


Headbands Make Her Dance


Ninjas in Paris


808s and Fastbreaks


Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Team


Jesus Shuttlesworth


Popovich In-Game Interviews


Emoji Warriors


Space Jam 2


Brooklyn Nyets


Brooklyn Nine-Nine


I Get Buckets


This Means Emoji War


I Declare Emoji War


Lob City


Serge I-block-ya


Ibaka Flocka Flame


Pippen Ain’t Easy


WTF is Mike Wearing?




Not a Big Gay Guy


Let’s Get Tropical


Joakim Noah’s Arc


James of Thrones


Brokeback Mavericks


Sprichst Du Dirk?


Dirk Digglers


The Germanator




Grabbing Assets


Brittney Griner Tight


Lions, Tigers and Goberts


Deng Girl!


Stevie Wonder’s Courtside Seats


Real Recognize Beal


Dolla Dolla Beal

Kobe Wan Kenobi


Shawn Kemp’s Kids


Pass the Rock to Lamar


Kardashian Double-Team


O.J.’s Daughter’s Boyfriend’s Beard


James Gives Me a Harden


ZZ Harden


Go Harden the Paint


Lala’s Honey Nut Cheerios


Prokhorov Playboys


Double Dragic


Mother of Dragics


Granny Shots



Better Call Gasol




Z-Bo Knows


Zen & Zing


Knockin’ Knickerbockers


White Men Can Jump




Game, Blouses


8 Points, 9 Seconds


Malice at the Palace


Temporary Linsanity


Adam Silver’s My Homeboy


Comic Sans Cavaliers




Trust the Process


Hinkie Promise


Cowbell Fever


7-10 Splitter




Bosh Spice


Uncle Drew’s Team


Optimus Dime


Slim Reaper


Chicks Dig Air Balls


Very Rich Paul






I'm On A Banana Boat


Mayor of Chicago


D-Rose Train Conductor


Boogie Men


Boogie Nights


Shake and Blake




Serenity Now, Linsanity Later


Linsane in the Membrane


Kawhi Claws


Duncan Donuts


Tony Parker’s Ex


Pope Franchise


People’s Pope-ovich


Passing is for Pu**ies


Manu a Manu


Fear the Deer


Get Ur Greek Freak On


Greek Freak Nasty


Scoring Like Wilt




These funny fantasy basketball team names will make your league laugh.
Post date: Saturday, October 3, 2015 - 16:30
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/texas-rangers-fires-employee-sending-fire-charlie-strong-tweet-longhorns-twitter

Everything is bigger in Texas, except the loyalty perhaps.


The Texas Rangers' twitter account was not a fan of the Texas-TCU game, as the Longhorns lost 50-7. Someone tweeted "Fire Charlie. #bye" from the team's official account, and it was all downhill from there.


View post on


As always with the internet, deleting something won't do any good. The person responsible for the tweet has been fired.


Yes, you read that right. This person was fired on their day off.  

Post date: Saturday, October 3, 2015 - 16:29
Path: /college-football/georgia-alabama-players-separated-game-bulldogs-crimson-tide-athens

Georgia and Alabama really don't like each other.


These teams don't get to play each other often enough, but they're making the most of it. This is only the fifth time Alabama has visited Athens, things are bound to get a little rowdy. As Alabama was taking the field at Sanford Stadium, players from both teams were getting a little to close for comfort and had to be separated by the officials.

Even as the players were at midfield, the chatter seemed to continue between the Bulldogs and Tide.


Post date: Saturday, October 3, 2015 - 15:41
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/texas-player-retweets-tweet-kris-boyd-am-transferring-during-tcu-game

It's frustrating to lose.


It's even more frustrating to get embarrassed by an in-state rival. Texas got railroaded by a really good and pretty much flawless TCU team. The Horned Frogs scored 30 in the first quarter. That has to hurt. During halftime of the game, Texas' freshman cornerback, Kris Boyd, retweeted a tweet about transferring to Texas A&M.


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Obviously he wasn't serious (at least I hope not), but it's really a lesson as to why they don't want players on social media especially during games.


(h/t Bro Bible)

Post date: Saturday, October 3, 2015 - 15:03
Path: /overtime/jimmy-fallon-hands-out-nfl-superlatives-cowboys-saints-sunday-night-football

Jimmy Fallon is back again with "NFL Superlatives."


In preparation of the Sunday night matchup between the Saints and the Cowboys, the "Tonight Show" host didn't hold back on Drew Brees, Max Unger, and others.

Stephone Anthony will be seen as Kevin Hart from now on.

Post date: Saturday, October 3, 2015 - 12:32
All taxonomy terms: Alabama Crimson Tide, College Football, SEC
Path: /college-football/jake-coker-has-chance-quiet-critics-alabamas-showdown-georgia

Knocked around. Roughed up. Picked apart. Battered. Jake Coker has experienced a good bit of that this season as Alabama's primary starting quarterback. And most of that abuse has come off the field.


Coker can't do this. Coker can't do that. Coker struggles with this. Coker struggles with that. When people talk about how good this 2015 Alabama team is, the quarterback position is not normally included.


Coker is the guy Alabama is stuck with at quarterback. Because Blake Sims graduated. Because Everett Golson picked Florida State. Because Blake Barnett isn't ready yet. Because Cooper Bateman and Alec Morris don't have strong throwing arms.


It's like, yes, Coker is Alabama's quarterback this season. But only by default.


The cries are everywhere. Run the ball! People want to see handoffs from Coker. Not passes. 


The second-year Florida State transfer, who's thrown for 786 yards and eight touchdowns to go along with four picks, seemed to win over his teammates with his gutsy, inspiring performance off the bench against Ole Miss a couple of weeks ago. Many media members and fans also were impressed by Coker's competitive character in that defeat, but that hasn't seemed to alleviate their concerns regarding his play going forward.


This afternoon Coker and No. 13 Alabama will face their biggest challenge of the season thus far when they square off against No. 8 — and favored — Georgia. For Coker, who has a QBR right now of 123.92, which puts him 10th among SEC quarterbacks, it will be his first true road test of the season. For Nick Saban? He just wants all Alabama fans to be fully behind Coker and the rest of the Crimson Tide players this afternoon.


Related: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs Preview and Prediction


"I wish everybody would support our team to be the best team that they can be," the Alabama head coach said Thursday night. "When we get a lot of negative noise, when we get a lot of criticism, when we get a lot of disappointed, disgruntled people, I think it affects our players.


"I think that it's important that our fans really support these players. When you have a new quarterback — this is gonna be the first game he's had really on the road — we've got to be supportive of him, and he's got to make good decisions and take what the defense gives. But the more positive that people are around, the more positive energy you have, the more confidence people create, that's how you get what you want."


Seems ever since that turnover-plagued loss to Ole Miss a lot of folks have lost faith in this Alabama team. They worry about the chinks in the armor. They fret over Coker and the quarterback position. They fear more losses coming Alabama's way. They wonder if the Tide's run of dominance is coming to an end.


Saban, for one, is not down on this team. Or Coker. At all.


"I like this team," Alabama's ninth-year head coach said. "I like our team. I know that they haven't always done things perfectly so far this year. But I really like our team, and I like the way the team has responded to the Ole Miss loss and the way they've approached this week.


"I'd love for this team to have success in this game. I think this team needs to have success. This team has worked hard. I think they really feel like maybe they didn't do things the right way in the Ole Miss game, and this is an opportunity to show that they can do it better."


Probably no Alabama player wants to 'do it better' today any more than Coker. If he does, and if he can lead the Tide to an upset win over Georgia, maybe then folks will stop viewing the Tide's quarterback spot as one of the team's weak links.


— Written by Erik Stinnett, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Stinnett is an experienced college football beat writer who has been covering Alabama since 2009.

Jake Coker Has Chance to Quiet Critics in Alabama's Showdown With Georgia
Post date: Saturday, October 3, 2015 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: Chicago Bears, Oakland Raiders, NFL
Path: /nfl/oakland-raiders-vs-chicago-bears-preview-and-prediction-2015

The Raiders head into Solider Field Sunday trailing the all-time series between the two teams 7-6. The Bears won their last meeting in Oakland 25-20 back in 2011.


The setting for this game is much different than their last meeting. The Raiders come into the Week 4 matchup fresh off a dominating road win against the Cleveland Browns, although the 27-20 score wouldn't show that. Quarterback Derek Carr threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns as the Raiders led 20-3 at halftime.


Running back Latavius Murray had his first 100-yard effort of 2015, rushing for 139 yards and a touchdown against the Browns. 


Oakland at Chicago


Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET (Sunday)
TV Channel: CBS
Spread: Raiders -3


Three Things to Watch


1. Raiders QB Derek Carr

Carr heads into Soldier field fresh off his first career road victory in which he torched a highly talented Browns secondary. Rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper reeled in eight catches for 134 yards against Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden.


Carr was efficient and accurate when the Raiders were in four- and five-receiver sets. Expect the Raiders to spread out the Bears’ inexperienced secondary in an attempt to move the chains early.


2. Bears QB Jimmy Clausen

There was an article published back when Clausen was the country's top recruit that he was the LeBron James of football… no, seriously, someone actually published that.


Clausen was the helm of the Bears’ 26-0 road defeat against the Seattle Seahawks where Chicago punted on all 10 offensive possessions. If Clausen expects to maintain any chance of employment down the road in the NFL, he's going to need to start making plays. He'll again be without leading wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, but still has viable options in tight end Martellus Bennett and running back Matt Forté.


3. Raiders RB Latavius Murray

Murray is coming off his first 100-yard game of the season, and is finally starting to look like the tailback that took over in dominating fashion for the injured Darren McFadden late in 2014


Murray has home-run capabilities every time he touches the ball, and with the Bears’ run defense yet again ranking at the bottom of the league, expect Murray to shoulder a heavy rushing workload on Sunday. 


Final Analysis


The Bears are a bad, make that very bad, football team, but are the Raiders still the same ol' Raiders? Sunday will be a good indication for two teams seemingly headed in two very different directions. 


Prediction: Raiders 34, Bears 14


— Written by Chris Dougherty, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Dougherty also serves as a National Recruiting Analyst for and has written for other sites, including and Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @warontheweekend.

Oakland Raiders vs. Chicago Bears Preview and Prediction
Post date: Saturday, October 3, 2015 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/top-5-quarterback-replacements-concerned-andrew-luck-fantasy-owners

When the news broke on Wednesday that Andrew Luck wasn’t throwing in practice, fantasy owners got a little nervous, but the reports out of Indianapolis were that the Colts weren’t that concerned about the injury. He didn’t throw in Thursday’s practice, and the early reports from Friday’s practice are not promising. Add in that the Colts just signed Josh Johnson as a backup quarterback, and fantasy owners should start getting nervous. It appears that Luck will earn a questionable tag and be a game-time decision for the Week 4 game against Jacksonville.


So what is a fantasy owner to do? For starters, be sure you have a backup quarterback. After the Ben Roethlisberger owners picked over the waiver wire, be sure you are prepared. We looked at five quarterback replacements for Roethlisberger owners earlier this week. If you missed out on those guys, below is a list of five replacement options that may be available at short notice for Sunday.


Also, please note that Luck not playing is a huge downgrade to T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief. Frank Gore’s value (RB2) stays about the same if not increases, as the Colts are going to try to beat Jacksonville on the ground. If you have Hilton or Moncrief, look for better options if possible.


And now for five quarterbacks to try to save your Sunday.


Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders (49.3 percent owned in leagues)

The Raiders play the Bears on Sunday, which is a great matchup. I did recommend Carr after Ben Roethlisberger went down, and if he is still available, grab him not just for this week but for future weeks as well. Sure, he’ll struggle, but over the past two weeks, he’s put up two 300-yard games and five touchdowns, with just one interception. Chicago is sending off its players (see: Jared Allen) and while the stats show that their rush defense is worse than its pass defense, this is primarily the result of other teams getting the lead and then killing the clock. Trust Carr this week.

Related: Why You Must Start Derek Carr And Other Start/Sit Fantasy QB/DST Advice for Week 4


Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City (24.9 percent owned)

Yes, Smith is a game manager, but he's a game manager who throws short passes to Jamaal Charles, which count as fantasy points. He did score his points in Week 3 in garbage time, but garbage time counts too. The bottom line with Smith is that he's not a great start, but he's not going to get you a zero. He'll throw for about 200 yards and probably a touchdown and maybe an interception. He's not going to win your week, but he's not going to lose it for you either (assuming you're desperate).


Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, New York Jets (12.2 percent owned)

The problem with Fitzpatrick this week isn’t the matchup (he should be fine against Miami), but the time. The Jets play the Dolphins in London, but the game time is 9:30 a.m. ET. If Luck truly is a game-time decision, you would have to decide on Fitzpatrick before knowing if Luck is out. Fitzpatrick has two touchdowns in each of the three games so far this season (and five interceptions). He was without Eric Decker last week, who may or may not play this week. He's not a great start, but he'll put up solid QB2 numbers if you want to gamble on Luck being out.


Brandon Weeden, QB, Dallas Cowboys (4.4 percent owned)

For fantasy owners looking for a one-week fill-in for Luck, Weeden has a great matchup against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night. The Saints are one of only three defenses that have not had an interception this season. They've allowed six passing touchdowns through three games and are in the bottom third of the league in terms of passing yards allowed. While Weeden isn't going to light up the stat sheet, he will continue to be the check-down king, finding Jason Witten and Lance Dunbar on short passes. Look for Terrance Williams to become more involved this week as well. While Weeden is just managing the Cowboys' offense, he has proven that he is capable of leading the team while Romo is out. If he can fill in for the Cowboys, he can fill in for Luck if needed.


Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Indianapolis Colts (0.1 percent owned)

Hasselbeck is an option for the truly desperate. This is the backup for Luck, and the safest option if you are in a two-quarterback league or your waiver wire is truly picked over. He's not going to be Luck, far from it, and he's going to do a lot of handing off to Frank Gore. But he will throw the ball, and he will be the starting quarterback for the Colts assuming Luck is out. If that's all you are looking for, Hasselbeck is your guy.


— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

Top 5 Quarterback Replacements For Concerned Andrew Luck Fantasy Owners
Post date: Friday, October 2, 2015 - 20:00
All taxonomy terms: AFC, Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, NFL
Path: /nfl/kansas-city-chiefs-vs-cincinnati-bengals-preview-and-prediction-2015

The 3-0 Cincinnati Bengals host the 1-2 Kansas City Chiefs Sunday in an interesting AFC clash that could have an effect on the playoff seedings come January. The Chiefs are coming off two tough losses — one where five turnovers did them in against divisional rival Denver, and another where they were thoroughly outplayed by the Green Bay Packers. The Chiefs have a lot of talent on their roster, but they have yet to put it all together in 2015.


Meanwhile the Bengals are off to another hot start, including last week's thrilling divisional victory in Baltimore that featured 31 total points scored in the fourth quarter. After leaning on tight end Tyler Eifert the first two games, A.J. Green reminded everyone of his superstar status against the Ravens, putting up 227 yards and two touchdowns, including an electric 80-yard touchdown late in the game.


The Bengals are looking to cement their status as an AFC contender while the Chiefs are looking to climb back into consideration and turn their season around before it's too late.


Kansas City at Cincinnati


Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET

TV Channel: CBS

Line: Bengals -3


Three Things to Watch For


1. Can Jamaal Charles Get Going? 

Jamaal Charles has 231 yards rushing on the season with four touchdowns, but once again he's been tasked with carrying the Chiefs' offense far too often. Any good offense is balanced between the run and pass, but even with Charles' strong start, ranking the Chiefs 13th in rushing yards-per-game, it has had limited effect on helping Alex Smith in the passing game. The Bengals have had a stingy run defense thus far, giving up a fifth-best 75 yards per game. If the Chiefs can't get Charles going it could be a long afternoon.


2. Stopping A.J. Green 

The Chiefs were torched on "Monday Night Football" by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense for 448 yards. Andy Dalton isn't Rodgers, but the combination of A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert is potent, and one or the other has come up big in each of the first three games this season. Can Kansas City come up with a way to slow down the Bengals' passing offense, which currently ranks sixth in the league? Rookie cornerback Marcus Peters already has two interceptions and is off to an impressive start, but the challenge of facing one of the league's best receivers in Green will be his toughest yet.


3. Can the Bengals Send a Message?

The Bengals got off to a hot 3-0 start in 2014 as well before getting their doors blown off by the Patriots and descending into a 10-5-1 season that saw a first round playoff exit at the hands of the Colts. This season, with the door seemingly wide open in the AFC due to the decline of Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger's injury and slow starts by perennial contenders the Colts and Ravens, the Bengals have a chance to take a significant step forward. Defeating a talented but flawed team like the Chiefs is what good teams need to do at home. A 4-0 start would put Cincinnati into the conversation of the best teams in the AFC, if not the entire league.


Final Analysis


The Bengals have stuck with Dalton and it's starting to pay off, but he can no longer fall back on any excuses. He has weapons around him and a defense behind him. The time to win is now. The Chiefs meanwhile are at a crossroads, still struggling with the inconsistent play that has haunted them since the Andy Reid/Alex Smith era began. A win over the surging Bengals could right the ship for the Chiefs, but it won't be handed to them and they'll have to hit a level of performance we have yet to see out of them. The Bengals looked primed to make a statement.


Prediction: Bengals 28, Chiefs 14


— Written by Mike Dussault, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and writer/editor of (@PatsPropaganda), a comprehensive blog covering the New England Patriots.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cincinnati Bengals Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, October 2, 2015 - 14:00
Path: /nfl/carolina-panthers-vs-tampa-bay-buccaneers-preview-and-prediction-2015

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon in a Week 4 match up that could provide an early season shake up in the NFC South. The Panthers enter the game at a perfect 3-0, while the Bucs currently sit at 1-2. Both teams are 1-0 in the NFC South, sharing a common victory over division rival New Orleans.


Tampa Bay comes into this match up trying to break a ten game home losing streak. Currently, the longest home losing streak in the NFL. The Bucs have not won a game at Raymond James Stadium since 2013. More importantly, Tampa Bay has not defeated Carolina since 2012, losing four straight to the defending NFC South champion Panthers.


Carolina at Tampa Bay


Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET (Sunday)

TV Channel: FOX

Spread: Carolina -3


Three Things to Watch


1. Tampa Bay on 3rd Down

If the Buccaneers stand any chance of winning against the Panthers, they must improve on third down on both sides of the football this week. Through 3 weeks, Tampa has converted third downs into first downs on just nine of 40 attempts, which is a pathetic 22 percent conversion rate. Opposing defenses have provided plenty of pressure on third down for Jameis Winston so far this season forcing the Bucs’ rookie quarterback into poor throws and poor decision-making in general. You can fully anticipate that Carolina will attempt to continue the trend in week 4.


Conversely, the Tampa Bay defense has allowed Tennessee, New Orleans, and Houston to collectively convert on 46 percent of their third down plays. Only five other NFL defenses have been worse on third down. And let’s face it, the Bucs haven’t exactly faced a who’s who of NFL offenses to this point. Cam Newton and the Panthers' offense is arguably their biggest test to date.


The Panthers rank mid-pack in the NFL in converting and stopping third down conversions, so Tampa has a reasonable shot at getting on track, especially on the offensive side of the ball going against a banged-up Panthers defense.


2. The Carolina Rushing Attack vs. The Tampa Bay Rush Defense

Both teams have faced fairly weak competition to this point, but considering that they already share two common opponents in Houston and New Orleans through the first three games, the statistics heading into this matchup are quite relevant.


Those statistics provide insight that bear one fairly obvious conclusion. The Buccaneers will struggle to stop the Carolina run game. The Panthers currently rank sixth in the NFL in rushing at 132 yards per game. The Buccaneers rank 30th in the NFL in stopping the run, allowing 138 rushing yards per game. The Tampa defense is coming off of a loss to Houston in which they allowed the Texans to dominate the time of possession with the run game en route to giving up 186 rushing yards and that was without Arian Foster. Even Titans running back Bishop Sankey averaged 6.2 yards per carry against the Bucs' porous defense.


The bottom line is that if Tampa Bay cannot not slow down Blue and Sankey, how are they going to slow down Newton and Jonathan Stewart? The answer is simple, the Bucs will not. The challenge becomes even more daunting when you take into account that Tampa Bay’s All-Pro DT Gerald McCoy is currently nursing a shoulder injury.


3. Carolina’s Pass Rush?

At this point, there are more questions than answers regarding Carolina’s pass rush coming into this game, but it is definitely worth paying attention to. The Panthers’ addition of the NFL’s all-time sack leader, DE Jared Allen, will likely be the most heavily scrutinized aspect of the day.


It’s no secret that Panthers head coach Ron Rivera likes to employ an aggressive pass defense, and it’s even less of a secret that Rivera will try to bring as much pressure as possible against the Buccaneers' rookie signal-caller on Sunday.


The question is, how well will Winston and the Tampa Bay offensive line respond? So far, they have not fared very well against opposing pass rushes, which can be documented by the aforementioned difficulty to move the chains on third down. The Bucs have also allowed seven sacks in the first three games, which isn’t terrible, but it isn’t exactly good either.


There are also no guarantees that Carolina will be effective with its pass rush. The addition of Allen to replace the injured Charles Johnson could help, but Allen is not exactly in the prime of his career. It may be even more of a challenge if the Panthers' star linebackers, Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis, are unable to play on Sunday. Kuechly is still battling concussion systems and is a long shot to play this week, while Davis remains questionable with a pectoral injury.


If Carolina is unable to get a healthy pass rush going against the Buccaneers, Winston and the Tampa offense should be in for a successful day. Given time, Winston could have a field day with deep threats Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. On the contrary, If Carolina is able to bring the pressure, look for yet another underwhelming performance by the rookie quarterback and the Tampa Bay offense.


Final Analysis


There has been a fairly simple formula in how to defend the Buccaneer offense. You stack the box on first and second downs to slow down running back Doug Martin. You then follow up by bringing pressure and varying your coverages on third down to force young Winston into a mistake or short throw. So far, this has worked like a charm for opposing defenses, an inferior Saints unit being the lone exception. If the Panthers can successfully employ this strategy on Sunday, they will win the game. However, that may be easier said than done with key injuries, and an aging Allen applying the heat.


The key for the Buccaneers is limiting mistakes, limiting pressure on their young quarterback, and converting third downs. They must also limit penalties which have killed them so far this season. Tampa Bay has already accrued 33 penalties in three games, the most in the NFL. You are not going to win many games averaging over 10 penalties per game.


The Bucs also have a tall order in stopping Newton and the Carolina offense. This is likely the deciding factor in the game. Even if Tampa Bay manages to play well on offense, which is questionable at best, it is difficult to see them slowing down Newton enough to come out on top. Thus, bringing the Tampa Bay home losing streak to 11.


Prediction: Panthers 27, Buccaneers 21


— Written by Rob McVey, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @Rob_UTVOLS

Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, October 2, 2015 - 13:45
All taxonomy terms: Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans, NFL
Path: /nfl/houston-texans-vs-atlanta-falcons-preview-and-prediction-2015

The Houston Texans are showing signs of life. After the first two weeks of the season, the Texans were already on life support. Last week’s 19-9 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave the Texans a jolt to the heart and has at least put them in stable condition — for the time being. 


This week the Texans travel to Atlanta to face the revamped Falcons, fresh off their third straight come-from-behind win in as many weeks. Matt Ryan is starting to look like Matty Ice again after a couple of so-so seasons. Ryan has established a rapport with wide receiver Julio Jones that looks unstoppable. Jones leads the league in receiving yards and catches after his 12-reception, 164-yard and two-touchdown performance against the Cowboys last week, while Ryan is second in the league in both passing yards and yards per game behind the super-human Tom Brady. 


The Falcons are hitting on all cylinders heading into their Week 4 matchup against the Texans who are attempting to piece together an offensive identity. Houston may have won their matchup last week against the Bucs, but it wasn't pretty — far from it. If Bill O’Brien and company are looking to stay afloat in the meager AFC South, a road win in Atlanta would be a great momentum boost before facing division rivals Jacksonville and Indianapolis the next two weeks.


Houston at Atlanta


Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET (Sunday)

TV Channel: CBS

Spread: Atlanta -6.5


Three Things to Watch


1. Ryan Mallett’s Third Straight Start

Texans head coach Bill O’Brien liked what he saw out of Mallett last week, “I think he understood how we wanted to manage the game better today,” said O’Brien. And that is all O’Brien can really ask out of Mallett — manage the game. Don’t do too much, just manage the game, Ryan. 


Last week, Mallett did improve and definitely looked more poised in the pocket, throwing for 228 yards on 24-of-39 passes with one touchdown and one pick against the Bucs. Mallett did a better job of spreading the ball around as well, as four different receivers had at least four catches. But Tampa Bay really, really helped Mallett and the Texans out by missing three field goals and an extra point in the second half, points that would have put pressure on Mallett to make throws with the game on the line — especially on third down. 


The Texans converted on just eight of their 18 third down attempts last week, a stat that would have been more glaring had Tampa’s kicker not suffered from the yips. 


Much like his quarterback counterpart, Ryan, Mallett has realized he has a special wide receiver to target. DeAndre Hopkins has emerged as a game changer, averaging 11.5 yards per catch to go along with three touchdowns this season. While Mallett did a better job of spreading the ball around last week, getting the ball to Hopkins, especially on third down, will be vital for Mallett and the Texan’s success. 


2. Which Defense Shows Up?

Neither the Texans' or the Falcons' defensive units have been the model of consistency so far this season. JJ Watt is still the only Texan to record a full sack through three weeks of football. The Texans simply aren't getting enough pressure on the quarterback, and that spells disaster against Ryan and a Falcons offense that has been playing better than in previous seasons. Ryan has been outstanding, but the ability to run the ball last week against Dallas was what won the game for Atlanta. Running back Devonta Freeman filled in for injured rookie Tevin Coleman and absolutely exploded, scoring three times on 30 carries and 141 yards rushing. Meanwhile, the Texans held the Bucs to just 57 yards on the ground last week after giving up almost 270 yards against the Chiefs and Panthers.


The Falcons' defense has been improved thanks to new, defensive-minded, head coach Dan Quinn. But last week Atlanta looked sorry against the Brandon Weeden-led Cowboys, surrendering four touchdowns and 295 yards of offense in the first half. In the second half, the Falcons' defense adapted and shutout the Dallas offense, giving up just 52 total yards. The halftime coaching adjustment of Quinn and defensive coordinator Richard Smith was fantastic and exactly what Atlanta was missing under former head coach Mike Smith’s regime. 


The Falcons need to come out with the right defensive mindset early and shut down Houston running back Alfred Blue and not allow another first-half performance like the one last week. The Texans don't have a defensive back that can matchup with Jones on the edge. If the Texans have any chance of winning on Sunday, putting pressure on Ryan is going to be priority number one. 


3. Arian Foster, Game-time Decision

Nothing could impact this game more than the decision of whether Texans star running back Arian Foster will play or not. Foster has been out since the beginning of training camp after undergoing groin surgery. 


Foster’s replacement Blue was hot last week when he rushed for 139 yards on 31 carries and a touchdown. But before last week’s win against Tampa, Blue was almost non-existent, rushing for only 48 yards on 14 carries in losing efforts against the Chiefs and Panthers. 


If Foster can go, he is an obvious upgrade over Blue and gives Bill O’Brien a reliable weapon for an offense starving for an absolution. 


Final Analysis


A lot has to go right for the Texans to pull the road upset against the high flying Falcons. Having Foster would be a plus, but even without him the Texans are going to have to establish a reliable ground game with Blue, limiting the number of throws Mallett has to make. If Mallett has to drop back over 35 times again, I don't like the Texans’ chances, especially for an unreliable and beat up offensive line. 


The Falcons are looking to build on last week’s 39-point performance in Dallas, and the way Ryan is finding Jones in space mixed with the Texans’ lack of pass rush, another high-scoring effort isn't out of the question. 


Prediction: Falcons 28, Texans 17


— Written by Jake Rose, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @JakeRose24.

Houston Texans vs. Atlanta Falcons Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, October 2, 2015 - 13:30
Path: /nfl/jacksonville-jaguars-vs-indianapolis-colts-preview-and-prediction-2015

All is not well in Indianapolis. Rumors of turmoil between the Colts’ front office and head coach Chuck Pagano have become commonplace in the early weeks of the season, presumably about the offensive line’s complete inability to protect franchise quarterback Andrew Luck. 


Luck was limited in practice on Thursday and didn't practice on Wednesday to rest a sore throwing shoulder, a product of the continual beating he's taken since his rookie year. Luck’s first three weeks to the 2015 campaign have been the worst three game stretch of his career, highlighted by a league-leading seven interceptions and league-low QBR of 65.1. 


The Colts finally righted the ship in dramatic fashion last week in Nashville, coming from behind to beat the Titans 35-33. The Colts have a great opportunity to prove once again that they run the AFC South with their next two games being against division opponents, starting Sunday when the Jacksonville Jaguars come to the Circle City.


The Jaguars are still very much the Jaguars that you know and don’t watch. After a Week 2 win against what now looks like a shoddy Dolphins team, the Jags allowed a franchise high in points when they were absolutely rolled by the Patriots last week, 51-17. 


Blake Bortles is still learning to find his groove as an NFL quarterback while the defense that has been near the worst in the league the past several seasons is... still near the worst in the league. Against the Pats, the Jags D surrendered 473 yards of total offense and 35 first downs.


With a banged-up Luck and two bad defenses, this game has all the makings of being a very, very ugly matchup as the Colts look to extend their AFC South win streak to 15 games. 


Jacksonville at Indianapolis


Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET (Sunday)

TV Channel: CBS

Spread: Indianapolis -9


Three Things To Watch


1. Can Either Team Run the Ball?

Last week was the first time in Andrew Luck’s career that he’s had a running back on his team average over six yards per carry in a game. Free agent signee Frank Gore looked like the running back the Colts have missed since the Edgerrin James days, as Gore ran for 86 yards and two scores on 14 carries against the Titans. The big question is, will Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton force feed Gore, who only had 23 carries the first two games, with an ailing Luck? 


One early positive note for the Jags defense (aside from last week) is their ability to stop the run. Jacksonville ranks second in the NFL by only allowing 3.3 yards per carry. But if the Jags want to snap the Colts' five game win streak against them, they are going to have to solidify their own running game offensively. 


Rookie running back T.J. Yeldon was rendered useless against the Pats (11 att., 33 yds.) due to such a deficit and the Jags being forced to throw. The Colts' defense is nowhere near as stout as New England’s, as Indianapolis gives up an average of 112 yards per game on the ground. If Jacksonville can get Yeldon going on the ground early and often and keep the Colts' offense off the field, the Jags have a shot.


2. Andrew Luck

The sore shoulder and bad offensive line aside, Andrew Luck just doesn’t look like the same QB that we’ve seen the past couple of seasons. Too many times Luck is making just really, really bonehead plays. Last week he was being chased from the pocket to the sideline, but before stepping out of bounds or simply throwing the ball away, he chucked the ball in the air off his back foot like it was a recess pick up game, just sort of hoping that 5-foot-9 T.Y. Hilton comes down with it in a crowd. The ball was picked off, the second straight possession Luck threw a pick that lead to Titans points. 


Luck has always played a little close to the vest in terms his throws, but many of his throws this season are almost like he is trying too hard to make big plays instead of making the smart play. Instead of checking down, Luck is locking on, and often times under throwing his primary receivers downfield. 


This week against the Jags would be a great opportunity to get his tight ends involved and keep drives going instead of the persistent three-and-outs that are exhausting the Colts defense. Coby Fleener was ignored in the first two games, with just one reception against the Bills and Jets before adding four catches last week. Dwayne Allen has been banged up, but should be recovered from an ankle injury and ready to go Sunday, giving Luck another reliable target over the middle. 


There is little doubt that Luck will turn things around and make better decisions going forward, and this week will be a great opportunity for him to smooth out where his game has gone rough in the first three weeks.


3. Jaguars' Wide Receivers vs. Colts' Vulnerable Secondary

The Jaguars' receiving core of Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson aren’t household NFL names but they each are going to have the opportunity to be heard this week against a susceptible Colts secondary. Hurns, Robinson, and tight end Marcedes Lewis could have a field day on underneath routes, where Indy’s secondary has been exploited early this season.


Colts defensive backs Greg Toler and Darius Butler are questionable for the game on Sunday. Toler hasn’t played a single snap all season and Butler hasn't played since Week 1 — both are going to be rusty. To compound matters, All-Pro cornerback Vontae Davis has been getting beat this year rather noticeably. Normally one of the league’s shutdown corners, Davis has been caught many times on defensive holding calls and has been the target of many opposing quarterbacks in red-zone situations. While Davis’ setback could simply be the sum of a struggling secondary, its worth keeping an eye on.  


Final Analysis


The Jaguars have a great opportunity to walk into Lucas Oil Stadium and steal a victory against the Colts on Sunday. Bortles is going to have to find his young and talented receivers quickly and get running back Yeldon off and running early to give the Jaguars a fighting chance. The last thing Jacksonville wants to do is give Luck the chance to find his rhythm by giving him extra possessions. Converting on third down is going to be paramount for the Jaguars as they only move the chains 36.8 percent of the time. 


A hurting Luck might not sound like the ideal situation, but his aching shoulder could be the reason the Colts change their offensive scheme for the better. Instead of taking shots down field and risking quick possessions, the Colts should give Gore upwards of 25 to 30 carries this week in hopes of extending drives and protecting Luck.


Prediction: Colts 31, Jaguars 17


— Written by Jake Rose, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @JakeRose24.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, October 2, 2015 - 13:15
All taxonomy terms: Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, NFL
Path: /nfl/new-york-giants-vs-buffalo-bills-preview-and-prediction-2015

Rex Ryan is at it again. Ryan has come into Buffalo, and inspired the Buffalo Bills (2-1) to fight and compete and this Sunday afternoon will be no different, despite the team's challenges with injuries. After being admittedly embarrassed by the New England Patriots in a 40-32 game that wasn't as close as the score indicated, the Bills took out their frustrations on the Miami Dolphins and trounced them in their own building 41-14. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw for 277 yards and three TDs in the victory, but the Bills will be without both RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) and WR Sammy Watkins (calf) for this game. Instead, the offense will lean on rookie RB Karlos Williams and WR Percy Harvin as they try to continue putting up big numbers.


The New York Giants (1-2) finally finished a game and got their first victory of the year, with an impressive win over their divisional rival, the Washington Redskins. The Giants receiving core of Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle combined for 195 yards and two TDs including two late bombs of 30 and 41 yards to both receivers. Quarterback Eli Manning is quietly having the most efficient season start of his career, with zero interceptions through three games. However, it was the Giants' defense that seems to be playing better, stifling a Redskins rushing attack that had dominated the week before. 


Both Buffalo and New York are battling injuries to key players. The Bills, in addition to the absence of McCoy and Watkins, could also be without safety Aaron Williams, who suffered a neck injury on Sunday and is listed as questionable for this week. The Giants were hoping to get Victor Cruz back this week, but a strain of his already injured calf will keep him out of the lineup one more week. This game will most certainly come down to whose defense can slow down the other's offense, as both teams are averaging around 350 yards per game on offense, while giving up 400 yards on defense. 


New York at Buffalo


Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET (Sunday)

TV Channel: FOX

Spread: New York  -5


Three Things to Watch


1. Ruben Randle vs. Percy Harvin

Both wide receivers are coming off monster games. Both wide receivers looked incredibly impressive in their Week 3 matchups. And both wide receivers also have a tendency to disappear as quickly as they arrived. The challenge will be even greater for Harvin, since it looks as though the Bills will be without Watkins and McCoy, which means Harvin will probably be in double-teams all day long, unless Williams can get the run game going, which no team has done against the Giants yet. The Giants are only giving up 74 yards a game to opponents, so unless that trend changes this week, expect Harvin to struggle to get open. Meanwhile, Randle has been the beneficiary of the double teams on Beckham, and as a result he put up monster numbers against the Redskins - seven catches for 116 yards and a TD. He should be open again this week. Look for Randle to have another big game.


2. Is Tyrod Taylor The Real Thing?

The Giants' defense has given up an average of 335.7 yards in the passing game. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor is averaging 74 percent passing over three games. 


Seems like a recipe for disaster right? Maybe. Maybe not.


Taylor has thrown the ball 30 percent of the time to either McCoy or Watkins, who probably won't be on the field. So this week, Taylor will be forced to find new targets, especially if Harvin finds the double-team that should be expected this week. It will be very interesting to see if this young starting QB can spread the ball around to new receivers, especially under the pressure he will most certainly see from the Giants' front seven. The Giants were able to force Kirk Cousins into three INTs, giving them a total of four for the season. Taylor will probably see some of the same aggressive fronts that Cousins witnessed, and will be forced to get the ball out quick to Harvin, TE Charles Clay or WR Robert Woods.


3. The Mind of Rex Ryan

Rex is still steaming about the beat down he took at home to the New England Patriots in Week 2. He felt New England tried to "embarrass his team" by running up the score on his Bills. Rex will be determined not to let another quarterback come into Buffalo and do that again. Eli Manning will probably be under major pressure all afternoon with the front seven of DE Mario Williams and defensive player of the week LB Preston Brown. However, if the Giants' offensive line can hold them off, and Bills safety Aaron Williams is not 100 percent, then the secondary of the Bills may be in a lot trouble trying to contain Beckham and Randle.


Final Analysis


The Giants seem to be clicking offensively, and this week should not slow them down. The Bills have also found an offensive rhythm, but that flow could be disturbed greatly without McCoy and Watkins. The challenge of losing both offensive weapons may be too much for a young quarterback to overcome. The Giants will make enough plays on Taylor to keep him flustered long enough to steal a win in Buffalo. 


Prediction: Giants 31, Bills 21 


— Written by Lloyd H. Spence, Jr., who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Spence also has written for the Dallas Morning News, Yahoo!'s, and ESPN Louisville. He can be heard on the radio of "Talkin NOIZ" and "The Football Show of Collin County." Follow him on Twitter @TalkinNOIZ.


(Rex Ryan photo courtesy of Getty Images)

New York Giants vs. Buffalo Bills Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, October 2, 2015 - 13:00
Path: /nfl/philadelphia-eagles-vs-washington-redskins-preview-and-prediction-2015

Thanks to injuries and some just plain poor play, the NFC East is threatening to imitate last year’s overall poor performance of its South conference mate. Dallas and Philadelphia, the presumed division favorites, have been waylaid by QB woes (Tony Romo’s injury in Big D) and shaky play (the Eagles’ 0-2 start), turning the championship race into an unpredictable mess.


Fortunately, there are still some givens in life, such as 1-2 Washington’s struggles, which just about everybody expected. Philadelphia earned its first win of the season last week, and while an uninspiring, 24-17 triumph over the Jets isn’t exactly reason for wild celebration, it prevented an 0-3 beginning to the season and a two-percent shot (historically, at least) at the post-season. Washington owns a win over St. Louis but has little else on its resume and is struggling with familiar problems on offense, beginning with the quarterback position. Still, a win Sunday would put it in a good position in what has become an exceedingly unpredictable NFC East.


Philadelphia at Washington


Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET (Sunday)

TV Channel: FOX

Point Spread: Philadelphia -3


Three Things to Watch


1. Sam-I’m-Not?

The Eagles made much of their acquisition of Sam Bradford during the offseason, and coach Chip Kelly felt the oft-injured former Ram had the quick release and good decision-making skills to run his rapid-fire offense. Through three games, Bradford has been inconsistent and even timid. He has completed 62.4 percent of his throws but is averaging a mere 5.8 yards/attempt and has thrown just three touchdowns, against four picks. Granted, he hasn’t received much help from his wideouts, who lack deep-pass potential and have dropped several passes, but Bradford has not been what the Eagles hoped he would become in this offense.


Perhaps part of it is the lingering effect of the torn ACL he suffered last year, although the team isn’t too interested in hearing that. “Part of being a pro is you have to deal with being hurt and certainly you’ve got to deal with injury,” offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said.


2. One Fatal Flaw

A look at the Washington statistics would indicate the team should be better than its 1-2 record. It has outgained rivals by a total of 283 yards in the three games, matched opponents’ six TDs with a half-dozen trips to the end zone and is only a field goal behind in total points. Washington is averaging 5.4 yards/play to other teams’ 5.1 and has a 44.4-30.6 advantage on third downs.


So, what’s the problem? Turnovers. Washington has a minus-five margin in that key category, with interceptions a key culprit. Kirk Cousins has thrown four, while the Washington D has yet to pick off an enemy aerial. “As far as quarterbacks throwing picks, that’s going through your progressions and getting the ball out, making accurate throws and good decisions,” head coach Jay Gruden said last Friday. “It’s easier said than done, but we’re going to demand it.”


3. Return Engagement

One of the things that jump-started the Eagles last week in the Meadowlands was Darren Sproles’ electrifying, 89-yard punt return in the second quarter. The Eagles were sputtering offensively to that point, but Sproles took some pressure off the beleaguered unit with his big play, the sixth time in his career he has taken a punt to the end zone. Two weeks after containing St. Louis’s dangerous Tavon Austin, Washington must make sure Sproles doesn’t provide a similar boost this week.


Final Analysis


The Eagles have not been that impressive, to be sure, and injuries to linebacker Kiko Alonso and defensive end Cedric Thornton, along with the loss for the season of kicker Cody Parkey, haven’t helped. But the win over New York last week saved the season — for now — and gave the team hope in the mediocre NFC East. A win over Washington would re-establish the Eagles as a force in the division, especially since it hardly seems to be filled with juggernauts.


The same goes for Washington. If it can cut back on turnovers — and finally force a few — it can overcome the problems it has had early in the season and make some progress in the division, too. It’s hard to determine the true personalities of these two teams. But this is an important early benchmark for each and for the division.


Prediction: Philadelphia 27, Washington 17


— Written by Michael Bradley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Bradley is a writer and broadcaster based in suburban Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @DailyHombre.


(Top photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, October 2, 2015 - 12:45
All taxonomy terms: AFC, AFC East, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, NFL
Path: /nfl/new-york-jets-vs-miami-dolphins-preview-and-prediction-2015

Traveling to London in Week 4 came at the perfect time for the Miami Dolphins. Head coach Joe Philbin and the Dolphins are taking a lot of heat for their 41-14 loss at home to the Buffalo Bills last weekend. This week, the Dolphins will play a designated home game in London's Wembley Stadium against one of their biggest rivals, the New York Jets.


In Week 3, the Jets suffered their first loss of the season as they fell to the Philadelphia Eagles 24-17 at MetLife Stadium.


New York holds a 51-47-1 (including postseason) advantage over Miami in the series. The last time the two teams met was in the 2014 season finale when the Jets defeated the Dolphins 37-24 at Sun Life Stadium.


New York at Miami (London)


Kickoff: 9:30 a.m. ET (Sunday)

TV Channel: CBS

Spread: Jets -1.5


Three Things to Watch For


1. Dolphins' defense

After three games, the Dolphins' defense ranks among the worst in the NFL. Miami is currently 26th in total defense and 31st against the run. Rookie Jordan Phillips has the team’s lone sack on the season. Ndamukong Suh, who the Dolphins gave a $60 million signing bonus to last offseason, has been a huge disappointment so far. 


Suh, who was supposed to improve Miami’s defense, has seven tackles and zero sacks on the young season. The defensive tackle says opposing offensive lines aren’t playing him any differently than they have in previous seasons.


“People have different concepts and different things that they want to do,” said Suh. “I said before, people don’t sign a contract and do exactly what they say they are doing on film and show what they do on film. Each and every time you go out there, you’re going to expect something different, but also want to look for tendencies or things that they like to do. At the end of the day, you just go with what you’re given.”


Jets head coach Todd Bowles expects running back Chris Ivory to play in Week 4. If New York can establish a running game of some kind, that will take pressure off of Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets offense. Miami has given up an average of 145 rushing yards per game this year, so New York should be able to have success running the ball.


2. Ryan Fitzpatrick

Against the Eagles last week, Fitzpatrick finished 35-of-58 for 283 yards, two touchdowns, three interceptions and with a 26.8 total quarterback rating. According to Pro Football Focus, the quarterback has completed just three of 20 pass attempts on passes of at least 20 yards in the air.


Miami has one of the best cornerbacks in the league in Brent Grimes patrolling one side of the field, but Brice McCain is the team’s other starting corner. Last week, Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw at McCain 10 times while completing six passes for 100 yards.


Expect Fitzpatrick and the Jets to take some shots down the field with receivers Brandon Marshall and Devin Smith.


3. Miami's offensive line

The Dolphins offense has gone against two excellent defensive lines the last two weeks in Jacksonville and Buffalo. It won’t get any easier this week as the Dolphins offensive line will have to find a way to block the stout Jets defensive line.


The past three seasons, the Dolphins offensive line has been the team's major issue and it remains an issue in 2015. Branden Albert has been dealing with a hamstring injury for a better part of this season. Guards Dallas Thomas and Jamil Douglas have been mediocre at best.


Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been sacked seven times in six games and he has been pressured nearly every time he is in the pocket. Not only has the Dolphins passing game been suffering from the poor play of the offensive line, but so has their running game.


Miami is averaging 72.7 rushing yards per game, which is the 27th best in the NFL. The Jets rank fourth in overall defense through three games, so the Dolphins offensive line could have a tough day against on Sunday.


Final Analysis


Miami could easily be 0-3 to start the season. They needed a punt return by Jarvis Landry to beat the Redskins in Week 1 and have lost back-to-back games to the Jaguars and Bills. Last year, when the team was facing similar criticism from the media, they went to London to play the Oakland Raiders and won the game 38-14. This year’s Jets team is superior to that Raiders team the Dolphins played last year.


If Ivory can play Sunday, he could have a similar performance that he did in Week 1 when the Jets defeated the Cleveland Browns 31-10. He ran for 91 yards and two touchdowns in the win. No matter if it is Ivory or backup Bilal Powell, the Jets will need to establish the run.


New York defensive line should have a field day against a weak Dolphins offensive line. The Dolphins line will have problems keeping defensive linemen Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams in front of them.


The Jets’ pressure should force Tannehill to throw the ball before he wants to and that will create more interception opportunities for cornerbacks Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie. Look for New York’s secondary to pick off Tannehill multiple times and maybe force a fumble as well.


Prediction: Jets 31, Dolphins 17


— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.

New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, October 2, 2015 - 12:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-five-up-five-down-melvin-gordon-up-brandin-cooks-down-week-4

Each week, we post fantasy rankings for each position here at Athlon. And each week, we look at five players that have gone up in the rankings for the week and five players that have dropped. This is the result of their current week matchup and their performance over the past week. Sometimes this is also the result of events out of their control (injury to their quarterback, for example).


This is not a Start/Sit column, rather a look at how the value (or rank) of certain players fluctuates each week. Without further ado, here is Five Up, Five Down for Week 4.


Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex


Five Up


Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders

Many teams are going to be quarterback desperate this week, but for those that already have Carr on their roster, be happy. There is nothing like a matchup against the winless Chicago Bears to boost a quarterback's stats and ego. The Raiders have actually looked decent this season, and Carr, in the past two games, has completed 50 passes for 665 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. The Bears just got rid of arguably their best pass rusher in Jared Allen in an apparent fire sale and are just looking to get through the season while getting the best draft picks for next year. Carr cracks the top 10 in our quarterback ranks for Week 4.


Related: Why You Must Start Derek Carr And Other Start/Sit Fantasy QB/DST Advice for Week 4


Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers

Fantasy owners of Gordon have been waiting for him to have a breakout game this season. His opportunity should come in Week 4. The Cleveland Browns' run defense is the worst in the league. They've allowed the most rushing yards (475) and the longest run (54) through the first three weeks of the season. Gordon has been consistent, rushing for over 50 yards in each game so far. He's poised to break out, and based on that potential alone, he is a RB2 with high upside for Week 4.


Related: Bold Fantasy Predictions for Week 4 in the NFL


Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

We know. Owning Hill has been rough. He's ranked as a RB2 this week, so it isn't like we're saying he's going to go crazy, but the Bengals are still putting their trust in him. The Bengals face Kansas City in Week 4, and it isn't an easy matchup, but it isn't difficult either. The team has said if they are behind, Giovani Bernard will be the running back, but Hill will start the game. It seems that he needs to get his mental game back, and this should be the week for him to do so.


Percy Harvin, WR, Buffalo Bills

Harvin gets a boost this week simply because of the injury to Sammy Watkins. It is highly unlikely that Watkins (calf injury) plays in Week 4, so Harvin will step up to take his place. The Giants' secondary is easily beatable, and this will be Harvin's chance to shine. Harvin has put up WR3 numbers so far this season, and he has the chance to put up WR2 numbers this week. He's likely available in a lot of leagues (owned in less than 60 percent of leagues, per, so drop any dead weight and see what Harvin can do in Week 3.


Martellus Bennett, TE, Chicago Bears

This one is pretty straightforward. Start your tight ends against Oakland. The Raiders have given up 297 yards and five touchdowns to tight ends over the past three weeks. While Jimmy Clausen will still likely be making the start, he can find his tight end. Bennett was targeted six times in Week 3 with Clausen, but the matchup against Seattle is significantly worse than the one against Oakland will be. At some point, the Raiders will defend tight ends better, but this isn't going to be that week. Bennett is the No. 3 tight end in our ranks this week.


Five Down


Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants

Manning faces Buffalo in Week 4. The Bills have a tough defense, as only Tom Brady was really able to pick them apart. And Manning isn't exactly the caliber of Brady. Manning won't have Victor Cruz back, so he has to still work with Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham Jr. He certainly has the weapons to succeed, but he hasn't put together an amazing game yet this year (four total touchdowns on the season). This will likely be a 15-point effort from Manning. Not terrible, but not amazing. He's a QB2 this week.


Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins

Morris had a solid Week 1, and has since dropped down the ranks and is losing work to Matt Jones. As someone fantasy owners likely drafted as a RB1, he has been a huge disappointment. Facing the Eagles this week is going to be tough, and the weather conditions are going to be terrible. (Note: there is a chance this game gets moved to either Monday night in a different city or canceled altogether and played Week 8 with the Eagles and Redskins getting a bye in Week 4). Morris had issues fumbling the ball, and playing in the rain isn't going to help that. Morris is the 27th-ranked running back this week (Matt Jones is 29th).


Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins

Originally Landry was added to the Five Down section of this list because the thought was that the Jets would use Darrelle Revis to cover him. However, the reports are that Revis will not be on Landry after all. Whether that is true or not, we will see, but Landry is only a WR2 this week. Ryan Tannehill has struggled, and the Jets are a tough opponent. This game is played in London, and both teams are traveling late in the week. This alters fantasy outlooks as many of the London games have been low-scoring and not very fantasy friendly. Landry is the No. 20 WR in our ranks this week.


Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints

Cooks' value is dependent on his quarterback. He is usually a solid WR2, but with an ankle injury and questions at quarterback, he drops to a WR3 this week. He did have seven receptions for 71 yards with Luke McCown in Week 3, but if Drew Brees is back in Week 4, this may not benefit Cooks. The issue with Brees is arm strength, due to a shoulder injury. Cooks needs Brees to be able to throw the ball deep. If he plays, Cooks' value actually takes a hit. He does have slightly higher value in PPR leagues with McCown throwing to him.


Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Hurns found the end zone for the first time all season in Week 3, and suddenly appeared on the fantasy radar. Don't be fooled. He's a low WR3 this week in a tough matchup with Indianapolis. Keep in mind Hurns only had two receptions in Week 3 on four targets. Blake Bortles is going to look for Allen Robinson, not Hurns. While it may be tempting to start him because Vontae Davis will likely be covering Robinson, Hurns isn't a solid enough player to trust in most leagues. If you start three WRs, he's worth considering, but don't run out to grab him off waivers.


— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

Fantasy Football Five Up, Five Down: Melvin Gordon Up, Brandin Cooks Down For Week 4
Post date: Friday, October 2, 2015 - 12:00
Path: /college-football/six-major-college-football-programs-have-never-played-notre-dame

This week’s Notre Dame vs. Clemson matchup will be the third in a series that has seen two dramatic comebacks. The first in 1977 saw Joe Montana lead the Irish on a fourth-quarter resurgence en route to a national title. In the second in 1979, Clemson roared back from a 10-0 halftime deficit to win 16-10. Those two games are just part of a storied Notre Dame history that touches every major program in college football. Well, almost every program.


Since fielding it first team in 1887, the Irish have operated as an Independent, scheduling series with an unprecedented range of programs. Between the regular season and bowl games, Notre Dame has played nearly every big-time program in college football. Here are six that the Irish have never played.



Sports Illustrated noted that a booster told then head coach Frank Broyles in the early 1960s that if Arkansas was “tryin' to win a lot of ball games, it would be nice to have several Northwest Louisianas on [its] schedule." Broyles yelled, "Brother, you're so right." It’s doubtful this tongue-in-cheek exchange impacted Broyles scheduling decisions as coach and then athletic director, but the Irish and Razorbacks have never played.



If Auburn had not been on probation in 1993, there is always the possibility that its undefeated season could have culminated in a Sugar Bowl matchup with Notre Dame. That’s about the closest these two teams have ever come to playing each other.


Boise State

To give you a little perspective here, Knute Rockne had already passed away before Boise State University was even formed. The Broncos’ success since joining the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in 1995 has been consistently stronger than the Irish during the same period. Thus, a matchup pitting college football’s biggest upstart program against its most storied would garner a lot of hype.


Kansas State

The first FBS program to lose 500 games had very little success before the arrival of head coach Bill Snyder. Since then, the Wildcats have consistently won and generally scheduled one tough non-conference opponent a year. That foe has never been Notre Dame.


Oklahoma State

Of the three major programs in Oklahoma, Notre Dame has lost to two of them, Oklahoma and Tulsa. It has never even taken the field against Oklahoma State.


Virginia Tech

The two schools have agreed to meet in Blacksburg in 2018. Until then, the Hokies are part of this list.


— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.

Six Major College Football Programs That Have Never Played Notre Dame
Post date: Friday, October 2, 2015 - 11:30